{November 27, 2022}

Heartland Community Church


All It Takes Is A Little Faith

By Lisa Zulke

Feel like God has you in a press? I sure do. I want to see God do the thing he said he would do, the thing that in faith I pray for, the thing that I know isn’t outside of his will, or his power. I’ll be honest…I mostly watch and wonder, “Why God, why are you not doing anything yet?”

The story of Elijah might shed some light on that. I’m intrigued by his season in hiding, his season spent in a quiet place at the mercy of the wilderness and God’s provision. It is in that place that Elijah’s faith grows as he sees physical signs of God’s promise and provision.

How do you and I know God can be trusted? That he is acting on his promises? We can look back through the Bible and note the times he showed up, meeting people with what they needed in the moment. We can look back over our lives and note where God provided. Where he showed up. Where the unexpected happened. Where we received just what we needed in what turned out to be perfect timing.

In the Bible, this practice was referred to as setting an Ebenezer (a stone of help). You’ve likely seen something like that if you’ve ever hiked on forest trails, particularly in remote areas. In hiking they are called cairns…a stack of rocks that point the way, or mark the trail so that others don’t get lost. The Israelites learned to stack stones…ebeneezers…as reminders of God’s provision.

My friends know I have a thing for rocks. It is partly connected to this idea. That by stacking stones, and naming the places where God provided, I am reminded of his faithfulness. In turn, like the cairns on the trails, my stack of stones, your stack of stones, can mark the way for another who is nearby. Our reminders of faithfulness can encourage anyone who is struggling to see God’s presence and provision. It marks the trail, and just might help someone else find their way. To a deeper experience of Jesus. Yes, please. To a stronger expression of their own faith. Jesus, let it be so. To a life spent reflecting on and celebrating God’s nearness. Absolutely, I’m here for that!

What would it look like for you and I to go all in? Double or nothing. To proclaim all the moments…big and small…where God showed up and showed out. I want to live in a space like that…where we are naming and marking and celebrating the places God inhabited. The things that he has done. Spaces where your faith builds my faith, and our faith locks arms with one who is discouraged and can’t see it yet, and so on, to each generation that follows.

God will meet us…do you believe it?


{Sunday, November 27}

Read Isaiah 9:6-7

In this brief passage, Isaiah shares the prophecy of Jesus’ arrival in our world. It’s a beautiful depiction of the promised savior to come. What do we learn in this passage about Jesus? Make a list of everything you see about who he is, how he will arrive, what his influence will be. In their day, this promise was held dear and prayed over with great desire. We get to celebrate the fulfillment of this promise on our side of the story. That is what Christmas is all about…celebrating God’s promise fulfilled, and Jesus’ arrival in our lives, the nearest he had ever been.


Advent Reflections

Over the next four weeks we will spend time preparing our eyes, ears, hearts and minds in this advent season. This week we begin with themes of hope. Each subsequent Sunday we will shift to reflections on faith, joy and peace. Are you ready to quiet your soul, and to celebrate the arrival of Jesus among us?


{Monday, November 28}

Read Isaiah 11:1-5

The people of Israel were assuming the Savior would arrive in power, toppling their enemies and setting things right. He indeed set the world right, but in such ways their…and likely our…minds couldn’t think to ask or imagine. Make a list today of the attributes of Jesus we read in this passage. In light of the message Sunday and what we learned of God providing what Elijah and the widow needed, just as they needed it, what could we learn from this description of Jesus? How was he unexpected, but just what was needed?


{Tuesday, November 29}

Read Micah 5:2-4

Jesus has been in the picture from the beginning of time. At the dawn of creation he was present with God. Yet there was a time among the people of Israel that his new arrival was hoped for and wondered about. Imagine the conversations around the water cooler. Where will he come from? Where will he first appear. What will he look like? What will he do first. I don’t imagine most of them thought he’d arrive as a baby…and yet this passage predicts it, and gives them a clue…he is coming from Bethlehem. We are told that in his arrival and being, there is peace and joy. He will be a good shepherd, taking care of his flock. Take time to ponder that truth today and consider how you have been cared for by Jesus.


{Wednesday, November 30}

Read Luke 1:26-38

Luke lays the groundwork for the story of Jesus’ birth. To a teenager, a young virgin girl. If you were Mary, how do you think you’d perceive this truth? Wonder, incredulity, fear? Both of the culture and people around you and of the miraculous about to happen through you. We know that God knew exactly what he was doing, and he picked the right woman for the job. How does this story remind you that God is a planner? Where do you see the threads of God’s plan connecting in the passage? Mary’s response to the angel is a beautiful example of double or nothing faith, isn’t it?


{Thursday, December 1}

Read Matthew 1:18-21

The angels were working overtime to communicate with the people involved in Jesus’ birth! We know Joseph to be an honest man of integrity, and surely he was torn and confused in this situation. He was known as a man who followed his faith, and lived to please God. Before the angel arrived on the scene he was not seeing God in the plan to marry the young girl who was with child. Once he learns that this is indeed God’s plan, he is faithful and obedient to the next steps. He surrenders his inclination to walk away. Where might God be calling you to surrender something to his plan? Will you be faithful and follow him.


{Friday, December 2}

Read Luke 2:1-7

We know, through so many stories in our Bible, that Jesus defies all human expectations. That began at birth, as you can imagine the Israelites were not anticipating a savior, born in a dirty manger, in the town of Bethlehem. God chose this path because he wanted to upset the order of things. He wanted to set things right in our world. How do you think Jesus’ arrival set that plan in motion? How would the savior being born in such conditions, at such a time as this, begin to reset our world?


{Saturday, December 3}

Read Luke 2:8-21

When we celebrate Christmas, we are acknowledging all the prophecies fulfilled in the old testament. And we are celebrating the incredible fact that God came to be with US…you and me…willingly and with great love. Can you hear the fear, the awe, and the joy in this passage? When that incredible, miraculous baby was born and placed in the manger, it wasn’t just any birth. This moment marks the full on launch of God’s redemptive plan to gather humanity back from the brink. He didn’t have to take part in the plan, he could have launched it in so many other ways. But he chose to be integral to the plan out of love…with an eye on each and every human, including you and me. Spend some time this weekend thanking God for this incredible, wonderful, awesome plan.



{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources). You can also download The Bible Project App HERE.

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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