March 17, 2021      Fifth Midweek Lenten Service



Our 2021 Lenten Services Theme:

 “Our Spiritual Vision Problems.  and How They Can Be Corrected”


God’s Remedy for Spiritual Glaucoma


Astigmatism. Far-sightedness. Near-sightedness. Macular Degeneration.    Those are both the physical and the Spiritual vision problems we’ve considered so far this 2021 Lenten season.


When our vision becomes curved in on ourselves and we don’t focus outside of ourselves, on God and on others…that’s Spiritual Astigmatism.   We gave Astigmatism our attention on Ash Wednesday – how we sometimes get too self-absorbed, too self-focused.  The following week we considered the Spiritual Far-sightedness of Jesus’  disciples and how they (and we) at times can focus on heaven and eternity so thoroughly that we fail to pay attention to our Spiritual responsibilities in the here on earth.  During week three we say the opposite of that in the person of Jesus’ betrayer, Judas.   Judas focused too much on “the moment” (particularly on his selfish interests, and later at his guilt in handing Jesus over to His enemies.)  Judas needed to see the “bigger picture” – that God’s plan was definitely being carried out through his betrayal of Christ….a plan that included Christ dying to secure Judas’ salvation, and our own.      Finally, last week we looked at the very suspect character of the Jewish religious leadership.  The matters immediately before them (driven by their suspicions and hatred of Jesus) kept them from recognizing Jesus as their Promised Messiah.   They suffered from Spiritual Macular Degeneration.   That can also easily happen in our lives, if we spend our energies and attention on all the  things that are  swirling around us,  so that we miss out on seeing Christ right in front of us, supporting, blessing and saving us..   Instead, let’s let God’s Word help us keep our focus on Christ, regardless of the earthly chaos and distractions all around us. 


Finally, the spiritual vision problem that’s before us this evening is Glaucoma.   It occurs when there’s too much pressure building up in a person’s eye.   If left unchecked, it will cause a person to become blind.


Of course, because we’re living in a sinful world, the daily challenges and even the successes that occur in our lives can  cause a  considerable amounts of pressure on our faith.   Life’s various pressures – small and great – can lead us to make decisions in haste that we regret later.   They can rob us of the daily joy that God wants us to have as Christians.    And they can hinder not only our faithfulness to the Lord, they can also damage (even destroy) our faith-relationship with our God.    And so, we’ll consider the causes and cure for Spiritual Glaucoma this evening.


Pre-service prayer                                                                                                                                             

Pre-service music                                                                                                                                              


We ask the Lord to join us


The Greeting and Introduction to This Evening’s Service


The Invocation                       “We begin this service this evening… .in the name of the Father, …and of the Son, …and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.


The Opening Psalm                                                                                                                          Psalm 130


P:         Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD;

C:         O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

P:         If You, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?

C:         But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared.


P:         I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.

C:         My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

P:         O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.

C:         He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.


After which the Congregation may be seated for



The Opening Hymn                                                                             Hymn 104 “Go To Dark Gethsemane”


1 Go to dark Gethsemane,   You who feel the tempter’s pow’r;

Your Redeemer’s conflict see;   Watch with Him one bitter hour;

Turn not from His griefs away;   Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.


2 Follow to the judgment hall;   View the Lord of life arraigned;

O the worm-wood and the gall!  O the pangs His soul sustained!

Shun not suff’ring, shame, or loss;  Learn of Him to bear the cross.


3 Calv’ry’s mournful mountain climb  There’ adoring at His feet,

Mark the miracle of time,   God’s own sacrifice complete:

“It is finished!” Hear the cry;  Learn of Jesus Christ to die.


4 Early hasten to the tomb   Where they laid his breathless clay;

All is solitude and gloom;   Who hath taken Him away?

