{December 30, 2018}

Heartland Community Church


December 30, 2018 – January 5, 2019


Preparing the Table for Others

By Bill McMurtrey

God wants more than to just simply give us physical food. He wants us to be hungry for a relationship with him and a connection that allows us to hear his words so we can grow in righteousness, light and truth. In turn, he also wants us to share what we have with our neighbors in need.

I’ve been doing volunteer work most of my life. In my mid 20s I created my own food gathering and distribution network, gathering bread and other food items through donations. Then I would take the bread and other donated items out to what grew to be 13 different homeless shelters, family safety shelters, and outreach programs in the KC area to include The Salvation Army, Restart Program, City Union Mission and others. My efforts morphed to where I eventually removed both the passenger seat and backseat out of my 1984 Ford Tempo to get food gathered straight from what was then the Hostess factory at 17th and Troost. That grew to be so big that I was encouraged, and rightfully did, turn over my entire set up with contacts and all straight to Harvesters. I was young, maybe 25, but I took Psalm 146:7 seriously when it said to go out and feed the people. It says, “He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.”

Looking back now at age 53 that seems like an entire lifetime ago. These days I am now still out there in the world helping others and serving here at church. In my own neighborhood I go out on walkabouts. I know many of my neighbors. I’ve gotten to know who is already Jesus follower and who I can invite in.

One of the ways I invite others in is setting the table. I have cookouts in the summer. Dinner parties periodically. But my passion is giving food away to those in need. I did this last Saturday. I went and knocked on doors delivering donated fresh produce. Some of the folks I already knew, some I did not……But I do now. I do this in the spirit of Psalm 23: 1-7, where it says, "Lord is my shepherd… refreshing my soul…and preparing a table…"

I share these stories not to brag, but to show that there are many ways we can join Jesus in what he is doing or wants to do in our world. It can be as simple as noticing the people around us and inviting them in. It can be as profound as opening our eyes and noticing the need near us, and preparing a table for others. How can we each be more in tune with these opportunities in 2019?

{sunday 12.30.18}

Read Deuteronomy 8:3, Psalm 23

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How has God surprised you with his provision for your needs? How can you connect more intentionally in your relationship with him, so that you might "hear from him" more? And in Psalm 23, how might you take what you have been given and prepare a table, or invite others in to share life with you? Let’s pray together about what that life might look like in 2019.


{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 12.31.18}

Read Acts 8:26-40

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How would you explain Jesus’ life, and the "good news" that he came to reconnect us to God, offering complete forgivenss of our sins? Have you had the opportunity to understand this truth for yourself? Or the privilege of explaining it to another? Take a moment to consider how you would tell your Jesus story to another person. Give it a go this week if you can!

{tuesday 1.1.19}

Read Acts 9:1-9

Observe, Reflect, Apply: If you are a Jesus follower, how did you experience your own "conversion"? There is power in our personal experiences with Jesus…find an opportunity to share with one other person how your life is different because of him.  

{wednesday 1.2.19}

Read Acts 9:10-22

Observe, Reflect, Apply: People were stunned when they heard that Saul was now a follower of Jesus. He had killed and persecuted his followers up to this point. Who in your life might be stunned at your faith story? Have you considered the idea that you may have been brought out of your past experiences to reach those who would be the most stunned with your faith journey? 

{thursday 1.3.19}

Read Acts 9:23-35

Observe, Reflect, Apply: After reading the verses today, spend time throughout the day considering where God has uniquely placed you, and who he might be uniquely preparing you to impact. Ask God to bring clarity to the difference you can make in your world where you live, work, study or play in 2019. We will join you!  

{friday 1.4.19}

Read Acts 9:36-10:8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Note who appears in this story, and what is happening. If you were present at that time, what would you think? What questions would you have? If this happened today, in Kansas City, what would you think or do? 

{saturday 1.5.19}

Read Acts 10:9-23a

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Have you ever had a dream or an idea that you couldn’t explain? That you were uncertain of it’s meaning, or where it came from? Pay attention to what Peter saw and heard, and keep it in mind as we move on in the story next week.  


{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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