The Second Sunday in Advent

December 04, 2022

The Advent Messenger and His Message:

John’s Unmistakable Call to Repentance

            A number of ago the “Peanuts” comic strip had Lucy and Charlie Brown practicing football.   Lucy would hold the ball for Charlie’s place-kicking and then Charlie Brown was supposed to kick the ball.   But over the years, each and every time Lucy had ever held the ball for Charlie, he would approach the ball to kick it with all his might.   And always, at the precise moment of the point of no return, Lucy would pick up the ball just as Charlie would kick…. and his momentum – unchecked by the ball (which was not there to kick) –  would cause him to fall flat on his back.  

            This one particular Peanuts comic strip opened with Lucy holding the ball, but Charlie Brown refusing to kick the ball. Lucy was begging him to kick it.   But Charlie Brown said, “Every time I try to kick the football you pull it away and I fall on my back.”   The conversation went back and forth for a long time.   Finally Lucy broke down in tears and admitted, “Charlie Brown I have been so terrible to you over the years, picking up the football like I have. I’ve played so many cruel tricks on you, but I’ve seen the error of my ways!  I’ve been wrong, so wrong.   Charlie Brown, won’t you please give a poor penitent girl another chance?”

            Charlie Brown was moved by her display of grief and responded,   “Certainly, Lucy, I’ll give you another chance.”   So, beaming, he stepped back as she held the ball, and he ran.   At the very last moment, Lucy – of course – picked up the ball and Charlie Brown flew into the air, only to fall flat on his back yet again.    Lucy’s last words were, “Recognizing your faults and actually changing your ways are two different things, Charlie Brown!”

            That’s a profound theological statement….even if it comes from a comic book character.   And it captures well the chief emphasis of our worship service today, for John the Baptist will be asking each one of us, “Are you going to change your ways as of today?”…..Which is precisely what the word “Repentance” means in the Bible’s original languages of Hebrew and Greek:  “to change the mind;    to change ones thinking and ones behavior.”   And that change is not to be just a cosmetic one, a temporary one, or a little one…..but a complete reversal of actions and attitudes from head to toe, through and through.  Genuine repentance is an acknowledgment that sin literally is killing us and that our lives have to go in another direction ….or else there may well be a damnably-awful, eternal consequence.    No doubt you recall Jesus’ parable about the repentant Publican-Tax Collector who stood in the Temple and would not even look up to heaven, but who properly, penitently beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”     Regrettably, not everyone – as was evidenced in that parable through the attitude of the Pharisee – is moved to be penitent over his/her sin.  In fact, some people (and, from time to time that can include even us…) are so blind to, and comfortable in their sin that instead of repenting, they’re proud of what they think, say and do….even to the point of trying to defend themselves in their sin.   Some even go so far as to congratulate themselves on how much better they are compared to others……just as the Pharisee in the same account arrogantly (and foolishly) thanked God he was not like that sinful Publican.

            In the days just before Jesus began His public ministry, the Lord sent one last OT prophet – John the Baptist – whose mission it was to call the Jewish people of Jesus’ day to repent of their sins in order that they might see their sinful condition, recognize their utter inability to save themselves, and look expectantly to their only source of deliverance – namely, the coming Messiah.     The message of the Great Advent Preacher, John, is a message that we 21st century children of God need to hear AND to heed, with all our hearts, today.    If we’re going to properly celebrate the birth of our Savior again this year, we must lay – as a foundation for that celebration – a spirit of genuine repentance of all our sins that brought Jesus here, in the first place, to be our Savior from sin.   That means you and I are going to use God’s Word (and the Holy Spirit’s empowering aid) to identify our sins, then hate them enough to want to make all the requisite life-changes that will please our God, and – finally – leave the burden and guilt of those sins at the foot of Christ’s cross (for, even at Christmas, behind the “cradle” of the Christchild we must always see His cross).    The second part of repentance has to do with faith…..the faith to receive the Lord’s full and free forgiveness.    Employing faith much like the outstretched hand of a beggar, we will want to claim this forgiveness, not by some right of our own (as though God owes it to us because we go to church, are “better” than others, or whatever else…).   Rather we will receive it as it is — an amazing gift from a gracious, loving Father in Heaven, a gift  bought and paid for entirely by the holy, precious blood of Christ our Savior.    

