{November 22, 2020}

Heartland Community Church



LOOKING UP: Who Do You Say I Am?

By Marnie Vasquez

A good friend and colleague of mine and I are considered high performers, leaders and team cultivators with many successes this year. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation this week.
At the close of the ninth Zoom meeting of the day, I asked if she could stay on to talk privately:

Me: Hey, thanks for talking. I have to confess. I feel like I’m barely hanging on.

Her: Yeah, me too.

Me: If I’m being honest, it’s been going on for a while. Like weeks, months. I don’t know how to make it change.

Her: You and I have always been alike… we’re hard on ourselves. But I’ve hit a new level, too. I was presenting to the executive team and I had a technical issue. I figured a way through it, the meeting went great, but I was embarrassed, and I felt like a complete failure. I still do. I can’t get over it. I mean, really, this isn’t a big deal. If we were at the office, we’d joke and talk about the dumb technical issue and I’d be okay, but now, at home, it’s just me inside my head, and I can’t get over how much of a failure I am.

Me: Yeah, I was asked to help on a new business pitch. It’d give me great exposure to the executive team, it would grow my portfolio, my team. Normally, I would jump all over this. But I passed. I’m disappointed I did that. But I’m not even myself right now. I can’t even fake it, and I don’t want to put a “C minus version” of myself in front of them.

Her: I can relate…I feel like this is hurting my relationship with my husband. He’s like, "you’re not you. You’re short all the time. You’re never happy." And he’s right. And what’s sad is this is me while I’m taking my anxiety meds, my happy pills, and they aren’t working.

Me: I know, my husband is trying to fix things for me. He sees I’m not me, and he’s trying to find ways to help, like buy me a watch. Ha. You and I both know that’s a temporary moment of happiness, it doesn’t fix anything.

Her: Migraines seem to be my constant companion versus once in a while.

Me: Ugh. I’m supposed to be leading my team, I know they’re looking to me for guidance and direction, and I feel like an utter mess, how can I be that for them, when I’m barely together myself?

Her: Me too, how do I lead my team right now? I mean usually I can find a light at the end of the tunnel to guide me along but right now…

Me: … this light seems to get prolonged and never ending with no-family Thanksgiving, COVID, kids learning from home, work from home, and on and on and on, when will it end? Will it end?

(Can you just hear the sighs of exhaustion?)

Her: Don’t forget, Marnie, you and I, we’ve got Jesus. He’s surrounding us, taking care of us. He’s got us. We’re wrapped up in His arms. Right now.

Me: I know, I keep telling myself that. Yet I’m still screaming, “When are you going to make everything better? Can you hurry up? I can’t take any more!”

Her: Hang in there. Jesus has us. We’ve got hope. It really, really sucks right now, but I’m not giving up on Him.

When we finished the Zoom, I thought about the poem “Footprints in the Sand”. I realized Jesus is carrying me – and maybe you – through 2020. I need Him to, because everything is upside down. Then I thought, what if Jesus appeared right now and asked me, “Who do you say I am?” Despite 2020 and my grumbly state, I’d love to tell Him, “You’re the one who’s going to get us through this. Only you. You’re the one who’s going to help us land on our feet at a time You think is right. You’re the one who deeply loves us. You are Jesus, the Messiah, God. Thank you for carrying me through this year.”

Footprints In The Sand, by Margaret Fishback Powers
Last night I had a dream.  I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.  Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.  For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonged to me, the other to the Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand.  I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.  "Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way.  But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.  I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

The Lord replied, "My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you.  During your times of suffering, when you could see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

{sunday 11.22.20}

Read Mark 8:27-35

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Read the verses from Mark that we heard on Sunday. What do you notice in the scene, and the conversation? If Jesus asked you, "Who do you say I am," what would you say? What does it look like, in your life today, to sacrifice yourself, take up your "cross" and follow Jesus? Share your thoughts with a close friend, and ask about their responses. Pray for and encourage one another throughout the next few weeks in these areas.


