The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Laetere (“Rejoice”) Sunday   March 10, 2024

Mount Legalism vs Mount Grace

Have you ever driven on a highway located alongside a mountain?  As you looked up, you could see

 nothing but that  mountain.   But after driving 20 or 30 miles, you could look back and see that mountain in its true perspective.  It wasn’t as dominating then.   In fact, it was dwarfed by larger mountains around it.  

            In our Christian lives there’s a spiritual counterpart to this illustration.   It’s found, so to speak, in the mountain of legalism and the mountain of God’s grace.  

            The mountain (or spirit) of legalism is actually the “natural religion” of mankind, and so can be found in every human heart….even in that of the Christian.    Legalism, very simply, is the (false) belief that in order to attain heaven an individual must personally earn it in some fashion – from living a rigorous, obedient life, to just being a “good person.”     Typically, the products of legalism are either a holier-than-thou arrogance, or a sense of utter hopelessness due to ones inability to be “good enough.”    In the final analysis, of course, legalism will never save anyone because there isn’t a sinful human alive who can live the  perfect life that true legalism demands.

            Thankfully for us all, towering high above the mountain of legalism is the mountain of God’s grace.     No matter how great your and my sins are (and they are great!), God’s grace in Christ is even greater.    The ugly stain of our sin might spread far and wide, but the cleansing shadow of His grace has spread out even farther….and it always will cover all our sins.   In fact, just as – when evening comes – the smaller mountain is swallowed up in the shadow of the larger mountain, so also the smaller (and inadequate) mountain of legalism is ….and always will be…. swallowed up by the mountain of God’s grace.

Our Worship Service Today

            For Scripture lessons this morning, we’ll be turning to Galatians 4 (our First Lesson) in which Paul employs an allegory (the illustration of persons or actions to represent a particular human condition).   He uses the examples of Abraham’s wives, Hagar and Sarah, plus their sons, Ishmael and Isaac, to contrast the inadequacy of legalism inherent in the OT Law from Mt. Sinai, with the superiority of the grace of the Gospel (alternately described as Mt. Zion). 

In our Second Lesson, from Revelation 21, in John’s particular vision of the events of Judgment Day, our

 attention will focus on the “New Jersualem” (also known as “Zion”).  It will be the perfect,  eternal dwelling place of God’s people….all of which (us, included) have their names, by His grace, written in the Lamb’s (Christ’s) “Book of Life.”   

            Next, today’s Gospel Lesson will be taken from the Luke 11 account of Jesus pronouncing His “Seven Woes” on the Pharisees during Holy Week.   With time running out on His ministry, Jesus graciously (out of His love for their souls too) condemns the legalism of the Pharisees with the goal of helping their recognize that “obedience” to God’s law (and their own man-made laws) cannot possibly save them….no matter how “good” they might appear to their adoring public.   Heaven and God’s favor cannot be earned by sinners, but is received only by God’s grace, through faith in Christ.   Sadly, the vast majority of the Pharisees that opposed Jesus refused to repent of their legalism.  Instead, filled with hatred for Jesus, they plotted how to kill Him.

             Through our Children’s Lesson (John 19) we’ll be reminded that Jesus, in carrying out His redeeming work, truly has finished the work of saving our souls…..and so there’s nothing we can add to what He’s already done.   Let’s simply believe that our salvation through Him is certain….for it is! 

             Finally, today’s Sermon (based on Hebrews 12) will seek to establish a clear contrast between what, ultimately, are the only two “ways” by which humans can be saved…..legalism and grace.  Of course, legalism only works where a person is not sinful and can live a perfect life….both of which are, humanly-speaking, impossibilities.    Nevertheless, a spirit of “legalism” lives in many heads and hearts.    Our Christian faith, by contrast, is built on the concept and certainty of divine Grace…..that God, on the basis of the perfect life and sacrificial death of Christ for sinners, not only has fully forgiven us all, but offers eternal life in heaven to sinners, not on the basis of our efforts (which could never be anything but insufficient), but purely  on the basis of His love/grace for us, for the sake of Christ our Savior.

