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Sermon and Worship Illustration:

Psalm 23 Worship Resources

Texts & Discussion:
Psalm 23
John 10:1-10


The Good Shepherd
Loving, Tender Care
Trusting God through Hardship


Prayer to Shepherd God
(by St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier)

Shepherd God,
Give me your great heart to love with, especially when my own heart is too small and limited to love as another needs to be loved.
Give me all I need to reach out to those who are lost and in trouble.
Give me the love and courage to give myself totally to the mission of Jesus, the Good Shepherd who laid down his life so that we would have life in its fullness. Amen.



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Living Psalm 23
based on Psalm 23 and John 10:11-18
by Rev. Karen A. Goltz

            Have you ever been in a nursing home or a hospital, visiting someone whoís no longer completely in touch with reality?  Maybe youíre visiting a family member, someone very close like a parent or a grandparent, but theyíre just not themselves anymore.  They may not even be able to remember who you are, or who they are.  Itís painful to see a loved one go through that, and I imagine itís difficult and frustrating for that person to lose touch with everything thatís familiar.

            Iíve been on a few visits like that, and Iíd be lying if I said it wasnít uncomfortable for me.  Itís hard to connect with someone whoís so disconnected from everything.

            But then Iíll read the twenty-third Psalm aloud to them, and all of a sudden itís like a lightís been turned on.  Someone who canít recognize their own family or remember their own name will begin to recite the psalm along with me.  Thereís just something about those verses that makes the connection, that soothes the soul.  This psalm, like all the other psalms, is a prayer of the people to God.  A prayer that speaks to God for us when we canít come up with the words on our own . . . . .

Sermon Excerpt #2:

Under the Shepherd's Care
a sermon based on Psalm 23
by Dr. David Rogne

....The first thing King David does is to credit God with providing for his most basic needs. In a very optimistic statement he declares, "I shall not be in want." One could take exception to that and ask whether he is saying that all who decide to follow God will really have all their needs met. Was the Psalmist so blind that he never saw the righteous go hungry or good people go without clothing? I do not think the Psalmist was unaware of these things. David, the presumed author of this Psalm, was often hungry and without lodging when he was being pursued by King Saul. What he is describing here is an attitude of trust and confidence which will take a person through such difficulties with optimism. ďTo be in wantĒ is a concept that is relative to one's expectations. When I go back to the old neighborhood in which I grew up, I become aware that I came from a poor neighborhood, but I didn't know then that it was a poor neighborhood. When I was going to seminary, my wife and I were probably as poor as people on welfare, but we didn't think of ourselves in those terms; we were simply temporarily doing without. Contentment is a state of mind, not necessarily related to the way in which other people see our situations. The person who is convinced of the goodness of God still has reason to be optimistic, even when times are difficult. Contentment is a gift from God, and those who have it do not feel that they are in want.

The author also sees rest as a gift "(God) makes me lie down in green pastures," he says. If we don't rest as we should, it affects our whole outlook. A woman complained to her pastor "I needed your advice on something yesterday, but when I phoned you weren't in. "I'm sorry," said the pastor, "but yesterday was my day off." "A day off?" she sniffed, "you know, the devil never takes a day off." "That's true," said the pastor, "and if I didn't have a day off I'd be just like him."

. . . . . .


Children's Sermon:

My Sheep Hear My Voice
based on John 20:22-30 & Psalm 23
by Rev. Frank Schaefer


Good morning boys and girls. Today, I didn't bring anything to show you because you can all help me with this children's sermon. I need you to pretend to be sheep.  Can you all go: baaaaaaa....?

Now that we know what sheep sound like, what else do we know about sheep? What do they do? What do they eat? Are they by themselves or in a group with other sheep? Who makes sure that all the sheep stay together? (the shepherd).

How does a Shepherd take care of his sheep?  Do they lead them to where green grass grows?  Do they lead them to fresh water?  Do they take care of them when they are sick?  Do they protect them from wild animals?  Do they go looking for a sheep that got lost?

In today's Bible reading Jesus says that God's people hear his voice like sheep know their shepherd's voice.

Now, do you suppose it is true that sheep know the shepherd's voice?  That's amazing, isn't it? And maybe not that amazing, because our pets probably know our voice too, don't they?  Who of you have a cat or a dog?  Do they recognize your voice?   Do they come when you call them?  That's the same with sheep.

Do you think we are a little like sheep? Do we need help? Do we need a Shepherd to help us? Who is our Shepherd? That's right it's Jesus/God. And God has promised us to take care of us, to keep us going on the right path and to teach us what we need to know. He is the Good Shepherd.  But we must listen to Jesus, the Good Shepherd.  We have His words in the bible, and sometimes he speaks to our hearts, too.

What do you think, should we ask God to help us listen to Jesus words?  O.K. let's ask God right now.  In invite you to bow your heads with me for prayer:

"Dear God, our Good Shepherd, help us listen to your voice.  We need you to lead us and guide us.  We want to be good sheep and follow you with glad hearts.  Amen."

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