The Shepherd cares for us and calls us to be His forever. Like Hosea with Gomer, the Shepherd cars more for us than we care for ourselves. Let us remember that we dwell in His House. We are welcome there always. (Psalm 23)

Speaker(s): Pastor Gary Groenewold, Pastor Bailey Norman
Sermon 11811
6:30 PM on 12/29/2019

P. Schaller –

Update on my health condition. Just a little note. I don’t have the flu, halleluiah, but I got some vertigo.
Yesterday, my world was spinning. Usually my world is spinning but not this way! I got sick and
couldn’t control it. I’m better today but still unsteady. I got this pulpit in front of me. Thanks for
your love and prayers. Wednesday, I plan to fly to Moscow with Peter Westera and then move
on to the border of China preaching at a conference.

There are two folks, maybe three. Is Tommy Colban here? Tommy and Maiju, want to stand up for a second? He’s a disciple, man of God. They met here in Bible college. They fell in love. Let’s pause here for a second! Turn to
your neighbor and say they fell in love and they got married and he learned the Finnish
language. He lives in Finland and is a youth leader over there. We love this couple. They are
precious to us. To hear from them before they go back would be great.

Second one is Grant Sutton. If you’re here, stand up and raise your hand. No, he might come in late. I saw him this
morning. He’s a missionary in the Ukraine. He lives in L’viv. He’s gone through some things
young men and women don’t need to go through but in God’s plan who knows what we will go
through. I can’t believe I work with such a great group of people like these guys here. They are
so amazing. Our bench is deep.

This work is extensive. I’m so thankful for that, what the Spirit does. Fourth thing, New Year’s Eve bring a saxophone, clarinet, set of spoons, a bucket upside down with a stick on top, etc. Before we enter the new year, we’ll make a joyful noise. Then we’ll be serious and get on our knees and bring in the new year. I want you to do an exercise with me. How many days in a year? Three hundred sixty-five and a quarter. The quarter is mine.
Every year, I get a quarter and next year 366 days in that year. Work on 366. 366 what? 366
“thank you’s”, churches, salvations, messages.

Then add 1,000. 366,000 what? Smiles, “thank you’s,” prayers. Now put million. 366 million what? Attitudes. 366 billion what? Mega-attitudes. More attitudes. Then think about this: there are things you cannot count but I want more of it. That’s this year, 2020. I want love. You can’t count love. It happens. Love. It happens. Joy. You
cannot measure it. You cannot count it. When you got it, you got something immeasurable and
unbelievable and so precious in this world. We have peace.

You can’t count it. We have the things you count and then things beyond this world and that’s what our year will bring us. P. Gary said God is a God of reversals. He takes our pain and turns it to joy, our loss into gain, our
fear and turns it into love, what we give away he turns to blessing. Give in the offering and
anticipate a great year. I’m so thankful. We are blessed people.

P. Gary Groenewald –

I’m not very good at music, but I think that was Jesus loves me. I should have jumped up and started singing. P. Bailey and I are doing Psalm. 23 tonight. When I start we can turn there. I feel like I have enough notes for 2 hours. I’ll squish it down. P. Fred Ellis, good to see you. Let’s read it. We don’t know what God wants to say to us. Psalm 23, 1 Peter 1 we are kept by the power of God. It says in this last verse, I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
What a miraculous work of God that we would dwell in his house forever.

Not just in the eternal state, but also now. I want to focus on the first part of the first verse. This is a miracle of
God that we can say this. That the Lord is my shepherd. Shepherd. I don’t care for myself as
much as God cares for me. I don’t know the dangers that will face me as much as God knows perfectly the dangers that will face me. We heard about deception today and the power of it.
We have no idea the wiles of the angel of light and how they can impact our souls. To be kept
by God is a miracle.

Our lives are a mess. We’re all like sheep that have gone astray but we have
discovered the good shepherd. He’s a great shepherd. We hear his voice. It’s not a voice of like
this. I think of Revelation 1. It’s the waters. Those waters that are moving. It’s this constant, manifold
speaking of God continually speaking in a still small voice of incredible, divine understanding
God has for us in the details of life. We can have wisdom that we’ve collected.

There is this amazing understanding. God fills in all the blanks of our lives. 1 Peter 2:25, we are sheep going
astray but we turn unto the shepherd and bishop of our soul. Someone cares about my soul.
Have you ever experienced that? God caring for your soul. I want to turn to the book of Hosea.
Remember the Lord is my shepherd before I shall not want. Think of God being our shepherd
for a brief moment tonight.

