Archive for May, 2009

Prophecy Fulfilled at Pentecost!

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rev. Brian Henderson, Pastor Trinity Lutheran Church, San Diego, CA
Click here for audio of this message


INTRODUCTION: “We all need a little good news once in a while,” so goes the old saying.  But if we pay attention to our Bible, and especially to this morning’s scripture readings we would say rather, “We always need good news—all of the time.”  The good news of course is the gospel, and we need to hear the Gospel all of the time because we sin daily.  Without the gospel being central in our lives we are nothing more than a pile of dead—dry bones. Our reading from the book of Acts this morning is the fulfillment of our Gospel reading where Jesus said, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about me.”  [John 15:26]  This is the “Gospel Promise” that Jesus left the Church just before His ascension.  It is His promise that the Holy Spirit will accomplish God’s will in regards to ensuring that the gospel is preached and the gift of faith is given; the promise that a new and blessed life will come forth from dead, dry, bones.  It is His promise he gives to you today.  It is “good news” for you, if you will only believe.


I. The first time God shared the gospel with us was immediately after the very first sin when Adam and Eve were encouraged by the devil to do the only thing God said they could not do, eat from the tree of knowledge.  When they did this, they committed the first sin.  In one bite they exchanged God’s truth and love for a lie (You will be like God.  You will become wise).  Instead of finding wisdom they found misery; instead of becoming like God they became separated from Him.  But God in His love would not let mankind suffer in this state; in His love God demonstrated His mercy by immediately proclaiming the Gospel.  Speaking directly to the devil, but for the benefit of mankind, God said: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” [Gen. 3]  In these words, God promised that the savior of mankind would come as a descendant of Adam and Eve, and it was in the work of this Savior that God would restore mankind into a right relationship with Him. 


Now, many years after this, God spoke of the hope of the gospel to a prophet named Ezekiel.  In our old testament reading, God showed the prophet the work of the Holy Spirit… He showed Him new life for dry bones.  He showed Him the hope of salvation for those dry and dead in their sins and trespasses, if they would but trust in God’s mercy and receive the gift of faith; faith which comes through the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.


II.  In our reading from the book of Acts (Acts 2:1-21), we see how God ensured that His message of grace, the good-news that was first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden, would be proclaimed to all people on the face of the earth, just as Jesus had promised so many times.


In our reading, we join the disciples gathered in a large building near the Jerusalem temple.  It was about 9:00 a.m., and they were seated on the floor listening to the Apostles; they were possibly talking about the Great Commission, because those were the last words Jesus spoke to them just before He ascended into heaven.  I would imagine that their discussion probably sounded very similar to the discussions we’ve had here at Trinity; discussions like how can we fulfill Jesus command to “go” into the world and baptize and teach God’s Word.  They must have been asking the apostles questions like, “What did Jesus mean when He said he was with us even until the end of time?  He has left us to be with the Father, so how is He with us?”


Peter would not have time to formulate an answer, because out of no where, a very loud noise, like a tornado approached their building, and filled the room.  It was the sound of wind, without the wind itself.  ILLUST: I am a witness to a tornado, and it sounds just like a very loud train is bearing down on you.  IT IS FRIGHTENING!  Now that God had their attention, He was about to remind them, in a miraculous way that Jesus ALWAYS keeps His Word!  The promise of the Holy Spirit was about to be fulfilled!  Somewhere in the center of the room appeared a large flame; I would imagine that it was similar to the burning bush that Moses saw on Mt. Sinai.  That alone must have frightened the group, but then it did something very new, God’s Holy Spirit became very personal; it divided into many parts, and the parts spread out and began to hover over each person’s head.  Now, fear was replaced with awe, as each one led by the Holy Spirit rose and made their way outside of the building, and into the street.


