Hello and Welcome to South Side Church of the Nazarene and the BLOG used by our team to walk along side of you on the Journey.
I AM the gate…
“1 Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
– John 1-10 (NRSV)
When I was fifteen years old, I was on fire for Jesus and the Church. A man, David, had come into my life from ‘Big Brothers / Big Sisters” (http://www.bbbs.org/) and helped guide my life. He asked if would like to come to Church with him, and honestly I thought, “why not?” Being the geek that I am I read and searched and wanted to understand it all. If I’m honest as I look back I imagine that being the guy who knew the most was probably as much of a motivation as anything at that time, but I was struck with it. I went to Sunday School, worship, Sunday night and Wednesday when Dave would come and get me. I imagined the Sunday School teachers rolling their eyes as I came in because I loved to grill them on doctrine and theology. I loved it, but then the thieves came in from many other gates. At sixteen years old there were many new gates to choose from. These thieves stole my heart for years, but I am in my shepherd’s flock again.
As we walk through the world today we are all surrounded by thousands of different gates that we can choose from. We have giant gates (TVs’) in our living room that will take us to anywhere in the world and will allow us to see anything we like. We have portable gates (smartphones, computers, tablets) that will deliver us anything our eyes can desire. Television, Facebook, Instagram, CNN, Fox News, Reddit, SNAP chat, YouTube, Netflix, and on, and on, and on…. The gates are never ending and ruthless.
In our scripture this week Jesus points out that all of these distractions are thieves and bandits that lead us away from the way that leads to life. For me the point isn’t that watching TV or spending time on the internet is in some way all evil. The question that I believe Jesus is asking is, “what gate do you take to find life?” As you walk through life ask yourself what guides you? How did you start your day? What do you depend on to get through life?
Jesus says that those that “entered by” Him “will come in and go out and find pasture”. When is the last time you entered by Him? Well how does that work? For me, it means walking through that gate over and over throughout my day. Open your day by speaking to Jesus in prayer. Read scripture every day (https://www.facebook.com/egathering). When you work out, speak to Him. If you do Yoga, speak to Him as you breathe. As you walk through the woods, meditate on Him. If you have a rival, pray for them.
When you begin to walk all things through Jesus and have a relationship with Him, He tells us that we will hear Him and know His voice. Have you sought His face today? This is the gate to the path that is life.