The Fourth Sunday of the Season of Lent

also known as Laetere (“Rejoice”) Sunday

March 27, 2022


God’s Incredible Solution To Our Impossible Problem


Today is “Laetere”….a Sunday to “Rejoice”     As we work our way through the season of Lent, we arrive this morning at the Sunday traditionally known as Laetere Sunday (Latin for “Rejoice”).  This name is taken from a word in the opening verse of our composite Psalm reading for today:  Psalm 122:1, “I rejoiced when the said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”  As David rejoiced at the opportunity to worship the Lord nearly 3000 years ago, so today we rejoice at the privilege of entering our Lord’s “house,” here to worship Him, to confess our sins, to receive the good news of His forgiveness in the Gospel, to offer Him our prayers, and to gain wisdom and guidance for Christian living through our study of His Word. One of the more interesting historical facts connected to Laetere (“Rejoice”) Sunday is this:   in the early days of the Christian Church, Lent was originally  celebrated as a three (instead of a six) week season.  Accordingly, if we were still following that three week approach, tomorrow would mark the formal/official beginning of the penitential season of Lent.   For the early Christians, then, Laetere Sunday was actually the last Sunday (until Easter) to “rejoice” before the more subdued and sober atmosphere of Lent dominated the public worship services.  To this day, “Laetere” Sunday is viewed as something of a mid-point “reprieve to rejoice” during the otherwise serious penitential season of Lent. 


Today’s Scripture Lessons    In our Old Testament Lesson, the LORD is preparing to give Israel the 10 Commandments.  As He does, He reminds them of His mercy in delivering them from slavery in Egypt and calls them to renew their commitment to be His covenant people..  Today’s Epistle Lesson also serves as the text for this morning’s Sermon.  Paul emphasizes that we have confidence in our salvation and can rejoice in it because God, in His love for us, chose to accomplish what was humanly impossible for us to do.   In the person of Jesus He satisfied His own wrath against sin by enduring the punishment of hell and by dying on the cross as our sin-Substitute.  In our Gospel Lesson Jesus compares His impending death to a kernel of wheat (which produces a great harvest) and describes Himself as Light for a sin-darkened world.   In so doing He points ahead to His substitutionary death on the cross as the means for sinful mankind’s deliverance. Finally, in our Children’s Lesson for today we’ll talk about blood types as well as donating blood – then we’ll compare our sinful blood to the perfect blood of Jesus, donated by Him for our eternal salvation.





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  Heavenly Father, hallowed by Your name.  Help me on this Lord’s Day to come into Your presence with thanksgiving and to join my fellow Christians in hymns of praise and adoration.  In this hour of worship, enable me to grow in grace and knowledge.  Help me to give You the glory that is due Your holy name.  Graciously accept also the offerings of my hands, and use my gifts in the service of my congregation and of Your Church everywhere.  Fill my pastor with a rich measure of Your grace.  Help him to speak Your word courageously, clearly, and convincingly, that the hearts of t he hearers may be drawn closer to You.  Send Your Holy Spirit into the hearts of people everywhere, that they may believe and be saved from sin and eternal damnation through faith in You, the One True God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.  Give me and my church the grace to believe and teach Your Word in all its truth and purity, and help me and all Christians to pattern our lives according to it.  By Your Holy Spirit, make me pure in heart and mind, help me to worship You in the genuine reverence, and grant that in word and deed I might always seek to please You.  Above all else, grant me life eternal through Your Son, My Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.



Prayer upon entering the sanctuary

Pre-service Music   


Pre-Service Hymn Singing, beginning at 9:25 a.m.


We Praise Our God


Service Introduction and Invitation to Worship


The Opening 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!


after which the Congregation will rise


The Invocation


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

The Preparatory Psalm                                                          selected verses of Psalms 122, 130, 32, and 138


P:         I rejoiced when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

C:         I will praise You, O God, with all my heart;   before the “gods” I will sing Your praise.


P:         If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

C:         But with You there is forgiveness;  that You may be feared.


P:         For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

C:         For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;   +   my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.


P:         I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” — 

C:         and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.


P:         O Israel, hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption.

C:         And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.


