Lord, Why do the wicked seem to prosper,

while Your children often suffer?


            She was only 28 years old, a godly woman, a devoted wife and mother.    When he awoke, her husband had found her lifeless body lying next to him in their bed.  There was no apparent cause for her death at the time, nor has there been any medical explanation to this day.   Everyone was, understandably, stunned.   At the funeral a few days later, a friend who knew her well expressed her shock and confusion with these words, “She was so young, and so many people depended on her.  She was such a faithful Christian.  How could the Lord have allowed this to happen?” 

            Essentially, that’s the fundamental question underlying Psalm 73:  “How can a good God allow the righteous to suffer?”  It’s a question that has puzzled saints and pleased skeptics over the centuries. This psalm (also  today’s Sermon Text) and the question with which it deals are extremely important to us since we, too, face many trials in life.  From time to time, we too, question the goodness or fairness of God in His dealings with us. Sadly, many Christians today seem to think that faith in God comes with a guarantee of freedom from adversity.  And when they finally come to the realization that this is not so, their faith is sometimes severely shaken.

            Moving to some of the particulars of this morning’s worship service, in today’s  Children’s Lesson we’ll talk briefly about what Jesus has promised us…..not peace from earthly problems or a paradise on earth…..but the guarantees that He has overcome the curse of sin for us and that, through faith in Him, we will one day “escape” this sinful world with its troubles, to live in glory with Him in heaven.

            In today’s Old Testament Lesson Jeremiah the prophet also questions God’s goodness and His justice.   Jeremiah was watching the wicked and – apparently – they were prospering when they should have been penitent.   In essence he asks, “How long, Lord, are You going to allow this to go on?”  Yet, in the end, Jeremiah recognizes that the Lord will work His justice against unbelief in His own appointed time and manner.

            In this morning’s Epistle Lesson James speaks about the sufferings that Christians endure in life, urging his readers both to be patient and to consider the example of Job – who was finally vindicated by God.   He reminds them – as we need to remember – that our Lord will eventually deliver His followers from all life’s trials – but only in His own good time.

            Finally, in today’s Gospel Lesson we have the example of the “rich fool” who was evidently very prosperous, but who – sadly — lacked faith.   He thought he had it all, but in reality He had nothing.  At the height of his success the Lord ended his life…and his material possessions did him no good in eternity, in hell.   Though we should take no satisfaction in it, we must remember that even if the wicked seem to prosper in life, for all without faith there will be a day of reckoning with God – if not before, then at the moment of their death. We, as Christians, on the other hand, might not enjoy a life of ease and success in every way, but when our last day on earth comes, we know that for Jesus’ sake we will inherit the pleasures and treasure of Heaven.  That is ever our comfort and our joy!




Prayer upon entering the sanctuary

Pre-Service Music


We Praise Our God


Welcome and Introduction to Worship


The Invocation


Pastor            We begin this service in the name of the Father


 Congregation          Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.


            P:                    And of the Son

            C:                    Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.


            P:                    And of the Holy Spirit

            C:                    Who gave us eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus.

            P:                    Amen.


The Prayer for This Morning


In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.   Amen. 

We thank you, heavenly Father, +   that You have kept us through the night from all harm and danger.   +   Keep us this day also, from sin and every evil.   +   That all our doings and life may please You.   +   Into Your hands we commend our bodies and souls, and all things. +   Let Your holy angels be with us, +   that the Wicked Foe may have no power over us. +   Amen.


After which, the Congregation may be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                   “With The Lord Begin Your Task”


With the Lord begin your task, Jesus will direct it;

For His aid and counsel ask, Jesus will perfect it.

Every morn with Jesus rise, and when day is ended,

In His name then close yours eyes;  Be to Him commended.


Let each day begin with prayer, praise and adoration;

On the Lord cast every care; He is your Salvation.

Morning, evening, and at night, Jesus will be near you,

Save you from the tempter’s might,   With His presence cheer you.


With the Savior at your side, foes need not alarm you;

In His promises confide, and no ill can harm you.

All your trust and hope repose, in the Mighty Master,

Who in wisdom truly knows,    How to stem disaster.


If Your task is thus begin with the Savior’s blessing

Safely then Your course will run, Naught your soul distressing.

Good will follow ev’rywhere   While you here must wander.

You at last the joy will share   In the mansions yonder.    Amen


after which the Congregation will rise


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor            God, our Heavenly Father, invites us to come into His presence and to worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.



Congregation          Holy and merciful Father,   I confess that I am by nature sinful   and that I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions;    I have done what is evil in Your sight   and have failed to do what is good.    For this I know that I deserve Your punishment, both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for all my sins,   and trusting in the perfect life   and innocent death of my Savior,   Jesus Christ, I plead:   God have mercy on me, a sinner.


