A PERSONAL PRAYER
Sometimes, I feel like I am addressing the symptoms rather than the illness. Sometimes, I feel like I am changing the clothes I am wearing rather than improving the health of the soul. I worry about the fruit of my life – what impact am I making? How can I treat people better? How can I listen more? How can I address the issues I am avoiding? How can I be happier, healthier, better? But all of these outward behaviors are simply outgrowths of something far more central, something at the core of who I am. You tell me you are the vine, and I am but the branch. You tell me to make my home in you, rather than in the world. I know that this is the real issue, the fundamental challenge that controls all the other ones. I am to seek first your Kingdom and your righteousness, and everything else will fall into place. So God, as I begin this year, let me begin again with you. Let me make my home in your love, and live out the strength and power that love provides.
In the name of the Son of God, who always gives me a new beginning, I pray,
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 two weeks about our expenditures on ministry and staff, and it is important for us to be able to estimate what our contributions will be. If you have not made a commitment, but are able to for 2018, please email Karen McCarver, firstname.lastname@example.org, or go online here to make your commitment.
Sermon Series: Getting Through The Storms
Hurricane Harvey hit many of us pretty hard. Storms can wreak havoc on our homes and our city. But the greatest storms we face are usually not brought on by the weather. Rather, they are the challenges that come with life, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. Beginning January 14, I will be preaching a sermon series entitled “Getting Through The Storms.” On successive weeks, we will focus on the storms of betrayal, grief, guilt and shame, illness, and addiction. We will talk about what Scripture teaches us about them, and how we can make it through the storm to the sunshine on the other side. We would love to have you join us, and invite folks you know who might find this conversation helpful.
2017 Christmas Offering Results – Christian Community Service Center
CCSC’s mission is to provide basic needs to those dealing with material poverty: food, clothing, rental and utility assistance, job training, and services for children. This year, we decided to help CCSC move to the next level of ministry, joining in their effort to replace their facility, allowing them to expand their ministry and help more people with these basic needs and job training. St. Paul says in Galatians, when speaking about the apostles in Jerusalem, “they asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.” Galatians 2:10 We set an initial goal of $500,000 for this project. I am so excited to say that St. Luke’s was able, including two matching gifts of $250,000 and $100,000 respectively, to contribute/pledge more than $1,100,000 toward the CCSC’s campaign, and help expand their ministry for years to come. Thanks so much to Don and Suzie Sinclair for their great leadership in making this happen, and to all those who so generously supported this initiative.
Active Shooter Response Training
As part of our ongoing development and implementation of an updated safety plan, St. Luke’s is offering active shooter response training to anyone in the congregation who is interested. We offered a similar training to ushers and other staff leaders a couple of years ago, and we are expanding it now to all in the congregation. The events in Sutherland Springs and elsewhere remind us that no place is immune, and we want to be prepared for any eventuality. The more people who know the best way to respond, the more likely we are that we would respond appropriately in the unlikely event of an active shooter event. The times for the training (pick one) are
Saturday, January 6, 10 a.m. – 12 noon in the Student Ministries Building, 2nd floor
Sunday, January 7, 2 – 4 p.m. in the Activities Center
Tuesday, January 9, 6 – 8 p.m. in the Student Ministries Building, 2nd floor
Sunday, January 7
We pray for a new level of passion — passion for Christ, passion to love, passion to learn, passion to pray, passion to give and passion to forgive. Open our hearts to receive your abundant love Jesus, and out of them, may generosity of all good things flow freely. Amen. -Prayer by Cecie and Kyle Turlington
Monday, January 8
Gracious and loving God, thank you for the many blessings you have given us, especially the gift of your son! Thank you for the opportunities we have to serve others. Lord, we are a world in need of your healing power. Where we have strayed, redirect our paths and lead us into a deeper and richer relationship with you. Please open the eyes and ears of all mankind to your Son’s message of love and forgiveness. And in all things, may yours be the glory! Amen.
Tuesday, January 9
Good, gracious, loving, and generous God, we praise you and say thanks for all our many blessings. We take so many of them for granted. Help us to be mindful of all those that are lacking the very basics of living, food, clothing, and shelter. We give thanks for the leadership of our great church, the staff, lay leaders, and members. Prepare us to step forward and serve those regardless of who they are and what their circumstances may be. Let us go forward today and all the days that follow in a Christ-like manner in everything that we do. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen. -Prayer by Paul Meyer
Wednesday, January 10
Our Heavenly Father, as we begin a new year we thank you for the many blessings you bestowed upon us in 2017 and earlier years. As we face new opportunities and challenges, we ask for the Holy Spirit to guide our decisions to reflect your will. We pray you will enable us to tell others, that as a God of love, you love and know them personally. We ask this in your Son’s holy name. Amen.
Thursday, January 11
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world, grant that we may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that He may be known, worshipped and obeyed to the ends of the earth. Amen.
Friday, January 12
Heavenly Father, I pray that I will not overlook your many blessings, especially the small acts of kindness, friendship and love that are easy to miss in our busy lives. Guide me that I may find time to be still and thankful—today and every day. Amen. -Prayer by Jacquelyn Cox
Saturday, January 13
Almighty Healer and Counselor, we lift up those we know who feel sadness, loneliness, and despair. Walk with our relatives and friends who are depressed. Walk with me when I am sad. We pray for support for the families of those who struggle with mental illness, give them patience and unconditional love. In this New Year, give us radical, unconditional hope for change in ourselves and the people that we love. Amen.