Unless The LORD Builds Your House


 For whatever reasons, Father’s Day doesn’t seem to receive anywhere near the

 kind of attention from our society that “Mother’s Day” does.  There aren’t as many phone calls made, nor are there as many cards sent or as expensive gifts given on Father’s Day as happens on Mother’s Day.   Most dads will say, “Oh well.   That’s fine.”  And simply enjoy the day of rest.

         However, during the time we spend together this morning  in worship and in study of our God’s Word, we’d like to give our fathers,  husbands and Christian men at least some of the attention (and direction) due them not only on this special day, but all the time.

          Regardless of what society says or doesn’t say on Father’s Day to Christian men in general, and to husbands and fathers more specifically,  day-in and day-out the Lord places great importance on the roles and responsibilities which He has entrusted to these Christian men, as well as to Christian women and children.    As we’ll see and share today, for a home to be blessed by the LORD in the way He wants to bless it, He wants every member of that household to maintain a God-pleasing attitude and approach….one that trusts in His wisdom and guidance in all matters.

         Very simply, when we do things the LORD’s way, He provides amazing blessings that both enrich our households and – more importantly – honor Him. 

           Ultimately, it’s all about your and my having homes and hearts that are committed to being dependant on the LORD (and not on ourselves) for everything in life…..from our material provision and good health, to the divine guidance we need every day just to get through the day,  and especially to His forgiving grace that guarantees us peace of mind now and everlasting life in heaven one day through faith in Christ.

           Getting back to Father’s Day,   God wants our homes and hearts to enjoy the emotional and spiritual success which He intends for all of us.   That can happens for you and me as, through the Holy Spirit’s aid, our LORD builds our faith and faithfulness to discharge the various duties which God has assigned to us as His children.

           To that end, today’s Old Testament Lesson  presents us with a stellar example of sound Christian leadership and responsibility in the family through the character of Joshua, son of Nun.   As Joshua declared, so may every one of us today re-echo as the motto for each of our homes, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”  And, as Joshua’s family faithfully followed his lead, so may God grant that all our homes follow the godly examples of the spiritual leaders that God has put over us in our homes and church.  

           Our Epistle Lesson for this morning contains St. Paul’s words of inspired instruction to  husbands, wives and children regarding the roles that the LORD expects each of us to fill in our homes, so that each Christian home may function in the most God-pleasing fashion possible, and receive the blessings God wants to provide us..  

           Following up on that point this morning’s Children’s Lesson will remind our children (and their fathers) that through their Christian behavior they will be honoring two fathers:  their earthly fathers, and their heavenly fathers.  

           In our Gospel Lesson, shortly before heading to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise for our salvation, Jesus takes His disciples to Caesarea Philippi, a Gentile location filled with temples to false gods.  He then asks them who others think He is.  The answers varied:   John the Baptist come back from the dead;   Elijah returned from heaven;   a different prophet.   Then Jesus asked His disciples Who they thought He was.  Peter’s epic answer was “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”    Jesus commends Peter for his answer, which Jesus says was revealed to Peter by God the Father.  And then – for our purposes today – Jesus says that this confession of faith on the part of Peter is the confession of truth on which He (Christ) would build his Church.   And the truth is…..not only every truly Christian Church, but every person who is a Christian, must have his/her faith built firmly on this confession and truth about Christ.   You simply can’t be a Christian and not believe this.

           Finally, our Sermon is based on Solomon’s inspired words that make up Psalm 127.    On the one hand, he writes about the foolishness and futility of trying to build your life (your house) apart from God.  He also points to the grace God gives us, both in the spiritual heritage we’ve received from our parents and the privilege we have in passing that heritage down to our children and spiritual successors.


Scripture quotations in this worship flyer, unless otherwise noted,  are taken from the EVANGELICAL HERITAGE VERSION of the Bible.  Copyright 2019

 by the Warburg Project.   All rights reserved.


