We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
A PERSONAL PRAYER
Today is one of those days when my gratitude overflows. I am so grateful for family and friends, for work and play, for laughter and tears, for big overwhelming joys and small moments of joy. Funny, those things were around on other days when I wasn’t so thankful. What changed, God?
I was reading the Bible this week and came across the story of the feeding of the 5,000, how you had two fish and five loaves. You raised them up to heaven and gave thanks for them, and somehow, not enough became more than enough. Funny how that happens. When we choose to give thanks, that which seems not enough becomes more than enough for us. God, give me the perspective and the habit of saying thank you, to family and friends, to waiters and door-holders, to volunteers and employees, to wife and children and father and mother, to congregation and colleague. But most of all give me the perspective and the habit of saying thank you to you.
The Bible has very few instances of “thank you” offered to other folks. Instead, the words are “I thank God for you…” So that is what I will do today. Thank you, God, for all of these people whom you have given to me, and with whom I can share life.
Just thank you.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. –Psalm 100:4. Read the whole text for Sunday’s sermon here: Psalm 100
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
What prevents you from taking hold of the attitude and perspective of gratitude? For whom have you not thanked God?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This week, Eric Huffman will be preaching all three traditional services and Encounter, as we finish our series on Three Magic Words, with a focus on “Thank You.” I will be preaching at The Story Houston, continuing our series there on the Ten Commandments.
We had a wonderful church conference this week, looking back at 2016 and forward to 2017. Our attendance is up 13% over last year across our campuses. And I am so excited about what is to come next year, with a goal of having 2000 people in consistent, Bible Study with others at St. Luke’s by the end of the year. We will be unveiling in February a new homegrown Bible Study series, entitled God’s Word with Friends. It is “vertically integrated,” with a small group study, a study for “bible buddies” who want to connect with someone other than a small group, a “bite size” Bible Study to do on the go, and app for delivery to you and others. Watch for more details to come!
OK, my last reminder. (for now) If you are a member of St. Luke’s, and haven’t had a chance to make your financial commitment to St. Luke’s for 2017, it will help us a great deal if you will do so as soon as you can. You can make your commitment online here, and there are cards in the pews as well.
Sunday, November 20
God of power and might, thank you for miracles from Heaven, thank you for unexpected blessings, and thank you for the gift of your presence in our world. We love you and praise you, now and forever. Amen.
Monday, November 21
God, I pray for the Tree of Angels outreach program. I thank you for the opportunity to provide for the needs of these families and to show them your love. I pray that you would bless each family and provide for their needs so that they may experience your love in amazing ways this year. Amen.
Tuesday, November 22
Gracious God, most of the time, the holiday season is filled with love and joy, but sometimes the holidays can be hard due to the loss of loved ones, illness, addiction, separation from family and other reasons. I pray for all of those who are hurting this holiday season, and I ask that you would open my eyes to opportunities big and small to share your love with them. Amen.
Wednesday, November 23
God of compassion, I thank you for the St. Luke’s Caring Ministry staff and volunteers. Thank you for the way they visit us in the hospital, care for us in times of loss, call us on our birthday, and support us in so many other ways. Please bless them and care for them as they have blessed us and cared for us. Amen.
Thursday, November 24 – Thanksgiving Day
Heavenly Father, I bow my head in praise and thanksgiving for all of the blessings you graciously share with me. I thank you for food, shelter, family, health, friends, and freedom. And, most of all, I thank you for the gift of salvation through your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Friday, November 25
Lord, let me follow your ways and not the ways of the world. Guide me to follow you whole heartedly and not be distracted by the things of this world. Help me to examine my ways and make straight my paths. Bless me with opportunities to serve you. Amen.
Saturday, November 26
Gracious God, thank you for the gift of new opportunities. Help me to break free from bad habits and to start over with a new attitude. Guide me to become a true disciple of Jesus to learn to love like he did. Amen.