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{April 12, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

From Last to First: Easter

By Christina Marie Mitchell

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

It’s Easter Sunday…and unlike any other year, this one feels different. For obvious and not so obvious reasons. For one, I’ve never celebrated Easter during a pandemic while I’m under quarantine. It’s a brand new and unexpected experience. I don’t often think of how fortunate I’ve been to be able to worship publicly and freely every Sunday, every Easter for the past 30+ years. But today, I’m thinking about it. And it’s hitting my spirit in a whole new way.

Today, I can’t ignore it because going through this has revealed some things – about myself, about others, and about Jesus. In the midst of our struggles, God is revealing something that runs deeper than I think I would have ever dug within myself, had this not happened. Being challenged to trust and simply just know, regardless of what’s going on around us, that Jesus IS Lord. That God IS good. And that He IS in control.

In reflecting on how I celebrated Easter previously versus how I’m celebrating today – to be honest, it’s not really all that different – I’m still at home, I’m still listening to worship music, I’m still eating whatever meal I put together in my kitchen, I’m still not going to anyone’s house for lunch/dinner (for this introvert – I’m honestly sooooo glad I didn’t have to decline invitations this year!). This Easter is simply different for me because instead of going to church, church came to me. And shockingly, or un-shockingly – it was just as impactful!

I’ve been so pre-occupied with what I wasn’t going to be able to do, what I wasn’t going to be able to experience, that I often allowed my external circumstances to blind me to the lesson that I knew would be coming from this. What is God trying to tell me during this time? What is he trying to help me know or unknow? What does Jesus’ resurrection in 2020 mean to me that it didn’t mean to me in 2019? As the questions form, the answers slowly reveal themselves – because God never stopped moving, He never stopped telling me what I already innately knew but didn’t fully surrender to. Easter didn’t stop simply because the world did. Jesus didn’t stay in the grave because we weren’t able to all gather within a building – as tradition shows.

No. He still rose. God still moved. We still worshipped. Church came to us. He met us where we were and still are. In His time, never ours. I’m reminded that God saw all this coming before we ever did. God pulled the rug from underneath us – because even in this, there is still good. In times of trial, of pain, of fear…there is still good. Jesus. Still. Rose.

I’m writing this from my living room couch. A couch covered in dog hair, chew toys, and torn up stuffed animals. But right now, this space feels holy. It feels bigger than me. It feels blessed. Because Jesus is here. I invited him here. As I think on the experiences of Peter and Mary this morning, it’s so very easy for me to see myself in each of their lives. They both acted in a very human way – Peter with fear & worry; Mary with gentle courage & sadness. I’ve been in both places. This pandemic has had me going back and forth between those two perspectives – quite often. Even in my wavering, Jesus still rose. Even in his fear & worry, Jesus still revealed himself to Peter. Even in her loneliness & depression, Jesus still revealed himself to Mary.

When I think of all of the anxiety, uncertainty, loneliness, anger, concern that is exacerbated by our world being turned upside down, I am beyond humbled by the knowledge that, in spite of all of this – the chaos & the panic – He STILL rose.

That’s what Easter means for me today. That regardless of our earthly circumstances, regardless of whether we can gather together physically, regardless of this current situation – Jesus said, “Mary”, he said, “Peter”. He said, "Christina", and he’s saying yours, too. And all I’ll ever be able to say to that is, “Amen, Hallelujah, Amen. For He is Risen indeed!”

 

{sunday 4.12.20}

Read John 11:25-26

Observe, Reflect, Apply:  What does Easter mean to you this year? What does “He Is Risen” mean within you today, that it may not have last year or years prior? How does it feel to know that despite all that’s going on, Jesus still rose?

 

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

By Brooke Hodnefield

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 4.13.20}

Read Luke 23:44-56

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What happened that day when Jesus, nailed to the cross, breathed his last, was he granted us access. ‘The temple veil was torn in two…’ There was a time when there was no access, there was a veil that stood between Jesus’s people and the holy of holies, the inner room where access was given to God. But that day, when God chose to allow his one and only son to die, we were granted direct access to Jesus. Consider that the Savior of our world, died on the cross to be in relationship with you. He doesn’t desire an impersonal, formal transactional interaction behind a veil, but an intimate relationship firmly grounded in His love. When you consider how you interact and think of the word ‘access’ in relation to Jesus, how would you describe your relationship with Jesus? Do you call upon Him only in times of need? Do you cling to the hope He offers for new morning mercies? Is He unreachable, inaccessible and distant? Consider what your access looks like now, and how you might desire to grow. 

 

{tuesday 4.14.20}

Read Luke 24:1-12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The women were shocked to discover the three days after Jesus’s death, his body no longer lay in the tomb. But where was he?! “Remember how He told you?”  Undoubtedly, Jesus is in the business of forecasting. Speaking for days ahead, a time unseen, often when a human mind can’t think past the events of that day. But what is proven time and time again is that all that Jesus spoke of, present or future, is truth. Absolute truth, that we can rest assured will be as He says. Have you been betrayed? Do you still wear scars from someone who let you down, who once was trusted but did something to break that trust? It can be hard to trust again. But what Jesus not just says, but demonstrates over and over again is that He CAN be trusted. His words are true. Today, rest in that truth. In His truth.

 

{wednesday 4.15.20}

Read Luke 24:13-27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How often do we find ourselves so preoccupied with whatever weighs most heavy on our minds, willing it to be fixed in our own strength, to find that right in the midst of our struggles was a quiet companion. Just as the disciples walked the road to Emmaus, sharing their pain and current reality, with the very Jesus they spoke of offering them a listening ear. This is a great image for how we might walk with Jesus each day – as a friend might walk alongside another friend, offering presence & companionship. Despite how much we might will our way out of a tough situation and feel the weight of loneliness and isolation that it can create, Jesus is our constant companion. He desires nothing more than to help bear the load, right-size our pain and remind us that we are never alone. Today, take a walk with your Savior. 

{thursday 4.16.20}

Read Luke 24:28-35

Observe, Reflect, Apply: “Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. In the wilderness God gave Israel the manna every day, and they had no need to worry about food and drink. Indeed, if they kept any of the manna over until the next day, it went bad. In the same way, the disciple must receive his portion from God every day. If he stores it up as a permanent possession, he spoils not only the gift, but himself as well, for he sets his heart on accumulated wealth, and makes it a barrier between himself and God. Where our treasure is, there is our trust, our security, our consolation and our God.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer points to that which Jesus did, when he broke bread with the disciples. He gave himself away. For us to give away to others. He modeled the very thing that He asks us to do. He will provide us with the manna, our daily bread. What we do with that gift defines where our treasure is. What does ‘daily bread’ look like for you? Do you tend to hoard, out of fear of scarcity, or hold loosely to that which was never ours to begin with? 

 

{friday 4.17.20}

Read Luke 24:36-53

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The disciples were frightened. They had seen Jesus die on a cross, placed behind a large stone, and grieved their friend’s death and departure. But standing before their eyes was that same Jesus, in flesh and blood, with the scars to prove it. He would ascend into Heaven not too long after this, but not without first leaving them something behind. ‘I am going to send you what my Father has promised…’ Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can feel intangible, but is the intercessor. How this plays out looks different for each person, but for me it is a nudge, a holy feeling that can prompt me to action. It might be a word, a person, or an idea, but it was not manifested by my own doing. The Holy Spirit guides, directs, and can inform how we live out our lives at Jesus followers. Have you experienced this great gift? If you have, how does that play out in your life? If you haven’t, pray for God to make this incredible fire within become recognizable for you. 

 

{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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