Summary: A look at the Parable of the Lost Sheep...from the view of the sheep.

Ok, good morning! We have two items of business to take care of before we get started this morning. First, we have to wish Laurie and her husband Jim a Happy Anniversary for this coming Thursday. Last week it was her birthday and this week it is her anniversary.... so she pretty much gets all the gifts knocked out at one time. So, Happy Anniversary, Laurie.

Second, a baby update. Anne went to the doctor this past week and the doctor said the baby is doing fine...heart rate is fine...the only problem is that Anne is quite gaining the weight she needs to gain. So, the doctor told her that she needed to eat more and to feel free to eat ice cream and other high calorie foods. She told me that and the first thing I thought was that would be the happiest day of my life. I would be like "Score!" I guess that’s why us guys don’t have the babies. Seriously, my doctor tells me to cut back on that stuff...if he ever gave me permission to eat like just get a smile on my face thinking about it. So...if you see her bringing a tub of Ben and Jerry’s to church you’ll know what’s going on.

We’re starting a new series today and for this whole month we’re going to be taking a look at some of the parables of Jesus...but we’re going to try to take a fresh approach to them. Most of us know what a parable is...if you grew up in church you might have heard it defined in Vacation Bible School as "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning" or something like that.

The truth of the matter is.... stories are some of the most powerful teaching tools. As human beings we have a natural desire to be entertained. Think of the countless hours that we spend watching TV...whether it is sports, documentaries, or regular series. Or how about reading...I can read a fiction novel a lot easier than I can read history or a biography. We all love stories and good teachers realize that.

I don’t consider myself to be one of the best teachers...but I recognize that if I don’t mix in some stories and illustrations than all we would have every Sunday would be a slumber party.

Jesus, however, he was the master teacher. He used parables to teach...he used them because they were entertaining and also because they would stretch the minds of his listeners...often his own disciples wouldn’t even understand the parables that he told them and they would come to him needing an explanation. We aren’t told so in the Bible but I bet Jesus made them think about it awhile before he answered their questions. All good teachers make their students think about things before explaining them.... and Jesus was the Master Teacher. Stories are an invaluable tool to a teacher. So for the next four weeks we are going to take a look at some of these stories that Jesus told.

We’re going to be working today out of Luke 15 so if you have your Bibles with you today then go ahead and be turning over there. We’re going to be talking about "lost" things today.... namely Jesus’ parable of the Lost Sheep. Now, we have all lost something at one point in our lives. Maybe it was our keys...mine are usually in my hand when I’m looking for them. Maybe it was our kids...I told you all a story a little while ago about when Anne and I thought we had lost Suzy...some of you may have been happy that you lost your kids, I don’t know. We don’t know if they were happy about it but here’s an example of some parents that lost a child....

The boss of a big company needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of the main computers. He dialed the employee’s home telephone number and was greeted with a child’s whispered, "Hello?"

Feeling put out at the inconvenience of having to talk to a youngster, the boss asked, "Is your Daddy home?" "Yes," whispered the small voice.

"May I talk with him?" the man asked. To the surprise of the boss, the small voice whispered, "No."

Wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, "Is your Mommy there?"

"Yes," came the answer.

"May I talk with her?" Again, the small voice whispered, "No."

Knowing that it was not likely that a young child would be left home alone, the boss decided he would just leave a message with the person who should be there watching over the child. "Is there anyone there besides you?" the boss asked the child.

"Yes," whispered the child, "a policeman."

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee’s home, the boss asked,

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