            As is “traditionally” the case with us during our annual observance of the season of Advent, we’re choosing to devote one of those Advent Sundays (today) to the Bible’s ever-essential call to repent.   And, as we noted earlier, the call to repentance was a dominating theme in the powerful preaching of John the Baptist.    

            Today’s Psalm of the Day is one of the seven so-called “Penitential Psalms” (the others being Psalms 6, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143).  In it David especially rejoices in God’s forgiveness of his sins, but he also recounts the spiritual misery he endured when he, at first, tried to ignore and hide his sinfulness.  

            Long before he ever arrived on Palestine’s scene twenty centuries ago, John’s coming was predicted by Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah in today’s Old Testament Lesson.   Here he prophesies about the fore-runner of the Savior (John the Baptist), who would prepare the hearts of the people for Christ’s arrival through his message of repentance.   

            Next, the prophet Malachi  (in this morning’s Second Lesson) speaks about John as the Lord’s “Messenger.”   This text also includes a prophesy about Christ, Who would follow John as the “Messenger of the Covenant” and as the righteous Judge.

            This morning’s Gospel Lesson will provide us with an introduction to the work and words of Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son, whose unique ministry served a number of purposes – from closing out the office of the Old Testament prophet (John was the last in that line of OT prophets);   to calling the people of His day to repent of their sins;   to being the “forerunner” of the Messiah both in pointing Christ out to the Jewish people and preparing their hearts for His redemptive work;   to, finally, speaking to us across 20 centuries in order to help us more clearly see our many sins, to call upon us to change our ways so that we are more godly, and to trust totally for our forgiveness and eternal future – not in ourselves – but in Christ alone.

            In our Children’s Lesson for today, we’ll try both to better illustrate what the Bible’s word “repentance” means – to turn around, or change, one’s behavior, and we’ll talk about some of the reasons – especially the most important reason – why Christians will want to repent of our sins…..just as John the Baptist urged people to do so many years ago.

            Finally, today’s Sermon Text looks at the matter of repentance as a necessary and proper preparation for the Savior’s coming.  This is the message John the Baptist proclaimed to the Jews of his day and to all believers of every age, including us.

Situated in the front of the church, to the right of the lectern, you’ll find an “Advent Wreath.”  It’s been our practice at Grace Lutheran to use an Advent Wreath during the Advent and Christmas seasons as a symbolic means for both preparing ourselves for the arrival of the Christ child and then joyously reflecting upon the arrival of that Savior.    The following brief history and explanation of the Advent Wreath’s symbolism is intended to help you enjoy and benefit from this traditional Christian expression.

The Advent Wreath


               The Advent wreath is a combination of two very common symbols:  light and the fir tree.   From the early centuries of Christianity it has been the practice to represent Christ by a burning candle.  The fir tree also has a long history of religious use.   One of the most popular themes for the medieval “mystery plays” revolved around the telling of the story of Paradise.  In those plays, the Garden of Eden was typically portrayed by a fir tree hung with apples.   In the Eastern churches (Eastern/Greek Orthodox) December 24th was celebrated as the Feast Day of Adam and Eve.    The custom of putting up a Paradise tree in the home on December 24th, decorated with apples, came into Europe (and the Americas) by way of the East.  In Germany there was also a custom of placing a lit Christmas candle on top of a wooden pyramid decorated with evergreen twigs.   In time the wooden pyramid was replaced by the Paradise tree, decorated with apples and lighted candles.

              No doubt the Advent wreath was suggested, at least in part, by the Christmas tree.   It seems that the Advent wreath originated a few hundred years ago among the Lutheran Christians of eastern Germany.  A wreath of evergreens, made of various sizes, was either suspended from the ceiling or placed on a table.   Four candles representing the four Sundays of Advent were fastened to the wreath.  Eventually the use of the Advent wreath became wide-spread and moved also from the home into the church.   The general symbolism of the Advent wreath lies in the growing light of the wreath, increasing each week as we approach the birthday of Jesus the Light of the world.

               The color of the candles in the Advent wreath is dictated by whatever emphasis a particular home or congregation gives to the season.   While the emphasis may change somewhat according to the sermons, the traditional emphases in Advent are those of repentance and anticipation (the Sunday sermons are generally more “up-beat” and “joyous,”  while mid-week sermons tend to be slightly more “sober” and “penitent” in character).  That’s why the altar cloths and furnishings are in the color of purple (the traditional color of repentance) throughout the Advent season.   It’s no wonder, then, that the prevalent color (three out of five) of the Advent wreath candles is purple.  

