Dear St. Lukers,
Many years ago, we invited everyone to figure out their “life verses,” that go-to Scripture verse to ground you, keep you connected to God in hard times, and act as a compass for your life. I struggled with this exercise a little because there were so many verses that meant something to me. So, instead of a verse, I tweaked the rules and chose a chapter: Romans 12. I had heard a pastor say long ago that if you really want to strengthen your character as a disciple and a leader, use Romans 12 as a daily prayer, listening to Paul’s roll call of the characteristics of a follower of Jesus as a way to examine your heart and daily life. I did this exercise for a year, and it was very revealing to me about the inner workings of my heart and mind. Every so often I will come back to this exercise to get centered again.
Every August, we center our worship and preaching on the fundamentals of what it means to be a St. Luker. Whether it’s our core values, which have been around for 25 years: Christ-centered love lived out through Acceptance, Hospitality, Community, Discipleship, and Service; or sometimes it’s our missional purpose statement: Awaken disciples to reveal the Kingdom, reveal the Kingdom to awaken disciples. This year, as we stay with the lectionary readings for worship, we center on the rhythm of discipleship at St. Luke’s with Paul’s letter to the Romans through St. Luke’s 101: Learn God’s story, Live God’s story in community, Love God’s story through worship in order to Lead your life through God’s story. Our core values are expressed, and our purpose is fulfilled when all St. Lukers Learn, Live, Love, and Lead their lives like Jesus.
This month we have Learned Grace, Lived as the family of God, and this week we Love as our offering of daily worship. Romans 12 begins:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, on the basis of God’s mercy, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of worship.”
Worship is not just something we attend once a week, although the discipline of weekly corporate worship is incredibly crucial to our discipleship. Worship is the work of reordering our lives around Christ being Lord over all things in our life. Loving God as an act of worship means presenting our whole selves daily, minute by minute, to God. And if you aren’t sure what that means or what that looks like practically…trust me, just pray the rest of the chapter, which is my call to action for us as St. Luke’s in the coming months.
Our next two sermon series will take us on a journey of the personal, and then lead us to our next church vision you helped shape at the beginning of the year. God has amazing plans for St. Luke’s and how to use us in our community. Which is why this month, and this week are crucial to shaping us as followers of Jesus, giving us common language for how we awaken as disciples in order to prepare our lives for the work of Revealing the Kingdom. I invite you to prepare your hearts for the coming weeks by joining me in this regular discipline of praying Romans 12. Start today to prepare for worship this coming Sunday, and I’ll talk about it more in my message. As you use this prayer daily, ask yourself, “What would it look like if St. Luke’s became a Romans 12 band of disciples?”
Hold that thought…I’ll see you Sunday in worship because it’s not St. Luke’s without U, but there’s also something missing in God’s vision for our community, without St. Luke’s.