[April 16, 2023]

Heartland Community Church


Unpacking Your Camels

By Lisa Zulke

What is my camel carrying?

I used to think the good life meant unlimited resources . . . when I started my first job, worked my way through college, and had very few resources. Once I moved past paycheck-to-paycheck living and began paying down that college debt, I thought the good life included buying fresh fruit and eating a meal that wasn’t centered on mac and cheese or ramen. When I landed my dream job, the good life looked like taking new, extra resources and having grand adventures. Sharing some. Giving some away.

In seasons filled with hard things, loss, and broken relationships, I thought the good life would mean things got easier, wins were greater than losses, and broken things were healed. Interestingly, my definitions of good in various life phases were the next level beyond what I was currently experiencing. I’ve lived in that place where I throw my arms up, look to the heavens, and tell Jesus how impossible this life is. And he looks right back at me (probably with a side eye) and says, "What you think is impossible on your own is absolutely possible through me. Are you ready to try it my way yet?" (Phrasing, mine.)

I’ve been struggling with what Jesus calls me to give up all day. Mainly because I don’t feel burdened with things, success, or career pursuits in my current life stage. Today I am wondering, am I the camel? Have I placed myself in the role of carrying all the things? Fixing them myself? Willing them to change. My answer is often yes. And I don’t want to be a camel anymore. The things I struggle to give away to Jesus, to release control of, are the hard things and the hurt places. Places where I long to see resurrection, renewal, and growth in myself and in relationships. Things left unfinished, prayers left unanswered. I don’t like to leave things undone. It is hard to set things down and walk away. It is incredibly hard to release control of the outcome. And oh, man, is it hard to ask for help.

These are the places I feel Jesus calling me to unpack the camel. What kind of world have I created? What assumptions am I operating from? What have I allowed to be crucial to my identity and placed between Jesus and me and the good life he has invited me to experience?

What is your camel carrying?


[Sunday, April 16]

Read Luke 18:18-30

Who is in this story? Which person or element of the story do you most relate to? What about it challenges you? Do you believe that if everything else you had was gone, Jesus would be enough? That all things are possible when God is in the mix? What might Jesus say to you if you asked him, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" What is he asking you to move out of the way to reach him?

The Journey through Luke

Join us in these daily reflections from the book of Luke in the New Testament. This book was written after Acts for a non-Jewish friend to help give historical context to what was going on in the church at the time. We are like Theophilus (most of us) – we did not grow up steeped in Jewish traditions, the Old Testament, and the prophecies. So Luke writes to people like us to make sense of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. For more background, check out these short videos from our friends at The Bible Project:

Watch Luke 1-9

Watch Luke 10-24


[Monday, April 17]

Read Luke 4:31-44

In today’s reading we hear three stories about Jesus traveling, teaching and healing people. Read through the stories 2-3 times. What do you learn about the "good life" Jesus came to offer us through these stories?


[Tuesday, April 18]

Read Luke 5:1-26

Make a list of Jesus’ teachings in the three stories we read today. What do we learn from him about life? What do we learn about Jesus? Now read the stories again, and note how each person spoke to Jesus, or listened or acted toward him. If you were present at each of these events, who would you be in the scene?


[Wednesday, April 19]

Read Luke 5:27-39

Who do we learn Jesus came to earth for? What has he come to do, based on today’s readings and those earlier this week? What do Jesus’ analogies in the passage on fasting mean to you?


[Thursday, April 20]

Read Luke 6:1-19

What do you learn about the meaning of sabbath in the first two stories? Have you found a way to practice sabbath, or rest, in a weekly rhythm? What does sabbath, or rest, look like for you? Next, we see Jesus calling the disciples and giving them a new role: apostle. Look up the definition of disciple and apostle. How would you explain them? (We will learn more about the apostles and their calling/roles in future chapters.)


[Friday, April 21]

Read Luke 6:20-49

Today’s reading is a choose your adventure! Read the full passage, and then return to the portion that made you curious or connected with you in some way. Read it again, noting what you are curious about, or what you feel prompted to explore. How might you take that story and put it in your own words, in a modern day setting?


[Saturday, April 22]

Read Luke 7:1-17

Today we read the story of a Roman officer and his dying slave alongside the story of a widow who has lost her only son. Jesus heals on from a distance, and hels another by laying hands on his casket. What puzzles you about Jesus and his ability to heal? What comforts you in these stories? Would you have the faith of the Roman officer, to trust that Jesus can heal from anywhere? Why or why not?



{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.

Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share what you are learning, questioning or experiencing. We love conversations!


© 2023 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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