The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity   August 20, 2023   

The Thirteenth Sunday of the Pentecost Season


Pharaoh had a dream….and God had a plan

…..for Egypt and Joseph…and us


            Almost sixty years ago to the day, on August 29, 1963, in front of a very large crowd of Americans, Martin Luther King Jr gave a speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.   We know it today as his “I have a dream” speech.   It is considered, by historians today, to be one of American history’s greatest speeches.   In it, King spoke about the situation of the Negro (his term) American who too often had to deal with segregation and restricted rights.   He talked about the Constitution’s promise of liberty and justice for all, and declared that America had “defaulted” on that promise to the Negro citizen.   He pleaded for full citizenship and equal rights for everyone.  Yet he also urged his listeners to avoid bitterness, hatred and violence toward anyone, but for them instead to conduct themselves, in the pursuit of full rights, in a “dignified and disciplined way.”    The core of King’s message follows: “So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

            The Pharaoh (king) of Egypt also had a dream….one very different from Martin Luther King Jr’s.   It was real dream (two, actually) that God had given him about his nation’s future…..a future promising, on the one hand, and dreadful on the other hand.    But Pharaoh’s problem, initially, was that he did not understand the message, and one of his advisers and dream-interpreters could explain it to him.   

            Enter Joseph.    As you’re recall from last Sunday’s service, Joseph had been put in the King’s prison because of the slanderous lies Potiphar’s wife had told about him.   However long he was there (we don’t know), God remained with and blessed Joseph – as He had been with him throughout his odyssey from being sold as a slave by his brothers, to being purchased by Potiphar.    In prison he became, essentially, the “head trustee” and ended up “running” the prison just like he had managed all of Potiphar’s estate.    In that capacity, he met two of Pharaoh’s servants, his chief baker and his chief cupbearer….who had disturbing dreams of their own.  God enabled Joseph to interpret those dreams, informing the baker that in three days he would be hanged by Pharaoh, while the cupbearer would be restored to his position.   It happened, of course, as Joseph predicted.   Joseph only asked for one thing in return from the overjoyed cupbearer…..that the latter would “remember” him to Pharaoh, and help him to be released from that prison in which he had unjustly been incarcerated.   But the cupbearer forgot to do that….

            ….Until about two years later when Pharaoh had his dreams.    Then he brought up Joseph to Pharaoh as an “I know a guy”….who could interpret dreams.    You probably know the story well (and it’s today’s Old Testament Lessonand Sermon Text).   Joseph said that Pharaoh’s dreams, one about 7 fat and lean cattle, and one about 7 full and scrawny heads of wheat meant the same thing:   7 years of abundant harvests in Egypt would be followed by 7 years of dreadful, devastating famine.   God was giving Pharaoh and warning…..AND an opportunity.   If he planned ahead, he could accumulate sufficient foodstuffs from the abundant y ears to supply Egypt with food for survival during the famine years.   Joseph urged the king “Let Pharaoh, therefore, look for a man who is wise and discerning, and set him over the land of Egypt.”    And in one of history’s most amazing – even unprecedented – “rags to riches” moments, Pharoah did exactly that.   He recognized Joseph’s abilities AND that God was with him.  And so he appointed the former slave and convict, Joseph, to the number two position of authority (second only Pharaoh) in all of Egypt with the added duty of gathering the excess harvest (as a 20% tax) and eventually selling it back to the people of Egypt when the famine came.   In so doing, Pharaoh eventually ended up “owning” nearly all of Egypt, as well as becoming wealthier from food sales to the starving peoples living near Egypt….which eventually included Joseph’s own father and family.

            Of course, you and I know that this was all part of God’s plan…a plan that ultimately involved not the deliverance of Egypt, or even Jacob’s family, but the eventual salvation of the world through the Promised Savior Who would come from Jacob’s family.   Even as Joseph saw God’s hand consistently blessing and protecting him, as did others (like Potiphar, the warden, and Pharaoh….who all benefitted from God’s favoring Joseph), he didn’t realize that God’s perfect plan for his life had sent him on his odyssey to Egypt that eventually led to his becoming the de facto ruler of Egypt and its physical savior. 

