{August 30, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

ROOTED: Encountering God In Lament

By Meghan Hemenway

Last night I hosted a small birthday party for my 10-year-old and a 4-year-old who is part of our “Quaranteam.” We adults had jokingly said my son and his buddy’s Paw Patrol loving little sister should celebrate their birthdays together since neither would get a typical, bigger party this year. To our surprise they instantly agreed and what was born was a collaborative banana/unicorn themed bash with the few people we have shared life with these nearly 6 months. Kids and adults pitched in to make decorations, games, and foods. We smashed a unicorn pinata filled with banana Laffy Taffy, ate banana splits with unicorn sprinkles, played pin the banana on the unicorn, and sang karaoke to a party playlist of only banana and unicorn songs.

It was a goofy, magical time that would never have existed without the struggles and constraints on life right now. The sadness was there – people who should have been present were not – but tender, precious sweetness was able to bloom. A neighbor made cookies for the party because he was so impressed to hear that a 10-year-old boy would share his big day with a 4-year-old girl. The friend’s dad wrote a message in my son’s birthday card calling out his characteristics of kindness and thoughtfulness. There is no way to forget the struggle we are going through right now, but this party wasn’t trying to mask that. It was a way to gratefully grab onto the joy that is here not in spite of hardship, but because of it.
 
In today’s sermon Brooke compared David’s back and forth thoughts in Psalm 56 to a game of ping pong. In one verse he is lamenting his pain and his difficult circumstances and in the next verse he is praising God and putting his trust in God’s promises. This is a very familiar thought game for me. All day long it’s a process of acknowledging reality in the news or in my own feelings and then actively choosing to focus back on the goodness of God. Feeling the fear of the unknown then turning back to the all-knowing, unchanging nature of God. Back and forth. Back and forth. I keep telling myself I should get better at living life in a pandemic and stop feeling so much fear and frustration, but then I turn back to God and see he is patient, merciful, and gracious. In Psalm 56, David does not point out how he took action and took on his enemies; after stating every fear he turns back to God and says, because I trust Him I am not afraid. Back and forth. He names his fear and then reminds himself to focus on God.

We are not designed to go through hardship alone. God shows us through David’s lament how He is always near to us and he has put people in our lives to walk along with, together. I will never stop feeling fearful or disappointed or frustrated about the hardships in my life and they will never stop happening. But if I can each time turn my head back to God’s character and his promises I will see the goodness and the joys littering my path. God has not been frugal with the joys in this season. He has thrown them all over the place – like banana-flavored candy raining down from a rainbow unicorn pinata. This is not what I planned, expected, or would have asked for from this year, but God has never left and never given up. Getting more opportunities to see that about Him is an unexpected gift.

 

{sunday 8.30.20}

Read 1 Corinthians 12:25-27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: God is not surprised by our current circumstances and all along he has been and will continue to prepare us for them. How has God prepared you for what you are facing? God also did not design us to face hardship alone. Who has God put in your life to journey with? What new and surprising ways have you built community and relationships in this season? Thank God for these and trust that he will continue his work throughout all your circumstances.

 

{bible reading plan: psalms}

By Brooke Hodnefield

The Journey online videos have been discontinued at this time. Check out this great video overview of Psalms from our friends at The Bible Reading Project!

{monday 8.31.20}

Read Psalm 19

Read, Ponder, Pray: Overflow. I love that word. As part of my own journey, I have come to embrace that when what is in us is pure and good, the overflow is effortless. It pours out in an authentic way, with little wasted energy because it is true. ‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’ The Psalmist, David, leaves us with almost a benediction of sorts, which is defined by an invocation of blessing, or departure/closure. Whether we realize it or not, we are internally meditating, stewing, processing, and considering from the moment our feet him the floor. What we think on internally, ends up showing up externally in some way. By a word, our non-verbal language, our pace…in some way, shape of form, whatever we have inside of us is brushing up against another. This notion challenges me to consider, what am I meditating on throughout the day? Some things are unavoidable, but what is something that has captured you internally that really is either out of your control, or should be released to God? Share that with God today and ask Him for an inner-peace to open up space and margin to be meditating on something else that He might have for you.

