RSS

Human Means for Divine Ends (discussion questions)

Faith Life Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Human Means for Divine End,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the fifth part of our series “Faith Life.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What was one of the most confusing situations of your life? How did your faith in God shape your response to that situation?
  2. This week, we will look at Genesis 16 as we continue our “Faith Life” series at Eastbrook. Ask God to speak to you before reading this chapter of Genesis aloud. In order to best understand this passage, please also read Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:1-5.
  3. In Abram’s day, it was not uncommon or unlawful for a maidservant to have a surrogate child for the matriarch of the household. This would provide for continuance of the family line and inheritance. However, given God’s promises in Genesis 12 and 15, what do you think is going on in Abram and Sarai’s lives from what we read in Genesis 16:1-3?
  4. What stands out to you about Hagar and Sarai’s behavior in verses 4-6? What stands out to you about Abram’s behavior?
  5. Have you ever experienced a time where you tried to participate in God’s plans but did not do it in God’s way? What happened in your life? How did you change?
  6. The second half of the chapter, beginning in verse 7, charts out God’s interaction with Hagar. Who is the ‘angel of the Lord’ and why do you think this is important in the passage? [You may also look at Exodus 3:2-3; 14:19-20; Judges 13:3-21; Matthew 1:20-21; Luke 1:19-20.]
  7. Even though Hagar has run away because of Sarai’s mistreatment, God speaks powerful words to her. What stands out to you about God’s words to Hagar in the midst of her circumstances and about her child’s future?
  8. Hagar gives God the name El-Roi, which means both ‘the God who sees me’ and ‘the God I have seen’. Why is this significant for Hagar? What do you think it means for you that God both sees us and reveals Himself to us?
  9. What is one thing God is speaking to you about your own life of faith through this week’s study? If you are on your own, write it down somewhere so you can think about that during the week. If you are with a group, take some time to discuss this with one another.

[Next week we will look at Genesis 17:1-27, talking about the tangible signs of faith into which God called Abraham as we continue our “Faith Life” series.]

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Human Means for Divine Ends

Faith Life Series Gfx_16x9 Title

I continued our “Faith Life” series this weekend at Eastbrook Church by looking at how impatience can lead us to take matters into our own hands. In Genesis 16, Abraham and Sarah struggle with their desire to make God’s promises become a reality by coming up with their own plans. Unfortunately, it leads to a cascading series of problems. Still, God shows His grace all through this situation. The central aim of this message was about waiting in faith on the Lord.

The outline and video file for the message are below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can access the entire series of messages from the “Faith Life” series here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Commitment of God (discussion questions)

Faith Life Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “The Commitment of God,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the fourth part of our series “Faith Life.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. When did you experience someone going above and beyond your expectations of how they would support, help or love you?
  2. This week’s study takes us into a deep exploration of Genesis 15 as we continue the “Faith Life” series at Eastbrook. Ask God to speak to you before reading this chapter of Genesis aloud.
  3. In Genesis 15:1, God speaks a word of reassurance to Abram. What do you think the significance would be for this reassurance after what transpired in the previous chapter?
  4. In verses 2-6, we encounter a conversation between God and Abram about how God’s promises will be fulfilled given the fact that Abram and Sarai have no children. It culminates in Abram’s belief and God’s gracious gift to him in verse 6. What stands out to you about both God and Abram in these verses?
  5. In verses 2-3 and 8, Abram asks God probing questions about what is going on in his life. Do you think it is okay to ask God questions or wrestle with His promises? Why or why not?
  6. Verses 9-20 are rich with imagery and symbolism that can easily be lost upon us as 21st century people. The act of covenant-making in the ancient near east often involved very physical symbols, here seen in the divided animals, which conveyed responsibility in the agreement. When a party would walk in the midst of these physical symbols, it conveyed their obligation to fulfill the promises at risk of being ripped apart like the physical symbols. What does this tell you about what God is taking upon himself in this covenant-making situation?
  7. God tells Abram about things that he will never see within his lifetime, such as the enslavement of future generations (15:13-14) and his eventual death in peace (15:15). What does this tell us about God? Also, what might Abram have thought or felt in response to these words from God?
  8. This chapter reveals just to what extent God will go to sustain Abraham in his life of faith. What is one thing God is speaking to you about your own life of faith? If you are on your own, write it down somewhere so you can think about that during the week. If you are with a group, take some time to discuss this with one another.

