December 12, 2021

The Third Sunday in Advent

Great Expectations


      Perhaps some of who are reading this have also read Charles Dickens’ classic literary work “Great Expectations.”    Briefly, the book follows the life of its main character, Pip, who goes from rags to riches, back to rags, followed by a certain contentment with his life.   That contentment came through accepting his circumstances in life and reconciling with people (particularly his life’s love, Estella) who had mistreated him over the years.    I’m not sure exactly why Dickens chose the title “Great Expectations,” but I suspect it had much to do with Pip’s goals as an impoverished youth.  He wanted one day to be successful and to win Estella’s hand in marriage.    Along the way he learned that much of what he had hoped for didn’t turn out to be all that necessary and beneficial for him.   In this work Dickens provides us with a critical window into almost every person’s life…ours, included.  We all have “Great Expectations” for ourselves – some of which are never realized, and even when those expectations are realized, the results are often less satisfying than we had originally expected.

      To a certain extent, that’s what we’ll be looking at in connection with the great expectations (and mis-expectations) that the Jewish nation had for the Promised Messiah.   Certainly, John the Baptist’s disciples and, perhaps, John, himself, also had grand expectations for Jesus that weren’t necessarily satisfied.   Ultimately John’s disciples would be told and shown that Jesus was exactly Who and What their mentor had proclaimed Him to be……not simply a hellfire and damnation preacher who powerfully condemned worldliness.  Nor was he a social worker simply solving personal problems.  And he was definitely not a political hero who would rid Palestine of the Romans and reestablish Judah as a powerful and prominent nation.  What He was is THE “Lamb of God” Who came to take away the world’s sin and offer eternal salvation to all who would believe in Him.     Similarly, that’s what we have to remember as we look at Jesus in faith and at worship…….He’s not the “Fixer” to our satisfaction of all our problems and demands in life (as some false teachers today suggest He is).   And He isn’t merely a Great Example to follow in living (though we should surely want to follow His every example!).  He isn’t a Savior Who’s so blindly “benevolent” that He approvingly lets us say,  live, and think whatever we want – regardless of how sinful our behaviors are.   What Jesus is, is our God…..Who came long ago to earth not to be our Enabler or Example, but to be our Substitute in living and our Savior through His death and resurrection….so that we might be reconciled to God, forgiven our sins and so that our salvation in heaven might be assured through faith in Him.  


The Importance of “Christology” for our

faith –  the study of what the Bible teaches

about Who and What Jesus Christ really Is


      The field of “Christology” is that part of Christian theology (what the Bible teaches about God) which studies all that the Scriptures have to say about the person of Jesus Christ as the God-man, with His truly human nature and His truly divine nature included inseparably in one person.     In fact, one full year of the dogmatics (Biblical doctrine) training which future pastors of our Synod receive during their four year’s worth of ministerial instruction through Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary is devoted to the study of Christology.   And that time is well spent, because a proper understanding (whether comprehensive or not) of the two natures of Christ is critical not only for every pastor’s and any church body’s orthodoxy (faithful teaching), but also for the salvation every individual Christian.  

      Whether or not you’ve ever studied “Christology” in great detail, you and I confess the “fundamentals” of orthodox Christian Christology each time we join in the Apostles’ Creed when we say, “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary….”  

      Down through 20 centuries, the Christian Church has dealt with a number of heresies revolving around “Christology.”   Arianism, Monarchianism, Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Eutychianism, and Apollinariamism are just a few (talk with Pastor after worship today if you’d like more information on these heresies…..).  Essentially all of them (whether blatantly or subtly) either denied the true deity of Christ (the first three), or they denied the true humanity of Christ (the latter three).  Even today, not only in religious groups like Christian Science, Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but even in many “liberal” so-called Christian organizations, the Bible’s clear teaching (doctrine) regarding the two “natures” of Christ – that He is truly God and truly human, in One person – continues to be challenged, doubted, and rejected to the harm of many souls! 

      By the grace of God you and I believe as we do, accepting what our human reason cannot comprehend.  By faith we trust what God’s Word teaches about the person and the work of Christ, and because of that faith in these truths from God we can be absolutely certain of our salvation, confidently depending for our forgiveness completely on everything that Jesus accomplished for us as God-man and Savior of sinners. 


