The Fourth Sunday of the Easter Season

April 21, 2024   known, liturgically, as Jubilate Sunday  (“Rejoice”)



The Incredible Joy of the Christian


It was early on Easter morning, 1799 when horror gripped the peaceful village of Feldkirch, Austria.   High

 above the valley in which the town nestled, residents could plainly see troops belonging to the French army of Napoleon Bonepart.

            With their own Austrian army far away across the mountains, the villagers had good reason for despair.    The town council quickly assembled.  A spirit of hopelessness dominated their discussion.   One council member suggested that they should immediately send the French an offer of peace, including handing the keys of the city to the enemy commander, while begging him for mercy.    While that suggestion was being discussed, the pastor of the town church reminded the assembly, “This is Easter morning.  We have been fretting over our weakness, but we are forgetting our strength.  Let us ring the church bells and have services as usual.  There we can leave our troubles in the hands of our Almighty God, Who will not fail us as He did not fail to raise His Son.”   The pastor’s confidence and courage were contagious.   The town council dismissed its meeting and soon the village church bells rang out joyously.   Villagers, dressed for Easter worship, filled the streets.   The surrounding hills echoed the sound of the church’s bells as they pealed louder and louder, calling the community to come and celebrate the resurrection of the living Christ.

            On the heights above the little town, the French General in command of Napoleon’s invading army of 18,000 troops, hearing the sounds of rejoicing, concluded that there could only be one reason for such joy in the face of his impressive army.  He was sure that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend Feldkirch.   Perhaps at that moment they were even encircling his position on the wooded mountain.    So General Massena ordered his army to break camp immediately and leave.   Before the bells calling the people to worship had stopped ringing, and long before church service was concluded on that Easter day in 1799, the French army was in retreat.

            When the worshipers in Feldkirch poured out of the church doors after the service had concluded and looked up at the heights, they realized that the entire French army was gone.   God had saved them not only from their sins that Easter, He had saved them from Napoleon’s army.   And every man, woman and child rejoiced over the incredible victory and salvation God had given them!

            Many among us are combating various enemies that we cannot necessarily see, unlike the people of Feldkirch who had seen and feared the dreaded French army..   Some of us are fighting against disease, sickness and death.   Others contend with loneliness, depression, and discouragement.   Still others struggle with financial problems.    Some are fighting the inner demons of anger, addiction, or an unforgiving heart.   The enemies of our hearts and souls are too many to list.   But even though problems abound all around, our resolve as Christians can and should always remain the same…..especially when we recall today once more the sinlessness, death and resurrection of Jesus that has forgiven and saved us.   Our resolve is this: “Today we will worship God and rejoice in His grace to us in Christ.” As Christians we dare not surrender to the problems of life, let alone to our sinfulness and Satan’s wicked temptations. We must worship.  God’s glory and our faith demand it!    So, let the “church bells of your heart” ring out today, rejoicing in God’s love for you today….and always. 

            The willingness of Christians to praise the LORD even in the most difficult and demanding of life’s situations and our choosing to rejoice in the face of adversity, loss and pain provides tremendous encouragement to others, and fills every believer with Spiritual strength for the challenges of today and all our tomorrows.   When you feel surrounded on all sides (and who, occasionally, doesn’t?) then choose to take the best perspective of all and look to your LORD for the joy of your soul’s salvation in Jesus that only a believer can know.   Let that joy be the foundation of your Spiritual strength.   Don’t be stuck in fear.    Stand firm in your faith.     Let God be God, and simply worship Him every day in every circumstance.   No matter what you’re contending with, praise God first and foremost.   Whenever you face the enemy let the church bells of your heart and faith ring out joyfully!

The advice Nehemiah once offered in Nehemiah 8:10 is with our attention and acceptance, “ “Go, eat rich food and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, because today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.”


This Sunday on the Church Calendar

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


Our Scripture Lessons for Today

            In today’s First Scripture Lesson we will listen to the story of Lydia’s conversion, and explore the account of the conversion of the Philippian jailor.  In the latter, we’re going to find two very clear examples of Christian joy.  First, the joy of Paul and Silas who, though unfairly imprisoned, rejoice in being able to suffer for Christ’s sake.  They demonstrated that joy through their prayers and hymns.   Second, we’ll encounter the Philippian jailor who, once He had come to believe in God (v. 34), encouraged his entire family to believe in Christ, and who rejoiced in the new-found salvation which God had granted them. 