Christ is ris’n! He meets our eyes:   Savior, teach us so to rise.   Amen


after which the Congregation will rise as


We Join in the Confession of Our Sins


  • Almighty God, Heavenly Father, we have violated Your holy will through our sinful actions, in our failure to do what You righteously expect from us, with our wicked words, and by our evil thoughts and desires.




  • We come, O Lord, to Your altar to confess our sins. +   We beg for Your mercy, + though we do not deserve         +   Hear our prayer.    +  Grant us the forgiveness of all our sins, for Jesus’ sake.


Just as I am without one plea

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.



  • Our sins are many….inexcusable, yet inevitable given our weakness and dullness. We have sworn falsely and used Your name to curse, rather than to bless others and to praise You.   We have not worshiped You as       faithfully as we ought.  We have not listened to Your Word as we should.  Too often we have conformed our            lives – not to Your perfect will – but to the norms and dictates of this sinful world.    At times we have lived          as though we were “god” instead of humbly submitting everything that we are and have to You, O Lord.


Just as I am, though tossed about

With many a conflict, many a doubt,

Fightings and fears within, without,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.



  • We have acted spitefully toward friends and strangers. We have fought with our family.  We have been        impatient with each other, and even with You, O Lord.  We have sought superiority over others at work, in        the home, at school, and in the church.   We have preferred materialism more than we have pursued our spiritual growth.   We have committed the very evils that we have self-righteously – and You have properly        – condemned.


Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.



  • We have passed by and ignored those who have been in genuine need. We have thought too highly of         ourselves and too little of others.      Though converted by the Gospel’s power, we have been reluctant and      indifferent to bring the Good News to others.    We have not readily forgiven those who have sinned against            We have not loved You and others as You have commanded us to do.



  • Forgive us all our sins, +  those known and unknown to us,   + according to the mercy of Your Son, our           Savior Jesus Christ.     +   Pour Your grace upon us, +    that we might know the peace which surpasses all    understanding, + and that we might share eternal life with Christ, our Lord.



Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;

Because Thy promise I believe,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.



Pastor  Upon this, your voluntary confession, and in accordance with the responsibilities entrusted to me as a called       and ordained servant of the Living Word, I assure you that God, our heavenly Father, has forgiven you all your sins.   By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, He has removed your guilt and condemnation forever.   You are His own dear child –  an heir of everlasting life through faith in Christ.   May God now give you the strength of faith to live according to His will.   Go in His grace and peace.   Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated


We Share God’s Word


The Scripture Reading:        


The account of Jesus’ Passion as it is recorded for us through a

harmony of the Gospels of  Matthew,  Mark,  Luke, and  John.


Tonight’s Reading:   Jesus Before Pilate


Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, and said to them, “You brought this Man to me as one who is misleading the people. Look, I have examined Him in your presence. I have found in this Man no basis for the charges you are bringing against Him. Herod did not either, for he sent Him back to us. See, He has done

nothing worthy of death. So I will have Him flogged and release Him.” At the time of the Festival the governor had a custom to release to the crowd any one prisoner they wanted. At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner named Barabbas, who had been thrown in prison for a rebellion in the city and for murder. The crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do for them what he usually did.  So when they were assembled, Pilate said to them, “Do you want me to release the King of the Jews to you? Which one do you want me to release to you?  Barabbas—or Jesus, Who is called Christ?” For Pilate in fact knew that they had handed Jesus over to him because of envy. 


While he was sitting on the judgment seat, Pilate’s wife sent him a message. “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man,” she said, “since I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”  But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus put to death. The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”  They all shouted together with one voice: “Take Him away! Release Barabbas to us!”


Pilate said to them, “Then what do you want me to do with the Man you call the King of the Jews? What should I do with Jesus, Who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Crucify Him!”   But the governor said, “Why? What has He done wrong?”   But they kept shouting even louder: “Crucify Him!”  Pilate addressed them again, because he wanted to release Jesus. But they kept   shouting, “Crucify! Crucify Him!”He said to them the third time, “Why? What evil has He done? I have found no  grounds for sentencing Him to death. So I will whip Him and release Him.” But they kept  pressuring him with loud voices, demanding that He be crucified. And their voices were overwhelming.


Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged.  The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole cohort of soldiers around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. They twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand, knelt in front of Him, and mocked Him by saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spit on Him, took the staff, and hit Him repeatedly on His head. They also kept hitting Him in the face.  Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing Him out to you to let

you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him.” So Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” When the chief priests and guards saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” Pilate told them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no basis for a charge against Him.”  


The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law He ought to die, because He claimed to be the Son of God.”  When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He went back inside thepalace again and asked Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate asked Him, “Are You not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You or to crucify You?”


Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me at all if it had not been given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.”  From then on Pilate tried to release Jesus. But the Jews shouted, “If you let this Man   go, you are no friend of Caesar! Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar!”  When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s seat at a place called the Stone Pavement, or Gabbatha in Aramaic. It was about the sixth hour on the Preparation Day for the Passover. Pilate said to the Jews, “Here is your King!”  They shouted, “Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!”  Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your King?”  “We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered.


When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing and that instead it was turning into a riot, he decided that what they demanded would be done. He took water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am innocent of this righteous Man’s blood. It is your responsibility.”


And all the people answered, “Let His blood be on us and on our children!” Since he wanted to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. So then Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.


After they had mocked Him, the soldiers took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him. Jesus was carrying His own cross. As they were going out of the city, a certain man, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), was passing by on his way in from the country. They placed the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of the people was following Him, including women who were mourning and wailing for Him.  Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Be sure of this: The days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never gave birth, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’  For if they do these things to the green wood, what will happen to the dry?



  • The Second Hymn Hymn 116 “In The Hour Of Trial”


1 In the hour of trial, Jesus, plead for me

Lest by base denial  I unworthy be.

When You see me waver,  With a look recall,

Nor for fear or favor  Ever let me fall.


2 With forbidden pleasures  Should this vain world charm

Or its tempting treasures  Spread to work me harm,

Bring to my remembrance  Sad Gethsemane

Or, in darker semblance,   Cross-crowned Calvary.

3 Should Your mercy send me    Sorrow, toil, and woe,

Or should pain attend me   On my path below,

Grant that I may never   Fail Your cross to view;

Grant that I may ever  Cast my care on You.


4 When my life is ending,   Though in grief or pain,

When my body changes   Back to dust again,

On Your truth relying,   Through that mortal strife,

Jesus, take me, dying,  To eternal life.   Amen


  • The Evening Meditation based on I Kings 12:1-20


Rehoboam went to Shechem, because all Israel had gone there to make him king.   2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat was still in Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon, he heard about this, and he returned from Egypt. 3 So the people sent for him.   


Then Jeroboam and the entire assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4 “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now lighten your father’s harsh service and the heavy yoke he laid on us, and we will serve you.”    5 Rehoboam said to them, “Leave me for three days and then return to me.” So the people left.

6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was alive. He asked, “What answer do you advise me to give to these people?”  7 They said to him, “If today you become a servant to this people—if you serve them and answer them with kind words—then they will be your servants for all time.”   8 But he rejected the advice which the old men offered him. Instead, he consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9 He said to them, “What answer do you advise that we should give to these people who said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father laid on us’?”    10 The young men who had grown up with him said, “This is what you should say to this people who said to you, ‘Your father laid a heavy yoke on us. Now lighten our yoke.’ Tell them this: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist.  11 My father imposed a heavy yoke on you. I will make your yoke heavier. My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scorpions.’”  

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, because the king had said, “Come back to me on the third day.”   13 The king answered the people harshly, because he had rejected the advice which the old men had offered. 14 He spoke to them as the young men advised him: “My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke. My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scorpions.”    15 The king did not listen to the people, because this turn of events was from the Lord, in order to fulfill His word, which the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah from Shiloh.   16 All Israel saw that the king had not listened to them. So the people answered the king:  “What share do we have in David?  No portion in the son of Jesse!  To your tents, Israel!  Now look after your own house, David!”


