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Mission Devotional - August 28, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to take a good long look at the patterns and habits of our lives and allow them to tell us who and what we are really living for. May we always treasure and seek you above all else, and not allow worry and anxiety to rule and dominate us. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 6:19-34

Journal: What words capture you in today's Scripture? Why? What words challenge you? Why? What is the connection between treasure and seeing and serving and worry and seeking? Can you see any pattern in your life that God wants to make you aware of?

Reflection: It is amazing how Jesus always starts at the core and works his way out, then takes us back to the core once again. I think that's why he starts with the idea of treasure in these verses. What we truly treasure lies at the core of both our lives and our behavior. Whatever it is that has captured our hearts the most, will be the thing that we ultimately live for. Therefore, how we see and think about our lives, and the world around us, greatly determines how we live those lives. What we see as most valuable and desirable determines the direction our lives take, and thus what (or who) we serve. And if that which we serve - the object of our affections - can be lost or taken away, because it is temporary rather than eternal, it produces a significant amount of anxiety within us. As a result of our worries, we adopt a strategy of living that addresses our ever-growing anxiety: we sow, or we reap, or we gather in barns. We toil, or we spin, trying to minimize the likelihood that the thing(s) we have centered our lives around will, one day, up and vanish into thin air. For that thing, whoever or whatever it may be, has become our first thing and it was never intended or designed to occupy that place. So Jesus calls us to repent, to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and to treasure him above all else. For only then will our lives be like those of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, seeking only to be who and what we were made to be, and trusting fully in God to provide everything that we need to be that.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

George and Kathy Cail live in North Carolina where George has been working in the curriculum department of a ministry called TEN3 (Transformational Education Network - Discipling to the Third Generation). With the deaths of both of their fathers last year, George and Kathy realized that God is now leading them to return to Burkina Faso where they worked for 20 years. Their plans are to arrive in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on August 31. They will be serving with SIM in a member care/pastoral role, coming alongside missionaries, church leaders, and others to encourage, exhort, pray for, and motivate them especially in being intentional in growing more and more. Pray for them today as they make last minute preparations for this move and that their travel and transition will be smooth.

Knoxville Inner City Kids Outreach (KICKO) is a para-church ministry with a mission to "Mobilize the Message of Hope" to the at-risk children in our inner-city neighborhoods. This is done through a unique program called Sidewalk SONday School. Large trucks, outfitted to take the church into these communities, allow them to share the gospel with children at multiple locations each week. Pray today for the volunteers as they share the gospel with children each week.

Closing Prayer: Turn us back, once again, to yourself, Lord Jesus. And forgive us for the ways, and the places to which, we have strayed. May we seek you first today. Amen.