To Rejoice Is A Sign of Faith

One day two little boys who were playing began talking about  what it would be like to wear glasses.   One

 asked the other, “You wouldn’t have to wear glasses all the time, would you?”   The other little boy thought a minute and answered, “I’m not sure, but I think so.   Besides, if I had the kind of glasses that my Grandma wears, I’d want to wear them all the time.   She can see how to fix a lot of things, and she also sees a lot of nice things to do on rainy days.   She can see when people are tired and sick and what will make them feel better.  She always sees what you meant to do, even if you haven’t got things just right.”   He went on to say, “I asked her one day how she could see that way all the time, and she said it was the way she had learned to look at things as she grew older.  So it must be her glasses.”

            The Apostle Paul (the human writer of today’s Epistle Lesson) knew that the early Christians were probably wondering, “How is it possible to rejoice in view of our difficulties?”   You might wonder this too – especially if you’re going through a difficult time at the moment.   Paul wanted the believers in Philippi to get the point about how special a Christian’s joy in Jesus can be, so he restated this same thought to them with these words:  “I will say it again–rejoice.”   For the Christian – you and me, included – to rejoice isn’t a matter of “choice” as much as it is both a sign of confidence in the Lord to care for us, and an expression of faithful obedience to our God, because He tells us to rejoice….always….. even in the middle of a myriad of life’s problems.   So, do is your joy in Jesus an evident part of our faith?”  May God bless your worship today and your faith, so that your joy in Him continues to increase.

            Traditionally, the Christian Church has designated the fourth Sunday of the Easter Season as a special day on which to concentrate on the true “joy” which we, as Christians, have in our hearts and lives by virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection for our salvation.   Over the years this particular Sunday has come to be known as “Jubilate Sunday.”   “Jubilate” is the Latin word for “rejoice;”   it is found (underlined) in the first verse of our Psalm reading for today, Psalm 66, which has customarily been read in Christian churches down through the centuries on this “Rejoicing Sunday.”

            Today’s First Scripture Lesson continues the joy-filled words that God inspired Paul to use to begin his letter to the Philippians.  As he begins his letter, through he’s in the cross-hairs of adversity (and probably death as a martyr for his faith) Paul expresses his gratitude to God for his circumstances.  He shows us how a Christian can be joyful, no matter what his/her situation.  Because when you really know God’s love and grace for you in Christ, every day is always a day to be glad.

            In this morning’s Epistle Lesson, we’ll hear Paul again speak about his joy in Christ, plus he urges his readers (us, included) to  remain joy-filled, even in the face of the various adversities we face in life.  We’ll especially want to take to heart his encouragement to “Rejoice In The Lord ALWAYS.”  After all, we Christians  have a special (and superior) kind of joy that the children of this world will never know – apart from Christ:  the inexpressible joy of knowing our sins are forgiven and that one day we will have a heavenly home through faith in Jesus.

            Today’s Gospel Lesson is the one that was read regularly in the early Church on this 4th Sunday of the Easter Season:   that of Jesus speaking to His disciples in the upper room on Maundy Thursday.  He predicts His death and their sorrow over it.  But He also promises that their sorrow would be turned to incredible, overwhelming joy once He rose from the grave.    In addition, Christ encourages us to pray to the Father in His (Jesus’) name with the confidence that for His sake all our prayers always will be heard and answered in the best way possible.   In addition He assures us that we can enjoy a spirit of peace in this life, even in the midst of all sorts of troubles and problems, since we have put our faith in Him as our Savior Who has overcome sin, death, and this world to assure us eternal life in heaven.  

            For this morning’s Children’s Lesson we’ll put a different spin on the words of an old advertising slogan, “Don’t get mad; get Glad!” …. to remind us of how important to God (and for us) it is to be less upset or angry, and instead more grateful and joyful no matter what happens in our lives.  Why?  Because we trust God to take care of and to bless us in everything!

             Finally, today’s Sermon will center around the opening words of Peter’s first letter.  Here he encourages his readers to rejoice in certain salvation they have in the risen Lord Jesus, even though they are dealing with all sorts of disappointments and difficulties – including persecution for their faith.   He wanted them (and wants us today) to take a “long term” (eternal) view of whatever happens in our lives…  we can always find our real joy in the earthly and eternal blessings that God graciously gives us, through faith in our risen Lord and Savior.