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 music                                                                                                                 


The Service Introduction and Invitation to Worship


Today’s Opening Hymn                                                  “Now Thank We All Our God”



1 Now thank we all our God   With hearts and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done,   In whom His world rejoices;

Who from our mothers’ arms  Has blest us on our way

With countless gifts of love  And still is ours today.


2 Oh, may this bounteous God   Through all our life be near us,

With ever joyful hearts   And blessed peace to cheer us

And keep us in His grace   And guide us when perplexed

And free us from all ills   In this world and the next!


3 All praise and thanks to God   The Father now be given,

The Son, and Him who reigns   With them in highest heaven,

The one eternal God,   Whom earth and heav’n adore;

For thus it was, is now,   And shall be evermore.



At the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation


P:       We make our beginning this morning, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.        Amen. 

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

C:      And also with you

The Confession of Sins

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

         Congregation       Holy and merciful Father, +   I confess that I am by nature sinful   +   and that I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions;    +    I have

done what is evil in Your sight   +   and have failed to do what is good.   +    For this I know that I deserve Your punishment,   +    both now and for eternity.     +     But I am truly sorry for all my sins,     +   and trusting in the perfect life   +   and innocent death of my Savior,  Jesus Christ, +   I plead:    +  God have mercy on me, a sinner.

         Pastor         Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save us from all our sins.     And now, carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.   


         Congregation   Amen.

Lord Have Mercy

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

         C:     (sung) Lord have mercy


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


         C:     (sung) Christ have mercy


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


         C:     (sung) Lord have mercy


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


         C:     (Sung)   Amen.



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


(Sung)           O Lord, our Lord, How glorious is Your name in all the earth.

Almighty God, merciful Father, Your crown our life with Your love.

You take away our sin;    You comfort our spirit;

You make us pure and holy in Your sight.

You did not spare Your only Son, but gave Him up for us all.

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

O Son of God, eternal Word of the Father,

You came to live with us;   You made Your Father known;

You washed us from our sins in Your own blood.

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

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


After which the Congregation will be seated as


We Give Our Attention to the Word of God


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                  Joshua 24:14-28


14 Joshua said, “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly and faithfully. Remove the gods that your fathers served in the region across the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if you see no benefit in serving the Lord,[c] then choose for yourselves today whomever you will serve—whether the gods that your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household—we will serve the Lord!”

         16 The people responded by saying, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord in order to serve other gods! 17 For the Lord our God, he is the one who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, where we were slaves. He is the one who performed these great signs right before our eyes and protected us on the whole journey that we made and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 18 The Lord drove out of our presence all the peoples and the Amorites who were living in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God!”

         19 But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, because he is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and you serve foreign gods, then he will turn and cause disaster for you, and he will put an end to you after he has done good for you.”  21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will most certainly serve the Lord!”

         22 So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord for yourselves in order to serve him.”  The people said, “We are witnesses!”   23 Joshua said, “Now, therefore, remove the foreign gods that are among you, and turn your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.”   24 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God, and we will listen to his voice.”  25 That day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and he affirmed for them a statute and ordinance there at Shechem. 26 Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was at the holy place of the Lord.

         27 Joshua said to all the people, “See, this stone will be a witness among us and against us, because it has heard all the words that the Lord spoke with us. So it will be a witness among you and against you, so that you do not act  deceptively against your God.”   28 Then Joshua dismissed the people, each one to his own inheritance.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                               Ephesians 5:22-6:4


22 Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he himself is the Savior. 24 Moreover, as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, in the same way as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, by cleansing her with the washing of water in connection with the Word. 27 He did this so that he could present her to himself as a glorious church, having no stain or wrinkle or any such thing, but so that she would be holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands have an obligation to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 To be sure, no one has ever hated his own body, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 In any case, each one of you also is to love his wife as himself, and each wife is to respect her husband.


6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise: 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live a long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.



After which, the Congregation will rise for



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                               Matthew 16:13-20


13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”   14 They said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”


15 He said to them, “But you, who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”   17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he commanded the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.



