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{May 24, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

Resilient: Love

By Lisa Zulke

There is so much dis- right now. Disorienting. Discouraging. Disconnected. Disrespected. Disengaged. Name your dis- . . . we are all feeling it in some way. The world is not right. We are not in control. Above and over all of that . . . things are not as God intended.

The promise I am holding close right now, is that God sees us. He mourns with us. He gets frustrated with us. He longs for things to be set right. He longs for us to turn to him, to trust him. He longs for us to see what he sees . . . in our world, and in the faces of each and every person he created.

God’s upside down invasion of the world began long ago, and continues in our time. He sent his son, Jesus, to be a bridge for us. Jesus sits with him in heaven now, so he sent his Spirit to be a bridge for us. By any means necessary, in all ways possible, he beckons us to that bridge.

This week, God challenged my thinking. You see, I have this narrative I tell myself. The one inside my head. Over time, it becomes more powerful than the narrative that is actually going on, all around me. I trend toward a narrative of discouragement, disappointment, even cynicism. And this week God gave me an elbow. You know, like your best friend or your spouse will, when you are heading toward something you shouldn’t do or say? THAT elbow.

It sounded like, "Lisa, you’ve stood at a distance for long enough. You’ve spoken of your fear long enough. You’ve given me the "step off" hand long enough. You’ve ignored the fullness of life I am calling you too . . . long enough. We are done with that narrative. Time to move on."

Whoa. I came face to face this week with a God who reminded me that he created me, he sees me, and my value to him is not in question. But responsiveness to him might be. It became clear that it is time to step up. Step up and step into the life he has always been calling me to. Step up and see the people around me . . . every single person . . . as someone created in his image, with all the dignity that bestows on him or her. Step up and ask, in every situation, "What does love require of me?" If I can see with his eyes, how might my actions and my words shift? If I can see with his hope, how might my view of the world shift?

As I pondered the idea of "living in the dis-" this week, my initial thoughts were negative. The epiphany this morning is that God is solidly, firmly planted in my life in the dis-. But, his lens is very, very different from mine.

In the dis-, God is orienting me to a knew way of seeing and sensing his presence. He is calling me to courage, over the discouragement. He is saying, "Stay connected to me," while I am feeling disconnection. He is giving me his eyes, to see others with respect and honor, especially when they don’t think like me. And he is calling me to engage. Perhaps differently in this season, but my superpower is best activated and in play when I engage.

What dis- is God calling you out of, and what is he calling you to in it’s place? I’ll be praying that he reorients each one of us this week . . . join me!

 

{sunday 5.24.20}

Read Ezekiel 34:11-15

Observe, Reflect, Apply: God is searching for you and for me on the daily: "I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day." What encouragement did you need to hear from this passage today? What is God searching to bring you out of? And what good thing is he drawing you towards? Share your thoughts with a friend and pray for one another to step into this new orientation of seeing what God sees.

Invite God to give you eyes to see someone who needs encouragement, kindness or love from you. Find a way to intentionally express that and post a story on Heartland’s Instagram or Facebook page to encourage everyone with the movement of God. #churchanywhere

 

{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 5.25.20}

Read Acts 10:9-23

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Peter has a vision in which he sees a sheet-like object being lowered down from an opening in the sky that contains “all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air” (10:12 NASB). A voice tells him to kill and eat these animals, but Peter protests, indicating that they are “unholy and unclean.” A good observant Jew like Peter followed strict dietary laws found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the Old Testament, so he must have been shocked and puzzled by the command to “kill and eat.” Then the voice has something even more shocking and puzzling to say: “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy” (10:15 NASB). Moments later, Peter learns that he is being asked to visit Cornelius, a Roman soldier. Not only did Jews have rules about what to eat, but they also had rules concerning interaction with foreigners, especially Gentiles like the Romans. God used this unusual vision to help Peter step outside the comfort of religious rules and norms to lead Cornelius to faith in Christ, someone who wasn’t a Jew but would be welcomed into God’s growing church through his belief in Jesus. Has God ever led you to step outside of a religious rule or norm in order to share His love and truth with someone who needed it?

 

{tuesday 5.26.20}

Read Acts 10:23-33

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Emboldened by the vision God gave him, Peter goes to Cornelius’s house. When he asks Cornelius why he was invited over, Cornelius shares his own vision of a man “in shining garments” (10:30b) who told him that God had heard his prayers and received his offerings, and that Cornelius needed to ask Peter to come see him at his house. So Cornelius invited his friends and his family to come over and tells Peter that “we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord” (10:33b). The obedience and faith Cornelius demonstrates is really moving to me; his desire to know the Lord was so strong and his heart was so open to be taught. Not only did he want to know the Lord himself, but he wanted his friends and family to hear the message, too! Now Peter has a captive audience of Gentiles who are eager to hear the truth of God’s good news. Have you ever talked with someone about God who didn’t know him yet but had an open and teachable heart like Cornelius?

 

{wednesday 5.27.20}

Read Acts 10:34-43

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I am struck by Peter’s statement in the beginning of his evangelism message to Cornelius, his friends, and his family: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him” (10:34-35 NASB). From the beginning of the Bible, God always intended to reveal Himself to the Jewish people first in order to draw people from all other nations to come and be part of His holy people, but they repeatedly lost interest in following God and didn’t obey. Now Peter gets to be faithful to God’s command and tell a group of Gentiles about Jesus, His death, and His resurrection. I love how succinct his gospel message is – just 8 sentences as recorded here! It certainly doesn’t always take a long speech to share the good news of Jesus Christ with those who need to hear it, as long as the essentials are there. What are the essentials in Peter’s witness to those in Cornelius’s house?

 

{thursday 5.28.20}

Read Acts 10:44-11:10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: One of the earliest tensions in the church was between Jesus-followers who were circumcised Jews and Jesus-followers who were uncircumcised Gentiles. It seems that the Jewish believers had a really hard time letting go of the religious rules and norms that they were so used to following, even though Jesus had fulfilled the law on their behalf, and it was hard to let Gentile believers into the “family.” Consequently, it didn’t take long for the Jewish believers to hear about Peter’s visit with Cornelius and his friends and family, nor did they wait to confront Peter about what they saw as improper behavior. I love Peter’s response to their indignation: “But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence..” (11:4 NASB). He doesn’t criticize them or justify himself; rather, he starts at the beginning of the whole thing, giving them the context for his actions so that they can see what God has done. How can you defend your obedience to God when others don’t understand it?

 

{friday 5.29.20}

Read Acts 11:11-24

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Peter’s orderly explanation of the visit to Cornelius’s house, including the salvation of those present and the evidence of the Holy Spirit falling upon them, calms the Jewish believers so that they acknowledge “God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life” (11:18 NASB). This is a sweet verse to me, because as someone who has done one of those 23AndMe DNA analyses, I know my ancestors were predominantly British and Irish – Gentiles, not part of God’s chosen people, who were at one point far from the truth of God. Yet the seeds of the global church, being planted in these verses among Jews and Gentiles alike, would grow, reach out across the world, and make it possible for anyone who believes to become part of God’s family, including that first person in my family tree to say “yes” to the gospel. Whether you come from a long line of Christians or are the first to believe, your spiritual legacy can be traced back to these faithful men and women. How has God impacted your life when you felt “less than” or not worthy?

 

{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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