            This morning we’ll talk about Pharoah’s dreams, about Joseph’s rise to political prominence and power (from the prison to the palace), and particularly about how “God Was Always With Joseph” in everything he experienced and did……just as our gracious God is with us always wherever we go, in whatever we experience and accomplish.  And, as Joseph’s faith was enhanced through his tests, trials, and successes…..even so, God brings us closer to Him in faith through the varying experiences of our lives.

            One further note:   Let’s keep in mind that Joseph was an Old Testament “type” of Christ, insofar as he “saved” Egypt from death through famine.   Of course, we also will be looking at Christ, our Savior, Who had delivered us through His trials, suffering, death and resurrection, for a fate worse than physical death by starvation.   He saved us from the damnable power of sin, eternal death, and Satan, so that we might live forever in heaven, through faith in Him.

            Today’s other two lessons are our New Testament Lesson, which is the account of the first apostle’s martyrdom, that of James, the brother of John.  James’ death pleased many of the Jewish leadership.   So, similar to what Joseph’s brothers had intended for him, King Herod decided also to seize and execute Peter.   Of course, God had other plans for Peter – just as He had other plans for Joseph.    The night before he was to be executed, God sent an angel to remove Peter miraculously from prison and return him to the Church (which had been praying for him….a reminder for us that “prayer works!”) for further service to the Lord.   Throughout his ordeal, as was the case with Joseph, the Lord was with Peter and blessed him.

            Our Children’s Lesson this morning comes from the inspired – and inspiring – pen of the Apostle Paul.  He’s in prison as he writes these words.  From the context, we know that Paul doesn’t expect to be released, but to be martyred instead.   And he’s more than ready to leave this world in order to live with his Lord and Savior forever in heaven.   Impressively, he confidently writes:    “ The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom.”    Whether he was subsequently released from prison or not, we don’t know (he might have been….for a time).   What we do know is that Paul was eventually martyred for his faith in Christ.   Regardless, the Lord HAD already delivered him from every evil work (all his own sins, let alone the wickedness of this world, and the wicked intentions of his many enemies), by forgiving all his sins through Christ, and in bringing him to saving faith in Christ through the Holy Spirit’s working.   And in His own good time, the Lord would deliver Paul into heaven, through faith in Jesus.    ….No matter what we experience in life, that’s God’s promise to you and me too!



The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831




Pre-Service Prayer O Lord God, Almighty Creator, from Whom every good and perfect gift comes, You have bountifully blessed me throughout the days of my life.   You have chosen me as Your own – granting me the faith to believe in You.   You have also preserved me in that one, true Christian faith through Your Word and Sacrament.  You have provided for my bodily needs.   And You have protected me from all spiritual harm.  For Your abundant goodness to me, I humbly praise and thank You.  In however many days and years that might lie ahead for me, I implore You to continue to bless me with Your abiding presence, Your Fatherly protection, and Your guidance in all areas of my life.  I submit myself to Your gracious will, with the confidence that You will use me, as Your humble servant, in whatever ways will serve to further Your glory and Your kingdom. Bless and enrich my faith as I hear Your Word today, and receive my heart-felt praises, prayers, and offerings, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Savior and Lord.  It is in His name that I pray.   Amen.



Pre-service prayer                                                                                                                 Pre-worship music



Let Us Praise The Lord


The Greeting and Introduction to Worship


The Invocation


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



Our Psalm Reading for Today                                                                   Psalm 105, selected verses


P:       Give thanks to the Lord.   Proclaim His name.   Make His deeds known among the peoples.


C:       Sing to Him, make music to Him.   +   Meditate on all His wonders.   +  Take pride in His holy name.  


P:      Let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice.  


C:       Search for the Lord and His strength.   +  Seek his face always.


