The Fourth Sunday after Trinity  – June 23, 2024

The Sixth Sunday of the Pentecost Season



Lot’s Terrible, Awful, Selfish Choice


     There is a point along the Continental Divide high in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado where the waters of a small stream separate.  At first glance, it wouldn’t seem to matter all that much whether a drop of water goes to the left or to the right.  But the destinations of those drops of water end up being totally different.   That’s because one drop goes to the west and eventually flows into the Colorado River, which empties into the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean. Another drop ends up going east, until it flows into the Mississippi River and from there into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.  Two drops of water….each as an entirely different outcome, because one small turning point determines their respective destinations.

     Many choices in life are like that. At the time they don’t seem all that significant.   But those choices that you and I make can set in motion a series of events which shape our lives and the lives of our children, grandchildren and descendants after them.   For example, if those of us who are married all were to share how we met our spouses, many of those stories might well begin with a seemingly insignificant decision to go somewhere, meet up with someone else, and somehow (by God’s grace and benevolent involvement in our lives) we met that “special someone” and began a relationship that would forever affect and change our lives, not to mention our children’s lives.

     Sometimes people make unwise choices which aren’t momentous in and of themselves, but later on they end up leading to regrettable and even tragic outcomes.  For example, a teenager chooses to ride with a friend who has been drinking.  But the final result of taking that ride is a serious accident and perhaps the loss of life.   Or, consider this example….a young girl decides to have a drink at a party, which causes her to let down her inhibitions and she becomes sexually intimate with someone.   The result is perhaps an unexpected pregnancy, or that she acquires a sexually transmitted disease.   Her good reputation is damaged, and she carries a certain measure of guilt and shame with her for the rest of her life.

     Since certain seemingly small decisions can have momentous consequences, and can dramatically effect on our earthly – and even our eternal – lives, what can you and do to make positive, godly choices, while protecting ourselves from making wrong and life-damaging choices?    The portions of God’s Word on which we’ll particularly focus our attention today, can help us both to improve and to discipline our decision making.   We’ll especially be looking at the story of Lot’s terrible, awful, selfish choice (Gen. 13:5-18), because it can teach even the wisest and most experienced among us a crucial lesson when it comes to making life’s choices.


Today’s Scripture Lessons

     Starting with today’s Old Testament Lesson (and Sermon Text) we find Abram and his nephew Lot having just returned from a brief stay in Egypt during a time of famine in the land of Canaan.   In the chapter preceding our lesson, instead of trusting the LORD to provide for him in the land the LORD had promised him, even in a famine, Abram took matters into his own hands and relocated to Egypt, where there was sufficient food.    Abram continued to try to manage his situation while living in Egypt.   His wife, Sarai, was a very attractive woman.   Out of fear that someone in Egypt might want her as a wife and kill him, Abram asked Sarai to tell the “white lie” that she was his sister (she was his half-sister) instead of his spouse.   It turns out that the Pharaoh of Egypt took Sarai into his harem – though God kept him from having physical relations with her. Abram, as her “brother,” benefitted greatly, as Pharaoh gave him considerable wealth during this time.   But, to protect Sarai, God caused a plague to come upon Pharaoh’s household.   Somehow Pharaoh became aware that Abram had lied to him, returned Sarai to him, and then demanded that Abram leave Egypt.   

     Apparently Abram learned a number of important Spiritual lessons from this.   Our reading tells us that when he returned to the Promised Land, Abram publicly worshiped the LORD at Bethel (something he probably hadn’t done while in Egypt.)   Instead of trusting in his “wisdom” (as he had done in Egypt…to his great embarrassment and misery) Abram shows later in our reading that he is now fully committed to trusting in the LORD, Who will bless and protect him.  

     A second main point of today’s lesson/text is that Abram and Lot are now so prosperous that their large flocks and herds cannot – apparently – coexist in the same pasture and watering area.   A dispute between their herdsmen about grazing and watering rights leads Abram and Lot to the decision to separate themselves and their possessions.   Keeping in mind that God had promised the land of Canaan to Abram, as well as that Abram was the elder of the two men, it should have been Abram’s right to choose first which territory he would live in.   Instead, Abram selflessly allows Lot to make the first choice.   While he should have respectfully declined, Lot instead immediately recognized that the land to the east, along the Jordan River, was as lush as the land of Egypt, and that it even resembled the Garden of Eden.   He wanted (and chose it) for himself….even though the extremely wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were also there.   Abram, trusting that God would provide for him, would subsequently live in what was “left over,” the inferior land to the west.