During the season of Lent

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

Today is “Laetere”….a Sunday to “Rejoice”

            As we work our way through the season of Lent, we arrive this morning at the Sunday traditionally known as Laetere Sunday (Latin for “Rejoice”).  This name is taken from a word in the opening verse of our composite Psalm reading for today:  Psalm 122:1, “I rejoiced when the said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”  As David rejoiced at the opportunity to worship the Lord nearly 3000 years ago, so today we rejoice at the privilege of entering our Lord’s “house,” here to worship Him, to confess our sins, to receive the good news of His forgiveness in the Gospel, to offer Him our prayers, and to gain wisdom and guidance for Christian living through our study of His Word.

            One of the more interesting historical facts connected to Laetere (“Rejoice”) Sunday is this:   in the early days of the Christian Church, Lent was originally  celebrated as a three (instead of a six) week season.  Accordingly, if we were still following that three week approach, tomorrow would mark the formal/official beginning of the penitential season of Lent.   For the early Christians, then, Laetere Sunday was actually the last Sunday (until Easter) to “rejoice” before the more subdued and sober atmosphere of Lent dominated the public worship services.  To this day, “Laetere” Sunday is viewed as something of a mid-point “reprieve to rejoice” during the otherwise serious penitential season of Lent. 

Pre-Service Prayer

Lord Jesus, though but two or three  

 In Your dear name assembled be,

You will among them show Your face  

 And bless them with Your saving grace.

In Your dear name again we meet

    And worship humbly at Your feet;

You will Your gracious Word fulfill    

And cheer us with Your presence still.

Jesus, from Whom all blessings flow,  

  Your peace and comfort now bestow;

Abide with us till life is o’er    

 And keep us Yours forevermore.     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

Pre-service prayer

Pre-worship music                                                                                                                                            


Let Us Praise The Lord

The Congregation will be asked to rise

The Invocation  

Pastor             We begin this service in the name of the Father

Congregation Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.

P:              And of the Son

C:                   Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.


P:                    And of the Holy Spirit

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

P:                    Amen.

The Preparatory Psalm                                                                  selected verses of Psalms 122, 32, and 138

P:  I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

C: I will praise You, O God, with all my heart;   before the “gods” I will sing Your praise.

P:  If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?

C: But with You there is forgiveness;  therefore You are feared.

P:  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

C: For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;   +   my strength was sapped like in the heat of summer.

P:  Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” — and You forgave the guilt of my sin.

C: and You forgave the guilt of my sin.


P:  O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love, and with Him is full redemption.

C: He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

P:  The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;

C: Your love, O Lord, endures forever.

The Opening Prayer                                                                                                                                         

O Lord God, Heavenly Father,   +   You have prepared for those who love You +   blessings that greatly exceed our understanding:    +   Pour into our hearts such love toward You,   + that we may love You above all things, + and lead us, by faith, +   to Your eternal promises,   + which exceed all that we can desire.   +   All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, +   Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, + one true God, + now and forever. +   Amen.


after which the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                                         “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


Hear Us and Forgive Us, Lord

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

Congregation        And also with you.

Pastor   God invites us to come into His presence and worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness.

Congregation   Holy and most merciful Father,     I confess that I am by nature sinful, and that I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions; Each day I turn away from Your Will.    I have left

 undone those things which You have asked me to do,    and I have done those things which You tell me not to do.    I do not love You or my neighbor the way I should.    Because of these,    and all of my other sins,    too numerous for me to recall,      I acknowledge that I deserve nothing less than Your punishment      both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for the evil that I have thought, spoken, and done,     and trusting in the perfect life,   and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray:    Lord, forgive me all my sins,      restore to me the joy of Your salvation,   and strengthen my weak faith through the promises of Your divine Word     that I may obtain Your promised grace.

