KEYWORDS: lord, shepherd, shepherds, word, need, people

Shooting Straight, Part 5--Letter Links: I Don't Want to Be in Leadership

August 9, 2004

(ML #3503, GN 1091)

FD/MM July 2004

Labor Leaders

ML #161:1-8‚ DB 5

1. THE GREATEST NEED IS NEVER THE HARVEST! The Harvest is always truly plenteous somewhere & it's always more than the laborers can handle!—Jesus said so! It's the LABOURERS who are always few! We will never run out of work to do, witnessing to be done, souls to be witnessed to & lives to be harvested for the Master‚ the Lord of the Harvest! They will always be plentiful & ripe in some fields.

2. THE GREATEST NEED, AS JESUS SAID, IS LABOURERS—real hard workers—of which there always seem to be precious few, ESPECIALLY of good, capable LABOUR LEADERS—leaders & supervisors of the labor crews! The need for those who can competently locate the Harvest & supervise its effective & efficient reaping is always the most serious & urgent need. Such labor leaders who not only know how to harvest, but manage the reapers, who can not only labor, but lead the laborers.—This is our greatest need!—Jesus said so!

3. "THEREFORE‚" THE LORD COMMANDED, "PRAY YE THE LORD OF THE HARVEST, THAT HE WILL SEND FORTH LABOURERS INTO HIS HARVEST!" This is one of the few prayers Jesus ever COMMANDED us to pray!—To pray for laborers, the greatest need of all in His Harvest fields so white, was His Own urgent command as He knew the need so well!

4. THE NEED FOR LABOUR LEADERS IS EVEN GREATER! Because we have obeyed His Word & faithfully preached His Message of Forsake All & Follow Me & I will make you Fishers of Men, & we have faithfully prayed for the laborers, the Lord has sent them to us by the thousands! We have more real laborers, more real witnesses, more real full-time disciples who have forsaken all to follow Jesus, more real soul winners who are really harvesting the youth of the World & going into all the World to preach the Gospel, & getting more results, garnering more grain & caring for it in more barns than any other group in the Jesus Revolution that I know of!

5. BUT WE ARE DESPERATELY IN NEED OF GOOD LABOUR LEADERS who can properly lead & supervise & tend the many little teams of harvesters which are now scattered around the globe thousands strong in hundreds of fields with many barns! This has, & always will be, the greatest need—labor leaders!

6. THERE ARE ALWAYS PLENTY OF SHEEP, BUT SO FEW SHEPHERDS TO GUIDE THEM & CARE FOR THEM, protect them & lead them & teach them to produce more lambs for His Folds. The greatest need is for more shepherds & shepherdesses & undershepherds & undershepherdesses to lead & care for the flocks—the many many flocks that God has given us & the multitude more that He's GOING to give us! Are you one of them? We are suffering an acute shepherd shortage; in this case, not as much a labor shortage as a Shepherd shortage!

7. WE HAVE NO UNEMPLOYMENT IN OUR KINGDOM, thank God, & we have more work than we know what to do with‚ more jobs to be done than we have the people to fill them. But, sad to say, though the Harvest is so plenteous‚ we have more laborers than we have leaders to lead them. God has supplied the Harvest & is even supplying the laborers abundantly because of our prayers & obedience, but we have failed to train sufficient leaders‚ so that we are now experiencing not so much a lack of laborers as a lack of labor leaders! Are you going to be one? Are you a bellwether?

8. IN CASE YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A BELLWETHER IS, IT IS A STRONG LEADING SHEEP WHICH THE OTHERS ALWAYS FOLLOW & WHICH ALWAYS FOLLOWS THE SHEPHERD!—So a bell is hung around its neck so the other sheep will hear it & always know where it is, so they can follow it—& it always follows the shepherd, so this helps keep the whole flock together. Are you a bellwether? Do you follow the shepherd & lead the sheep to follow him? If so, you're a great help to your shepherd!

Mama's News and Views, Part 1

ML #3046:78-83, 86, 89‚ Lifelines 23

You Are Your Brother's Keeper!

