{September 17, 2017}

 

September 17 – 23, 2017

 

{FAQ: Parts 3-5}

By Meghan Hemenway

We are asked again this week to consider how we make our way through hard decisions. Can we look at any tough question with a biblical view, using grace and truth?

When my dad died unexpectedly we were not ready with the answers to some of the hard questions that have to be answered when a life ends. While my parents had discussed their feelings on these topics they hadn’t finalized all the details on issues like their final resting places, where to hold a ceremony, and whom would officiate.

My extended family has a few faith backgrounds that generally work together for the purposes of holidays and family gatherings, but a funeral and the end of a life bring up some dividing lines. Like the dividing line in the cemetery in my dad’s hometown between members of one particular faith and the rest. And the dividing line that would be between my dad’s family plot and the place I would one day be allowed to bury my mother.

This could have become a thick line that forevermore separated parts of the family. There could have been an ugly fight over who should get the last word on my dad’s final resting place. About which church, which pastor, which verses, and which kind of deli meat served by which kind of church ladies in which church basement. But with such humility and grace my grandmother and my mother chose each other and the shared love they had for a son and a husband. Throughout that process they talked to me about the other one’s grief, the other one’s convictions, and their desire to honor each other in their decisions. My four-and-a-half foot "grams" was ready to deliver some choice words – or some big dollars – to the elders of her lifelong faith community so that my mom would have the peace of knowing she would be allowed to be buried next to my dad when the time came. My mom, on her end, was developing a detailed, secret strategy for me to carry out upon her death to get her to my dad without upsetting my grandma or breaking too many laws.

In the end, they went together to pick out a headstone with my dad’s name next to my mom’s in a marble pattern that would complement the marble of the headstone it would be next to – the one with my grandma’s name next to my grandpa’s. And then we got chocolate-dipped ice cream cones because the Zesto was next to the marble monuments store and because I thought those two women deserved a treat. We crossed the line from the lot with the heavy stones and weighty issues and had some soft-serve ice cream before going back to the tough stuff.

These were hard questions we were able to resolve with honor and grace without anyone needing to turn away from their faith or from truth. My dear friends gave me and my mom matching necklaces on the anniversary of my dad’s death. Each necklace has three gold rings and is meant to symbolize 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

{sunday 9.17.17}

Read 1 Peter 4:8, Philippians 1:9-11, 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What unanswered question are you struggling with right now? What would it look like to view this question or difficult situation through the lens of grace and truth, honor and honesty? Can you make a plan to find answers following the path Heartland has laid out: first turn to scripture and to God in prayer, next visit the Heartland website for resources and more information, and finally seek out a conversation with a staff member or elder.

 

{extra teaching resources}

CLICK HERE to read our FAQs on the LGBTQ+ topic.

CLICK HERE to read our letter, Am I Welcome At Your Church?

Follow the links below to view our 3-part series on Holistic Sexuality from 2015.

Holistic Sexuality Part 1 w/Dan Deeble & Todd Frye
Holistic Sexuality Part 2 with Dan Deeble
Holisitc Sexuality Part 3 with Dan Deeble

CLICK HERE to access the spiritual pathways survey and identify your best path to connecting with God.

 

{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 Bible Project: Hebrews.

{monday 9.18.17}

Read Hebrews 3:16-4:5

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Belief in God is a key component to faith. Belief does not come easy to everyone though. Do you believe in God? Explain why or why not.

{tuesday 9.19.17}

Read Hebrews 4:6-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: God’s word can go straight to the point of what the human heart is thinking. There’s no hiding anything from it. What in your heart is something that you wish you could hide from God?

{wednesday 9.20.17}

Read Hebrews 5

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Where does your faith stand? Do you need milk or are you ready for solid foods?

{thursday 9.21.17}

Read Hebrews 6:1-12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How will you take your next step to continue growing? Share this with someone trusted who will check up on your progress.

{friday 9.22.17}

Read Hebrews 6:13-7:3

Observe, Reflect, Apply: We should all have hope, however our hope can only be as strong as the thing or person we put our hope in. How is putting hope in God different than anything else we can put hope in?

{saturday 9.23.17}

Read Hebrews 7:4-17

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Change is a difficult thing. In this case Jesus upset the order of things known to the Jews of the 1st century. Change can cause some people to flourish and others to struggle. When have you struggled with change? How did you deal with it? If you’re currently struggling with change, how will you move forward?

 

{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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