               The purple candle lit on the first Sunday in Advent is called “the Candle of Prophecy,” and symbolizes the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Savior.   The second Advent candle (also purple) is referred to as the “Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing the coming to earth of Jesus, the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary.  The Third Advent candle (pink or rose-colored) is the “Shepherd Candle” and represents the coming of the Savior into the hearts and lives of His believers through His Holy Word.  The pink/rose color serves to remind us that a note of joy should also heard in this penitential season.  The final purple candle is the “Angel Candle,” symbolizing the final coming of the Savior in glory with all His holy angels.                 The white candle at the center of the wreath is the “Christ Candle,” symbolizing the perfection of Christ, the fulfillment of prophesy, and the centrality of Jesus in our Advent preparations.   This “Christ Candle” remains unlighted during Advent in anticipation of the birth of the Savior, the Light of the world.  Advent’s penitent emphasis focuses our attention on our sins and the need for a Savior, but on Christmas Day we joyfully celebrate the birth of that Savior….and so we then light the white Christ Candle.  

                        White candles also replace the purple and pink ones, and the purple altar cloths are replaced by white altar cloths with the arrival of Christmas Day.   The wreath, now with all white candles, continues to be used until the Christmas Season officially ends with the arrival of Epiphany on January 6th.  The white altar cloths continue to be used through the first Sunday of Epiphany.   The colors then change to green



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.


Prayer in Preparation for Worship:   Almighty God, Who has given Your only-begotten Son both as a Sacrifice for all my sins and also as an Example of godly living for me, in Your mercy grant that I will always regard these blessings with gratitude, and also that I might daily endeavor to follow in the blessed footsteps of that same Savior.   Especially, today, as I meditate upon Your Holy Word, give me a receptive and an accepting heart, that I might faithfully apply to my life Your instruction concerning Your management of my life…particularly in connection with more clearly recognizing my sins and more quickly and genuinely repenting of them before You.   Through that same Word, please continue to encourage me and build up my faith with Your assurance that in everything You are working for my earthly and eternal good, now and always.   In Jesus’ name I pray.  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.

Pre-service prayer

Pre-worship music

Let Us Praise The Lord

The Greeting and Introduction to Worship

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




The Psalm for this Morning                                                                                                                 Psalm 32


How blessed is the person whose rebellion is forgiven, +   whose sin is covered.    +  How blessed is the person whose guilt the Lord does not charge against him, +  in whose spirit there is no deceit.


When I kept silent, my bones wasted away as I groaned all day long.   +    For day and night Your hand was heavy on me.    +  My moisture was dried up by the droughts of summer.   +   I acknowledged my sin to You,   +  and I did not cover up my guilt.   +   I said, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord,”   +   and You forgave the guilt of my sin.    +   Because of this, let everyone who receives favor pray to You    +   at a time when You may be found.   Surely when the mighty waters overflow,  they will not reach him.    +    You are my hiding place.   +   You will protect me from distress.    +   You will surround me with shouts of deliverance.   +  


I will make you wise.    +   I will instruct you in the way that you should go.    +   I will guide you, keeping My eye on you.     +  Do not be like a horse or a mule, which has no understanding.   +   Its mouth must be controlled by a bit and bridle,   +   or else it will not come to you.  


Many are the sorrows of the wicked,   +  but mercy will surround those who trust in the Lord.    +     Rejoice in the Lord and celebrate, all you righteous,   +  and shout joyfully, all you upright in heart.


after which the Congregation will be seated


The Opening Hymn                                                                            Hymn 14  “Arise, O Christian People”


1 Arise, O Christian people!   Prepare yourselves today.

Prepare to greet the Savior,    Who takes your sins away.

To us by grace alone    The truth and light was given;

The promised Lord from heaven    To all the world is shown.

2 Prepare the way before him;   Prepare for him the best.

Cast out what would offend him,    This great, this heav’nly guest.

Make straight, make plain the way:   The lowly valleys raising,

The heights of pride abasing,   His path all even lay.


3 The humble heart and lowly    God raises up on high;

Beneath his feet in terror    The haughty soul shall lie.

The heart sincere and right,    That heeds God’s invitation

And makes true preparation –    It is the Lord’s delight.