 

{tuesday 9.1.20}

Read Psalm 20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Elevation Worship recently released a song, Graves into Gardens, that sings of redemption. A line that I love sings, ‘The God of the mountain, is the God of the valley.’ Man, it’s hard to remember that God is there in both, when all is well AND when all is crumbling. I love that in this Psalm, the audience (you and I) are being peppered with God’s truth, that He holds His banner high, protecting us, covering us, leading us….but the power comes in how he claims this. He shares, ‘Now this I know’ I feel a shift, that he doesn’t just know this, he BELIEVES it. May we climb the mountain and walk the valley in the same depth of confidence, that this I know will be redeemed, counted for good and revealed (maybe at a later time) what all this was for. As you survey where your two feet are planted, are you in a valley or climbing a mountain? What truth can you claim today about God’s love for you, whether you can boldly claim it, or barely whisper it? Now this I know…is that God loves his kids, and He wants you to know that today.

 

{wednesday 9.2.20}

Read Psalm 21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: ‘When you appear for battle…’ Psalm 21:9 reminds me that it’s not IF we appear for battle, but WHEN. It reminds me of a verse, John 10:10 (using the King James version because it resonates more) ‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ The thief, the battle is coming. God outlines this very clearly. But what he counters with is that He is with us so that we might have life and have it abundantly. The abundance, the overflow, might not be in the battle but could be as a result of the battle. But we know He is a good, just God, who desires to be our strength in the battle. We choose each day how we enter the battle-field of life. Jesus desires to be there, to walk alongside us in companionship, as a guide, leveraging HIS strength in our weakest places. What are you battling today? Where do you need God to show up? Instead of tackling it alone, be reminded today that you have a mighty God, who is mighty to save. He wants to join you in the the thick of the battle you find yourself in.

 

{thursday 9.3.20}

Read Psalm 22

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In reading the first line of this Psalm, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ I was quickly transported to one of the darker times in my life. I was overwhelmed with panic and anxiety, which in the end pointed itself back to post-traumatic stress depression. It was an incredibly disorienting and frightening time, and I (gratefully) have a hard time remembering what it actually felt like to walk through that. What I do know, is that my desperation felt as deep and raw as David’s. I felt alone, confused and hopeless, that the darkness had created a veil with which I could no longer lift on my own. Just as David oscillates between crying out and self-talk reminding him that God (yet you, but you) did show up and do what He said He was going to do, I was in that place. I wanted to believe that God would show up and was near, but it felt like a feeble cry. Looking back at that time in my life, I know I am stronger because of it, and God worked it all out for good. What are you walking through today that might feel veiled with darkness? Re-read the Psalm with that in mind, knowing that God hears you today as you lift your cry to Him. Your darkness can be overcome.

 

{friday 9.4.20}

Read Psalm 23

Observe, Reflect, Apply:This is a Psalm for the ages. Regardless of whether you have been a Christian for a long time or not, you are likely familiar with this Psalm. It’s a simple Psalm, that reminds me of an uncomplicated Jesus. One that doesn’t require a prayer journal, elaborate prayers, a small group Bible Study or really, much of anything. All those things are good, of course, but I picture a Jesus who wants to BE with me. To walk alongside me, to chat as a friend would chat, and at an unhurried pace. He’s not asking me to accomplish a bunch of things before I can do this, but simply to walk with Him, read his word, and believe them–to allow him to lead me to green pastures, peace and a stillness that we can’t create on our own. With all the chaos and unrest in our world today, breathe deeply and read this Psalm again. Let it sink in and let it still your soul. Jesus provides rest for our weary hearts, calm in the storm, and simplicity in our complicated lives. Allow that to penetrate your heart, and order your day today.

 

{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.

 

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© 2020 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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