The Third Sunday of the Season of Lent

also known as Occuli (“Eyes”) Sunday

March 20, 2022

Let’s Not Forget….There’s A War Going On (outside and inside us)!


                  80 years ago….the news routinely contained the names of three of history’s most infamous dictators:   Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and Hideki Tojo.   Each led his country (Italy, Germany and Japan, respectively) into the Second World War.   For a time, each was the scourge of their enemies (as well as many of their countrymen).   The world trembled at the mention of their names and military achievements.  But each was eventually, soundly defeated.  Their countries were devastated by the wars they had begun.   Italy, Japan and Germany were forced by their stronger opponents to surrender, and each dictator was either executed for his war crimes (Mussolini and Tojo) or committed suicide (Hitler).   

            Like Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo, the picture we have in this morning’s Gospel reading/Sermon Text is that of the strong man being overcome by someone even stronger than he is.   That strong man, obviously, is the devil, who – from the time of Adam’s Fall – dominated the world and subjected mankind to his will…..until Christ, the Stronger One, came into the world, overcoming the strong man through His sinless life, death and resurrection.  

However, as you and I sit in this chapel this morning we have yet to see our complete liberation from all of

Satan’s wicked influences and efforts.  In fact, it often looks as though “the enemy” is winning – and not just because of how wicked the world is, but because of how often we succumb to sin.   But appearances, at least in this case, are deceiving (just as they were in our Old Testament Lesson for today).  We know that our complete deliverance will occur either when we’re taken to heaven upon death, or when Christ’s second coming takes place on the Day of Judgment – whichever comes first.      In the interim we who belong to Christ can live life confident that, through Him, we are already winners (as we’ll share in today’s Children’s Lesson).  We have been already set free from the eternal domination of Satan.  What’s more, victory for Christ’s Kingdom over against Satan’s dominion has been assured……even though while we’re here on earth we continue to be combatants against Satan and sin,  each day fighting the good fight of faith – with Christ’s guidance and power –  against the world, the flesh and the devil.

            As our Epistle Lesson will remind us today, it’s important for us each day to keep in mind that there’s still a very real spiritual battle going on all around us and within us.   Consider this simple reality:  None of us here is going to be functionally sinless until we are made perfect either after death or at Christ’s coming- whichever happens first.   Until then in this continuing war against sin you and I are going to need to rely on God’s strength and guidance through His Word.  While we are not going to attain personal sinlessness in this life, we can still strive to live faithful, committed, obedient lives every day, for our good and for God’s glory.  That obedience not only includes saying “no” to worldly, wicked desires, it also includes saying “yes” to God’s commandments……from generous charity to persistent prayer, from daily repentance to devoted love for God and our neighbor, from honesty and honorable behavior to faithfully bearing the cross of sacrifice and service, to so much more that the Lord expects of us in the way of Godly conduct. 

            After all, Jesus didn’t bear the cross only on Good Friday.   He carried it every day – living to always  do His Father’s will rather than His own, fighting “the good fight” of faith against sin and temptation….all for our salvation.   You and I say “no” to sin and “yes” to God when we offer our time, hearts and abilities to Him, instead of wasting them on life’s many sinful pleasures and priorities.  This sinful world can drain us all of our spiritual strength……if we surrender to every fruitless activity and selfish desire that comes along, if we destroy our bodies-which are God’s- through drugs, alcohol, gluttony, neglect or immorality.   However, if we continue to love God and His Word – and draw our strength from His Spirit – then we can say “No” to sin and “Yes” to giving the God of our salvation the very best of our time, behavior, strength, and minds…..our all. 

            During the Season of Lent, this matter of saying “yes” to God and taking up our cross for Christ, means purposefully and gladly daily denying the desires of our sinful nature, resisting the world’s wickedness, and standing firm against the temptations of the devil.   It is also means loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength……so thoroughly filling our lives, hearts and minds with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit through the Word and Sacrament that the Evil One is just not strong enough any more to call our hearts and heads his home.   Let us learn this anew during this Lenten Season, and let us live it always!


