We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
Sometimes, I need an attitude adjustment. My life is good. Yes, there are some challenges, but often I find myself annoyed more than I should be, and show myself to others as grumpy and cynical and negative. There is much around me that I cannot control, but I can control how I respond to it. One of the most magnificent chapters in all of Scripture is the fourth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. During the first three weeks of the fall, I am going to read that chapter to myself, slowly and with feeling, every single day. It will take me less than three minutes a day. And, we are going to talk about this chapter each Sunday morning for three weeks, beginning this Sunday.
The sermons are:
August 21: Claim the Joy
August 28: See the Best
September 4: Choose Contentment
I enthusiastically invite you to come and be a part of it, and to read the chapter to yourself each week as well. I invite your family and friends and neighbors to be a part of it. As I look around me, there are a lot of folks who are longing for an attitude adjustment too. Let’s help them experience a transformation of the spirit.
I send out this email every single week to those who have “opted in” for my weekly emails/prayers. It includes a personal prayer each week, as well as some thoughts I want to share about what is coming up or going on. This week, I sent it to the entire St. Luke’s email list, but won’t do so every week. If you usually get them each week, and want to stop receiving these emails, simply click here to unsubscribe and we will take you off the list. If you do not usually receive these, but wish to receive them every week, Click here to opt in.
A PERSONAL PRAYER
God of all times,
Sometimes, I feel like I am jerked to and fro like on a roller coaster, up and down, down and up. When things go well, I am a happy camper. When they go not so well, I cry in my beer. I am amazed at the impact external things have on me. I am afraid it is a symptom of something deeper within me; I am afraid I don’t have the right source for my joy.
O God in Jesus, I love you with all my heart. I take you to be my God, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death unites us face to face. No matter what comes our way together, I will rejoice in you and your love. As long as I have you, I will know joy, and nothing in life or even in death will be able to separate me from your love in Jesus Christ.
I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus, hoping that my life and my heart will follow my prayer.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK.
“Rejoice in the Lord Always; again I say, Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4. Read all of Philippians 4 each day this week right here! Philippians 4:1-23
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
What are the things that short circuit your rejoicing? What do you do about them? Do you find yourself doing more rejoicing or enjoying?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Our sisters and brothers in Louisiana have called on us for help.
Thirteen people have died, 8,400 people are in shelters, and 40,000 homes have been damaged in the floods there, particularly in the area around Baton Rouge.
What can you do to help?
1. Pray for our brothers and sisters who are struggling there.
2. Make a financial gift. You can make it payable to St. Luke’s (make sure and designate it for Louisiana Flood Relief ) or give online at StLukesMethodist.org/floodrelief. 100% will go directly to this work.
3. Bring packages of diapers to St. Luke’s this week, or next Sunday. This is a significant need for those living in shelters.
4. Join us on our work day on September 10, 9:30 a.m. to make “flood buckets” which contain supplies to clean up damaged homes. To register, contact Denise Snider (713-402-5034.)
5. Join us on a work trip in the next few weeks to help clean out houses. Details are still being worked out, but you can contact Denise Snider (info above) now to express your interest.
On September 11, Dr. Chap Clark will be preaching at our traditional and Encounter services on the Westheimer Campus, delivering our Shamblin lectures. Dr. Clark is on the faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary, and will speak to us about how we might develop “sticky faith” in our youth and children. Here is what is most surprising: it is not through a great youth program—instead, it is through a great church, where people of all ages shape one another in faith. Dr. Clark will kickoff a four week sermon series entitled Yours Mine and Ours. There is also a curriculum written that will go with it. If you know a family who might be looking for ways to facilitate development of faith in children and youth, I encourage you to invite them, and to join a small group that will be studying these materials.
Finally, the grand opening for all our buildings will be October 16. Put it on your calendar now!
Sunday, August 21
God, I hate to tell you this, but I make human mistakes, but you know that. Thank you for your grace, and thank you for the Bible which tells me I am not alone in making mistakes. When I do make a mistake, I pray that you would give me strength to admit my mistake without blaming others, teach me what I need to learn from the situation, and guide me to help make good come from the situation. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Monday, August 22
Almighty God, you are the source of all good things, and you bless me abundantly. I admit that I frequently put limits on life and think thoughts of scarcity even though your great love overflows with blessings for me. I ask that you would break down the barriers in my mind, and show me the abundance of the world. Help me to be a good steward of all that you have given me, help me to bless others as you have blessed me, and help me to grow my faith in your abundance. Amen.
Tuesday, August, 23
Loving God, in a world of comic book super heroes, I enjoy a triumphant story. But, I know that Jesus is the real super hero. He came down to earth as one of us, and did not live as a divine King who was above us, but as man who loved us and gave his life for us. He leads us by example even to the point of death. God, help me to follow Jesus with my whole life, create in me a pure spirit, and open my heart to love like he did. Amen.
Wednesday, August 24
Faithful God, you know that there are times when I need support so you have blessed me with family, friends, and faith relationships. Some people you have brought into my life to mentor me, and other times you bring people into my life for me to help. I pray God that you would continue to bless these relationships. Teach me what I need to learn, and be at work in me to help others grow. Amen.
Thursday, August 25
All knowing God, you understand my deepest thoughts, and you know my words before I even say them. I strive to use my words to help others, but I admit I need to work more on listening. Open my ears to listen intently to their words, open my mind to listen with understanding, and open my heart to listen with compassion. Amen.
Friday, August 26
Gracious God, the Bible tells me that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Heal my heart so that emotion does not control my actions. Help me to pray for others whom I can’t change but you can, and give me wisdom to know the difference between what I can and cannot change. Grow my faith in you to handle what I cannot, and give me the power to think before I respond. Always guide me to act in love and integrity. Amen.
Saturday, August 27
Faithful God, I see you at work in my life in so many amazing ways. You always take care of me, and you never ever fail. Because you love me so much and always do your part in my life, grow me in ways so that I can do my part and be a good steward of the life you have given me. Guide me to do all that I can do to be prepared for whatever may come my way. Lead me to plan B or plan C or plan D when I need to change my course. Amen.