We have known for some time that a significant portion of the population of our great country claims to believe in Jesus Christ but has nothing to do with His church. This number has been variously estimated, but it likely to be a staggering 100 million (1 out of every 3). What is new to me is to discover that the majority of these 100 million (60 million or so) were at one time affiliated with the church, but have since left because of disillusionment. They have had expectations of the people of God that have not been met. They have been hurt by the company of faith, or at least not loved very well. This is a significant number in our generation, no less than one out of every five.
This is a real problem that, as it turns out, is not unique to our generation. In fact, Jesus describes something similar in John 9. After Jesus healed a man born blind, the religious authorities interrogated him at some length. They chided him, they reviled him, they treated him poorly and they eventually cast him out. But even though this man was treated roughly by the religious establishment, Jesus was not through with him. He went on to teach this man precious things about how God would be able to restore this man, despite his bad experience with the people of God. The answer would have to do with receiving guidance, nurture and protection from Jesus himself. The answer has to do with letting Jesus be your Good Shepherd.
I want to introduce you to a series that will be devoted to healing for the spiritually burned. If we are honest, there are ways that every one of us has been disappointed by God—and His people. It is the human condition to look for satisfaction in places that do not ultimately satisfy, and that may include looking to God’s people for satisfaction… rather than God himself. I want to point to a way that this disillusioned generation, and every one of us, may be healed. It is by turning afresh to the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. This will be a six-week encounter with our Savior based on the Gospel of John, chapter 10.