A Word Of Welcome To Our Guests . . . Good morning and welcome to Grace Lutheran Church.  Thank you for choosing to worship with us today.  Whether you’re a guest, or a member of this Christian family, your presence at this service is sincerely appreciated.  We hope that the time you spend here will be enjoyable and spiritually edifying, and so it is our desire to serve you in the best way we can.  If there is anything that we might do to assist you in your worship today, please speak with one of our ushers or our Pastor.  They will be pleased to serve you in any way they can.   Following the worship service this morning, we invite you to join those around you for some coffee, refreshments, and good conversation in our gymnasium/fellowship hall. After that, you are encouraged to join us for additional time in God’s Word through one of our Bible Classes or Sunday School classes.


Pre-Service PrayerIn the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.    I thank You my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, for keeping me through the night from all harm and danger.  Keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You.  Into Your hands I commit my body and soul and all things.  Let your holy angel be with me, that the Devil may have no power over me.  Amen.


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



Prayer upon entering the sanctuary                                                                                                                  

Pre-service Music



Let Us Praise The Lord


The Greeting and Invitation to Worship


following which, at the invitation of the Pastor,

the Congregation will rise for the invocation


The Invocation


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.





The Psalm for Today                                                                                                  Psalm 66, selected verses


P:         Shout for JOY to God,  all the earth!                         

C:         Sing the glory of His name;   +   give to Him glorious praise!


P:         Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds!   So great is Your power that Your enemies come cringing before You.

C:         All the earth worships You and sings praises to You.  +  they sing praises to Your name.


P:         Bless our God, O peoples,  let the sound of His praise be heard.

C:         He has kept our soul among the living   + and has not let our feet slip.   +   For You, O God, have tested us;     +   You have tried us as silver is tried.


P:         Come and hear, all you who fear God;   I will tell you what He has done for my soul.

C:         I cried to Him with my mouth;     +   And high praise was on my tongue.


P:         If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.    But truly God has listened;    He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

C:         Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer   +    or removed His steadfast  love from me!     



The Opening Hymn                                                                                                                                “Rejoice, the Lord Is King”

Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
Music: John Darwall, 1731-1789;   Tune: Darwalls 148TH, 66.66.88


Rejoice, the Lord is King!    Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;     Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!


Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;

When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;     Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!


His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n,
The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;      Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!


He sits at God’s right hand till all His foes submit,
And bow to His command, and fall beneath His feet:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;      Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!


Rejoice in glorious hope     Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up to their eternal home.
We soon shall hear  th’ archangel’s voice;   The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!    Amen.



After which the Congregation will rise



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor: As we approach the Lord in worship today, let us all confess our sins and seek God’s forgiving mercy:


Congregation: O Lord, hear my prayer,   +    Listen to my cry for mercy   + and in Your faithfulness, come to my relief.    +    Do not bring Your servant into judgment,   +   for no one living is righteous before You.  

+    Answer me quickly, O Lord;    +    my spirit fails.   +     Do not hide Your face from me,   +    For I have put my trust in You.    +     Show me the way I should go,   +   for to You I lift up my soul.  +    Teach me to do Your will,   +   for You are my God.


Almighty God, merciful Father,   +    I, a troubled and repentant sinner    + confess that I have sinned against You  in my actions, thoughts and words.    +    I have not loved You with all my heart;   +    I have not loved others the way I should.   +    I have not been a faithful steward  of the time, abilities, opportunities and resources    +    which You have entrusted to my care.    +   I have not always been eager and willing to worship You, serve You, or learn from You as I ought.   +     My transgressions,  whether deliberate or done out of ignorance    +   are too numerous for me to recall.   +   I know that because of them   +    I deserve Your punishment  both now and eternally.    +    But I truly am distressed by   +   and deeply sorry for my sins.    +   And so I implore You,  for Jesus’ sake,   +   to have mercy upon me   +   and to forgive me,   +   a poor, sinful being.


Pastor:             And now, upon this – your confession – and according to the command and promise of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and in His place, I forgive you all your  sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.    Amen.     Be at peace once more with your God, assured that you are a dear child of God and an heir of eternal life in heaven through faith in Christ Jesus.    Now, in the peace of God’s forgiveness, let us together praise our gracious and glorious Lord!


