[June 30, 2024]

Heartland Community Church


The Stories We Tell

by Bill McMurtrey

Have you ever been away from home and found yourself stranded somewhere? I have. I was out of town visiting family once, and a storm hit. The storm was so bad that the entire airport closed down. People were stranded for up to three days. After the storm passed, they began rerouting people. I was trying to get a plane and had already been "bumped" twice. The airlines were jammed with 17,000 stranded, and many people were stressed and overwhelmed. 

Not far from my line was a married couple, 40ish, but he stood out. He was big, about 6’6, 300 lbs or so, and he was no joke. From the stressful situation, he was starting to experience what we could call a meltdown. Something told me to go and find out what the situation was. Risking losing my place in line and possibly not getting back home soon, I stepped aside to talk with the couple. I said hello, introduced myself, and looked him straight in the eye. He asked, "Do you believe in God"? As I said yes, I realized I risked stepping out of line and approaching him because the Holy Spirit had nudged me. 

When I was 19, I was away in the ARMY, in a foreign land, and found myself in a situation. The pilot couldn’t locate the correct spot on the map where he’d dropped me off so I could run a radio signal. That story is a Sunday night movie all on its own.  A rescue mission was formed, and my guys found me. I relied on Jesus the entire time. Jesus, do not let me get bit by a poisonous snake. Jesus, make sure I have enough water to last. Jesus, protect me until my guys find me and the bad guys don’t. From that experience, I learned that the Holy Spirit is with us always and that we should be there for others in their time of feeling left behind. 

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

John 14:26

He told me he was a Christian and an ARMY veteran. I smiled at him and said that I was both as well and host a once-a-month get-together for veterans at our church. I prayed for him and our situation, and he opened the floodgates about how his PTSD from being in two wars affected him and that his faith in Jesus is his anchor. He and his wife have 5 children, live on 50 acres, and run a ministry for people new to following Jesus. His wife asked for my email and wrote to me after they got home, thanking me. It was surreal, and about 24 hours later, I finally returned home to Kansas.

Earlier that day, I’d asked myself what God wanted me to do with this time stuck away from home. He reminded me that sometimes, all we need to do is be present in the moments and places we find ourselves, notice the needs around us, and be willing to move toward someone and engage.


If you are a military veteran looking to connect with other vets, CLICK HERE to contact our Men’s Firepit Community.

If you are ready to find a community that fits you, CLICK HERE to explore our current active groups.


[Monday, July 1]

Acts 4:20

"We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard." Over the course of your life, what have you seen and heard that only happened through Jesus? How can you find ways to share with your people what you see and hear Jesus doing?

If you are still considering who Jesus is, that’s awesome! What have you seen and heard in life that you struggle to explain? Or that you have deep questions about? What are the hills and valleys in your journey? Would you consider reading the book of John in the Bible to hear more stories Jesus told through the lives of people he encountered?


[Tuesday, July 2]

John 9:1-12

In these verses, we see the blind man that Jesus comes across and we hear his need and the communities posture toward him and his family. Jesus offers us a very important example here: the power of presence. Jesus mentions that they have much to do and need to get on with it…but while he is here he is to be the "light of the world". When your to-do list is lengthy and time is short, are you able to remain present with your family, friends or coworkers? Are you able to notice and step into opportunities to engage with others?


[Wednesday, July 3]

John 9:13-25

Jesus healing this man was called into question by the Pharisees because he was working on the sabbath, which was against the law. Where in our world do we get distracted by rules and miss miracles or other incredible God events? Perhaps someone has questioned your story of finding Jesus and having a supernatural encounter. If you were to sumup your story in a few impactful words (like, "I was blind and now I can see") what would you say? Name your what-Jesus-has-done phrase and say thanks in a prayer. Maybe even share it with someone else!


[Thursday, July 4]

John 9:26-34

Here, the healed man shares the good news of Jesus’ heart for us and the whole world with the angry Pharisees…in spite of their attack and judgement of him. Where might God be inviting you to step out, trust him, and share your story and the life Jesus makes possible with others? If a relationship comes to mind, spend today praying for that person and the opportunity. Ask God for the words he would have you share with your person.


[Friday, July 5]

John 9:35-41

Jesus went and found the healed man when he heard what he was up against. That is incredibly good news for each of us! Do you believe that Jesus hears what is happening to you? That he comes and finds you in the highs and lows of your life? Where are you looking for signs of Jesus’ presence this week?


{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

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