A PERSONAL PRAYER
Do you remember the little boy and his family that I met at the hospital? I pray that you would keep that little boy alive, that he would recover from the terrible disease from which he is suffering. Do you remember the lady I met who showed me pictures of her bombed-out home in Syria? I pray that her family back there would be able to rebuild their lives and return to their homes and that the war there, and every war, would come to an end. Do you remember the girl I saw on the news weeping for the loss of her father and her home from Typhoon Kammuri in the Philippines? I can’t get her out of my mind. I pray for you to take her hand and help her through her grief, and show her how to move forward when she is so alone. God, do you remember the man who asked me on Sunday to pray for him because the government is out to get him? I know he lives with mental illness, devastating for his life. I pray that you would bring him some peace, and the resources to cope with the hand he has been dealt.
Of course, you remember all of these people. They are your people. It is me who usually forgets them. I usually pray for “me and mine”, and think that “them and their” are far away. But your Word tells us we are tied together, that all of these folks are part of “me and mine.” When one of us rejoices, we all rejoice, but when one of us suffers, we all suffer.
So, God, I pray for you to come down again and save us. Not just me, but for them… all of us. Remind me that we are all your people, your family, and we all need you to tear open the heavens and “descend to us, we pray.” Come, Lord Jesus. Save us… all.
In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This Sunday, we continue our Advent sermon series entitled “Savior.” The gospel of Matthew records that the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph, and said that Mary would give birth and that he was to name him “Jesus,” because he would save the people from their sins. The name Jesus, like Joshua and Hosea and the word Hosanna, comes from the Hebrew root Yasha, which means “to save.” So what does it mean that Jesus is our savior? Why do we need saving at all? During this season, as we await the birth of the Christ child, come and find out just why his birth matters so much. This week, we will talk about what it means for Jesus to be “Savior of the World.”
I hope you will consider making a gift to St. Luke’s 2019 Christmas Offering, benefitting Amazing Place, a ministry that supports people with mild to moderate dementia and their caregivers. We hope to raise $500,000 to support Amazing Place’s campaign to expand to a second location and broaden its outreach programs in the community. The prophet Isaiah says “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hand.” (Isaiah 49:15-16) Christmas is a time to remember those most vulnerable around us, and often we focus only on children. We want to be God’s agents in helping those who struggle with the isolation of dementia to know they are not forgotten. You can find out more or make a gift or pledge here.
There is so much happening this Advent Season. This Sunday is the Contemporary Music cantata “Rejoice!” on December 8 at 8:45, and the Rob Landes Family Concert and Cocoa Party at 4:00. Next Sunday is the Traditional Christmas Festival with choir and orchestra on December 15 at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00. This year, we are adding a family movie night to watch “The Star.” There is lots more as well, so check out the whole Advent and Christmas calendar here.
If you have not had the opportunity to make a commitment to our “Giving with Gratitude” generosity campaign to support the ministries of St. Luke’s for 2020, you can do so here.
Did you miss last week’s message, “Surely it is God…,” on December 1. This is the first sermon in our series “Savior!” Watch it here.
Sunday, December 8
Lord, your plan for salvation seems so simple but is complicated. It seems within reach but hard to grasp, it seems wonderful but hard to believe. Grow us in our faith and understanding of your love so that we may be able to share your Good News with those who need to hear it. Give us the right words to say at the right time to plant seeds of faith in others. Help us to share our stories. Amen.
Monday, December 9
Heavenly Father, we confess that we oftentimes focus on the things that we lack rather than the blessings that you have given to us. Today, we offer up our hearts to you in gratitude, and we pray that you would bless us with opportunities to share your blessings with others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Tuesday, December 10
Heavenly Father, we pray for the homeless people of Houston. We pray that you would work through us to provide for their needs and that you would protect them. Help them to feel your love and blessings. Amen.
Wednesday, December 11
Gracious God, we pray for those who are currently incarcerated. We pray that you would redeem them, and draw them close to you. Help them to learn your ways and to seek a better life. Show them the power of your love and depth of your grace. Amen.
Thursday, December 12
Heavenly Father, we pray for the children who are without homes and in the Foster Care system. Work through us to provide for their needs and to share your love and blessings with them. Help them to experience the joy of Christmas and bless them with the gift of forever families. Amen.
Friday, December 13
Heavenly Father, we pray for our children who are traveling home for Christmas. Bless them with safe travels and good times as they are reunited with family and friends. We also pray for our children who are unable to come home for Christmas this year. Help us to find ways to connect with them and share the joy of Christmas. Amen.
Saturday, December 14
Dear Heavenly Father, during this season that we have turned into a busy time, help us to set aside moments to remember what Christmas is really about. Let us recall Christ bringing the love of God into this world. Fill us with peace and joy and send us out to share moments of the kindness and love of Christ with all we meet. Amen