The Fifth Sunday after the Festival of the Holy Trinity

also known as  The Seventh Sunday of the Pentecost Season

July 04, 2021

God Bless Our Native Land


     God bless our native land….God bless America!    That’s not just an expression used by politicians and presidents.    It’s also a very short plea, or prayer, that we – as Christians – should raise to our Lord.   Why?  Because we believe that God has blessed America in the past, and we implore Him to continue to bless America now and well into the future.   In fact, today we’re going to ask Him to use us to bless our country.

     A number of years  ago Richard DeVos, who helped found the Amway Corporation, made a comparison between America and what was then the Soviet Union.   He offered his opinion about what America would have to do to equal Russia.   He said we’d have to rip up 13 of every 14 miles of our paved highways, scrap 19 of every 20 cars and trucks on the road, and eliminate over 2000 colleges.    In addition, we’d have to destroy 7 out of every 10 single-family houses and cut our living standard by 67%.  Hmm.  That doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me.   What do you think?

     Many of us can remember a time when there weren’t all that many restaurants in which to eat.   There were a few “mom and pop” operations, and maybe a Howard Johnson’s, Dairy Queen and McDonald’s.   There weren’t many other restaurants – certainly not many “national brands.”   But look at the “eating out scene” today……We almost have more restaurants here in Northwest Arkansas than you can count!  In it’s not just an abundance of eating places.   We have and abundance of nearly everything in America.   Is it any wonder that our nation is both the envy of other countries the world over, as well as the destination that many people around the world want to reach?

           The home I grew up in didn’t have air conditioning – just a couple of screen doors and a few fans to keep us cool in the summer.   But look at our homes today!    I can’t think of anyone I know whose home (or church building) doesn’t have air conditioning in it.   Wow!   God has undoubtedly blessed us as individuals, and as a country.  

           But His blessings don’t stop with His material provisions.   God has blessed America Spiritually.   Just consider the freedoms we enjoy as Christians in this country.  Anyone can start a church.   Going back to 16 months ago, most congregations didn’t broadcast their worship services over the internet.   Now nearly every congregation does…..and we have the freedom (so far) to preach and teach what we believe based on God’s Word – with no restrictions whatsoever.    Christian churches in many other locations around the globe don’t enjoy that blessing. 

           No doubt about it, we’re blessed this land that we call the United States of America!      And now, it’s our turn.   On this 4th of July morning, as we surely ask God to continue to bless America, let’s also seek the guidance He gives in His Word to learn what we can do better, as Christians in 2021, to be blessings and to bring God’s blessings to America today.         Obviously, then, our worship service today is not focusing primarily on one of Scripture’s basic doctrines on which our eternal salvation depends.   Yet, as God’s Word has declared, and as our Lutheran Confessions affirm, each of us – as Christians – lives under two kingdoms:   the Kingdom of Christ;   as well as a particular “earthly kingdom” (in our case, the United States of America). 

           Speaking of the two kingdoms, it is the responsibility of civil government to look after the material needs of its citizens, while the primary responsibility of Kingdom of Christ (the Church) is to serve the Spiritual needs of its people.    In addition, we want to note that it is not the responsibility of civil government to enforce or oppose the exercise of religion, but to see to it that all its citizens lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and holiness (I Tim 2:2) and that they are faithful in rendering their taxes and meeting their other responsibilities for the support of the government’s work (Rom 13:17).   Meanwhile, the chief purpose of the Kingdom of Christ on earth is to proclaim the Gospel for the salvation of souls.  In so doing, the “citizens” of Christ’s Kingdom are to serve as examples of Godly living and to be positive (rather than legalistic) spiritual influences upon all whose lives they touch.

           Through our Sermon on this Independence Day weekend, we will examine the heritage, benefits and privileges we enjoy as citizens and residents of the United States of America – and for which we owe God our thanks.   At the same time, we will also consider (to our shame – collectively and individually) the many ways in which our nation and its citizens (us included) have fallen far short of the righteous standards our Lord has laid down for us in His Word.   As we also reflect upon His forgiveness, for Jesus’ sake, in spite of our failings, may each one of us resolve today to repent of our sins, to pray for our country, and to rededicate ourselves to living Godly lives in society and to proclaiming the Word of our Lord to others in this land which He has so abundantly blessed

           Our  Children’s Lesson will use “the story of the Pledge of Allegiance,” tied to Matthew 16:13-17, to give emphasis to Peter’s bold confession of faith in Christ as the Messiah.  Our theme will be “Peter’s Pledge of  Allegiance….. and Ours!”  

           Today’s Old Testament Lesson is Solomon’s closing blessing from the temple dedication service. In it we’ll see that God’s blessings to Israel – including the country’s freedom and independence – were tied to Israel’s faithfulness to Him.   

