The Sixth Sunday after Trinity    July 16, 2023   

The Eighth Sunday of the Pentecost Season

What We Want to Hear vs What We Need to Hear


An elderly gentleman was having hearing problems and went to see  a specialist.   The doctor fitted him with a pair

 of hearing aids that brought his hearing back to full strength.   It was amazing!    The gentleman thanked the doctor and headed out the office door for home.

            After a few weeks the man came back for a follow-up appointment, just to make sure that the new equipment was working properly, which it was.

            The hearing specialist said, “It all seems perfect.  Your family should be delighted that you can hear everything now.”

            “Oh no,” the man responded. “I haven’t told any of them I have hearing aids.   Instead,  I just sit quietly, listening carefully to everything they’re saying.   So far I’ve changed my will four times.”

            It’s a good joke.   But, of course, it’s not funny when a person really has trouble hearing – as some among us do.   Experts even say that physical hearing deficiencies can lead to serious problems…..such as anxiety, depression, social isolation, dementia, an increased risk of falling, lower quality of life, and much more. 

            What’s true about physical hearing loss is also (and even more) true about Spiritual hearing loss as well as selective Spiritual hearing loss.  It’s not funny, and can be dangerous, even deadly to a person’s soul.   Although God has extraordinary things to teach us in His Word, not everything in Scripture is easy for people (even for us Christians) to listen to and accept. 

            That’s because God, in His Word, often has to call on sinners – like me, and you – to admit that our “comfortable” evil behaviors, words, thoughts and attitudes are sinful.  He further calls on us to respond appropriately by repenting of them….by stopping the sin and instead by returning to the godly behaviors that our Lord expects from us.   However, the sinful nature within us doesn’t necessarily want to repent, does it?   And so, sometimes, we shut our ears (and hearts) off to what God tells us in His Law about our sin and about His righteous expectations for us.  

            One can also shut his/her ears and heart off to the Gospel, which is based on a fundamental principal that “natural man” (the unbeliever in us) finds unacceptable.   That “principal” is that – no matter how hard a person tries – we are utterly incapable of earning our salvation.   Salvation has to come from outside of us…..specifically, through the Father’s accepting, and our totally depending on and believing in all that Jesus’ holiness, death and resurrection achieved for our fogiveness and eventual entrance into heaven.

            Thank God, then, that over and over throughout His Word, He hits our sin-stubborn hearts with the battering ram of His Law…..pounding our egos and selfish desires into penitent submission before Him, as well as directing us to those things we can do (or avoid) to please God.   Similarly, God repeatedly offers us the Gospel from one end of Scripture to the other, proving His love for us by assuring us that, in Christ’s sinless life and sacrificial death, He has earned for us forgiveness of all sin, as well as a guaranteed place in heaven, through faith in Jesus.

            Natural man might not want to hear the truth about his sinfulness, let alone the damnation in hell that he (and we all) deserve for our sins, but God’s Word tells him that hard, absolute truth.   Why?  So that He might see His utter lostness in sin and repent.  A person also might not want to hear (and believe) the truth of the Gospel, because the Gospel offends his code of self-reliance.   He assumes that his own goodness (especially when compared to certain others) will secure a place in heaven for him…..even though it can’t and won’t possibly do that.  The only thing that can and will save us (and….praise God, it has!….) is the Holy Spirit’s enabling us to hear and believe the Good News that Christ’s life, death and resurrection for us has provided us with a guaranteed place in heaven for Jesus’ sake.


And THAT will be the focus of our service and Scripture lessons today.


Today’s Scripture Lessons

            In today’s Psalm we are encouraged to praise the LORD for His many blessings to us, for His great power, and for His limitless understanding of us.

            In our Old Testament Lesson, we’ll hear about Jeremiah’s dealings with a false prophet by the name of Hananiah.  Hananiah lied to the people of Judah by telling them that they didn’t need to repent, or to worry about the Babylonians, because God was pleased with them.   Jeremiah, on the other hand, told the truth – even though it was hard for the Jewish nation to hear.   And the truth was that they were unfaithful idolaters who had refused to hear and heed God’s Word.  As a result, the Babylonians would come as God’s agents of discipline, to destroy the nation of Judah (and their capital city and temple), and to carry them into a disciplinary captivity in exile for 70 years.