P:         The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me;

C:         Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


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


Congregation  Holy and merciful Father,   I confess that I am by nature sinful   and that I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions;    I have done what is evil in Your sight   and have failed to do what is

good.    For this I know that I deserve Your punishment, both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for all my sins,   and trusting in the perfect life   and innocent death of my Savior,   Jesus Christ, I plead:   God have mercy on me, a sinner.


Pastor  Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save us from all our sins.     And now, carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command

and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.


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


“Majesty”                                                                                    written by Jack Hayford, Rocksmith Music,

                                                                                                              used with permission, CCLI # 1366699


Majesty, worship His majesty.    Unto Jesus, be all glory, honor and praise.

 Majesty….Kingdom authority,   flow from His throne,

unto His own, His anthem raise.

So exalt – lift up on high, the name of Jesus.

Magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King.

  Majesty, worship His majesty.   Jesus Who died.

Now glorified.   King of all Kings.

The Prayer For This Morning


O Almighty God,   +   Only You can change us   +   from people whose affections and actions are selfish and evil,   +   into people who want to love and do the things which You command.  + Please give us all the faith to confidently believe   +  what You promise us in Your Word;    +  so that, in the middle of the many changes that take place    +    in this world in which we live,   +   our hearts and souls will remain firmly fixed     +  on You and Your Word,   +  in which alone, now and always, +    we can find true and lasting joy.    +   All this we humbly ask in the name   +  and through the merits   +   of Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord,   +     Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,     +    as the one, true God  –   now and forever. +   Amen. 


After which the Congregation will be seated


We Hear God’s Word


The First Lesson                                                                                                                          Exodus 19:1-8


In the third month after the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, on that same day of the month, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim and came to the Wilderness of Sinai, they camped in the wilderness. Israel camped there in front of the mountain.


3 Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you will carefully listen to my voice and keep my covenant, then you will be my special treasure out of all the nations, although the entire earth is mine. 6 You will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to speak to the Israelites.”

7 Moses went and summoned the elders of the people, and he set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together, “Everything that the Lord has said, we will do.”



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                    Romans 5:1-11


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we also have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we rejoice confidently on the basis of our hope for the glory of God.  3 Not only this, but we also rejoice confidently in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces patient endurance, 4 and patient endurance produces tested character, and tested character produces hope. 5 And hope will not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us.


6 For at the appointed time, while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 It is rare indeed that someone will die for a righteous person. Perhaps someone might actually go so far as to die for a person who has been good to him. 8 But God shows his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  9 Therefore, since we have now been justified by his blood, it is even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, it is even more certain that, since we have been reconciled, we will be saved by his life. 11 And not only is this so, but we also go on rejoicing confidently in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received this reconciliation.


after which the Congregation will rise, for the reading of


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                      John 12:20-36


20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew. Andrew came with Philip and told Jesus.


23 Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Amen, Amen, I tell you: Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it continues to be one kernel. But if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 Anyone who loves his life destroys it. And the one who hates his life in this world will hold on to it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, let him follow me. And where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.   27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, this is the reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”


A voice came from heaven: “I have glorified my name, and I will glorify it again.”   29 The crowd standing there heard it and said it thundered. Others said an angel talked to him. 30 Jesus answered, “This voice was not for my sake but for yours.    31 “Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be thrown out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate what kind of death he was going to die.


34 The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Scriptures that the Christ will remain forever. So how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”    35 Then Jesus told them, “The light will be with you just a little while longer. Keep on walking while you have the light, so that darkness does not overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light.”


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


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

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

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

Suffered under Pontius Pilate;     Our salvation to achieve.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


after which the Congregation will be seated


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                        I John 1:7


The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.


There’s Something Special In His Blood



Sermon Hymn                                                                  Hymn 125  “When I Survey The Wond’rous Cross”


1 When I survey the wondrous cross  On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss   And pour contempt on all my pride.


2 Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast   Save in the death of Christ, my God.

All the vain things that charm me most,   I sacrifice them to his blood.


3 See, from his head, his hands, his feet,   Sorrow and love flow mingled down.

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet   Or thorns compose so rich a crown?


