{April 4, 2021}

Heartland Community Church



This Much

By Lisa Zulke

Ever have one of those days where you need to get away? Find a quiet place, by yourself, and get right again? Yesterday was one of those days, so I headed to my favorite place…the water.

I don’t usually go on Saturday, but I needed some quiet time, and some nature therapy. Arrived at 7 AM, launched shortly after on my SUP. But this previously quiet space was already teeming with boats. Not just the usual fisherman, kayaks and SUPs. Power boats, house boats, ski boats towing tubers and wakeboarders. And wave runners. They were everywhere!

I am pretty persistent, but a mile into my paddle I was distracted, discouraged and about to call it quits. I’d had a couple moments, talking to the blue herons and the grey hawks playing tag above me. (And, if I’m honest, to the boaters who were churning up my morning.) It was not quiet, no serenity here! In fact, it was quite chaotic in the narrower part of the lake…the "keyhole". Nearly got tossed from my board. In one of those strengthen-your-weak-knees and stabilize your stance moments I caught a glimpse of something new on the ridge above me. Stunned, stopped mid-wave by the sight of a bighorn sheep! My first sighting ever! Standing at the very top of the summit, all regal and serene, gazing off into the distance. The chaotic noise of humanity speeding to-and-fro below him had no impact. And in that moment, I got the message, loud and clear.

I. Am. Here. Immediately, my thinking shifted. Jesus is with us in the chaos. He stands above it all, regal and serene. And I think he longs for us to take note. In that moment I did…no way I’m going home now. I need to find my focus in the midst of all this. And locate Jesus in the midst of it, too. My paddle became a beautiful enncounter with the Creator, as he continued to surprise. Another mile in, the most beautiful, graceful white crane took flight and landed on a boulder. First time I’d ever seen her!

At the halfway mark I took a photo of the view, stashed my camera, and prepared to paddle back. As I stood up, a young bald eagle (that I’ve been watching all winter as he learned to soar, and fish, and keep watch) swooped down 10′ from me, caught a fish in his talons and flew away. I was awestruck, and couldn’t stop laughing at the lengths God will go to!

All of that chaos didn’t stop him from reminding me over and over again, "If you look, you will find me." Yes, yes I will. I literally wanted to yell to all the boaters, "Look at what you are missing!" But they couldn’t hear me!

The Chesterton quote today reminded me that we are living in a story, and the Storyteller is trying to reach us, to show us how we fit in His story, and inviting us to go and tell others. Join me this week in being a storyteller. Who might God bring across your path that needs to hear your story?


{sunday 4.4.21}

Read Matthew 27:57-28:10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Who do you relate to in this story? If you had been a witness to these moments, what story would you have walked away with? What story has God given you that might be an encouragement, a word of hope, or an invitation to encounter Jesus for someone in your life? Praying we all cann locate ourselves in God’s greater story this week.

{connecting with the story of God}

JOIN US! One way to explore God’s story and your own is through our course, Connecting with the Story of God. It begins this Tuesday, April 6, from 8-9:15 PM on Zoom. Here is a link to get more information and sign up: CLICK HERE.


{prayer for the week}

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

God, thank you for crafting the greatest story ever told! Thank you for sending Jesus into the story in human form, that we might learn from him, and begin to follow him. Thank you for the gift of sacrifice you made at the cross, and for the incredible, overwhelming display of love as Jesus rose. God, help me understand your story more clearly. Help me discover how my life intersects with that story, and give me eyes and ears and confidence to see and to share what you have done in my life with others. Amen.


{bible reading plan}

By Allison Antrim

{monday 4.5.21}

Read Genesis 1:1-19

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The first verse of the Bible is so simple, yet so profound: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (v. 1). From there we go on to read how the first four days of creation saw God speak – and make things happen. His words call forth light out of darkness, then separate the sky from the sea. By a command from His mouth, the seas gather together and bring forth dry land, then the land is covered with seed-bearing plants and trees. All God has to do is say the word, and whatever He says comes to pass.

Notice that in this passage, the same phrase is repeated three different times: “And God saw that it was good” (v. 10, 12, and 18). Not only can God create anything He wants by speaking it into existence, but also what He creates is good.  

Which of these feats of creation would you most like to have seen with your own eyes? Where can you see traces of God’s goodness in creation as we see it today?

{tuesday 4.6.21}

Read Genesis 1:20-2:4

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Days 5 and 6 of creation see the arrival of conscious life – first water-dwelling creatures, then land-dwelling animals. Just like in the earlier creation days, what God speaks into existence continues to be good. And then we read something truly profound: “ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (v. 27). And at the end of this creation day, God doesn’t stop at describing His work as “good” – instead, He calls day 6’s work “very good.”

Your Bible may set verse 27 apart with more white space around it than the other verses in this chapter. Why do you think this is? What is so special about this verse?

{wednesday 4.7.21}

Read Genesis 2:5-25

Observe, Reflect, Apply: We learn in verse 8 that God “planted a garden in the east, in Eden.” He puts the man in this garden to live in and cultivate it. Here, one of the most dramatic and consequential scenes in history will play out in chapter 3. Yet in chapter 2, nothing’s gone wrong yet, though God does give the man one and only rule: he cannot “eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (v. 17). 

I admit I struggle with why God would place such a tree in His garden and then make a rule like this. I don’t have an answer at this point in my faith, but I do know that so far in Genesis, everything God has done has been good, and that the man was given everything he needed to follow that rule (God even gave him the first woman, who would become his wife and be a “helper” to him). What do you make of this part of the creation story? What evidence do you see of God’s goodness?

{thursday 4.8.21}

Read Genesis 3:1-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Now we arrive at a pivotal point in the story of the Bible, and all of history, when Adam and Eve choose to break the one rule God had given them in the garden. It is interesting to note that the crafty serpent sets the stage by asking Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (v. 1). It is interesting that his plan of attack is to cast doubt on the trustworthiness of God’s word. Has the enemy ever tried a similar tactic with you?

God’s perfect world, and His perfect relationship with humans, is now broken by sin. Consequences are distributed each to the serpent, Eve, and Adam. Although these consequences are terrible, the one that stands out most to me is in verse 10. Where once there was friendship and joy between God and man, now there is fear and shame. I’m so thankful the story doesn’t end here. What fear or shame has God removed from you as a result of your faith in Him?

{friday 4.9.21}

Read Genesis 3:20-4:16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: After reading this portion of Genesis, I can’t help but think to myself, “Well, that escalated quickly!” While the first generation of humans sinned by disobeying God’s commandment in the garden, the next generation will sin by murder, motivated by jealousy. 

Adam and Eve leave the garden and start a family. Their two sons are raised to know the God who created their parents. Cain gives the Lord some of his crops, while Abel gives the fat portions from the firstborn of his flock of sheep. After Cain’s failed offering, God says, “‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (v. 6). How tragic that in the next few verses, Cain fails to heed the warning and murders his own brother. Have you, like Cain, ever had sin “crouching at your door” just waiting for you to give in? What did you do? How can you ask God to help you next time?

{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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