Understanding: The Lord is your Shepherd.
Allow the Lord to be your Shepherd. The Lord as our Shepherd feeds us, guides us, and shields or protects us. (Psalm 23:1-6, NKJV; AMP) How you view the Lord will greatly determine the peace you have. Relationship over Religion brings the peace of God.
Saved + total dependence + represent Christ in situation = Peace in the situation.
Religion kills and relationship saves.
Religion is all about what you do. Relationship is all about what Jesus has done and is doing. Cautions to consider in the Israelites rebellion. (Exodus 32:1-6, NKJV) When people don’t see the leaders out front they will often try to go around them.
If you are under a leader, don’t allow others to manipulate you to get what they want. Going from a relationship with God who has delivered us, to a religion we can see will not last it will not bring peace and joy. (Exodus 32:7-10, NKJV; Exodus 32:11-13, NKJV) Religion will kill you emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. (Exodus 32:25-29, NKJV; 1 Corinthians 10:11, NKJV)
The benefits of a relationship with God. (Acts 2:41-44, NKJV; Acts 2:46-47, NKJV)
We lack nothing when we have a right relationship and right view of God. Relationship focused brings the favor of God. The favor of God is when God takes the natural and does the supernatural in a person, place, or thing; It always brings honor and glory to God. (Matthew 14:17-18, NKJV; Matthew 14:20-21, NKJV)
Sermon Video Transcription
James Greer (00:02):
Hey, let’s give Alexandria a hand. Amen? Hey man, we started a series about table talk. Last week it was about having come to the table and feasts with the father and it’s going to continue that. But, one thing you got to understand there, there’s going to be a key to the theme today. And it’s, it’s about understanding. And in Psalms 23:1 it says, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. So, the key is how important it is to understand that the Lord is your shepherd. Now, what I’ve been trying to figure out is how do you know if the Lord is your shepherd?
James Greer (01:05):
Well, the one thing in John 10:27 it says, my sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me. They do what? You know why they’re up here and you’re not? They heard my voice. I said, Hey, when I get ready to come up, follow me on up. You all didn’t hear that, did you? I didn’t have to scream to them. I just kind of whispered. And they didn’t even know what they’re doing. They just followed right on up.
James Greer (01:22):
And did you know most of the time when Jesus talks to me, it’s not real loud like this. Did you know it’s just kind of a a whisper. Now you all hear. Yeah, half of you go down one side, half of you go down the other and then just go back where you came from. And I mean it, okay? Now see, it’s real easy. When you really know that, understand, you understand the key to the message is what? Understanding and we’ll come back to it towards the end and see they understood that to come up. They understood where to go back and they understood where to sit down. And the wonderful thing, this is when you really understand that the Lord is your shepherd and that he’s going to guide and direct you. He’s going to protect you. He’s going to provide. But, you’ve got to hear him. And see when you don’t hear from him, you don’t follow him.
James Greer (01:44):
And when you don’t hear from him and you don’t follow him, guess who you’re listening to? And guess what self will do? Self will get you in trouble. So, one of the key things I want you to know today is to understand that the Lord is our shepherd. There’s something else you’ve got to be really careful. Listen, real close. When you don’t understand that the Lord is your shepherd, you make something else your God.
James Greer (02:50):
See, everybody is following some God. It’s so important to make the Lord our shepherd, so we can follow him where we’re not following the wrong gods. So, if you don’t understand that, you’ll follow the other ones. You might come to church on Sundays, and you really, really enjoy the peace and the power of God, but then the rest of the week you don’t. It’s because that time you’re making somebody else or something, your shepherd. I did that for many years. I’d come to church as I say man, it’s pretty cool. I feel pretty good. But the rest of the week, man, it’s just like, Oh. I didn’t, didn’t have peace, I didn’t have joy, I had discouragement. I just wore it all the time. And I thought maybe, maybe it was a church. Maybe it was something I was doing. And I never realized I just was not allowing him. I just didn’t understand that the Lord had to be my shepherd. Understanding the Lord is my shepherd results in, and he said, what I’ll not want. In other words, another way, He said, when we allow the Lord to be our shepherd, he says, I’ll ultimately meet all the needs.
James Greer (03:45):
Matter a fact, if you jump down to verse five he says how to do it. He says, Hey, he said, I prepared a table before you. We’re sitting at the table. Amen. And verse five says, God has prepared a table before me and you, he said, is prepared every single day. He says, but you have to come to the table to eat. You have to come to the table to feast. You have to come to table. Do you understand that everything, every need in your life is already prepared for God. And it’s at the table? He’s the shepherd. He’s got it prepared. He has an invitation. He says, come and feast with the father. See when you allow the Lord to be your shepherd, he feeds us, he guides us, he shields, he protects us. Everything we need is right here at the table.