4 Prepare my heart, Lord Jesus;    Turn not from me aside,

And help me to receive you    This blessed Adventtide.

From stall and manger low    Come now to dwell within me;

I’ll sing your praises gladly    And forth your glory show.

After which the Congregation will rise as

We Make Confession of Our Sins To God

Pastor  Beloved in the Lord!  Let us draw near with a true heart and confess our sins to God our Father, asking Him, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant us the forgiveness of all our sins.  Our help is in the name of the Lord.

      Congregation    (Sung)    Who made heaven and earth.

Pastor – I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord.

      Congregation – (sung)   And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.


Congregation  O Almighty God, merciful Father, I a poor miserable sinner confess unto You all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended You and justly deserved Your  temporal and eternal

punishment.  But I am heartily sorry for them, and sincerely repent of them, and I pray You, in Your boundless mercy, and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor sinful being.

Pastor  Upon this, your confession, I, by virtue of my office as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God unto you all, and in the place of and according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.


We Respond To God’s Forgiveness


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.

Pastor      Behold, people of God!  Your King comes to you; 

Congregation        He is just and brings salvation!


Pastor      Rejoice people of God!   Your Lord Jesus Christ has appeared and fulfilled God’s promises of old for your comfort and salvation.

Congregation Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.   +   Let us bow in humility before Christ, and give our Savior the praise that He deserves.


1 Lift up your heads, you mighty gates!       Behold, the King of glory waits.

The King of kings is drawing near;    The Savior of the world is here.

Life and salvation He will bring;    Therefore rejoice and gladly sing.

To God the Father raise    Your joyful songs of praise.


2 The King is born in poverty,    His chariot is humility,

His kingly crown is holiness,    His scepter, pity in distress.

The end of all our woe He brings;    Therefore the earth is glad and sings.

To Christ the Savior raise    Your grateful hymns of praise.


Redeemer, come!   I open wide    My heart to You;   here, Lord, abide!

Let me Your inner presence feel,    Your grace and love in me reveal;

Your Holy Spirit guide us on    Until our glorious goal is won.

Eternal praise and fame    We offer to Your name.     Amen.


The Prayer For The Second Sunday in Advent

O Almighty God, Father in heaven  +  mercifully hear the prayers of Your people,   +   that as we rejoice in the celebration  +   of Your only-begotten Son’s first advent   +    to dwell among us and to give His life for us,  +   so may we also daily repent of our sins, +   recommit ourselves to faithfully serving and honoring You through our Christian lives,   +   and eagerly look forward to receiving Your Son without fear   +   when He comes in all His glory   +   to redeem His Church and to judge our world.   +  All this we ask   +   in the name of Jesus Christ,   +  Your Son our Lord   +   Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit   +   One God,  forever and ever.   +   Amen. 



after which the Congregation will be seated as


We Hear God’s Word

The First Lesson                                                                                                                            Isaiah 40:1-8

1 Comfort, comfort My people, says your God.   2 Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call out to her.   Her warfare really is over.    Her guilt is fully paid for.   Yes, she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

3 A voice is calling out:   In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord.   In the wasteland make a level highway for our God.   4 Every valley will be raised up, and every mountain and hill will be made low.   The rugged ground will become level, and the rough places will become a plain.  5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh together will see it.     Yes, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.   6 A voice was saying, “Cry out!”  And I said, “What shall I cry out?”   All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like a wildflower in the countryside.     7   Grass withers, flowers fade, when the breath of the Lord blows on them.  Yes, the people are grass. 8   Grass withers, flowers fade, but the Word of our God endures forever.

The Second Lesson                                                                                                                      Malachi 3:1-7

 Look! I am sending My messenger!  He will prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the Lord, Whom you are seeking, will come to His temple! The Messenger of the Covenant, in Whom you delight, will surely come, says the Lord of Armies.

2 But who can endure the day when He comes? Who will remain standing when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire, like launderers bleach!  3 He will be seated like a refiner and a purifier of silver. He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and like silver. They will belong to the Lord and bring Him an offering in righteousness.   4 Judah and Jerusalem’s offerings will be pleasing to the Lord as they were in the days of old, in years long ago.