Pastor          “Find comfort for your souls, then, in these words of our Lord:   “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just,  and will purify us from all unrighteousness,  because  we have One Who speaks to the

 Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.   We have  redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”   And now, upon this, your voluntary confession,  I, because of my office as a called servant of God’s Word,  announce the grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place of, and according to the command of my Lord 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 be with you.  Amen.”


Our Response To God’s Forgiveness

ALL sing:                                                                                                          to the tune of “I Know That

                                                                                                                                          My Redeemer Lives”


All praise, eternal Son, to Thee

For Thy forgiveness, full and free,

He, who by grace, this truth believes

The blessings of Christ’s love receives


Praise God the Father, God the Son

And God the Spirit,   Three in One,

As ’twas, is now, and so shall be

World without end,  eternally!     Amen.


After which the Congregation may be seated

Feed Us, Lord

The First Scripture Lesson                                                                                                    Galatians 4:21-31

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you really listening to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman, and one by the free woman. 23 However, the son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through a promise. 24 These things can be used as an illustration; namely, the women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children into slavery. This is Hagar. 25 You see, this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and she corresponds to present-day Jerusalem, because Jerusalem is in slavery along with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free. She is our mother. 27 For it is written:

Rejoice, barren woman who does not give birth. Break forth and shout for joy, woman who does not suffer birth pains, because the barren woman has more children than does the woman who has a husband.

28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of the promise. 29 But just as back then the one who was born according to the flesh persecuted the one who was born according to the Spirit, so this is also the case now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, because the son of the slave woman will certainly not receive the inheritance with the son of the free woman.”   31 For this same reason, brothers, we are not children of a slave woman, but of the free woman.

The Second Lesson                                                                                                                     Revelation 21


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And the sea no longer existed. 2 And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And from the throne I heard a loud voice that said, “Look! God’s dwelling is with people. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them, and He will be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain, because the former things have passed away.”

5 The One Who was seated on the throne said to me, “Look, I am making everything new!” He also said, “Write, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And He said to me:

It is done.   I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

To anyone who is thirsty,  I will give freely from the spring of the water of life.   7 The one who overcomes will inherit these things.  I will be his God, and he will be My son.  8 But those who are cowardly, unbelieving, detestable, murderers, adulterers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all the liars will have their share in the lake burning with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls that were filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me. He said, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

10 He carried me away in spirit to a great and high mountain, and he showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It has the glory of God. Its radiance is similar to a very precious stone, like crystal-clear jasper.

12 It has a large, high wall. It has twelve gates. Twelve angels are at the gates, and twelve names are engraved on the gates, the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 Three gates are on the east, three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west. 14 The city’s wall also has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the Lamb’s twelve apostles.

15 The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod so that he could measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square. Its length and width are equal. He measured the city with the measuring rod: 12,000 stadia.   Its length, width, and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall by human measurement, which was what the angel used: 144 cubits.

18 The wall is made of jasper, and the city is pure gold, like pure glass. 19 The foundations of the city’s wall had been adorned with every kind of precious stone.   The first foundation is jasper,  the second sapphire,  the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh diamond, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise,  the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.

21 The twelve gates are twelve pearls. Each of the gates is made out of one pearl. And the street of the city is pure gold, like transparent glass.

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God has given it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 There is no day when its gates will be shut, for there will be no night in that place. 26 They will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 Nothing that is unclean and no one who does what is detestable or who tells lies will ever enter it, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                     Luke 11:37-52


37 After Jesus spoke, a Pharisee invited Him to have a meal with him. He went in and reclined at the table. 38 When the Pharisee saw this, he was amazed that He did not first wash before the meal. 39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 Fools! Didn’t the one who made the outside also make the inside? 41 But give those things that are inside as a gift to the poor, and see, everything will be clean for you. 42 But woe to you Pharisees, because you give a tenth of mint and rue and every herb, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have done these things without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the best seat in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”

45 One of the legal experts answered Him, “Teacher, by saying these things you are insulting us too.”

46 But Jesus said, “Woe to you legal experts too, because you load people down with burdens too difficult to carry, and you yourselves do not touch these burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you because you build monuments for the prophets, but your fathers killed them. 48 So you are witnesses and agree with what your fathers did, because they killed them, and you build their monuments. 49 For this reason the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles. Some of them they will kill and persecute, 50 so that this generation may be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed from the foundation of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary.’ Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. 52 Woe to you legal experts, because you took away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were trying to enter.”

