{December 12, 2021}

Heartland Community Church



By Bill McMurtrey

We don’t always have all of the answers in life. And to be honest we don’t have to, and that is okay. Over the years in my writings for "The Journey" I have shared different ways I serve, from my annual Mothers Day boxes, to the painting parties, to the food giveaways and everything else in between. Projects that I organize and run, not to highlight what I do or for atta-boys, but in hopes of inspiring others to pay it forward, too. To plant a seed for those that are looking to go deeper, or maybe even for those that are still on the fence as to what they could do to help others and themselves.

A goal of mine for over 25 years now has been to share my "life’s motto" with a minimum of 5 people a week. That’s 5 different people a week, 52 weeks a year, every year for the past 25 years. And it goes like this:

"I truly, honestly believe, in my heart, my mind and my soul, that if I help you, you help Bob, Bob helps Suzy, Suzy helps Sally, then we’re all going to make it."

That might sound off to some, but for me it is my reality. I only know forward. And I absolutely refuse to ever settle in life. For me that is a part of my "Why." Why do I do the things I do? Why do I help others so much? Again it’s only a part, I don’t know if even I know they whole or true why, I’ve never really explored it. I just do it.

A long time friend of mine named Jeanine, who brought me here to Heartland over 26 years ago, said this about me once: "The reason Billy does so much to help others is because he has felt and lived the pain, and doesn’t want anyone else to go through it." In my life I have made some serious mistakes. And for those errors in judgment I assure you, I have paid a heavy price.

Outside of being hunkered down in the snow looking over the border of North Korea when I was in the ARMY, the second coldest winter I ever had was when I was living in my 69 FORD in a church parking lot at 71st and Metcalf. It is through God’s love, mercy and grace that I am where I am today. And hopefully you feel that too. And if you don’t, you are not forgotten, you are not forsaken, and you have not been left behind.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says, "The LORD himself goes before you; He will never leave you not forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged."

One of the best gifts we can ever give someone is to give of ourselves. To let others know that we are there for them, we care about them. As you move forward to Christmas my encouragement is for you to reach out to someone, invite them along, and simply be together.


{sunday 12.12.21}

Read Deuteronomy 31:8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Even before we realize it, God is going before us. As unique creations of his, he will never leave us or forsake us. If we can wrap our heads around these facts…that the God who created us is always reaching a hand back to bring us along, saving a space for us, and longing to reconnect with us…we could apprpoach all the ups and downs of life without discouragement or fear. Where do you need increased God confidence, that he knows you and sees you and is for you? Who do you know that might need a fresh dose of that confidence; might need to know that there is a God who loves them and longs to be near them? How can you invite that person into your own story and life?


{bible reading plan}

By Lisa Zulke

{monday 12.13.21}

Read Luke 15:3-7

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This week, we are exploring Jesus’ stories about finding people and things that were once lost to him. You see, when we lose something of deep value, we continue to hold space for it as we seek it out. As you read these passages about the shepherd searching for and rescuing his lost sheep, what do you observe? What might a lost sheep have meant in that era? What connection can you find between the rescue of the lost sheep and your own life?

{tuesday 12.14.21}

Read Luke 15:8-10

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In the story of the lost coin, what meaning did it have in Jesus’ day? What does this woman do after she has found the coin? How do we mark the moments when we find something of value we have lost? How might you consider those moments differently in light of this story?

{wednesday 12.15.21}

Read Luke 15:11-27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: These verses contain so much! Read through once, and note all the things you observe: the who, what, why, where and when of the story. What observations and/or questions do you have as you reflect? Now, read the passage a second time, this time through noticing what the heart of the story is about. For me, I love how the father was so prepared (he was holding space for his missing son) that when the son arrived there was no hesitation in what to do. A lively celebration commenced. What might this story be teaching us about Jesus?

{thursday 12.16.21}

Read Luke15:28-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In these verses we learn that the brother who had stayed with his father was frustrated, even angry. What do you think caused that reaction? What do we learn from the father’s answer. In all of the stories this week, we see the return of something lost leading to a great celebration, the expression of gratitude, and the elevation of the value of each now-found item. Who are you holding space for in hope, in prayer, in pain or hardship? How can you invite Jesus into the holding of that space? And how might you celebrate when the person or thing you are holding space for returns to you?

{friday 12.17.21}

Read Luke 1:68-70

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How great it feels to be able to celebrate something God has brought about. When have you been able to boldly celebrate something God has done in your life? As you reflect on the past year, what has God done that could use some celebrating, out loud and with others? It is often through our gracious, joyful celebrations that others are intrigued at this Jesus we follow, and how he has moved in us.


{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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