The Third Sunday of the Easter Season

April 14, 2024   

known, liturgically, as

Misericordia Domini Sunday  (“the Lord’s Unfailing Love”)

and known, traditionally, as  Good Shepherd Sunday




Jesus Christ: Our Gate to Heaven

Our Good Shepherd, and Our Savior


At the outbreak of the Civil War neither the confederacy nor the Union had settled on standardized

uniforms. This little known fact had a profound effect on the outcome of one of the war’s first battles.

At the first Battle of Bull Run (also known as the Battle of  Manassas Junction), on July 21, 1861, a union

 artillery commander by the name of Griffin was in charge of two large field pieces.   As the battle progressed he saw troops dressed in blue advancing towards his position.   He wheeled his cannons around to fire on those troops, but he was interrupted by his commanding officer.

            “Those are Union troops,” his superior officer declared. “They’re our reinforcements and they’re bringing us more supplies.”  In spite of Griffin’s protests to the contrary, the commander gave explicit orders to  not fire on the advancing troops.

            When the advancing force got within range, they dropped into shooting position, lowered their muskets, and fired several volleys at Griffin and his men.   They were Confederate troops after all.   Within moments the Union artillerymen were routed and their cannons were captured. This was one of the turning points in the first battle of the Civil War, where Union troops would flee from the field in utter defeat.

            It’s entirely possible that on that day, a confederate victory might have been avoided had Griffin’s superior officer simply recognized which were his side’s troops and which were those of the enemy.

            Today is commonly known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.”    One of the many Biblical emphases on this day highlights the critical importance of recognizing and faithfully following ONLY the voice of Jesus as our Good Shepherd-Savior.   At the same time we’re urged to consistently recognize the voice of the enemy in the many different voices of the world that call out to us, encouraging us to trust and follow them instead of our Good Shepherd’s voice.   Sadly, too often sheep of the Savior allow themselves to become weak or confused, and to be misled into following the voices of various false shepherds,” such as Satan, an abundance of false teachers, this wicked world, and – of course – their own sinful flesh.  They end up following those false voices to their peril – and sometimes into eternal damnation.

            I believe the following story well illustrates the importance of listening to Christ’s voice alone.  Years ago a tourist was traveling in the Middle East.   He happened to come upon several shepherds whose flocks had intermingled while drinking water from a brook.   After an exchange of greetings, one of the shepherds turned toward the amalgamation of sheep and called out, “Manah. Manah. Manah.” (Manah means “follow me” in Arabic.) Immediately his sheep separated themselves from the rest of the sheep and began following him.

            Shortly after that, one of the two remaining shepherds also called out, “Manah. Manah.” and his sheep left the common flock to follow him.     The traveler then said to the third shepherd, “I would like to try that.  Would you mind if I put on your cloak and turban to try to get the rest of the sheep to follow me?”

            The shepherd smiled knowingly as the traveler wrapped himself in the cloak, put the turban on his head and called out, “Manah. Manah.”    Nothing happened.    The sheep did not respond at all to the stranger’s voice.   Not one of them moved toward him.   “Will these sheep ever follow someone other than you?” The traveler asked.   

“Oh yes,” the shepherd replied, “sometimes a sheep gets sick,  and then it will follow anyone.”  

            We have seen it too, haven’t we?   There are people we know, both young and old, who are Spiritually “sick.”    Some have been battered and beaten by the storms of life.   Others have become distracted and deceived either by internal voices of selfishness and stubbornness, or those external voices urging them that urge them to satisfy themselves and go their own way…wherever that is.    Still others – typically those who have disconnected themselves functionally or emotionally from God’s Word and from God’s Church – have simply lost their bearings.   They no longer know where they are, Spiritually-speaking, or where they need to be heading.   Disconnecting from Christ’s flock – whatever the reason or motivation – might seem empowering initially.   But eventually it ends up being confusing, even frightening.   It typically leads a person into grave Spiritual danger and hopelessness.   It’s sad, but true, that once someone becomes “spiritually sick” they can end up following just about anyone who will promise a moment of happiness, a sense of satisfaction, an offer of being “in control,” and an erroneous belief that they are someone “special” who has the right to do whatever they want.