They were probably in a public square somewhere near the temple because a huge crowd had gathered outside of their building, most likely because they heard the great sound of a mighty wind gushing into that meeting room.  Now as each disciple, being led by the Spirit of God proceeded outside, they began praising God in a new language that was foreign to them; it was a language that exactly matched the languages of the foreign Jews who were gathered at the temple for Pentecost.  Each one heard something like our liturgical hymn of praise, in their own native language: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth.  Lord God, Heavenly king almighty God and Father.  We worship you.  We give you praise.  We thank you for your glory.”  Now the majority of the people stood in awe, but someone in the crowd must have known that the disciples were “simple” people who had been with Jesus, because the comment was made, “Aren’t all of these people who are speaking Galileans?  So, how is it that we hear them praising God in our own language?”  [Acts 2:7, 8, 11]


What a wonderful demonstration of God’s miraculous power!  This was the first recorded miracle God performed after Jesus ascension into heaven, but it certainly would not be the last, in fact, the book of Acts is loaded with miracle after miracle.  God used these miracles starting with this gift of tongues to propel the church throughout the world in such a way as to ensure its growth, very much like how God used the confusion of languages to compel men and woman to spread throughout the earth.  Now God was ensuring that each and every person would hear His praises in their own “heart” language.  Through the gift of tongues the Holy Spirit was leading His church at a time when such a witness was sorely needed.  Because of this, we would call this use of the gift of tongues strategic and temporary, because it’s use diminished once the church grew so large and fast that its very existence and power was proof that the Spirit’s eternal presence was within it. 


Back to our story, Peter now takes his place among the disciples, and he hears some from the crowd proclaim that the disciples praising God are probably drunk!  With this word, the devil once again attempted to take the focus of attention off of the Creator and place it instead on the creature.  But God would not be silent; He could not!  Now,  filled with the Spirit, Peter recalled Jesus’ own Words: “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” [John 14:25,26]  And remember he did, and then some!  Praise God, the Helper had come in a mighty way.  And now led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ real presence through His Word went out to his people from the mouth of Peter.  Peter continued God’s plan from the beginning, he preached the Gospel.


III.  Dear friends, Peter’s sermon makes it clear that God’s Spirit will be poured out on the last days.  When are the last days?  They are now!  The last days are every day after Jesus suffered, died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and sent in his place the Comforter, the Helper, the Holy Spirit; it is He who causes our hearts to respond to God’s call of repentance through His Word: “Turn away from your sin and turn towards Jesus Christ.  Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and you will be saved.”  But what are our sins?  They are anything that places God as second place in our life, and anything which offends or harms our neighbor.   Dear saints, in vs. 8-10 of our Gospel reading Jesus says, “(The Holy Spirit) will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father.”  Dear Friends, Jesus is speaking to us—none of us can believe in Him on our own.  Without the Helper we stand convicted as sinners… convicted of the capital offense of unbelief in Jesus Christ as our Savior.   The last days are today.  Today, Jesus calls out to us through the same Holy Spirit, to believe in Him unto eternal life!  To believe in Jesus is to be saved from sin, to have all of our sins forgiven… and to not believe in Jesus is to remain in sin, to die forever as nothing more than a pile of dead bones!  But praise God, for by His Holy Spirit, our hearts are continually moved to confess our sinfulness to Him and then trust in Jesus Christ as our only source of peace with God.  Friends, it is faith in Jesus Christ alone that will strengthen you with God’s love and power.  Only faith in God’s Word can transform you, renew you, and bring meaning to your life. 


CONCLUSION: Dear saints, you are those sons and daughters that will prophesy and see visions.  Young people, God’s Word specifically mentions you.  There are none too young or too old to receive God’s Spirit, because that Spirit was first given to you at your Baptism.  Do you believe it?  Then live this truth and allow God’s Spirit through His Word to keep your heart centered in it.  Call out to Him and trust He has saved you just as His Word promises!  “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” [vs. 21]  “To call upon the Lord’s name” means to call out to him for the forgiveness of all of your sins.  To call upon the Lord’s name means that you follow the Spirit’s leading and call out to Him for strength so that you will not fall into unbelief.  To call upon His name is to call upon God’s kind heart as proclaimed in His gospel!  It is the same gospel that God first proclaimed to Adam and Eve, and the one you first received at your Baptism.  It is the same gospel that assures us this morning that when we come to His Holy table to eat His body and drink His Blood we receive forgiveness of sins.  And as we are changed by this gospel, the result will be that we will prophesy.  We will share the good news, the saving and blessed will of God to people everywhere.  We can not help but witness to His love and mercy because it is His Spirit acting within us! 


