A Hawkish Shepherding Metaphor

This morning I was reflecting on what a good time of prayer and Bible reading I had. It shaped my mood and freed me to love my kids well as we prepared for the day.

Then, as I made lunches for the little ones, a hawk lands on our patio outside the kitchen window with a Eurasian Ringed Dove in its talons.

You expect our hawks to be after vermin, the mice and rats going from the fields to the fruit trees. But here a hawk decided on a heartier meal for the morning. Perhaps the dove was hunted because it was sick and already weak, already vulnerable to attack.

I made eye contact with the hawk (its a thing) as I yelled through the window for it go away, essentially saying “not today hawk! Not it my yard!” Quickly then I ran outside and came upon not only the hawk but two crows vying for the dove. They fled at my presence and the dove shook off the attack and flew ten feet to our fence. There he rested but we noticed that blood was dripping on the fence and ground. He was wounded and losing a lot of blood for a small bird.

Now I know this won’t land me any invites to hunting trips but you have to know that I prayed for the bird, very specifically that Jesus would stop the bleeding. I attempted my best Dr. Doolittle voice and told the dove he was welcome to stay and rest as long as he needed.

He stayed on that fence for well over thirty minutes… as the hawk stayed in a nearby tree waiting… hoping for another chance at the prize. Our family left for school out of the front door as to not disturb the dove and we prayed and hoped for the best.

When I returned from walking to school the dove was gone from the fence but the evidence of the ordeal remained. I think he was on the power line across the street, hopefully gaining strength. He will still die, someday. But not in my yard, under my “care.”

Thinking of this wild experience I can’t help but think of shepherding in the church. The call to protect one another and specifically how the elders of the church are to keep watch for the hawks and protect the doves. Or wolves and sheep if you prefer.

The key is that we don’t befriend the hawks but get in their way. We stay close enough to the doves that we can proclaim truth where lies fester. Where we can minister with our presence and time. Where we can pray for healing and care for them. Blood may be drawn but we are stubborn to say that no one will die in our yard.

Of course our strength for this work, for the call of shepherding comes from outside of us. Because the good shepherd witnessed the hawk of darkness with talons deep in his prey. But instead of shooing him away to wait for another kill, our shepherd, Jesus gave himself in the place of the doves, in our place. The hawk drove his talons deep, blood was drawn and poured out to death. But that death is a victory. Because the hawk is forever defeated. His talons no longer have power over the flock of Christ.

So on we go, looking out, protecting, restoring and caring for those we are called to in the name and power of Jesus.

Find yourself these kind of shepherds. Join this kind of flock.

Fulfilled in 2020

As we enter into a new year, we have begun a new reading plan to journey through the Bible. This morning in the first installment one word and theme jumped out to me. Fulfilled.

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing…” Ezra 1:1 (ESV)

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet…” Matthew 1:22 (ESV)

Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David…” Acts 1:16 (ESV)

God is in the business of fulfilling his promise, his word. This is how the Old Testament enriches us. We know that his word does not return empty but is accomplished. Ultimately the promise of Immanuel is fulfilled making all the other promises part of the the anticipation for a Savior. Jesus has come and he has fulfilled the law for us that by grace we would be children of God. All of God’s promises are yes and amen in Christ.

In light then of the New Testament we live boldly knowing that what God has declared will be fulfilled. He is bringing us all the way home.

As I reflected on this the Spirit brought to mind prophetic promises the Lord has given me and here on the first day of the new year the reminder of his faithfulness to fulfill.

What is it that you are anticipating being fulfilled in Jesus this year? Is it confidence in your identity in him? Restoration of relationships that have been broken? Comfort or the ruling peace of Christ in every corner of life? Ask the Lord to give you an awareness of how he is working fulfillment, rest in the grace of Christ and live. God fulfills.

Worthwhile December 27, 2019

The end of the year is here. I didn’t quite reach my reading goal. My weight isn’t what I would prefer. I haven’t scaled unconquerable mountains. But we persist. Trusting in Jesus. His purpose prevails.

A couple of reminders of that truth for your weekend reading.


First up the real abundant life. Rankin Wilbourne wrote for TGC on suffering as an experience of abundant life. It is quite the opposite of what you might here from many religious leaders, but I think he is right.

