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Category Archives: Scripture reflections

Empowered (discussion questions)

Activate Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Empowered,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the third part of our series, “Activate,” where we are looking at what it means to be individual Christians and a local church set into motion by God’s power and presence for God’s work in the world.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When have you really felt that God was at work through you in the lives of others? What happened?
  1. This weekend at Eastbrook we continue our “Activate” series by looking at Acts 2:1-13. Take some time to pray, asking God to speak to you as you read His word.
  1. As we look at Acts 2, it is important to remember exactly what God was doing in the life of the early church. Read Luke 24:45-49 and Acts 1:4-9 again. What was it that the disciples were to do in light of Jesus’ words?
  1. As the disciples are waiting and in prayer, a loud sound and startling sights appear as they are filled with the Holy Spirit. What would you say is the significance of these sights and sounds? Why are these connected with the filling of the Holy Spirit?
  1. Because of the festival of Pentecost, many Jews and God-fearing Gentiles from around the Mediterranean have gathered in Jerusalem. Why do you think that the disciples are gifted with language along with the gift of the Holy Spirit? What does this signify and how does it begin to fulfill Jesus’ commission in Acts 1:7-8?
  1. Background: Pentecost is the Greek name for the Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot, which occurs 50 days after the festival of Passover. The Feast of Weeks is described in Leviticus 23 in connection with the grain harvest and bringing the first fruits of the harvest to God as a thanksgiving offering. In later Jewish tradition, Pentecost is linked with the giving of the law to Moses and the people by God at Mount Sinai.
  1. Many biblical scholars also see a link between the Jewish festival of Pentecost as an offering of first fruits and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment for ministry. What do you think that connection might be?
  1. As the disciples move out from the upper room to speak to others, those gathered around them have a wide variety of responses. What are the responses? What sort of responses do you think we should expect when we step forward as witnesses of Jesus?
  1. How is God speaking to you about waiting for the Holy Spirit’s power in your life as a witness for Jesus? What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you? How might your life look different because of what you are considering with God? 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 the “Activate” series by looking at Acts 2:14-47. Prepare for next week by reaidng this passage ahead of time.]

 

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Called (discussion questions)

Activate Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Called,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the first part of our series, “Activate,” where we are looking at what it means to be individual Christians and a local church set into motion by God’s power and presence for God’s work in the world.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When have you felt most energized in your life with God? What was going on and what lead you to that place?
  2. Following our exploration of Jesus as the way, truth, and life, we are beginning a new series this weekend at Eastbrook entitled “Activate” about the church energized for God’s mission. This week, we are looking at Acts 1:1-11. Take some time to pray, asking God to speak to you as you read His word.
  3. Background: The book of Acts is the second of two works that Luke, an early believer and a physician, wrote in the first century. The first of those books, the Gospel of Luke, focuses on the life of Jesus in Galilee and Jerusalem. The book of Acts picks up after the resurrection of Jesus, charting the life of the first followers of Jesus. Both books are addressed to Theophilus, whose name literally means ‘lover of God.’As Luke recounts the events after the resurrection, he tells of Jesus’ activities until the time He returns to the Father. What is Jesus doing and for how long is He doing these things (verses 1-3)?
  4. Looking at verses 4 and 5, what does Jesus ask of the disciples? Why do you think Jesus is making this sort of request of the disciples? What other options might they have considered?
  5. The Holy Spirit is the personal presence of God in the life of every person who reaches out to God through Jesus Christ by faith. What do you think it means for us to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit in our own lives?
  6. The disciples ask a question in verse 6 that Jesus redirects in verse 7. What was the disciples’ concern and what is Jesus’ teaching on this point?
  7. Acts 1:8 is a pivotal verse in this chapter and the history of God’s people. How would you outline what Jesus is calling these apostles to in this verse?
  8. The book of Acts traces the early believers as they live out what Jesus calls them to do here in Acts 1:8, witnessing to Him from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and to the ends of the earth. This is a universal call for the good news about Jesus to go out to all people, high and low, rich and poor, near and far. If this is our calling, how are you living out this calling right now? What are some ways you think you could live the calling out more fully in your everyday life?
  9. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study about being called by God as His witnesses? 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 the “Activate” series by exploring Acts 1:12-26, with special attention to the prayers of the early believers.]