About the “Christian Church Year”    The Christian Church Year is a centuries-tested way of organizing worship around the major Christian festivals of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.    These festivals celebrate the work of the Triune God. The Father promises (Advent) and finally gives His Son for our salvation (Christmas).   The Son, Who shows through His messages and miracles that He is the God-Man (Epiphany) Who came to earth for the primary purpose of living perfectly and dying sacrificially as the ultimate  Substitute for all our sins (Lent and the Holy Week observances).   That Son, crucified on Calvary, rose bodily and  triumphantly from the grave (Easter and the Easter season) – thereby assuring us that our sins are forgiven and that salvation through faith in Him is certain.   The Holy Spirit comes to us through the Means of Grace (Pentecost) to give us faith in the One true God (the festival of the Holy Trinity) and to build up our faith by sanctifying (keeping godly) the Christian community (the Pentecost/Trinity season)     The arrangement of the Christian Church Year  is very helpful, therefore,  in insuring that the important truths of God’s Word are presented to the Church in a uniform manner each year, and that the focus of our saving faith is constantly kept – as it must be – on the perfect life and redeeming work of Jesus Christ for us.

During the season of Lent, the paraments (altar, lectern and pulpit cloths, along with the pastor’s stole) are all purple.    This is both the color of royalty, reminding us that our Savior in His humility is nevertheless our heavenly King, and the color of repentance over sin.   It serves to symbolize our sorrows over the sufferings that our sins brought upon Him.    The major emphases of the season of Lent are Repentance (especially in our midweek services) and (on Sunday mornings) Renewal in Christ, our Champion over sin, death, and Satan.     Repentance is evident as we ponder Christ’s passion for us.    On the other hand, renewal and assurance are ours as we anticipate our Savior’s (and, vicariously, our own) victory over death and the Devil through His bodily Resurrection     Consequently, the Wednesdays of Lent are more penitential in their character and emphasis, while the Sundays of Lent are more celebratory (though modestly so) both as they recount Christ’s victories over sin and Satan and as they anticipate His (and our own) resurrection.

The emphasis of the third Sunday in Lent is on our “eyes”….and Him on Whom our eyes should be focused.  Consequently, the sixteen centuries’ old Latin name for this 3rd Sunday in the Lent is “Occuli” Sunday – meaning “my eyes.”   That Latin name is drawn from the fifteenth verse of Psalm 25 (our Psalm for today): My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only He will release my feet from the snare.“   Eyes need light in order to function.    Light bounces off of things, is focused through lenses and reaches the retinas.  From there electrical signals are sent to the brain which processes the information and identifies the image(s).   We call that rather complicated process “seeing.”    What’s interesting is that beyond the electrical signals they subsequently send to the brain, the eyes really do nothing other than to receive the light that comes into them.    Eyes certainly add nothing to the light, nor do they produce light.  They are actually quite passive.    In the total absence of light, eyes simply cannot work;    they are blind. 

            Figuratively-speaking, without Jesus we humans are spiritually blind.    Only through faith in Jesus do we truly see ourselves as we are (hopeless, hapless sinners) and God as He must be (holy, just, and yet the God of limitless love).   For in Jesus alone do we have the One Who is the “Light of the world.”    One of the chief questions that confronts us, then, on this “Occuli Sunday” morning is:    “How can eyes that were born blind ever come to be (and remain) focused on the Lord Jesus Christ?”   The answer:   by God’s amazing grace alone!  Through the faith-imparting work of Holy Spirit in the Means of Grace (the Gospel in the Word and the Sacraments), our Lord enables us blind men and women to see Him as the true God of grace and glory, and to live lives of faithfulness and obedience…for our good and to God’s glory.   Then and only then can we, in the words of Hebrews 12:1-3, “fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”





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





Scripture quotations in this worship flyer, unless otherwise noted,  are taken from the EVANGELICAL HERITAGE VERSION of the Bible.  Copyright 2019  by the Warburg Project.   All rights reserved.




Silent Prayer                                                                                                                                                       

Pre-service Music                                                                                                                                              


We Praise Our God


The Introduction and Invitation To Worship                                                                     


following which, the Congregation will rise for the invocation


The Invocation


Pastor              We begin this service in the name of the Father


Congregation  Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.


            P:         And of the Son

            C:         Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.