P:       He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commanded for a thousand generations,  the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac.   Yes, He confirmed it to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant.


C:       While they were few in number,   +   just a little group and aliens in the land, +  they moved around from nation to nation, +  from one kingdom to another people.


P:       He did not allow anyone to oppress them,  and He rebuked kings because of them.


C:       Then He summoned a famine on the land. +  He destroyed their entire food supply. 


P:       He sent ahead of them a man sold as a slave, Joseph.   They hurt his feet with chains.   His throat was clamped in an iron collar, until the time when his predictions came true.   The promise of the Lord tested him.


C:       The king sent for him and released him. +   The ruler of peoples set him free.   +  He made him master of his house and ruler over all his possessions,  +   to bind his officials by his will,   + to teach his elders wisdom.


P:       Then Israel came to Egypt.  Jacob lived as an alien in the land of Ham.  Then the Lord made his people very fruitful.  He made them too numerous for their foes.


C:       He turned the Egyptians’ hearts so they hated his people.   +  They dealt deceitfully with his servants.   +  He sent Moses his servant, +   and Aaron, whom he had chosen. 


P:       They performed His signs among them, His warning signs in the land of Ham.  Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land.   


C:       Egypt was glad when they went out, +  because fear of Israel had fallen on them.


P:       Because He remembered His holy word to Abraham, His servant, He brought out His people with rejoicing, His chosen ones with a joyful shout.


C:       Praise the Lord.


The Congregation will then be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                                                                    Hymn 340 

                                                                                                  “Oh, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing”

                                                                                                                                               sung antiphonally


Verse 1 – All


Verse 2 – Pulpit Side                             Verse 3 – Lectern side


Verse 4 – Men and Boys                       Verse 5 – Women and Girls


Verse 6 – All


1 Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing   My great Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King,   The triumphs of his grace!


2 My gracious Master and my God,   Assist me to proclaim,

To spread through all the earth abroad,   The honors of your name.


3 The name of Jesus calms our fears   And bids our sorrows cease.

‘Tis music in the sinners ears;   ‘Tis life and health and peace.


4 He breaks the pow’r of canceled sin;   He sets the pris’ner free.

His blood can make the foulest clean;   His blood avails for me.

5 See all your sins on Jesus laid;   The Lamb of God was slain.

His life was once an off’ring made   That you might live again.


6 Glory to God and praise and love   Be ever, ever giv’n

By saints below and saints above,   The Church in earth and heav’n.



After which the Congregation will rise


The Confessional Order of Service


Pastor            O LORD, Open my lips.




(Sung)   And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.



Pastor            Hasten,  O God, to deliver me.


Congregation     (sung) Hasten to help me, O LORD.



Pastor            “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.”


Congregation –    (Sung)    A broken and a contrite heart, O God,  You will not despise.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son

And to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.

World without end.   Amen.



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor      I now ask you before God, who searches your heart, do you confess that you have sinned against God  and deserve His wrath and punishment?  Then declare so by saying, “I do confess.


Congregation – “I do confess.”


Pastor   Truly you should confess, for the Holy Scriptures say, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive  ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

     Second, do you, with all your heart, repent of all your sins, committed in thought, word, and   deed?  Then declare so by saying, “I do repent.”


Congregation     “I do repent.”


Pastor    Truly, you should repent, as other penitent sinners have done:  King David, who prayed for a contrite  heart;  Peter, who wept bitterly;  the sinful woman, the prodigal son, and others.

Third, do you sincerely believe that God, by grace, for Jesus’ sake, will forgive you all your sins?  Then declare so by saying, “I do believe.”


Congregation – “I do believe.”


Pastor    Truly you should so believe, for the Holy Scriptures say, “God so loved the world that He gave His  one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Fourth, do you promise that with the help of the Holy Ghost, you will, from this time forward, reform your sinful life?  Then declare it by saying, “I do promise.”


Congregation     “I do promise.”


