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Category Archives: Eastbrook

All I Want is a New Beginning (discussion questions)

All I Want for Christmas Series Gfx_Web AdHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “All I Want for Christmas is a New Beginning,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the second part of our series “All I Want for Christmas.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. As we continue our series, “All I Want for Christmas,” this weekend, we will study Isaiah 61:1-11. Whether on your own or with a small group, take a moment to begin with prayer, asking God to speak through your study of the Scripture. Next, read that Bible passage out loud.
  2. Background: In the 8th century B.C., the people of Israel and Judah were exiled from their homeland to Babylon. A good portion of the land, as well as the religious and political center of Jerusalem, lay in ruins. Scripture tells us that God exiled the people as punishment for their disobedience to Him as expressed in the covenant at Mount Sinai. The prophet Isaiah addresses these exiled people with a message of hope and new beginnings.
  3. Within Isaiah 40-66, there are four major ‘servant songs’ that speak of how a servant of the Lord, perhaps an individual or the people of Israel together, will suffer while also bringing a revelation of God to the world (see Isaiah 42:1-4; 49:1-9; 50:4-9; and 52:13-53:12). Isaiah 61:1-3, is often grouped with these as conveying a message from a servant-Messiah sent by God. Describe this servant-Messiah’s job and message as outlined in verses 1-3?
  4. How do you think Isaiah’s promise of such a figure would impact the Israelite people exiled in Babylon?
  5. In contrast to the destruction and plundering Israel had experienced, Isaiah speaks a strong message of restoration in verses 4-6. What are the elements of this message? How might this change Israel’s view of their losses, as well as their relationship with surrounding nations?
  6. In Isaiah 61:3 and 7, as well as 60:17, God promises to exchange a certain set of things for another set of things for His people. What sort of exchange does He promise and to what extent does it go?
  7. Where in your own life do you long for God to make such a great exchange? How might you pursue that today?
  8. What does verse 8 say about the character of God?
  9. Verses 10 & 11 describe a life powerfully transformed by God’s touch. What does it look like? Where have you experienced God’s touch in this way in your own life?
  10. In Luke 4:16-21, Jesus reads Isaiah 61 to launch His public ministry in Galilee. Read that section of Scripture aloud. How would you say that Jesus fulfills what we read in Isaiah 61:1-11?
  11. What is one thing you will take away from this study about new beginnings? If you are alone, share that with someone this week. If you are with a small group, take some time to discuss these things with one another. Close in prayer.
 
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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

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All I Want for Christmas is a New Beginning

All I Want for Christmas Series Gfx_Web AdWhen I was a kid, one of my favorite type of books to read was the “choose your own adventure” type. There wasn’t really a story line because you had the option to make decisions in the midst of the book. When you came face to face with a monster on page 7, you could decide to either fight the oncoming monster (turn to page 22) or run away (turn to page 37). Many times, I found myself wanting to turn back the pages and begin again after a bad decision.

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church I continued our series “All I Want for Christmas” by looking at the new beginnings God gives us. In Isaiah 61:1-11, the prophet speaks about the hope of a Messiah to come who brings new beginnings.

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 also view all the messages from the “All I Want for Christmas” series here. Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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All I Want is Some Good News (discussion questions)

All I Want for Christmas Series Gfx_Web AdHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “All I Want for Christmas is Some Good News,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the second part of our series “All I Want for Christmas.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. Name a time in your life when you received some good news right when you needed it. What was happening at that point? What was the good news?
  2. This weekend at Eastbrook, we continue our series “All I Want for Christmas” by looking at Isaiah 40:1-11. In preparation, ask God to speak to you through your study of the Scripture and then read that Bible passage aloud.
  3. Background: Isaiah was a prophet in the 8th century B.C., speaking to the people of Judah (southern part of Israel) during times of great pressure. Surrounding nations were threatening them, and eventually many were exiled into Babylon. The book of Isaiah is divided into two major sections. Chapters 1-39 speak to the judgment on God’s people and chapters 40-66 speak to the restoration God will eventually bring. Chapter 40 begins the second major section aimed at bringing hope for God’s people based on His direct and personal intervention.
  4. Isaiah 40:1-11 contains three sections built around ‘voices’ – or people – speaking into specific situations (see verses 1-2, 3-5, and 6-8). How would you summarize what the first voice is saying in verses 1-2? Why would this message be important in the midst of a difficult situation like the exile?
  5. The second ‘voice’ in verses 3-5 speaks about God’s personal intervention in a crooked and wild place. What is the significance of this message and why might it be good news in Isaiah’s time?
  6. Verse 5 highlights the glory of God revealed so all people will see it. This is one of the few Old Testament passages referenced by nearly all of the Gospel writers (see Matthew 3:1-3; Mark 1:1-3; Luke 3:4-6). If Isaiah was foretelling God’s future comfort, what are the Gospel writers trying to tell us by mentioning it?
  7. In verses 6-8, the third ‘voice’ tells the prophet to cry out. What is the message the prophet is given? Why would this be a meaningful announcement for a people exiled at the hands of another powerful nation?
  8. This passage culminates in verses 9-11, which focus on bringing good news that is centered in God’s revelation. What is the message here about God and why is it good news?
  9. In response to this study, consider the good news God has spoken to you. How has it changed you? Now consider the good news God brings in Jesus Christ for others. Who in your life most needs to hear the true message about Christ this season? What is God calling you into this year? If you are alone, write it down somewhere so you can think about it further this week. If you are with a small group, take some time to discuss these things with one another. Close in prayer.

