A PERSONAL PRAYER
You have asked us to give ourselves away, to “pour ourselves out like a drink offering.” You teach us that we are to lay down our lives for others, and we do that one day, one hour, one minute at a time. God I watch so many people pour themselves out for others. In the days after the storm, people worked tirelessly. But even in the days before the storm, in those “ordinary days,” I watch your people give of themselves for the work of your kingdom. Teaching classes. Making phone calls. Working in the woodshop. Planning and supporting events. Going to meetings. Organizing outreach ministries. Raising money. So much activity. So much work.
Thank you God for all the people who work and give and care. I pray that they will know what a difference their work makes. The seeds they plant sometimes take a long time to germinate and sprout and grow. But those seeds do grow, and they bring in a huge harvest. One small mustard seed will grow into a mighty tree. And lives are changed because of it.
I thank you God for this church. Not the building or even the institution, but the people who are called into work for you. May your name be glorified through them.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
The only thing that matters is faith working through love. Galatians 6:6b
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
Where have you seen faith sprout and grow? Where have you seen that faith put to work in the lives of those closest to us? Where have you seen people be “doers of the Word, and not hearers only?”
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
As the pastor of St. Luke’s, I have the opportunity to hear from others the ways in which God has changed their lives through the ministry of St. Luke’s. I want you to hear those stories first hand. This Sunday, September 24, you will have the privilege of hearing from others what God is doing in their lives, how we put faith to work in love. I am calling this “impact Sunday.” It is a continuation of our Fall series titled “Be a Rebuilder.” We have talked about building/rebuilding our spirits by rekindling the fire within us, and building/rebuilding our families, friendships, workplaces. This Sunday we will talk about building the Kingdom of God. It is going to be a special Sunday, so I hope you won’t miss it.
If you missed the start of Men’s Life last week, you can still join in this Wednesday, September 27, in the Fellowship Hall at 6:30 a.m. All men are welcome to come and be a part of it. I am leading a study titled “Freedom!” based on the letter to the Galatians and some of Paul’s other writing. Sign up here.
I have been working hard over the past weeks preparing for our Fall Scripture+Shared Bible Study. We will be learning together about Paul’s letter to the Galatians in an eight week study called “Freedom: Life in the Spirit.” The study will run the week of October 1 through November 19. You can download the materials on your Scripture+Shared app. And you can sign up here: http://www.stlukesmethodist.org/bible/
The Fall Prayer Harvest Sunday night
Join us for a special time of prayer this Sunday night at 6:15 p.m. in the Sanctuary, as we harvest the leaves from the prayer tree and turn our hearts to God for a new season. The entire church family is invited to come experience the power of prayer in community as we live out the first of our Inside Out Habits, “We Pray.” I will be sharing a short homily about prayer, but mostly, we will pray! I believe that churches that pray, that take prayer seriously, are formed into powerful forces for God’s kingdom. So, in the words of John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, “you can do more than pray after you pray, but you can’t do more than pray until you pray.”
There is still much work going on to respond to the storm, and there will be for some time. It is great to be the first in, but we want to be the last to leave. Why? Because we live here. This is our home. You can find out more about that work on our website here http://www.stlukesmethodist.org/houston-flood-relief/
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday!
Sunday, September 24
Gift giving God, Wow, you are a generous God. You gave me life as a gift. You gave me your life on the cross, also a gift. You gave me the gift of eternal life, with no strings attached. Thank you. I want to give my life away too. Amen. -Prayer by Dr. Tom Pace
Monday, September 25
Dear Lord, we pray we will be an instrument of your love, service, and gratitude to all those we encounter. Help us to always look to you for the courage and fortitude to help others. Amen.
Tuesday, September 26
Dear God, You have blessed us beyond our imaginations. You sent your son, Jesus, to us, and he gave his life to save us. Saying thank you for the greatest blessings ever seems so little in return, but, Lord, I am so thankful and so grateful for what you did for me and for all of us. Thank you for all my blessings and all you have given me. I pray, Holy Spirit that you will help me be a blessing for others and help me share what you have provided me. In your holy name, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, September 27
Dear Lord, grant us a generous nature so that we may give of ourselves joyfully and without counting the cost. Amen. -Prayer by Mary Lee Wilkens
Thursday, September 28
Dear Lord, thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed upon us, and help us to share our good fortune with others through self-sacrifice and service, and to spread your love in our daily lives. Amen.
Friday, September 29
Holy Spirit, help us to impart the love and compassion of our Lord by sharing our resources, time and skills to those who struggle, are hungry, homeless or sick. Each one of us has something to give that cannot be given by others. Guide us to answer someone’s plea and be a blessing, one life at a time. Amen. -Prayer by Ginger Blanton
Saturday, September 30
Father, I am so grateful for all that you have given me. Remove any hindrances in my heart that keep me from giving generously and sacrificially. I confess that I don’t know what that might look like sometimes. Open my heart, mind, and hands to bless others as you have generously blessed me. Help me to be content in what I have and fill me with a heart of compassion, empathy, love and generosity to others. Amen.
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