            In our Epistle Lesson the Apostle Paul talks bluntly about his own sinfulness (and ours).   He speaks honestly with us about how he knows what God wants from him, as far as godly behavior is concerned, but that he too often succumbs to the desires of his own sinful nature instead.   In other words, for our purposes today, Paul heard the Word of God, but didn’t always heed that Word.   Finally, he acknowledges that the only way He can be saved is through God’s grace (and not his personal goodness), through faith in Jesus Christ.

            Next, in this morning’s Gospel Lesson we’ll listen to Jesus remind us that anyone who wants to be His follower needs to “deny himself”… other words, he (or she) needs to resist the sinful, selfish desires that are so characteristic of  our sinful nature.   Instead, Jesus urges His disciples to “take up the cross” and “follow” Him.   We take up the cross when the Holy Spirit enables us to serve and to suffer for our Savior and His Kingdom.

            Today’s Children’s Lesson will use the example of “ear plugs” to talk about Jesus’ encouragement to the people He spoke to 2000 years ago….and to us today… use our ears to faithfully hear and heed His Word of truth – instead of closing off our ears (and hearts) to it.

            And, finally, today’s Sermon Text is the closing portion of the instructions Jesus gave to His disciples when He sent them out to do mission work of Him early in His ministry.    Here He talks about some of what makes the ministry of the Word both challenging and demanding.   Jesus informs His disciples that people are not always going to want to eagerly hear the Law and Gospel, and many will refuse to believe in Him as their Savior.   Nevertheless, His disciples – then and now – are to preach and teach ALL His Word faithfully and fearlessly…..mindful that, in the end, souls will be served and saved.





Pre-Service Prayer

Lord, open now, my heart to hear

   And through Your Word to me, draw near;

Let me Your Word e’er pure retain,

Let me Your child and heir remain.

Your Word does deeply move the heart, 

   Your Word does perfect health impart,

Your Word my soul with joy does bless,   

 Your Word brings peace and happiness.  Amen.




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




            The Order for Holy Communion



Silent Prayer                                                                                                                             Pre-service music


The Introduction and Welcome to Worship   



We Praise Our God


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


The Invocation


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



Our Psalm Reading for Today                                                                        Psalm 147, selected verses


P:         Praise the LORD!


  • How good it is to sing praises to our God, +   how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!



P:         The LORD…heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

C:        He determines the number of the stars + and calls them each by name.


P:        Great is our Lord and mighty in power.  His understanding knows no limit.

C:        The LORD sustains the humble + but casts the wicked to the ground.


P:         Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;    make music to our God on the harp.

C:        He covers the sky with clouds;



P:         He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.



  • He provides food for the cattle +   and for the young ravens when they call.



  • His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of a man.

C:        the LORD delights in those who fear Him,   +   who have put their hope in His unfailing love.


P:         Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem;    praise your God, O Zion.

C:        Praise the LORD!


After which the Congregation may be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                              “God the Father, Gracious Lord”

To the tune of “Come You Thankful People, Come”  meter:    7777D


God the Father, gracious Lord,

    May Your name be e’er adored.

All exists by Your command    In the sky or sea or land.

Precious Father, You know all –

   When each hair and sparrow fall.

Guide and guard me from all harm 

 With Your strong, protecting arm.


Jesus Christ, my Lord, God’s Son,

  Who, for me, salvation won –

You Who hung on Calvary    Bore my sins and set me free!

You, my ever-faithful Friend,    Who will love me to the end,

By Your grace in heav’n I’ll live. 

 Heart-felt praise to You I give.


Holy Spirit, Light Divine, 

  Through the Means of Grace, please shine

In my heart again today,    Drive sin’s darkness far away.

Keep me in Your Word, so true,    Day by day my faith renew.

Use me, Lord, as You know best 

  Serving here – in heav’n to rest.

Blessed Holy Trinity,    Glorious in Your majesty,

Father, Spirit and the Son –   Savior-God, the Three-in-One –

From sin’s curse You set me free    Heaven’s mine – eternally.