“Jesus, the perfect image of God and the perfect human being, shows us that a fully human life must include suffering, and that we can only become the man or woman God intends us to be through suffering. Jesus, who was without sin and never did anything to deserve his Father’s displeasure, was made “perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:10). The author of Hebrews dares to say that Jesus “learned obedience through what he suffered” (Heb. 5:8), and that this is part of what makes him our compassionate high priest (Heb. 4:15), able to help us in our time of need. If Jesus, the perfect child, had to learn how to trust and obey through suffering, how much more necessary is it for you and me?”

It takes a long time to be familiar with suffering, and maybe longer to see it as part of the maturing process in Christ. May we be quick to see it in the new year.

Read the whole thing here.


And maybe a few days late but nevertheless important, let’s not neglect the genealogies.

Jennie Pollock exhorts us to read and hear and be encouraged.

“Why on earth would God want to start the New Testament, the story of the new covenant, the bit that most people nowadays are likely to start with, if they’re going to read a Bible at all, with a genealogy? Who wants to read a long stream of unpronounceable names of total strangers before the story starts? Is it like the title cards at the beginning of old movies? Important information to those concerned, but just an opportunity to make yourself comfortable and arrange your snacks for the rest of us? …When those scriptures were read out, for hundreds of years, the descendants of those individuals would have been listening eagerly for their family names, feeling an intimate connection to the story.”

Oh friend you are tied to the story!

“For Christians then, the New Testament starts not with echoes of Genesis, not with the breaking of a 400 year silence, not with the fulfillment of prophecies, but with us. It sets us right in the narrative, reminding us of who we are and where we fit, rooting us in the story, and the story in us.”

Read the whole thing.


Thank you for checking in one last time in 2019. In the new year I am planning some more sharing of great ideas and efforts to be a redemptive expression in our world. If you come across any, send them my way!

May you be blessed as we turn the calendar and may you see more of Jesus in 2020!

Worthwhile December 20, 2019

Oh my you can almost taste it. Christmas is so close. The presents round the tree. The warm family time together. The singing. The laughing. May it be so.

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of adding another year under my belt, 42 I shall be. Let’s begin celebrating now shall we?!

A couple of items today since I know your weekend is busy…


First up is the ruckus coming from our friends in Northern California at a little church named Bethel. You may not be aware, but this last week the daughter of a worship-leading couple passed away unexpectedly. In light of this the church has been holding several days of resurrection meetings calling on little Olive to wake up.

Erik Reed, whose son recently passed away, has a pastoral response to the events.

“The pain this family and church feel over the loss of Olive punches you in the stomach and leaves you cleaving for air. The death of a child hurts. It shatters your heart in a million pieces and prompts your mind to replay endless scenes of times with your child. The permanence of it is heavy. Each day is a reminder that their laugh, their smile, their touch, and their smell are gone.”

“My heart aches for this family. I grieve about how badly they are hurting. It’s terrible.”

“But the pain Olive’s death has brought this family and church will soon lead to another one. It is the pain and confusion that bad theology ushers in. Their response is only compounding the pain. Disillusionment awaits those who pray now for something God has not promised.”

God can absolutely resurrect whom he chooses, but the danger is in the demanding of it. Read his whole post here.


Keeping in the light-hearted tone of today’s articles… Sorry I don’t mean to be a downer… We turn to impeachment.

It is historical, it happened, and we should think about it. Sadly, as has always been the case, impeachment of a president is a rancorous, partisan affair. No one looks good through the process and regular folks like you and I just become more entrenched in our party or perspective.

But there is also something else going on here. Those of you who know me have experienced my displeasure with the current political environment and what I think is a significant failure of those professing faith in Christ making decisions in the public sphere that align with that profession. But I won’t convince you, the dragon goes too deep.

Enter Christianity Today. Neither the most influential instrument in the Christian world nor an entity that can be ignored. The magazine’s editorial board, being consistent with the calls they made twenty years ago for Bill Clinton to be removed from office, have called for President Trump to likewise be removed.

Their article is measured, reasoned, and thoroughly Christian. The problem is, those that could benefit from the dialogue simple won’t read it. We will keep getting our news from narrow sources and only listen to influencers that echo what we already believe. That is terribly unChristian.

So I put it before you, be bold, take up and read. Pray and wrestle. What would Jesus have us do?

If you are hesitant to to click the link, maybe just engage with this paragraph from the piece:

“To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?”

May we prayerfully walk out our faith and life before a watching world. Read it here.


That’s it for today. Enough really. I do hope you will come back! And please enjoy the wonderful Christmas holiday. Be reminded that Jesus came for a wretch like you and the light he brings changes everything.