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

            Today’s Gospel Lesson is the one that was read in the early Church on this 3rd Sunday after Easter:   that of Jesus speaking to His disciples in the upper room on Maundy Thursday, predicting His death and their sorrow over it, but also promising that their sorrow would be turned to incredible, overwhelming joy once He rose from the grave.    Christ also speaks to us in this lesson encouraging us to pray to the Father in His (Jesus’) name with the confidence that for His sake our prayers will be heard and answered in the best way possible.   In addition He assures us that we can enjoy a spirit of peace in this life, even in the midst of all sorts of troubles and problems, since we have put our faith in Him as our Savior Who has overcome sin, death, and this world to assure us eternal life in heaven.  

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

             Finally, today’s Sermon will center around the encouraging and joy-filled words that God gave Paul in Romans 5.    He looks at the core teaching of our Christian faith, the doctrine of justification by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone, as says that – because of it – we now have real, lasting peace with God.    This gift of reconciliation with God – all done by Him; in fact, we have been chosen by Him to believe and be saved – gives the Christian an abiding joy and confidence throughout life, and into eternal life in heaven.



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




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



Pre-service Prayer                                                                                                                  Pre-service Music


We Praise Our God


The Greeting and Invitation to Worship


following which, at the invitation of the Pastor,  the Congregation will rise for the invocation


The Invocation


In the name of the Father

Who created and preserves this world and every one of us,

Who gave His Son into death for us

 and Who raised Him in glory on the third day;


And of the Son,

 Who became fully human in order to be our Savior-Substitute,

Who laid down His life only to take it up again on the third day,

Who rules over all things from heaven for the good of His Church,

and Who will return in glory on the Last Day to deliver that Church;;


And of the Holy Spirit

through Whom Christ was made alive,

Who has worked and sustains saving faith in our hearts,

Who lives in us now through the Word,

and Who will one day give life to our mortal bodies.



The Psalm for Today                                                                                                  Psalm 66, selected verses


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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



After which the Congregation may be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                                                  “Rejoice, the Lord Is King”

Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
Music: John Darwall, 1731-1789;   Tune: Darwalls 148TH, 66.66.88 ;    CW 322


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


Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!


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


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


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



After which the Congregation will rise



The Confessional Order


Pastor              O Lord, open my lips.


Congregation              And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.



Pastor            Hasten,  O God, to deliver me.


Congregation              Hasten to help me, O LORD.


Pastor The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.


Congregation              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.     Hallelujah!



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.”


The Absolution


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.

Our Prayer for the Morning 


Lord God, Heavenly Father,   +   You have both the power and the will    +   to transform  the minds and hearts of Your children   +   so that we will want what You want +   and do what pleases You.   +   Enable and empower us   + so that we might always love what You love   +   obey what You have commanded   +    and desire those blessings which You promise to provide according to Your will.     +   Then, regardless of the challenges and changes that occur in our lives,   +    our hearts will remain fixed firmly   +   on the Source from which true and lasting joy alone can be secured:     +    Your grace to us in Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, +   Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,   +    as the one true God,   +   now and forever.   +    Amen.


After which the Congregation may be seated


Feed Us, Lord


The First Lesson                                                                                                                           Acts 16:11-34


11 After we put out to sea from Troas, we sailed straight to Samothrace, and the next day to Neapolis. 12 From there we went to Philippi, which is a leading city in that part of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We stayed in this city for a number of days.


13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate alongside the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer.   We sat down and began to talk to the women who had gathered there. 14 A woman named Lydia, who worshipped God, was listening. She was a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira. The Lord opened her heart to pay close attention to what Paul was saying. 15 When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.


16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, a slave girl met us. She had a spirit that foretold the future, and she made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 As she followed Paul and us, she kept crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way to be saved.” 18 When she kept doing this for many days, Paul became so annoyed that he turned to the spirit and said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.


19 When her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 They had brought them to the magistrates and said, “These men are throwing our city into a state of confusion. They are Jews, 21 and they are teaching customs that are not lawful for us to accept or practice, since we are Romans.”


22 When the crowd also joined in the attack against them, the magistrates tore off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had beaten them severely, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to guard them securely. 24 Because he received such a command, the jailer threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.


25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. Instantly all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw that the prison doors were opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, because he thought that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted with a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, because we are all here!”