The  Confession of our Christian Faith

according to the words of 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 may be seated for



The Children’s Lesson                                                                            Ephesians 6:2-3


 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise: 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live a long life on the earth.”


Honor Your Fathers

The Hymn of the Day                                                                                                              “Oh, Blest The House”


1 Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,  Where Jesus Christ is all in all!

A home that is not wholly His–  How sad and poor and dark it is!


2 Oh, blest that house where faith is found   And all in hope and love abound;

They trust their God and serve Him still  And do in all His holy will!


3 Oh, blest the parents who give heed   Unto their children’s foremost need

And weary not of care or cost.  May none to them and heav’n be lost!

4 Oh, blest that house; it prospers well.   In peace and joy the parents dwell,

And in their children’s lives is shown   How richly God can bless His own.


5 Then here will I and mine today   A solemn promise make and say:

Though all the world forsake His Word,  I and my house will serve the Lord!



The Pre-Sermon Greeting


Grace be yours, and peace from God our Father,

and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.   Amen.


The Sermon                                                                                                        Psalm 127


1  If the Lord does not build the house,  it is useless for the builders to work hard over it.  If the Lord does not watch over the city,  it is useless for the watchman to stand guard.  2 It is useless for you to get up early and to work late,   worrying about bread to eat, because God grants sleep to the one he loves.  3 Indeed, children are a heritage from the Lord.   The fruit of the womb is a reward from him.  4 Sons born during one’s youth are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.   5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they dispute with enemies at the city gate.


Unless The LORD Builds Our House….


After the sermon the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED as


The Offering


Because we aren’t able to pass an offering plate today during today’s worship

service those in attendance may leave their offerings in the offering plates

by the exit door at the close of our service today.

For those watching today’s service, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:  

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

(415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can go online to our website (www.gracelutherannwa.com)

and use the giving option there.

We Bring Our Prayers Before the Lord


This Morning’s General Prayer


Included in our prayers this morning are Special Prayers on behalf of:

Taylor and Danielle Ashley, who are celebrating their wedding anniversary today;


Eric and MiKaela Lemmon, whose anniversary is this coming Thursday;


Rick and Cynthia Tragasz,, whose wedding anniversary is this Thursday


Mike and Marilyn Outlaw, who will be observing their anniversary on Friday;

and, finally,

Sean and Emily Krohn, whose wedding anniversary is this Friday


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 Leave With God’s Blessing


The Benediction


P:  Brothers and sisters, go in peace.   Live in harmony with one another.   Serve the Lord in gladness.


         The LORD bless you and keep you

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

          The LORD look upon you with favor, and grant you His peace.    Amen.


The Closing Hymn                                                “God’s Word Is Our Great Heritage


God’s Word is our great heritage   And shall be ours forever;

To spread its light from age to age   Shall be our chief endeavor.

Through life it guides our way,   In death it is our stay.

Lord, grant, while worlds endure,   We keep its teachings pure

Throughout all generations.


Silent Prayer, Announcements,  Post-Service Music




Last Week at Grace Lutheran Church                                     Worship Attendance: 47

On line views of the Sunday service:  34                                                                       Tuesday Bible Class participants: 11

Budgetary Fund: $2238       Capital Improvement Fund: $11


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

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

Tuesday       Morning Bible Class, 10:15 to noon

Wednesday 6-6:10p.m.   “10 Minutes With Jesus” prayer time for women (see below)

                      6p.m.  Board of Education Meeting

Sunday     Morning Worship, including the Lord’s Supper, at 9:30 a.m.  


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

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

June 24 – Rick and Cynthian Tragasz;     June 25 – Mike and Marilyn Outlaw;     

June 25 – Sean and Emily Krohn;    June 26 – Chris Roberts;     June 26 – Evan Taylor;


Serving Us Next Sunday                   Elders:   Tim Pfortmiller, Steve Stone

Ushers:   Tom Otto,  Kent Mayer,  John Johnson, Tim Huebner

Altar Guild:   Marilyn Outlaw,   Harriet Johnson, Debbie Jones