We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
WE PRAY: A PERSONAL PRAYER
I’m coming clean. Like the tax collector in the temple, I beat my breast and say “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.” Oddly, one of my sins is that I am like the Pharisee in the temple, who says “thank God I am not like these other people…sinners.” Ok, I don’t actually use those words, but you know my attitude. Self-righteous. Better than the guy next to me. God, I can’t brush it under the rug. I can’t minimize it saying it isn’t so bad. It is a result of my separation from you. If my sin separates me from you, God, who will set me free from this? I clearly can’t do it alone. I need a savior.
Forgive me, God. Take away my guilt and shame, and liberate me from the power of sin in my life. Pour your amazing grace upon me, so that by your Holy Spirit I can join you in your work to overcome it in the world.
In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.
KEY VERSES FOR THE WEEK: Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?—Romans 7:24. Read the whole passage of Scripture for Sunday’s sermon here: Romans 7:19-24
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
Where in your life do you see “something very wrong?” Where in the world around you? How might you team up with God to defeat that sin?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Turn on the news broadcast. Read the paper. The news is seldom good. When you look around, there is something very wrong. And when you look at your own life, you can see sin at work in the very way you talk to your spouse or children, in the way you prioritize your time and money, in the way you deal with the people you don’t like. There is something very wrong. We need a savior. We are going to talk about sin and forgiveness on Sunday. I hope you will come and join us.
Remember it is time change Sunday, so set those clocks up. Ergh.
Easter is only two weeks away! At our Westheimer Campus, traditional Easter services will be at 8, 9, 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Encounter Worship will be at 9:15 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. The Story Houston will have a sunrise service at 7 a.m. on Blanton Field and additional services at 9:30 and 11:05 a.m. in the Activity Center. Gethsemane Campus services are at 9:00 and 11:15 a.m. Please note that we will have shuttle parking running all morning from the Central Market parking lot on the corner of Westheimer and Weslayan. Briar Club parking is not available on Easter. Children under five can’t ride the shuttle because of car seat laws, but drop ‘em off at the church and come back and park. It will make your life so much easier and less hectic, and it is going to be fun! Consider giving up your spot in generosity and service…
You can check out all the information about Holy Week and Easter services here: http://www.stlukesmethodist.org/easter
Fifth Sunday in Lent
Sunday | March 13
As you are aware, gracious and forgiving God, we often deceive ourselves into thinking we are free from sin when we are in need of your mercy and forgiveness. Free us, and save us from ourselves. Amen.
Action: Call a friend and check in to see how they are doing. Lift them up to God in prayer.
Monday | March 14
Holy God, it is difficult to share our deepest failures and weaknesses with you. Reassure us that when we confess these to you, you are gracious and merciful; ready and quick to forgive. Amen.
Action: Write out the Scripture, Jeremiah 29:11 and insert your name in place of the word “you.” Read this passage morning, noon and night; and just prior to retiring for the night.
Tuesday | March 15
Competitiveness, pride and a judgmental attitude; these are all around us, and truthfully God sometimes they are within us. Forgive us, and instill within us a spirit of humility and grace. Amen.
Action: Think of someone with whom your relationship struggles. Ask God to help you see them and the situation through the eyes of grace.
Wednesday | March 16
Jesus, you promise to provide rest for us when our burdens in life become too heavy for us to bear alone. So now we come to you, in certain hope that you will give our weary souls rest. Amen.
Action: Attend the Hour of Prayer and Healing Service tonight at 6 p.m. in the Chapel.
Thursday | March 17
O Lord, when you forgive our sins, guilt is removed and joy fills our hearts. Thank you for your faithful, merciful and forgiving grace. Amen.
Action: Attend the noon Lenten concert in the Chapel at St. Luke’s.
Friday | March 18
Gracious and Holy God, more often than not, we see sacrifice as someone else’s responsibility and not something we ourselves must do. Help us to see this act as a privilege, for in doing so we receive far more than we forsake. Amen.
Action: Surprise a neighbor or friend with a special treat or small gift, just because…
Saturday | March 19
Lord, we clothe ourselves with your armor of truth, righteousness, faith, salvation and the sword of your Spirit. Make us ready and fit so that we may stand firm in our faith. Amen. Action: Send an email, text or note to someone who has inspired you to remain faithful in the midst of suffering or temptation.