Dr. Tom Pace, Dr. Tom Pace lll, Senior Pastor St. Lukes UMC, Sr Pastor St Lukes

God, on this day, I am asking for a fresh start. It is a new school year, a new beginning with projects and goals for my life and my work. Are they what you want for me? Have I correctly discerned your preferred future for my life? I have tried to listen to you, God, and get clarity, but sometimes it seems so fuzzy. I ask you today to put the right dreams in my heart, the right goals in my head, the right hopes in my soul, the right projects on my schedule. Your scripture tells me to “delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) So God, I delight myself in you today and ask that you would put in my heart the right desires, those that honor you. 

God, I confess that too often, I hold back in pursuing the dreams and goals you have for me. Sometimes, I am not sure they are yours and not mine alone. Sometimes, I am just afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. Sometimes, I am just too lazy to do the work, preferring instead my own comfort. Forgive me, and show me how to take hold of what you want for me.

In the name of the one whose perfect love casts out all fear, Jesus the Christ, Amen.

This Sunday, September 1, our message will be “No Slackers,” and looks at Joshua’s challenge to the children of Israel after they have crossed the River Jordan. As we begin a new school year, what is God’s preferred future for you? What do you need to do to take hold of it?   

Sunday, September 8, is our Fall Kick-Off. Children will move up to their new Sunday School classes. Food and fun in the Fellowship Hall from 11:00-1:00, and yes, the other pastors and I will take our turns in the dunk tank if you want to see us get wet.

Next Sunday, September 8, we will begin a new three week sermon series called “Better Together.” In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Paul says “I hear there are divisions among you…” Boy does this speak to what is going on in our world, in our time. Looking at passages from 1 Corinthians 11-13, we will explore together both the theological framework and practical suggestions for not just tolerating one another, but actually living in love together. We can be diverse in opinion but united in mission and love. I hope you will invite your friends and colleagues, whether they are folks with whom you agree or folks with whom you struggle. Both the church and the world so desperately need to hear the “more excellent way” that Paul shares with the church at Corinth.

The best way to find a place to belong at St. Luke’s is to join a small group. Sign up for the Small Groups Launch on September 24, and invite someone else to sign up, too! Visit https://www.stlukesmethodist.org/small-groups-launch.

Sunday, September 1 
Heavenly Father, we pray for opportunities to give ourselves away in generosity and service. Give us wisdom and discernment to know when it is best to help and when it is best to just listen. Work through us in amazing ways to do amazing things in your name for your glory. Amen. 

Monday, September 2 – Labor Day 
God of Providence, we thank you for providing us with jobs to support our families, and we thank you for this day to rest from our labor. Please be with those who are unemployed or underemployed and help them find meaningful employment where they can use their gifts and talents. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen 

Tuesday, September 3 
Heavenly Father, we pray for our children today. We ask that you would guard their minds and their hearts from the evil things of the world. Please protect them and remind them that they belong to you and that they are loved. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, September 4 
Almighty God, we pray for those who have chronic illnesses. We ask that you would give them strength when they are weary and that you would provide healing for them to ease their suffering. Help them to know that they are not alone and that there is hope in you. Amen. 

Thursday, September 5 
Loving God, we thank you for all of the staff and volunteers in St. Luke’s Student Ministries. We appreciate all of their time, patience, creativity, wisdom, and love that they share with our youth. Thank you, God, for giving our students a safe, fun place to learn about you and your love. Amen. 

Friday, September 6 
God of life, we thank you for this brand new day today which is full of amazing opportunities. Open our minds and our hearts so that we may be fully present in each moment today and embrace life. Thank you, Lord, for making all things new. Amen. 

Saturday, September 7 
Gracious God, we pray for all of the people in the world who are hungry so that they may be satisfied. Then, O Lord, we pray that you would open the hearts of those of us who have not known what it is like to be hungry to choose to contribute in some way to care for those who are starving. Amen.