Worship – August 30th – A Different Kind of Animal

Welcome to Shepherd of the Hill’s online worship! We are thankful that you have come to this corner of the internet for some of God’s Word and time for reflection and worship. As you engage the below worship service, you are encouraged to quiet the world around you. Turn off or silence your phone. Find a quiet spot in your house or outdoors.

The service is approximately 30 minutes in length if you follow all the pieces. Songs have been contributed by our Worship Team and our traditional service pianist. Our lectors have recorded the readings. Pastor Adam has recorded a sermon for viewing. There is also liturgy (litanies, prayers, calls to worship) contained in the service. If you are worshiping with someone, please share the reading of these pieces with them.

Call to Worship – Based on Matthew 16:25
Those who want to save their lives
have good health insurance,
pay their bills on time,
exercise and eat right.
Those who want to save their lives
will lose them.

Those who lose their lives
in pursuit of God
who abandon the world’s values,
who live generously and faithfully,
who listen to a voice beyond.
Those who lose their lives
in pursuit of God
will find life.

May we learn the value of loss.
May we know the value of life.

Gathering Song – I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me
Played by SOTH Worship Team

Gathering Prayer – Based on Matthew 16:21-29
It is too easy, God
      for faith to become an escape
           – a way to avoid the pain of being human and alive;
      or a path to success
           – a way to persuade the universe to give us the things we want;
      or a system of control
           – a way to bend others to our will

But the faith you offer is different, Jesus,
      more dangerous and compelling;
It’s the faith that carries the cross,
      that embraces death
           and lays itself down for the sake of others;
It’s the only faith that can lead us to resurrection
      to life renewed and overflowing.

We praise you for this faith, God,
      and open our hearts to receive it.

Scripture Readings

Reading – Romans 12:9-21
The reading can be found here.
Read by Jenny Hoffmann

Psalm Reading – Psalm 26:1-8
Vindicate me, O Lord,
    for I have walked in my integrity,
    and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
    test my heart and mind.

For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
    and I walk in faithfulness to you.
I do not sit with the worthless,
    nor do I consort with hypocrites;

I hate the company of evildoers,
    and will not sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence,
    and go around your altar, O Lord,

singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
    and telling all your wondrous deeds.
O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell,
    and the place where your glory abides.

Gospel Reading – Matthew 16:21-28
The reading can be found here.
Read by Annie Barnhart

Pastor Adam’s Message – A Different Kind of Animal

Questions for Discussion:
Is your understanding of Jesus shaped by the historical context of his time? How so?

What do you think about Jesus’ reply to Peter? Was it too harsh? What was it’s point?

How do you (or would you) explain Jesus to a friend who doesn’t know about him?

When we talk about an “almighty” God, how would you define that power?

How do you apologize to a cow?

Centering Song – Nobody
Performed by Casting Crowns


In the Gospel this week, Jesus calls his disciples to lose their lives if they want to gain them and to take up their crosses.  This is a way of life that can sound very foreign to our ears and difficult to grasp, at times.  For our prayers this week, we have an incredible prayer by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic.  His critics of the Nazi regime and outspoken leadership during that time lead to him being imprisoned in Dachau, a concentration camp.  His prayer for his enemies is an incredible prayer that reminds us what it looks like to walk the path that Jesus describes. 

It can be found on this page: Prayer Regarding Critics and Enemies

Sending Song – Be Thou My Vision – ELW 793
Lyrics can be found here
Recorded by Donna Natseway

Blessing in the Round
(inspired by Mark 8:35, Matthew 16:25)

For those who want to save their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake,
and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

This blessing
cannot help it;
it’s the way
it was designed.

Lay it down
and it rises again.
Release it
and it returns.

Give it away
and it makes a path
back to you.

There is no explaining
how it delights
in reappearing
when you have ceased
to hold it,
no hiding the sly smile
it wears
when it shows up
at your door,
no mistaking the wonder
when it circles back around
just at the moment
you thought you had
spent it completely,
had poured it out
with abandon
where you saw
the deepest thirst for it,
had put it entirely
in the hands
of those desperate
in their hunger.

But here it is,
the perfect circle of it
pressing into your hand
that curls around it
and then lets go,
and releasing
and receiving again
like the breath
that does not belong to us
but sets us in motion.

Giving and Offering
Shepherd of the Hills is very blessed and grateful for your continued financial support during this difficult time of physical distancing required by the COVID-19 pandemic. Your giving allows us to continue to provide worship, support and outreach until it is safe to gather in person again. We realize that the pandemic has caused many financial challenges. As your finances allow, please consider continuing to support our shared ministries.

There are two ways to give:
– Mail your tithe or offering to the church office. The office will remain open for normal business hours.
– Give online! Our online giving is secure and fully operational. It can be found here.

Thank you again for helping us continue to spread God’s Word and help those in need during these challenging times.  

Call to Worship – Written by Katherine Hawker, 2002
Gathering Prayer – Written by John van de Laar
Blessing in the Round – Written by Jan Richardson