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Jesus Calls Us... - Matthew 14

Jesus' call to discipleship in Matthew 16:24 forms the heart and structure of this sample worship service plan.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

Jesus' call to discipleship in Matthew 16:24 forms the heart and structure of this service.

We Gather for Praise...

Choral Prelude: "How Lovely Is Your Dwelling," Allen Pote [see music notes]

Choral Call to Worship: "This is the Day," Allen Pote [see music notes]

*Opening Hymn: "Praise to the Lord" PH 482, PsH 253, RL 145, RN 57, TH 53, TWC 77, UMH 139 [see music notes]

*Opening Prayer (from Psalm 67)

God be gracious to us and bless us
and make your face to shine upon us.
That your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God.
Let all the people praise you. Amen.

...And Confession

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Lord, you come to us, but we do not recognize you;
you call, but we do not follow:
you command and we do not obey,
you bless us, but we do not thank you.
Please forgive and help us.

Lord, you accept us, but we do not accept others;
you forgive us, but we do not forgive those who wrong us;
you love us, but we do not love our neighbors.
Please forgive and help us.

Lord, you showed us how to carry out your mission,
but we still insist on our own;
you identified yourself with outcasts, the needy, the poor,
but we do not bother to find out what is happening to them;
you suffered and died for the sake of all,
but we do not give up our comfortable lives.
Please forgive and help us,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Response of Thanks and Praise: "Te Ensalzaré Señor," John Bell [see music notes]
(The choir will lead with the congregation singing the refrain when so directed.)

Jesus Calls Us...

Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Choral Response: "True Light," Keith Hampton [see music notes]

...To Take up our Cross

Scripture: Matthew 16:24-28

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Choral Response: "Jesus Calls Us," arr. Joy Patterson [see music notes]

...And Follow Him

Scripture: Matthew 4:18-22

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

*Hymn: "Would I Have Answered When You Called" [see music notes]
(Choir sings stanza 1; all sing stanzas 2-4.)

Congregational Prayer

We Hear God's Word

Scripture: Luke 14:25-35

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Sermon: "What's the Cost?"

...And Respond with Thanksgiving  

*Hymn of Response: "O God, We Kneel before Your Throne," Hopp [see music notes]
(The choir will sing the first three stanzas; the congregation will join the choir on each refrain and
the fourth stanza.)

The Offertory Anthem: "Many Colors Paint the Rainbow," Roy Hopp [see music notes]
(During the singing the offering is received.)

Closing Anthem: "Then Will the Very Rocks Cry Out," Mark Hayes [see music notes]

*Parting Words (from Matthew 28:19-20)

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything
that I have commanded you.
and remember, I am with you always,
to the end of the age.

* Closing Hymn: "Go to the World" SNC 294

*Postlude: "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" [see music notes]

Liturgy Notes

1. This worship service kept the Calvin Seminary Choir in a leading role. Perhaps you can arrange for a similar pattern of leadership with your choir or praise team. Stretching your praise team to include anthems may be healthy for them. Multiple members of the choir took each of the roles of reading and prayer. This provides a good opportunity for various people to serve in a priestly function-sometimes speaking for God to the people, and sometimes speaking for the people to God.

2. The Prayer of Confession is responsive. Confession is not an act of worship done by the leader for the worshipers, but rather an act of contrition expressed by worshipers. Therefore, it is helpful for worshipers to take such words on their own lips.

3. In this service the choir sings an anthem for the prelude and while the offering is being received. If you or your congregation is not comfortable with that, these two can be separated.

4. Notice how the closing acts of worship focus on the call of Christ after his resurrection to go into the world to serve him. The spirit near the end of the service, therefore, ought to be that of "sending."

Sermon Notes

In this service four Scripture readings are included, each from the words of Jesus in the gospels. We are recommending that the sermon be based on the fourth gospel passage; however, an alternate plan would involve a short message on each of the four. Regardless, all four passages should be in view in the message.

When Christ calls his disciples, we hear his call to us too. Therefore, each of his words read in this service carry relevance for us in our life of discipleship. The passage from Luke 14 speaks about counting the cost of discipleship, but the importance of these words can hardly be fully understood without understanding the words of Matthew 16: Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me, for this is the only path to be saved (Matthew 16:24-25). The disciples discovered the far-reaching impact of these words, and their lives and ministries reveal it.

Jesus seems to change his approach to his followers in the Luke 14 passage. He tests and challenges them so that they do not respond too easily or flippantly to the call to follow him. There is a cost, he warns. In saying this, he makes it clear that Christian discipleship is counter-cultural in some very profound ways. It puts us at conflict with people, ideas, and trends. Relationships will be strained, sometimes surprisingly so. Our persistence will be threatened. A builder gives us an excellent example of cost-calculating which, if not done, could jeopardize the completion of a project. We might ask if the church today is cognizant of the cost for us or if we are realistically considering those costs when we declare our faith.

