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{May 10, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

The Story Continues: God’s Movement

By Marnie Vasquez, for Carolyn Petersen

Smoosh, smoosh, ouch. “Hold your breath.” Click. “Other side. Left arm up. Left hip in.” More smooshing and ouching. “Hold your breath.” Click. “We’re done. Please put your clothes on and let’s talk.” The technologist tells me the radiologist wants me to come back Monday for more mammogram pictures, he sees something. I ask if it’s cancer, she says they don’t know, but need better pictures.

I get in my car. I’m shaking, can barely breathe. I get home, tell my husband, he says it’s probably nothing. I have a panic attack. I call my mom begging her to drive one state away to be with me at Monday’s appointment as I cannot get cancer news by myself. “Yes, we’ll drive there, I’ll be there, Marnie. Breathe, it’s going to be okay. I’ll be praying.” She calms me down, helps put things in perspective.

We’re in the waiting room. My knuckles are white, mind is racing. The nurse calls me back. “My mom’s going with me.” She says, of course. Lots more smooshing, ouching and clicking happen. My mom is cool as a cucumber, talking quietly to me, relaxing me. As we sit in the hallway waiting for the cancer news, I get light-headed, everything closes in on me. “What am I going to do, mom?” Very gently she reminds me that I likely don’t have cancer, and if I do, I’m lucky with all the treatment options available today. She reminds me I’m not alone, God will be with us through all of it.

The news is in. No cancer seen. Big sigh of relief. We go out for lunch. My mom kisses me, tells me she loves me, and her and my dad make the long drive back to Nebraska.

Fast forward five years.

My husband and I decided to move our family back to the small town where we grew up. Promises of slower pace, no commuting, less travel, more time to be a family together. Seemed like the perfect plan.

I place the conference speaker on mute, push back hard from the table, tell my assistant I’m leaving, she can finish the call with the client as the CEO will let her know what to do. She looks panicked and asks if I’m coming back.

I storm out of the office, jump in my car, drive and scream. I call my mom. “I can’t do this anymore. I CANNOT.” She calmly tells me to breathe, relax, and share what happened. “She neutered him right there on the phone! Neutered him! They are our prized client, they pay us a lot of money, and our CEO cut that man to pieces. Unwarranted, there are better ways to handle this! I cannot continue to be a part of this.”

I share with my mom how earlier in the week, the CEO ripped me to shreds in front of the executives and my staff. I feel humiliated, my dignity gone, how can I face my staff? My mom asks what happened next. It was repeated with four other people at my level and higher. I tell my mom how after that meeting, the CEO calls me in her office and tells me how incredibly smart, strategic and talented I am. “I’m done, mom, I’m going back in to quit.”

My mom listens quietly. She calmly tells me I can’t quit, I’m the only one with an income, and unemployment checks won’t be enough. She tells me the situation I am in is not right, and it’s not okay, but I can’t quit. She tells me the CEO actually needs me, this is a bunch of power plays, I need to not play their game, to not sink to her level, but continue to do the right thing, approach work by being and doing good, keep my chin up. She says, God has you here for a reason, and He’ll be giving me a way through this.

A year later I resigned. I wrote the CEO and each executive how grateful I was for being a part of their company, and how much I learned from them. It was true. They asked me to stay, would give me a pay increase, place me in a different position. I declined. My mom was right. I played the good game, I persevered, God gave me and my family a way through and provided me a better job and environment in Kansas.

As I look back at both of these moments in my life, it was my mom by my side, who calmed me, loved me, was patient with me, helped me gain self-control, and guided me through steps to take.

Michelle’s teaching today opened my eyes to how much my Mom exudes the Holy Spirit’s fruits. Incredible. I haven’t seen this before about my mom, and all the ways the Holy Spirit moves through her life. It’s absolutely beautiful and bring me to tears.

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

{sunday 5.10.20}

Read Galatians 5:22-23

Observe, Reflect, Apply:  But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Which of these is your strong suit? Which of these do you need to strengthen? Invite God to help you build a training plan to gain strength in that area.

