Season After Epiphany 2018 Worship Planning Series

Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018, Year B

While Moses is assuring the people of God’s plan to provide for a new leader, he also gives them guidelines that the leader must follow. These guidelines are now in the people’s awareness as they prepare for a leadership shift. “If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not be frightened by it.” Our theological task as United Methodists gives us a similar guideline to discovering the arrival at truth. Our theological task begins with the question, “Is it true?”  What things are true and worthy of celebration as we seek answers throughout our life’s journey of faith?

Rise Up! Answer


AH = The Africana Hymnal

BOW = United Methodist Book of Worship

CCLI = Christian Copyright Licensing International, SongSelect

TFWS = The Faith We Sing (2000)

UMH = United Methodist Hymnal

W&S = Worship & Song (2011)

SOZ = Songs of Zion

Service starts full lights, band or choir in place.
“Rising” CCLI #4662460
“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” UMH 139

After the opening song, lighting shifts quickly toward darkness, with a soundscape of thunder and lightning ( for a sample you may work with with proper citation). Immediately and briefly, show large images or displays of fire. Then all dark for a few seconds, then lights on band or worship leader:

“Too Much” CCLI #4703848
“When We Are Called to Sing Your Praise” TFWS 2216

Prayer for Illumination

(Spoken Word by Taylor Burton-Edwards)

Sometimes you’re just too much for me,
your light, too bright,
eyes burn to see your face,
your grace consumes my soul like fire.

Don’t blaze, these days darkness is a friend to me,
shadows shelter,
make a home for me,
God, your gaze is more than I can stand.

So turn away, don’t look at me,
yet draw near in holy mystery,
come, Lord, and release me from this strife.

I want to follow where you lead,
your prophet’s voice I’ll surely heed,
Spirit, speak, disturb my soul to life.


Deuteronomy 18:15-20 (NRSV)

Moses should be dressed like the rest of the worshipers, no special clothes or makeup. Moses reads or speaks the text from the center. If you have screens, project a crowd image.

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said:

"If we hear the voice of the LORD my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, we will die."

Then the LORD replied to me: "They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak--that prophet shall die."

Sermon “Answer”

Testimonies of God’s Answers

Two or three people from the congregation offer brief, two- or three-minute prepared testimonies, live or via video, of a time when they’ve needed and received an answer from God.

Prayers of the People

The prayers today will work best in the form of Tongsung Kido, the Korean (and more broadly Asian) Christian practice of everyone praying aloud all at once, guided in a common focus of supplication by a prayer leader. The prayer leader announces a topic of prayer, or the situation of people with whom we are being called to pray, and everyone all at once, out loud, begins praying for or with these people or about the situation. Introduce and perhaps practice this way of praying before the service begins if it is unfamiliar in your setting. Do not try to teach it at this point-- that will badly damage the flow of the service.

Deacon or Lay Prayer Leader
God we thank you, right now,
for the written witness of our ancestors in the Scriptures,
and the living witness we have just heard
that you are the God who answers.
You hear us,
but more than that, you see us,
you truly listen,
you understand our situation,
our strengths and our limitations,
and you give your answer
in a way we can receive it.

So it is with confidence we offer our prayers before you,
knowing you will answer,
and your answer will meet us and all with whom we pray
right where we are:

And so we pray, lifting up our voices before you all at once,
praying first of all, as you have taught us through the apostle Paul,

for leaders and all in authority in our countries, companies, and other institutions.... (all pray aloud at once)

with our congregation, our denomination, our deacons, pastors, bishops, and other ministers, and every congregation, community, denomination, and ministry around the world that bears the name of Jesus... (all pray aloud at once)

for the earth, with everything that lives, and moves, and supports life upon it, and for all who work to sustain it… (all pray aloud at once)

with our families, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, and our enemies… (all pray aloud at once)

for all who need your healing, delivering, and saving power in their lives… (all pray aloud at once)

in the name of your greatest Answer, Jesus Christ, who taught us all to pray aloud together:
The Lord’s Prayer


Deacon or Pastor:
God has heard us, and is answering us even now.
We are forgiven and at peace with God through Jesus Christ.
The peace of Christ be always with you.
People: And also with you.

So let us share the peace of Christ with those around us,
and our gifts with the church and all the world.

The offering is collected while the peace is offered and these songs are sung by choir, ensemble, and/or congregation.

“Holy Ground” CCLI #21198 (choir or ensemble)
with TFWS 2272 (congregation on refrain)
“Praise and Thanksgiving” UMH 604


Deacon or Pastor:
God has heard us, each one of us,
and is answering us today, right now.
But God doesn’t answer us to please us.
God answers us to help us answer others better,
until we love God and neighbor as ourselves.

So go from here,
in the name of Jesus
and the power of Jesus,
answered by God,
to become God’s answer
wherever you go. Amen.

“God Has Work for Us to Do” (Daw/Miller)
“Sois la Semilla” UMH 583


In This Series...

Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord 2018 — Planning Notes Second Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Third Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Transfiguration of the Lord 2018 — Planning Notes

In This Series...

Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord 2018 — Planning Notes Second Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Third Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Transfiguration of the Lord 2018 — Planning Notes