[Next week we continue our “Faith Life” series by looking at Genesis 16:1-16. To prepare, read that passage in advance.]

 
 

Tags: , , , ,

The Commitment of God

Faith Life Series Gfx_16x9 TitleWe have all seen or heard about dramatic commitments between people, but what happens when God commits to us as people?

This weekend at Eastbrook Church we continued our “Faith Life” series by looking at the commitment of God to Abraham in Genesis 15.  Of course, the question we have to ask is: ‘what does God’s commitment to Abraham here mean for us today?’ That led us onward to Romans 4:23-5:2, where Paul references Genesis 15 in relation to the hope found in Jesus Christ.

The outline and video file for the message are below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can access the entire series of messages from the “Faith Life” series here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 5, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Slippery Slope of Peacemaking

Matt Erickson:

I posted this for an earlier series but am re-posting it today after I mentioned it in my sermon this past weekend.

Originally posted on Renovate:

In my message this past weekend on working through conflict in relationships, I mentioned the “slippery slope of peacemaking” developed by Ken Sande, author of The Peacemaker and Resolving Everyday Conflict. There are a variety of ways we can respond to conflict in our lives. Sande highlights a spectrum of dealing with conflict and seeking peace. The the top of the slope is where we want to be in proactively dealing with conflict by making peace. The extremes are the tendencies we move toward as we slip off the path of pursuing peace in our conflicts.

slope

I summarized Sande’s “slippery slope” around three ideas:

1. Peace-faking by avoiding or escaping conflict. This is typified in the life of Jacob who steals his brother’s birthright, deceives his father and then flees from the conflict by hiding with his uncle, Laban (see Genesis 28). The problem with avoiding or escaping from…

View original 144 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Generous Faith (discussion questions)

Faith Life Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Generous Faith,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the third part of our series “Faith Life.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think it looks like to be generous? When was a time you experienced the generosity of others in your life?
  2. This week, we continue the “Faith Life” series at Eastbrook by looking at the way Abraham responds to God’s goodness as displayed in Genesis, chapters 13 and 14. Ask God to speak to you before reading this portion of Scripture aloud.
  3. What is the cause of the conflict between Abraham and Lot in Genesis 13:5-7? (It is important to see here that God’s promises in Genesis 12:1-3 are already being fulfilled in abundance.)
  4. What do you find most remarkable about Abraham’s response to Lot, who is both younger than him and dependent upon his generosity, in Genesis 13:8-13?
  5. Following the separation between Abraham and Lot, God affirms His previous promises (see Genesis 12:1-3) to Abraham in Genesis 13:14-18. What do you think this meant to Abraham?
  6. In contrast to Abraham’s compromise in Genesis 12:10-20, chapter 13 is bookended by Abraham calling upon God at altars he has built (13:4, 18). Why do you think this is important given all that transpires in Genesis 13?
  7. When did you have to make a clear decision to rely upon God in the face of challenging circumstances? What happened?
  8. What were some of the risks that Abraham takes to assist his nephew, Lot, in Genesis 14:1-16?
  9. Contrast the response of the King of Sodom and Melchizedek, the King of Salem, in Genesis 14:17-24. What is God doing for Abraham in this section?
  10. These two chapters show Abraham stepping out in radical generosity toward Lot because of God’s generous goodness toward him. Take a moment to reflect on how you could extend generosity in some of your specific relationships this week. If you are alone, write down the names of people God is speaking to you about. Commit to pray for them and seek out ways to bless them this week. If you are with a small group, share together about those you sense God is asking you to be generous with this week. Pray for those people as you conclude your time with this study.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

Generous Faith

Faith Life Series Gfx_16x9 TitleWhat happens when we really get a sense of God’s grace in our lives? It changes us and how we relate to others.

This weekend at Eastbrook Church we explored how God’s unstoppable grace leads us into a generous faith in the third part our series, “Faith Life.” This series is a journey around themes of faith from the life of Abraham. This week took us through Abraham’s interactions with Lot in Genesis 13 and 14.

The outline and video file for the message are below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can access the entire series of messages from the “Faith Life” series here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,764 other followers