Message from the Pastor
“Teach me how to pray.”
If someone asked you to teach them how to pray, could you do it? Would your answer be glib and short, or would you have something of substance and depth to offer?
People regularly ask that the pastor pray before meals and committee meetings, and it is always an honor to lead a group of people in prayer toward God. However, it is also a great source of honor to have taught disciples how to pray, so that they, too, can pray to God and lead others in prayer. As a pastor, I hope to teach others how to pray, to hold them gently accountable to a discipline of regular prayer, and equip them to teach others this spiritual discipline. By teaching others, relationships with God are passed down from generation to generation.
“One generation will praise your works to the next one, proclaiming your mighty acts,” prays the Psalmist (145:4).
After our Children’s Sabbath on October 27th, I heard many people remark on how wonderful it was to have the children and youth lead worship. “It’s wonderful that we have children in church. I hope we can get more.” Every congregation has members who want more children at church. However, not every congregation has members who can (or will eagerly) mentor children and lead them in spiritual formation. Many people feel they have not learned the content or skills necessary to teach others.
“Teach me how to read the bible.”
If someone asked you to teach them how to read the bible, one-on-one or in a small group or class, could you do it? How would you teach someone to read the bible spiritually, not just for information or rules?
“What should I do with my life?”
If someone asked you about their purpose in life, could you guide them toward discerning God’s will? This is the practice of spiritual direction, listening to someone and listening with someone, for the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Spiritual direction happened with Jesus and his disciples; it has happened in monasteries for centuries; it happened in Methodist small groups starting in the 1700s; and it happens today in covenant groups that focus on our spiritual lives and spiritual growth. Many people also see a spiritual director one-on-one, so that the pair might discern God’s will, especially in the life of the directee.
God is calling each of us to be a disciple of Jesus Christ who also makes other disciples “of all nations… teaching them to obey everything” that Jesus commanded his first followers.
If you notice how you lack some of these skills, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, take joy that you have a “growth area,” a path toward growing in your ministry to others.
My work as a pastor is to equip you to pray, to equip you to immerse yourself in the scriptural story, and to equip you to provide spiritual direction to the people around you. As you grow in your own spiritual life, you’ll be better able to serve others, including children, youth, new members, and potential members of the church. When we work on drawing closer to God in prayer, scripture, and spiritual discernment, we are able to grow the church to include more and more people. We are able to praise God’s works to the next generation, so that we all may become part of God’s mighty acts and wondrous works in the world.
May you take a step toward more regular prayer, scriptural study, and spiritual discernment this month. You’ll be glad you did.
Peace be with you,
Lectionary Readings for November
The Mission of St. Luke UMC is to be a Place to Belong, Believe, & Become Disciples of Christ
OPPORTUNITIES TO BELONG
St. Luke Reading Groups will meet on November 5 at the home of Frances Tims, 209 N. Leflore. The afternoon group will meet at 2:00 and Susannah Wessel will lead the discussion of The Extraordinary Lie of Sam Hell, by Robert Dugoni. The evening group will meet at 6:00 to discuss What the Wind Knows, by Amy Harmon, with discussion led by Frances Tims.
United Methodist Men will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 6:00 p.m. at 1st UMC for dinner and a program.
UMW Lunch Bunch will gather for the last regular meeting of the year on November 13 at noon in the fellowship hall of Boyle UMC. Please bring a sack lunch and your drink. Dessert will be provided. All women are invited for a brief devotional and a time of sharing.
UMW Christmas Party – Mark December 10, 5 p.m. on your calendar before it is filled with other activities. Members of Grace Circle and Lunch Bunch will meet in the fellowship hall for fun, food and inspiration. All St. Luke women are invited to join us during this special time of year. Pastor Brad will lead us in singing Christmas carols interspersed with his devotional thoughts. Bring your favorite finger food.
OPPORTUNITIES TO BELIEVE
We will observe All Saints Sunday November 3. During this service we will remember and give thanks for all those who have gone before us in the faith.
UMW Grace Circle will meet Tuesday, November 5 at 10 in the church library. Mary Dalton will lead the Pledge Service and the World Thank Offering Service.
OPPORTUNITIES TO BECOME DISCIPLES
No-Bake Sale – Half of the proceeds from the sale go into a special account for Christmas in July/White Christmas to help with big expenses such as backpacks. The UMW half of the proceeds will go to local/state missions like Helping Hands, Wesley Foundation, St. Luke Youth program, Choctaw Mission and Bethlehem Center to name a few. We need your help. If you have not already donated, please do so by November 3, though donations will be accepted later.
This year the Methodist Children’s Home is designating November and December for their This Little Light of Mine Special Offering. 100% of the offering will go towards supporting your Methodist Children’s Homes to help bring hope and a little light of love into the lives of the children who have been abused and neglected. You may give at any time during the month of November or December.
DSU Wesley is having another yard sale, Saturday, November 2, from 7:30 to 12 noon at the Wesley building, 904 S. Court St. You may drop items off in the St. Luke youth room or call Julia Sheets (554-8165) for pick-up. Please see the flyer on the bulletin board across from the choir room for more information.
Soon it will be time to carry out our White Christmas project. If you know of a family with school aged children who are struggling financially and might be in need of help with a few Christmas gifts, please consider acting as a sponsor for that family. Contact Lisa at the church office or Deb Cole (458-1198). November 10 is the deadline to recommend a family. The Christmas tree loaded with paper ornaments will be up in the narthex on Sunday, November 17. When you see it, take as many ornaments as you can, purchase those items listed, and help make this a special Christmas for those families in need.
We will be decorating the church for Advent on Sunday, November 24, immediately after the worship service. Many hands make light the work, so please consider staying to help!
Dec. 8 — Cantata, 10:30 a.m.
White Christmas potluck, 6:00 p.m.
White Christmas program, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 10 — UMW Grace Circle & Lunch Bunch Christmas Party,
Fellowship Hall, 5:00 p.m.
Dec. 15 — Lessons and Carols Service, 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 24 — Christmas Eve Service, 5:00 p.m.
The St Luke Scene
Trunk or Treat Fun