53 When He went away from there, the experts in the law and the Pharisees began to oppose Him fiercely and to question Him closely about many things. 54 They were plotting against Him to trap Him in something He said.


After which the Congregation will rise to confess

the faith we share together in the Triune God through the words of

The Apostles’ Creed                                                            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

The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                      John 19:30

30When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

“He Finished The Job ….For All of Us”



The Hymn of the Day                                                                   Hymn 390 “Salvation Unto Us Has Come”


1 Salvation unto us has come

By God’s free grace and favor.

Good works cannot avert our doom;

They help and save us never.

Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,

Who did for all the world atone;

He is the one Redeemer.


2 What God does in his law demand

And none to him can render

Brings wrath and woe on ev’ry hand

For man, the vile offender.

Our flesh has not those pure desires

The spirit of the law requires,

And lost is our condition.


3 It is a false, misleading dream

That God his law has given

That sinners can themselves redeem

And by their works gain heaven.

The law is but a mirror bright

To bring the inbred sin to light

That lurks within our nature.

4 Yet as the law must be fulfilled

Or we must die despairing,

Christ came and has God’s anger stilled,

Our human nature sharing.

He has for us the law obeyed

And thus the Father’s vengeance stayed

Which over us impended.


5 Since Christ has full atonement made

And brought to us salvation,

Each Christian therefore may be glad

And build on this foundation.

Your grace alone, dear Lord, I plead;

Your death is now my life indeed,

For you have paid my ransom.


6 All blessing, honor, thanks, and praise

To Father, Son, and Spirit,

The God who saved us by his grace–

All glory to his merit!

O Triune God in heav’n above,

You have revealed your saving love;

Your blessed name be hallowed!


The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance, through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  May the God of peace fill you with all joy in believing!   Amen.


Sermon Text                                                                                                                          Hebrews 12:18-29

18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to burning fire, to darkness, to gloom, to a raging storm, 19 to the sound of a trumpet, and to a voice that spoke. Those who heard the voice asked that not one more word be added, 20 because they could not endure what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.”  21 The sight was so terrifying that even Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” 

22 Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God; to the heavenly Jerusalem; to tens of thousands of angels in joyful assembly; 23 to the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven; to God, who is the judge of all; to the spirits of righteous people who have been made perfect; 24 to Jesus, the mediator of a new testament;  and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better message than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse to listen to the one who is speaking. For if those people did not escape when they refused to listen to the one who spoke God’s message on earth, how much less likely is it that we will escape, if we turn away from the one who spoke God’s message to us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also heaven.”

27 The words “once more” clearly indicate the removal of the things that are being shaken, that is, the things that have been made, so that the things that cannot be shaken remain permanently. 28 Therefore, since we are going to receive an unshakeable kingdom, let us be thankful. This is how we serve God in an acceptable way, with reverence and awe. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.


Don’t Choose the Wrong Mountain
1.   Mt. Sinai is just a stopping place
2.   Mt. Zion is your home

following which the Congregation will rise for

The Post-Sermon Blessing

May the God of peace, Who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, now equip you with everything good for doing His will!  Amen.

after which the Congregation will be seated for

We Bring our Offerings and Prayers to the 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 also donate on our website:


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord

as the offerings are brought forward the Congregation will rise for

  • The Prayers of the Church


    P   O Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth, You never slumber nor sleep, but always watch over Your whole creation. Bless Your Church that it may always declare Your glory, tell of Your salvation, and make known the treasures You have prepared for those who call on Your name.

