GPS GUIDE | Week of July 19, 2020
Weekly Grow-Pray-Study Guide
Each week we send out a devotional resource email to help you navigate
your journey of faith! Find scripture readings, reflection questions, a list of prayer concerns and a NEW children's storytime video below.

In case you missed it, view this week's online worship service HERE:
SUMMER STORIES FROM THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
"Growing Seeds of Love"
READ | Scripture Reading
We all love a good story! And Jesus had a way of telling stories that could touch a heart, open a mind and change a life! In this week's scripture we’ll hear a story he told about seeds and weeds growing together. 

As you read, ask yourself what negative things in your life feel like weeds right now… maybe it is financial hardship, pain or sadness, choices we’ve made that have not worked out, or fears and hatred in our world that seem to abound? When we focus on the negative things in our lives and in our world, we may feel like our lives have been overrun with weeds.

But notice how, in God’s garden, the weeds grow along with the seeds. What good things has God planted in your life, and how are you being called to nurture and nourish those seeds in order to grow more hope, more peace and more love in our world?
You are encouraged to use the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina as you read this week's scripture passage. Try reading the scripture through 3 times, aloud if possible. Pause when a word or phrase seems to “jump out” or “shimmer” as you read. Why does that word or phrase seem to stand out? What is God saying to you in this moment? What action is God calling you to?
Matthew 13:24-30 (CEB)

24  Jesus told them [a] parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like someone who planted good seed in his field.  25  While people were sleeping, an enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat and went away.  26  When the stalks sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared.
27  “The servants of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Then how is it that it has weeds?’
28  “‘An enemy has done this,’ he answered.
“The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them?’
29  “But the landowner said, ‘No, because if you gather the weeds, you’ll pull up the wheat along with them.  30  Let both grow side by side until the harvest. And at harvesttime I’ll say to the harvesters, “First gather the weeds and tie them together in bundles to be burned. But bring the wheat into my barn.”’
REFLECT | Reflection Questions
These questions are designed to help you reflect on the deeper meaning of the scripture as it applies to your daily living.
  • According to this parable, what is the kingdom of God like? Find at least three characteristics. Why are these important? How does it change the way we live?

  • Why do you think the wheat and weeds cannot be separated? What are the implications of their inseparability for the church?

  • What encouragement can you take away from this parable? In what ways are you challenged? 
PRAY | This week's prayer requests
We pray for the world around us; for the environment; for peace where there is conflict; for racial and social justice to be seen throughout the world. We pray for our communities; for those who are quarantining; for those who are fearful, for those working for the good of others in many different ways in our community. We pray for all who work on the front lines of this pandemic and for all key workers and those on whom we rely. We pray for our church community as we seek new ways of fulfilling our calling as the Church in these times. We pray for our families, friends, and neighbors. We pray for those who are ill and for those who are struggling financially or emotionally at this time. We pray for those who are grieving as we remember those
who have died.
In the stillness we take a moment we bring our prayers to God. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer for:

  • Deanna Deason requests prayers for former neighbor Ken who had infected gallbladder and will spend several days in the hospital recovering after surgery.
  • Diane Hammond requests prayers for good health for the last 9 weeks of Abby's pregnancy, and for Tyler & Abby's successful move into a new home; prayers for Luke and their family as they prepare to send him back to St. Luke's in New York in 2 weeks, and for his 14-day quarantine.
  • Prayer for all those suffering with depression.
  • Prayers for Gianni Comito's 61 year old mother who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Please keep her and the family in your prayers as they learn more about this devastating disease and she begins treatment.
  • Charlotte Loter requests prayers for her cousin Vic who has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease, and for her neighbor's son Brandon who has tested positive for Covid-19. Since she has been around his parents, she has been referred for testing. She says, "I am feeling fine and have placed myself in quarantine" until she can be tested.
  • Continued prayers for Carol Parrott whose hip surgery was a success and is home recovering.
  • Continued prayers for Larry Conrad who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
WATCH | Children's Storytime
Children need tools to aid them in their journey of faith, too! So this summer, we're sharing a weekly Children's Storytime video from families in our church. We encourage you to share these with the children & grandchildren in your life! Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it."
This week's story is God's Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams, et al. read by Lauren Wilken, Charlotte & Foster. If your family would like to share a story, please contact Lauren at lauren.wilken@polkcityumc.org
Catch up with previous GPS devotionals on our website: polkcityumc.org/gps-guide

Children's Storytime videos can be found at: polkcityumc.org/grow