You Will Be Found, a prayer based on Jeremiah 29

Jeremiah 29:13-14
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

Lord Jesus, we seek yousearch for god
We long for you
in the depths of our hearts
in the soul of our souls
down to our bones

Show us where our seeking is incomplete

Where all isn’t all
Where our hearts are splintered and scattered
by false loves and misplaced trust

You are already searching for us
finding us, choosing us
You are already delivering us
from our slave chains and imprisonments

We are found
You will be found
Glory to you, our Savior
Amen

Prayer based on Jeremiah 29 © 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.

Sermon Recordings- The Angels’ Song (Luke 2)

why-we-hope-why-we-sing

Message: The Angels’ Song
Scriptures: Luke 2:8-20
Offered 12/11/16, the first Sunday of Advent, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

It was a Roman custom that the birth of a Roman emperor was announced by great poets and orators with declarations of joy, peace, and prosperity. The announcement of the birth of the Savior of of the world, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was announced by heaven itself. First a herald angel, “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” Then a multitude of the heavenly host, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

It is a Cross-shaped announcement. First out – great joy for all people, a Savior, the Messiah. Then up- the Lord. Then up- glory to God in the highest heaven. Then out- and on earth peace.

The angels don’t visit Mary and Joseph that night. They’ve already had their angel visits and are busy with the birth. They don’t visit the high priest, King Herod, Quirinius, or Emperor Augustus. The powerful already think they are favored.

The angels proclaim the birth of the Savior of the world to shepherds, a group who is definitely not thought of as favored. It’s one of the worst jobs of the ancient world. Shepherds are stereotyped as lazy and dishonest because they often live off land belonging to others and care for flocks belonging to others. They were known as smelly, poor, homeless, uneducated, powerless.

Folks laughed at the idea of a “good shepherd,” an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp. Yet David of Bethlehem was one long before he was king and long before he was promised his throne would never end and long before he was promised the Messiah would be his ancestor.

The babe in the manger will be one, too. Our Jesus, our Good Shepherd, will lay down his life for the sheep.

We’re the sheep. We’re the rag tag shepherds. The message is for them and for us.

“I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord….Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

This Good News is for us and all people.

This Good News is to bring us great joy, lasting joy, joy beyond circumstance.

This Good News is that we we have a Savior, so we can stop trying to save ourselves and stop thinking we can’t possibly be saved.

This Good News is that we have a leader and Lord who is trust-worthy and thus worthy to be followed.

This Good News is that God gives us peace in Christ Jesus.

Wait. What? Peace?
The time of Jesus’ birth was a time of occupation and oppression, not peace. Bethlehem was overflowing with Roman military carrying out a mandated migration and registration.

Our age is not a time of peace. School shootings, mass incarceration, cyber attacks, human trafficking, misuse of power, economic insecurity and uncertainty, terrorism, war. Our world is more and more angry, corrupt, and violent. This is the age of Aleppo.

We think of peace
1. as the absence of worry- good health, financially secure, all is well with those I love.
2. as the absence of conflict, injustice, and war

Jesus, the night of the last supper, the night before he gave himself up for us said,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. —John 14.27

Sounds like the Angels’ song. Do not be afraid. You’ve been given a Son, a Savior, The Lord God in the flesh. You’ve been given peace.

Peace isn’t about absence. It’s about presence. We are given the Son, the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord. God is with us. 

Peace in Hebrew is Shalom.  Shalom means fullness; having everything you need to be whole, to be yourself. The Angels’ song is that peace is not the absence of war. Peace is not health, wealth, all is well with those I love. Even if we somehow find it, it doesn’t last, it doesn’t save us, doesn’t make us whole.

Peace not the absence of struggle and suffering, but the presence of God who is Love. God’s presence in us brings fullness and wholeness, the literal meaning of salvation. God’s presence brings the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is love, joy, and peace – the three themes of the Angels’ song. The presence of Jesus is the present of peace.

Peace I Give You by Steve Garnaas Holmes. Imagine Jesus saying this to you…
I give you the quiet peace of this present moment: without hurry, fear or need to be elsewhere, but right here, right now, as you are, at rest.