            But all those many false and deceptive voices lead – not to God and heaven, but – away from God and toward Satan, and eternal damnation in hell.

            On the other hand, the call of Jesus the Good Shepherd, which is heard when we are faithfully attentive to

His Word, is clear and saves our souls.    Jesus simply says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.   No one comes to the Father except through Me.”    There is no better way to life, no greater truth, and no happier situation than that of being a sheep devoted to the one and only Good Shepherd. 

            So let’s hear His voice again today in Scripture, as the Good Shepherd of our souls calls out to us, in love, urging us to follow Him faithfully through this life and into life everlasting in heaven.

            Psalm 23, “The LORD is my Shepherd,” is one of the most comforting affirmations of Christ’s love for us in all of Scripture, one  believers throughout the ages have cherished, as I hope you do today.

            Originally God the Holy Spirit put those words, by Divine inspiration, into the heart of a shepherd-king named David approximately 1000 years before Jesus was born.   Across 30 centuries God’s people have sung and spoken, shared and declared the words of Psalm 23.    They have brought comfort to the fearful, compassion to the hurting, and peace to the dying.

            When David wrote, “The LORD is my Shepherd,” he was making a confession of faith regarding himself and his God.    David recognized his profound need for the one, true God, in order to bless him in this life and especially in order to receive eternal life one day in heaven.   Like one of the many sheep he had cared for in his time as a shepherd, David also recognized how weak and helpless he was on his own.  He saw this world as a wilderness filled with all kinds of dangers to his soul – both dangers within because of his sinful nature, as well as those without – from the sinful world and the Devil.    By God’s grace David also  saw the LORD as the only One Who could truly comfort him when he was afraid, protect him when he was in danger,  and provide for all his needs of body and soul now and forever.

            On this Good Shepherd Sunday each of us has the opportunity to once again take the inspired words of King David and make them our own.   Let’s all gladly and genuinely confess this morning that “The LORD is [and always will be] my Shepherd!”   

            Of course, we’ll also admit that we 21st century Americans are at something of a disadvantage compared to David, the shepherd-king.   Few, if any, of us have seen (let alone tended) a flock of sheep.   As a result, we don’t fully appreciate some of the more subtle Spiritual truths that can be found in identifying ourselves as His sheep and in calling the LORD our Good Shepherd.   Nevertheless, it’s my  prayer this morning that as you meditate on the Word of God today, that you’ll be led to more clearly see the LORD as your ultimate Good Shepherd.   May you also see in these portions of Scripture, how much of a dearly loved and cared for sheep you are to Jesus.

This Day on the Church’s “Calendar”

            In order that Christians might be able to see Jesus as our Good Shepherd and so that we might faithfully follow Him as His sheep, the Christian Church has traditionally designated one of the six Sundays after Easter as “Good Shepherd Sunday.”   Its purpose is to provide Christians with a specific, annual occasion through which, on the basis of God’s Word, we can reflect both upon Jesus’ self-described role as our “Good Shepherd,” and upon our privileged position as His “sheep.”     This Third Sunday of the Easter season serves us as Good Shepherd Sunday.  It’s one of the Christian Church’s oldest worship customs, but also one which the early church identified by a much different, and (for us, a) rather strange-sounding name.   That name is:


“Misericordia Domini” Sunday”

The term “Misericordia Domini” means”the unfailing love of the  Lord.”   It’s part of the Latin language,

which was the Roman empire’s “official language.” Latin for many centuries served as the theological language of the western/European Christian Churches.     The specific phrase “misericordia domini” is drawn from the fifth verse of the liturgical Psalm reading for this day….and our Preparatory Psalm for this morning, Psalm 33.    Selecting certain Psalms (as well as other Scripture lessons) to be used on specific Sundays became a generally accepted practice in the “early” Church from the 4th century on.  However, as to exactly when Psalm 33 and “Misericordia Domini” became tied to the post-Easter part of the church calender, we cannot say with any precision.    Suffice it to say, this tradition/custom is a long-standing one.


