Sunday Prayer 8

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us.
(Psalm 62:5-8)

All sorts of things in our lives
send us shaking and shuddering:
the violence, the loneliness, the divisions,
the memories, the godlessness, and more.

O Lord, we come running to You
to find peace, rest, refuge, and hope,
and in You there is more than enough
space to not just huddle up and hide
but to stand, walk, and thrive in life.

We’re looking to You, running to You, and living with You today.
Be glorified, Lord!

[This is part of a series of prayers for Sunday worship preparation that begins here.]

Sunday Prayer 7

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives. (Luke 4:18)

 

Jesus, You are the One who brings freedom,
You are the One who brings life.

Thank You for the freedom found in the Cross –
that Your death opens the gateway to life.
Thank You for the freedom found in Your Resurrection –
that abundant life – full life – is found in You.
Thank You for the freedom found in Your Ascension –
that even now You sit at the Father’s right hand interceding for us.

All we need is truly found in You.
Yet we confess that many times we seek
other Saviors to deliver us,
other Kings to lead us,
other Messiahs to bring us hope.
We admit they do not bring life
and we need You alone.

Come, King of glory, and reign in us
even as we submit our life together and individually to You alone.

[This is part of a series of prayers for Sunday worship preparation that begins here.]

Learning to Stop

 

2016-06-06 12.44.01Ten years ago the standard response to the question, “how are you?” was “fine.” That was not a particularly informative answer but it was, well…fine. In today’s American culture, however, the standard response to the question, “how are you” seems to be “busy.”[1]

One social commentator points out that it is not only adults who are busy anymore, but also students and kids who are moving at breakneck pace. We are scheduled down to the slightest half hour, racing around from one activity to another.[2]

In the midst of our fast-paced, packed-out lives, we can often lose time to think, to rest, to play, to be with others, and more.

Of course, that is no less true for leaders in the church. Unfortunately, it is not difficult for me to think about seasons of life as a pastor when I have been rushing from one activity to another as my days, nights, and weekends fill up with endless pastoral needs: sermon preparation, staff meetings, pastoral care visits, weddings, funerals, church council meetings, and more.

In an article entitled “Black Friday and the Importance of Sabbath Rest,” Danielle Tumminio points out that we’ve come a long way from fifty years ago when stores, banks, and businesses were closed on Sundays. She writes:Read More »

The Right Woman for the Job: Deborah (discussion questions)

Flawed Heroes Series Gfx_App SquareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “The Right Woman for the Job,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is part of our series, “Flawed Heroes” from the book of Judges. This week we looked at Judges 4-5.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever been thrust into service or responsibility in an unexpected way or at an unexpected time? How did you respond?
  2. As we continue our “Flawed Heroes” series at Eastbrook Church, we turn to Judges 4:1-5:31, which recounts the story of Deborah and Barak. Whether you are on your own or with a small group, begin your study in prayer, asking God to speak to you through His word, and then read the entire passage aloud.
  3. From Judges 4:1 and 5:6 we know this story happens after the time of Ehud and at the same time as Shamgar (3:31). According to 4:2-3 what challenging situation does Israel finds themselves in now?
  4. Deborah looms large in this portion of Scripture as easily one of the most respectable characters in the entire book of Judges. What is her role according to 4:4-7 and 5:6-7?
  5. Barak is from the northern areas of Canaan beyond the Sea of Galilee. Deborah sits as prophet in the central area between Ramah and Bethel. Why do you think Deborah summoned Barak?
  6. Why do you think Barak wanted Deborah with him? What repercussions did Deborah say this would have for Barak?
  7. Have you ever felt the need to know that God was with you in a particular season or situation? What did you do?
  8. The battle swiftly goes to Israel because of God’s power (4:11-15), but Sisera, the enemy general runs away. What happens to Sisera according to 4:16-21? What does this mean for Barak (4:22)?
  9. The summary description in 4:23-24 reminds us that God has been at work. How have you seen God at work in this story from start to finish?
  10. Judges 5:1-31 is a poetic expression of celebration for the victory related in Judges 4:1-24, similar to the expression in Exodus 14-15. Some scholars think this is one of the oldest portions of the Bible. Why would poetry and song be the appropriate response to the deliverance recounted in Judges 4?
  11. Throughout the story of Deborah and Barak we see that God is at work. How has God been at work in your life in significant ways? While most of us aren’t poets or song-writers, how might you write your own psalm of praise to celebrate what God is doing? This week, take some time to write something like that down. Share it with someone – maybe even your small group – as your public praise of God for His goodness.

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The Right Woman for the Job: Deborah

Flawed Heroes Series Gfx_App Wide
This past weekend at Eastbrook we continued our “Flawed Heroes” series based on the book of Judges by looking at a series of unlikely heroes from Judges 4-5. Deborah looms large as the most respectable character in the entire book. Barak, although a reluctant deliverer, is used by God. Jael, a foreigner with no standing in society, finds glory as God delivers the enemy into her hands. Take a look with me at three unlikely heroes and consider whether God might not want to take ordinary people like you and me to make unlikely heroes of us.

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.

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