{December 19, 2021}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

PREPARE HIM ROOM: Peace

By Brooke Hodnefield

My 13 year old son loves baseball, and was gearing up for Fall ball this year. But then a parse fracture in his spine caused him to cease from ALL activity. No bike, no track, and certainly no baseball. This was not how he had envisioned starting his 7th grade year.  

My dear friend sat at the hospital bedside of her father this Thanksgiving. This was his absolute favorite holiday because he loved gathering with his people. His family surrounded him while he breathed his last, certainly not how they had envisioned Thanksgiving this year.

John 16:33 tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Not only do we anticipate the hard, but Jesus tells us that this life will bring the hard. It’s not if, but when. This may seem hopeless, but how many thwarted plans have also been the cause for good? For an unexpected joy or blessing that never would have occurred. There is fragility in the plans we have and the expectation for outcomes that align with our deepest desires.

Whether you are a disciplined planner, using all the lists, tools, time-management principles and practices, or you are a haphazard take-it-as-it-comes planner (or you find yourself somewhere in between), you likely have an idea of what you want, or the outcome you hope to achieve. Planning can provide a security blanket that actually gives us the false sense that we are in control.

My dad’s words of wisdom have always stuck with me…as I would come to him in a tornadic frenzy of anxious energy and questions, asking his counsel as to how I would tackle the road ahead, he would simply remind me, ‘Brooke, don’t create your own sense of urgency.’ While I continue to fall prey to this same cycle, I have learned over time that I need to turn to God and ask for his counsel – Lord, help me to order my days. My time, my energy, any investment I would make is yours. The act of praying these words causes me to become less frantic and grounded in Him. There is an ability to right-size the world around me and find peace and clarity in the chaos and challenge of what lies ahead. As Brad Herndon shared with us today, ‘peace is not the absence of conflict, peace is the presence of God in the midst of it.’

I leave with you a prayer that helps to remind us just who is in control and the peace He can bring as Immanuel, God with us.

Productivity Prayer | Jordan Raynor

Lord, thank you that my longing for timelessness is not a mirage. Thank you for the promise of eternity with you in your kingdom. I recognize that through Christ I can never lose my status as your adopted child; thus, I have no need to be productive. But I graciously accept your invitation to do as many “good works” as I can for your glory, the good of others, and the advancement of your kingdom.

Proverbs 16:3 says to "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." Lord, I commit my day and my to-do list to you. Establish my plans in accordance with your will. Help me to be purposeful, present, and wildly productive for your purposes today.

Even though I will die with unfinished symphonies, thank you for the promise that my work will not be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). I recognize that I don’t need to complete my to-do list in order for your purposes to prevail (Proverbs 19:21). As John the Baptist said, “I am not the Christ” (John 1:20), and thus I don’t have to finish all the work that lies before me. If my work is aligned with your will, you will finish it in your time. I know that you love me no matter how productive I am today.

Let your love make me both peaceful and ambitious to do your will. Amen.

{sunday 12.19.21}

Read John 16:33

Observe, Reflect, Apply: God is present in the midst of conflict. In the midst of chaos. In the midst of life. Where do you need to experience God’s peace today? Where do you need to invite God into a hard time, a conflict, or a stuck place. Let’s pray this week for each other to find the confident peace God wants us to locate in him, in the midst of our everyday life.

 

{bible reading plan}

By Brooke Hodnefield

{monday 12.20.21}

Read Ephesians 2:14-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Not only can we look to God for peace, but ‘…he himself IS our peace.’ If you are wrestling with deep-seeded relational conflict or are experiencing an unsettling you can’t put your finger on, remember that God IS peace. Who better to calm a burdened heart and mind than the one who embodies peace. Where do you need peace? In your relationships, in a decision, within yourself? Offer these to God and Let him ground you in his true peace today.

{tuesday 12.21.21}

Read John 1:1-5

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This is one of those verses you need to read over a few times. Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith, of our story and of all that we are and will be. We see this in 1:2 ‘….nothing was made that has been made.’ How many times have we tried to will or manifest something to happen? Whether consciously or unconsciously, we want our way. Where do you sense the greatest area of your life in which you want something to be made, created or simply, come to be? What would happen if you brought God into the conversation?

{wednesday 12.22.21}

Read Philippians 4:6-8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Maybe it is easy enough to ask God about the big stuff, to ask him to intervene in mighty ways.‘Do not be anxious about anything (literally anything!), but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ Verse 6 would tell us that even the insignificant is significant. If you feel as though you are not worthy to lift up to God that which is small or mundane, He sees you. He sees what is on your heart. Today, share with Him something that othery may not see is a need to you, that is heavy, even if small.

{thursday 12.23.21}

Read Joel 2:12-13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: To ‘rend’ means to tear or rip. Rend was used to speak to the tearing of garments, which was a customary act when grieving or mourning. Here, God is asking up to rend our heart. Why such a graphic word? I believe it grieves him that much when we are far from him. In what ways do you need to rend your heart today, to name where you may have fallen short – because we all do!

{friday 12.24.21}

Read John 8:12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In Jesus, we have new life through the gift of His grace and mercy. We can exchange our old, sinful and seemingly purposeless ways for a life of walking with God (imperfectly and with doubt), but in lock-step with our Creator. While we know that there will be hard, and there will be darkness, that is circumstantial. Jesus is light, and he will be our light in times of darkness. Where have you seen light in your life through Jesus’s presence? Even if you knew it was Him or not.

 

{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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