Today’s Scripture Lessons

      In our Gospel Lesson  John the Baptist, when questioned by the Pharisees regarding whether or not he might be the Messiah, points away from himself, not wanting to take anything away from Christ’s glory.   John does identify himself as the one about whom Isaiah prophesied (40:3)….the one who would come before the Messiah to prepare God’s people for His arrival.    Later, at the close of our reading John points some of his disciples to Jesus as that Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sin. 

      Our Sermon Text is centered around a question that John the Baptist (the forerunner of Christ, and who was in prison at the time) had his disciples ask Jesus regarding whether or not He was the Promised Messiah.   John had them ask this because they evidently had some doubts about the mission and ministry of the One, about Whom their leader had previously stated:  “Behold the Lamb of God (the Messiah) who takes away the sin of the world.”   We’ll listen to Jesus’ answer and also be reminded of the evidence from Jesus’ ministry which affirms that He is exactly what the Old Testament believers, and the people of John’s day (including these disciples), and the people of every age – including our own – are looking for…….the Promised, and only, Savior from sin for the whole world..  

      In this morning’s Children’s Lesson we’ll talk about what our future would be like if Jesus were just an “imitation” Savior, and then we’ll compare that with the blessings we already have and promises God has given us for the future because, through faith in Jesus, we know with certainty that have a Savior Who is the “authentic” Real Thing!

      Our Epistle Lesson begins by implicitly recognizing the divine nature of Christ Who willingly took upon Himself our human nature in order to effect the salvation of sinful mankind. At the close of our reading, we’re reminded that our Savior also can help us withstand temptations, since – as a true human being – He faced temptations just as we do, and successfully overcame them all. 

      In today’s Old Testament Reading the Lord inspires Moses to prophesy that in the future He will send a special Prophet among prophets Who will speak His Word, and to Whom all Israel (all believers) must listen.  That Prophet was none other than Christ.   



Situated in the front of the church, to the right of the lectern, you’ll find an “Advent Wreath.”  It’s been our practice at Grace Lutheran to use an Advent Wreath during the Advent and Christmas seasons as a symbolic means for both preparing ourselves for the arrival of the Christ child and then joyously reflecting upon the arrival of that Savior.    The following brief history and explanation of the Advent Wreath’s symbolism is intended to help you enjoy and benefit from this traditional Christian expression.


The Advent Wreath


         The Advent wreath is a combination of two very common symbols:  light and the fir tree.   From the early centuries of Christianity it has been the practice to represent Christ by a burning candle.  The fir tree also has a long history of religious use.   One of the most popular themes for the medieval “mystery plays” revolved around the telling of the story of Paradise.  In those plays, the Garden of Eden was typically portrayed by a fir tree hung with apples.   In the Eastern churches (Eastern/Greek Orthodox) December 24th was celebrated as the Feast Day of Adam and Eve.    The custom of putting up a Paradise tree in the home on December 24th, decorated with apples, came into Europe (and the Americas) by way of the East.  In Germany there was also a custom of placing a lit Christmas candle on top of a wooden pyramid decorated with evergreen twigs.   In time the wooden pyramid was replaced by the Paradise tree, decorated with apples and lighted candles.

        No doubt the Advent wreath was suggested, at least in part, by the Christmas tree.   It seems that the Advent wreath originated a few hundred years ago among the Lutheran Christians of eastern Germany.  A wreath of evergreens, made of various sizes, was either suspended from the ceiling or placed on a table.   Four candles representing the four Sundays of Advent were fastened to the wreath.  Eventually the use of the Advent wreath became wide-spread and moved also from the home into the church.   The general symbolism of the Advent wreath lies in the growing light of the wreath, increasing each week as we approach the birthday of Jesus the Light of the world.

         The color of the candles in the Advent wreath is dictated by whatever emphasis a particular home or congregation gives to the season.   While the emphasis may change somewhat according to the sermons, the traditional emphases in Advent are those of repentance and anticipation (the Sunday sermons are generally more “up-beat” and “joyous,”  while mid-week sermons tend to be slightly more “sober” and “penitent” in character).  That’s why the altar cloths and furnishings are in the color of purple (the traditional color of repentance) throughout the Advent season.   It’s no wonder, then, that the prevalent color (three out of five) of the Advent wreath candles is purple.  