James Greer (05:02):
So what’s the problem? The problem is, sheep aren’t very smart. Uh, they just don’t, they’re not smart. They don’t let the shepherd provide for them, or guide them, lead them, shield and protect them. And they just wander off. They just wander off. Man, they wander off and they try to survive on their own. I mean, they fall in the river and the shepherd would have to take the rod and the staff and pull them back in. You know, and instead of listening and staying close. They just have a habit, sheep do, of just wondering, off goes, they’re not too sharp. They’re always, listen, they’re always looking for greener pastures. And see when they’re always looking for greater pastures, a lot of the times they get what they think they want, but when they get it, it’s not what they thought it was. So, you’ve got to be careful. You’ve got to be careful when you’re, when you’re wandering, Oh, they wander off. They think, but only if I had that job, then I would be happy. I cannot tell you all in 35 years how many people have come to the front and said, brother James just pray that I get this job, and they get the job. In three months out, Brother James pray God gives me another job.
James Greer (06:14):
They wander from mate to mate. Let me give you a hint. Quit praying that God changes the mate and pray he changes you. Ooh, that’s good Brother James. So, it’s like when they’re wandering around and there’s spraying all over the place and they’ve gotten away from the shepherd, they just wonder, they’re looking for greener pastures and they do it with their job and they do it with their mates. They do it in their homes. They do it in churches. Go from one church to another. I Just can’t get it. I can’t get what I’m looking for because you’re looking for the wrong thing. They do it in their hobbies. You know what the problem is with all these things? When you’re wandering? They won’t fulfill you. They can’t give you what only the shepherd can give you. That truth is when sheep stray, you ready? They’re easy prey. They get out there.
James Greer (06:54):
Another thing about sheep, they’re not only have a tendency to wander and stray, they’re stubborn. You all know what stubbornness leads to? Stupidity. And don’t be elbowing your mate. but that’s what happens. Stubbornness leads to stupidity. So, depending on how you see the Lord, if you see him as your shepherd in a relationship, you have peace. He is my shepherd. Man, I have got peace. He gives me guidance. Because it’s through relationships. I have peace in spite of what’s going on. Man, listen, this weekend I had my 46th anniversary.
James Greer (08:02):
My wife is tough. Well man, we had all kinds of stuff going on, man. I’m telling you. I mean we had some people going crazy in our family. I mean, just wacko. And then my sister, who’s like a mother, who helped raise me. Her daughter, they said, you know, her husband was missing for five days. And he’s the one that had accidentally shot himself in the leg, and he had been in the hospital and it had all kinds of problems and financial problems. And he had a partner supposedly that came into his life and found out he was a criminal, but came into his life. He said, I’ll tell you, since you’re down, you just dispatch and I’m going to take care of all your needs. Well, they’ve been going through a crisis in their life, and this guy is gentle. This could be, and I’ve known him for years and he got a tax notice that they had embezzled like $80,000. And he was already in a crisis. He snaps and kills the guy, like something out of a movie. I cannot believe it. He literally did. He is so I mean, that family is in crisis. They can’t believe it. And my wife’s simply says, that goes to show you everybody has a breaking point. Nobody really knows what you’ll do under enough pressure.
James Greer (09:25):
That’s why the Lord has to be your shepherd. He’s the one that has to guide you. He’s the one that you have to depend upon. When you, when you go to dependent on anybody, listen or anybody else, you’re going to be disappointed. Now what did we do for our Amber? We just went right on. I mean, we went right on to Cracker barrel and had lunch. It’s sad. I’m going to go up and see him, but do you see how important it is though? What can happen.
James Greer (10:00):
I see families falling apart. My wife had a call, a text, and she said, I know that your husband’s a pastor. He did. Said, please pray for me and my family. My four year old was just raped. They caught him and had him on TV. Yeah, I know what happened to him. I could see how they’d kill that sucker. But anyway, true story, this really happened. And then, she texted him again last night and I want you to know that we’re praying for her. Can we come over? Can we do anything? He said, no. We’re just getting by right now. Let us just kind of get through.
James Greer (10:25):
There’s a lot of crazy things going on. You all hear me? You better make sure you’re allowing the Lord to be your shepherd. Because everything’s going to go in the world. You cannot control what other people do, but you can let the Lord, if you understand, let him guide you. Let him direct you, and you do it through a relationship, not a religion. When you’re doing it through a relationship, you know how you know, right? You hear his voice and he knows you and you follow him. When you can’t hear his voice, listen, it’s because you’ve either never made him your shepherd, or you’ve gotten so far away from him. You need to come back.
