{July 4, 2021}

Heartland Community Church


Ready For More Freedom

By Lisa Zulke

When have you felt truly free? Sixteen. That was the first time I felt truly free. I bought a used telephone company car. An AMC Hornet. Never mind that I had to climb in and out the passenger door, because the driver door would soon rust through it’s hinges, rendering it unusable. I could drive. I could go where I wanted, mostly when I wanted. My favorite thing was to just drive country roads. Until the road ended, choose the left or right turn, until that road ended, and so on. It gave me a sense of the geography where we lived, where the roads would take me. Before GPS, we had to know these things with our eyes, minds, and sense of direction.

The rush of freedom hits me when I stand on top of a mountain, at the edge of a cliff, or on the edge of water. Where can I go next? What might I discover on the way? What lies just beyond that edge. Feels like I’m on the verge of discovery, and gives me such wonder and confidence!

Living truly free has been a bit more of a challenge. I began following Jesus in my late 20’s, and felt forever like I was doing it wrong. I must be missing something. I know in my head I am forgiven, I am growing and changing, I am free from the mistakes, sin, guilt and shame of the past. But. Ever been there? With head knowledge, but lacking the confident trust of heart and soul knowledge?

Those first few years I was still not comfortable in my own skin. So I kept trying to learn. To noodle it out. To mirror the practices I saw others engaging. To muscle through. And to pretend, because I wasn’t feeling fully free on the inside. And surely I couldn’t let anyone know it.

What I learned in those years is talked about in John 10, where we learn about Jesus being our shepherd. I was beginning to understand Jesus, and the gift he offers those who choose him. I was beginning to understand what following him could look like in my life. Even beginning to hear his voice, above the other voices in my life.

A fascinating thing was happening at the same time. Jesus forgave me, restored me, and was connected to me…but I was keeping myself in the sheep pen. He had opened the gate, and invited me to come and go and explore the pasture. But I stayed in the small pen, fenced in, but looking at an open gate. Looking back, I am disappointed at how long I have chosen to live the smaller story. To not trust myself, or my instincts for where Jesus was taking me. To not explore the edges of the meadow, or how far the foot path went before one reached it’s end. When did I lose that fascination and wonder at what could be? I think it sort of slipped away, bit by bit. The pen was a known commodity. It was comfortable.

Jesus invites us to come and go. To follow and listen. To always return to his voice. Not to be penned in, or imprisoned. It makes me wonder, where am I living in true freedom, and where is Jesus 100 yards ahead, looking back and saying, "Come on…let’s go. The gate is open. Let’s see what’s on the other side of the meadow."


{sunday 7.4.21}

Read John 10:1-10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Where can you sense Jesus’ voice, inviting you into more freedom? What voices might you be hearing that don’t have your best interests in mind? As you consider your everyday life, week to week, where is there a gate open that you haven’t chosen to go through? How can you fine tune your ears and your spirit to hear Jesus’ voice better? Where might Jesus be calling you into the full life?


{prayer for the week}

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

Jesus, thank you for giving us your voice, your JPS (Jesus Positioning System). Help us dial in our ears and eyes, hearts and minds to recognize your call, your nudge, your invitation. Help us see clearly those who have ill intent around us. And help us trust you so much that we step through the gate to the full, free life you are building for us. Amen.


{bible reading plan}

By Brooke Hodnefield

{monday 7.5.21}

Read Genesis 39:1-23

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The definition of ‘providence’ is: the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth, or another definition uses the word, ‘protection.’ This is the theme that comes to mind as we read over the account of Joseph. While he was doing right by both God and Potiphar, he was pulled into a false story that ultimately led him to isolation in prison. But he wasn’t alone. God had foreseen caring for Joseph and he wasn’t going to let him ultimately stay there. Can you look back over your life and find a relatable story? You may not have ended up in prison, but a hypothetical prison. Would you be able to see God’s providence? His care, or protection ultimately manifested through freedom?

{tuesday 7.6.21}

Read Genesis 40:1-23

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The Cupbearer and the Baker, equals serving their master, the King of Egypt, who collectively find themselves in prison for a wrong-doing. Each of them has a very specific dream, both of which were interpreted by Joseph. But here is where it is hard to swallow. The Cupbearer’s dream leads to release and appointment back to his former role, whereas the Baker’s results in his hanging, with additional colorful nuances involving birds. Yikes. How often do we see this play out in our world, the concept of what is just, or fair? How do you grapple with the reality of this paradox? Consider where you are most needing clarity around injustice, personally or for another, and ask God to offer HIS insight to you today.

{wednesday 7.7.21}

Read Genesis 41:1-36

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Just as the Cupbearer owns his human limitations, his feeling of inadequacies, he shares, ‘I am reminded of my shortcomings.’ Are you feeling ill-equipped for the journey you are on? Lean into these words (paraphrased) by a favorite author of mine, Hannah Anderson, in her book Turning of Days: 

“Allow yourself to feel small. Let yourself be awed and humbled by all you don’t know and all you can’t control. Being stewards of a journey that intersects with God’s calling on someone’s life, and ultimately Kingdom-impact, does not mean we have power over it. Instead, stewardship means serving the One who does.”

Become small today, and rest in your human limitations. What human limitation do you need to own? Ask God for HIS strength.

{thursday 7.8.21}

Read Genesis 41:37-57

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I love Joseph’s confidence in this massive 14+ year story. He is so in tune with God, so clearly receiving the Lord’s vision, that he can interpret a dream that includes cows into a world-wide undertaking. I also love Pharoah’s confidence in Joseph. Without taking Joseph for his word and giving his crazy dreams credibility and action, none of this would have ever happened. At the end of the day, BELIEF is what we see in both these men. Belief that God would do what he said he would do. Where do you need confidence belief in your life? Something so big, so catastrophic that you need big belief? Name it, claim it, and hand it over to God.

{friday 7.9.21}

Read Genesis 42:1-26

Observe, Reflect, Apply: You can feel this, the pain, the deep pain, that Joseph is experiencnig in seeing his brothers. This is the kind of pain that rises up from within, almost in a visceral way that floods our body at the mention of, sight of, experience of…(insert here), whatever hurts so much that it takes your breath away. Psalm 34:18 tells us, ‘The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.’ What pain is there, that you push down deep, hoping to avoid it’s presence or feel it’s weight? This could be something you may or may not have dealt with, but God knows. Pray right now for that which has a stronghold – God can shoulder the burden with 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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