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July 28, 2019

AS WE GATHER…In the long, difficult path of persevering in faith, sometimes it can seem as if God is distant from our everyday problems, not responding to our prayers. This is a common experience faced by the people of God. Today’s Readings work together to encourage us as we travel the arduous path of following Jesus. Abraham pleads with God on behalf of mercy for the righteous people in the city of Sodom. Will God spare the city for 50 righteous people? 45? 30? 20? 10? The Lord hears Abraham’s pleas and agrees that He will spare the city if even 10 righteous people dwell there. Lot and his family were delivered from Sodom. Abraham asked, he sought, he knocked. And God answered. Jesus encourages us to ask, to seek, to knock. Jesus promises that those who ask, receive; those who seek, find; and those who knock a door will be opened. This doesn’t mean that the answers will always be what we want or that bad things will not happen to us. It does mean that no matter the circumstance, God is there with mercy.


OPENING HYMN: “This is the Day”                                      TOSB 234 (2x)

(Men)   This is the day,

(Women)   This is the day

(Men)   That the Lord hath made,

(Women)   That the Lord hath made.

(Men)   We will rejoice,

(Women)   We will rejoice

(Men)   And be glad in it,

 (Women)   And be glad in it,

(All)   This is the day that the Lord hath made,

we will rejoice and be glad in it.

(Men)   This is the day,

(Women)   This is the day

(All)   That the Lord hath made.


OPENING WORDS                                                                                Psalm 143

L:  Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy!

C: In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! 

L:  Enter not into judgment with your servant,

C: For no one living is righteous before you. 

L:  I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done;

C: I ponder the work of your hands.

L:  Answer me quickly, O Lord!  My spirit fails!

C: Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit.

L:  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, FOR IN YOU I TRUST!

C: Make me know the way I should go, for to you, I lift up my soul! 



L:  God wants us to be certain about our standing before Him.  The Bible tells that “God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). This passage, however, does not give us the right to judge others and their standing before God.  During our time of silence today, we reflect on the ways we have fallen short by being too quick to judge others.


L:  We confess…

C: Lord, we confess that we have missed the mark.  Wanting us to claim our position before You, we have instead focused on where other people should be in their standing with You.  Too often we have kept track of the shortcomings of others and their faults.  Too often we have forgotten to keep track of the goodness You daily provide right before us.  Give us a new heart today—one that trusts You to be the judge of all living things.   

L:  God, our heavenly Creator, hears the prayers of all people and answers those prayers.  Our prayer for forgiveness is answered in the person of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who died for our sin that we might have new life.  The distance between God and ourselves has been brought together by love made perfect in the sacrifice of Jesus.  To those who believe God’s word of truth comes the power to be the people of God.  Praise God for the gift of love to us.

C: Amen. 

HYMN OF PRAISE: “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing”

There shall be showers of blessing: This is the promise of love;

There shall be season refreshing, Sent from the Savior above.

Showers of blessing, Showers of blessing we need:

Mercy-drops ‘round us are falling, But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing—Precious reviving again;

Over the hills and the valleys, Sound of abundance of rain.

Showers of blessing, Showers of blessing we need:

Mercy-drops ‘round us are falling, But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing: Send them upon us, O Lord;

Grant to us now a refreshing, Come, and now honor Thy Word.

Showers of blessing, Showers of blessing we need:

Mercy-drops ‘round us are falling, But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing: O, that today they might fall,

Now as to God we’re confessing, Now, as on Jesus we call!

Showers of blessing, Showers of blessing we need:

Mercy-drops ‘round us are falling, But for the showers we plead.



L:  Let us Pray… Lord Jesus, You invite us to ask, to seek, to knock. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, lead us to turn to You in all things, that we live as those who have received forgiveness in You, the source of all truth, having opened our lives to Your grace. We pray these things through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord.

C: Amen. 


Old Testament:          Genesis 18:20-33

Abraham pleads to God, and He relents.

Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”


So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

Reader:  This is the Word of the Lord.

C:  Thanks be to God.


Epistle:           Colossians 2:6-15 

Paul encourages the Colossian Christians to persevere in Christ.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Reader:  This is the Word of the Lord.

C:  Thanks be to God.     



GOSPEL:         Luke 11:1-13

          Jesus teaches about prayer.

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

P:  This is the Gospel of the Lord.

C:  Praise to You, O Christ.


SERMON HYMN: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”                LBW 439

What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and grief’s to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit;

Oh what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,

Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do your friends despise, forsake you?

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

In his arms he’ll take and shield you;

You will find a solace there.


SERMON: “Persistence” Luke 11:1-13      Pastor Walz



ALL:     I believe in God, the Father almighty,

                         Creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

                         He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

                         And was born of the virgin Mary. 

                He suffered under Pontius Pilate. 

                         Was crucified, died, and was buried.

                He descended into hell.

                On the third day he rose again.

                He ascended into heaven,

                         And is seated at the right hand of the Father.

                He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

                The holy Christian Church,

                The communion of saints,

                The forgiveness of sins,

                The resurrection of the body,

                And the life everlasting.  Amen.



We offer our thanksgiving for what God has first given us—ourselves, our time, our possessions.




L:  Our Lord Jesus invites to ask, and we shall receive; to seek, and we will find; and to knock, and the door will be opened. So we bring prayer for the Church, the world, and ourselves before almighty God, trusting in the promise of our Lord.

L:  For the Church, that rooted and built up in Christ and established in faith, we abound in thanksgiving by offering our lives as instruments of serving the lost and the least of this world:

C: Lord, have mercy. 

L:  For this nation in which we live, in thanksgiving for the abundance of life and freedom that we enjoy; for the president and Congress, for our governor and local elected officials, that all work for the common good, and serve not themselves, but chiefly those who are cast down; that this nation so divided along political lines would repent of our hatred of those who differ from us and, based on our one common humanity, discuss our differences with reason and kindness:

C: Lord, have mercy. 

L:  For those in need in our community—the sick, those facing surgery, those with terminal illness—that they receive mercy and healing according to God’s will, that they find peace in the love of Jesus, and that their hearts may be opened to receive the love of Christ. For those harmed by natural or man-made disasters, that they experience renewal through those who donate and do relief work.

C: Lord, have mercy. 

L:  For this congregation, that, having been buried with Christ in Baptism and also raised with Him to new life, we find ways to connect with people in our community in order to share the amazing treasure of the love of Christ:

C: Lord, have mercy. 

L:  In faith we entrust our prayers to You, heavenly Father. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.

C: Amen. 





L:  The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.  The Lord look upon you with favor and + give you peace.

C: Amen. 


CLOSING HYMN: “This Is My Father’s World”                             LBW 554

This is my Father’s world, And to my list’ning ears

All nature sings, and round me rings The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world; I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world; the birds their carols raise;

The morning light, the lily white, Declare their maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world; He shines in all that’s fair.

In the rustling grass I hear him pass; He speaks to me ev’ry where.

This is my Father’s world; Oh, let me not forget

That, though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world, why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is king, let the heavens ring; God reigns, let the earth be glad!


P:  Go in Peace.  Serve the Lord.

C:  Thanks be to God.