78. (Prophecy‚ Jesus speaking:) Are you not your brother's keeper? Are you not to care for your brothers and your sisters? Are you not to protect them from the snares of the Enemy, from the snares of the fowler, from the snares of defeat? When you see your brother or your sister being beaten, do you not come to their aid, to assist them, to stand up for them, to fight for them? When a bully torments your little brother or your little sister, do you come and stand up for them and fight?—Or do you sit back and watch them as they are beaten, as they are kicked, as they are pulverized? Are you not your brother's keeper?

79. He that stands by and watches his brother or his sister get beaten by the bully is the same as the bully, for he protects not the young one‚ but assists the bully by doing nothing about the beating. I ask you, are you assisting the bully, or are you standing up for your brothers and your sisters? Do you have the conviction to stand strong against the wiles of the Enemy, even when these wiles come with the face of friends?

80. How much do you love your brothers and your sisters? Do you lay down your life for them? Do you lay down your pride for them? Are you willing to lose your so-called "friends" for them? Will you stand up for them and face down those who bully them in spirit, who lie to them, who speak ill of them and speak ill to them? Do you stand by and watch and let it happen?—Or do you raise up the standard of God and stand strong with conviction of Spirit, knowing that you speak the truth against the lies?

81. Where are the shepherds? Where are the shepherds among you? Am I not trying to raise you up to be shepherds? Am I not trying to bring out the need for you to stand strong? Am I not trying to train you to become shepherds? Do I not put you in positions where you must stand up for your convictions? And when you are in these situations, what do you do? Do you become shepherds‚ or do you remain dumb sheep? When you see the wolves coming to devour the weak and the weary, do you sit by and eat grass and pay no attention?—Or do you rise up and fight against the devourers?

82. I am trying to make all of you shepherds. I am trying to raise you up in strength and power! I have given you the opportunity, I have given you the power to stand up, through My Words, through the Words of David, and I have made it very clear and easy to understand through the words of the Charter. You know what is true and right. You know what is the standard for all, as I have made this clear. I have made it so that if you see one that is being hurt or that is hurting, you have the right and the responsibility to speak up and to protect the weak.

83. But no, you say, "The shepherds must do it. We will wait until the shepherds take care of it." But I say to you, you are the shepherds—you who are there, you who know it's wrong. Look not off in the distance and say, "Oh, when the shepherds come‚ they will take care of it." For I say to you, you are the shepherds, each one of you, for you have My Word, you know My standard. I have made it clear. I have given a clear sound of the trumpet. I have put it down for all to see and all to know and for all to enact. When you see the Evil One come slashing and ripping and devouring, if you stand not up to fight against him to save your brother and to save your sister and to save the flock, then it is you who are at fault.

86. You know the standard. You have the Charter. Each one of you knows. Therefore look not to the right, look not to the left, look not in the distance and say, "Where is the shepherd that will come to help?" For I call you to stand up with conviction! I call you to stand up at the cost of your pride, at the cost of your friends. For did I not say that I came not to bring peace but a sword, and that I would divide asunder even families? I will divide asunder even friends, for I divide between the sheep and the goats; I divide between that which is true and that which is false. For that which is true cannot dwell with that which is false, except to speak the truth.

89. I talk to you—you who see it, you who are faced with it, you who know. I do not care who you are—if you are a little one, if you are a weak one, if you are a strong one, if you are a shepherd, if you are a sheep, if you are a driver, if you are a VS, if you are a CRO or if you are a new disciple. Whoever you are, stand up! For you are your brother's keeper! (End of prophecy.)

Issues, Part 4

ML #3306:73-104, GN 909

The Desperate Need for Leaders


73. It probably won't surprise most of you to hear that there's a need for more leadership in the Family. As a matter of fact, it has become a very desperate need—one that must be filled if we're to move forward as a Family. Apparently very few of you young people want to be leaders or shepherds. As we've heard time after time lately, the SGA VSs and CROs take a lot of flak from their peers, who call them man-pleasers or social climbers‚ mostly behind their backs, and this has discouraged many of them. This is a very sad attitude. If you don't want to be leaders and shepherds, you certainly shouldn't criticize your peers who are VSs and CROs and talk negatively about them for being obedient to the Lord at great sacrifice.

