A PERSONAL PRAYER
I want, I want, I want. Sometimes it is “stuff.” …a motorcycle, and the sense of freedom that comes with it. (Thank you for giving me a wife who loves me and forbids such a thing.) …a house in the mountains, with horses, and someone to take care of it. And while you are at it, throw in a private jet to get me there on the weekend and back in time to preach. Just dreaming, God. Yada yada yada…Sometimes, it is something else I dream of. …security, a bank account big enough that I don’t have to worry about the future, as if a bank account could do that. Sometimes I just dream of success, to be viewed by the world as the very best at something. Sometimes it is just to shoot an eighty at golf, as if it matters. Or maybe just a ninety. None of them are kingdom dreams, God, but I confess to you that they take me over sometimes. They become my eye. They are what I am looking for. And if those shallow dreams own my eye, they own the rest of me too.
And why is it I keep looking to see what grade my neighbor is getting? Why can’t I preach like Andy? Why can’t I manage money like Warren? Why am I not as spiritual as Teresa? Why can’t I lead as well as Bill? Sigh… I watch these folks, and they inspire me for a while. And then, deflated, I decide I must accept how far short I fall.
God, speak into my heart, and remind me that you made me Tom, and gave me Tom’s life – not Andy’s or Warren’s or Teresa’s or Bill’s. And you have given me everything I need to flourish in that life, and to know love, joy and peace, patience, kindness, and generosity, gentleness, faithfulness and self discipline. You gave me life! You gave me your Son. You gave me yourself in the Holy Spirit… what else could I want? God, by that same Spirit, make me grateful.
I pray in the name of Christ,
Key Verse for the Week
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light;” –Matthew 6:22 Read both passages for Sunday’s sermon here: Exodus 20:17, Matthew 6:19-24.
Questions for Conversation and Reflection
What do you really desire more than anything else? How can you redirect that? To whom do you compare yourself? What steps can you take to master gratitude?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
It seemed like it would never end, this sermon series on the Ten Commandments! Remember, the Ten Commandments were not given to be a universal moral code, but rather to set the children of Israel apart as a special people, a people dedicated to God. Jesus took that calling to an even higher and deeper level in the Sermon on the Mount. We close our series this week by taking a look at the challenge of directing our desire – of not coveting our neighbor’s stuff and our neighbor’s life. What is your deepest desire? What takes hold of you more than anything else? Let’s talk about it this Sunday! If you are not able to join us in church this Sunday, watch us where you are via LiveStream, watch the replay of the sermon online, or listen to the Podcast.
September is coming, and we launch a whole series of new group studies. This is the time to make your plans to get into a Bible study or Christian study of some sort. Go to the group life page here.
Hospitality is a deeply Christian value. It is a part of the Jewish tradition, imbedded in the Old Testament, where welcoming the stranger is a way to remember that the people of Israel were once aliens, wanderers in a foreign land. Jesus invited tax collectors and sinners not just to hear him, but to sit at his table, to take the places of honor at the banquets. His parables uncovered a God who not only welcomes, but pursues even a single lost sheep. Next week, August 20, I will begin a three week sermon series focusing on the Biblical practice of hospitality. The series is entitled “Open Hearts and Open Doors.” Come and join us!
Sunday, August 13
Father, we pray for strength during times of temptation, for peace during anxious times, for hope during times of discouragement, for patience during times of frustration, and for restoration during times of brokenness. Amen.
Monday, August 14
God of mercy, you sent us a Savior who led by example. Guide us to do all the good we can by all the means we can, in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we ever can. Amen.
Tuesday, August 15
Dear God, please give me the peace to get through this difficult time. Help me not to be anxious and to trust in you for all things. Take this burden from me and lighten my load a little bit today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Wednesday, August 16
Heavenly Father, we lift up our students to you as they begin a new school year. We pray that you guide them and protect them. We ask that you would help them find joy in learning and that you would instill confidence in them. God, please bless them with an amazing school year. Amen.
Thursday, August 17
Dear God, I admit that I underestimate the gift of my presence. Help me to remember the importance of attending church and small groups so that we may come together in your name and grow in faith and love. Help me to not only be physically present but also spiritually present. Amen.
Friday, August 18
Gracious God, you start our days with beautiful sunrises and give us flowers every spring. You created the whole earth and gave it to us. You love us unconditionally, and you know us by name. We praise you! Amen
Saturday, August 19
Heavenly Father, we pray that you would be with our church families who are getting back into school routines. Guide them through this transition and bless them with special family time today. Amen.
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