I give you the strong peace of yourself: the peace of forgiveness and my delight in who you are, with no need to prove yourself or do better.

I give you the vibrant peace of oneness with all living things, the peace of deep belonging, and reconciliation with all people

I give you the life-giving peace of my own spirit, my love, trust and courage beating in your heart, my presence in your soul.

I give you the joyous peace of trust— trust in your life and its goodness, trust in the Beloved and your belovedness

I give you the renewing peace of healing, of blessing hidden even in struggle and pain, of trust that even in suffering all shall be well.

I give not as the world gives, from the outside, but from within, by your being created, and it cannot be taken away. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

Prayer from Prepare the Way by Pamela C. Hawkins
I want to be at peace, O God,
protector of the frightened,
refuge for the wandering.

I want to speak for peace, O Christ,
hope whispered to the bruised,
welcome sung to the embattled.

I want to live in peace, O Spirit,
forgiveness in my heart,
kindness in my hands;
trusting, trustworthy;
loving, beloved.

I want to be at peace, O God
with you,
with me,
with others.
This is my Advent prayer. 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 © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- A Boat on the Sea (Luke 8:22-25)

Typhoon_in_Hong_Kong

Sermon Series: H2O, Hope to Offer
Messages on the water stories from Surf Shack VBS

Message: A Boat on the Sea
Scripture: Luke 8:22-25
Offered 6/12/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Jesus isn’t your fixer. He’s your Savior. – Lisa Degrenia

Worship Resources for this Message 

I. Prayer- Calm the Storm in Me
Light print one voice, bold print all voices

When the waves rise high above our ability to see your face…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

When the howling wind and the pouring rain drown out the sound of your voice…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

When the thunder and the lightning distract us from Your presence in every circumstance…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
calm the storm in me

moment of silence

II. Prayer- Jesus Speak Peace
Light print one voice, bold print all voices

Jesus, we see You calming storms
Storm tossed seas and stormy lives
Extend Your power and grace again,
Upon us and our fear-filled world

Speak peace and healing over bodies and spirits
overwhelmed by the crashing waves of circumstance

Jesus, speak peace. (Moment of silence)

Speak peace and protection over minds and hearts
adrift in confusion or drowning in fear

Jesus, speak peace. (Moment of silence)

Speak peace and hope over people, families and communities
swamped by loss after loss

Jesus, speak peace. (Moment of silence)

You are the Prince of Peace.
You are the Resurrection and the Life.
You are strong to save.
Our hope and trust are in You

The congregation is invited to offer prayers of intercession, silently or aloud.
Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

*****************
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.

Worship Resources for Palm Sunday

palm_sunday_lg

Palm Sunday by William Hemmerling

Christians celebrate Palm Sunday the Sunday before Easter, remembering Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This event is mentioned in all four Gospels. (Mark 11:1–11; Matthew 21:1–11; Luke 19:28–44; and John 12:12–19).

Palm Sunday is also the first day of Holy Week, a time when many Christians reflect on the last week of Jesus’ life in preparation for Easter.

I pray these resources are helpful to your meaningful celebrations. – Lisa <

Opening Prayer for Palm Sunday
ONE:
Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
In Jesus Christ you rule and reign,
Not as a tyrant, but as a humble servant
Riding on a donkey, washing feet, suffering from injustice
Open our hearts this day, take your throne
Open our lips this day with shouts of praise

ALL:
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

Consider using Blessed is the King by Steve Garnaas Holmes as an affirmation of faith or prayer of commitment. He also supplies a powerful reflection on the word Hosanna in a piece by the same name.

Reader’s Theatre: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Based on Matthew 21:1-11 NIV
Parts: Narrator, Jesus, Prophet, All (congregation as the crowd)

NARRATOR
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them

JESUS
Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.

NARRATOR
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

PROPHET
Say to the Daughter of Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

NARRATOR
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.
They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.

