God, sometimes love is easy. Showing up to help a friend. Making a phone call to a grieving brother or sister in Christ. Loving folks who love me right back. Thank you so much for that kind of amazing love, those relationships that make life full of joy and peace, patience and kindness, generosity and faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That kind of love makes me get up in the morning, and fills my heart until it overflows.
There are other days, God, when love is more like work. Sometimes, when I love others, it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Their pain isn’t diminished. Their burdens don’t seem any lighter to them. They don’t want to be a part of a healed relationship. The more I give, the more needy they seem. The sacrifices made don’t seem to bring satisfaction to me or to others. The effort doesn’t seem to make a dent in the problems or issues that we seek to address. These are the times I find I must really draw on the love you give me. The wonderful thing is that the more I pour love out one side of my life, the more you pour your love in the other side. The more love I give, the more of your love I need, and the more of your love I need, the more of your love you give. Maybe that is why love is so hard, God… Because your agenda is loving us, and the harder it is for us to love others, the more of your love we need.
God, you showed me what real love looks like on a cross. Give me the strength to choose to lay down my life in love for others every day, even when it is hard.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love. Galatians 5:6
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
What do you think is the difference between the world’s understanding of love and a Biblical understanding of “agape” love? What is the hardest part of loving for you?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
“Life in the Spirit” Sermon Series
Paul says “the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6) This single verse is the basis for St. Luke’s mission statement, that we are “one family in Jesus, putting faith to work in love.” But Christian love isn’t the stuff of Valentine’s day commercials. It is work. Hard work. This week, our sermon title is “Faith you can see.”
Thanksgiving Newcomer Dinner
One of the coolest events of the year is the Thanksgiving Newcomer dinner that St. Luke’s sponsors on our Gethsemane campus. Las Americas Primary School is an HISD school for children who have come to the United States for the very first time, and it helps prepare them with the basic skills they need to move into the rest of the school system. These children are celebrating their first Thanksgiving – a unique American holiday, and we provide for them and for their families their first Thanksgiving meal. The event this year is at 5:30 pm on November 15 on our Gethsemane campus. If you would like to help, contact Amy Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hold the Date: St. Luke’s CCSC Dinner
On Thursday, November 30, from 6:30-7:45, you are invited to be our guest for dinner in the Fellowship Hall to learn about God’s dreams and visions for the Christian Community Service Center, and what St. Luke’s United Methodist Church can do to help make those dreams a reality. During our Advent and Christmas season this year, we will support CCSC as they seek to replace their old flooded facility near St. Luke’s with a new one, as well as seek to increase our volunteer support of CCSC’s fine ministries. This effort will be our 2017 Christmas Offering, and we will dedicate our entire Christmas Eve offering to this endeavor. CCSC was the brainchild of one of St. Luke’s associate pastors 40 years ago, and we have been a foundational partner for their work since it began in 1980. Please come and hear about how you can be a part of this effort. Click Here to RSVP
Sunday, November 12
Lord, please keep our soldiers safe as they continue to protect and serve our country. Guide them as they deploy around the world, whether they are assigned to fight or bring relief to neighboring countries. Please be with our soldiers as they continue to train every day to keep us safe within our own walls. It’s in your name we pray. Amen. -Prayer by Marcos Gaddy, United States Army
Monday, November 13
Lord, I pray that the church fills me with the strength I need to make good choices. God, I thank you for a place like St. Luke’s so that I can have a place to grow in my faith in you. Amen.
Tuesday, November 14
God, help heal the hate that is all around us today. Give us new hearts of love and melt our hearts of stone so that we can go back to being unified again. Amen.
Wednesday, November 15
Lord Jesus, be with those who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Grant them and their families the patience needed to care for them properly. Amen.
Thursday, November 16
Lord, we pray that St. Luke’s continues to be a place of acceptance for all. Fill us with your spirit of love and grace. May we be the embodiment of your gospel message. Amen.
Friday, November 17
God, I pray for continued sustainability and diversity at St. Luke’s. Show us how you would have us grow your church for your glory. Help us to see the needs of the ones who are in our community and love them like your son Jesus does. Amen.
Saturday, November 18
Dear Lord, I pray that St. Luke’s will continue to lead people to Jesus and for them to live a Christian life. May we never tire of loving your people, Lord. Amen.
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