Pastor   Truly, you should so promise, for Christ, the Lord says:  “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” 

Finally, do you believe that through me, a called servant of God, you will receive from God the  forgiveness of all your sins?   Then declare it by saying, “I do believe.


Congregation     “I do believe.”


Pastor   Upon this, your confession, I, because of my office as a called and ordained servant of God’s Word, announce the  grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place, and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,  I  forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Peace  be with you.  Amen.



After which the Congregation will be seated



We Listen to the Word of God


The First Lesson                                                                                                                Genesis 41:1-32


1 At the end of two full years Pharaoh also had a dream. In the dream he was standing beside the river. 2 There, right in front of him, seven beautiful, fat cows came up out of the river and were grazing in the marsh grass. 3 Just then seven ugly, thin cows came up out of the river behind them, and they stood beside the other cows on the bank of the river. 4 The ugly, thin cows ate up the seven beautiful, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

     5 Pharaoh fell asleep again and dreamed a second time. He saw seven healthy, good heads of grain come up on one stalk. 6 Right after that, seven thin heads of grain, blasted by the east wind, sprang up after them. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Pharaoh woke up and realized that it was a dream. 8 The next morning he was very troubled, so he sent for all of Egypt’s magicians and wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh.

     9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I remember my faults. 10 Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard—me and the chief baker. 11 We each had a dream during the same night—he and I. Each of us dreamed a dream that had its own interpretation. 12 There was a young man with us, a Hebrew, a servant to the captain of the guard, and we told him our dreams, and he interpreted our dreams for us. To each man he gave the interpretation of his dream. 13 It turned out exactly as he interpreted them for us. Pharaoh restored me to my office but hanged the chief baker.”

     14 Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon. Joseph shaved, changed his clothing, and went to Pharaoh.

     15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it.”

     16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in my power. God will give Pharaoh an answer to give him peace of mind.”

     17 Pharaoh spoke to Joseph: “In my dream, there I was, standing on the bank of the river. 18 Suddenly seven fat, beautiful cows came up out of the river and were grazing in the marsh grass. 19 Just then seven poor cattle, very ugly and thin, came up after them. They were uglier than any I had ever seen in the whole land of Egypt. 20 The thin, ugly cattle ate up the first seven cattle, the fat ones, 21 and when they had eaten them up, you could not even tell that they had eaten them, because they were still as ugly as they were at the beginning. Then I woke up.

     22 “Later I had another dream, in which I saw seven heads of grain grow on one stalk. They were full and good. 23 Then I saw seven heads of grain spring up after them. They were withered, thin, and blasted by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads of grain. I told the dream to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”

     25 Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dream of Pharaoh is one. God has declared to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cattle are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years. It is one dream. 27 The seven thin, ugly cattle that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty heads of grain blasted by the east wind. They will be seven years of famine. 28 This is the very thing that I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Look, seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the whole land of Egypt. 30 Seven years of famine will come up after them, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will consume the land, 31 and the abundance will not be remembered in the land because of the famine that follows, for it will be very severe. 32 The double dream was shown to Pharaoh, because this matter is established by God, and God will bring it to pass very soon.”



The Second Lesson                                                                                                                   Acts 12:1-17


At about that time, King Herod laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church, in order to mistreat them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter during the days of Unleavened Bread.

     4 After arresting Peter, Herod put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of four soldiers each to guard him. Herod intended to bring him before the people for trial after the Passover. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church earnestly offered up prayer to God for him.


6 The very night before Herod was going to bring him out for trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers. He was bound with two chains, while sentries were in front of the door, guarding the prison.

     7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood near him, and a light shone in the cell. The angel woke Peter up by striking him on the side, saying, “Quick, get up!” The chains fell from his wrists.

     8 Then the angel said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” So he did so. Then the angel told him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” 9 Peter went out, following the angel, but he did not realize that what the angel was doing was really happening. He thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed through the first and second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city. It opened all by itself for them. They went outside, walked down one street, and immediately the angel left him.