Today’s Scripture Lessons

            In today’s Old Testament Lesson, Ezekiel 34, we will see another reason why this Sunday was — centuries ago — given its “liturgical Latin name”:   Misericordia Domini.,   Through Ezekiel’s inspired pen the Holy Spirit will be reminding us that it is the never-failing “Compassionate Love” of the Good Shepherd for His sheep that moves Him to relentlessly seek out, rescue, and restore the lost and the straying.  That same gracious love additionally leads Him to faithfully, daily feed and care for His beloved sheep.    

            In our Epistle Lesson the Apostle John describes his vision-portrait of Jesus in heaven as the “Lamb of God” surrounded a multitude of believers who are dressed in white robes (the symbolic color for “purity”).   Those saints – His “Sheep” –  are committed to praising and serving Him endlessly.    By God’s grace may we all one day be a part of their number in heaven!    Today we especially want to look at the last verse (17) of this reading which declares that the Lamb will be their (and our) Shepherd who will lead His followers “to springs of living water.”    ……the “connection” to the beautiful words of Psalm 23 are unmistakable, aren’t they?    For us, who are part of the Shepherd’s earthly flock, the springs of living water are none other than the “Means of Grace” (God’s Word and the Sacraments), through which the Lord develops and daily refreshes/renews our faith as we look forward to one day enjoying life eternal in heaven.

            Next, through our Children’s Lesson we will talk about how important it us for us, as His sheep, to LISTEN to our Good Shepherd (Jesus).  We don’t listen to His voice “boom” out of the sky to us today, but we can hear Jesus anytime, by attentively listening to His voice as He speaks to us through His Word.

            Today’s combination Gospel Lesson/Sermon Text is taken from John 10, Scripture’s principal reference to Jesus as the “Good Shepherd.”  In fact the entire tenth chapter of John is called “the Good Shepherd Chapter.”  Here we hear Jesus identify Himself as that Good Shepherd Who willingly lays down His life for His sheep, each of whom He knows by name.  He also mentions some characteristics of His sheep:  they know Him and gladly follow Him as their Shepherd.  Most important, He promises that no one and thing will ever take His sheep away from Him.  

            Just before we begin our Sermon today, we’ll join in reading, in unison,  “the World’s Most Beloved Psalm,” better known to us as Psalm 23.

            Finally, in our Sermon, we’ll consider just how relevant and significant to our lives is Jesus as both our Gate into God’s Kingdom, and as our Good Shepherd.             




We Welcome You To Grace Lutheran Church

            We welcome you this morning, in the name of our living Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.   May you find abiding peace and renewed strength for your faith and Christian life in His Word of truth today.   The chief purpose of our ministry, as our Lord enables us, is to serve all people with the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ, revealed to us in the verbally inspired, inerrant Scriptures.  And so it is our privilege and intent to   proclaim the Law and Gospel keenly and clearly, in order to convict sinners of their sins, to lead them to repentance, to comfort penitent souls, and to build each other up in the true faith in the only true, Triune God through the Means of Grace (the Word and Sacraments of our Lord).  It is also our intent to equip you, our fellow believers, through that same Means of Grace, to grow in your Christian life as God’s faithful servants, stewards, and witnesses regarding the redeeming grace of our God in Christ Jesus.

            We take a “liturgical” (Greek for “ordered/structured”) approach as we worship our Lord.   For centuries, even before the beginning of the early Christian Church – going back to the days of the ancient Jewish “Synagogue” service and temple observances – God’s people have worshiped Him by following a basic arrangement, or “order of service.”  Rich in its Biblical content and emphases, this liturgical approach is time-tested, and is (as it ought to be) centered – not on mere feelings or emotions, but  – firmly on the saving actions of our merciful God as revealed to us in the Holy Bible.

