Prayer Concerns
• Pat Terrell Family – in his death this morning, funeral arrangements are pending.
• Keith & Pam Blore – COVID 19, Keith is home after hospital stay, Pam is doing okay.
• Teresa Asman – at home recovering from COVID 19.
• Louise Barton – dealing with COVID 19.
• Debbie Campbell – rehab in Greenville.
• Earl Martin – continuing to deal with an infection.
• Polly Lineberger – Unit II at Martha Franks, recovering from a fall.
• Ray Patterson – Unit II at Martha Franks, recovering from a hospital stay.
• Don Franks – home recovering after recent surgery.
• Mike & Susan Little – Mike taking chemotherapy, Susan has speech/memory issues.
• Phyllis Metz – NHC, rehab after broken hip.
• Francis Feighner – now home, advanced stages of cancer.
• Jim & Elaine Sumeral – homebound, ongoing health issues.
• Carolyn Madden – cognitive/physical issues.
• Jane Ivey – recent surgery, hopeful to begin to feel better.
• Bill Ramey – continuing to take treatments.

Announcements
Outside In Person Worship Starts this Sunday: we will offer two services, 8am and 9:30am. Both will last 30 minutes and be held at Thomason Shelter. Dress casually. Please contact the church office by noon Friday if you plan to attend.

Remote Worship Options: We will continue to post a worship service every Sunday on our website and via the FBC Laurens App. You may also listen to our service on WLBG at 11:00 each Sunday morning.

Senior Adult Sunday School on the Radio: Join us at 3pm each Tuesday afternoon on WLBG. The 30 minute lessons will be offered by a FBC Sunday School teacher.

FBC Diverge Youth Parking Lot Worship, FBC Parking Lot, tonight at 7pm.

August FBC Golf Outings, Tuesday, August 25, 5:30pm, Lakeside CC.

Reflecting Together

Read: Psalm 23:6b

When I served as a youth minister, the summer season was always challenging. Summer camps and mission trips would take me away from the comforts of my home. My big comfortable bed was replaced by a small cot or air mattress. Warm showers on these trips were a rarity. Air-conditioning was a luxury.

Most of all, I missed being with my family. No late night phone call to home could come close to replacing the joy, comfort and love that came as a part of being in their presence. In those long summer days, I often thought about what Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz said, “There’s no place like home.” To this day, I wonder if Dorothy had experienced summer youth trips at some point in her life in Kansas.

Psalm 23 opens with the proud, joyous statement, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Now, it closes with the equally positive, buoyant affirmation, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” These bookend statements depict a sheep so utterly satisfied with its lot in life, so fully contented with the care it receives, so much “at home” with the shepherd that there is not a shred of desire for a change.

In this psalm, David writes about the personal relationship he enjoyed with God. He declares that if the Lord is our Shepherd and we are his sheep, we will never lack for anything. We will receive rest and refreshment, restoration and guidance. We will have courage and comfort, protection and safety. This is true even in the most difficult of times.

To “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” implies both a present and future promise. Dwelling with the Lord in the present means that we can live out these times with a sense of certainty and optimism. As we remember that goodness and mercy pursue us, we can begin to see that every negative experience can bring an opportunity and a blessing to us. God’s goodness and mercy is always right behind us and He gives us favor because we have named Him as our Shepherd and we have identified ourselves as His sheep. We belong to Him.

Dwelling with the Lord in the future leads many of us to immediately think of heaven. However, it is very possible that David did not have heaven in mind when he wrote this psalm. David was not writing and singing about where he would be in the future but with whom he would be. Psalm 23 describes David’s personal, intimate relationship with the Good Shepherd.

Our spiritual walk begins and ends with Jesus Christ. We grow in our faith by knowing more of Him not by just knowing facts about Him and by knowing Him through the experiences that we have with Him in and throughout this life. As we do, we will come to know the Lord as our Shepherd and we will discover our dwelling place with Him. In Him, we find our home.

After all, there’s no place like home.

Consider this:

• Read Psalm 23:1-6 again. How does this psalm take on a deeper meaning as we continue to face the Covid-19 pandemic?

• Read Psalm 27:4. According to this verse, what is the one thing that David seeks? Why is this perspective important for us to understand and grasp?

• In what ways have you known and experienced the Lord as Shepherd in your life? How has this helped your faith to grow?

• In what ways is Psalm 23 a testimony of David’s faith?

• Write your own “Psalm 23”, describing your experiences with God as Shepherd in your life.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for inviting me to dwell with you forever. Thank you for being the most amazing Shepherd. Teach me every day to trust you, follow you, and live for you. Amen.