{March 14, 2021}

Heartland Community Church




By Meghan Hemenway

I can confidently say we have all experienced loneliness. Once a pastor said, “If you aren’t in a season of struggle, loss, or pain, get ready because your season is coming.” I left church feeling upset and uncomfortable with that message. Was I not experiencing a true relationship with God if I didn’t relate to those words? Couldn’t some of us get through life without major loss and still be able to appreciate the grace and faithfulness of our God? And then life happened and I began to learn what he had truly meant that day. It was not a threat. He was not saying God would make us suffer, or that we couldn’t really know God without suffering, but he had meant to encourage us to draw near now. To open our Bibles and start familiarizing ourselves with the stories of strife and how God kept his promises to his people all the way through. At the time I wasn’t ready for the message. I was defensive and couldn’t accept the wisdom from someone who was farther along the path.

When my father passed away I had just finished a year-long study of the book of Revelation. It wasn’t something I had chosen it was just the book my Bible-study group was covering that year. At the time I was more interested in the childcare and the hour or so to talk with other adults about anything other than what a toddler found interesting. What happened was that I became very familiar with the verses in Revelation and the fulfillment of God’s promises so much so that as I sat with my grieving family after my dad died I found words of comfort coming out of me that were straight from those verses. I look back and see that God was with me long before that difficult season, laying the foundation I would need to rely on to survive the hardship that was coming.

I’ve heard grief described as a curtain that blocks out the sunlight. We know the sun is still shining, but our suffering blocks our view. We have to rely on what we know is true – the sun never disappears even when we can’t see it. God is like the sunlight. Our suffering can hide his presence, but we have to rely on the truth that he never leaves us. Faith, like love, isn’t a feeling, it is a choice we make that even when we can’t feel it, it is still there. We can remind ourselves of the times in our lives God has cared for us, protected us, and poured love onto us. These truths will help guide us through our darkness.


{sunday 3.14.21}

Read Psalm 77

Observe, Reflect, Apply: God can handle our tears, our anger, our doubts. Nothing we feel is foreign to him. Jesus came to experience all the range of emotions and situations so that he could bring us hope. Cry out to him like you would to a close friend. What pain are you hiding from him? What situation seems too big or even too small with which to bother him? What events in your past can help remind you of who God is?


{prayer for the week}

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

Jesus, I am so thankful for your words this week. Thank you for being here, right now, today, with me. Help me remember that you are here, even when I can’t feel or sense your presence. Help me call out to you and name the things I don’t understand, the things that hurt, the things that make me feel far from you. Give me vivid memories of the times you were present with me. Help me practice the gift of remembrance when my heart feels weak and I feel alone. 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 Marnie Vasquez

{monday 3.15.21}

Read John 17:1-12

Read, Ponder, Pray: Have you ever wondered what Jesus and God discuss? Are they shocked with what they see in the world today? Do they have deep conversations with the Holy Spirit to ensure He protects, guides and nudges forward all the people that belong to God? Does one root for the Chiefs and the other the Patriots and talk smack? Do they discuss what the angels say about the concerns and joys of the children? I wonder what they say. John 17 is a prayer from Jesus to God and provides a glimpse into those conversations.

{tuesday 3.16.21}

Read John 17:13-26

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Think about leaders in your life: the good ones, the terrible ones, the mediocre ones. What kind of impact have they had on your life? Your job? Your homelife? Your mental well-being? If you could wish for anything, what would you want from these leaders? As you read through today’s scripture, see what Jesus prays to God about, how He behaves, loves and takes care of his people. And consider Jesus as your ultimate leader. And then read on to chapter 18 to see what happens next. It’s incredible what Jesus did for us.

{wednesday 3.17.21}

Read John 18:1-22

Observe, Reflect, Apply: There are people and voices in our society today that make us boil and seethe. And others we admire, love, cheer for, and follow. Many of these voices, both good and bad, are been silenced, despite our 1st Amendment rights. Jesus experienced this, and much worse. In today’s passage, we see how Jesus is trying to be stopped and silenced. He’s arrested. tied up. Taken away. Slapped. Later he will be beat up, tortured and killed. Jesus willingly went through all of this for you and me. Keep reading the Bible to understand why.

{thursday 3.18.21}

Read John 18:12-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Simon Peter saw Jesus arrested, tied up, and taken to the High Priest. He stood outside where Jesus was being questioned. When asked by one of the women if he was one of Jesus’ disciples, he said he was not. Why did he do this? Was he hoping if he denied knowing Jesus, he’d get to see what happened to Jesus? Was he worried if he claimed he was Jesus’ disciple he would be arrested, tied up and taken away too? What would you have done? What do you do today when asked about Jesus?


{friday 3.19.21}

Read John 18:19-27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Simon Peter denies knowing Jesus two more times, for a total of three. After this last denial, a rooster crows. And Jesus’ words come flashing through Simon Peter’s mind. Jesus told him that before the rooster crowed, Simon Peter would deny Jesus three times. Yet Simon Peter emphatically said he would not. And now it has all come true. How do you think Simon Peter felt at this moment? How might you?

{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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