5 I will approach you to judge you. I will be quick to give testimony against those who practice occult arts, those who commit adultery, those who swear false oaths, those who cheat workers out of their wages, those who wrong a widow and a fatherless child, those who turn away a resident alien—all those who do not fear Me, says the Lord of Armies.   6 Certainly I, the Lord, do not change. That is why you, sons of Jacob, have not come to an end. 7 Since the days of your fathers, you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Armies.

after which, out of respect for the words of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Congregation will rise for


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                        John 1:19-34

19 This is the testimony John gave when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”

20 He confessed and did not deny. He confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

21 And they asked him, “Who are you then? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

“No,” he answered.

22 Then they asked him, “Who are you? Tell us so we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ just as Isaiah the prophet said.”

24 They had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 So they asked John, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, or Elijah, or the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize with water,” John answered. “Among you stands One you do not know. 27 He is the One coming after me, Whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”

28 These things happened in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the One I was talking about when I said, ‘The One coming after me outranks me because He existed before me.’ 31 I myself did not know Who He was, but I came baptizing with water so that He would be revealed to Israel.”

32 John also testified, “I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from heaven and remain on Him. 33 I myself did not recognize Him, but the One Who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The One on Whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, He is the One Who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I saw this myself and have testified that This is the Son of God.”

The Nicene Creed


I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,   +   Maker of heaven and earth,   +   and of all things visible and invisible.   +   And in one Lord Jesus Christ,   +   the only-begotten Son of God,  + begotten of His Father before all worlds,  +  God of God,   + Light of Light.   +  Very God of Very God.   +   Begotten, not made.   +   Being of one substance with the Father,  +   By whom all things were made;    +   Who for us men and for our salvation,   +   came down from heaven    +   And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary    +   And was made man;   +   And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.   +    He suffered and was buried;  +   And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures;    +   And ascended into heaven,  +   And sitteth on the right hand of the Father;    +   And he shall come again with glory,  +  to judge both the quick and the dead;   +   Whose Kingdom shall have no end.    +    And I believe in the Holy Ghost,   +   The Lord and Giver of Life,   +   Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,   +   Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,   +   Who spake by the Prophets.   +   And I believe one holy Christian and Apostolic Church.   +   I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,   +   And I look for the resurrection of the dead,   +   And the life of the world to come.    +  Amen.



after which the Congregation will be seated

The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                  Matthew 3:8

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

Repentance Means Sorrow over Sin AND Change

Sermon Hymn                                                                     Hymn 16   “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”


1 On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry   Announces that the Lord is nigh;

Come, then, and listen, for he brings   Good news about the King of kings.


2 Then cleansed be ev’ry life from sin   And furnished for a guest within,

And let us all our hearts prepare   For Christ to come and enter there.


3 We hail you as our Savior, Lord,    Our refuge and our great reward.

Without your grace we waste away    Like flow’rs that wither and decay.


4 Stretch forth your hand, our health restore,   And lift us up to fall no more.

Oh, make your face on us to shine,   And fill the world with love divine.


5 All praise to you, eternal Son,   Whose advent has our freedom won,

Whom with the Father we adore   And Holy Spirit evermore.



after which the Congregation will rise for the reading of the Sermon Text

Sermon Text                                                                                                                             Matthew 3:1-12

In those days, John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, 2 “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is near!” 3 Yes, this is he of whom this was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:   A voice of one crying out in the wilderness,  “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.” 

4 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan were going out to him. 6 They were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit in keeping with repentance! 9 Do not think of saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. 10 Already the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I baptize you with water for repentance. But the One Who comes after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing shovel is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor. He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

The Advent Message and Its Messenger

after which, the Congregation will rise for

The Post-Sermon Blessing

Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, to Him to glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.  Amen!

We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord

Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address

 (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can also donate on our website:



the Congregation will please rise as the offerings are brought to the altar

Today’s Prayers


P:   Heavenly Father, since You graciously chose to give us spiritual birth through the power of Your Word of truth, we pray that You would continue to send us Your Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace.



C:   Daily renew and strengthen our faith, +   that we might perform works of service to You and others here, +     until by Your grace, we live with You in everlasting glory in Paradise.

P    Lord God, as John the Baptizer boldly and powerfully made people aware of their sinfulness so that they would penitently look to the mightier One, Jesus Christ, for their salvation, grant that same spirit of courage, conviction and faithfulness to all pastors, teachers, and leaders in Your Church on earth.

