Bibliography for “Hope Rising: 1 Thessalonians for Today”

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, “Hope Rising: 1 Thessalonians for Today.”

Bibliography for “Hope Rising”

John Calvin. The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and to the Thessalonians. Trans. Ross Mackenzie. Ed. David W. and Thomas F. Torrance. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1961.

J. M. Everts. “Hope.” In Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, 415-417. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.

Cain Hope Felder. “1 Thessalonians.” In True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, edited by Brian K. Blount, 389-400. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2007.

Peter J. Gorday, editor. Colossians, First and Second Thessalonians, First and Second Timothy, Titus, Philemon.ACCS. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2000.

L. J. Kreitzer. “Eschatology.” In Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Marting, and Daniel G. Reid, 253-269. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.

Jürgen Moltmann. Theology of hope: on the ground and the implications of a Christian eschatology. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993.

Josef Pieper. Faith, Hope, Love. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius, 1986.

J. W. Simpson, Jr. “Thessalonians, Letters to the.” In Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, 932-939. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993.

Jeffrey A. D. Weima. 1-2 Thessalonians. ECNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014.

N. T. Wright. Surprised by Hope. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.

Living Hope

This past weekend at Eastbrook, I concluded our series on 1 Thessalonians entitled “Hope Rising: 1 Thessalonians for Today.” This fifth and final week of the series I preached from 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 on joining the melody of God’s hope in Jesus Christ with the variations of living response.

You can find the message outline and video below. You can access the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Living as the Good Community of God (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15)

Acknowledge those who serve

Warn those who are idle

Encourage those who are worn down

Turn from grudges

Strive to do good to one another and everyone

Living in Joy, Prayer, and Thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Learning the Imperatives of hope

Learning the will of God

Living in the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)

Not quenching the Spirit

Living with discernment

Living into the Blessing of God (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

Yielding to the sanctifying work of God

Relying upon the faithfulness of God

Continuing as the Community of God (1 Thessalonians 5:25-28)

Mutual prayer

Mutual affection

Mutual edification

Mutual grace


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 or 5:23-24
  • Make a joy or thankfulness inventory this week. Take time to write down at least 25 things you are thankful for or joyful about. Share this with friends or family sometime this week.
  • Choose a portion of this passage to draw, ink, or paint out in a way that expresses worship and prayer.
  • Consider reading:

Eastbrook at Home – November 20, 2022

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Join us for worship with Eastbrook Church through Eastbrook at Home at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM. This weekend we conclude our series entitled “Hope Rising: 1 Thessalonians for Today.”

Here is a prayer for this Sunday, the celebration of Christ the King, from The Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

If you are able to do so, let me encourage you to join us for in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus.

If you are new to Eastbrook, we want to welcome you to worship and would ask you to text EBCnew to 94000 as a first step into community here at Eastbrook.

Each Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM, you can participate with our weekly worship service at home with your small group, family, or friends. This service will then be available during the week until the next Sunday’s service starts. You can also access the service directly via Vimeo, the Eastbrook app, or Facebook.

If you are not signed up for our church emailing list, please sign up here. Also, please remember that during this time financial support for the church is critical as we continue minister within our congregation and reach out to our neighborhood, city, and the world at this challenging time. Please give online or send in your tithes and offerings to support the ministry of Eastbrook Church.

The Weekend Wanderer: 19 November 2022

The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, 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 these articles but have found them thought-provoking.


