Repentance for Straying

For our Lenten worship tonight, via YouTube live stream, I prepared this Liturgy of Repentance. I am preaching on Psalm 23 and highlighting God’s promise of peace. Feel free to worship with us at 7:00 PM (Pacific Time). See the church website for more information on accessing the live stream.

http://www.livingwordlutheranchurch.com

To God be the glory!


Holy God,
Father,
Creator,
Sustainer,
and Good Shepherd.
You give me everything I truly need.
Your provision is unmatched by anything or anyone of this world.
Your supply is endless.
You invite me to come and buy without money and without price.
You give and give and give some more.
For You are the Good Shepherd and I am your sheep.
Yet, I stray from the flock to seek my own.
My wants overwhelm me, and I spurn Your grace.
Fear leads me to stockpile wants that will not save me –
They won’t protect me,
They won’t shield me.
Oh God, I have strayed and gone my own way.
I have sought worthless wants.
Oh my Good Shepherd
retrieve me,
restore me,
revive me,
and lead me in the path of righteousness – repeating Your promises to me. Repeat them without end as I remain in You.
For You are THE Good Shepherd and with you I lack nothing.
All I want is You.
All I need is You.
Keep me close and may Your rod and staff comfort me.
Oh Lord, my God and Shepherd, I repent of my straying.

Never Alone

Have you ever felt discouraged, attacked, beaten down, driven away like chaff or defeated? Have you ever felt like running away, hiding or curling up into a ball to wait out what’s afflicting you? Have you ever felt alone, lost or hopeless? Have you ever wondered if God actually cares? Have you ever wondered if God really knows what is going on or is doing what He said He would do? Well, you are not alone – and in more ways than one. First of all, you are not the only one to feel this way and second, you are never alone. God, your Shepherd, is always watching His sheep – He is always watching over you. Satan may get his punches in, but Satan will never remove and devour the sheep of the Shepherd, our God through Jesus Christ. And so, raise your voice to the Shepherd, but know – you are never alone, and Satan will never win.


Satan is on the prowl,
Looking to devour,
And I feel so defenseless.
He bites and scratches,
Wounds are appearing,
Injuries sustained,
Energy is draining.
And there is nothing I can do to stop him.
Hopelessness is his goal.
Lostness is his desire.
Oh God, come and rescue me.
Smash out his teeth,
Destroy his goals,
Slay the lion,
Leave him defeated.
Oh my Shepherd,
Keep me close to You,
May Your rod and staff comfort me,
Lead me through this dark valley,
May I once again see green pastures and still waters,
As You lead me in Your path of righteousness;
Healing and restoring my soul.
Satan is on the prowl, but YOU, oh God, are my Shepherd.
And thus, I am yours,
In Your house dwelling,
Forever and ever to worship You.
Amen.

All I Need

The following is the opening paragraph for the sermon I plan to give on Sunday, May 12 on John 10:22-30 using a bit of Psalm 23. If you want to hear the full sermon, stop by Living Word Lutheran Church on Sunday or check out our website later for the audio file. To God be the glory!

___________________________________________________

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, for He is everything I need. The first part of that sentence you recognize as the opening of the beloved Psalm 23. It headlines a beautiful Psalm of salvation; describing the peace we have because of God: Green pastures, still waters, restoration for the weary, security in darkness, evil forces irrelevant, sustenance, bounteous provision and a place prepared especially for you forever. This peace is something we have by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is a peace secured by God’s love and faithfulness. This peace assures us of the forgiveness of sins and thus peace with God. And this is the Truth that we can cling to for it has been stamped and sealed with the blood of the Lamb. This beloved Psalm also details a future that can not be altered by those who would oppose God, not even you. No one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28) And therefore, through faith in Jesus, you WILL dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, for He is everything I need. Do you hear his voice? Are you truly following?

Sermon teaser ~ The world’s “Psalm 23”

The following is a work in progress as I talk about those that enter the sheepfold by anyway other than the Door (Jesus). This is “Psalm 23” as told by those who would deceive the sheep; stealing them away and thus leading them to be killed and destroyed.

A lord will be your shepherd
you shall not want because you will have lots of stuff.
He makes you lie down in luscious homes
with big fences so you will be at peace.
He will cause you to be happy.
He leads you in paths of success
for your name’s sake and for your heirs.
Even though you will walk among those who would oppose you,
you will fear no one,
for your many friends will give you meaning;
and thus you will live in comfort.
Your enemies will be defeated
for you will be among the privileged
and therefore your cup will overflow with fortune.
Surely success and money and fame
will follow you all the days of your life
and you will dwell in the biggest house in your neighborhood
(until you die).

Scary how true this is for many.

The Pastor -|—

Shepherd – A Prayer

This coming Sunday we have Psalm 23 and John 10:1-10 (“I am the door of the sheep“). Along with those texts we are singing, Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us (among other hymns). The following is the Prayer of the Day that I wrote for worship. Use as you feel so inclined. Praise be to God.

Holy God, through Jesus Christ you lead us as our shepherd, much we need your tender care. Through your blessed Son, Jesus Christ, you have bought us and thus we are Yours as You guide us, feed us and anoint us. Oh God, through your grace we will dwell in your holy courts forever and thus we give You our worship. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

 

Sermon teaser for John 9:24-41 with Psalm 23

The following are the closing two paragraphs from this Sunday’s sermon (March 26). For more, please keep an eye on the church’s website at: http://www.livingwordlutheranchurch.com for the complete audio version of this message. May God be praised.

If your eyes are wide open; seeing Jesus, and acknowledging him as Lord, then these two verses are incredibly awesome to your hearing: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff comfort me.”  And then, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  The darkest valley is not dark to Jesus and living among those who would want to destroy us is of no concern for Jesus, for he has our lives in his mighty hands.

And therefore, when your eyes are open; seeing the light of salvation that is in Jesus, you can confidently say, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Ponder that verse; for how can one not turn over everything they are to this Good Shepherd. Open your eyes and keep them open that you may full describe and proclaim the glory of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The world NEEDS your wide-open eyes. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Blessing Others

Oh Lord our God and Shepherd,
You feed us
and restore us
and guide us into all righteousness.
You give us hope in the midst of death
and lead us with Your mighty right hand.
You have chosen us
and have blessed us to overflowing.
You have given us a home through faith in Jesus Christ.
May we bless others with the blessings You have given us.
May we not hold back
as we joyfully bring glory to Your holy name
through our giving.
It’s in Jesus name that we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—