GPS GUIDE | Week of July 26, 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.
SUMMER STORIES FROM THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
"It's the Little Things"

In case you missed it, view this week's online worship service,
as well as the baptism of Jack Conrad HERE:
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 the gospel of Matthew, Jesus uses parables, or stories, to help people understand his primary message, that we must change our hearts and lives to help build the kingdom of heaven. 

Last week we heard Jesus tell a story about the kingdom of heaven being like a garden where there are both wheat and weeds growing together, and we acknowledged that God calls us to nurture the good seeds planted within our hearts and within our world. 

This week, Jesus continues his story of the kingdom, by showing us how it’s the little things that matter. As today’s scripture is read, think about the small, ordinary or seemingly insignificant gestures or acts of kindness that have brought a little piece of heaven into your world… and think about how you might be called to change the world for others.
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?

photo: a mustard tree in Israel
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-46  (CEB)

31  He told another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in his field.  32  It’s the smallest of all seeds. But when it’s grown, it’s the largest of all vegetable plants. It becomes a tree so that the birds in the sky come and nest in its branches.”
33  He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast, which a woman took and hid in a bushel of wheat flour until the yeast had worked its way through all the dough.”
44  “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that somebody hid in a field, which someone else found and covered up. Full of joy, the finder sold everything and bought that field.
45  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. 46  When he found one very precious pearl, he went and sold all that he owned and bought it.”
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.
  • A mustard bush was considered a "weed" in the field where farmers carefully planted and tended other more desirable crops, such as wheat or grapes. For someone to go and intentionally plant a mustard seed would have seemed foolish to Jesus' listeners. How is the Kingdom of God "foolish" according to the world's values? What "foolish" actions have you committed lately that have sown seeds of God's love and care for another?

  • Mustard seeds may be tiny, but they are alive with possibility! They can grow and even thrive in harsh conditions. How has your faith, or the faith of another, helped you grow, or even thrive, in a difficult time?

  • This week we are challenged to look for ways we can make a difference in someone else's life, even in small and ordinary ways. What will you commit to do this week to show God's love and care to someone?

  • 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.
As a community of faith, we are called to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice. As joys and concerns are shared with one another, we take these to God in prayer. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer:

  • We celebrate the baptism of Jack Wayne Conrad, son of David and Katie Conrad, and welcome him as a member in the family of Christ!
  • Pastor Melody shares the joy that Anne Marie has accepted the position of Program Director for Youth & Children's Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Fort Dodge, and asks for prayers for her during her move and transition.
  • Prayers for all parents, students, teachers, staff and administrators making decisions about returning to school this fall.
  • Diane Hammond requests prayers for good health for the last 8 weeks of Abby's pregnancy and prayers for Luke and their family as they prepare to send him back to St. Luke's in New York, 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.
  • 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 The Marvelous Mustard Seed by Amy-Jill Levine, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, and Margaux Meganck read by Elisabet Menke, Clara and Elinor. If your family would like to share a story, please contact Lauren Wilken: lauren.wilken@polkcityumc.org
Catch up with previous GPS devotionals on our website: polkcityumc.org/gps-guide

Children's Storytime videos & worship connection activities can be found at: polkcityumc.org/pk-5th