But what about the visions we will see?  What is this vision that God gives?  It is the vision of a dying world.  It is God’s vision of seeing this world saved and transformed by the gospel message that says that through faith in Jesus there is new life for dead bones.  Dear friends, the Holy Spirit is present in this dying world through you!  As you go out into the world and live your life you take with you God’s love and grace.  Filled with His Word and empowered by faith, you are His breath of life for dry, dead bones.  Now go in peace and follow the Lord!  In Jesus name…AMEN!

Love One Another… or Else!

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Pastor Brian Henderson, Trinity Lutheran Church-San Diego, CA
Click here for audio of this message

“These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” [Jn. 15:9-17]

INTRODUCTION: These Words of Jesus may be hard Words for some here this morning.  In fact, you may find it easier to relate to this little ditty: “To live above with saints we love, that will be joy and glory; to live below with saints we know, now that’s a different story.” Sometimes, people can just be hard… no, they can be impossible to love.  And yet, that is exactly what we are commanded to do—love one another. 

I. If our gospel lesson is the first of a one-two punch, then the epistle gives us the knock-out blow.  Listen: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” [1 Jn. 5:3]  That’s God’s love?  Keep His commandments?  OK.  Do you think you can do it? Before you answer, let me put a little light on the challenge.  Luther sums up the fulfillment of the first three commandments this way: “We are to fear, love, and trust God above all things.”  And in regards to our neighbor, Jesus says that we should love our neighbor as we love our selves.”  Friends, within these Words we find the terrifying hammer of God; a hammer that smashes all of our “good deeds” along with our sinful behavior into an eternity of suffering, our suffering which can be the only payment for our sins.

In God’s commandments He demands far more from us than just doing our best or living a life that this world might judge as good and decent.  He demands perfection, which is something we all fall short of, and God’s Word makes sure that we know this, (for) it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” [Romans 3:10-12]We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” [Isaiah 64:6]  Now do you understand how hopelessly lost we are if we think we can keep God’s commandments?

II. In our reading this morning from the Book of Acts, we join up with Peter and his companions who were directed by God to look for a Roman citizen in Caesarea named Cornelius.  He was a man who we would call a seeker of the true religion…he wanted peace with God.  He was studying the Jewish religion, with a desire to know the true God.  In a dream, he was told that Peter would come to him and help him discover this very thing.  Now Peter also had a dream, and within his dream God told him three times to kill and eat unclean animals, and each time Peter argued with God and said that he would not eat food that was unclean.  But God put an end to Peter’s protests by declaring  that he should not declare unclean what God had declared clean.  Now while Peter was trying to make sense of this dream, a servant of Cornelius arrived at the home where Peter was staying and asked Peter to come and speak to his master.  Now under normal circumstances, a devout Jew like Peter would never enter the home of an unclean gentile.  But these were not normal circumstances and Peter was not about to argue with God again over what is clean and unclean.  So off Peter went, because he wanted to do the right thing…He wanted to go where God was sending him.  You see, even Peter had trouble obeying God.  Even Peter on his own could not do good.

Something that has become clear in our message so far this morning is that doing good is not the simple matter that many people like to make it. Let’s look at Cornelius! If his honest convictions to live a good life were all he needed to please God, then why was he seeking the true religion? If the Jewish religion had been enough, why was Peter sent to his home? No, God had made it clear to Cornelius that simply following a few moral rules of life apart from knowing the true God was a hopeless tragedy.  God was about to make it clear to Cornelius that He had to know the true God, He had to know Jesus, the Redeemer in order to find peace.

