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 grace,
I confess that sometimes it feels easier to go it alone. There are days that other people rub me the wrong way. There are days I want to retreat to my cave and hide. But boy, it can get lonely in that cave. It seems that when I push people away, or hide from others, I find that I accidentally push you away as well. And the one person who is my biggest problem is still in that cave with me—myself! Forgive me, God.
God, I remember how on that day fifteen years ago, September 11, something changed among us. We were reminded how important those we love are to us. More importantly, we saw each person around us in a different way. We were bonded together as never before. We all realized that we are, indeed, family to one another. As horrible as that day was, the spirit of love around us was so strong you could touch it. I don’t see that as much, anymore, God. Maybe I am part of the problem.
But it doesn’t have to be this way; I know it, God. When I open myself up to others, and dare to be myself with those around me, I find the amazing wonder of community, of friendship, of life! You created me and said it was not good that I should be alone, so you put me in a family. And then you expanded that family to include a whole community of people, young and old, rich and poor, all different shapes and sizes and colors. What an awesome family I get to be a part of! Thank you, God. Thank you for every one of my brothers and sisters. Open my eyes to see each one. Every one of my spiritual mothers and fathers is a gift. Every child and young person around me is my son or daughter, and is a joy for me to experience. Wake me up to all that we share together, and weave our lives together that we might be stronger and all the more beautiful for you. By the power of your Holy Spirit, God, make us family!
In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Luke 7:44. Read the whole text for the sermon here. Luke 7:36-50
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
Who are your spiritual mothers and fathers? What is it that keeps you from fully embracing those around you as family? Who is one person to whom you might reach out, in order that you might shape them and be shaped by them?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This Sunday, Dr. Chap Clark will be preaching at our traditional and Encounter services on the Westheimer campus, delivering our Shamblin lectures. He will also lead an event on Sunday evening, entitled Sticky Faith: Raising Young People for Lifelong Faith. I hope every parent of a student in grades 4 through 9 will attend. However, we are also encouraging other adults who support and encourage teenagers as they grow in faith to attend as well. You can sign up here. 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 as well. 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.
To help with Parking, we want to encourage as many people as possible to use the shuttle parking from the Briar Club. Please try and reserve our main south parking lot for those who have mobility challenges, as well as families with children five and under, who cannot ride the shuttle busses because of lack of car seats. To help you know where to park, there is a map here.
Men’s Life for Fall, 2016 begins this coming Wednesday morning, September 14, at 6:30 a.m.! Our topic this fall is Becoming Christian Repairmen, and in our time together, we will talk about how we might be about the business of healing broken relationships. We conclude each week no later than 7:45 a.m. There are ten weekly sessions, with the last session on Wednesday, November 16. The group will be use a book by Kirk Blackard and John Sage entitled Restoring Peace, based on the Bridges to Life experience of men who are incarcerated and how they found healing. On Sept. 14, John Sage will speak to us about the process as we begin the Fall. Here is the link to sign up.
Tomorrow, September 10 at 9:30 a.m. come to the Fellowship Hall to assemble “flood buckets” which contain supplies to clean-up damaged homes in Baton Rouge and elsewhere. All are welcome! The more the merrier.
Make sure and put Sunday morning, October 16, on your calendar, as we celebrate the Grand Opening of all of our new facilities. It is going to a wonderful day!
Sunday, September 11
Lord, thank you for promotion Sundays and Fall Kick-off celebrations. Please open my eyes to opportunities to love the children and students in our church. I desire that they know your extravagant love and I pray they will feel it and see it in my actions towards them. Amen. -Prayer by Laurie Noteboom
Monday, September 12
Heavenly Father, I thank you for my earthly family especially my grandparents. They went before me in a different time, but so much of who I am is because of who they were. I pray today that I will carry their heritage, but even more so I will carry you with me. Amen.
Tuesday, September 13
Dear Lord, you have blessed St. Luke’s with members from many generations. Thank you for the gifts of wisdom and experience as well as youth and exuberance. May we always work together to further your kingdom. Amen.
Wednesday, September 14
God, our Father, thank you for the blessing of my family. I pray we grow stronger in our faith by making you the center of our lives. With your love, your strength and your spirit at our core, we can do anything. Amen.
Thursday, September 15
Father, I’m in awe to be part of the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:14 teaches the body is not made up of one member, but of many. Please give me the courage to love all of the members of your body no matter how different we are from one another. Amen.
Friday, September 16
Gracious God, I confess that my family is not always perfect. We have problems, dysfunction, and arguments. I pray that you would soften our hearts towards each other and give us the strength to lift each other up in your holy ways. In Jesus’ powerful name, we pray. Amen.
Saturday, September 17
Dear Lord, I seek to speak your name today. Give me the courage to tell someone I love about my love for you. Amen.