           In this morning’s Epistle Lesson Peter reminds his Christian hearers, who are under persecution by the government because of their faith in Christ, that their Christian duty is to honor and obey their governmental leaders, recognizing them as authorities set in place by God Himself. 

           The Gospel Lesson for today is a familiar excerpt from Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in which He uses the examples of “light” and “salt” to remind His followers (the Church/the Kingdom of Christ) that we are to be positive, spiritual difference-makers in this world into which He has placed us in service to Him.  


           Finally, as we ask our God to “bless our native land” on this Independence Day weekend we will do well to echo the words of our nation’s first President, George Washington, in his prayer for the nation:


“Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection;  that Thou wilt incline the heads of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brother-affection and love for one another and for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large.  And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Christian religion, and without a humble imitation of Whose example in these thing we can never hope to be a happy nation.    Grant our supplications, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.




Pre-Service Prayer       Dear Father in heaven, let me rejoice with my fellow Christians gathered here this morning as we worship You in Your house.   Reassure me of Your love and forgiveness for me as I confess my sins to You today.    Receive my praises and prayers, humble and imperfect though they be.   Renew my faith and Christian life through Your Word.  And then, return me to my appointed calling in this world, invigorated, equipped, and eager to serve You with all that I am and have, until the day when You call me to that heavenly home which You have promised and prepared for me and all believers, through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.   In His name I pray  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




Silent prayer                                                                                                                           Pre-service music


We Praise Our God

     The Introduction and Invitation to Worship


     The Invocation


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



            Our Psalm for This Morning                                                                                                 Psalm 33


P:   Sing joyfully to the Lord , you righteous;  it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.

  • Praise the Lord with the harp; +  make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre. +  Sing to Him a new song; + play skillfully, and shout for joy.


P:   For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.   The Lord loves righteousness and justice;  the earth is full of His unfailing love.



  • By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, +  their starry host by the breath of His mouth. +    He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;    + He puts the deep into storehouses.

P:   Let all the earth fear the Lord ; let all the people of the world revere Him.


  • For he spoke, and it came to be; + He commanded, and it stood firm.



  • The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples.   But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,  purposes of His heart through all generations.


  • Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord , + the people He chose for His inheritance.



  • From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth- He Who forms the hearts of all, Who considers everything they do.

C:  No king is saved by the size of his army; +  no warrior escapes by his great strength.   +  A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; + despite all its great strength it cannot save.



  • But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.


  • We wait in hope for the Lord; + He is our help and our shield.   +  In Him our hearts rejoice, +    for we trust in His holy name.   +   May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord , +   even as we put our hope in You.

after which the Congregation may be seated as


            The Opening Hymn                                                Hymn 517    “Almighty Father, Strong To Save”


1 Almighty Father, strong to save,    Whose arm has bound the restless wave,

Who bids the mighty ocean deep   Its own appointed limits keep:

Oh, hear our earnest, humble plea     For those in peril on the sea.


2 O Christ, the Lord of hill and plain   O’er which our traffic runs amain

By mountain pass or valley low;   Wherever, Lord, Your people go,

Protect them by Your guarding hand   From every peril on the land.

  1. O Spirit Whom the Father sent To spread abroad the firmament;

O Wind of heaven, by Your might   Save all who dare the eagle’s flight,

And keep them by Your watchful care   From every peril in the air.


4 O Trinity of love and pow’r,    Your people shield in danger’s hour;

From rock and tempest, fire and foe,    Protect them all where’er they go;

Thus ever more to You shall be    Glad praise from air and land and sea.


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.



Lord have mercy on us.       Christ have mercy on us.     Lord have mercy on us.


    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, having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty God, 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, addressing you as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and under His authority,   I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.    


     May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.


(Sung)     Glory be to God on high.   And on earth peace good will toward me.

We praise You.  We thank You.   We worship You.

We glorify You.  We give thanks to You for Your great glory.

O Lord God, Heavenly King,   God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.

You take away the sin of the world.   Have mercy on us.


You take away the sin of the world.  Receive our prayer.

You sit at the right hand of God the Father,   Have mercy on us.

For You only are holy.   You only are the Lord.

You only, O Christ, with the Holy Spirit

Are most high in the glory of God the Father.   Amen


     The Prayer For This Morning


Almighty and most merciful God, + our heavenly Father, + Your compassion has no limits;   +  You are long-suffering, gracious, and full of goodness and truth;   + forgiving our iniquities, transgressions, and sins. +   Both as a nation, and as individuals, +   we have sinned against Your Word and will;   +   we have forsaken You and offended You;   and have done great evil in Your sight. +   But we beg You, O Lord, +   not to remember our transgressions. +  Instead, in Your mercy, for Jesus’ sake, + forgive us all our sins. + Also help us through the Holy Spirit + to daily repent of our sins, and + striving to avoid sin in the future + enable us to live more Godly lives   + and to become a more Godly nation.   + This we humbly seek + in the name of Your Son, + our Savior, Jesus Christ,  +   Who lives and reigns with You and The Holy Spirit, +   One God, forever and ever.  +    Amen.



