…..the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them (his sheep), but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

I don’t know if you picked up on the apparent contradiction in that passage.  Jesus just declared to his sheep that they would hear his voice yet they did not really hear his voice. So what does that tell us? A lesson I come away with is that we must be able to recognize his voice, not understand it, and still be his sheep. He doesn’t give up on us when we read the bible and don’t quite lay hold of it yet. Or, when he is trying to speak to us through life’s circumstances and we are yet too dull or hardened to get it he doesn’t abandon us to the wolves. Instead, as he did with the original little flock, he just patiently tries again……

So…… Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

A little flock of us men, 9 strong, took 12 months to take a close look at what it means to abide in Christ. We shared an intimate dialogue with each other that was provoked by The Journey, a course created by Rocky Fleming’s Influencers organization. While the curriculum was useful, there was another underlying component of our times together. There were 4 – T‘s always at work, building the foundations of our little community. They were being together, Truth, time and transparency. As we took the time to be together we became transparent and the truth found its way into our hearts as it is apt to do when the Holy Spirit is moving among the two or three gather together in his name.

From the light generated in our 2-or-more gatherings a common theme emmerged  – a hunger for intimacy with God. Along side that same hunger were also varying degrees of frustration that the kingdom-birthright of intimacy seemed out of reach or just around the corner. Maybe you can relate to this.

I believe this sense of separation from God is a primary symptom of Religiously Transmitted Diseases (RTD’s) – something that Adam and all of us Eden-evicted decedents carry within us. 

Because it is a common frustration I hear among my brothers, I addressed this letter to them.

Dear Friends,
As I am looking at this morning’s Blue Book scripture on the theme of Listening To God, I am thinking about one of our recent discussions.
I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. (Jesus speaking in John 10:15-16)
you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became a partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree…..you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree….a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Paul from Romans 11)
I think we have red-haired-step-child-disease (RHSCD) if we feel like we are God’s afterthought instead of his dream. A symptom (speaking from experience) of RHSCD is a loss of hearing at certain frequencies. Those ranges of sound (even though they are being spoken) that contain radically good news about us are lost in transmission. Here is an example of the type of truth that often goes unreceived….
                                         The Lord your God is in your midst (more precisely – in our hearts as)
                                          A victorious warrior.
                                          He will exult over you with joy….., 
                                          He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
“The scriptures (particularly the NT) are the prescribed remedy for this malady. What the scriptures say may be counterintuitive to our feelings or beliefs but we must ultimately side with God against ourselves (also know as repentance) and agree with his scandalously high opinion of us. Today, having lived with RHSCD for three decades, I now stand boldly in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.” (quote from a former sufferer of the RTD, RHSCD) 
My point? Its not important how we got here. Its only important that we are here (by sovereign decree) living in the care of the good shepherd, whose love and care for us is beyond the dimension of our best, finite linear reasoning. 


Many who are freed from this condition report that their hearing improves dramatically and since the words expressed by his voice are what we must live by, greater levels of abundant life are regularly reported.

Father, May the full gail force your grace-winds sweep mightily through our hearts sweeping them finally clean of all the religious debris of the past. May our self doubt be exchanged for implicit trust in you creating the rest from our labors which is our destiny. May our identities become so firmly grounded in you that we no longer remain the easy targets of satan’s fiery missiles of condemnation. Help us to strengthen and hold fast to our profession as the children and friends of the KIng of Glory. Amen.






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