Worship Connection: August 13, 2023

July 1st, 2020

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b; Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33

Call to Worship #1

[Lyrics are from UMH #512 “Stand by Me”, Charles Albert Tindley, ca. 1906]
L: “When the storms of life are raging, stand by me”
P: Lord, hear my cry and rescue me!
L: “When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea”
P: God who rules wind and water, stand by me.
L: God stands with you in bright sunshine and deepest storm.
P: God gently guides us to safety and peace. Thanks be to God. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Sunshine and celebration! Rain and remembrance! All are part of the richness of God’s mercy and love for us!
P: God has blessed us in so many ways!
L: Welcome this day to a celebration of these blessings!
P: Thank you. We are glad to be here!
L: Lord, open our hearts and spirits to your love
P: Bring us safely through the trials and tribulations of life, for we ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN

Call to Worship #3

[Using the United Methodist Hymnal, p. 509 “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me”, offer the following call to worship as directed]
Soloist: singing verse 1 of “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me”
L: Lord, be with us throughout these summer days.
P: Guide us in your paths of service.
L: Dance with us on the days of joy.
P: Reach out to us when we are fearful.
L: Dear friends, Jesus is our guide and our pilot.
P: No matter how rough the “seas”, Jesus brings us hope and peace. AMEN.

Gathering Prayer

No matter how strong the storm, how threatening the waves, Jesus calls us to trust in his love and mercy. Rejoice in his goodness; rely on his power in all things. In his name we pray, AMEN.

Opening Prayer

God of mysterious ways, you take our fears and turn them into triumphs. You remind us that you are always with us and that we do not need to fear the wind and waves of life. Encourage us to step out of the boat; to come across these difficulties to your redeeming and transforming love. Give us courage and strength, joy and peace for all the times ahead. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Lord, please forgive our weakness and our lack of trust in you. We are like the disciples who, in the midst of fears and storms, could only tremble and wonder about the threatening events. Even when Jesus called to the disciples, they shook with fear. But Jesus offered words of encouragement. Impulsive Peter asked Jesus to call to him and bid him come out of the boat. Jesus complied and Peter stepped over the edge onto the waves — but fear claimed him again and he began to sink. Many of us can identify with that moment when we let go of our faith and clutch onto our fears. Help us to place our trust totally in you and your call to us. You will guide and lift us to safety — that is the promise you have given to us and we believe it. When our faith slips, scoop us up and bring us peace. Be patient with us, for we are flawed and yet loved by you. Give us strong hearts and willing spirits to be your disciples. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Keep your focus on Jesus. He is your Savior and your Guide. He will never fail you. Rejoice, dear friends, you are called precious by our Lord. AMEN.

Morning Prayer

As the summer days move rapidly toward the busyness of autumn, our attention is drawn forward. We begin to think about all that is coming; children preparing for the new school year; young people off to service, work or college; return to regular work schedules, preparations for retirement. There are so many things looming on our horizons that our focus is placed on them. Be with us, loving God. Remind us to place our focus on Jesus, who calls us to trust in his mercy and care. Keep the needs of others in our hearts and minds; needs for healing, for comfort, for friendship. Help us to reach out to them and offer our gifts and service in your name. We name these dear ones with our voices and in our hearts to you in these next moments of silence [silent prayer in which names may be offered for prayer]. As you have loved and healed us, so we ask your healing mercies on these whom we have named. We also ask your guidance and patience with us as we march through the last weeks of summer. Confident in Jesus’ love for us, we pray. AMEN.


The richness of God’s mercy is poured over us every minute of our lives, even when we least expect it. We offer our gifts and tithes in gratitude for all that God does for and with us, that we might become better servants of the Gospel. AMEN.

Prayer of Dedication

Lord of sea and storm, of sunshine and meadow, we present these offerings as tokens of our lives in grateful praise for your love for us. Use these gifts for the ministries of hope and justice in this, your broken world. We ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

You have been embraced by the love of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and blessed by Jesus to go into this world to offer healing and hope. Go in peace. AMEN.