         The purple candle lit on the first Sunday in Advent is called “the Candle of Prophecy,” and symbolizes the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Savior.   The second Advent candle (also purple) is referred to as the “Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing the coming to earth of Jesus, the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary.  The Third Advent candle (pink or rose-colored) is the “Shepherd Candle” and represents the coming of the Savior into the hearts and lives of His believers through His Holy Word.  The pink/rose color serves to remind us that a note of joy should also heard in this penitential season.  The final purple candle is the “Angel Candle,” symbolizing the final coming of the Savior in glory with all His holy angels.           The white candle at the center of the wreath is the “Christ Candle,” symbolizing the perfection of Christ, the fulfillment of prophesy, and the centrality of Jesus in our Advent preparations.   This “Christ Candle” remains unlighted during Advent in anticipation of the birth of the Savior, the Light of the world.  Advent’s penitent emphasis focuses our attention on our sins and the need for a Savior, but on Christmas Day we joyfully celebrate the birth of that Savior….and so we then light the white Christ Candle.  

            White candles also replace the purple and pink ones, and the purple altar cloths are replaced by white altar cloths with the arrival of Christmas Day.   The wreath, now with all white candles, continues to be used until the Christmas Season officially ends with the arrival of Epiphany on January 6th.  The white altar cloths continue to be used through the first Sunday of Epiphany.   The colors then change to green



Grace Lutheran Church of Northwest Arkansas

is affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a church body which spans the United States and Canada, and which also operates a number of foreign missions.

Our Vision:      Extend God’s Kingdom through His Word,

serving each Soul.

Our Mission:  Share the Gospel, Encourage Faith, and Prepare Souls through Worship, Education and Fellowship.




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


Prayer in Preparation for Worship:  Lord, as I come into this chapel today, I have many reasons to offer You my thanks and praise.    Over those years You have blessed the ministry of the Word here – granting spiritual growth to those who have assembled here.   You have also given us opportunities to increase in number and to grow in our service to You, O Lord.   Now, as I approach this hour of worship, I pray that You will bless the pastor as he brings God’s Word to me and all who have gathered here this morning.  Allow this congregation to wisely and faithfully use the opportunities for ministry that You give us for the spiritual enrichment of all who pass through these doors, and — of course — for Your glory, O God.  Gracious Lord, favorably receive my expressions of praise, my offerings, and my prayers today.  And finally, allow Your Word which I shall soon hear to take root in my heart, fostering in me a stronger faith and producing through that faith the kind of Christian expressions of love that are pleasing to You.  All this I ask in Jesus’ name.   Amen.



Pre-service prayer                                                                                                                Pre-worship music


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


We Praise Our God


Welcoming and Introduction to Worship


The Opening Hymn                                                                       Hymn 23  “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”


after which, the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation    

We make our beginning


In the name of the Father,

 Who created and preserves this world and every one of us,

and Who gave His Son into death for us

and raised Him in glory on the third day;


And of the Son,

Who became fully human in order to be our Savior-Substitute,

Who laid down His life only to take it up again on the third day,

Who rules over all things from heaven for the good of His Church,

and Who will return in glory on the Last Day to deliver that Church;


And of the Holy Spirit

through Whom Christ was made alive,

Who has worked and sustains saving faith in our hearts,

Who lives in us now through the Word,

and Who will one day give life to our mortal bodies.




We Make Confession of Our Sins To God


Pastor  Beloved in the Lord!  Let us draw near with a true heart and confess our sins to God our Father, asking Him, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant us the forgiveness of all our sins.  Our help is in the name of the Lord.


      Congregation    (Sung)   Who made heaven and earth.   


Pastor  I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord.


      Congregation    (Sung) And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.


Congregation  O Almighty God, merciful Father,    +    I a poor miserable sinner confess unto You all my sins and

iniquities   +   with which I have ever offended You   +   and justly deserved Your temporal and eternal punishment.   +    But I am heartily sorry for them,    +    and sincerely repent of them,   +   and I pray You   +    In Your boundless mercy,    +    and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death    +   of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ,    +   to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor sinful being.


Pastor  Upon this, your confession, I, by virtue of my office as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace

of God unto you all, and in the place of and according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

We Respond To God’s Forgiveness


(Sung)       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.


Pastor –            “Rejoice in the LORD always;   I will say it again, rejoice!    Let your gentleness be evident to all;   the LORD is near!


Congregation –      Restore us, O Lord God Almighty;    make Your face shine upon us that we may be saved!


Pastor –            You are forgiving and good, O LORD, abounding in love to all who call on You.


Congregation –      Sing for joy to God our Strength;     Shout aloud to the God of our salvation



Lift up Your Heads, You mighty gates

Behold, the King of Glory waits.