            This approach to worship is not one that can always be fully appreciated instantly.   If this style of worship is new to you, we encourage you to be patient, allowing yourself sufficient time to become familiar with its purposes and meaning.   We are confident that with time, patience, and instruction, you will find it very edifying for your faith.   Throughout today’s worship service you will hear the Good News of God’s love for you in the inspired words of God’s prophets, evangelists, apostles – and especially God’s Son – as they speak to from the Holy Scriptures.  In addition, we worship as a congregation (we are not part of an audience, but are participants in the act of worshiping).  We are seated to listen to God’s Word and to sing the regular hymns.  When praying, we stand.  The pastor faces the congregation when he is serving as God’s spokesman.  He faces the altar when he is serving as the congregation’s representative before the Lord, and also when he joins them as a fellow worshiper.   In addition, please note that because Jesus is our King and Lord, as well as our Redeemer and Savior, we typically stand to hear the reading of the daily Gospel lesson as an expression of our respect for the inspired words of Christ.




The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version  Copyright 2019,   The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved. Used with permission.     Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831




Pre-Service Prayer

Lord, open now my heart to hear  

And through Your Word to me, draw near;

Let me Your Word e’er pure retain,  

Let me Your child and heir remain.

Your Word does deeply move the heart,  

Your Word does perfect health impart,

Your Word my soul with joy does bless,  

Your Word brings peace and happiness.  Amen.



Pre-service Prayer                                                                                                                                              

Pre-service Music                                                                                                                                              


We Praise Our God


The Introduction and Invitation To Worship


following which, the Congregation will rise for the invocation


The Invocation


Pastor              We begin this service in the name of the Father


Congregation  Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.


P:         And of the Son

C:         Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.


P:         And of the Holy Spirit

C:         Who gave us eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus.

P:         Amen.



The Responsive Psalm for Today                                                                           Psalm 33, selected verses


P:         Shout joyfully to the LORD,  you righteous:    The praise of the upright is beautiful.

C:         Sing to Him a new song;    play skillfully and shout praises.


P:         Yes, the word of the Lord is right;   and everything He does is


C:         He loves righteousness and justice;   The unfailing love of the LORD fills the earth.


P:         Let all the earth fear the Lord;    let all the inhabitants of the world revere Him.

C:         How blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,    the people He chose to be His possession.


P:         Our souls wait for the Lord;    He is our Help and our Shield.

C:         Yes, in Him our heart rejoices,   because we trust in His holy name.


P:         May Your unfailing love, O LORD, be on us,

C:         even as we wait confidently for You.                                                            


After which the Congregation will be seated for


Opening Hymn                                                              “An Easter Season/Good Shepherd Sunday Medley”

                                                                                                     note…..each hymn selection uses a different tune

                                                                  …..there will be A BRIEF MUSICAL PAUSE after each verse grouping


Hymn 162

He is arisen!   Glorious Word!   Now reconciled is God my Lord;

The gates of heav’n are open.    My Jesus did triumphant die,

And Satan’s arrows broken lie,   Destroyed hell’s direst weapon.

Oh, hear, what cheer!    Christ victorious   Rises glorious……

Life He’s giving – He was dead, but see:   He’s living!


            Hymn 453, v 1

Come, follow Me, the Savior spoke,  All in My way abiding;

Deny yourselves, the world forsake,    Obey my call and guiding.

Oh, bear the cross, what e’er betide,    Take My example for your guide.


            Hymn 473, v 4

Savior, I long to walk   Closer with Thee;

Led by Thy guiding hand,   Ever to be

Constantly near Thy side,    Quickened and purified,

Living for Him Who died,   Freely for me.

            Hymn 432, v 2-3

Day by day, at home, away,   Jesus is my Staff and Stay.

When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,   Into pleasant pastures leads me;

When I thirst, He bids me go   Where the quiet waters go.


Who so happy as I am, Even now the Shepherd’s lamb?

And when my short life is ended,   By His angel hosts attended,

He shall fold me to His breast,   There within His arms to rest.


            Hymn 375, v 6

And so through all the length of days

Your goodness fails me, never!

Good Shepherd, May I sing Your praise

Within Your house forever!


            Hymn 157, v 4

Sing we to our God above,   Alleluia!

Praise eternal, as His love:    Alleluia!

Praise Him, all You heav’nly host,   Alleluia!

Father, Son and Holy Ghost.   Alleluia!     Amen!


