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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Staff (01/31/13)

TITLE: The Staff That Guides
By Mary Annthipie Bane
02/02/13


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Throughout my life, from childhood, I have been guided by and have followed the staff of Jesus. Before I had ever had my first church experience I would look at a painting my mother had of a shepherd with his staff. There was Jesus, followed by his sheep, with one in his arms. In my mind I imagined that I was that carried sheep and as I grew older I became the sheep that followed.

I have been following the staff of Jesus into my adulthood and with that following has come church visits and church travels. Following the Lordís leading has been and continues to be the yearning of my heart. Church traveling, seeking the shepherd and his staff, has been my path. The travels have not been done out of self centered desires but have been according to His purposes, as all things work together for good.

Church number one taught me the differences between tradition and biblical truth, the wonder working power of Christís blood, and that the church will always be there and you can go home again.

Church number two taught me about redemption, salvation, bible study and fellowship, a love for praise music, teaching and using your spiritual gifts in the service of others to Godís glory.
Church number three taught me the love of tradition Hymns, and a love for the King James Version of the Bible, however I do still value my NIV and Amplified.

Church number four taught me the value of an education steeped in theology and inadvertently led me to pursue my seminary degree.

Church number five solidified my heartfelt belief in the power of Godís Word in our daily lives.

A sixth church which made appearances in my life in between the others taught me about the Holy Spirit and living the spirit filled life. It provided renewal, rest in the Lord and a home away from home.

And throughout this time I not only gleaned, but offered: hands and a heart for service, teaching, care and instruction of Godís children, directing Womenís Bible Studies, hospitality, encouragement, ministry leadership, a voice in the choir, and dedication as a faithful prayer warrior. The staff of Jesus led me both inside and outside the walls of the church building. It led me in the service of the saved as well as for the lost and the seeking. The staff of Christ is my guide, my constant and is very nearly as symbolic of my faith as is the cross. The staff reassures me that I belong to Him and that while churches and church memberships may come and go, I shall never be departed from my shepherd, my Savior.

I am often asked, what church are you going to now? What church do you belong to? To both of these questions which are sadly often meant to judge and not just to inquire, no matter however, I reply to those with Christís love: I do not belong to ďAĒ church, I belong to ďTHEĒ Church and I encourage Christians within and across the denominations to BE the Church. May we all to look for the guidance of the staff, belonging to the Lamb; whose sacrifice has redeemed his flock, that we shall follow Him.


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This article has been read 148 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 02/11/13
Very good thoughts here - enjoyed this post.
Jan Ackerson 02/12/13
I enjoyed this first-person account, and the loving tone you took toward all of the churches you've belonged to. It's too easy to find criticim of different churches today, and this was refreshing.

My only suggestion would be a slight re-working of the final paragraph, where you have the staff belonging to the Lamb. I realize that the Lamb is one of the names of Jesus, but in this case, the staff really belongs to the Shepherd, and the metaphor becomes a bit muddled.

This was a lovely read.
CD Swanson 02/13/13
Nicely done, and well written. Thank you.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/14/13
Congratulations on ranking 8th in level 3 and 35 overall!