As you near the end of this sermon, you may want to raise two concluding thoughts that will aim to provoke personal reflection. Why does he talk about "salt without saltiness"? (vs.34) And why does he end this discourse with a statement about the importance of hearing? (vs.35)

Music Notes

1. This is a rather unique service in that the choir provides the music for prelude and offertory, directs the congregation's thoughts through anthem settings, and leads them in congregational song and liturgy.

2. The prelude music is a SATB anthem setting of Psalm 84 accompanied by piano and flute. "How Lovely Is Your Dwelling" by Allen Pote is published by GIAG-5945 [2002] (E-M).

3. The choral call to worship "This Is the Day," also by Allen Pote, is a SATB anthem with piano accompaniment with optional unison choir and handbells published by SMP S-501[1991] (E-M).

4. Alternative harmonizations for the opening hymn "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" can be found in the following resources:

LOBE DEN HERREN ["Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"]

  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ
    • Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 1. Ludwig O-05 [1975]
    • Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB644 [1978]
    • Wood, Dale. New Settings of Twenty Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9292 [1968]
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Organ, Anne Krentz. Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]

5. The responsorial anthem "Te Ensalzaré Señor"/"I Will Praise You, O Lord" by John Bell is based on Psalm 30 and written for SATB voices with solo, congregation, flute and optional trumpet. It is published by GIA G-5156 [1999] (E-M).

6. Keith Hampton composed "True Light" for SATB voices with piano and soprano solo in black gospel style. It is published by earthsongs [2002] (E-M)

7. "Jesus Calls Us" by Joy Patterson is a new musical setting to an old hymn text. Written for SATB  voices with a medium voice solo, clarinet and keyboard, it is published by Morningstar MSM-50- 6048 [2005] (E-M). The clarinet part could be incorporated into the piano accompaniment.

8. The text for "Would I Have Answered When You Called" is published by GIA in a collection by Herman Stuempfle, Jr. called "Redeeming the Time" [1997]. This hymn has a newly composed tune by Roy Hopp that is not yet published. If you are interested in obtaining the music, please contact Roy at The text could also be sung to FOREST GREEN.

9. "O God, We Kneel Before Your Throne" composed by Roy Hopp is published by GIA G-5944 [2002] (E-M). This anthem for SATB voices with organ and optional brass quintet includes a congregational refrain and verse.

10. The offertory anthem "Many Colors Paint the Rainbow," also by Roy Hopp is scored for SATB divisi with piano and is published by GIA G-5465 [2000] (M)

11. The closing anthem "Then Will the Very Rocks Cry Out" by Mark Hayes is scored for SATB and piano. It is published by Praise Gathering Music Group S40060C [1985] (E-M).

12. Postlude suggestions on the opening hymn "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" can be found in:

LOBE DEN HERREN ["Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"]

  • Organ:
    • Behnke, John A . Five Preludes of Praise, set 4. Concordia 97-7039 [2003] (E-M)
    • Bender, Jan. Festival Preludes on Six Chorales. Concordia 97-4608 [1963] (M)
    • Bish, Diane. The Diane Bish Organ Book, vol. 1. Fred Bock B-G0548 [1980] (E-M)
    • Cherwien, David. Postludes on Well Known Hymns. Augsburg 11-10795 [1997] (M)
    • Haan, Raymond H. Four Hymns of Rejoicing. Morningstar MSM-10-518 [1998] (E-M)
    • Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 1. SMP KK 234 [1978] (E, adaptable to piano]
    • Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (M)
    • Rotermund, Melvin. Five Preludes. Augsburg 11-6040 [1990] (E-M)
    • Shaw, Martin. Processional. Cramer APS487 [1940] (M)
    • Webber, Walter. Trumpet Tune. Ashdown [1956] (E-M)
  • Piano:
    • Gerig, Reginald. Piano Preludes on Hymns and Chorales. Hope 251 [1959] (M-D)
    • Wilhelmi, Teresa. Hymns .Light Jazz Style. Word 301 0136 315 [1997] (E-M)

Alternative postlude suggestions on "Go to the World" are as follows:
ENGELBERG ["Go to the World"]

  • Organ:
    • Callahan, Charles. Voluntary on Engelberg. Morningstar MSM-10-702 [1990] (E-M)
    • Cherwien, David. Augsburg Organ Library - Easter. Augsburg 11-11075 [2000] (D)
    • Cherwien, David. Gotta Toccata. Augsburg 11-11008 [1999] (D)
    • Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 1. AMSI OR1 [1980] (E-M)
    • Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise, set 2. Morningstar MSM-10-757 [1994] (E-M)
    • Powell, Robert J. Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart. Augsburg 11-10478 [1994] (E-M)
    • Wood, Dale. Preludes and Postludes, vol. 3. Augsburg 11-9320 [1974] (E)

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America;
Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice ( Augsburg Fortress)