James Greer (11:24):
That’s the way relationships are. It can be with your mate. It can be with some friendly family member. You know, there was a time you were in a relationship. Man, you could just, you almost knew what each other were thinking and all of a sudden you drift apart and now you don’t. You don’t hear each other. You don’t see each other. You might be in the same room. The shepherd is about relationships.
James Greer (12:17):
So many people have religion today. Religion kills, relationships save. But, when you don’t understand that Jesus is your shepherd, you make something else your God. Religion is all about what you do. It’s about self instead of the shepherd relationships about what Jesus already done, the shepherd over yourself. Let me give you a quick background of how fast you can go from relationship to religion. The children of Israel, you know the story, I mean they had been in bondage for years because they had rebelled against God. Now rebellion will do two things. It’ll bring ruination in your life. It’ll destroy you, or it’ll bring rebuke and you can return. So, instead of enjoying the relationship with God, they went to religion. Now this is what religion, you come on Sunday and we’re praising God and it’s a great time. Amen? But then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday it’s tough. Because you’ve got a religion, you’re trying to do works.
James Greer (13:32):
But, finally they cried out to God. Oh God, we are sorry to help deliver us. And they sent a leader named Moses and Moses Whitney said, Pharaoh let my people go, and he wouldn’t do it. So, finally they killed a lamb and they put the blood of the lamb on the doorpost. What delivered the children of Israel. God used Moses, but it was the blood of the lamb that saved him. Amen? It’s the blood of Jesus Christ that saves us today. It was a picture of one day Jesus would come and die on the cross and shed his blood for me or you. Amen? So, they delivered him. He’s super naturally delivered them. He parted the sea. They walked through on dry water. The enemy came and he drowned them. I mean, it was something. The problem was this, they couldn’t physically see God. They could see what God was doing. Man, they saw that God put the blood on the doorposts and how everybody else’s firstborn died and theirs didn’t. They saw how God parted the red sea. They saw how God fed them and they saw how God had protected them. They saw how God led them. Okay. That’s a relationship. They didn’t do anything. God did everything. Amen?
James Greer (14:53):
Didn’t last long. If you picked up in Exodus 32:1 when the people saw that Moses delayed, what happened is Moses was going to go up and get a word from God. Coming down from the mountain of people gather together. Aaron and said to him, make us gods that should go before us for as this Moses, this man who brought us up from this land to Egypt. We don’t know what’s coming to him. We don’t know where he’s at. He’s been gone a few minutes. You know, caution number one, when leaders not out in front of the people, people often try to go around him.
James Greer (15:08):
Number two, when the leaders not in front of them, people often to go to the person underneath them and try to manipulate them to get what they want. So, they went to Aaron, and Aaron said to them, Oh, and Aaron, Aaron, the mouse, the wimp. He said, you know, start breaking off your gold earrings, hello, which are on your ears, and of your wives and your sons and your daughters, and bring them to me. Aaron said, let me be the leader for a change. Oh yeah. Moses is a real leader. God had directed him, God and use him, but let me do it. So, they all broke off the golden earrings, which were on their ears and they brought them to who? Aaron. The mouse. So, from now when you hear Aaron, think mouse, okay. He was a wimp. He should’ve said, man, God is the deliverer. God is the one that set us free. Let’s do it. God, let’s enjoy what God has already done, instead of trying to do something on our own. No, no, he wasn’t going to do that.
James Greer (16:50):
They received the gold from their hands and they fashioned with the engraving tools and then made a mold. Molded a what? A calf. And when they said, this is our God of Israel that brought you out of the land of Egypt. Have you ever seen a calf molded? Then they’re all worshiping now. You said there is that crazy or what? Amen? I mean, they gave gold at cost them. It’s called a work religion. They went from relationship to God to say, look what we can do. Now, yours may not look like that. It might look like a new car. Oh, it might look like your home. It might look like your job, your money, your hobby, your fame, the promise. None of that stuff fulfills you. You come to church, praise God. Oh, now I have to have another God that I could see. You don’t see God at work and you don’t see lives getting changed. You don’t see families being put back together. You don’t see God working in a great and mighty way. He’s doing a supernatural at Journey Church, almost every single Sunday. But, yet you want to go out and worship another God.
James Greer (18:09):
You better be careful. So, then Aaron saw it and he built the alter before it, and Aaron proclaim it said, today is a feast to the Lord. In other words, now we’re going to hold it at home. We’re going to worship this. You’ve got to be kidding. We’re going to worship a calf. That’s a picture of work’s religion. God had already done everything for them. They hadn’t done anything. He delivered them. He was feeding him. He was taking care of them. By the way, the only reason you’re saved, the only reason, every good thing, yeah, is not because of what you did. It’s what God did for you by sending his son. It’s not our goodness that makes us right, its God’s son that makes us right. Amen?
