{January 16, 2022}

Heartland Community Church


What Do We Do With Doubt?

By Chris Woodward

Doubt in my life has come even when I prayed daily, more than daily, with large tears, through scripture, with others…and still the prayer was not answered. I had come to Kansas City in 2001 to attend seminary and to gain access to my calling. I had felt from an early age, that I was going to be an instrument for God, a tool in his hands. I thought that ministry and pastoring was going to be the way that I could bring others to the faith. I completed seminary and had worked two days a week at a local church in support of the youth ministry. Then I got an offer to work part time in Overland Park as a youth minster. I started the job ready, open, and willing to meet the challenges of bringing young people along in the faith.

A few years into the job 2008 occurred. For those of us that lived through it, there was significant financial shift in our country. One day after staff meeting, I was told, “We need to save some money and your position is going to be transitioned into a volunteer position. I want you to train the volunteer team over the next two months and then we are going to ask you to resign your position.” That is where doubt seemed to take over. Doubt of purpose, doubt in the local church, doubt in my skills, doubt in the future. I was lost at that moment, I was hurting. I had fully engaged, given my all, and on all accounts the work at that church was a success. However, due to giving and finances, I was going to lose my dream, and was afraid I was losing my calling.  

God had a plan in the midst my doubt. He was there with me, he had a purpose, he was just changing my call to ministry. I had started to work part time at a counseling center, a few months before being let go. The counseling center rented space from the church where I was on staff. I had enjoyed the counseling work, and my seminary degree got me in the door there. It was much like the youth work I was doing, helping people that were filling their lives with everything other than faith in God.

The director of the counseling center started to give me more hours to help me make the bills. Then I was directing the adolescent program, then the entire substance abuse program. Working in the same building for the next four years allowed me to see the teens I’d served in youth ministry graduate, and maintain the positive relationships to complete the work God had begun.

Honestly, seventeen years later I look back on those days and see how God used my doubt. He used it to place me where I met others in their pain, doubt and fear. He shifted my calling and an gave me an opportunity to share with others the tenets of the faith and help them recover from some of the most destructive behaviors imaginable.


{sunday 1.16.22}

Read Matthew 14:25-33

Observe, Reflect, Apply: If you’ve read these passages in the past, did you doubt the account? What are your initial perceptions of the story today? Brad mentioned that in Matthew’s telling of the story he focuses on an element the other disciples don’t…namely, that Peter started to sink. Jesus’ words to Peter can be a reminder and encouragement to us when we are sinking, too. Sinking might be doubt, worry, negative thinking or behavior. When these things take our eyes off the goal (following Jesus) we lose our footing. How do you return your eyes to Jesus? How can you help others who might be sinking or caught in a doubt cycle?


{bible reading plan}

By Chris Woodward

{monday 1.17.22}

Read Ephesians 3:1-9

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Who can follow God?  Paul drops so many wonderful gems into the start of his statements in Ephesians 3. He notes that he writes this letter to the non-Jewish people (the Gentiles). They are a people that you could say at least culturally were separate from a relationship in God. At least until this point in history. Paul is setting the table to unify Jews and Gentiles as followers of Jesus. How have your questions about God, Jesus, and his church molded your thoughts and feelings of who you are? In the past week have you felt separated from God? Read it again, and know that Paul intends to bring you, the church, and the readers of the passage, closer to God.

{tuesday 1.18.22}

Read Ephesians 3:10-13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Where can I find confidence in God?  I can remember being seventeen, standing in the auditorium, sweaty palms my stammering words, my lack of knowledge of the Bible must have rang out in everyone’s ears. This was one of the first times that I was asked to share my story of how I came to follow Jesus. However, I did it! I made it! I did what Paul does, used my experience, my life, my words, to relay the good news to others. I trusted that my confidence would come from God’s intent to share his eternal message, in freedom and confidence, according to and despite discouragement and sufferings, just like Paul.  When was the last time that you felt suffering, and discouragement? How did that feel? What are ways you can build your confidence in God’s eternal message through your story of faith?

{wednesday 1.19.22}

Read Ephesians 3:14-21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What should I ask for when I pray?  Paul gives us a wonderful example of his prayer for the Church in this passage. Read these words and consider your spiritual formation and how you are coming closer to God and his church. In this passage, Paul prays out of the power of God and asks for the church to be brought close: “strengthen in power of spirit.” (vs16), “rooted and established in love,” (vs 17) and “to be filled to the measure of all fullness with God”  (vs19). Ask yourself, "What would I look like as part of the church if I was full in Jesus, rooted in love, and strong in power and spirit?

{thursday 1.20.22}

Read Ephesians 4:1-6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What can my life look like? “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit though the bond of peace.” What a tall order, this is one of the most difficult passages about church life. For me it is difficult every time reading this passage, the days get longer, people move slower, the store misses part of my order, work keeps calling. Sometimes, gentle and patient are the first things that I forget. Ask yourself today, “Where can I gain ground in how I keep that unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace in my own heart and the heart of my family and church?”

{friday 1.21.22}

Read Ephesians 4:7-13

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What does Jesus do for us? Verse 7 states However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ."  Jesus gave us a great gift…he did all the work for us in salvation. Our gift is that we can share in the unity of the body with him and with others in the church and our family. We get to be a part of everyone’s story and gain grace in the midst of the story. We grow in relationship and connection under the banner of grace and share Jesus’ good works. When was the last time that you told someone the story of how much Jesus has done for you? Take a moment and write down how much you have grown in Jesus in the last year as part of the story.

{saturday 1.22.22}

Read Ephesians 4:14-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What voice do I listen to?  Is there a more appropriate verse for the social media age than Ephesians 4:14, Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Paul seems to state that the opposite of immaturity and disinformation is unity in Christ. A people growing together to a better understanding of their creator. In what way this week can you join together with your family and friends to “speak the truth in love (vs 15)?”  One activity you might consider is to sign up to take a Day with Jesus this February 4 or 5 (more information HERE).



{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources).

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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12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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