The Fifth Sunday after the Festival of the Holy Trinity

The Seventh Sunday of the Pentecost Season      June 30, 2024    


Jethro’s Fatherly Advice to Moses….

 (and to anyone else who’s weary and worn)


            In an old Peanuts comic strip, Lucy is complaining about her lousy life.    Charlie Brown tries to cheer her up.   “Into each life a little rain must fall,” he says.    But that didn’t seem to help Lucy at all.   So Charlie Brown thinks of another saying: “Just remember, Lucy, life has its mountains and its valleys – its ups and its downs.”   To which Lucy replies, “But I don’t want any downs, Charlie Brown.  Can’t you understand?  All I want is ups!”

            Who among us, doesn’t – deep down – want the same thing…..a life filled with one “up” after another?    Or, perhaps to put it another way, does anyone really enjoy the “downs” of life?     I don’t.    If I’m being honest, what I’d much prefer are the “up” moments and situations in life… times characterized by happiness, success, the approval and appreciation of others, and sometimes just good ol’ peace and quiet.    At the same time, I would much prefer it if God would allow me to avoid the difficult, disappointing, and draining “downs” of daily life that exhaust people (like they were exhausting Moses).   You know, those situations that make a person feel weary, worn, unappreciated, like a failure, and “all used up.”  My guess is that you’d prefer the same.

            Of course, it’s not a perfect world where we get what we want, where everything always works out and life is easy and pleasant.   We live in a sinful world and – on top of that – we’re sinners who bring much of our weariness, woe and worn-ness on ourselves.   Heaven awaits, where everything will be absolutely perfect.   But you and I aren’t there yet.   We’re here… a sin-filled, exhausting, wearying world where life  – and people – don’t always work the way we’d like.

            So, whenever life does weary you and threatens to wear you down to nothing, what do you do?    How do you respond?   As the focal point of our worship service today, we’re asking this question:   “What do you do when your ‘well’ threatens to ‘run dry?’”  

            Of course, we’ll do more than ask a question;  we’ll endeavor to answer it on the basis of the poignant and pointed words of a man named Jethro in our Sermon Text.   The LORD inspired him to give some excellent father-in-law-ly advice to Moses (and to us) about how to best deal with weariness in life, and how to serve the LORD together with others.

            In today’s Old Testament Lesson, taken from Isaiah, our Lord promises not to leave us deprived and depleted of the Spiritual strength that we daily need to live fulfilling lives here on earth, while we wait to live with Him in heaven.    What God promises us is that, even though we might weaken both physically and Spiritually, He will keep on renewing and strengthening us – and especially faith  – provided we continue to remain close to Him and His Word. 

            Today’s  Gospel Lesson finds Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane just prior to His arrest and trial on Maundy Thursday night.   In this reading we see the Father providing strength to His weary and worn Son via a ministering angel’s visit.  

            Our Epistle Lesson is the encouraging and commending letter that the Lord sent to the faithful Christian Church in Philadelphia, a congregation that – though weak and weary from being persecuted – had nevertheless remained spiritually strong and faithful to the Lord and His Word.  

            Finally, in our Children’s Lesson we’ll use the example of building up a body’s strength through weight lifting, tying that activity to the obviously more important work of strengthening our faith through regular use of God’s Word.


Our New Summer Service/Sermon Series

            Last week, with the story of Lot’s awful choice (Genesis 13), we began a summer-long worship and sermon series on “Lesser Known Stories and Lessons from the Bible.”  Today, of course, we’ll be looking at the story of  Jethro’s Fatherly Advise to Moses (Exodus 18).   In weeks to come these are just some of the other stories and lessons that we’ll be considering:  The Story of the 12 Spies, and How the Majority is Often Wrong (Numbers 13);    Korah’s Failed Coup (Numbers 16);   A Donkey Speaks (Numbers 22); The Day the Sun Stood Still (Joshua 10);   Mephibosheth….An Example of God’s Grace to Us (2 Samuel 9);   A Little Girl’s Witness Brings About Amazing Blessings (2 Kings 5);   Elisha’s Guardian Angels (2 Kings 6);   An Eight Year Old Leads a Reformation (2 Chronicles 22);   The Mysterious Hand-Writing On The Wall (Daniel 5);   Paul’s Bold Message on Mars Hill (Acts 17); and, The Man Who Fell Asleep in Church – and Died (Acts 20). 




