The First Sunday after Trinity

also known as the Third Sunday of the Pentecost Season

and, by custom, known too as “Father’s Day”

June 19, 2022

The Relationships we cherish with

our Heavenly Father & each other


Father’s Day 2022 at Grace Lutheran Church

            On this “Father’s Day 2022″  we certainly want to thank God for His gift to us of our earthly fathers, for all that they have done for us, and the good things they mean to us.    However, giving thanks for “Father”  is not an easy or automatic thing for all of us to do, is it?  Certainly, many of us do carry in our hearts loving feelings and cherished memories of “Dad.”   But there are also some gathered here today who never knew (or will never know) their fathers.    For a variety of reasons, these people grew up without a  father being present or involved in their lives.   Others have bittersweet memories of a father who – instead of being a positive personal and spiritual influence –  was less than loving, too harsh, never available, a poor role model of Christian manhood, or worse.    Sadly, even the best of human fathers are flawed and fallible….. because every earthly father is a sinner.   Consequently, while we will thank the Lord  for the blessings of fathers and fatherhood, our main emphasis  today has to…and will be on the relationship which we enjoy, as Christians, in being able to confidently call God “Our Father.” Most important, we know that we are His dearly loved, forgiven children through the reconciling work of Jesus Christ.    So, regardless of how good or bad our human fathers were (or are), you and I can celebrate on this Father’s Day 2022 the incomparable  relationship that we enjoy as true children of  “The Ultimate Father,” the Lord God Himself.  Accordingly, throughout this morning’s worship service we will especially be emphasizing the essential and eternal relationship that we all enjoy with our Heavenly Father, by His grace, through faith.   In addition, we’ll want to hold out before each of us – but notably before the  men, husbands, fathers and future adult males gathered here on this Father’s Day — the paramount importance of our all repenting daily of all our sinful shortcomings, as well as the necessity of rededicating ourselves each day to growing spiritually,  positively and effectively in our roles as Christian leaders, servants, spouses, parents, and children.

Today’s Scripture Lessons   

             The Scripture Lessons for this morning will provide us with some very encouraging examples of human and heavenly fatherhood.  

            The Children’s Lesson will consider the fact that each of us has two fathers…..a human father…..and  a Father in Heaven, Who happens to be the Savior-God.  

            In our Old Testament Lesson we have the account of the LORD testing Abraham’s faith, by directing that great believer to sacrifice, as a sign of his devotion to the Lord, his son Isaac – through which God had not only promised Abraham he would become a great nation but also that through this son  the Promised Savior would eventually come.   Abraham’s love for his Heavenly Father was so great that, had the LORD not stopped him at the last moment, Abraham would have taken Isaac’s life; he was that devoted to the LORD.

            In our Second Lesson we have that part of the Sermon on the Mount through which Jesus encourages us not to worry about any of our earthly needs because, He assures us, our Father in heaven is well aware of our needs and will see to it that we are properly provided for.    Let us, then, put our full trust in our Heavenly Father as the ultimate provider of everything we truly need.  Jesus further exhorts us NOT to put our highest pleasure in earthly matters and things (a valuable reminder for us living in a very materialistic culture), but instead to make God’s Kingdom (that is, the eternal well-being of our souls) our greatest and most consistent priority in life…….so that we may die in faith and inherit everlasting life in heaven. 

            This morning’s Gospel Lesson is our Savior’s endearing parable of the Prodigal Son……sometimes also referred to as “The Parable of the Waiting Father.”    In connection with our Father’s Day observance, we’ll be considering the amazing, relentless devotion of that rejected father whose son had squandered an inheritance only to return home to the continued love of his waiting, forgiving father.   Similarly  our Heavenly Father  has an endless,  unsurpassed love for humanity, even though we daily reject Him and rebel against Him through our sinfulness.   Aren’t you glad and grateful that our Heavenly Father continues to mercifully forgive us, to restore and to renew us as His children – and for that, not only do the angels in heaven rejoice, but we also give thanks to God.  

            Finally, today’s Sermon, is based on God’s words through Paul’s pen for Christian spouses and children, as well as Christian employees and employers in his letter to the Colossians.  Let’s start  by recognizing that, today and every day, the relationships which are part of our lives are all gifts from God (even the more challenging relationships) as well as opportunities that He gives us to serve Him and others.  As we consider the example that our Savior set for us, both in His loving obedience to His Father with the goal of honoring His Father in all He did, as well as in His selfless commitment to us, let’s all resolve to conduct ourselves as faithfully as possible in accord with God’s Word, so that we can honor Him and be blessings to all those whose lives touch ours.

The Traditional Observance of Father’s Day

             The idea for establishing a special day for children to  honor their fathers began nearly a century ago in Spokane, Washington.  A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909.  Having been raised by her father following her mother’s death,  Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her.   It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man.   Her father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.   By 1924 the observance had become so popular that President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as a national Father’s Day, and it has remained so to this day. 

