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Overcome (discussion questions)

Chosen Words Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Overcome,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This continues the series, “Chosen Words,” where we will journey through John 13-17 over the next number of weeks. This week specifically looks at two separate passages, John 15:18-25 and John 16:16-33.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some of the simple things that give you joy in the midst of the challenges of life?
  2. This week we continue our series, “Chosen Words,” looking at John 15:18-25 and 16:16-33. Before you read these two portions of Scripture aloud, take a moment to ask God to speak to you as you read His word.
  3. In John 15:18-25, Jesus directly addresses the tension – even hatred – that will exist between the world and Jesus’ followers. The ‘world’ in John’s writings represents, as one scholar says, “the godless world…organized in opposition to God, and therefore opposed to His people.” What reasons does Jesus offer for why the world will hate Jesus’ followers in verses 18-25?
  4. How have you experienced hatred or tension in your own life because of your allegiance to Jesus? How did you respond?
  5. Moving forward to John 16:16-18, what is troubling the disciples? Look back over chapters 13-16 and consider how many times Jesus hints at His pending departure from the disciples. Why do you think Jesus is saying this?
  6. In verse 4, Jesus says: “neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” If bearing fruit is directly tied to ‘remaining’ – or ‘abiding’ or ‘staying put’ – in Jesus, what does Jesus specifically mean by remaining in Him from this passage?
  7. While some different interpretations of this passage exist, it is most likely that Jesus is talking about His departure for arrest and crucifixion (John 18-19), and His return to the disciples by resurrection (John 20). How does Jesus explain this happening in 16:19-22?
  8. Jesus further explains the change of relationship with His Father that will occur for Him and for His disciples in verses 23-28. What new characteristics of relationship exist for His followers because of the Cross and resurrection?
  9. What do you think is the significance of Jesus concluding this entire segment of teaching found in chapters 13-16 with the words about overcoming and peace found in verse 33?
  10. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study? How will that shape your life in the coming week? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

[Next week we continue our series, “Chosen Words,” by exploring Jesus’ prayer from John 17. Read that portion of Scripture ahead of time.]

 
 

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Overcome

Chosen Words Series Gfx_ThumbWhat sort of a Messiah would promise trouble and difficulty?

That’s exactly what I set out to address as I continued our series,”Chosen Words,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. I explored two separate passages, John 15:18-25 and John 16:16-33, both of which address these more difficult words of Jesus.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can join in with the “Chosen Words” devotional online.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Posted by on March 22, 2015 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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A Prayer by St. Augustine

Saint_Augustine_PortraitAs I was reading St. Augustine’s Confessions this morning, I stumbled into this prayer at the end of Book 4, Part 16. The words were striking, powerful, and tender, so I thought I’d share them :

O Lord our God, let the shelter of your wings give us hope. Protect us and uphold us. You will be the Support that upholds us from childhood till the hair on our heads is grey. When you are our strength we are strong, but when our strength is our own we are weak. In you our good abides for ever, and when we turn away from it we turn to evil. Let us come home at last to you, O Lord, for fear that we be lost. For in you our good abides and it has no blemish since it is yourself. Nor do we fear that there is no home to which we can return. We fell from it; but our home is your eternity and it does not fall because we are away.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Books and Quotations

 

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Abide (discussion questions)

Chosen Words Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Abide,” on John 15:1-17 from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This continues the series, “Chosen Words,” where we will journey through John 13-17 over the next number of weeks.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Spring is almost here! What plants do you most look forward to seeing as Spring returns? Why?
  2. This week we continue our series, “Chosen Words,” by looking at Jesus’ words about abiding or remaining in God from John 15:1-17. Before you read this passage of Scripture aloud, take a moment to ask God to speak to you as you read His word.
  3. Jesus picks up the extended agricultural metaphor of the vine and branches bearing fruit in this passage. This image is used throughout Scripture, often to describe the people of God, as seen in Psalm 80:8-19 and Isaiah 5:1-5. Jesus takes the image a slightly different direction here. What does he say the vine, branches, and gardener represent?
  4. One clear theme of this passage is the concept of bearing fruit. Take a moment to notice how often the word ‘fruit’ appears in this passage. What do you think Jesus mean by ‘bearing fruit’ in this passage?
  5. Would you describe yourself as someone who bears fruit for God? Why or why not?
  6. In verse 4, Jesus says: “neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” If bearing fruit is directly tied to ‘remaining’ – or ‘abiding’ or ‘staying put’ – in Jesus, what does Jesus specifically mean by remaining in Him from this passage?
  7. Jesus emphasizes love when He says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (vs 9). What do you think this means? What sort of love is Jesus talking about?
  8. How have you cultivated the life of remaining or abiding in Christ? Are there specific spiritual practices that help you with this?
  9. Jesus offers some very specific requests near the end of this passage: ‘love each other as I have loved you’ (vs 12), ‘you are my friends if you do what I command’ (vs 13), ‘so that you might go and bear fruit’ (v 16). How do you think this call to action connects with the call to remain in love?
  10. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study? How will that shape your life in the coming week? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

[Next week we continue our series, “Chosen Words,” by exploring Jesus’ words about overcoming difficulty in John 15:18-25 and 16:16-33. Read that portion of Scripture ahead of time.]

 
 

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Abide

Chosen Words Series Gfx_Thumb

This weekend at Eastbrook Church, I continued our series,”Chosen Words,” by looking at Jesus’ teaching on the spiritual life through the metaphor of the vine and the branches from John 15:1-17. After exploring the idea of Jesus as the ‘true’ vine, I spent time outlining four aspects of the life of abiding in Jesus.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can join in with the “Chosen Words” devotional online.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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St. Augustine reflects on God’s nature

Saint_Augustine_PortraitReading St. Augustine’s Confessions recently, I was moved by a number of passages. Here is one from early on (Book 1, Part 4) that had never really stood out to me as it did during this reading:

What, then, is the God I worship? He can be none but the Lord God himself, for who but the Lord is God? What other refuge can there be, except our God? You, my God, are supreme, utmost in goodness, mightiest and all-powerful, most merciful and most just. You are the most hidden from us and yet the most present amongst us, the most beautiful and yet the most strong, ever enduring and yet we cannot comprehend you. You are unchangeable and yet you change all things. You are never new, never old, and yet all things have new life from you. You are the unseen power that brings decline upon the proud. You are ever active, yet always at rest. You gather all things to yourself, though you suffer no need. You support, you fill, and you protect all things. You create them, nourish them, and bring them to perfection. You seek to make them your own, though you lack for nothing. You love your creatures, but with a gentle love. You treasure them, but without apprehension. You grieve for wrong, but suffer no pain. You can be angry and yet serene. Your works are varied, but your purpose is one and the same. You welcome alll who come to you, though you never lost them. You are never in need yet are glad to gain, never covetous yet you exact a return for your gifts. We give abundantly to you so that we may deserve a reward; yet which of us has anything that does not come from you? You repay us what we deserve, and yet you owe nothing to any. You release us from our debts, but you lose nothing thereby. You are my God, my Life, my holy Delight, but is this enough to say of you? Can any man say enough when he speaks of you? Yet woe betide those who are silent about you! For even those who are most gifted with speech cannot find words to describe you.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Books and Quotations

 

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Living for God’s Call by Pastor Oscar Muriu

Please take the time to view or listen to this great message by Pastor Oscar Muriu of Nairobi Chapel, who visited us this weekend at Eastbrook ChurchWhat was your takeaway from the message?

You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. Also, take a moment to connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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