So that was Peter’s task to preach peace with God…he must preach the gospel.  Peter was to be the mouth of God.  He was to preach the good news.  The preacher is to preach only what he is ordered, no more, no less, and without alteration. And this remains the preacher’s task to this day.  Pastors are never allowed to preach their own ideas. Only one message has the Lord’s approval. Any change to that message, any substitution for it, is not only empty but, when it pretends to be the Lord’s true message, it makes the preacher who proclaims it a liar, a false prophet.  What is that message?  It is Law and Gospel.  First, in regards to the law, Peter declared that Jesus has been appointed to be the judge of the world.  All men, women, and children, living and dead will be judge.  They must stand before a perfect judge and be perfect themselves.  But this is only half of the message, for you see according to God’s love Jesus is also the savior of all those who now stand before God as being unclean and worthless.  Just as it was Peter’s privilege to declare the gospel to Cornelius, it is my privilege today to announce to you “that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” [Acts 10:43] Every one of you that believes that Jesus suffered and died for you, and every one of you that believes that He is YOUR Savior and your God, are forgiven and you like Cornelius truly have peace with God!  Without the name of Jesus, there can be no forgiveness of sins… there can be no peace with God, but through faith in his name, your heart is able to cling to Jesus and rely upon Him in life and in death.

Dear friends, it is the gospel that has brought you to God through Jesus who is your saving and loving Lord. His “gospel of peace” [Eph. 6:15], now rules your heart in a way that allows you to really enjoy the fullness of this peace. And it is the gospel that will carry you through for the rest of your days, moving you to trust in God’s kind heart.  Now we see that apart from Jesus and His name, there is indeed no one righteous, not even one, but by faith in the name of Jesus, through faith in God’s saving gospel, a miracle has happened in your heart… a sinner is made righteous.  Because of your faith in the gospel God declares you to be pleasing to Him, and because you please Him, He moves your heart to sorrowfully confess your sins and then turn to Him through Jesus for forgiveness.  Friends, we are pleasing to God and saved from our sins because we believe and accept His forgiveness through Christ.  And every day God miraculously renews our faith, over and over again!  And this is guaranteed to us as long as we abide in the love of Christ.  And how do we abide in His love?  By keeping His commandments! [Jn. 15:9-10] Will you fall short?  Yes!  But when you do you have friend in God who sees the sorrow in your heart, hears your confession, and forgives you because you have faith in the name of Jesus! 

III. Friends, God is looking for your love.  Love for Him and love for your neighbor.  It isn’t easy; in fact Jesus calls it the narrow or the hard way.  Maybe God will test you as He tested Peter.  Maybe right now God is asking you to love someone that is different from you; someone who makes you uncomfortable because of their race, color, creed, or social behavior.  Maybe He is asking you to forgive and love someone who has hurt you deeply.  If so, remember that He has said that we must not declare unclean what He has declared to be clean.  Remember that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16] 

Listen friend, God knows it’s hard for us to love the unlovable… and yet He loves us and He calls us to walk with Him by faith.  Today, He wants you to confess your lack of love for Him and your neighbor and then to simply trust that because of your faith in Jesus God loves and forgives you.  But He won’t let it end right there, because you see,   He wants to change you.  He wants you to ask Him to change your heart and then let Him lead and guide you where He wants you to go, and to love who He wants you to love, just as He led Peter.  You see, this is love…that we keep His commandments.  It’s our love for Him demonstrated as we let Him change our hearts, and its His love for us when we turn to Him for forgiveness when we fail.  He forgives us and says ok, let’s try it again.  Follow me!  Maybe He will lead you right to the person or persons you can’t seem to love; if He does, it will be alright, because He will be with you and He will be working through you.  What work will He be doing?  Why He’ll be calling more sinners just like you into a saving relationship with Him—people who will receive forgiveness of sins because they too believe in the name of Jesus Christ.  This is how God’s church grows, and this is how we become more and more dependent on His love and forgiveness in our lives.  This is how we become people who love our neighbor, by letting God seek the lost through us.  When we do this as individuals we become more like Jesus.  When we do this as a congregation, we become a healthy church.  And a healthy church is a missionary church whose whole purpose is to impart the love of God and the joy of salvation to as many people as possible.  May God help us to do this through the name of Jesus Christ…AMEN!

