{July 26, 2020}

Heartland Community Church





By Meghan Hemenway

Middle school to me is the picture of a waiting period. You are no longer a little kid, but you are not quite ready for the halls of a high school so you get put into an in-between space while you mature a bit. I have long summarized my own middle school experience with one word: Miserable. Now I have a son who will be – in theory – starting fifth grade and this season of life in the Fall. We got the welcome email from Sagan letting us know that my son will become part of the Move community at Heartland. Instead of excitement I feel sadness for him because we are all in a waiting period. Will my son go back to school? Will he be able to meet in person with his new community at church? We are waiting . . . for him to enter the waiting phase of life. But in the interim he keeps growing – so who will he grow into when he is formed in this pause from normal life?

Today we reached the end of Acts and presumably the end of Paul’s journey, but we never learn if he reached his destination. At the end of the chapter we realize that the story was in the journey and the massive ways God used Paul along the way. His life, his story, was in the waiting, not in the conclusion.
For me this interim time has been ripe with growth, change, and God at work. God has been doing something in my life that I would rather not be part of, thank you very much, but early on I knew that I didn’t have control so maybe this process was a message for someone else. In this season of separation, isolation, and distancing I have tried to share the story of what I think God is doing. In that transparency, if this is how God is using me, at least I am not missing it, and neither is anyone else. Because, believe me, if I were author of this story it would be worlds away from where it is. But as Joe said today, while we are wishing and waiting to be anywhere else, are we missing what God has for us right now?

In Acts 28:27 Paul quotes Isaiah saying that people’s hearts have hardened. I have prayed the prayer for God to soften my heart; to take my heart of stone and give me a new one. Through events in my personal life in this year I think God has done exactly that and given me pictures of that procedure. I first had an image of my heart as hard, lifeless stone. Then when I faced personal devastation I had an image of my heart cracking open like the crust of the earth and molten hot lava pouring out, destroying everything former in its path. During this time I could put my hand to my chest and feel the heat of my heart breaking open. After this I saw my heart as a pile of rubble, crumbled to pieces without a trace of what once was. At this point I reached out to the elders of our church and had people pray over me. I laid out my brokenness and despair. I was prayed for and given the image of my heart as a bird cupped gently in the palm of strong hands. My new heart felt tender and fragile, but so lovingly protected. Then this month I had the picture of my heart putting out roots, reborn, growing healthy and grounded. My new heart was becoming resilient and deeply rooted.

So I lay my heart out to you, bare and exposed, in the hopes that God has a message for you, too. In the devastation of my life, God gave me a new heart. In the waiting period, I was given a heart to see with. He removed the old and planted a new one and it was more painful than I could ever have imagined.

In the waiting, I trust that God will be faithful and see, encourage and help my son move into middle school. I trust that God will help me raise him to be all he was created to be. And I am overcome with God’s mercy to me in answering my prayer in a season like this one.


{sunday 7.26.20}

Read Ezekiel 36:26

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Look at several versions of this verse. Notice the words that stand out to you. Pray for God to give you a new heart, but don’t make that prayer lightly. Be honest with yourself that the softening of your heart may come after a molten hot, painful process. But trust that God has something more beautiful in mind than the destination you may have been imagining.


{bible reading plan: acts of the apostles}

By Lisa Zulke

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 7.27.20}

Read Acts 27:9-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Have you ever had a suggestion, an image, an idea, perhaps a word from God, to share with others? When you shared and it was received well, how did you feel . . . what did you experience? On the flip side, have you ever shared and had your idea, encouragement or word fall on deaf ears? How did that experience go for you? Paul shared his idea and vision of how to approach the coming storm, yet it was not received or acted on, and the ship struggled against the storm for days, leading to extreme measures being taken, and culminating in the statement “until at last all hope was gone.” Had to be discouraging, yet they were still surrounded by storm. Paul needed to remain humble yet bold, and connected to God to hear what He might have to offer. May our eyes, ears and posture be as connected to God, and as resolute as Paul in hard times. 


{tuesday 7.28.20}

Read Acts 27:21-38

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul dives into this moment with a vision from God. He gathered the crew. He challenged them to take courage . . . for God told Paul they would be saved. But God also showed Paul they would be shipwrecked. Well, the hope and the tension increased exponentially, don’t think. Take courage, God will rescue us. But, the ship will be wrecked on an island. They cut loose their anchors, cut loose their lifeboat. They hunker down, stay aboard the ship . . . and eat. They did the next right thing. How do you approach curve balls in life? Unexpected storms, the possibility of a wreck? What is God showing you in this story, and how can you take that learning and apply it in life?


{wednesday 7.29.20}

Read Acts 27:39-28:6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Read these passages and note all of the participants mentioned. What do you observe about their actions, and their interactions with one another? What takeaway can you draw personally from the reading today? Text a friend, or meet for coffee and share what God is revealing to you.  


{thursday 7.30.20}

Read Acts 28:7-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In these passages, we learn that Paul healed the island Governor and other residents of Malta who were ill. God used the presence of Paul to pray for and to heal people. God can work through all circumstances, can’t he. This shipwrecked arrival on an island was redeemed and grew in purpose. I wonder about my posture, when all seems hopeless. Do I trust that God can work in ALL circumstances? Despite the hopelessness that my eyes see? I confess I struggle in this level of trust often. God, give us hearts and eyes to see and trust in hope, and give us ears to hear where you are leading us along the way, despite the circumstances in our immediate view.


{friday 7.31.20}

Read Acts 28:17-31

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Here we learn that Paul lived in Rome for the next two years, boldly telling the story of Jesus to all who would hear. How boldly do I tell the stories of Jesus that have intersected my life? Is my heart soft enough to sense God working in and around me? How can I turn up the volume of God’s voice in my life, and tune my eyes to more clearly see what he is doing, and take courage to go and join him?


{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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