{April 15, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


April 15 – 21, 2018


Before/After: Name Change

By Andrea Ennis

When I think of a name change the first thing that comes to mind is marriage. But for me, it also means divorce. To me, my married name represented shame, guilt and failure. That name held me captive to old wounds and devastating secrets. At my lowest, I felt completely unworthy and too broken to be loved by anyone. I felt scared and alone. At one point I started questioning my identity. I didn’t want my married name to define me. I had zero desire to follow in Prince’s shoes and be called “formerly known as…” so I needed to know who I am. 

In the midst of all this pain, anger, confusion and feeling so lost, I discovered a path to healing through God’s word and his community.  I ripped off old band-aids and dove straight into each wound. It was the most painfully difficult experience I had ever gone through. At times I wasn’t sure if I could keep pushing through it all. About six months into this process, I was having a particularly hard day. I was sobbing uncontrollably and asking God why I had to go through this pain. I instantly heard him answer in my head; you have to go through the pain to get to the joy. Those words resonated with me and penetrated straight to my core. I suddenly found meaning behind my suffering. I began to see myself as God sees me….as his child. I thought about a parent naming their own child. My parents gave me my first name but I was born into my earthly father’s last name. I inherited that name. I felt there was meaning behind that. I realized it was time to go back to my roots and return back to my birth name.  

I began to cut through the chains that bound me to all of those negative feelings I was carrying, and for the first time I saw a chance for a new life – a life that was fully mine, gifted to me by my heavenly Father. It’s been four years since I started on this healing journey. I still see all the cracks of my brokenness. However, they are now filled in with God’s light and love. 

When Saul changed to Paul, I imagine he didn’t have to go to the DMV or the Social Security office. For me, seeing my new (old) name in writing was important. It represented my identity as God intended me to be. When people ask me who I am, I am overjoyed to say I am my heavenly Father’s daughter.  

{sunday 4.15.18}

Read Acts 22:6-16, Romans 8:15-17

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What is your old name and what does that mean to you? What other names have you received over time, either officially, or as nicknames? What name or names do you feel God is giving 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.

As we continue in the book of Mark, CLICK HERE or on the video below to check out a short teaching from our own Seth Davidson.


{monday 4.16.18}

Read Mark 3:20-35

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Those against Jesus said Jesus was casting out demons by the prince of demons (Satan). What is Jesus’ response? In your own words re-word what Jesus says in response to the accusation.

{tuesday 4.17.18}

Read Mark 4:1-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply:The parable of sowing seeds makes a lot of sense if you are a farmer or come from an agricultural society like in Jesus’ time. I think must people still get the parable, but what parable would you use to reflect our current culture?

{wednesday 4.18.18}

Read Mark 4:21-29

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What does Jesus mean by “nothing is secret except what’s meant to be revealed, and nothing is covered up except what’s meant to be uncovered.” Discuss this with a trusted group or close friend.

{thursday 4.19.18}

Read Mark 4:30-41

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Have you ever faced something that felt immediately threatening that God helped you through and turned out to not be a big deal at all? Share your experience with a trusted group or close friend.

{friday 4.20.18}

Read Mark 5:1-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Imagine a being a bystander to this experience! 2,000 pigs plunging themselves off the side of a cliff would have been a crazy site to see! Have you ever witnessed something totally random and strange? Share this experience with a trusted group or close friend.

{saturday 4.21.18}

Read Mark 5:21-43

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What a terrible feeling to feel outcast because of a physical condition that you can’t control. Who do you know that feels like an outcast? What can you do to help them feel known and needed?


{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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