     Lot’s choice was a selfish choice, one that apparently did not include prayer to the LORD, any consideration of others (Abram, as well as family), and particularly any concern for his Spiritual well-being….not only in living so near and associating with such evil people, but also about the risks he would be taking by being separated from the strong, positive, Spiritual influence of his uncle, Abram.

     The third point of today’s lesson is that, after Lot makes his choice and departs, the LORD comes to Abram and reassures him that wherever he looks, all the land will belong to him and his descendants who eventually will be as numerous as the dust in which he is standing – and, of course, from those descendants one day the Promised Savior could come.   The lesson closes with Abram once again building an altar and worshiping the LORD…..something Lot – sadly – wouldn’t be doing in the land where he was going to be living.

     Our Epistle Lesson for this morning are the words of Paul in his first letter to Timothy, where he warns him against the sin of greed, suggesting that some become so consumed by their greed that they wander from the faith altogether.   Instead the Apostle encourages his protégé to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.”    Paul wants Timothy (and us) to be content with what God gives us in life, and to keep our hearts’ focused on Christ, our Savior, and the eternal life in heaven that is ours through faith in Him.

     Today’s Gospel Lesson is Jesus’ parable of the Rich Fool, a man who was abundantly blessed by God, but who forgot that God (not himself) was responsible for his success and so God deserved all the glory.   He also selfishly stored up his larger abundance only for himself in bigger barns, instead of being more grateful to God as the Giver, by being rich toward God in his gratitude as well as in his offerings to the Lord.

     Our culture today certainly is exceptionally selfish, and “me-first” in its approach to living.   (Of course, that “looking out for number one” attitude is an inherent part of our sinful nature anyway….).   And so, in   our Children’s Lesson we’ll be encouraged to put God and others first in our lives and in our service…..which pleases God, benefits others, and ultimately blesses us best.


A New Summer Service/Sermon Series

     This morning, we’re beginning a summer worship and sermon series on “Lesser Known Stories and Lessons from the Bible.”   Today, obviously, we’ll be considering the story of Abram and Lot separating from each other, and the consequences of Lot’s awful choice for him and his family.   Future stories we’re going to be looking at will include (among others):  Jethro’s Fatherly Advise to Moses (Exodus 18);    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). 



Pre-Service Prayer

Lord, open now, my heart to hear

   And through Your Word to me, draw near;

Let me Your Word e’er pure retain,

Let me Your child and heir remain.

Your Word does deeply move the heart, 

   Your Word does perfect health impart,

Your Word my soul with joy does bless,   

 Your Word brings peace and happiness.  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



 Silent Prayer                                                                                                                          Pre-service music



The Introduction and Welcome to Worship   


We Praise Our God


The Opening Hymn                                     Hymn 221   “Blessed Jesus At Your Word”


1 Blessed Jesus, at your Word   We are gathered all to hear you.

Let our hearts and souls be stirred   Now to seek and love and fear you,

By your teachings, sweet and holy,     Drawn from earth to love you solely.


2 All our knowledge, sense, and sight    Lie in deepest darkness shrouded

Till your Spirit breaks our night   With the beams of truth unclouded.

You alone to God can win us;   You must work all good within us.


3 Gracious Savior, good and kind,   Light from Light, from God proceeding,

Open now our heart and mind;   Help us by your Spirit’s pleading.

Hear the cry your people raises;   Hear and bless our prayers and praises.


4 Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,   Praise to you and adoration!

Grant that we your Word may trust,   Confident of our salvation,

While we here below must wander,   Till we sing your praises yonder.



After which the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation


Pastor        We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.         Amen.



Today’s Psalm Reading                                                                                     Psalm 1


P:        How blessed is the man who does not walk in the advice of the wicked,

C:       who does not stand on the path with sinners, +   and who does not sit in a meeting with mockers.


P:        But his delight is in the teaching of the Lord,

C:       and on His teaching he meditates day and night.