James Greer (18:30):
Well, it didn’t set too good. In Exodus 32:25, let me show you something now, if you could read the story before this and that, we don’t have time to read it. It ticks God off. And we’re not ready, but God starts saying, Moses, your people, the people you brought out, the people, you did that and now Moses starts saying no. If you read the whole chapter already, Moses says no God, those are your people. You delivered them, you spared them. And God said, no, no, I’m going to just destroy them all and I’ll build you a new nation. No, no, they’re your people God. Then Moses comes down and Moses saw the people, they were restrained. Restrained means when you have no more vision for God, you do your own thing. Uh, you do what’s right in your own eyes.
James Greer (19:47):
Aaron, he had restrained him. He should have, so their shame among their enemies. Moses stood in the entrance of the camp. He said, whoever is on the Lord’s side, come to me. I say, I believe every single Sunday. God’s saying, are you going to be on my side of the enemies side? Now you don’t know. He’s going to give you a physical picture of spiritual application. You all ready? God wants to know if you’re going to have a relationship with him, are you going to keep trying to have a works religion? All the sons of the Levi’s, they gathered with him together. They all said, Oh God, we, I don’t care what’s happened. God, we’re going to be on your side. We want to have a relationship with God and it’s a good thing they did. They said, God, a visual said, look, let every man put on his sword on his side. And they did. You know what they did? And they went from entrance to entrance. They came and every man killed his brother, his companion, and every man and his neighbor. And guess what happened? So, the sons of the Levis did, according to the word of Moses, and there was about 3000 men fell that day. How many men?
James Greer (21:11):
Do you know what they’re showing you? That religion kills. It might not physically kill you, but it spiritually, emotionally, physically, relationally it kills you. 1 Corinthians 10:11 said, these things were written as an example for you today. In other words, these were old Testament things that really happened. Those were physical examples. For you to learn spiritually today.
James Greer (21:42):
That’s why you got to examine your life. You’ve got to say, am I trying to live my life with a relationship with God? Am I trying to let him be the shepherd. Am I letting him provide? Am I letting him protect? Am I letting him guide me ,or am I trying to work my way to heaven? Am I trying to be good enough? Am I trying to do this? Am I trying to worship my God? Am I more concerned about my job, my hobby? See, because what can happen is you’ll work harder and you’ll be happy less.
James Greer (22:07):
I see it all the time in church. They come to church and they’re just trying harder and harder and harder and harder, and they’re just not fulfilled. Because see, he can’t hear from the shepherd. You’re listening to yourself. Religion kills. Man, relationships saves. We kick off with the new Testament. Getting into the book of Acts. Oh, I love it. Acts 2, Huh? Those who gladly received the word, they were baptized that day. Do you know how many were about how many? 3000 souls for added. We went from a religion that killed about 3000 we get to a relationship that is up 3000 saved. Amen? So, do you want to be in religion? You want to be in a relationship? Amen? You want to be in a relationship. Huh?
James Greer (22:40):
And not only that, they continued in the Apostle’s doctrine. They had fellowship. They broke bread. They had prayer. I mean, they were rocking the house. Every soul that had many wonders, signs were done. The apostles, they were seeing signs or seeing wonders. They were seeing miracles. I mean, they believed they were together. They had all things in common. They had unity. Do you see the difference between a relationship and religion? Amen? I hope Journey Church operates on relationships, not religion. Amen?
James Greer (23:30):
See when you have the right relationship, when you have the right relationship, huh? God said, look, you will not lack. When you have the right relationship. You don’t focus on what you lack. You focus on what you have. Every good and perfect gift in your life came down from heaven.
James Greer (23:46):
Let me give you six words as we start finishing up the 23rd Psalm. Number one, word you better remember, is to understand. Understand this is not your notes. Understand you understand that the Lord is your shepherd. If you don’t understand, he’s your shepherd. You’ll allow something else to be your God. Understand who he is. How do you know? Because you can hear from him and you will follow him. If you’re not here and you’re too far away or you’ve never made him your shepherd. You hear from him when you’re in the word or through the Holy spirit and they always line up with each other. The Holy spirit will never tell you to do something contrary to what God’s word is.
