John 10:3,9,10

Here’s The Way, Come Now!

Good Morning! It is indeed an honor to stand before you today representing the people of the Great State of Alaska. A state where if one turns it just so and superimpose it over the 48 contiguous states, it would touch boarder to boarder, coast to coast. On behalf of the people of Alaska, I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ thanking you for your prayers, your missions work, and your givings for the Glory of God. I also bring Greetings not only from my denomination, International Council of Community Churches, but also from the Alaska Christian Conference, a statewide ecumenical body of which The Rt. Reverend Mark MacDonald is the president.

As I stand today for Christ, I also stand, with kindred spirit, hoping to bring honor to the Indigenous people of Alaska, the Athabascan, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, Inupiaq and Yup’ik who, following the Spirit of the Living God are striving to maintain the unity and harmony of their cultural gifts and responsibilities given by God. Before I go any further , Hi mom,

Let us pray. May the words of my mouth, the…

Last March, as reported by the Anchorage Daily News, there was an incident at the top of the world, at a place called Barrow Alaska, the most northern city in our United States.

It seems on a beautiful clear day, Bearing Sea ice that was fastened to the shore, suddenly, produced leads – open water. An ice sheet maybe the size of D.C. began floating out to sea. It was 2:30 PM on a Sunday, witnesses on the shore noticed with complete surprise, the ice cracks and the increasingly open water.

After word went out, in and around the village and beyond, there soon was a list of 23 people known to be on the ice, out seal hunting or cutting trails across the ice to prepare for whaling. With a jolt, the people realized the ice was thinner than usual for this time of the year and now, it was beginning to break up fast along the edges.

Souls in danger of being permanently lost! What would they do? What would you do?

After much concern, after much praying, after much mobilization of people, time, and talents, within an hour rescue crews flying a Bell 214 Helicopter was in the air ready to attempt a rescue. By this time, the water between land and ice was as close as a half mile in one place, and as far as five mile in other.

Now listen to this. It is interesting to note, that people on the land, felt the people on the ice, were lost. But all but a few of the people on the ice thought or knew they had a problem. Sometimes, people have to be told there is peril ahead. Sometimes people have to be told there in danger ahead that will jeopardize their security, jeopardize their life.

In fact, one female hunter stated afterwards ” They just came and got us and told us to get out. We were way far out and didn’t know we were drifting away. We didn’t hear anything or feel anything”

They didn’t know they were in trouble! Didn’t realize anything happened, until the helicopter landed on the ice nearby to rescue her.

The helicopter appeared, opened its doors, and the doorkeepers held out their hands and said: come now! Come now! No room for hunting gear! The snowmachine can’t make it; The sleds will have to stay. The small skiffs will have to fend for itself.

But you! Come now! The door is opened! Ahead is safety! Come now!

John 10: 3,9-10 (10:3) The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (10:9) I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. (10:10) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

When I read the story about the people on the ice being taken, swept to where they didn’t want to go, or shouldn’t want to go, When I heard about the people mobilizing on the land, putting their money and talents to support their cause, hoping a deliverance of family and friends, When I heard about the helicopter appearing with its doors wide opened, providing safety and a means of security, I saw an analogy of how the work of the church should be.

Somewhere, I’m sure you heard that the harvest is plentiful; somewhere, you heard it said, feed our sheep, somewhere you have heard the call to rescue the perishing: Somewhere, I’m sure you heard, spread the good news. Spread the good news, that Jesus is the Gate to eternal salvation as He saves, and he saves to the utmost.

We are to spread the news that there is hope, and a promise we can stand on! Jesus in His own words said: “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish: neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand…no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Isn’t Jesus great?

He says his purpose is to give life, in all it’s fullness.

The hunters on the ice didn’t have to go even when they discovered their predicament. They could have said it won’t happen to me, the ice will flow back to land; I have a small skiff, I’m strong, I can paddle the five miles. They could have said come back and get me later when I am ready.

Fortunately they heeded the advise and wisdom of the helicopter door keeper, and when they reached land, they were met by family and friends who loved them and feasted at the celebration honoring their arrival to security.

I’ve mentioned doorkeeper a couple of times now and I do so because I see you, me, us, as the doorkeepers, telling the multitude, the sheep, the perishing that this is the way. By faith are you saved through grace not of works less any man should boast. Jesus is the Gate, Jesus is the true master shepherd. We as doorkeepers, ambassadors for Christ must work together. Why? Because that is what Christ wants.

He prayed that we all be one as he and the Father are one. Why? So that the world may believe.

When one sheep is lost, the shepherd goes after it. Why? Because God desires that all be saved. Of his church, he desires unity as we are all part of the body of Christ and must work together for his glory, seeking and teaching the lost.

Praying for one another, uplifting one another, working with one another Loving together, witnessing together, evangelizing together.

We can’t make it alone. We are communal beings. No one person, no one church, no one denominations has all the gifts, talents, and money. God spreads it out because he wants us to work together. He is saying, we can have unity without uniformity, we can have dialogue without dictation, we can have diversity without division.

As Christian we are to help, teach, uplift and love one another. And then with the filling of the Holy Spirit, go out and spread the gospel to the lost sheep.