4 Were the whole realm of nature mine,   That were a tribute far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,   Demands my soul, my life, my all.


after which the Congregation will rise for


The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge

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


Sermon Text                                                                                                                               Romans 5:6-11

                                                                                                           (Italicized portion of the Epistle Lesson)


Justified by Jesus

  1. The Objects: Ungodly Sinners II. The Payment: the Perfect Blood of Christ

III.   The Result:   Reconciled and Justified



The Post-Sermon Blessing


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



We Respond To God’s Word through our Offerings


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

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

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

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

2) You can donate through our website:


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


after the offerings are brought forward, the Congregation will rise for

We Offer the LORD our Prayers


The Prayers for this Day  –                                                                                                                                       

In our Prayers this morning we include:


A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of Larry and Barbara Center, who are celebrating their wedding anniversary today;     Plus

Intercessory Prayers for

Mary Beck, who is hospitalized at Mercy Hospital;


 for Dan Beck, who is contending with pancreatic cancer;

and, in addition,

A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of Lesa Roe who is recovering from knee replacement surgery;    and

for Steve Davis, who is recovering following heart bypass surgery;



Today’s Responsive Prayer  


P:         Lord God, on account of your rich mercy poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, hear our prayers. Continue to look graciously on us and Your whole Christian Church on earth.


C:         We rejoice in the freedom from condemnation and in the redemption that is ours through Christ.    On account of Jesus’ saving work we are Your treasured possession. We thank You for all those persons in our past    which You used to proclaim to us the Gospel of the crucified and risen Savior,    and which caused faith to arise in our hearts.


P:         As the Gospel continues to be proclaimed throughout the world, we pray that the leaders of its many nations would make the kind of decisions, O Lord, that reflect Your love for the whole human race.  Guide and protect our nation’s citizens from all harm – physical and spiritual.   Also cause all the governments of the world to work for the well-being of all people.   We especially pray that You would move the world’s leaders to give the Gospel free course in their lands, so that it might find fertile ground in the hearts of all who hear it.


C:         We also pray for our own congregation,     that in our Christian lives we might consistently walk – not according to the flesh, but – according to the Spirit,     caring for one another,    and showing generosity toward all those whose needs are evident.  But enable us also to look outside these walls where we worship,     to the many other treasured souls all around us    for which Christ also went to cross,    and lead us to do all within the means that You have given us     to proclaim Jesus’ love to them.


P:         Through Holy Baptism and the ministry of Your Word we became – and have remained – members of Your family of faith.   As we reflect upon this great blessing, move us to joyfully raise our hearts and hands in grateful and faithful service to You – the God of our salvation. 


C:         Bless all who worship and serve You through this family of faith.  Let Your Word touch the lives of everyone here     as we meditate upon the mysteries of Your great love for us in Christ Jesus.   Help us also to remember our responsibility    to work together with the other congregations of our Synod,    in order to see to it that the Gospel is proclaimed    throughout our country and around the world.   Also, watch over our Synod’s missionaries and lay workers    who have gone out into the world on our behalf with the Gospel of Jesus.


P:         Lord, we know that the devil will do his upmost to ruin our lives on this earth and our hope for going to heaven.    When Your children are damaged by the struggles of this life and challenged by difficult decisions, continue to strengthen and sustain them with the blessed assurance that they are Your treasured possession, and that You are always working for their earthly and eternal good.   In particular this morning, we pray for:


Any Special Prayer Requests


In addition, we pray for our those  brothers and sisters within our church and extended family who are facing health and personal problems ranging from cancer to diabetes, from vision disorders to fibro- and polymyalgia, from respiratory distress to heart disease, from Parkinson’s Disease and depression to various physical injuries and their complications…… and other ailments and afflictions, as well as loneliness, marital and family problems, employment and financial difficulties, and more.      

We are so small, so frail, so powerless to manage life’s challenges and even life’s ordinary situations.    Lord, please


 help all those we know and care about who are in need – granting them Your gifts of healing and health, support and success….and the continuing assurance that You are fully aware of their personal and spiritual needs, and that You have the ability and commitment to meet them….. indeed, that You have a perfect plan for the lives of every one of us (whether or not we understand and appreciate it), and that You will never take us into any circumstances in which You will not work things out, in the end, for our best personal and spiritual interests, and particularly for Your glory and honor.


P:         Hear us also, LORD, as we take a few moments to silently offer You our personal petitions and praises.