P:        He is like a tree planted beside streams of water,  which yields its fruit in season,  and its leaves do not wither.

C:       Everything he does prospers.


P:       Not so the wicked!

C:       No, they are like the chaff which the wind blows away.


P:        Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

C:       nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.


P:        Yes, the Lord approves of the way of the righteous,

C:       but the way of the wicked will perish.



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


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.


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, under 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.   


Congregation   Amen.



Lord Have Mercy


P: For all that we need in life, and for the wisdom to use all Your gifts with gratitude and joy, hear our prayer, O Lord.


C:             (sung)   Lord have mercy


P: For the steadfast assurance that nothing can separate us from Your love and for the courage to stand firm against the assaults of Satan and every evil, hear our prayer, O Christ:


C: (Sung)   Christ have mercy.


P: For the well-being of Your holy Church in all the world and for those who offer here their worship and praise, hear our prayer, O Lord


C:             (Sung)    Lord have mercy.


P: Merciful God, Maker and Preserver of life, uphold us by Your power, and keep us in Your tender care:



C: (sung)   Amen.


P: The works of the Lord are great and glorious;   His name is worthy of praise.


 O Lord, our Lord, 

How glorious is Your name in all the earth.

Almighty God, merciful Father,

Your crown our life with Your love.

You take away our sin;    You comfort our spirit;

You make us pure and holy in Your sight.

You did not spare Your only Son,

but gave Him up for us all.

O Lord, our Lord,

 How glorious is Your name in all the earth.

O Son of God, eternal Word of the Father,

You came to live with us;

  You made Your Father known;

You washed us from our sins in Your own blood.

You are the King of glory;   You are the Lord!

O Lord, our Lord, How glorious is Your name in all the earth



Our Prayer for This Morning 


Almighty and eternal God   +    direct our actions that we may always please You.   +   Open our eyes by the power of the Holy Spirit   +   that we may see and confess Your Son,  Jesus Christ, +  as truly God and truly Man, + and as the one and only Redeemer from sin for the entire world.    + As we reflect upon Your Holy Word today,    +   through the power of Your Holy Spirit working in our hearts   +   help us to repent of our many sins of thought, word and action.    +   Enable us also to recognize the abundance of unspiritual dangers   +   that are all around us in this wicked world.   +    And give us please, LORD,  + a stronger commitment to make those choices and decisions    +   that both glorify You in this world   + and benefit us and others in our lives of faith.    +   Lest we dishonor You   +   and even forfeit Your saving grace to us in Christ our Savior. +   keep us always faithful to You,  +  that we might serve You here,    +    leave this world in faith    + and, by Your mercy, one day receive everlasting life in heaven,   + for Jesus’ sake.      +   It is in His name that we pray.    +   Amen.


after which the Congregation may be seated


We Hear God’s Word


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                       I Corinthians 10:24


24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of others.


Looking Out…NOT for Number One…but for Others



The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                             Genesis 13


Abram went up out of Egypt into the Negev. He went with his wife and with all that he had, and with Lot too. 2 Abram was very wealthy in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 He went on his journeys from the Negev to Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai. 4 He went to the site of the altar that he had made there earlier. There Abram proclaimed[a] the name of the Lord. 5 Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks, herds, and tents. 6 The land was not able to support them if they lived close together, because their possessions were so great that they could not live together. 7 There was conflict between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. (The Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land at that time.) 8 Abram said to Lot, “Please, because we are close relatives, let there be no conflict between me and you and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen. 9 Doesn’t the whole land lie before you? Please separate yourself from me. If you go to the left, then I will go to the right. Or if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”


10 Lot looked up and saw the whole region around the Jordan River as you come to Zoar.[b] (Before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.) 11 So Lot chose the region around the Jordan for himself. Lot headed out toward the east, and they separated from each other. 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, and Lot lived among the cities of the region around the Jordan and moved his tent close to Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were extremely wicked sinners against the Lord.


14 After Lot was separated from him, the Lord said to Abram, “Now, lift up your eyes, and look around from the place where you are. Look north and south, east and west, 15 because all the land that you see, I will give to you and to your descendants permanently. 16 I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if a man could count the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be counted. 17 Get up, walk through the length and breadth of the land, because I will give it to you.”


