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  • Writer's pictureDr. Bascom Ratliff

The lost sheep

Updated: Jun 10


Matters of Faith

By Bascom Ratliff

Pastor, Parker/Fontan/Beagle United Methodist Churches


George woke up after a troubled night and headed to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. He set the coffee to brew and sat at the counter to plan his day. The first thing that came to his mind was that, prior to going to sleep last night, he had received a strange call to be prepared for a visitor at breakfast. He remember thinking, "This is a prank call from my brother," and he ignored it.


However, the next morning as he was waiting for his coffee he thought about the phone message. His thoughts were interrupted by the doorbell ringing. When he answered the door, he saw a young man dressed casually in a flowered shirt and slacks.  Before he was able to ask him what he wanted, the man gave George a smile and told him that he was there for breakfast. George immediately remembered the call from the night before. He was puzzled but being curious, he invited the young man in for a cup of coffee.


After serving his guest coffee, George sat down and asked him why he was there. The man answered, “I’ve been directed by God to seek you out and talk about your drifting from his grace”.


George, even more puzzled, replied, "I didn’t think I drifted from God’s grace?”


The man continued, "You may not remember but it was 10 years ago to the day that you sat at this same table and told your mother that you were ready to serve God and his church.  At the time, the choir director had resigned and the church president had expressed a desire to leave his position. You told your mom that you had prayed about it and decided, with the Lord’s help, that you were ready to do more for God’s church. The following week you began to lead the congregation and the choir. I’m telling you George, when that happened, there was a great deal of joy and celebration in heaven. God was so pleased with you."


“Yes, I remember hearing the call from God to serve," George said. "My mother was encouraging and the congregation was open and accepting of my leadership. It was a good time for me. But, I have to tell you, the last couple of years have been very tough on me. I’ve seen our attendance decline. Important members of the choir left the church. I did not feel that I was getting the support and encouragement that I needed, so I guess I just gave up.”


The young man replied, “Are you sure that’s all that happened George? I think you’re leaving out some details.”


“I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” George said.


“If you think back, you were disappointed that the church did not support your request for a more formal service and strict membership requirements," George’s visitor answered. "And there were several members who were angry about your desire to have the church participate in some of the local politics. I think the final straw that broke your resolve was your wife’s lagging attendance. I recall that she encouraged you to withdraw from your active participation and spend more Sunday mornings at home”.


“Well, yes, those things were issues for me," George replied, "but I still think my primary reason for disengaging was the lack of support from the church.


“George, I have come with a message from our Lord that he wants you back," his visitor answered. "He continues to love you. He appreciates your service. But he has noticed that during the past year you have stopped reading your Bible. You have stopped praying. And you offer excuses rather than asking for help. I am here because your mom, your brother, and your church have peppered the Lord with their prayers asking him for an active intervention in your life. They, as does God, want you back.”


“So let me get this straight," George said. "You have come to visit me because of the prayers of my family and friends. You are here because God has sent you as his messenger. And your message is simply that God wants me back”.


“Yes," the young man replied. "You remember the parable in Luke 15 about the lost sheep. George, you are that lost sheep. God is inviting you back into his fold. When you accept his invitation, you can be sure that there will be a great celebration in heaven that you have returned. So George, are you ready to invite God back into your life? Are you ready to accept his unfailing love?"


“Okay. Wow. I hear you loud and clear," George said. "I want the Lord back in my life. Can we pray?"

______________________


Have you drifted away from God like George? Are you feeling lost and alone? Could you use a hot cup of coffee and a few kind words of support?   


If you want to hear about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and fellowship, please come and worship with us. 


We will worship at the Beagle United Methodist Church during May.

We will worship at the Fontana UMC during June.

We will worship at the Parker UMC during July.

All Sunday services are at 10 a.m.

We serve communion on the first Sunday of the month. 

All are welcome to worship in God’s House.  


Dr. Bascom Ratliff  (913-710-5748)

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana 

United Methodist Churches

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