We Hear God’s Word


            The Children’s Lesson                                    Matthew 16:13-17


13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”   14 They said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”   15 He said to them, “But you, who do you say that I am?”   16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the  living God.”   17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father Who is in heaven.


Peter’s Pledge Of Allegiance…..And Ours!


            The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                          I Kings 8:54-61


54 When Solomon finished offering all these prayers and pleas for mercy to the Lord, he got up from the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. 55 Then he stood and blessed the whole congregation of Israel with a loud voice:    56 Blessed be the Lord, Who has given rest to His people Israel, just as He said He would. Not one word has failed from all His good words which He spoke through Moses His servant. 57 May the Lord our God be with us, just as He was with our fathers. May He never leave us or abandon us. 58 May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways and to listen to His commands, regulations, and ordinances, which He commanded to our fathers. 59 May these words which I have prayed before the Lord be near the Lord our God day and night so that He provides justice for His servant and for His people Israel forever, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God. There is no other. 61 May your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, in order to walk in His regulations and to keep His commands, just as is the case today.



            The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                           I Peter 2:9-17


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, the people who are God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10 At one time you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. At one time you were not shown mercy, but now you have been shown mercy.   11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and temporary residents in the world, to abstain from the desires of the sinful flesh, which war against your soul. 12 Live an honorable life among the Gentiles so that even though they slander you as evildoers, when they observe your noble deeds, they may glorify God on the day He visits us.   13 Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the king as the supreme authority 14 or to governors as those who have been sent by Him to punish those who do what is wrong and to praise those who do what is right. 15 For this is God’s will: that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. 16 Do this as free people, and do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but use it as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood.     Fear God. Honor the king.


after which, the Congregation will rise for


            The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                     Matthew 5:13-16


13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its flavor, how will it become salty again? Then it is no good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. 14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket. No, they put it on a stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 In the same way let your light shine in people’s presence, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.



     The Nicene Creed


I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,  and of all things visible and invisible.  And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God,  Light of Light.  Very God of Very God.  Begotten, not made.  Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made;  Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven   And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary   And was made man;  And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.  He suffered and was buried;  And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures;  And ascended into heaven,  And sitteth on the right hand of the Father;   And he shall come again with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead;  Whose Kingdom shall have no end.   And I believe in the Holy Ghost,  The Lord and Giver of Life,  Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,  Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,  Who spake by the Prophets.  And I believe one holy Christian and Apostolic Church.  I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,  And I look for the resurrection of the dead,  And the life of the world to come.  Amen.


after which the Congregation may be seated


The Pre-Sermon Hymn                                                              Hymn 619  “God Bless Our Native Land”



1 God bless our native land;   Firm may she ever stand  

Through storm and night:   

When the wild tempests rave,    Ruler of wind and wave,   

Do Thou our country save    By Thy great might.


2 For her our prayer shall rise    To God above the skies;   On Him we wait;   

Thou, Who are ever nigh,      Guarding with watchful eye.  

To Thee aloud we cry,      God save the state!


The Sermon Text                                                                                                                 I Timothy 2:1-6


First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, in order that we might live a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.


God Bless Our Native Land


Following the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


     The Post-Sermon Blessing


May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our fathers.   May He never leave us or forsake us.   May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways.  Amen.


We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers to the Lord


Because we aren’t passing offering plates at this time,   we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings  through our ministry:

1) Those present for worship may leave their offerings in the baskets near the exit doors; or

2) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to Grace Lutheran Church (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

3) Or, go online to our website ( and use the giving option there.


The Prayers for this Day  

Included in our prayers today

A Prayer of Thanksgiving and Continued Intercession for our brother Fred Cusanelli,

who is being blessed with a strong recovery from heart bypass surgery.


