{December 24, 2017}





Heartland Community Church


 

December 24 – 30, 2017

 

How He Loves: Peace

By Adam Pontier

I became aware of the statistics that Dan shared about the world becoming a safer and better place while I was in college. I was initially shocked to hear that the world is actually safer and better from a macro level. It doesn’t seem that way when you watch the news. Every older person I’ve talked to tells me about how the world we live in is turning to crap and compares it to the good old days.

Why is it that a safer and better world has not led to happier people?

Is peace found in the right country or government? Is it found with a certain amount of wealth? Is it found in good health? Is peace found with the right job or family? Is it found in the right house?

In my experience, peace is not found in circumstances. You may find happiness in a moment, but it will be fleeting.

As someone who grew up unchurched, and opposed to organize religion, I thought people were clinging to their faith because they were weak and needed something to make themselves feel better or they were oblivious to the real world. I thought you just had to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and tough it out. I thought the idea of peace was nice but unrealistic.

When I started following Jesus at 17 years old I wasn’t intentionally looking to find peace, but it found me for the first time in my life. I’d love to tell you that I’ve been in this perfect state of peace for the last 20 years but that’s far from the truth. In reality it has come and gone many times.

The older I get, the more I realize that I only find peace through my faith in Jesus. The tipping point was realizing my identity is from God. I studied that idea for a long time and it really has led to me finding more peace than I thought possible. Because I came to the conclusion that who I am really lies in Jesus, I no longer feel the need to try and figure out who I am. I don’t need to fully know who I am because I am safe with him. I can relax.

This still doesn’t help with the day to day worries though. I’m married, that makes me worry. I have kids, that makes me worry. I have my own business, that makes me worry. Every day I have worries about something. If I’m not worrying about something, I must be asleep. Even then I get woken up from a bad dream where, again, I was worrying. This feels like the opposite of peace.

I feel like everyday I start worrying about something and at some point I just have to say to God, “This is bothering me too much and I know you are there and I know you care.” I focus on that for a bit and eventually I realize in my heart that he is there and that he does care. That seems to be enough for the worry to go away. I don’t need an answer or solution to what I was worrying about. His presence is enough to comfort me in the moment. That’s when I feel his peace.

I don’t really want the peace that the news or advertisers say I need. It won’t last. The peace I need comes from knowing that God is there and he cares.

{sunday 12.24.17}

Read Isaiah 8:16-9:7; John 14:27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: As you read these verses, do you see any correlation between the world depicted in Isaiah and our lives today? In Isaiah 9, what part of the promise of the coming of Jesus is most important to you? Which promise of Jesus do you most need to experience today? Join us this week as we all turn John 14:27 into a reflection or prayer. Lets see what God might do if a whole community of people considered and lived from this one verse. We are praying with you!

 

{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 catch our final summary of Revelation 20-22 from Seth Davidson, Discipleship Pastor.

{monday 12.25.17}

Read Revelation 19:1-8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: A wedding is the act of two people committing their lives to each other and a ceremony to celebrate this decision. We see a wedding ceremony taking place here in the scriptures. Why is a wedding ceremony a good way to show this commitment?

{tuesday 12.26.17}

Read Revelation 19:9-21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: As NT Wright says about this symbolic passage “ Monstrous regimes may come and go. Lies and deceits will continue to be spread. We must be on our guard. But the King of kings and Lord of lords will be victorious.” Do you find it reassuring that no matter what is happening in this world that God is there and through Jesus the battle has already been won? How can this be applied to your daily life?

{wednesday 12.27.17}

Read Revelation 20:1-10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This symbolic passage may refer to the past or the future. The main point here is that the victory belongs to God. We have faith in God and we may do things that God asks us to do, but the victory of defeating Satan belongs to God. What would you like God to defeat in your life for you?

{thursday 12.28.17}

Read Revelation 20:11-21:8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Death is the thing that haunts every life, but death will die. Death will no longer be a thing. Can you imagine a life without death? Try and imagine what that would mean. Try sharing your thoughts on this with someone you trust.

{friday 12.29.17}

Read Revelation 21:9-22:7

Observe, Reflect, Apply: We catch a glimpse of the new city God will bring down to earth. This of course does not make sense in any traditional manner that we have experienced this world. That’s the point. We do not live in the perfect world God has planned. It is comforting to think about this world though. Take 30 minutes and imagine this new world.

{saturday 12.30.17}

Read Revelation 22:8-21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus leaves us at the end of Revelations saying he will be coming soon. Of course to us we think its been forever because this was said about 2,000 years ago and we have no idea when he will come. The point is not to try and figure out when he will come but to understand that he is coming. Waiting can be very difficult and people have historically gotten off task while waiting for God. How do you deal with waiting in anticipation of big things to come? 

 

{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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