{December 4, 2022}

Heartland Community Church


It Is What You Make Of It

By Shelly Huston

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

Have you ever heard opportunity knock? Perhaps it was for a promotion at work? Perhaps it was for a relationship that we let slip through our fingers? Or a ministry opportunity, to speak life to someone who was struggling. Perhaps a large-scale opportunity.

Sometimes the opportunity seems to come at the absolute worst time. Perhaps it occurs during a time of strong success, and you think, well, this has been going great, I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got. Oftentimes, it presents itself at the most difficult path you’ve ever walked, and maybe, just maybe, you’re open and vulnerable enough to say, yes.

We see it time and time again in scripture. To Simon Peter and Andrew Jesus says, ‘Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ (Mark 1:16-18 and Matthew 4:19) Is it easier to follow Jesus when your nets are empty, or when they are over-flowing with fish?

Do you recognize the opportunity before you today? To become an active participant or choose to remain an observer. In our homes, in our workplace, in our home church, and in the world as a Jesus follower. In every place, in every opportunity, it is what we make of it.

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. —James 2:14-17

God’s been growing, watering, and weeding the faith within us for quite a while now. There are opportunities, daily, to put that faith into action. When God has done his work in us, and pointed us toward the situations, people and places he wants us to engage, it is what we make of it. How will you respond? Will you make the most of every opportunity, or let them pass by? Where is God inviting you to move in faith?


{Sunday, December 4}

Read Acts 1:15-26

After Judas’ betrayal, it was time for another apostle to be raised up. It was necessary to choose one of the men who had been with them the whole time Jesus had been living among them. One who had been a witness of Jesus’ baptism, up until the time he was resurrected and returned to heaven. As you read the story, take note of what you see happening. How did they choose a replacement? If you were being considered for the open position, would you be ready? Would you volunteer? Take a leap of faith? Guess what. Here’s your chance to get up, step up, and step out. Take your own leap of faith…maybe it’s your first leap, maybe it’s your fifth, but please, don’t let it pass you by. What is Jesus calling you to make something of?


Advent Reflections

Over the next four weeks we will spend time preparing our eyes, ears, hearts and minds in this advent season. This week our advent theme is faith. Are you ready to quiet your soul, and to celebrate the arrival of Jesus among us?


{Monday, December 5}

Read Matthew 2:13-15

How does Joseph demonstrate his faith in this passage? If Genuine faith can be demonstrated by obedient action, what steps did the angel of the Lord ask of Joseph? 1) Get up; 2) take the child; 3) and his mother; 4) escape; and 5) stay there until I tell you. 

The angel of the Lord is practically holding up cue cards for Joseph. Joseph chose to carry out the instruction given. If he’d refused to act on what he believed, where would we be today? If the Angel of the Lord came to you in a dream, what would your response be? Is there possibly an instruction God’s been trying to give you? Some of us can’t get past the first instruction given, ‘Get up.’ Is it as simple as listen, then obey? If so, how are you activating that faith through obedience?


{Tuesday, December 6}

Read Matthew 2:16-18

Only God could take the complete Old Testament (OT), parallel it with the New Testament (NT), and in his magnificent way, harmonize them. In this one passage he addresses one of Israel’s greatest times of grief reflected in the OT and synchronizes it with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the NT. God’s faithfulness to his word flabbergasts me. Herod was operating out of fear, and the people he ruled over would have to draw on deep wells of faith. Consider how you might expand the depths of your faith. How might you invite God to extend your faith beyond it’s current capacity?


{Wednesday, December 7}

Read Matthew 2:19-23

In this passage the angel of the Lord reflects on the prophesy of the OT, and brings it into alignment of what’s happening in the NT. Joseph steps out in faith, proceeds with caution, and follows the dreams and visions God sends him. Like Indiana Jones stepped out in blind faith from the rock wall into the unknown; or Peter walked out onto the water for the first time, following Jesus; or as Moses raised his staff over the roaring ocean. Each of these acts required open senses to seeing or hearing from God, and the faithful confidence to step out and act. How are your eyes and ears tuned to God’s voice or influence? How can you dial in to a stronger signal?


{Thursday, December 8}

Read John 1:9-14

Jesus was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to his own, but they did not receive him. Sometimes, we have such a vivid imagination of what we think God has in mind for us. We believe we will know it when we see it. Could it be that in our own preconceived ideas of who God is and what he has in store for us that we miss the boat? We miss the invitation? We miss the opportunity for the greatest miracles of all. Walking with him, being with him, following him, and being like him?


{Friday, December 9}

Read Isaiah 52:13-15, 53:1-3

I love solving mysteries. If Nancy Drew was on Facebook, we’d probably be besties. How is it that Jesus grew up among his peers, in his hometown, yet no one said to themselves, ‘I bet Jesus, will be voted the one most likely to save the world.’ In Isaiah the prophesy is indicating that Jesus will grow up just like any other child his age. Nothing about him would have distinguished him as The One…the Savior they were hoping for. Even those who knew the word of the prophets. Even those who had spent their entire lives waiting for the Messiah, anticipating his arrival, longing for the days of his coming, didn’t recognize him. It would take faith to do so. Do we recognize him? Do we recognize his handiwork in our lives? His guidance?  


{Saturday, December 10}

Read Isaiah 53:4-6

Instead of continuing in the covenant of the Old Testament, a new covenant was made. Jesus became the sacrificial offering on our behalf. He took upon himself the sins of us all. To absorb the sins of mankind, not only was he beaten, hung, and stabbed, he took our punishment, hell itself; all on our behalf. Do you carry great grief, sorrow or perhaps guilt? Do you have a debt so large; it seems you can never repay it? Remember, Jesus went to trial on your behalf and served your time as well. Just as it takes faith to move mountains, it takes faith to believe that you are a new creation. That old things have passed away, and that all things have become new. It’s called a walk of faith for good reason. It’s a journey, it’s a relationship, it’s a process. Step out, where you are, and trust that Jesus is there to catch, guide, prompt or carry. Make the most of this opportunity.




{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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© 2022 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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