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{March 8, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

Health and Healing: Come Home

By Grant Houske

I, like so many other people, have heard and am familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I can easily describe the people, the plot, the meaning and message of the story. It is a “feel good, warms your heart” type of story because it has such a good ending, right? But, today, I think I heard that same story in a new way for the very first time! I never considered the story of the “rule following” older brother or the story of the father. They both had difficulties, struggles, and a sense of loss, just like the younger son. They were just as important to Jesus as the son who returned back home.

I can easily relate to the older son, who thought he did everything right, who was responsible and followed all the rules, the one who was bitter and angry because, "I did the right thing and I still did not get what I deserved."

I think back to 1999. IA year removed from graduating college, I had just taken the grueling LSAT exam and was completing all the steps necessary to apply to law schools. After all the work was done and the applications were all sent out, I remember that small bit of nervousness set in. How many schools would choose me? Where would I decide to go? Actually, I had my mind made up: I was definitely heading back to Iowa City to go to law school. But, just in case, I better send out other applications, too. As the months passed, the decision letters from the schools were coming back to me. I was accepted to zero law schools! Slowly, one by one: Iowa, Drake, Illinois, Creighton, Kansas, Tulsa, South Dakota . . . all said no. I was crushed, I felt so defeated and embarrassed. Honestly, it is still a little embarrassing to share now, even 20 years later. I did not understand. I put in the sacrifice, I tried very hard and got good grades. I did everything correctly, yet I got accepted nowhere. Why? It was not fair! To make matters worse, I knew people whom I thought were not deserving being admitted into law schools when I was rejected. Anger, bitterness and disappointment were feelings I held on to for a long time!

Hearing the message today, those thoughts and memories resonated loudly in my mind. Whether you are or were lost and wandering, whether you are following the rules and working hard, whether you are waiting and waiting for something to happen, the good news is, Jesus hears you. Jesus does care and you do matter to him, wherever you are. We easily get caught up in our lives by looking around for results when all we need to do is look up to Him. Trust me, it can be so difficult to continually trust. I still struggle with the “older brother/ it’s just not fair” mentality. I know I will struggle with that in the future too. When yesterday’s despair meets today’s headaches meets tomorrow’s fear, just remember with God we are guaranteed that one day: justice will come, the wait will be over, we will be found and heard. That is the good news I am proud to share!
We do not know how the story ended for the son and the brother and the father. Just as we do not know how exactly our stories and our lives will go. Thankfully there hope in the form of a man who came to save us. Let us put our trust in Him and let the fear, bitterness, and difficulties go. All we need to do is ask, it really can be that simple.

 

{sunday 3.1.20}

Read Isaiah 43:19

Observe, Reflect, Apply:  Joe started the message today by asking- Have you ever been missing out on something that is right in front of you? Thankfully, with Jesus, we have not missed anything yet. Where are you wandering, working or waiting for that "new thing"? What is that you feel in your heart? How can God meet you today?

 

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

By Rhonda Stock

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.

{monday 3.9.20}

Read Luke 15:11-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The man was growing old. Each day it was harder to make it down the dusty path to take his place beside the road, where he would sit all day in the sun, watching and waiting. Servants would bring him food and cool drinks. His wife would send him a covering for his head and remind him to step into the shade when the heat became too intense. But he would not leave his post until the sun had set and it was too dark to see the road. Then he would sadly trudge back to his home, where servants bathed his tired feet, and his wife fed him a hot meal and put him to bed. And in the morning, he would do it all again. One day, just as the sun was setting, the old man turned to go home. But wait. What was that, barely visible, far down the road? Someone was coming. Who was it…still too far to see…could it be…he must get closer…was it…it was! Suddenly the man did not feel old. He ran to meet the haggard looking young man coming toward him. He threw his arms around the thin, filthy, exhausted figure, and cried. At last, after all this time, he had his heart’s desire. His son, his precious, beloved son, had come home. Where the son had been, what he had done, did not matter. His son was home. How about you? The Father is waiting for you. Where you have been, what you have done, doesn’t matter. Come home. He’s waiting for you.

 

{tuesday 3.10.20}

Read Luke 16:1-15

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Some people think God hates money. Others preach that God wants every single believer to live in unlimited prosperity, and to do otherwise means you aren’t believing hard enough. Both extremes are wrong. The truth is, God doesn’t really care about money at all. He doesn’t need to. Everything that exists is His to begin with. What He cares about is you. He wants you to live a life of integrity. If making money causes you to lose that integrity, He knows you will eventually face nothing but heartache. God calls us to walk uprightly before Him no matter our circumstances. We must be fair and honest in our financial dealings, even if the world thinks it isn’t the “smart” thing to do. Remember that everything is His anyway; you are just a steward of His resources. Be faithful over those resources, even when it isn’t easy.

 

{wednesday 3.11.20}

Read Luke 16:16-31

Observe, Reflect, Apply: First century Jerusalem was a hard place to live if you had no money, no family, and no resources. Your survival depended upon the generosity of strangers, which was often in short supply. Lazarus was desperately poor. He couldn’t walk (vs. 20 tells us someone had to lay him at the rich man’s gate). He was covered with sores. All he wanted was the leftovers from the rich man’s table—the crumbs. But the rich man said no. Let’s think about our own lives. Is there someone who wants our crumbs? This might be literal—we are called to feed the hungry. Or it might be figurative. Is there someone who needs an act of kindness from us, a word of encouragement, or even just a smile? What can we do to share generously that which God has blessed us with?

 

{thursday 3.12.20}

Read Luke 17:1-10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Have you ever seen a mustard seed? You can often find them in the spice section of your grocery store. They are tiny, about the size of a small grain of rice. And that is all the faith Jesus says you need to move an entire tree. Do you have a tree in your life right now that is in your way? Do you have something that is keeping you from what you know God is wanting for your life? Then move that tree! Start praying over that tree. Remind that tree of God’s promises. You don’t have to be 100% convinced that it’s going to happen. If you have just a little bit of faith, that’s enough. “Okay, God, I don’t see how this obstacle can possibly be removed. Part of me believes it’s possible, but only a very tiny part of me. Take my seed of belief and do something with it please.” Now watch that tree plummet into the sea!

 

{friday 3.13.20}

Read Luke 17:11-37

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Remember 2012, when the ancient Mayan calendar supposedly predicted the end of the world? Obviously, the world didn’t end, and here we are eight years later. No one knows when Jesus will return to earth. Yes, we will see signs that indicate the time is near, but signs are easy to misinterpret. The important thing is not when He is returning, but the fact that He is returning. Let us live each day as if it were the last day before Christ’s coming. Let us walk uprightly before God every day, not because He’s coming soon, but because it’s the right way to live. Let us live righteously, gladly proclaiming the Good News that the Father has His arms open to anyone who will come to Him.

 

{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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