WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Let me remind you quickly of our protocols for everyone’s safety.
· Attendance was taken by ushers as you entered
· Offerings may be placed in the plate by the doors.
· The bulletins were placed specifically for social distancing, one household per pew. Please sit exactly where you found your bulletin.
· Please keep your masks on and remain seated through the whole service.
Family of Rose, Family of Chuck Thornton, Gary Iverson, all who are seeking Jesus, Bob Beck, Joan Boyd, Jack Braden, Wanda Hirl, Marilyn Neymeyer, Joan Pinkston, Maxine Wagner, Valerie Jerez, a person seeking a job, Annette Conzett, Jim Roling and family, Sara Feilmeier, Jackie with difficult pregnancy.
The office and the rest of the building remain closed, but you can contact Karla during her office hours.
Mother’s Day May 9th
Session May 16th
WORDS OF WORSHIP
Leader: Come, let us go up to the House of the Lord!
Response: there is no other place that helps us get as close to God as this.
L: Come into His presence with praise, thanksgiving, and confession.
R: It is only right to do so, for He is worthy of all praise!
L: Bring your concerns, fears and doubt for God to heal today.
R: That is hard to do, we scarcely want to see them ourselves!
GATHERING PRAYER (unison)
Precious Master, we have obeyed Your command and come to this sacred house to meet with You here. We know that we are not worthy of such a fellowship with the creator of the universe; but are grateful for Your grace and mercy. This is a troubling time in our world and in our lives and we would be desolate without Your presence and consolation. May we find that fellowship and inspiration we seek. Amen.
HYMN All People That On Earth Do Dwell No. 220
CONFESSION AND PARDON.
We are made humble, Jesus, by Your perfection. There is no way that we can even approach holiness on our own and we are hesitant to summon the grace that You brought us from your cross. It hurts us to know that the blood of our sacrificial Savior was necessary to blot out what we could have avoided in our lives with more effort and faith. Please forgive our casual approach to what cost You so much. Challenge us to ever greater obedience to the Bible’s holy word. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
It cost God the sacrifice of His beloved Son to save us from our sin. The agony of the cross was the price to forgive what we view far too casually. Yet the grace of the Lord is boundless and His peace can descend upon our own spirits. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable love. Amen.
Today we will be attempting to bring recorded sacred music to our worship.
THE PASSING OF THE PEACE
SONG OF PRAISE Gloria Patri No, 579
THE OFFERING AND OFFERTORY
We are thankful, Father, for being able to bring our best gifts to your offering today. They seem so small compared to the vastness of the world’s need; yet we have confidence that You can increase their effect multiple-fold to do much in Christ’s service. Amen.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
The world keeps asking questions , Savior, that You have already answered in the Holy Bible. Help our ears to hear and our minds to understand what message You have for us today. Let us be able to shed that light to others in the week to come. Amen.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Isaiah 53: 1-7
1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
SERMON “Feeling Sheepish?”
Good morning! You are watching the Facebook broadcast of our worship service on April 25th at First Presbyterian Church in Clinton, Iowa. I am Rev. Dr. Dale Dykstra, the interim minister here. I have been a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for 48 continuous years in Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Many of you will probably be surprised by how often in the Bible there are references to sheep and shepherds. This is true in both the Old and New Testaments. Did you remember that Moses was a shepherd for his father-in-law Jethro before he went back to Egypt to eventually lead the Hebrew people out of slavery? Many of the lessons of patience and leadership were learned in the pastures of his flockl.
You need to realize that Israel sits in the midst of an area we call The Middle East. That is an area that is overwhelmingly a DESERT! Sheep—indeed any animal—must have water as a primary need for life. Another priority is GRASS for food. These are not found in a desert. God has blessed Israel with something that rest of the Middle Easat does not have – mountains!
There is a relatively low range of mountains in the northern and middle sections of the holy land. This extends from the area of Galilee down through the section with Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Further south you run into the area of the Dead Sea with its salt deposits and surrounding desert.
