Independence Weekend Worship: 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 celebrate 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.

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.

***************
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 for posting and publication considerations.

Two Reflections on Jesus Praying in Gethsemane

christ-in-gethsemane-pExtended quote from Max Lucado, The Upper Room Disciplines 2010
It is a stark scene. Jesus praying in Gethsemane, saying, “My heart is ready to break with grief. …” Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows.” We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief.

We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart.

My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity.

The next time the fog finds you, remember Jesus in the garden. The next time you think no one understands, reread the fourteenth chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to the pleading among the twisted trees.

Seeing God like this does wonders for our own suffering. God was never more human than at this hour. God was never nearer to us than when God hurt. The Incarnation was never so fulfilled as in the garden.

Jesus, may I watch with you in your pain and so come to understand that you watch me in mine. Amen.

Matthew 26:40-41
Could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

We must have faith during the period of our grief. We think that our afflictions will be greater than we can bear, but we do not know the strength of our own hearts, nor the power of God. – François Fenelon

Stay Awake by Steve Garnaas Holmes
I slip into sleep,
a deadness I seek,
a trance of avoidance,
distraction’s pleasant coma.
I am numb to your world, O Christ,
to your suffering, your love,
unconscious of you here.

Awaken me.
Breathe yourself into me
and rouse me
from my fearful distance.

Let even pain keep me awake,
attentive to your pain
in all who hurt,
your love keep me alert
to love in all your forms.

Grant me this simple gift,
all you ask:
that I may stay awake,
trusting I am not orphaned,
and pray with you,
so earnestly praying for me
and all the world.
just stay awake my little time
and pray with you.

Let all my waking hours
be wakeful hours.

Sermon Recording- Follow the Yellow Brick Road (Colossians 1; 2 Corinthians 4)

finding-god-in-oz

Sermon Series – Finding God in Oz
The Wizard of Oz is a powerful allegory for so many of our foundational Christian beliefs. Walk with us as we Find God in Oz.

Message: We’re Off to See the Wizard, a Message on Perseverance  
Scriptures: Colossians 1:9-14; 2 Corinthians 4:7-11
Offered 10/23/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Sermon Notes
Wizard of Oz is a classic quest, a journey to an ultimate goal. Dorothy sets her face to Oz as a means to go home. Along the way she picks up companions – a bystander (Scarecrow), someone in obvious need (Tin Man), and someone trying to hide his need, an enemy who becomes an ally (Lion). The companions have very different strengths and needs, yet find common ground and commit to helping one another reach their destination. Along the way they encounter setbacks (the angry orchard at first appears a blessing but really isn’t), almost derailments (the poppy field, a not so subtle reminder how addictions can derail us), and evil (the witch and the wizard are equally dangerous), yet persevere. Sounds like our journey of faith

What is perseverance?
steadfastness, intentionality, tenacity
a continuing effort in a course of action/purpose/goal
movement towards a goal despite difficulty, delay, failure, or opposition

Jesus perseveres, it’s why we trust him
We persevere, it’s a gift and grace of God

What does perseverance look like for those who follow Jesus?
From Colossians 1:10
* leading lives worthy of the Lord
* desiring to fully please God
* bearing fruit in every good work
* growing in the knowledge of God

How do I persevere in faith? (Colossians 1:9-14)
1. Prayer- Unceasing prayer for myself and asking others to pray for me
* Prayers to be filled with God’s will, wisdom, and understanding
* Prayers for God’s strength, endurance, and patience

2. Giving Thanks
* naming who God is
* claiming God’s promises
* recalling God’s mercy, provision, and healing work in the past

This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it.
The process is not finished but it is going on.
This is not the end but it is the road. – Martin Luther

Prayer- Bring a Saving Work
ONE:
Jesus, Holy One, bring a saving work

ALL:
a peace that passes understanding
a strength that binds up the brokenhearted
a humility that destroys dividing walls
a love that dispels all hate and fear
a persevering rooted in your promises
a hope anchored in your resurrection

ONE:
Jesus, Holy One, bring a saving work
a healing and wholeness
far beyond all we can ask or imagine

ALL:
All for your glory
All for your glory
All for your glory
Amen!