            P:         And of the Holy Spirit

            C:         Who gave us eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus.


            P:         Amen.



The Psalm for Today                                                                                                Psalm 25, selected verses


P:         My Eyes are ever on the Lord,  for only He will release my feet from the snare.

C:         Turn to me and be gracious to me,   +   for I am lonely and afflicted.


P:         The troubles of my heart have multiplied;   free me from my anguish.

C:         Look upon my affliction and my distress   +   and take away all my sins.


P:         Remember, O Lord, Your great mercy and love, for they are of old.

C:         Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways;   +   according to Your love remember me,   +   for You are good, O Lord.


P:         To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul;   in You I trust, O Lord.

C:         No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame.


After which the Congregation may be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                   Hymn 226   “To Your Temple I Draw Near”


1 To your temple I draw near;   Lord, I love to worship here.

Here are sacrament and Word; Here believers meet their Lord.


2 I through Christ am reconciled;   I through Christ become your child.

Abba, Father, give me grace   In your courts to seek your face.


3 While your glorious praise is sung,   Touch my lips, unloose my tongue,

That my joyful soul may bless   Christ the Lord, my righteousness.


4 While the prayers of saints ascend,   God of love, to mine attend.

Hear me, for your Spirit pleads;   Hear, for Jesus intercedes.


5 While I listen to your law,   Fill my soul with holy awe

Till your gospel brings to me    Life and immortality.


6 While your ministers proclaim    Peace and pardon in your name,

Through their voice, by faith, may I    Hear you speaking from the sky.


7 From your house, when I return,   May my heart within me burn,

And at evening let me say,   “I have walked with God today.”


After which, the Congregation will rise for


We Confess Our Sins Together


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.


(Sung)   Lord have mercy on us;   Christ have mercy on us; 

 Lord, have mercy on us.


Pastor              Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save us from all our sins.     And now, having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty

God, be strengthened in your faith, mindful that our Lord is not willing that anyone should perish eternally, but that everyone should come to repentance, turning from their evil ways and receiving from Him everlasting life.    God has commanded His ministers to declare His forgiveness of sins to all who are penitent.   Therefore, addressing you as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and under His authority,   I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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


Glory be to God on high and on earth peace good will to me.

We praise You, we bless You, we worship You.

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

O Lord God heavenly King, God the Father almighty.

O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ,

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

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

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

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

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

You only, O Christ, with the Holy Spirit.

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



The Prayer for this Day


O Almighty God, Heavenly Father,   +     by Whose grace we have been brought out of spiritual darkness   +    into the light of saving faith,   +     we thank You for choosing us to be Your children now and eternally.   +     We also implore You to be merciful to all who have gone astray from Your ways  –    both those persons we know who have wandered from You,   +   and the masses who are unknown to us but known to You.   +     Enable them also, with penitent hearts and steadfast faith   +     to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word.     +     And finally, be our defense against all the enemies of our souls,   +    that we might never forfeit Your grace,   +    but ever remain true to You.    +     All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,   +     Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, +     one God, now and forever.   +   Amen.


after which, the Congregation will be seated as



We Give Our Attention To God’s Word


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                       II Kings 6:8-23


8 Now when the king of Aram was waging war against Israel, he would make plans with his officials, saying, “My camp will be at such and such a place.”


9 But the man of God would send a message to the king of Israel, saying, “Be careful when you pass this place because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel would send scouts to the place that the man of God had pointed out. So the man of God warned him, and he was kept safe—and not just once or twice.


11 The king of Aram was enraged because of this. He summoned his officials and said to them, “Won’t you tell me who of us is for the king of Israel?”


12 One of his officials said, “No, my lord the king. It is Elisha, the prophet in Israel, who tells the king of Israel the words which you speak in your bedroom.”


13 Then he said, “Go and see where he is. Then I’ll send men and capture him.”


He was told, “Dothan is where he is.”


14 So he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They came at night and surrounded the city. 15 When the man of God’s servant got up early and went out, there were soldiers, horses, and chariots surrounding the city. So his attendant said to Elisha, “Oh no, my lord! What will we do?”


16 He answered, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”


17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, open his eyes so that he can see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the hills were full of horses and chariots of fire, all around Elisha.


