We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
WE PRAY: A PERSONAL PRAYER
You know I am a part of the people called Methodist, and our book of order is called The Discipline. But I am not so disciplined. I want to be. I know that those things I do every day will make the greatest difference in my life. I can’t go to the gym once, or even once in a while, and expect it to make a difference. I can’t pray only when I feel like it and expect my relationship with you to remain vital. I can’t tell my wife I love her once a year on Valentine’s Day and expect her to believe me. Forgive me, God. I am just not very disciplined. Not in my faith. Not in my relationships. Too often, I live in fits and starts, and what I need is a long obedience in the same direction.
And yet, I see how you have been at work in me and through me, in spite of my lack of training. I can see how I am far more disciplined than I used to be. I can look at my prayer journal, and see how I have grown in faith and love. And I can see so many places that you didn’t let my shortcomings stand in the way of your love and work, how you worked in spite of me. O God, forgive me for trying to earn my salvation rather than do my work as a response to that salvation. Remind me that your grace is sufficient, and continue to work in me to train to be a better disciple of your son, Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
Train yourself for godliness –1 Timothy 4
Read the whole passage of Scripture for this week’s sermon here: 1 Timothy 4:7-16
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
What is one thing you wish you had worked harder on in your life? What are some things you tried at but didn’t train for?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Some years ago, I ran a marathon. No, I don’t have a 26.2 sticker on my car. But I did train for months so that I would be able to do it. While I was training, I heard a comment in a lesson by Pastor John Ortberg “there is a difference between training and trying.” Training takes time, commitment, daily discipline. Trying is something we can do once in a while. I wonder if we too often try to be disciples rather than train as disciples. The first letter to Timothy challenges him to “train yourself for godliness.” Come this Sunday and hear about being disciplined in our faith and lives.
This Sunday is the day for our stem cell donor registration drive. There is a family in our church which is facing devastating disease, and one member of that family needs a stem cell transplant. No match has been found. I ask for prayer for this family. I want to encourage every one of you (ages 18-55) to sign up to be a part of a donor registry. We will have kits to swab your cheek and then will record your HLA tissue type in a registry. In the United States alone, there are 20,000 people who need a transplant, and 70% of them do not have a match from their family. While your willingness to be a donor may not make a difference to the family in our church, it may make a huge impact on another family somewhere else. Remember, we give ourselves away in service and generosity…
Finally, the General Conference ends this week in Portland, after two weeks of hard work by the delegates, surrounded in prayer by many others. The Holy Spirit has been evident there, with a focus on being united in our work to make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I will write some reflections on the conference in next week’s Spire. I remind you that the most important thing is for us at St. Luke’s Houston to stay focused on our mission: gathering people to Jesus, and enacting our faith in love. Paul says in Galatians “the only thing that matters is faith enacted in love.” That is what we are all about.
Sunday, May 22
O God, sometimes compromise feels better than commitment. And even though suffering produces endurance, which produces character, which produces hope, convenience often produces the results that I want. Lord, give me the courage to do the right thing today and the discipline to do it again tomorrow. In Jesus name, Amen. -Prayer by Rev. Eric Huffman
Monday, May 23
Gracious God, we ask that your Holy Spirit guide us as we develop our relationship with you. Help us to be disciplined in pursuing your love in all parts of our lives. We pray that we find joy in obeying your commandment to love one another. Amen. -Prayer by Billy McMahon
Tuesday, May 24 | Personal Prayer Day
Make a list of some things that you need to let go of in order to make God a priority in your life and to serve him. Then, go to God in prayer and ask Him to give you the strength and self-discipline to follow through.
Wednesday, May 25
God of all things, I confess that I get caught up in the busyness of things that I think need to be done, and it easy to find other things to do rather than doing what you have called me to do. Give me the strength and discipline to follow you in all things big and small. Help me to focus on you, and help me to know that doing little things for you over time yields big rewards. Amen.
Thursday, May 26 | Personal Prayer Day
May is the month when school is ending and students are graduating. Think of all of the students you know who are graduating this month. Pray for them by name. Ask God to be with them and guide them in their new chapter of life.
Friday, May 27
God, you knew me before I was born, and you know all of the potential I have. Help me to follow you and live my life so that I can grow in your ways. I want to live a life that is pleasing to you. I want to live so that the world knows that I belong to you. Help me live up to your perfect will for me. Amen.
Saturday, May 28
God, you know my strengths and my weaknesses, and you make me complete. Give me strength to follow you, wisdom to make Godly choices, confidence to know that you are with me, and peace to know that you can use my weaknesses for your purpose. Amen.