A People Called by God

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we began a new preaching series entitled “United,” which explores the essential nature of the church. This first week of the series I expanded upon the statement that the church is a people called by God. I walked through Ephesians 1:3-14 as the basis for my message.

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


“We, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:12)

What is the Church?

3 Characteristics of the Church (Ephesians 1:3-14)

  1. The Church is Chosen by God the Father (1:3-6)
    1. Blessed with every spiritual blessing (1:3)
    1. Called and chosen by God (1:4, 11)
    1. Adopted by the Father through Jesus Christ (1:5)
  • The Church is Redeemed in Jesus Christ (1:7-13)
    • Redeemed and forgiven through the blood of Christ and lavish grace of God (1:7-8)
    • Given insight into the mystery of God’s will (1:9-10)
    • Received the message of truth, the gospel of salvation (1:13)
  • The Church is Sealed with the Holy Spirit (1:13-14)
    • Marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit (1:13-14)
    • Living to the praise of God’s glory (1:6, 12, 14) 

Living as the Church

Responding to God the Father’s call

Savoring God’s goodness in Jesus Christ

Living for God’s praise by the power of the Holy Spirit


Dig Deeper:

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

  • Memorize Ephesians 1:3-14 in its entirety or a verse from it. You may also want to memorize Ephesians 4:4-6.
  • Journal about Ephesians 1:3-14, perhaps thanking God for each of the spiritual blessings outlined in this passage or dwelling upon one or two specifics that stand out to you.
  • Reach out to someone to share with them what God is teaching you about the church and the spiritual blessings found in Jesus Christ. 
  • Watch the Bible Project overview video on the book of Ephesians

Eastbrook at Home – January 9, 2022

Eastbrook-At-Home-Series-GFX_16x9-Title

Join us for worship with Eastbrook Church through Eastbrook at Home at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM.

This weekend we begin a new four-part series, “United,” which explores the essence of what it means to be the church. The church is most fruitful when it’s fully united. Jesus’ dream for the church is full unity. What a divided world needs is a united church. Join us for a series in partnership with other churches to talk about four essential aspects of the life of the church.

For this four-part series we are partnering with other churches in the “Brook” family of churches, and thus will pause our extended walk through the Gospel of Matthew, which we will return to in February.

Here is a prayer for the first Sunday of Epiphany from The Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant Eternal Father, at the baptism of Jesus you revealed him to be your Son, and your Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove: Grant that we, who are born again by water and the Spirit, may be faithful as your adopted children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

We also continue in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus, and you no longer need to RSVP ahead of time.

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: 8 January 2022

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. Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles


63737“The Danger of Preaching Without Jesus” – Pete Scazzero at Preaching Today: “To preach and teach in the name of Jesus is one of the greatest privileges in the world. What makes it particularly dangerous, however, is how easy it is to preach for Jesus without Jesus. I know this only too well. I was in my early years as a Christian when I first came to grips with the sad truth that God appeared to use prominent Christian leaders whose relationship with Jesus was either nonexistent or seriously underdeveloped. It was a discovery that left me confused and disoriented. Yet, after decades in ministry, I am no longer so confused. Why? Because I have experienced to some degree what it’s like to be one of those leaders. I have prepared and preached sermons without thinking about or spending time with Jesus. I know the experience of doing good things that helped a lot of people while being too busy in my own whirlwind of leadership worries to be intimately connected to Jesus.”


St Basil the Great“Naked We Came: From the sermon ‘I Will Tear Down My Barns,’ on Luke 12:16–21” – St. Basil the Great in Comment: “‘But whom do I treat unjustly,’ you say, ‘by keeping what is my own?’ Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From where did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common—this is what the rich do. They seize common goods before others have the opportunity, then claim them as their own by right of preemption. For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, so no one would be poor, and no one would be in need. Did you not come forth naked from the womb, and will you not return naked to the earth? Where then did you obtain your belongings? If you say that you acquired them by chance, then you deny God since you neither recognize your Creator, nor are you grateful to the One who gave these things to you.”


silence-in-worship“A worship practice Zoom can’t replicate” – Chris Palmer in The Christian Century: “I’m a relatively new pastor, and most of my clerical life—all but two months—has been spent in the grip of the COVID pandemic. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit trying to mitigate the suspicions of corporate bodies in physical space. Are you sure this will give people six feet of distance? Looking at the numbers, should we delay the sacrament again this week? These past months have also revealed the fragile core of the church’s life together. The nation has moved through cultural upheaval that demands the intimacy of proximity, and yet it has been nearly impossible to gather together. I’ve seen cruel words in emails that I never believed Christians could write. I’ve heard pastors, the progenitors of flourishing ministries, detail their excitement thinking about a career change. It’s hard to imagine that there’s no connection between the physical distance and the disenchantment of our time. Much of our nation’s religious practice has migrated online. Facebook has been partnering with a variety of denominations, including my own, to develop digi­tal spaces for online worshipers. How are we being formed by these technologies? What do they make possible, and what do they make impossible? While many have debated the blessings and woes of digital worship, few have discussed the role of silence. Silence cuts against the grain of disembodied online chatter. A shared, instructive silence is one thing I’m convinced that Zoom cannot facilitate, not even with the mute button.”


