[April 23, 2023]

Heartland Community Church


Good Neighbors

By Chris Woodward

As Brad talked about being good neighbors this morning, I started looking back. One of our neighbors backed into my dad’s car, denting the driver’s side, back door.  I was about fifteen or sixteen then, and cars were my life. Everything from the horsepower, the look, and the way they ran, became a bit of my identity. It was one of my “things” as a young person. I can remember vividly being so mad, red-faced, and tense. I wanted someone to pay, and Dad just sat there. He sat in his chair and looked at me with a big, silly smile on his face. Then my anger turned towards him, I told him he needed to act, he needed to do something, he needed to go “bang on that jerks’ door and set him straight.”

Looking back, my conversation with my dad was silly, sad, and telling of where I was as a young person. I was so mad, yet the door on his car, not mine, was now dented. I attempted to take matters into my own hands and force him to act. Looking back, one factor in my anger was that we did not have a lot back then. We lived in a happy home in the Midwest, but we lived paycheck to paycheck. The neighbor had fancy cars, including a Porsche, a full-size pick-up, and a Jeep. I was hurt in part because of what I felt about my family. I felt they were the haves, and we were the have-nots. I laugh as I write this because my father’s car at the time was a 1988 Buick Century that already had a couple of dents in it. I was feeling like the man on the side of the road that was hurt and in pain, and someone had wronged me without consequence. I had no way out, no way to even the score. 

My dad sat back in his chair, absorbed all my anger, counsel, and hurt, and returned it with a simple statement, “I already forgave him for backing into the car because it was an accident.” That statement stoked my fire, I raised my voice, “You could get a new car out of this, you know that, right?” Then he replied with calm wisdom, “They are our neighbors; why would we create a problem with them, it is just a car, not a person, and no one was hurt.”  My father was two steps ahead of me. He had chosen forgiveness when the world says he could have taken advantage. He had gone to a neighbor, and he had accepted him for the mistake he made. My father had practiced being like the Samaritan, putting back together the relationship between us as neighbors and as community members. He taught me not to let a simple accident ruin my relationship with a good neighbor.

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, April 24]

Read Luke 7:18-35

Remember the day that you found out who Jesus was? Take a moment to imagine the thoughts and the feelings as John’s followers got confirmation for themselves of who Jesus was and what he was doing right there in front of their eyes. Now look around for what he is doing in your home, work, and spaces you walk in and out of weekly. Where will you bring his message this week?


[Tuesday, April 25]

Read Luke 7:36-50

What invitations are you seeing as you walk through each day? Jesus takes the invitation and gives an invitation in today’s passage. Sometimes being a good neighbor is about opening the doors to communicate with others. Jesus took the invitation and then turns the invitation of hospitality and respect and invites others to follow him. Whom are you inviting to follow Jesus this week?


[Wednesday, April 26]

Read Luke 8:1-21

Spring is a beautiful time, with flowers sprouting anew, trees popping with color, the grass as green as it can be; the labor of lawn work is a blessing. Planting seeds and tending to God’s creation can be a welcome form of worship. In this time of renewal, how are you cultivating the soil of your soul to accept the word and light that Jesus has for you?


[Thursday, April 27]

Read Luke 8:22-39

What if your neighbors were the tombs? The affliction of this man and this interaction with Christ is both powerful and confusing. Have you ever felt like we are planted amid the tombs? Sometimes it feels that problems are around every corner, the world appears to change before your eyes, and you feel alone among the dead. Then Jesus walks in and changes you, breaks you out, and sends you home to tell about all the works that have happened.


[Friday, April 28]

Read Luke 8:40-55

Through the Jesus and Women study offered at Heartland this winter, I (through my wife’s reflections) had an opportunity to unpack the interaction between Jesus and the woman who touched his robes. I learned that the woman was not only outside her community due to her gender but also her affliction. Her faith in Jesus and his word healed her. In this passage, we get two stories of healing. What do you notice as you read and observe the scene? What can your faith bring to you this week through the power of Jesus?


[Saturday, April 29]

Read Luke 9:1-27

We can spend our life answering the question Jesus asks Peter in vs 20. “Who do you say I am?” When the client is fifteen minutes late, “Who do you say I am?”  When my wife is fifteen minutes behind, “Who do you say I am?”  When the kid smarts back at me, “Who do you say I am?”  When someone mentions politics or another hot-button issue, “Who do you say I am?  


{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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12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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