{February 28, 2021}

Heartland Community Church




By Todd Blackwell

I don’t know about you, but after last week’s polar vortex of -11 degree temps and snow every day, this past week has been amazing weather-wise. It’s got me believing that Spring is here, even if it is still three weeks away. And that makes me start thinking about all the things I should be doing to get ready for Spring:

Collect debris from the yard, replace the dead dogwood tree, repair the fence, compost the garden, fertilize the yard, seed the grass, mulch and preen the beds, cut back the grasses and roses, fertilize the trees, etc.  Wow I have a lot that I should be doing, I get stressed just thinking about it!

The word “should” is unique because not only can it refer to the future – what I should do – but also to the past – what I should have done. When it comes to my past I am reminded that I should have:

Been reading my bible more, prayed more, journaled more, been a more supportive spouse, reached out to the friend in need, spent more time with my mom, stopped procrastinating, been slower to anger in the moment with my son, and on and on. 

When we allow these shoulds – both past and future – to dictate our thoughts, they create a vicious cycle. They don’t motivate us, and they create an enormous amount of guilt, and they rob us of the joy of living in the freedom of Christ. We don’t need the shoulds in our life to burden us.

Joe reframed my thoughts this morning about the “shoulds” in my life.  Consider these facts:

  • “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” – Romans 5:8.  Jesus died for us when he should not have. Jesus did not wait for us to do all the things we SHOULD be doing, he died for us when we were sinners, doing things we should not be doing! Because of this, our relationship with God is secure – praise God!

  • Our relationship with God is not dependent on all the things we “should do”. God’s love does not change, it is the same. Our relationship with God is secure because of what He did for us on the cross.  

  • “Then Jesus said, forgive them for they know not what they are doing”  – Luke 23:34.  We are loved regardless of what we should do in the future or should have done in the past. We have freedom from the shoulds! God loves me even when I made the wrong parenting decision, and he certainly will still love me even if I don’t get all the shoulds done this Spring.

So, if Jesus is not concerned about what we should be, is he concerned about who we are? Yes! When Jesus looks at you, he does not see what you should be, he sees and knows what, according to his plan, you COULD be. He does not think in terms of what you should do or should not have done, he wants to show you what you CAN do in his plan for you. Jesus ended the shoulds when he died for you. He wants you to be free from guilt about your past and live a life without worry about your future. He invites you today to be your best self, a life of possibilities, a life of freedom, exactly who he made you to be, shining in all your glory with the gifts he gave you. What can you do this week to let go of the shoulds, celebrate the way he made you, and see what he is showing you that you CAN do?

{sunday 2.28.21}

Read Luke 23:33-34, Matthew 18:28-30

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Jesus died for us when we were at our worst. His unconditional sacrifice was not deserved by me, by you, by any of us. And yet, he chose to give his life for ours. He eliminated should from the equation…Jesus eliminated shoulds once and for all…shouldn’t we do likewise? What shoulds are you holding yourself to that you could lay down? What shoulds are you holding over someone else that you could forgive? When Jesus looks at you, what do you think he sees that could be? Name one thing you could engage Jesus in to move toward what could be, and go for it this week.


{prayer for the week}

Join us this week in a shared community-wide prayer.

Jesus, we did nothing to deserve the incredible grace and forgiveness you offered us at the cross. Thank you for giving so freely of yourself to build a bridge for us. God we thank you for your love for us. We remember when we met your love for the first time. And we ask you to make that love real and palpable to each of us today. Thank you for loving us without shoulds. We confess our need for you, we thank you for dying for our sins. Holy Spirit, we invite you into our lives…let your love, joy and peace overflow in us this week. Help us eliminate the shoulds from our self talk and from our relationships. Amen.


{bible reading plan: lent readings in john}

LENT 101

You’ve likely heard about Ash Wednesday and Lent, but may have never fully understood or engaged in this season of the church calendar in a more intentional way. Most of us celebrate Easter in some way…perhaps through a church celebration, or something involving baskets, eggs and rabbits. This guide is meant to shed light on the basics of Jesus-followers honoring Lent and Easter, and allow you to engage more intentionally along the way.

This year, Lent begins on February 17 with Ash Wednesday, which we’ll break down later, and ends Thursday, April 1 on Holy Thursday. The other big days all happen in the same week, appropriately named Holy Week. It marks the final week of Lent. These days include Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.

Lent lasts for forty days because that’s how long Jesus wandered in the desert, fasting, while he resisted Satan’s temptations. We have an opportunity, during the forty days of Lent, to reflect on our lives and draw closer to Jesus. Perhaps to slow the pace of life.

