{September 10, 2017}

 

September 10 – 16, 2017

 

{FAQ: About Stuff Parts 1-3}

By Kori Carew

The news said that boko haram had killed hundreds and the city was on lockdown. I shut the door of my office, worked on reports to my clients while sitting on the floor trying to call my parents. I had called for hours unable to get through to my family. Finally, an elementary school classmate who I connected with over Facebook was able to get a hold of my mom and then reach out to me and told me my family was fine. Over the last several years, boko haram has killed hundreds and hundreds of people in northeast Nigeria, keeping the town that I grew up in locked in terror, stifling the economy and causing over 1 million people to be internally displaced; refugees within their own homeland. Through the years and the terrorism my family remained safe while others did not. I prayed and cried through news of attacks, prayed away anxiety, sought reassurances, and meditated on promises that I was not intended to live in fear but to put my hope and trust in God. Powerless, I entrusted loved ones to God, the only one with all the power.

A few weeks ago mudslides hit a township outside Freetown, Sierra Leone, killing hundreds and leaving hundreds of orphans behind. Frantically, we all checked on relatives (my family is originally from Sierra Leone). In those moments when you are relieved, when you say, "We were blessed," or "we were spared" does that mean God did not bless those who died? I struggle with this. There is a space where the faithful sometimes wrestle with anger, anxiety, guilt, and hope. I’ve learned that in His time, He meets us there.

Growing up in Nigeria I dreamed of coming to the United States to go to school. My plan was simple — I would work hard, I would work to make money to pay for university, and I would be make it. My dad worked his way through university and graduate school in America and Canada and I could do it, too. I applied and received academic and music scholarships to help with tuition. I packed what could fit in one suitcase and accepted the $1500 my parents, family friends and relatives gave me to start my new life. America, here I come!

Working to pay for expenses and what scholarships didn’t cover didn’t go the way I thought it would. As a foreign student there were limitations on my ability to work. I maximized the work study opportunities on campus and did “it all.” I worked as a research assistant, tutored in English, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, and babysat. I worked as campus security, as the editor of the Student Newspaper, served in Student Senate, started a Multicultural Students association, served in the Black Students Association, was a Student Ambassador, and more. I stretched myself to the max. I took an excess load of credits every semester and during the summer to shorten the time I was in college. Why not? I was strong, hardworking, and could do it (the messages in my head are a whole other post). It wasn’t enough. 

So I tried out for the track team and got on. That was some extra scholarship money. I tried out for the dance team and got on. That was some extra money. But I hated it. Exhausted but hopeful and determined I was told with one year left that I could not register because I had an outstanding balance. I owed almost $1,000 that had accumulated over time. It shouldn’t have been insurmountable. But for me at that time it was.

Each week I took my pay check and turned it over to the business office. Those days were periods where I went days without food. It turned out that I couldn’t outwork my situation. The school had asked me to serve as a Resident Assistant and I said yes. Working as an RA would have covered my room and board, but I could not register. Super girl who took excess credits, lead student organizations, and worked, couldn’t change the situation. Good Christian girl? Check. Hardworking? Check. Good grades? Check. Serve and lead? Check. Pay debt first before buying food? Check. Yet my power wasn’t enough.

Hyperactive turned to fatigue. Hope slowly began to die. A determination to work more was blocked by legal rules and limitations. Despair appeared around the edges. It was not just that I wouldn’t finish school but that I was thousands of miles away from my family with no safety net. If I was not enrolled in school then I would lose my student visa. If I was deported where would they send me? Canada, where I was born but had no family? Sierra Leone, where my family was from but I had never lived? How would I tell my parents that I couldn’t make it in America on my own? What would I do? Where would I go?

I was exhausted. I held on to the songs of my youth. “I look up to the mountains, to the hills I turn my eyes. Who will come to help me? Can I find a place to hide? You see the one who made the heavens and the earth will hear my call. I know that He will come to help me and He will not let me fall.” Long hot showers where I could just sing and cry out to God became a solace. I turned to scripture even more, spending a lot of time in the Psalms.

And then I gave up. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10. I rested. I prayed, I strategized, I explored, I sought help. And then I submitted. I prayed and told God I had done what I could and I needed Him to fix the rest. Surrender was a respite. Surrender was relief. This time God sent a miracle.

The miracles don’t always come, however. Sometimes the pain comes and overflows. Sometimes it is anger and confusion. Fear sneaks up and says, “That could be your kids,” when I serve to push back some of the atrocities of the world. Until I turn to God, and remember His promises. At times we don’t even receive a resolution — the unease, the conflict, the pain remains. But we can rest in this assurance: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4.

 

{sunday 9.10.17}

Read Psalm 46:10 and Isaiah 46:4

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Where are you striving or struggling, and need to be still? Take a moment and consider where you see God in the midst of the struggle. Be sure to note that. How is he sustaining you, even in the midst of trials? How do you need him to carry or rescue you? We are praying with each of you in all that God brings to mind.

{extra teaching resources}

CLICK HERE to view Heartland’s Essential Beliefs.

CLICK HERE for information on Heartland’s Care and Counseling Resources.

Check out the book The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns to process questions of politics and people. Check out the book God on Mute by Pete Greig to process questions on prayer. You can find these resources in the Heartland bookstore or wherever you buy/download books.

 

{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 watch The Journey Continues: Titus, brought to you by our very own Seth Davidson.

 

{monday 9.11.17}

Read Philemon 1:1-11

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul makes a statement in this scripture that he feels he can be bold because of Jesus. Does your relationship with Jesus make you feel bold? Explain.

{tuesday 9.12.17}

Read Philemon 1:12-25

Observe, Reflect, Apply:Paul is in prison and asking for a favor. When I think of Paul I think of someone full of confidence and pride. I think this would have been difficult for him to do. Do you comfortable asking friends for help? Explain.

{wednesday 9.13.17}

Read Hebrews 1:1-9

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I’ve never been a person myself to think much about angels. You may or may not be someone who does. The point in this scripture is to assure the readers that Jesus is greater than the angels. In our culture today we place other ideas and objects above Jesus. If this letter was written today it may say something similar but exchange angel for money or power. What do you see in today’s world that seems to have more influence or power than Jesus?

{thursday 9.14.17}

Read Hebrews 1:10-2:8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The unknown author of Hebrews continues to expand on the power and position of Jesus being from God. It’s easy to allow other things in our lives to become more powerful than Jesus. For me, it can be work, family or friends that I allow to take on a more important role than Jesus. What are the things that eclipse Jesus in your life?

{friday 9.15.17}

Read Hebrews 2:9-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus paid the price of suffering death so he could call us family. That’s huge and very counter culture. We don’t create our own salvation. We rely on Jesus for that. The same can be said for our relationship with Jesus. We can’t force it, we rely on him and we participate. How can you allow Jesus to take control and how will you participate in that?

{saturday 9.16.17}

Read Hebrews 3:1-15

Observe, Reflect, Apply: "Today, if you hear his voice, don’t make your hearts hard, as in the great bitterness." Using your own words, re-phrase this piece of scripture.

 

{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.

 

If you would like, please visit us and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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

Unsubscribe from The Journey.

Sign
up
to receive our future emails.


Comments are closed.