{January 14, 2018}





Heartland Community Church


 

January 14 – 20, 2018

 

Whatever It Takes: Seek

By Joe Davis

As I listened to the message today, it made me feel a couple of things. I was taken back to my own teenage years, thinking about how and what I felt at that time. Talk about a mess. There was no way that I would be anywhere near ready to be considered a "legal" adult at the age of 12. I was playing baseball and soccer, rode my bike, went swimming and played as a 12 year old does. Hardly what I would consider ready to take on the roles and responsibilities of an adult man.

But the other thing I thought about are the communities I have been a part of. This got me to thinking, "How and when have I felt community?"

I think the first time I really felt the power of community was the night before I left for Marine Corps boot camp. A lot of friends gathered at my parents place to have a going away party for me. Somewhere in all of that, a bunch of the guys and I were downstairs in my bedroom. They gathered around me, put hands on my shouldeers and prayed for what I was about to embark on. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my dad came down to call us back upstairs and was witness to this. He told me later how impressed he was with what was happening. Little did I know how powerful that moment was. It created a foundation that I grew on when later in boot camp I really learned to pray. Not just for myself and the desperation I felt, but also for those around me and across the world.

I truly believe that we are not just called to be in community as Jesus lived his life, but we are given a very strong desire for it. We all want to be accepted and wanted and thought of by others. Now I know that some of us are introverts, myself included, but we do want to connect with those we share life with. Life is hard sometimes. I know in my own life I have had some very difficult roads to go down. There is no possible way I would have made it through without the guys that came around me. They gave me hard love, encouraged and pushed me to keep reaching out to God and pursuing my relationship with him.

Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."

This is the power of community. Not just being able to do life with others, but having God himself be present with us. Prayer is powerful. Being gathered together is powerful. God is constantly demonstrating his power to us, not to impress us, but to remind us of who he is, that he loves us and is for us.

 

{sunday 1.14.18}

Read Matthew 18:20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Will I do whatever it takes to be in community? Am I adding value to my communities, or am I just taking? How can I grow in community and help others experience it?

 

{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 or on image below to enjoy Seth Davidson’s overview of Matthew 7-8.

{monday 1.15.18}

Read Matthew 6:19-34

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The Bible tells us not to worry, yet that is what we do. In this modern day where essentials and luxuries are abundant, we worry. I worry all the time. I was worrying on my way to church this morning my truck would break down in the snow. I worry about my kids future. I worry about what I’m going to eat for lunch. I worry. Do you worry? What causes you to worry? Why do these things make you worry? How can you practice including God in your worries, so he can release the power of worry? What is one thing you will give to God this week to let him worry about it?

{tuesday 1.16.18}

Read Matthew 7:1-12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Writing the questions for the daily Bible readings I have noticed that the passages repeat the same ideas over and over. One of them is not judging other people. This one is repeated so often I’ve started to judge the writers of scripture a little bit (irony intended for a cheap laugh). This isn’t just repeated in the Bible but throughout history and pop culture, too. It’s like everyone in the world is screaming out, "Don’t judge me! Who are you to judge me?" Yet we do it. I’ll admit, I do it. I judge when I should not. When I realize I am doing it I try to justify why it’s ok that I did for that particular thing or about that particular person. I think the first step here is to define what judgement is. What does it mean to judge other people? Share your definition and an experience with someone you trust. When have you been judged and how did that made you feel? How about an experience where you judged someone else?

{wednesday 1.17.18}

Read Matthew 7:13-23

Observe, Reflect, Apply: "Actions speak louder than words." Ughhh, I can’t tell you how many times I heard that as a kid. I did not grow up going to church, this wasn’t some sort of lesson I was learning. It’s something that I think most people understand universally. As an adult I get it, even though that particular phrase makes me cringe with annoyance. Our actions in the long run match our hearts. We can fake it for awhile but ultimately we will follow our hearts desire whether they are good or bad. This isn’t to say if we’ve done a bad thing that we have a bad heart or vice versa. There are many people that inspire me and the little things they do keep me inspired. It’s in those little things I see the fruit that God is talking about in these verses. How can you tell the type of "fruit" your life produces? What are those key things you are looking for?

{thursday 1.18.18}

Read Matthew 7:24-8:4

Observe, Reflect, Apply: It’s true, when a house has a foundation built on solid ground it can withstand everything a storm can through at it. In a literal sense I have seen this being a professional home inspector. In the metaphorical sense I have seen this in my own life. I’ve had times were my foundation was built on other things than God and ultimately when the storms of life came it fell apart. I’ve also had times were my foundation was built on God and when the storms of life came again everything held together. I can tell you literally and show you diagrams of how to build a strong foundation for a home, but I’ve never seen one for building a life around God. Create your own diagram of how to build a strong foundation around God and share it a trusted friend or group.

{friday 1.19.18}

Read Matthew 8:5-22

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Faith is a harder concept than we imagine. Simply going to church and saying you follow Jesus does not seem to cut it. Faith goes much deeper than that. Use five words to describe what faith is and share that with a friend. Ask them to describe what faith is.

{saturday 1.20.18}

Read Matthew 8:23-34

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus isn’t just some historical guy with some good ideas on how we should think and how to treat other people. He has actual authority. He can command the natural world (the storm at sea) and he can heal us (casting of demons into the pig sty). Since Jesus has authority over all things, telling us not to worry and not to judge each other should have more impact than a #1 selling self help book. We should know that these things he tells us have the power that created the world behind them. Pray for deeper clarity and understanding of God’s power.

 

{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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