{August 12, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


August 12 – 18, 2018


We Are Most Like God When: We Encourage

By Lisa Zulke

I love words. Words have the power to build up. To speak identity. To usher in a new perspective. To turn the tide on a negative thought. To encourage. Words also have a dark side. They can rip to shreds, destroy, tear down, make small, bring darkness into our world.

I’ve spent years trying to fix the broken records, the bad messages, that were spoken of me (or by me) at various times in life. Isn’t it fascinating how those messages stick to us like super glue. And we somehow struggle to recall the positive, powerful words spoken to us. The words of who we are, what potential we have, what we might uniquely be able to bring into the world.

Today we were invited to consider all the words God speaks over us…who he says we are. Which words in that list spoke to you? For me it was faithful, blameless, and chosen. This week I will be trying to understand and experience those God-words differently.

What I feel most at odds with, however, is how many words I leave unsaid (not feeling "blameless" on that count). Sometimes in busyness, others in second guessing. Or assuming that they don’t need to hear from me. Or simply ignoring an opportunity to be intentional. How many times have I been the word-bringer God wants to speak through, and stepped away from the opportunity?

This week, join me as we take note of our words. Find a place at the beginning of your day to invite God to guide your words. Invite him to help you notice when someone needs to hear, and step into that moment. Then, find room at the end of your day to reflect. How did I invest my words today? Where do I wish I had used words differently? Where did I receive words that were needed? Let’s invest energy this week to fix some broken records in the world.

"In the same way we build our own internal assortment of music entangled with memories, our soul builds its own collection of records comprised of the words people have said to us, the words we say about ourselves, the things we believe about God. In our soul is a massive record collection. We are constantly recording. I mean our hearts and souls are constantly recording. Everyone has messages like these that rattle around in our minds and rise to the surface of our feelings at the most in-opportune times. These repeating words keep us from speaking up, from standing up for what’s right, from loving and being loved, from pursuing our dreams, and from growing in our relationship with God. It’s hard to fix a broken record. We can try to use our will, our good deeds; we can try to keep appearances in hopes that they will be the glue that holds us together. But the only way to fix our broken records is to examine what we have recorded there and trust the God who makes broken things whole to help our faulty recordings and replace them with true and hopeful ones."

Amena Brown, How To Fix A Broken Record

{sunday 8.12.18}

Read Ephesians 4:29, Romans 15:13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What do these verses say to you right now? Join us in praying for an overflow of joy, peace and hope that leads to words of encouragement. What is one practice you can engage in this week to invest your words differently?

{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 17-18, CLICK HERE or on the image below and check out this great video from Seth Davidson.


{monday 8.13.18}

Read Luke 17:1-10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In your own words share with a trusted group or friend what Jesus is saying to the apostles.

{tuesday 8.14.18}

Read Luke 17:11-19

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Only one out of nine praised God once Jesus healed them. What’s going on here? Would you praise God if he physically healed you? Have you ever received a blessing from God and unknowingly attributed it to something else (i.e. good luck, hardwork, a friend, etc….)?

{wednesday 8.15.18}

Read Luke 17:20-25

Observe, Reflect, Apply: If the kingdom of God is still coming–but Jesus says it is within your grasp–what do you think he means by that? How can something that has not arrived yet be in your grasp? Share your thoughts with a trusted group or friend.

{thursday 8.16.18}

Read Luke 17:26-37

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This scripture is one of the most vivid descriptions Jesus gives about when the kingdom of God arrives. It’s easy to imagine what we think this will look like and get distracted by our imaginations and not dig any further. There are entire movies dedicated to what this will look like. Looking past all of that, what do you think Jesus’ words, “If you try to save your life you’ll lose it, but anyone who loses it will keep it” mean? How does that apply to you going forward?

{friday 8.17.18}

Read Luke 18:1-17

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What’s the difference between the tax collector and the pharisee in this story? In what ways are you like the tax collector and in what ways are you like the pharisee?

{saturday 8.18.18}

Read Luke 18:18-30

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Following Jesus costs us something. Sometimes it’s big and dramatic and other times it’s something less tangible or more interpersonal. Share with a trusted group or friend what following Jesus has cost you. Was it worth it?


{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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