{June 27, 2021}

Heartland Community Church


Ready For More Courage

By Bill McMurtrey

When I was a young boy,  around the age of 8 or 9, I took my step dad’s military duffle bag, dropped a 10lb weight at the bottom, then jammed it full of old blankets and towels. I took a black wooden bar stool, propped myself up and drilled a small hole in the bottom of a rafter in our basement. Then I screwed a 2-inch eye hook into that small hole that I bought myself after I rode my bike to the local hardware store. Standing up on that bar stool again I hung my homemade punching bag from the rafter. As a third grader. I was pretty determined!

As I would do my nightly boxing workouts in my family’s basement, Summer turned to Fall, Fall turned to Winter. The days got shorter. It went from being able to see what was outside the basement window in the summer to black glass panes on the windows in the winter. And I was scared. Very scared. I always had an eerie feeling that I was being watched from outside. And not just anybody watching me, ohhh no no nooo my friends . . . I knew it was either Frankenstien, the Werewolf Man or Dracula himself.

At this age I was already going to church every Wednesday night, and on Sunday. As time went on I started learning more and more about Jesus, especially his power to save and protect us. Anytime I would be downstairs punching that heavy bag I’d run up to the dark windows and say things at first like, "Go away," then, "I’m not scared of you." After a while it turned into, “You can’t hurt me, Jesus will protect me!" 

John Wayne once said, "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway." In my prior military and law enforcement careers I had to “saddle up anyway.” The first time I was ever shot at, as the intended target, I was 16 years old. Wrong place, wrong time. Accused of doing something that I had absolutely zero knowledge of or participation in. That was fear.

Courage came around 15 years ago, after I had already been at Heartland for about 11 years. I gave up everything in my life, to take a deeper dive with Jesus. I made a declaration to a large group of friends (who weren’t church goers) on a hot Tuesday night of where I wanted to be, which was 8301 Lamar (our old church building). I invited all of them to join me. No one did. But I knew, in my heart, my mind and my soul, that I wasn’t losing all of my friends without gaining a great family.

When I left my other life behind to follow Jesus deeper I chose not to live in fear. Fear of the what if. What if I can’t make ends meet because I don’t have the same contacts anymore? That was a big one, and God provided abundantly, chasing that fear away. What if I don’t fit in? Well 26  years later they still let me hang out. Whether you’ve been here 26 years or 26 minutes, Jesus wants you to give him your fears, your tears, your hurts, your anxieties and most of all, Jesus wants your love for Him.


{sunday 6.27.21}

Read Isaiah 41:10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Fear not, for you are known, seen and loved by Jesus. Where have you experienced him holding you up, sustaining you? Where do you need God’s presence to reveal itself? Where can you practice courage this week?


{prayer for the week}

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

Jesus, thank you for inviting us to deeper waters, and deeper places of life where we must trust in you. Help us see or sense your presence when the storm roars, or life gets hard. Help us seek courage, not by our own strrength, but by drawing near to and keeping our eyes fixed on you. Amen!


{bible reading plan}

By Marnie Vasquez

{monday 6.28.21}

Read Genesis 36:1-19

Observe, Reflect, Apply: During COVID, sometimes our homes felt like they grew smaller. Everyone was under one roof all day long, all week long, month after month. We did our work, school, church, our meals, our quibbles, our loneliness. We even grew the number of ‘bodies’ inside our homes from new babies, new puppies, new kittens, new backyard pets and more. Think about that in contrast to Esau who had 2 wives, who had a growing family, his growing livestock, his livelihood to the point of needing to move to something bigger. While most of us couldn’t during COVID, it’s an interesting contrast to think about in this passage.

{tuesday 6.29.21}

Read Genesis 36:20-43

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Oftentimes I gloss over these lists in the Bible. Who are these people? Why are these lists in here? What am I supposed to take away from this? I don’t have the answers, but I do know God wanted this in the Bible, he wanted YOU to see this, he wanted YOU to see these lists. Why do you think God thinks these lists are important? So far, I’ve concluded: 1) These lists trace Jesus to Adam and Eve. 2) These lists trace all our ancestries to Adam and Eve. 3) If you need to do some deep history, these lists will be a clue to help you on your way. But, what about you? What do you think God wants you to take from these lists?

{wednesday 6.30.21}

Read Genesis 37:1-17

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Do you have siblings? Half, step, whole? If so, consider your position with your siblings in this story, meaning if you’re the oldest, think about yourself as the oldest in this story and how you would feel. And so on. For me, I am the youngest sibling. And I absolutely looked up to my oldest sister. And when something happened to me, I’d run and tell her all, despite whether she cared or didn’t or the potential consequences that thing might bring. What about you? How did this happen with your siblings? Keep that in mind as you read today’s passage.

{thursday 7.1.21}

Read Genesis 37:18-36

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Whenever I read this part of the story, my stomach turns, my heart hurts, I’m angry, and feel betrayed. But, loving my oldest sister like I do, I’d still love her even if all these terrible events happened. As you read this story, pick one perspective – any perspective – and imagine the story through their eyes. Joseph. Reuben. Joseph’s half-brothers. Jacob. Pick one and consider the story through that person’s perspective.

{friday 7.2.21}

Read Genesis 38:1-30

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This is a story about a woman named Tamar who has done all the right things but has been hurt and wronged several times. Yet, she comes out on top. And when she does, I want to shout, “Heck yeah, you go, girl!” But it’s a painful story, like many of our ‘girl power’ stories of today. As you read this passage, keep in mind how Tamar must’ve felt despite following the rules. I see a woman who has strength, courage and an ability to outwit the one who wronged her the most. While I’m not sure I could’ve done what Tamar did, it’s an impressive and interesting ‘girl power’ story of the Bible that shouldn’t be overlooked. What do you see?

{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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