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Mission Devotional - October 4, 2016

Opening Prayer: O Jesus, speak to me during this time about the story you are telling, the story I was made for. Open my eyes, Lord, to the ways that story is being told - and lived - in the events and circumstances of this day. Show me how all that happens to me this day echoes your larger Story if only I will keep my heart focused on you. In your name I pray. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 13:10-17

Journal: What is your story with God these days? How has God used story in your life recently to capture your heart in a new and fresh way? How might you tell that story in a way that allows others to take part in it?

Reflection: He replied, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it. I don't want Isaiah's forecast repeated all over again . . . (The Message)

The power of story is an amazing thing. Jesus knew this all too well, that's why he spoke in parables. He knew that stories have a way of opening us up to truth that we cannot see, hear, or understand otherwise. They have the ability to slip past our defenses and penetrate our hearts; even when our hearts are calloused, or our ears are weak, or our eyes are dull. Stories create new ways of seeing and being. That's why songs and books and art and poetry have the ability to speak to us in ways that other things do not. They put us in touch with the larger, or deeper, story that is going on within and around us. They help us stay in touch with our own story with God, and the story of what God is doing in our lives and in our world.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Kenton and Ariana Wood serves in Guadalajara, Mexico as a church planter. Pray today for Kenton who oversees a mother church that has six services on Sunday. Pray also for the Purépecha Indians in the nearby state of Michoacan that they may be reached with the gospel. Kenton has recently married Adriana. Pray today for the Woods as they serve together.

Bethany Christian Services is a global organization caring for orphans and vulnerable children on five continents. They manifest the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting and enhancing the lives of children and families through quality social services such as adoption, family support, foster care, pregnancy counseling, refuge services and infertility. Pray today for the staff as they work with families to facilitate adoptions.

Closing Prayer: Write your blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain, so indelibly engraved that no prosperity, no adversity, shall ever move me from your love. - Thomas Á Kempis