The Seventh Sunday of the Easter Season

May 12, 2024   

known, liturgically, as Exaudi (hear) Sunday

also as The Sunday of Anticipation

and, traditionally, as Mother’s Day



Do You Really Listen When Your Lord Speaks?

     Two psychiatrists who had gone to school together met for the first time in as many years at their 20th class reunion.    One man looked vibrant, vivacious and vigorous, while  the other looked withered, worn, and worried.    “I can’t believe how good you look,” said the second, obviously older-looking man.   “Exactly what is your secret?  Listening to other people’s problems every day, all day long, for years and years on end, has made an old man of me.”   “My secret,” replied the younger-looking, energetic one, “is that I only look like I’m listening”

     What about you?…….Do you listen to the Lord as He speaks to you in His Word?   Do you  really listen….or just pretend to listen?   Each Lord’s Day you’re given the opportunity to come to this house of worship to listen to God’s Word read from the lectern, taught  from the pulpit, and studied in Bible Class.  In fact, He wants to speak to you every day through your personal reading of His Scriptures.  Through His written Word, God speaks to you — rebuking you when necessary, comforting you when that’s called for, offering guidance for godly and truly satisfying living, and especially affirming His love, forgiveness and salvation for you through faith in Christ.  But do you really listen, to what He says?    Have the words become so familiar, the assurances and promises so routine, that they hit and roll off your ears without ever sinking into your heart, sort of in the same  way water slides off a duck’s back?    Or, do you “hear” the words of the Lord, at least at the moment, only to “forget” them a few minutes or hours later…….and then comfortably go on living your life the way you want to, instead of the godly way He calls you to live?     Really.……How well do you listen to, believe in, and live according to God’s Word?

           Throughout today’s service, we’ll be considering portions of God’s Word which remind us that when HE speaks to us through the Scriptures, our Lord expects us to listen (not just to seem like we’re listening)……and to listen carefully, thoroughly, gratefully and obediently to all that He says.

This Day on the Church’s “Calendar”   

     Thank you for being part of our worshiping congregation this morning.   This day on the Church’s “Calendar” is traditionally known by they ancient name Exaudi Sunday.  (“Exaudi” is the Latin word for “hear,” and is taken from verse 7 of our Psalm for day, Psalm 27).   Across nearly 15 centuries that particular Psalm has been regularly read by Christian congregations on the Sunday after the Lord’s Ascension in order to remind us that our Lord, in His love, does “hear” our prayers and continues to bless in both earthy and everlasting ways all those persons He has called into faith to be His followers and heaven’s heirs.  

     With this morning’s service, we are also closing out what is  known as “The Easter Season.”  During the 7 Sundays of this portion of the Church Year, you and I have been able to give our attention to a number of resurrection-oriented Scripture readings.  The purpose has been to reassure us of the risen Christ’s providence, protection, receptiveness, and favor for us, His redeemed followers, so that we might be to strengthened in our faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, and encouraged in our lives of faithful service and devotion to Him.   

     This Seventh, and Last, Sunday of the Easter Season is also known as “The Sunday of Anticipation,” since, through our First Scripture Lesson, it provides us with the historical transition between Christ’s Ascension Day command to His disciples to be His witnesses to an unbelieving world, and their Pentecost (next Sunday) powerful reception of the Holy Spirit in order to assist them in the Gospel ministry which Christ gave to them….and now — nearly 20 centuries later — to us.   In it Luke gives us a brief account of the what the disciples did following Christ’s Ascension, as they waited in Jerusalem for Jesus to send them His Holy Spirit.   In addition to praising their Savior, they took up the responsibility to fulfill  another of Scripture’s prophecies  by selecting, with God’s guidance, Judas’ replacement — the new twelfth Apostle, whose name was Matthias.

