Making Space for Prayer (discussion questions)

Art of Prayer Series Gfx_App Square Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Making Space for Prayer,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the first of a three-part series, “The Art of Prayer,” looking at Jesus’ approach to the life of prayer from the Gospel of Luke. This week we looked at Luke 5:16; 6:12-13a; 9:18.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Answer one of these two questions:
    • What do you find most difficult about prayer?
    • What do you find most life-giving about prayer?
  2. At Eastbrook we are beginning a new series called “The Art of Prayer.” We are going to look at Jesus’ life of prayer in the Gospel of Luke as a way to learn about prayer ourselves. It’s good to begin a series on prayer in prayer! Take some time, whether on your own or with others, to asking God to teach you to pray before you begin this study.
  3. We are looking at three short, separate passages from Luke. Do the following for each of these passages: read them out loud, identify what is happening in the context of that passage, and then identify some key aspects of Jesus’ prayer life from the passage.
    • Luke 5:16
    • Luke 6:12a
    • Luke 9:18a
  1. In what ways do you think Jesus’ life of prayer is similar to our own life of prayer? In what ways is it different?
  2. What do you find to be the most significant lesson about prayer that you see from Jesus’ life and practice of prayer here?
  3. Make it real: What is one way you could put something you learned about prayer into practice in your daily life this week?

 

[Next week we continue this series by looking at one of Jesus’ major teachings on prayer in Luke 11:1-12. Read that passage ahead of time to prepare.]

Making Space for Prayer

Art of Prayer Series Gfx_App WideThis past weekend at Eastbrook we began a new three-week series entitled “The Art of Prayer,” looking at Jesus’ approach to the life of prayer.

I began the series with a message entitled “Making Space for Prayer.” Jesus is the Master of prayer, and He makes space for prayer. We see this throughout the Gospel of Luke, and it comes clearest in Luke 5:16: “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” What does Jesus’ pattern of making space for prayer teach us about our own life of prayer?

You can watch the message here, following along with the outline below. You can also follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.

 

Beginnings of Prayer

The God who speaks (Genesis 1:3a)

 

The God who made us (Genesis 1:27)

 

The way we are made (Isaiah 43:21; Ephesians 2:10)

 

Desires, priorities, and making space for prayer

 

 

Jesus Makes Space for Prayer

Rhythm & Time (Luke 5:16)

 

Solitude & Silence (Luke 5:16)

 

Hearing What to Do (Luke 6:12-13a)

 

Hearing Who We Are (Luke 9:18)

 

The Art of Prayer: a series on Jesus’ life of prayer

Art of Prayer Series Gfx_App WideIt has been said that the greatest education in the world is watching a master at work. This is true whether we are referring to an artist, athlete, engineer, teacher, or anything else. We learn most from those who have developed mastery in that area. What about the spiritual life, specifically the life of conversation with God known as prayer?

Over the next three weeks at Eastbrook Church we will explore the life of our Master, Jesus, at prayer. In this new series entitled “The Art of Prayer,” we will specifically look at Jesus’ life of prayer in the Gospel of Luke. As we turn our eyes to Jesus, who is the Master of prayer, let’s see what we can learn from Him about the art of prayer.

You can follow along with the series via our web-site, our Vimeo page, our Facebook page, or by downloading the Eastbrook Church app.

Messy Ends (discussion questions)

Flawed Heroes Series Gfx_App SquareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Messy Ends” from Judges 17-21, which concluded our series, “Flawed Heroes,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Answer one of these two questions:
    • When have you seen something beautiful in the midst of brokenness?
    • Has a real-life hero let you down? What happened and how did you respond?
  2. This week, we conclude our series, “Flawed Heroes,” with the last five chapters of Judges (17-21). These chapters are often seen as an appendix, or concluding word, at the end of the book. This is particularly difficult but also important material to read. We will look at it in two sections. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you through His word, and then read Judges 17-18 aloud.
  3. This first story recounts deep failures in the religious and community life of the people of God. How would you describe the family life of Micah and his mother?
  4. Based on what you read about the Levite in chapters 17-18, what sort of person do you think he is? Why does this matter?
  5. The Danites steal the Levite and the idol away from Micah, causing conflict between the tribes of Israel. After that, they annihilate the people of Laish. Why is all of this shocking in light of what you know about God’s plans for His people (see Joshua 24:11-15)?
  6. What is one thing that you take away from this story about God, His work, or His people?
  7. Now begin the second story of this section by reading Judges 19:1-10. How would you describe the life and relationship of this Levite with his concubine and her family?
  8. Next read Judges 19:11-30. A core issue here is the role of hospitality. Why does the Levite avoid the land of the Jebusites (vss 11-12)? What does he find when he comes to the Benjamite town of Gibeah?
  9. In one or two words describe the behavior of each: the old man from Ephraim, the Levite, and the men of Gibeah.
  10. Background: While this may seem gruesome (and it is!), the cutting up of the concubine was a summons to war in response to horrific wrongs. Similar situations are attested in other ancient near-eastern literature and also in 1 Samuel 11:7.
  11. The remaining two chapters (20-21), describe a conflict that arises between the tribe of Benjamin and the remaining tribes of God’s people. There are three main sections of conflict (20:18-20; 20:21-25; 20:26-48) that form an ironic echo to Judges 1. What changes do you see in the majority tribes’ approach to warfare through this sequence?
  12. The end result of this conflict is the decimation of the tribe of Benjamin. Chapter 21 traces the tragic response of the tribes to their fear that Benjamin will disappear. How would you summarize that chapter?
  13. Notice that this entire section begins and ends with the same thought: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). What is one thing that God is speaking to you through this study today and through the book of Judges as a whole? If you are on your own, take a moment to write it down, pray about it, and then commit to sharing that with one person this week. If you are with a small group, share your answers together and then pray for each other.

Messy Ends

Flawed Heroes Series Gfx_App Wide
We concluded the “Flawed Heroes” series this past weekend at Eastbrook with a message called “Messy Ends.” this was an extended look at the “appendix of Judges, found in two shocking stories from Judges 17-21. I shared a list of five things we don’t need anyone’s help to accomplish when we do what’s right by our own estimation. I then outlined a series of five contrasting practices which enable us to put God as king in our corporate and individuals lives. You can watch the message here, following along with the outline below. You can also follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.

 

Five Things We Can Accomplish without a Leader’s Help (Judges 17-18; 19-21)

  1. Mixed-up Worship
  1. Mixed-up Relationships
  1. Mixed-up Morality
  1. Mixed-up Politics
  1. Mixed-up Goals

 

Five Practices to Recover Life with God as King

  1. God as King of our Worship (Ascribing Value in Worship)
  1. God as King of our Relationships (Living the Church as Family)
  1. God as King of our Morality (Holiness from the Inside)
  1. God as King of our Politics (Holiness Moving Inside-Out)
  1. God as King of our Goals (Giving Allegiance to God and His Kingdom)