Introduction to the song begins
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds went ahead of him and those that followed shouted

ALL SHOUTING:
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

ALL SINGING:
Use one of the suggested songs or one of similar theme. A choir anthem, solo, or song led by a praise band could also be used at this point.

Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, United Methodist Hymnal #278
Mantos y Palmas, United Methodist Hymnal #279
All Glory, Laud and Honor, United Methodist Hymnal #280
Hosanna (Praise is Rising), CCLI #4662491
Hosanna, CCLI #21545
Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher), CCLI 5780152

Speak the final lines during an interlude before the final verse or chorus of the song

NARRATOR
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

ALL:
This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.

Click Here for a Reader’s Theatre script which does not included singing and extends the story a few verses (Matthew 21:1-17).

Sermon Series: The Way, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus
Inspired by the book and small group curriculum by Adam Hamilton
Sermon Recording, Message 7 of 8: Jerusalem: Pick Your Parade (Palm Sunday)
Scriptures: Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:41-44; Psalm 146
Offered 3/29/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

*********************
Opening Prayer for Palm Sunday © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Reader’s Theater: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11)
© 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Adapted from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Father to the Fatherless: A Call to Worship based on Psalm 68

God is a father to the fatherless.ONE:
You who love God, rejoice!
You who trust God, be glad in God’s presence!
Be filled with joy!

Sing to the Beloved
The Name above all names
Sing loud praises to the One who rides the clouds
Welcome God’s presence

ALL:
This is God
Father to the fatherless
Defender of the desolate

This is God
Providing the lonely a family
Setting the prisoners free

Blessed be the Mighty One!
Who carries us each day
Blessed be our Savior!
Who leads us into wholeness and new life

*************
Call to Worship for Father’s Day © 2015 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.

Peace, Be Still: Five Prayers Based on Mark 4:35-41

“Calming the Storm” by Jim Janknegt. Used with permission.

Mark 4:35-41 NRSV
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Prayer by Junius Dotson, The Africana Worship Book, Year B
You who are weary
Sleepless
Tired
Depressed
Discouraged

Do not be afraid!

You who are fed up
Hopeless
Visionless
Fearful
Tearful

Do not be afraid!

God is present in your suffering.
God will calm the winds and waves of your soul!

Prayer by Patricia Wilson, Quiet Spaces
Ever-present God, thank you for being here with me right now.
In the chaos of my life, I often forget that you are always with me,
always seeking to bring me peace. …

I feel overwhelmed, as if the world around me
is a heaving, crashing sea;
and I am adrift in a small boat,
unable to keep the waves from closing over me.

Only you can bring order out of this chaos.
Say the word, All-Powerful God,
and I know that the seas will be calmed,
and I will be safe.

Even as I say these words,
I can hear how foolish they are.

You, the God of my life, are also the God of order.

Bring order to my life, and in doing so,
take care of all those concerns that rise up
around me like storm waves.
Calm the seas of my busyness;
still the waters of my “doingness.”
Let me drift on the gentle swells of your love and care.

Prayer by Mark Dugger, devozine, November/December 2012
Peace. Be still. And the winds obeyed.
Be now as the winds.
You are my child.
I knew you long before you were knit in your mother’s womb.

Peace. Be still. My breath brings form to dust.
You were created a little lower than the angels,
created in my image.
You are my child. Peace. Be still.

Be as these winds, exhaled.
Wait on me, and I will give you rest.
The ninety-nine I would leave to find you.
The fall of a sparrow catches flight in my loving eye.

With my words, the worlds were.
My voice is small, still.
The waters know the sound of my voice and are stilled.
Wait on me, be renewed, and rise.

Calm the Storm in Me by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
The words in regular print are spoken by one voice.
The words in bold print are spoken by all.

When the waves rise high above our ability to see your face…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

When the howling wind and the pouring rain drown out the sound of your voice…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

When the thunder and the lightning distract us from Your presence in every circumstance…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
calm the storm in me

A Prayer for Storm Survivors by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
The words in regular print are spoken by one voice.
The words in bold print are spoken by all.