Pastor            Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save us from all our sins.     And now, carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated


We Hear God’s Word


The Psalm for Today                                                                                                                  Psalm 91


P:        He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High  will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.


  • I will say of the LORD , “He is my refuge and my fortress, +  my God, in whom I trust.”


  • Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.


  • He will cover you with His feathers, +  and under His wings you will find refuge;    + His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.



P:        You will not fear the terror of night,  nor the arrow that flies by day,

C:         nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,   +  nor the plague that destroys at midday.

  • A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you
  • You will only observe with your eyes + and see the punishment of the wicked.
  • If you make the Most High your dwelling- even the LORD , who is my refuge
  • then no harm will befall you, + no disaster will come near your tent.
  • For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways
  • they will lift you up in their hands, +  so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  

P:        You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;  you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

C:        Because he loves Me,” says the LORD , “I will rescue him; +  I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name.



  • He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,   I will deliver him and honor him.



  • With long life will I satisfy him +  and show him My salvation.”


The Second Hymn                                                                                                “On Eagles’ Wings”

                                                                                                 Used with permission, CCLI # 1366699


You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord

Who abide in His shadow for life

Say to the Lord

“My refuge, my rock in whom I trust!”


REFRAIN:      And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings

Bear you on the breath of dawn

Make you to shine like the sun

And hold you in the palm of His hand.


The snare of the fowler will never capture you

And famine will bring you no fear

Under His wings your refuge

His faithfulness your shield.    REFRAIN


You need not fear the terror of the night

Nor the arrow that flies by day

Though thousands fall about you

Near you it shall not come.    REFRAIN


For to His angels He’s given a command

To guard you in all of your ways

Upon their hands they will bear you up

Lest you dash your foot against a stone.    REFRAIN

The First Lesson                                                                                                             Jeremiah 12:1-4


Lord, you are righteous whenever I bring a case before you.

    Nevertheless, I want to speak with you about justice.

Why does the way of the wicked prosper?

Why do the treacherous live at ease?

2 You plant them, and they take root.

They grow, and they produce fruit.

You are always on their lips,

but far from their hearts.

3 But you know me, Lord.

You see me and test the attitude of my heart toward you.

Drag them away like sheep for the slaughter,

and set them apart for the day when they will be put to death.

4 How long will the land mourn,

and the grass in the whole countryside wither?

Because of the evil of the people who live there,

the animals and birds are dying,

for the people have said,

“He will not see how things turn out for us.”


The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                               James 5:7-11


7 Therefore, brothers, be patient until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the valuable harvest from the ground, patiently waiting for it, until it receives the early and late rain. 8 You be patient too. Strengthen your hearts because the coming of the Lord is near.


9 Do not complain about one another, brothers, so that you will not be judged. Look! The Judge is standing at the doors! 10 Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of suffering with patient endurance. 11 See, we consider those who endured to be blessed. You have heard of the patient endurance of Job and have seen what the Lord did in the end, because the Lord is especially compassionate and merciful.


after which the Congregation will rise, for the reading of


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                            Luke 12:13-21


13 Someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But Jesus said to him, “Man, who appointed me to be a judge or an arbitrator over you?”


15 Then he said to them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed, because a man’s life is not measured by how many possessions he has.”

16 He told them a parable: “The land of a certain rich man produced very well. 17 He was thinking to himself, ‘What will I do, because I do not have anywhere to store my crops?’ 18 He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and goods. 19 And I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your soul will be demanded from you. Now who will get what you have prepared?’

21 “That is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”



The Apostles’ Creed                               to the melody of “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”


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!


after which the Congregation will be seated for


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                           John 16:33


 I have told you these things, so that you may have peace in me. In this world

 you are going to have trouble. But be courageous! I have overcome the world.”


Jesus never promised us paradise on earth….. but He

did promise to give us a “peace” that only Christians can enjoy!


The Hymn of the Day                                                            “God Moves In A Mysterious Way”



1 God moves in a mysterious way    His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea   And rides upon the storm.


2 Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,   But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence  Faith sees a smiling face.


3 His purposes will ripen fast,   Unfolding ev’ry hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,   But sweet will be the flow’r.


4 Blind unbelief is sure to err   And scan His work in vain;

God is His own interpreter,   And He will make it plain.


5 You fearful saints, fresh courage take;   The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and will break  In blessings on your head.


after which the Congregation will rise for


The Greeting 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge

of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sermon Text                                                                                                                                 Psalm 73


1  Surely God is good to Israel,  to those who are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;  I had nearly lost my foothold.

3 For I envied the arrogant  when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 They have no struggles;  their bodies are healthy and strong. 

5 They are free from the burdens common to man;  they are not plagued by human ills.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;  they clothe themselves with violence.