A Word Of Welcome To Our Guests . . . Good morning and welcome to Grace Lutheran Church.  We’re pleased that you’ve chosen to be a part of our worshiping assembly this morning.  Whether you are a guest today or a member of this Christian family, your presence at this service is sincerely appreciated.  It is our wish 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, which is the building just east of our church building.  If you are able, we would also be honored to have you remain after today’s fellowship time in order that you might further hear and study the Scriptures with us in one of our Bible Classes or Sunday School classes.  And, we hope that you will come back soon to again praise the Lord with us.  May God bless you and your worship of Him today.

       Grace Lutheran Church of Northwest Arkansas

is affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a church body which spans the United States and Canada, and which also operates a number of foreign missions.

Our Vision:    

Extend God’s Kingdom through His Word, serving each Soul.


Our Mission: 

Share the Gospel, Encourage Faith, and Prepare Souls through Worship, Education and Fellowship.



Pre-Service Prayer O Lord God, Almighty Creator, my merciful Father in heaven, from  Whom every good and perfect gift comes……You have bountifully blessed me throughout my life.   You have preserved me in Your Word.  You have provided for my bodily needs.   You have protected me from spiritual harm and have kept me in the true faith.  For your abundant goodness to me, I humbly praise and thank You.  As I prepare for worship this morning –  and every day You allow me to live on this earth –  I implore You to bless me with Your continued presence, Your Fatherly protection, and Your divine guidance in all areas of my life.   I submit myself to Your gracious will with the confidence that You will use me, as Your humble servant, in whatever ways will serve to further Your glory and Your kingdom. Bless and enrich my faith as I hear Your Word today, and receive my heart-felt praises in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Savior.  It is in His name that I offer this prayer.   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

We Praise Our God

The Introduction and Invitation to Worship

at the Pastor’s invitation the Congregation shall rise

The Invocation

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

The Psalm for Today                                                                                                                     Psalm 86:1-13


Pastor              Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

Congregation   Guard my life,   for I am devoted to You.   You are my God;     save Your servant who trusts in You.


P                      Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.

C                      Bring joy to Your servant,    for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.


P                      You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to You.

C                      Hear my prayer, O Lord;    listen to my cry for mercy.    In the day of trouble I will call to You,     for You will answer me.

P                      Among the gods  there is none like You, O Lord;  no deeds can compare with Yours.

C                      All the nations You have made will come and worship before You,      O Lord;     they will bring glory to Your name.


P                      For You are great and do marvelous deeds;  You alone are God.

C                      Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth.

P                      Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.

C                      I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart;   I will glorify Your name forever.        



After which the Congregation will be seated for

The Opening Hymn                                                                                             “The Morning Sun Is Dawning”

                                                                                                                                            To the tune of CW 566

The morning sun is dawning,    And I thank God once more

Beneath Whose care awaking    I find the night is o’er:

I thank Him that He’s called me     To be His child and heir;

I know, whatever happens    I’m safely in His care.


O Lord of all creation,    Watch over me this day;

In all I do be near me,     For others too I pray –

To You I do commend them:   Our church, our youth, our land;

Direct them and defend them,    When dangers are at hand.


You are the Vine, O Savior,    May we, Your branches be,

Connected to You firmly,     And for eternity.

Your Spirit place within us,     And let His gifts of grace

Empower us to serve You – throughout our earthly race.


So grant us, Lord, Your blessing       That we may do Your will,

No more Your ways transgressing,     Our calling to fulfill;

To live and tell the Good News:    Christ died for all, that we –

through faith in Him, forgiven —  Have heaven eternally.


after which the Congregation will rise for


The Confessional Order of Service

Pastor              O LORD, Open my lips.


Congregation   (Sung)   And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

Pastor              Hasten,  O God, to deliver me.

Congregation – (sung) Hasten to help me, O LORD.

Pastor              “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.”

Congregation –    (Sung) A broken and a contrite heart, O God,  You will not despise.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son And to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.   World without end.   Amen.


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God

Pastor       I now ask you before God, who searches your heart, do you confess that you have sinned against God  and deserve His wrath and punishment?  Then declare so by saying, “I do confess.

Congregation     “I do confess.”



Pastor    Truly you should confess, for the Holy Scriptures say, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive  ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

     Second, do you, with all your heart, repent of all your sins, committed in thought, word, and   deed?  Then declare so by saying, “I do repent.”


Congregation    “I do repent.”


Pastor     Truly, you should repent, as other penitent sinners have done:  King David, who prayed for a contrite  heart;  Peter, who wept bitterly;  the sinful woman, the prodigal son, and others.

Third, do you sincerely believe that God, by grace, for Jesus’ sake, will forgive you all your sins?  Then declare so by saying, “I do believe.”

Congregation     “I do believe.”

Pastor     Truly you should so believe, for the Holy Scriptures say, “God so loved the world that He gave His  one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Fourth, do you promise that with the help of the Holy Ghost, you will, from this time forward, reform your sinful life?  Then declare it by saying, “I do promise.”