Children’s Time

[Prepare small tags with the initials WWJD imprinted on them. Suspend them from multicolored yarn so that the children may wear them as necklaces]
Good morning! I have something for each of you. [Distribute necklaces]. Take a look at these! They have the letters WWJD printed on them. These letters stand for What Would Jesus Do. Many years ago a lot of people wore bracelets or badges with these initials, reminding them to think about what Jesus might do in difficult situations.

When people are being hurt and put down: Jesus would find ways to care for them.

When people are hungry and there is no way for them to get food: Jesus would help find food for them and find other helpers.

When people feel lost and feel like no one likes them: Jesus would hug them and call them friends.

When people forgot to take care of the world and threw their garbage all over the place: Jesus would remind people that we are called to love the earth and take care of it.

When people were pushed out of their homes and had no place to go: Jesus would help find shelter.

When people were sick and sad: Jesus would visit them and let them know he loved them.

There were so many, many things that Jesus did to help his disciples understand that they could do all these wonderful things and that each time they did them, it was just as though they were working for him and loving him.

This is going to be a busy week for many of you, but there are always ways in which you could discover WWJD in your lives. What Would Jesus have you Do to help others? See what you can discover this week and let me know next week what you found out and what you did. God bless each one of you. AMEN.

Art for the Altar/Worship Center

Equipment and supplies: Green fabric to cover the altar/worship center; Blue silky fabric to be draped from the upper left corner of the altar/worship center to the lower right side. The fabric should be bunched up to resemble waves. Large rocks may be placed around the blue fabric. Large leafy trailing plants should be placed at the back of the altar/worship center to act as a backdrop for the setting. Several signs with the initials WWJD could be placed on the altar/worship center. Votive candles may be placed on the main level of the altar/worship center, but not on the blue fabric.

Scripture into Script 

Reader: I’m so tired. There are so many stresses in my life and now the church wants me to think about What Jesus Would Do. They’ve got to be kidding. I don’t have time for this. There are too many things coming up which will need my full attention. That scripture about Jesus walking on the water to the disciples drives me nuts! Unless you have pontoons on your feet, you can’t walk on water! You know, I think I’m just going to cruise through the rest of the summer and then get back into this church thing in the fall. Oh, I’ll be in worship, because that’s what I do on Sunday, but sometimes it’s just too hard to cope with all this stuff.
Voice off to the side: Do not fear! I’m with you. You can handle this and not feel so stressed.
Reader: Who is that? What do you want? Where are you?
Voice off to the side: I’m right here, with you. Relax. You’re OK.
Reader: Call me. I’ll see if I can find you.
Voice off to the side: Come to me. Bring your fears and burdens. I can help.
Reader: OK, I’ll give it a try. I’m coming in the direction of your voice.
Voice off to the side: I’m right here. Don’t be afraid.
Reader: I’m not sure I see you – I’m trying to focus on your voice. This is ridiculous. What am I doing, following a voice?
Voice off to the side: Keep your focus on me – you’re almost here now.
Reader: No, I’m not. I’m scared. I can’t see you, I can only hear you, I think, unless you are just a figment of my imagination.
Voice off to the side: Do not let your faith weaken. You can do this!
Reader: Help me. I’m falling and failing.
Voice off to the side: Reach out your hand, I’ll help you.
Reader (reaching out): Lord, save me.
Voice off to the side: I’ve got you. You are safe. Place your trust in me.
Reader: Oh, my God! It is you!
Voice: You are safe. Come with me.

Message Movers

The above Scripture into Script segment could be used at the beginning of the message, followed by a reflection on taking the risk and placing our trust in the Lord by “stepping over the edge of the boat”. The premise is that Jesus is calling to each one of us to step out of our comfort zone and to walk boldly into the future.

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