This morning, I decided that change on this blog was in order.
I first began writing at the Shepherd of the Sheep blog in the fall of 2008. I had just become a pastor, and virtually all my reading and writing centered on learning more about pastoral ministry. The title of the blog, taken from the Lord Jesus’ own title in Hebrews 13:20, appropriately reflected that exclusive pastoral focus. Four years later, I continue to be a happy, committed pastor, more aware than ever before that I need grow in my understanding of this wonderful ministry. More importantly, I am more conscious than ever before how desperately my people and I both need daily the instruction, nurture, and protection that only the Great Shepherd of the Sheep can provide for us.
At the same time, the focus of my reading and writing has become broader than the subject of pastoral ministry. As a pastor, I spend most of my time studying the Scriptures chapter-by-chapter and book-by-book, for the the feeding of my own soul as well as for the preparation of sermons for my people. In addition, historical theology and Christian biography has continued to be a deepening source of joy, refreshment, and Christian vision in my life. In fact, I am beginning a PhD program at Southern Seminary this fall, where I will concentrate my studies on the spirituality of Oliver Hart and the people he pastored at Charleston Baptist Church in the eighteenth century.
In the coming days, I would like to reflect more here on both my biblical and historical studies than I recently have. It seemed a new blog title that more accurately reflected those intentions would be a good way to get started. The Bible is replete with the imagery of embarking on a journey, walking down a path, and persevering on a pilgrimage as it describes the Christian’s relationship with God. It is my desire to follow the living Lord Jesus down the ancient paths he has marked out in his Word, which has been followed by countless saints in years past, to that better country to which he has called us. Thanks to all my dear friends who have continued to encourage me along the way.
“Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls (Jer 6:16).”
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city (Heb 11:13-16).”