Congregation    “I do promise.”

Pastor    Truly, you should so promise, for Christ, the Lord says:  “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Finally, do you believe that through me, a called servant of God, you will receive from God the  forgiveness of all your sins?  Then declare it by saying, “I do believe.

Congregation    “I do believe.”

Pastor    Upon this, your confession, I, because of my office as a called and ordained servant of God’s Word, announce the  grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place, and by 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 Ghost.  Peace  be with you.  Amen.

The Prayer for Today

Gracious God + Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, + and through Him also my true Father, + I thank You for giving me my earthly father.   + Thank You also, and especially, + for loving me as Your child,   + for granting me the faith to believe in You,   + and for the many blessings You daily shower upon me.   +   On this day set aside for honoring fathers, + I pray that You would impress upon all fathers everywhere  + their responsibilities before You   +  as heads of their households.   + Enable all of them to consistently provide   +  for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of their families. +  Especially grant them the grace and commitment   + to faithfully lead their families according to Your Holy Word.  +   Allow these men to find success and satisfaction   +   in the Godly service that they render  +  to their families, their congregations, and their communities, + and certainly in their Christian service to You.   + Finally, when their – and my – time on earth is through, + grant us the joy and bliss +   of spending eternity with You,   + our Heavenly Father.   +   In Jesus name we ask this.  +   Amen.


after which the Congregation may be seated

We Hear God’s Word

The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                Matthew 7:9-11

 9 Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, would give him a stone? 10 Or who, if his son asks for a fish, would give him a snake? 11 Then if you know how to give good gifts to your children, even though you are evil, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!

My Father IS in Heaven


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                        Genesis 22:1-18

Some time later God tested Abraham. He called to him, “Abraham!”   Abraham answered, “I am here.”   2 God said, “Now take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains there, the one to which I direct you.”   3 Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, along with Isaac his son. Abraham split the wood for the burnt offering. Then he set out to go to the place that God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.

5 Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go on over there. We will worship, and then we will come back to you.” 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and loaded it on Isaac his son. He took the firepot and the knife in his hand. The two of them went on together.   7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father?”    He said, “I am here, my son.”   He said, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”   8 Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them went on together.

9 They came to the place that God had told him about. Abraham built the altar there. He arranged the wood, tied up Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.   11 The Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!”   Abraham said, “I am here.”    12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

13 Abraham looked around and saw that behind him there was a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place “The Lord Will Provide.”  So it is said to this day, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “I have sworn by Myself, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your descendants greatly, like the stars of the sky and like the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the city gates of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

The Second Lesson                                                                                                                  Matthew 6:25-34

25 “For this reason I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?   27 “Which of you can add a single moment to his lifespan by worrying? 28 Why do you worry about clothing? Consider how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin, 29 but I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will he not clothe you even more, you of little faith?   31 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the unbelievers chase after all these things. Certainly your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                       Luke 15:11–32

11 Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all that he had and traveled to a distant country. There he wasted his wealth with reckless living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 He went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He would have liked to fill his stomach with the carob pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, and I am dying from hunger! 18 I will get up, go to my father, and tell him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

20 “He got up and went to his father. While he was still far away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, hugged his son, and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick, bring out the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let us eat and celebrate, 24 because this son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.’ Then they began to celebrate.

25 “His older son was in the field. As he approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. 27 The servant told him, ‘Your brother is here! Your father killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 The older brother was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him.

29 “He answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I’ve been serving you, and I never disobeyed your command, but you never gave me even a young goat so that I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours arrived after wasting your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’

31 “The father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 But it was fitting to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.’”

After which the Congregation will rise for

The Confession of our Faith through the words of 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 at 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.



Following which the Congregation may be seated for



The Sermon Hymn                                                                           Hymn 501   “Our Father, By Whose Name”



The Greeting

Grace, mercy and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God, our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.



The Sermon                                                                                                                          Colossians 3:18-4:1

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not treat them harshly.  20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing in the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, so that they do not become discouraged.  

22 Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not just when they are watching you, like people-pleasers, but with a sincere heart, out of respect for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, keep working at it with all your heart, as for the Lord and not for people, 24 because you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. Keep serving the Lord Christ! 25 Indeed, the one who does what is wrong will be repaid for what he did wrong, and there is no favoritism.   4 Masters, show justice and fairness to your slaves, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Relationships That Honor Our Heavenly  Father


after the sermon, the Congregation will remain seated  for the blessing

Pastor       To Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, power, and authority now and forever.  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:

as the offerings are brought forward, the Congregation will remain seated for

The Rite of Confirmation for Sarah Bruns


Pastor:      Do you this day, in the presence of God and of this Christian congregation, confirm the solemn covenant which at your Baptism you made with the Triune God?  Then answer “I do.”


Confirmand:         I do.


Pastor:      Do you, then, renounce the devil, and all his works, and all his ways?  Then answer, “I do.”


Confirmand:         I do.


