A PERSONAL PRAYER
To be betrayed, God. It shakes up one’s whole sense of trust in the world, makes one question assumptions and beliefs about everything around. So many folks feel that people they once trusted betrayed them. Spouses. Business partners. Friends. Children. Parents… even pastors can betray us. The pain and anger are overwhelming. The consequences can be so harmful to families and neighborhoods, relationships of all sorts. How do we deal with it, God? You tell us we are to “turn the other cheek.” Do those who betray us just get off scot-free? That doesn’t seem right at all! But it also doesn’t seem right to pray for the betrayer to get his or her comeuppance, to pray for you to deliver our payback! I cannot pray for bad things to happen to anybody…
Your son was betrayed. Betrayed with a kiss. And yet, even knowing the betrayal was to come, you invited Judas to sit at your table and break bread with you, a sign of love and intimacy, even in the midst of your pain and anger.
How can we love when we are hurt so badly? Show us how, God. Pour your Holy Spirit into us so that we don’t treat others as they have treated us. Instead, give us the power to treat others as you have treated us, with love and forgiveness.
In the name of the betrayed Christ, the one whom I often betray myself…
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” — 2 Samuel 18:33 If you want, you might read the whole story of David and Absalom ahead of time in 2 Samuel 14-19.
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
When have you been betrayed? How has your perspective changed with time? How did you behave in ways different than the one who betrayed you?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
2018 All In Generosity Campaign
We still have a good many folks who have not made commitments toward St. Luke’s ministry for 2018. We have some important decisions to make in the next week about our expenditures on ministry and staff, and it is important for us to be able to estimate what our contributions will be. While we finished 2017 strong, with contributions that covered our expenses, our commitments for 2018 are behind where we were last year at this time. If you have not made a commitment, but are able to do so for 2018, please email Karen McCarver, firstname.lastname@example.org, or go online here to make your commitment.
Men’s Life begins this coming Wednesday, January 17, from 6:30-7:45 a.m. As the Fellowship Hall is under renovation, we will meet on the third floor of the Johnson Education building, rooms ES308-314. This semester, I will be teaching a series called “Just Regular Guys.” When Jesus was putting together his leadership team, he picked twelve regular guys. They weren’t especially brilliant, or courageous, or influential, but Jesus could see in them the seed of the Kingdom of God. Jesus chose them intentionally, and he chooses you and me as well. This semester we will consider these twelve regular guys, and see if we can find a reflection of ourselves in them. If you have been a part of Men’s Life before, we look forward to seeing you. If you have never come, you are still welcome. I think it will be a good experience for you!
Sermon Series: Getting Through The Storm of Betrayal
There are few things that hurt as much as feeling betrayed. Some of the darkest days of King David’s life came from betrayal by his own son, Absalom. Our new sermon series, entitled “Getting Through The Storms,” will deal with how we make it through difficult times. This week, January 14, we will take a look at what we can learn from the story of David and Absalom, as well as from the teachings of Jesus, about how to respond to betrayal, and how to make it through the anger and anguish that come when your trust has been violated. Come and join us.
The Chevron Houston Marathon is this Sunday, January 14. Please check this map to see if you need to change your route to church.
Active Shooter Response Training
If you missed the Active Shooter Response training from this weekend and want to know more about it, you can go online and watch the video recorded presentation here: https://www.stlukesmethodist.org/active-shooter-response
Sunday, January 14
Father God, As we celebrate a new year, amid the daily reminders of all of the pandemonium we have seen in 2017, please help us to remember and see that you are here, with us daily, helping us cope with the challenges we encounter… please help us to spread your light among those who most need your grace and love. Please forgive us when we fall short of your purpose for us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. -Prayer by Shella and Michael Shook
Monday, January 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Heavenly Father, you created us all in your image to live in a loving relationship with you and with each other. Unite us together in your love, and grant us peace in our world. Help us to strive for equality and justice for all people as we work for your Kingdom here on earth. Amen.
Tuesday, January 16
Dear Lord, we pray that you give us the wisdom to see what really matters during our short time on Earth, that we not dwell on materials and successes, but that we focus on creating meaningful relationships and helping those less fortunate. Amen.
Wednesday, January 17
Heavenly Father, please be with me as I move through the day so that I may see the wonder of the day as I pass through it. Help me to let go of the wounds from past hurts and help me to see around the things that may wound me today. Help me to be honest with myself and others and to be grateful for all I have. Amen.
Thursday, January 18
Dear beautiful, wonderful God up in Heaven, thank you for this blessing of a new year, and for giving us a fresh start. Thank you God for blessing me with such an amazing family and friends, for all of whom I am so grateful. Thank you God for the ministry at St. Luke’s and my St. Luke’s family. I pray dear God that you bless us with your guidance and help us to feel your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Friday, January 19
Sweet Father, I am trying to do the best that I can. Sometimes I feel like I am making you proud and other times I feel ashamed to come to you. Thank you for never turning me away. Today, I pray to be there for those around me. No matter if I’m proud or ashamed of their actions, I want to love them like you love me. Amen.
Saturday, January 20
Lord, sometimes the many blessings in my life are overshadowed by days that seem challenging, unfair and exhausting. But even when I am ungrateful, your faithful love remains. Please, God, may I dwell on the overwhelming goodness in my life. Thank you, Father, for giving your only Son to pay the price for my sins. Thank you for giving me life filled with love, beauty and grace. I give thanks to you in your name. Amen.
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