Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
12:00pm Fellowship
Pastor Rev. Brooke Newell
Secretary Donna McDonald
315-265-7474

Flock of Ages

Listen to the Sermon or the Entire Service

May 11:

Call:    Acts 2: 42-47
Text:    John 10: 1010
Prayer:  W&S #201
Psalm:   Psalm 23 (137)
Closing: Baptism of Owen Gardephe

            Flock of Ages

I almost never read the scripture before the message.
   I find that the scripture is usually better brought to life
   As a part of the message.

That approach provides both   Perspective and   Build up.

But today      I begin with our text.  [John 10: 1-10]

Now,     the first 18 verses of John 10 are generally called,
   "Jesus The Good Shepherd"
in fact my Bible includes that title for those verses.

But intriguingly,
   The Revised Common Lectionary
Which is a compilation of suggested scriptures,
      Has listed only the first ten verses for this date.
             Thus leaving the remaining eight - for another time

In fact, the words   "I am the good shepherd"
   Don't appear until verse 11
      One verse after the end of the suggested scripture

Thus, in approaching this service, I had three options:

My first option was to ignore the lectionary and find something else on which to preach
      For despite what you may have heard on occasion
         UMC pastors are not required
         To preach from the lectionary.

It is simply a tool presented to us
      To help us avoid preaching the same thing over and over again.

But its use is optional - not mandatory
And so I did have the option to ignore it
      An option I elect about 5-10% of the time

I had a second option as well.

This second option goes hand in hand with the first.

In this option, instead of ignoring the lectionary
I could elect to expand the text to include all 18 verses
I have the right to do that
   And I have done that with other scriptures.

Finally, there was the third option:
   I could preach on the ten verses of the suggested scripture

This third approach seemed the most sound
And it offered the most opportunity for personal growth

But it also seemed the hardest.

As one who was worn out from the last two weeks
   From driving and studying
   From being away
and   From working to keep up while I was gone.
I was seriously tempted to take an easier approach.
But I just could not bring myself to do it.
And so I elected the third option

As I wrestled with the scripture,      I found several messages

One, of course, is
   That Christ is the gate or way to God

A second message is that Christ is the leader whom we must follow.

A third is that Christ protects us from our enemies
   Thieves and bandits are presented as examples,
   Representing those who would lead us away from our faith.

But none of these called out and said, "Jim, preach me!"

Finally, after a period of discouragement,
other words began to call

At first softly,
"He calls his own sheep by name..."
And then more loudly
"He calls his own sheep by name..."
and ultimately, the call turned into a commanding shout,
   "He calls his own sheep by name..."

And then I realized that
If we are part of His flock,  he will know who we are
   And he will call us by our names.

The idea that Jesus actually knows who Jim Barnes is touched me.

We know that when someone knows our names
It has an impact on us.
I did quite a bit of substitute teaching.
   While serving part time in Jordanville and VanHornesville

While doing so, I had an amusing experience
On the impact of knowing someone's name

It occurred when I was asked to sub for what the sub coordinator identified as   "The Fifth Grade From Hell."

She was hopeful that my gender, my size, and my powerful voice
   Might enable me to achieve a level of success
   That had eluded several subs before me.

Now, I did not particularly like teaching at the elementary level
   The student's voices tended to be at least an octave above
      What my ears were comfortable hearing.

But I was challenged    and I was intrigued  and so I accepted.

Upon arrival, I was disappointed to discover
That the class was to go to Phys Ed
At the close of attendance and announcements.

That meant I had virtually no time to gain control over the class.

But as they lined up to go to the gym
   Some lagged behind, fooling around.
At that point, I projected my voice
in the direction of a girl wearing a bright red satin-like shirt
   "Alexis," I called out, "get over here and get in line"

As she scurried to her place, I overheard one boy say to another
   "Oh, oh, he knows our names already."


I never let on,
   That hers was literally - thanks to that red satin shirt -
The only name I had learned by that point.

But because the class thought I knew their names
   They paid much more attention than they had intended,
   My day went smoothly,
   And I returned home chuckling.

Like the students in that class,
Being aware that Jesus knows my name means
that I had better pay attention.

But Jesus knowing our names has another impact
One that encourages rather than requires.

And here the impact is better illustrated by the time some of us spent with
Sam Malone and Diane Chambers
Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin

For the premise of the togetherness of that diverse group
   Was planted in our minds by the show's theme song
      Which described the "Cheers" tavern as a place
      "where everybody knows your name."

Sam, Diane, Norm, and Cliff
   Called each other by name
   And in doing so made each other feel important.

And that being the case
the fact that Jesus knows and calls us by name
      Makes us feel important
      and tells us that we are important enough to Him
         For Him to have bothered to learn our names.
And too we grasp the meaning of this from the reverse
   For we feel    unimportant to people
Who don't bother to learn our names?

Christ's flock began with the disciples
   And it has continued throughout the ages
with Christ still calling us by our names.

Flock of Ages, that's for me        It is where I want to be
Let Him call me by my name So that I won't be the same
I'll be his friend for evermore  And his word, I won't ignore.

Jesus the Christ knows us and calls us by our names
   He tells us that we are important
We tell him that we want to be sheep in His flock.

One more thing
I am convinced that Jesus uses us
      As his voice
      In calling each sheep by name

And so Jesus' willingness to learn our names
   Means that we should be willing
to learn the names of the others in this part of His flock
   so we can be His voice
and   so they can too can feel important to him
      and listen to him even more attentively.