Youth Mission Sunday
Scripture Readings: 1 Samuel 25:5-8, John 15:1-11
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5)
Monday August 26 — 1 Samuel 25:1-8
The theme for Appalachia Service Project (ASP) this year was “Be the Peace.” It was based on 1 Samuel 25:6, “Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.” Throughout the mission trip, the team was challenged to experience God’s peace for themselves and share God’s peace with the families they served and the surrounding community. This is not a bad goal for everyone. Think and pray this week about how you can “be [God’s] peace” and share God’s peace with everyone you meet.
• Prayer: God of Peace, open my heart to receive the gift of your peace. Give me the strength I need to work for peace in a world that desperately needs it. Amen.
Tuesday August 27 — Psalm 29
There are more than 370 references to peace in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. Many of the Psalms remind us that God is the ultimate source of peace in our lives and the world in which we live. The 29th Psalm reaches its high point in the final line, “May the LORD bless his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11). When have you experienced God’s peace in the past few days? What helps you experience God’s peace? What prevents you from experiencing God’s peace?
• Prayer: Eternal God, heal the blindness of my heart and mind that prevents me from seeing signs of your peace in my life. I want to experience your peace today. Amen.
Wednesday August 28 — John 14:25-27
In his final instructions to his disciples, Jesus promises them that the Holy Spirit would be their Advocate. He also promises to give them peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). As you consider how you experience the peace of Christ, remember that “peace” (according to the Bible) is more than the absence of conflict. God’s Peace, offered through Jesus, includes wholeness, completeness, and wellbeing. It is an essential aspect of God’s dream for our lives and God’s creation. It can even be experienced in the midst of conflict. Look for signs of God’s peace as you go about your day.
• Prayer: Merciful God, thank you for the gift of salvation, the ultimate peace that can only come from you. Help me experience the wholeness you desire for my life. Amen.
Thursday August 29 — John 15:1-11
The theme verse for the Jeremiah Project this year was John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” It teaches us that when we stay connected to Jesus, our lives bear fruit – meaning that we change the world in Jesus’ name. Bearing fruit takes many forms, from mission trips to acts of mercy in our daily lives. How are you bearing the fruit of your relationship with Jesus today?
• Prayer: God of Grace, remove anything and everything in my life that prevents me from bearing fruit today. I want my life to make a difference in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Friday August 30 — John 15:12-17
One of the ways our relationship with Jesus bears fruit is by sharing God’s peace and loving our neighbors. Being a follower of Jesus requires us to take Jesus’ example and teaching seriously. This means that we learn to love others with the same passion with which Jesus loves us. When we experience God’s love for ourselves, we are set free to “love one another.” Do you know yourself to be unconditionally loved by Jesus? How does that knowledge help you love others?
• Prayer: Loving God, thank you for loving me. Forgive me for the many ways I do not follow Jesus’ example. Show me how to love others the way that Jesus loves. Amen.
Saturday August 31 — Colossians 1:9-14
The opening paragraphs of the letter to Colossians include an affirmation that the author is praying for them. He prays that their spiritual growth will continue, which will result in their lives bearing fruit “in every good work” (Colossians 1:10). This is God’s desire for all of God’s children (who share in the inheritance, (Colossians 1:12)). The promise is that when our lives are transformed by our relationship with Jesus, there is a tangible result in the way we interact with the world. We do the good work for which we were created. (Ephesians 2:10). Review the past week. What good works have you done?
• Prayer: Almighty God, help me grow in my relationship with you so that my life produces the fruit of good work. Transform my life and use me to transform the world. Amen.