July 27, 2010 – August Newsletter article
Dear Grace Friends, In my sermon for Sunday, July 25, I spoke of our need to pray, to knock on God’s door! Here are Jesus’ words from Luke 11: “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” As a congregation united in God’s mission, we need to especially be united in prayer, in asking for God’s direction through the Holy Spirit, searching for God’s will, and knocking on God’s door, asking for the strength and courage to be God’s hands, feet, and mouth in our community. Here is the prayer I wrote. Will you pray it with me?
Holy God, our loving Parent, we need some help. We need your power and presence. Fill our hearts with your love. Send your Spirit into our hearts. Forgive us, as we forgive the debts of those who owe us anything.
Take all bitterness and all grudges from our hearts. How can we hold a grudge against our fellow disciples when you have forgiven us so much? Forgive our hard hearts, our cold faith, our weak obedience. Open our eyes to the needs of our neighbors. Restore our joy. Strengthen us to serve you. Unite us in love for you and service for others.
Heavenly Father, self giving Lord, we need your guidance. Only you can reach the hearts of our neighbors with the love of Christ, but you choose to use our hands, our feet, our voices, to do so. Give us courage.
Thank you. Thank you for your patience and mercy and steadfast love. Thank you for the gift of Jesus. Thank you for the gift of prayer. Thank you for hearing us when we pray. Thank you for answering prayer. Thank you for being our God, being God with us and for us, even when you do not answer our prayers as we wish.
May Your Kingdom come in our lives and in your world. Align our will with your will, our plans with your plans.
Help us not to do more, but to do less, but do it single-mindedly, immersed in your Word, bathed in prayer, following your will. Let prayer be the first thing on our lips in the morning, the last thing on our lips at night, and the desire of our heart all day.
In the name of Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit dwelling within us we pray. Amen.
Jesus corrected Martha (in Luke 10:38-42) because she was “distracted by many things,” when there was only one thing needed: to focus on Jesus, listening to him, learning from him, following him. This is a “come to Jesus moment” for Grace. It is time – past time – to come together and share the Gospel with our neighbors. It is sin to continue to allow ourselves to be divided and distracted by controversies when people need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and come to a saving relationship with God (Titus 3). It is time for all of us to repent of that sin and put our hands to the plow. No more “speaking evil of others” behind their backs, no more “quarreling,” no more “quarrels about the law” (Titus 3:2, 9). Rather, it is time “to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone” (Titus 3:2), because all of us have been saved by God “not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is sure. I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone” (Titus 3:5-8). Let Christ be our focus and sharing the Gospel our goal.
God’s Work, Our Hands, Pastor Eric Lemonholm
PS: you can find sermons to read or watch at http://gracedetroitlakes.org/grow-with-us/messages/