The 4th Sunday of Easter
May 3, 2020
Emmanuel & St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Churches
Mecan & Montello, WI
✠P R E P A R A T I O N F O R W O R S H I P ✠
We prepare ourselves to worship the one Savior God by expressing our humble repentance, offering our fervent prayers and singing our thankfulness of praise.
P: Christ is risen!
C: He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
HYMN 360 The Lord’s My Shepherd; I’ll Not Want
INVOCATION hymnal page 15
P: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
OPENING PRAYER hymnal page 10
P: O Lord — our Maker, Redeemer, and Comforter — we are assembled in your presence to hear your holy Word. We pray that you would open our hearts by your Holy Spirit, that through the preaching of your Word we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus, and grow day by day in grace and holiness. Hear us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
CONFESSION & ABSOLUTION hymnal page 38
P: We have come into the presence of God, who created us to love and serve him as his dear children. But we have disobeyed him and deserve only his wrath and punishment. Therefore, let us confess our sins to him and plead for his mercy.
C: Merciful Father in heaven, I am altogether sinful from birth. In countless ways I have sinned against you and do not deserve to be called your child. But trusting in Jesus, my Savior, I pray: Have mercy on me according to your unfailing love. Cleanse me from my sin, and take away my guilt.
P: God, our heavenly Father, has forgiven all your sins. By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, he has removed your guilt forever. You are his own dear child. May God give you strength to live according to his will. Amen.
✠ T H E W O R D ✠
The Lord Jesus speaks to us in Scripture reading, preaching and song.
FIRST LESSON Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a, 51-60
Summary: Jesus the Good Shepherd leads us into service and through the valley of the shadow of death.
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen.
To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran.
“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
The Stoning of Stephen
When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
PSALM 23 hymnal page 72
*Read verses and sing refrains.
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me besides quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in paths of righteousness
For his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
Of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
For you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
All the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
And to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and will be forever. Amen.
EPISTLE LESSON 1 Peter 2:19-25
Summary: You were like sheep gone astray but have now returned to the Good Shepherd
For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
VERSE OF THE DAY John 10:14
P: Alleluia. Alleluia. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. Alleluia.
♫ Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! These words are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
GOSPEL LESSON John 10:1-10
Summary: “I am the Good Shepherd”
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
P: O Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Good Shepherd who laid down your life for the sheep. Lead us now to the still waters of your life-giving Word that we may abide in your Father’s house forevermore; for you live and reign with him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
SERMON HYMN 432 I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb
SERMONETTE John 10: 11-16
“Jesus is our Good Shepherd”
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
I believe 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 is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there 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.
HYMN 766 The Lord’s My Shepherd
GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY PRAYER
*Read by Pastor
LORD’S PRAYER hymnal page 43
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
CLOSING PRAYER hymnal page 43
P: O Lord God, our heavenly Father, pour out the Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep us strong in your grace and truth, protect and comfort us in all temptation, and bestow on us your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
BLESSING hymnal page 44
M: Brothers and sisters, go in peace. Live in harmony with one another. Serve the Lord with gladness.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
Then Lord look on you with favor and + give you peace.
CLOSING SOLO “God is My Shepherd”
*Soloist Lucas Stelter.
Next week’s theme: May 10, 2020 The 5th Sunday after Easter-Mother’s Day:
“Jesus Is the Only Savior”
“Seek the Lord while he may be found! Call on him while he is near! Let the wicked man abandon his way. Let an evil man abandon his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will show him mercy. Let him turn to our God, because he will abundantly pardon. Certainly my plans are not your plans, and your ways are not my ways, declares the Lord. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my plans are higher than your plans.
Just as the rain and the snow come down from the sky and do not return there unless they first water the earth, make it give birth, and cause it to sprout, so that it gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater, in the same way my word that goes out from my mouth will not return to me empty. Rather, it will accomplish whatever I please, and it will succeed in the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:6-9 Evangelical Heritage Version)
For the past month now, our nation’s “Safe St Home” social distancing mandate has changed how we live and how God feeds and leads us with his Word. However, we need to remember that the power of God’s Word and the comfort of the gospel is not diminished by the way it is delivered. You will hear law and gospel. You will be assured of Christ’s forgiveness. Your faith will be nourished and our trust in God’s unchanging promises will be strengthened.
Perhaps God will use this experience to lead us to never take public worship for granted again. I pray that God is also using this crisis to draw many in our nation to see the value of forgiveness, faith and the Word of God. As He tells us, “My Word will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11). If you know of someone who doesn’t have access to these on-line worship opportunities, please let us know. Call (608-297-2866) or email <email@example.com> church/school secretary Ciara Neuhauser at the church office or leave a message.
