• Rossendale Circuit

Jesus, the good shepherd - Sunday Service 25.04.21

with Revd. David Burrow

Video Service

Watch directly on youtube here.

Part 1

Hymns & Songs:

MP 1008 'The Lord’s my Shepherd'


by Stuart Townend or more traditionally

MP 660 'The Lord’s my Shepherd'


Part 2

Hymns & Songs:

StF 367 'When I was lost you came and found me'


MP 459 'Master, speak! Thy servant heareth'


Part 3

Hymns & Songs:

MP 315 'I will sing the wondrous story'


MP 266 'I cannot tell'


Other Links

Our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuzuzxmGWU4e_xRupJilppg

Our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rossendalemethodistcircuit

Our Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/rossendalecircuit/

Our Website: https://www.rossendalemethodistcircuit.co.uk/

Our Email Address: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com


*Not always exact to the videos

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

As people who know the voice of their shepherd, let us gather to worship God.

As we come before you in worship today – lead us, Lord; be our shepherd. As we seek you in our prayers and praising – guide us, Lord; we need our shepherd. As we follow you through rough and smooth – save us, Lord; you are our shepherd. Amen.

Creator God, Great shepherd of the sheep, we praise you. As members of your flock, we thank you for the wonderful way you surround us with your love. With all your children throughout the world, we praise you. You are the shepherd who never neglects the flock; the shepherd who handles his foolish and stubborn sheep with infinite patience and carries all those who struggle or despair.

Holy Spirit, give us your strength and courage, fill us with your peace as we worship.

Fill us with your joy as we listen. Fill us with your hope as we pray.

And may our worship of you always fill our lives.

Holy God, we confess that too often we get it wrong and have sometimes strayed from your ways just like lost sheep.

We have been selfish and too concerned with getting our own way; we have failed to follow you and we are sorry. Speak to each one of us, we pray, your word of forgiveness.

We ask this prayer in the Name of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Amen

Here is good news. Jesus says, ‘Your sins are forgiven’. Amen. Thanks be to God.

The Lord’s Prayer

Reading: Psalm 23

This psalm presents us with two graphic pictures of God’s intimate relationship with one of his people:

1. The shepherd and his sheep

2. The host and his guest

Israel naturally thought of God as their shepherd. He was the one who brought them out of Egypt like a flock; he led them like sheep through the desert – have a look at Psalm 78:52 for this description. In Psalm 80:1 we find the writer asking the Shepherd of Israel, who led Joseph like a flock, to give ear; and in Isaiah 40:11 we have a beautiful image of God feeding his flock like a shepherd, gathering them as lambs in his arms, carrying them in his bosom and gently leading them like the mother sheep.

But in Psalm 23 the picture is not of Israel and God but of one person – Psalm 23 is very personal!

The Lord is my shepherd. This is a bold claim that doesn’t mention the rest of the flock.

As Christians we cannot read or sing this Psalm without thinking of Jesus Christ, who called himself the “good shepherd”, and elsewhere is referred to as “the Chief Shepherd,” and “that great Shepherd of the sheep”. All of which means that the psalm has a new depth of meaning for you and me.

If I can say with confidence that the Lord is my shepherd, I can add with assurance the consequence of that – I shall lack nothing.

The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep and so provides for all my needs.

He makes me lie down in green pastures to satisfy my hunger, and leads me beside refreshing waters to quench my thirst (verse 2).

For his name's sake, that is, out of loyalty to His character and promises, He will guide me in the paths of righteousness - He will not allow me to go astray (verse 3).

Indeed, even when I walk through the darkest valley, whether that be death or some other dark and threatening place, I have nothing to fear and I will not fear, because my Shepherd is with me, protecting me with His club and guiding me with His staff (verse 4).

My security lies not, then, in my environment, whether green pastures and still waters or the darkest valley, but in my Shepherd. In His presence there is neither want (verse 1) nor fear (verse 4).

The second picture in the psalm is that of the Lord my host and the writer as The Lord’s guest (verses 5,6)

The scene changes. I am no longer out of doors, but indoors; no longer a sheep in a flock, but a guest at a banquet. My divine host has prepared a table before me.

