ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
– John 15:7
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I hope you are staying warm in the midst of this never-ending winter. I am grateful, at least, that we are in a city that knows how to do winter. A pastor friend of mine just moved from California to Houston, Texas, last month. She does not have power or water at the moment, and their temperatures have been close to ours! Let us especially be praying for the most vulnerable in Texas – a lot of people are suffering.
As you heard last Sunday, we are starting a new study series this week based on former MLEPC pastor Larry Selig’s book, 5 Prayers God Loves to Answer. The first half of the book, which we will study for the six weeks of Lent, is centered around the Lord’s Prayer. Larry uses the Lord’s Prayer as a guide for five prayers that we can always trust God to fulfill:
Father, help me learn who You are so I can know and worship you.
Father, show me how to assist You in restoring your Kingdom here on earth.
Father, show me the difference between my needs and wants so I can trust your provision and have enough to share with others.
Father, help me forgive others so I can be forgiven by You.
Father, help me resist temptation by either avoiding it or by finding a way of escape when it stares me right in the face.
This week, we will be looking at Chapters 1 and 2 in the book, which introduce us to a very simple yet challenging idea: prayer is a conversation. It is not a monologue at God. It is not God forcing Himself on us. It is a sacred space where God invites us into His presence, where we can listen to His voice and share what is on our hearts. It can be in the form of whispers or screams. It can be one word, like “Thanks,” or it can be many many words jumbled up. It does not even have to be words, since the “Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Rom 8:26).
Jesus shows his disciples the key to prayer in John 15:4, saying, “Abide in me and I in you,” and again in verse 7, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” It is in that sacred space of abiding with the Lord, soaking in His presence, that we become transformed into His likeness and His will becomes our will. His desires become our desires.
Where is this place of abiding? Larry quotes Samuel Logan Brengle’s words, “Keep within whispering distance of God.” Abide there, where God is only a whisper away. He is listening for you.
Congregational Meeting on Sunday, Feb. 28: Our annual congregational meeting will be held on Sunday, February 28, immediately following worship (11 a.m.) for the purpose of electing the nominating committee, board members for the St. Clair Cemetery, to present the budget and other pertinent information, including a very brief meeting of the corporation. The meeting will be 15-20 minutes long so that small groups and Sunday school classes can still meet afterwards. For those of you unable to attend in person, you may join us on Zoom at this link: - https://duq.zoom.us/j/97403542430. This is the same link that Lamplighters have been using for their Sunday school class. If you have any questions about connecting to the meeting, please contact the church office or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Sermon/Study Series: Our new Sermon/Study Series for Lent and beyond begins this week, using the book 5 Prayers God Loves to Answer, to grow in our understanding and practice of prayer. We would love you to become a part of a small group, even if it is only for the part of the study that goes through Lent. There are a dozen small groups meeting on Zoom throughout the week to select from. Click here: https://conta.cc/3bhuZCl to learn more and sign up. The book, 5 Prayers God Loves to Answer, can be ordered on Amazon. We are ordering a limited number of books which are available at the church for a suggested donation of $14. The study guide has been emailed to our small group leaders, and if you are not part of a small group we will be happy to email a copy to you or provide you with a hard copy—call Pastor Linda at the church to request a copy of the study guide or get a book.
“Snow Angels” Ministry: Would you like to be a “snow angel?” Or do you need a “snow angel?” The Congregational Connections Ministry Team is looking both for folks who would be willing to shovel snow and for folks who need snow shoveled. Please be in touch with Linda Pokrajac, email@example.com, or 412-531-3387 x207 if this is something you are interested in learning more about!
Sunday School: We are continuing online for Sunday School. Pastor Steve and the Lamplighter class will continue with their offering for any adults who are interested. This is the link to log in at 11:30 - https://duq.zoom.us/j/97403542430 If you would like to be on the email list for the adult class, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org The Youth and Children’s classes will remain online as well, so email us if you would like information about how to connect with those groups.
Sunday Hour of Prayer: A group of us gather on Zoom every Sunday at 7pm to pray together, and we would love to have you join us! Please use this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92561964416?pwd=NmZoNDV3dDNqSVFubW82TEx0bll0Zz09 (for a computer, tablet, or mobile phone). You can also call in from a regular phone – dial 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID - 925 6196 4416 and the password is 798565. For more info, contact Pat Gaudio at email@example.com.
As always, please let us know if there is any way we can support you or connect with you during this season. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with any needs, prayer requests, or just updates on how you are doing. And you are always welcome to call us at 412-531-3387.