{January 12, 2020}

Heartland Community Church



First Things First: Rites of Passage

By Adam Pontier

We may not have many large, formal rites of passage in our current culture, but we still pass them. Reflecting on my own life, I can think of several experiences that could be considered a rite of passage. 

For me the most recent and maybe most significant was a period of several years where I felt immense struggle and frustration in business. Only in hindsight can I say I was going through a rite of passage. 

My experience involved a former business I owned with my father. The clients were extremely difficult and ultimately, after several years of struggle, we shut it down. In those years running the business I felt more frustrated and confused than I had before, or since.

Now, 4 years past, I can see that the hardship really helped me develop and grow. It’s helped me to succeed in my other business. Even better, I learned certain limitations about myself. And that has been a huge influence on how I conduct business today. Knowing what my limitations are helped to reveal my strengths and in turn helps me focus on my strengths. 

The revealing nature of learning your weaknesses and strengths leads to clarity. It was a definite refining period. I now see this experience not as a failure, but growth. Necessary and painful growth. 

In the middle of it, I would have told you straight up that the experience had no direct impact on my relationship with Jesus. It didn’t help me pray more, read the bible more or anything of that sort. However, in hindsight I see clearly that it improved my connection to the greatest gift God has given me . . . my family.

And, if I’m honest, as I look back today I see that the God who created me . . . even when it didn’t seem this rite of passage related to him . . . worked through that business experience, my frustration and the roller coaster of success and failure to lead me closer to being the person he created me to be.

Reflecting on your own life, what rites of passage have you experienced? If you look more closely, where was God in that situation? What was he preparing you for? Hopefully it’s nothing as dangerous as lion hunting! 


{sunday 1.12.20}

Read Luke 4:1-2

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus spent 40 days being tempted in the wilderrness. Going through temptation and trials is not bad; it is not a weakness. It’s something we all face (including Jesus). Reflect on a hard experience or temptation in your life. Share this experience and what you learned from it with a friend. 


{bible reading plan: the story of jesus from luke}

By Brooke Hodnefield

FIRST TIMEJUMPING IN? If you are just joining us for the first time, our journey through Luke began on December 30. CLICK HERE and find the previous readings in Luke beginning with our December 29 edition.

THE JOURNEY VIDEOS: CLICK HERE to subscribe to our Youtube channel, The Journey Online, for a Monday-Friday video post from Seth Davidson that takes us a layer deeper in the scripture reflections. New posts will appear each day.

THE STORY OF JESUS COURSE: In addition, this semester we are offering a course, The Story of Jesus, that will pair with our Sunday services and The Journey readings. CLICK HERE to catch a video about it, or CLICK HERE to register. The Story of Jesus begins on January 21, 6:30-8 PM.


{monday 1.13.20}

Read Luke 3:1-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: John the Baptist delivers a sobering talk with the crowds that came to him, seeking their baptism. He shared a lot of the do’s and don’ts. However, one simple line sums it all up. ‘Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.’ Don’t talk the talk if you don’t walk the walk. Let your actions speak louder than your words. We have all heard one rendition or another of this idea. Question is, do we live like we are free, children of God? Not much is certain, but what is certain is that because God so graciously offered himself for our own junk, we can live in a way that reflects His love.


{tuesday 1.14.20}

Read Luke 3:21-38

Observe, Reflect, Apply: One HUGE thing that differentiates Christianity from any other religion, is that our God became flesh and walked among us in the land of the living. He is both fully human and fully spirit. In this passage we see another instance where Jesus, fully human, is baptized right there alongside his peers. No special baptismal ceremony for him, nothing fancy. The same waters as the rest of them. Jesus knows how we feel, because he has been there. He has lived through the simple and mundane just as purely as he has a world-changing ministry. What is easier for you to connect with, Jesus in the flesh, or in the spirit?


{wednesday 1.15.20}

Read Luke 4:1-13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus walks right out of the waters of baptism, and is led directly into the desert, where he is tempted over 40 days. 40 days! You might be able to relate. Temptations are all around us, and Satan can come in many, non-discrete forms, disguised as so many things. He is cunning and wants nothing more than to catch us off our game and in weakness and doubt. We have a great teacher that gives us the formula for combating our temptations. He replies each time to Satan’s bold enticements, ‘the Scripture says.’ Yep, the power to combat any temptation you, or I and even Jesus encountered, can be found in God’s word, in the Bible. Do you view the Bible in this way? What is a go to verse that can be repeated when temptations come your way?


{thursday 1.16.20}

Read Luke 4:14-21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus shows up at his hometown church, and you can imagine the buzz that surrounded his presence. It was there that Jesus grew up as a little boy, son of Joseph and Mary, just an ordinary kid who would save the world. Onlookers waited for him to speak words from Isaiah’s scroll…ancient words that were coming to fruition before the synagogues eyes. ‘The time of the Lord’s favor has come.’ It was then and now that the prophet Isaiah speaks truth and power that is still alive and well today. Our God supercedes time and space, his powers are far greater than our earthly minds can understand. The boy, Jesus, who came to set the captives free, is still doing so. And we are the captives, awaiting rescue. He is our Lord, our King, mighty to save. Whatever dark cloud hovers over you, remember that it trembles at Jesus’ authority!


{friday 1.17.20}

Read Luke 4:22-30

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In the New Testament it’s not unlikely for Jesus to be rebuked, rejected and in this particular instance, he was “taken to the edge of cliff to be thrown to his doom.” However, Jesus slipped through and went about His way. This cliff, this time, was not HIS time. There was a chunk of time not too long ago, that I struggled with what God had in store for me vocationally. I felt a bit directionless and grasped at whatever it was that seemed to be the shiniest option. But nothing was quite right. And rightly so. In God’s timing, his plan and his perfect timing, the obvious path became clear. At the time it wasn’t so obvious, but as I look back over the path that led to where I am today, there is no other guiding light than God. His hand was so clearly evident. It’s so incredibly hard to wait, to be filled with hope. But today, ask yourself if you are on God’s timeline, or your own.


{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!


© 2020 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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