Crossroads: The Shepherd

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John 10:1-10

My Story

“Don’t talk to strangers.” It’s what my mother told me all the time growing up, and I’m sure it’s what you tell your own children. Strangers aren’t safe because you don’t know them. They may be nice or they may try to hurt your children. Getting lost in a crowd of strangers can be terrifying. You don’t know where to turn, and nobody looks familiar. It’s not safe to ask anyone for help, and so you stand there, frozen and terrified. As adults, for the most part we can pick out someone who might be safe to ask where to go. But for children, being lost in a crowd can be a terrifying experience. Imagine the joy, then, when mom or dad or someone you know finds you. That person is familiar. That person can be trusted. That’s who you follow.

Your Story

Talk about a time when you were lost in a group of strangers, or simply when you felt very alone. Was it easy finding something familiar? Was it easy to hear the God’s voice?

Bible Story

Read John 10:1-10 as a family.

In our Scripture today, Jesus basically tells people not to talk to strangers. He says that when the sheep are in their pen, whoever tries to enter without using the gate is up to no good. They are a stranger and they are trouble—most likely someone who is trying to steal the sheep. But the one who enters using the gate is the shepherd. The watchman knows who the shepherd is and opens the gate for him. The sheep know who the shepherd is and follow him.

In this Scripture, we are the sheep and Jesus says that he is both the gate and the Shepherd. We know that we should only follow what Jesus wants us to do. But sometimes we forget and talk to strangers. What this means is that sometimes we decide to stop listening to Jesus and we start listening to other people, people who may want us to do the wrong thing. We forgot not to listen to them and so we do the wrong thing and then we get hurt. But then we find our way back to Jesus. And the amazing thing is—Jesus welcomes us back with open arms. He knows that we sometimes listen to those who only want to hurt us, but He promises that when we listen to Him and follow what He wants us to do, we will have a full life.

Sometimes it’s very tempting to talk to strangers. What they offer us may seem better or easier than what Jesus wants us to do. But the only way to have a full life and to please God is by listening to Jesus, our shepherd, and obeying His voice.

Discussion and Action

• Talk about how easy it can be to listen to what other people want you to do. Remind your children that God has given them a conscience, something inside of them that helps them know what is right and what is wrong. Remind them that they can always come to you if they aren’t sure whether or not they should do something.
• Ask them if there’s ever been a time when they got lost in a crowd with nothing familiar. How did they feel? How did they feel when someone they knew found them?
• Help your children practice ways to say “No” when they know something isn’t right.

Prayer

Ask God to help you and your family know what is right and what is wrong. Pray for strength for your children so that they will listen to their Shepherd.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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