SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20111023: "Renewing the Sheepfold Vision"

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RENEWING The Sheepfold Vision


          Last weekend I attended the retirement party for a friend I've known since ordination in 1984. I was part of her ordaining counsel and have followed her career with interest over the years. Naturally, when these natural events happen to a friend, it sets you to thinking about your own future. What about my own retirement? What do I want to do with myself?

          My peers have been asking me what I'm going to do about the Sheepfold when I retire. Lois and I were traveling to a pleasant week of vacationing in So. Carolina/Georgia in 1990 when she suggested a name for a church we would plant. She liked the name, "Sheepfold" from John 10:1-5; 7:

John 10:1-2 (NKJV)
1 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep."

Verse 7,

John 10:7 (NKJV)
7 Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

          The Sheepfold was to be a place of healing and restoration. It was to be a small group type church where I could pursue my counseling ministry. Individuals, marriages and families were to be helped in a counseling or small group format. We wished to shy away from the church growth format of most evangelical churches and reach out to the poor and those often disenfranchised by the traditional church.

          These past 21 years we have been strengthening marriages from both the secular community and the religious community. We have encouraged and strengthened pastors and their families. Lois and I have given counsel and advice to those struggling in the ministry and those considering entering the ministry. So far, we have achieved much of our "vision" for Sheepfold and it's future. We are not finished, however, and believe that God has a lot more for us to do.

          There were three "visions" given to me by the Lord that helped me focus on what was to be relevant to me. This sermon explores our reasons for coming into existence and also considers why we should continue.


Pastor Phil  <><<



          What a contrast there is between people who have vision and people who lack vision. Vision is that elusive thing that dares to dream big dreams about the future. Vision has been called hope with a blueprint. Vision is what an inventor has when he or she thinks outside the box to create something new. Vision is what a mother has as she looks at her newborn baby and imagines all that child could grow up to become.
          Vision has a way of ignoring its critics and chasing its dream regardless of how many people say it can’t be done. Consider these famous predictions that underestimated the incredible power of vision.

Thomas Watson, the chairman of IBM in 1943 said,

"I think there is a market for maybe five computers in the world."

Ken Olson, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation said in 1977,

"There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home."

Consider this Western Union memo from 1876:

"The Telephone is has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication."

Or consider the words of Decca Recording company, when why they turned down signing the Beatles in 1962:

"We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out." Charles Duell, commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents said in 1899,

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."

Our sermon today explores what a vision in progress looks like as it is being accomplished.



October 23, 2011

Sheepfold Ministries, pastor Phil Roland


RENEWING The Sheepfold Vision


"Then the Lord answered me and said, 'Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.  For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.  THOUGH IT TARRIES, WAIT FOR IT; FOR IT WILL SURELY COME, IT WILL NOT TARRY.'" (Caps Mine)                                                                              Habakkuk 2:2-3


"Where there is no vision, the people perish."                        Proverbs 29:18


Three Graphic Vision/Pictures led to the Sheepfold's Origin:


          A. God warns Amos of three types of Judgments - Amos 7:7-9

            "Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb

            line, with a plumb line in His hand. 8 And the LORD said to me, "Amos, what

            do you see?" And I said, "A plumb line." Then the Lord said: "Behold, I am

            setting a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them

            anymore. 9 The high places of Isaac shall be desolate, And the sanctuaries

            of Israel shall be laid waste. I will rise with the sword against the house of


                   1. God warns Israel about destruction by Locusts

                                    a. Amos intercedes for Israel

                                    b. God repents

                        2. God warns Israel about destruction by Fire

                                    a. Amos intercedes for Israel

                                    b. God repents

                        3. God warns Israel about the Plumb Line

                                    a. Amos intercedes for Israel

                                    b. God Doesn't repent, but sends in the Assyrians

                        4. A Plumb is a weight attached to a string

                                    a. A Plumb Line determines straight up and down

                                    b. Now, we use a "level" where a bubble shows up/down

          B. Israel, the Northern Kingdom, was judged because of Overt Sins

                        1. Brazen Idolatry - Baal worship - Calf Worship

                        2. Swearing, Stealing, Injustice

                        3. Oppression, Robbery, Adultery, Murder

            B. Today, we still have Spiritual "Israels" - 2 Timothy 4:3-5

            "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but

             according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will

             heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from

             the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things,

             endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

                        1. We are to stand "Upright" before God and Men   

                        2. We are to purify our hearts from the debauchery of Idolatry

RENEWING The Sheepfold Vision, p.2


                   3. Cannot judge the world / God's already judged it

                        4. Can only judge myself by God's Standard: His Word



Genesis 6:14-22

14 "Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.
15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.
16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.
17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.
18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark--you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.
19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.
20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.
21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them."
22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

            A. Noah's Ark of Safety, A safe place

                        1. Speculation: Gopherwood? NIV says Cypress?

                        2. Pine: Laminated plywood, glued with Pine Resin
            B. Eight souls saved from the destruction

                        1. All other human flesh was destroyed

                        2. They were on the Ark 150 days

                        3. Preparations for 5 months of confinement

          C. The Sheepfold is to be a place of Safety

                        1. There is a flood of destruction coming

                                    a. The world as we have known it will never be the same

                                    b. I can't deal w/the greed and avarice of Wall Street

                                    c. I can only deal w/ the evil in me: Stop blaming others

                        2. Amid the rapidly changing world, Sheepfold is an ark

                        3. Here wounded find peace, provision, acceptance and love



Nehemiah 6:15-16 (NKJV)
15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days.
16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.


RENEWING The Sheepfold Vision, p.3


          A. Ancient walls had many purposes

                        1. Shuts out Intruders, Enemies

                        2. Provides Refuge for Healing

            B. Security and Healing for Broken, Wounded Warriors

                        1. Personal Physical Walls can be broken down

                        2. Emotional / Spiritual Walls can be breeched

            C. We proposed to help rebuild fallen walls of broken people



          A. God is with the POOR - Prov. 22:9; 28:27

            "He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to

             the poor."

                "He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have

             many curses."

                        1. Gospel is to go to the Poor - Isaiah 61; Luke 4:18,19

                        "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To

                         preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the

                         brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of

                         sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

                         To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."

                        2. We have the Anointing, Power, Authority of the Holy Spirit

                                    a. His Presence brings life-changing Power

                                    b. Only Jesus Heals and Transforms lives

                        3. Without Him we cannot aid the broken among us

            B. Why are there no miracles? Judges 6:11-13 (Gideon's Cry)

11 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.
12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!"
13 Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."

            1. Willful Disobedience: Sin in the camp

                        2. Fear: the opposite of Faith

                        3. All healing is miraculous and is His Touch

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