Responsive Reading: Grace and Assurance

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,

just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

-John 10:11, 14-17, 27-29 (ESV) (adapted from The Baptist Hymnal)

Responsive Prayer of Confession

O Holy God, we confess that we have sinned against you. In the moment of our sinning, we have loved our sin more than You. We have often forgotten the price you paid to set us free from sin and death.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus Christ humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross.

He became sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. He became a curse for us in order to redeem us from the curse of the law. Through His death on the cross, He has reconciled us to God and brought us peace.

Since He has taken our sin upon Himself, we pray that we, through the power of His Spirit, might die to sin and live to righteousness. Amen.

Corporate Confession: The Grave Clothes Bind Us Still

Our Father in heaven, we thank you
that you have led us into the light.
We thank you for sending the Savior to call us from death to life.
We confess that we were dead in sin before we heard his call,
but when we heard him, like Lazarus, we arose.
But, O Father, the grave clothes bind us still.
Old habits that we cannot throw off,
old customs that are so much a part of our lives
that we are helpless to live the new life that Christ calls us to live.
Give us strength, O Father, to break the bonds;
give us courage to live a new life in you;
give us faith to believe that with your help we cannot fail.
All this we ask in the name of the Savior
who has taught us to come to you. Amen.

-from The Worship Sourcebook, ©2004, Faith Alive Christian Resources

Welcome to All

Welcome to all who are weary and need rest,
To all who mourn and long for comfort,
To all who feel worthless and wonder if God cares,
To all who fail and desire strength,
To all who sin and need a Savior,
To all who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
And to whoever will come,
This church opens wide its doors, its homes, its lives, and its hearts
And offers its welcome in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

-from The Worship Sourcebook, ©2004, Faith Alive Christian Resources

Responsive Reading: The Greatness of God

Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel?

Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?

To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

-from Isaiah 40 (ESV)

Responsive Reading: Hebrews 9:11-14

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)

he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,

how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

-Hebrews 9:11-14 (ESV)