Dear Friends and Leaders,
I write you tonight after just seeing hundreds of students touched at a University in Texas today. It is hard to believe that six months ago we launched back to the nations. God has been so faithful. We have been able to see tens of thousands saved, healed, and set free by Gods power. We have traveled over 90,000 miles to cities, states and countries. We simply couldn’t have done it without your help, prayers, and support. Karen and I are amazed at the awesome favor of God. The schedule has exploded.
In this holiday season our heart is to see families restored like never before. The enemies goal at the beginning was to destroy the home! How does he do it? Take out the shepherds! Jesus said when he was speaking to Peter and predicting his own death in Mark 14:27- “I will strike the shepherd and scatter the sheep! Today let the shepherds awaken and go tell the world the Savior is Born! We must stand firm! There is a stirring for the shepherds to wake up!
Awakening the Shepherds!
I want to take you back 2000 years ago on a cold dark night. We know that on the night Christ was born it was in the town of Bethlehem (as was prophesied in Micah 5:2). His family had gone up to pay taxes and be a part of the census. What amazes me is that God made sure a public record would be kept of His son’s birth. We know that he would be born in a manger behind an Inn. Paul said this of Jesus in II Corinthians 8:9, “ For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” We know that Jesus would become our shepherd! We know that Jesus is our shepherd. Take a look at John chapter 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus would be the shepherd that would protect the flock!
I am reminded on that very special night of the birth of Christ who the angels decided to visit to announce the birth of the savior. It was the shepherds! A night when shepherds were slipping into a time of watchful rest! Then the sky lit up! God always uses the shepherds. Look at Moses and David. They were shepherding when their lives were interrupted. “Shepherds- in the Greek is “poy-mane” meaning a herdsman, overseer to which ones care has been committed.” God wants to interrupt the shepherds! He wants to interrupt the ones He trusts with care of others! I want to look at those special first responders. We are called to shepherd those around us. But first we must awaken in the night! I want to give you four things concerning the shepherds that were interrupted on that glorious night by the song of the angels!
4 things you must understand about this special band of brothers!
#1. The Shepherd is always on duty!- Luke 2:8, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”Here they were living in monotony. They had no idea what was about to happen. They would be a part of the greatest worship service of all time. What made them so special is that God knew they would be obedient. God knew they would handle the message. God knew they were the best ones to interrupt their lives! These were not normal shepherds. These were Near Eastern Shepherds- The tasks of a Near Eastern shepherd were:- to watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep- to defend the sheep from attackers- to heal the wounded and sick sheep- to find and save lost or trapped sheep- to love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust.
I am reminded of during World War II, a shepherd was a pilot who guided another pilot whose plane was partially disabled back to the base or carrier by flying alongside him to maintain visual contact.
#2. The Shepherds realized their time had come for their mission! They were awakened from the monotony of life- Peace and favor was here! Luke 2:15-15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” I can see them sharing with each other as they walked along. Dude- nobody is going to believe this. This was an incredible sign of the first church coming together! There was such an excitement- They knew they had been visited by God. They were probably running- They were probably weeping- here these lowly shepherds were the first evangelist! God chooses the simple things to confound the wise. He chose the watchers of the lambs! These shepherds were going to find the Head Shepherd. 1 Peter 2:25- For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Mom and Dad’s, you are the watchers of the lambs! The Shepherds understood they were on a mission. Luke 2:16-18,” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”
#3. When the Shepherd shows up everything becomes ok! Luke 2:20, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” I bet when they showed up at the manger scene Mary knew everything was OK. Luke 2:19-“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” We have to have some shepherds show up in this generation-These shepherds were the ones who Mary would sit back and say- “I Think everything is going to be ok.” God proved himself thru the Shepherds-
#4- Today let God awaken the Shepherds to the Great Shepherd! 1 Peter 5:1-4, “ To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”The enemy wants to destroy the shepherds- But the angels will awaken you!
Karen, the Forerunners, and I appreciate you so much. Have an awesome Christmas! Let this year be the best ever! God is going to use you greatly! Please let us know if you need anything at all. We are honored to serve you. Merry Christmas! Pat and Karen Schatzline