[January 7, 2024]

Heartland Community Church


Harnessing Humility

By Lisa Zulke

The first time I attempted to summit a 13er in Colorado I failed. I got sent back to camp because I was green around the gills and needed to get to a lower elevation. Two years later, same mountain, I made it to the top of Anne, 13,383’ in the ether. It was glorious. If I could teleport to the top of Mt Anne to take in those views again, I would.

The path to success on our second climb involved learning (something I love to do) and humbling (something I’m awkward at). I reached the summit in 2016 with the teaching of college students on how to walk (rest stepping) and breathe (pressure breathing). Two things that, as a grown woman, I know how to do very well. My Midwestern niceness wouldn’t allow me to be outwardly judgmental, but inside, as these guides shared with me how to rest-step climbing steep slopes and how to pressure breathe (expelling carbon dioxide from the lower region of the lungs), I was eye rolling and judging the whole way. I can see myself in each of the audiences on the mountain where Jesus was teaching.

I’m a Pharisee: I know very well how to walk and breathe. (Go back…to what I know.)
I’m a Sadducee: I showed up with canned oxygen on the second attempt. A “new” product I found on Amazon. (Go forward, use new advancements.) They laughed.
I’m a Zealot: Stepping different won’t help. This is dumb. What kind of mountain has 7 false summits covered in shale? (Go against. And the answer is most of the Rocky Mountains.)
I’m an Essene: I’ll just stay here in the valley and look up at the mountain. (Go out. But I was alone.)

I know for a fact I have come to Jesus in each of these forms over my years of learning to follow him. And at times, I’ve been each of these people to others. It mostly has not gone well for me. How about you?

I wasn’t getting how to ruck up a mountain with a 40# pack at all, just like Jesus pointed out that this diverse audience was missing the point of his teaching on how to live as a follower. What do we do when our perspective and, therefore, our conclusions on how to follow Jesus are vastly different from what he actually taught?

For me, I sense a lesson from my mountain climbing orientation. I had to admit I didn’t know the proper form, and I had to humble myself to receive teaching from people I’d just met who happened to be younger than me but more experienced than me. I think this is how Jesus invites the crowd…every facet of the crowd…to come to him. It’s his invitation to you and me every day.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me. Watch me. Walk with me. Learn from me. I will show you how. Jesus knew how to rest-step! How to exhale with force the bad stuff building up in hearts, minds, and lungs. How to inhale the grace and the clarity of what his way of life looks like in action. How to live freely and lightly.

Am I willing to trust Jesus? To listen to him? To allow his voice to be the loudest voice influencing how I live and move in the world?

[Monday, January 8]

Matthew 4:1-11

Some important interactions occur in Jesus’ life on the way to the Sermon on the Mount. The first was this period of 40 days in the wilderness. How did Satan tempt Jesus? Take note of each reply Jesus gave. What lessons can we take away from his responses? Ponder the significance of Jesus being led into the wilderness "by the Spirit" (v1).


[Tuesday, January 9]

Matthew 4:12-17

What do you notice about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in this passage? How would you share the teaching he carried in your own words? Take time to consider the different roles ascribed to light and darkness.


[Wednesday, January 10]

Matthew 4:18-22

What do you notice in this story about Jesus calling Peter, Andrew, James and John? When you first took note of Jesus did you respond immediately? What about life changed for you to commit to following Jesus


[Thursday, January 11]

Matthew 4:23-25

What might large crowds following Jesus in our time look like? What was compelling about Jesus that caused so many to follow? What are some ways you and I can carry the message of Jesus in our lives that would be compelling to the folks we interact with today? How can we carry hope and even healing to our families, coworkers and friends?


[Friday, January 12]

Matthew 5:1-12

Over the next several weeks we will dig deeply into the Sermon on the Mount. In todays reflection on it, just take note of anything that jumps out to you. What makes you curious? What do you hope to learn more about?



{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!


© 2024 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

Unsubscribe from The Journey.

to receive our future emails.


Comments are closed.