Ken Davis: You never see sheep as a mascot for anything.
“The Detroit Sheep.”
“We’ll wool you to death.”
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John Fuller: Well, sheep are unusual creatures. The Bible says a lot about them. It says we are like sheep. And why is that? Well you’re gonna find out today on Focus on the Family with Focus President Jim Daly, I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: That’s right John, throughout both the Old and New Testament, we are referred to as sheep, and Jesus is often referred to as our Good Shepherd. And if you grew up on a farm, like Ken Davis did, you’d know that being compared to sheep is not really a compliment, and you’ll hear why in just a minute. This is a really fun, refreshing message, so let me encourage you to just sit back, relax and enjoy it.
John: Yeah and here’s Ken Davis now, speaking at a Praise Gathering a number of years ago, on today’s Focus on the Family.
Ken: My message this morning is entitled “Super Sheep.” To give you a general idea of what this message is about, you have to understand that I have struggles when I read this Book. I see reality. Jesus had real blood running through His veins. These disciples – I don’t know what it is – a lot of folks tend to look at the disciples and they look at them, and say, “Well, if I could just be like a disciple, maybe I could be a good Christian.” These were ordinary men. These were men and women who lived in that day just like you and I. They faced all kinds of problems, and “Super Sheep” is a message about how the Bible compares us to sheep that just made me furious.
I grew up on the farm. I had met some sheep. They can’t even run right.
You ever read the Word of God and find something that just comes home to you, and you look to see if you can find it disproven somewhere else? You just want to find something that’s a little more comfortable? I don’t want to be a sheep! Any farmers here? If you’ve had sheep, these folks will tell you, when sheep run, and it’s a disgusting run. I just hate it when they run. They don’t bend their feet. They just kind of give their hoofs a little – kind of a geeky little flip like that, and they run. Ugh.
So I started looking through the Bible, came to Psalms. What a beautiful – oh, I love Psalms, and there were sheep. Psalms was infested with sheep. “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not – He maketh me to lie down in green” – this is sheep stuff. Lying down, green pastures, munching on stuff – that’s for sheep. I want something else. I went to the back. They have a thing in the back where you can look up words. I’m rummaging for German Shepherd.
I want something here that has power. There’s no German Shepherd. The word “German” doesn’t even appear in the Book. “Shepherd,” I found. Everyplace I looked, it said, “You’re sheep.” I could not believe it, and then my eyes fell on the word “lion.” That’s what I wanted. Boy, I was going to enjoy this. I savored every moment. I turned the pages slowly, because if God gives me a choice, I don’t want to be a geeky, can’t run right sheep. I want to be a lion. A lion has independence. A lion doesn’t need a lot of support. Sheep need support. You got to be there. All sheep, you got to look where, you got to save their life. “There you go. Go lie down in a green pasture. Is the water too rough? There, I’ll still it for you.” Lion don’t care. “Give me some waves.” I wanted something that had some aggression to it, see?
I turned and found the lion verse. Do you know what it said? “The devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Not fair.
Have you ever talked to God like this? You say, “No. I respect God.” Come on. God can see right to the base of our hearts. I think one of the problems is we try to fake out God, just like we try to fake each other out. That’s why I love David. “My bones are dry. They’re like dust.” I think that’s why God liked David. “God, this is not fair. You give us sheep – the sheep thing, and you give the devil the lion thing. That is not fair. That makes the devil so strong, and that makes us so weak. This is not fair. I didn’t like this verse.” I thought, “I’m going to the New Testament. It’s newer. Maybe this Old Testament is out of date, or something, and I can find in the New Testament,” and I began to read in Matthew. Oh, this marvelous account of our Lord, and then I found red letters, and my eyes could not believe what I was reading. “I am your Shepherd. You are My sheep.” In red.
No! I put on my jogging clothes. There’s a small lake around our home. I ran around the lake, praying to God. I don’t know how many of you do this; you know what a beautiful exercise is? The Lord says, “Pray without ceasing,” so do it out loud. As I run around that lake, I pray. “I don’t want to be a sheep. Don’t make me be a sheep.” “Why?” “It’s unfair. He gets to be a lion. I get to be a sheep.” Now you won’t find a lot of people who will jog with you. This dear lady, “Don’t you kneel?” “No. I made it halfway around the lake kneeling one time. It hurt. I just got up and ran. I don’t want to be a sheep! Lord, sheep? Why would you compare us to sheep? It isn’t fair.” Now you see, you laugh at this, but the truth of the matter is it sounds tragic.
