We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.

A PERSONAL PRAYER

God of all times,

There are days I hear that voice in my head that I am absolutely sure is not you. It is a voice that comes from a dark place in my heart, a place where there is pain. It is a voice that judges someone else, a voice of self-righteousness, a voice that nurses ill-will and my own self as a victim. I unwillingly rehearse the words in my mind over and over…

“He has no idea what I have done for him.”

“She is so ungrateful.”

“He doesn’t really care about us.”

“No decent Christian person could do something like that.”

“She isn’t really a friend at all if that is what she said.”

God, what do I do about these voices? When I let them run wild, they eat me up.  When I suppress them, they still bubble and seethe down below the surface, threatening to come out again. Somehow, I know that real forgiveness is the heart of the answer:

John 20:22-23  When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

O God, I want to forgive.  Breathe on me with your Holy Spirit, so the voices I hear in my head would sound like your voice, the voice of compassion and love.

In Christ, who forgave and forgives me.

Amen.

KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK

Boundless Forgiving

“How often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”  — Matthew 18:21b-22  Read the whole scripture passage here.

QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION

What do you think keeps you from forgiving one who has wronged you? What is the benefit of choosing to forgive?

SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE

Friends,

I have always been challenged by the words of Jesus that I, personally, have the power to “retain sins” or “forgive them.” I am not sure I want that power. “Too bad,” says Jesus. It is yours. This week, we will be talking about forgiveness, and how it is a part of what it means to really be generous. I sure hope you will come and be a part of our worship on Sunday.

We had a wonderful church conference on Wednesday night, and I found myself so proud and excited about what God is doing in and through this wonderful church. Unbinding Your Heart was such a growing experience. The Story Houston is growing dramatically, with 400 people there last week. Our new facilities are going to give us a great launching pad for ministries which will change lives. It is just so exciting.

If you are a member of St. Luke’s, and you have not turned in your “Boundless” commitment, I hope you will do so right away. What you decide to give will make the difference in what we are able to do in ministry in the year to come. You can complete your commitment pledge online here: http://www.stlukesmethodist.org/stewardship

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PRAYER CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK

 

Sunday | November 15

Prayer for The Story Houston

Dear God, we love all of the ways that you are working through The Story Houston to reach people who haven’t known you well. We pray that you would continue to bless this ministry and that you would use it to reach far and wide to the people who need to know your love. Amen.

Monday | November 16
Dear God, I need your help today. As the holiday season approaches, I get busy in the details of this world. Please help me to find you and to know your peace in all that I do. Amen.

Tuesday | November 17
God, you have shown me your ways and you have blessed me abundantly. Please help me to shine your light into the world so that others may come to know you also. Amen.

Wednesday | November 18
Prayer for Student Ministries’ Small Groups

Father in Heaven, we lift up to you our youth members. We pray that you would guide them through this time of their lives and that you would form their faith. Please help them to find your love and acceptance in their small groups. Please make this time a refuge for them. Amen.

Thursday | November 19
Dear God, we ask you to be with our families. We pray that you would heal our broken relationships and that you would bring us together in your love. Help us to show your unconditional love to our own family and to point our family back to you. Amen.

Friday | November 20
God, you have blessed us with another amazing week!  We give thanks to you, and we ask that you would help us to use your blessings to bless others also. Please prepare our hearts and our minds to hear your message on Sunday, and please give us the courage to act on our faith in your world. Amen.

Saturday | November 21
God, please open our hearts to feel your presence in this world. Please help us to be your hands and feet. Please work in us so that others may see you and want to come to know you also. Amen.