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5 Must-Read Statements on the Church

Given my recent sermon, “Connecting Together,” on what it means to be the church, I wanted to share again some thoughts from one of my favorite thinkers on the church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His book Life Together is, in my opinion, the best book written on the nature of true community in the church. Here are 5 must-read statements on  the Church from Bonhoeffer:

  • “Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves. By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world.” [26-27]
  • “Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.” [27]
  • “Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together – the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ.” [28]
  • “If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is not great experience, not discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.” [29]
  • “A pastor should not complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men….Let him pray God for an understanding of his own failure and his particular sin, and pray that he may not wrong his brethren. Let him, in consciousness of his own guilt, make intercession for his brethren.” [29-30]

[These quotations are taken from John W. Doberstein’s classic translation of Life Together. A more recent translation with thorough annotations and a helpful introduction is found in Volume 5 of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works.]

 

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Working through Conflict in Relationships

Made For It-ThumbThis weekend at Eastbrook Church I concluded our series “Made for It” with a message on working through conflict in relationships. Certainly we all deal with conflict in our relationships, whether friendships, work relationships, marriage, classmates or more.

The outline and video for the message is below, along with the presentation slides that accompany it. You can view and listen to the message online here or download it via the Eastbrook web-site here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Made for it: Dealing With Conflict in Relationship from EastbrookChurch on Vimeo.

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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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Marriage

Made For It-ThumbI continued our series on relationships, “Made for It,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church with a message on marriage. I started the message in the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2, then built from there into Paul’s instructions for households in Ephesians 5, moved into some words about the role marriage has in God’s mission, and concluded with a variety of responses to specific questions I have received about marriage. There is so much that could be said about marriage that I had to limit myself in many ways.

The outline and presentation slides for the message are below. You can watch or listen to the message online here or download it via the Eastbrook web-site here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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Friendship

Made For It-ThumbI began our new series “Made for It” this weekend at Eastbrook Church with a message on friendship. I spent some time at the beginning of the message talking about how we are made in God’s image as relational beings but our relationships are impacted by sin and evil. The centerpiece of the message, however, was an examination of Jesus’ words on friendship from John 15:12-13:

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The outline for the message is below. I revised it to better reflect the actual flow of the sermon, since I changed that a bit. You can listen to the message online here or download it via the Eastbrook web-site here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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Confused in Pergamum

Revealed-thumbnail-04-03This weekend at Eastbrook Church, I continued our “Revealed” series by looking at the letter to the church in Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17). I wanted to highlight the fact that often the most destructive attacks we face in our lives come not from full frontal assaults by evil but the side doors and back doors. I focused on how Jesus was calling the church into an awareness of their setting and alertness about those potential pitfalls.

You can listen to my message at the Eastbrook web-site here. You can also follow the RSS feed for Eastbrook sermons or follow Eastbrook Church on Twitter or Facebook.

The message outline is included below.

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Posted by on September 29, 2013 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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Preach the Gospel to Yourself Daily

Recently, I was talking with someone about what we most need in our lives for growth and I was reminded of the simple truth that we need to take in the message of the Gospel everyday. Wherever we are and whomever we are, it is of highest priority that we preach the simple message of good news to ourselves daily. In simplicity that message is as follows:

  • you are sinner who was lost in the death of sin and brokenness
  • God reached out to you in Jesus Christ apart from anything you’ve done (or will do)
  • God has brought you into the embrace of His family through grace and love
  • God has given you a place of belonging through eternity with Him

There are so many things in our daily lives push back against the gospel. People press against us with all sorts of messages about who we’re not and what we haven’t done: you’re a failure, you’re a loser, you’re too prideful, you’re too weak, and more. If we are honest, many of these things are true. Yes, we are broken sinners who need a tremendous amount of work. However, the gospel overpowers us with a different message. That message centers us within the reality that we are loved by God through Jesus Christ!

Take that message in daily, perhaps by reading Ephesians 2:1-10 Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Scripture reflections

 

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Family Portrait

Family-Portrait-Web-Rotator

This coming weekend at Eastbrook Church, we are beginning a series entitled “Family Portrait.”

The family is a significant part of God’s plan in the world.  At one level we are all part of the family of God, as Paul writes: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household” (Ephesians 2:19). What does it mean for the church to truly be a family together? At the same time, what does it look like for us to have families in the church who are healthy and reaching out to our broken world? Let’s put the picture together in this series on a God-inspired family portrait.

Our weekly message topics are:

April 20/21 – “You Belong in the Family”

April 27/28 – “Ideal Family?”

May 4/5 – “Family Secrets”

May 11/12 – “Homecoming”

Alongside of our series, we will be offering seminars during the first two weeks of May, both on Sunday mornings and during the week, on a range of specific topics applicable to everyone. You can find out more info here.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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