Wednesday, March 13, 2013

GUATEMALA 2013: (8) Worthy of My Name?

This may take all night for me to hammer it out. I understand David when he wrote on that papyrus so long ago about how his heart overflowed. At the risk of sounding ridiculous… I must tell you that I feel a kindred spirit to his heart.

David was a Shepherd boy and he was forgotten. His brothers were bigger, stronger, and more important. He was the scrapling left to attend to the sheep. 

I think of my grandfather. Harry Thomas Shepherd. I miss him everyday. He was my father's father. He was a giant of a man to me. I remember sitting on his lap. I remember hearing him tell stories of Kentucky… how he grew up as a boy, barefoot and tough. I saw the character that he instilled into my father.

Can I tell you about my dad? Who do I admire most in this world? I have read and I have studied. Oskar Schindler, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Kierkegaard, Chan, these are influential men in my life… in my thinking. And still, no-one has influenced the character of my life greater than my father. 

He is Leo Thomas Shepherd.

This is the man that inspires my life. This is the man that holds me accountable. This is the man who has showed me--through the living of his life: how to love a wife, how to love a son, and how to live a life of integrity.

As a man of nearly 40 years I seek his approval. I yearn for his companionship. My relationship with him affirms my identity. I hope to pass his character on to my son. 

You see, we are Shepherds. We are low… and yet, God revealed himself to shepherds over 2000 years ago. My name is evidence of the love of an almighty God. 

When His very son was born among His creation, God split the sky and His angels proclaimed the power of the night to a few shepherds who were simply tending their flock in the moonlight. They were faithful to who they were… and the God of the universe revealed Himself to them.

Do you ever feel like your life is meaningless? Can you imagine if you were on a slope of grass at 2 a.m. chasing sheep… when the sky splits open and thousands of angels rock your world? Why me? How often to we ask that question? 

Why me?

Why not you? Do you know that the face of the God of the universe is layed over your own? Do you know that the silence between your breath is the breathing of the lungs of God?

How do we lose sight of this simple truth? We are here because a loving God created us so that we can walk with Him. This life is not our answer. We must walk these days with Him, choosing to love Him… even in the face of difficulty. And then, when our days are past--we will be reconciled to our creator. This God who holds us… as David in psalms inscribed on papyrus… in the shadow of His wings.

Today I received a Facebook message from a pastor who is dear to me. He told me that I am now a licensed minister of God's Church. This Shepherd has now become… a shepherd. I find myself in tears before the universe. Before my God… my Abba, father.

I have wandered so far… searched so long. And now I find myself in this place. Ironically, I find myself living up to my namesake. 


We go forth into the unknown. I spend my days telling people around me about our passion, our belief, our calling. I can not see into the future. I do not know if we will go hungry. I do not know if disaster awaits us. I do not know if we will be able to touch the lives of thousands… or if we will simply suffer in love with a few hands that we hold.

It really doesn't matter.

This life is just a staging area. This life is simply the opportunity to connect to the God of the universe. This life is temporary. Should we embark into poverty, starvation, and suffering… then so be it. 

Tell me how is that any better than a life of success? Our only goal is to follow the footsteps of our belief… our God. Why do we place so much importance on our condition in this temporary place IF WE BELIEVE that we are eternal?

This is your invitation to walk with us. My promise to you is simple transparency. I will blog of my struggles. I will blog of our celebrations. I will blog of my heartbreaks and even my faith-shattering doubts.

If you sign up for the Shepherds… you sign up for an unapologetic look of what life looks like…

…when you run abandoned towards your belief.

Come with us…

Pray with us…

Place a bit of your fortunes with us…

And see how this faith in God lives out… in the life of a simple Shepherd.

This is us. No bells, no whistles. We seek to walk our belief. 

Orphans & widows. Pure Religion.

Do you believe?

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