At the encouragement of our church synod leaders, we will be reserving distribution of the Lord’s Supper for its regular and normal use within the gathering of the body of believers, except in special circumstances. We take comfort in knowing that we have two forms of the means of grace – Word and sacrament. Forgiveness received through God’s Word is no less powerful and effective than the sacrament.
Every Saturday at 11am (either at Emmanuel at St. John’s) we will record an abbreviated service that will be uploaded to our website <www.stjohnsmontello.org> & linked You Tube channel together with a bulletin file available for viewing at your convenience. These services will also be available via DVD, printed sermon & bulletin mailings. Many thanks to those helping with our recorded services including: Darrell Buchholz, Pastor John Dolan, Kerry Mann, Rachel Naumann, Ciara Neuhauser, Larry & Lynn Sellnow, Lucas Stelter, Sue Tutaj, James Wachholz and Lauren Zietlow. Thanks also to the Sellnow’s for recording weekly school chapel devotions.
While we might be tempted to face this situation with a great deal of disappointment and chagrin, we also recognize the opportunity God is placing before us to ponder and grasp ever more firmly his promise of spiritual health for our souls and to reflect the light of his love to others. We can:
– pray for God’s healing for those affected by the virus
– pray for those involved in essential services – medical personnel, first responders, and those who keep the peace
– share the links to our website and worship service with family, friends, and acquaintances
– renew our daily devotional life
– continue to support the message and ministry of our congregation by responding in thanks to God for his gift of eternal life through offerings mailed to the church office, by electronic-ACH-auto-pay-direct-deposit giving or via credit card at <www.stjohnsmontello.org> menu button “Church Recorded Service” DONATE NOW yellow button. Call Ciara at the church office for direct depost giving details.
– offer care and compassion for those who need support and a listening ear
Church elders, shepherd, trustees, other concerned members and Pastor Zietlow have been contacting all E/SJ members (via email, text, and phone) to make all aware of the situation, to offer alternatives for those who do not have a computer or internet access, and to offer any special assistance during these challenging times. Following our governor’s announcement on 3/24, all WI residents are to stay “Safe At Home”. President Trump also advises that we continue this “social distancing” until May. These are trying times…times for personal reflection, Bible study, devotion and prayer. Pastor Zietlow (608-408-7830 talk/text) and our E/SJ Elders are available for emergency home visits. Please reach out to them directly.
Darrell Buchholz at E – (608) 215-7871, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerre Duerr at SJ – (608) 697-8706, email@example.com
Jim Eisermann at SJ – (608) 297-8171, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayne Stelter at E – (608) 297-2761, email@example.com
James Wachholz at SJ – (608) 369-2635, firstname.lastname@example.org
We as your church family want to be able to help and serve you, but we can all rejoice as we look to the One who is our real and lasting helper. He is our strength and that’s especially comforting in a time like this, when our human weakness is made so clear!
In Jesus Christ our loving, protecting, crucified & risen Savior,
Pastor Pete Zietlow (608-408-7830 talk/text & ZietlowPL6@hotmail.com)
“The Lord knows the way that I take, and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
Dear School Children & Families:
Your goodness and generosity have been displayed by the offerings already made to the 2019-2020 Kids C.A.R.E. mission project: Early Childhood Education in Indonesia. Why do we support a mission project? God gives us, even as children, the opportunity to serve Him by sharing Jesus, the Best Gift God gave to us and the Best Gift we can give to others. While we live on earth, God gives us the task of sharing the Hope that we have in our Savior Jesus with others. Giving to missions is one way to do just that! Kids C.A.R.E.–Kids Care About Reaching Everyone with the Gospel.
While the children cannot meet at chapel, they can still share their final gifts for children in Indonesia, and we hope parents will encourage their children to do so. Most children brought weekly offerings through March. Since social distancing continues during the weeks of April and May, perhaps you would take that into consideration as final gifts are made. Place your gift in an envelope labeled “Kids C.A.R.E.” and drop in off with school work to your child’s teacher or mail it to “Kids C.A.R.E., St. John’s Lutheran School, 313 East Montello Street, Montello, WI 53949. All gifts must be received No Later than Friday, May 15. Working together wonderful things can be achieved. The Kids C.A.R.E. Giving Thermometer currently stands at $966.96—wouldn’t it be great to stretch that figure to over $1,000 to share Jesus with children in Indonesia!