Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Are the Sheep OK?

Sandy and I have enjoyed the last two months on sabbatical.  Due to the persistent virus, our travel plans had to be cancelled.  We called it our “stay-battical”.  We spent lots of time with our grandkids at our house, their homes, and at the coast.  The coast was awfully foggy – “socked-in”, as Sandy likes to say.  I used the privilege of this extended time away from our normal schedule to do some writing.  I’ll keep working on that.

As I return this week, I am hearing from most everyone I encounter that they are concerned about the unity and care of our church family.  Not gathering to worship and pray together for nearly five months is a situation none of us have experienced before as Christians.  How do we strengthen unity when we are experiencing this extended separation?  The real basic strength platform of believers in Jesus isn’t mass gatherings, as much as we love the dynamic atmosphere of a full congregation of hundreds or more.  The strength of the church on earth begins with the gathering of two or three in Jesus’ name.

The answer begins by looking to Jesus.  How did He respond to scattered people whom He loved?

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep having no shepherd.  Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” 
Matthew 9:36-38 (NKJV)

Jesus applied the compassion He carried for people by encouraging His closest disciples to pray and listen to the Father to know what He is saying and what He would send them to do.  In the following chapter, Matthew 10, Jesus got His twelve disciples ready for action.  He sent them in pairs out to the towns and countryside to tell people that it is time to turn again to the Lord (truthful confession and repentance), because the Kingdom of God is at hand.  The twelve received from Jesus the commission, faith, and power to release miracles.  They went out.  They returned with reports of God’s power and of many turning to the Father.

That’s what I believe we should do.  If you are carrying a burden of concern for others in our church family who you have not seen for nearly half a year, then you are one of Jesus’ disciples He would love to send to do two things:  First, call upon our Father for His guidance and power.  Believe that you receive His power and His love.  Second, get a friend who has the same motivation.  Go together and find some of the “sheep” of West Salem Foursquare Church.  Encourage them to go deeper in their walk with Jesus.  Encourage them to get together with others.  Pray for whatever need there is in their life, and release upon them the peace and power of the Holy Spirit.  If they receive it, rejoice together.  Stay in touch with them.  Do all that you can, as the Lord prepares and inspires you.  Go and bless the sheep of the Lord Jesus.

Now I extend the peace of the Holy Spirit upon you, and believe He will flow to others through you.

– Pastor Rich and Sandy Marshall