*****************
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon 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 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon and prayer © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- Down to the Bone (Genesis 32)

Jacob Sermon Series

Sermon Series – Jacob, Punk to Patriarch
Jacob’s journey to faith and accepting his place in God’s plan is full of schemes, betrayal, and family dysfunction. Yet, in the midst of the mess, God remains steadfast- offering relationship, provision, purpose, and new life. In Jacob’s story, we see our own mess and God’s saving grace for us as well.

Message: Down to the Bone
Scriptures: Genesis 32:9-13; 24-28
Offered 9/25/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

God desires to do more than “help out” a bit. God wants to completely transform us. God wants to take a timid heart and set it ablaze with strength and courage, so much so that people know something supernatural has taken place. – Francis Chan

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis reminds us of the divine-human struggle. Susan and Lucy ask Mr. and Mrs. Beaver to describe Aslan (Lewis’s representation of Jesus). They ask if Aslan is a man. Mr. Beaver replies. “Aslan a man? Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion– the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about being safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

*****************
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon 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 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- What’s Your Why? (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

whats love got to do with it

Sermon Series: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
What’s love got to do with it? Everything! It’s the who, what, when, where, how and why of our words and actions as follower of Jesus Christ.

Cornerstone Scripture for the Series: 1 John 4:15-17
God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.

Message: What’s Your Why?
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Offered 7/10/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

What is your motivation?
What drives your words, your actions, your choices?

  • Incentive- Reward
  • Fear- Punishment
  • Achievement- Recognition, Positive Feedback
  • Growth- Self-satisfaction
  • Power- Control
  • Social- Belonging, Acceptance, Duty, desire to contribute to the common good, desire to make a difference

Love = Agape
Sacrificial, Unconditional, Makes the first move
Love is a choice tied to an action
Not so much an emotion but a motivation

Your motivation is of critical importance. If there’s no love it’s not of God- God is love. Agape Love is the primary motivation for our actions, or the actions don’t matter. Without Agape Love I say nothing, I am nothing, I gain nothing. With Agape Love I say something, I am someone, I gain everything.

Six Gifts of Serving found in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

  • Speak (tongues of mortals, vs 1)
  • Speak = Prayer (tongues of angels, vs 1)
  • Speak = Prophesy (prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, vs 2)
  • Faith (vs 2)
  • Sacrifice = Generosity (give away all my possessions, vs 3)
  • Sacrifice = Volunteering (hand over my body, vs 3)

Worship Resources for this Message 
Affirmation of Faith- God is Love
by Steve Garnaas Holmes
We believe in God, who is Love,
whose love is manifest in all Creation, in our lives, and in all people.

We follow Christ, who embodied God’s love
in his life and ministry, his death and resurrection.
In granting us his Spirit, Christ filled us with that love as well.

We live by the Spirit, the presence of God’s love in us.
In that love we participate in the Church, the Body of Christ
In that love we love God by loving our neighbors
through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness.

Love is our faith, and it is a gift from God.
We thank God, and ask God’s blessings,
that we may love in the name of Christ
and the power of the Spirit, today and everyday, to God’s glory. Amen.

*****************
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon 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 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- Pray for All, Especially those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-6)

athority 1 timothy 2-2

Message: Pray for All, Especially Those in Authority
Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1-6a
Offered 7/3/16 for a 4th of July celebration service at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Click here for more information on Schoolhouse Rock
Click here for a video of Schoolhouse Rock- The Preamble

Attributes of a True Leader
Teachable spirit
Authenticity and Integrity
Love of justice, Compassionate
Wise
Collaborative
Courageous
Servant-hearted

Worship Resources for this Message 
A Prayer for Those Who Govern by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

For other prayers suitable for Independence Day try A Prayer for our Country or Independence Day Prayer, both by Steve Garnaas-Holmes.

*****************
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon 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 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Independence Weekend Worship: A Prayer for Those Who Govern, incorporating verses of America the Beautiful

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 celebrate 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.

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:
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.

***************
For other prayers suitable for Independence Day try A Prayer for our Country or Independence Day Prayer, both 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. Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

For more information on the use of the scripture translation, art and this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.