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{June 7, 2020}

Heartland Community Church



Resilient: Leveraging Power

By Bill McMurtrey

Keith was my best buddy for a great number of years. We met in the ARMY. We were young, 19, 20ish, our job was to jump out of helicopters and go find bad guys.

Keith eventually was the best man in my wedding. We were often referred to as "brothers", not just friends. Keith is black, I am not. Keith played football, stands over 6’4, very dark skinned. Friends would joke Keith was the enforcer for my business dealings because he was so big. Reality? Keith is the epitome of a "Gentle Giant".

When Keith and I were in our late 20s, we were in Prairie Village. P.V. made the NAACP’s Top 10 list of racial profiling cities in America numerous times. We had gotten lunch at a fast food place. As we walked back to my car, we both noticed a couple of police officers watching us. Nothing unusual, I’m thinking, they’re cops, they’re checking things out. We get in my car, I drive off, they pull out behind us. Keith says, "Mac, they’re gonna pull us over." I laughed sarcastically and said, “No they’re not, my tags are legal, all is good.” Unfortunately, Keith was right.

As an ex-cop, what happened next is something I wish hadn’t. Sometimes police officers make what’s called a "Felony Stop". This stop is for more serious situations, think carjacking, fleeing from the police, bank robbery. The police box you in with vehicles and have you at gunpoint. While this didn’t happen to Keith and me, man, it sure felt close. Here’s what did happen.

The police officers pulled us over. No weapons were ever drawn. But here’s the thing, they had 2 cars behind my car, and one in front of my car. Why?

I asked, "What’s going on?" They said I didn’t use my blinker to turn. My response was, "3 vehicles boxing me in for a blinker?" (Which I did use, I always use my blinkers, it’s a thing for me.) They asked for my ID. Not Keith’s, just mine. They asked if they could search the car. I told them yes, but they needed to clean it if they messed it up. The officer in charge asked what we were doing and where we were going. They never spoke to Keith, just me. I told them I was in school, my backpack was in the trunk. I was studying Administration of Justice. This caught the officer’s attention. At that time I had a mentor who was a higher up in KC Police Administration. I mentioned my mentor’s name. The officer in charge asks, "You know Mr __________?" I didn’t think this police officer believed what I said, and I responded, "You want his number?" 

Then it was over. I knew right there, right then, at that moment, this is what my brother, Keith, had been dealing with for years. He’d shared experiences of his own, and I admittedly didn’t understand. This opened my eyes and gave me new insight into what black people often experience.

I’d seen racial bias before, but had never been a recipient of that bias.

This story may be hard for some to grasp. Had I not heard my black friend’s experiences, had I not been there on this day, it might have been for me too.

Racial profiling exists. As an ex-cop I absolutely, undoubtedly and undeniably know that it does. Not everyone does it, but some people do. 

Oppression, superiority, obssesion with power. They are nothing new, these things have been with us since the beginning of time. And not at any time have any of them been good, for anything.

When Shibu mentioned King Herod and how he arrested the ones that opposed him, because he felt the power slipping away from him . . . Wow, just wow. In case you missed it is in Acts 12:1. And it is powerful beyond belief. Go check it out. History is repeating itself right here, now, today. Or trying to, at least.

When black people say "Black Lives Matter" they are not saying all other lives don’t. They are simply saying that their lives matter in a world where the reality is their lives are treated as less. As Jesus followers, we know that God cares for each and every one of us. All colors of the human race.

Change is here. It’s long overdue. It’s long over-needed. I’d like to see more of us get on the right side of history and be a part of helping our society gain equality. Of living out the call of Jesus to love one another, and bear one another’s burdens.

“A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

As the world goes through this time of change it would be obscene to think God is not watching, He watches all, He sees all, and in the end, He is the one, the only one, that is holy and righteous enough, to judge us all.


{sunday 6.7.20}

Read John 13:34-35, Galatians 6:2

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What does it look like in your world this week to practice the new command Jesus gives us? What could it look like to share the burden of another. Consider practicing one new expression of both this week. Stuck? Ask God to show you the places He sees, where He has placed you to be a difference maker.


{bible reading plan: acts of the apostles}

By Marnie Vasquez

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 6.8.20}

Read Acts 13:34-47

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Promises are made…Old Testament.  Promises are kept…New Testament. That’s a huge vast of time with a lot of wars, harvests, changes and activity, God’s promises will always prevail, and wherever we read God’s promises throughout the Bible, we can have hope these will be kept today and tomorrow.


{tuesday 6.9.20}

Read Acts 13:48-14:7

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Black Lives Matter is a current movement and a very passionate message happening in America today. As you read today’s verses, take note of the huge divide and controversial activity happening with Paul and Barnabus’ very passionate message about God during this time in history. If Paul and Barnabus were alive today trying to get this same passionate message out, how might they go about it? How might it be received?


{wednesday 6.10.20}

Read Acts 14:8-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul looked at a man with crippled feet and realized he had faith to be healed. What was it Paul saw that showed him that man had faith? What were the signs he saw, if any? I want to know what Paul saw in this man! I often wonder if Paul were to meet and see me today, would he see as a woman of faith, or what might he see?


{thursday 6.11.20}

Read Acts 14:21-15:5

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Times are trying in America. We all know this. Just when we think we’re handling one crisis okay, another one comes. It is tough. Challenging. Depressing. And many say God must not be real or must not be a loving God to allow these things to happen. When I hear this, I remind myself the Bible tells us time and again, there will be hardships. He gives us the Holy Spirit and other believers to help, encourage and strengthen us through these times. One of my favorite verses: Acts 15:22 “Where they (Paul and Barnabus) strengthened them to continue in faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” (emphasis mine)


{friday 6.12.20}

Read Acts 15:6-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: One thing I love about God is He sees and considers us based on our heart, our faith. Not our race, not our gender, not our occupation, not where we live, not anything else. As you and I live our daily life in our community, I hope and pray we can follow in God’s footsteps and be inspired by His ways and use the eyes of God as we look and consider others.


{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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