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Mission Devotional - November 12, 2016

Opening Prayer: O Lord Jesus, great Shepherd of the sheep, thank you that you are constantly leaving the ninety-nine to find the one. I am amazed at how often in my life I have been that one. Whenever I am tempted to make myself a part of the ninety-nine, quickly remind me that apart from you I would be lost forever. Thank you that you came and found me; and that you continually come and find me every day. For without your love and your constant pursuit of me, I would have no hope. Thank you for your grace and mercy and love. Amen.

Scripture: Luke 15:1-32

Journal: Where do you find yourself in these stories? Why? How in touch are you with your own sense of being lost? How does that affect your life and your attitude? How does that affect your sense of being loved?

Reflection:Apparently a recognition of our own lostness is a necessary precondition to our being able to fully understand the depths of God's great love for us; and to be bearers and sharers of that love in the world. Jesus is addressing the Pharisees and the scribes, who were constantly grumbling about the way he kept company with the lost and the fringe of society. So he responds by telling a series of stories, each with a definite life of its own, but collectively meant to lead his audience down a bit of a funnel until they arrive at his desired destination.

The stories begin with one hundred sheep, then proceed to ten coins, and then to two sons; finally sharpening the focus on one of them. In the end, Jesus leaves us with one angry son, who completely misses out on experiencing the love of his father because he doesn't recognize that he is lost. For only those who realize that they are hopelessly lost can ever experience the joy and delight of finally being found. We can never fully understand the depths of God's great love and affection until we come to terms with the fact that we are totally and completely underserving of it.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Chris and Donna Roberts live in Niederdorla, Germany where Chris is the Logistics Coordinator with Young Life Military (Club Beyond) at a military base near Kaiserslautern. Pray today for the Roberts as they seek to build strong ties with their community and in particular for their teenage children.

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: My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. - Thomas Merton