Helping you to grow your Kingdom is hard work. Sometimes, I am weary. Sometimes, I am discouraged. But you told me that if I gave myself fully to your mission, I would find joy, and that is what I have discovered. There is so much joy in putting my shoulder to the wheel to do something that matters. There is so much joy in seeing the fruit of your Spirit, the impact of the movement of your people in the world. There is so much joy in finding others who care deeply about the mission to which together we are called. There is so much joy in knowing I am doing what I am meant to do. There is so much joy in being a part of what YOU are doing in the world YOU created. And most of all, there is so much joy in just being with you as we do this work together. Thank you for calling my name. Thank you for giving me something to do that matters.

God, I confess that sometimes, I whine a little. Is that OK? Sometimes, I cling to my stuff and my leisure and grip it tightly. This gives me moments of happiness, but not real joy. Forgive me, God, and continue to turn my heart away from my own shallow desires toward the depth and fullness of your joy.

In the name of the one who gave himself away completely, Jesus of Nazareth, I pray. Amen.

Please join us this Sunday evening, January 26 at 4:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall for St. Luke’s Family Reunion and Annual Church Conference. We’ll celebrate what God did through St. Luke’s in 2019 and look forward to what is to come in 2020. We will elect leadership, consider candidates for ministry, briefly discuss what is going on in our denomination, and more. All are encouraged to attend.

I hope you received the awesome invitation to St. Luke’s 75th anniversary activities. So many wonderful ways to celebrate what God has done through St. Luke’s for all these years. If you didn’t receive the brochure, you can see it here. (Some of you received it at home with your correct address but the wrong name. We have names and addresses correctly tied together in our database – a clerical mistake on the way to the mail house got the list off-kilter. Someone has suggested that the person’s name you received is the person you are to be praying for at St. Luke’s this year! 😊)

This week, we continue our sermon series, “Forty Days of Joy.” You can download the Forty Days of Joy journal here, or you can read the daily devotionals and activities on St. Luke’s App. (To download the St. Luke’s App, https://subsplash.com/stlukesunitedmethodistchurchtx/app) The message this week, January 26, is “Give!” and we will consider how we experience great joy when we are “all in” on something we care about deeply. 2020 is a year where we choose joy every day.

If you have not had the opportunity to make a commitment to our “Giving with Gratitude” generosity campaign to support the ministries of St. Luke’s for 2020, you can do so here.

Did you miss the message, “Enjoy!,” on January 19? Watch it here!

Sunday, January 26
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your written word to guide us and to shape our lives. Help us to read and study the Bible daily so that we may learn your ways. Encourage us to give time and effort to seek an understanding of who you are and how much you love us. Amen.

Monday, January 27
Heavenly Creator, work through us to bring your order to the world. Give us wisdom and discernment to seek good solutions in difficult situations so that the world of chaos in which we live may see your presence in us. Help us to be your living testimony. Amen.

Tuesday, January 28
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me the word that is truly a light unto my path. By reading the Bible I get guidance, encouragement, and insight. Let your wisdom encourage me to forgive graciously, love well, and seek you in all things. Amen.

Wednesday, January 29
Heavenly Father, we pray for those who are battling chronic illness. We ask that you would guide them to new treatments that make their lives better. We pray that you would bless them and encourage them. Amen.

Thursday, January 30
Gracious God, forgive us when we fall short of your ways, and turn our hearts back towards you. Thank you for new mercies each day. Your grace redeems us. Amen.

Friday, January 31
Loving God, you hold the whole world in your hands and you never let it fall. Your power and might are unfathomable, and your grace and love abound. Thank you, God, for handling everything that I cannot. I trust in you. Amen.

Saturday, February 1
Heavenly Father, we pray for those struggling with loneliness and who feel isolated from the church. Let each one of us be a light to those who need to feel your love and warmth. We ask that you draw your people closer to you so that they feel your everlasting love and forgiveness. Amen.