A PERSONAL PRAYER
Jesus, you taught us that you were the truth, but, like Pontius Pilate, we are not sure what truth really means anymore. We live with the consequences of our violation of the ninth commandment; ours is a community of mistrust. We receive every bit of news, every statement from media or institution or leader or colleague, with skepticism. I confess that I have contributed to that community. God, forgive me…
…when I say what others want to hear so that I will get their approval.
…when I hide who I really am from others for fear of their rejection.
…when I refuse to consider views different than my own, because I am more interested in proving myself right than in seeking real truth.
…when I speak words in judgment of my neighbors, never knowing the whole truth of their lives.
God, I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit into each of our hearts and into our community, and heal our broken and cynical spirit. Begin with our families, and then our friendships and then our community of faith. Let us not be conformed to the standards of the world, divided and mistrustful, but rather let us always be willing to share who we really are with one another, knowing that we are loved just as we are. Remind each one of us that the truth will set us free.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No;’ anything more than this comes from the evil one. -Matthew 5:37 Read all of the scripture passages for the sermon here: Exodus 20:16, Matthew 5:33-37, Matthew 7:1-2, John 18:37-38
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
Who is the person that God is calling you to be? What steps might you take to live into the truth of Jesus Christ? About whom might you transform your judgment of them into grace to them?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Commandment 9 is “You shall not bear false witness against one another.” While this commandment was originally focused on legal proceedings, it very quickly came to be focused on not being deceitful in any way. Jesus challenges us to not only refrain from lying but to be transparent and authentic. The opposite is to be a “hypocrite,” a word that literally means “play actor.” I wonder if you live as a persona rather than the real you? 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.
In two weeks, beginning on August 20, I will begin a three week sermon series focusing on the Biblical practice of hospitality. Hospitality means so much more than a nice table setting or a welcome mat. It is a deep desire to connect with others. It is a focus on the other person rather than ourselves. It is a willingness to be inconvenienced, or even put one’s self at risk, to meet another’s needs. It is a desire for there to be no “us” and “them,” but only an “us.” It is a willingness to let others into our private space, and more importantly, a willingness to let others into our hearts. The series is entitled “Open Hearts and Open Doors.” Come and join us!
Sunday, August 6
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may be forgiven for my sins and that I may demonstrate the love you have for your children and find peace in your love. Amen.
Monday, August 7
Heavenly Father, we pray for all of those who are suffering with cancer. We ask for miraculous healing and an end to their pain. We pray that you would strengthen them physically and spiritually and that you would restore them to good health. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Tuesday, August 8
God, we pray for unity in our church. Help us to be loving to one another even if we don’t agree on everything. Guide us into becoming more and more the church that you are calling us to be. Amen.
Wednesday, August 9
Heavenly Father, I pray for those who we love that are transitioning into senior living; be with them during this new chapter of life, and help them to know that they are greatly loved by their children and by you. Show us how to care for them in a way that honors them and maintains their dignity. Amen.
Thursday, August 10
Dear God, help us to use the words we speak to build up, encourage and give love to all we encounter in our lives. Amen. -Deanna Wilson
Friday, August 11
Prayers of thanksgiving for God’s grace, love, and faithfulness. Thanks for your daily provision and thank you for the St. Lukes staff and all they do for your kingdom. Amen.
Saturday, August 12
Heavenly Father, thank you for St. Luke’s many ministries. We ask you to bless those ministries as well as the ministers and volunteers involved in each of them. Amen.
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