Sunday, September 27, 2020 Interactive Worship Bulletin

(17th Sunday after Pentecost) 

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Preparing for God’s Word


“Heart of Worship”

Call to Worship

[inspired by Psalm 30]

Leader: Sing praise to God, who has come to our aid! When we cry out to You for help, you are there.

People: Lord, you lift us up, and restore us to life.

Leader: When we feel like we are sinking down, burdened by the weight of our sin and fear.

People: Lord, you lift us up, and restore us to life.

Leader: God, you have turned our mourning into dancing! You have clothed us with joy. We sing praise to you, we are not silent! 

People: Lord, you lift us up, and restore us to life.

Leader: O Lord our God, we will give you thanks forever!

Hymn of Praise

“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”

Guide me, O Thou great *Jehovah,

Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliv’rer, strong Deliv’rer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Bear me thro the swelling current,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.

Call, Prayer of Confession, & Assurance of Pardon

Leader: All too often, we tell God we will do better, and be better, and then just go on living the same way we always have. Let us make this moment of prayer a time of real repentance (a true turning to God with our lives), telling God of our failures and faithlessness and then going forth to do God's work of grace and hope. Let us come before the Lord, confessing our sins in silence.
[silent confession]
Leader: Heavenly Father, we want to be fountains of hope for others, but too often people find only our hardened hearts. We would like to be transformed people, but too often our stubborn pride prevents us from bending a knee to you. We long to stand with those who are in need, but too often our selfishness keeps our backs rigid in judgment.

People: Lord, help our hearts and will to align with yours.

Leader: Forgive us, merciful God. Humble us, that we might be true servants to the broken and lost. Split open our frozen hearts, that compassion might flow freely to those who are hurting. 

People: Lord, help our hearts and will to align with yours.

Leader Fill our minds with the presence of your Spirit, that we might learn how to follow Jesus Christ,  our Lord and Savior, into your kingdom of grace and hope. 

People: Lord, help our hearts and will to align to yours. Amen.

Leader: This is the good news: in Christ, God's plan for salvation was accomplished. We are forgiven, We are made new.
Through Christ's work and the empowering of the Spirit we can make God's joy complete by sharing his compassion, forgiveness, and hope to this broken world around. Thanks be to God.

Hearing God's Word

**Click here to watch a children’s message from Pastor James about the gift we have in Christ**

Prayer of Illumination

[Based on Psalm 27:11 and Psalm 119:33-34]

Teach us your way, O Lord, and lead us on a level path. Teach us, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then we will keep them to the end. Give us understanding, and we will keep your law and obey it with all our hearts. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

New Testament Reading: Matthew 21:23-32

23   When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”  24 Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.  25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’  26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.”  27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 

28   “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’  29 He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went.  30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go.  31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.  32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him. 


“Matthew & Authority... It's Not About You"

Responding to God’s Word

Affirmation of Faith: The Apostles Creed

All: I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Hymn of Response

“Live Into Hope”

Live into hope of captives freed

Of sight regained, the end of greed

The oppressed shall be the first to see

The year of God’s own jubilee


Live into hope the blind shall see

With insight and with clarity

Removing shades of pride and fear

A vision of our God brought near


Live in hope of liberty

The right to speak, the right to be

The right to have one’s daily bread

To hear God’s Word and thus be fed


Live into hope of captives freed

From chains of fear or want or greed

God now proclaims our full release

To faith and hope and joy and peace


Prayer for One Great Hour of Sharing

Gracious God, you have shown us the meaning of generosity in the beauty of creation, in the overflowing love of Jesus Christ, and in the never-ending gift of the Holy Spirit. God you have abundantly blessed us and called us to be a community that honors one another and serves others with joy, to share our love and material possessions.

Help us Lord, to rejoice in what we have been given.


Loving God, you spared nothing in sending your Son, Jesus Christ. As we have died to self in Christ, we recognize that our lives are now not our own, but they are hidden in Christ. We ask that you might use these gifts presented to you, today and last Sunday, in the same way that we ask for you to use us, to alleviate the suffering of others, to share Christ and his love to all who need it, and to build up others the same way you build us up. We ask that you might make us witnesses to the sacrifice of Christ through lives of service and self-denial. We pray this in the name of the One who loved us and gave himself for us: Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn of Thanksgiving

“Fairest Lord Jesus”

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature
O Thou of God and man the Son
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor
Thou art my glory, joy, and crown


Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands
Robed in the blooming garb of spring
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
Who makes the woeful heart to sing

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations
Son of God and Son of Man
Glory and honor, praise, adoration
Now and forevermore be thine


[based on Numbers 6:24-26]

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord turn his face toward us all and bring us peace. Amen

Benediction Response

“Take,O Take Me As I Am”


Take, o take me as I am

Summon out what I shall be

Set Your seal upon my heart

And live in me


"Firm Foundation"

Union Presbyterian Church

5615 Union Road, Gastonia, NC 28056

Phone: 704-864-7681    Fax: 704-864-7594


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