A brief bit of background information

regarding our national observance of Mother’s Day

     Today, of course is also “Mother’s Day” in our country.   Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948) first suggested the national observance of an annual day honoring all mothers because she had loved her own mother so dearly.  At a memorial service for her mother on May 10, 1908, Miss Jarvis gave a carnation (her mother’s favorite flower) to each person who attended. Within the next few years, the idea of a day to honor mothers gained popularity, and Mother’s Day was observed in a number of large cities in the U.S.  On May 9, 1914, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. He established the day as a time for “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” By then it had become customary to wear white carnations to honor departed mothers and red to honor the living, a custom that continues to this day.

The Scripture Lessons for This Morning

     Our Old Testament Lesson is from Proverbs 31, and is included because today is “Mother’s Day” in our country.   Here we’ll consider the many praiseworthy qualities of “the woman of noble character.”   Notice that the emphasis here is not on a woman’s outward beauty, but on the inner-woman, whose heart is faithful and attentive to the needs of her family and friends, who works industriously, has a positive reputation in the community, is trusted and honored by those she serves, but especially “who fears (believes in) the Lord.”  May our gracious God endow all our women, wives, and mothers with the admirable character traits and talents of “the woman of noble character,” but we particularly pray that He will continue to bless and strengthen their faith in Him. 

     This morning’s Epistle Lesson are some of the last words the Apostle Paul wrote to his young co-worker and pastoral protégé’ Timothy.  Having previously discussed the inspiration and the comprehensive value of God’s Word for the Christian, Paul now urges Timothy to be utterly faithful in his proclamation of that Word of God.   The Apostle goes on to note that wherever the Word is preached there always will be those who refuse to listen to it, preferring human myths and lies to the truths of God.

     In our Gospel Lesson Jesus rebukes His adversaries for falsely claiming to be God’s children all the while  refusing to listen to His Word and refusing to recognize Him as the Promised Savior.   

     Our Children’s Lesson will use a special listening amplification device to make the point that it is vitally important for the good of our souls, that we give our most careful and sincere attention to the Lord when He speaks to us in His Word.

     Finally, our Sermon Text comes from what has come to be called “Jesus’ Great High Priestly Prayer” which He offered in the Upper Room before His disciples on Maundy Thursday.  Divided into three prayer-sections, Jesus prays for Himself, His immediate disciples, and for His Church across the ages.   In our Sermon we’ll note that Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirt (Who will bless the Church on Pentecost) in order to fortify it for the challenges ahead – particularly the challenges of persecution by the world, and internal attacks both by false teachers and by each person’s own sinful nature.   His goal for us is that we remain faithful to Him and so do not fall away from faith.




Pre-Service Prayer -Heavenly Father, please guide me in wisdom and truth through Your Holy Spirit, as I spend this time meditating on Your Word and rejoicing in Your limitless love for me.  Assist me in being attentive in heart and mind to Your Word, as well as to the hymns of praise, the various petitions, and the prayers of thanksgiving my voice directs toward You.  Use this worship service, O Lord, to deepen my love for You, to strengthen my trust in You, and to renew my commitment to You.  All this I ask for the sake of and in the name of Your One and only Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior.  Amen.



The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version 

Copyright 2019,   The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.

Used with permission.     Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831



Pre-Service Prayer                                                                                                                 Pre-service Music


We Praise Our God

The Greeting and Introduction to Today’s Service

The Invocation

Pastor       We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Opening Reading                                                                                                                   Acts 1:12-26

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

13 When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter and John were there, also James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 All of them kept praying together with one mind, along with the women, with Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

15 In those days, when the group there numbered about 120 people, Peter stood up among the brothers and said, 16 “Gentlemen, brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David about Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 Judas was counted as one of us and was given a share in this ministry.

18 “Now this man acquired a field with what he was paid for his wicked act. When he fell headfirst, his middle burst open, and all his intestines spilled out. 19 This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, and so in their own language that field was called Akeldem­a, which means Field of Blood. 20 Indeed, it is written in the book of Psalms:   “May his residence be deserted.  Let there be no one dwelling in it.”     And,    “let someone else take his position.”

