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April 30th, 2023 - Fourth Sunday of Easter. Sermon: "I am Jesus' Little Lamb" by Pastor Joshua Heimbuck

 FOURTH SUNDAY of EASTER

April 30th, 2023

The Rev. Joshua Heimbuck, Pastor

WELCOME

Welcome to Grace Lutheran Church. We are happy that you have joined us for worship this morning. Through Word and Sacrament, Christ our Good Shepherd promises to lead and guide as his people. May today’s worship be a blessing to you as he reveals his love for you and assures you of his presence in your life. Guests and visitors, please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave this morning’s worship. If you have no church home of your own, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. After this morning worship, join us for a cup of coffee and let us become better acquainted with you as you get to know us better. Come to worship with us again and often!

AS WE GATHER You Are Safe Here

Today is “Good Shepherd Sunday” in The Church’s Year of Grace. In our worship we confront the truth that Jesus, our Risen Savior, is The Good Shepherd. He knows his sheep, and they follow him. Those who follow the Good Shepherd are secure, for no one can take them from him. He will never leave or abandon those who are faithful. His sheep and lambs dwell eternally with him. “You are safe here.”

PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP

Almighty God, merciful Father, since you have wakened from death the Shepherd of your sheep, grant us your Holy Spirit that we may know the voice of our Shepherd and follow him, that sin and death may never pluck us out of your hand; we ask this in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

+ THE ORDER OF CELEBRATING +

WELCOME

ORDER OF CONFESSION

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ.

     We were baptized so that we might have a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, let us confess our sins to God our Father, so that, freed from sin, we might walk in the paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake.

+ A Brief Silence for Reflection & Self-examination +

Almighty God, we are dead in trespasses and sin; we have no power to rise. We have offended your majesty and denied your divinity; we have brought death and darkness where you once said, “Let there be light.” We deserve the doom you decreed. We are dead in trespasses and sin; we have no power to rise.

But Christ has risen.

Risen indeed

Since we have been united with him in a death like his,

We will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. For his sake, our Father, we implore you: forgive our sins, and grant us his life of life abundant. Let us be raised with Christ!

“Thus, it is written, that the Messiah had to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins must be proclaimed in his Name.” That word is now proclaimed to you. Your sins are forgiven in the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Forgiven and reconciled by God, let us be reconciled with one another and share the share the peace of the Lord.

THE PASSING OF PEACE

[The congregation is encouraged to share the peace of Christ and greet one another with the words: “The Lord’s peace be with you.” The response: “And also with you.”]

PRAYER OF THE DAY

O God our Shepherd, you know your sheep by name and lead us to safety through the valleys of death. Guide us by your voice, that we may walk with certainty and security to the joyous feast prepared in your house, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

FIRST LESSON Acts 2:42-47

[Today’s reading is a description of life in the community following Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out on God’s people. The new community is sustained in worship and fellowship, shares what they have, and ensures that everyone has enough.]

[The baptized] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

SECOND LESSON 1 Peter 2:19-25                                                            

[Doing the right things does not guarantee that one will not experience difficulties, hardships, rejection, or even suffering. Here Jesus, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, is presented as the model for our path of endurance and loyalty to God, particularly amid adversity.]

It is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his step. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds we have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

HOLY GOSPEL John 10:1-10                                                                                             

[Jesus uses an image familiar to the people of his day to make a point about spiritual leadership. Those who listen to Jesus are led to abundant life.]

[Jesus said:] “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he- has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again, Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.

SERMON I am Jesus’ Little Lamb Pr. Josh Text: The Gospel Lesson

APOSTOLIC CREED

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His 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 into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy Christian Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen

PRAYERS of THE CHURCH

OFFERINGS are brought forward

OFFERING PRAYER

Blessed are you, O God, ruler of heaven and earth. Day by day you shower us with blessings. As you have raised us to new life in Christ, give us glad and generous hearts, ready to praise you and to respond to those in need.