74. We have a desperate need in many of our Homes and areas of responsibility, and many of you young people have the qualities needed to do the job‚ but there just aren't enough of you who are willing to fill those places. We need people who are willing to be bellwethers to their peers and stand up for what's right, whether they have a title or not. We also need people who are willing to carry the weight of a title and all the sacrifice and responsibility that comes with it. Again‚ few are willing. In isolated cases some of you are trying to help your younger brothers and sisters, but for the most part, many young people are just refusing to do anything that smacks of any kind of leadership or shepherding. Of course, this isn't across the board‚ but it's pretty much the case, and is very, very sad.

75. We certainly thank the Lord for those of you who are willing to be shepherds and work in leadership, who are willing to undertake all the challenges it brings and endure the breakings and forsakings in order to help your brethren and help make it possible for us to help others. We love you and need you and appreciate you!


76. "The Word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 'whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I, Lord‚ send me.'" What's happened to the revolutionary spirit our Family was built on? What's happened to the spirit of do or die, sink or swim, and being willing to march into Hell for a Heavenly cause? What's happened to the willingness to follow the Lord and do what He asks of you, to lay down your lives for your brethren, that the end result might be more souls saved from the Enemy's clutches and even from the fires of Hell?

77. How do you think Ezekiel felt when the Lord asked him to eat cakes baked with dung, purely as a sample and warning to the nation? How do you think Moses felt when the Lord asked him to go before Pharaoh time and time again, as dangerous as that was, and as poorly as Moses could speak, for the sake of His children in bondage? Do you think their hearts leapt for joy at the thought? Do you think it seemed easy or pleasant or agreeable to them at the time? No! You bet it didn't! Look at the men and women of God throughout history and the sacrifices the Lord asked of them in order to use them as He saw fit.

78. You say, "Well, things are different now‚ and the Lord isn't asking things like that of us. If He was, it'd be easy to do, because we'd know it was important." But you know what? He is asking something of you. He's asking you to be willing to lay down your life for your brethren in whatever way He calls you, even if that means being in leadership or a position of responsibility.

79. You say, "Great. If the Lord calls me to do that‚ I will. But He's not going to call me—I'm not a good enough sample. I don't have the people-handling skills. And besides, I'll lose my friends, and people probably won't like me as much if I have to tell them what to do."

80. Let me tell you something—and right now, dear one, I'm talking to you! I'm not talking to the Family as a whole or to other Family members, but to you. There's a need in the Family for leaders. There's a need in the Family for people who are willing not only to be leaders, but to endure the refining and the breaking that comes with the job—the humbling, the humiliation, the giving of yourself and the daily sacrifices for the sake of others.

81. You have to forsake all. You have to be willing to put in long hours behind the scenes, both in prayer and desperation with the Lord for the answers, and then in counsel with your teamworkers at whatever level or rank you are. Then there are the painstaking hours of trying to implement the solution—the talking with people, the work involved, the following through, the going back to the Lord to iron out the kinks and get further direction, and it just keeps going. Before you're finished with one situation or problem, there are ten more waiting at your door to be solved! And, after all that, no one will probably even know you gave it a second thought until Heaven. It's a thankless job, and a difficult one.

82. Then there's being willing to be what the Lord wants you to be. If you're not a good speaker, well, you'll probably have to talk to people sometimes anyway, and let the Lord use you however He sees fit. If you're not a good people-handler, the Lord is going to work on that area of your life to make you more loving. You're going to face no end of situations to keep you desperate, humble‚ and very close to the Lord. You know why? Because the Lord needs you! He needs you as His representative.

83. At every level of the Family right now we need pillars. We need those who are willing to lay down their lives as shepherds to the little children. We need people who are willing to dedicate their thoughts, their prayers, and their energies to helping our young people, our JETTs and junior teens, to find fulfillment and draw closer to the Lord. We need people who are willing to shepherd Homes and take the rough road that comes with that ministry. We need people who are willing to travel as VSs, helping, encouraging, laying down their lives, their will, their plans, and even their personality and opinions in deference to the Lord's plans, living the New Wine, lifting it up, expressing their love for the Word and the Lord, and going the way the Lord is moving.

84. It's a rough job, and none of those things are easy. Each has its rewards and each has its extreme trials, forsakings, and battles to fight. But you know what? It's part of being what the Lord has called you to be.

