The Weekend Wanderer: 27 November 2021

The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like. Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.


gratitude science“Research Roundup: 6 Takeaways on the Goodness of Gratitude” – Stefani McDade in Christianity Today offers a reflection on six scholarly articles related to gratitude. Here’s one: “Da Jiang, Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Psychological Sciencesand Social Sciences, December 2020 – ‘Numerous studies have shown that gratitude can improve the mental health of people facing stressful events. However, most studies in this area have been based on laboratory experiments and retrospective surveys, rather than actual situations in which people are experiencing stress.’ ‘This study attempted to fill these gaps by examining the benefits of feeling gratitude every day during the COVID-19 outbreak. … These findings demonstrate the benefits of gratitude in a naturalistic situation that induced stress and anxiety.'”


Turning Points“The Great Commission’s Greatest Hits” – Jay Riley Case interviews Alice T. Ott at Christianity Today: “When Jesus delivered the Great Commission to a small band of disciples, they might have wondered how they were supposed to carry his gospel to the ends of the earth. Yet across the nations it spread, winning converts and planting churches everywhere it went. Alice T. Ott, a missions and world Christianity professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, surveys the pivotal moments of this journey in Turning Points in the Expansion of Christianity: From Pentecost to the Present. Jay Riley Case, a historian of missions at Malone University, spoke with Ott about the big picture and the smaller details of Christianity’s global advance. Q: What got you interested in the history of the expansion of Christianity? A: My interest is an outgrowth of my own experiences. I have loved history ever since I was a teenager. I spent 21 years of my adult life as a missionary in Germany. After my husband and I returned to the United States, I earned my PhD and started teaching courses on the history of mission and Christianity in the non-Western world. The book grew out of my research for these courses, as well as from my teaching and interacting with students.”


Haiti kidnapping“Two Kidnapped Missionaries Freed in Haiti” – From the Editors of Christianity Today: “Two members of a missionary group kidnapped in Haiti a month ago have finally been freed, leaving 15 Christians still in captivity. ‘The two hostages who were released are safe, in good spirits, and being cared for,’ stated Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) on its website. The Ohio-based group said it ‘cannot provide or confirm the names of those released, the reasons for their release, where they are from, or their current location. We encourage you to continue to pray for the full resolution of this situation,’ stated CAM. ‘While we rejoice at this release, our hearts are with the 15 people who are still being held. Continue to lift up the remaining hostages before the Lord.'”


Austin Kleon - gratitude zine“A gratitude zine: Exercises to help you feel thankful” – Austin Kleon put together this “Gratitude Zine,” which some helpful exercises for gratitude: “‘I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.’—G.K. Chesterton  It’s Thanksgiving week here in Texas, and I wanted to share with y’all another little zineI made that you can download and print out. (If you’re having dinner guests, feel free to print out enough to leave one at everyone’s place setting!) Gratitude is something I have struggled with in the past. In fact, it’s been at times in my life when I should have felt more thankful than ever that I’ve had the hardest time feeling thankful.”


harvest-wheat-farmer-hand“Agricultural Metaphors for the Christian Life” – Matthew Barrett in Tabletalk: “At the center of the Christian faith is a fundamental belief: there is no one like God. He is not the creature but the Creator, the One Isaiah says is high and lifted up (Isa. 6:1). How amazing it is, then, that this God would stoop down and make Himself known to finite and sinful creatures like us. John Calvin loved to say that God is like a nurse who bends low to lisp to a newborn. When we read the Bible, we see this accommodation whenever God uses metaphors to convey His saving message to us in a way that we can understand. These metaphors help us know God and live the Christian life coram Deo, before the face of God. For example, out of the many ways God could have communicated with Israel, He chose agricultural metaphors. Israel was a people whose existence depended on the soil. Israel was liberated from Egypt to enter the land God promised to her father Abraham. Yet notice how this land is described: it is a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex. 3:8). Agriculture was not only a way of life for Israel; it was a sign of God’s covenant blessing. To enjoy the fruit of the land was a sure indication that God had fulfilled His promises to Abraham.”


