{August 27, 2017}

 

August 27 – September 2, 2017

 

{3 Letter Words: AND}

By Debbie Kirk

Life is Hard…AND…God is Good

A light rain isn’t much of a threat but treacherous storms are something to be feared. They have caused me to grieve what might be swept away and beg us to ask, what if the very worst happens? Gut wrenching experiences literally hurt our heart. They seem to destroy every good thing we’ve been given and threaten to shipwreck our hope.

On the other side of a recent storm I couldn’t help but ask “what if” from a completely different shoreline. What if life had always been easy? What if trials and hardships were things that happened to “other people”? What if I had escaped calamity? It’s tempting to long for smooth sailing with no rain, but storms remind us to search for the Lighthouse.

When hardships make their appearance, easy flies out the window, other people are now “us” and calamity crashes in. We struggle to make sense of it as it changes our story forever. Wasn’t our story better? Couldn’t we live and serve more fully, unhindered by this thorn in our flesh?

You would think so, right? Brooke reminds us that this is where God does his best work in and through us. When we are broken, disillusioned and crying out to him, he strengthens us, helps us see things from his perspective and meets us right there in our heap on the floor.

Trials that make their mark on our lives have purpose. What message would we declare if it had been smooth sailing, easy and effortless? That God is good because life is easy? Would we depend on him if we had always walked and never needed to be carried? Would we recognize him as quickly if we had never sought him in desperation? If life was always a party and we had never sat alone with him, weeping at his feet, would we know his voice? These intimate moments with him might never have been if life had been easy.
We can trust him to make something beautiful out of chaos. He promises to strengthen and shape us and allow us to step into someone else’s hardship with new understanding and compassion, having been there ourselves.

In God’s eyes, broken is beautiful. Broken is weakness where his strength takes over. It is cracked open places he can fill. It’s vulnerability where walls crumble and fall. As crooked as it seems, it’s the straightest path to hope. It’s where we learn to lament, trust and even smile during the storm.

Smooth sailing is easy but the presence of God through our storm is more beautiful than the calmest sea.

 

{sunday 8.27.17}

Read Isaiah 41:10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Are you suffering right now? Do you feel overwhelmed by circumstances beyond your control? God loves you and wants to meet you right where you are. Would you commit to memorizing Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

{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.

CLICK HERE to check out a short video from our friends at The Bible Project about 2 Timothy.

{monday 8.28.17}

Read 1 Timothy 6:1-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: These are challenging passages to read and understand. As you read them in today’s context, what thoughts or questions do they raise? We know that Paul had written these words to Timothy to help him confront a church and church leaders who were straying from the central story of Jesus. Which verse feels like it might be for you today? How can you act on that takeaway?

{tuesday 8.29.17}

Read 1 Timothy 6:17-2 Timothy 1:7

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In the final verses of 1 Timothy we see a call to not rest on our blessings or our wealth, but to be generous toward others. How do you practice generosity where you live, work, study or play? What is one tangible thing you can do this week to exercise your generosity muscles? In 2 Timothy, we hear of Timothy’s faith heritage. Where does your pursuit of a relationship with Jesus come from? How are you practicing the "spirit of power, love and self discipline?"

{wednesday 8.30.17}

Read 2 Timothy 1:8-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In these verses Paul encourages us not to be ashamed of the story of Jesus, or of those we know who follow Jesus, or of our own pursuit of Jesus. Wherever you are at in discovering or following Jesus, how can you share that journey and story with others? Who might need the encouragement that is in your story? Who might be able to help you with the doubt that rises in your story? Let’s stretch ourselves this week and find someone to talk about Jesus with; to share our story of Jesus with.

{thursday 8.31.17}

Read 2 Timothy 2:1-13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul is passing the torch of teaching to Timothy and encouraging him to teach boldly and well. He draws our attention back to the foundation of our faith–that Jesus rose from the dead so that we each could be saved. Where are you willing to stretch yourself, to endure hardship, in order to follow Jesus wholeheartedly?

{friday 9.1.17}

Read 2 Timothy 2:14-26

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Read these verses and note what you see happening. As you reflect on them, which words jump off the page at you? What is one nugget you can take away from these words today and apply?

{saturday 9.2.17}

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How does Paul describe the last days? Which phrases or warnings make you take note? What types of guardrails can you erect to help you follow Jesus in an era like this?

{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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