Handling the Weeds of Life


            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?” 

         Almost every time we gather together for worship in this house of God, at some point in the worship service we join together — as is our good custom — in the Lord’s Prayer.  And near the end of the Lord’s Prayer, as each of us well knows, comes the 7th Petition, “But deliver us from evil.”    Martin Luther, in his Small Catechism explanation of the 7th Petition provides us with these thoughts on God’s delivering His children from evil:  “We pray in this petition, as the sum of all, that our Father in heaven would deliver us from every evil of body and soul, of property and honor,  and, finally, when our last hour shall come,  grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.”  

         What Luther wrote about, both on the basis of his understanding of God’s Word and his experiences of God’s active deliverance in his own life, we will see this morning throughout our Scripture lessons, including in today’s Old Testament Lesson.  Here Jeremiah questions God’s goodness and His justice.   Jeremiah was watching the wicked and (as far as this prophet of the Lord was concerned) 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.

         Looking at the issue from a slightly different perspective can lead the believer to ask,“How can a gracious and merciful God allow His followers to suffer?”  That, essentially, is the fundamental question underlying Psalm 73.   It’s a question that has puzzled saints over the centuries.   Perhaps you’ve pondered it too, wondering why God isn’t blessing you more (since you’re on His side) and isn’t blessing the wicked less (since they constantly rebel against Him and reject His Word, and Him).   Sadly, some Christians today have even been misled into thinking that faith in God comes with some sort of guarantee that the Lord will make their lives free from adversity.   Unfortunately, by the time many of them finally come to the realization that this is not so, their faith is sometimes severely shaken – even shattered.    It’s our hope that through our use of Psalm 73 today (which we will sing following our Old Testament reading) you will be encouraged to trust even more in the Lord as your Stronghold for deliverance from every evil and all your enemies.

         Moving ahead to our Epistle Lesson, Paul begins by reminding us that the entire “creation waits in eager expectation” for the Last Day when it “will be liberated from its bondage” as part of a sin-compromised universe.  He goes on to encourage patience in suffering, assuring us that in everything God is working for our benefit.  Then, in closing he states that through the power of Christ we can be certain that — difficult though they are to deal with — none of life’s evils and tribulations will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ.  

         In our Children’s Lesson, we’ll use the example of calling 9-1-1 in an emergency to remind ourselves that in times of trouble and when faced by evil, we can “call” on God to rescue us….with the confidence that He is always listening and is ever able and willing to deliver us.

         Moving on to this morning’s Gospel Lesson, (the first portion of which will also serve as our sermon text), Jesus presents the parable of the Tares (weeds) among the Wheat.  In this teaching lesson the farmer represents the Lord Jesus.   The weeds symbolize the followers of Satan – both inside and outside the Church – as well as all of evil’s effects on this world and upon God’s people.  The wheat, of course, stands for the Church – and so for all who believe in Christ as their God and Savior.   In the parable Jesus explains why evil and evil people exist – because of Satan’s hostility toward the Lord and his on -going efforts to hinder God’s Kingdom.   He also teaches us that, though not immediately, He will surely eliminate evil and all its effects n the Last Day.  

         In our Sermon, we’ll discuss the general existence of evil in this world and in our own sinful  lives, how our God has already dealt with it in Christ and some of the reasons why He has not fully eliminated it….yet….but that our Lord Jesus will forever remove it from our lives once the Last Day arrives.  Until then, however, the Christian’s calling is to patient and trusting, as well as to live the kind of life that is truly repentant over our own sins and which strives to be faithful and fruitful/productive for the LORD in all we do to the glory of God Who has forgiven us and guarantees us eternal salvation through Christ.


Pre-Service Prayer –            O Heavenly Father, please guide me in wisdom and truth through Your Holy Spirit, as I spend this hour 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.


Scripture quotations in this worship flyer, unless otherwise noted,  are taken from the EVANGELICAL HERITAGE VERSION of the Bible.  Copyright 2019

 by the Warburg Project.   All rights reserved.