The Congregation Continues by singing:   

                                                                                                          melody “Come You Thankful People, Come”


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.

The Prayer For This Day

Lord God, Heavenly Father,   +   You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will.   +    Grant that we may always love what You have commanded   +    and desire those blessings which You promise   +   so that,  among the changes and challenges of this world,   +    our hearts may be fixed firmly   +   where true joy alone can be found:     +   on Your grace to us through faith in Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, +   Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,   + as the one true God,   now and forever.   +  Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated


We Hear God’s Word


The First Lesson                                                                                                                 Philippians 1:12-26


            12 I want you to know, brothers, that the things which happened to me actually took place to advance the gospel. 13 And so it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to all the rest, that I am in chains because of Christ.  14 And, through my chains, the majority of the brothers in the Lord have become much more confident about daring to speak the word of God fearlessly. 15 Some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, and others out of good will. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am placed here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, but thinking they can cause trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 What does it matter? Only this, that in every way, whether for outward appearance or for the truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.

            Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 because I know that this will turn out for my deliverance, through your prayer and the support of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20 This matches my earnest expectation and hope that I will in no way be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, so even now, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 Yes, for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to go on living in the flesh, that will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet which should I prefer? I do not know. 23 I am pulled in two directions, because I have the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far. 24 But, it is more necessary for your sake that I remain in the flesh. 25 And since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and will continue with all of you, for your progress and joy in the faith. 26 And so by my coming to you again, my goal is to give you even more reason to boast in Christ Jesus.


The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                                              Philippians 4:4-13


            4 Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

            8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if anything is excellent, and if anything is praiseworthy, think about these things. 9 The things that you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: Keep doing these things. And the God of peace will be with you.

            10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord now that you have revived your concern for me once again. Actually, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I lack anything; in fact, I have learned to be content in any circumstances in which I find myself. 12 I know what it is to live in humble circumstances, and I know what it is to have more than enough. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, while being full or hungry, while having plenty or not enough. 13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                     John 16:16-24


            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. 23 In that day you will not ask me anything. Amen, Amen, I tell you: Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be made complete.



The Apostles Creed


I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  +  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   +   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   +   Born of the Virgin Mary;   +   Suffered under Pontius Pilate;   +   Was crucified, dead and buried;   +   He descended into hell;   +   The third day He rose again from the dead;   +   He ascended into heaven   +   And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   +   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.   +   I believe in the Holy Ghost;   +   The Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints;  +   The forgiveness of sins;   +   The resurrection of the body;   +   And the life everlasting.  Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated for



The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                I Thessalonians 5:15-17


15 See to it that no one repays evil with evil, but instead, always strive to do good to each other and to everyone else.   16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


Don’t Get Mad……Get Glad !



The Hymn of the Day                                                                                      “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”


Joyful, joyful we adore You,   God of glory, God of love!

Heav’n and earth bow down before You,

     Praising You, our Lord above.

You our Father,   Christ our Savior, 

  With the Spirit faith provides,

Life eternal we’ve been granted, gracious gift that e’er abides.


You are giving and forgiving,      Ever glorious, Ever blest.

Source of every kind of blessing,    Giver of eternal rest.

You have claimed us as Your children

   Heaven’s heirs through faith alone

In the Rock of our salvation,   Jesus Christ, our Lord, Your Son.


Lord, receive our prayers and praises,

 weak and humble though they be.

Yours the power, Yours the glory,   Both today and endlessly.

None beside You, None before You, God of mercy, full and free.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, ever blessed Trinity.         Amen.



after which the Congregation will rise for



The Pre-Sermon Greeting


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                                                                                                            based on I Peter 1:3-9


            3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 into an inheritance that is undying, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 5 Through faith you are being protected by God’s power for the salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time.

