We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.
A PERSONAL PRAYER
OK, I admit it, God. I am a bit stuck. I have struggled with some challenges for some time, and I want to be different. At least I say I do. You asked the paralyzed man by the pool of Bethzatha, “do you want to be well?” My heart says yes. My actions say no. My life is so dominated by habits – habits of thought and behavior – and so I find myself continuing to do the same things and think the same things, over and over, year after year. And of course, the results are the same as well. Apparently, I can’t do it all on my own – I need your Holy Spirit to fill me and my life and move me. And your Spirit – you — are available to me… why do I turn away and try to do it by my own strength? I am going to lean on you, and we can do this together. I do think I can get unstuck. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” John 5:6 Read the whole passage of Scripture for this Sunday here: John 5:1-8
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
In what area of your life do you feel most stuck, and want to focus on? Why did you choose that one? What are some of the obstacles, excuses, or reasons that you find yourself stuck in some area of life?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Friends, two important things I want to share. First, beginning January 8, we will begin a new series called “Unstuck.” Do you ever feel stuck? Stuck in your job? Stuck in your relationships? Stuck in your attitudes or addictions? This five-week series looks at what the Bible says about getting “Unstuck” and moving in a direction aligned with God’s purposes for us. It is an important series for me personally. We will have a journal available to you to help you along this process. Come join us, and I hope you will invite a friend who very well might be “stuck!” This week, we will get started by looking at Jesus’ healing of the man by the pool of Bethzatha, saying “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.” Here is a silly teaser you can post to help us spread the word about this series.
Second, beginning February 12, St. Luke’s is launching a new Bible Study ministry titled “Scripture + Shared.” (We were going to call it “God’s Word with Friends,” but our friendly intellectual property attorney said the scrabble app people would write a cease and desist order or have us in court. Oh, well!) I will be writing the study in concert with other pastors and staff of St. Luke’s. We are really excited about this ministry. It will have a number of important components:
1) A Weekly Bible study lesson for small groups and Sunday school classes, with a video lesson as well as written lesson and discussion questions. We will also be using this curriculum for “Bible Buddies,” for two or three people who may get together and study, or watch independently and exchange their thoughts about the study.
2) Daily Bible readings and reflections that reinforce the week’s Bible study.
3) A Family Bible study, following the same theme, with simple discussion questions that a family could do when they can grab a few minutes together.
4) An app for smart phones and tablets as a delivery method for weekly and daily content. The materials will be available on our website for printing as well.
We will begin this spring with a study of the life of Jesus in the gospels, called “The Journey to Jerusalem.” It will begin February 12 and conclude just after Easter. Together, we will look at the arc of Jesus’ life, and how Matthew, Mark, and Luke have specific themes and agendas as they tell the story. The study will overlap with my sermon series during the latter part of Lent. Look for more information and how to sign up soon.
Sunday, January 8
Gracious God, I confess I’m hard headed and I permit the same obstacles to keep me stuck in my routine. Help me to see I’m healed through you and it is time to get to your work. Amen.
Monday, January 9
Jesus, I do want to be made well. I want to love unconditionally, forgive routinely, and be faithful in all circumstances. Let me understand you are the key to my spirit’s recovery. Not me, you. Amen.
Tuesday, January 10
My Father, Today I pray to heed the words that I say and the actions that I take. May this quiet time with you strengthen my will to be faithful to you above all others. Amen.
Wednesday, January 11
O God, let’s do some great work today. I pray to be a vessel for you and allow your work to be done through me. Amen.
Thursday, January 12
Sweet Savior, my day is full of routine tasks. My prayer is that I see each of today’s tasks as a way to show your love to whoever will be impacted. Amen.
Friday, January 13
Lord, It has been a long week. I have tried to stay faithful to you and not stay stuck. But, sometimes I admit to being like the paralytic and expecting someone else to help heal me. Please take my hand today and help strengthen me. Amen.
Saturday, January 14
Dear God, I hear your whispers and feel your nudges to use my gifts in ways I’m scared to try. Today I pray for confidence to believe that your faith in me is stronger than my fears. Amen.