Save Time and Preach Like Never Before. Try the new

You and I have a shepherd who wants to give our lives meaning and value. And when you get right down to it… that’s all we need in life.
ILLUS: Robert Ketchum tells about a Sunday school teacher who asked her group of children if any of them could quote the entire twenty-third psalm. A little 4 year-old girl raised her hand. But the teacher, a little skeptical, asked if she could really quote the entire psalm.
The little girl nodded her head and then said: "The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I want."

So the 23rd Psalm is a song about life
And a song about a life filled with confidence
It’s about a life filled with meaning and value
And one more thing…:

IV. It’s a song about a life of belonging
“The LORD is MY shepherd.”
I belong to Him… and He belongs to me

I once read the story about Ben Hooper, twice been elected governor of Tennessee. He often told this story from his childhood.
“My mother wasn’t married [when I was born]. When I started to school my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name. I used to go off by myself both at recess and during lunch time because of the taunts of my playmates, which cut me deeply. What was worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through you. They were all wondering who my real father was.
“When I was about 12, a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door,… I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me.
“‘Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’
“I felt the old weight come upon me. It was like a big, black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down, I thought.
“But as the preacher looked down at me, studying my face, he began a big smile of recognition. ‘Wait a minute,’ he said, ‘I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God!’
“With that, he slapped me across the back and said, ‘Boy, you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.’ “That,” Ben Hooper said, “was the most important single sentence anyone ever said to me.”
With Christ’s help, Ben Hooper had overcome his sense of rejection and inadequacy and claimed his inheritance as a child of God.

CLOSE: The Lord is MY Shepherd.

You know. There is a distinctive difference between the sheep of the field, and us. Those sheep do not get to CHOOSE their shepherd. The shepherd chooses them. In the days of the Bible, when a shepherd bought a sheep, he’d take a firm hold on the sheep, pull out a long, sharp knife and cut a distinctive earmark into one of the ears of the sheep. In that way, even from a distance, it would be easy to determine to whom the sheep belonged.

The difference for us, is that – unlike the sheep – we get to choose whether or not we will take the mark of Jesus