     11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from everything the Jewish people were expecting.”

     12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, who is also called Mark. Many had gathered there and were praying. 13 When Peter knocked at the entrance gate, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 She recognized Peter’s voice and was so overjoyed, she did not open the gate. Instead she ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate.

     15 They told her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept on insisting it was so, and they started saying, “It’s his angel.”

     16 Meanwhile, Peter kept on knocking. When they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned to them with his hand to be silent and described to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. He said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he left and went on to another place.



The Apostles ‘ Creed


I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;  Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit;  Born of the virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;  Was crucified, died, and was buried;  He descended into hell;  The third day He rose again from the dead;  He ascended into heaven;  And is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.   I believe in the Holy Spirit;  The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;  The forgiveness of sins;  The resurrection of the body;  And the life everlasting.  Amen.



Following which the Congregation may be seated for


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                 2 Timothy 4:16-18


16 At my first hearing, no one came to my defense, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message would be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles would hear it, and I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


God Will Always Take Care Of You, Until

He Takes You To Be With Him In  Heaven



The Sermon Hymn                                       Hymn 444   “If You But Trust in God To Guide You”


1 If you but trust in God to guide you   And place your confidence in him,

He’ll give you strength and stand beside you   When days are dreary, dark, and dim.

For those who trust his changeless love   Build on the rock that does not move.


2 How can these anxious worries aid you,   These never-ceasing moans and sighs?

Will not his wings of mercy shade you   Whenever troubled times arise?

Our cross and trials do but press   The heavier for our bitterness.


3 Be patient and await his leisure   In cheerful hope, with heart content;

Then take whate’er your Father’s pleasure   And his discerning love have sent.

Doubt not; your inmost wants are known   To him who chose you for his own.


4 Sing, pray, and keep his ways unswerving,   Perform your duties faithfully,

And trust his Word; though undeserving,   You’ll find his promise true to be.

God never yet forsook in need   The soul that trusted him indeed.

The Greeting


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



The Sermon Text                                                                                                             Genesis 41:33-57


33 “Let Pharaoh, therefore, look for a man who is wise and discerning, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 When Pharaoh does this, let him appoint overseers over the land to collect one fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 Let them collect all this food from these good years that are coming. Accumulate grain under the authority of Pharaoh to provide food for the cities, and let them store it. 36 The food will be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that will take place in the land of Egypt so that the land does not perish because of the famine.”

       37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 Pharaoh said to his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man, a man who has the spirit of God?”

       39 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has shown you all of this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be in charge of my house, and all my people will submit to your word. Only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “Look, I have appointed you over the whole land of Egypt.”

       42 Pharaoh took his signet ring off of his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand. He dressed Joseph in robes made from the best linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in the second best chariot that he had. Men went ahead of him crying out, “Kneel down!”  Pharaoh appointed him over the whole land of Egypt. 44 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but in the whole land of Egypt no one will lift up his hand or his foot without your permission.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath Paneah, and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as a wife. Joseph went out and began to rule over the land of Egypt.

       46 Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and traveled throughout the whole land of Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the earth produced plentiful harvests. 48 He collected all the food during the seven good years in the land of Egypt, and he stored up the food in the cities. In every city he stored the food from the fields that were around the city. 49 Joseph stored up a huge amount of grain, like the sand of the sea. Finally he stopped keeping track, because it was too much to measure.

       50 Two sons were born to Joseph before the first year of famine arrived. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, gave birth to them. 51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, because he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.” 52 He named the second son Ephraim. He said, “Yes, God has made me fruitful in the land where I was afflicted.”

       53 So the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end. 54 The seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every land, but in the whole land of Egypt there was bread. 55 When the whole land of Egypt was starving, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you.” 56 The famine spread over the face of the whole earth. Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 The whole world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe all over the whole world.