21 “Therefore it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us during the entire time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from his baptism by John until the day Jesus was taken up from us, become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

23 They proposed two: Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”

26 Then they assigned lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias. So he was counted with the eleven apostles.

After which, at the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for

Our Psalm Reading for Today                                                                                                           Psalm 27

P:  The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?   The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

C: When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh,   +    when my enemies and my foes attack me,     +   they will  stumble and fall.


P:  Though an army besiege me,  my heart will not fear;    thou­gh war

     break out against me,  even then will I be confident.

C: One thing I ask of the LORD, +   this is what I seek:   +   that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,   +   to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD    +   and to seek Him in His temple.

P:  For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling;    He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

C: Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;    +    at His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;    +   I will sing and make music to the LORD.


P:  HEAR my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.

C: My heart says of You, “Seek His face!”   +  Your face, LORD, I will seek.

P:  Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger;   You have been my Helper.   Do not reject me or

     forsake me, O God my Savior.

C: Though my father and mother forsake me,     +    the LORD will receive me.


P:  Teach me Your way, O LORD;    lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.

C: Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,    +   for false witnesses rise up against me,  breathing out violence.  


P:  I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD  in the land of the living.

C: Wait for the LORD;   +    be strong and take heart +  and wait for the LORD.


After which, the Congregation will be seated for

The Opening Hymn                                                                     Hymn 221  “Blessed Jesus, At Your Word”


1 Blessed Jesus, at your Word  We are gathered all to hear you.

Let our hearts and souls be stirred   Now to seek and love and fear you,

By your teachings, sweet and holy,   Drawn from earth to love you solely.


2 All our knowledge, sense, and sight   Lie in deepest darkness shrouded

Till your Spirit breaks our night   With the beams of truth unclouded.

You alone to God can win us;   You must work all good within us.


3 Gracious Savior, good and kind,   Light from Light, from God proceeding,

Open now our heart and mind;   Help us by your Spirit’s pleading.

Hear the cry your people raises;   Hear and bless our prayers and praises.


4 Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,   Praise to you and adoration!

Grant that we your Word may trust,   Confident of our salvation,

While we here below must wander,   Till we sing your praises yonder.

Following this hymn,  the Congregation will rise as….



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God

Pastor      Brothers and sisters in Christ:    the Word of God urges us to confess to our Lord all our sins of thought, word, and action.   This is something that ought to be daily part of our spiritual lives, and

 should come forth from every heart that is humble and penitent.    But we should especially do this when we meet together in His house to thank God for all that He has done for us, to praise Him, and to hear His life-giving Word.    Therefore, come with me now, to our Heavenly Father’s throne of grace, and let us confess our sins together.

Congregation       Miserable person that I am,   +   I confess and lament to You, O most holy God,  +   that I  am a weak and sinful creature,  +  guilty of every sin of unbelief, and of blasphemy. +   I also confess

 that Your Word has not brought forth good fruit in me.   +   I hear it, but do not receive it earnestly.   +   I do not show works of love toward my neighbor.   +   I am full of anger, hate, and envy.   +   I am impatient, greedy, and bent on every evil.   +   Therefore my heart and conscience are heavy.   +   Lord, I ask You, free me from my sins,   +   strengthen my faith,   +   and comfort my weak conscience by Your divine Word,  +   that I may obtain Your promised grace.



Pastor Having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty God, now be strengthened in your faith, mindful that our Lord is not willing that anyone should perish eternally, but that everyone should

 come to repentance, turning from their evil ways and receiving from Him everlasting life.    God has commanded His ministers to declare His forgiveness of sins to all who are penitent.   Therefore, rest assured that your sins have been fully covered by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ your Savior.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.   In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

     Now, in the peace of God’s forgiveness, let us together praise our gracious and glorious Lord!

