Dear North Ridge Friends,
There’s a pretty good chance that you are where you are now because someone had an influence on you. Musicians have other musicians who have influenced them; athletes have other athletes who have influenced them; and even pastors have other pastors who have influenced them to become the kind of preacher or teacher they are today. While there are good influences in our life, there are also bad influences in our life. If you’ve ever started on a diet and 45 minutes later had a friend show up with a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts you know what I’m talking about!
If I’m going to move myself or someone else from a bad place to a good place, I need to know the difference between a good influence and a bad influence. How can we distinguish those people who bring us closer to God (and His plan) from those who take us away from God (and His plan)? The answer is found in Ezekiel 34:1-7. Join us this Sunday (6/5/16), as we conclude a great series called Influence: How To Move Others To A Better Place. We’ve spent the first two weeks learning what a Good Shepherd (Influencer) looks like and now we will see what a Bad Shepherd (Influencer) looks like. A dear friend of mine told me he once attended an AA meeting and heard a guy say “you can learn as much from a bad example as you can from a good example”. I have come to see the accuracy in that statement. In addition to our great time in the Word, we will hear a neat testimony from a single mom whose life has been influenced in a positive way even while moving down the rough road of cancer. It’s going to be a powerful day and I would encourage you to bring a friend with you.
Lest I become a bad influence on you, I better let you get back to your work or other responsibilities. I want to thank all of you for the positive influence you’ve had on me and my family and for the great privilege you’ve given me to join you on this amazing journey with Jesus. I am so blessed to be able to hang out with so many “real deal” people here at North Ridge. Have a wonderful weekend and I can’t wait to see you on Sunday!
Together In His Love,
P.S. This Sunday we will be collecting items for our high school ministry mission trip. If you’re out and about, why not pick up some socks and small toys that our team could take with them to our orphanage in Guadalajara, Mexico! It would be much appreciated!
Some Of This Coming Week’s Scripture Passages: (Your One-A-Day Vitamin)
Ezekiel 34:1-5 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.
Psalm 41:1-2 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. The Lord protects and preserves them- they are counted among the blessed in the land – He does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
Psalm 82:3-4 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Ecclesiastes 4:7-8 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless—a miserable business!
Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”