{July 29, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


July 29 – August 4, 2018


We Are Most Like God When: We Forgive

By Andrea Ennis

When I was about 4 and 5 we would go to Baskin Robbins and as I browsed the buffet of 31 flavors what did I always pick? Vanilla. Of all the exotic flavors (well,exotic for the 1970’s) I picked the most common and plain tasting flavor on this earth. In fact, it pretty much just tasted like pure sugar. But it didn’t matter. It was what I wanted and it was an easy decision. Life seemed so simple back then. Little did I know at the time that God serves up waaaaay more than 31 flavors. And today, he is serving up forgiveness. What does forgiveness have to do with ice cream? Nothing really, but this made me think about how God offers all of these beautiful flavors for us to indulge in such as those Dan called out today from Ephesians 4:32: kindness, compassion and forgiveness. Yet I often choose plain vanilla . . . over and over again. 

I was originally scheduled to write about a different message in the “We Are Most Like God When We…” series.  But just this week plans changed and I ended up writing about today’s message. When I saw the topic I was instantly hit with a ton of bricks. I have a deep wound with someone in my life that had been reopened only days ago, and it has really been weighing on me. This person is definitely my “one another”. Some say God works in mysterious ways . . . but there was no mystery around how he worked this writing assignment into my life today.

One of the things about today’s message that really stood out to me is when Dan read the excerpt from the book Left to Tell, where the author writes about having to return back to Rwanda, the very place where such terrible atrocities were committed against her and her family. The words “returning back” resonated in me and I realized that is where God needs me to go . . . to return back to the place in my heart that I need to heal. I am ashamed to confess that I have been withholding forgiveness as a punishment to my “one another”.

In turn, I have been punishing myself by allowing unforgiveness to hold me hostage and keep me from freedom. And what is on the other side of freedom? One of the most wondrous flavors of all . . . grace. Not only do I need to forgive, but grace needs to follow.

I write these words knowing they are true in my heart, but they have also been very hard to confront. Yet I also know that God always gifts us with what we need to endeavor. I am grateful that he has enabled me to see the path to freedom.   

(And remember forgiveness is fat-free, sugar-free and lactose-free!)

{sunday 7.29.18}

Read Genesis 50:14-21; Ephesians 4:31-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Who is your “one another”? What in your life needs healing to move towards forgiveness and grace? What wrong-doing that has been committed against you has lead to good 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.

To dive deeper into Luke 12-13, CLICK HERE or on the image below and check out this great video from Seth Davidson.


{monday 7.30.18}

Read Luke 12:22-34

Observe, Reflect, Apply: “Life is more than food! The body is more than clothing!” Take into consideration that food and clothing were not abundant in this time and culture. Dying of starvation and exposure was a greater risk than it is today in Johnson County. These are some basic fundamentals needed for survival, yet Jesus says life is greater than these things. What is life about? Share your thoughts with a trusted friend or group. Refrain from giving the obvious church answers. Dig deep and share honestly.

{tuesday 7.31.18}

Read Luke 12:35-48

Observe, Reflect, Apply: If you’ve ever been someone’s boss or manager, you understand what it’s like to have expectations of those working for you. You expect work to be done in the same manner whether or not you are watching them. In this scripture we hear the same expectations are held by God of us. Have you ever taken advantage of a work scenario where your boss wasn’t watching? How did you feel about it?

{wednesday 8.1.18}

Read Luke 12:49-59

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This passage is pretty hard in its approach. It’s not the super nice and friendly version of Jesus that we imagine. Jesus says, “You know how to work out what the earth and the sky are telling you, why can’t you work out what’s going on in this very moment?” In our time we have even greater knowledge of the weather and we have great and amazing technology for all sorts of applications, but we still can’t see what’s in front of our face sometimes. What distracts or prevents you from understanding what God is showing you?

{thursday 8.2.18}

Read Luke 13:1-17

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The way Jesus has to explain the healing on the sabbath and pointing out their hypocrisy really stands out to me because those who oppose him are working out of an “earned salvation” mindset. That’s where you think by good actions God will have favor on you. This approach to God is still widely used in our modern culture. It’s been a problem for a long time and still continues to this day. It’s a problem that we have to face head on everyday within ourselves. Pray for clearer understanding in your own life on where “earned salvation” infiltrates.

{friday 8.3.18}

Read Luke 13:18-30

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In your own words explain what “some who are last will be first, and some of the first will be last.”

{saturday 8.4.18}

Read Luke 13:31-14:6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus is continually challenged for his healing on the Sabbath. He continues to do the one thing that really gets under the skin of the religious leaders. I think this was intentional because he knew it was an easy way to show them their hypocrisy. What would Jesus continually do to get under your skin to show you your hypocrisy?


{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.


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