18 When the Arameans came down, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, just as Elisha had asked.


19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the road, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will take you to the man you are looking for.” So he brought them to Samaria. 20 When they came into Samaria, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open their eyes so that they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw that they were right in the middle of Samaria.


21 When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “Shall I strike them down, my father? Shall I strike them down?”


22 He said, “Do not strike them down. Would you strike down a man you captured with your own sword and bow?   Set food and water before them so that they can eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he gave a great feast for them. They ate and drank. Then he sent them on their way, and they went to their master. The Aramean raiding parties did not come into the land of Israel anymore.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                 Ephesians 5:1-21


Therefore, be imitators of God as his dearly loved children. 2 And walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


3 But do not let sexual immorality, any kind of impurity, or greed even be mentioned among you, as is proper for saints. 4 Obscenity, foolish talk, and coarse joking are also out of place. Instead, give thanks. 5 Certainly you are aware of this: No immoral, impure, or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, who is God.   6 Let no one deceive you with empty words. It is because of these things that the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. 7 So do not share in what they do.


8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, 9 for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. 10 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord, 11 and do not participate in fruitless deeds of darkness. Instead, expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention the things that are done by people in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes things visible. 14 Therefore it is said, “Awake, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”


15 Consider carefully, then, how you walk, not as unwise people, but as wise people. 16 Make the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 For this reason, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk on wine, which causes you to lose control. Instead, be filled with the Spirit 19 by speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (singing and making music with your hearts to the Lord), 20 by always giving thanks for everything to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 and by submitting to one another in reverence for Christ.


After which, out of respect for the words of Christ, the Congregation will rise for


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                     Luke 11:14-26


14 Jesus drove out a demon, which was mute. After the demon had gone out, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He drives out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others were testing him by demanding of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed. And a house divided against itself falls. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? You say that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 But if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? So they will be your judges. 20 Yet if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks him and defeats him, he takes away that man’s full armor, in which he had trusted, and divides up his plunder.


23 “The one who is not with me is against me. The one who does not gather with me scatters. 24 When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, but does not find any. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house, the one I left.’ 25 When it returns, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and dwell there. The last condition of that man becomes worse than the first.”



The Nicene Creed


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



After which the Congregation may be seated for


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                        Colossians 1:13-14


13 The Father rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption,  the forgiveness of sins.


We’ve been Picked to be On the Winning Team

The Sermon Hymn                                                                           Hymn 537 “Onward Christian Soldiers”


1 Onward, Christian soldiers,  Marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus   Going on before.

Christ, the royal master,   Leads against the foe;

Forward into battle  See his banners go!



Onward, Christian soldiers,   Marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus   Going on before.


2 Like a mighty army    Moves the Church of God;

Brothers, we are treading    Where the saints have trod.

We are not divided,    All one body we,

One in hope and doctrine,   One in charity. [Refrain]


3 Crowns and thrones may perish,   Kingdoms rise and wane,

But the Church of Jesus   Constant will remain.

Gates of hell can never   ‘Gainst that Church prevail;

We have Christ’s own promise,   And that cannot fail. [Refrain]


4 Onward, then, ye faithful;    Join the happy throng,

Blend with ours your voices   In the triumph song:

Glory, laud, and honor   Unto Christ the King;

This through countless ages   Saints and angels sing. [Refrain]



The Salutation


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.   May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer!   Amen.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                                         Luke 11:14-28

                                                                                                                                    (Today’s Gospel Lesson)


In the “War for Souls” Which Side Are You On?

after which the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for

The Post-Sermon Blessing


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



We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.    However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

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

 (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can donate on our website:


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

Today’s Special Prayers


Included in our Prayers today:

Intercessory Prayers for

Mary Beck, who is hospitalized at Mercy Hospital;

 for Dan Beck, who is contending with pancreatic cancer;   and

for Wilma Jean Carr who is hospitalized at Washington Regional Hospital;

and also

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

and for Steve Davis, who returned home this week from the hospital and is recovering following heart bypass surgery;

and, in addition

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Kent and Helen Mayer, whose wedding anniversary is this coming Wednesday;   and for

 Murray and Emily Mansch, who will be celebrating their wedding anniversary this coming Thursday;



This Morning’s General Prayer, followed by the Lord’s Prayer


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



We Celebrate the Lord’s Supper


Pastor –            The Lord be with you.


