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Christmas: Lost and Found

Lost sheep are searching for their Good Shepherd.


What’s your favourite animal? What do you think is God’s favourite animal? I think I know. I think God’s favourite animal is sheep. Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there are an awful lot of sheep in the Bible, and a lot of shepherds, too. Which has been a problem for me because I don't know much about sheep.

I saw them in books when I was little and they’re pretty easy to draw, but I grew up in the inner city so I never got to see a real one until I was in my teens believe it or not. I never got to know much about sheep. That was fine when I was a police officer, but it can put you at a real disadvantage as a preacher, because the Bible talks about sheep, shepherds and lambs a lot – it seems to be one of God’s favourite images and animals.

For example, ask most people what their favourite Psalm is. Most of them will say Psalm 23. What’s it about? It was written by David, a shepherd.

(Read Psalm 23)

The Lord is my Shepherd. That’s personal. What a picture! The prophet Isaiah says the Lord “shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather them in his arms and carry them close to is heart and gently lead those who have young.” (Isa. 40:11).

When you think of God, do you see him like that? Protecting? Providing? And if he’s a shepherd, what does that make me? Can you see yourself as one of his sheep? Depending on him, belonging to him, following him, close to him?

If we dress the kids up for the Christmas pageant, which one would you want to be? Mary? Joseph? You look like a Magi. I’d want to be a sheep. Because it seems like God really likes sheep.

There are not many places in the world where sheep are not raised, some ...

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Anthony Delaney is a Leader at Ivy Church in Manchester. He is also the leader for New Thing and the LAUNCH conference. He is an author and hosts the television show “Transforming Life.”

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