Myanmar fires“Army Attacks Continue in Myanmar’s Most Christian State” – Grant Peck in APNews: “More than 160 buildings in a town in northwestern Myanmar, including at least two churches, have been destroyed by fires caused by shelling by government troops, local media and activists reported Saturday. The destruction of parts of the town of Thantlang in Chin state appeared to be another escalation in the ongoing struggle between Myanmar’s military-installed government and forces opposed to it. The army seized power in February from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, but has failed to quell the widespread resistance. A government spokesman denied ‘nonsense allegations being reported in the country-destroying media,’ and blamed insurgents for instigating the fighting and setting the fires.”


Music: Jpk. (feat. Young Dre Flaco), “scars”

‘Tis the Reason – a new series at Eastbrook

This coming Sunday at Eastbrook Church we begin a new preaching series entitled “‘Tis the Reason.” This series mirrors our journey of Advent and continues our journey through the Gospel of Matthew, focusing on Jesus’ ministry turn from Galilee toward Judea and His crucifixion in Jerusalem.

You can access our Advent devotional that accompanies the series as a PDF, online, or through the Eastbrook app.

This is the seventh part of our longer series on Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom: parables of Jesus,” and “Who Do You Say I Am?

Join us each weekend of this series in-person or via Eastbrook at Home.

Here are the weekly topics for the series:

November 28 – “His Suffering Brings Peace” – Matthew 16:21-28

December 5 – “His Glory Brings Joy” – Matthew 17:1-13

December 12 – “His Healing by Faith” – Matthew 17:14-20; 20:29-34

December 19 – “His Resurrection Brings Hope” – Matthew 17:22-23;20:17-19

December 24 – “Glory to the Newborn King” [Christmas Eve services at 1, 2:30, 4, and 5:30 PM]

Thanksgiving 2021 at Eastbrook Church

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30)

Thanksgiving is a day for family to gather and give thanks for what God has done (and is doing). Join us this year for a time of worship, story-telling, and giving thanks with your Eastbrook family. This year, we will be both gathering in person for the Thanksgiving Service, and also live-streaming the service online at Eastbrook at Home.

You can give online towards the Thanksgiving Offering at eastbrook.org/giving or by texting EBCgive to 94000.

What are 5 things you’re thankful for this year?

We all have reasons to be thankful. Throughout Scripture, we are encouraged to remember and rehearse together the reasons we have to give thanks to God. The Psalms reverberate with this charge:

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)

The Apostle Paul encourages believers in local churches to do this together:

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

He also reminds us that our ultimate reason for giving thanks is found in Jesus Christ, who lived, died, and rose in victory over sin and death for us:

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Even though we should give thanks at any time, it helps to have a season of year where we give special attention to remembering and rehearsing with others the reasons we are thankful.

One of our practices as a family is to give thanks for five things everyday together. So, what are five things you are thankful for today or this year?

Bibliography for “Who Do You Say I Am?”

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share resources I utilized in my study and preparation for sermons. Here is the bibliography for our recent series, “Who Do You Say I Am?,” which is the sixth part of an extended walk through the Gospel of Matthew.

Bibliography for “Who Do You Say I Am?” [Gospel of Matthew, part 6]

Kenneth E. Bailey. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2008.

Jeannine K. Brown and Kyle Roberts. Matthew. The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2018.

Michael Joseph Brown. “The Gospel of Matthew.” In True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, edited by Brian K. Blount, 85-120. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2007.

John Calvin. A Harmony of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Volume 1. Trans. By A. W. Morrison. Calvin’s Commentaries. Ed. by David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972.

John Chrysostom. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew. NPNF, series 1, vol. 10. Ed. by Philip Schaff. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.

R. T. France. The Gospel of Matthew. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007.

Craig S. Keener. Matthew. IVPNTC. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997.

Scot McKnight. “Matthew, Gospel of.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, 526-541. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1992.

Manlio Simonetti, editor. Matthew 1-13. ACCS. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001.

________. Matthew 14-28. ACCS. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002.

Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr. Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, 5th edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1992.

N. T. Wright. The Challenge of Jesus. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999.

________. Simply Jesus. New York: HarperCollins, 2011.

Philip Yancey. The Jesus I Never Knew. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.