All I am, to You I owe,  

 Source from Whom all blessings flow.       Amen.



After which the Pastor will invite the Congregation to rise as



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


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.


(Sung)   Lord have mercy on us;

 Christ have mercy on us;              Lord, have mercy on us.


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, having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty God, be strengthened in your faith, mindful that our Lord is not willing that anyone should perish eternally, but that everyone should come to repentance, turning from their evil ways and receiving from Him everlasting life.    God has commanded His ministers to declare His forgiveness of sins to all who are penitent.   Therefore, addressing you as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and under His authority,   I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.     May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.


(Sung)    Glory be to God on high

and on earth peace good will to men.

We praise You, we bless You, we worship You.

We glorify You, we give thanks to You for Your great glory.

O Lord God heavenly King, God the Father almighty.

O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ,

O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

You take away the sin of the world.   Have mercy on us.

You take away the sin of the world.   Receive our prayer.

You sit at the right hand of God the Father.      Have mercy on us.

For You only are holy.   You only are the Lord.

You only, O Christ, with the Holy Spirit.

Are most high in the glory of God the Father.   Amen



after which the Congregation may be seated



We Hear God’s Word


The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                            Jeremiah 28:1-17


28 That same year, in the fifth month of the fourth year (early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah), the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, spoke to me in the House of the Lord in the presence of the priests and all the people. He said, 2 “The Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says this. I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 When two full years have passed, I will bring back all the vessels of the Lord’s house that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried off to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back Jeconiah,   son of Jehoiakim king of Judah along with all the exiles of Judah who went to Babylon, declares the Lord, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”


5 Then the prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the House of the Lord. 6 He said, “Amen! May the Lord do that! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied and bring back the vessels of the Lord’s house, and may he bring all the exiles back from Babylon to this place. 7 Nevertheless, listen now to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8 The prophets from ancient times, who came before you and me, prophesied war, famine, and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 As for the prophet who prophesies peace, only when the word of the prophet actually comes true will that prophet become known as someone whom the Lord has truly sent.”


10 Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet and broke it. 11 In the presence of all the people, Hananiah said, “This is what the Lord says. This is how I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from off the neck of all the nations within two full years.” So the prophet Jeremiah went on his way.


12 After the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13 “Go and tell Hananiah that this is what the Lord says. You have broken a wooden yoke, but in its place you will receive an iron yoke. 14 For the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says, I will put an iron yoke on the neck of all these nations so that they will serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Yes, they will certainly serve him. I have even given him the wild animals.”


15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, yet you are making this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore this is what the Lord says. Watch, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you will die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.”


17 In the seventh month of that same year, Hananiah the prophet died.




The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                                                 Romans 7:7-25


7 What will we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have recognized sin except through the law. For example, I would not have known about coveting if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”  8 But sin, seizing the opportunity provided by this commandment, produced every kind of sinful desire in me.


For apart from the law, sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive without the law. But when this commandment came, sin came to life, 10 and I died. This commandment that was intended to result in life actually resulted in death for me. 11 You see, sin, seizing the opportunity provided by this commandment, deceived me and put me to death through it.


12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good. 13 Then did what is good become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, so that it might be recognized as sin, brings about my death by this good thing, so that through this commandment sin might prove itself to be totally sinful.


14 Certainly we know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not keep doing what I want. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 But now it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18 Indeed, I know that good does not live in me, that is, in my sinful flesh. The desire to do good is present with me, but I am not able to carry it out. 19 So I fail to do the good I want to do. Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me.


21 So I find this law  at work: When I want to do good, evil is present with me. 22 I certainly delight in God’s law according to my inner self, 23 but I see a different law at work in my members, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me captive to the law of sin, which is present in my members. 24 What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!


So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my sinful flesh I serve the law of sin.



After which the Congregation will rise in respect for the words of Jesus



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                          Matthew 16:24-29


24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 25 In fact whoever wants to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 After all, what will it benefit a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what can a person give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father together with his angels, and then he will repay everyone according to his actions. 28 Amen I tell you: Some who are standing here will certainly not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”



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. 

after which the Congregation will be seated for



The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                        Mark 4:9, 33-34


9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”

33 [Jesus] continued to speak the word to them, as much as they were able to hear. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.