85. Now I know that everyone in the Family is not called to be in "leadership" per se. Many of you might be called to excel in other fields. Or maybe the Lord is going to call you to be a leader sometime in the future. Just because I'm talking about leaders right now doesn't mean that they're the most important people or that the Lord loves them any more than anyone else. They have faults just like you, they're weak and make mistakes just like you, and they're trying to serve the Lord just like you. But one thing I will hand them right now is that they've been willing to accept the calling the Lord has asked of them and carry the accompanying responsibilities bravely—which is more than some of you can say, if you're really honest with yourself.

86. One reason that their loads are so heavy right now is because they need more help! The Lord is trying to work on some of you, whether in the preparation stage—also known as breaking and remaking you into a more useful tool—or in the stage of actually facing you with a need and asking you to fill it. But some of you have so convinced yourselves that leadership isn't for you that you can't even see it when He faces you with it—which means it's time to wake up! Lord help us!

87. The Family has some problems right now, and one reason is that there simply aren't enough people who are willing to give up what they want to do for the sake of others, to become shepherds to help care for the sheep. It's as plain and simple as that. And if you're not willing to yield and sacrifice in this area of your life, chances are that you're not going to be as yielded in other areas of your life either, making it even more difficult for your present shepherds, who need your help!

88. Now I'm not going to paint a rosy picture here. You might be getting inspired to help do something about this, but I want to warn you that the price of leadership is yieldedness, and that doesn't usually come easy. The Lord has to work on you. He has to refine your sample, and it continues throughout your time in responsibility. But we need you! I need you! Mama needs you! Peter needs you! Are you willing to do it for Jesus? Are you willing to do it for us?

89. Another thing: I'm tired of hearing you talk behind the backs of those young people who have decided to take the step of fulfilling the responsibility the Lord has asked of them, whether it's as VSs, CROs, Home teamworkers‚ dedicated teen shepherds‚ or what have you! This talking behind their backs and basically spurning them from your fellowship adds to their burdens, and it discourages others from joining their ranks. Brethren, these things ought not so to be!

90. If you're not willing to pay the high price yourself, the least you can do is keep your mouth shut and refrain from labeling your peers in positions of responsibility as "self-righteous‚" "spiritual," "social climbers," and some other things that I won't even condescend to put in print! Sure, they're not perfect—they're not claiming to be! I'm sorry if they're a bit self-righteous or come on a bit strong or are difficult to yield to at times. But don't worry, the Lord's working on them and they'll change. You should be praying for them, supporting them in the spirit and helping them all you can, because the load is heavy! If you don't believe it, try it yourself! You'll find it's a hard job, and they need all the help, support and prayer they can get!

91. Now I mean it, folks! I don't want to hear any more of that bad talk‚ whether to their faces or behind their backs. And if you think no one is going to hear you and be affected by it‚ the Lord hears, and what goes around, comes around! As sure as the law of gravity, what goes up must come down. So beware!

92. If the Lord has called you to some position of responsibility but you gave Him an excuse‚ now would be a good time to search your heart and reconsider. Now would be a good time to pray about what He's asking of you, and realize that it really isn't much in comparison to what He did for you.

93. Even if it means a life of isolation and trying circumstances, giving up all that you thought you would be, or all that you hoped for, wouldn't it be worth it for Him? Wouldn't it be worth it, just knowing that He's going to use your sacrifice to further the Kingdom in some way? He won't require anything of you but that He'll multiply it many times over to bring forth fruit! "Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last!" Praise the Lord!

94. Lord, give them the grace and willingness to heed Your call! Not just the grace for right now as they make their decisions‚ but the grace for each day as it comes, each moment, every time You ask them to make sacrifices to help others. We know it's worth it to live for You, Jesus. That's what the Family is all about. So help these dear ones to choose Your first best, even if it means a life of total sacrifice, breaking and remaking to be able to give life and strength and comfort and help to others. You can make us a blessing in spite of ourselves. We only have to be willing—the rest is up to You! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! (End of message from Dad.)


95. As Dad said in that message‚ there is a need for more leadership at all levels of the Family structure. We have a particular need at the VS level. I've heard from many of you about how much you'd appreciate or need a visit. Unfortunately, however, because we have so few VSs, it's often difficult and even impossible for them to meet all the needs and attend to each of your questions, battles and difficulties, although they'd like to.