It is not a secret feast, but enjoyed in the presence of my enemies, because when He satisfies the soul, it cannot be hidden from the world.

His provision is wonderfully lavish, a table laden with food, there are perfumed oils to anoint my head, and an overflowing cup (verse 5).

And with God there is always more, because, what God has begun He will surely continue.

As He Himself will lead me (verses 2,3), so His goodness and love will follow me.

God will guard me behind and before, throughout all the days of my life.

Finally, I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Not in the Tabernacle (the tent where Moses met with God in the wilderness) or the Jerusalem Temple, nor even just in His presence in this life, but in my Father's house with its many mansions, of which Jesus spoke, when He said He was going to prepare a place for His own (John 14:1-4).

MP 1008 'The Lord’s my Shepherd'


by Stuart Townend or more traditionally

MP 660 'The Lord’s my Shepherd'


Photo by Marc Markstein via Unsplash

Reading: John 10:11-18 Jesus: The Good Shepherd

One of my treasured possessions is a shepherd’s crook, made for me by my grandfather.

As a shepherd he bred top quality sheep winning lots of prizes in local agricultural shows and eventually becoming a judge himself.

After retirement he began to make shepherds’ crooks for all his children (9), grandchildren (26) and their husbands and wives – I’ve lost count!

He walked miles searching out the best hazel bushes for the sticks which he dried for several years in his garage before polishing them and adding a sheep’s horn. From being shepherd to his sheep he became our shepherd whom we all loved and trusted.

Perhaps Granddad never wondered what it’s like to be a sheep, but then he knew their needs better than anyone.

I, on the other hand, have often wondered, and I don’t really know why. Perhaps because I have been traumatised by my experiences with them.

To be honest, I don’t think there is much point in trying to get into the mind of a sheep. I’m sure there’s not a great deal in there, although I am not sure whether sheep are slow, even stupid or very bright and just pretend to be somewhat off the pace.

If you’ve ever had to get up at the crack of dawn on a cold, rainy, grey Monday morning to round up a flock of a couple of hundred sheep that don’t want to go where you would like them to - and you’d rather be in bed as would the sheep dog . . . . .

If you’ve ever been knocked flat on your back in all the muck by a sheep you’re trying to catch so it can have its medicine so it doesn’t get sick . . .

If you’ve ever trailed through snow, wind and hail for hours on end till your blue with cold to find a sheep that’s got itself lost . . . well . . .

If you’ve ever done any of these things you will understand how I feel about sheep!

I have a lot of sheep memories, but thankfully they are not all filled with losing the will to live . . .

There are happier memories of beautiful sunny days watching the lambs run and skip together simply for the joy of being alive and having the sun on their backs.

Watching my sister, the shepherd, gently taking care of any sheep that are sick and even playing with the ones she knows by name and which, in return, recognise her voice when she calls them.

So, what is it like to be a sheep?

Well, from my experience, it’s fairly obvious that sheep really do need a good shepherd.

Sheep need a shepherd to provide them with good pasture, and water; to care for them when they are ill; to keep a close eye on them, even when things appear to be going well, and to find them when they are lost and in danger. To be a sheep is to need a shepherd!

If you have a good shepherd to care for you, one who knows your needs before you do, who will go through anything, even death itself to keep you safe, well that’s wonderful!

But you also need to know your shepherd; you need to know his voice.

A tourist in the Holy Land noticed a group of shepherds talking among themselves; their different flocks of sheep were milling about around a water hole, all mixed up.

When the sheep had been well watered, each shepherd called out in a loud voice in Arabic, ‘Follow me, follow me.’

Immediately the sheep separated and went obediently to their shepherd, standing quietly before him. The tourist asked one shepherd if he could borrow his head dress and his outer robe so that he could act as shepherd and call the sheep.

No matter how hard he tried, shouting the same words, the sheep ignored him; but when their true shepherd called, they immediately went to him.

Jesus knew the truth of this. He would have seen it many times, it was a picture his listeners could relate to, and so he was able to say: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”.

This knowledge isn’t about physical recognition: it’s all about a personal knowledge based on everyday experience and personal contact.

Can you, do you, recognise Jesus’ voice?