After which the Pastor will invite the Congregation to rise as


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor  Brothers and sisters in Christ:    the Word of God urges us to confess to our Lord all our sins of thought, word, and action.   This is something that ought to be daily part of our spiritual lives, and should come forth from every heart that is humble and penitent.    But we should especially do this when we meet together in His house to thank God for all that He has done for us, to praise Him, and to hear His life-giving Word.    Therefore, come with me now, to our Heavenly Father’s throne of grace, and let us confess our sins together.


Congregation  Miserable person that I am,   +   I confess and lament to You, O most holy God,  +   that I  am a weak and sinful creature,  +  guilty of every sin, of unbelief, and of blasphemy. +   I also confess that Your Word has not brought forth good fruit in me.   +   I hear it, but do not receive it earnestly.   +   I do not show works of love toward my neighbor.   +   I am full of anger, hate, and envy.   +   I am impatient, greedy, and bent on every evil.   +   Therefore my heart and conscience are heavy.   +   Lord, I ask You, free me from my sins,   +   strengthen my faith,   +   and comfort my weak conscience by Your divine Word,  +   that I may obtain Your promised grace.


Pastor  Having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty God, now be strengthened in your faith, mindful that our Lord is not willing that anyone should perish eternally, but that everyone should come to repentance, turning from their evil ways and receiving from Him everlasting life.    God has commanded His ministers to declare His forgiveness of sins to all who are penitent.   Therefore, rest assured that your sins have been fully covered by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ your Savior.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.   In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.      Now, in the peace of God’s forgiveness, let us together praise our gracious and glorious Lord!


The Congregation responds by singing:


   The Lord, my God be praised,    My God, Who ever living,

   To Whom the heavenly host   All praise and honor giving

   The Lord, my God, be praised,    In Whose great name I boast, 

  God Father, God the Son,   And God the Holy Ghost.


To Him with joyful song    Our praises we are bringing

And with the angel throng   Thrice “Holy” we are    singing,

With one united voice    The Church does Him adore.

 The Lord, my God, be praised      Now and forevermore.    Amen.



Our Prayer for This Morning           


O Lord Jesus Christ,   +  You are the Good Shepherd   +   Who gave His life for the sheep.   +   Nourish us in the pastures of Your Word,   +   that we may remain sheep of Your flock in this life   +   and for all eternity.   +   For You live and rule   +   with the Father and the Holy Spirit   +   as the One true God, forever and ever.   Amen.


after which, the Congregation will be seated for


We Give Our Attention To God’s Word


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                      Ezekiel 34:1-16


            The word of the Lord came to me.  2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds that this is what the Lord God says.

            Woe to you, shepherds of Israel, who have been shepherding for themselves. Aren’t shepherds supposed to shepherd for the benefit of the sheep? 3 You eat the fat.  You wear the wool. You slaughter the fattened ones—but you do not shepherd the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak. You have not healed the sick. You have not bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays, and you have not searched for the lost. Instead you have abused them with force and with violence. 5 So they scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep scattered and 6 wandered all over the mountains and on every high hill. Over the face of the whole earth, my flock was scattered, with no one looking for them and no one searching for them.

            7 Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. 8 As surely as I live, declares the Lord God, because My flock has become plunder, and because My flock has become food for all the wild animals, because they have no shepherd and My shepherds did not concern themselves about My flock, but the shepherds took care of themselves instead of taking care of My flock, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord.

            10 This is what the Lord God says. I am against the shepherds. Watch! I will remove My flock from their hand. I will remove them from taking care of the sheep, and no longer will those shepherds take care of themselves. I will rescue My flock from their mouths, so that they will no longer be food for them.

            11 For this is what the Lord God says. Here I am. I myself will seek the welfare of My flock and carefully search for them. 12 As a shepherd searches for his flock when his sheep that were with him have been scattered, so I will search for My flock and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own soil. I will shepherd them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys, and in all the settlements of the land. 14 I will lead them into good pasture, and their grazing land will be on the high mountains of Israel. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and they will pasture on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I Myself will shepherd my flock. I myself will let them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost. I will bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured. I will strengthen the weak. I will destroy the fat and the strong, and I will shepherd them with justice.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                Revelation 7:9-17


            9 After these things I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing in front of the throne and of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. 10 They called out with a loud voice and said: “Salvation comes from our God, Who sits on the throne, and from the Lamb.”