Pastor:      Do you believe in God the Father?


Confirmand:         Yes, I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.


Pastor:      Do you believe in God the Son?


Confirmand:         Yes, I believe 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 at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 


Pastor:      Do you believe in God the Holy Ghost?


Confirmand:         Yes, 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. 


Pastor:      Do you desire to become a communicant member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and of this congregation?  Then answer, “I do.”


Confirmand:         I do.


Pastor:      Do you hold all the canonical books of the Bible to be the verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God, and the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from the Bible, as you have learned to know it from Luther’s Small Catechism, to be the true and correct one?  Then answer, “I do.”


Confirmand:         I do.


Pastor:      Do you also, as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?   Then answer, “I do so intend, with the help of God.”


Confirmand:         I do so intend, with the help of God.


Pastor:      And finally, do you intend faithfully to conform all your life to the rule of the divine Word, to be diligent in the use of the Means of Grace, to walk according to the Gospel of Christ, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to the Triune God, even unto death?   Then answer, “I do so intend, by the grace of God.”  


Confirmand:         I do so intend, by the grace of God.


The Confirmation Blessing


The Reception of Sarah Bruns into communicant membership



We Offer Our Prayers to the Lord


Our Prayers for Today

In our prayers this morning we include

A Special Prayer of Thanksgiving for Sarah Bruns who was confirmed this morning;


A Special Thanksgiving Prayer for Katie (Bugenhagen) & James Boatright

who were joined in Christian marriage yesterday in Wisconson;

and also

A Prayers of Intercession on behalf of our sister, Tina Wambold who will undergo hand surgery tomorrow; and

for our brother, Dan Beck, who is continuing to faithfully contend with the affliction of cancer;

and, in addition,

A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of the following couples

who are celebrating their wedding anniversaries this week:

Taylor and Danielle Ashley (Tuesday)

Eric and MiKaela Lemmon (Friday)

Mike and Marilyn Outlaw (Saturday)

Rick and Cynthia Tragasz (Saturday)


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 Celebrate the Lord’s Supper


Pastor           The Lord be with you.


Congregation   (Sung) And also with you



Pastor          Lift up your hearts.


Congregation   (Sung) We lift them up to the Lord.



Pastor          Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.


Congregation   (Sung)   It is good and right so to do.



Consecration of the Elements                                                                                                                                                                            



Pastor          The peace of the Lord be with you always.


Congregation    (Sung)   Amen.



The Exhortation Regarding the Lord’s Supper




(Please read the following if you have not spoken with our Pastor

about taking communion.  Thank you.)


       At Grace Lutheran Church, on the basis of what the Bible teaches, we practice what is known as “Close Communion.”   That means we are able to offer the Lord’s Supper this morning only to those individuals who – after completing a thorough study with us of the doctrines contained God’s Word – have already publicly committed themselves to be members of our fellowship because of their agreement with those teachings.   In so doing we are endeavoring to express our comprehensive commitment (and unity which we – as a Christian congregation – share with each other as members of this fellowship) to all the teachings of the Scriptures. and to our striving to put them fully and faithfully into practice in our ministry.  

     That “comprehensive commitment” requirement (which our Lord expects of all His children and so of every church – please see Romans 16:17-18;   2 John 10-11;   I John 4:1-3;   John 8:31-32;   Matthew 28:19-20 …among other portions of Scripture that express this)  allows us only to offer the Lord’s Supper to those persons who are already committed, confirmed, communicant members of Grace Lutheran congregation, or who have become members of one of the congregations of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.   

     We do this, not to offend anyone, but  because the Scriptures teach that only those who are “one,” that is, in complete doctrinal agreement, united in a comprehensive public confession of faith, are to commune together at the same altar (see I Corinthians 10:17 and I Corinthians 1:10).

    Through membership in a particular congregation or church body (for us, that church body is the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran

Synod), each person makes a public statement that he/she is in full agreement with the teachings and practices of that body.    Because not every congregation, church body or Lutheran Synod teaches and practices the same things, we at Grace and in the WELS want to be honest in our recognition of the doctrinal/teaching differences that, here on earth, separate us from other church bodies.    


     To our Guests this morning…..  We want you to know that we sincerely appreciate your presence among us today, and we do rejoice that we share faith in Christ with you.   Please understand that by asking you to refrain from communing with us this morning we are NOT judging your faith in Christ.   What we are doing is expressing – as a congregation – our complete unity of faith in Christ, as well as our joint commitment to all the teachings (doctrines) of God’s Word.   Consequently, we hope that you will do us the courtesy of kindly respecting our Biblical practice of close communion practice by refraining from taking the Lord’s Supper with us today.

      It is our hope that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage anyone among us this morning who is not presently in full doctrinal fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and practices of his/her church in order to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word.     In fact, we pray that all of our guests – and many others – will one day share with us in this “close” fellowship which we enjoy at Grace Lutheran and in the WELS, by your studying God’s Word with us , by joining us in this joint, comprehensive commitment to His Biblical teachings that our Lord wants us to have with each other, and by committing yourself to membership in our church family.

