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Pastor to Pastor

Defending the Sheep

It's every shepherd's job.

Shepherding God’s Flock (11)

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.” John 10.11-13

Distracting and subverting winds of doctrine are blowing into the sails of many churches—false but appealing teachings, the overall effect of which is to blow us off course in our journey with Christ and for His Kingdom. These false doctrines take many forms as they gradually cause us to drift from our great salvation (Heb. 2.1).

It is the duty of shepherds to guard their flocks against all false teachings and to keep them moving toward the high meadows and clean waters of life in Jesus Christ.

Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604) exhorted the shepherds of his day to be vigilant against whatever may threaten the flocks of the Lord: “Now to go up against the enemy is to go with free voice against the powers of this world for defence of the flock; and to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord is out of love of justice to resist bad men when they contend against us. For, for a shepherd to have feared to say what is right, what else is it but to have turned his back in keeping silence?”

Unless the people of God are equipped to recognize and resist false teachings, they may fall prey to unbelieving ways—if not in what they profess, then in what they practice. The shepherd’s job is to defend his sheep against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and to confront all false teaching and lies with the truth of God.

We must make sure that we understand the times, brethren, or we will not know what to do in defending the flock of God (1 Chron. 12.32). And we must defend them with the Sword of the Spirit, and equip them to wield it well themselves.

Resources for Shepherds
What false doctrines are threatening to cause believers to drift from our great salvation? Our ReVision study, “Winds of Doctrine”, outlines many of the most prominent false teachings that seek to hijack the sails of the church and blow us off course. This would be an important study to go through with church leaders and teachers. You can download all the installments of this study for free by clicking here.

Our workbook, Shepherding God’s Flock, provides more insight and details on the disciplines of shepherding that Jesus embodied and taught. This is an excellent resource for training shepherds at every level in the church. To learn more and order free copies of Shepherding God’s Flock, click here.

Our book, Understanding the Times, can help you see what we’re up against in defending the flocks of the Lord. Learn more and order your free copy by clicking here.

Are you following our InVerse Theology Project series on work? We are redeemed for work, fulfilled in work, and gifted for work. By our work we pursue and realize more of our great salvation (Phil. 2.13). And our work begins in sanctification, the work we do bringing our soul more into line with Jesus. The most recent installment in this series on work addresses what that work requires. You can listen in by clicking here.

From the Celtic Revival
Our Crosfigell series on Columbanus continues with a glimpse into his prayer life. His biographer, the monk Jonas, shows us how Columbanus emulated Jesus in times of retreat for prayer; and the saint himself teaches us what it is most important to pray for:

“At one time he was living alone in that hollow rock, separated from the society of others and, as was his custom, dwelling in hidden places or more remotely in the wilderness, so that when the feasts of the Lord or saints’ days came, he might, with his mind wholly free from disquieting cares, devote himself to prayer, and might be ready for every religious thought.”

  - Jonas, Life of St. Columban[1]

“Lord, grant me, I pray Thee in the name of Jesus Christ Thy Son, my God, that love which knows no fall, so that my lamp may feel the kindling touch and know no quenching, may burn for me and for others may give light. Do Thou, Christ, deign to kindle our lamps, our Saviour most sweet to us, that they may shine continually in Thy temple, and receive perpetual light from Thee the Light perpetual, so that our darkness may be enlightened, and yet the whole world’s darkness may be driven from us.”

  - Columbanus, Sermon XII[2]

It is hard to overestimate the importance of prayer. None of us lives up to the teaching of Jesus, the example of the psalmists, or the practice of the apostles in seeking the Lord in prayer. We can learn from Columbanus and we can learn from Scripture as well. Our ReVision study, “Parameters of Prayer”, provides an overview of the work of prayer and offers suggestions in how to improve in this most foundational of Christian practices. Write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I’ll send you the complete series in PDF.

Crosfigell is mailed every Tuesday and Thursday. Subscribe to Crosfigell today (click here to update your subscriptions). Be sure you click each teaching letter you want to receive, (including Pastor to Pastor), and journey with us through our devotional study of this remarkable saint. 

What can we learn from a cat? Well, an anonymous Irish scribe, from late in the period of the Celtic Revival (ca 430-800 AD), found his cat, Pangur Ban, to be an encouragement in his work. Listen to the poem he wrote about his cat in the most recent edition of Celtic Legacy (click here).

T. M. Moore.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] Jonas, p. 10

[2] Walker, p. 115

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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