Now, that’s an important question to be able to answer ‘Yes’ to, especially when you feel lost.

And in the society and times in which we live it is easy to feel lost, alone and afraid with all kinds of voices clamouring for our attention.

During this past year with the impact of the pandemic leading to redundancy, lost businesses, ill health, bereavement, and responsibilities that have at times seemed just too much, the presence of the Good Shepherd may have sometimes seemed far away.

But remember how Jesus contrasts himself as the good shepherd with hired hands who are not as invested in the sheep as the shepherd. That is the test.

When we hear voices in society pulling us one way or another, can we step back and ask ourselves whether those voices really have our best interests at heart, or whether they are motivated by self-interest.

The voice of the shepherd is the voice who wants the best for us, whatever the cost to himself.

The promise of Jesus is that he is faithful and we can depend on him.

He willingly laid down his life so that the powers of sin and death cannot and will not have the final say over us.

Because Jesus paid the price of our sin, we too can be victorious over sin.

Because Jesus was raised from the dead we too will be raised from death to new life.

We are, after all, not just sheep, but brothers and sisters, friends of Jesus who will inherit all that he has inherited in heaven; Alleluia!

Spend time with Jesus in prayer and in reading your Bible; learn to recognise his voice in the peace and quiet of your home so that you can recognise it in the noise of everyday life.

Jesus wants us to know his love and peace, not just in the life to come, but every day and especially in times of crisis.

As we practice listening to and hearing Jesus’ voice, we will learn to better follow our Good Shepherd who will guide us as we accept his authority in our lives.

And that thought moves us away from sheep. If we stay too long being sheep, we will end up simply being sheep in Jesus’ flock because he meets my needs, because he makes me feel better.

The ‘My’ has become about ‘my’ interests, about being served rather than a personal relationship with Jesus where I am part of the flock with shared responsibilities for the rest of the flock.

Sheep do not choose their own shepherd because they offer a better deal, or a better class of flock to belong to.

The shepherd chooses the sheep, just as Jesus chooses his sheep, and Jesus has chosen you (John 15:16).

To be one of Jesus’ sheep, one of Jesus’ disciples, one of Jesus’ friends, is to be part of a community in which you experience God’s love in Christ for you and for everyone else.

To be one of Jesus’ sheep is also to play your part in caring for others, just as my grandfather cared for us;

it is to be as committed as Jesus was, to the wellbeing of the flock.

It means to be willing to seek out those who do not yet belong to the flock as you share your faith and, of course, it is to be always ready to search for and find those who are lost.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for us; he calls us by name to abide in him, to live I him, to love one another, and to serve as he served in truth and in action, so that just as there is one Shepherd there will one day, be one flock.

StF 367 'When I was lost you came and found me'


MP 459 'Master, speak! Thy servant heareth'


Prayer of intercession.

Almighty God, you are not just my shepherd but the good shepherd to all.

You give us more than we need and can ever want. May this abundance be a reality for all in the world. For those who are living through difficult moments in their life we pray that you will quench their thirst and give them peace.

We pray particularly for leaders who feel weak, physically, mentally or spiritually. Fill them with your wisdom and strength so that they might bring you honour, and to the world, peace and justice, through their words and actions.

We pray especially for peace in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and the Ukraine.

We pray for those who live in fear and anxiety. As the pandemic continues to show no signs of disappearing around the world, we continue to pray for all who are caring for the sick, those working to provide vaccinations and those who are most at risk. May your Spirit comfort and strengthen them with your presence.

Now, in the stillness, pray for someone you know who needs God’s comfort and protection today.

Pray for those facing trials and situations this week that seem impossible.

Heavenly Father, anoint our lives with your grace and Spirit, and cause my cup to spill over with blessings, so that I might be a blessing to others.

We pray that your unfailing love might flow out from us today so that lives will be transformed by your power. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

A personal prayer: When all around me is dark as night be with me, Good Shepherd.

When I walk by faith, and not by sight guide me, Good Shepherd. Amen.

Blessing: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the true shepherd fill you, bless you and empower you today and for all time. Amen.

MP 315 'I will sing the wondrous story'


MP 266 'I cannot tell'


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