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{December 15, 2019}






Heartland Community Church


December 15 – 20, 2019

 

Let There Be Light: Light Breaking Through

By Christina Marie Mitchell

It’s such a beautiful and timely reminder that Jesus is the light of the world. That, in him, we will always have a glimmer of light — no matter how deep or how heavy the darkness can get. This season, as I celebrate the birth of the ultimate light, I simply find myself reflecting on how special that is.

In all of the chaos of gift giving and meal prepping, I need to take a second to just be in awe at the very notion of what is happening, has happened, will happen. That God became man, so that we could be saved. So that the burden of darkness would be lifted.

Sometimes in the midst of that darkness, it’s hard to see that light — and if I’m honest, sometimes it’s easier for me to just sit in the darkness because the actual “coming out of the darkness” part is difficult, and I don’t want to do difficult. Not in that moment. But God goes before me, Jesus walks beside me, and the Holy Spirit dwells within me. I have help doing the difficult. I have that glimmer of light, and with each step of faith I take, that glimmer gets brighter and brighter. Until I remember that I’m illuminated in light, and that I’m in the midst of the season that celebrates his coming. Holding on to that truth is my challenge this season.

During the sermon today, I found myself recounting some of the dark moments that I’ve overcome this year. And despite that darkness being so hard to get through, there was always light. That light appeared in the form of a single word or phrase that God sent to me. It appeared in the people that God put in my path to remind me of who he is and what he does. It appeared in the smallest yet most powerful nudges that said I need to just sit and listen. The light was there. Light is all around us, and this is the time that we get to celebrate that it will never leave us.

I can remind myself of that truth the only way I know how — through song, through movement. Which is why getting to be ministered to by our Heartland kiddos was so special today — we got to celebrate that the light of the stable is coming. The reason for the season. The coming down of our Lord, taking on human flesh and limitations, just for us. Just for me. And that is absolutely cool.

Of course, I know that there are more dark times ahead, but the gift of having gone through all of the previous heavy times? The wisdom that God bestowed upon me — that I would’ve otherwise never received. Those dark times have reminded me that leaning not on my own strength, is exactly what God continues to whisper to me. It’s what he’s been saying all along. Each time, I’m reminded that I need that light — that getting through the darkness on my own is absolutely impossible. And because I celebrate the gift of the light of the world, I am able to listen more closely, I am able to turn to his word more, I am able to pray more. I experience his light in a whole new way. It brings forth a desire to share his light with others and a desire to continuously celebrate what that means.

He truly is the light of the world, the one thing that has gotten me through it all. And this season — my celebration is going to be loud. He deserves it.

How has God gotten you through your darkness? In what ways has Jesus made his light known to you?

“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12, NLT)

 

CLICK HERE to watch to the 12.15.19 message, Let There Be Light: Light Breaking Through.

 

{advent bible reading plan: making space}

By Marnie Vasquez

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 12.16.19}

Read James 1:16-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: “So don’t be misled.” What’s misleading you? Often, it’s my pride, my ego.

I believe all that is good from me is truly Jesus’ work: a great presentation, winning the client over, helping my kids see things in a new way, cooling down an argument, holding my tongue when its heated, not joining in the gossip mill.

Yet, there’s this constant struggle of, “Aren’t I just the greatest?” I’ve continued to stop and remind myself that all good things come from God – not me. If I let my ego, my pride get in the way, I’m guaranteed a stumble and a fall. Which is way worse than those moments of “look at me!”

Just look at God’s goodness James writes about. How incredibly wonderous and good God is. How humbling. How incredibly loved I hope you feel. The Holy Spirit lives in each of us, recognize and thank Him for doing the incredibly good (big and small) He is doing in your life.

 

{tuesday 12.17.19}

Read Luke 2:8-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Imagine yourself as a shepherd. Your job is to guard, watch and protect a whole bunch of sheep. At night. Pitch blackness, except for the light from the stars and moon. And this night starts like many others. You might have had a spat with the wife before the night began, stomach might be a little upset, but you’re with your buddy shepherd men, and everything seems pretty typical. Your eyes are trained to see at night, your ears attuned to curious sounds and noises. Then this unbelievable and terrifying thing happens. What do you think you’d do? Would you be like those shepherds? Leave that flock, leave your duty?

 

{wednesday 12.18.19}

Read John 3:16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I feel God aching and yearning for us. Utterly loving every aspect about us, every moment of our lives, every crazy and horrible and amazing thing we’ve done. Always loving us, no matter what, always. Constantly calling us to Him. Wanting to give us amazing and joyful things, a better life, an eternal life, a better today, a better tomorrow. I feel God’s ache and love. We just need to believe. Jesus is the one.

 

{thursday 12.19.19}

Read John 4:13-14

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Being with Jesus for some time of my life, there are definitely moments, and seasons, where I’ve turned away from Him. However, when turning back to Him, I’ve had real moments of clarity that life with Jesus is miles better than without him. Today when I’m having experiences where it’d be easier if I walked away from Him, this verse reminds me of that needed clarity. I don’t want my life without Him: His love, grace, sacrifice, givingness, peace, always with me, always guiding me. Do you?

 

{friday 12.20.19}

Read Hebrews 10:21-23

Observe, Reflect, Apply: If I were to pull away the curtain and examine closely all I do and think every single moment of every day…if I were to be 100% honest at what I’d see. Gulp, I’m ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, guilty. All the good I do could never overpower all that would be revealed.  I love today’s verses. I’m humbled, grateful, thankful and am in utter awe of what Jesus has done for me. For all of us. If you’re not holding tight to God today, what’s stopping you? And if you already are, don’t be so hard on yourself and tuck today’s verses closely to your heart.

 

{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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