Jesus, we see you calming storms-
storm tossed seas and stormy lives.
Extend your power and grace again,
especially upon these most recent storm victims.
Speak peace and healing over bodies and spirits broken by the chaos.
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

Speak peace and hope over families and communities devastated by sudden loss.
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

Speak peace and unity over diverse groups of people
so they would come together for greater provision,
just distribution, and effective rebuilding.
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

Speak peace and protection over rescue workers
as they reach out to those who are suffering.
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

You are the Prince of Peace.
You are the Resurrection and the Life.
You are strong to save.
Our hope and trust are in you. Amen.

************
Click Here for Prayer: In the Midst of the Storm, a longer prayer sequence using elements of A Prayer for Storm Survivors and Calm the Storm in Me plus optional sung responses.

For more wonderful, moving work by today’s featured artist, James B. Janknegt, click here. Please consider patronage of him and other artists.

For a reader’s theatre version Mark 4:35-41, click here

A Prayer for Storm Survivors © 2011 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Calm the Storm in Me © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use these works in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish these works in any form.

Psalm 107- The Path of Addiction and Recovery (Psalm 107:17-22)

group-of-people-walking-path-woods
Psalm 107 describes different groups of people who experience God’s steadfast, saving action in their lives. When I read verses 17-22, it reminded me of God’s saving action as I travel the path of recovery from addictive behaviors, recovery for myself and so many I love and serve.

Psalm 107:17-22 NIV
Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities
They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and he saved them from their distress
He sent out his word and healed them
He rescued them from the grave

The path of addiction begins with pain
Pain from our own foolish, impulsive, rebellious, selfish choices
Pain from getting caught in the backwash of the destructive choices of others
Pain from just living in a broken, disordered world

We reach for things to take away the pain
Chocolate to Cocaine to Porn to 70 hour work weeks to Amazon to Netflix to Nintendo
Bingeing and Self-medicating and Burying
We lose our appetite for the good things of life
We look to these behaviors as salvation, but they actually bring us suffering
They take us to the very gates of death

Friends, there is hope
There is the good news
Anyone can cry out to God and God will hear
We can turn to God and God’s path of recovery
God’s love and strength are unfailing- even when we fail ourselves

God saves
Salvation means wholeness, healing
But it takes time
God does not wave a wand for a cosmic quick fix
God does not hand us a divine get out of rehab free card
Instead, God is steadfast in walking with us and working with us
Recovery is a journey, not a jump

God sends forth His word- creative, life-giving
A new story for our lives
A new truth for our lies
Instead of medicating and burying the pain
We face our pain and begin to heal
We are called forth into the light like Lazarus from the tomb
God rescues us from the grave of our downfall and disease

How do we respond to the grace of God’s transforming action in our lives?

Psalm 107:21-22 NIV
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind
Let them sacrifice thank-offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy

Gathering together for worship and testimony are mile-markers on the path of recovery
Receiving and offering prayers of thanksgiving
Receiving and offering songs of celebration and joy
Receiving and offering the ongoing testimony of God through scripture
Receiving and offering the the ongoing testimony of God’s healing power in our lives
Receiving and offering support to one another in word and deed
In short, celebrating and sharing what we have found in our faithful God

Prayer: Shine Jesus Shine
CCLI Song # 30426
Graham Kendrick © 1987 Make Way Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)

Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining;
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us,
Set us free by the truth You now bring us,
Shine on me, Shine on me.

Lord, I come into Your awesome presence
From the shadows into Your radiance;
By the blood I may enter Your brightness,
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness.
Shine on me, Shine on me.

As we gaze on Your kingly brightness
So our faces display Your likeness,
Ever changing from glory to glory,
Mirrored here may our lives tell Your story.
Shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory;
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow,
Flood the nations with grace and mercy;
Send forth Your Word, Lord and let there be light.

***********
For more information on Christian Recovery Programs, check out Celebrate Recovery. If you live in the Sarasota, Florida area, know you have help and support in many congregations, including Trinity United Methodist Church where I serve as pastor.

Psalm 107, The Path of Addiction and Recovery © 2015 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.

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