What I want to say to you this morning that there are three reasons, basically, that we need to grab a hold of Jesus with all of our strength. That we need to love Him with all of our heart, and all of our mind, and all of our might. We need to allow Him to control our lives, and one of the reasons is that we live in a turbulent world that is far beyond our power, where Satan walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We desperately need the Lord.
The second reason we desperately need the Lord is we’re out there like sheep. We are not like some knight in shining armor. We are like sheep. It’s all through the Scriptures. This made me angry. I started to argue with God. I said, “Lord, we’re not like sheep. I can run pretty decent. Sheep are weird, Lord. I don’t want to be a sheep.” I started to argue. “Sheep follow each other around.”
We lost a bunch of sheep one time. I saw it happen. Most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. After that, I had even less respect than I had in the beginning for the sheep. They were running along. There was a sheep out in lead, and he was doing his little thing with his hooves, looking just really stupid. All the other sheep were following behind, and he made a left and went over a precipice. It was about a 50-foot drop, and he died. All the rest of the sheep went, “Oh,” and they followed him, and about 12 sheep lost their lives going over this precipice. They follow each other. They’re stupid. One sheep does something. The rest of them do it. They crowd into a corner. Pretty soon, they’ll die from suffocation, and all get in there. “It’s a crowd. It’s a party. Let’s join.” They’re just right there. We’re not like that!
Sheep get lost easy. Turn your back, they’re history. You got to spend all night looking for them. We’re not like that. They get into trouble, constantly. They’re always into trouble, stuck somewhere, upside down. One sheep we almost lost – it got upside down. It couldn’t get right side up. It’s laying in the horse trough, upside down.
All we saw was four legs sticking out, stupid hooves. I said to Daddy, “Let him die.”
“Something that stupid doesn’t deserve to live.” We’re not like that. We’re not like that. You don’t find us going, “Oh, let’s find a horse trough, and then we’ll get backwards in there.”
Have you ever come face to face with the stench of sin, and said, “I’ll never do that again,” and then found yourself there again? Have you ever found yourself, like I have, understanding the beautiful truth that Jesus died on the cross, so that our sins might be buried in the depths of the deepest sea, and you’re out there with a rowboat and a long fishing line, fishing for death? Have you ever found yourself laying upside down in the trough, seemingly helpless, and saying to your own self, “How stupid can I be?”
Okay. Okay. So we do follow each other around and we get in trouble, but sheep are chicken. I’m going to tell you something, as a result of knowing sheep. There is no animal more chicken than a chicken itself. No animal. Sheep are chicken. Our horse used to kill sheep. He’d scare them to death. He didn’t mean to do it. He didn’t sit in his stall and go, “Ha, I’m going to kill me a sheep.” I think what happened was, in his little horse mind, he’d see the sheep running across the field, and he’d go, “Whoa. Nerf ball.” Because with a couple of sheep that he killed, we caught him chasing the sheep across the pasture and tipping them over. Lightning would strike. Sheep would die. “Oh, a loud noise,” and they would die. Lightning would strike or thunder would come, and they’d get in groups, they were so scared, and smother each other to death. They’re scared. We’re not like…
Number one excuse for not trusting Jesus Christ. “I’m afraid.” Number one. Now that is usually followed by “what my friends will think.” That may be followed by “what will happen to my job?” That may be followed by, “I’m afraid that I can’t live up to what God expects.” I got good news for you on that one. You can’t. That’s why Jesus came.
John: We’re featuring Ken Davis today on Focus on the Family and you can get a DVD of this entire presentation. It has extra content. You can make a contribution of any amount to this ministry by calling 800-A-FAMILY – 800-232-6459, or donate and request the DVD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and return now to more from Ken Davis.
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Ken: I got on a bus one time, said a stupid prayer. You ever say stupid prayers? Stupid prayers are like this. “God, if you want me to stop going with this boy who treats me bad, give me a sign.” “God if you want me to -” here’s the prayer I prayed: “God, if you want me to share Christ with somebody, give me a sign.” I prayed that, as I was getting on a bus, leaving Bible Institute to go home. “Give me a sign.” I’m going to tell you something, before I go any further. There’s all the sign you need. The sign’s already been delivered, sealed and delivered. There’s all the sign you need. You don’t need to ask God to give you a sunset in reverse. You don’t need to ask Him to make a fleece wet on one side and multi-colored on the other side. There is all the sign you need, but evidently, God is a patient God, and sometimes, He answers these prayers. I sat down on that bus. A man sat down next to me, an absolute true story, began to weep uncontrollably. I have already forgotten my prayer. I’m just uncomfortable that there’s a grown man, sitting next to me, weeping uncontrollably. I sat and stared straight ahead.
