The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity      September 10, 2023   

The Sixteenth Sunday of the Pentecost Season


Joseph’s Brothers,  Confronted with something Unexpected

A certain aboriginal tribe of the South Pacific has a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood that they call the “walkabout.”   When a boy is entering into puberty, he is sent into the jungle for six weeks without food, shelter or weapons.   During this time, he must test all of the survival skills he has learned during childhood.   He must also be creative and successful when he faces things that are unexpected…..and the unexpected will come.    Talk about a tremendous challenge!    One mistake, one error in judgment and he could be dead.    If, however, he survives for six weeks and walks out of the jungle, he returns to a celebration that honors him as a man, a hunter and a warrior.”

Facing the unexpected is not unique to aboriginal natives living in the South Pacific.  For example, as we continue our study of the life of Joseph, the OT patriarch, and the lessons of faith that we can glean from his life, we can easily see that Joseph’s brothers did not at all anticipate  that “the man” they had dealt with on their first food acquisition journey to Egypt – and now on their second journey – was actually Joseph, himself.    For all they knew their brother had died years before as a slave somewhere.     And so, when he revealed himself to them in our Old Testament Lesson/Sermon Text for today, they were dumbstruck.   From what Scripture tells us, they simply stood silently before him, trying to accept in their minds something so utterly unexpected that it was all-but-inconceivable to them.  Then, once reality settled into their minds, instead of feelings of joy at this God-given opportunity for a “family reunion” with their long-lost brother, they were absolutely terrified.   Their thoughts turned to the likelihood that their now-powerful brother would want to get revenge on them for the awful things that they had done to him so many years earlier.   It took repeated reassurances from Joseph (over 30 years, in fact) that he had truly and permanently forgiven them before his brothers would be convinced, and could be comfortable with this event so unexpected. 

What Joseph, by faith, came to realize during his Egyptian odyssey was that God had been in control of the entire situation all along, in order to bring blessings to Joseph and many others.   Let’s keep in mind that God had not forced the various individuals (like his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, and the pharaoh’s cupbearer) who harmed Joseph to do him evil.  Instead God had used the evils that they had done to Joseph to accomplish His divine purposes.   Those purposes included saving the people of Egypt (and Jacob’s family) from starvation because of the famine that consumed the land.   But God’s primary purpose was to preserve the family line of Jacob so that, eventually, the world’s Savior could appear to deliver fallen humanity from the damnation that we all deserve due to our sinfulness, so that, through faith in Christ, we can one day enjoy eternal life in heaven… and me, included.


You and I also have to deal with the unexpected every day of our lives, don’t we?   Most of the time, those unexpected events are manageable, and can occasionally even be enjoyable.   But some of them are very difficult for us to deal with, and they can be as frightening for us as it was for Joseph’s brothers to realize they were standing before the now-powerful sibling they had callously sold into slavery years before.    As was the case for Joseph and his brothers, so also for us, we need to trust – through our Spirit-given faith – that our Lord truly is in control of all things that happen to us, that He has a purpose behind everything (a point we’ll make in our Children’s Lesson for today) and that He is always working for our earthly and eternal good, for Jesus’ sake.

In today’s Gospel Lesson, we’ll hear Jesus working to make that clear to His disciples in the upper room on Maundy Thursday.   He knew what was ahead for Him (capture, crucifixion, death, and resurrection).   He also knew what was ahead for His disciples:   despair, depression, and the fear that they would be captured and killed as had been done to their Master.    He knew that they would mourn His death, but that their tears of sorrow eventually would turn into tears of joy when – 3 days after His death and burial – He would rise from the grave….conquering sin, death and Satan in order to complete His mission of redemption for fallen humanity.    But in the interim, they would have to trust that God could – and would – do the unexpected (and impossible)…..not only preserving them from Jesus’ enemies, but especially saving their souls for heaven.


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

The day has dawned and duty calls – so many tasks await.

Lord, strengthen me when my spirit fails, or when I hesitate

To do the good I ought to do, to shun each sinful way.

Jesus, forgive the wrongs I’ll do, and keep me safe today.    Amen.

Silent Prayer                                                                                                                           Pre-service music 

We Praise Our God


The Introduction and Invitation to Worship


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.



Today’s Psalm Reading                                                                                  Psalm 37, selected verses


P:         Do not fret because of evildoers.  Do not be envious of those who do wrong, for like grass they will wither quickly.   Like green plants they will wilt.

C:        Trust in the Lord, and do good.     +    Take pleasure in the Lord,   +   and he will grant your heart’s desires.

P:         Commit your way to the Lord.  Trust in him, and he will act.

C:        He will make your righteousness shine like light,   your justice like noon.

