{October 22, 2017}

Heartland Community Church


October 22 – 28, 2017


LOVE(MATH): Dating

By Adam Pontier

After listening to Dan speak about dating I felt awkward. Naturally, because old married men aren’t the best to give advice on dating. No offense Dan . . . I am an old married man myself! I was married before iPhones existed! My dating game is dated to say the least. However, what Dan spoke about rang as universal and timeless. It went beyond just good dating advice.

Outside of a few awkwardly placed jokes, here is what I will be telling my children when they reach dating age: “How is this person you are dating bettering you with God?” And, “How are you going to better this person you are dating with God?”

That’s the best advice I have ever heard on this topic. I can tell you from experience that my dating experiences had nothing to do with bettering the other person and definitely had nothing to do with God. Matter of fact, I was utilizing dating to give myself identity. I didn’t follow Jesus for most of my dating years and my identity was “complicated”.

I love a good four square matrix like Dan used, and visually I could see the growth I have made throughout the years with my wife of 10 years, girlfriend for 14 years if we run the timelines parallel (that was a geometry joke in case you are wondering).

All four of the areas that Dan mentioned we have grown in over the years. I didn’t realize it until now but it does explain a lot. My identity has become secure in Jesus, therefore I am no longer dependent on my wife to do that for me. It has freed her from the burden that Jesus carries. We have both come a long way in this.

I like the idea of dating my wife! She’s amazing and I have more fun with her than anyone else I have ever met. She laughs at my solidly timed dad jokes. She accepts me (with some limitations and rules in place) for my tendency towards rebellion and counter culture styles. Our relationship has helped me grow in my relationship with Jesus.

I feel fortunate to be at this point in my life. I realize many people struggle for a variety of reasons and I have nothing but love and compassion for you. It’s a painful thing to be lonely, I’ve been there too!

My personal advice for dating is actually the same advice I give for everything: let your identity be defined by Jesus and no one else. From there you will know who you are. Once you know who you are, things will become clearer.

{sunday 10.22.17}

Read Matthew 22:34-40

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This is the greatest commandment and where we are told that we should treat our neighbors as ourselves. Dan used it to talk about dating. How does dating someone in the way you would like to be dated change your perspective and dating relationships?


Join us over at the LOVE(MATH) podcast and listen in on conversations about relationships, God, community and more. CLICK HERE to subscribe on iTunes. CLICK HERE to listen on Soundcloud.


{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 a new episode of The Journey Continues: James, from our own Seth Davidson.


{monday 10.23.17}

Read James 5:13-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Prayer is something we all know about, but how often do we actually do it? Write one thing down you want to pray about for each day this week. Each day when you have a moment of peace from life (work, school, kids… etc) pull out that list and pray about that thing for the day. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or filled with ornate words. Speak honestly as though Jesus was standing or sitting next to you. Just talk to him like you would any other person.

{tuesday 10.24.17}

Read 1 Peter 1:1-12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Imagine your favorite movie. I bet somewhere in there there is a person who faces trials and in the end things work out in their favor (or some sort of happy ending). If you’ve seen this movie many times you already know how its going to end, but you still get wrapped up in the story and overcoming of obstacles even though you know how it ends. Is it comforting to know how it will end? We as people relate to this. We have struggles and we hope to endure no matter how bad it gets in hopes of a positive outcome. In this passage we are told that there will be something to celebrate when its all over. Does this bring you comfort? If your life were a movie, at what point in the plot do you see yourself? Explain.

{wednesday 10.25.17}

Read 1 Peter 1:13-25

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This is the classic passage where we hear that in Jesus we are born again. We are made new. There may be some baggage around the phrase born again in today’s modern culture but at its essence it’s a way of saying we are starting over with God. Things in our lives get messy and we just need a restart. I’ve felt that way in relationships, work, parenting….. Where in your life would you like a restart? What actions can you take now to make this happen?

{thursday 10.26.17}

Read 1 Peter 2:1-12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: “So put off all evil, all deceitful, hateful  malice and all ill-speaking.” This is a call to act like we all know we should but usually fall short of in some varying degree. This came up a lot in last week’s scriptures as well. What sets you off? What makes you so angry that you blurt out things that you later regret? Pray about these things. Pray that they don’t hold any power over you and your identity. Name them, be aware of them and know these do not define your identity. Do you want to grow away from them? What plans will you talk about (pray) with Jesus in regards to overcoming this “thing” that is burdening you?

{friday 10.27.17}

Read 1 Peter 2:13-25

Observe, Reflect, Apply: “When he was insulted, he didn’t insult in return.” Considering how rough it is with politics right now, these passages can be tough to read. They hit very close and are extremely relevant for the vast majority of people. It takes more than I can imagine to not respond to an insult. They only moments I’ve ever accomplished this are when I am firmly planted in my identity given to me by Jesus. What is your identity in Jesus? Write down who you are as defined by Jesus without quoting any scripture or “church words”. Share this with somebody you trust. If you can’t share this with someone else, imagine Jesus sitting next to you and share it with him. If you aren’t sure what identity is in Jesus, again imagine Jesus sitting next to you and ask him? Imagine what he would say to you and then write that down.

{saturday 10.28.17}

Read 1 Peter 3:1-7

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Wow! Definitely don’t start trying to cherry pick this scripture for your own gain. “Love your date as yourself” as Dan said in the sermon this week really sums this up great. Let’s start there. How do you like to be treated? I’m not sure we all really have a full answer to that question yet. We know what it feels like, but have we really put words to it? Put words to it now. Write down in 2 or 3 paragraphs how you like to be treated. Yes, I know that is a lot of writing and that you came here to read but I think it’s time we all actually know how it is we want to be treated so we know how we should treat others.


{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 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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