{March 4, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


March 4-10, 2018


Run To Win: Entitled to Indebted

By Meghan Hemenway

I took up long-distance running as an adult. I spent childhood avoiding organized sports and competition as much as possible. I didn’t want to win or lose, I wanted to avoid the whole thing. Adrenaline pumping through my veins felt like a warning signal from my body that I should get away from whatever this clearly dangerous situation was. But then there was marriage, and kids, and all the responsibilities of life and toeing the line for a 13 or 26 mile race seemed like the most sane practice of all.

Last Fall I set a new time goal for a race which I did not end up reaching. Then my husband was injured and had to step away from running temporarily. And then it was winter, cold and dark and I found myself wondering why I was still running. I had failed to reach my goal, my running buddy wasn’t able to run, and it just wasn’t fun or easy anymore. What was I running for? Didn’t I have a right for it to be fun and a right to stop if it wasn’t? Hadn’t I earned a little break?

Seth talked today about entitlement – feeling you deserve, are owed, or have earned something – compared to indebtedness – owing someone a debt or a gratitude for a service or favor. In 1 Corinthians Paul talks about the rights of apostles to be provided for in exchange for the spiritual teaching they were bringing to people. But Paul only brings up this entitlement, this right, to say that the apostles have never claimed it. Paul made himself a servant, made himself indebted to the people because he was free and he would rather endure anything than stand in the way of someone else hearing the gospel of Jesus (1 Corinthians 9:12). His debt had been paid, he had been given grace and he didn’t want anything to stand in the way of someone else hearing this good news.

Our culture makes it easier for us to focus on our rights, our comfort, what we deserve. My running wasn’t making me happy anymore so I wanted to stop. I didn’t really consider the gift it was to keep going when it got hard and build my endurance when I faced disappointment. 

Paul knew why he was running. He was running because he had been given a gift he didn’t earn and didn’t deserve so he counted it as a privilege to serve so that more and more would hear about God’s grace.


{sunday 3.4.18}

Read 1 Corinthians 9:11-19

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What are the rights you claim in a day? Do you rank those as higher than grace in your life?


{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 21-22.

{monday 3.5.18}

Read Matthew 21:23-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The Pharisees ask Jesus, by what authorities does he do these things? In your own words, explain by what authority Jesus did what he did.

{tuesday 3.6.18}

Read Matthew 21:33-46

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Retell this parable in your own words using a modern setting.

{wednesday 3.7.18}

Read Matthew 22:1-14

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What do you think Jesus is teaching with this parable? Who was his audience?

{thursday 3.8.18}

Read Matthew 22:15-22

Observe, Reflect, Apply: “Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s, give to God what is God’s.” Explain what this means. What does this mean to you in your life.

{friday 3.9.18}

Read Matthew 22:23-40

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What is the greatest commandment that Jesus shares? What is one way you can apply this to your life this week? Share this with a trusted friend or group and give them permission to ask you how it’s going.

{saturday 3.10.18}

Read Matthew 22:41-23:12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus calls out the Pharisees for being hypocrites. He tells the audience to do what they teach but not what they do. What do you “teach” that you don’t do?


{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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