    C: Help us, as Your people,    +    to proclaim the truth that there is no other god beside You    +    and to make known to others the story of Your marvelous works.   +     Enable us all to remain fully faithful to Your Word of truth,   +    and in every circumstance, near or far, keep us from physical and spiritual harm.

    P   For all the blessings You have bestowed on this congregation, we give thanks to You, O Lord. Help us remember each other in our daily prayers.

    C: Send Your Holy Spirit with power among us   +   to strengthen our faith   +   and to equip us for works of service to You.    +   Give us true zeal to work and witness for You.   +    And teach us to warmly welcome all who seek Your mercy in this place of worship.  

    P   O God, Yours is the glory and power that rules and judges the nations. Where there is division and strife, bring unity and peace. Where there is hunger and thirst, give rain, abundant harvest, and generous neighbors. Where there is prejudice and lack of justice, give understanding, fairness, and trustworthy rulers.

    C: Bless our nation,   +   our President, +   and all who serve in government from the local to the national level,   +   that we who rejoice in Your truth may continue to publicly proclaim the Gospel +   and to serve You without restriction.  

    P   Gracious Lord, sustain and protect those who whose vocations call them to the service of their country, especially the members of our armed forces .Bless their efforts to establish peace and stability in the world. Sustain them during lonely times;   guard and defend them from all danger.

    C: Be with their families as well,   +     that during their time of separation   +    they may receive support and encouragement from their communities, + and especially from the members of Your Church on earth.

    P   Heavenly Father, our eyes look to You to send help to all who are in need. Give work, we pray, to the unemployed. Give confidence in Your love to those who are anxious about tomorrow.

    C: Grant strength and patience to those who bear heavy burdens at work,   +   school,   +   or home,   +    and give the peace of Your forgiveness to those who live with regrets over past actions.   +    Grant the comfort of Your Holy Spirit to all who confess You to be the only God,  +   that as they call on Your name they may find rest for their souls.

    P  O God, before You we remember especially those who are hospitalized or recovering at home –  especially Duane Mayer (the brother of Kent).   Lord You have seen fit to allow Duane to be hospitalized in Milwaukee, WI, awaiting treatment for bone cancer.  Please bless the care that He will be receiving so that the cancer is driven from his body and Duane’s health is restored.   Also, please keep his faith strong as he faces this challenge, confident at Your will for us, Your children, is always best.   We also pray for pre-born Liam Ashley (Danielle and Taylor’s baby-in-the-womb).   Doctors have determined that Liam has a heart condition that could resolve itself as he waits being born.  But he might also need surgery after he is born.   In Your mercy, LORD, and according to Your will, please bless this child and his mother safe during the remaining days of her pregnancy.   Especially bless Liam with good health and healing in the manner that You know is best.   Support his parents also during this challenging time with the assurance that both Liam and they are in Your gracious hands….and that there is no better place than that for any of us to be.

    C: Bless also Barbara & Larry Center, who are celebrating their wedding anniversary today.   +   Enable them to continue to grow in their love for each other.   +   Fill their home and hearts   +   with an increasing spirit of Your forgiveness and love for each other.   +   And when their days on earth draw to a close,    +   allow them, by Your grace,   +   to enter Your heavenly home,   +   there to enjoy forever the blessings   +   of being part of Your everlasting family of believers.

    P   Please hear us also, Gracious God, as we now take a few moments to silently offer You our own, personal petitions and praises.

    Silent Prayer

    P  Finally, O Lord, into Your hands we commend everything and everyone for which we pray, trusting in Your wisdom and mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, in Whose name we offer this prayer, and in Whose name we continue now, by praying:

    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.




    Now Dismiss Us, Lord


    Benediction     Brothers and sisters, now go in peace.   Live in harmony with one another.   And Serve the Lord in gladness.

                                 The LORD bless you and keep you.

                                 The LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.

                                 The LORD look on you with favor, and give you 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,


    post-service music