I've been thinking about a lot this week. Why do we need a shepherd? Why isn't it natural that we do what is right? Why isnt it our nature to stay on the right path, avoiding getting lost? Isn't it true that everything that is good comes from God? Were we not created by His hands? So then why is it that our natural being is an enemy to God? These questions filled my mind this week as I studied about the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ. It must have been painful for God to let us come to this earth knowing that some wouldn't make it back to His side. And it's apparent that he was aware of it, because He prepared an Atonement for us. He gave us ALL of the tools necessary to get back to his side, hoping that we would only take advantage of them. In fact, He wanted us to get back to His side so badly that He sent his Only-Begotten to be had as a sacrifice to fulfill with the justice so that even being imperfect beings, we could stand at His side again! What an expression of love! He has given us everything we need; scriptures, a church with perfect organization, living prophets, Authority, temples, and so much more. But even after having done so much for us, even paying the uttermost farthing, He can not force us to utilize these tools and apply the Atonement in our lives. That is a choice we have to make. To often we wait for an angelic appearance or a thunderous voice crying out, "REPENT YE, REPENT YE!" to act when in reality, that usually isn't how it works! We were sent here to act as our Own Agents, always abounding in good works by our OWN FREE WILL. Not having to be asked to do them! Waiting for divine intervention is like waiting for the bus to come anywhere but the bus stop! We have to act! We repent now and get worthy to be inside the temple. We magnify our callings to make the bishop's load lighter. We actively search opportunities to serve those around us, especially our enemies. When they ask us to take one step forward we take two on the road to Discipleship. We apply the Atonement, accepting Christ as our Savior and commit to living with his name proudly etched in our hearts. We listen to and follow the Shepard that we DESPERATELY need. God needs us to act by our own free will, because he wont do it for us. He is the Almighty and has all power, but He has given the power to us. The keys to salvation are in our hands, and the power is in us to reach it. He made it possible, but we make it happen. God is just, loving, and aware. Christ lives and has His hand extended. This church is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.