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




Pre-Service Prayer 

O God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in Whose name I am

 baptized and into Whose fellowship I have been received, be with me and bless my faith this morning as I meditate on Your Holy Word.  Heavenly Father, thank You for all the blessings You have given me; especially for sending Your Son to die for my sins.  Dear Jesus, I praise You for having redeemed me from my sins by sacrificing Yourself for my sake.  Holy Spirit, for having sanctified me through bringing me into the true faith and safeguarding me in this faith, I worship You today.  O Triune God, through Your almighty power, graciously enable me always to believe, and obey, and evermore to worship and confess You; my Creator, my Redeemer, and my Sanctifier — the One true God, eternal and all-glorious, forever and ever.  Amen.





We Praise Our God


The Introduction and Invitation to Worship


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.





after which the Congregation will be seated for



Opening Hymn                                                             Hymn 340   “Oh, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing”


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

The glories of my God and king,   The triumphs of His grace!


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

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


Jesus! the name that charms our fears,

   That bids our sorrows cease—

’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,   ’Tis life, and health, and peace.


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

His blood can make the foulest clean,   His blood availed for me.


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

By saints below and saints above,

The church in earth and heav’n.



After which the Congregation will rise as



We Confess our Sins to the LORD


Pastor            We have come together to worship the Triune God.


Congregation            He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


P:         Jesus said, “Wherever two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.”

C:         The LORD Almighty is with us.  The God of Jacob is our Refuge.


P:         But who may come into His presence?   And who may call on Him for help?

C:         He whose walk is blameless   +   and who does what is righteous.


P:         Who speaks the truth from his heart,  and who has no slander on his tongue.

C:         Who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man.


P:         Who keeps His oath even when it hurts.

C:         Who honors those who fear the Lord.



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor              Brothers and sisters in Christ:    the Word of God urges us to confess to our Lord all our sins of thought, word, and action.   This is something that ought to be daily part of our spiritual lives, and should come forth from every heart that is humble and penitent. But we should especially do this when we meet together in His house to thank God for all that He has done for us, to praise Him, and to hear His life-giving Word.    Therefore, come with me now, to our Heavenly Father’s throne of grace, and let us confess our sins together.


Congregation O God our Father,   +   since You have set forth the way of life for us in Your Beloved Son,   +   we confess with shame  +   our slowness to learn of Him,  +   our failure to always follow Him,   +   our reluctance at times to bear the cross for Him.   +    Forgive us the poverty of our worship,   +   our frequent neglect of fellowship   +   and of the Means of Grace,   +   our hesitating and inconsistent witness for Christ,   +  our evasion of our responsibilities in Your service,   +  our imperfect stewardship of Your gifts.   +   Forgive us also,   +   that so little of Your love has reached others through us,  +   and that we have often been thoughtless in our judgments,   +   hasty in our condemnation,   +   grudging in forgiving others the way You have forgiven us,   +   as well as unwilling to serve our neighbors as we ought.   +   


Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love;  +  according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions.   +   Wash away all my iniquity  +   and cleanse me from my sin.    



The Song of Penitence                                                                                                              “Create in Me”

                                                                                                                 sung to the melody of “Abide With Me”


Create in me, O God, a spotless heart

Renew in me a spirit that is right.

And from Your presence, never make me part

Or take Your Holy Spirit from my sight.


Restore to me salvation’s joy, O Lord.

Give me a willing spirit, keep me true.

Then I will teach transgressors in Your Word.

And many sinners will turn back to You.



We Receive and Celebrate God’s Absolution


Pastor        Having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty God, now 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, in the place of, and according to the command of our dear Savior, Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins.  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.   Amen.


      Now, in the peace of God’s forgiveness, let us together praise our gracious and glorious Lord!