Landscape“The Roof Always Caves In: Why there is nothing wrong with being doomed.” – Kate Bowler in Comment: “It was in the cowboy days of subprime mortgage lending and a bank was dumb enough to give me money to purchase a bungalow in Durham, North Carolina. I was a twenty-five-year-old graduate student in religion, and my husband and I had recently moved from Canada, where our credit scores were purely hypothetical and the meagre stipend that I received for teaching, researching, and correctly pronouncing Kierkegaard’s name to my classmates (no, look, it’s more like Kierkegore) had really only furnished us with friend-making stories about the time we got vitamin deficiencies and all the skin on my husband’s hands inexplicably peeled off. But we had a house we couldn’t afford, which was still a treat, and the previous owner had left not only a bright green mini-golf carpet in the living room but an entire Elvis Presley tribute in what later would become our guest room. There was a shed in the backyard with all kinds of promise—a simple peaked structure that was two floors high and lined with thick white oak. It had been a carpenter’s workshop for the owner who had built the main house and even bothered to line the edges of the property with elegant masonry quarried from the same blueish gray stone that makes Duke University look like Duke University. But the problem with the shed was the crater, where the roof had sunk so low that termites and wet wood were threatening to pull the whole thing down. We tried to prop it up as best we could—beams here, brackets there—but the only real solution would be a religious one.”


Makoto Fujimura“Makoto Fujimura Awarded Kuyper Prize” – Emily Belz at Christianity Today: “Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary named artist Makoto Fujimuraas its 2023 Kuyper Prize winner, which is named for Reformed theologian Abraham Kuyper, who argued that art was vital to renewing God’s world. Fujimura is the first visual artist to receive the prize, which Calvin has given out annually since 1998. On Tuesday when Calvin announced the prize, Fujimura was in the middle of a private meeting with Pope Francis. A Japanese American and Christian, Fujimura has always related Reformed theology about renewal to his work. He practices kintsugi, taking broken pottery and restoring it with precious metals. He also practices the Japanese technique of nihonga, painting with pulverized minerals that in his work symbolize brokenness and renewal. He has long talked about a framework of ‘culture care’ as opposed to ‘culture wars.’ ‘As Christ followers, we are called to the work of renewal,’ said Jul Medenblik, president of Calvin Theological Seminary in a statement about the prize. ‘What Fujimura is doing through his work is reminding us of the Kuyperian perspective that “The final outcome of the future … is not the merely spiritual existence of saved souls, but the restoration of the entire cosmos, when God will be all in all in the renewed heaven on the renewed earth.”‘”


ddaba2f3-3fb6-4b58-a5c7-c533973e7d2e-AP_Immigration_Border_Crossings“Evangelical voters want the broken immigration system fixed. Will GOP leaders listen?” – Daniel Darling in USA Today: “A record number of migrants – border agents recorded 2.4 million encounters – crossed the U.S.-Mexican border illegally in fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30. Americans are increasingly frustrated with the Biden administration’s hapless border policy. It’s a top issue as voters go to the polls Tuesday in the midterm elections. Evangelicals are among the most influential of those voters and, in new data from Lifeway Research, they told pollsters that they’d like the nation’s leaders to stop posturing and start acting to fix a clearly broken system. Among the evangelicals polled, 71% said it is imperative for Congress to pass immigration reform. What do evangelicals want in a reform package?

►92% demand legislation that supports the rule of law.

►90% say policy should ensure secure national borders.

►94% say it should be fair to taxpayers.

►78% would support legislation that would both increase border security and establish a rigorous process to earn legal status and apply for citizenship.”


wendellberrysocial2“Media-Friendly Sins of Other People” – Jeffrey Bilbro in Plough: “Wendell Berry’s new book The Need to Be Whole: Patriotism and the History of Prejudice covers many topics: family history, the Civil War, racism, the nature of good work. But, odd though it may seem, at its heart is an entire chapter about sin. Berry suggests that beneath all the political vitriol and public condemnation of people who don’t share our views lies a distorted understanding of sin. He offers an older, broader conception of sin that might enable us to debate contentious public questions honestly while still loving those with whom we strenuously disagree. The public certainly retains a keen sense that some actions and attitudes are wrong, and public figures often condemn particular offenses with totalizing ferocity. As Berry notes, the ‘old opposition to sin’ remains, but he worries we have narrowed the acts that count as sin. He warns that ‘nothing more reveals our incompleteness and brokenness as a public people than our self-comforting small selection of public sins.’ There are a few egregious ‘media-friendly sins’ that provoke ‘vehement public antipathy,’ but as long as we manage to refrain from committing one of those, we can feel pretty good about ourselves. Different political or cultural groups might have different lists of unforgivable sins, but the narrowness of the list – and the resulting self-congratulatory feeling most of us maintain – is widespread. Sure, we may be guilty of run-of-the-mill venial sins that everyone slips into, but we’ve avoided thosemortal sins: we haven’t said the n-word or applied blackface or had an abortion or sexually harassed someone.”