Congregation        (Sung)       And also with You


Pastor –            Lift up your hearts.


Congregation       (Sung)       We lift them up unto the Lord

Pastor –            Let us give thanks unto the Lord, our God.


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


Pastor –      It is truly good and right that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, O Lord, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who brought the gift of salvation to all people by His death on the tree of the cross, so that the Devil, who overcame us by a tree, would in turn by a tree be overcome.   Therefore with angels and archangel, and all the company of heaven, we praise Your holy name and join their glorious song:



Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of heavenly hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of Your glory

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is He, Blessed is He, Blessed is He

Who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.



Consecration of the Elements    


     Pastor –           The peace of the Lord be with you always.


           Congregation (Sung)  Amen.



The Distribution of the Elements  




                                                                                 (Please read the following if you have not spoken with

                                                                                           our Pastor about taking communion.  Thank you.)




     We ask that only “Confirmed, Communicant” members of this congregation, or of one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod come forward To receive the Lord’s Supper at this time.

     To us the Lord’s Supper is both an expression of our common faith in Christ (which we share with all our fellow worshipers this evening), and also a public expression of our complete doctrinal agreement as a congregation (as I Corinthians 1:10 and 10:17 requires of us).  

     Accordingly, we are not, in any way, judging your Christian faith by respectfully asking you not to join us in the Lord’s Supper this evening.  Rather, we pray that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage all those Christians who are not presently in full fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and practices of their church in order to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word. It is our earnest desire that you might become familiar with the doctrines of our congregation, so that you might one day join with us at the Lord’s altar in this public expression of full unity of doctrine and practice. Until then, please know that we are most grateful for your participation as a fellow Christian in this worship service, and that we appreciate your patience and understanding of our Communion practice. 





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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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



We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Closing Prayer


The Benediction


The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make His face to shine upon You and be gracious unto you,

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



The Closing Hymn                                                                       Hymn 474 “Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus”


1 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,   Ye soldiers of the cross!

Lift high his royal banner;   It must not suffer loss.

From vict’ry unto vict’ry   His army shall he lead

Till ev’ry foe is vanquished   And Christ is Lord indeed.


2 Stand up, stand up for Jesus!   The trumpet call obey;

Forth to the mighty conflict   In this his glorious day!

Ye that are brave, now serve him   Against unnumbered foes;

Let courage rise with danger   And strength to strength oppose.


3 Stand up, stand up for Jesus!   Stand in his strength alone.

The arm of flesh will fail you;    Ye dare not trust your own.

Put on the gospel armor;    Each piece put on with prayer;

Where duty calls or danger,   Be never wanting there.


4 Stand up, stand up for Jesus!    The strife will not be long;

This day the noise of battle,   The next, the victor’s song.

To him that overcometh   A crown of life shall be;

He with the King of glory    Shall reign eternally.


Silent Prayer


Post-service Music                                                                                                                                             



+ + + Thank You + + +

For being a part of our worshiping assembly this morning.

We invite you to join those around you for some good conversation and fellowship at the conclusion of today’s announcements.  We also invite you to join us for coffee, juice, tea, and other refreshments in our gymnasium/fellowship hall. Finally, we encourage you to remain afterwards with us for further growth

in God’s Word through our Bible Class and Sunday School Classes.

May the comfort of God’s love and His forgiveness through Jesus Christ

be with you throughout this day and this week.






This Past Week at Grace                   Sunday Attendance: 84      Sunday Bible Class: 25      Sunday School: 9      

Budget Offerings:  $ 2677   Online Budget Offerings: $110.71        Memorial for Rich Benske:  $100 

Tuesday Bible Study: 11           Midweek Lenten Worship Attendance: 36    Wednesday Budget Offerings: $436


Serving Us Next Week                                                                                  Elders:   Steve Stone, Vic Walker

Altar Guild:   Mary Karloski, Vicki Walker              Ushers:   Taylor Ashley, John Johnson, John Wambold


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today      Choir, 8:40 a.m.         Worship with the Lord’s Supper, 9:30 a.m

                       Fellowship Period, 10:45 a.m.    BC/SS 11:05 a.m.                        Youth Confirmation 12:15 a.m.

