Dr. Tom Pace, Dr. Tom Pace lll, Senior Pastor St. Lukes UMC, Sr Pastor St Lukes

A PERSONAL PRAYER

God of love,

There is a worm that lives in my heart. Most of the time, I think he must be sleeping. But sometimes, he wakes up and begins to eat away at all the good feelings inside. The worm has a name – envy. When the worm is at work, I compare myself to others and spend my energy wishing I was as good as they seem to be. I wish I had the gifts and talents they have, the success they have achieved, the friendships they enjoy, the courage they seem to muster, the discipline they appear to exercise, the house they live in, the rewards they have been given. Sometimes, entitlement takes over, and I feel resentment. More often, my self-doubt takes over, and somehow I feel inadequate, and the voice in my head chastises me for all my shortcomings. All of it is because I choose to let that worm eat away. What can I do to rid myself of that worm of comparison to others that lives within me?

I am just amazed at your incredible goodness, God, because of how filled with grace you are in the way you deal with me. Anyone but you would be angry at my own lack of gratitude for the ways you have blessed me. Anyone but you would be disappointed in me for how I feel about my brothers and sisters in Christ. But you, God, just continue with your love and grace, pouring out even more goodness and continuing to show me the way forward.

God, make plain to me the race you have set out for me to run, using the gifts that you have given. When I look at my neighbors, remind me that I am a part of them and they are a part of me, so that I rejoice with their successes. Open my eyes to see the blessings you have bestowed upon my life, so that I might respond with gratitude. Most of all, God, may your son Jesus come and take over my heart completely, so that the worm of jealousy and insecurity withers away to nothing. I will keep my eyes fixed upon him and seek to live and love as he did, all the while knowing how incredible it is to be loved by you. There won’t be any room in my heart for that worm anymore. Amen.

SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This Sunday, May 19, we continue our series of sermons called “Living Forward.” Do you live backwards, continually reminiscing about the good old days? Or do you live sideways, looking at what other people are doing and comparing yourself to them? Or…do you live looking forward, leaning in to whatever God has in store for you? During the month of May, St. Luke’s will consider how we can embrace tomorrow as it comes and live yearning for whatever God has in store for us in the days ahead. This week, our title is “Facing Front,” and we will talk together about how comparing ourselves to other people can rob us of so much joy and how we can deal with the temptation to be jealous of others. Come and join us.

After worship this Sunday, make sure and join us in the Fellowship Hall for a reception honoring Dr. Linda Christians. This is Linda’s last Sunday on staff, as she will be moving to be the Senior Pastor of West University United Methodist Church after 21 years of ministry at St. Luke’s. I know you will want to come and celebrate all that God has done in and through Linda’s ministry.

Sometimes the summertime gives us opportunities to begin some new personal spiritual disciplines. Perhaps this summer you would like to begin a more structured study of the Bible. Consider signing up for the Bible in 90 days, or Bible 101. You can do that by going to https://www.stlukesmethodist.org/group-life/.

During the month of May, you might see folks sporting green ribbons in support of Mental Health Awareness. The team at Nick Finnegan Counseling Center has created a wonderful resource card about the importance of sharing our stories as a tool to reduce the stigma around reaching out for help or seeking mental health services. The card guides you through how to be a safe listening ear, and how to get someone more help if they need it. Cards and attached green ribbons will be located at stations throughout the church, until the end of the month. We hope you will read the card and share it with a friend, and wear the ribbon in support. Check out Nick Finnegan Counseling Center here.

Some of you have said that I left you hanging last Sunday with my story about Home Depot. Some of you doubted my abilities. See the video here if you wonder how it turned out. If you weren’t here Sunday, ask a friend!

PRAYER CALENDAR
Sunday, May 19
Father God, we lift up our graduating seniors to You, and we thank You for the part they have played in our family. We ask You to provide them with a new community to be a safe place for their souls, which stirs and encourages their faith. We pray that you would finish the work you started in their lives, that their hearts would awaken to your love, which you showed through Jesus on the cross, and that they would love and follow you wherever you lead. We pray that you would be with them, that they would have an ear for your Spirit and that they would have courage to bring your kingdom everywhere they go. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. -Prayer by Joseph Patty, St. Luke’s Student Ministries

Monday, May 20
Dear Heavenly Father, today we come to you with grateful hearts for all the special people you have put into our lives at just the right moment. Open us up to notice all the love, care, and comfort you have given us through their presence. Don’t let us take the gift of these people for granted, but help us to share that love with those around us who need it also. Amen.

Tuesday, May 21
Dear Jesus, you tell us to love one another as you have loved us, because if we love one another, everyone will know by our love that we are your disciples. Guide our thoughts, words and actions to overflow with your love so that our lives are a living, breathing witness for you. Amen.

Wednesday, May 22
Dear God, when we come to you stressed out and weary from the hectic world, let us remember your promise, “Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”(Matt. 11:28) Thank you, Father, for giving us rest, strengthening us, and renewing us with your love. Amen.

Thursday, May 23
Heavenly Father, we pray for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. We pray God that you would wrap your loving arms around them and comfort them during this time. We pray, Lord, that you would heal their broken hearts. In Jesus’ loving name, we pray. Amen.

Friday, May 24
Dear God, we pray for the graduates this month. Please be with them as they embark on new journeys. Allow them to use their spiritual gifts to better serve you. Amen.

Saturday, May 25
Heavenly Father, we pray for parents who are struggling with children who have gone astray. We pray that you would give these parents wisdom, discernment and strength so that they know how best to help their children. We pray also that you would bless and encourage these parents. In the name of your son who loves us all unconditionally, Amen.