Our Response To God’s Forgiveness                                                                        “The Gloria in Excelsis”

                                                                                to the tune of “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less” (CW 382)


All glory be to God on high

We praise, we thank, we glorify

And worship You Who gives earth peace.

Whose love and favor never cease.

O Lord, our King on heaven’s throne,

Our Father, the Almighty One.


O Lord, the Sole-begotten One

Lord Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son,

O Lamb of God, Your take away

The sin of all, now hear us pray:

You rule at God’s right hand this day

Have mercy on us, Lord, we pray.


You only are the Holy One

O’er all things You are Lord alone.

Lord Jesus Christ, we glorify You

Only as the Lord, most high,

Who, with the Spirit, e’er shall be

One in the Father’s majesty.    Amen.



Today’s Early Prayer


Almighty God,    +   grant to Your Church Your Holy Spirit,   +  and the wisdom which comes down from above.   +   Let nothing hinder Your Word   +   from being freely proclaimed    +   to the joy and spiritual strengthening  of Christ’s holy people,   +  so that we may serve You in steadfast faith    +   and confess Your name as long as we live.   +       We ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ,  +  Your Son, our Savior,   +   Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,   +   as the one true God, now and forever.   +   Amen



After which the Congregation may be seated



Feed Us, Lord


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                       Isaiah 40:27-31


27 Why do you speak, O Jacob?

O Israel, why do you say,

“My way is hidden from the Lord,

and justice for me is ignored by my God”?

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the eternal God.

He is the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired, and He will not become weary.

No one can find a limit to His understanding.

29 He is the One Who gives strength to the weak,

and He increases the strength of those who lack power.

30 Young men grow tired and become weary.

Even strong men stumble and fall.

31 But those who wait for the Lord will receive new strength.

They will lift up their wings and soar like eagles.

They will run and not become weary.

They will walk and not become tired.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                Revelation 3:7-13


7 To the messenger of the church in Philadelphia write:


The Holy One, the One Who is true, the One Who has the key of David, the One Who opens and no one can shut, and Who shuts and no one can open, says this:


8 I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, and yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name. 9 Look, I will make those who are from the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not but are lying—look, I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them realize that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My word about patient endurance, I will also keep you from the hour of testing, which is about to come over the whole inhabited world, to test those who dwell on the earth.


11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one takes your crown.


12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will never leave it again. I will also write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from My God—and My new name.


13 Whoever has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.


after which the Congregation will rise out of respect for

the words of our Savior as we give our attention to



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                     Luke 22:39-46


39 Jesus left and went out to the Mount of Olives, as was his custom. His disciples followed him. 40 When he reached the place, he told them, “Keep praying that you may not enter into temptation.”


41 He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.”


43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 As he was in agony, he prayed more fervently. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.


45 When he rose from prayer, he went to the disciples and found them sleeping as a result of sorrow. 46 He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and keep praying so that you may not enter into temptation.”



The Apostles’ Creed                                                                                                                            (CW 411)

                                                                                               to the melody of “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”


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

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

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

Suffered under Pontius Pilate;     Our salvation to achieve.


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

From the dead He rose the third day;   

Up to heav’n triumphantly.

There at God’s right hand He’s ruling,    

By His will the world is led.

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


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

They are joined in close communion,   

Holy in His sight they stand.

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

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



After which the Congregation will be seated for



The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                               Psalm 73:25,26


25 Who else is there for me in heaven?

And besides you, I desire no one else on earth.

26 My flesh and my heart fail,

but God is the rock of my heart and my portion forever.


Believers Are Strong In The Lord



The Hymn of the Day                                                                                        “His Eye Is On The Sparrow”

                                                                                                                   by Civilla Martin and Charles Gabriel

                                                                                                              (Used, with permission,


Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.


“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.


Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.



The Pre-Sermon Salutation


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord!   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                                                                                                                              Exodus 18


Now Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, priest of Midian, heard about everything that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.