The King of kings is drawing near;

The Savior of the world is here.

Life and salvation He does bring

Therefore the world is glad and sings:

To God the Father raise   Your joyful songs of praise.


Redeemer come, I open wide

My heart to You.  Here Lord abide

Oh, enter with Your saving grace;

Show me Your kind and friendly face.

Your Holy Spirit, guide us on

Until our glorious goal is won

Eternal praise and fame,  We offer to Your name.     Amen.


after which the Congregation will be seated as


We Hear God’s Word


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                          Deuteronomy 18:15-19


15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brother Israelites. Listen to him.   16 That is exactly what you asked from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly. You said, “Do not let me hear the voice of the Lord my God anymore, and do not let me see this great fire again, or I will die.”

17 Then the Lord said to me, “They have done well by saying what they said. 18 I will raise up a prophet for them from among their brothers, like you, and I will put my words in his mouth, and he will speak to them everything that I command him. 19 Anyone who will not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                Matthew 11:6


Jesus said, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me.”

You can’t have a real Christmas

 with an “imitation” Savior



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                  Hebrews 2:5-3:1


5 For God did not place the coming world, about which we are speaking, under the control of angels. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:   What is man that you remember him,  or the Son of Man that you look after him? 7 You made him lower than the angels for a little while.   You crowned him with glory and honor.  8 You put everything in subjection under his feet.   Indeed, in putting everything in subjection to him, God left nothing that is not in subjection to him. At the present time, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we look to Jesus (the one who was made lower than the angels for a little while, so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone), now crowned with glory and honor, because he suffered death.

      10 Certainly it was fitting for God (the one for whom and through whom everything exists), in leading many sons to glory, to bring the author of their salvation to his goal through sufferings. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified all have one Father. For that reason, he is not ashamed to call them brothers.  12 He says:   “I will declare your name to my brothers.  Within the congregation I will sing your praise.“      13 And again:   “I will trust in him.”    And again:

“Here I am and the children God has given me.”

      14 Therefore, since the children share flesh and blood, he also shared the same flesh and blood, so that through death he could destroy the one who had the power of death (that is, the Devil) 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For surely he was not concerned with helping angels but with helping Abraham’s offspring. 17 For this reason, he had to become like his brothers in every way, in order that he would be a merciful and faithful high priest in the things pertaining to God, so that he could pay for the sins of the people. 18 Indeed, because he suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.   3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, focus your attention on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.


after which the Congregation will rise for


The Apostles’ Creed                                                                   to the melody of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”


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!



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                        John 1:19-34


19 This is the testimony John gave when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”  20 He confessed and did not deny. He confessed, “I am not the Christ.”   21 And they asked him, “Who are you then? Are you Elijah?”  He said, “I am not.”  “Are you the Prophet?” “No,” he answered.  22 Then they asked him, “Who are you? Tell us so we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”  23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,  just as Isaiah the prophet said.”

      24 They had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 So they asked John, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, or Elijah, or the Prophet?”  26 “I baptize with water,” John answered. “Among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”   

      28 These things happened in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.  29 The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘The one coming after me outranks me because he existed before me.’ 31 I myself did not know who he was, but I came baptizing with water so that he would be revealed to Israel.”

      32 John also testified, “I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from heaven and remain on him. 33 I myself did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I saw this myself and have testified that this is the Son of God.”


after which the Congregation will be seated for


The Sermon Hymn                                                                                     “O Jesus Christ, God’s Only Son”

                                                                                                                                                  cwh Advent 2001


O Jesus Christ, God’s only Son,   You came to earth from heaven,

Fulfilled the Prophets – every one –    For us and our salvation.

The “Woman’s Seed,” and Abram’s Son,

 Yet truly you’re th’ Eternal One,

The righteous Son of David,   THE Messiah, long-awaited.


Lord Jesus, Sole Begotten Son,    Be-lov-ed by the Father,

The miracles that You have done    Affirmed You are none other

Than the True God in human form    Spirit-conceived and Virgin born.

The perfect Keeper of the Law –  To free us from its burden.


You stood before accusers, mute    Rejected by Your nation

You bled and died, my Substitute    You earned for me salvation.

O Lamb of God you took away

 The whole world’s sin….Now hear me pray:

May peace and joy fill all this day –   Who trust in You, dear Savior.


Oh Savior of the nations, Come,    In majesty and glory

Attended by Your angel hosts     Complete our earthly story.

As Judge of living and the dead,    Forever You’re the Church’s Head.

