{July 11, 2021}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

Ready For More Unity

By Meghan Hemenway

A saying I have heard this last year is "the good news is that nothing lasts forever and the bad news is that nothing lasts forever." We can be encouraged that whatever difficult season we are in will come to an end, but by the same wisdom, we have to realize that the good seasons end as well. I have had an end to a couple of relationships during the last year that I didn’t ever think would end and I struggle to let go without feeling like I could have done more or done something different. I thought I had worked for unity, but it didn’t last. 

Being united – joined together as one – sounds like a strong and unbreakable state, but it is not easy. Dan told us today that unity without diversity is uniformity, not true unity. Unity does not mean that we are all the same – that is not what Jesus wanted for his followers. He tried to illustrate for us what God’s idea of unity is – a united community of different people, different races, different languages, who all stand together praising God. And praising because they have made it through all the difficulty, all the tribulation and brokenness to be able to stand together knowing, finally, all that heartache is over. On one hand that is such a beautiful, inspiring picture of perfect unity in heaven. On the other hand this can be disheartening because it means we will go though a lot of failed attempts and imperfect bids at unity on earth. We will walk through broken relationships, misunderstandings, and deep hurts before we reach the end of the journey. We will be hurt and we will hurt others. I can understand why it is tempting to stick with the people who are like us. It feels safer to stick with the known and protect ourselves – and others – from suffering.

The good news is that Jesus didn’t expect us to do this perfectly. He knew we would struggle, fail, and destroy unity just as often as we would build it – and he loves us anyway. He loves us so much that he gave us himself as a path to unity with God. No matter how many times we fail we always have a path to perfect unity in heaven. 

 

{sunday 7.11.21}

Read Revelation 7:9-14

Observe, Reflect, Apply: We will someday get to see perfect unity and it will be all the sweeter because of all the struggle and hardships we have gone through. What attempts at unity have you tried that have failed? How can these verses encourage you to try again to unite with people in your life?

 

{prayer for the week}

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

Jesus, thank you for creating our world, and filling it with incredibly complex, completly unique and wholly worthy humans. Help me this week to see in others what unites us, and to build bridges with folks I have been divided from. Help me seek unity with people who are different from me, and not expect uniformity. Help me engage my world with humility and grace, that I might be a conduit to your influence in the hearts and minds of others. Amen.

 

{bible reading plan}

By Chris Woodward

{monday 7.12.21}

Read Genesis 42:27-38

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Famine, loss, and desperation have accompanied the brothers of Joseph all along in their story.  Verse 29 gives such a wonderful treatment to how we feel sometimes in the midst of the struggle: “…and their hearts sank, and they turned trembling to one another saying, what is this that God has done to us?” The wording here in the NASB translation reads so well that they were lost in the moment and had no answers only to look for God in the moment. Today take a minute to write the story God has brought you through as you found yourself looking for answers (like these brothers). Now remember how God provided a way out of the famine, loss and pain and ask him to find a way in your life.

{tuesday 7.13.21}

Read Genesis 43:1-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Fear of the unknown. We see the family again in the mist of famine and difficulty, making a measured choice. The father does not want to risk another son yet, if he does not act, his family will certainly pass away without the provisions of Egypt.

It is apparent that they did not come to the difficult choice easily, because they had consumed the first supply of grain. The family is all but forced to return to Egypt with what dignity they had left, bringing more money than was required and a gift to Joseph in hopes that he will be compassionate. Today, meditate on the moments when you have made choices out of fear of the unknown. When have you stepped out, not knowing what the result would or could be, risking what you must provide for your family?

{wednesday 7.14.21}

Read Genesis 43:19-34

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Longing for family and fellowship, it is an interesting moment in time when Joseph sees his youngest brother in chapter 43. He sees him and is overwhelmed or “deeply stirred.” We see a brother who was long away from his family and had only heard of the brother he just met. The emotion was so great that he had to excuse himself, weep, and compose himself. Think for yourself how this moment in time must have felt for Joseph.  When have you been overcome with stirring in your family encounters? Are there persons in your life that you feel a deep desire for connection with? Is there distance that you need to close in your relationship to friends and family? Take a moment to pick three people and pray for connection and fellowship today.

{thursday 7.15.21}

Read Genesis 44:1-34

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 worldwide 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 confident belief in your life? Something so big, so catastrophic that you need massive amounts of belief? Name it, own it, and hand it over to God.

{friday 7.16.21}

Read Genesis 45:1-28

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Imagine being at a family reunion. You want so much to be in relationship and connection with the people gathered around you. Like Joseph, you weep so loudly that everyone hears you.  This moment to me is like the lost sheep being found, the long journey being over, the end of a war . . . the reconciliation of family under the banner of God’s prevision is a moment that is echoed in Pharaoh’s response to the family reunion. He gave land, time, and anything needed to help the family get back together. Have you had this moment with long lost family? With family and friends post-pandemic? Have you had this moment in coming back to fellowship with your church family in recent weeks?

{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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