So Israel went to their tents.    17 Rehoboam continued to rule over the people of Israel who were living in the cities of Judah.   18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, was able to get in his chariot to flee to Jerusalem.   19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David until this day.


God’s Remedy For Spiritual Glaucoma



The Blessing              And now the peace which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.


We bring our Offerings and Prayers to our Lord


Because we aren’t able to pass an offering plate during tonight’s worship service those in attendance may leave their offerings in the offering plate by the exit door at the close of our service this evening.

For those watching this service online, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your offerings through our ministry:  

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

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

2) You can go online to our website (

and use the giving option there.

Tonight’s Prayers


The Lord’s Prayer     


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


We Leave with the Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction        “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen.


  • The Closing Hymn “Now the Day is Over”
  • sung to the melody of “Onward Christian Soldiers”


Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh;

Shadows of the evening, steal across the sky.

Jesus, give the weary, calm and sweet repose;

With Your tend’rest blessing   May our eyelids close.

Grant us, Lord, Your children, faith that’s strong and true

Keep our souls, dear Savior, ever tied to You.


Through the long night watches   May Your angels spread

Their white wings above me,   Watching ‘round my bed.

When the morning wakens,   Then may I arise

Pure and fresh and sinless    In Your holy eyes.

Glory to the Father,   Glory to the Son

And to You, blest Spirit,   Ever Three in One.    Amen.




Palm Sunday Afternoon BROCHURE DISTRIBUTIONS After our regular e Sunday activities on March 28th  (Palm Sunday), we could use your help delivering about 1500 Easter invitation flyers to homes immediately around our church.   We hope (and pray) that you will willing and able to help out.


Special Holy Week Worship Services Reminder  – In 2 weeks we’ll  gather for worship on Maundy Thursday (April 1st).  Our service at 7:00 p.m. will include the Lord’s Supper.  We’ll also come together p on April 2nd for a Good Friday worship service.   It will also begin at 7  p.m.


Who will you bring to worship this Easter Sunday?   …..Your son or daughter?  Your Grandchildren?    Your parents?  An unchurched neighbor?   Someone with whom you work?    How about a stranger that you’ve yet to meet….but whom you will meet between now and Easter Sunday?    Maybe even a member of Grace who hasn’t been in church with us for a very long time…..?   Many people we know haven’t been in church to worship our Lord in a very long time.  For too many, the reason for their absence isn’t due to their concern over contracting the Covid virus  from being with people in church.   Instead, they’ve “lost interest” in church….and maybe even in Christ. 

            God has put each of us in the lives of these people because He wants us to be examples of faith in Christ to them.   He’s also called us all to verbally witness to them about how essential faith in the crucified and risen Christ is for us…and for them.   After all, all of us are Christ’s “ambassadors” whose privilege it is to present the Gospel to people so the Holy Spirit can work saving faith,  or strengthen in their hearts that faith which saves.

            There’s no better opportunity to do that than this time of year that leads us to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter.   So, please be a witness for Jesus…..and please invite some of the non-churched people you know and meet to worship Him with us on Easter morning.



Easter Brunch-Dinner Planned    At our most recent Church Council meeting, it was decided that we would hold an Easter dinner following our Easter Sunday worship service.  We determined this after inquiring of the State Health Department if a dinner was possible.  We were told that it is possible, as long as we function like a normal restaurant and maintain proper spacing (which we already do on Sunday mornings for worship).   We will NOT have a pot-luck meal this year, but instead will provide all the food items through our fellowship fund and donations.   Please plan now to join us, and bring some guests too.  This is going to be the first time in an entire year that we’ve had an opportunity to enjoy this kind of fellowship.   We’d really like all of you to be a part of it.