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{June 3, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


June 3 – 9, 2018


A Variegated People: Wall Of Hostility

By Brooke Hodnefield

John Isaya Mgheny is a 19 year old boy from a small town . . . Kibaoni, Tanzania, East Africa. When I was not more than a few years older than him and newly married, my husband and I adopted John through the organization Compassion International. John was 6 years old at the time. And little did either of us know that we would one day have the opportunity to meet.

As part of my job, I inherited a relationship with a healthcare organization in Mwanza, Tanzania. They had a health clinic that treated tropical diseases and lots of malaria patients. We had partnered with the organization to provide funding, but now there was a group of people who wanted to go and experience the health clinic for themselves . . . 34 people to be exact. As I was in the thick of planning for this adventure, a mind-blowing thought occurred to me. John lives in Tanzania. I am going to Tanzania. How often does one travel to Tanzania? Did God have a divine plan in the works?

Fast forward a year later and there I was, sitting outside of the health clinic in Mwanza, Tanzania, nervously awaiting John’s arrival. He would be arriving by car with a representative from his Kibaoni Student Center, driving two hours from his little village to see me. This 12 year old boy, with whom I had written letters back and forth, was going to spend the day with me, a Kansas City girl. Worthy of noting…John did NOT speak English, and I certainly did NOT speak Swahili or his village’s dialect.

I will never forget that day. My entire teams’ luggage was confiscated somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya en route to Tanzania, only a few bags made it through. The bag that I had brought filled with items for John and his family made it. (I’m pretty sure God protected that one.) John promptly put on the KC Royals baseball hat I gave him and grinned. He handed me a blanket and small chair, both handmade, as gifts from his family. I got to speak to his parents on the phone and we had a joyous exchange of ‘hello!’ ‘jambo!’ and ‘thank you!’ We couldn’t understand one another, but what felt like a huge hug was exchanged over that phone.

What made that day with John most memorable was the presence we gave one another. Words didn’t so much matter. We were two children of God made in His very image. We were family, fellow citizens in this big ol’ world together, even if our worlds looked a little bit different. I often tell my boys that our world would be so boring if we were all the same.  We are ALL a part of God’s large household that each of us falls under . . . in unity. His kids. I felt cherished in a way that only God can cherish his kids.

John was my salt and light and I carry that with me still. I saw firsthand that God’s love transcends divides & differences. I only hope that more of that salt and light can be infused in the dark and divided places in our world. We each have our own salt to spread—and often it can gently break down walls. Where are you spreading your salt?

{sunday 6.3.18}

Read Matthew 5:13-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Where do you see unity in your midst? Division? Do you feel a part of God’s larger household? As his child? Why or why not? How can you spread salt, right where your two feet are planted?


{personal reflection and bible reading plan}

As you read the verses each day, make notes of questions you have about what you’re reading as well as answering the reflection questions below. Grab a friend or two to discuss what you are learning and what God is doing in your lives.

To dive deeper into Mark 16, CLICK HERE or on the video below to check out a short teaching from our own Seth Davidson.


Join us this Tuesday night, June 5, from 6:30-8 PM on the dock for an in depth Bible Study led by Dan on Exodus 5 called, "Why We Tape."


{monday 6.4.18}

Read Mark 15:33-47

Observe, Reflect, Apply: As you read the events in these two scenes, how do they impact you? What do you see happening? If you were witnessing the events live, what would you be wondering and processing?

{tuesday 6.5.18}

Read Mark 16:1-13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Have you ever witnessed an event, and in hindsight had cause to question what you saw? If you had come to the empty tomb and found no body where Jesus had been buried the day before, what would you think, do, and feel? How would you describe your experience to others?

{wednesday 6.6.18}

Read Mark 16:14-Luke 1:4

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus appears to his friends and disciples, after having been seen dead and buried. Wow! What weight does that give the words he speaks upon first reappearing to them? How can you respond to his invitation and challenge in your own life this week?

{thursday 6.7.18}

Read Luke 1:5-25

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Have you ever seen an angel? Or received a vision from one. Most of us have not. Yet, as I read this account I find myself wishing for such clear communication from God. How does Zechariah respond? How do you respond when you receive a nudge, a thought, a challenge from God via a friend, or from his words in the Bible? Pray with us this week that we would have responsive hearts and minds when we receive communication that can be connected to God.

{friday 6.8.18}

Read Luke 1:26-38

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Again, God speaks to someone through an angel, with words of encouragement and instruction. How do you "hear from God" today? How much time do you spend listening for him to guide you? Let’s keep stretching this week and share with one another what we experience while listening for God.

{saturday 6.9.18}

Read Luke 1:39-45

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How cool that these women could experience life together during this amazing turn of events. As you’ve read their stories, what do you learn about God through them? What do you learn from their responses, and the responses of those around them?


{community discussion questions}

We weren’t meant to experience the life of Jesus alone, so we encourage you to rally a few others to discuss what you are hearing, reading, and reflecting on together. Whether you are meeting as a Journey Community group, talking with a few friends throughout the week, or bringing up spiritual conversations around your table at home, feel free to use some of these questions as conversation starters on your journey.

  • Can you name a takeaway or challenge from the Sunday message?
  • How has that been relevant, challenging, or meaningful to your life this week?
  • What have you observed about God, Jesus, yourself, others, or God’s plan for you from these readings?
  • Where do you need a breakthrough from God this week?
  • Who do you need to share what you’re learning about God with?


{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources).

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get a free Bible for your phone, tablet, and computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.


Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share what you are learning, questioning or experiencing. We love conversations!

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