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Mission Devotional - August 24, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you call us to love like you love. Enable and empower us, this day, to do just that. For the sake of your kingdom and your glory. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48

Journal: How is Jesus asking you to raise the bar in your life with him? How is he desiring you to become more complete? What does this look like concretely in your life? What does it look like to grow in love today?

Reflection: Following Jesus is a dynamic process. It is a life that is ever-changing. It is a life where he is constantly calling us to a new place, to continual growth. A life of following him is a life where we are constantly on the move spiritually. We can't stay in one place because when we have stopped growing, we have stopped following.

"You have heard it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven." A life with Jesus is a life in which he is constantly raising the bar. Not in the sense of oughts and shoulds, but in the sense of who and how he is calling us to love. Life with him is a life in which we grow in love each and every day. It is this growing in love that will make us complete. And what Jesus really desires for us is to become more and more complete, more and more like him. That's what he's actually saying when he says: "You must therefore be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." The Greek word for perfect is teleios, which means to bring something to its end; to be finished or complete. And one of the main ways we become more and more complete, more and more like Jesus, is learning how to love.

Eugene Peterson said it so well in The Message when he translates it: "In a word, what I'm saying is Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Jeff and Ellen work among unreached people groups in two restricted access countries of Southeast Asia catalyzing Church Planting Movements. Pray today for new workers who will join Mekong Ministries to engage the least reached and unengaged peoples of S.E. Asia. The Black Hmong, Bald Headed Lahu, Lahu Gou and Lahu Piti in Burma; Tai Lue in Vietnam and Burma; and White Tai, Red Tai, Shan and Dong are groups that urgently need workers.

Knoxville Internationals Network (KIN) began in 2010 when a group of believers involved in ministry among internationals in Knoxville gathered to discuss how they could work together to make a difference in our city. As a result, KIN was born and launched a series of community meetings to raise awareness of the needs among internationals and to give ministries, churches, non-profits and other organizations a forum to connect and share information and resources. Pray today for their director Carol Waldo.

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that your desire is to make us perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Help us to be at least a little closer to that at the end of this day than we were at the beginning. Amen.