A Few Moments for Silent Prayer


P:         Finally,  Lord God, accept our thanks for the tremendous privilege of being called Your children, and of being able to come to You now and at any time in prayer.   Help us to grow intellectually, emotionally, spiritually through Your Word, so that we may be faithful servants for You in our homes, and communities, in our congregations, and as members of Your Church on earth. Mercifully hear our prayer, and bless us one and all, for the sake and in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, eternally one God, forever and ever.   And in Whose name we also offer our Lord’s Prayer:


Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name;   Thy kingdom  come;  Thy will be done    on earth as it is in heaven;    Give us this day our daily bread;    And forgive us our trespasses,    as we forgive those who trespass against us;     And lead us not into temptation;     But deliver us from evil;  For Thine is the kingdom,  and the power,  and the glory,   forever and ever.  Amen.



We Conclude our Worship


The Benediction


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


The LORD bless you and keep you.

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

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


The Closing Hymn                                                                                                            Hymn 368  “O Savior, Precious Savior”


1 O Savior, precious Savior,    Whom, yet unseen, we love,

O name of might and favor,   All other names above,

We worship thee; we bless thee;   To thee, O Christ, we sing;

We praise thee and confess thee,   Our holy Lord and King.


2 O Bringer of salvation,   Who wondrously hast wrought,

Thyself the revelation   Of love beyond our thought,

We worship thee; we bless thee;   To thee, O Christ, we sing;

We praise thee and confess thee,   Our gracious Lord and King.


3 In thee all fullness dwelleth,    All grace and pow’r divine;

The glory that excelleth,    O Son of God, is thine.

We worship thee; we bless thee;   To thee, O Christ, we sing;

We praise thee and confess thee,   Our glorious Lord and King.

4 Oh, grant the consummation    Of this our song above

In endless adoration    And everlasting love!

Then shall we praise and bless thee    Where perfect praises ring

And evermore confess thee,   Our Savior and our King.


Silent Prayer,


Post-service Music                                                                                                                                                                                                                    



How to Become a Member of Our Congregation


Should your contact with the life-enriching Word of God today and your desire for a church-home prompt you to be interested in membership in our Christian congregation, we want to help you take the first step.  We would consider it an honor for you to join us in this family of faith!   Communicant membership in our church is established by an informed declaration of fellowship upon transfer from a Lutheran congregation, or upon completion of our Pastor’s New Membership / Bible Information Course, whichever is appropriate for you.  To make a personal appointment to discuss this further, please speak with Pastor Huebner today or at your convenience.




Last Week   Sunday Attendance: 65   Communed: 47         Bible Class: 27   Sunday School: 7    Budget Offerings: $ 9582    Online Offerings: $420.89        Special Mission Gift:  $9000                             Benevolence: $1000

Offering for the Women’s Group: $500                   Tuesday Bible Study: 9  Midweek Lenten Worship Attendance: 29    Wednesday Offerings: $167


Serving Us Next Week                                                                            Elders:   Rick Tragasz, John Johnson

Altar Guild:   Harriet Johnson, Tina Wambold             Ushers:   Fred Cusanelli, Chris Roberts, Trent Schroeder


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today                         Choir, 8:40 a.m.          Worship Service, 9:30 a.m       Fellowship Period, 10:40 a.m.                                     BC/SS 11:05 a.m.

                        Youth Confirmation 12:15 a.m.

Tuesday          Adult Bible Class, 10:30 a.m.                                                                                                     

Wednesday     Fellowship Meal, 6 pm     Midweek Lenten  Service, 7 pm

Sunday           Choir, 8:40 a.m.         Worship with Communion, , 9:30 a.m.                          Fellowship 10:45 a.m.

                        BC/SS, 11:05 a.m.              Youth Confirmation Class, 12:15 p.m.


