St. Luke's United Methodist Church

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8:00, 9:30 & 11:00 a.m. - Traditional
9:30 & 11:00 a.m. - Contemporary

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4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
407.876.4991

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Weekly Devotions August 29 to September 2

Posted on August 26, 2016 at 7:19 pm in .

August 29, 2016

A Desire to Grow

READ THIS: So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. Peter 3:14-18

THINK ABOUT: This week, we’re thinking about what it means to grow. Specifically, we’re looking at the idea of “grow” in a spiritual context. In American culture, we are familiar with the concept of growth as a positive goal. Throughout our lives, we contemplate, evaluate and plan for the various aspects of our physical, emotional, social, and intellectual growth. Our goal this week is to encourage each other to look at spiritual growth as an important fifth component of our overall well-being and, therefore, worthy of equal focus and effort. In this week’s Scripture passage, Peter instructs us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We’ll talk later in the week about what that means.

Before we begin to grow spiritually, though, we need to decide that we want to grow spiritually. As you examine your desire for spiritual growth, note that Scripture tells us that God has already given us everything we need for that growth: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) I love that this verse is so absolute, clearly pointing out that we already have everything we need in Christ for growth in Christ.

So, as a first step on the path to growth, will you spend some time assessing your feelings about spiritual growth? Do you desire to grow spiritually? If you don’t detect the desire to grow spiritually or can’t “muster” it, don’t despair or give up. Ask God to give you the desire. God will answer that prayer with a resounding “yes” and give you the desire you recognize as an important first step in growth. If you have the desire to grow, will you declare both your desire and intention to use the blessings that God has given you for spiritual growth? Your intention combined with these blessings will accomplish great growth!

PRAY THIS PRAYER: Lord, I want to journey to spiritual growth with you. Help me to follow through on this desire. Show me the tools you have already provided for me to grow spiritually. Discipline me to join you in shaping my growth. Amen.

August 31, 2016

Grow In Grace and Knowledge

READ THIS: So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. Peter 3:14-18

THINK ABOUT: Peter reminds us that spiritual growth requires two things: grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. As Warren Wiersbe states: “Knowledge without grace is a terrible weapon, and grace without knowledge can be very shallow. But when we combine grace and knowledge, we have a marvelous tool for building our lives and for building the church.” In other words, to focus on one without the other is to miss the mark! Let’s look at what knowledge of Jesus Christ and grace are and what they mean to our spiritual growth.

Notice that Peter’s instructions are to grow in the “knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. This type of knowledge is not the same thing as “knowledge about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”! What God wants us to do is to engage in getting to know Jesus through an intimate, personal relationship with Him. As we get to know the Son of God personally, we better understand who God is and who He calls us to be. Who He calls us to be is the “grow in grace” part of Peter’s instruction. To “grow in grace” is to live out and act on the knowledge and experiences we gain from our relationship with Jesus. In summary, Peter’s “formula” for spiritual growth is to get to know Jesus and to act on what you learn!

PRAY THIS PRAYER: I began this week with a stated desire and intention to grow spiritually. Now, I understand that you want me to get to know you personally through a relationship with you. I also acknowledge that you want me to live out the things you show me through that relationship. Continue to help me understand what it means and what I need to do to respond to your invitation to join you in relationship and to act in ways that respond positively to that relationship.

September 2, 2016

Getting to Know Him

READ THIS: So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. Peter 3:14-18

THINK ABOUT: Our Scripture passage has helped us understand God’s desire for us to grow spiritually and has defined two requirements for that growth. But how do we as 21st century St. Lukers work with God to fulfill our intention to grow and activate the blessings He’s given us for spiritual growth? Our current sermon series gives us a road map.

St. Luke’s has identified five components of Discipleship and kingdom building: commit, worship, connect, grow and serve. By engaging in the activities and programs detailed under each one of these five areas, we access the resources God has provided for us to grow spiritually! Pray about where God would like you to engage or continue to engage in each of these areas. Listen to what He says in response. Develop a plan to act on where He leads you to engage. Remember, you don’t have to do everything in every area. Spiritual growth is not a contest to see who can do the most stuff!

Find at least one thing to do in each of the five areas because a balanced approach is the surest path to consistent, continued growth. And, if you’re not sure exactly where God is leading you, go with your best guess. Commit by making a commitment to the ongoing work of St. Luke’s. Worship by making weekly attendance at one of our worship services a priority. Connect by joining a cluster group. Grow by signing up for a group spiritual formation study. Serve by signing up for one of our outreach or missions programs.

Act on your intention to pursue spiritual growth today! If you have any questions or doubts about how to proceed, know that any of our pastors or staff members are ready and willing to spend time with you to help you determine the best ways to move forward.

PRAY THIS PRAYER: Lord, show me the ways you want me to get to know you and to grow in grace at St. Luke’s. Help me to act on what you show me. Keep me strong in my commitment to spiritual growth. Amen.

 


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