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Adult Bible Study Online

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BIBLE

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Mennonite Church Canada is on a quest to see if it “can grow stronger by putting its regions first. . . . Changes seek to streamline MC Canada at the national level in order to assist congregations at the local level, where most people claim their primary church identity.”[1] Practical economic realities are bringing changes and new ways to shepherd and empower congregations.

In ancient Jewish culture, a shepherd of people was either a spiritual or political leader. The Israelites primarily looked for kings or prophets. A shepherd of sheep guarded the flock during the night by standing or lying as a gate for the pen. When shepherds called the sheep at dawn, their flock assembled because the sheep always recognize the voice of their shepherd.

The true shepherd always comes through the door. Thieves and robbers climb over the walls of the pen and the sheep do not recognize their voices. Sheep never follow a false shepherd. God called Moses to deliver the Hebrews from Egypt to the land of Canaan. Moses led the Hebrews to the Jordan, and Joshua led the Hebrews into the Promised Land. The Holy Spirit is convicting and delivering sinners from the bondage of sin to freedom through the living door, Jesus Christ. As the good Shepherd, he is guarding and protecting us from all evil and danger. When we go through the living door, we receive life and are saved. As we step in and step out, we enjoy the abundant life of “green pastures” (Psalm 23:2) in Christ and the power of resurrection. Glory be to God!

Humans are prone to wander like sheep. Like the Hebrews, we also wander knowingly or unknowingly. Just as he died for the Israelites, Jesus loves all of us enough to give his life for us (John 11:50-52). He took all our sins and offered himself as the final sacrifice, once for all, on the cross. While the blood of Christ is sufficient for the salvation of the world, it is efficient only for those who will believe and follow his voice.

Passwords are needed to gain access to the information and programs contained on computers, tablets, smartphones, and notebooks. This is a human type of government. How good it is to intimately know and experience that Jesus knows your password, calls your name, just as he did with Mary, Zacchaeus, and his disciples. He also knows our natures and needs. Sometimes, parents don’t notice every need of their children in this hectic, consumeristic, and technological world, but the Lord provides all (Psalm 23) in his own time.

  • How are you hearing the voice from your trustful friend and Good Shepherd?
  • How have you experienced your Shepherd’s care and protection?

—Paulus Thalathoti, paulus.thalathoti@gmail.com

© 2017

1. Tim Huber, “Shifting to Regions, Mennonite Church Canada Breaks New Ground,” Mennonite World Review, April 17, 2017.

Paulus Thalathoti is an ordained minister and the founding president of Peace Proclamation Ministries, an evangelistic and church planting ministry with those living in the interior rural areas of India. Dr. Thalathoti also serves as chairperson for Penn Bible Fellowship in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Sumatha, are mission associates with Mennonite Mission Network and members of Plains Mennonite Church, Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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