            11 All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures. They fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying: “Amen. Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

            13 One of the elders spoke to me and said, “These people dressed in white robes, who are they and where did they come from?”  And I answered him, “Sir, you know.”   14 And he said to me: “These are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation.  They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.   15   Because of this they are in front of the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in his temple.   He Who sits on the throne will spread His tent over them.    16 They will never be hungry or thirsty ever again.  The sun will never beat upon them, nor will any scorching heat,   17     for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd.  He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”



after which the Congregation will rise for the words of our Savior


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                        John 10:1-30


            “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the door, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own sheep, he walks ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration in speaking to the people, but they did not understand what He was telling them.

            7 So Jesus said again, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: I am the Door for the sheep. 8 All who came before Me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the Door. Whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.

            10 “A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

            11 “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 The hired man, who is not a shepherd, does not own the sheep. He sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 Because he works for money, he does not care about 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 also have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd.   17 This is why the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This is the commission I received from My Father.”

            19 There was a division among the Jews again because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is out of His mind! Why listen to Him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the sayings of someone demon-possessed. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

            22 Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Colonnade.

            24 So the Jews gathered around Jesus, asking, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

            25 Jesus answered them, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I am doing in My Father’s name testify about me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not My sheep, as I said to you.  27 My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, Who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are One.”




The Apostles’ Creed                                                                            Sung to What A Friend We Have In Jesus


I believe in God the Father, Maker of the heavens and earth,

And in Jesus Christ, our Savior, God’s own Son, of human birth —

Virgin-born, the Lord Incarnate, Whom the Spirit did conceive,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate, He’s the God Whom I believe.


Crucified, was dead, and buried.    Down to hell in victory,

From the dead He rose the third day, Up to heav’n triumphantly.

There at God’s right hand He’s ruling.    By His will the world is led.

He will come to judge the nations – both the living and the dead.


I believe in God the Spirit,   and His Church – His chosen band,

They are joined in Close Communion,    Holy, in His sight, they stand.

I believe in sins forgiven;    That the dead will rise again.

I believe in life eternal.    Amen!   Amen!   Amen!


After which the Congregation may be seated


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                       John 10:4


4 When he has brought out all his own sheep, he walks ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice


Are You Listening To Your Good Shepherd?



Today’s Sermon Hymn                                                                        Hymn 360  “The Lord’s My Shepherd”


1 The Lord’s my shepherd; I’ll not want.   He makes me down to lie

In pastures green; he leadeth me   The quiet waters by.


2 My soul he doth restore again   And me to walk doth make

Within the paths of righteousness,   E’en for his own name’s sake.


3 Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,   Yet will I fear no ill;

For thou art with me, and thy rod   And staff me comfort still.


4 My table thou hast furnished   In presence of my foes;

My head thou dost with oil anoint,   And my cup overflows.


5 Goodness and mercy, all my life,   Shall surely follow me,

And in God’s house forevermore   My dwelling-place shall be.


 The Salutation                                              Psalm 23


The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.   He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.   He leadeth me beside still waters.   He restoreth my soul.   He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.    Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.   For Thou art with me.   Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.   Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.   Thou anointest my head with oil.   My cup runneth over.   Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.   And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                                           John 10:1-10

Jesus Christ…My Gate, Shepherd, and Savior


following the Sermon, the Congregation will rise for the post-sermon blessing



Pastor  May the God of peace, Who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever.   Amen.


after which the Congregation will be seated as


We Present our Prayers and Offerings to the Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.     However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash, please) to our church address

 (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745); or

2) You can donate through our website:


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord

  • As the offerings are brought to the altar, the Congregation will rise for


    The Prayers of the Church               


    P          Heavenly Father, we praise You with all our hearts, souls and minds for the gift of divine peace and pardon, which You have graciously given us in Your Son, our Good Shepherd and Savior, Jesus Christ.