In those cases, you never look toward the individual. You just look straight ahead, especially when you’re chicken, like I am. Some of the people, whose confidence is in the Lord Jesus Christ, might have turned to him and said, “Is there anything I can do? I’m sorry. Are you -” but not me, I’m looking straight ahead. I do not want to make a mistake here. I don’t want to get into any trouble. The man stopped weeping, and then he said, “Sir,” to me. “Sir.” I turned. He said, “Young man, I am sorry.” I was young at that time. He said, “I am sorry.” He said, “I’m sorry for losing my composure.” He said, “If only I knew God.” He told me about his life, and he concluded with, “If only I knew God.” Then he looked me directly in the eye, and he said, “Do you know God?” I said another silent prayer to God. “Dear God, would this be a sign? Is this a sign?”
“Oh, God, if this is a sign, turn the bus driver into an armadillo.” Don’t mess with God. You’ll be looking up there. That bus driver will be going, “ahhhrrrr.” Afraid to share Christ because afraid of what our friends will think. Afraid that they might terminate their friendship. Afraid, afraid, afraid.
Oh, Lord. We die easy, can’t run right, follow each other around, but remember what our horse did, God? Sheep die easy. I killed a sheep. I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t sit in the house, once, and go, “Kill me a sheep.” I was angry at the sheep. His name was Herman. I was going underneath the fence with two buckets of water to put water in the trough for Herman and his fellow sheep, and Herman came running at me. He butted me into the fence. It was a barbed wire fence, an electric barbed wire fence. I dumped the water on the ground. I was standing in water, tangled in the barbed wire fence. I invented a new kind of dancing right there on the side. I finally got myself untangled from that fence. I was laying on the ground, desperately breathing. They had electricity that would burn off weeds running through this fence. I looked up and I swear that Herman was smiling. I could see it. I shook my fist at Herman.
The next day, I was walking in the barnyard, and I saw Herman walking along the edge of the barn. Quickly, I moved out of sight, and moved up next to the corner, where I knew Herman would come out. I have to tell you, before I finish this story, some of you aren’t going to believe this. It’s as true to my memory, as I can remember. My father doesn’t believe it. I moved up to the edge. I looked for something to hit Herman with, just to pay him back. “Butt me into the fence.” There was nothing there. There was nothing, no boards. I couldn’t lift the barn, and I had no time to do anything. I could hear him panting, getting closer, his little footsteps, and then came his ugly little head, stuck his head out. He didn’t see me, just got his head, and then he froze, and I went, “Agh!” And he died. Herman died.
You ask my father to verify this story today, he’ll go, “Mmm,” because I told my father the same story. My father said, “What happened to Herman?” “Dad, I went, ‘Boo,’ and he died.” “You hit that sheep. You hit him. What did you do to that sheep?” “No, Dad. It wasn’t a little – it was a big ‘Boo.’ I mean, it was, ‘Boo,’ and he died.” My father is 70 years old. We went home for Christmas a couple of years ago. My dear father, someday I’ll get a chance to tell you how God has healed some of the things that are in our family. My dad, who was never an affectionate person, put his arms around me at the end of that Christmastime, and he hugged me tight. Then he said, “I love you.” He said, “Come with me into the kitchen.” I went into the kitchen, and my father’s wizened face and thinning hair, took me by the shoulders. I’m 45 years old, and he pushed me away at arm’s length, and he said, “Son, what happened to Herman?” At 45, I’m going, “He died, Dad. It was a real big ‘Boo,’ that I…”
“See, God, the sheep die easy. Not us.” In the last several years, so many of my friends have died. Some of them haven’t died physically; they’ve just died. Satan has found a way to get a claw into their life. It breaks your heart. And I start thinking, “Yeah, but I’m a tough sheep,” and I open the door, and the lion is there. We need to be driven, friends, to a daily minute-by-minute relationship with Jesus Christ, and please understand the word “we,” because there’s an element of truth that we recognize to this. Each of us brings our own heartaches to this room, and we recognize our desperate need for something beside what the world has to offer, even those who are closest to us.