This Week’s Birthdays            Mar 28 – Tina Wambold;        Mar 28 – Wayne Watkins;      Mar 30 – Marilyn Outlaw;

Mar 30 – Christina Strackbein;     Mar 31 – Rachel Galvan;    Mar 31- Jody Larson;    Apr 1 Dan Beck;   

Apr 1 Debby Pulley;


Easter Outreach Encouragement: “Each one Bring One”….Three weeks from now we’ll celebrate Easter Sunday (April 17th).  We’re encouraging every person and household in our church family this year to pray about those persons that you can invite and bring to join you in celebrating Christ’s resurrection here at Grace on Easter morning. (You can invite them for an earlier Sunday service, too, if you’d like.)  Imagine how wonderful it would be for them and for all of us, if each of us could bring one person to worship here that day!   With prayer…. with each of us purposefully inviting (and, if needed, transporting) someone…..and with God’s blessing, this could happen. Many non-churched persons, if they are inclined to go to church at all in the course of a year, are inclined to come for Easter.   What’s more, 15% of non-churched people say that they would come to church – if only someone would invite them.   So let’s do it! Maybe you’ll have to invite one, two, or seven or eight people….but if we ask enough people, those guests will come.  So, please pray and plan now already, to make those Easter invitations to your friends, acquaintances, relatives…..and even folks you don’t know.   And may God bless our efforts…to His glory!


This Week’s Bible Classes   In Bible Class today we’ll complete our study of I Corinthians 15 and move into chapter 16.  We’ll be looking further at the  significance of Christ’s (as well as our own) resurrection, as well as how and why Christians present their offerings to the Lord.  For our Tuesday morning Bible class we’re in the early stages of a new Bible study….on the book of Ezra !!!    Please join us!


Palm Sunday Afternoon FLYER DISTRIBUTION After our routine day’s activities on April 10th (Palm Sunday), we’d appreciate your helping us spend an hour or so distributing flyers inviting our neighbors to join us for worship on Easter morning.  This is an important part of our Outreach ministry.  We’d like to deliver about 2500 invitations to in the area immediately around our church.  Of course, we need plenty of volunteers to do this.  So, please join us, for a little exercise, fellowship, and Christian outreach.


Special Holy Week Worship Services Reminder  – During the week prior to Easter we’ll have two opportunities to worship together.  We hope you’ll plant to join us for our Maundy Thursday (April 14th  worship service with the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 p.m., as well as our April 15th Good Friday worship service, which also begins at 7:00 p.m.


Midweek Lenten Worship Service Reminder ….this coming Wednesday evening, March 30th we’ll conduct the fifth of six midweek  worship services during this season of Lent.  Wednesday’s service will begin at 7:00 p.m.   The theme for this year’s services is:   “Seven Times Jesus Spoke.”   This Wednesday, we’ll be considering the significance of Jesus’ agonizing words,My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me ?”  Please plan to join us for these special worship services…and please also plan on bringing a non-churched friend, or friends, to share the worship of the Lord with us.


Soup and Sandwich Fellowship Meal this WEDNESDAY   ….before our midweek evening Lenten service.   The meal will begin at 6 p.m.   If you are able, please  bring a pot of soup or a plate of sandwiches to share.  We hope to see you Wednesday evening for worship and also for this special fellowship opportunity. 


Rummage Announcement…..In about a month and a half, our Women’s Group will sponsor a  rummage sale…..on May 14-15.   If you’re one of those persons who does an annual “spring cleaning” of your home, would you please keep our rummage sale in mind?   Even if you don’t do a “spring cleaning,” if you have items you could donate to our rummage sale, that would be very much appreciated.   And, if you might need to bring items earlier than the week prior to the sale, early drop offs will be available in early May.   Please speak with Pastor about this  when the time comes.  We’ll do our best to work with you.

I Corinthians, Chapter 16   

Aimless Gifts….or Planned Offerings?



The story is told of an eccentric rich man who occasionally opened the window of his

penthouse apartment and threw handfuls of dollars to the people in the street below.  It was, so he said, his way of helping the needy.   It is also an extreme example of “aimless” giving.

            In a similar vein, people who have only occasional contact with the Church are apt to be random, aimless givers.  Whenever they do come to God’s house – perhaps at Christmas, for Easter, and in a few assorted other instances – they place some coins and paper bills, or maybe a check, into the offering plate.   In the vast majority of cases, their donations are entirely disproportionately small compared to the many gifts God has graciously given them, as well as devoid of prayerful, purposeful, planned giving.