Cancel Luther Calvin“Should We Cancel Luther and Calvin?” – N. T. Wright in Christianity Today: “Cancel culture knows no bounds, even historical ones. Based on some un-Christlike writings by Protestant reformers John Calvin and Martin Luther—along the lines of burning heretics—there have been some recent discussions about “cancelingthese paragons of church history. The debates sound similar to conversations we’ve had about secular historical figures being canceled for owning slaves, for example. Unfortunately, it seems every generation of Christian leaders and teachers has had its own problems and blind spots. We should seize these opportunities for self-reflection, to determine if we ourselves might have similar weaknesses. In 200 or 300 years (if there are still 200 or 300 years of history left ahead of us!), what are we going to look back on as seriously problematic? It’s only recently that most Christians I know have given up smoking, for instance. There have been great social changes since the 16th century, a time when most Christian leaders considered burning heretics an acceptable practice. In their view, heresy on key issues of the faith was such a serious problem that genuine apostates could not be allowed to live and had to be put to death as a lesson to others. I live in the middle of Oxford, a few hundred yards down the street from the Memorial to the Martyrs Ridley and Latimer, who were burned at the stake in the 1550s. Those were terrible times. We look back and say, ‘How could they possibly have done that out of misplaced zeal and loyalty to God and the gospel? What was that about?'”


TASS_20426370“How Russia’s War in Ukraine Has Impacted its Christian Image” – Ryan Bauer in The Moscow Times: “Over the past decade, the Russian government has taken pains to present itself as a bastion of Christianity and traditional values. The Kremlin has used this image of religiosity and its close relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church as a mechanism to promote its interests domestically, as well as cultivate ties with similarly fundamentalist-minded supporters abroad. Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, however, there have been noticeable cracks in the receptivity of this messaging strategy. Traditional religious allies of Russia in the West have begun speaking out against the war and, in particular, the Russian Orthodox Church’s support of it. This recent trend of criticism, and declining global support for both Moscow and the Church, presents a significant and under-appreciated challenge for Russia’s ability to promote its interests and influence. In the U.S., Russia has long garnered support from various groups and figures in America’s conservative Christian communities. In these communities, Putin and the Church have successfully cast themselves as champions of Christian values, willing to do battle with what many parishioners perceive as a moral decay in the West. Russian propaganda has bolstered this perception, as well as the supposed danger of liberalism pushed by Western governments, which Russia portrays as a threat to conservative ideals.”


Music: U2, “Grace,” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind

Jesus the King of Another Kingdom

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After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. (Mark 1:14-20)

This coming Sunday is Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday in the church year and also a celebration of the power and glory of King Jesus. As we look at text above, we see Jesus as the One who brings the kingdom of God. When Jesus brings God’s kingdom there is a direct conflict with rival kingdoms of this earth. What is a kingdom? Let me offer a definition that is simple and clear. A kingdom is any area or sphere in which someone or something holds a position of power to implement their will or way.

We may not think of kingdoms much in our lives today, but we still have them. We just use different terms. We say things like the president governs the nation, the principal runs the school, or the parents maintain the household. We say things like Jeremiah or Leticia has their clique of friends. We may not think of our own lives this way, but it is also true that we are, in a sense, the ruler of the kingdom of our lives. We hold power in our lives to implement our own will or way, or to yield that will to another. We certainly encounter all sorts of kingdoms today, even though we may not use that specific word.

