Prepare (discussion questions)

appearing-series-gfx_app-squareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Prepare,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the first part of our series, “Appearing.” The text for this week is Luke 3.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some of your traditions for preparing for Christmas? What special preparations are you making this year?
  2. This week marks the beginning of our next series with the Gospel of Luke, “Appearing.” This weekend we look at Luke 3, a chapter that focuses on the life and ministry of John the Baptist and the transition to Jesus. Begin your study by asking God to speak to you from His Word, and then read Luke 3:1-38 aloud.
  3. With chapter 3, Luke’s telling of Jesus’ story jumps from Jesus’ childhood to John the Baptist’s ministry as an adult. The listing of political and religious leaders in 3:1-2 helps us place the timeline at A.D. 29. Reading 3:2-6, how would you describe John’s life and ministry?
  4. What stands out to you most from John’s message in 3:7-9?
  5. Now look at John’s interactions with people’s questions in 3:10-14. What would you say is the theme of John’s responses in light of his overarching message (3:7-9) and mission (3:3-4)?
  6. What do you think it looks like to produce fruit in keeping with repentance today? What are of your life might need to produce fruit in keeping with repentance?
  7. John’s message lands him in prison (3:19-20), but not before he baptizes his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth (3:21-22). What does the baptism episode tell us about Jesus? (You may also want to look at parallel passages in Matthew 3:13-17 and Mark 1:9-11.)
  8. The genealogy in 2:23-38 tells us that Jesus is David’s heir, Abraham’s seed, and the Son of God. Which of these titles of Jesus means the most to you?
  9. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

 


 

Daily Reading Plan

To encourage us together in our growth with God, we are arranging a weekday reading plan through this entire series with the Gospel of Luke. As you read each day, ask God to speak to you from His word.

Follow along with the reading plan below, through the Eastbrook app, or on social media.

  • Nov. 28          Luke 3:1-6; Matthew 3:4-6
  • Nov. 29          Isaiah 40:3-11
  • Nov. 30          Luke 3:7-14; Matthew 3:7-10
  • Dec. 1              Luke 3:15-20; Matthew 3:11-12
  • Dec. 2              Luke 3:21-23a; Matthew 3:13-17

Growing (discussion questions)

beginnings-series-gfx_app-squareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Growing,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the final part of our series, “Beginnings.” The text for this week is Luke 2:22-52.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Answer one of the following questions:
    • What is one of your favorite memories from growing up? Why?
    • When have you experienced the greatest growth in your life with God? What happened?
  2. This week we conclude our “Beginnings” series from the Gospel of Luke by looking at Luke 2:22-52. Luke moves from Jesus’ birth to his early life with one episode from his first months and one from his boyhood. Take a moment to pray that God would speak to you before reading the first episode from Luke 2:22-40.
  3. Joseph and Mary are fulfilling the requirements of the Jewish law for purification after birth (Leviticus 12:2-4) and dedication of firstborn children (Numbers 18:15-16) at the Temple in Jerusalem. What do you notice about Simeon, a man they encounter there (vss 25-26)?
  4. What is most striking to you about Simeon’s words of praise to God (vss 29-32) and his words to Joseph and Mary (vss 33-35)? What does this tell us about Jesus?
  5. What would you say Anna the prophetess confirms about Jesus’ identity in her response to Jesus’ visit (vss 36-38)?
  6. Now read Luke 2:41-52. Background: Joseph and Mary appear as very devout in their annual visit to Jerusalem for Passover. They likely travel the 80 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem in a group with family and friends.
  7. When Joseph and Mary discover Jesus is not with their group, they rush back to Jerusalem to find Him in the Temple talking with teachers. His response in verse 49 is Jesus’ first words in the Gospel. What do we learn about Him from these words?
  8. Jesus’ growth physically is mirrored by His growth relationally and spiritually (see 2:40, 52). What might we learn about our own development as disciples from Jesus’ life here?
  9. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

 

Daily Reading Plan

To encourage us together in our growth with God, we are arranging a weekday reading plan through this entire series with the Gospel of Luke. As you read each day, ask God to speak to you from His word.

Follow along with the reading plan below, through the Eastbrook app, or on social media.

  • Nov 21             Luke 2:22-40
  • Nov 22             Isaiah 42:1-7; Isaiah 49:5-6
  • Nov 23             Matthew 2:19-23
  • Nov 24             Luke 2:41-52
  • Nov 25             Luke 2:40; Luke 2:52

