It has been quite a week at St. Luke’s church. Volunteer mucking teams have been out helping families, both from St. Luke’s and our neighbors. Our student ministry was a huge part of that effort, as the youth made the week a “mission trip at home.” Red Cross volunteers continued to sleep in the Fellowship Hall at night, and our folks provided great hospitality. Countless volunteers provided meals and laundry service. The Sharpstown and Gulfton communities gathered at our Gethsemane campus each day for a free meal, provided by our folks in conjunction with our Connect Community ministry there. Our volunteers provided a special session of Summer Clubhouse for children in the Gethsemane community as school opening was postponed, and our Summer Camp program did the same on our Westheimer campus. The Blanton Building became a central distribution center for supplies and needs for other churches and organizations across the city. Our prayer team prayed hundreds of prayer requests that poured in through our prayer leaves and prayer request cards, as well as in our usual prayer and healing service. Volunteers and staff members made hundreds of calls checking on our members to find out their status, and to see how St. Luke’s can help spiritually, physically, or financially. Thank you, thank you, thank you to those who stepped up to help. We know some of you have been waiting patiently to be called to volunteer, rest assured we will be in touch in the days to come as the needs will continue. What a congregation! There are some neat videos about what God is doing on the flood response page on the St. Luke’s website. http://www.stlukesmethodist.org/houston-flood-relief/
This weekend, we can still use volunteer muckers as well as packers, unloaders, and delivery folks to take cleaning and packing supplies to homes in need. If you can help, please go to the website above to volunteer. We are grateful for all the gifts of supplies, through the Amazon gift list and those who just brought them by the Blanton building. We are moving now to need less of those supplies and more of some particular food items. Our partner ministry at Christian Community Service Center has seen the need for food rise dramatically, more than quadrupling the requests every day both at our Gethsemane campus and at the office near Westheimer. Because of this, we are collecting the following five food items for immediate distribution. You can bring them to the Blanton building beginning today, or bring them to church this Sunday and next Sunday, September 17. We’re open 10-4 Tues. – Sun and can accept those items at any point during that time.
Pinto Beans (2lb bags)
Rice (2lb bags)
Finally, we will be at full schedule this Sunday, including Sunday School. The only significant change is that children should still report to the class and grade they attended last year, and Fall Kickoff for children’s classes will be next week, September 17. This Sunday, we begin a new series titled “Be a Rebuilder.” It is so much easier to tear down than it is to build up. What can we do to build up our own spirits, our family and friends, and our world? Let’s talk about it this Sunday!
A PERSONAL PRAYER
We are tired. The people of our city are emotionally drained, while at the same time grateful for our blessings, and inspired by the love we see shared among people. We have stepped out to help how we can, but we think we could be, should be doing more to help our neighbors in need. Sometimes we feel so inadequate for the task at hand.
God, it is so much. Hurricane Harvey. Now Hurricane Irma. An earthquake in Mexico. Talk of war with Korea. And on top of that, all of the challenges with our own families and friends: illness and family discord and financial hardship and grief and so much more. How do we handle it? Do we have what it takes?
Of course we have what it takes, because we have you. It is hard to remember, but we are enough, as long as we count on you. You gave us a spirit of power and love and self-discipline. We do not need to be afraid, or cower in the corner, but simply step out in faith and courage, and rely on your power and your strength. When our city is broken, we can rebuild it. When our lives are broken, we can rebuild them. When our hearts are weary, and our spirits are flagging, we can rekindle that love within.
God, rebuild us, from the inside out.
I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6-7.
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
What habits do you have that are self-destructive in some way? What moments in your life do you recall a sense of clarity about God’s love for you? What is it you would like to do but have been afraid of trying?
Sunday, September 10
Lord as we begin this season anew we praise your name and ask for a renewed spirit in our hearts. Guide us this year into being the people and the church that you are calling us to be. Let your vision become our vision for the coming year and use us for your great glory Jesus, Amen. -Prayer by Rev. Thomas Harper
Monday, September 11
O God, whose love is wider and deeper than the ocean, whose eyes see farther than the most distant universe, and whose understanding can penetrate even the greatest mystery, come and live in us this day. We invite you into our most private thoughts and into our very next decision. Inform and whisper your will into our waiting ear. As we listen for your voice, let us also feel your tender touch, and gaze into your very eyes. For it is there that we have experienced your only Son, Jesus, who walked with humanity, spoke your divinity, and breathes your very Holy Spirit upon all who choose to follow Him. Amen. -Prayer by Rev. Andy Noel, District Superintendent
Tuesday, September 12
Father God, Please bless the many groups of people who will come together this fall to study your word. Knit these communities together, drawing them close to you and to each other. Enrich their conversations and help them to grow in their knowledge and love of you. Amen. -Prayer by Jennifer Gould, St. Luke’s Adult Ministries
Wednesday, September 13
Spirit, in the beginning you blew over the formless waters, created beauty out of nothing, and made real your dream of having stuff to love. Blow through your church in a new way this week. Help us to pass on the love we have received, and bring us to a new beginning unafraid. Amen. -Prayer by Rev. David Horton, Gethsemane Campus
Thursday, September 14
We pray that Christ would come alive in the hearts of our students. We pray that they would be strengthened by the Spirit to know the height, depth, width, and breadth of the love of Christ. We pray our students would have the courage to follow Jesus wherever he leads and to share the love of Christ with others everywhere they go. Amen. -Prayer by Joseph Patty, St. Luke’s Student Ministries
Friday, September 15
Dear God, We thank you for the precious children of St. Luke’s. We pray that they would know how precious they are to You. Each day, draw these children closer to Your heart. May our St. Luke’s community surround these children with love and forgiveness so they may experience Your amazing grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen. -Prayer by Christy Dulaney, St. Luke’s Children’s Ministries
Saturday, September 16
Heavenly Father, My prayer life is so much like the see-saw I had as a child. So often it is up, when I am anxious, and down when things are going smoothly. Help me to have balance in my prayer life, as I mature in my faith. In Jesus name, Amen. -Prayer by Rev. Bill Denham
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