{April 16, 2017}

 

April 16-22, 2017

 

{Sit With Us: Easter’s Great Invitation}

By Adam Pontier

The lonelier I felt the more I drew into isolation. This cycle of isolation and loneliness continued and the hole felt like it only grew bigger.

Today’s sermon reminded me what it was like to feel lonely. It’s not a feeling that is brief and goes away easily. It’s a feeling that makes you question who you are and can drive you to make foolish mistakes. There is a reason why isolation in the prison system is used as deterrent for bad behavior.

The loneliest I have ever felt was in my early twenties. While most of my peers where in college among friends, I chose to work in the trades. I spent most of my days working with men who were at least 10 years older than me. I had walked away from attending church because there weren’t any groups for young 20-somethings that didn’t go to college. I didn’t date anyone because I really wasn’t around people, except for the grumpy old guys I worked alongside.

I went to work by day and trade school a few evenings a week. Other than that, I went home alone to my apartment in midtown KCMO. When I felt the need for some socializing I would sometimes hangout at a local tattoo shop with some acquaintances that worked there. These relationships weren’t deep at all.

The thing that I remember most were all the meals I ate . . .  alone.

It was boring. No one to talk to. No one to share my thoughts with. No one to laugh with. Just me eating in silence. Boring turned into lonely. Loneliness turned into self-doubt. Self-doubt turned into struggling with my identity.

It felt like no one wanted to be around me. I wondered, “What is wrong with me?” Am I too churchy? Am I not churchy enough? Is it because I chose to attend trade school instead of KU? I wondered if I would ever meet someone to date, let alone marry and have kids. I knew I wanted those things, but had no idea how I would obtain them.
 
Eventually, I decided to contact an old friend and we started hanging out. He was in a similar situation. Hanging out with him, I ran into the little sister of another old friend. I asked her out on a date and she said yes. We went on that date . . . and she even said yes to another one. That first date happened about 14 years ago. We have now been married to for ten years and have three kids together.
 
My loneliness subsided as I came out of isolation, but some damage had been done to my identity. I was deathly afraid of this loneliness coming back. I had no idea how to get past it.

My wife and I started attending Heartland 9 years ago. Over the last 9 years I have come back into a relationship with Jesus, and through that I have found out who God made me to be. I no longer fear that agonizing loneliness I suffered through.

“One of the best parts of being human is other humans. It’s true, because life is hard; but people get to show up for one another, as God told us to, and we remember we are loved and seen and God is here and we are not alone. We can’t deliver folks from their pits, but we can sure get in there with them until God does.”  ― Jen Hatmaker, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards

 

{sunday 4.16.17}

Read Isaiah 53:3-6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus knows what our pain feels like in this world. He went to the cross because he loves us no matter how bad or selfish we have acted in our lives. Do you know someone who is sitting alone? Imagine their pain. Will you reach out to them and offer them a seat? If you are the person sitting alone, know that you are loved by Jesus. Know there are people who want you to sit with them. If you are not sure where to start, reach out to someone. If you don’t know who, Heartland is here to help!

Miss the Sunday teaching? CLICK HERE to watch now!

 

{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 study questions below. Grab a friend or two to discuss what you are learning and what God is doing in your lives.

CLICK HERE to check out our latest video resource, The Journey Continues. It connects the dots from the past weeks’ readings to the current readings.

 

{monday 4.17.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 1:21-2:2

Observe, Reflect, Apply: So cool, on this day after Easter, to have these verses point us directly to Jesus when we seek to understand life, when we seek wisdom. If you are considering who Jesus is today, and what you believe about him, jot those thoughts down or find someone to share them with. If you are a person who chose to follow Jesus already, how might you find new inspiration to share your experience of Jesus with the people he places in your life?

{tuesday 4.18.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 2:3-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Ever had someone assume they knew what you were thinking? And they got it wrong? These verses point to the idea that only we can truly know our own thoughts. We know them because we think them, they are in our mind, our heart, our spirit. It is the same with Jesus. The super cool thing that happens when we put our faith and trust in a relationship with Jesus, though, is that we have access to his thoughts through his spirit . . . the Holy Spirit. A person might experience that access through prayer, through friends who believe and help us process, through reading the Bible. It is Jesus’ spirit that helps guide our thoughts toward him, toward his ways. Have you ever experienced access to Jesus’ thoughts in this way? Did you know it at the time? How might we practice the art of listening to Jesus . . . to the Holy Spirit?

{wednesday 4.19.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-11

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In these verses we are challenged to consider who or what we are putting our faith in. Is it the author we just read? The podcast we follow? The speaker at church? The hope of any gifted writer, teacher, or speaker is to share what God has done in their lives, what he has taught them, and do so in a way that draws all of us to Jesus. How can we keep our focus on Jesus as the source of our wisdom? How can we ensure it is Jesus we are following? If we are mentoring someone else, how can we make sure we are pointing them directly to Jesus?

{thursday 4.20.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 3:12-23

Observe, Reflect, Apply: These verses continue to point us toward Jesus as a firm foundation. As a believer, is your foundation solid? Is it centered on Jesus? Who took part in helping you build upon that firm foundation? If you are still exploring who Jesus is, what do these verses suggest to you about building your spiritual foundation? Do you have friends (builders) who can help you build well?

{friday 4.21.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-15

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Have you ever considered who your spiritual parents, coaches, mentors are? Who has built into your life, pointing you toward Jesus? Have you considered the sacrifices they made to share their faith? The judgement they might receive? If you have the opportunity, consider sending a note of thanks or encouragement to someone who has influenced your faith.

{saturday 4.22.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 4:16-5:8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This section presents some harsh teaching. How do we imitate Jesus well? How do we balance pride with humility in our relationships with one another? How do we balance bitter judgement of someone’s actions with sincere truth that intends to challenge, lift up, or encourage toward good things?

{group discussion ideas}

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 an Heartland 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 for The Journey.

  • Can you name an ‘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 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.

 

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© 2017 Heartland Community Church 12175 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062 (913) 341-5820.

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