Prayer Guide for a Back to School Event

25318_UMC back to school_unbranded_071416-02Our congregation hosts a large back to school event called Day 4 Hope. It’s part of a network of events to reach all the elementary school age children in need in Sarasota County Florida. (and their siblings) It’s coordinated by a ministry called Hope 4 Communities.

At this event, children receive everything they need to start school confident- school supplies, backpacks, hygiene items, books, food, gift certificates for clothing and shoes, a haircut, eye exam, dental screening, medical screening, and a back to school blessing. 

It is a huge initiative requiring far more than tons of volunteers, professionals, community partners, coordination, set up, time, and money. It is a God-sized project to build relationships, narrow the opportunity gap, and make God’s love real. It’s important work, holy work, and that is why we pray. 

You are welcome to adapt this resource for your own needs. May it be useful to you and to the building of God’s kingdom on earth. – Lisa <><  

Day 4 Hope Prayer Guide

Week of July 1, Read Zechariah 4:6
Our Saturday, August 4th Day 4 Hope, and the year of sharing the love of Jesus throughout our neighborhood to follow, are beyond our strength, wisdom, and skill. It is a God-sized calling which requires humble and fervent prayer. Pray for our Trinity Day 4 Hope team, especially our team leaders Carol Harris, Nancy Masterson, Tammy Barnett, and Sherrill Carr. Pray we would be faithful in seeking the Lord’s strength in all aspects of this effort, faithful to one another as we serve together, and faithful in listening to God’s direction above all things.

Week of July 8, Read Mark 12:28-34
Pray for the families attending Day 4 Hope, for the staff and children of the Everyday Blessing Foster Home, and for the faculty and staff of Phillippi Shores Elementary School.

Week of July 15, Read Matthew 25:31-40
Pray for our community partners- Hope 4 Communities which organizes the effort across the county, other congregations involved in the Day 4 Hope effort, Police, Firefighters, Businesses, Lions, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the Public Library, Health Department, and All Faith’s Foodbank. Pray for our generous professionals- Hairstylists, Dental, Medical, and Photography.

Week of July 22, Read Acts 7:32-34
Walk our campus, imagining and blessing those who will serve and be served.

Week of July 29, Read 1 Chronicles 16:34-36
Call on the power of the Holy Spirit to bring our entire neighborhood to saving faith, caring relationship, and joyful service to one another in Jesus’ Name.

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Prayer Guide for a Back to School Event © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work and adapt this work with proper attribution. Leave a comment for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- Family of God (Ephesians 2.11-19)

Sermon Series Website What is Church

Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 4 of 6: Family of God
Scriptures: Ephesians 2:11-19
This message was offered Sunday, 5/13/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

God’s Vision- Why we do what we do
God is love. We are called to share that love and the hope we’ve found in Jesus Christ with all people.

God’s Mission- What we do
Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World

Our Values- How We Accomplish God’s Work 
We are Christ-Centered

  • We place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Leader

We value hospitality

  • Far more than friendly or welcoming. Belonging, acceptance, openness

We value genuineness

  • Honest with God, each other, and our community Transparent, real, down to earth

We value respect

  • All persons are made in the image of God. The dignity of all and for all

What do you think the missing value is? We choose to be family to one another

  • We are better together
  • Commitment to deep community, mutual support, caring, collaboration, Servant-hearted living, faith in action
  • For many of us, our church family is more of a family to us than our biological family

Family at its worst

  • neglectful, distant, false naming, betrayal, dangerous/abusive

Family at its best

  • safety, belonging, nurture/growth, identity/truthful naming

diversity handsRead Ephesians 2:1-19

  • Without Christ, we are outsiders, outcasts, orphaned, strangers, aliens
  • Without God, there is no safety, no belonging, no nurturing or identity rooted in the eternal

What Christ does by his death and resurrection. Notice all the birth images:    

  • Verse 13, Jesus brings us near by his blood. His blood makes us blood.
  • Verse 14, in his flesh he has made both groups into one
  • Verse 16, Jesus creates a new humanity

Notice all the death images

  • Verse 14, the broken body of Christ breaks down the dividing wall
  • Verse 16, hostility is put to death

An extended quote from Prodigal Brothers by Steve Garnaas-Holmes (Luke 15:11-32)
The failure of our love—distancing ourselves from God and one another— is at the heart of our sin. In our self-centeredness, we break our family bond with God and with others, as if we’re not related. It is not just of our disobedience that we repent but of our distance, our refusing to get close to God and to others, including those whom we judge…. The righteousness that we need is not obedience. It’s a loving relationship—and this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God. In repentance, we pray toward both God and neighbor, “I am not on my own. I am yours.”