     A brochure further explaining the Biblical basis for this Close Communion practice is available on the entryway tract/brochure rack.    We encourage you to carefully examine it – especially the Biblical references within it –  and also to speak with our Pastor after the service (or, at your convenience) so that you might better understand and appreciate our Biblically-based “Close Communion” practice.

     Thank you for your understanding, your patience, and for your presence here among us this morning.   May God bless you, as you are a blessing to us !




The Distribution Hymns


                                                                                                  Hymn 306    “Before You, God, the Judge of All”


     Hymn 315    “Here, O My Lord I See You Face to Face”



Following the distribution, at the Pastor’s invitation  the Congregation will rise as



We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Closing Prayer                                                                                                                                            



The Benediction

The LORD bless you and keep you.

The LORD make His face to 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 459 O God, My Faithful God”


Silent Prayer, Announcements, Post-Service Music                                                                                             


Last Week at Grace                                                                             Worship Attendance: 68    Online views: 30

Sunday Bible Class: 24     (Online views 14)         Sunday School: 3

Tuesday Bible Study: 13        Budgetary Offerings: $3118       Online: $331.73

This Week’s Birthday and Anniversaries                                 June 21 – Danielle and Taylor Ashley       

          June 22 – Rachel Kattestad;                June 24 – MiKaela and Eric Lemmon;            

June 25 – Marilyn and Mike Outlaw               June 25 – Cynthia and Rick Tragasz

Serving Us Next Sunday (6-26)                      Ushers:   Taylor Ashley, John Wambold

Elders:   John Johnson, Vic Walker   Fellowship:   Pastor and Debbie Huebner     Altar Guild:  Mary Karloski, Vicki Walker

This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church


Today             Morning Worship, with the Lord’s Supper, at 9:30 a.m.             Fellowship Period

                       Bible Class and Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.             

Tuesday         Morning Bible Class,   10:30-11:30 am                      Church Council Meeting, 6 p.m.

Saturday        Outreach Calls, 10 a.m.

Sunday           Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m.                                     Fellowship Period, 10:45 a.m. 

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

Our Church Council Will Meet THIS TUESDAY (June 21) at 6:00 p.m. 

The Container versus the Contents

2 Corinthians 4:7-15

Years ago I recall reading about an experiment conducted to test the nutritional value of a certain breakfast cereal. One group of rats had been fed the breakfast cereal;  the control group had been fed the box the cereal came in (ground up, of course).  Surprisingly (and sadly) the rats who ate the container ended up being healthier than the rates who ate the cereal.   Hmmm.

Rats and breakfast cereal notwithstanding, you don’t need me to tell you that there’s almost always a significant difference between a “container” and its “contents”….with the contents being far superior to the container.     In the verses before us this morning, Paul continues to address a very serious problem that’s erupted within the congregation at Corinth.  He makes his point by contrasting the contents of the gospel with the containers in which the Gospel is carried.   In his illustration, the disposable clay jars refer to those people who believe the Gospel – but particularly to himself and his fellow associates who preach the Gospel.    The treasure, of course, is the Gospel itself.

Paul has attempted to deal with a variety of problems that they Corinthians were causing or facing in what we call First Corinthians, and also in his second letter to them.  These problems have resulted in a number of divisions, or factions, within the congregation.   In the first chapters of Second Corinthians Paul has talked about the problem of “false, super apostles,” who have attempted to undermine his faithful ministry by preaching a different (very legalistic) Gospel from what he (Paul) presented to them.   Those “super apostles” had also attacked Paul’s character and motivation, suggesting that he a greedy manipulator, rather than a genuine servant of the Lord.   What troubled Paul the most was not the personal attacks against him, per se, but that these attacks threatened to undermine the Corinthians’ confidence in the Gospel that he had preached to them.

Back in chapter 3, Paul had made much of the fact that the Gospel ministry, the ministry of the new covenant, was a glorious one whose glory easily (and obviously) surpassed the glory of the old covenant (Law) ministry.   However, the privilege of believing and proclaiming Gospel shouldn’t cause Christians to feel proud or superior to others.  (Blessed….yes!   Superior….never!)   And so here in verse 7 Paul begins by talking about himself, his ministry associates, and those believing Corinthians as “clay jars – mere containers which hold the glorious and precious Gospel.

The treasure God has given us is the Gospel – the glorious and gracious message of free salvation through Spirit-given faith in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.   In contrast to this glorious treasure are the vessels which contain the treasure. We Christians are merely the “clay jars” into which God has placed the Gospel. 