Amen

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Holy God, living, and loving God, we praise you for creating the heavens and the earth. We bless you for bringing Noah and his family through the waters of the flood, for freeing your people Israel from the bonds of slavery, and for sending your Son to be our Savior.

We give thanks for Jesus, who, living among us, healed the sick, fed the hungry, and

with a love stronger than death, gave his life for others.

In the night in which he was betrayed,

our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:

Take and eat; this is my body which is given

for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

And gave it for all to drink, saying:

This cup is the new covenant in my blood

shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness

of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.

Remembering, therefore, his life-giving death and glorious resurrection, we await your promised life for all this dying world.

               Come, Lord Jesus, live in us that we may live in you.

Breathe your Spirit on us and on this bread and wine; carry us in your arms from death to life, that we may live as your chosen ones.

               Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.

Through him all glory and honor are yours, Almighty Father, with the Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and forever. Amen

PAX DOMINI

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

               Amen

[We come to The Sacrament sincerely believing in the real presence of Christ and that in the eating and drinking of the bread and wine of The Sacrament we receive the true body and blood of our Lord for our forgiveness, salvation, and strength for Christian life and witness.]

DISTRIBUTION

DISMISSAL

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

We have tasted of your goodness, O God, in your gifts of word and sacrament. May our hearts burn within us, that we may proclaim your mighty acts and joyfully live as your chosen people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

BLESSING

SILENT PRAYER

ANNOUNCEMENTS

DISMISSAL

Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

POSTLUDE

+ With Great Joy … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +

GRACE NOTES

THE PRESENCE of CHRIST is celebrated in The Lord’s Supper. He comes to us in a real and present way with his life-giving body and blood in the bread and wine of The Sacrament to assure us of our forgiveness and to strengthen us in faith and service. All who trust and believe the words “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” are welcome. Come, receive Christ’s presence in the meal prepared for you. Enjoy his presence. Children are encouraged to come forward with their parents and/or grandparents and receive a blessing.

BIBLE STUDY – Our new Bible Study examines modern technology as we discuss the book, “Redeeming Technology: A Christian Approach to Healthy Digital Habits” by A. Trevor Sutton. Each Sunday a new chapter of the book will be discussed. If you would like to join in, please see Pastor Josh to get your copy of the book. Hope you can join us!

PASSING OF EUNICE “MIM” PEDERSEN — It is with sadness that we’ve learned of former member Eunice “Mim” Pedersen’s passing on Tuesday, April 11th, 2023. Mim and her husband Floyd were long time members of Grace prior to moving away a couple of years ago. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, May 13th at 11:00 AM at Grace.

THE COFFEE CONNECTION NEEDS YOU! ¬— Volunteers are still needed for our Coffee Connections held on Sundays right after our Worship service. Volunteers bring in the goodies and set up the coffee for all to enjoy. Please consider signing up. The signup sheet can be found on the refrigerator in the kitchen.

SWEET SISTERS’ TEA ¬— Ladies, please plan on joining us for the Sweet Sisters’ Tea on Saturday, May 6th at 1:30 PM in the Fireside Room. Sien Lemke, fellow Sister in Christ, will make a presentation about her father’s mission work in Indonesia. The menu will include tea sandwiches, scones, deserts, coffee and of course tea. Please RSVP by calling (541)482-1661 or by email at, gracelutheranashland@gmail.com.

THIS WEEK AT GRACE

May 1st – May 7th, 2023

TUESDAY, MAY 2ND WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY 10:00 AM

LAY MINISTRY MEETING 12:30 PM

WEDNESDAY, MAY 3RD MARINERS BASEBALL@ 5:30 PM

ASHLAND LITTLE LEAGUE FIELD 2

CHOIR 7:00 PM

FRIDAY, MAY 5TH CINCO DE MAYO

SATURDAY, MAY 6TH SWEET SISTERS’ TEA 1:30 PM

(FIRESIDE ROOM)

SUNDAY, MAY 7TH BIBLE STUDY & SUNDAY SCHOOL 9:00 AM

WORSHIP SERVICE 10:00 AM

COFFEE CONNECTION HOUR 11:00 AM