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Mission Devotional - July 2, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach me to walk in the good way today. Slow me down and make me more aware of and attentive to you and your life within and around me. Forgive me when I start running aimlessly. Forgive me when I try to manufacture something that can only be organically grown by you. Forgive me for thinking too much of myself and my importance and my abilities. Help me to walk deeply with you this day, thereby paying careful attention to you, to the person right in front of me at each moment, and to what you are up to in our lives and in our world. Amen.

Scripture: Jeremiah 6:16

Journal: What is the pace of your life these days? What does it mean for you to walk in the good way? How will you walk, instead of run, in the good way this day?

Reflection: I don't think it's any accident that Jeremiah tells us to walk in the good way. In fact, it might be the only legitimate means of traveling the good way. There is something very good about walking instead of running, sprinting, or hurrying. Walking allows us to move at a pace where things are noticed, where we are able to pay careful attention to what is within us, around us, or in front of us at the moment. When we run we miss so much. We miss really knowing people, we miss really knowing ourselves, and, most importantly, we miss really knowing our God. Knowing always requires time, space, and attention. It requires listening. And it is hard to listen, much less be present, when you are moving at seventy miles per hour. God, it seems, is more of a three mile and hour God. Just ask Jesus.

Jesus lived life at three miles an hour. He walked everywhere he went. He lived most of his first thirty years in the same small village, in virtual anonymity. Even the last three years of his life were spent in a relatively confined region. Why on earth would God do that? Why would that be the pattern God chose? There must be something significant about it or he would have gone about it much differently. If it were up to me, I probably would have tried to cover as much ground as possible, for as many years as possible - maximizing my time. I guess that shows how much I have allowed the culture around me to mold and shape (and distort) my thinking.

But that is not how God chose to do it. There must be something to that. Maybe it is a hint of what it means to walk in the good way. There must be something really good about smaller and slower and deeper. There must be something really good about living at a pace where things and people get noticed, are paid attention to, and are truly known. Maybe I need to reconsider my paradigm. Maybe I need to ask God what it really means to walk in the good way. Maybe I need to slow down. The life of my soul depends on it.

"This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." (1 John 2:5-6)

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Mostafa and Mona Sharkawy's main area of work is the U.K., serving among Arab Muslims. Their goals are to see Arabic churches arise from Muslim background believers, to see new generations of leaders from Muslim believers, and to teach and prepare them for future ministry. Pray today for the Sharkawys and the people they are reaching as they all deal with the new issues facing immigrants with the UK's exit from the European Union.

The Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) was established in 1987 and offers specialized services to the homeless and those within our community who are in crisis. VMC's programs support its two-fold mission of facilitating permanent supportive housing for those who are homeless and providing services to prevent homelessness. Pray today for the staff of this ministry as they reach out to the homeless community.

Closing Prayer: Slow me down, Lord Jesus, that I might be able to keep up with you. Amen.