Hosea marrying Gomer and Gomer being the whore or prostitute going her own way, representing Israel or take it personal, representing us, the way we mightgo in our lives. Hosea 2:2 I though they got married? They did but she’s not receiving any of the benefits of being a wife. We don’t want to live outside the benefits of living in a relationship.
This is how Gomer was living. Vs. 2-3. God has this ability to do this in our lives. We’re thankful
for something, this constant care of God shepherding our souls.

I go to vs. 6. Somehow there is that verse in Ephesians 4 where we can become past feelings, numb to God. Reckless, selfish, wicked life. Vs. 6. I love that about the shepherd. Ever felt that incredible prick from the Holy Spirit that says, no. No. Don’t do that. That’s not God’s way. That’s not holy. That’s not clean. That’s not
right. This is what God does to someone he loves, to someone he wants to restore. Bunch of
thorn bushes around the sheep. The detour you take in your mind he puts a wall there.

It’s from God. The Lord is the shepherd of our souls. Vs. 7. Kind of like the prodigal son. God is in the
middle of this. God is watching over this lady. He loves her. Vs. 8 is about this logistical grace
she didn’t know. When you serve idols, you have to give something from God. Any idol it is.
Think about an idol. You have to give something from the logistical grace of God to that idol to
take something away from you. God is a gracious God. God wants to give.

When you reverse that process, it takes something away from you. You know you are doing the wrong thing. You
are serving your idol. All the joy is evaporated. You are supposed to have joy. These feasts don’t
exist in your life anymore. She was serving idols. I will visit upon her, vs. 14. I will allure her.
Ever been drawn by God away from something because he cares for your soul. You sense it and
this amazing rich God, merciful God, good God is drawing you away to a wilderness to speak
these words comfortably to you.

It deals with your conscience and your will. Only God can do this. Romans 7 Paul knew what to do. He knew what he wanted to do but couldn’t do it. His conscience and will were separated. His will couldn’t reach into his conscience and say that’s what I want to do. Let’s do it. The Lord is my shepherd. He has the amazing ability to speak comfortably to us. He calls it our decisions. He works to will and do of his good pleasure. It’s an
amazing work of a gracious God.

He allows us to make a decision and he says you just chose me. I did? It feels like you shepherd me. You chose me. It brings glory to God. The Lord is the shepherd of my soul. I shall not want. Rest of Psalm 23 can’t happen without that amazing gracious shepherd. Let’s finish and read together Hebrews. Hebrews 13:20-21. There it is, that great
shepherd of the sheep. He’s a shepherd and he’s a sheep. Wow. It’s like he’s so acquainted with
my weaknesses, my frailties. He’s been tempted like me.

He was a sheep. God raised him up and he’s the shepherd of my soul. Let’s read that. The great shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant. The blood of the everlasting covenant. Ever rely on the blood
of the everlasting covenant and not on yourself? It does really good to our soul. That’s the
keeping power of God when we rely on the blood of the everlasting covenant. It can keep
anybody. It can deliver mercies in the darkest, ugliest place.

The blood of the everlasting covenant. We have to read that and go back to Hosea quickly. Make you perfect in every good work to do his will vs. 21. How did it happen? It was the work of God in me. I can’t believe God
would do that work in me that I would trust in that everlasting covenant. Here he is
shepherding me. That was a great decision. That was glory to me. Look what happens in Hosea
2:15, valley of trouble.

This is what God does. He turns our troubles into this amazing hope. He directs our souls. He’s our shepherd. He has ability to do this. You shall sing there. Joy comes back in our life, this revival because of the mercy of God. God’s amazing longsuffering towards us. I love watching a shepherd with sheep, they are so cared for by the shepherd. They are so willing to be driven because they know the nature of the shepherd. In vs. 16, this means
husband. You go back to relationships.

Everything that you lost. instead of he’s my Lord, you go back to a relationship of love. You are back in that relationship that was lost. In 2:2 you’re not my wife, not receiving the benefits but now you are back in the benefits of the way you are supposed to live in a relationship with me. It doesn’t stop. This is one of the greatest miracles
that happens in our lives. You can never take you away from experiencing this type of
relationship with God. I am his and he is mine. I’m back into that relationship where it is
perfect, and I know who I am. Mercies of God never fail. The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not

P. Bailey Norman –

That was so good, P. Gary. When I think of him I think of meditation. When
he speaks it’s nothing shallow. Greetings from Marlboro, Massachusetts. So thankful for your
faithfulness and prayers for us. Just to be here is amazing. P. Gary said look at P. Fred Ellis, and I
thought the same thing. There are so many people we could name the whole room. Chris Regan
and P. Barry and Veronica, and P. Bob Colban and Chris. Lives that have meant so much to me
personally. Psalm 23 is probably the most memorized psalm.