 

{bible reading plan: acts of the apostles}

By Allison Antrim

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 5.11.20}

Read Acts 7:17-29

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What jumped out at me in these verses was how Stephen speaks of Moses. Verse 20 says Moses “was beautiful before God,” and in verse 22 that “he was powerful in his speech and his actions” (HCSB). Yet when Moses saw an Israelite being mistreated by an Egyptian, he became angry and killed the abuser. The next day Moses tries to reconcile an argument between two Hebrew men, but he is rebuked by one who says, “Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me the same way you killed the Egyptian yesterday?” (HCSB)

There have been times in my life when though I’ve believed I was doing the Lord’s work, things went badly. Either I failed in terms of character, like Moses acting wrongly out of anger, or the people I was attempting to reach did not respond favorably. Stephen’s words about Moses remind me that just because things don’t go well doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a calling over my life. Has there ever been a time when you believed you were doing good work for God, only to have it backfire? When a situation like that arises in the future, how can you maintain faith in God’s purpose?

 

{tuesday 5.12.20}

Read Acts 7:30-43

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Here Stephen continues his lesson from the Old Testament as he speaks to the Sanhedrin. Despite God appearing to Moses in the burning bush and Moses instructing them with words straight from God, the Hebrews were unwilling to believe God. They were more interested in making an idol and following false gods than worshiping the One who led them out of slavery. There were consequences to their unbelief; God sent them away from the good land He desired them to live in. 

I am tempted to shake my head in disdain at the Hebrews’ lack of faith, until I think about the many times I have also not obeyed the Lord. I may not have melted down my jewelry to make a golden calf to worship, but I have certainly followed my own desires even when they go directly against God’s word. And though God loves me, that doesn’t mean He will protect me from the consequences of my actions. Just like the Hebrews, I need a Savior who is perfect and sufficient, because I am neither of those things! When have you acted in unbelief towards God? Were there consequences to those actions?

 

{wednesday 5.13.20}

Read Acts 7:44-60

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In these verses, I can see that Stephen’s summary of the Old Testament was intended to show the Sanhedrin that they were no different from their forefathers, who continually rejected the truth of God and killed the prophets who spoke of it. Instead of responding to Stephen’s words with belief and contrition, the Sanhedrin prove to be slaves to the past as they drag Stephen out of the city and stone him to death. But Stephen’s eyes are fixed above the screaming, angry crowd; verses 55 and 56 tell us he was “filled by the Holy Spirit” and “saw God’s glory, with Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” And as he breathes his last during the stoning, in verses 59 and 60, Stephen calls out to Jesus to receive his spirit and he begs God to “not charge them with this sin” (HCSB). What a heartbreakingly beautiful moment this is, to read about the first person to die for his belief in Jesus Christ. I am challenged by Stephen’s example to share the good news of Jesus and to keep my eyes focused on the Lord, even if the people I speak to won’t accept Him. Are you willing to share the gospel with those around you and potentially face the consequences of their unbelief? How can Stephen’s example encourage you to do so? 

 

{thursday 5.14.20}

Read Acts 8:1-8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In the aftermath of Stephen’s martyrdom, we are introduced to two new characters: Saul and Philip. These two couldn’t be more different from each other at this point in Acts. Saul is a zealous Jew who was there when Stephen was murdered. He is described in verse 3 as “ravaging the church” as he finds out who the believers are and carts them off to prison. Meanwhile, Philip heads over to a city in neighboring Samaria to spread the good news of Jesus. Rather than acting in his own power against the word of God like Saul is doing, Philip submits to the Holy Spirit, becoming able to release people from demons and give healing to those who can’t walk. Verse 6 tells us that the people “paid attention with one mind to what {hilip was saying, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing.” Because of their belief, verse 8 tells us “there was great joy in that city” (HCSB). Despite all his efforts, Saul is not able to stop people from accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. Where have you seen the gospel of Jesus prosper, despite people actively trying to stifle it? 

 

{friday 5.15.20}

Read Acts 8:9-25

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I will admit that I struggle with verses 15-17 in this passage. Why is it that the Samaritans who had accepted Philip’s message about Jesus hadn’t received the Holy Spirit yet? Doesn’t 1 Corinthians 12:13 say, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (HCSB)?  To help me wrestle with this, I remember that the Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews. They were considered a mixed-blood race who were “less than” God’s chosen people. I wonder if Peter and John, who walked with Jesus while He was on earth, had to be the conduit for the Holy Spirit for the Samaritans to show the Jewish believers that God was building a church from people of every tribe and nation, culture and language, including those who were perceived as “not worthy.” Not only that, but Peter and John had to be there to refute Simon’s foolish attempt to buy the power of the Holy Spirit with money rather than a believing heart. This passage shows me that Jesus came for everyone, that the power of His spirit is available only to those who believe, and He is glorified through the diversity of His church. Where do you see the Holy Spirit moving in your community as well as the world?

 

{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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