Righteous Suffering (discussion questions)

Exiles Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Righteous Suffering,” which is part of our series “Exiles” on the book of 1 Peter. This study walks through 1 Peter 2:11-25.

  1. When was a time when someone noticed that you were a follower of Jesus just by the way you live? What happened?
  1. This weekend we continue our series, “Exiles,” on the New Testament letter of 1 Peter. Take a moment to begin your study in prayer, asking God to speak to you and transform you through His truth. Then, whether you are alone or with others, read 1 Peter 2:11-25 aloud.
  1. Building upon the last section of identity markers (1 Peter 2:9-10), Peter begins this section of the letter begins by returning to terms he used earlier: “foreigners” (1:17) and “exiles” (1:1). Why do you think Peter highlights these terms again here?
  1. There are two major exhortations Peter offers in verses 11 and 12. What are they?
  1. Peter introduces the concept of spiritual warfare here. What do you normally think of when you hear the phrase ‘spiritual warfare’, and how does that relate to what Peter is discussing here?
  1. In verses 13-17, the letter turns toward the meaningful social responsibility of God’s exiled people. What are the major instructions Peter brings to his readers in these verses?
  1. Peter highlights the freedom of God’s people in verse 16. What does he say the point of this freedom is?
  1. Some people say that Christians should always quietly submit to authority, regardless of what the authority asks us to do. Others say that Christians should challenge the established authorities at times when they deviate from the public good. What do you think? How do the themes of submission and doing good inform the way we think about this question?
  1. With 1 Peter 2:18-3:7 Peter applies his teaching to the basic unit of Roman society, the household. He does this in an unexpected way, beginning by addressing the ‘least of these’ personally. How does Peter both dignify and challenge the household servants in verses 18-21?
  1. Peter holds up Jesus as the example for the household servants – and all Christians – to follow in verses 23-25. He does so by weaving Isaiah 53 throughout his words on Jesus. Take a moment to read Isaiah 53 aloud. Where do you hear echoes of Isaiah’s words about the Messiah in 1 Peter 2:23-25?
  1. Why do you think the example of Jesus would be such a powerful example to these early believers who feel like foreigners and exiles? How does Jesus’ example speak to you?
  1. What is one specific thing you sense God is speaking to you about your life through this study? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray about what you share together. If you are studying on your own, write it down, pray about it, and share this with someone during the next few days.

[Next week: We continue our “Exiles” series with a discussion of “Righteous Relationships.” Prepare ahead of time by reading 1 Peter 3:1-12.]

Difficulties at Work (discussion questions)

God at Work Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany the message I delivered this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, “Difficulties at Work.” This is the second part of our series, “God at Work.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some of the most common difficulties we face at work? How have you dealt with one of those in your own life?
  1. We continue our “God at Work” series this weekend by looking at difficulties with work. Before beginning this study on your own or with a group, take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you.
  1. We work in a world impacted by sin, brokenness, and evil. In the Bible, this reality is known as the Fall, reflecting our fall from God’s grace and into sin. Read Genesis 3:14-19 and name some of the main effects of sin and evil upon our work.
  1. Jesus came to bring the good news that kingdom of God is near (Mark 1:13) and to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). This was, in one sense, the work that Jesus came to do (John 5:17). When you think of Jesus having work to do, what does that say to you about what it means to work?
  1. Read through Luke 22:39-23:56. As you read through this, take time to reflect on each episode of the story by asking the question: how is Jesus approaching His work here? This may take some time. You may want to take notes as you walk through this extended portion of Scripture.
  1. If Jesus worked His way through difficulties, how does that change your approach to working through difficulties? Maybe you want to consider one situation that is particularly difficult for you right now. How will you see or approach that situation differently because of Jesus?
  1. Sometimes we may feel that the distance between Jesus and us is too great for comparison on this topic. That begin said, we need to remember that Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us to live in His ways. What is one way you are asking God to give you Holy Spirit power to work in the midst of difficulty this week? If you are alone, write it down and pray about that. If you are with your small group, share your answers with one another and then pray for one another about these things.

Difficulties at Work

God at Work Series Gfx_ThumbHow should we respond when we face difficulties at work? What do we do when we run into tensions with co-workers? What if our work environment puts undue pressure on us or is simply at odds with God’s ways?

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church we continued our series, “God at Work,” with a message “Difficulties at Work.” The message dealt with…well…the difficulties we face at work and how we respond to them.

You can watch the message right here and follow along with the outline for the message below. You may want to interact with all the messages from this series here.

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

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Sexuality and Marriage

HS 4My wife, Kelly, and I concluded the “Holy Sexuality” series this past weekend at Eastbrook Church by talking about sexuality and marriage. I was so glad to have Kelly join me for preparation and delivery of the message. She is such a gifted pastor and woman of God, and working together on this made the message so much better.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can also listen to the message via our audio podcast here.

As always, I’d like to invite you to connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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10 Things Jesus Didn’t Say to Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus1Last night I had the privilege of spending time with our Celebrate Recovery group here at Eastbrook. I am always encouraged whenever I see a group of people coming together to enter the pathway to healing and recovery with great vulnerability and persistence. This takes such great courage.

I wove together some of my own family story around recovery themes with the story of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus recorded in Luke 19:1-10. There is an interesting progression here of Zacchaeus first seeing Jesus, then seeking Jesus, and then finally standing with Jesus as he strives to rise above his situation and not sink beneath it. In the midst of preparing the message, I drafted a list of ten things Jesus didn’t say to Zacchaeus. I thought I’d share that here.

When He encountered Zacchaeus, Jesus didn’t say…Read More »