Our Responsive Prayer for Today


Almighty God, Heavenly Father, we stand before You today, as our forefathers stood before You in days gone by, celebrating our nation’s history, grateful for the great things You have achieved for our country over the nearly two and a half centuries that our United States of America has been a free nation.    We thank You for the blessings of liberty for us and for generations to come.   We thank You for our independence, peace and for all those who have bravely given their lives in the defense of freedom and this land.  We thank You that Your gracious and providential hand has given us such great abundance, success and other blessings.    Yet, as a people we are not – in the least – worthy of Your many mercies.   As a nation and people we have not always chosen to follow the righteous paths You have laid out for us in Your Holy Word.   And so we implore You to forgive us for our many national and personal transgressions.    On this Independence Day 2021, as a congregation of Your faithful children, we recommit ourselves to wholeheartedly honoring and serving You.  We pray that across this land every man, woman and child will so rededicate him- or herself to You.   As everything rightfully is Yours, we rededicate to You our very lives and all that You have allowed us to possess.   Make us a godly people, a generous people, a people committed to loving You and obeying Your Word always.    Today, we do not presume Your grace for our country.  Our land and our people desperately need You to guide us, to guard us, to give us success, and to grant us all blessings material and especially Spiritual.     And so, may we as individuals, as a congregation, and as this blessed nation of the United States of America always and only look to You alone on this Independence Day, and every day, as the Source of all our blessings.   By Your Holy Spirit, breathe true faith in You as the one true God, as well as Your godliness into every heart and soul of every person who resides within our country’s boundaries.   Across our land, enable Your justice and peace to flow like rivers, and Your righteousness to go forth like never-failing streams, until the whole of our country is covered with Your goodness and glory, as the waters cover the seas.   May the Gospel of salvation in Christ alone be proclaimed throughout our community by each of us, as we are Your salt and light.   Bless also the preaching of that Gospel here, across our country and around the world, that many more souls might believe and become citizens of Your greater heavenly country for all eternity.   We ask all this in the gracious name of Jesus, Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit as the one true God, now and for all eternity.    And in Whose name we also pray:


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 glory forever and ever.  Amen.

We Celebrate the Lord’s Supper


P:   The Lord be with you.


           C:        (Sung)   And also with you


           P:   Lift up your hearts


           C:        (Sung)    We lift them up unto the Lord


           P:   Let us give thanks to the Lord our God


           C:        (Sung)    It is good and right so to do.



           P:   It is truly good and right that we should at all times and in all places give You thanks, O Lord, Holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who has promised that wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst of them, until the day of His return in glory,   Therefore, with angels and archangel, and all the company of heaven, we praise Your holy name and join their glorious song:


(Sung)   Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of heav’nly hosts,

Heaven and earth are full of Your glory.

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is He.   Blessed is He.   Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest


     The Words of Institution


     The Peace


           P:   The peace of the Lord be with you always


           C:              (Sung)   Amen.




Please read the following if you haven’t spoken with our Pastor about taking communion.


To our Guests this morning,  we appreciate your presence among us.  It is an honor to have you join with us as we worship our Lord and listen to His Word.   We truly consider it a privilege to spend this time with you!   It is our hope that you will both return in the future to worship with us again, and – perhaps – that You will even choose to become part of our congregation’s membership, so that you might become even more involved in worship, study of God’s Word, and in Christian ministry and fellowship with us.

           In connection with our worship as Christians, we regularly celebrate the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion.   But, as a key part of our church’s Biblically-based communion practice, before we can ask or allow anyone to commune with us, we are compelled to first sit down with that individual and establish (upon a comprehensive study of the teachings of Scripture) that we are united in full doctrinal/teaching fellowship ……which Scripture requires of any and all Christians before they can commune together.  

           Accordingly, we can offer the Lord’s Supper this morning only to those individuals who have completed that course of study, and who have chosen to become confirmed, communicant members of Grace Lutheran congregation or of one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) or Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) congregations.

           For some guests, this Biblical practice of “Close Communion“ is both unfamiliar and (perhaps) uncomfortable.   We realize that, unfortunately, few churches today continue to employ it…..though, in the past, nearly all did!    It is not necessarily easy to observe others receiving the Lord’s Supper, while being asked – respectfully — to refrain from receiving it.   Please be assured that we are not judging your faith in Christ.   Nor it is our desire to offend you.   But it also is not our desire to offend or disobey our Lord’s expectations for the proper use of His Supper.   Indeed, we must all obey our Lord above all others (any feelings, included), and we want to honor Him by obeying Him.   Consequently, if you have any questions or concerns about our use/practice of the Lord’s Supper, please feel free to speak with our Pastor after the service, or at your convenience, so that he might share with you the Biblical rationale for our approach to receiving and sharing the Lord’s Supper.   In addition, an informative  brochure can be found in our tract/brochure rack in the entryway, which is entitled “Our Communion Practice.”   It provides our guests and friends with a Scripture-based explanation for our understanding of and use of the Lord’s Supper.     Finally, please know that we truly are grateful for your participation – as a fellow Christian – in this morning’s worship service.   We also thank you for your patience and understanding, and for respecting the manner in which we strive to faithfully carry out the Lord’s Supper.   May God bless and keep you always!




            The Distribution Hymn                                     Hymn 312  “Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared”


1 Lord Jesus Christ, you have prepared  This feast for our salvation;

It is your body and your blood, And at your invitation

As weary souls, with sin oppressed,  We come to you for needed rest,

For comfort, and for pardon.


