{August 5, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


August 5 – 11, 2018


We Are Most Like God When: We Are Righteous

By Meghan Hemenway

Today as Dan talked about righteousness – how we must be righteous to be like God, we must have righteousness that surpasses the Pharisees, and we should be perfect as God is perfect – I thought of Super Mario Bros. I thought of that perfect path you must follow through the game, hitting each hidden block to earn extra lives or powers to help you all the way through to the end. There is a perfect route, a flawless path that, if you hit each right step, will lead you to success. Forgive the analogy, but my husband recently purchased a Nintendo NES Classic Edition "for the kids" and it has brought back a lot of childhood memories.

Unlike my husband, and what feels like most everyone else who grew up in the ’80s, I never had this coveted gaming system (or any video games or even a television for a large chunk of childhood. I turned out alright, don’t worry). So I never learned this secret, perfect path to follow from level to level. I’m hopeless at it. If I’m ever handed the controller I flounder about for a few seconds before some pixelated creature knocks me off the screen and then my sons are back at the helm committing to memory that right route that leads them ever closer to the castle, the princess, and euphoric victory.

I think a lot of us have a definition of righteous ingrained in us that is some version of this "perfect path" imbued with moral virtue, perfection, spotlessness, or blamelessness. But what Dan said today is that the word "righteousness" is more accurately understood as "right relationship." So what we are really hearing from scripture is that we should have right relationship with God as he has and as he desires right relationship with each of us. We are being created new to be like God in right relationship.

It’s believable, I think, that God could expect that other definition of righteous from us. He could expect us to be perfect and blameless in every way just as he is. He is the creator of the universe and has high standards. He knows that perfect path to follow and why shouldn’t he expect us to follow it too? But that isn’t the story at all. This life isn’t a solo mission through landmines with a crown waiting at the end. It is a journey hand-in-hand with the God of the universe leading us, walking beside us, holding us up, crying with us, and cheering us on. There is no hidden code God wants us to unlock, just the simple step of surrendering absolutely everything before him. The tiny task of laying down self and picking up the true relationship with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

{sunday 8.5.18}

Read Ephesians 4:22-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Replace righteousness with right relationship in the passage and consider the rest of the passage not as a list of dos and don’ts, but as ways to build or break relationships. What examples in your life can you think of where you could replace an old idea of righteousness with the idea of right relationship?

{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 15-16, CLICK HERE or on the image below and check out this great video from Seth Davidson.


{monday 8.6.18}

Read Luke 14:7-24

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What does Jesus notice that prompts him to tell the parable of the feast? Who, according to Jesus, should those who invited him throw a feast for? List the 3 excuses given by those invited to the feast. Why would Jesus encourage his listeners to share a feast with “the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind” (v. 13)?
How is God like the man who hosted the feast? What are some gifts you can give to people in your life who will be unable to pay you back?

{tuesday 8.7.18}

Read Luke 14:25-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: To whom is Jesus speaking in these verses? What should someone hate in order to be Jesus’ disciple? What, according to Jesus, would a builder of a tower and a king going to war need to consider before they start?
Why would Jesus say these things to his audience? How do the examples of a man building a tower and the king going to war clarify Jesus’ meaning about what it takes to be his disciple? How can you “pick up your cross” and follow Jesus this week?

{wednesday 8.8.18}

Read Luke 15:1-10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Who is drawing near to listen to Jesus? Who complains about Jesus’ audience? Name the two things that get lost in the parables Jesus tells. What do the lost sheep and the lost coin represent? How do the shepherd looking for the sheep and the woman searching for the coin help us understand more about the nature of God? What does this passage change or enhance for you in your concept of what it means to be saved?

{thursday 8.9.18}

Read Luke 15:11-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: List the major characters in this parable. What did the younger son do with his portion of his inheritance? How did the older son react when he learned of the celebration? Who do the sons represent? What is important about how the father greets his younger son in verse 20?
Which son do you identify with most and why?

{friday 8.10.18}

Read Luke 16:1-15

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What does the manager do with two of his masters’ debtors’ bills? Why does the master commend the manager? Name the two masters that Jesus says people must choose between. Look at verse 10. What does Jesus mean by this verse? How could a follower of Jesus use worldly wealth in a godly way? How can you serve God and not money this week?

{saturday 8.11.18}

Read Luke 16:16-31

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What, according to Jesus, will disappear before the law disappears? Who are the main characters in this parable? Who does the rich man want to visit his family? Read verses 27-31. What does this tell you about the significance of Moses and the prophets? What is the relationship between the the law and the prophets and the good news that Jesus brought with him?
What role does God’s word play in your life?


{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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