18 Abram moved his tent and went to live by the oaks at Mamre, which are at Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.




The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                 I Timothy 6:6-16


6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly cannot take anything out. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be satisfied.


9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into complete destruction and utter ruin. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evils. By striving for money, some have wandered away from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.


11 But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of eternal life, to which you were called and about which you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, Who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, Who made a good confession as a witness before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this command without spot and without fault, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will make known at the proper time—the blessed and only ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 Who alone has immortality, Who lives in unapproachable light, Whom no one has seen or is able to see. To Him be honor and power forever! Amen.


                                                                                                following which the Congregation will rise, out of respect for Jesus for


Today’s Gospel Lesson                                                                                                               Luke 12:13-34


13 Someone from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But Jesus said to him, “Man, who appointed Me to be a judge or an arbitrator over you?”   15 Then He said to them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed, because a man’s life is not measured by how many possessions he has.”


16 He told them a parable: “The land of a certain rich man produced very well. 17 He was thinking to himself, ‘What will I do, because I do not have anywhere to store my crops?’ 18 He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and goods. 19 And I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry.”’    20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your soul will be demanded from you. Now who will get what you have prepared?’

21 “That is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”


22 Jesus said to his disciples, “For that reason I tell you, stop worrying about your life, about what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Certainly life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap; they have no warehouse or barn; and yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds! 25 And who of you by worrying can add a single moment to his lifespan? 26 Since you are not able to do this little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. But I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these. 28 If this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, you of little faith? 29 Do not constantly chase after what you will eat or what you will drink. Do not be worried about it. 30 To be sure, the nations of the world chase after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, continue to seek the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not become old, a treasure in the heavens that will not fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.



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. 



After which the Congregation may be seated for


Sermon Hymn                                                                                Hymn 477  “What Is The World To Me?”


1 What is the world to me   With all its vaunted pleasure   When you, and you alone,   Lord Jesus, are my treasure!

You only, dearest Lord,   My soul’s delight shall be;    You are my peace, my rest.   What is the world to me!


2 The world seeks to be praised  And honored by the mighty,  Yet never once reflects   That they are frail and flighty.

But what I truly prize   Above all things is he,  My Jesus, he alone.   What is the world to me!


3 The world seeks after wealth   And all that money offers,  Yet never is content   Though gold should fill its coffers.

I have a higher good;   Content with it I’ll be;    My Jesus is my wealth –   What is the world to me!


4 What is the world to me!  My Jesus is my treasure, 

My life, my health, my wealth,   My friend, my love, my pleasure,

My joy, my crown, my all,   My bliss eternally.   Once more then I declare:   What is the world to 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                                                                      Genesis 13    (today’s Old Testament Lesson)


Lot’s Terrible, Awful, Selfish Choice

(and what we can learn from it)


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 General Prayers


      Included in our prayers this morning are:


      A Prayer of Intercession for Corinne Swogger (Kent’s Mother)

      Corrine has been placed in hospice care in Nebraska;

      and also

      A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of the following couples who

      will be celebrating their wedding anniversaries this week:

      MiKaela and Eric Lemmon (Monday)

      Marilyn and Mike Outlaw (Tuesday)

      Cynthia and Rick Tragasz (Tuesday)

      The Lord’s     Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name;  kingdom come;  Thy will be done    on earth

      Prayer            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 Closing Blessing

      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 give you His peace.   Amen.


      The Closing Hymn                                               Hymn 321   “Savior Again, To Thy Dear Name We Raise”

      1 Savior, again to thy dear name we raise   With one accord our parting hymn of praise.

      Once more we bless thee ere our worship cease,   Then, lowly bending, wait thy word of peace.


      2 Grant us thy peace upon our homeward way;   With thee began, with thee shall end the day.

      Guard thou the lips from sin, the hearts from shame,   That in this house have called upon thy name.


      3 Grant us thy peace, Lord, through the coming night;   Turn thou for us its darkness into light.

      From harm and danger keep thy people free,   For dark and light are both alike to thee.


      4 Grant us thy peace throughout our earthly life,   Our balm in sorrow and our stay in strife.

      Then, when thy voice shall bid our conflict cease,   Call us, O Lord, to thine eternal peace.