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Jehovah Raah :: God Our Shepherd

Sermon Series


Jehovah Raah :: God Our Shepherd

Oct 5, 2022

Jehovah Raah :: God Our Shepherd

Oct 5, 2022

Many folks relate Psalm 23 to funerals.

However, this has not been my experience. It signifies so much more.

Psalm 23 has been a huge part of my healing and also the building block of my relationship with God. It is through this piece of Scripture that God took hold of me.

And it was all thanks to a security guard.

In 1988, I was working as a supervisor at a warehouse in Maryland. At this point in my career, I had a certain level of authority to make some decisions regarding staffing and we needed a security guard for our operations.

I knew of an old retired pastor friend of mine who was looking to work part-time in his retirement, so I reached out to him and asked if this position was something he would be interested in doing, and he said yes.

This pastor-turned-security guard was stationed in the back of our warehouse where we would ship 15 to 30 containers a day. All he had to do was stand there, stamp paperwork, and meet-and-greet the truck drivers. He did all of this flawlessly.

Part of my job was to traverse that part of the building every hour to ensure that things were running smoothly and to potentially answer any questions on products that were going in a ton of different directions.But when I would get to my friend, he would push the surface level talk aside and cut to the chase. Every time I saw him – sometimes every hour! – he would ask me about with my relationship with God.

I would give him my standard answer: “It’s going great.”

At the time, I attended church, but didn’t connect with the hymns we would sing. Worship didn’t mean much.

I tried to get him to stop asking me about my relationship with God, but he was persistent. During one of our exchanges, he encouraged me to start committing scripture to memory. I was a young, working dad and husband; I did not have time to be trying to commit scripture to memory. And what would that do for me anyways?A short while later, on one of my trips around the warehouse, he suggested that I start committing the whole chapter of Psalm 23 to memory.

This felt overwhelming to me.

“A whole chapter? I can’t remember my own name some days!” I thought.

However, this security guard pastor was persistent and kept telling me that if I started memorizing what God had to say through His word, it would change my life forever.

Back then, there was no iPhone. No digital way to memorize Scripture. So he put pencil to paper and wrote out Psalm 23 on index cards for me.

He was right. It changed my life.

The more I read this Psalm, the more God started speaking to my heart and my mind:

“The LORD is my Shepherd”
I started to understand what a true Shepherd really does.

“He makes me life down in green pastures”
I started to understand that God wants to take my fears and anxieties and replace it with true rest.

“He refreshes my soul”
I started to understand that God would renew my heart and mind restore me to a wholeness.

“He guides me along the right paths”
I started to understand what it would look like for God to guide me and lead me.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”
I started to understand how to surrender the fear in my life that had manifested itself in anxiety and anger, and to know God was with me.

“You prepare a table before me…. and anoint my head with oil”
I started to understand how much God loves and cares for me.

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life”
I started to understand God’s goodness and mercy. I didn’t know it then, but I have seen these things in my life since that moment.

“I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
I started to understand that through Jesus, I will live with God for eternity. My days on earth are for His glory.

Through the understanding of Psalm 23, God flipped the trajectory of my life and changed everything.

If that old pastor-turned-security guard would not have leaned in and helped me to understand how critical Scripture was to hearing God speak and experiencing Him in my life, I am 100 percent sure that my story would not have turned out the way it has.

I can look back now and see how important relationships are for each one of us. First and foremost, our relationship with God, and following that, our relationship with others. I have been the beneficiary of receiving care and discipleship from many people over the years, and because of this, I now find great value in walking alongside others.I believe we all need three key mentors in our life. We need someone who will mentor us spiritually, financially and in leadership (whether that would be our family, our friends or the workplace). Being mentored and mentoring others in a different season of life is a great way to share your story of the work God is doing in and through you as you point others to Jesus.

Thirteen years before that pivotal season in the warehouse, that same pastor-turned-security guard held my hand when I accepted Jesus and was baptized on April 5, 1975 at the age of 15. It took 13 years before I truly allowed God to have control of my heart and for me to pursue a deeper, more personal relationship with Him.April 5 holds a special meaning for multiple reasons as my second son was born on that same day. I’m eternally grateful to that security guard, Pastor Bennett, for his willingness to pour into me in multiple seasons and let God use him to change my life.


By Ron Nottingham

Ron Nottingham

Ron is the Executive Director of Operations for Hillside. His interests include: sipping iced tea from his favorite styrofoam cup, sharing words of wisdom to anyone who will listen, and being Pop-Pop to his six grandkids.

Ron Nottingham

Ron is the Executive Director of Operations for Hillside. His interests include: sipping iced tea from his favorite styrofoam cup, sharing words of wisdom to anyone who will listen, and being Pop-Pop to his six grandkids.

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