29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling in front of Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”


31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his home. 33 At the same hour of the night, he took them and washed their wounds. Without delay, he and all his family were baptized. 34 Then he brought Paul and Silas into his house and set food before them. He rejoiced, because he and his whole household had come to believe in God.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                              Philippians 4:1-23


So then, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way keep standing firm in the Lord, my dear friends.


2 I appeal to Euodia and I appeal to Syntyche to come to an agreement in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, true coworker, bring these women together, who contended alongside me in the gospel, as did also Clement and the rest of my coworkers, whose names are in the book of life.


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


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


10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord now that you have revived your concern for me once again. Actually, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I lack anything; in fact, I have learned to be content in any circumstances in which I find myself. 12 I know what it is to live in humble circumstances, and I know what it is to have more than enough. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, while being full or hungry, while having plenty or not enough. 13 I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you did well by becoming partners with me in my affliction.


15 You Philippians know that in the beginning of your experience with the gospel, when I left Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 Even while I was in Thessalonica, you sent help more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I am seeking a gift, but I am seeking the fruit that adds to your account. 18 I have been paid in full, and I have more than enough. I am fully supplied since I’ve received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, a sweet-smelling fragrance, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19 And my God will fully supply your every need, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever! Amen.


21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those who are from Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


after which the Congregation will rise out of respect for  the words of our Savior as we give our attention to


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                       John 15:1-17


“I am the true vine, and My Father is the Gardener.   2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He is going to cut off. And He prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will bear more fruit.


3 “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I am going to remain in you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Likewise, you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in Me.


5 “I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him is the one who bears much fruit, because without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers. Such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you continue to bear much fruit and prove to be My disciples.


9 “As the Father has loved Me, so also I have loved you. Remain in My love. 10 If you hold on to My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have held on to My Father’s commands and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that My joy would continue to be in you and that your joy would be complete.

12 “This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this: that someone lays down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you continue to do the things I instruct you. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything that I heard from My Father, I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will endure, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. 17 These things I am instructing you, so that you love one another.



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 for


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                I Thessalonians 5:15-18


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


Don’t Get Mad……Get Glad !


The Hymn of the Day                                                                    “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”   (CW 169)


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

Heav’n and earth bow down before You,       Praising You, our Lord above.

You our Father,   Christ our Savior,       With the Spirit faith provides,

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


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

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

You have claimed us as Your children       Heaven’s heirs through faith alone

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

Lord, receive our prayers and praises,   weak and humble though they be.

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

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

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


after which the Congregation will rise for



The Pre-Sermon Salutation


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord!   May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  Amen.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                                       Romans 5:1-11


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through Him we also have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we rejoice confidently on the basis of our hope for the glory of God.


3 Not only this, but we also rejoice confidently in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces patient endurance, 4 and patient endurance produces tested character, and tested character produces hope. 5 And hope will not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Who was given to us.


6 For at the appointed time, while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 It is rare indeed that someone will die for a righteous person. Perhaps someone might actually go so far as to die for a person who has been good to him. 8 But God shows His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


9 Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, it is even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through Him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, it is even more certain that, since we have been reconciled, we will be saved by His life. 11 And not only is this so, but we also go on rejoicing confidently in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received this reconciliation.


The Joy of Reconciliation


after the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for



The Post-Sermon Blessing


May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, now encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  Amen.


We Present our Prayers and Offerings to the Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.     However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash, please) to our church address:   (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745); or

2) You can donate through our website:


  • The Offering Hymn                                                                     Hymn 485 “We Give Thee But Thine Own”


    1 We give Thee but Thine own,   Whate’er the gift may be;

    All that we have is Thine alone,   A trust, O Lord, from Thee.


    2 May we Thy bounties thus   As stewards true receive

    And gladly, as Thou blessest us,   To thee our firstfruits give.


    3 Oh, hearts are bruised and dead,   And homes are bare and cold,

    And lambs for whom the shepherd bled   Are straying from the fold.


    4 To comfort and to bless,   To find a balm for woe,

    To tend the lone and fatherless,   Is angels’ work below.


    5 The captives to release,   To God the lost to bring,

    To teach the way of life and peace–   It is a Christ-like thing.


    6 And we believe Thy Word   Though dim our faith may be:

    Whate’er for Thine we do, O Lord,   We do it unto Thee.



    Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


    after the offerings are brought forward, the Congregation will rise as



    We Bring Our Prayers to the Lord


    In our Prayers today we include:

    A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of Tom Otto who underwent successful knee replacement surgery this past Wednesday.


    A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Charles Huebner, whom God graciously took through two heart procedures this past Monday.


    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 right to give Him thanks and praise



    Consecration of the Elements                                                                                                                                                                            


    Pastor                       The peace of the Lord be with you always.


    Congregation           Amen.



    Our Self-Examination Before Receiving The Lord’s Supper


    Pastor  Let us now examine ourselves in preparation for receiving this Sacrament of our Lord, as the inspired           Apostle Paul so instructs us in I Corinthians 11, where he writes,  “…whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of     the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  A man ought to   examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing        the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement upon himself.”



    Pastor  Accordingly, are you sincerely sorry for your sins and determined, with God’s help, to change your sinful      ways?


    Congregation  Yes, I am sorry for my sins and desire to serve Jesus and not a sinful lifestyle.



    Pastor  Do you believe that here in the Lord’s Supper you will receive, along with the bread and wine, the true body        and blood of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?                


    Congregation Yes, I believe that I will be receiving the true body and blood of my Lord and Savior, which was given into death for my sins.



    Pastor  Are you coming to the Lord’s table as one in the faith with this Christian congregation, as the Scriptures        teach?


    Congregation  Yes I have studied the teachings of this congregation concerning God’s Word;  I agree with them;  And am one in faith with them, as the Scriptures command me to be before I come to the Lord’s table with anyone.



    Pastor  Finally, do you recognize your need for forgiveness and do you believe that you will receive through the     Lord’s Supper the full and free forgiveness of all your sins?


    Congregation  Yes, I have examined my life, see the need for God’s forgiveness and believe that I will receive complete forgiveness for all my sins, as my Savior has promised.

    Pastor  Having examined yourselves and confessed your sins, come now with confidence and joy to your Lord’s table and receive here, through His body and blood, the guarantee that your sins are all forgiven, and that           eternal life and salvation are surely yours.


    After which the Congregation may be seated for


    The Distribution of the Sacrament




                                                                                       (Please read the following if you have not spoken with

                                                                                                our Pastor about taking communion.  Thank you.)


    To our Guests this morning,  we appreciate your presence among us.  It is an honor to have you join with us as we worship our Lord and listen to His Word.   We truly consider it a privilege to spend this time with you!   It is our hope that you will both return in the future to worship with us again, and – perhaps – that You will even choose to become part of our congregation’s membership and our Synodical (WELS) fellowship, so that you might become even more involved in worship, study of God’s Word, and in Christian ministry and fellowship with us.

                In connection with our worship as Christians, we regularly celebrate the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion.   But, as a key part of our church’s Biblically-based communion practice, before we can ask anyone to commune with us, we are compelled to first sit down with that individual and establish (upon a comprehensive study of the teachings of Scripture) that we are united in full doctrinal/ teaching fellowship…….which Scripture requires of any and all Christians before they can commune together.  

                Accordingly, we can offer the Lord’s Supper this morning only to those individuals who have completed that course of study, and who have chosen to become confirmed, communicant members of Grace Lutheran congregation or from one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) or Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) congregations.

                For some guests, this Biblical practice of “Close Communion“ is both unfamiliar and (quite possibly)  uncomfortable.   We realize that, unfortunately, few churches today continue to follow this approach to communion…..though, in the past (when many churches were more concerned about following all of God’s Word than is the case today)  nearly all did.    We understand that it is not necessarily easy to watch others receiving the Lord’s Supper, while being asked – respectfully — to refrain from receiving it.   Many of us who are communing today once also watched others receive the Lord’s Supper, as you are asked to do this morning, while waiting for the privilege of  one day  being an active partner in this “Close Communion.”   We want to assure you that we are not judging your faith in Christ today.   Nor it is our desire to offend you.     But it also is not our desire to offend or disobey our Lord’s expectations for the proper use of His Supper.    Indeed, we must all obey Him above all others, and we want to obey Him.  Consequently, if you have any questions or concerns about our use/practice of the Lord’s Supper (and we invite you to ask or express them — if you do),  please feel free to speak with our Pastor after the service, or at your convenience.  He considers it a privilege to share with you and others the Biblical reasons for our approach to receiving and offering the Lord’s Supper.     In addition,  you can also find a brochure in our tract/brochure rack in the entryway;  it is entitled “Our Communion Practice.”   This brochure also provides our guests and friends with the  Scripture-based explanation for our understanding of and use of the Lord’s Supper.                

