{December 13, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

LOOKING BACK: God Can

By Marnie Vasquez

God can. I can’t. Thank goodness, because I’m a MESS. And I mean that. I’m awkward, my social timing is ALWAYS off, I’m not very smart, I drive my family crazy, I’m forgetful, pudgy, old, if I were to give a grade at my true capabilities… I’d say C, maybe B. But I’ve wanted to be an A+, the ‘top’, ‘best’, all the things you see on social media, movies, TV. I used to dig in hard, believing if I could work harder, work out harder, could do more, then I’d get there. Yet, I wound up short. Maybe God was punishing me because I wasn’t doing it right?

Well, during this endless pursuit of “I can”, I started learning at church all good things come from God. Not me. Honestly, I was mad. Look at all this work, effort, time I had put in. I had a career, a family, I ran marathons. Yet, not good enough. What was God really saying to me?

As this most recent chapter of my life opened up when we moved to Kansas, I wanted it to be amazing, better than where my family and I had been. At first, I did what I always did, said, “I can do this!” and tried super hard. But this new chapter was different. When all these moments happened, I stopped. And prayed. I realized if I really wanted God’s way, I had to stop my ways, and let God be God. I can remember lots of prayers that went something like this, “Please be with me, please guide me, please help me be okay with whatever the outcome will be of this meeting, this project, this conversation. Thank you. Thank you for always doing what I cannot in my life, but you can. I follow you.”

Before this current chapter of my life, there were two lousy ones. But Shibu makes me rethink those. Maybe those two chapters weren’t lousy or punitive at all. Instead, those chapter were restorative, meaning they were allowing God to come in and straighten out things in my life for a much better road forward. And it is, it truly is a very welcomed and needed road for me and my family.

Shibu told us to dream again this morning.

Well, my dreams right now are to hug my dear co-workers, to sit beside them and laugh and solve our clients’ problems together again. For my daughter to school in person right next to her friends, and for her to become an amazing high school soccer player. For my twin sons to continue to be amazing high school athletes and continue in college and not to forget their mom loves them with everything she’s got in her. For my husband and I to retire one day and travel the country to visit our children and their families.

These may not be big, grandiose dreams, but these are what’s planted in my soul so one day God can make them come true.

 

{sunday 12.13.20}

Read Luke 1:18-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: When I cannot, God can. Just as in the story of Zechariah. As you read the verses, can you name the dream you are struggling to believe can happen? Have your dreams gone blank? Invite God to restore his dream for your life to your imagniation. Join us in the challenge to consider 5 minutes of silence each day to listen for what God is wanting to speak to us.

 

{bible reading plan: advent}

Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas, where Jesus followers for centuries have celebrated the arrival of Jesus in our world, fully human. We celebrate the themes of his life and God’s incredible gift to us…hope, peace, joy and love. As Dylan offered today, we each need a donor to provide what we cannot in our own lives. That donor, for all mankind, is Jesus. Join us in anticipation of his birth, in celebration of all he has done for us, and in the hope of the future he offers to those who follow him.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Advent from our friends at The Bible Project.

By Sheree Lutz

{monday 12.14.20}

Read Luke 1:1-25

Read, Ponder, Pray: The first four verses of Luke’s gospel uniquely offer information regarding the author’s writing process. As a trained historian myself, I am interested in the book’s introduction. Luke establishes himself as a scholar from the very beginning. Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke was not one of the original 12 disciples who traveled with Jesus. Rather, he was a researcher who culled together many eyewitness accounts and “pass[ed] on to [us] this accurate compilation of my own meticulous investigation.” Luke 1:3 (TPT) His foreword reveals two things—first, that eyewitness accounts ARE imperative to know the Bible as truth, but second, that different perspectives and methods in writing are also important in discovering the timeline and character of God—especially for those logic driven minds! What do you takeaway from the opening of Luke today?

{tuesday 12.15.20}

Read Malachi 4:1-6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Malachi 4:2 (NIV) gives so much hope in the future, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.” One of the things I look forward to most after Christ’s return will be a physically healed society. Especially during this pandemic season, we are reminded of our bodies’ limited capacities. Will it not be wonderful to dwell where there will be no disease?!? No COVID-19, no kidney disease, no cancer, no mental illness. I personally long for this transformation!

{wednesday 12.16.20}

Read Luke 1:26-38

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In this passage, the angel Gabriel visits the young Mary, mother of Jesus. It seems that whenever an angel appears, they always say, “Do not fear…!” This phrase is repeated many times throughout the Bible. So, I assume it means two things. First, an appearance by an angel must be startling—enough to frighten a lowly human out of his/her wits! But second, God does not wish those who seek after him to fear. He is capable of impossible things! Why else would he give a child to Elizabeth after it was scientifically impossible for her to conceive a child, and to Mary, who as a virgin also could not have gotten pregnant? God uses his followers in unusual ways (often ways that cannot be explained by facts or statistics) in order to undoubtedly reveal his handiwork.

{thursday 12.17.20}

Read Luke 1:39-56

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I am so impressed with Mary’s courage revealed in these verses. She does not seem to react as a young, unmarried pregnant girl (miracle or not). If I were in her shoes, I would likely be in hiding—not traveling and pronouncing God’s blessing on me. But she is so filled with the Holy Spirit that she cannot contain her joy. What an example for us to follow.

{friday 12.18.20}

Read 2 Samuel 7:1-17

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I cannot claim to understand all of this passage, but what I am able to discern is that the Lord is true to his word. Nathan prophesies to king David that his name will endure throughout history. We can certainly attest to that fact. We in 2020 still read and hear about David and his descendants. If God says it will happen, you are 100% guaranteed that it will happen!

 

{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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