C:   May we join them, through our offerings, efforts, and witnessing,  becoming Your tools through which many more may come to know of Your salvation in Christ our Lord.

P    Precious Redeemer, on the Day when You triumphantly return to judge the world, every knee will bow before Your glorious throne  in humility and reverence at the sound of Your marvelous, saving name.   

C:   Lead us during this Advent season to celebrate Your incarnation,   +    and daily to give thanks that You have taken upon Yourself our humanity, +     becoming like us in every way — yet without sin – in order that You might live righteously   +    and die sacrificially as our Substitute and Savior.

P    We give You thanks, Almighty Lord, for this nation of which You have so graciously made us citizens.   We ask that You would bless our people and our government with a way of life which pleases You and which preserves our republic.   

C:   Therefore, give wisdom to our President, Representatives in Congress, our Governor and State Legislators,   +     as well as all those persons who serve in government at our local level,   +     that they might lead our nation, state, and community wisely   +     and that all people might live in peace, prosperity, and harmony.

P    God of all power and might, defend and protect all our military personnel who put themselves in harm’s way in order to defend our liberty and freedom.

C:   Grant success to their work so that peace and stability might be established,   +   defend them from every temptation of body and soul,   +    and bring them home – whole, healthy, and soon – upon the successful completion of their work.

P:   Great Physician of body and soul, You know our weaknesses and needs. You know how we struggle with loneliness, pain and illness, longing for healing. Remember in mercy Your servants who are alone, and those who are ill, hospitalized, or recovering from surgery. 


C:   According to Your will, grant all these suffering persons the support they need,  +   and a restoration to health   +   that they might again resume the work You have given them to do.  +  And use their physical troubles, O Lord, to draw them closer in faith to You.

P:   Hear us also, gracious God, as we take a few moments to individually offer You our personal petitions and praises:

Time for Silent Prayer

P:   Confident, O Lord, that You hear even before we speak, we lay before You all our prayers and requests, knowing that You will always answer in those ways which You know are best for us.   This we pray in the name and for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, and in Whose name we also join in praying:

C:  Our Father, Which 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 do to.



Pastor: It is truly good and right that we should at all times and in  all places give You thanks, O Lord, Holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Whose way John the Baptist prepared when he called people to repentance and pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.     Therefore, with angels and archangel, and all the company of heaven, we praise Your holy name and join their glorious song:


Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Heavenly hosts

Heaven and earth are full of Your glory

Hosanna!   Hosanna!    Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is He.   Blessed is He.

Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna!   Hosanna!    Hosanna in the highest!

The Consecration of the Communion Elements

The Peace


Pastor: The peace of the Lord be with you always

      Congregation:   (Sung)   Amen.

The Distribution of the Elements




(Please read the following [continued on the next page] if you have

not spoken with our Pastor about taking communion.  Thank you.)


     We ask that only “Confirmed, Communicant” members of this congregation, or of one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod come forward To receive the Lord’s Supper at this time.

     To us the Lord’s Supper is both an expression of our common faith in Christ (which we share with all our fellow worshipers this morning), and also a public expression of our complete doctrinal agreement as a congregation (as I Corinthians 1:10 and 10:17 requires of us).  

     Accordingly, we are not, in any way, judging your Christian faith by respectfully asking you not to join us in the Lord’s Supper this morning.  Rather, we pray that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage all those Christians who are not presently in full fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and practices of their church in order to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word. It is our earnest desire that you might become familiar with the doctrines of our congregation, so that you might one day join with us at the Lord’s altar in this public expression of full unity of doctrine and practice. Until then, please know that we are most grateful for your participation as a fellow Christian in this worship service, and that we appreciate your patience and understanding of our Communion practice. 


The Distribution Hymns

                                                                                        Hymn 32  “When Sinners See Their Lost Condition”


1 When sinners see their lost condition   And feel the pressing load of sin

And Jesus comes on his blest mission   To heal the sin-sick heart within,

All grief must flee before his grace,   And joy divine will take its place.


2 When Jesus enters meek and lowly   To fill the home with sweetest peace,

When hearts have felt his blessing holy   And found from sin complete release,

Then calm and joy within shall reign,   And hearts divided love again.


3 When Jesus enters land and nation   And changes people with his love,

When, yielding to his kind persuasion,   Our hearts his truth and blessing prove,

Then shall our life on earth be blest;   The peace of God on us shall rest.


