{January 23, 2022}

Heartland Community Church


Never Say Never

By Lisa Zulke

Twenty year old Lisa had a lot of nevers in her. She carried them in a tote bag, always handy for tossing out in conversation. She had a handful of people in her life that wanted her to know about God. To consider Jesus. "Yeah, that’s not for me. I’ll never be a Jesus follower. I’ll never go to church. Don’t waste your time," she’d offer. Twenty year old Lisa would pursue her career, serve her community, learn how to lead…just not for Jesus.

What most didn’t know is that twenty year old Lisa, alone in her apartment, would argue and holler at God. She’d never invited anyone into these conversations…but a part of her wanted to believe that God saw her. That he heard her questions and fears and doubts. If you’re real, God, show me. If you were real, why would you allow this to happen? What kind of world is this, God, if you are in control, yet these terrible things still happen? Why don’t you stop it? You can’t be real, or you would. Wouldn’t you?

I’ll never believe in a God who would allow….fill in the blank. Twenty year old Lisa worked in social services and saw a lot of pain and suffering. She lived alone, and led a very independent life, but felt lonely and unseen and of little value as her contributions in the world didn’t seem to be making a difference.

Never say never, right? Although I still feel like a twenty year old, I am not. As I reflect on the people who held space for me to become brave in, to voice my fears and doubts and–yeah, my anger–about God, I am grateful. People who said, "Yes, that is so hard to understand. I feel your frustration, too. I don’t know the answer. But, lets hang out and try to find Jesus together." People who invited me into their lives, even allowing my hard edges to rub up against their beliefs, and their people. I’m thankful for Larry, Joanna, Pat, Lisa, Jon, Martha, AJ, Brad, Brittany, Michelle, Darryl, Irene, Teresa, Mark, Terri, Jenae, Britton, Jen, Shelley, Dan, Sarah, Brian.

And did Jesus show up? Yes, yes he did. In the tiniest ways, and in massive miracles. In a quiet knowing, a soft whisper, and a roaring yell, he became real and clear and present to me. I’m not suggesting he is easy to follow, and your doubts will be answered in short order. It seems to take a lifetime of practice, of intentional choices to engage with others, and inner choices to choose to look, see, hear and experience his presence. I don’t know the answers, but I will make space and wait with you for Jesus to show up, and we will figure it out…together.


{sunday 1.23.22}

Read John 20:24-28

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What are your nevers about God (past or present)? Where do you (or where have you) needed God to give you an encounter or revelation before you could believe him? Who in your life made space for you to wrangle your faith and your doubts? Have you considered thanking them? Where can you show up, right now, despite your doubts? And, who might God have in your life that needs you to make space for them and their doubt?


{bible reading plan}

By Lisa Zulke

{monday 1.24.22}

Read Ephesians 4:17-24

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Read the passage and consider…how do we keep our minds open, and our hearts soft toward God and his work in our lives? If you’ve decided to follow Jesus, how can you set aside old, harmful habits and allow your trust in him to renew your heart and attitude? If you’ve followed Jesus for a long time, how might you risk allowing your heart to harden or your mind to dlose toward the things Jesus finds important?

{tuesday 1.25.22}

Read Ephesians 4:25-30

Observe, Reflect, Apply: These verses begin with a command to stop, or not do something. Is that a non-starter for you? What I love is that the author clearly statess what we are called to do instead. Make a list of the "do" notes here. Which are hardest for you to follow? Choose one thing that you want to get better at, and share it with a close friend. Invite them to check on how you are doing as you intentionally practice improvement.

{wednesday 1.26.22}

Read Ephesians 4:31-32

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. How can we change our posture toward people to be more like this? For most, it is easy to do with your inner circle. You know and understand one another, and likely keep short accounts. What about when you widen the circle? Include your coworkers, neighbors, service people you interact with, even strangers. How might you represent Jesus more clearly to those you don’t know and understand fully? How can we be more kind, tenderhearted and firgiving to all people?

{thursday 1.27.22}

Read Ephesians 5:1-9

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How can I live more fully in the light of following Jesus? How can I be a conduit to the light of Jesus shining in all of the places I inhabit? If more light were emanating from me, how might my world be different. Praying with you today that Jesus’ light would flow fully through you, and change our world.

{friday 1.28.22}

Read Ephesians 5:10-14

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Some days I feel like I am sleep walking. My spirit isn’t lighthearted or bright. My inner thoughts and even my actions turn ominous, dark, and even mean. That is not the spirit I want to flow from me, and so I pray that God would awaken me from that sleep walk, from that dark corner I can inhabit and feel safe in. Awaken me, Jesus and bring me out into the light so the hard edges soften and your light and spirit flow from me. Amen.

{saturday 1.29.22}

Read Ephesians 5:15-20

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This chapter ends with an invitation to live carefully, but to LIVE. How might you live from wisdom, from a deep understanding of who Jesus is and what he wants for you? Take some time today to give thanks for the wisdom, understanding and vision Jesus has granted you. Celebrate the life that Jesus has led you to, and is cheering you on in. Go, you…you’re doing a great job!



{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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12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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