96. The Lord has repeatedly stressed that the CROs need to actively seek out more VSs to help with this important task, and thank the Lord, they have recently appointed, with the Lord's confirmation, some new VSs in each area. But even with these new appointments the need is still great, especially in light of the Shakeup and the responsibility that the CROs and VSs have been given by the Lord of helping ensure that the Family standard is kept high and our ranks are kept free from ungodly influences.

97. Besides the VS ministry, there is also a great need for help with shepherding at the Home level. Maybe the Lord is calling you to help shepherd the young folks in your Home who are in need, or calling you to help raise the standard in your Home. If so, please heed His call! You don't have to have a title to be a shepherd; you just have to be obedient to the Lord and be a bellwether who follows Him closely and helps others do the same.

98. If the Lord is calling you to help shepherd others or take on more responsibility—whether it's by having your leadership request your help or by putting the burden in your heart Himself—I pray that He'll give you the strength and grace to make the right choice. You don't want to miss the Lord's highest for you by saying no to Him! You don't have to wait to be approached by your shepherds. If you have a burden in your heart or feel the Lord is calling you to give more of yourself, please don't be shy about writing your CROs or Peter and me, and let us know that you're willing to fill a need somewhere. And then start today, in your Home, to make a difference. Remember, a shepherd is a servant. Begin serving those in your Home, and as the Lord finds you're willing, He'll see to it that you're used to your full capacity in His highest will.

99. Here's a little excerpt from Jesus with sweet commendation for those of you who have taken up the torch and accepted the responsibility of being leaders. He understands that sometimes your peers give you a difficult time for accepting the ministry of leadership, which makes it more difficult. I know it's not an easy job, and the Lord highly commends you for your willingness and sacrifice!

100. This message the Lord gave is to all of you who have chosen to stand up for the truth and be counted, whether you carry an actual title of leadership or not. If you're where the Lord wants you and you're pulling your own weight and trying to help others come along as well, then you're one of the leaders the Lord is talking about! Praise the Lord! We love you and need you and are very proud of you and thankful for you! Keep it up!


101. My young leaders, My bellwethers, I commend you for choosing the good and not giving place to the bad, to those who would mock, condemn or criticize you for your yieldedness and dedication. I'm calling you to a life of commitment, of freedom and happiness, of meaning and fruitfulness. Don't let the jeers and the backbiting of any of your peers pull you off the wall.

102. This life will be a difficult one, a life of constant change, challenge, forsakings and even breakings. But you will be worthy of high honor and praise in the day when you come before Me to receive your rewards.

103. In that day‚ the crowds around you will not be jeering you for your dedication and yieldedness. They'll be cheering you and lifting up their voices in thanksgiving and praise for the wonderful fruits of a life lived for others, with little thought of self.

104. So come, My young ones! Come‚ My called and chosen leaders! Take up the challenge and raise your voices in the battle cry! Don't hide your banner, but wave it proudly, knowing that it's a banner worth raising. You're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are cheering you on! Don't be ashamed of Me or of My calling and Words in your lives. Be proud of Me and of the life I'm offering you, the mission I'm calling you to! And I will be proud of you in that day, when you come before Me and before your brethren in My Kingdom. (End of message from Jesus)

The Action Series, Part 3

ML #3308:72-78‚ 104-124, GN 908


"You must also prepare yourselves by becoming ready to shepherd others, for as you begin to feed My sheep, you will become shepherds. No matter who you are or what you're doing now, as My sheep come to your doors, you will be shepherds. You will need to teach and train them. You will need to answer their questions, be a good example, and give them counsel in their lives. Each of you, from the youngest to the oldest, will be called upon to participate. Are you ready for this? Some are; many aren't. Now's the time to get ready.

"First you must prepare on an individual basis, by making sure you are living My Words and upholding My standard. You must study My Word‚ both old and new, so that you know the principles of faith and truth. I'm calling you to be priests and ministers of My Word‚ My love‚ and My truth to those who seek to have Me play a more important role in their lives. You must prepare yourself in heart and spirit, and strengthen yourself in the faith, so that you can be these priests, ministers, and teachers of the Gospel."

