By: Harold Moreland

I had a dream years ago of a ship with many people on board. The water was rough and there was no land in sight. In the water were more people than were on board the ship and they were all drowning. The people on board were frantically trying to save those in the water, but for every one they pulled on board to safety, two or more from the boat fell in. They were losing more than they were saving!!

Like all dreams, I pondered this dreams meaning. It was more than obvious what this meant, especially with what God had been speaking to Erin and I concerning encouragement and discipleship. Erin (my wife) heard God speak to her heart one day these simple words, “take care of the 99". Well, this dream along with these words made us realize that the Church had grown to emphasize more on evangelism than they did on discipleship. More on reaching out to the lost than reaching in to the Beloved. More on trying to do the work of Holy Spirit instead of doing the work of Christ’s Kingdom. More on building "A Kingdom" than being “The Kingdom”.

The parable of the lost sheep does not speak of a sheep that was never in the fold, it speaks of a sheep within the fold that wandered off. Every member of Christ’s Kingdom is precious to The Shepard, and every member that is safe while staying close to Him is secure because of the other members, even if the Shepard runs after one that has gone astray. Beloved, this is a snapshot of what the Body of Christ should look like; community, like-mindedness, concern, encouragement, and a close-knit family taking care of one another. This is why Jesus drilled into Peter, "If you love me, feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17), which He said not once, but three times to emphasize how important His sheep were to Him.

As a Kingdom Family, our very existence and example will be the magnet for the lost and hurting. They are not interested in our doctrines, our theology (scriptural interpretation), or our ideas, no matter how passionate we are that they would (or could) understand them. Holy Spirit alone can draw the heart of one that is lost, but as the only representation of Christ in human form that they will see, they must see Jesus in us, the hope of glory. The Jesus that they see should be one that is compassionate toward His sheep, One that cares for His flock, and One that would give His life for His sheep. This is the true Kingdom of God, reflected to the world through Christian community.

If our evangelism is more focused on the number of scratch marks on our spiritual helmets than it is in ministering to and encouraging one another, we may find ourselves neglecting our family and losing more than we draw-in. If your light that shines before men is only presented to them as a spoken religious idea that you are trying to convince them to partake of, this is what they will receive, an idea. But if they witness Christ's Kingdom within His Body being lived-out before them in love and compassion, then Holy Spirit will call their name, and that Beloved is true conversion. Unless the Father calls them they cannot be saved, no matter how many “sinner’s prayers” you convince them to repeat.

“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,…” Hebrews 3:12-14

Beloved, speak encouragement to your brothers and sisters, love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself, this is the gospel, this is Jesus, and this is the light that the world needs.

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