A PERSONAL PRAYER
There are days I think I am a pretty good guy. I think, “well, compared to lots of people, I am doing ok.” I am conventionally nice, so perhaps I don’t need any really significant forgiveness. But then, when I put aside my pretense, I know better.
Please forgive me. Like the tax collector in the temple, my cry is “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” There are things I have done. Things I have said. Things I haven’t done. When I take a good honest look at my heart and life, I really am ashamed. When people say critical things about me, it hurts because I know they are right. When people say nice things about me, it stings because in my heart I know better. The words of the old prayer of humble access, a part of the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper, rings in my ears: “I am not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under this thy table, merciful Lord, but Thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy…”
And yet, at the same time, you whisper in my ear and tell me how much you love me. You remind me that my worth was established at my creation, that you have clothed me in the righteousness of Christ, and that I am to live out of my identity in him. You tell me that you have restored to me the goodness in which I was created, that I am part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and that all my wallowing and self-deprecation are unbecoming a child of the King.
So God, as you have forgiven me, let me humbly receive your forgiveness, and make amends for where I have caused pain and done damage to your children and your world. And let me move forward as one who shares in your resurrection and transformation, knowing that nothing I have done or ever will do can separate me from your love.
I pray in the name of Christ,
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
What guilt do you carry? How does it show up as shame? What might you do next to live your resurrection? Read the passages for Sunday’s sermon here: 2 Samuel 12:7-13
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
What guilt do you carry? How does it show up as shame? What might you do next to live your resurrection?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Sermon Series: Getting Through The Storm of Guilt and Shame
There are things I have done and said that continue to spin around in my mind, and remind me of how much of a jerk I can be. And I like to pretend that there aren’t such things, so I just smile and keep on keepin’ on. This Sunday, February 4, we continue our series of sermons on “Getting Through the Storms.” We began the sermon series with a discussion of getting through the storm of betrayal. So how do you get through when you were the one who did the betraying? Come and let’s talk about it this Sunday.
We have a new St. Luke’s App!
Last year, we unveiled an app for our Scripture + Shared Bible Study. This week, we are launching a new more comprehensive St. Luke’s United Methodist Church app. (You will still use your Scripture + Shared app to do your Bible Study.) This new app is packed with content and resources to help you stay connected. With this app you can:
– Link to our Bible study Scripture + Shared
– Sign up for events
– Read this weekly inside out letter
– Stay up to date with push notifications
– Share content with your friends
Search for St Lukes UMC Houston in your app store, or click here to download: https://subsplash.com/stlukesunitedmethodistchurchtx/app.
Sign up now for a Lenten Scripture + Shared LIFT Group
Lent begins in just a few weeks. (Ash Wednesday is February 14 this year –yes, Valentine’s Day.) Our Lenten sermon series and study this year is called “These Bones Shall Live,” and is based on the book of Ezekiel. There are hard truths we often avoid. There are things we don’t want to hear. There are consequences to the decisions we make and lifestyles we choose, and we would rather not think about them. But the prophet reminds us that truth and consequences will catch up to us. And the prophet also helps us to see that God can redeem us, and put the broken pieces back together again. This Scripture + Shared study is team taught by Eric Huffman and Tom Pace, and will support the sermon series by the same title as well. Sign up for one of our Lenten Living in Faith Together (LIFT) groups here.
Sunday, February 4
Most Gracious Heavenly Father, We know that you take great delight in us and will even rejoice over us with singing. Let your promise give us hope and challenge us to keep on going. Make us aware of your being with us each day. Amen.
Monday, February 5
Lord Almighty, the week has started again, and my To Do list is so long it is not realistic. In this world of many opportunities and many things to fill my time, help me to focus on you and make you my priority. Grant me understanding of how you want me to spend my time, and let me not be so busy that I miss opportunities to serve you. Amen.
Tuesday, February 6
Dear God, Awaken us to your world. You have given us five senses to enjoy your creation. Help us to enjoy the beauty of our world and appreciate it fully. Awaken us to living in your presence as you reveal yourself to us in unique ways. Amen.
Wednesday, February 7
Heavenly Father, we are sinful in our human nature, but you have redeemed us and made us whole again. Thank you for paying our price and for loving us unconditionally. Help us to remember your love and forgiveness and to share the Good News of your grace with the world. Amen.
Thursday, February 8
Dear God, Sometimes our faith is not as strong as we would like it to be, and we have more questions than answers. Help us to remember that we should always hold fast to our faith in Christ Jesus and that it will see us through our lives. Help us to remember that you are always with us and will help us through our unbelief. Amen.
Friday, February 9
Dear Heavenly Father, Today I come to you with prayers for my family. Thank you for graciously providing for them, their wants, their needs, their hopes, their dreams, and their struggles. Never let me fail to pray for them, and I ask your wisdom as I relate to them in love. Amen.
Saturday, February 10
Dear God, Let us remember that you are the source of all things that will nourish us through today. We pray to you, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Let us remember that your bread is not only nourishment for our physical bodies, but also for our spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being. Thank you, Father, for your care that meets all our needs. Amen.
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