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Happy Labor Day! We hope you will be able to rest and reflect upon the gifts that God has given you to improve our world and serve him with joy!  We come to the end of our series Sing a New Song. We also hope you have experienced God giving you a different tune for your life.  The sounds of discord are numerous. The noise of despair is desperate and daunting.  We cannot avoid the impact of doubt, despair, darkness, or desperation, but we are fortunate to have a living hope founded in the power of a living God. Our last sermon of this series is Strength and we return to a very familiar Psalm in order to find it. Psalm 23 is an enduring source of strength and hope for all of us. It contains imagery with is odd to most modern people, very few of us have seen a genuine shepherd, but we understand it. There is a longing in our hearts to find a gentle hand that will direct us to a place of abundance and rest. In our world, this seems to be a distant and uncertain possibility. Yet, David had found such a place and he shares it with all of us. This Psalm is not just inspirational, it is also instructive. David is not simply saying “fake it till you make it, “ instead, he is affirming the strength of serving a living God and he is directing us to the best path to find it! It is our most earnest prayer that as you read these familiar words you will find new and compelling inspiration, but also, that you will experience the powerful and gentle hand of this Shepherd holding on to you as you read Psalm 23.

Psalm 23 – A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  4 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.  5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (NIV)