[February 19, 2023]

Heartland Community Church



By Chris Woodward

Identity for us was on full display this week as hundreds of thousands of our neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends gathered in joy and excitement to welcome back to the city the Super Bowl Champions. It was a spectacle to watch as the crowds all dressed for the occasion in the red and white of the Chiefs. The parade interrupted traffic and work and brought the city to a standstill. For a moment, it was inspiring to see the identity in which the crowd was unified. Nearly a million people pushed in closer to see the players as they danced and strutted through the streets. As this year’s champions of the NFL, the Chiefs have added to their collective identity a bragging right. The city came together in a celebration where they were unified under a shared moment and victory—a moment when Kansas City could identify itself as a winner on the largest sports stage in America.

The feeling of winning and being on the winner’s side is almost intoxicating. It is easy to bang our chest as the winner, and being on the losing side is more complicated. So often, we find Jesus’ identity as a home for those who have no home, for those who lost in the game of life and have pulled back alone and apart from the celebration. Jesus chooses to identify most often with the sinner, the weak, and the lost. Cheering for them as they overcome to put down the addiction, the lifelong sin and move closer to him. He invites us to join him, to witness by cheering with him when teens and young adults put others in front of themselves. To watch as men and women come together and lend their strength to the weak. We can go with the crowd and celebrate the winners, but as Jesus’ followers, we need also to attend to the lost, those far from home, and those distanced from the celebration. We are to make space for our friends and family, allowing a path for them to see Jesus and learn to put Jesus first.

This is one reason my family and I enjoy attending and serving at Heartland. My wife and I were richly blessed by our time at the RE:conference the first week of February, where Heartland donated time, people, and funds to serve the foster and adoptive community in our city. This is one way our church is a “living stone,” making space for others to put Jesus first and care for the vulnerable. Take this as an invitation to join the celebration and build a community for yourself and others. Maybe at Midweek, the women’s bible study, or by volunteering for childcare so parents can encounter Jesus through worship and teaching on Sunday. Where will you be built into the community this week?


[Monday, February 20]

Read 1 Peter 3:1-7

Submit and obey; what a way to start the week. Stop and imagine growing up in a home that was safe and secure. A place where submission and obeying were accessible due to how your parents lived, truly following and learning to follow Jesus and serve and submit to one another. Peter says follow me as I follow Jesus. How are you doing with submission and obedience as you follow Jesus? Where do you need him to help you?


[Tuesday, February 21]

Read 1 Peter 3:8-12

Verses eight through twelve are anti-2023 culture. Peter calls all his readers to be, as the NASB puts it in verse 8, “harmonious, sympathetic, loving, compassionate, and humble.” I enjoy the word harmonious when followers of Jesus work in tandem to show the way to Jesus. How are you working today to be in harmony with your family, friends, and other Jesus followers?


[Wednesday, February 22]

Read 1 Peter 3:13-17

How many times do you scan the room before sharing Jesus? Do you pick your words carefully so as not to be singled out? Do you find the climate of society is tense for persons of faith? I often ask myself, “How do I have a good answer for the hope that I have?” As we move into Lent, how can you spend the next 40 days working on good answers for friends and family? How can you share your story of following Jesus in your every day life?


[Thursday, February 23]

Read 1 Peter 3:18

Peter reminds us that Jesus died once and for all for the just AND the unjust. This gift, as we so often call it, was given before we even knew that we needed it. This is the greatest homecoming – that Jesus made a path for you before you even knew it. What assurance does this bring to your day today that Jesus had gone before you and made a way to you?


[Friday, February 24]

Read 1 Peter 3:19-21

All too often, we forget the distance that Jesus went to gain, earn, forgive, leaving the eternal presence of his father, coming to earth, and living among his children, watching them die, be sick, sin, and eventually dying on the cross, and returning to his rightful place. Even after the cross, according to Peter’s account, he went to minister to those he had previously lost. How comfortable do you feel that Jesus would do all this for his people? For you? What can you learn from this level of sacrifice?


[Saturday, February 25]

Read 1 Peter 3:22

Jesus gets home to his complete identity, where he belongs at the father’s right hand in verse twenty-two. The work was accomplished, and a path was established to eternal life. There had been emotional and physical pain, and difficult conversations along the way. In a way, all these events formed whom we know Jesus to be. Take a moment and reflect/write down the events that formed who you are with Jesus.


{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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© 2023 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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