We don’t know it either. God is so faithful in his revelation to us. We’ve been thinking about that recently, the faithfulness of God’s revelation. He is always revealing things to us and drawing us into a relationship with
him. We can say the Lord is my shepherd and stop at that sentence and be in awe. It’s more
than a statement but a realization of what we are made for. I am made to be shepherded by
God. My way of reasoning, my function is designed to be shepherded by God.

It’s not something David has created but found to be true. It’s the cry that every heart wants to say.
Every person wants to have this identity and this relationship and say the Lord is my shepherd,
but they don’t know that’s what they are looking for, that their heart is crying for, that they
would be shepherded. I love it to be out with the gospel. Proverbs 9 in the chief places of the city standing on a chair or a building or whatever we can do saying we have the answer for the cry
of your heart.

I know a shepherd. He’s my shepherd and he’s able to satisfy you and bring you
to the point where you say this is what I am designed to be. It doesn’t come by our own
conclusion. It comes when we walk by faith and hear the call of the shepherd. He makes Psalm
23:1-6, I love that last sentence. I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I like to repeat that
over and over again. I think at times I don’t believe it. I can doubt it and say what? It doesn’t
make any sense. But there it is in the Bible.

I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This is what our shepherd is saying to us. He said it so clearly. He hasn’t changed the sentence, the idea, to incorporate more things or exclude other things. We can say I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We have this way of thinking about God that is from our point of view. We
look up at God and tell him who he is. We tell him what he’s like. We do this. We have an idea
of how God is gracious. We have an idea of how he loves us. We say God you are gracious to
me. You love me because I and fill it in.

Where does it say that? Nowhere. Does he say I will be your shepherd if you? I love you because you are lovely? Imagine that. Imagine if John. 3:16 said God so loved the lovely, he gave his only begotten Son. He so loved the world but didn’t relate to the world based on how we understand him. Imagine if God came to us and said how can I
tell you I love you. I’ll take a poll. I’ll go through the city and I’ll go knock on all the doors and
say how do you know I love you? We would come up with crazy answers, wouldn’t we? I know,

Lord, you will love me if you give me everything I want. I know you love me if you will do this.
But how many people would come up with the answer I know you will love me if you give me a
bloody cross to take up and carry ever day of my life. I know you will love me if you give
yourself and come down like a baby and live a life that is going to the cross where you handle
all the sins of the world and you bleed and die for me.

That’s not a story we would write. That’s not a conclusion we would come up with. We’re much more petty. I’ll know you love me if you give me a pony or these little trinkets. That’s when I’ll know. Then we say, God, will you give me
your grace. You will give me grace because I have heard that – wait a second. How does that
work? We have worked out this thing and accomplished this thing. I have done my part and
there is a little gratuity on top. God gives me a little mint on my pillow, and there is grace.
Thank you for the Andy’s mint.

That was so milky smooth. Thank you. That’s our understanding
of grace. We come to this psalm and read about our shepherd who is down here. He is leading
me. He is restoring me. He is walking with me through the difficulty of my life. I understand
something completely different about him. I understand that he is not revealing things to me in
reaction to me. Imagine that.

If God did things for me based on me. If his love was given to me
in reaction to me. Or that Christ coming to earth was some kind of second thought. Or he said,
oh no! Oh, no! Eve, what did you do? I never would have imagined you had done that. Now
what will I do? Now what? In a rash reaction he says Jesus get out there. Instead, there is a
preparation in the mind of God that would restore me.

It goes so much further beyond our understanding. It is revealed to us consistently. It brings to us a love that is beyond anything we can imagine or come up with. It reveals to us a character of grace that we can’t even define. It
is there with us. John 1:14, if God was reactionary towards us, he would not dwell among us.
Imagine if Jesus came down here and said here I am your Messiah, and then he took a look

around and said, oh, no. I made a huge mistake. These people are worse than I thought. He
starts seeing our lives and says really? That’s what’s in there? We have this idea God would
react that way to us, that he would be surprised by our depravity or shocked at our sin. In that,
we hide from him. We make these little facades and we say God, I know you are gracious, but
you couldn’t handle me. I know you are loving, but I’m not lovely. He says to you, come on out
here. Drag it out. I’ll put it to the test.