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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

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All I Want for Christmas is Some Good News

All I Want for Christmas Series Gfx_Web AdIn our world, nation and even our personal lives, we hear all sorts of distressing news. In the midst of that, it sure seems like we could all use some good news.

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church I continued our series “All I Want for Christmas” by looking at the good news that comes to us from God. The prophet Isaiah speaks good news to the people of Israel in the midst of their exile in Isaiah 40:1-11. That same news is made even more real for us today through Jesus Christ.

In the middle of the message, I addressed some of the current tensions in our nation around racial disparities and police accountability. It was Martin Luther King, Jr., who referenced Isaiah 40 in the midst of his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963 (you can watch the speech here). The dream is alive, but tarnished today. Still, there is no place where the dream of people coming together across racial lines should be more evident than in God’s people, the church, living into the dream of Revelation 7:9, ” a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

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 also view all the messages from the “All I Want for Christmas” series here. Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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All I Want for Christmas

All I Want for Christmas Series Gfx_4x3 Title

Beginning this weekend, November 29/30, we begin a new series at Eastbrook entitled “All I Want for Christmas.” Christmas is a time when many of us begin to write down what we hope to acquire. Sometimes we write down simple lists of gift ideas, but other times we begin to write more serious lists of personal needs or world hopes. In the church year, Advent is a time of anticipation and expectation leading up to the Messiah’s arrival that focuses some of our strongest hopes and desires through the word of the prophets. So, what are you really waiting for this year?

November 29/30 [1st weekend of Advent] - “All I Want Is for God to Show Up”

December 6/7 [2nd weekend of Advent] – “All I Want is Some Good News”

December 13/14 [3rd weekend of Advent] – “All I Want is a New Beginning”

December 20/21 [4th weekend of Advent] – “All I Want is Someone to Believe In”

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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The Legacy of Faith (discussion questions)

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

Discussion Questions:

  1. Who is someone you know who has held onto faith in God over the long haul of life? What did that look like?
  2. This weekend at Eastbrook, we conclude the “Faith Life” series by looking at the end of Abraham’s life in Genesis 25:1-11 and the New Testament reflection on his life in Hebrews 11:8-19. In preparation for this study ask God to speak to you through your study of the Scripture, and then read both Bible passages aloud.
  3. Over these last few months, we have journeyed with Abraham from His original calling by God in Genesis 12 through many ups and downs to the conclusion of his life here in Genesis 25. What has caught your attention most over the last few weeks concerning the life of faith?
  4. In Hebrews 11:8-12 and 11:17-19, the phrase “by faith” introduces several instances of Abraham’s life of faith. How would you summarize each of these “by faith” statements about Abraham?
  5. In the midst of discussing Abraham’s specific life of faith, the writer of Hebrews addresses a very unique aspect of faith in 11:13-16. What would you say the writer is addressing and how does this relate to Abraham?
  6. What do you think it means to live by faith in such a way that we “long for a better country” (Hebrews 11:16)? Is this part of your life of faith or not? What do you think it would look like for you to live in this way?
  7. From what you read in Hebrews 11:19, how would you characterize Abraham’s view of God? Why do you think Abraham’s faith was so strong?
  8. As you reflect on this study, what do you want your legacy of faith to be? If you are alone, write it down somewhere so you can think about it further this week. If you are with a small group, take some time to discuss these things with one another. Close in prayer.
 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

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The Legacy of Faith

Faith Life Series Gfx_16x9 TitleMany times we ask what it looks like to leave a legacy behind when our life draws to a close. But as we concluded the “Faith Life” series this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I wanted us to think about what sort of faith legacy we will leave behind.

To conclude this series on the life of faith from Abraham’s journey in Genesis 11-25, we looked at Hebrews 11:8-19. There, the writer to the early church describes the ways in which Abraham left a legacy of faith through the way he lived his life.

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.

 

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Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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