P:         For evildoers will be cut off,  but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the earth.

C:        After a little while the wicked will be no more. +   When you search for them at their place, they are not there.

P:         But the meek will inherit the earth.  

C:                    They will enjoy plenty of peace.

P:         The Lord upholds the righteous.

C:        The Lord knows the days of the blameless.   +   Their inheritance will last forever.

P:         So those God blesses will inherit the earth.  

C:        By the Lord the steps of a person are made secure.   +   Then he will delight in his way.

P:         Though he falls, he will not stay down,  because the Lord holds him by his hand.

C:        I was a young man. Now I am old.   +   But I have never seen a righteous person forsaken

            or his children begging for bread.

P:         Turn back from evil and do good.  Then you will remain forever.

C:        For the Lord loves justice. +   He will not forsake his favored ones.   +  They will be protected forever.

P:         The righteous will inherit the earth. 

C:        They will dwell on it forever.

P:         Wait for the Lord and keep to his way.    He will raise you up to take possession of the earth.

C:        The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord.  

P:         He is their stronghold in times of stress.

C:        The Lord helps them and delivers them. +   He delivers them from the wicked.   +   He saves them, because they have taken refuge in him.

Our Opening Hymn                                                                             God the Father, Gracious Lord,

to the tune “Come You Thankful People, Come”   (CW613)   cwh, 2005

God the Father, gracious Lord,     May Your name be e’er adored.

All exists by Your command     In the sky or sea or land.

Precious Father, You know all –    When each hair and sparrow fall.

Guide and guard me from all harm    With Your strong, protecting arm.


Jesus Christ, my Lord, God’s Son,     Who, for me, salvation won –

You Who hung on Calvary    Bore my sins and set me free!

You, my ever-faithful Friend,    Who will love me to the end,

By Your grace in heav’n I’ll live.    Heart-felt praise to You I give.


Holy Spirit, Light Divine,    Through the Means of Grace, please shine

In my heart again today,     Drive sin’s darkness far away.

Keep me in Your Word, so true,   Day by day my faith renew.

Use me, Lord, as You know best    Serving here – in heav’n to rest.


Blessed Holy Trinity,     Glorious in Your majesty,

Father, Spirit and the Son –    Savior-God, the Three-in-One –

From sin’s curse You set me free     Heaven’s mine – eternally.

All I am, to You I owe,     Source from Whom all blessings flow.    Amen

We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God

Pastor              We have come together in the presence of God, our Heavenly Father, who created us to love and serve Him  as His dear children.    But We have disobeyed Him through our thoughts, words, and actions,

 and deserve only His wrath and punishment.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.   In the words of Jeremiah, we confess:

Congregation          Although our sins testify against us, O LORD, do something for the sake of Your

 name.    For our backsliding is great;   we have sinned against You.


Pastor              In the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, we acknowledge how thoroughly sin fills our lives, even our very being:

Congregation          From within, out of our hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft,

                                     murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy slander, arrogance, and folly.    All these evils come from inside and make us ‘unclean.’


Pastor              Along with the Apostle John, we recognize:

Congregation          If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Pastor              And in the words of David, before the Lord we plead:

Congregation          I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.   Against You, You only  have I sinned     and done what is evil in Your sight,   so that You are

proved right when You speak    and justified when You judge.     Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.


Pastor              Jesus says to His people:   “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.”   Our Savior’s perfect life and  sacrificial death have paid for the guilt and penalty of our sins, and for the sins of the whole

world.   Do you believe this?


Congregation          Yes, I believe this.

Pastor              Then be assured that you are a dear child of God and an heir of everlasting life.   And carrying out my office as a  called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and authority,   I forgive you all

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

Congregation             “Almighty God, My Sins Were Great

                                                                                                     447447 D (“O Herre Gott”; CW 204)   cwh, 2008

Almighty God, my sins were great,    My conscience did condemn me;

For I had found, that in this state    No one had power to aid me.

I fled from You   in my despair    And if you, lost, had left me,

 My guilt would yet be with me there   And peace still be denied me.


Your mercy, Lord,   I don’t deserve    But, in Your grace, You grant me

   Forgiveness free – my soul preserve.     For Jesus has redeemed me.

Your Spirit’s aid    I dearly need –    To see my sins more clearly,

And to repent   of each misdeed    For which Christ suffered for me.


Your Means of Grace,   Lord, I will crave   That I might be more faithful.

You gave Your life,   my soul to save   Dear Jesus, I’m so grateful!

So, curb my heart.   Forgive my sin.    Please make my faith much firmer.