hill_complex_render_2“Unearthing the Truth: A Zimbabwean archaeologist reimagines the story of a momentous African civilisation” – In The Economist: “in its prime, from around 1200 to 1550, Great Zimbabwe was home to about 10,000 people. The state covered 1,779 acres, more than twice the area of New York’s Central Park. unesco, the un’s cultural body, declared it a world heritage site in 1986. At independence in 1980 Robert Mugabe renamed Rhodesia Zimbabwe (roughly “house of stone”) after the site. Yet it is far less visited, or understood, than Machu Picchu, say, or Egypt’s pyramids. One scholar has made it his life’s work to show how Great Zimbabwe was the foremost example of a precolonial sub-Saharan African state. Shadreck Chirikure was born in 1978, some 60km from Great Zimbabwe in Gutu, a town in eastern Zimbabwe. At school he learned little about the site. His first visit was as a student, aged 22. He has since made up for lost time. A renowned archaeologist, Mr Chirikure is a professor at the University of Cape Town and the University of Oxford. He has worked across Africa. But he is always drawn back home.”


Pope Francis - pets“Opting for pets over children is selfish and ‘takes away our humanity,’ says Pope Francis” – Joshua Berlinger at CNN: “Pope Francis has criticized couples who choose to have pets instead of children as selfish, arguing that their decision to forgo parenthood leads to a loss of ‘humanity’ and is a detriment to civilization. The Pope made the comments Wednesday while speaking to a general audience about Saint Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. Francis was lauding Joseph’s decision to bring up Jesus as ‘among the highest forms of love’ when he veered into the topic of adoption and orphaned children today. He then turned his focus on couples that opt for animals instead of children. ‘We see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more. And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one — but they have two dogs, two cats … Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children,’ the Pope said.”


ridley-8-scaled“In ‘Wild Design,’ Vintage Illustrations Expose the Patterns and Shapes Behind All Life on Earth” – Grace Ebert at Colossal: “Focusing on the patterns and shapes that structure the planet, a new book published by Princeton Architectural Press explores the science behind a trove of organically occurring forms. Wild Design: Nature’s Architects by author Kimberly Ridley pairs dozens of vintage illustrations—spot the work of famed German biologist Ernst Haeckel among them—with essays detailing the function of the striking phenomena, from the smallest organisms to the monumental foundations that extend across vast swaths of land. These structures are simultaneously beautiful and crucial to life on Earth and include the sprawling mycelium networks connecting life above and below ground, the papery, hexagonal cells comprising honeycomb, and a spider’s funnel-like web tailored to trap its prey.”


Music: Chris Thile, “Ecclesiastes 2:24,” Laysongs

United – a new series at Eastbrook

This coming Sunday at Eastbrook Church we begin a new preaching series entitled “United,” which explores the essence of what it means to be the church. The church is most fruitful when it’s fully united. Jesus’ dream for the church is full unity. What a divided world needs is a united church. Join us for a series in partnership with other churches to talk about four essential aspects of the life of the church.

For this four-part series we are partnering with other churches in the “Brook” family of churches, and thus will pause our extended walk through the Gospel of Matthew, which we will return to in February.

Join us each weekend of this series in-person or via Eastbrook at Home.

Here are the weekly topics for the series:

January 9 – “People Who Are Called by God”

January 16 – “To Live as a Family”

January 23 – “To Be Sent on Mission”

January 30 – “To Live as One for the Sake of the World”

What is Epiphany?: a brief summary

Edward Burne-Jones, The Adoration of the Magi; silk, wool and cotton fabric; 1904.

Today, January 6, we celebrate Epiphany, which is also known as Three Kings Day. Epiphany begins a season of the church year that runs up to Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. (Some traditions celebrate Epiphany-tide through Candlemas, the feast of the the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, on February 2, marking 40 days from Christmas day.)

Epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphaneia (ἐπιφάνεια), which literally means ‘appearing’ or ‘manifestation.’ The word appears in Paul’s second letter to Timothy in a passage which sheds light on the heart of Epiphany:

This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing (epiphaneia) of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:9-10)

Epiphany celebrates the appearing of Jesus as the Savior of the world, and particularly his revelation to the Gentiles, or nations. This is why Epiphany is often associated with the arrival of the Magi to acclaim Jesus as king and offer their gifts to him in Matthew 2:1-12. Two other episodes of Jesus’ life often associated with Epiphany are Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:13-17) and the first miracle of turning water into wine at Cana (John 2:1-12), both of which are manifestations of Jesus’ identity and power, marking the beginning of His public ministry.

Epiphany offers an important opportunity to thank God for the light we have received through Jesus Christ and the significance of His saving work, not just for one people group, but people from around the globe. We can also reflect on how our ordinary lives are impacted by the light found in Jesus Christ, both His teaching and His life.

These words from Isaiah 60:1-3, are often read on Epiphany, and serve as a wonderful basis for worship today:

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.