On Sunday, August 11, Eastbrook Church will meet at 11 am for an outdoor worship service on the front lawn. Afterwards, we’ll celebrate with a neighborhood picnic & potluck following the worship service! We’ll provide the main course, and fun activities for the whole family. We ask that you bring a side dish or dessert.
We have made a few changes from last year to maximize shade for all attending, help young kids have something to do, and more. This is also our chance to celebrate our 40th anniversary as a church.
To sign up and let us know what you’re bringing just click here.
In my own daily times of Scripture reading and prayer, I’ve been meditating on Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is the longest of the Psalms by far with 176 verses. This psalm is an extended reflection on the delight and power of God’s word, structured as an acrostic poem with one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
The psalm offers an expansive catalog of the diverse characteristics of God’s word that is impressive. When I read through Psalm 119, I feel like I am getting a multifaceted look at the word of God that is enlightening, stretching, and encouraging.
This past weekend at Eastbrook, I preached on Ephesians 6:10-24 in a message entitled “A Crash Course in Spiritual Conflict.” In this well-known passage, we encounter Paul delineating the armor of God. The only offensive piece of that armor comes last: “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17b). The Word of God is powerful and a vital piece of our armor in the spiritual conflict we face daily as God’s people. As the writer of Hebrews says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Here is a brief list of some of the facets of God’s word outlined within Psalm 119. I’d encourage you to read through the list and, when one statement jumps out at you, to open your Bible to Psalm 119, read that verse, and then meditate on those words for the day. There is so much here in each verse to grow and deepen us with God.
God’s word is:
- to be fully obeyed (4)
- righteous (7, 61, 106, 123, 137, 144, 164, 172)
- a guide for purity of life (9)
- a way to keep from sin (11)
- from the Lord’s mouth (13, 88)
- full of wonderful things (18)
- a delight (24, 35, 70, 77, 143, 162, 174)
- a counselor (24)
- a revelation of God’s wonderful deeds (27)
- a picture of the way of faithfulness (30)
- good (39, 68)
- a revelation of God’s salvation promises (41)
- a bringer of freedom (45)
- a promise to preserve our life (50)
- ancient (52)
- a comforter (52)
- precious (72)
- a pathway away from shame (80)
- completely trustworthy (86, 138)
- eternal (89, 152, 160)
- firm in the heavens (89)
- boundless in its perfection (90)
- what makes us wiser than our enemies and our teachers (98, 99, 100)
- sweet like honey (103)
- a lamp and light for our path (105, 130)
- the joy of our heart (111)
- wonderful (129)
- thoroughly tested (140)
- true (142, 151, 160)
- a bringer of peace (165)
- sustenance (175)
Here is the resource bibliography to accompany the recent preaching series, “Ephesians: A Crash Course in Basic Christianity.” Although I utilized many books or resources for specific messages within this series, I did not include all of those in this bibliography. Instead, I limited it to books our preaching team utilized throughout the series. The books I found particularly helpful are marked with an asterisk.
Bibliography on the book of Ephesians:
* C. E. Arnold. “Ephesians, Letter to the.” In Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, 238-249. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.
F. F. Bruce. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1984.
John Chrysostom. “Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians.” In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, edited by Philip Schaff, vol. 13, 49-172. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004.
LaMoine F. DeVries. Cities of the Biblical World. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1997.
*Harold W. Hoehner. Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.
William W. Klein. “Ephesians.” In Expositor’s Bible Commentary, rev., vol. 12, 19-173. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.
Eugene Peterson. Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010.
* Andrew T. Lincoln. Ephesians. WBC. Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1990.
Handley C. G. Moule. Ephesian Studies. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1900.
Klyne Snodgrass. Ephesians. NIVAC. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996.
John R. W. Stott. The Message of Ephesians: God’s New Society. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1979.
This past weekend at Eastbrook, I concluded our series “Ephesians: A Crash Course in Basic Christianity.” I explored Ephesians 6:10-24 through the message: “A Crash Course in Spiritual Conflict.” This is the well-known “armor of God” passage, with a lot of attention to the principalities and powers that we as Christians face in our earthly sojourn.
You can watch my message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series here or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities for involvement.
