{April 22, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


April 22 – 28, 2018


Before/After: Just. Because.You’re. Here.

By Brooke Hodnefield

Our value and worth gets anchored somewhere. It gets tied to something or someone. There was a long season of my life filled with striving. I couldn’t mastermind my own life and I found that I tried with all my might to control and make happen that which I wanted. I tried to earn my way by doing enough good works that God would see me. He would find favor in me. If I was doing good, then he wouldn’t allow me to experience the bad. Right? I tried to be everything to everyone, and found that I did a great job being a chameleon. Did God see? Did he see how hard I was trying? I had been the new kid so many times growing up it felt quite normal, always trying to earn my way in. But in doing so, the child of God that I was created to be was lost. I didn’t belong, and I had assumed a role so many times over that I no longer remembered who I was.

I studied abroad in Prague, and amidst a fairy-tale city that was so unlike anything I’d experienced I was given the gift of disorientation. I was a foreigner for 5 months & felt quite small on this big adventure. I had lost my bearings and was forced to give up control. It was then that grace smacked me in the head. I was afforded a different lens through reading Brennan Manning’s book, Ragamuffin Gospel. There was so much brokenness he had experienced, yet he owned it so beautifully. He was accepted, even with all his junk. I found there IS beauty in brokenness and with that brokenness God steps in and holds me together, even if all the pieces are falling apart. He moves in even closer . . . when I am weak, he is strong.  I am chosen, set firm and secure within his steadfast love. I no longer needed to strive. The incessant need to do good in his eyes to prevent the bad from occurring and the fear that drove it lessened. I no longer needed to seek out absolute control over my life. That bear of a weight crawled off my back and all that was left was the grace that was all-encompassing. The crazy thing is that it was there all along. We ALL have that same access, but we first must accept that grace that he has extended, which at times can be easier to give to others than to accept ourself. As it is played out for us in in Hebrews 10:19 – 23:

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”

We can boldly approach the throne with confidence because he has given us direct access to him. We don’t have to be ready, or clean enough, or good enough or whatever the lie that you have believed. You are enough. You are beloved. You are chosen. Just because you are here and you are you.

When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games.

Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.
― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel


{sunday 4.22.18}

Read 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Do you feel it is easier to give grace to others or yourself? How does God demonstrate that you are his beloved to you? When you hear the word "adoption", what comes to mind?


{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.

To dive deeper into Mark 5-6, CLICK HERE or on the video below to check out a short teaching from our own Seth Davidson.


{monday 4.23.18}

Read Mark 6:1-6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Sometimes our families and hometowns can be the most critical of us. This even happens to Jesus. Where have you felt the most challenge in gaining other peoples respect?

{tuesday 4.24.18}

Read Mark 6:7-13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus gives the disciples instructions to the disciples that if they aren’t welcome or people don’t want to hear what they have to say, to simply move on. How can you apply this instruction to your life?

{wednesday 4.25.18}

Read Mark 6:14-29

Observe, Reflect, Apply: King Herod didn’t like people telling him what he was doing was wrong. He didn’t like his authority questioned. Very few people have the authority that King Herod did, but his reaction to having his authority questioned doesn’t seem all that unique. Having someone imprisoned and beheaded is not normal for our culture, but would have seemed less crazy at that time. Have you ever had your authority questioned? How did you react?

{thursday 4.26.18}

Read Mark 6:30-44

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What is your reaction to hearing the disciples fed 5,000 people with only 5 loaves of bread and couple of fish? What do you think of when you hear the word “miracle”?

{friday 4.27.18}

Read Mark 6:45-56

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus walking on water is definitely another miracle. It’s a miracle because people can’t walk on water obviously. We hear the word miracle used all the time, sometimes in the proper context and other times not. How would you define miracle? Why do you think it would be important for Jesus to do miracles?

{saturday 4.28.18}

Read Mark 7:1-8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Are human traditions important? Can tradition get in the way of a relationship with God? Discuss this with a trusted group or friend.


{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.


Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share what you are learning, questioning or experiencing. We love conversations!

Comments are closed.