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Summary: If you found a genie-in-a-bottle, what would you ask for? What do you truly need? In this 4-part sermon series, we are exploring what it means for each of us to walk with our shepherd in 2004. Today, we will consider how the Good Shepherd is our provid

INTRODUCTION

To begin, let me ask you a question, one that I have asked you before, but find it appropriate to ask again as we begin a New Year. Here’s the question: If you found a genie-in-a-bottle, what would you ask for?

A man was walking along the beach at Malibu when he found an old glass bottle. He could see something inside, but the glass was dark green and scratched ... so he opened it.

A Genie appeared and thanked the man for letting him out. The Genie said, "For your kindness I will grant you one wish, but only one."

The man thought for a minute and said, "I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, but have never been able to because I’m afraid of flying and ships make me claustrophobic and ill. So, I wish for a bridge to be built from here to Hawaii."

The Genie thought for a few minutes and said, "No, I don’t think I can do that. Just think of all the work involved with the pilings needed to hold up the highway and how deep they would have to be to reach the bottom of the ocean. Think of all the concrete that would be needed, not to mention the surfacing, drainage systems, lighting ... No, that is too much to ask."

The man thought for a minute and said: "There is one other thing that I have always wanted. I would like to be able to understand women. What makes them laugh and cry, why are they temperamental, why are they precious and yet difficult sometimes to get along with? Basically, I want to know what makes women tick?"

The Genie scratched his beard and thought about this request for quite some time. When he finally replied, he asked the man: "So… this highway to Hawaii—do you want two lanes or four?" (http://www.weirdity.com/genie/index.shtml)

Now, I know that in this world there are no genies. But, asking you to think about that is a way for me to get at a very important question: if you had only one request of God in the New Year—and you knew without exception, that God would grant you that very request-- what would you ask for? Today, I want to think with you about what you (and I) truly need in this New Year. As we consider that question, let’s think about how our Good Shepherd wants to provide for us what we truly need in this life. Let’s pray.

PREACHING OUTLINE

GOD’S PROMISE: My Shepherd will PROVIDE what I truly need…

1. The Shepherd provides me SALVATION from sin and death. (23:1a)

2. The Shepherd provides me CONTENTMENT even when I don’t get what I want. (23:1b)

3. The Shepherd provides me REFRESHMENT of body and spirit. (23:2-3a)

4. The Shepherd provides me GUIDANCE throughout all my life. (23:3b)

MY PROMISE: I will TRUST in Him and His provisions for me…


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