Our inside-out habits: We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
A PERSONAL PRAYER
I am so thankful that I was blessed with parents who believe in me. They taught me that I was special, that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to, that my potential was unlimited. Thank you for that. I am so grateful. It has led me to always want to grow, to be better, to aspire to be used for a greater purpose. It has formed my perceptions of what you expect of me, God… that you put me here for a reason, and that I can’t shirk the responsibility that comes with the gifts you have given me.
But that same sense of aspiration cuts two ways, and I always struggle with thinking I must do more in order to please you. In my zeal to become more, I forget the work you have already done in me. I lose sight of the amazing creation that is each one of us, the self-portrait you crafted when you breathed life into my very soul. Aspirations push out celebrations. I live with “shouldas and couldas,” and the guilt from shortfalls drowns out the joy of growth. I strive to see your face in each person I meet, but too often I fail to see your face when I look in the mirror. What is worse, too often my self-critical spirit spills over into how I treat others, and I see what they have not done rather than the amazing things you have and already are doing in them.
God, forgive me, and pour over me as your Holy Spirit that I might see afresh the wonderful works you have done in me. Drive me forward with dreams of what you can do in me, rather than self-reproach about what has not yet come to pass. Let me speak encouragement into the lives of others around me, celebrate with them what you have already done in them, and dream with them about what you still will do.
In the name of Jesus, who told us that if we believe in him, we “will do the works I have been doing,” and that we “will do even greater things than these.” (John 14:12)
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
New Sermon Series
This Sunday, we continue our sermon series entitled “My Child, You Are…” At a level that is below our rational thinking, deeper than our emotions, more central than even our religious beliefs, each one of us has a basic sense of identity about who we are. Most of this comes to us as children, and is rooted in experiences we have very early in life, in those days which we can’t even consciously remember. This sense of identity continues to form as we mature and controls much of the way we respond to the world. The Bible has a picture of what God intends our core identity as human beings to be, and part of our job as a church is to form that Biblical core identity in each and every person, each and every child of God, no matter the age. Each week, we will look at one of four key components of that identity, and reflect together on how we can help form it in one another. This week, we consider that “My Child, You Are…Amazing.” We will look together at how we can celebrate what you are doing in each of us, and help one another dream a little more and reach a little higher. Come and join us.
Don’t miss our Pure Sound musical, Guys and Dolls, in the Rotunda Theatre this weekend. Shows are still on for tonight (Friday), Saturday matinee, Sunday matinee, and Sunday evening. More information is here.
This week is the Beyond These Walls mission conference, sponsored by St. Luke’s and Chapelwood UMC. Would love to have you as a part of it. Information is here.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.” — Psalm 139:14
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
Who speaks possibility into your life? In what ways might you have helped others to see God’s amazing work in their lives?
Sunday, April 22
God of yesterday, today, and forever, we thank you for forgiving our past mistakes, and we pray for guidance today so that we may walk on your path of righteousness. We thank you for our hope in the future that you have given to us through your son, Jesus Christ. May our lives be a reflection of your grace, your peace, and your love. Amen.
Monday, April 23
God, we pray for comfort for those who have lost loved ones. Help them to find your presence through this difficult time. They are hurting, Lord, be with them today. Amen.
Tuesday, April 24
Heavenly Father, we pray for those who are fighting cancer. Give them strength to fight and patience through hard treatments. Be with those who are caring for them and restore your people back to health. Amen.
Wednesday, April 25
God, you love us so much you send us flowers every spring. Thank you for all of the blessings that we oftentimes take for granted. Help us to see the world through your eyes so that we may share your blessings with others. Amen.
Thursday, April 26
Loving God, we want to do what is right and good in your eyes, but when things get hard we give up. Grant us new strength and spiritual fervor that we may walk in your ways and run the race with perseverance. Amen.
Friday, April 27
Heavenly Father, today we lift up to you our most fervent prayer, the prayer that is most on our hearts. Hear our prayer, Lord, and have mercy on us. Give us rest from our burdens. Amen.
Saturday, April 28
Everlasting God, you are always with us in everything that we do and go through in life. Help us to remember that you are walking beside us and that we can rely on your strength to carry us through. Thank you for your great love. Amen.
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