2 After Moses had sent his wife Zipporah away, his father-in-law Jethro had taken her in, 3 along with her two sons. The name of one son was Gershom, for Moses had said, “I have become an alien in a foreign land.” 4 The name of the other was Eliezer, for he had said, “My father’s God was my helper, and he has delivered me from Pharaoh’s sword.”


5 Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, Moses’ sons, and his wife were coming to Moses in the wilderness where he had camped at the mountain of God. 6 He sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, your wife, and her two sons are coming to you.”


7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and he bowed down and kissed him. They asked each other how they had been, and they went into the tent. 8 Moses told his father-in-law about everything that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, about all the hardships that had confronted them along the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. 9 Jethro rejoiced over all the good things that the Lord had done for Israel when he delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians.


10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and the hand of Pharaoh. Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered the people out of the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods because he did this to those who acted arrogantly against the Israelites.”


12 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.


13 The next day Moses sat down to serve as a judge for the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw everything that he did for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge with all the people standing around you from morning till evening?”


15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 Whenever there is a dispute between them, they come to me, and I judge between the two sides, and I reveal the regulations of God and his laws.”


17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, for the work is too much for you. You are not able to handle this alone. 19 Listen to me now. I will give you advice, and may God be with you. Represent the people before God, and bring their disputes to God. 20 Instruct them about the regulations and laws, and show them the way they are to live and the things that they are to do. 21 But you should select capable men from among all the people, God-fearing, trustworthy men, who hate dishonest gain. Then place them over the people as officials over groups of a thousand, a hundred, fifty, or ten. 22 Have them judge all the disputes of the people at the first level. They can refer any difficult case to you, but every easy case they can judge themselves. Make your load lighter; they can carry it with you. 23 If you will do this, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people will also return home satisfied.”


24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything that he had said. 25 Moses chose capable men from all of Israel and made them leaders over the people: officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 26 They judged all the cases of the people initially. They brought the difficult cases to Moses, but every easy case they judged themselves. 27 Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and he returned to his own land.


Jethro’s Fatherly Advice to Moses….

                          (and to anyone else who’s weary and worn)



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.


following which the Congregation will be seated



We Present to God Our Offering and Prayers


We Present 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

    • The Offering Prayer


      Dear Savior, You have taught us:  “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Teach us to realize more and more that happiness in life does not depend on the number of things we can call our own.  Rather, Jesus, help us to find joy in the uses that we as stewards make of all of the material resources and other blessings that You have placed in our hands.  Amen.

      The Prayers of the Church


      Included in our Prayers today are:

      Intercessory Prayers for

      Butch Mayer, (Kent Mayer’s brother) who continues his battle with cancer;   and for

      Corinne Swogger, (Kent Swogger’s mother), who is in hospice care;   as well as for

      Tim Pfortmiller, who is dealing with a painful back injury  and is awaiting surgery;

      The Prayers for the Church

      concluding with….


      P:   Lord God, accept our thanks for the unspeakable privilege of being called Your children, and of being able to come to you now and at any time in prayer.   Help us to grow intellectually, emotionally, spiritually through Your Word and Sacraments, so that we may be faithful servants for You in our homes, and communities, in this congregation, and as members of Your Church on earth.     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   for ever and ever.    Amen.   

      We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing

      The Blessing

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


      the Congregation will be seated for



      Closing Hymn                                                                 Hymn 504    “Bless Our Loved Ones, Holy Father”

      1 Bless our loved ones, Holy Father;  Hear our anxious prayer;

      By your mercy keep them always   In your care.


      2 Jesus, Savior, let your presence   Be their light and guide;

      Keep, oh, keep them in their weakness   At your side.


      3 When in sorrow, when in danger,   When in loneliness,

      In your love look down and comfort   Their distress.


      4 May the joy of your salvation   Be their strength and stay!

      May they love and may they praise you  Day by day!


      5 Holy Spirit, let your teaching   Sanctify their life;

      Send your grace that they may conquer  In the strife.


      6 Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,   God forever true,

      Bless them, guide them, save them, keep them   Close to you.

      Silent Prayer, Announcements, Post-service music