I have stood on the summits of a couple of these mountains. Why is this important? Because God SNOWS and rains of the peaks. In fact, I had it SNOW one day when I was in Jerusalem in February! The water from the mountain’s rain and melting snow runs downhill and forms the life-giving Jordan River. Its tributaries spread out throughout the countryside – creating pastureland in the foothill country. ..near Bethlehem for instance. And so we have the perfect God-given environment to raise sheep and goats! With them surrounding the land of the Biblical events, their use as an illustration is natural.
Again, I have given you three Scripture passages to illustrate our message today –but there are MANY others I could have chosen that mention sheep and shepherds throughout the Bible. I begin—as I often do – with David. First of all; he IS an authority on shepherds and sheep. Remember when the judge and prophet Samuel came to Jesse’s house to anoint the next king of Israel after Saul had forfeited his place as God’s ruler?
Samuel looked at all of Jesse’s sons and God told him that each one was not the one chosen. He asked if there were any other sons. Jesse answered, “Well, yes. but he is the least of them all, so I had him out TENDING THE SHEEP! If anyone ought to know about sheep—it is David! That makes his 23rd Psalm all that much more of an authority for us.
What does the Psalm say? I’m glad you asked!! Almighty God IS A SHEPHERD! What did that mean to David?
1. I shall not want. God is the one who provides for every need. We can always turn to Him in prayer requests.
2. Green pastures and still waters. God takes us to safe and abundant places IF WE FOLLOW HIS WILL. He will supply all we need (and perhaps much of what we WANT as well).
3. He restores my soul. Most of us need to be restored after this pandemic. God is the one to “recharge our batteries.”
4. He lead me into righteousness. God will never lead us astray. We can always trust His sovereign guidance.
5. He is with us forever. I jokingly say “God never takes a vacation, just preacheers and God’s people do,” but it is no joke! 24-7 God is there for our every prayer.
6. He is a peacemaker. He even includes his enemies as invited guests at His table—the communion of His body and blood as God’s sacrificial LAMB.
With that established Jesus claims that HE provides all that a shepherd does. That includes protecting His sheep from the enemy –Satan. He stays with us when we are tempted to evil or in other trouble and WILL LEAD US OUT OF IT. If need be, the shepherd faces the wolf and may lose his life protecting the sheep. Jesus did that for us at the cross of Calvary.
About hearing the shepherd’s voice. In the Spring of the year at the time when the ewes are heavy at lambing time and more vulnerable to predators, several shepherds will gather together for protection. The flocks mingle together into one much greater grouping, When the young are born and grow strong enough to travel backm to their respective pastures they don’t have any problem knowing their ow shepherd’s voice and following only him.
The Bible brings us the very words of our shepherd. Let us follow only them!
Lastly, I brought you to Isaiah 53—the “suffering servant” passage. This makes it clear that the Messiah “bore our sins because we have strayed from right living like a dumb sheep. He comes after us in our sin to bring us back to the Father- the Head Shepherd. He will not leave you in your trouble. More than that –He died and rose again. He was like a lamb to the slaughter –but rose to new life.
We can learn a lot from the Bible’ use of “sheep” and “shepherds.” May this lesson be a blessing to each one of you to strengthen YOUR MINISTRY as a part of our faith family. Amen.
HYMN The King of Love My Shepherd Is No. 171
*AFFIRMATION Apostle’s Creed, Ecumenical Version
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,
He is seated on the right hand of the Father,
And he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
PASTORAL PRAYER AND LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever. Amen.
HYMN Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us No. 387
*CHARGE & BLESSING
And now, may the grace, mercy, and peace which proceeds from God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son, and into the Holy Spirit within us, rest and abide within us, now and forever more.
*Stand as you are able.
Please remember that as the weather warms up the boilers are not working as much if you are in the building you might want to bring a sweater because it may be cool in the building.