We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
A PERSONAL PRAYER
Thank you for 2016. There have been some difficulties in this year, some losses, some pain. But there have been some wonderful moments as well. And I praise you in the midst of all of them. I praise you for your very character, your goodness, your love, your light. Thank you for walking with me through all of those moments.
God, as the wise men followed a star from the east to find you, I pray that I might choose to follow your star on my journey. As the wise men were tempted by Herod’s along the way, I too am tempted to claim your presence for my own agenda rather than yours. Forgive me, God. Show me the path I am to take, one that leads to offering you all of my treasure and all of my life. May I know the joy of your presence, and be transformed that I might be more like you.
In the name of Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem. Amen.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. — Matthew 2:11
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
Can you give some examples of times you believe you, or others, have been “accidental Herods,” co-opting worship for your own agendas? Do you see worship as something you “come to and receive” or something you give?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This Sunday, New Year’s day, St. Luke’s will have no Encounter service, and only one traditional service at 11:00 am in the Sanctuary. The Story Houston will have only one service at 11:05. There is no Sunday School. Epiphany is Friday, January 6. Epiphany is when we commemorate the day the wise men reached Jesus, as they came from the east “to worship him.” This Sunday, January 1, we will take a look at the story of the wise men’s journey, and see what real worship is all about.
The financial generosity of the St. Luke’s family has always been wonderful, and we always count on our congregation to give at year end to meet our obligations. This year is no different. Please consider a year end gift to St. Luke’s by December 31.
Beginning January 8, we begin a new series called “Unstuck.” Do you ever feel stuck? Stuck in your job? Stuck in your relationships? Stuck in your attitudes or addictions? This five week series looks at what the Bible says about getting “Unstuck” and moving in a direction aligned with God’s purposes for us. Unstuck Come join us. Invite a friend who very well might be “stuck!”
Sunday, January 1
Dear Lord, Thank you for this New Year. I pray it is one of peace in our world and in our hearts. Amen.
Monday, January 2
Heavenly Father, I pray today my hands will make a difference in your world. Whether they are clasped in prayer, working in your earth, holding the hand of a loved one or reaching to lift someone up from their situation, let my hands show your love. Amen.
Tuesday, January 3
O Eternal One, I know your heart hurts for our broken world. Today as I sit in the quiet and feel empathy, as you do, for those hurting around me I pray for eyes that do not judge and a heart that only feels their pain and shares your love. Amen
Wednesday, January 4
Jesus, I pray today for strength. My calendar is back to being full and I wonder if any of it makes a difference. Thank you for being a God who is with me and a God through which I can do all things. Amen.
Thursday, January 5
Dear God, This day is a gift from you. I pray to view it as such all day long. Amen.
Friday, January 6
Loving God, I pray to love like crazy today. Love you, love my family, love my enemies, love myself. Amen.
Saturday, January 7
Lord, this world is loud and I too often allow other voices to drown out your voice. I pray to listen for only your voice today. May your whisper roar in my ears. Amen.