The Congregation responds                                                                          “All Glory Be To God On High”

                                                                   sung to the melody of “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less”   (CW382)


All glory be to God on high!      We praise, we thank, we glorify,

And worship You, Who gives earth peace,      Whose love and favor never cease.

Lord God, our King, on heaven’s throne,    Our Father, the Almighty One.


O Lord, the Sole-begotten One.       Lord Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son,

O Lamb of God, You take away       The sin of all,   now hear us pray.

You rule at God’s right hand this day,      Have mercy on us, Lord, we pray.


You only are the Holy One;      O’er all things You are Lord alone.

O Jesus Christ, we glorify    You only as the Lord Most High,

Who with the Spirit e’er shall be       One in the Father’s majesty.     Amen.



The Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, I know that as one of Your disciples   +   I will face opposition in this world.   + Strengthen and settle me spiritually  +  so that I may remain faithful to You in any trial  +   and in every   temptation —  even rejoicing that I am being permitted to suffer  because of You.  +  Bring me safely through all my life’s tribulations and trials,   +  using them – Lord – as You alone know best,  +  for my blessing and Your glory.   +   Give me the confidence I need to live devotedly for You   +   and to serve You faithfully throughout my life,   +  by continually reassuring me that, as my ascended Lord,  +  You now live and rule over all things for the good of Your Church   +   and so for my earthly and everlasting good.   +   Finally, bless each of us gathered here for worship today,  +    by enriching our faith through Your Means of Grace,  +   equipping us all for greater Christian service for Your glory, precious Savior,  +   as well as for the glory of Your Father and the Holy Spirit,   +   with Which You reign as the one true God, +   forever and ever.  +  Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated as


We Hear God’s Word

The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                  Proverbs 31:10-31


10 Who can find a wife with strong character?  Her value is greater than that of gems.   11 Her husband’s heart trusts her, and he never lacks wealth.   12 She does good for him and not evil all the days of her life.

13 She obtains wool and flax.  She eagerly works it with her hands.  14 She is like merchant ships.   She brings her food from far away.  15 She rises while it is still night.  She gives food to her household.  She gives their share to her female servants.  16 She considers a field and acquires it.   From her own income, she plants a vineyard.   17 She wraps streng­th around her waist like a belt, and she makes her arms strong.   18 She realizes that she makes a good profit.  Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She stretches out her hands for the distaff,  and the palms of her hands grasp the spindle.

20 She opens the palm of her hand to the oppressed, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.  21 She does not fear for her household on account of snow, because her entire household is clothed in scarlet clothing.  22 She makes bedspreads for herself. Fine linen and purple cloth are her clothing.

23 Her husband is known at the city gates, where he sits with the elders of the land.  24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and she delivers belts to the merchants.  25 Strength and honor are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come.  26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and kind instruction is on her tongue.  27 She keeps a close eye on the conduct of her household, and she does not eat bread that she did not work for.

28 Her children rise up and bless her.  Her husband rises up and praises her:  29 “Many daughters show strong character,  but you have surpassed all of them.”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is vapor that vanishes,  but a woman who fears the Lord should be praised.  31 Give her credit for the fruit of her hands,  and let her accomplishments praise her in the city gates.

The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                  II Timothy 4:1-5

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom: 2 Preach the word. Be ready whether it is convenient or not. Correct, rebuke, and encourage, with all patience and teaching.  3 For there will come a time when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, because they have itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in line with their own desires. 4 They will also turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

5 As for you, keep a clear head in every situation. Bear hardship. Do the work of an evangelist. Fulfill your ministry.

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                        John 8:42-47

42 Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and I am here. Indeed, I have not come on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand my message? It is because you are not able to listen to my word. 44 You belong to your father, the Devil, and you want to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and did not remain standing in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks from what is his, because he is a liar and the father of lying. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Who of you can convict me of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God listens to what God says. The reason you do not listen is that you do not belong to God.”

