{July 25, 2021}

Heartland Community Church


Ready For More Growth

By Bill McMurtrey

Are you familiar with the saying, "when one door closes another one opens?" I bet you are. That happened to me this year. I’m an ex-police officer. And I’m well involved and connected within our church community. That was exactly what one local police department was looking for this year when I was asked to go through a series of tests, background checks and interviews to be the chaplain for their department. Anyone who has worked in law enforcement will tell you the background checks are no joke. They are deep, they are intense and they get info you would never ever think of. You also do a polygraph test and a handwriting sample for analysis. I mean, people’s lives depend upon you. This check was no different. I passed everything. Went before a 5 person panel for my final interview, had them rolling in the aisles, including the Chief of Detectives. Was then set up to meet the officers of the department on roll call and do a ride along, just like old times, I was in my wheelhouse to say the least. Then came the call.

The Captain who was trying to recruit me had to tell me that the Chief of Police had changed plans and wanted an ordained minister. I am not. He shared on a side note that he had hoped it was me they would go with, I checked all the boxes for the street guys. With over 26 years of deep dives, small groups and communities at Heartland I have a pretty strong faith background, and I definitely know my way around the "Cop Shop". But I am not an ordained minister. I thanked the Captain for the opportunity, told him it was an honor just to have been considered, and if there was ever anything that I could do to not hesitate to reach out. 

Years ago I might have handled it differently. My attitude could have been, "Why not me?" or "Why me?" Rejection is not easy for anyone–we can sometimes take it personal when it is not. But I have a saying, "That was then, this is now." Nowadays I’ve removed myself from those thought processes by being more Jesus-centered. The first thing I always ask is will this bring glory to God; is iit his will? I have grown spiritually to the point that those are my go-to reactions, instead of "why not me." As I have grown more Jesus-centered, the transformation of my thoughts has been abundant. No longer do I worry about myself, but like Zacheus in Luke 19:8, I’m not just willing but wanting to give it away for God.

Remember how I said when one door closes, another one opens? This week I was officially invited to join a faith based think tank of faith leaders, nonprofit leaders and critical support leaders for Johnson County KS in a series of ongoing discussions on the role "Spiritual Support" plays in our communities. To say I am honored and humbled is an understatement, and it is a testament to transformation we can all have as we focus on Jesus first.


{sunday 7.25.21}

Read Luke 19:1-9

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What are some areas in your life and faith you’d like to see growth in? Zacchaeus took a risk and climbed a tree to get closer to Jesus. What are you willing to risk to get closer to Jesus? Zacchaeus let Jesus into his house…are there areas of your life that are difficult for you to let Jesus into? Why? What is something God is telling you, and what are you willing to do about it?


{prayer for the week}

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

Jesus, we want to grow in life, to grow closer to you, and grow stronger in our understanding of who you have created us to be. We are searching for you in our every day lives, even to the point of climbing trees to see you…would you meet us in our searching? We are ready for a fresh encounter with you, Jesus, draw us near. Our ears and eyes are open to everything you are trying to say to us…help us see and hear you clearly, and have the courage to act on what you are saying. Amen.


{bible reading plan}

By Lisa Zulke

{monday 7.26.21}

Read Philippians 1:1-2

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul opens this letter to the church in Philippi in northern Greece by offering a prayer of blessing on the people. Grace and peace…wouldn’t we all love to receive such prayers and gifts from our fellow Jesus followers? Who in your life has spoken a blessing or prayer over you? Who encourages your faith? Or, who might God have placed in your path that YOU can encourage and pray over…would you be willing to text them right now to offer your words, on their behalf, to Jesus?

{tuesday 7.27.21}

Read Philippians 1:3-6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: These verses hint at the deep connection the believers in Philippi had with Paul and Timothy. They were the first city in Europe to hear the good news about Jesus. Paul’s opening lines here are so poignant…he gives thanks upon thinking of this community of Jesus followers. He joyfully makes requests to God on their behalf. And he speaks with confidence that the work God began in their midst will be carried on, beyond this generation and the coming generations, right up until the time Jesus returns. I am emboldened to pray bigger prayers! To think more beyond this day, week, year and into the heart of future generations. How about you? Would you join me in praying big picture, long term, spanning all of time prayers this week?

{wednesday 7.28.21}

Read Philippians 1:7-8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In these verses we hear Paul describing his connection to the believers in Philippi, and to the sharing of the good news about Jesus. Who do you share a deep connection with as you work out your faith, and learn to follow Jesus in the every day? How can you and the people that come to mind level up, if you will, and encourage one another to live open, connected lives as you follow Jesus in your day?

{thursday 7.29.21}

Read Philippians 1:9-11

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The picture in these verses talks about being filled with all the good stuff Jesus brings into our lives, while at the same time overflowing more and more that good stuff…our love of Jesus…to those around us. Who receives the overflow of your life following Jesus? If you aren’t overflowing right now, how can you get reconnected to Jesus so that flow increases?

{friday 7.30.21}

Read Philippians 1:12-14

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul writes this letter from prison. It is clear that he continues to share the overflow of his encounters with Jesus to all..the guards, fellow prisoners, and the believers who hear the stories of his actions and words. When things get hard, how do you keep your eyes on Jesus? On the bigger picture? How do you continue to share the good things Jesus has done for you through times of hardship?

{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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