In ancient times, these earthen vessels (clay jars) were common and cheap containers in which all sorts of things – including food items – were stored.   In a sense, they were the equivalent of today’s cardboard boxes, zip lock bags, and plastic containers….all disposable.    Those earthen pots were also fragile and could be broken quite easily.    (By the way, let’s remember that our physical bodies are made from the dust of the earth—see Genesis 2:7.)   Whether then or now, clay jars or pots, while useful, are not particularly valuable.   That’s why Paul says he and his fellow believers in Corinth, as the clay jars containing God’s treasure of the Gospel, have no reason whatsoever to feel superior.   After all, the container really ads nothing to its contents.   If anything, whatever value the container has is due to its more valuable contents… this case, our value comes from the faith in the Gospel which the Lord has implanted in us.

Going back to the false apostles afflicting the Corinthian church, they thought far too much of themselves, and they had duped a number of members into thinking too highly of them also.   Paul’s inspired words here serve to give them (and us) the right  perspective on these false teachers and their efforts to undermine the Gospel of salvation in Christ.   His point is that we, who  believe in Jesus Christ, are nothing specials in and of ourselves.  We’re merely clay jars – disposable containers – while our contents (the Gospel) is what’s glorious and special.

Paul’s words probably startled some of the Corinthians – while aggravating and embarrassing their pompous leaders.   If these men intended to represent themselves and their ministry as the “Gold Standard,” Paul intended to burst their bubble by putting himself, his fellow true apostles, and certainly them all in the proper perspective.   Ministers and hearers of the Gospel alike are merely clay pots/jars.   The Gospel – alone – is our treasure.   And that false gospel of those false, super apostles?   It was merely fools’ gold – and so utterly incapable of providing the salvation every sinful soul desperately needs.

Reading Paul’s words in verses 8-15 in the light of the “clay pots” illustration found in verse 7 makes one thing, too, about the story of Gideon’s tiny army in Judges 7:15-25.    They’re about to go into battle against a massive number of Midianites and Amalekites who have gathered to wage war against the Israelites.   Gideon’s 300 men were divided into three different companies of 100 men each.  During the night they surrounded their enemies, carrying torches hidden inside clay pitchers.  With the blasting of their trumpets, the pitchers were smashed, and the light of the torches suddenly illuminated the camp. The enemy armies panicked and turned on each other with their swords, slaughtering themselves, while inadvertently bringing about a tremendous victory for Gideon, his for men, for Israel, and particularly for the glory of the LORD.

It’s possible that Paul might have had the story of Gideon in mind as he wrote to the Corinthians about those clay jars.  After all, in a sense that’s what the Corinthians were and what we are when it comes to the Gospel.   Like the pitchers Gideon’s men broke to reveal their torches, God intends for us not only to contain the Gospel for our souls’ sake, but to let the light of the Gospel shine out from us so that others can see Christ, believe in Him, and enjoy everlasting victory against sin, Satan and death.  Even when we’re broken and battered by life’s various challenges, adversities and persecutions, our treasure of the Gospel is often revealed to others……and God’s blessed, saving purposes are accomplished in us and in them in a way that doesn’t glorify us – the “clay pots” – but manifests God’s surpassing power and glory.

That was a most important lesson for the Corinthians 2000 years ago, as well as for the Church today.   People are not brought into the light of saving faith so that the Gospel’s messengers are glorified, but so that Christ is exalted.  In a sense, as the Lord’s ambassadors and witnesses, we are merely “windows” whose purpose is not to be seen, but to be seen through.   People shouldn’t glorify the “glass,” but should look through the glass to behold the majesty and glory of God, Whose name and grace we have the privilege of proclaiming.    In a sense, you might also say that Christians are supposed to be something like the glass in a fire alarm box, which has to be broken so that the alarm can sound and lives can be saved.   It is not by the exalting of the messenger that God’s power and glory are revealed, but by the breaking of the container that the contents are dispensed.

Oftentimes, the sufferings that we experience as Christians might seem as though they are going to break us Spiritually.  Yet, as intense as our suffering might be, God promises that He will never allow it to defeat or destroy us, let alone to defeats the blessed purposes God intends to accomplish through it.   Our trials and tribulations in life allow us clay jars to be broken, so that the glorious light of the Gospel and the power of God are evident to others in our lives….and to ourselves.    In fact, Paul assures us in verses 8 and 9 that no matter what our afflictions might be, and no matter how severe, God will not allow us to be destroyed by them.   The Christian is afflicted in every way (verse 8), experiencing the same ranger of troubles as the rest of humanity.   In this context, it seems that our afflictions are tied to our status as Christians, because we profess and proclaim Christ.   Paul lists four types of suffering in these verses.  Each is followed by an assurance that our affliction will not result in complete failure or destruction. (1) hard pressed on every side, but crushed;   (2) perplexed — yet not despairing;   (3) persecuted — yet not forsaken;   and (4) struck down — yet not destroyed.

Paul says that although we are “hard pressed” – experiencing great pressure – God will not allow us to be crushed, like a submarine which has descended to depths and pressures beyond the safe limits of its hull.   We’re “perplexed” but “not despairing” (verse 8).    The word “Perplexed,” incidentally, was also used to describe the inner turmoil Herod experienced when he listened to the preaching of John the Baptist (Mark 6:20).   As Christians, we have already faced and will continue to deal with many unanswered questions and perplexing circumstances in life, for which we have no immediate answers.  However, we are assured that there are good, satisfying answers waiting for us, even if we won’t learn those answers until someday in eternity (I Corinthians 13:12).  