            The needs of God’s Kingdom are opportunities through which Christians can express their gratitude to God for all the love and many blessings He has graciously given them for Jesus’ sake.  In today’s lesson we will listen to how Paul urges the Christians in Corinth – as well as us today – to follow a simple but effective, seven point plan for properly setting aside appropriate, God-pleasing offerings that express our love for and gratitude to the Lord.


Overview of Chapter 16

            Through a communication delivered to Paul by Stephanus, Fortunatus and Achaius, the Corinthians had asked for the apostle’s guidance on a number of topics.   Paul began his answers to these questions with “now for,”   “now concerning,” and “about” (7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; and 16:1).  As chapter 16 begins, he talks about a special offering that was being gathered for the poor in Jerusalem.   Other matters of importance for Christian fellowship follow.   In the closing, more personal portion of this letter, Paul includes information regarding his plans for the immediate future, as well as references to Timothy and Apollos who were his co-workers, along with his encouragement to them to remain steadfast in the faith and fervent in their love for the Lord and each other, and – finally – a request on behalf of the house of Stephanas as well as some brotherly greetings.


  1. Christian Giving (Verses 1-4)


            Paul’s seven point plan for Christian giving:    1) Offerings should come from every member of the congregation;   2) These offerings should be systematic (regular);    3) A third principle is that of proportionate giving;   4) Emotional appeals for giving shouldn’t be necessary;   because 5) Ones motivation for giving should always be God’s grace to us in Christ;   6) Benevolent funds must be carefully administered;   and 7) Benevolent offerings should be sufficiently generous to be worthy of Christ and the Lord’s servants.    Paul also hints that he might personally go to Jerusalem with their gifts….if these gifts are appropriately generous enough to give dignity to such a journey.


  1. Why are Paul’s discussions regarding offerings so appropriate at this point in his letter?


  1. Why was this offering being taken?


  1. What are Paul’s directions for giving in verse 2? How can we make use of them in our own stewardship of the gifts God has entrusted to us?


  1. Are Paul’s plans for giving consistent with the instructions he gave in 14:40? How does Christian giving differ from the Old Testament tithe?


  1. Contrast your views on “voluntary” giving with “compulsory” giving?



  1. Paul’s Immediate Plans (verses 5-9)


  1. Locate Macedonia on a map (for those of you who have maps in the back of your Bibles). What happened in connection with what we refer to as “the Macedonian call” (Acts 16:9)?   Where were some of the earliest Christian congregations in Macedonia found?


  1. For what reason did Paul intend to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost?


  1. What was the “great door” of verse 9 supposed to be?



III.    Concluding Remarks, Exhortations and Salutations (verses 10-20)


  1. For what reasons should the Corinthians treat Timothy with honor and respect?


  1. Is there any evidence of a rivalry between Paul and Apollos? Why might Apollos have been unwilling to come to Corinth at this time?  (See 1:13)


  1. A particular commentator has referred to verse 13 as “a little sermon in a nutshell.” Why do you think this verse could be a good sermon for a congregation with no pastor?


  1. Why does Paul make a special point of recommending the household of Stephanas to the Corinthians?


  1. Who were Acquila and Priscilla?


  1. Why are interchurch greetings important?


  1. Regarding the “holy kiss” practiced by the early Christian church, see I Thessalonians 5:26;

            II Corinthians 13:12;   Romans 16:16 and I Peter 5:14.



  1. The Final Benediction (verses 21-24)


  1. What does verse 21 seem to indicate? (see Romans 16:22; II Thessalonians 3:17;    Galatians 6;11)


  1. What does the word “maranantha” mean? (Revelation 22:20)



  1. For Discussion


  1. Note the sense of fellowship and unity described in this chapter (e.g., 1, 10, 14, 17, 19, 20). How can we demonstrate such fellowship and unity today?


  1. Is the offering during our worship services an “interruption” or a “part of worship”? Should it come before, or after the sermon?


  1. What is the solution to the church’s perennial “money problems?” How can Christians be trained to turn away from “aimless giving” to faithful, planned, sacrificial giving?


  1. Is it appropriate for the head of the household to give his offerings of behalf of his household? Consider the force of the words “each one of you” (verse 2) in connection with the giving of every individual member of the family.


  1. Compare the importance of gifts devoted to the benefit of the physical welfare of others with gifts given for the specific task of the “ministry of the Word.”