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

Wednesday   Soup/Sandwich Meal, 5:45 p.m.       

                       Midweek Lenten  Service # 4, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday        WORK DAY at Church (inside & outside) 8 p.m. to ????

Sunday          Choir Rehearsal, 8:40 a.m.      Morning Worship, 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 22 – Emma Larson;       Mar 23 – Jill Calkins;     Mar 23 – Kent & Helen Mayer;

Mar 23 – Christopher & Amanda Tart     Mar 24 – Lilly Finch (Ferguson);  Mar 24 – Jami Heinemann;    Mar 24 – Emily & Murray Mansch;    

Special Work Day at Church NEXT SATURDAY…. (March 26th) starting at 8 a.m…   Whether you can come for a few hours or longer, we can use all the help we can get – outside and inside our church and school buildings.   If you’re able, bring any of the following outdoor tools: (tree and bush pruner and trimmer, garden and lawn rake, a wheelbarrow, grass trimmer, chain saw, shovel).  


Easter Outreach Encouragement: “Each one Bring One”….    Yes, just under a month away from Easter Sunday (April 17th).   That’s not very far.   And so 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!


Palm Sunday Afternoon FLYER DISTRIBUTION After our normal day’s activities on April 10th (Palm Sunday), we’d be grateful if you could offer an hour’s worth of your time to distribute 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 these invitations to worship to about 2500 homes in the area immediately around our church.  Obviously, we need a lot of volunteers to do this.  Please join us, for a little exercise, fellowship, and Christian outreach.


Special Holy Week Worship Services Reminder  – In little less than one month we’ll have two special opportunities to gather together here for worship during the week we know as Holy Week..  We urge all of you to make your preparations and plans now so that you will be able to join us for our Maundy Thursday (April 14th  worship service with the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 p.m., and our April 15th Good Friday worship service, which also begins at 7:00 p.m.



Midweek Lenten Worship Service Reminder ….looking ahead to this coming Wednesday evening, March 23rd we will be conducting the fourth of six midweek special worship services to observe the 40 days’ long pre-Easter season, known as 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’ gracious words to his mother and close friend, John: “Woman, behold your son…..behold your mother.”  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.


A Soup and Sandwich Fellowship Meal will be held 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…..Approximately two months from now 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.


This Week’s Bible Classes   In Bible Class today we’ll study what God has to say to us through I Corinthians chapter 15 about the significance of Christ’s (as well as our own) resurrection.  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!

I Corinthians, Chapter 15   

The Great Resurrection Chapter



There’s an old familiar saying:   “There are two things you can’t escape…. death and taxes.”

Whether or not one can escape taxes, this much is true….death is inescapable.   In the portion of God’s Word before us, the Apostle Paul addresses the topic of death;   not so much what death is, but rather, what will happen after death.

To many people today, death is a horrible fact of life that evokes intense feelings of anxiety and fear.  In fact, the fear of death underlies many present-day burial customs (e.g., the many flowers given, the cosmetic art applied to the corpse, and the elaborate, emotional productions that typify many funerals, as well as “celebrations of life.”

When there is no hope of a resurrection, death naturally seems frighteningly final.   That’s the view many people have today.   They hopelessly see death as the end of life….and so of ones existence.   Others are afraid of death’s arrival because they have no idea what – if anything – follows death.   Still others, in vain attempts to “dodge the bullet” of death, have seen to it that their bodies (or portions of them) are frozen at the moment of death, in the hope of being medically revived at some future date….should medical science and technology ever become so advanced (and they won’t).

“There is no resurrection.”   “There is no heaven.”   And “there is no hell.”  These are the declarations of a growing number of rather hardened unbelievers who see this lifetime as all there is.   Perhaps that was also the case in Corinth some twenty centuries ago.   Perhaps even some of the relatively “new” Christians that Paul had served, and to whom Paul was now writing, had become confused about what happened after a person died.   Is there a resurrection from the grave, or isn’t there?   Is there despair for us, or hope beyond the grave?   These are a few of the questions we’ll be considering as work our way through what some have called “The Great Resurrection Chapter,”  I Corinthians 15, under the theme:


Despair in the Face of Death, Or…..

