{May 6, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


May 6 – 12, 2018


Before/After: Spirit

By TJ Gonzales

I knew God wanted me to visit my friend. I noticed it as a constant desire in my heart, and it would not go away. I wish I could say that I responded to God’s spirit with full faith, but I actually had more excuses than anything. “But, he doesn’t respond to my text messages?” was the highest excuse on my list. Sad, I know. For perspective, my friend had walked away from following Jesus and was not responsive to anyone.

Not knowing what to expect, I went to visit him. I knocked on the door to his apartment and was extremely nervous because this was an unannounced visit, a huge no-no for social standards. But then he opened the door, and I couldn’t have prepared for what happened next….he cried. And then….I cried. Little did I know, he had woken up that morning in despair. He questioned the meaning of life in general and the value of his own. Yet, from that visit, God brought meaning back into his life. His life took a sharp turn for the better. 

As we learned from this Sunday’s message, the Holy Spirit brings heaven to earth. The Spirit merges the physical world we live in with the spiritual realities of heaven. We see this prayed in the words of Jesus, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on the earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). However, do we often think we’ll be participants in the process? And what does that look like? For me, it looked like following the Spirit’s leading to visit a friend.

Receiving wisdom and revelation from the Spirit might seem a little odd. But I think the starting point is to ask for it. Before trying to analyze, dissect or think through it…ask. In a nutshell, wisdom is practical and useful for all people, everywhere, at all times. “Look both ways before crossing the street” applies to everyone, at every street, forever. In contrast, revelation is unique and requires interpretation. It is more of a “now” guidance from God for our unique situations in life. When receiving revelation, we search the bible to make sure our interpretation aligns with scripture, and we look for confirmation from others in our trusted spiritual community. These steps help ensure we accurately apply revelation.

As we follow the Spirit’s leading we see glimpses of heaven invading earth in our own lives and the lives of others. The end result is we get to know God better. My friend returned to faith in Christ that day and re-joined a community of believers. There was a change in his heart, a visible before and after moment for us both. Heaven invading earth indeed!

“Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet.” – N.T. Wright


{sunday 5.6.18}

Read Ephesians 1:17

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Which of the two, wisdom or revelation, do you feel most comfortable with? Why? How has the Spirit’s guidance looked in your life and/or in your community? If you are not accustomed to asking for wisdom and revelation, would you be inclined to start?  Join us in taking time this week to make it part of our personal prayers.


{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 9-10, CLICK HERE or on the video below to check out a short teaching from our own Seth Davidson.

{monday 5.7.18}

Read Mark 9:11-29

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I love the father’s response, “Help me in my unbelief!” I think this is something I could say to Jesus with full honesty. Pray with a trusted group or friend for Jesus to help with your unbelief.

{tuesday 5.8.18}

Read Mark 9:30-37

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus tells the disciples that he will be given over to human hands and killed. They didn’t understand at that time, but would later make sense of this. Has God ever revealed something to you that you did not understand at that time, but would later? Share this experience with a trusted group or friend.

{wednesday 5.9.18}

Read Mark 9:38-50

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The words of Jesus in this scripture fit perfectly for today’s world. We constantly fight and divide amongst ourselves. How can you take these words of Jesus and apply them to your life?

{thursday 5.10.18}

Read Mark 10:1-12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Divorce is a tricky topic packed with a ton of variables and emotions. Share with a trusted group or friend how divorce has impacted your life. Do not make judgements or statements about divorce, simply share, listen and offer genuine and kind support.

{friday 5.11.18}

Read Mark 10:13-31

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God like a child? How does this play out in your faith and life?

{saturday 5.12.18}

Read Mark 10:32-45

Observe, Reflect, Apply: To be great you must become a servant. How does this apply in your life? How do you lead by serving?


{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 to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources).

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

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.