In Luke Chapter 15, Jesus tells the story of a shepherd. This shepherd has one hundred sheep and loses one. The shepherd leaves his other ninety-nine sheep safe in an open field and goes out looking for that single lost sheep.
Lets talk about sheep for a minute. Sheep can be pretty silly creatures, and they are incredibly stubborn. In the animal kingdom, they aren't known for being too bright. Sheep wander off because they want to, stubborn little things that they are, and they frequently get themselves into dangerous situations.
So the shepherd knows this, and he goes to save his one lost sheep. When he finds it, the shepherd rejoices, puts the scared animal on his shoulders, and carries it home. And when he gets home, he calls all his friends together and says that they're going to celebrate because the lost sheep has been found. Jesus then tells us that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don't need repentance.
The thing we need to know about this story is that there is no one who is righteous outside of a relationship with Christ. People try to do good things and people always fail. It's part of the brokenness of humanity. Just like the sheep in the story, we wander. We get lost. We get ourselves in some nasty situations, ones that sometimes seem impossible to get out of. But our story doesn't end there...
We may have willingly wandered into our disaster, just like the sheep in the parable, but just like the shepherd in the parable, Jesus willingly pursues us. He searches and finds us and rejoices, then rescues us from our wandering, brings us home, and celebrates.
This is the crux of the gospel – the foundation of our faith is based on Christ's incredible sacrifice for us.
The church is a hangout for His sheep. We've wandered and gotten stuck and been rescued, and it's a beautiful thing. We've been so changed by Jesus and His goodness, and we want that for you! We want you to know where you stand with Christ. We want you to know that you are treasured and sought after, and we want your life to be filled with the incredible things that come with knowing and having a relationship with Jesus.
We want you to live the life of the found sheep, the one that is at home in the Father's love, who is marked by love, joy, peace, patience, and faithfulness. We want you to live and love so radically that those around you – family, friends, coworkers, and strangers – can't help but be affected by the goodness of the One who has found us.