James Greer (24:24):
Number two, the environment. Remember environment, and the Psalms 23rd talks about environments. You, he tells you to rest or you arrest. Did you know what he said in verse two of Psalms 23 he makes me, I always said I lie down. It doesn’t say that. He said he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside still waters. Do you know why he makes you? I can tell you why. If you don’t lie down, you will lie down. If you don’t lie down, he’ll make you lie down. I know what that’s like. If you push too long, too hard. Man, I’m rocking, I’m doing daylight to dark, and I’m preaching and I’m working and I’m going seven days a week, which you should not do. I’m out of God’s rhythm. My wife says, you better slow down. I say, man, I got it. I got it. I got it all right. Now I slowed down, but had a nervous breakdown. Maybe lay down, got depressed, got discouraged, got defeated.
James Greer (25:17):
Can I tell you something? There’s two types of rest. There’s a physical rest and there’s a spiritual rest. When you’re really depressed. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I wanted to lay on the bed and lay on the couch, but it never helped. There is a spiritual rest. That’s why Hebrews 4:3 says, for he who believes enters into rest, man, that’s the kind of rest you’ve got to have. You’ve got to have a spiritual rest. Calm down and know that he’s God, and this rest can only come from God having the right relationship. He leads me beside still waters. It’s restful waters. He allows me to be still and know that he’s God. In other words, I learned either get rest or I’m restless. The choice is yours. The choice is mine, but you either rest or you will rest.
James Greer (26:15):
Third word is goddess, goddess. He restores my soul. He leads me beside of my path and righteousness for his name sake. Oh, the amplified version says he refreshes me. He restores my life. He refreshes my emotion. He guides my path. I hear his voice. Listen, you ready? Knowing we’re on the right path brings refreshing even to our motion and is confirmed by the Holy spirit. When you’re on the right path, even though things are happening on each side of the path, you still have a confidence that it’s going to be okay. You couldn’t believe all the things happened this week, but, I felt like, Hey, God is not the perfect path, man. I fall off all the time. But when you’re on the right path, there’s a refreshing comes in spite of what’s going on the left or right? My question is this, are you on the right path? Rest, you ready? Refreshing. You get refocused.
James Greer (27:22):
Awareness is the fourth one. Awareness. Awareness says who is with me and who’s for me. Man, you need to be aware. I mean, there’s some people here. You’re so aware who your boss is and who’s against you and that’s all you focus on. Hey, get off of that. Be aware who’s with you and who’s for you. I mean, you walk through the Valley of the shadow of death. You worry about him. He said, huh, I’ll fear no evil. Why for thy are with me. Thy are my rod, thy are my staff. Man, fear might come upon you, but you become aware that the shepherd is with you and he will comfort you. In other words, he said, I’m the one who has rod. I’m the one who has the staff. I’m the one that’s with you. I’m the one that protects you. Quit focusing on everybody else and become aware that the shepherd is with you and for you. Amen? Become aware.
James Greer (28:17):
Fifth fifth, understand he wants to bless you. Yeah, man. I mean every blessing you needs at the table. I prepared a table for you. You want to be blessed. Come to the table. Feast with the father. Take in God’s word. Let it be confirmed by the Holy spirit. Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness and they shall be filled. Fifth and last, have a godly confidence. Christians should be the most bold, confident people in the world. Why? It said, listen, he said, surely you know that goodness and mercy are following you. Surely you know goodness is God’s favor, God’s anointing, that meet your needs and goodness is after you. When you’re on the right path, goodness is chasing you. And mercy and his kindness and forgiveness is everywhere you go. Shall follow me all the days of my life and I’ll dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
James Greer (29:42):
Okay, as we close, which do you need? Do you need understanding? You need rest. You need guidance, awareness, blessing or confidence? This is a question. Have you wondered off and you came to hear the shepherd and this morning you need to come back or have you never come to the shepherd so you can hear his voice. Some you’d come to the first time, some need to come back, but nobody needs to leave the same way they came. Let’s stand.
James Greer (29:57):
Man. God. You’re an awesome God. I thank you for the 23rd Psalm that really describes what a shepherd you are. God, you want to be our shepherd. You want to be everybody’s shepherd that’s in here. You want to meet our needs. You want to cast out fear. You want to give a new protection. You want to give a new confidence. You want to give a new awareness. God, I don’t know what each person needs here today, but you do God. I prayed. You start giving peace and presence like never before. I pray people. Don’t worry about who’s around them, who’s behind them. I pray that they would just step out and receive what you have for them. If they wander too far and they hadn’t been able to hear your voice, I pray today’s the day that they’d come back to you. If they never made you their shepherd. I pray today is the day, maybe God, you called them to come and make this Journey Church their home today and and make it public. Maybe they followed through in baptism. God whatever you call, lay it upon their hearts today. We’ll give you the honor and the glory in your name we pray. Amen.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.