            6 Because of this you rejoice very much, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various kinds of trials 7 so that the proven character of your faith—which is more valuable than gold, which passes away even though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

            8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not see him now, yet by believing in him, you are filled with a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


Joy In Our Hearts…No Matter What


after the Sermon, 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 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

We Offer Our Prayers to the Lord

Today’s Prayers

Included in our Prayers today:

Intercessory Prayers for

Allen Skogen, who is recovering from back surgery;   plus for

Marilyn Outlaw, who is recovering a recent operation; and for

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

Norman Steinhoff (a friend of Tom Otto).  Norman has

been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

And also

a Prayer of Thanksgiving for

Marisol & Tim Huebner, celebrating this 1st wedding anniversary today;

   and for Brendan and Deanna (Marks) Knaizer, who were joined

in Christian marriage yesterday afternoon; also

A Special Prayer for women, wives, and mothers on this Mother’s Day

The Lord’s Prayer                                                     


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


We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction


The LORD bless you and keep you.

The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The LORD look with favor upon you, and give you His peace.   Amen.

The Closing Hymn                                                                               Hymn 333   “Abide, O Dearest Jesus”


1 Abide, O dearest Jesus,  Among us with your grace

That Satan may not harm us   Nor we to sin give place.


2 Abide, O dear Redeemer,  Among us with your Word

And thus now and hereafter   True peace and joy afford.


3 Abide with heav’nly brightness  Among us, precious Light;

Your truth direct and keep us   From error’s gloomy night.


4 Abide with richest blessings   Among us, bounteous Lord;

Let us in grace and wisdom   Grow daily through your Word.


5 Abide with your protection   Among us, Lord, our Strength,

Lest world and Satan fell us   And overcome at length.


6 Abide, O faithful Savior,   Among us with your love;

Grant steadfastness and help us   To reach our home above.

Silent Prayer, Announcements

Post-service Music




This Past Week at Grace           Worship Attendance: 67   (52 communed)   Sunday Bible Class:   24          

Tuesday Bible Class: 14                   Wednesday Evening Bible Classes:   5 men;   5 women

Budgetary Offerings: $4032       Online Budgetary Gifts: $666.74       Capital Improvement  $10


Serving Us Next Sunday                                                                       Elders:   Steve Stone, Tim Pfortmiller

Ushers: Jim Winnat, James Boatright, Jim Taylor               Fellowship:   Mary Karloski

Video: Dale Johannes    Altar Guild: Christine Quinlan, Linda Winnat

This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today             Morning Worship,  9:30 a.m. Fellowship Period, 10:40a.m.

                        Bible Class/Sunday School  – 11:05 a.m.                                                                                   

                        Youth Confirmation Class, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday          Morning Bible Class, 10:30 to 11:30

                        Church Council Meeting, 6 p.m.

Wednesday    Evening Bible Classes, 6 to 7 p.m.

Thursday        Set-Up for the Rummage Sale

Friday                         Rummage Sale in the gym, 8 am to 4 pm

Saturday         Rummage Sale in the gym, 8 am to 2 pm

Sunday           Worship Service, with the Lord’s Supper  9:30 a.m.    Fellowship Period, 10:45  Bible Class/Sunday School,11:05am

                        Youth Confirmation Class, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

This Week’s Bible Classes    In Bible Class, we’ve just started a study of Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth.   Today we’ll be working  in chapter one.  Tuesday, from 10:30-11:30 am, we’ll be studying in the book of Ezra. We’ll find ourselves in chapters 8-10.    Wednesday, from 6-7 p.m. we’ll offer two Bible classes, one for men, the other for women.  Our men’s class is starting a study on what the Bible teaches about Heaven and Hell, while our women’s class will resume its study of the book of  Hosea. 

RUMMAGE SALE….THIS WEEK…..In just a few more days, on May 13-14, our Women’s Group will sponsor a rummage sale.   If you have any items you could donate to our rummage sale, we would really appreciate your contributions to our rummage sale.    Please bring them to the gymnasium no later than Thursday morning.  Also, we need more volunteers to help – men, as well as women – to make this sale successful.  Please call or text Karen Swogger or Lesa Roe if you can help us.

Ascension Day Special Worship Service ADVANCE Reminder    … 19 days (specifically on Thursday, May 27th) we will conduct an Ascension Day service, beginning at 7:00 p.m.    Please note this on your calendar so you can join us for this special (and significant) celebration of Christ’s saving work.

A Church Council Meeting has been scheduled for THIS TUESDAY, May 10th, at 6 p.m.