Can You Hear Him?

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Pastor Brian Henderson, Trinity Lutheran Church-San Diego, CA
Click here for audio of this message

In the early 1900’s a man was traveling by steam boat.  While standing on the deck of the ship he began to sing our sermon hymn, “Savior like a Shepherd Lead Us”.  When he had finished singing, a rough looking stranger approached him and asked, “Did you ever serve in the Union army during the civil war?  “Yes,” answered the singer.  “I joined in the spring of 1860.”  “Were you doing picket duty on a bright moonlit night in 1862?” asked the stranger.  “Yes” answered the singer.  “Well, so did I,” said the stranger, “but I was serving in the Confederate army.  When I saw you standing at your post I said to myself, “This guy is as good as dead.”  I raised my musket and took aim.  I was just about to pull the trigger, when you raised your eyes to heaven, and then you sang the very same song.  That song had a very great power over me, and I took my finger off the trigger.  “Let him sing this one song to the end, and then I can shoot him when he’s finished.”  But the song you sang then, just as now stirred up great emotions within me.  Back then, I heard the words plainly and perfectly in my mind and in my heart: “We are Yours in love befriend us, be the guardian of our way; keep your flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.”  When you had finished your song it was impossible for me to take aim at you again.  I thought: “The Lord who is able to save that man from certain death must surely be great and mighty (and able to save me)” and my arm dropped limp at my side.”

“And (Jesus said) I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16)  This is our text this morning.  Jesus calls out to all of His sheep.  Can you hear Him?  Perhaps you hear Him even now, but at times you find it hard to follow?  This is understandable, because after all, you are just a little lamb and lambs are prone to wander.  This morning by looking deeper into our gospel reading we will allow our Good Shepherd to bring us back into the safety of His love which can only be enjoyed within His flock…the universal Church of Jesus Christ! To do this, Jesus gives us illustrations that if learned will ensure that we not only hear His voice, but listen and follow it as well. 

First let’s look at the Good Shepherd in contrast to the hired hand who is not a shepherd at all.  In the verses preceding our gospel lesson this morning, Jesus said that anyone who enters the sheep pen by climbing the wall or fence isn’t a shepherd, but a thief.  He also said that the true shepherd is one who enters by the door.  OK, this sounds reasonable, but then He said something strange, He said that He was the door!  Now, if you follow this logic, then you must conclude that true shepherds or pastors are only those who have been called by the Holy Spirit to lead Christ’s church as Jesus leads or directs them.  In this sense, the pastor is an under-shepherd, who can only lead the flock of sheep as Jesus directs.

In Israel sheep weren’t herded with dogs or by men who walked behind them.  The shepherd led his sheep.  He had a name for each of them…he knew each one by name, and the sheep recognized his voice.  At night several different herds of sheep might sleep in the same pen.  As they slept, a shepherd would act as the door of the pen by sleeping in the opening in order to prevent a predator or thief from entering and doing harm.  In the morning, when the door was opened, each shepherd would call out to his own flock, and each member of that flock would be able to distinguish his shepherd’s voice from the others.  Just as the sheep would not follow a stranger, so God’s people are able to recognize Jesus as the living Word of God.  In this way, God has allowed a sure and certain way for His Children to distinguish between a true pastor and a false teacher.  A true pastor will only proclaim what is in the Bible… Law and Gospel!

A traveling minister was walking along a road one day headed to a church that he heard no longer had a pastor.  He thought He might be able to offer his services as their new full time pastor.  As he approached the church, he saw a crowd of boys surrounding a dog.  “What are you doing with the dog?” asked the traveling minister.  “Well” said one of the boys, “Whoever tells the biggest lie, he wins the dog.”  “Oh, that’s terrible play!” exclaimed the minister, “when I was a little boy like you kids, I never told a lie.”  There was a moment’s silence. “Here,” said one of the little boys, “you win the dog.”