72. (Peter:) It's time to get ready to shepherd! "Who, me?" Yes, you! The Lord says He doesn't care who you are or what your present ministry is. You are soon going to be shepherding others—new babes in Christ who will hunger for what you have to share with them. When we get to the stage where people are coming to your door for feeding, when they want to be associated with you, when they want to be part of the Family‚ you are going to have to shepherd them. They'll be your sheep. They'll look to you for answers and guidance in all aspects of their lives. They'll expect you to set the example for them.

73. Those who have been doing extensive follow-up and who have numerous people who they teach and minister to in weekly Bible classes will tell you that these people, no matter what their standing in society, have lots of problems for which they seek counsel—marriage problems, work-related problems, financial problems, employee or employer problems, children and teen problems. They have every kind of problem imaginable! And they come to their shepherds—meaning you—for counsel, prayer, comfort, advice, and to be given the Word on the subject.

74. Those who shepherd these people are full-fledged shepherds in every sense of the word, even if they aren't Home teamworkers. They need to know the Word, have a good connection with the Lord, be practiced in their gift of prophecy, know how to deal with spiritual problems, be good people-handlers, be prayer warriors, and they need wisdom, understanding, faith, humility, love, patience, and all the other fruits of the Spirit. And that means you need all these things. You will be the shepherd for your flock‚ so you need to get ready now.

75. You didn't expect things to carry on as usual after the Shakeup, did you? You didn't really think that nothing more would be expected of you after all those promises the Lord gave in the "Era of Action" GNs, did you? The Lord is moving us into a new and expanded ministry‚ and it means that each Family member as an individual is going to have to play a major role in this new program the Lord is laying before us.

76. How do you get ready? The Lord has given a number of specific instructions:

a)Obeying the Word from your heart: First, make sure you're living His Words and upholding His standard. In other words, apply God's Word in your everyday life. What the Word says, you should do‚ because you believe it. That's different from doing what the Word says because if you don't, you know you're going to get in some sort of trouble, either from your Home teamwork‚ parents, VSs or CROs. We need to get away from obeying the rules just because they're written in the Charter and we don't want to get in trouble. Instead‚ we should follow and obey because we have a personal conviction that those principles, as laid out in the Word, are the truth and are good for us.

b)Grow up and take responsibility: Each person needs to grow in the spirit and start taking more individual responsibility for your personal spiritual life. Many have made progress in this over the last few years, but some are lagging way behind. We need to do the things we should be doing because the Lord wants us to, and not do the things we shouldn't do because the Lord says they're wrong or they hinder or hurt us spiritually.

c)Study the Word, old and new: The Lord said, "You must study My Word, both old and new, so that you know the principles of faith and truth." When a sheep asks you why he or she shouldn't do such-and-such, it's not good enough to say‚ "Because it says we shouldn't in the Charter." You will need to give them full answers from the Word. We should know the principles and the fundamental reasons behind why the Lord wants us to either do something or not do it.

77. So, in order for you to get ready, you need to both study and live the Word. The Lord's not saying this theoretically. He's telling you that you must make an effort to study and apply the Word to your lives. At the end of this GN there are a number of reading lists which will help you in this effort.

78. Why is the Lord asking you to make this effort now? Because there are people who you will be ministering to who want the Lord to play a more important role in their lives. They will be hungering for more truth, for practical ways to implement the Word they read. They're seeking to apply Christianity to their daily lives‚ and they'll be looking to you for a sample. How can you give it to them unless you're already living it? You can't be a hypocrite by telling them to live something that you claim to live, but don't. If that's the case, they won't believe you. If you're going to be a teacher, shepherd‚ and minister of God's love and truth, then you need to strengthen yourselves in these areas now, so when the time comes you'll be ready.


"In time, all of you will be called upon to shepherd others. You will be faced with their problems, questions, battles, doubts, and fears. You will need to be prepared to answer them. So you must prepare now to become shepherds. Start in your own life. Make the commitments needed to be a shepherd. Decide that you will follow close, not afar off. Embrace My Word. Apply it to your life now, so that you will be able to help others apply it in their lives in the days to come by seeing your good sample of following closely. Become your brother's keeper. Learn to shepherd one another in love. Help one another in the spirit. Uphold one another in prayer."

104. That makes it crystal clear that shepherding is the future for virtually everyone in the Family. You may not be on a teamwork, and maybe you never have been, but when these people show up at your door, you are going to have to feed them whether you have a title or not. You are going to have to shepherd them, and to do that properly, you need to start preparing now.