4 When Jesus comes — O blessed story –   He works a change in heart and life;

God’s kingdom comes with pow’r and glory   To young and old, to man and wife.

Through sacrament and living Word   Faith, love, and hope are now conferred.


5 Oh, may he soon to ev’ry nation   Find entrance where he is unknown,

With life and light and free salvation,   That Satan’s pow’r be overthrown,

And healing to all hearts may come   In heathen land and Christian home!



                                                                                                                                    “Your Table I Approach”


1 Your table I approach;   Dear Savior, hear my prayer.

Let not an unrepentant heart   Prove hurtful to me there.


2 Lord, I confess my sins   And mourn their wretched bands;

A contrite heart is sure to find    Forgiveness at Your hands.


3 Your body and Your blood,    Once slain and shed for me,

Are taken at Your table, Lord,    In blest reality.


4 Search not how this takes place,    This wondrous mystery;

God can accomplish vastly more    Than what we think could be.


5 O grant, most blessed Lord,   That earth and hell combined

May not about this Sacrament   Raise doubt within my mind.


6 Oh, may I never fail   To thank You day and night

For Your true body and true blood,   O God, my peace and light.

We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing

The Closing Prayer    Pastor


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                                                                                      “O Jesus Christ, God’s only Son”

                                                                                                                   sung to the melody of “O Tannenbaum”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               cwh, 2000

O Jesus Christ, God’s only Son,     You came to earth from heaven,

Fulfilled the Prophets – every one –    For us and our salvation.

The “Woman’s Seed,” and Abram’s Son,    Yet truly you’re th’ Eternal One,

The righteous Son of David, THE  Messiah, long-awaited.


Lord Jesus, Sole Begotten Son,    Be-lov-ed by the Father,

The miracles that You have done   Affirmed You are none other

Than the True God in human form   Spirit-conceived and Virgin born.

The perfect Keeper of the Law –    To free us from its burden.


You stood before accusers, mute    Rejected by Your nation

You bled and died, my Substitute    You earned for me salvation.

O Lamb of God you took away   The whole world’s sin….Now hear me pray:

May peace and joy fill all this day –    Who trust in You, dear Savior.


Oh Savior of the nations, Come,      In majesty and glory

Attended by Your angel hosts       Complete our earthly story.

As Judge of living and the dead,  Forever You’re the Church’s Head.

By grace, through faith in You, ahead      For us is Heav’nly glory.





Last Week at Grace     Sunday worship attendance: 51     Bible Class: 21   Tuesday Bible Study: 11      Midweek Advent Service 34  Communed: 31

Budgetary: $ 1532    Online: $200.68       Textbooks Reimbursement: $375

Midweek Advent Budgetary Offerings:   $475


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

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

                                    Fellowship, 10:45 am     Bible Class/Sunday School 11:05am                                      

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

Tuesday    Tuesday Morning Bible Class, 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday     Soup and Sandwich fellowship meal, 6-6:45 p.m.

                  Midweek Advent worship service, 7 p.m.

Saturday   Outreach Calls, 10 a.m.

Sunday      Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m.    Fellowship Time, 10:40 a.m.                                                           

                  Bible Class/Sun School, 11:05 a.m.          

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

Birthdays This Week  12/06 – Mykayla Carr (King);       12/07 – Robert Bontke;    12/07 – Brady Hesgard;   

12/07 – Kent Mayer;   12/08 – Christine Quinlan;    12/08 – Cynthia Tragasz;      12/09 – Frank Giardino


Do You Know Anyone….  who is not currently attending a church?   Have you prayerfully invited him/her/them to worship with you (and us) some Sunday morning?   Would you be willing to share that person’s/their name and address with us, so that we might send periodic invitations to them to visit us for worship?    If so, please speak with Pastor, as we are always looking for more souls to which we can reach out with our Savior’s Gospel of love, forgiveness, and everlasting life.   Thank you for helping us do that important work for the Lord.

Today’s and Tuesday’s  Bible Classes ……..In our Sunday Bible Class Rick Tragasz will lead a study about various versions of the Bible.   Tuesday moring from 10:30-11:30,  we’re studying the book of Esther.   This week we’ll be working in chapters nine and ten.   Our next study will be in the book of Ecclesiastes.   If you can’t join us in person, please join us over the phone  (call 1-701-802-5405, then dial 7519304#).