Today, just as in Jesus time, false teachers were everywhere.  They impose themselves on God’s people and have only their own benefit in mind.  God’s truth… His love and mercy is not what is leading them.  These false teachers, whom earlier Jesus called thieves, He now calls hired hands, or mercenaries. [vs. 12] They have no direct, specific call from God through a congregation to care for His little lambs.  They received and held onto their position through deception and their desire for self gain.  These type of men were then and are now in ministry for the money and the prestige.  When trouble comes they abandon their flock and look only after their own personal benefit.  And now Jesus demonstrates this truth.

With His next illustration, Jesus shows us why He is the Good Shepherd, by pitting Himself against the Wolf.  First, please understand that the word “good” in Greek means something of excellence, something that sets the standard for everything else.  If we follow this meaning, then what Jesus is saying is that He alone is the “Supreme Shepherd”.  While there are other shepherds that perform their duties in a loving and careful way they are not the “Good Shepherd”.  Why?  Well Jesus answers that for us in verse 15, when He says, “I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Many years ago a young Canadian man, his wife, his two children and young law-man were traveling in the wilderness in a horse drawn wagon when they were pursued by a large pack of wolves. Just as the wolves were about to attack, they shot some of the wolves. This stopped the pack for a short time, but soon they renewed their attack. Once again, just as the wolves were about to overtake them, they acted quickly and cut the lead horse loose and the wolves devoured it, but soon they were right back on their blood thirsty attack. The travelers were trying to reach a government fort, a place of safety, and they were almost there.  But the wolves were relentless and it seemed impossible for them to out run them.  The young law-man who was accompanying the family said that their only hope would be for him to buy them some time by giving himself to the wolves.  After he said this, he immediately jumped from the wagon, right into the pack of wolves. Of course he was attacked immediately, but the family was able to enter the fort just before the pack caught up to them.  Once safely inside, they said “Our friend sacrificed himself for us. We are living because he is dead.”  Now this sounds noble and good.  But anyone with a good heart and the love of Christ may be able to accomplish the very same thing.  Any shepherd that loves his sheep would most likely risk his life for the good of the sheep.  No, if this act can be accomplished by any true shepherd, this can’t be what makes a shepherd good.  This can’t be the work of the “Good Shepherd”.

In verses 17 and 18, Jesus gives us the mark of the only “Good Shepherd” when He says, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”  Jesus, like any true shepherd, faces the wolf and risks His life in defense of the sheep. But, that would not help the sheep once the wolf finished with the shepherd.  Obviously, after the shepherd is dead, the poor sheep would be completely at the mercy of the wolf without any other source of help. No, the only way the sheep could be eternally safe would be if the shepherd could kill or drive off the wolf, and keep his life for the benefit of the sheep. Friends, Jesus is the one and only shepherd, who can save the sheep by laying down and then taking up his life again.  Jesus died for the sheep, for you and me, but He took his life back again when He rose from the dead.   Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and the Wolf that He has overcome is sin, death, and the devil.  By Jesus sacrifice upon the cross and His resurrection, He came so that the sheep (you and I) may have life and may have it in abundance (v. 10).

Friends, in order for this truth to be of any benefit to you, Jesus says that you must hear His voice and believe that He is YOUR Savior…YOUR Good Shepherd.  We must hear His Word and know that He is calling us!  Faith comes only by hearing His Word, which is the message of the gospel, the voice of Jesus Christ!  When we hear His voice and shut out all other messages we will find comfort.  When we hear and listen we will find obedience as God helps us follow our Good Shepherd where ever He leads.  And when we listen and follow, Jesus will show us other sheep who are also listening.  And here is the amazing part…He is asking you to help Him bring them into His flock-into His church, where they too can find comfort and safety from sin, death, and the great wolf, the devil.

Perhaps you find yourself this morning in the wrong flock?  Maybe you have been following the voice of someone other than your Good Shepherd.  He is calling you now.  Can you hear Him?  Are you listening?  He has opened the door, and He calls out to you… “Follow me!”