{December 16, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


December 16 – 22, 2018


He Prepares A Table

By Kori Carew

Psalm 23:5 — You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

I learned from my mother to use hospitality and cooking to create a safe space of nurturing and community. I recall every time we expected guests and the time and care that went into making the best from what we had. Two years ago my friend Brandi suggested that I give a TED talk on how to throw a six-hour brunch. We both laughed. Here is the back story: I host brunches at my home for amazing women who I want to share the raw, good and difficult things with. I insist on cooking because I love to and I want to. Service is one of my love languages. I feed the people I love and want to love. And I put a lot of care into the menu and making it special. I have no compunction planning an extravagant, over-the-top meal. Why? I love making fabulous things for people.

As it gets closer to guest arrival time, I climb up my step-stool (because homes are not built for short people like me) and take down the china my Grandma Pfaltzgraff gave me. It is an incomplete set. The plates don’t go into the dishwasher or microwave. For many, many years I never used them because I didn’t want them to break, and they had to be hand washed. Each time I pick up one of those plates I remember how much love washed over me when grandma gave them to me, and how I remember that day every time I use that china. What use would they have in the cupboard instead of serving great food? I realize as an adult that I give what I desire — to be cherished, to be provided for, to sit and be waited on, to have the best brought to me so I can rest and be affirmed. That is what I try to do during those brunches or other times I bring people together to fellowship and feed them extravagantly.

As I write these words the worship song “O, Come to the Altar” plays. What a great reminder of His goodness! As Craig reminded us today God desires to set a table for us that provides everything we need. He is extravagant in His love for us. When Pastor Craig said today that the Passover meal was a reminder to the people of God of all the times in the past He had been faithful to them as a people my spirit jumped. What a wonderful reminder that He meets us time and time again. When we sit at the table He has prepared for us we can surrender and rest in the promises and the times He showed up for us. Stop. Sit. Partake of the meal. Our God takes out the best china for us. He puts in love into everything He provides us at that table for our own good. He draws us closer to Him as we sit in His presence and enjoy what He has prepared even in the midst of attacks.

It is easier to say the Lord is my protector than it is to immediately turn to Him when I am faced with attacks. In my growth and maturity as a Christian, I have gotten better at recognizing attacks and turning them over to Jesus. And then boom — like a boomerang — I find a stronghold I tried to conquer on my own that needs to be surrendered. This past year I have faced an unusually hard season that opened up areas in my life where perfectionism ruled. But He doesn’t need me to perform, be perfect, do it all on my own but He does desire to provide what I need. He is FOR me and YOU.

My prayer for you is that you respond to the nudges of what you need God to serve up for you and that you will stop, sit and eat. 

“O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ.”

O’ Come to the Altar, Elevation Worship

{sunday 12.16.18}

Read Psalm 23:5

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How has Jesus prepared a place for you? Take some extra time this week to make a list of all the things you are thankful for.


{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.

{monday 12.17.18}

Read Acts 4:23-37

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The Apostles gathered together and prayed. Note they were specific in the challenges that faced them and they asked God for his help. What are specifically for help with from God? Have you put it into prayer? 

{tuesday 12.18.18}

Read Acts 5:1-11

Observe, Reflect, Apply: It’s easy to lie to people and out on a show for them. However, I think we are aware that this doesn’t fool God. Why do you think people do this? Have you ever done this? 

{wednesday 12.19.18}

Read Acts 5:12-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: A shadow in itself, even Peter’s, has no power to heal. It was the faith of those needing healed and God answering their prayers. Where have you seen faith heal in your life or other people’s lives? 

{thursday 12.20.18}

Read Acts 5:17-40

Observe, Reflect, Apply: “We must obey God, not human beings!” That’s a very bold and freeing statement made by the Apostles. Share your thoughts with a trusted friend or group how this applies in our lives today.  

{friday 12.21.18}

Read Acts 5:41-6:7

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Choosing the right people to be in your life or help is always important whether it’s a friend or an employee. The apostles did this themselves when they were in the beginning stages of the early church. Can you name the people who you’ve chosen to be apart of your life and your relationship with Jesus? 

{saturday 12.22.18}

Read Acts 6:8-7:3

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Stephen was one of the people the Apostles trusted to share what Jesus has done. He was bold and did not fear for his life. Not all people are called to do what Stephen did, but what can we learn from him? What have you learned about God from reading about Stephen? 


{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!


© 2018 Heartland Community Church 12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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