105. The starting place is in your own life. Begin by making the commitments needed to be a shepherd. What are those commitments?

  1. follow close, not afar off
  2. embrace the Word
  3. apply the Word and live it, even if those around you aren't

106. Many years ago, when I was still in my 20s and had been living with Dad and Mama for about 1½ years, I started to sort of goof off. I did my work well, but in my private life I was making some immature decisions, and consequently I began making mistakes. I stopped fellowshipping with the stronger members of the Home and started hanging out with a few of the less spiritual ones. They were "fun" to be around because following close and keeping the rules weren't top priority in their lives. The more I hung out with them, the more like them I became. Dad saw this and gave me a stern talk about it. He said:

107. Maybe the reason he likes your fellowship better than that of the others is because you enjoy the same things and that's your temptation. You should be a deterrent influence on him to try to lead and guide him and teach him and try to pull him the other direction‚ away from his weaknesses. I'll say to you what my brother once said to me. He said, "Dave"—and he preached it because I guess he knew it was his temptation and what finally defeated him too—"Don't let others drag you down to their level; you pull them up to yours!" And that goes for you and the boys too, if you're going to be a leader.

108. A leader will keep on course and try to keep others on course in the direction he's going and pull them his way. But if you have a tendency to be pulled other ways by followers, then you're not much of a leader‚ if you can't buck the tide! You're a very agreeable fellow, Son, very sweet and easy to get along with‚ and one reason is‚ you seldom disagree with anybody. But sometimes it pays to disagree‚ especially when you know something's not good.

109. We need to be able to trust you to buck the tide and the boys' weaknesses. Some of them aren't very spiritual. You need to be leading them the right direction and not let them drag you their direction. If you show a weakness and you waver in some of these things, they'll think it's OK and they'll follow you. Do you want them to follow you? Do you want them to be like you? Think about that.

110. Others may, you cannot! Other people might be able to get away with it, but because of your position, you can't. You have to lift up the standard. You have to hoist it higher and try to bring'm up to what they ought to be and not let yourself get dragged down by them to please the people! This was Saul's main problem; he was a man–pleaser. To make the people happy, to please the people‚ he disobeyed the Lord. Now that's a dangerous thing (ML #1377:13,34,38-40,65-67, GN Book 3).

111. I had to make a choice as to what was important to me personally. I realized that doing a good job in my ministry wasn't enough; I had to make some commitments in my spiritual life. I had to choose what was going to be my priority—sticking close to the Lord and the Word, or hanging with my friends.

112. I knew that serving the Lord was my calling in life, so I had to do something about it. What did I do? I dug into the Word, stopped participating in the activities of the weaker ones, and fought to follow close. It wasn't easy. I liked doing things that were borderline, but I realized that if I kept fellowshipping with those who were either less committed or whose goals were different than mine, that I would soon be going their way. And the challenge the Lord gave me through Dad was to not only not go their way, but to pull them the Lord's way.

113. Just the other day I read an interesting quote. It said, "Look carefully at the closest associations in your life, for that is the direction you are heading." Thankfully the Lord and Dad helped me to do just that. I looked at my associations and saw that I was headed in their direction, and I realized that was not the direction I wanted to go. So I had to do something about it.

114. Basically I had to stop being intimate friends with them. Of course, we were still friends‚ but I stopped being disobedient and stretching the rules with them, and in time I started to help keep them in line. These were my peers and my friends, so it wasn't easy. But had I not done it, had I chosen to follow afar off, had I put priority on personal pleasure, fun and fellowship, I know things in my life would have been very different, and I doubt I would be telling you this today.

115. The Lord is calling all of you to make similar commitments. The commitments that you need to make are: to be a shepherd, to follow close, to embrace His Word, and to apply it in your life now, so that you can help others apply it in their lives in the near future.

116. He's asking you to "become your brother's keeper," to "learn to shepherd one another in love," to "help one another in the spirit," and to "uphold one another in prayer." These are the jobs of a shepherd, whether you have a title or not. Jesus is asking you to start now so that you'll be ready when He starts bringing people to your door.

