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{May 3, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

The Story Continues: God’s Family

By Meghan Hemenway

The weekend my dad died he gave my sons a tube of sand-colored army men. We were spending the week at the family lake house with my dad and this toy started a perfect game of search and rescue for two young boys. They buried the camouflaged figures in the sand of the beach over and over sometimes finding them right away, sometimes needing assistance to save the little soldiers. In the aftermath of the loss of my dad, I kept these army men close, carrying one in my pocket or purse, and stashing them around the house so I could always find one. My dad was not a military man and not known for his soldier-like characteristics. He was a helper, a healer, a peacekeeper, a calm in the storm. But like my sons in their search and rescue game, my dad was always seeking me and those in his care. He was reaching out through his kindness, his mercy, and his relentless compassion. He never left someone to go through struggles alone.

In Acts 3 Peter reaches out his hand to a man without the ability to walk who is asking for help in front of the temple. The man boldly asks for money, but Peter and John, with the eyes of God, see this man’s true need. Then with the power and compassion of God they heal the man, giving him the ability to walk. The beauty of this miracle is in how they do it. They could heal him and go on their way leaving the man to struggle with his doubt, fear, and unused legs, but they stay. Peter reaches out a hand – the hand of God – and helps the man through what must have been years of doubt, pain, humility, and loneliness. The man finds he has the strength – the strength of God – to run and jump and walk into the temple praising God.

God doesn’t leave us to pull ourselves up on our own. God has put Peters and Johns in all of our lives to help us up in difficult times and he has made us the Peters and Johns for others. In this difficult season the hand of God for me has been friends bringing meals, sending letters and surprises for the kids, mowing the lawn, lending a listening ear. And extending a hand ourselves has looked like baked goodies, kid drawings and jokes delivered to neighbors, and letters and messages sent to friends and family. 

Today maybe you feel overwhelmed and in need of rescue. Maybe instead you feel the Holy Spirit empowering you to reach out a hand to those struggling to walk. Being in either place is a gift. Today might be the day you learn that God has been reaching out his hand to you in your fear or pain all along. Today might be the day you reach out a hand and become a conduit for God’s presence and power in another person’s life. May we each have the courage to extend and to receive.

 

{sunday 5.3.20}

Read Psalm 91

Observe, Reflect, Apply:  Think about the characteristics of God shown in Psalm 91.What characteristics stand out to you? What are your struggles that are making you feel overwhelmed? Consider writing in a journal using the prompts Shibu gave on Sunday: “God, today I feel _____,” and “God, today you are ______.”

 

{bible reading plan: acts of the apostles}

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 5.4.20}

Read Acts 5:1-6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: There was a period of time in which I was less certain of myself, but was certain I wanted to fit in. My family had moved around a lot during an identity-shaping time in my life, and my identity was still getting sorted out. I wanted others to accept me, to belong, and to feel that I mattered. So I became a shape-shifter, adjusting who I was to become what I thought others wanted. Small, little adjustments, little white lies that might make me appear like others. It became easy to be this other person. ‘You have not lied just to human beings but to God.’ This stark statement became a reality…I became identity-less, as all my efforts funneled into an insecure and hollow person. Not only was I lost, I was telling my Creater that His creation wasn’t good. But God desires nothing more than for us to come to Him, even when we aren’t quite sure who we are. For Him to be the first one you run to when you need to know who you are, and whose you are. Rest in the acceptance of His love, and ask Him to speak truths over you today…who does He say you are? 

 

{tuesday 5.5.20}

Read Acts 5:17-40

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you find adversity at every corner? That you are pushing with all the might you can muster, yet you are getting nowhere? There have been times that I can look back over my life and sense that I was working against God, and not with God. That I was garnering up every bit of strength I had & striving outside of my own abilities, yet to find that the path I was on wasn’t mine. I was operating outside of the grace God had shown and the path laid before wasn’t the one He would have directed me towards. We want to be in control, but God is the only one who can illuminate our steps and walk alongside us on the path He has for us. 

“Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Where do you sense in your life that you might be striving on your own and not inviting God into a situation, a relationship or a decision? Instead of fighting against God, know that He is already there. Ask Him to shed light and rest in His strength and not your own. 

 

{wednesday 5.6.20}

Read Acts 5:41-6:7

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How do you evaluate a ‘good day?’ I could rattle off the perfect day, but a good day would look productive. It would find a to-do list with every box checked, it would be one spent doing and likely doing what I felt was important. It would include the faces of the people I love. Likely eating and drinking at a favorite spot. Getting outside and doing something active. The early aposotles might have evaluated a ‘good day’ differently.


“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”

In the aposotles response, I’m reminded we are human beings and not human doings. I seek daily to spend time with God, to abide throughout the day and invite into the mundane, but in their response I see a deep motivation of being one with their Lord and carrying on their day differently because of it. God’s love is radical, so how can we live out that love in a radical way? Love big, and be motivated today by the insurmountable love that God has for you.  

{thursday 5.7.20}

Read Acts 6:8-7:1

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Power can be threatening. Stephen became a threat to the members of the Synagogue of the Freedom, so they desired to see him fall at all costs. Many years ago, my former Pastor who was also my boss, was falsely accused of something he did not do. However, the loudest and most persuasive voices were heard, and just as the members did in Acts, they stirred up others to join in on the dismantling of an innocent man. If you’ve ever found yourself in a position such as this, it can be hard to know who to trust – where to look to find truth, and how to move forward having seen the broken underbelly of something that just yesterday was safe and secure. You might ask yourself, as I did, ‘where is God in the midst of this injustice?’ With grace and composure, my Pastor solidly stood on God’s promise found in John 8:31-32 

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Stephen’s face was that of an angel, God’s truth was made known. Ask God to shed light on something in your life which needs His truth, and only His truth. 

 

{friday 5.8.20}

Read Acts 7:2-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Stephen is falsely accused, and when asked by the high Priest to account for the truth behind these accusations, Stephen shifts the focal point of the story from him to God. Instead of naming a list of ‘I’ statements as to reasons why Stephen was justified, he points to God, listing all the ways that God has shown up, stepped in, and done just as He said he would, starting with Abraham. What would it look like for you and I, when we are experiencing challenging times, to point to God? Instead of embracing the season of survival kicking and screaming, how might you ask God to shed light on what it looks like to be faithful given the circumstances you find yourself in. It’s likely that many of us feel this has been a season of survival, and are still in the thick of it, but ask God to show you what He has for you during this time. Ask Him to soften your heart to be aware to see that which he wants to show 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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