    C                     Through Your Holy Spirit You have granted us faith that saves +  and You continue to daily renew that faith  through Your Means of Grace:  +   the Gospel in the Word and in the Sacraments.  


    P:         As we reflect on the Good News of Your Son’s bodily resurrection, which confirms our faith in Him as our Lord and Savior, which assures us of Your full forgiveness of our sins, and which points ahead to the resurrection of our bodies, glorified, on the Last Day……


    C:C:                 Fill us with a spirit of joy and gratitude +   as we recall that He rose from His grave on the third day   +   to guarantee salvation in heaven for us + and for all who believe in Him.   +   Move us to be eager and determined witnesses to the world of our day

       +   of Jesus’ resurrection victory for us and for all,   +   just as the early Church proclaimed Christ as the crucified and risen Savior + to the world of their day. 


    P          For all who today do not know our Good Shepherd as their Savior,  Father we pray that they might be brought to saving faith in You, along with the Son and the Spirit, as the one, true, Triune God, and that they might one day experience with us the joy and peace of being in Your glorious presence forever in heaven through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


    C         We pray today for all our governmental leaders   +  and the government’s various institutions that serve and protect us,   +   that they might repent of their sinfulness,   +   and instead might first serve You,  Lord, in righteousness,   +   and then us and our fellow citizens +  in integrity and through their good deeds.


    P          We also pray for those who are lonely, for the afflicted, for those enduring hardships in various ways,  for all the sick and suffering, particularly for our brother Tom Otto, who will undergo knee replacement surgery this Wednesday.   Bless Tom with a successful operation and a swift recovery, Lord.  May the Holy Spirit comfort these souls in all their trials,   granting them strength and healing according to Your will.


    C         For all who are passing – or are about to pass –   +   through the valley of the shadow of death,   +   we beg of You, Lord,   +   that they would find contentment in the compassion of our Good Shepherd,   +   confident of His redeeming victory for them,   +  

    for us, +   and for all, +  over death, Satan, our sinful nature, and the grave,   +   and that they might experience no doubt of Your saving grace,   +   but instead approach everlasting life in heaven   +   with the confidence only a Christian can know.


    P          Now, into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for which we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.   Hear us also, Gracious God, as each of us now takes a few moments to silently offer You our personal petitions and praises.


    Silent Prayer


    P          Finally, O Lord, into Your hands we commend everything and everyone for which we pray, trusting in Your wisdom and mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, in Whose name we offer this prayer, and in Whose name we continue now, by praying in song:


    The Lord’s Prayer                                                              to the melody of “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”


    Our Father in heaven, we hallow Your name,

    May Your Kingdom grow, Lord, as it to us came.

    Your will, may it be done on earth as in heav’n,

    Our daily bread, give to us and to all men.


    Forgive our sins, Father, and also may we

    Forgive those who sin against us.   Now we plea:

    Guard us from temptation, without and within,

    Deliver us finally, from Satan and sin.


    The kingdom, the power, the glory are Yours

    both now, and forever, O Lord of all Lords.

    We offer this prayer, by Your Son’s name alone,

    Through Whom we, in confidence, approach Your throne.    Amen.



    We Conclude our Worship


    The LORD bless you and keep you.

    The LORD make His face shine upon You and be gracious unto you,

    And the LORD look upon you with favor, 

    and grant you His peace.   Amen.


    Closing Hymn                                                                      Hymn 439  “Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me


    1. Lord, take my hand and lead me Upon life’s way;

    Direct, protect, and feed me   From day to day.

    Without your grace and favor   I go astray:

    So take my hands, O Savior,   And lead the way.



    1. Lord, when the tempest rages, I need not fear;

    For you, the Rock of Ages,    Are always near.

    Close by your side abiding,   I fear no foe,

    For when your hand is guiding,   In peace I go.


    1. Lord, when the shadows lengthen And nigh has come,

    I know that you will strengthen    My steps toward home,

    And nothing can impede me,    O Blessed Friend!

    So, take my hand and lead me    Unto the end.



    silent prayer, announcements, post-service music