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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.]

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

 

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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.]

 
 

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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.

 

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Posted by on October 5, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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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.

 

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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God Calling (discussion questions)

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

Discussion Questions:

  1. When was a time that you most struggled to be obedient to God in your faith? How did you grow through it?
  2. We continue the “Faith Life” series at Eastbrook by looking at two episodes in Abraham’s life found in Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-18. Ask God to speak to you before reading those two portions of Scripture aloud.
  3. What is it that leads Abraham to begin traveling in both of these stories?
  4. As they travel into the land of Egypt (12:10) and the area around Gerar (20:2), what motivates Abraham to tell the half-truth about his relationship to Sarah? How do you think Sarah felt about this?
  5. Abraham specifically mentions his anxieties that “there is surely no fear of God in this place” (20:11). How does Abimelek actually act in response to God’s words (20:3-16)? How does the character of Abimelek and Abraham compare in this situation?
  6. Have you ever been surprised to find a God-fearing person, like Abimelek, in an unexpected place like? What happened?
  7. God protects Abraham and Sarah, even bringing greater blessing upon them (12:16; 20:14-16), despite the failure. Why would God do this?
  8. In Genesis 12:1-3 God speaks about the promise of a future and in Genesis 21 the child of promise, Isaac, is finally born. There is a lot of distance between God’s promise and actual fulfillment. What did the experience of waiting seem to do to Abraham and Sarah? How have you navigated seasons of waiting for God to act in your life?
 
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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

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Fumbling with Faith

Faith Life Series Gfx_16x9 TitleWhat happens when we have significant failure in our life? Can we still move forward as people of faith?

This weekend at Eastbrook Church I explored these questions as we looked at two ‘epic fail’ moments in Abraham’s life. This was the second part of our “Faith Life” series, which is a journey around themes of faith from the life of Abraham. The main theme of the message was that God is faithful even when we are failures. The texts we looked at are the parallels in Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-18.

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 September 22, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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God Calling (discussion questions)

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

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you define the word ‘faith’?
  2. We are beginning a new series at Eastbrook called “Faith Life,” in which we will explore what it really means to be a person of faith. We will follow the life of Abraham – called Abram at this point in our journey – in Genesis 11:27-25:12. This week, we are studying Genesis 11:27-12:9. Stop and ask God to speak to you before reading that portion of Scripture aloud.
  3. Abram’s journey begins in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) and moves toward present day Israel and Palestine. What do you observe about Abram’s family background and history from Genesis 11:27-32? What stands out to you? What is confusing to you?
  4. Genesis 12:1-3 is perhaps the most important passage in the entire Old Testament. Here, God speaks to Abram with a decisive command and specific promise. What is the decisive command God speaks to Abram in verse 1? What do you think this would have meant to Abram?
  5. When have you experienced God speaking to you decisively? What happened? How did you know it was God?
  6. In verses 2-3, God speaks seven promises of His overall covenant – or agreement – with Abram. What are those seven promises and what is their significance both for Abram now and for others later?
  7. How would you describe the response of Abram and others in verses 4-7? What is surprising and what is not surprising?
  8. One thing to note in verses 6-9 is that Abram journeys to “the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.” This was a recognized center for pagan religion in the ancient near east. What does Abram do at this site? Why do you think Abram did this and what would it have communicated to others around him?
 
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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

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