{bible reading plan: psalms}

By Allison Antrim

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 11.23.20}

Read Psalm 85

Read, Ponder, Pray: This prayer for restoration begins with remembering how God had shown favor to His people in the past. The psalmists ask God if He will be angry forever and they ask Him to “show us Your unfailing love…and grant us Your salvation” (v. 7, NIV). It’s a comforting yet sobering reminder that follows, as the psalmist asserts that God gives peace to His people, unless they turn aside to folly. At the end, I love the anthropomorphic descriptions of love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace, as well as the image of faithfulness springing up from the ground like a bountiful crop while righteousness shines down like the sun. The psalmists, as they pray for God’s restoration, are looking around and describing the good things He has already given them. Are you, like the psalmists, praying for God to do something in your life? As you wait for His answer, where can you see God’s goodness around you?

{tuesday 11.24.20}

Read Psalm 86

Observe, Reflect, Apply: David needs God’s help, and he needs it now. Yet even though this psalm is an urgent prayer, it is interwoven with praise for God. This is a great reminder to me that even in my most desperate prayers, pausing to give God praise will remind me of the steadfast attributes of His character and settle my spirit. Throughout the psalm, David describes God as forgiving, good, abounding in love, great, compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness. Even though David is asking for God to give him a sign of His goodness, in the meantime, he reminds himself of the truth of God’s character. Take the attributes of God that David lists in this psalm and consider where God has shown you those same attributes in your own life. Which attribute will you ask Him to give you a sign of this week?

{wednesday 11.25.20}

Read Psalm 87

Observe, Reflect, Apply: At the end of time, when God establishes His holy city and dwells among all who have trusted in Him, those people will be known in the world as ones that were “born in Zion” (v. 4-6, NIV). What a beautiful reminder that as Christians, we have been reborn and given a new citizenship in the city of God. Our physical birthplaces and countries of origin fade behind this new identity. At the end the psalmists say that when Zion’s citizens sing, they sing, “all my fountains are in you” (v. 7). In 2011, Chris Tomlin wrote a song called “All My Fountains” based on that metaphor. The first verse reads: 

This dry and desert land

I tell myself keep walking on

Hear something up ahead

Water falling like a song

An everlasting stream

Your river carries me home

Let it flow, let it flow

We’re not living in God’s city yet, and we will often find ourselves wandering through circumstances that feel like we’re trudging through the desert. But one day, all of us who know Jesus will live in Zion together, and we will sing of finding all of our fountains in Him. Are you walking through a desert land right now? What fountain have you found in God on this side of heaven?

{thursday 11.26.20}

Read Psalm 88

Observe, Reflect, Apply: As wonderful as God is, as many blessings as He gives us, there are times where He seems so far away or like He is impervious to our suffering. Sometimes it even feels like He is the one causing all of our troubles. Psalms like Psalm 88 are so important because they give a voice to the raw emotions we have all felt in the midst of challenging times. Notice how the psalmist starts off with an assurance of the truth of who God is: “Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you” (v. 1, NIV). As the psalm continues, the psalmist mentions calling out to God two more times, even as he laments over the bad things that are happening to him. Despite being at the lowest of the low, the psalmist continues to pray. Have you felt like your prayers are not being heard or that God is too far away? How can you be honest and raw when you talk to God this week?

{friday 11.27.20}

Read Psalm 89

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This psalm focuses on God’s anointing of David to be His chosen king over Israel, and the promise that there would always be a descendant of David to sit on the throne. But the psalmist is writing at a time in which God’s promise seems to have been forgotten; verses 38-45 detail all of the terrible things that have happened to Israel, including the humiliation of their king who has been seemingly overthrown. Nevertheless, the psalmist spends several verses praising God and restating the promises God has made, even as he pleads with God to restore everything. Like Psalm 88, this psalm demonstrates what it looks like to praise God in the midst of suffering and to recall His promises. What promise of God are you seeking to be fulfilled in your own life? How can you praise God this week as you ask Him for what you need?


{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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