117. What does this mean in practical terms? What are you supposed to do? To start with, pray. Talk to the Lord about your personal commitment. Make it clear to Him that you want to participate in the future of the Family. I'd suggest you pray the prayer in "Your Open Heart Prayer to the Lord" (ML #3163, in GN 769 or Lifelines 24). Then let the Lord speak to you.

118. Next, evaluate your situation. Where are you headed spiritually? What kind of choices are you making? Are you striving to live the Word, and do you apply it in your life? What's important to you? Who are your friends? Do they help you draw closer to the Lord, or do they pull you away? Ask the Lord these questions and let Him tell you how He sees you. Ask your shepherds as well.

119. If you see you're headed the wrong way spiritually or you're making the wrong choices—such as not applying the Word, the wrong things being important to you, or you realize that your friends pull you away from the Lord and the Word—then do something about it. Pray. Ask the Lord to speak to you in prophecy and show you what to do. Take action! Fight against any negative pulls in your life. Don't just drift downstream because it's easier or because your friends are. Fight to head upstream. Work at it! Make a conscious decision to grow in the spirit, and then put feet to your decision. Pray, hear from the Lord, counsel with your shepherds, get prayer. Actively pursue God's will.

120. Once you've done this‚ then work to become your brother's keeper. When you see someone who's heading downstream, maybe someone you've been hanging out with‚ try to help them. Don't be self-righteous about it‚ but don't be a complete wimp either. If someone is making the wrong choices‚ speaking doubt, or not following the Word, talk to them about it. Pray for them. Talk to your shepherds about it. See if there is anything you can do to help them by asking the Lord. They are your brothers and sisters, so help them if you can. It's your responsibility. Don't let them just drift away.

121. When the S2K GNs hit the Homes, a number of people left the Family. Many of you who remained probably saw someone leave and said to yourself or others, "I could tell he was going to go." Or, "I wonder what took him so long? He's been on his way out for a long time." Well, I wonder what you did to help that person earlier when you could see they were making wrong decisions in their life. Did you get involved? Did you try to help them? Did you pray for them? Did you talk to your shepherds about them? Did you sacrifice your time to read with them‚ to counsel them‚ to invite them to edifying activities or outings which you knew they'd enjoy? Bottom line: Were you your brother's keeper?

122. Is there someone in your Home who you feel is eventually going to leave the Family because of the choices they're making now? If so, actively help them. Don't let the Enemy snatch them away. Fight for them! Get involved. Bring this person to the attention of your teamwork. Don't let them float away. Do what the Lord says: "Become your brother's keeper. Learn to shepherd one another in love. Help one another in the spirit. Uphold one another in prayer."

123. Or how about your younger brothers and sisters? When was the last time you taught them a class or read the Word with them? When was the last time you had talk time with them and answered their questions with the Word? When was the last time you got involved in their spiritual lives? Ask yourself if you're a good influence on them. Do you want them to follow in your footsteps? And if they do, where will they end up? You can start shepherding them by being a good sample today.

124. The Lord is asking us to help one another, and as we do, it will prepare us for the ministry He's bringing to our doorstep. Will you be ready?

FJWL 2: #255

Shepherds of love‚ shepherds of compassion! Oh, the need is so great! But the responsibility is so heavy, and very few choose to be My shepherds of love, My shepherds of compassion who are willing to give up their own lives, their own will and their own ways to care for My many sheep that are scattered abroad.

For a shepherd does not live for himself‚ but is constantly burdened about the care of the sheep. "Are they wandering away? Are they eating enough food? Are they drinking water? Now I must find a water hole. Is the grass green here? Is it rich and nutritious? No, I must find them better grass. Are there wolves in the area? I must protect them." A shepherd is constantly thinking, praying and loving his sheep!

I have given this one a shepherd's heart and a shepherd's training and a shepherd's inheritance, but he fights against it, for he knows what an awesome and heavy responsibility it is. All My chosen men and women of God, My prophets and My good shepherds, have tried to pass on that responsibility to others, for they realized what a tremendous weight and responsibility it was. But I continue to seek shepherds of love and compassion to take care of My sheep, for there are many sheep who wander around aimlessly. But the compassionate shepherds and the loving shepherds are so few.

Will you be My shepherd of love and compassion who cares for My precious sheep and is constantly seeing how he can better care for them? The need is great, but so few are willing to take on the great responsibility. Be My shepherd of love and compassion.

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