                Finally, please know that we truly are grateful for your participation – as a fellow Christian – in this morning’s worship service.   We also thank you for your patience and understanding, and for respecting this Biblical approach we must take as we endeavor to faithful make us of our Lord’s Supper.  We hope and pray that you will come back to worship with us again — often.   And that one day you might become a part of this Christian fellowship, not only as we worship and hear God’s Word from these pews, but as we receive the Lord’s Supper together.   May God bless and keep you always!




    The Distribution Hymn                                                                                          “I Stand Here Before You”

                                                                                                      Sung to the melody of “How Firm A Foundation”


    I stand here before You, O mightiest One

    In need of forgiveness for wrongs I have done.

    Oh, grant me Your pardon, my spirit now pleads

    Forgive my transgressions in thoughts, words, and deeds.

    The Tempter keeps taunting me day after day,

    I often succumb and submit to his way.

    From birth I’ve been evil — my mortal flesh weak,

    I do not abide by the words that You speak.


    I humbly confess with the deepest of shame

    The times I abused Your magnificent Name.

    In spite of Your right to demand faithfulness,

    My life’s often guided by my selfishness.


    I covet, I slander, I look with lust, too.

    I fail to give honor where honor is due.

    I steal and I gossip… far do I fall –

    Your perfect commandments:   I’ve broken them all.


    Right here at Your table forgiveness is found

    In Christ’s holy blood that flowed down to the ground,

    His body and blood in the bread and the wine

    A marvel of love that is truly divine!


    That blood of Your Chosen was shed to erase

    The sins of the world.   How I cherish that grace!

    Dear God I am thankful to be such a one,

    Washed clean by the blood of my Savior, Your Son.



    Second Distribution Hymn                                                                                                              Hymn 313

       “Jesus Christ, Our Precious Savior”

               (If utilized)


    1 Jesus Christ, our blessed Savior,   Turned away God’s wrath forever;

    By his bitter grief and woe   He saved us from the evil foe.


    2 As his pledge of love undying,   He, this precious food supplying,

    Gives his body with the bread   And with the wine the blood he shed.


    3 Jesus here himself is sharing;   Take heed how you are preparing,

    For if you do not believe,   Judgment instead you shall receive.


    4 Useless would be Jesus’ passion   If salvation you could fashion.

    Do not come if you suppose   You need not him who died and rose.


    5 Christ says, “Come, all you that labor,   And receive my grace and favor;

    Those who feel no pain or ill   Need no physician’s help or skill.”


    6 Then hold fast with faith unshaken   That this food is to be taken

    By the souls who are distressed,   By hearts that long for peace and rest.


    7 Praise the Father, who from heaven   Unto us such food has given

    And, to mend what we have done,   Gave into death his only Son.

    8 If your heart this truth professes   And your mouth your sin confesses,

    Surely you will be his guest   And at his banquet ever blest.



    At the close of the distribution of communion  the Pastor will invite the congregation to 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 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 323   “Almighty Father, Bless the Word”


    1 Almighty Father, bless the word   Which through your grace we now have heard.

    Oh, may the precious seed take root,   Spring up, and bear abundant fruit.


    2 We praise you for the means of grace   As homeward now our steps we trace.

    Grant, Lord, that we who worshiped here   May all at last in heav’n appear.

    Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

    When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


    I sing because I’m happy,

    I sing because I’m free,

    For His eye is on the sparrow,

    And I know He watches me.


    “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


    I sing because I’m happy,

    I sing because I’m free,

    For His eye is on the sparrow,

    And I know He watches me.


    Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

    When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,

    I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


    I sing because I’m happy,

    I sing because I’m free,

    For His eye is on the sparrow,

    And I know He watches me.







    Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

    When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


    I sing because I’m happy,

    I sing because I’m free,

    For His eye is on the sparrow,

    And I know He watches me.


    “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


    I sing because I’m happy,

    I sing because I’m free,

    For His eye is on the sparrow,

    And I know He watches me.


    Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

    When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,

    I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


    I sing because I’m happy,

    I sing because I’m free,

    For His eye is on the sparrow,

    And I know He watches me.


    silent prayer,


    post-service music