Town Center Church publishes a bi-weekly newsletter that provides important information and updates to the congregation. Beyond those informational updates are thoughts and testimonials from our Town Center Church Childcare Director, Ivanna Stuart, and our brother in Christ, Kerry Lighty. We hope you will take some time to check back here regularly and read their thoughts and insights into some of our teachings here at Town Center Church.
Of all the characters in the story of the birth of Jesus, it is the shepherds who are probably most often overlooked. They were busy doing their thing- watching the sheep at night when an angel came among them. The Bible says they were “terrified”. I don’t know about you, but I have never seen an angel and I’m pretty sure scared out of my mind would be descriptive.
Then the radiance of the Lord’s glory shown around them. I imagine this meant it was no longer “night” or dark out in the pasture. Have you thought about that before? Again, this was certainly something the shepherds had never witnessed before. Even with the angel reassuring them not to be afraid, I can imagine they were still quite unsure of what was going on or if they could believe their eyes.
The angel goes on to tell them of the birth of Jesus and that they can find Him in Bethlehem. This is proclamation of the Good News and it was for all people. The shepherds were the first to hear about this wonderful report.
But their night of firsts wasn’t over. The angel was joined by a vast host of other angels. Called the armies of heaven, these angels were praising God. After the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds went to Bethlehem…with haste...and no sheep.
The shepherds left everything to go see Jesus. They came to Jesus with nothing to offer. They sought Him because He was the Savior, the Messiah that the angels had spoken of. After meeting Jesus, they told everyone they met about the One and the Good News.
Why the shepherds? They had no special talents, skills, or religious training. They were not rich, famous nor had any social or political sway. Many considered them as outcasts, and they were looked down on. But this much is true; God chose them to be part of His Divine plan.
Some 2000 years later, the Good News of Jesus has continued to be told by faithful “shepherds”. Take time today to thank God for His Divine Plan and for the shepherds who are sharing their story of how they encountered Jesus.
“After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.” Luke 2:17 (NLT)
The photo to the left is the farmhouse and wellhouse of my paternal grandparents. It was built around 1923 in southwest Kansas not too far from the Cimarron Route of the Sante Fe Trail. The picture is somewhat deceiving in that the tree is the only one present on the entire quarter section of land. The ground is otherwise lacking green vegetation. Nevertheless, my grandparents raised eight children in that house.
That modest structure surely saw the extremes of weather- hot, cold, wind, rain, dust, hail, and drought and yet, it still stands. As seen from the patina of the wood, it withstood the assault and dutifully provided safety and comfort over the years. The home might not look like much, but it was enough. It stands as testament to faithfulness.
I’m certain we all know people who have been faithful in serving the church and others. As the precious faces come to mind, they are likely gray-headed, humble souls. Folks who have been tested by all kinds of trials throughout their lives but have remained faithful to their God. They are walking testimonies, examples of perseverance. They may not look like much, but they are children of the Most High God.
I know I am thankful for the weathered saints. They don’t wear capes or masks, but they are real heroes just the same. Life can be hard, difficult, and downright messy. Choosing to be a Christ follower is challenging and life-giving. Seeing others who have persevered inspires me to do the same.
So today, take time to honor the faithful ones that cross your path. They have been a blessing to many and now they are looking forward to their final reward.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Jas 1:12 (NIV)