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



Our Opening Scripture Reading                                                          Psalm 73

1  Surely God is good to Israel, to the pure in heart.

2  But as for me, my feet almost slipped out from under me.  almost lost my footing.

3  I even envied the arrogant when I observed the peace of the wicked.

4  For there are no struggles at their death.  Their bodies are sturdy.

5 They do not have the trouble common to people.  They are not plagued along with the rest of mankind.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace. They wear violence like clothing.

7 Their eyes bulge out of their fat.  The schemes of their hearts step over boundaries.

8 They mock. They speak maliciously.   From a high perch they threaten oppression.

9 They set their mouths against the heavens. Their tongues strut around on earth.

10 Therefore God’s people turn to them, and they drink it all in.

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

12  See, this is what the wicked are like— secure forever, they increase in strength.

13  Have I really kept my heart pure for nothing? Have I kept my hands clean in vain?


14  I have been plagued all day. My punishment comes every morning.

15  If I had said, “I will speak like this,” I would certainly have betrayed the circle of your children.

16  When I tried to understand this, it was very troubling to me,

17  until I went to the sanctuary of God. Then I understood their end.

18  Surely you place them on slippery places. You cause them to fall into destruction.

19  How quickly they come to ruin, completely destroyed by terrors!

20  They are like a dream when someone wakes up. So when you arise, O Lord,

you will despise them like an illusion.


21  Yes, my heart was bitter, and I was torn up inside.

22  I was unthinking and ignorant. I was a dumb animal before you.

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

24  With your guidance you lead me, and afterward, you will take me to glory.

25  Who else is there for me in heaven? And besides you, I desire no one else on earth.

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


27  No doubt about it!   Those who are far from you will perish.  You destroy all who commit adultery against you.

28  As for me, God’s nearness is good for me. I have made the Lord God my refuge,

so that I can tell about all your works.

The Opening Hymn                      Hymn 540 “With The Lord Begin Thy 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 your 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 be thus begun   With the Savior’s blessing,

Safely then your course will run,   Toward the promise pressing.

Good will follow everywhere   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.


                           In joyful response to this reassurance of God’s love and forgiveness for us in Christ, please join me now as we sing the praises of our gracious and majestic Lord:


“Majesty”                                        written by Jack Hayford, Rocksmith Music

                                                                used with permission, CCLI # 1366699


Majesty  Worship His majesty

Unto Jesus Be all glory, honor and praise

Majesty  Kingdom authority

Flow from His throne   Unto His own His anthem raise

So exalt, lift up on high   The name of Jesus

Magnify, come glorify   Christ Jesus the King

Majesty   Worship His majesty   Jesus who died, now glorified   King of all kings 



After which the Congregation will be seated


We Hear God’s Word


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                                                                     Romans 8:18-39


18 For I conclude that our sufferings at the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 In fact, creation is waiting with eager longing for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in the hope 21 that even creation itself will be set free from slavery to corruption, in order to share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22 For we know that all of creation is groaning with birth pains right up to the present time. 23 And not only creation, but also we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we eagerly await our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 Indeed, it was for this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for something we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patient endurance.

26 In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we should pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that are not expressed in words. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints, according to God’s will.

28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, 29 because those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called. Those he called, he also justified. And those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What then will we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also graciously give us all things along with him?

33 Who will bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies! 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus, who died and, more than that, was raised to life, is the one who is at God’s right hand and who is also interceding for us! 35 What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 Just as it is written:

         For your sake we are being put to death all day long.

         We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

         37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, neither things present nor things to come, nor powerful forces, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


after which, the Congregation will rise for



Today’s Gospel Lesson                                               Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43


24 He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced heads of grain, the weeds also appeared. 27 The servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where did the weeds come from?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy did this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather up the weeds?’ 29 ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because when you gather up the weeds, you might pull up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the weeds, bind them in bundles, and burn them. Then, gather the wheat into my barn.”’”        