Confidence and Expectation through the Resurrection


Overview of Chapter 15

From problems of disunity (chapters 1-4), immorality (chapters 5-6), the use and misuse of

marriage and Christian freedom (chapters 7-10), and problems concerning public worship and the use of Spiritual gifts, Paul now turns his readers attention in chapter 15 to another subject on which the Corinthians needed instruction:   the doctrine of the resurrection of the body.   He lays the foundation for his discussion by first establishing the reality of Jesus’ physical resurrection as attested by in the Old Testament and by living witnesses of the New Testament era.    In the two sections (verses 12-19 and 29-34) he touches on the absurdities that follow denials of the bodily resurrection of the death – Christ, included.    He bases his belief in the resurrection of the body on Christ’s conquest of death as proved by His resurrection and further exaltation.    Paul also anticipates and answers the questions of how the dead are raised and with what kind of bodies.   After a resurrection-supported, doxology-like declaration of confidence in the Christian’s victory over death, Paul urges the Corinthians to maintain a steadfast, hopeful faith in the bodily resurrection as a cornerstone of our Christian faith.


  1. The Proofs of Christ’s Resurrection (verses 1-11)


  1. What does Paul mean by “unless you believed in vain”? Of what particular importance is that phrase to us?


  1. How had the Scriptures foretold the atoning death (Is 53:5), burial (Is 53:9) and resurrection (Ps 16:10,11) of Christ?


  1. How many people does Paul cite who were witnesses to Christ’s resurrection? (3-8)


  1. How did Paul acquire this information? (Acts 9:3-9;   Galatians 1:13-170


  1. What does Paul mean in verse 8 by “the stillborn child – so to speak”?


  1. To whom does Paul give credit for his conversion and his success as an Apostle? Of what should Paul’s testimony remind us about both our earthly and Spiritual successes?


  1. In verse 11, Paul states that he and his fellow apostles are united in the message they preach. Why did Paul feel the need to say this?   Is full unity of message necessary in our day?


  1. The Resurrection of the Dead (verses 12-34)


  1. What problem pertaining to the doctrine of the resurrection had arisen in the church in Corinth? (12)


  1. How is one’s faith “pointless” if the resurrection of the body didn’t happen? (14, 17)


  1. On what basis can Paul make his statement in verse 19? What’s his real point?


  1. How does the victory of the “Second Adam” (Christ) balance out the defeat of the first Adam in Eden? (21-22)


  1. Does verse 23 imply that there won’t be a resurrection for unbelievers? (see John 5:28)


  1. What is the “millennium”? And does verse 25 support its teaching?


  1. Do verses 27 and 28 teach the inferiority of the Son to the Father?


  1. Can we baptize persons who are already dead? (Some churches/religious groups do this…..)   Consider verse 29.
  2. What two reasons, mentioned in verses 29-30, make it absurd to deny the resurrection of the dead?


III.    The Resurrection of the Body (verses 35-58)


  1. To what things does Paul compare the resurrection? (35-41)


  1. What sort of body will you have after the resurrection? (44)


  1. What weaknesses, associated with our sinful flesh and blood, will NOT be found in our resurrected bodies?


  1. What will happen to those who are alive when Christ returns? (51,52;   I Thessalonians 4:13-18)


  1. How do we achieve victory over death? (57)


  1. For Discussion


  1. Agree or disagree: A person can deny the resurrection of the body and still be a Christian.


  1. In light of this chapter, how should we approach the deaths of loved ones? How should be approach funerals?


  1. How might we use verses 2 and 33 in dealing with churches that are not in doctrinal fellowship with us?


  1. What implications should verse 8 have for us in our personal work of the Lord?


  1. Why is Easter the most significant Christian festival?


  1. Note the emphasis on Christ’s resurrection as an historical fact. Why is that so vital?


  1. What should every Christian’s attitude toward death be in view of the truths Paul lays out in this chapter?


  1. Can a Christian be cremated?


  1. How should we live in anticipation of Christ’s return and the resurrection of the dead?


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.”