God Was Always With Joseph


after the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for



The Post-Sermon Blessing


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



We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord

Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

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

 (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can also donate on our website:



the Congregation will rise as the offerings are brought to the altar

Today’s Prayers


P:         We give thanks to You, Lord and Father, for the rest and peace of the night which You have given us, and for the blessing of sharing another day of worship with Your saints and study of Your precious Word. 

C:       Enable us to grow in Your grace   +   and build each of us up in our faith   +   since we have meditated upon Your Word,   +   and are now about to receive the blessed assurance that our sins are forgiven   +  and that new life and salvation are ours   +   through the Sacrament of our Savior’s body and blood.

P:       Be with all those in our church family and extended family who are contending with physical, emotional, material and spiritual problems.    Strengthen them through Your Word to successfully face the challenging circumstances into which You have placed them, and – according to Your mercy  and in Your own, perfect time – grant them relief, recovery and restoration as You, alone know best.

C:  Give us all genuine enthusiasm and true wisdom for the tasks You have given us to do in this life.   +   Keep us from becoming worldly.   +   Never let us forget that we are men, women and children which You have called + to the “salt” and “light” of Your grace to this sinful world.   +   Keep all discouragements from us,   +   and enable us to be pillars of strength and sources of encouragement +   for both the people of our church and extended families, + as well as for all those whose lives touch ours.


P:       Finally, Lord God, accept our thanks for the privilege of being part of Your Church for today and for all eternity through Your grace to us in Christ, our Savior.    Receive and bless this prayer for Jesus’ sake, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, as the one, true God, forever and ever.   It is in His name that we also join now in praying:

C:       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    +   Forever and ever.   Amen.



We Celebrate the Lord’s Supper


Pastor        The Lord be with you.

Congregation   (Sung) And also with you

Pastor       Lift up your hearts.


Congregation   (Sung) We lift them up to the Lord.



Pastor       Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.


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

Consecration of the Elements                                                                                                                                                                            

Pastor       The peace of the Lord be with you always.

Congregation    (Sung)   Amen.

The Exhortation Regarding the Lord’s Supper


(Please read the following if you have not spoken with our Pastor about taking communion.  Thank you.)


       At Grace Lutheran Church, on the basis of what the Bible teaches, we practice what is known as “Close Communion.”   That means we are able to offer the Lord’s Supper this morning only to those individuals who – after completing a thorough study with us of the doctrines contained God’s Word – have already publicly committed themselves to be members of our fellowship because of their agreement with those teachings.   In so doing we are endeavoring to express our comprehensive commitment (and unity which we – as a Christian congregation – share with each other as members of this fellowship) to all the teachings of the Scriptures. and to our striving to put them fully and faithfully into practice in our ministry.  

     That “comprehensive commitment” requirement (which our Lord expects of all His children and so of every church – please see Romans 16:17-18;   2 John 10-11;   I John 4:1-3;   John 8:31-32;   Matthew 28:19-20 …among other portions of Scripture that express this)  allows us only to offer the Lord’s Supper to those persons who are already committed, confirmed, communicant members of Grace Lutheran congregation, or who have become members of one of the congregations of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.   

     We do this, not to offend anyone, but  because the Scriptures teach that only those who are “one,” that is, in complete doctrinal agreement, united in a comprehensive public confession of faith, are to commune together at the same altar (see I Corinthians 10:17 and I Corinthians 1:10).

    Through membership in a particular congregation or church body (for us, that

church body is the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod), each person makes a public statement that he/she is in full agreement with the teachings and practices of that body.    Because not every congregation, church body or Lutheran Synod teaches and practices the same things, we at Grace and in the WELS want to be honest in our recognition of the doctrinal/teaching differences that, here on earth, separate us from other church bodies.    

     To our Guests this morning…..  We want you to know that we sincerely appreciate your presence among us today, and we do rejoice that we share faith in Christ with you.   Please understand that by asking you to refrain from communing with us this morning we are NOT judging your faith in Christ.   What we are doing is expressing – as a congregation – our complete unity of faith in Christ, as well as our joint commitment to all the teachings (doctrines) of God’s Word.   Consequently, we hope that you will do us the courtesy of kindly respecting our Biblical practice of close communion practice by refraining from taking the Lord’s Supper with us today.