36 Then Jesus sent the people away and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”


37 He answered them, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world. The good seeds are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the Evil One. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the world. The reapers are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the world. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will pull out of his kingdom everything that causes sin[d] and those who continue to break the law. 42 The angels will throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.



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                                                                      Psalm 50:15


Call upon Me in the day of trouble;  I will deliver you and you will honor Me


“Whom Do You Call When You Need Help?



The Hymn of the Day                                           “His Eye Is On The Sparrow”

                                                                      Used with permission, OneLicense.net


Why should I feel discouraged    Why should the shadows come

Why should my heart feel lonely   And long for heaven and home

When Jesus is my portion   A constant friend is He

His eye is on the sparrow   And I know He watches over me

His eye is on the sparrow   And I know He watches me


I sing because I’m happy   I sing because I’m free

His eye is on the sparrow   And I know  He watches me


“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy   I sing because I’m free

His eye is on the sparrow   And I know  He watches me


Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy   I sing because I’m free

His eye is on the sparrow    And I know He watches me.


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.


Today’s Sermon                                                      based on Matthew 13:24-30 the italicized portion of today’s Gospel Lesson

Faithfully Handling The Weeds of Life


Faithfully Handling The Weeds of Life

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


The Offering


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.

Our Prayers for Each Other


The Prayers of the Church                 


P:      Almighty God!  All praise and thanks to You for the countless blessings we receive from You every day, though we do not deserve them.  We thank You for health of body and soul, for the joys of life, the beauties in the world, and the bounties of the earth.   We thank you for the gifts of learning and memory, for the enjoyment of honest work and restful play, for the pleasure of friendship, and for the ability to share laughter and sorrow with others.


C:      We thank you especially  +  for giving us Your precious Word and Sacraments   +  through which You generate and strengthen saving faith,   +  comfort our sin-troubled hearts   +  and build us up to live godly lives   +  for our good and to Your glory.   +  We praise you also, gracious Lord,   +  for making us able and willing to spread the Good News of salvation   +  throughout our community and into all the earth.

P:      Great God and Lord!   Stand by us in these last days full of trial and tribulation,   of nations in turmoil and peoples in distress,   of faith dying out and true love growing cold.  Give us the strength of faith to face the evils of life with courage,  and deliver us according to Your will and in Your own appointed time,  from this wicked world,  our sinful flesh, and the power of the Evil One.


C:      We pray that You will continue to protect and preserve   +   the good institutions of our society:   our families and schools,  +    our government and laws,  +  our trades and professions  +   our means of transportation and communication,   +  all useful arts,  +  and especially Your Holy Christian Church on earth.


P:      Gracious Father!  Be merciful to people in every affliction.  Send Your peace to the sick, the aged, the infirm, the broken-hearted, the confused, the troubled, and the lonely.   Bring Your healing to our broken homes and sin-ravaged lives.


C:      We ask that You fill our hearts with Christian love   +  not only to forgive those who sin against us,   +  but also to pray for others in need   +  and to help them with our own words of encouragement  +  and our works of kindness.


P:      Eternal God!  Keep us all in Your saving faith, by which You enable us to overcome all things through the power of   and by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is in His name that we offer this prayer, and now continue by praying:


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


Benediction –    Brothers and sisters, now go in peace.   Live in harmony with one another.   And Serve the Lord in gladness.

                           The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

                  and the Love of God,

                           and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.   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 Saviour’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, Announcements,  Post-Service Music                                                         




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This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church


                  Today       Morning Worship 9:30 a.m.

                  Tuesday   Morning Bible Class, 10:15 to noon

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


This Week’s Birthday                          June 28 – Joyce Skogen;      July 01 – Phil Pudas;


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

Ushers:     Drake Schwartz,  Chris Roberts, Chase Roberts,   Kent Mayer

Altar Guild:   Tina Wambold