Prophet (discussion questions)

beginnings-series-gfx_app-squareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Prophet,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is part of our series, “Beginnings.” The text for this week is Luke 1:57-80.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When have you experienced God’s goodness after a long time of waiting? What happened?
  2. This week we continue our “Beginnings” series from the Gospel of Luke by looking at Luke 1:57-80. Ask God to speak to you and then, whether you are with a group or on your own, read that passage aloud.
  3. Luke returns to the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah with the birth of their new son begun in Luke 1:5-25. One of the biggest moments in this story is the naming of the child. Why do you think this was a big deal? (You may also want to reread Luke 1:5-25.)
  4. As you read Luke 1:57-66 what do you notice about the response of those around Elizabeth and Zechariah? How do they respond to this new child?
  5. Zechariah’s obedience in naming John is a faith-filled response to God’s promise that he earlier disbelieved (Luke 1:18-20). Why do you think Zechariah changed in his time of waiting? Have you ever had an experience like Zechariah in your life with God?
  6. As Zechariah’s voice returns, he immediately speaks words of praise to God. The first half of Zechariah’s prophecy (1:67-75) focuses on God’s goodness, specifically referencing God’s promises to David (2 Samuel 7:12-16) and Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Read those passages and reflect on what Zechariah is saying will come true in the days to come?
  7. The second part of Zechariah’s prophecy (Luke 1:76-79) looks toward the role that John will play in the work of the coming Messiah. What do you notice about John’s role and what that shows about the Messiah?
  8. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

 

Daily Reading Plan

To encourage us together in our growth with God, we are arranging a weekday reading plan through this entire series with the Gospel of Luke. As you read each day, ask God to speak to you from His word.

Follow along with the reading plan below, through the Eastbrook app, or on social media.

  • November 7    Luke 1:57-66
  • November 8    1 Samuel 1:19-28
  • November 9    Luke 1:67-75
  • November 10  Genesis 12:1-3
  • November 11  Malachi 3:1; Luke 1:76-80

Visitation (discussion questions)

beginnings-series-gfx_app-squareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Visitation,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the second part of our series, “Beginnings.” The text for this week is Luke 1:26-56.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When have experienced a special gift in your life from a person or God? What happened?
  2. This week we continue our “Beginnings” series from the Gospel of Luke by looking at Luke 1:26-56. Ask God to speak to you and then, whether you are with a group or on your own, read that passage aloud.
  3. Background: Mary is a young woman in a relatively small town in the northern region of Galilee. She is in the first stage of two-stage marriage process, involving the public promise of marriage (like engagement) before the final marriage ceremony when the husband would take his wife home, sometimes up to a year later.
  4. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary with a great message about a miraculous child to come. What do you make of Gabriel’s greeting to Mary in verse 28?
  5. How does Gabriel describe this promised child in Luke 1:30-33, 35-37?
  6. For further background on the promise about David’s throne, you may want to look at: 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; Psalm 89; 132:11-12; Isaiah 9:6-7; and 11:1-15.
  7. How would you describe Mary’s response to this dramatic announcement in 1:34 and 38?
  8. These two favored women, Mary and Elizabeth, meet one another at Elizabeth’s home in Judea. Why is this meeting special, according to Luke 1:39-45?
  9. Now, read aloud Mary’s song, known by its Latin name the Magnificat, in Luke 1:46-56. What stands out to you from Mary’s song? How might you compose your own song of praise to God?
  10. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

 

Daily Reading Plan

To encourage us together in our growth with God, we are arranging a weekday reading plan through this entire series with the Gospel of Luke. As you read each day, ask God to speak to you from His word.

Follow along with the reading plan below, through the Eastbrook app, or on social media.

  • Monday, Oct 24          Luke 1:26-38; 2 Samuel 7:9-16
  • Tuesday, Oct 25           Matthew 1:18-25
  • Wednesday, Oct 26     Luke 1: 39-45
  • Thursday, Oct 27         Luke 1:46-56; Psalm 103:17-18
  • Friday, Oct 28              1 Samuel 2:1-10

Elizabeth in Shadows

woman in shadow.jpgIn the midst of all the grand things God is doing at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, there is something much smaller going on. In the midst of the story of God playing out in human history and the incense of the Temple in Jerusalem with Zechariah, there is a woman standing in shadows of shame and her name is Elizabeth.

Sometimes we wonder if as human beings we are mere cogs in the universe. Even if we believe in God, we may wonder if we are simply hidden, unnoticed beings before the divine majesty. I think it precisely in moments like this that the words of Luke 1:23-25 are for us:

Listen to the last verses of today’s passage:

And when Zechariah’s time of service was ended, he went to his home. After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

I love this because in the midst of all God is working out in cosmos through Jesus Messiah, there is still a message of salvation that is so relationally personal.

Elizabeth, who was last described by her barrenness (Luke 1:7), now experiences a work of God that is personal and transformational. She declares aloud: “The Lord has done this for me…In these days He has shown His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

She knows that God has done this for her. A good theologian might want to correct Elizabeth by reminding her of the bigger thing God is doing in the world and for salvation. Yet here we encounter an important truth: God’s grand story always involves our personal story.

God is not so great that He forgets about us; in fact, He is so great that He remembers us.

Elizabeth’s childless years – the years of mourning have been changed. She has a child. It is a miracle child that promises something great for Israel and all the nations of the earth…

But this child speaks to Elizabeth that even for her, God is bringing a promise:
a promise of hope, of change, of new beginning.

As it says in Psalm 30:

“Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me….
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth & clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.”
(Psalm 30:2, 11, 12)

So, for those of standing in the shadows of shame like Elizabeth, the work of God in Jesus Christ is also a personal, relational, and transformational. God is doing something new in Jesus now…for us.

 [This is an excerpt from my message “Promise” as part of our series on the Gospel of Luke.]