  1. Although you did to heav’n ascend, Where angel hosts are dwelling,

And in your presence they behold   Your glory, all excelling,

And though your people shall not see  Your glory and your majesty

Till dawns the judgment morning.


3 Yet, Savior, you are not confined   To any habitation,

But you are present ev’rywhere   And with your congregation.

Firm as a rock this truth shall stand,   Unmoved by any daring hand

Or subtle craft and cunning.


4 We eat this bread and drink this cup,   Your precious Word believing

That your true body and your blood   Our lips are here receiving.

This Word remains forever true,   And there is naught you cannot do,

For you, Lord, are almighty.


5 Though reason cannot understand,   Yet faith this truth embraces:

Your body, Lord, is ev’rywhere   At once in many places.

I leave to you how this can be;   Your Word alone suffices me;

I trust its truth unfailing.


6 Lord, I believe what you have said;    Help me when doubts assail me.

Remember that I am but dust,    And let my faith not fail me.

Your supper in this vale of tears    Refreshes me and stills my fears

And is my priceless treasure.


7 Grant that we worthily receive    Your supper, Lord, our Savior,

And, truly grieving for our sins,   May prove by our behavior

That we are thankful for your grace   And day by day may run our race,

In holiness increasing.

8 For your consoling supper, Lord,   Be praised throughout all ages!

Preserve it, for in ev’ry place    The world against it rages.

Grant that this sacrament may be   A blessed comfort unto me

When living and when dying.


After the distribution of the Lord’s Supper the pastor will invite the Congregation to rise for


     The Closing Prayer

Almighty God, to Whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from Whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we may love You more completely, praise You more joyously, and serve You more faithfully.  These requests we make in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, both now and forever.   Amen.


We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing




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


                 The LORD bless you and keep you,

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

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


            The Closing Vocal Selection                                                                              “God Bless America”


God bless America   Land that I love    Stand beside her   And guide her

Through the night with the light from above    From the mountains   To the prairies  

To the oceans  White with foam     God bless America   My home sweet home


       silent prayer,   announcements,  post service music




This Past Week At Grace Lutheran                                               Sunday Attendance: 69    Online views: 34

Sunday Bible Class Attendance:   23 in person;    8 online                                  Sunday School Attendance: 4

Tuesday Bible Class:   18 participants

Budgetary Offerings:    $4455.00                 Online offering:    $41.50


Serving Us Next Sunday                                                                          Elders:   RickTragasz, John Johnson

Altar guild: Christine Quinlan, Linda Winnat                                       Fellowship:   Harriet & John Johnson

Ushers:   Jim Winnat, Robbie Hahn, Nathan Hahn


Looking Ahead For Grace Lutheran Church

Today              Morning Worship, with a celebration of the Lord’s Supper, 9:30 a.m.

                             Fellowship, 10:45 to 11:05 a.m.           Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.

     July 06 (Tues) Tesday Morning  Bible Class 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

July 10 (Sat)          Outreach Calling/Visitation, 10:00 a.m.

                                   Ladies of Grace gathering, at Karen Swogger’s home, 11 a.m.

July 11 (Sun)                                                                                                        Pre-service Hymn-singing at 9:25 a.m.      Morning Worship 9:30 a.m.

                                                                        Fellowship Period, 10:40 a.m.        Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.


Birthdays This Week:          July 05 Maise Calkins              July 07 Madison Carr


Ladies of Grace Meeting Saturday, July 13 at 11:00 a.m. hosted by Karen Swogger at her home.   (Please speak with Karen for directions.)  


TEN MINUTES WITH JESUS  Ladies…..This Wednesday from 6-6:10 p.m. please consider participating in a phone-in short devotion and group prayer opportunity.  To do this,  call 1-605-313-5470 and, when asked, dial in the access code, which is 334077#.


This Week’s Bible Classes ……..In this morning’s Adult Bible Study we are continuing our newly-started study of Paul’s two letters to the Church in Corinth.    Today we’ll be studying the first chapter of this book.   Our overall theme is:    “God’s People in a Hostile Society” (Certainly it’s a fitting study for us all, given the situations in our church and our society today).     On Tuesday morning, from 10:30-11:30 am, we’ll study I Kings 20-21, continuing the stories of “wicked king” Ahab and the prophet Elijah.   If you can’t attend in person, do consider participating over the phone.   Call 1-701-802-5405, then dial 7519304#.   We also broadcast class over also.   (Search for us at Grace Lutheran Church & Academy.)


For Daily Devotions sent to Your Computer or Phone consider subscribing to the excellent devotions available from  Go to the drop down menu for “worship” on the far right of the home page.  Devotions can be found there, but at the bottom is a subscribe button.  It delivers those devotions to your phone, computer or tablet.