The message includes the story of St. Francis of Assisi being disowned by his father. Francis finds family and belonging with Jesus and his followers.

Prayer: Make us your children
Heavenly One, Your reach extends to every person, every nation, offering grace, forgiveness, wholeness, and hope. A saving embrace drawing us to you and each other.

Make us your children: grateful for a place in your family, humble before your love and generosity, faithful in honoring and welcoming all, joyful in sharing what we have found in you- safety, belonging, identity, a home of nurture and growth and sending forth. Amen.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon and prayer © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- The Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12.12-27)

Sermon Series Website What is Church

Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 3 of 6: The Body of Christ
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
This message was offered Sunday, 5/6/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

body of christThe human body is …

The image of the church as the body of Christ reminds us of

  • The blessing of our diversity (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). It’s about unity, not uniformity.
  • The truth of our dignity, every part, all parts are part of the body (1 Corinthians 12:15-20)
  • The reality of our mutual dependence, our interdependence, all are important, all are needed. When one suffers or is victorious, we all are. (1 Corinthians 12:21-27)

We have not come to compete with one another.
We have come to complete one another. – Bill McCartney

Click here for the video testimony of Rev. Claire Wimbush, an Episcopal priest with spastic cerebral palsy.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

A Prayer for Those Who Govern, incorporating verses of America the Beautiful

mlk prayer pilgrimage

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the 1957 ‘Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom’.

A Prayer for Those Who Govern
ALL SINGING: America the Beautiful
United Methodist Hymnal #969, first verse

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!

ONE:
Lord of All,
As we draw near another Independence Day,
we confess our dependence on you.
Thank you for extending abundance, mercy, and protection
to our nation through the years.
Every resource, freedom, and opportunity we have is a good gift from you.
Without you, we are lost.

ALL:
In humility, we seek your face.
In repentance, we turn from our ungrateful, destructive and selfish ways.
In faith, we call on your power to forgive our sin and heal our land.

ALL SINGING: America the Beautiful
United Methodist Hymnal #969, second verse

O beautiful for heroes prov’d in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov’d, and mercy more than life.
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness and ev’ry gain divine.

ONE:
Pour out your Holy Spirit on those who govern our land,
Leaders of our nation, our state, and our community
and all who are running for office.

Grant them a love of justice.
Open their minds with wisdom and compassion,
so all people may be treated fairly and with dignity.

Open their ears to the cries of the desperate and powerless
so cycles of poverty, disease, and abuse may be broken.

Open their eyes to see how best to respond
and open their hearts with courage to do the right thing,
even when pressured to do otherwise.

Dawn a new day of integrity and servant leadership upon our land.
Shower down your Spirit of collaboration for the common good
that there may be lasting peace and plenty for all.

The congregation is invited to lift up their own prayers for our nation

ONE:
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Leader and Savior forever, Amen.

Option: We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Leader and Savior forever, who taught us to pray, Our Father, who art in heaven….

ALL SINGING: America the Beautiful
United Methodist Hymnal #969, fourth verse

O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.

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For other prayers suitable for Independence Day try A Prayer for our Country or Independence Day Prayer or A prayer of examen for our national holiday, all by Steve Garnaas-Holmes.

America the Beautiful by Katherine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward.
Public Domain.

A Prayer for Those Who Govern © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Leave a comment for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- The Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5.21-32)

Sermon Series Website What is Church
Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 2 of 6: The Bride of Christ
Scriptures: Ephesians 5:21-32
This message was offered Sunday, 4/29/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

The Wedding Vows
I, _________________, give myself to you to be your husband/wife to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others until we are parted by death, recognizing the promise of life everlasting and love everlasting. This is my solemn vow.

