[September 10, 2023]

Heartland Community Church


Is God Real?

By Lisa Zulke

Bring your doubts, questions, disappointments, and skepticism about God. Really? But, you’ll judge me. You’ll ignore me. Or worse, you’ll answer me but live a life that doesn’t align with your answers.

I wholeheartedly declare, "Yes, really!" They are welcome here, they are welcome in this church, and they are welcomed by God. The God I know never drew back from a question I asked. Even when I hurled them at him with anger, fear, and a massive attitude about faith and the people who claim to be faithful followers of Jesus.

Having not grown up in church, I needed a place like Heartland that welcomed questions. I even sought such a place, or a group of people following Jesus, to bring my questions to. As a teen and through my early 20’s I longed for a deeper understanding of life, meaning, and whether or not the center would hold in this person we call Jesus. I wanted it to be true. But I needed to come to it openly, with all my fears, doubts, and observations of behavior not matching words.

I eventually found that environment at Willow Creek through the teaching of Bill Hybels. They welcomed questions, encouraging the wrestling process of discovery in community and seeking an experience with God through prayer and conversation with him.

The learning lab environment I experienced helped me discover the God who created me, the Jesus who showed me the paths to follow, and the Spirit that’s with me every day. The challenging part? I had to humble myself. Dan gave us three tips at the end of the message Sunday. The hardest for me was the first: Acknowledge your bias. Evidence that challenged my assumptions was plentiful and more available than I imagined. Exploring the heart of Jesus, not just the idea of Jesus, got me through the humbling.

I am profoundly passionate about words and their meaning. Words spoken by a person speak volumes about who they are, where they’ve come from, and what they believe. But words that don’t match actions are a red flag. I’d met too many people who claimed the name of Christian or Jesus follower who, in word, contradicted everything I was learning and experiencing from the heart of Jesus himself. It is my greatest struggle to offer grace when one’s words and actions are at odds. That is the bias that I still wrestle against.

Acknowledge your bias. Consider the evidence that challenges your assumptions. Explore the heart of Jesus, not just the idea of Jesus. Which of these is your most potent tool in growing your faith? Which could you spend more time growing in?


[Monday, September 11]

Exodus 34:6-7

In this passage, God is describing himself to us in his own words. What do you notice? What gives you pause, or raises a question? Which attribute of God has brought you the most peace and confidence? Which attribute of God puzzles you the most? Consider praying over the puzzle, and inviting God to help it make sense.


[Tuesday, September 12]

Hebrews 11:1-6

Do you believe God exists? When you wrestle with doubt, what specifically are you struggling against? Whose life has inspired your faith (now, or in the past)? Where does faith turn into evidence of what you hope for in this life?


[Wednesday, September 13]

John 1:10-19

Imagine for a moment that you are in Jesus’ shoes. Can you imagine coming in person to the world you created, and not being recognized by 99% of the people you come in contact with? It had to be crazy making for him! As you read these verses, consider the claims through your own eyes, and again through the eyes of Jesus. What do you confidently believe about him? Where have you had a personal experience with him that gave you evidence of his being and character? Where do you struggle to have 100% faith in Jesus?


[Thursday, September 14]

John 20:24-31

What do you notice about Thomas in this passage? What do Jesus’ words to Thomas speak to you? Here we have a reference to the written words about Jesus, and why they took the time to commit them in writing. What confidence or comfort do the final two verses give you? Consider praying in thanks today, sharing what you appreciate with Jesus himself.


[Friday, September 15]

Exodus 3

Read this chapter and take note of what you learn from God’s words about God and his view of us (through his interactions with Moses). What stands out to you? What encourages or challenges you? If God spoke to you from a burning bush on the bike path today, would you question, suggest there are better people for the task…or would you receive the invitation to be God’s messenger?


{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!


© 2023 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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