{August 15, 2021}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

Ancient Paths: Community

By Meghan Hemenway

I chose to keep my kids at home for the last school year and attend remotely for the entire year. It was a difficult decision, but for a number of reasons felt like the best choice for them. Overall it went well. They did well academically, we were able to be together as a family at a time in their lives – 1st and 5th grade – that I would normally not have been with them every day, and I was able to help them process thorough some big changes and concerns happening in our lives. They got to watch me face challenges and work through them – all day long.

My goals for the year were for them to be safe physically and emotionally, to have consistency, and to strengthen their relationship with each other. These goals were accomplished, but what I couldn’t give them, what I couldn’t truly replace with virtual options, was community. The community of classmates, teachers, friends, and parents moving in the same rhythm every day. I couldn’t give them the experience of working on class projects with other students or learning how to work toward a goal together as a whole group.
 
Community isn’t always safe. It is messy and difficult and often you could accomplish a task easier, quicker, and neater on your own than trying to work with other people. Community challenges our ideas about ourselves, our views of the world, and our views of other people and that is hard. Sometimes we don’t want to see the world through someone else’s eyes or see ourselves as someone else sees us. Community brings change and transformation and as followers of Christ we have to remember that this is a good thing.

My kids had their first day of school last Thursday and it was the first time since March 2020 that they had been inside a school. They were apprehensive and couldn’t really accept this big adjustment. They wanted to stay at home with me – last year had worked fine, so why did we have to change? But thankfully, after just the first day my oldest son was glad to be back. It didn’t even take a full day for him to remember how good it felt to be in a room with other people; to tell a joke and have someone other than your mom laugh; to get to know new people; to work together as a team playing capture the flag.

I know this transition will be hard. Next week my son may feel completely different and long to be back home. (My younger son still is not convinced school is a good idea at all.) But I believe that we will see good things come from being in community with others. I believe that they will grow and mature in ways they couldn’t alone, and that they will help bring change and growth in others.

 

{sunday 8.15.21}

Read Hebrews 10:23-25

Observe, Reflect, Apply: The encouragement here is to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” We can have faith, but we can also be discouraged going alone through life. In community we can help others to keep going and we have others to remind us to not give up. This last year and a half have made us be creative about ways to meet together and hold on to community even when we can’t physically be together. In what ways has the last year strengthened your idea of community? In what ways has the last season be challenging for you? How have you been able to spur others on and who has done that for you?

 

{prayer for the week}

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

Jesus, we long to experience true community, the way you intended us to. Help us be noticers of and encouragers for the people you have surrounded us with. Help us take steps toward community and help us notice others we can invite along on our journey. Help us get creative with making space to gather with others, and help us learn to include you in those spaces. Amen.

 

{bible reading plan}

By Meghan Hemenway

{monday 8.16.21}

Read Philippians 2:14-15

Observe, Reflect, Apply: “Do everything without complaining.” My friend tells her young kids, “Do it with a happy heart,” when she gives them a less than satisfying chore. She is training them to be aware of not only their outward responses but to to their internal. As a mom, she doesn’t want to hear whining and see eye-rolling, but her bigger goal is help her children practice gratefulness in the midst of disappointment. Do you monitor your inner monologue when you face frustrations or unpleasantness in your life? What are you telling yourself and how might that affect how you feel about difficulties?

{tuesday 8.17.21}

Read Philippians 2:16-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Sometimes I wonder if I am on the right path or if what I am doing is leading me far away from the future I hope for. I’m sure we all have questioned our decisions and wished for a some clue or hint that we are going the right way. God’s word is a guide for us. Paul tells us that if we were in service to God then at the end of the journey we will be grateful for each step. How to you “hold firmly to the word of life?” What encouragement from God’s word helps you feel confident on your path?

{wednesday 8.18.21}

Read Philippians 2:19-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In these verses Paul sends Timothy to bring back messages of how the Philippians are doing. Maybe there was some risk involved in making this journey and maybe the people didn’t know Timothy as well as Paul. Have you ever had a friend tell you that their friends or family are praying for you? It’s like the love of God connects us all. Even though they do not know me, they have genuine concern for me and my well being. What this feels like is a message straight from God – that someone who doesn’t know me can have deep concern and hope for me. How can you encourage others in this way? How can you pray for the loved ones of your loved ones?

{thursday 8.19.21}

Read Philippians 2:21-24

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Timothy is like a son to Paul. He has learned from Paul and worked beside him as he preached the Gospel. Now is the time for him to go out at work on his own. Paul sends him out to the Philippians with what I interpret as the message that they can trust him. That they can believe his words and that he knows the mission of this community. Have you ever been the new one? The new person at work, in a family, or in a group of friends? How do you show that you can be trusted, that you understand the mission, and that you are on the same team?

{friday 8.20.21}

Read Philippians 2:25-27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In these verses Paul sends Epaphroditus back to the Philippians. He is another example, like Paul and Timothy, of a person who genuinely loves and serves God. It must has been a sweet reunion when he returned home. Who in your life is a model to you of love and service to God? How does their life show their love and service?

{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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