By grace, through faith in You, ahead    For us is Heav’nly glory.    


After which the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance, through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  May the God of peace fill you with all joy in believing!   Amen.


Sermon Text                                                                                                                           Matthew 11:1-19


1After Jesus had finished instructing His twelve disciples, He went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.
2When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask Him, “Are You the One Who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me.”
7As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written:
” ‘I will send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You.’ 11I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15He who has ears, let him hear.
16“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
17” ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge
and you did not mourn.’ 18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”


What Do You Expect From Him?


following the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


The Post-Sermon Blessing


Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, to Him to glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.  Amen!

We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


We offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:

1) Those in the chapel can  place their offerings in the offering plates

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

3) Or, go online to our website ( and use

after which the Congregation will be seated for

The Rite of Confirmation for James Boatwright


Pastor: Do you this day, in the presence of God and of this Christian congregation, confirm the solemn covenant which at your

Baptism you made with the Triune God?  Then answer “I do.”


Confirmand:         I do.


Pastor: Do you, then, renounce the devil, and all his works, and all his ways?  Then answer, “I do.”


Confirmand:         I do.


Pastor: Do you believe in God the Father?


Confirmand:         Yes, I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.


Pastor: Do you believe in God the Son?


Confirmand:   Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   Born of the

Virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;   Was crucified, dead and buried;   He descended into hell;   The third day He rose again from the dead;  He ascended into heaven And sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 


Pastor: Do you believe in God the Holy Ghost?


Confirmand:   Yes, I believe in the Holy Ghost;   The Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints;  The forgiveness of

sins;   The resurrection of the body;    And the life everlasting. 


Pastor: Do you desire to become a communicant member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and of this congregation?  Then answer, “I do.”


Confirmand:   I do.


Pastor: Do you hold all the canonical books of the Bible to be the verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God, and

the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from the Bible, as you have learned to know it from Luther’s Small Catechism, to be the true and correct one?  Then answer, “I do.”


Confirmand:   I do.


Pastor: Do you also, as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this

Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?   Then answer, “I do so intend, with the help of God.”


Confirmand:   I do so intend, with the help of God.


Pastor: And finally, do you intend faithfully to conform all your life to the rule of the divine Word, to be diligent in the use of the

Means of Grace, to walk according to the Gospel of Christ, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to the Triune God, even unto death?   Then answer, “I do so intend, by the grace of God.”  


Confirmand:          I do so intend, by the grace of God.



The Blessing and Reception into Communicant Membership


      Confirmation verse:



After James returns to his seat, the Congregation will rise


Our Prayers to the Lord


In our Prayers this morning we include:

A Prayer of Continued Support and Strength for these friends in Christ

who were recently hospitalized and who are continuing to recover at home:

JoAnn Diewock;    Lisa Pudas;   and Rudy Ryskey;

and, also for

Dan Beck, who is contending with the challenge of pancreatic cancer, and

who will soon be receiving treatment for it;

also for

The family of Karen Wambold (John Wambold’s sister from California).  Karen passed away last week.


P:   Also hear us, dear Father, as we take a few moments to silently offer our personal petitions to You.


A Moment for Silent Prayer  


P:   And finally, with all our prayers being offered in Jesus’ name, we also join in that special prayer which has been given to us by our Savior:


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 Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


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 upon you with favor , and grant you His peace.    Amen.



The Closing Hymn                                                                                        “Come, O Long-Expected Jesus”

                                                                                                                                      to the melody “Hyfrydol”


Come, O long-expected Jesus,   Born to set Your people free;

From our sins and fears release us    By Your death on Calvary.

Israel’s Strength and Consolation,    Hope to all the earth impart,

Dear Desire of ev’ry nation,   Joy of ev’ry longing heart.


Born Your people to deliver,    Born a child and yet a King,

Born to reign in us forever     Now Your gracious kingdom bring.

By Your own eternal Spirit    Rule in all our hearts alone;

By Your all-sufficient merit     Raise us to Your glorious throne.    Amen.