Lord Jesus, as God’s Spirit came down and rested upon you,
May the same Spirit rest on us,
Bestowing his sevenfold gifts.
First, grant us the gift of understanding,
By which your precepts may enlighten our minds.
Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow
in your footsteps on the path of righteousness.
Third, grant us courage,
by which we may ward off the enemy’s attacks.
Fourth, grant us knowledge,
by which we can distinguish good from evil.
Fifth, grant us piety,
by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.
Sixth, grant us fear,
by which we may draw back from evil
and submit to what is good.
Seventh, grant us wisdom,
that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.
By St. Bonaventure, 13th century theologian and doctor of the church.
“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.
Last week I was on vacation with my family, so I took a break from pulling together the weekend wanderer. We enjoyed a circle tour around Lake Superior, starting with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, then into Ontario in Canada, and concluding with a stops in Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. It was a beautiful journey in God’s creation with those I love the most. Here are a few photos, although I could share even more.
Okay, back to this weekend’s collection for “The Weekend Wanderer.”
“Questioning Faith After Purity Culture: In Conversation with Joshua Harris” – For those who grew up in evangelicalism, particularly conservative evangelicalism, Joshua Harris was a household name. This was largely due to the popularity of his book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which advocated courtship and became a big hit in the purity movement. For those on the outside, like me, much of Harris’ material seemed laughable and worth ignoring. Others, who grew up within the purity movement, have found some aspects of it painful and confusing. So it was rather big news recently when Harris, who had already stepped away from pastoral ministry and distanced himself from his previous work, announced not only that he was separating from his wife but that he had also left the faith. That is, he was no longer a Christian, or was, at least, going through a deconstruction of faith that would, according to him, hardly be characterized as Christianity. Two very different reads on this come from Katelyn Beaty at Religion News Service (“Joshua Harris and the sexual prosperity gospel”) and Al Mohler in The Briefing (“The Tragedy of Joshua Harris: Sobering Thoughts for Evangelicals”).
“Kissing Christianity Goodbye” – While this article by Carl Trueman jumps off from the previous news about Joshua Harris, it is really something broader than that. Noticing the tendencies within the group known (or formerly known) as “the Young, Restless and Reformed,” Trueman critiques modern evangelicalism, calling everyone to account for what is happening. If you’re not familiar with “the Young, Restless, and Reformed” group, it’s not a daytime soap opera, but a movement toward a somewhat simplistic Reformed theology within evangelicalism in the early 2000s and sometimes called “the New Calvinists.” Collin Hansen’s 2006 article at Christianity Today provides a good summary, and was eventually turned into a full-length book. Trueman’s article at First Things deserves a read or two.
“The Village Church sued for more than $1 million over alleged abuse at church camp” – I was so saddened to hear of this terrible situation at The Village Church, where Matt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor. “A young woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a youth minister at a church camp is suing the Village Church for more than $1 million for gross negligence and the emotional distress the alleged abuse has caused her.”
“Learning from a Legend: 2 life lessons we can learn from Gardner C. Taylor” – In an inspiring article drawn from his book on Gardner C. Taylor, Jared Alcántara highlights two traits of this outstanding preacher that today’s preachers would do well to emulate: caring more about faithfulness than success and emphasizing the greatness of the Gospel more than the greatness of the preacher. As quickly as that and I’ve added Alcántara’s book to my reading list.
“Remembering Rob Moll” – Those familiar with Christian journalism and writing may know the name Rob Moll from his books, articles, or presence for several years at Christianity Today. It was terrible to hear of his untimely death while hiking at Mount Rainier. Here is Ted Olsen, a longtime colleague and friend, writing about Moll: “For years, Rob thought a lot about death. He volunteered as a hospice chaplain and took a part-time job at a funeral home even before he decided to write his first book, The Art of Dying. Why, I wondered, was such a young guy so interested in learning how to die well? Isn’t that something to think about after midlife? Few healthy and athletic 41-year-olds are as prepared for their death as Rob was.” You can read a selection of his articles after Olsen’s remembrance, including his poignant reflection on the writing of Albert Camus, “Saved by an Atheist.”
[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.]