Paul says that we are “persecuted” but “not forsaken.”   If anyone understood persecution, it was the Apostle Paul. He was a man who dished out persecution as an unbeliever who hated Christ and His Church.   He was also a man who was severely persecuted once he became a Christian (see Acts 9:16).   Yet the Lord never abandoned Paul, and Paul didn’t give up on his Lord and Savior.   He remained faithful to the very end of human life and the beginning of eternal life in heaven for him (@ Timothy 4:7-8, 18).   Likewise, while people today are going to reject us and the Gospel message we want to share with them, the Lord will never forsake us.   Like Joseph in Egypt, or Daniel and his three faithful friends in Babylon, the Lord is always with us, even in the lion’s den or in the fiery furnace.    Paul witnessed this in a dramatic fashion at the stoning of Stephen.   In his dying moments, as he was rejected and persecuted by his fellow Jews, Stephen saw his Lord standing at the right hand of God, waiting to receive him into heaven’s glory (Acts 7:54-56).    Even when it seems so, you and I are never alone – even though the whole world might seem to rise up against us and the message of the Gospel we proclaim.   “Surely I will be with you always,” Christ promises, “until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20…..see also Hebrews 13:5).

Finally, we may be “struck down,” but we can never be “destroyed” (verse 9).    Consider the dramatic illustration from Paul’s experience at Lystra described in Acts 14 (especially verses 19 and 20).    Paul was stoned and left for dead, but when the disciples gathered around him, he arose and entered the city.   Paul isn’t promising us that we will never die a martyr’s death.  Rather, if we do die, we are assured of our future resurrection through Christ, our Savior.   What’s more, there is no suffering, no affliction, not trial that we experience in life that which God will ever allow to defeat and destroy us, or separate us from His enduring love, for He causes all things to work together for His glory and for our earthly and everlasting good (Romans 8:28-39).

Only when we’re reached the limits of our own capacity do we find it absolutely necessary to rely on the Lord….as we should do from the very start.   God graciously employs the suffering and adversity we encounter in life to take us beyond our own capacities, so that we turn to Him alone for our strength and survival.    Consequently, it’s His power that sustains us throughout our lives, and so He alone is due all the praise and glory.   In a sense, God doesn’t leave us with a full tank of gas, but with a tank that’s all but empty.   And too often it seems that it’s only when our gauge reads “empty” and the red warning light begins to flash, that we seek the fuel for our faith that doesn’t come from within us….but which God graciously provides us – free of charge.

Think of the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath recorded in 1 Kings 17:8-16.    As Elijah arrives, the widow’s flour and oil are all but gone. She has just enough to prepare one final meal for herself and her son. Elijah promises the widow that if she provides a meal for him, her flour and oil will not run out, but she will be provided for until the time of drought and famine ends.   Interestingly, God does provide for Elijah, the widow, and her son, but He never gives her a full barrel of flour or a full bottle of oil.   Instead, He continues to provide just enough for the next meal. The flour barrel is always nearly empty, but it never runs dry. The jar of oil has just enough in it for another day’s food.   God didn’t give a full barrel of flour or jug of oil to her, as He could have done, because He wanted the widow and her son (and Elijah, too) to trust Him for provision every day…..which is precisely why the Lord has taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).

As followers of Christ, the sufferings we experience in life will not serve to destroy us and our faith, but are Divinely appointed, and irreplaceable, blessings through which God manifests His gracious presence and purposes in our lives.   Paul would write in Philippians 1, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”   What the apostle was essentially saying here is living on earth and serving God’s people is a blessing, but dying and going to heaven is infinitely better.    And Paul is explaining in these verses from 2 Corinthians 4 just what it means that “to live is Christ.”   But what he’s saying is nothing new.  Over and over across the pages of the Scriptures, we are taught that to live for Christ means we will end up experiencing many of the same things our Savior experienced, and – in so doing – we’ll have an abundance of opportunities to experience God’s power and bring glory to the Lord through our faithful conduct and confession.

Let’s consider these portions of God’s Word on the subject of what it means (and will involve) to be Christ’s disciples:   Matthew 5:10-16;      Luke 9:21-26;    John 15:18-20 (also see  Matthew 10:16-23);   Acts 14:21-22;   Colossians 1:24-29;   2 Timothy 3:12;   1 Peter 2:18-25;    and 1 Peter 4:12-13.

God has chosen us to be His followers, and has also chosen to use us, His “clay pots.”   In this capacity, He intends to display His power and reveal His glory through our weaknesses and brokenness.   The process of being “broken” Paul now refers to as “dying” (verses 10-12).   The once-and-for-all death of our Lord in our place, through which our sins are forgiven and our salvation assured, also joins us to His resurrection and our own.   This death which we die for Christ is evidenced by our daily “taking up our cross” and dying to the desires of our sinful nature (Romans 6:1-7), as well as through the persecutions that we experience at the hands of unbelievers for the sake of Christ.  