During Lent, Jesus followers often “fast” in various ways to connect with and honor him, similar to his forty day fast in the desert. Note that “fasting” may not always involve food. It may simply be choosing something (a habit, a block of time) to set aside that frees up space you can spend learning about Jesus, or practicing prayer. The main goal is to choose a way to practice sacrifice and intentionality so we can become closer to Jesus.


By Allison Antrim

{monday 3.1.21}

Read John 12:37-50

Read, Ponder, Pray: Jesus’s first visit to Earth was a mission to show people who God is, so that they might see Him with their very own eyes. Throughout this passage John connects seeing to believing. He points back to the prophet Isaiah, who actually saw the glory of Christ in his visions sent from God. Seeing Jesus as He is – the Lamb of God who would pay the price for all the sin in the world – leads to belief, pulling the believer out of the darkness of not knowing God into the light of knowing Him.

What about us, and all others who didn’t get to see Jesus in person? John’s words, as well as the rest of the Bible, help us to “see” Him in our minds and hearts, so we can believe that He is who He says He is. How has reading about Jesus in the Bible helped you to see Him and believe Him?

{tuesday 3.2.21}

Read John 13:1-17

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Here is a tender moment in which Jesus assumes the role of a lowly house slave by washing everyone’s feet. Such an action was so shocking to the cultural norm that Peter actually tries to refuse his turn. But the conversation he has with Jesus has a lot to show those of us who follow Jesus today. When Jesus tells Peter that the washing is necessary, Peter asks for a bath. But Jesus’ response to that is, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean…” (v. 10). 

When we believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and lives again, we take a spiritual bath. The grime of sin is forever washed away, though our feet will continually take us through the dirt during our lives on earth. We as Christians can help one another “wash our feet” through gently pointing each other back to Jesus. How has another believer “washed your feet” when you’ve needed it?

{wednesday 3.3.21}

Read John 13:18-30

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The Last Supper takes a dark turn as night falls. Jesus becomes troubled and tells the disciples that one of them will betray Him, saying, “‘It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish’” (v. 26). John goes on to tell us that the moment Judas Iscariot takes the bread, “Satan entered into him” (v. 27). Finally, Jesus says to Judas, “‘What you are about to do, do quickly’” (v. 27).

It’s awful to read this passage and know that these events lead to the terrible torture and death of the Son of God. Yet the fact that none of it can occur without Jesus’ direction is no small comfort. Satan is the enemy of God and thus our enemy, yet He can’t act without God’s permission. God is in control, no matter what. How have you seen God in control of your life, even when the enemy has been acting against you?

{thursday 3.4.21}

Read John 13:31-38

Observe, Reflect, Apply: As Jesus prepares for His death, He has a new command for the disciples: “‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’” (v. 34). Earlier in the evening, He demonstrated His love by humbling Himself to wash their feet, and in the hours to come, He will show the fullest measure of love by submitting to His crucifixion and death. 

Even though Jesus provided living examples before and after this new commandment, this command is an easy one to disobey. Loving each other the way that Jesus loved us requires humility and sacrifice, neither of which are pleasant. It can be easy to conveniently forget that this is a command from God that we are to follow. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to nudge us in the right direction and the example of Jesus to follow. How has someone followed Jesus’s example in the way they have loved you? How can you follow Jesus’s command and example this week?

{friday 3.5.21}

Read John 14:1-14

Observe, Reflect, Apply: For the first time in the scenes we’ve observed from the Last Supper, Jesus tells His disciples where He is going – to His Father’s house. The disciples learn that Jesus is headed there to prepare a place for them to go to one day, and that the way there is through belief in Him. To know Jesus is to know the Father. Then Jesus says something truly audacious: “‘Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it’” (v. 12-14). 

This is quite the statement, especially when looking back on the miracles Jesus performed! Yet in the rest of the New Testament, we see the disciples and other believers able to do God’s works, just like Jesus said they would. Nowadays miracles may not seem so commonplace, but Jesus’ words stand true still. What would it look like for you to believe the words of Jesus in verse 12-14?

{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 the free YouVersion Bible for your phone, tablet, or computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

The Bible App For Kids YouVersion partnered with OneHope to develop the Bible App for Kids, designing it specifically to engage children with Bible stories on an age-appropriate level. The Bible App for Kids is a free app for Android, Apple, and Kindle devices, available in over 60 languages.

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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