  Lord,  keep me pure, without, within –   As I live for You, Savior.    Amen



We Listen to the Word of God

The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                     Genesis 44:16-45:28

16 Judah said, “What can we tell my lord? What can we say? How can we clear ourselves? God has exposed the guilt of your servants. Here we are. We are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose hand the cup was found.”

17 Joseph said, “I would never do that. The man in whose hand the cup was found will be my slave, but as for the rest of you, go up in peace to your father.”

18 Then Judah approached him and said, “O my lord, please let your servant speak to my lord directly. Do not let your anger burn against your servant, because you are just like Pharaoh. 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 We said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a child from his old age, a young one. His brother is dead, and he alone is left from his mother, and his father loves him.’ 21 You said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so that I may see him with my own eyes.’ 22 We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father, for if he were to leave his father, his father would die.’ 23 You said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will never see my face again.’ 24 And so it was that when we came to your servant, my father, we told him about the words of my lord. 25 Our father said, ‘Go again. Buy us a little food.’ 26 We said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, we will go down, because we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27 Your servant, my father, said to us, ‘You know that my wife gave birth to two sons for me. 28 The one has departed from me and I said, “I am sure he is torn to pieces,” and I have not seen him since. 29 If you take this one away from me as well, and mishap comes upon him, you will bring my gray hairs down to the grave with sorrow.’ 30 So now when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us, since my father’s life is bound up in the boy’s life, 31 when he sees that the boy is no more, he will die. Your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant, our father, to the grave with sorrow. 32 For your servant became a guarantee for the boy to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him to you, then I will bear the blame before my father forever.’ 33 So please let your servant stay as a slave to my lord instead of the boy, and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34 For how can I go up to my father if the boy is not with me? How could I stand to see the evil that will come on my father?”

45:1  Joseph was unable to control himself in front of all his attendants, so he called out, “Send everyone out from my presence!” When no one else was left with him, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. 2 He wept out loud. The Egyptians heard him, and the house of Pharaoh heard about it. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?”

His brothers could not answer him, because they were terrified by his presence. 4 Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me, please.”

They came closer. He said, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now do not be upset or angry with yourselves for selling me to this place, since God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. 6 For two years now the famine has been in the land, and there are still five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 God sent me ahead of you to preserve you as survivors on the earth, and to keep you alive by a great act of deliverance. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God, and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord over his entire household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt. 9 Hurry, go up to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: “God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me. Do not delay. 10 You shall live in the land of Goshen, where you will be close to me—you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 I will take care of you here, for there are still five years of famine. Otherwise you will come to ruin, you, and your household, and all that you have.”’ 12 Pay attention. Your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my mouth that speaks to you. 13 You  shall tell my father all about my position of honor in Egypt and about everything that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.”

14 He threw his arms around his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his shoulder. 15 He kissed all his brothers and wept over them. After that his brothers talked with him.

16 This report was heard in Pharaoh’s house: “Joseph’s brothers have come.” This pleased Pharaoh and his officials.

17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Load your animals. Travel quickly to the land of Canaan. 18 Get your father and your households, and return to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the rich food of the land. 19 Now I command you to do this: Take carts from the land of Egypt for your little ones and your wives, and bring your father here. 20 Also, do not worry about your belongings, for the best of the whole land of Egypt is yours.’”

21 So that is what the sons of Israel did. Joseph gave them carts as Pharaoh had commanded, and he gave them supplies for the journey. 22 He gave each one of them a change of clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of clothing. 23 He sent the following to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and supplies for his father on the journey. 24 So he dismissed his brothers, and they departed. He said to them, “See to it that you do not quarrel on the way.”

25 They went up from Egypt and came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan. 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” He was stunned because he did not believe them. 27 They told Jacob every word that Joseph had said to them. When he saw the carts that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.

28 Israel said, “It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

After which the Congregation will rise for


Today’s Gospel Lesson                                                                                                          John 16:1-22


“I have told you these things so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who murders you will think he is offering a service to God. 3 They will do these things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 But I have told you these things so that when their time comes, you may remember that I told them to you. I did not tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you.

5 “But now I am going away to him who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet because I have told you these things, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth: It is good for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12 “I still have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own, but whatever he hears he will speak. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I said that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you.

16 “In a little while you are not going to see me anymore, and again in a little while you will see me, because I am going away to the Father.”

17 Therefore some of his disciples asked one another, “What does he mean when he tells us, ‘In a little while you are not going to see me, and again in a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going away to the Father’?” 18 So they kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he’s saying.”

19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you trying to determine with one another what I meant by saying, ‘In a little while you are not going to see me, and again in a little while you will see me’? 20 Amen, Amen, I tell you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth has pain, because her time has come. But when she has delivered the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, because of her joy that a person has been born into the world.