The Church as Bride of Christ: Problems with metaphor

  • Difficult for those who’ve been disappointed by marriage – Never married, divorced, betrayal, abusive marriage
  • Difficult for men to relate to “bride”
  • The phrase “Bride of Christ” not found in the scriptures but there are plenty of passages which use the metaphor

bride outsideAll metaphors break down. Bride of Christ remains a powerful reminder of our relationship to one another and to Christ

Read Ephesians 5:21-32 NRSV

21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

  • Be subject = Voluntary, free choice, submission, our power under the authority of another, cooperating, collaborating
  • Ephesians 5-6 describes the mutual submission of husbands and wives, children and parents, slaves and masters

How?

  • Previous verses discuss being filled with the Holy Spirit by singing Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs & giving thanks to God the Father in name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Trinity, the fullness of God, First Creed)
  • Out of Reverence to Christ- We submit to Christ as His followers out of reverence for Christ first submitting to us. Jesus made the ultimate submission in his life, death, and resurrection.

Notice verses 22-27

  • The Love of our Lord Jesus Christ is deep, pure, sacrificial
  • Look what Jesus gave up to make us his own. Compare with Philippians 2. Poor, homeless, misunderstood, glory to humility, abused and tortured, obedient to the point of death, even on a cross
  • Jesus making us his own- making us holy, set apart, like in marriage the couple is set apart only for each other

Vs. 26 Cleansing with the washing of water by the word

  • The powerful presence of Jesus in the sacrament of baptism and in his Holy Word- Cleansing, new birth, water for growth, Jesus’ tears, Jesus washing feet

Vs. 27 Jesus presents the church to himself in splendor radiant

Remember, you are both beloved and the light of the world. Jesus, the Bridegroom, presents us like a Bride unstained, unwrinkled, unblemished, innocent which literally means unwounded. By his stripes, we are healed. He took the wounds that we might be unwounded.

28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.

We leave our earthly labels and tribes to be at one with Christ

  • This isn’t head knowledge, it’s down to the bone, the blood, skin in the game, an intimate union
  • This is a relationship of devotion, fidelity, one spouse, one Lord. Jesus first loved us that he may be our first love

Let us, the Church, the Bride, recommit to Christ the Bridegroom, using the Wedding Vows

We give ourselves to you Jesus, to be your Bride, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others, knowing we are not parted by death, recognizing the promise of life everlasting and love everlasting. This is our solemn vow.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- Living Stones Built Into a Spiritual House (1 Peter 2.4-10)

Sermon Series Website What is Church
Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 1 of 6: Living Stones Built into a Spiritual House
Scriptures: 1 Peter 2:4-10
This message was offered Sunday, 4/22/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

In this metaphor from 1 Peter, Jesus is the Cornerstone, at first rejected but later recognized as The Foundation for our salvation and the salvation of the world.

This message includes an extended discussion of the marble used by Michelangelo to carve his David. It was rejected multiple times before it became a masterpiece in the master’s hands. Michelangelo David bust detail

As Jesus’ followers, his Church, we are living stones built into a spiritual house.

  • We become the meeting place with God, individually and especially together.
  • We take on our true identity and calling as Jesus’ chosen, royal, holy priesthood. make sacrifices worship and pray and serve proclaim/testify
  • We recognize and testify that we are God’s children and that we’ve received the mercy of God. What we receive we can offer to others.

Look what God can do

  • the rejected are now wanted
  • the abandoned are now chosen
  • those who have been named too flawed become a masterpiece
  • those who are lost and wandering in inky darkness come into the marvelous, shimmering light of Jesus

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer: Holy Trinity, Community of Love (Genesis 1 and 2)

trinity-stained-glassHappy Trinity Sunday! – Lisa <><

Holy Trinity, Community of Love,
Draw us together in your creative light

Root us in the ground of your being,
Vulnerable before one another,
Unashamed in your presence and each other’s

Make us joyful in the ways you gift each of us: Quick to celebrate, serve, and share
Quick to live your love
Amen.

This prayer was inspired by the story of the creation of humanity found at the end of Genesis 1 and the beginning of Genesis 2.

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Prayer – Holy Trinity, Community of Love © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.