Register for in-person Sunday worship at 8:15 a.m. or 11:00 a.m.

Mission Devotional - November 4, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive us when we choose easy over hard. You never did that. Help us to have the courage and the faith to enter the hard way, whatever that may look like for us today. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 7:13-14

Journal: Where are you choosing easy over hard these days? Where are you embracing the hard way? Are you trusting that the hard way is the way to life?

Reflection: Easy or hard? Which would you choose? Which do you choose? It doesn't seem like much of a choice does it? I mean, who wouldn't choose easy, given the choice, right? That is unless hard leads to something good and beautiful; something that easy could never offer. Which would seem to be the case here. But we can't just be convinced that hard is the better way, we must be willing to enter that hard way as well. That is the way to life. Unfortunately, we are addicted to easy, which is much to our demise. For the easy way - be it the way of salvation or the way of the spiritual life in general - never leads to life. The most difficult experiences of this life are always the ones that produce something really good and fruitful deep within us. The hard way is the path that, once chosen and entered into, makes you who you are. It is the way of becoming. Hard is not to be avoided at all costs, but to be embraced and met head on. Without the hard way our lives will never amount to much of anything of eternal value. So let's embrace those parts of life that are particularly hard at the moment, knowing that through them something good and beautiful is being grown in us that could happen no other way.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Tom & Juanita Matthews serve in Tanzania & Kenya. Tom is a translation consultant to Bible translation teams from multiple people groups. Some of the groups are minimally reached for Christ and some are dominated by Islam. Pray today for the final testing and details of the Rendille New Testament translation that is nearing completion.

Joni and Friends Knoxville ministers to families and individuals affected by disabilities in Knoxville, TN, as well as in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and in Guatemala. The vision of Joni and Friends is to accelerate Christian ministry in the disability community by communicating the gospel and equipping Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disability. Pray today for the Knoxville staff of Joni and Friends.

Closing Prayer: Dear Father, you know how I have resented the problems in my life, and you know how I have resisted the things that have caused me pain that I can't change. You know that I've asked you many times for an explanation that has never come.

Today, I want to stop fighting you over things I don't understand. Forgive me. I want to begin the path of peace. So I ask you for help. Help me to change the things that I can, and help me to accept the things that cannot be changed. Help me, Jesus, to trust in your loving care when things don't make sense. Help me to trust that you are a good God and that you have my best interest at heart.

Today, I make an unconditional surrender of all my life to your loving care and control. Please give me your strength and wisdom and peace and purpose. I want to make peace with God by faith so that I can have the peace of God through you, Jesus Christ. Amen. - Rick Warren