7  From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

8 They scoff, and speak with malice;  in their arrogance they threaten oppression.

9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,  and their tongues take possession of the earth.

10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. 

11 They say, “How can God know?  Does the Most High have knowledge?”

12 This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth.

13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

14 All day long I have been plagued;   I have been punished every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children.

16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me

17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;  then I understood their final destiny.

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;  you cast them down to ruin.

19 How suddenly are they destroyed,  completely swept away by terrors!

20 As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.

21 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,

22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;   you hold me by my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,  but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;  you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;   I
 will tell of all your deeds.

Don’t Envy the Wicked!

  1. Their lives are not easier
  2. Their lives are not better

III.  It is better, by far, to be close to the Lord (and you are!)


Pastor            To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, power, and authority now and forever.  Amen.


We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers to the Lord


Because we aren’t able to pass an offering plate today during today’s worship

service those in attendance may leave their offerings in the offering plates

by the exit door at the close of our service today.

For those watching today’s service, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:  

1) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to the church address

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

2) You can go online to our website (www.gracelutherannwa.com)

and use the giving option there.


At the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for

Today’s General Prayer and Special Prayers for this Day  


Included in our prayer this morning is an intercessory prayer on behalf of our brother,

Robert Bontke, who was injured in a fall on Friday, and who is in Mercy Hospital;       

and for our sister, Mary Karloski, who is recovering from surgery this past Wednesday;

Also, for Bill Krizsan, who is recovering at home from an operation this past Monday,

and who will soon be undergoing treatment for cancer;

Also we offer A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Vic Walker, who successfully underwent surgery Wednesday;, as well as for Harriet Johnson, who had a successful surgical procedure last Wednesday

And a  Prayer of Thanksgiving for Kay and Frank Giardino, 

whose wedding anniversary is this coming Friday.


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 Benediction

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

and the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen.



The Closing Hymn                                                                                   “I’m But A Stranger Here”


1 I’m but a stranger here,   Heaven is my home;

Earth is a desert drear;   Heaven is my home:

Danger and sorrow stand  Round me on every hand;

Heaven is my fatherland,   Heaven is my home.

2 What though the tempest rage,   Heaven is my home;

Short is my pilgrimage,   Heaven is my home:

And time’s wild wintry blast   Soon shall be overpast;

I shall reach home at last,  Heaven is my home.


3 There at my Savior’s side,   Heaven is my home;

I shall be glorified,   Heaven is my home.

There are the good and blest,   Those I love most and best;

And there I too shall rest,   Heaven is my home.


4 Therefore I murmur not,   Heaven is my home;

Whate’er my earthly lot,   Heaven is my home:

And I shall surely stand   There at my Lord’s right hand:

Heaven is my fatherland,  Heaven is my home.


Silent Prayer


Post-Service Music




Last Week at Grace Lutheran Church                   Worship Attendance: 52    Communed: 46

Tuesday Bible Class: 16            Budgetary  Offerings: $                 Online budgetary:   $


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church


Today                       Morning Worship,  at 9:30 a.m. 

                                                Voter’s Meeting afterward

            Tuesday                   Morning Bible Class, 10:30 to 11:30

            Sunday                     Morning Worship  9:30 a.m.  with the Lord’s Supper

                                                Bible Class, after worship (30 minutes)


This Week’s Birthday and Anniversary

July 31 – Frank & Kay Giardino;       July  31 – MiKaela Lemmon


Serving Us Next Sunday                         Elders:   John Johnson, Steve Stone, Tim Pfortmiller

Ushers:   Tom Otto,  Kent Mayer,  John Johnson, Tim Huebner

Altar Guild:   Marilyn Outlaw,   Harriet Johnson,


silent prayer, announcements

post service music



Last Week at Grace Lutheran Church          Worship Attendance: 54    Commune: 47

Online views of the Sunday service:   34                                                                 Tuesday Bible Class participants: 14

Budgetary Fund: $5975           School Fund: $161         Capital Improvement Fund:  $50


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today                         Pre-service Hymn Singing,           Morning Worship  9:30 a.m.

Tuesday            Morning Bible Class, 10:15 to noon

    Sunday              Morning Worship, including the Lord’s Supper, at 9:30 a.m.

Fellowship Period, 10:45 p.m. Bible Class and Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.

This Week’s Birthdays& Anniversary     June 15 – Ken Pudas;     June 16 – Ed Bratton;     June 16 – Kris & Megan Arthur;     June `6 – Addison Arthur;

June 17 – Michael & Ann King            June 17 -Tony & Jamaica Hoyord


Serving Us Next Sunday (6-21)                   Elders:   Tim Pfortmiller, Ken Abernathy

Ushers:     Tim Huebner, Dale Johannes, Pat Quinlan, Taylor Ashley

Altar Guild:   Tammy Schwartz