Outreach Calling/Visitation this coming Saturday morning, we’ll be making outreach visits, leaving from church at 10:30 a.m. and returning before noon.    If you would be inclined to help (and we really could use your help!), please volunteer yourself to Pastor.

I Corinthians and II Corinthians


  1. I Corinthians


  1. Initial Remarks about the book


1)  Its Author and Date:     Paul (1:1 and 16:21) wrote this

letter near the end of his three- year stay in Ephesus, about AD 55 (16:5-9).


            2)  About the Corinthians, who received this letter: 


Paul had founded this congregation on his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 18:1).   There he made the acquaintance of Aquila and Priscilla, part of the group of Jews which had been expelled from Rome by an edict of Claudius.   They shared the same trade:  tent-making (an occupation comparable to being a builder today).   Paul began his work by preaching in the Jewish synagogue each Sabbath (18:4), but the hostility of some Jews soon led him to move to the house of Justus.  Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, gradually gathering a congregation that consisted mostly of Gentiles.


Corinth was a city of about 650,000 residents (250,000 free persons;  400,000 slaves), situated between two seaports on the Isthmus of Corinth – Cenchrea, which opened to the Aegean Sea (east) and Lechaeum, which opened to the Adriatic Sea (west).   It was a prominent commercial, cultural, and religious center.  Heathen religions flourished in Corinth.  The city was famous for 12 temples to heathen gods.  The most notable were the temples to Apollo and Aphrodite.  The worship of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, sanctioned sexual activity as a religious act.  Consequently, Corinth acquired the reputation of being the sin-city of the Hellenistic world and made a Greek verb out of the name Corinth.  “To Corinthianize” meant to indulge freely in sexual immorality.


  1. Luther on I Corinthians:


“In his epistle St. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to be one in faith and love, and to see to it that they learn well the chief thing, namely, that Christ is our salvation, the thing over which all reason and wisdom stumble……In short, things go so wild and disorderly that everyone wanted to be the expert and do the teaching and make what he pleased of the gospel, the sacrament, and faith.  Meanwhile they let the main thing drop — namely, that Christ is our salvation, righteousness, and redemption — as if they had long since outgrown it.  This truth can never remain intact when people begin to imagine they are wise and know it all”  (LW 35:380-381).


  1. Specific Remarks about I Corinthians


1)  Its purpose:   Several reliable sources informed Paul of the serious spiritual problems that were threatening the church in Corinth:    a)  members of Chloe’s household (1:11) came to Ephesus to report that the congregation had divided into four factions, three of which preferred the leadership of Paul, Peter, and Apollos respectively (even though there was no “competition” between the three), while the final faction preferred “Christ” (whether in all sincerity, or with a spirit of superiority over the others…..we cannot determine, and commentators differ in their views about this);    b) Others (Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus – 16:17) reported serious moral laxness was beginning to corrupt the church;   and    c) Still others were requesting Paul’s counsel on additional matters that were harmful to the church.


Paul’s purpose was to address the problems that had been brought to his attention:   To help the church rise above its factionalism;   to call to account those who were guilty of moral laxity and urge the congregation to deal firmly with them;   and to provide spiritual counsel to those who had requested it from him.


2)  What specifically prompted this letter:   Originally Paul had intended to personally visit Corinth to deal with the various problems that had arisen there, but responsibilities in Ephesus prevented him from making the trip (16:5-9).   Still, the situation was so serious in Corinth, that Paul had to take some action immediately;  and so he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians.



  1. Structure:


  1. Theme: Living Godly lives in a Godless society.


  1. Outline:     


  1. Introduction:  (1:1-9)
  2.   Contending with a false concept of the

                        Christian ministry (1:10-4:21)

  1. Divisions within the congregation (1:10-17)
  2. Christ, the wisdom and power of God (1:18-2:16)
  3. The function of the Christian ministry (3:1-23)
  4. The character of the apostles of Christ (4:1-21)


             III.  Various moral and spiritual problems (5:1-14:40)

  1. Disciplining and impenitent member (5:1-13)
  2. Lawsuits among fellow members (6:1-11)
  3. Sexual immorality (6:12-20)
  4. Lessons on being married and single (7:1-40)
  5. The problem of offense, given and taken (8:1-13)
  6. Paul’s self-sacrifice for the Gospel (9:1-27)
  7. Against associating with idols (10:1-11:1)
  8. Maintaining propriety in worship
  9. Spiritual gifts (12:1-31)
  10. Christian love (13:1-13)
  11. The proper use of Spiritual gifts in public worship (14:1-41)


  1.   The Resurrection of the Body (15:1-58)              


  1. Concluding Comments (16:1-24)
  2. The Jerusalem collection (16:1-4)
  3. Paul’s immediate plans (16:5-9)
  4. Welcoming Timothy and Apollos (16:10-12)
  5. Exhortations and Greetings (16:13-24)




Chapter One:    Idle Disputes…..Or, Safe-guarding the Gospel?


