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All Sheep Need a Shepherd - Psalm 23, John 10

A service plan for Lent on the strong assurance found in the grace of God that comes to us in Jesus Christ, viewing Christ as the fulfillment of the Shepherd-love of Psalm 23. Part of a Lenten series focused on "Walking with God through Psalm 23."

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

Several factors work together to influence the theme of this worship service:

  • Today is the first Sunday of Lent and so the spirit of the Lenten season will influence our worship.
  • This service begins a new sermon series that will merge the words of Psalm 23 and the spoken words of Jesus that indicate how he understood that he was the complete fulfillment of the Shepherd-love of Psalm 23.
  • We will commemorate the Lord's Supper at this service.

When those three are combined-the season, the sermon and the sacrament-the theme of the service becomes a time of rich meditation on the security that we have in the grace of God that comes to us in Jesus Christ.


Prelude: "He Shall Feed His Flock," Handel, arranged by Dobrinski [handbells]|
"Beside Still Waters," Starks [handbells]
Or selections from "The Lord Is My Shepherd," Held [organ] or "Songs of the Shepherd," Carter [piano]

Introit: "He Shall Feed His Flock," Beck

The Welcome and Call to Worship

*Song: "The Lord, My Shepherd, Rules My Life" PsH 23, SFL 201
st.1-2, All
st. 3, Choir
st. 4, All

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting
Congregation of Jesus Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

*Response: "The Lord, My Shepherd, Rules My Life" (st. 5)


The Call to Confession

Sung Prayer of Confession: "Ah, Holy Jesus, How Have You Offended" (st. 2) PH 93, PsH 386, RL 285, RN 183, TH 248, TWC 231
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon you?
It is my treason, Lord, that has undone you.
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied you;
I crucified you.

Assurance of Pardon

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our diseases, yet we considered him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:1-6, NRSV)

Sung Response: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (st. 2-3) PH 101, PsH 384, RL 293, RN 236, SFL 166, TH 252, TWC 213

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

*The Gospel Reading: John 10:22-30
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

*Passing the Peace
Pastor: The peace of Christ be with you.
All: And also with you.
(The worshipers are encouraged to greet each other saying,
"The peace of Christ be with you.")

*Sung Response: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (st. 4)
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.


The Offertory Prayer

The Offertory: "The Lord's My Shepherd," Young [organ] or Carter [piano]

The Prayers of the People


Sung Scripture: "The Lord is My Shepherd," Newton
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God!

The Reading of Scripture: John 10:11-18
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The Prayer for Illumination

Sermon: All Sheep Need a Shepherd (Walking with Jesus through Psalm 23 - #1)

View sermon notes for this sermon

The Prayer of Application


The Invitation to the Table

The Words of Institution

*Song: "Gift of Finest Wheat" (st. 1, 2, 5) PH 521, PsH 300, RN 217

The Prayer of Approach to the Table

Our Participation in the Bread
(Please spend time in personal reflection on the love of Jesus for you.)

Our Participation in the Cup
(Songs - We suggest you base your selections on the theme of Christ as Shepherd.)


*Our Affirmation

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever: he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.(from Psalm 103)

*Our Sung Prayer of Thanks: "Beautiful Savior" (st. 1, 4) PsH 461

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*A Moment of Meditation

Postlude: "Beautiful Savior," Young [organ] or David [piano]

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

View sermon notes for this sermon

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Music Level Key: E = Easy, M = Medium, D = Difficult

  1. There is a wealth of musical resources available on the themes of both Lent and Psalm 23. We will try to provide you with a variety of musical materials over these next six weeks that will enable your worship to be both glorifying to God and encouraging to your congregations.
  2. We are suggesting a variety of pieces for the prelude-all of which are consistent with the theme of the service. Every congregation has its own unique blend of people and resources to work with, and it is our hope that in our suggestions you will find something that is both fitting and workable in your situation. We suggest:
    - "He Shall Feed His Flock," G. F. Handel, arranged for 3-5 octave handbell choir by Cynthia Dobrinski, published by Agape 1327 [1988] (M)
    - "Beside Still Waters," composed by Howard Starks for 3 octave handbell choir, published by Agape 1047 [1982] (M)
    - "The Lord Is My Shepherd," an organ collection of hymn preludes based on many of the different hymn tunes associated with the text of Psalm 23, by Wilbur Held, published by Morningstar MSM-10-420 [1999] (E)
    - "Songs of the Shepherd," a piano collection of hymn preludes based on many of the hymn tunes associated with the text of Psalm 23, by John Carter, published by Hope 1967 [1996] (E-M)
  3. The Introit, "He Shall Feed His Flock," by John Ness Beck for SATB, is published by Beckenhorst BP1260 [1986] (E-M).
  4. John Ferguson has written a concertato on "Ah, Dearest Jesus" titled "Ah, Holy Jesus" published by Morningstar MSM-50-3012 [1991]. The accompaniment could effectively be used as the accompaniment for the congregational prayer of confession.
  5. The offertory "The Lord's My Shepherd" based on the tune "Evan" can be found in the organ collection "Chorale Preludes on Seven Hymn Tunes" by Gordon Young, published by Flammer HF-5002 [1960] (E). A piano transcription on this same tune can also be found in "Songs of the Shepherd" by John Carter, published by Hope 1967 [1996] (E-M).
  6. The SATB anthem "The Lord Is My Shepherd" by Robert G. Newton serves as a sung Scripture reading. It is published by Flammer A-6164 [1984] (E).
  7. The postlude on "Beautiful Savior" can be found in the organ collection "Chorale Preludes on Seven Hymn Tunes" by Gordon Young, published by Flammer HF-5002 [1960] (E-M). The piano transcription can be found in Anne Marie David's collection "Here I Am, Lord," published by Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7566-5 [2002] (E-M).

Liturgy Notes:

  1. From the beginning, the spirit of this worship service should communicate serenity and security. The spirit of the Call to Worship can well be, "Tonight the Good Shepherd is eager to meet us at his table." The readings, songs, and ministry of music are intended to do that.
  2. The structure of the Service of Confession ("We Are Renewed in God's Grace") is the same throughout the entire Lenten season.
  3. If the choir sings "The Lord is My Shepherd" (Newton) as Sung Scripture, it should be introduced in that way so there is no misunderstanding. Before the anthem begins, one of the choir members can introduce it by saying, "Hear the Word of the Lord." Then it will flow naturally that the same choir member, at the conclusion of the song, says, "The Word of the Lord," and the congregation will be ready to respond.
  4. Take note of the multiple Scripture readings. The choir sings Psalm 23 and another reader (or pastor) reads John 10:11-18. Jointly these serve as the basis for the sermon. The Prayer for Illumination can be led by a lay member, perhaps another choir member.
  5. The liturgy for the Lord's Supper can be constructed from your local practices and resources, or you can consult the material we have posted.
  6. The affirmation after the Lord's Supper is intended to give all worshipers an opportunity to verbalize their faith and hope corporately before they are dismissed. They should be encouraged to read these words heartily and with great confidence.