Silent Prayer, Announcements, Post-service Music





This Past Week At Grace Lutheran                   

Worship Attendance: 66        Communed: 48        Online Views:   20

Sunday School: 7    Sunday Bible Class: 22   (10 online views)

Tuesday Bible Study: 11     

Sunday Offerings:   Budgetary: $7035      Online: $90.71      School: $100

Midweek Service Attendance: 28      Online views: 17

Budget  Offerings:  $1299    Benevolence: $500    YouTube ministry: $40


Serving Us Next Sunday (12-19)                                                             Elders:   Rick Tragasz, John Johnson

Ushers:   Terry Bruns, Tom Otto, Tim Huebner

Altar Guild:   Harriet Johnson


Birthdays This Week           12/12 Josh Nobert;       12/14 Kim Nelson;

12/17 RoseMary Diesel;    12/17 Ledger Lemmon;


Looking Ahead For Grace Lutheran Church

Today  Choir 8:40 am   Worship Service,  9:30 am

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

Dec 14 (Tues) Morning Bible Class, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Dec 15 (Wed)  Soup and Sandwich Fellowship Meal 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.

                  Third Midweek Advent Service, 7 p.m.

Dec 18 (Sat)     Outreach Visits, 11 a.m.

Dec 19  (Sun)   Choir, 8:40 a.m.    

                  Children’s Christmas Service Worship, 9:30 am.

                  Fellowship 10:45 am   Bible Classes/Sunday School, 11:05 am


Midweek Advent Worship Services  – As part of our preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, we’re holding midweek worship services in December.   The Advent season anticipates Christ’s coming as the Savior from sin, and it encourages us to penitently prepare our hearts for a proper observance of His birth.  Our midweek services are held on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., including this week, December 15th.  The Theme of this year’s services is “The Colors of Advent.”   Also, prior to our service Wednesday, we’ll hold a soup and sandwich dinner from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.    So, please join us Wednesday evening for food for your body and your soul.   …..  And don’t forget to invite your fellow Grace members, as well as other friends to worship with you and us.


Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Worship Services     Please join us for worship on Christmas Eve (Friday, December 24th) at 7:00 p.m. as we conclude out Advent preparations with a special Christmas Eve service.   The next morning, (Saturday, December 25th), we’ll meet at 9:30 a.m. for the Festival of Christ’s Nativity.  This service includes singing some very traditional, meaning-filled Christmas hymns.   We’re looking forward to joining with you in these special observances of Jesus’ birth. – And please don’t forget to invite those of your family and friends who don’t have a church home of their own to come and celebrate our Savior’s birth with us!


Special Online Christmas Concert.   Our Synod’s Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Choir will offer its Christmas concert via livestream this afternoon, December 12, at 3 and again at 7 p.m.   You can view the concert by going to


Today’s and Tuesday’s  Bible Classes ……..In Bible Class today we’re  studying 1 Corinthians 11, which focuses on appropriate conduct in worship, women’s roles in the Church, and the Lord’s Supper.   Tuesday, from 10:30-11:30 am, we’ll study 2 Kings 17, considering and the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.    If you can’t join us in person, join us over the phone  (1-701-802-5405, then dial 7519304#).


We’re Looking for a More Voices … (perhaps yours???)  to be  part of our church choir – if only for the Advent/Christmas season.   We rehearse on the first three Sundays of the month from 8:40 to 9:10 a.m. For more information, please speak with Debbie Huebner.  


Do You Know Anyone….not currently attending a church?   Have you prayerfully taken the opportunity to invite him/her/them to worship with you (and us) on Sunday or Wednesday evening?  Could you share that person’s name and address with us, so we might also encourage him/her to visit us for worship?   If so, please speak with Pastor.  Thank you for helping us do that important work for the Lord.


“Angels of Grace” Tree in the Lobby  – Every year we put up a Christmas tree in our lobby with special needs and requests “angels” on it – opportunities for us, as a “church family” to give special gifts to brothers and sisters in our congregation who have a range of personal needs.   We hope that those of you who can, will respond with your gifts of love, concern and encouragement.   (……..And for any questions, please speak with Pastor.)      What Do To……   Please take one or more of the angels off the tree.  (There are about a dozen still there.)   Each angel envelope is numbered, with a gift suggestion inside.   After acquiring the gift, with the number displayed prominently on the front for identification, please bring your gift either this coming Wednesday evening (Dec 15) or next Sunday (Dec 19)…..and leave it in the pastor’s office.   Pastor will see to it that the gifts are confidentially distributed to the appropriate person(s).   Thank you!   God bless you for your kindness & love!


NEXT SUNDAY and Beyond:    Children’s Christmas Service on Sunday morning, December 19.    Please plan to join us!

Please note……Because of the children’s service, we will not include

a celebration of the Lord’s Supper in our service next week.   Instead, we will offer the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, December 26.