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{December 1, 2019}






Heartland Community Church


December 1 – 6, 2019

 

Let There Be Light: You Shine

By Sheree Lutz

Today marks the first Sunday of the Advent Christmas season! Advent consists of the four Sundays leading to December 25 and Christmas Day. Candles are lit, Bible verses are read, and songs are sung.

Traditionally, O Come O Come Emmanuel is the hymn that accompanies the first Sunday as it anticipates the arrival of the coming Savior (it is also my husband’s favorite carol). The lyrics’ hopefulness rings true for both Christ’s first coming as a baby at Christmastime and his still awaited second coming. Unlike other holiday carols, such as Joy to the World, with its triumphant quality, O Come O Come Emmanuel’s prayer-like words and music offer a sense of longing—a waiting for the glory that is to come.

A lesser-known verse from the hymn states:

O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light.

The simple words reveal the yearning we have for Christ to dispel the darkness from our lives. They do not deny that at times there is darkness—illness, addiction, depression, ambivalence—but rather that Jesus’s stepping into our lives can transform darkness to light. He is our Emmanuel, which translates to “God with Us.”

“As long as I am with you my life is the light that pierces the world’s darkness.”
John 9:5 TPT

As Jay talked about in today’s sermon, light gives us direction and helps us to see clearly. By one definition, it is something that enlightens or informs. In the same way, Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and others in our community offer clarity and guidance. Often we must choose to walk in the light, to be willing to expose our areas of struggle in order to surrender them to the Lord. For me, it is always my desire for control.

I write this as I am holding my one-month old daughter in my arms. I am reminded that God does not work in the ways that I want to boss him to. He sent his son to earth as a humble, helpless child rather than the triumphant warrior-king the Israelites expected to deliver them from captivity. But his was for greater purpose. He came to save all of humanity from ourselves.

So how can we move from being stuck in Babylon to being free in Jerusalem? We must embrace the light and help illuminate the path for others. I conclude with the refrain from O Come O Come Emmanuel:

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall Come to Thee O Israel

{sunday 12.1.19}

Read John 9:5 (TPT)

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How has Jesus pierced darkness in your life? Where can you step into the light to encourage someone else? Where do you need to see Jesus engage you in the darkness?

CLICK HERE to listen to the 12.1.19 message, Let There Be Light: You Shine. Due to technical difficulties we were unable to video record the service. Apologies for the inconvenience.

 

{advent bible reading plan: making space}

By Joe Davis

This week your daily Journey readings begin our reflections on advent. In this series, we will focus on verses that draw us to make space for Jesus in our lives.

Our Journey writers are working on daily mini-reflections and questions to help us process this week and throughout December as we make space together.

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.

During this season, Seth Davidson’s Vlog, The Journey Online, will be offline, making space for what is coming in 2020! We offer these daily reflections in that space.

 

{monday 12.2.19}

Read Psalm 34:17-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How many of us have been or are broken hearted? God is always available to us, at all times. We easily forget this because we are consumed by the everyday world all around us. But God is waiting to answer us when we call out to him. Romans 8:38-39 tells us that NOTHING can separate us from God, and no matter what, somehow or someway God will deliver us. He has made that promise to us.  

Do I seek God out daily, or just when I need something? Do I doubt God is listening when I cry out for help?

 

{tuesday 12.3.19}

Read Genesis 3:14-15

Observe, Reflect, Apply: It’s obvious that there is strife in this world and things do not always work out as we would like.  We can see in Genesis that there is this anti-relationship between the serpent and the woman.  And as a result there is constant strife between them (all of us).  But that does not mean that God is not in control of all things.  Psalms 62:11 says that power belongs to God.  When things seem like they are in chaos, God is always in control. 

Do I trust God’s power and control? What in my life feels out of control that I can give to God?

 

{wednesday 12.4.19}

Read Romans 5:6-8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: There is not one among us who has not felt weak at some time or another in their life. And it is very easy to look in the mirror and see all of our own shortcomings and flaws. Through that view it becomes easy to wonder why God would want me. But God constantly shows his love for us, with his greatest gift of love in the life of Jesus. 

Do I see Jesus as a great act of love from God? What do I do when I am feeling weak?

 

{thursday 12.5.19}

Read Matthew 25:1-3

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What groom and bride are not excited to see each other on their wedding day? God is excited and looking forward to having us be with him.  John 14:3 says that Jesus is preparing a place for us.  God has this anticipation for the things to come, and we are a part of that anticipation. 

If God is preparing for me, what am I doing to prepare for him? What things in my life will I be able to make as an offering to him?

 

{friday 12.6.19}

Read Luke 1:30-34

Observe, Reflect, Apply: God sent an angel (a messenger) to Mary to tell her that she would have a son and he would be called Jesus.  This experience would probably be pretty overwhelming to anyone.  But this angel started the message with reassuring Mary with tell her not to be afraid.  Even in news that may be overwhelming, God still wants us to have peace about it, even if there are hesitations and questions. 

Am I reassured when I hear from God, or do I concentrate on the aspects I cannot control? Do I trust God enough to receive his message to me?

 

{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!

 

© 2019 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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