The Apostles’ Creed                                                                                                                  to the melody of

                                                                                                       “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”  (CW411)


I believe in God the Father,   Maker of the heav’ns and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, our Savior, God’s own Son, of human birth.

Virgin born, the Lord incarnate,    Whom the Spirit did conceive,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate;     Our salvation to achieve.


Crucified, was dead and buried,    Down to hell in victory;

From the dead He rose the third day;    Up to heav’n triumphantly.

There at God’s right hand He’s ruling,     By His will the world is led.

He will come to judge the nations,    Both the living and the dead.


I believe in God the Spirit,    In His Church, His chosen band.

They are joined in close communion,    Holy in His sight they stand.

I believe in sins forgiven;    That the dead will rise again;

I believe in life eternal.    Amen!   Amen!   A – – men!



The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                         Luke 8:8

Whoever has ears to hear, let Him hear!

Do You Need Help Hearing?

after which the Congregation will be seated for


The Sermon Hymn                                                                 Hymn 283   “Speak, O Savior, I Am Listening”


1 Speak, O Savior; I am list’ning,  As a servant to his lord.

Let me show respect and honor   To your holy, precious Word,

That each day, my whole life through,   I may serve and follow you.

Let your Word e’er be my pleasure   And my heart’s most precious treasure.


2 Oh, what blessing to be near you   And to listen to your voice!

Let me ever love and fear you;   Let your Word still be my choice.

Many hardened sinners, Lord,   Flee in terror at your Word,

But to all who feel sin’s burden   You give peace and words of pardon.


3 Lord, your words are waters living   Where I quench my thirsty needs.

Lord, your words are bread life-giving;   On your words my spirit feeds.

Lord, your words will be my light   Through death’s cold and dreary night;

Yes, they are my sword prevailing   And my cup of joy unfailing.


4 As I pray, dear Jesus, hear me;   Let your words in me take root.

May your Spirit e’er be near me   That I bear abundant fruit.

May I daily sing your praise,   From my heart glad anthems raise,

Till my highest praise is given   In the endless joy of heaven.


after which the Congregation will rise for



The Pre-Sermon Salutation


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord!  Amen.

The Sermon Text                                                                                                                       John 15:24-16:4


26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also are going to testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.”

16:1 “I have told you these things so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who murders you will think he is offering a service to God. 3 They will do these things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 But I have told you these things so that when their time comes, you may remember that I told them to you. I did not tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you.”


The Hard Truth For A Great Reason


after the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED

 for the post sermon blessing

The Post Sermon Blessing


May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  Amen.

We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers to the Lord

Our Offerings of Love to our Lord

Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.     However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash, please) to our church address

 (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745); or

2) You can donate through our website:



After which the Congregation rises for prayer

  • Included in our joint prayers this morning are:


    A Prayer of  Intercession for Joanne Huebner,

     (pastor’s mother) who is hospitalized in Michigan


    A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of Lindsay and Ryan Bratton,

    who are celebrating their wedding anniversary today.


    A Special Prayer for all Mothers, Wives and Women

    on this Mother’s Day 2024


    Today’s General Prayer 


    followed by  A Moment of Silent Prayer


    The Lord’s Prayer


    Our Father, Who art in heaven   Hallowed be 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   for ever and ever.    Amen.   



    We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing

    The Blessing      

    The LORD bless you and keep you.

    The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

    The LORD look with favor upon you, and give you His peace.   Amen.



    Closing Hymn                                                                      Hymn 323   “Almighty Father, Bless the Word”


    1 Almighty Father, bless the word   Which through your grace we now have heard.

    Oh, may the precious seed take root,   Spring up, and bear abundant fruit.


    2 We praise you for the means of grace   As homeward now our steps we trace.

    Grant, Lord, that we who worshiped here   May all at last in heav’n appear.


     Silent Prayer

    Announcements, Post-service Music