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{March 11, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


March 11-17, 2018


Run To Win: By All Possible Means

By Michael Maybee

A friend recently asked me to do a little woodworking to repair a furniture piece for him. I said, “Sure, I can do that.” Then I thought, “How in the world am I going to do that? By what means can I possibly achieve the desired outcome?” I might have just given up on the assignment, but I didn’t want to let my friend down.

So I started to think it through from beginning to end. What materials do I need? What steps will be involved and in what order? What tools will I use? That’s where I hit a roadblock. I couldn’t imagine what tool or tools I had available that would do what needed doing.

To break my inertia I started with what I did know how to do. When I got stuck, I asked for help. Someone suggested a solution that involved the use of the most unlikely tool I could have imagined. (For the mechanically minded among our readers, it involved cutting a circle with a table saw.) I took that suggestion and ran with it, imagining new and inventive means to accomplish my goal using the tools available to me. My friend was thrilled with the end product.

What has all that to do with running to win and more specifically, Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 9:22 that he works “by all possible means” to bring as many people as possible to faith in Christ? I’m so glad you asked.

First of all, I think the Apostle Paul was probably the most unlikely “tool” possible that God might have used to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles. Paul himself even says, “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Cor. 15:9) Do you see yourself that way, as the most unlikely means by which God might expand his influence in and impact on the world? But in God’s hand, the ultimate master craftsman, Paul became an instrument through which God accomplished the unimaginable. He can accomplish much in and through you as well, if you put yourself and your life in his hands.

Just as I broke my inertia on my woodworking assignment, we just have to start with what we do know when God invites us to join him. If you get stuck, ask for help—from God in prayer, from Christian friends. Oh, and something else I left out of my story. My first attempt did not succeed. I still have the trial run in my shop. You may not succeed the first time. Don’t let that discourage you. Learn from your attempts and adapt.

Please notice that I have carefully avoided the use of the word “project” in this narrative. People are not projects and the last thing you want is to treat them as if they are. But Jesus gave us all an assignment—to make disciples. And we really don’t want to let our friend Jesus down, now do we?

"God loves to effect His greatest works by means tending under ordinary circumstances to produce the very opposite of what is to be done." ~Christopher Wordsworth

{sunday 3.11.18}

Read Acts 9:1-19, 1 Corinthians 15:9-10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul (formerly known as Saul) had a past that certainly seemed to disqualify him from serving Jesus. Ananias was shocked that God intended to use him to advance the Kingdom. What (if anything) in your past are you letting hold you back from “running to win”? Who would be most surprised to learn that you follow Jesus? What if you started there, with them, letting God use you to share how he has impacted your life? What might be a good next step for you in this race?


{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 learn more about the book of Matthew from our friends over at The Bible Project.

{monday 3.12.18}

Read Matthew 23:13-22

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In this particular scripture Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and Scribes. He’s calling them out on their hypocrisy. Where do you find your own hypocrisy?

{tuesday 3.13.18}

Read Matthew 23:23-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In your own words explain what Jesus means by saying you must first make the inside of the cup clean, and then the outside will be clean as well.

{wednesday 3.14.18}

Read Matthew 23:33-39

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What reasoning do you think the Pharisees and other leaders of 1st century Judea had for killing the people (Prophets, wise men and scribes)? What justifications do you think they made in public and their minds for these actions?

{thursday 3.15.18}

Read Matthew 24:1-25

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What condition do you see the world in today? How do you make sense of what you see? Share your thoughts with a trusted friend or group.

{friday 3.16.18}

Read Matthew 24:26-35

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Why do you think Jesus shares all this descriptive imagery with those listening about the end of the world?

{saturday 3.17.18}

Read Matthew 24:36-44

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus tells us that no one will know when he is coming. He even says he does not know himself. However, throughout history there have been many predictions about when he will come but they have all turned out to be wrong. Why are people fascinated with predicting something that Jesus says no one knows?


{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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