[May 21, 2023]

Heartland Community Church


Good Soil

By Brooke Hodnefield

My brother and I were both born in Colorado. We lived there long enough for me to fall in love with the mountains and a grow within me a desire to explore and adventure outdoors. We moved to the Pacific Northwest following, which further emphasized my love for God’s creation found in mountains, forests, rivers and oceans. While KC is home, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (well, maybe Colorado ;)) I have had to express my love for the outdoors in other ways, and the idea of a veggie garden satisfied my ‘granola’ heart. 

We live on a bit of land, and a few years ago we had a raised-bed veggie garden built in our backyard. I am on my third season with four raised beds, and most hopeful for this year’s production. Keep in mind that I’m a beginner, but the first couple years I had planted all sorts of vegetables but didn’t tend too much to the care of the soil. They had the basics: water, sun, and an occasional weeding. They did produce some, but not as I had hoped, and some were simply crowded out (not getting space to grow as they’d like) because there were too many plants. 

This year prior to planting, my husband and I spent a good amount of time preparing for the growing season. We tilled the soil, breaking up years of crust, layers of various textures and some heavily packed areas. We brought in a variety of different new soils, compost, and nutrients to mix with the more seasoned soil. What we now had was a well-cultivated soil, rich in nutrients, with air to breathe. Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers have only been planted for a few weeks, but it’s clear they are thriving so far. 

The condition of the soil will determine the productivity of the seed.

As I consider the seed (God’s word) and the soil (you and I), I recognize how often I expect the seeds to ‘do their thing’ with very little care and cultivation (or preparation) for growth. As I open my Bible in the morning, or read my daily book of prayer, my hope is for that God-nugget to jump out (within the 7 minutes I’ve committed), take root and get lived out within the context of my day. If I’m honest, I often show up to that time with a rushed posture, half-focused but yet expecting to receive or glean something from God’s word that will give rocket fuel to my day. I am hearing what I am reading, but I’m not listening nor am I acting on what it is that I’ve read. The soil of my being is not ready to receive the gift of God’s word. 

Hopefully I am not alone in my futile attempts to continue to grow into a faithful Jesus-follower. Surely Jesus knew that we would need his help and the support of others to cultivate a heart (and posture) that is ready for his word to take root and grow. A verse that has been a favorite for years and years speaks to this sort of becoming, or transforming we can ask for…

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

How would you describe your heart posture as you approach time with God? What is something you could do differently that might better cultivate the soil for God’s word? 


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, May 22]

Read Luke 21:5-38

Jesus begins to cast vision around the signs of the ends of the age, when ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.’ (verse 33). So what do we do with the days we have left on this earth, whether we see the ‘fulfillment of all that’s been written’ in our lifetime or not. My eyes stop at verse 34, ‘Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down by…each of us could fill in the blank with any number of things that might cause our hearts to be heavy, our minds to be troubled, and our vision to be clouded. Our lives may be full, but Jesus calls us to not be so full that we crowd out His presence, whether today or on that day when He comes again. What can you most relate with right now? A heavy heart, troubled mind, or clouded vision?


[Tuesday, May 23]

Read Luke 22:1-6

Judas became the obvious choice for the chief priests and the teachers of the law – he gave them an easy out in getting Jesus off their hands and willingly offered up himself to do the dirty work. This dirty work came at a hefty price. What did Judas desire? Was it power, authority, money, influence, approval, or all of it? While we can look at Judas with pure judgment for the horrific act that led to Jesus’s crucifixion, we can also ask ourselves just how often do we make choices motivated by those same desires? Consider a decision you have to make, or maybe one you’ve recently made. Think on your motives, or your ‘why’? Do your desires align with God’s?


[Wednesday, May 24]

Read Luke 22:7-29

Imagine a dinner gathering in your home. You’ve prepared and set a lovely table. Your guests sit down and you relish the joy in being together with dear company over a meal. Then you proceed to let the entire table know that you were, ‘eager to eat this meal with them before you suffer.’ Can you imagine then if this table of your closest friends began to dispute as to who among themselves was the greatest?! Jesus knew from the very beginning that we were selfish people, asking constantly, ‘what does this mean for me?’ What Jesus teaches us in this moment is that He will never leave or forsake us, despite our silly pursuit of self. Today as you encounter people, be one that serves, as Jesus tells us that is the greatest.


[Thursday, May 25]

Read Luke 22:30-46

I’ve been thinking a lot about my teen boys. There are many things I can do as a mom to support my boys, but there are also many things that are simply not in my control. As the days and years go by, this becomes more and more true, and should be so! They are growing up. As I wrestle over how best to support and connect with them, I’m reminded of Jesus’s sweet time with His Father, knowing that what came next was an agonizing death. What could he do? He spent time ‘praying earnestly.’ He prayed. While we are not with the weight that Jesus carried, we each carry the weight of the reality of our lives. Can you set aside time to ‘withdraw to pray’ and invite God into those things that are heaviest that you carry?


[Friday, May 26]

Read Luke 22:47-71

The council of the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law were hopeful to get Jesus to ‘own up’ to who he was claiming he was as the Son of God. Jesus knew by stating the truth and claiming his identity he would be judged, misunderstood and ultimately killed for it, but there on trial, he accepted the consequences that came as a cost for sharing the truth. What is Jesus demonstrating for us in this moment? There may be a time when what we know to be true and what we know to be right is not an easy road. It may be an isolating path that is less traveled and un-popular. What we do know, is in those moments and in those decisions in pursuit of truth, we are never alone. God walks alongside us when we feel misunderstood. He can relate. When have you had to make a hard decision that left you feeling isolated or misunderstood? Did you sense God during that time?


[Saturday, May 27]

Read Luke 23:1-25

As Pilate and Herod hold trial before the crowd of onlookers, and it is apparent that neither believes Jesus to be guilty. ‘I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he has sent him back to us: as you can see he had done nothing to deserve death.’ (verses 14b-15) We know the story, ultimately Pilate (as a classic people pleaser like many of us), lets the crowd get to him. His convictions were clear from the beginning, but he lacked the fortitude and integrity to hold true to what he believed. Do you remember the crowds crucifying Jesus or Pilate? What can we learn from this story, and how can we find this applicable to our own lives? Where might you feel as though you have a public decision to make, yet the noise of the crowds are consuming?


{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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