  1. Paul’s Greeting: Verses 1-3


Following the usual form of ancient Greek correspondence, this letter opens with the writer’s name (or signature).   Paul identifies himself more fully: “called” (see Acts 9; 26:19); and as an “apostle” (Galatians 1:15-17;   Romans 11:13).


Sosthenes – perhaps the person in Acts 18:17.    Paul seems to mention him as an act of courtesy.


The addressees of this letter (v 2): “the church” – from the Greek “ecclesia” meaning “called out.”    Why is that term/concept appropriate to describe a gathering of Christians?


“Sanctified” – not due to how Spiritually stellar their personal character of conduct was, but because of their relationship with Christ.   In what sense were the Corinthians, and are we rightly referred to as “saints”?


“With all in every place” – suggests the universality of the church in Christ….that is, the range or reach of the Holy Christian Church.


Paul’s customary greeting/salutation (v.3)…..Why are grace and peace are inseparable?    How are grace and peace among the Christian’s greatest treasures?



  1. Paul’s Thanksgiving (I Corinthians 1:4-9)


The purpose of his letter was to correct particular weaknesses as individuals and as a congregation.    Note Paul’s graciousness and kindness.  He neither begins nor ends (I Cor 16:24) with a harsh scolding.


What lesson in tact and diplomacy is found here for our own treatment of weakness within our fellowship?


For what does Paul thank God?   How does he encourage the Corinthian Christians in verse 8?



  1. A Church Dispute (I Corinthians 1:10-17)


Let’s recognize here the significance and value of genuine fellowship within a congregation (verses 2b, 3, 9 and 30).    In what special ways had this congregation been blessed?  (See 1:5-7; 12:1-11).     What are some of the special ways in which God has blessed our own congregation?


What was the quarrel about (verses 10-12)?   Who was Apollos (Acts 18:24-28)?    Who was Cephas (John 1:42)?     We can easily understand why it’s wrong to claim, “I follow Paul (etc.),”  but what could be wrong with saying “I follow Christ”?


            What basis does Paul use for setting them straight?   (verses 13-16)


            In verse 17, please note that it’s not how the preacher sounds….or looks….but what he says!


            Is Paul down-grading the importance of baptism with his remark in verse 17?


How many times is Christ mentioned in verses 1-9?   In verses 10-17?     How is “oneness” in Christ related to the problem of identifying with/preferring various human leaders?



  1. The Cross: God’s Way of Saving All People (I Corinthians 1:18-25)


What is the Gospel….according to 1:18 and 2:2?    How do human beings, in our natural, sinful pride, regard the  Gospel?


            What does the Gospel, as opposed to human wisdom, accomplish (verses 18, 21, 23, 24)?


            Note the strange paradox in verse 25.  In our own words, what does Paul mean here?


            Why is human wisdom so limited when it comes to Spiritual matters?


            What encouragement can you, living in our 21st century culture, find from verses 20 and 25?



  1. God’s Action in Corinth (I Corinthians 1:26-31)


How had God made it plain in Corinth that a person’s coming to faith is never due to his/her own wisdom, power, preference/choice, or prestige?



Applying the Word to all of Us


  1. What is the secret of true unity within the Church? And what are some of the common causes of factions developing with a church, or church body, today?


  1. Can differences of opinion in practical matters exist within a congregation? …in doctrinal matters?


  1. How could our society be in danger of idolizing preachers today? Is it alright to like one pastor better than another?   Ultimately, what should matter most when it comes to evaluating ministers?


  1. What can we do to keep alive in our congregation our unity in Christ? Does Spiritual unity in the church require uniformity?


  1. The Christian Church has to deal with people whose approach to our religion is drastically different from our own. Agree or disagree:   It is better to “dialog/discuss” rather than “debate/dispute” when it comes to speaking about matters of faith?


  1. Can anyone be argued into believing in Christ? Why is a Christian more of a “witness” than a “lawyer”?



Applying the Word to Me, Personally


Verse 9            How intimate is my fellowship with Jesus?


Verse 10          Am I a peacemaker in my family?   Among my friends, particularly my friends in Christ?


Verse 18          Is the cross of Christ the real power and motivation in my life?


Verse 30          To what extent is Christ my…..wisdom…..righteousness…..redemption?’



A Closing Suggestion:      Spend time this week praying for a more peaceable spirit.



Chapter Two:    The Preaching of the Gospel….

                             ….Divine Revelation, OR Human Wisdom?


  1. Paul’s Gospel: The message of the cross   (Verses 1-5)


How had Paul spoken about the Gospel back in chapter 1, verses 18 and 23?    According to you (your definition) just what is the Gospel?


