{December 27, 2020}

Heartland Community Church




By Allison Antrim

While my husband and I were house shopping last year, we spent a lot of time watching HGTV. It is so gratifying to watch renovation shows and follow along as houses are completely transformed from messes into mansions. Making something better than it was has always been an interest of mine –  but less so with home projects and more so in the area of my own self-improvement. With a new year just around the corner, I have goals and pursuits in mind to make myself a better individual, employee, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and Christian in 2021.

Unfortunately, my desire to improve myself can easily shift to an unhealthy obsession with pursuing perfection and going through cycles of disappointment, shame, and despair when I “mess up.” I have been a Christian since I was seven years old, yet I often forget that the work going on in me is planned and purposed by my Maker. Sometimes I want to snatch those spiritual blueprints right out of His hand and try to tackle the renovation on my own. No wonder I’ve felt discouraged and disillusioned when I don’t achieve what I think I should achieve – I’m trying to be the Builder, when according to Jesus in John 14, I’m the house itself.

God’s renovation project of my life can be fun and pleasant when I understand what He’s doing and see the good things that come out of it. But sometimes His work can be frustrating and even painful. It’s so easy for me to doubt the Builder when I don’t know all the details of the plan. C.S. Lewis expanded upon the painful part of inner renovation projects in his book Mere Christianity:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Even if I’m not sure what God is up to as He goes to work in me, I can trust that even in the difficult seasons, the work He is doing is above anything I could ever imagine for myself. If I can stop trying to wrestle the blueprints out of His hands, I will be free to rest, admire His handiwork, and grow in my love and trust of Him.

If you, like me, have tried to take charge of renovating your life; if you’ve tried and failed and found yourself overcome with shame; you can use Seth’s Scripture-based affirmations to tell yourself the truth:

  • “My Heart is Christ’s Home. And God loves His home.” You are loved by the God who measured out the universe with precision, who became a human baby so that He might grow up to take the punishment for your sin and make it possible for Him to live in your heart until you live with Him in heaven one day.

  • “My life is a Renovation Project in the capable hands of a loving God.” God is the Builder in charge of making your heart into His home. You can trust Him, even if you’re unable to see the blueprints He’s made. Don’t believe the lies that tell you what a failure you are and fill you with shame; you are beloved by God and He is doing a good work in you.

  • “Holy Spirit, I invite you to guide me and to do your work in me today.” Of course, this inner renovation project is invitation-based. God’s not going to force His way into your heart; you have to let Him in yourself so He can get started. When you hear Him knock, open the door.

What do each of these affirmations mean for you right now? As the new year approaches, how can you let God do more work in you?


{sunday 12.27.20}

Read John 14:15-26

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Read these verses again, and consider the work God might be doing (or wants to do) in you. Is it to connect with you regularly as you become more comfortable praying and listening to Him? Is it a renovation project, in your heart, mind or spirit that he wants to work with you on? Or is it learning to listen to and follow the leading of God’s Spirit in you? Share what you are noodling on with a trusted friend. Pray of one another as you seek to understand the interior design work God has in store.


{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 Lisa Zulke

{monday 12.28.20}

Read Psalm 2

Read, Ponder, Pray: As you read Psalm 2, remember that it was written by David before Jesus’ arrival. At the time, David was king, and frustrated with the antagonism of his people and the challenges he faced. Read Psalm 2 again, this time with Jesus in mind. What phrases repeat themselves in the New Testament related to Jesus? I find V7 poignant…when I read them in light of Matthew 3:17, when Jesus is baptized, and the voice of God declares, "This is my dearly loved Son!"

{tuesday 12.29.20}

Read Isaiah 61:1-11, Luke 4:16-21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: A message of comfort. Of good news. Of freedom. Of tears wiped. Favor bestowed. Straight from Isaiah and Jesus. What a powerful moment that must have been, Jesus standing in the synagogue of his hometown, unfurling the scroll and declaring the truth of his identity…Emmanuel, God with us. "The scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!" Which promise from Isaiah and Luke speaks most loudly to you today? How can you join Jesus in bringing that promise to life for the people you influence?

{wednesday 12.30.20}

Read Philippians 2:1-11

Observe, Reflect, Apply: These verses are so rich, and so fitting for us in 2020. It’s been a tough year. As a human. As a Jesus-follower. As a church community. Scattered. Seeking a new leader to teach and guide us as we follow the vision and mission that Jesus gave this place we call Heartland. Limping. Mourning. But, oh, how sweet the small mercies have been. How incredible, the moments of joy. Reflect back over this year, and take time to name the encouragements. The comfort. The friendship. Where was your heart softened? Where were you able to be hope for someone else? Where did Jesus become visible to you this year? Make a list. Invite your friends or family to add to that list. Celebrate together the presence of Jesus in the midst of our hard times. His light is dawning anew, friends. Praying with you for us each to encounter more of Jesus in 2021.

{thursday 12.31.20}

Read Colossians 1:15-23

Observe, Reflect, Apply: As you read this passage, consider how Jesus contininued the work of reconciling you to him this year. Write a prayer of thanks for that holy work that God is doing in you. Use this prayer as a tool to guide you into 2021. Declare how you will stand firmly in the truth of your life with Jesus, and seek to encounter him more each day.

{friday 1.1.21}

Read 1 John 4:7-21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This passage makes me consider how we, the community of Jesus-followers, can embody his love for us through the ways that we love and care for one another. This hasn’t necessarily been a great year of embodying Jesus’ love among the broad community of christians. Andy Stanley, in his recent book Irresistible, encourages us to ponder the question this way: What does love require of me? What if that became our relational mantra in 2021? In all situtations, where we live, work, study and play . . . what does love require of me?


{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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© 2021 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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