22 “So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.



The Apostles’  Creed                                                              To the tune of “Almighty Father, Strong to Save”

We all believe in one true God,    Who by the power of His Word

Created and sustains each thing,     and all that live.  His praises sing….

Our Father, Who in mercy still,    Guides everything by His sure will.


We worship Jesus, God’s Son,    by Whom salvation has been won.

For us He lived, and for us died,    that we might all be justified,

Raised from the dead, on high to reign.    We know that He will come again.


We honor, too, the Spirit sent,    active in Word and Sacrament,

He binds the Church, below, above,   in faith in Christ’s redeeming love.

And ne’er forget this promise true:    with Christ we shall arise anew!    Amen.



After which the Congregation will be seated for


Today’s Children’s Lesson                                                                                                Ephesians 1:11


In Him we have also obtained an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of Him Who works out everything in keeping with the purpose of His will

God Promises To Make Everything Work Out For Our Good


The Sermon Hymn                                                                                                                “Gracious God and Lord, Be With Us”

                                                                                                                                                                 8787d    Regent Square   (CW578) cwh 2009

Gracious God and Lord, be with us –    Guiding us throughout our days.

O’er the years You’ve richly blessed us.    May we all walk in Your ways

With Your favor resting on us,       For Your glory and Your praise.


From eternity God chose us,   All by grace and grace alone.

Through His saving Word He called us,   In our hearts, He made His throne —

Gave us faith in Christ, our Savior,   Who, for our sins, did atone.


Help us all, Lord to be faithful    Throughout life, unto the end.

May each one of us be useful —    that your Kingdom might extend

Through this town, across this nation,   and to earth’s remotest end.


Lord, for Your great love, we praise You,   Guiding us our whole lives through

Day by day our faith, You renew       May we e’er to You be true

Serving You in all that we do      Til in heav’n, we live with You.   Amen.        Amen.

after which the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


The Greeting

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ!   O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.  Amen.

The Sermon Text                                                                                                                    Genesis 44-45

(Today’s Old Testament Lesson)

              Who Would Have Thought????


The Post-Message Blessing

Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!   Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts 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:

Lord, Receive our Prayers


P:         Dear Heavenly Father, once again we have enjoyed the privilege of gathering together in this place to sing Your praise, to worship  You, and to hear Your Word.  We praise and thank You for all that You give us each day.  We are not worthy of the many mercies You show us.

C:        Bless every person here today, that we might grow in Your grace, and rededicate ourselves to conforming our faith and lives to Your sure Word alone.


P:         Daily cover our human faults, frailties, and sins, that they might not hinder the work which You have entrusted to us as Your  servants here on earth.    And grant that all our words, our actions, and our intentions reflect our love for the Lamb of God Who has taken away the sin of the world.

C:        Keep our sinful instincts and ambitions from dominating our lives + and, instead, empower us through Your Spirit +   to make the crucified and risen Christ   +   the very center of all our worship, faith, and living.


P:         Bless our congregation and our church body – indeed, Your Church at large throughout the world – by granting them faithful pastors, teachers, leaders, and lay members.  

C:        Watch over Your missionaries wherever they are, +  at home and abroad   +  and enable them to serve You faithfully and joyfully.   +    Remind us to hold them up regularly in our prayers   +    and to support them generously with our gifts.   +  Let no area of Your harvest field wither and perish   +    because we have failed to do what You require of us.

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

A Moment for Silent Prayer,

Followed by Any Special Prayer-Requests


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

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



We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing

The  Benediction


The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit   be with you all.    Amen.

The Closing Hymn                                                                           “As This Worship Service Closes” 

to the melody “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” (CW 411)

cwh, 2022;   dedicated to Bill Krizsan

As this worship service closes      And we sing this final song,

Thank you, Savior, for You’ve promised    That with us You’ll go along –

Guarding us in all temptation   In this “wilderness of sin”

Working in all things Your blessing   ‘Til we reach life’s journey’s end.


Fill us with Your Holy Spirit,    That, in all we say and do

We might every day be faithful,   Living godly lives for You.

Help us grow in faith and knowledge   Through Your blessed Means of Grace.

Help us to reflect Your image    While we run our earthly race.


Heav’nly Father now we praise You    For, in love, You sent Your Son.

In our place Christ lived and suffered –    Our salvation He has won.

Bless our church, our friends, and fam’ly.   Keep us in Your Word, so true,

That one day we might inherit    Everlasting life with You.      Amen

Silent Prayer


+ + + 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 afterward with us for further growth in God’s Word through our Bible Class

 and Sunday Classes.    

May the comfort of God’s love and His forgiveness through Jesus Christ be with you throughout this day and this week.