 

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Is Jesus Really the Only Way? (discussion questions)

3 Questions Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Does Jesus Really Give Us Life?,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the third and final part of our series, “3 Questions We All Have About Jesus,” where we delve into Jesus’ provocative statement: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you explain your goal in life, or your understanding of what ‘real life’ is?
  1. This week we conclude our three-week series, “3 Questions We All Have About Jesus,” by looking at Jesus as the Life. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Before you begin this study, ask God to reveal His truth to you as you read His word.
  1. The theme of life pervades Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel of John. Read the following verses which mention ‘life’ or ‘eternal life’ and describe what they tell us about God, Jesus, and life:
  • John 1:4
  • John 3:15-16
  • John 4:14
  • John 5:19-40
  • John 6:35-58
  • John 11:25-26
  • John 12:23-26
  • John 17:1-3
  1. In light of everything you just read, what do you think Jesus is trying to say in John 14:6-7 about being the way and the truth and the life?
  1. Some people say that religion – or even Christianity specifically – is a straightjacket that takes the ‘life’ out of life. What would you say to someone who feels this way? If you feel this way yourself, why do you feel this way?
  1. In John 10:10, Jesus makes one of His most well-known statements about death and life. Given the verses around it (John 10:1-18), what do you think it means to have full or abundant life in Jesus Christ?
  1. Would you say that you are living the abundant life in Jesus Christ right now? Why or why not? How might you take a step deeper into life with God?
  1. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study about the life with God found in Jesus? 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.

[Response: As we draw this series to a close, you may still have unresolved questions about Jesus. We would love to talk through those with you in person or via email. Reach out with your questions either by emailing us (info@eastbrook.org), writing them on a connect card, visiting the Eastbrook Church Facebook page, or calling the church office (414.228.5220).]

 
 

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Is Jesus Really the Source of Truth? (discussion questions)

3 Questions Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Is Jesus Really the Source of Truth?,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the second part of our series, “3 Questions We All Have About Jesus,” where we are digging into Jesus’ provocative statement: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Discussion Questions:

  1. When did you learn something that changed your life, whether as a child or as an adult? What happened?
  1. This week we enter the second part of a three-week series entitled “3 Questions We All Have About Jesus.” In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Before you begin this study, ask God to reveal His truth to you as you read His word.
  1. The theme of truth is particularly important in the Gospel of John. Read the following verses which mention ‘truth’ and reflect on what they tell us about God, Jesus, and truth:
  • John 1:14, 17
  • John 3:21
  • John 4:23-24
  • John 7:18
  • John 8:31-32
  • John 8:40, 45
  • John 16:13
  • John 17:17
  • John 18:23
  • John 18:37-38
  1. Given everything you just read, what do you think is important about Jesus including ‘truth’ in His statement to the disciples in John 14:6? Why do you think it is important that Jesus includes this?
  1. How have you wrestled with questions about the truth in your own life? Has your knowledge of Jesus resolved those questions? How?
  1. Jesus is described as coming from God the Father “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, 17). Many times Christians are criticized for being arrogant in their claims to truth or in the way they talk about the truth. Do you think these criticisms are valid? Why or why not? What do you think it looks like to be full of grace and truth?
  1. In John 8:31-32, Jesus says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Based on the surrounding verses in John 8 and your own reflections, what do you think it means to be set free by the truth of Jesus?
  1. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study about the truth of God found in Jesus? 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.

[Response: Throughout this series, we will be looking at tough questions about Jesus. There may be some questions you wish someone would answer about Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. Send us your questions either by emailing them to info@eastbrook.org, writing them on a connect card, or visiting the Eastbrook Church Facebook page.]

 
 

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Is Jesus Really the Only Way? (discussion questions)

3 Questions Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Is Jesus Really the Only Way?,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the first part of our series, “3 Questions We All Have About Jesus,” where we are digging into Jesus’ provocative statement: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Discussion Questions:

  1. This week we begin a three-week series entitled “3 Questions We All Have About Jesus.” This series launches off from John 14:6, where Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Take a moment to ask God to speak to you as you study His word.
  2. What comes into your mind when you hear Jesus say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”?
  3. In John 14, Jesus is teaching His closest disciples before He will go to the Cross. He is specifically telling them that He will go away, but then return. Read John 14:1-14 to get better context on the statement Jesus makes in John 14:6.
  4. Given what you read in John 14:1-14, what would you say is Jesus’ driving concern in these verses?
  5. In his question found in 14:5 Thomas seems concerned with the direction or destination of Jesus’ pending departure. Is this the right question or not? What is Jesus trying to help His disciples understand here?
  6. There are clear echoes of John 10:1-18 in John 14. Take a moment to read that passage aloud. What key statements does Jesus make about His identity in John 10? What do you think these things mean in light of John 14:6?
  7. Some of people’s greatest hang-ups or frustrations about Christianity have to do with Jesus as the only way to God. What questions have you heard about this theme or topic in your own life? How do Jesus’ words here address those questions or frustrations?
  8. How have you experienced Jesus as ‘the way’ in your life? What does this mean to you?
  9. 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.

[Response: Throughout this series, we will be looking at tough questions about Jesus. There may be some questions you wish someone would answer about Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. Send us your questions either by emailing them to info@eastbrook.org, writing them on a connect card, or visiting the Eastbrook Church Facebook page.]

 
 

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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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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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