We are sheep. We are desperate for a shepherd. You see the little sheep that goes like this. I can’t even picture that. Picture this: a bunch of little sheep running along in the valley. One is lagging behind. Weighs, maybe, 22 pounds. Up on the hill behind a rock is a lion that hasn’t eaten for three, four and a half years, and he is starved. He sees that little sheep. He’s lagging slightly behind. Not a serious thing, he’s just let his guard down momentarily. The lion jumps out from behind the rock and begins to run down the hill, tearing up huge pieces of turf with his claws, saliva dripping into his mane. His eyes agleam with hatred and desire, he leaps into the air, and just feet from the little sheep, lets go with a roar, “Roaaaar” and it shakes the mountainside. The little sheep looks up. That little sheep has two options.
Option number one: fight. Not a good option. I can’t even picture – “baaah, come on!” Only one more option left: run. Not away. To. Where? The shepherd, because here’s the beauty, the miracle of the whole thing: when you take a little geeky, can’t run right, look funny, smell funny, need dip, runaway, hide, get in trouble, die easy, chicken sheep and you take that that little geeky, can’t run right, die easy, chicken, runaway, get into trouble sheep and you put it together with a relationship with the shepherd who gave his life for the sheep, you got a new creature: a “Super Sheep.” You still look weird, but you can fly.
The Bible says, “I can do all things through…”
Audience: “…Christ who strengthens me.”
Ken: “Christ.” Not the power of my own hooves. Not by the wool on my back. Not by hunting out some psycho-dip person. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Now let me show you the beauty, the real beauty and hope of this message. I turned once more back to these wonderful passages, and I read this: “For your sake, we face death all day long. We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” “No,” Paul says, “In all these things, in spite of all this kind of pain that we may face, we are more than conquerors.” That’s a sheep, not by himself. I have a T-shirt that I made. I wish I had brought them. I forgot to bring them. It said, “Jesus is walking down the path, and He’s got a geeky -” I told the artist, “Draw the geekiest sheep you can draw.” The little sheep has Jesus’s hand like this, and they’re walking down the path, and a big lion is sitting there like this. Just – just with hatred, and there’s a wolf with saliva dripping out of his mouth, and as they walk by, the little sheep goes, “I’m with Him.”
See all the rest is just junk. “I know karate. These hands are weapons.” “I’m a lion.” “I’m with Him, okay. He’s won. You pass.”
“We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Remember, you cannot short-circuit this. You can’t decide to be a super sheep, and go home and just face those problems. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you’ll get broken bootstraps. That’s it. Then Paul said – listen to this. I’m done as soon as I read this. Listen to this. You tell me this Book is dead, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor demons, nor the present, nor the future, nor any powers, nor any height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation -” you get the impression that Paul is trying to include a lot of stuff here? No. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We are driven to Him, because we live in a world of sin, more powerful and deadly than any of us can face by ourselves. We are driven to Him because we are not out there like some Lone Ranger, like a super-hero. We’re out there like a helpless little sheep, and we are driven to Him, because in Him we can say, “Hey, I’m with Him. I’m a super sheep. Leave me alone.” God bless.
John: What a great conclusion to this enlightening message from Ken Davis today on Focus on the Family.
Jim: John, I so appreciate that word picture Ken gave us a minute ago. He said, “When a little sheep is about to be eaten by a lion, he has two choices. He can fight and become lunch for that lion or he can run to the Shepherd.” And the Bible says that we are like that sheep. Satan is that lion who seeks to destroy us and Jesus is that Good Shepherd, seeking to save us. And I know we’ve had fun laughing with Ken Davis, because he’s so funny. But there is a serious side too, and I want to recognize that. So if you’re feeling threatened in some way, we want to encourage you to run into the arms of Jesus. And if we can help you do that, give us a call!
John: Yeah, our phone number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY – 800-232-6459. Being here for you is one of the primary reasons for Focus on the Family’s existence. Our staff would be happy to talk with you and pray with you. They can recommend some resources, and even suggest a caring, Christian counselor in your own community.
Jim: And if you’re thinking of someone who could really use this message from Ken Davis, let me encourage you to get the DVD from us here at Focus on the Family. It’ll have some extra content, and you’ll also get the benefit of Ken’s visual humor as well – it really makes a greater impact. The DVD is called, Super Sheep, and we’ll send that out to you for a donation of any amount today. Please give generously to support the work here at Focus on the Family.
Closing Voice Track:
John: And once again, our number is 800-A-FAMILY – 800-232-6459, or donate online and request that DVD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
If you enjoyed today’s presentation, please tell a friend to tune in next time when Jamie Ivey shares the motivation behind her rebellion.
Jamie Ivey: I knew all the rules. What I thought, “These are the rules I’m supposed to follow to be a good person.” But they never really connected with my heart. And I think that’s what a relationship with Jesus does – it connects with your heart instead of just rules.
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