{April 11, 2021}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

The Journey Between

By Bill McMurtrey

Have you ever sat in a service and listened to a message and thought, "Wow he is speaking directly to me?" That was me today. As Brad shared the story of Abraham leaving his life off comfort to go do the will of God I rejoiced with a trip down memory lane. Abraham left his life, his home, his belongings, his safety and security in life at the age of 75, to go and do what God wanted him to do. 

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. – Genesis 12:1

I can relate to Abraham, having done something similar, although on a much, much smaller scale at the age of 40.

Growing up I always wanted to be a cop. The kids in the neighborhood and I grew up playing cops and robbers, and the seed was planted. My major in college never changed once from the day I began. I went to school for administration of justice. Along the way I studied criminal law and US constitutional case law. Eventually I made my way into law enforcement.

If I had to list some of my accomplishments for a resume, it may go like this:

  • Graduated "Top Gun" in my class
  • Tied a state record set in 1958 for law enforcement officers on shooting ranges
  • Served as a member of SORT (Special Operations and Tactics, or "men in black")
  • Elected by peers to serve as secretary of the police union’s Fraternal Order of Police
  • Received multiple commendations for meritorious service and a commendation from a US Federal Magistrate for my devotion to community service and community relations

See a pattern forming? I had my own thing going on. It wasn’t a job, it was a career. I worked hard to achieve what I had. But, God wanted more from me. He spoke to me through different channels. I didn’t want to listen. Leave my story book career? At the pinnacle of all I had done? It was secure, constant and known. But God called me to leave, into the unknown, to help others the way I do now. Helping others, creating opportunities for others to connect. Wanna come over for dinner? Would love to have you! Just stop me and say hello!

When Brad pulled those stakes out of that bag? I saw myself 20 years ago…young, strong, full head of hair, not wanting or worrying about a thing. And I gave them up, those words on those stakes. Comfort. Control. Success. I had to give up all 3 to achieve what I have today. THAT is the glory of God.

Leaving that life behind was hard. I struggled financially for the first couple of years. Family and friends both were like, "You did what? Nobody leaves an accomplished, secure, comfortable career and all it brings just to go be a man of God." They didn’t understand. They didn’t have to, it was between me and God.

Work would come and I would spend a few years studying on my own to do what I do now. My life today is where God wants me. Initially that didn’t come easy to accept. But the way it has worked out is it’s own proof.

Today I have a solid career again but it’s in the financial markets. And with my success there I am able to be available for others in need when need be, not just when I have time.

This last year I built a 10 ft cross in my backyard (image below). All of the smaller crosses on it were placed there by fellow Heartlanders like you. Many were giving their devotion back to Jesus with that simple, symbolic gesture. In life we have choices…everyday we get the chance to follow God deeper, or to stay comfortable. In what way are you willing to trade those stakes in the ground in for God’s directions?

 

{sunday 4.11.21}

Read Genesis 12:1-4

Observe, Reflect, Apply: When God invites us to a new place, a new role, a new opportunity, it often requires leaving things behind. Sometimes, very good and important things. As you read these verses and consider your experience, what has God moved you toward? What have you had to leave behind, or loosen your grip on?

 

{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 your incredible promises to us, told in the Bible. Thank you for declaring beyond a doubt that in following you, we will live at the end in the "promised land" with you. This in between part can be hard. And joyful. And challenging. And incredibly life giving! God, help us to see you in these in between spaces of life. Help us to place our trust in you, and only you, in the midst of it all. Help us sense your presence, and follow you in faith toward the full life you have for us here and now. Amen.

 

{bible reading plan}

By Brooke Hodnefield

{monday 4.12.21}

Read Genesis 4:17-26

Observe, Reflect, Apply: We pick up this scripture at the edge of a crime scene. Cain has attacked and killed his brother, Abel. Cain’s punishment for this is not death, but that of a life of a restless wanderer on this earth. (4:12) However, Cain’s bloodline continues through the birth of Enoch, whose name was also used to name the city his father was building. Cain resides in the land of ‘Nod,’ which coincidentally means ‘wandering.’ We’ve all had our share of wandering…sometimes that’s a welcomed, exploratory and quieted time to sense where God is leading. Sometimes that is an unsettling, disorienting and unwelcomed time when we feel we are alone on the journey. What I do know about the wandering, is often the feeling of ‘not yet arriving’ actually means that the work is happening and movement is being made. Can you look over your life and see your periods of wandering – both those that were ushered in and those you found yourself in? Consider those wandering times, and see if you can’t see where God was in the midst gently corralling you onto the path…maybe not one you’d selected, but that which He had laid before you.

{tuesday 4.13.21}

Read Genesis 5:1-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: It’s easy to get lost in the genealogy of the Bible. While it is of the utmost importance (I mean it’s the lineage of Jesus?!), it can be hard to track. We see the account of Adam’s line…Adam, Hebrew for ‘man.’ THE man, the original. But what I love is the simple statement, ‘When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them.’ (5:1-2) This trumps that of any genealogy list…every single person, male or female ever born has been made in the likeness of God. Consider what that means…despite our individual uniqueness, we also have one massive thing in common. Within each of us exists that of an image bearer, representing God in our own distinct ways. How are you uniquely an image bearer in your world? Today, allow yourself to name and embrace at least one way in which you bear image to Christ by who you are, unlike anyone else.

{wednesday 4.14.21}

Read Genesis 6:1-8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: God looked over the nation he’d created and saw division, wickedness, evil and corruption. In this short passage, twice it says that the Lord was grieved by this. His solution? To wipe mankind and animals off the face of the earth. Enter, Noah and family, the faithful ones who found favor in the Lord’s eyes. Oddly, as I consider what God may have been seeing then, I wonder if he is seeing this now? Our world seems eerily similar to these ancient Old Testament times. But what gives comfort is the constancy of our God. In an unstable world, He provides stability within, through His presence. While this doesn’t change the state of our world, it can change the state of our ability to engage with our world. We are reminded in Hebrews 13:8, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ Rest in the knowledge of His constancy today.

{thursday 4.15.21}

Read Genesis 6:9-22

Observe, Reflect, Apply: ‘Noad did everything just as God commanded him.’ (6:22) Now you can replace ‘Noah’ with ‘your name here’ HA! This simple statement at the end of our reading today baffles me. I know that DAILY I fall short and miss the mark in what God has commanded. I’m amazed by this notion that Noah was given the quest of building his shelter in place (to exact specification), filling it with the essentials (people, animals, food), and did just that. We can marvel at Noah and his work, but we have a Savior who has atoned (covered) for us. On days I feel I don’t measure up and fall short, Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds me of the finiteness of myself but the limitlessness of God, ‘Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’

{friday 4.16.21}

Read Genesis 7:1-24

Observe, Reflect, Apply: As Noah and the ark continued to bob along and rise as the waters relentlessly continued, do you imagine he questioned his decision to follow God’s commands? When the waters are crashing all around us with no end of the storm in sight, it can feel like an eternity. There is a relentless, exhausting and seemingly hopeless state that can surface. When you read (verse 24)  that this took place over 150 days (roughly 5 months) that doesn’t seem too bad. But when you are in the thick of it, and the sea is vast and endless, it can bear down in a crushing sort of way. But we know the end of the story. The water does cease, dry earth does appear, and the storm was weathered. What is the flood you are navigating? It may feel as though your ark is bobbing, forgotten, but you are seen by our God. He created the waters and will see you through them.

{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.

 

Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share what you are learning, questioning or experiencing. We love conversations!

 

© 2021 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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