I’ll show you I love you more than you can know. I am more gracious than you could ever calculate. I’ll pour it out to you. And in every difficulty, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. How many want to be there? I don’t want to have anything to do with it, but it’s going to happen. And when I am there, there is a
consistency of the revelation of God and a faithfulness in his love and a character to his grace
that I don’t know anything of, but when I’m there, I find it.

There is something that comes out of my heart like David said. The Lord is my shepherd. John 1:14, he dwelt among us. He walked in the dust with us. He was not embarrassed by us. He was not ashamed by us. He was not
shocked by us. He was not turned away by the sin nature. He drew people into him. He said
come in here. I have something to say. You think you have a word called grace. You don’t
anything about it. There is no definition of grace without Christ, without our shepherd, without
our Lord.

We look at the life of Jesus and then we look at the Lord, we understand he is so
much further than we know and so much bigger. He doesn’t want us to not know that. So he
comes down here in the dirt and the dust and he walks around with us. He leads us through our
silliness and our little ideas of God. John. 4 the God of the universe is sitting on a well with a
woman. We named her Patricia in our church.

There are so many other women in the Bible that have names and the woman in John 4 we say, who is she? Let’s call her Patricia. She’s at the well and there is Jesus, the one who is holding all things together by the power of his word. He comes to her and says I’m thirsty. I’d like something. He leads her deeper and deeper. Where is
the rope? I don’t get it. He goes a little further with her and she says we worship there, and you
worship there. There’s someone coming. He says that’s it. Vs. 26.

I who speak to you am He. I am your shepherd. I am the answer to the call of your heart. I need to be led, dependent on somebody. I am made for it. I can’t find anything that fits or satisfies me. What is it? There he is
in the dust in Samaria next to a well with a sinful woman and a revelation of the grace and love
of God like no one had ever seen. What is her reaction? She puts down the pot and walks away.
We say put down the pot, whatever form of pot it is!

Put it down and walk away. There is something greater. She does. What does she say? Come meet a man that told me everything I ever did. It was a pretty brief exchange He doesn’t delineate her life. He doesn’t say pah pah,
pah pah, pah pah. He speaks to her. He calls out this cry that says the Lord is my shepherd. She
says that’s everything that I am, and need is to be shepherded. He comes to us. He approaches
us. We have these concepts and ideas.

You can’t come in here right now. I’m a mess, Lord. I know you will be more of a mess tomorrow. Forget about you and your little lenses that you look at me through and allow me to reveal myself to you and allow me to reveal my love and the character of my grace. You can overcome that stuff not by your own will, so you are worthy
but by my grace and by my power. This is what he is saying, and David found it. He said the Lord
is my shepherd. What else do I need.

I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This is one of the best things I ever heard. We can start our day with that. We like to start our day by saying, okay, Lord, here’s a fresh slate. I’m going to do this for you. I’m going to do this, pah pah, pah pah, pah pah. And you’re going to have something for me at the end of the day. But instead, we
start the day with saying, I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. It is happening. It has
begun and I am here. Nothing will change.

Nothing I can do will change my standing with God so give it up. Recognize the grace given to you. It’s not “partialed.” You have grace. You have God. Christ has come. We have received him. We have discovered the shepherd. It’s not like he’s holding something back and when I earn it, ding! Like a bell rings and I get a refill or
something. Imagine that. God came to me and said here’s a bag. That’s your grace for this
week. Don’t use it all up.

You’ll need more on Friday than Monday. So take it easy. Instead, like
1 John 1:7 says walk in the light. Walk in every corner of it and discover it. Experience your life in
the light. Don’t be limited by it. You go to someone’s house and don’t know what to do so you
stand in the kitchen and you don’t touch anything. You’re just waiting for something to happen.
That’s not our faith. He doesn’t say I’ve saved you not stand there and take it easy until I give
you something more. But he says I have saved you.

I have delivered you. Now, come and walk in the freedom of this life. Discover all the things that are in the land of the living. Walk in the light and he has given it to us. He leads us through it and is so faithful. Thank God he gives us
that last sentence that I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. That’s where I start. That’s
where I launch off and I discover more of his nature and character. I fall flat on my face. Oops!
He says, yeah. I knew that was coming. I love you. I love you. You have grace. You are standing
in grace. You can’t affect it. Your little blip, your little events on the radar does not affect the
consistency and faithfulness of God. Stop beating yourself up over it. Walk with him. Receive
from him. Be encouraged by him. Remind yourself consistently that I will dwell in the house of
the Lord forever.



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