Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Good Shepherd’

Let the Shepherd Lead Us


Rev. Steve Hundley
delivered the prayers and
inspirational message below
by way of ZOOM to a “screenfull”
of appreciative worshipers this morning.

Fran McNeill
selected the songs.
I am pleased to share
parts of this service with you today.

Come, let us worship!

Call to Worship:   Psalm 116: 12-13

God invites us into His healing presence with these words: “I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Diseased, depressed, dysfunctional, defeated, we come hungering for health that only God can provide.

God calls us to bring open eyes, hearing ears, and tender hearts turned towards Him, the Great Physician.

We worship our God with faith and expectation.

Come and sing along!

Opening Prayer

O God, our Rock, our refuge, our resting place, we come to You out of another week of mostly sheltering in place.  We come out of our desire to find some meaning in this strange, unusual, and frightening time.  We come out of our desire to meet You and know You as the center of our being.  We gather in spirit and in the security of Your love.  Fill our hearts and prepare us for service and for the living of these days.   Amen.


Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray – Bible Hubbiblehub.com › isaiah
We all like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

A Children’s Message for Adults, too!    
(a true story)

When we were teenagers, my brother bought an old wooden canoe with the intent of restoring it.  Ridge spent one entire summer re-conditioning it.  He stripped the wooden ribs and re-varnished the interior.  He “re-fiberglassed” the outside and even painted it to resemble an Indian birch bark canoe. 

For its maiden voyage we decided to take it out on the James River for a day of fishing.  After what turned out to be a banner day of catching a passel of smallmouth bass and sun perch, we reached the designated take-out point.  Pulling the front of the canoe up on the shore, we jumped on my brother’s motorcycle that we had left there and headed back up river to retrieve the pickup truck.

When we drove back to get the canoe, it was nowhere to be found.  Searching the river bank, we spotted it floating off downstream.  Running along the bank and crashing through the underbrush, we were able to draw even with it.  Grabbing the longest tree branch we could find, we strained to reach out to it, but with every attempt, it moved further out into the main current of the river, gaining speed as it drifted away.

Then came the moment of truth!  It was clear that one of us would have to strip down and swim after the canoe.  Looking at each other, we knew who it would be.  HEY, IT WAS NOT MY CANOE!  Don’t look at me like that!  If I had offered to strip down and drive into the icy water to recue “his” canoe, he would not have learned anything about the responsibility of ownership.  I did, however, cheer him on as he dove into the frigid water.

There is no greater blessing in life than to have someone who is willing to strip down and dive into the dark and icy waters of this world; particularly when what is disappearing down the river happens to be us. especially during this life-altering virus outbreak. Yes, we belong to Jesus, who has redeemed us with His life on the cross.  Like my brother who was willing to dive into the icy waters to save his canoe, Jesus said: “I am the Good Shepherd, and I lay down my life for my sheep.”

SONG:               Shepherd Me O God                          Sm 2058 

Prayer for Illumination:

Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we may hear Your Word with joy.  Amen.

Pastoral Prayer:

O Lord, our Shepherd, who leads us by still waters and into green pastures, we thank You for the times in our lives when life is strong, good, affirming and everything happens for the best.  Teach us to remember, though, that You are with us at all times, even in the midst of this ongoing pandemic when the waters are not still and the pastures are not green, when our days are fraught with danger and difficulty and we eat our bread in the presence of a silent killer called COVID 19.

            Remind us that Your loving kindness surpasses even this and Your faithfulness is to all generations.  Help us to recall Your undying love for us in these days of adversity and disappointment, so that even this misfortune may but strengthen our sense of Your presence and encourage us in faith.

Though we are still sheltering in place, O Lord, we continue to pray for each other.  Hear our individual prayers as we lift up to You all those we love who need your comfort and strength and healing today.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Go now – and bee the heart, ears, and hands of love.
Thanks for joining us in worship today.
God bless you!

See ya tomorrow.

{{{{HUGS}}}}
JanBeek

No Expiration Date


 

Feeling lost? Need to be found? Need help finding your way? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then Sunday’s sermon was for you! As for me, I always need help finding my way through the maze of life’s choices!

The sermon was titled, “How Far Will the Love of God Go?” Based on Luke 15:1-10, preached by Rev. Jean Johnson, with poetic notes taking the usual liberties, I titled the poem, “No Expiration Date.” 

Jesus was not very selective
In the company He chose to keep.
He sought the lost and sinful
The way a shepherd searched for lost sheep.

Like Our God who searches for us,
Jesus looked for the lost day and night.
He didn’t give up when others might;
He kept looking until the lost were in sight.

He went to the ends of the earth.
He even descended into Hell!
He was there with the Good News,
With the story of salvation to tell.

Hell is separation from God –
So Jesus went to an estranged abyss.
Even after His crucifixion,
He lowered Himself to such as this.

He entered solidarity with those
Who had lost their way in darkness.
He brought the light of God to show
The Hope of Salvation in all that starkness.

No matter what you do to try
And remove yourself from God’s reach,
There is no place you can go –
Not even Hell – that God cannot breach.

God will go to limitless lengths
To find you and bring you home.
There is no time limit, no expiration –
The Shepherd seeks until He finds His own.

Amen?
Amen!

 

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