As we daily confront our sinful nature, we will recognize how powerless we are to save ourselves by any work we can do (Ephesians 2:1-10).  We recognize, too, that we are just as powerless – in and of ourselves – to live the godly lives God calls us to live (Matthew 5:48).   Consequently, like Paul, we must conclude every day, “What a miserable wretch I am.  Who will rescue me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)  “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We will never be made righteous by trying to live a godly life for Christ, but – grateful for our righteousness and salvation through Christ – we will want to put to death our sinful nature and die to sin so that Christ’s life and righteousness is lived out through us.   This principle is absolutely crucial. Paul repeats it three times in the verses that follow:

    1)     We always carry around in our body the death of the Lord Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”  (Verse 10)

    2)     To be sure, while we are living we are continually being handed over to death because of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our mortal flesh.   (verse 11).

    3)     So then, death is working in us, but life is working in you.  (verse 12).

Dying (or even suffering) to pay for our sins and earn heaven is never a possibility (or requirement) for the Christian.  We have already personally suffered and died in the person of Christ, and we already have been raised from death through His glorious resurrection.   Through Christ our salvation is certain.   Consequently we want to pursue living righteously now, not as a means of earning our salvation, but to gratefully display that we have been saved through Christ.   And so we will strive, as God the Holy Spirit enables us to resist and overcome our sinful desires, the world’s ungodly influences, and Satan’s schemes.

(See Matthew 16:25).

Getting back to the congregation in Corinth, some of the members took great pride in their leaders, in their appearance, preaching style, persuasive powers, and intellect.    At the same time, they looked down on Paul, his physical infirmities, his apparent weaknesses, his simplistic message and methodology.   Paul readily admits that he is weak and unimpressive.   So what?   Image is one thing.  Faithfulness to the Lord is far more important.   And Paul is faithful. 

He turns in verse 13 to the words of the psalmist (Psalm 116:10) to underscore that Christians can boldly proclaim the gospel in the face of opposition and danger, confident (verse 14) that God will raise them from the dead if they are martyred for Christ.   In the same confident-in-the-Lord spirit that the Psalmist expresses, Paul says that we can be just as bold in our witness for Christ, even though it could bring upon him (and us) persecution and even death.   We should avoid suffering for Christ’s sake,  or remain silent, in connection with the Gospel.   What’s the worst thing that men can do to us?    Kill us.   And then we go to heaven, looking forward to the resurrection of our bodies one day.   If suffering and dying are the divinely appointed means of revealing God’s power and glory in our lives, why should we try to avoid those afflictions?    There is little justification here for the “silent witness” approach. Instead, when the time comes for us to declare our faith and proclaim the Gospel, we will always want to speak boldly and confidently (see Romans 10:9-11).

As Paul concludes his argument in verse 15, his emphasis again is on serving others (specifically, those Corinthians) and glorifying God: “In fact, all this is for your benefit, so that as grace increases, it will overflow to the glory of God, as more and more people give thanks.”   Paul’s sufferings are like Christ’s sufferings insofar as they are for the benefit and blessing of others….and, ultimately, for God’s glory.

This is the perspective every believer should have about his/her life and service to God and others.   It’s yet another example of what set Paul and the true apostles apart from the false, super apostles.    The latter were self-serving, seeking power, glory and personal gain for themselves.   Paul and every other faithful servant of Christ will be willing, like Christ, to sacrifice themselves for the good of others and the glory of God.   False teachers offer the satisfaction of earthly lusts.   Like Christ (and other faithful ministers of the Gospel), Paul calls on his readers to willingly take up their cross and follow Him.  

In conclusion…… these verses speak not only to the Corinthians centuries ago, they speak to us as well. There are many false apostles today, as there were in Paul’s day. Some are like Job’s friends, in that they heartlessly rebuke the sufferer for his suffering and suggest that God is punishing him, all the while wrongly insisting that those who are godly must prosper.  False apostles today, as then, accumulate followers by promoting self-image and self-indulgence.   However, true servants of God do not seek to life self-indulgent lives.   Instead true servants of God focus on Christ and not themselves.  They gladly and gratefully offer their lives for the good of others and for the glory of God.    And one can hardly avoid mentioning the current fixation of our culture on “self-esteem” as the foundation for personal success.  Personally I don’t like the term “self-esteem” (or its synonyms) because it is not a Biblical term, nor is it a Biblical concept. Some Christians suggest that your self-esteem and mine is fine if it is rooted in Christ. There’s some truth to this.  And yet Paul’s words should remind us that the focus should never be on us, but only on Christ….and that we are nothing but His instruments…..disposable “clay jars,” intended to be used and broken, so that the glory of God may be displayed through us.