Rival earthly kingdoms (1:14)

Returning to Mark 1, we sense the urgency of the author’s writing. Mark does not take time to explain what happened to John the Baptist, only that he “was put in prison.” For the back story, we must turn to Mark 6, where we read that Herod Antipas, the ruler over Galilee and Perea, imprisoned John the Baptist. Herod Antipas imprisoned John because John was critical of Herod’s marriage to his brother’s ex-wife. Later on, this criticism indirectly leads to John’s death. Herod represents all the power and authority of human kingdoms who do what they want and manipulate others for their own gain. Herod’s life and rule certainly fit our definition of a kingdom: “any area or sphere in which someone or something holds a preeminent position.”

In his life, Herod lived like he knew he held preeminent position in the area of Galilee, if not beyond. That’s why he arrests John the Baptist when he criticizes something Herod did. Despots don’t like criticism. But Herod’s rival earthly kingdom also brings about the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. The lurching forward of Herod’s hand to imprison John becomes the momentum that leads Jesus to step forward in ministry around Galilee. And it is in light of this rival earthly kingdom that Jesus pronounces God’s kingdom is near.

Jesus declares that, in the midst of the power struggles around Galilee and all Judea, He presents a different sort of way. It is a kingdom that is under the preeminent rule of God, and this is something people longed for. This inbreaking rule of God was promised throughout Scriptures: that God would one day reign over Israel Himself. In fact, in and around Jesus’ time a wide variety of rebellions were directly linked to expectations of God’s kingdom coming.

But Jesus is presenting a different sort of way. It is the kingdom of God that comes hidden, humble, and yet full of power.

Rival personal kingdoms (1:18, 20)

There are other sorts of kingdoms, however. As Jesus turns from the context of Herod’s power struggle with John and proclaims His message, He immediately comes into contact with four men. In Mark 1:16-20 Jesus walks beside the Sea of Galilee and calls Simon (who we know as Peter), Andrew, James and John to follow Him. We will return to Jesus’ calling and message to them, but let’s talk for a bit about where these men stood. They were under no impression that they had authority like Herod Antipas. They were not trying to become the next president of the United States. But they still lived in their own personal kingdom.

Yet just as Jesus’ message began to strike against Herod’s kingdom, so Jesus’ message strikes against the personal kingdoms of these men’s lives. You see, a kingdom is any area or sphere in which someone or something holds a position of power, and these men were kings over the kingdom of their own lives: kingdoms of fishing and business, kingdoms of overseeing hired men and working with their families, kingdoms of their daily words and actions, and the kingdoms of their interior lives.

Now, there is nothing wrong with these sort of kingdoms in and of themselves, but we have to recognize them for what they are. They are areas or spheres in which someone or something holds a position of power, and Jesus has arrived declaring that the kingdom of God holds sway over all rival kingdoms. God is the king and He holds no rivals.

Even in our personal kingdoms, God is calling us to recognize His rule and authority.

Rival powers and authorities (Colossians 2:15)

Later on in Scripture, the Apostle Paul describes the work of Jesus Christ in this way: He “disarmed the powers and authorities, making a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the Cross” (Colossians 2:15). As Jesus enter the world, He is calling the world toward a new way of living. He is calling us to bring our kingdom and rule, whether large or small, under His kingdom and rule. All of the places where we have authority; all of the places where we have power; all of the places where we have a role over something…we must bring it to the feet of the King.

Jesus is the King – over all kingdoms and over all our lives. So let me ask us all to consider a a series of question today: What rival kingdoms is Jesus confronting in our world and our own lives today? What does it look like to live yielded to the kingship of Christ in our personal kingdoms? How might we enter into the reality that Jesus is King in a very personal and practical way today?