[September 24, 2023]

Heartland Community Church


Is God Listening?

By Lisa Zulke

"Your God is always in the hot tub, waiting to listen to anything you will bring him." -AJ Swoboda

This is a compelling image from Sunday. It helps me remember that God is ready and accessible 24/7. He is with us.

Saturday, I had a moment at the start of a race. It was a trail run… something I’ve never done before. I signed up to run a half marathon at this event, something I’ve done a lot. Others were running 30 miles, 50 miles, and 100 miles. I signed up to explore the world of ultra marathoning and learn what I could learn as I consider a future long run. As I stood at the half marathon start, an idea that had not dawned on me yet hit me with a vengeance. There are only 15 of us. [Looks left, looks right. Gulps.] I am likely to be the last finisher. The thoughts and emotions that followed were not pretty. What was I thinking?!

I’ve never been last. I’ve never been in such a small pool of runners. I’m slow, but I’m near mid-pack. Fear. Shame. There was nowhere to hide. So, God and I had a conversation. It was brief, and I didn’t have words for it then, but today, I can name it as a confession. I spoke to God about all the doubt, fear, shame, anxiety, and worthiness questions. I’m no runner compared to these people. What am I even doing here? I don’t belong here.

An amazing thing happened. I felt a sense of peace and calm fill me. And I had a beautiful run on a gorgeous course and more moments conversing with God. And I didn’t finish last. Even if I had, I was prepared for it, as God reminded me that anyone can run, and everyone has a runner in them, and I belong right where I am. A double dose of humility and courage.

As AJ pointed out today, God is not shocked when we bring him whatever we carry (rage, anxiety, fear, hate, shame, or guilt). He already knows it all. My God is always in the hot tub, waiting to listen to anything I will bring to him. And by bringing all of my feelings and thoughts (the good and the ugly) to him, I enter more deeply into a relationship with him. God listens to us as we confess it all.

What can you bring to him this week?


[Monday, September 25]

Psalm 73

In this psalm, Asaph is calling out to God in his doubt and anger. This is what the term "confession" means…that in our relationship with God we are invited by him to confess all things. Doubt, fear, rage. He can handle it, and he wants to be present with us in it. Read the psalm with this perspective, and consider Asaph’s words. What do you notice about his posture and how it changes as he confesses to God? What heavy load or dark thought are you carrying that you could bring to God? (Remember, he already knows, so you will not be surprising him.)


[Tuesday, September 26]

Psalm 22

Psalm 22 takes a similar posture, expressing doubt and anger, yet finding it within ourselves to praise God and remind ourselves who he is. What can you do to strike this balance in your daily life? A balance of confession and praise? Consider writing your own psalm of confession and questions, closing in thanks and praise.


[Wednesday, September 27]

Mark 14:66-72

Jesus knew that Peter would deny knowing him. Peter swore up and down that he wouldn’t. Read the exchange in this passage. Imagine yourself in Peter’s shoes. What would Peter’s confession to God sound like?


[Thursday, September 28]

Job 42:10-17

Job walked through difficulty and pain faithfully with God. Because he shared all his questions and fears and doubts with God, his relationship to him grew and he was blessed greatly later in life. What would it look like for you to allow your anger or doubt to be the very place you meet God? Do you believe you can encounter God in the middle of your darkness? Why or why not? How does Job’s story help you locate God with you?


[Friday, September 29]

Mark 8:31-38

What does it take to follow Jesus? What do we gain if we follow Jesus as described in the verses?


{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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