Women’s Advent Tea   Ladies, we hope that you will choose to participate in this year’s Women’s Advent Tea, that will be held on Saturday, December 17th.   It will be held from noon to 2 p.m.   Please be a part of this special, spiritual/fellowship opportunity. 

Church “Cookie Exchange” NEXT SUNDAY….December 11th  – Our annual “Cookie Exchange” occurs one week from today.    We hope you’ll participate both in donating Christmas cookies, bars, etc. for this project, as well as in making a donation (to the benevolence fund) for some of the cookies that you can take home and enjoy.  If you’re going to be making a unique “family recipe” cookie(s)….and if you’re so inclined….please share the recipe us.   For more information on this, please speak with Karen Swogger or  Harriet Johnson.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Worship Services     Please join us for worship on Christmas Eve (Saturday, December 24th) at 7:00 p.m. as we close our out Advent preparations through a special Christmas Eve service.   The next morning, (Sunday, December 25th), we’ll return at 9:30 a.m. for the festival celebration of Christ’s nativity.  This service will include the singing of some very traditional and meaning-filled Christmas hymns.   We’re looking forward to joining with you in these special observances of Jesus’ birth. – And please don’t forget to invite those of your family and friends who don’t have a church home of their own to come and celebrate our Savior’s birth with us!

Second Midweek Advent Worship Service THIS WEDNESDAY !!!  – As we do each year, in 2022 we’re holding special, midweek worship services during December.   The Advent season anticipates the coming to earth of Christ as our Savior from sin.   Its purpose is to encourage both repentance and an eager anticipation to celebrate Christ’s birth.  This year’s services are Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m..   We have two of them left, on December 7 and December 14.   The Theme of this year’s services is “Waiting for the Lord.”   This week we’ll consider the patient faith of Elizabeth and Mary as they waited for God’s promisesto them to be fulfilled in the births of their sons, John and Jesus.    In addition, preceding each service we will hold a soup and sandwich dinner.   Meals will run from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.   So, please join us Wednesday evening for food for your body and your soul.   …..  And don’t forget to invite (and, if needed, to bring) a fellow Grace member and some friends to worship with you and us.

Benevolence/Food Pantry Appeal …… God has blessed us in all sort of ways – especially Spiritually. For most God’s “goodness” includes an adequate supply of material things to meet our needs and have something left over.  But for some, earthly blessings aren’t as abundant, and so they have material needs that we, as fellow Christians, can help alleviate through our benevolent gifts.  We’re currently restocking our food pantry to help serve people in need.  Up through Christmas Day, we’ll have a food barrel in the entryway in which you can place any donations to our food pantry.   Food items needed include: soups, canned meats and meals (like spaghetti o’s, ravioli), canned vegetables, and juice.  Monetary gifts for our benevolence fund are also greatly appreciated.  

Special Online Christmas Concert.   Our Synod’s Martin Luther College Concert Choir will offer its Christmas concert via livestream this afternoon af 4 p.m.   You can view the concert by going to

“Angels of Grace” Tree in the Lobby  – Every year in the weeks leading up to Christmas we put up and “angel tree” with special needs and requests “angels” on our tree – opportunities for us, as a “church family” to give special gifts to others in our congregation who have a variety of personal and special needs.    We hope that those of you who can, will respond with your gifts of love, concern and encouragement.   (……..And for any questions, please speak with Pastor.)

      What to do………Please take one or more of the angels off the tree (there are 40 of them).  They are “color-coded” by category and responsibility (see below).  Inside each envelope is a numbered gift suggestion.   Please try to satisfy that need during the coming two weeks.  With the number displayed prominently on the outside for identification, please bring your gift(s) by Sunday, December 18th, leaving it in the Pastor’s office.  He will see to it that they are distributed in the days leading up to Christmas.  

      Gift/Need Color Code…….Blue    General Needs ($25+ gift card & food gift);    Orange – Special/ General Need (larger monetary gifts….$40 and up);     Green – Special “Someone” (male or female gift, & food gift;    Purple  Shut-in Gift (card/plant-poinsettia/food snack/gift);       Pink – Special Health Issue (encouraging card;  plant/Poinsettia, and food snack-gift);     and Yellow – Special Need – children or family (gift cards for Christmas gifts/help with a bill).  God bless your kindness and love.