Starting with verse 1…..Is there anything inherently wrong with a message that includes “superior speech”?    Is there any place for “wisdom” in the preaching of the Gospel?


Moving to verse 2…..What one thing must be present before “preaching” is truly “Gospel preaching”?


Going to verse 3…..Of what things might Paul be particularly concerned?    When it comes to the work of the Lord, what do you fear?    And, how can we overcome our fears and apprehensions when it comes to doing God’s work?


Let’s consider verses 4 & 5.    Why was the power of the Gospel not lessened by any weakness in the person who proclaimed it?   Why, in fact, had Paul deliberately avoided  “persuasive words of human wisdom” when proclaiming salvation in Christ?


Is there anything wrong with using “persuasive words of human wisdom” in connection with preaching and teaching about Christ?


Consider verse 4’s……”a demonstration of the Spirit and of power” – What’s Paul talking about?   (possibly it’s the same point that Mark makes in 16:20)


            What do people usually mean when the choose to describe a preacher as “powerful”?


Is it accurate to say that far too much “preaching” today rests on the wisdom of men?   Please explain your answer.



  1. God, the Author of the Gospel Paul was Privileged to proclaim (Vv 6-9)


Verse 6…..the “mature” – in the original Greek the word is “teleioi,” which means “those who have reached the end or goal (“telos” in Greek).   


            What is the message of “wisdom” about which Paul is speaking?


Moving on to verses 7-8…..”God’s wisdom that has been hidden in mystery.”     The Greek word “mysterion” means “something whose meaning is hidden from those who have not been initiated;   but which is crystal clear to those who have been initiated.”    How has the hidden wisdom of God been made known to humanity?   And….when had God determined that the way of salvation would be through Christ alone?   (Here are a few of the places where Paul speaks about this:   Romans 1:25-26;   Ephesians 3:5-9;   Colossians 1:24-27;    2 Timothy 1:9-10)


What words show that not man, but God is the Author of the Gospel?    How did those who were responsible for Christ’s crucifixion show their ignorance of God’s saving intent?   


Simply put, while “salvation by works” is man’s natural religion (and doesn’t work), salvation freely by grace alone, through faith alone, without works (and which does work) has to come from God, since it is so amazing (and effective) that no man mind could possibly have conceived it!


And now….moving to verse 9….”What God has prepared.”    What wonderful blessings does the Gospel bring to us?



  1. Wisdom which the Holy Spirit has revealed (Verses 10-16)


Verse 10…..Why are human beings unable to grasp the wisdom of God all by ourselves?


Looking at verses 11-12…..Why is the Spirit uniquely well-qualified to reveal the Word of God to us?


Here’s something to remember the next time you’re having a problem “figuring out” what God is doing in your life and what your future is….it’s should be enough for the Christian to know that our Lord knows what’s going on in our lives and why.  (verse 16 is also applicable)   We simply need to trust Him!


Moving on to verses 13-14…..Through what kind of words did Paul impart the message of the Gospel?   Who – alone – is able to grasp Spiritual truths?


Who is “the unspiritual person”?    What is said about such a person?     NOTE:   It’s not too much education, but it is Spiritual blindness that causes the “educated” and “intellectual” person to reject the Gospel.


Verse 14 makes the case very well that you and I can’t “choose” to believe in God;  without the Holy Spirit working at the start (not by invitation), faith simply cannot be generated.  (see also I Corinthians 12:3)


            Explain verse 15 in light of the following:    John 16:13;    and   I Thessalonians 5:21.


            Does verse 15 contradict what Jesus says in Matthew 7:1?

Finally, verse 16…..The “mind of Christ” is the key to proper understanding of God’s Word and will.   By Whom and through what “Means” is the “mind of Christ” implanted in Christians?




Applying the Word to All of Us


  1. How much importance do you attach to the organization, delivery, length, etc. of a sermon?


  1. Is it necessary to have a sermon as a part of each worship service?


  1. Can hearing God’s Word over the internet take the place of attendance at a public worship service?


  1. How is the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ “watered down” or otherwise compromised/modified today?


  1. Why is the church built only through the Spirit, and solely on the foundation of Jesus Christ?


  1. “Only a person guided by the Holy Spirit can understand and receive Spiritual things.” How should this fact influence our praying, our evangelism efforts, and our personal and collective use of the Bible?



Applying the Word to Me, Personally


  1. Verse 2…..”I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Have I always seen this as first and foremost in what I think, say and do?


  1. Consider verse 9. Have my eyes seen the things of God?


  1. Help me, O Lord, to have the mind of Christ! Starting with yourself, please pray that we might all become better listeners to God’s Word.


  1. How much have I grown Spiritually in the last year? In the last 10 years?    Since my confirmation?