What Are You Doing With Your Ears?



The Sermon Hymn                                                                                   Hymn 453   “Come Follow Me”


1 “Come, follow me,” the Savior spoke,   “All in my way abiding.

Deny yourselves; the world forsake;    Obey my call and guiding.

Oh, bear the cross, whate’er betide;    Take my example for your guide.


2 “I am the light; I light the way,     A godly life displaying.

I bid you walk as in the day;    I keep your feet from straying.

I am the way, and well I show    How you should journey here below.


3 “My heart abounds in lowliness,    My soul with love is glowing,

And gracious words my lips express,    With meekness overflowing.

My heart, my mind, my strength, my all    To God I yield; on him I call.


The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge

of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.


The Sermon Text                                                                                                             Matthew 10:32-39


32 “Everyone who confesses me before others, I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies me before others, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.


34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.


37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.


What We Need To Hear vs What We Want To Hear


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, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


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

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

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

2) You can donate on our website:


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

We Offer Our Prayers to the Lord


Today’s Prayers

Included in our Prayers today:


A Prayer of Intercession on behalf of

Kent Swogger, who is continuing to recover at home from

a surgical procedure last month;   and

A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of

Debbie & Ralph Terrian, whose wedding anniversary is tomorrow;   and

Ken & Tammy Abernathy, whose anniversary is Saturday



The Lord’s     Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name;   Thy Kingdom come;   Thy will

Prayer            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 unto the Lord



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


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


Pastor         It is truly good and right that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, O Lord, holy Father, almighty,  everlasting God, through Jesus Christ our  Lord, Who promised that wherever two or three come together in His name, there He is with them.   Therefore with angels and archangel, and all the company of heaven, we praise Your holy name and join their glorious song:


(Sung) 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.



Consecration of the Elements      


Pastor        The peace of the Lord be with you always.


Congregation – (Sung)              Amen.



O Christ, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;

Have mercy on us.

O Christ, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;

Have mercy on us.

O Christ, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;

Grant us peace.   Amen.



The Exhortation Regarding the Lord’s Supper       (Pastor)





                                                                          (Please read the following 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 congregations come forward to receive the Lord’s Supper at this time.                      

     We believe, according to Scripture, that only those who are “one,” that is, in complete doctrinal agreement, united in a common public confession of faith, are to commune together at the same altar (see I Corinthians 10:17 and I Corinthians 1:10).

     To be “in communion” means to share and to hold in common.   By eating and drinking at our Lord’s Table, we are not only sharing in, with, and under the bread and wine, Jesus’ very body and blood…we are also publicly declaring that we hold in common a specific confession of faith.  In other words, as a result of having comprehensively studied the Scriptures together all of our communicants have agreed to accept and proclaim the same Biblical doctrines and practices.

     Through membership in a particular church body (for us, that church body is the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod), each person makes a public statement that he/she is in full agreement with the teachings and practices of that body.  Because not every church body or Lutheran Synod teaches and practices the same things, we in the WELS

want to be honest in our recognition of the doctrinal differences that, here on earth, separate us from other church bodies.  Please bear in mind that we are not, in any way, judging the legitimacy of your Christian faith.  Still, we ask that  if you have not (upon study of the Word with us) declared yourself to be in full doctrinal agreement with us, you would respectfully not join us in the Lord’s Supper this morning.  

     It is our prayer that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage anyone among us today who is not presently in full fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and practices of his/her church in order to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word. 

     And if you are guest among us today, we want you to know that it is our earnest desire that you might become familiar with the Biblical doctrines our congregation confesses, in order 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 understanding and respect of our Communion practice. 





The Distribution of the Sacrament



Distribution Hymn                                                                                                                      Hymn 310

                                                                                                              “I Come, O Savior, To Your Table“

verses 1-5;    verses 6-10;   verses 11-15


After the Sacrament is celebrated,   the pastor will invite the Congregation to rise



We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Closing Prayer



The Closing Blessing


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.



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.


Silent Prayer

Announcements, Post-service music,