      It is our hope that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage anyone among us this morning who is not presently in full doctrinal fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and practices of his/her church in order to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word.     In fact, we pray that all of our guests – and many others – will one day share with us in this “close” fellowship which we enjoy at Grace Lutheran and in the WELS, by your studying God’s Word with us , by joining us in this joint, comprehensive commitment to His Biblical teachings that our Lord wants us to have with each other, and by committing yourself to membership in our church family.

     A brochure further explaining the Biblical basis for this Close Communion practice is available on the entryway tract/brochure rack.    We encourage you to carefully examine it – especially the Biblical references within it –  and also to speak with our Pastor after the service (or, at your convenience) so that you might better understand and appreciate our Biblically-based “Close Communion” practice.

     Thank you for your understanding, your patience, and for your presence here among us this morning.   May God bless you, as you are a blessing to us !


Distribution Hymns                                   Hymn 303    “With Broken Heart and Contrite Sigh”


1 With broken heart and contrite sigh,   A trembling sinner, Lord, I cry.

Your pard’ning grace is rich and free–   O God, be merciful to me!

2 I smite upon my troubled breast,   With deep and conscious guilt oppressed,

Christ and his cross my only plea–   O God, be merciful to me!

3 Far off I stand with tearful eyes   Nor dare uplift them to the skies,

But you can all my anguish see–   O God, be merciful to me!

4 No gifts, no deeds that I have done   Can for a single sin atone.

To Calvary alone I flee–   O God, be merciful to me!

5 And when, redeemed from sin and hell,   With all the ransomed souls I dwell,

My joyous song shall ever be:   God has been merciful to me!



                                                                      Hymn 315   “Here, O My Lord, I See You Face to Face”


1 Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face;    Here would I touch and handle things unseen,

Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,   And all my weariness upon you lean.

2 This is the hour of banquet and of song;   Here is the heav’nly table spread anew.

Here let me feast and, feasting, still prolong   The brief bright hour of fellowship with you.

3 I have no help but yours nor do I need   Another arm but yours to lean upon.

It is enough, O Lord, enough indeed;   My strength is in your might, your might alone.

4 Mine is the sin but yours the righteousness;   Mine is the guilt but yours the cleansing blood.

Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace:   Your blood, your righteousness, O Lord, my God.

5 Too soon we rise; the vessels disappear.   The feast, though not the love, is past and gone.

The bread and wine remove, but you are here,   Nearer than ever, still my shield and sun.

6 Feast after feast thus comes and passes by,   Yet, passing, points to that glad feast above,

Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,   The Lamb’s great marriage feast of bliss and love.


We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing

The Closing Prayer                                                                                                                                       


The Benediction   


The LORD bless you and keep you.

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

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


The Closing Hymn                                                                                                                     Hymn 234  

                                                                                                           “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”


1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,   the King of creation!

O my soul, praise him,   for he is your health and salvation!

Let all who hear Now to his temple draw near,   Joining in glad adoration!

2 Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things   is wondrously reigning

And, as on wings of an eagle,   uplifting, sustaining.

Have you not seen All that is needful has been   Sent by his gracious ordaining?


3 Praise to the Lord, who has fearfully,   wondrously, made you,

Health has bestowed and, when heedlessly falling, has stayed you.

What need or grief Ever has failed of relief?   Wings of his mercy did shade you.


4 Praise to the Lord, who will prosper   your work and defend you;

Surely his goodness and mercy   shall daily attend you.

Ponder anew What the Almighty can do   As with his love he befriends you.


5 Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all    that is in me adore him!

All that has life and breath, come now    with praises before him!

Let the Amen Sound from his people again;   Gladly forever adore him!


Silent Prayer

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