The Weekend Wanderer: 24 August 2019

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.

 

1619.png“The 1619 Project” – The New York Times unveiled a major new project last weekend, reexamining American history through the lens of slavery. “The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.” If you have difficulty accessing the interactive article at The New York Times, you can also read a static version of this first 100-page installment here.

 

Fleming Rutledge“The year 1619 and my home state of Virginia” – There were all sorts of reactions to “The 1619 Project.” You could read some of those at National Review (“What The 1619 Project Leaves Out”), Vox (“1619 and the cult of American innocence”), The Washington Post (“The 1619 Project and the far-right fear of history”), and The American Conservative (“The NYT’s Woke-ism Undermines Liberalism”). However, the article related to the 1619 Project that I found most interesting was theologian and preacher Fleming Rutledge’s personal reflections on “The year 1619 and my home state of Virginia.” In this, Rutledge wrestles with her own personal history and background, questioning what it means for the church and individual Christians to face into the present moment.

 

91857“Have Archaeologists Found the Lost City of the Apostles?” – “After recent headlines announced that archaeologists in Israel had uncovered the Church of the Apostles, questions followed. What church is this? And what do these findings tell us about the days of Jesus and his earliest followers? The world’s attention has turned to a small excavation on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, a project I have been involved with as the academic director since the beginning. Our findings have rekindled the debate about the location for Bethsaida, the home of Peter, Andrew, and Philip referenced in John 1:44.”

 

article_5d24c3e7090fe“Fear of the Word”Hans Boersma at First Things: “My students are afraid to preach—not all of them, but more and more, it seems. And it is often the brightest and most eloquent, those who are least justified in parroting Moses’s excuse—“I am slow of speech and of tongue”—who lack the confidence to open the Scriptures for the people of God. I write now for them, though they are not alone: I have the same feeling of inadequacy, and I know that others do as well.”

 

Litter_on_Singapore's_East_Coast_Park.620_0“The tiny nation waging war on plastic” –  From BBC: “Over the years, the tropical island nation of Vanuatu has struggled with its attempts to eliminate single-use plastics, but thanks to an extensive campaign, the country is about to implement one of the toughest plastic bans in the world. Last year it banned drinking straws, plastic bags and styrofoam, but by December 2019 it will have added all single-use plastics to the list (ahead of the EU next year).”

 

Bernard of Clairvaux“On Loving God” – I reflected this week on the influence of Bernard of Clairvaux in my grasp of God’s love for us as believers and our return love to God. Here is a summary of Bernard’s teaching in his classic work, On Loving God. “You wish me to tell you why and how God should be loved. My answer is that God himself is the reason why he is to be loved. As for how he is to be loved, there is to be no limit to that love. Is this sufficient answer? Perhaps, but only for a wise man.”

 

download.jpeg“How the great truth dawned” – One of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century for me personally is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. His insightful critique of both repressive Soviet communism and unbound American capitalism from a deeply reflective and insightful Christianity is still as valuable today as back then. Here is Gary Paul Morson reflecting on “the Soviet virtue of cruelty” with a healthy does of Solzhenitsyn woven into the mix.

 

Bob Dylan - Slow Train Coming“Slow Train Coming” – This past week marked the 40th anniversary of the release of Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming.” Loved by some and reviled by others, “Slow Train Coming” was Dylan’s first release after his conversion to Christianity and every song on the album reflects those themes. This article is Rolling Stone‘s original review of the album, in which Jann Wenner writes: “The more I hear the new album — at least fifty times since early July — the more I feel that it’s one of the finest records Dylan has ever made. In time, it is possible that it might even be considered his greatest.” While certain tracks are religiously strange (“Man Gave Names to All the Animals”), I still love some of the tracks on this album, such as “You Gotta Serve Somebody,” “Slow Train,” and “When You Gonna Wake Up?”

 

Music: “Slow Train” by Bob Dylan from Slow Train Coming; this version from a live concert in Trouble No More.

[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.]

Prayer as Mission: The Early Church in Acts

I continued our series on prayer, “Great Prayers of the Bible“, at Eastbrook Church this past weekend by looking at four themes on prayer from the early church in the book of Acts. I try not have a romanticized view of the early church that leads into an impulse to “recover the true church.” However, I do believe we can learn some important lessons on prayer from the earliest believers who walked with Jesus.

You can view the message video and the sermon outline below. You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.

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Calling (discussion questions)

jesus-on-the-move-series-gfx_app-squareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Calling,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is part of our series, “Jesus on the Move.” The texts for this week are from Luke 5 & 6.

Discussion Questions:

  1. We continue the series “Jesus on the Move” by looking at a series of stories about calling in Luke 5 and 6. Before we start ask God to speak to you from His Word.
  2. Read Luke 5:1-11 aloud. Jesus is by the Sea of Galilee (another name is ‘Lake of Gennesaret’) by Capernaum teaching a crowd the word of God from the boat of Simon Peter. What does Jesus ask Simon to do and why is this odd according to Simon’s response?
  3. What happens in 5:6-7 and what does it tell us about Jesus?
  4. Why does Simon respond the way he does and what does Jesus ask him to do? How does the event in boat relate to the work Jesus asks of Simon Peter?
  5. Now read Luke 5:27-32 aloud. Jesus visits the low-level taxman, Levi (also known as Matthew), and invites him to become a disciple. Why might this be shocking?
  6. Levi throws a party in Jesus’ honor and invites all his sinful friends. Why are some of the religious leaders upset with Jesus about this (5:30)?
  7. Jesus responds with a bold declaration about His life and mission in 5:31-32. What is the point of what Jesus is saying here?
  8. Why do you think religious people sometimes miss the point of Jesus’ mission?
  9. Now read the third episode, Luke 6:12-16, aloud. Here Jesus is calling a select group from within the large crowd of disciples to a specific role and purpose. What is it? Why is this important for Jesus?
  10. The life with Jesus is a journey of discipleship with defining moments along the way. What are 1 or 2 defining moments in your own journey with Jesus?
  11. What is one way God is calling you into a deeper life with Him 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.

  • Jan. 9- Luke 5:1-11; Mark 1:16-20
  • Jan. 10 – Luke 5:27-32
  • Jan. 11 – Matthew 9:9-13; Hosea 6:4-6
  • Jan. 12 – Luke 6:12-16
  • Jan. 13 – Mark 3:13-19

Jesus on the Move (Gospel of Luke, part 3)

jesus-on-the-move-series-gfx_app-wideThis past weekend at Eastbrook Church we began the third part of our six-part journey with the Gospel of Luke entitled “Jesus on the Move.”

Once Jesus’ ministry begins, the Gospel of Luke thrusts us into the deep end of Jesus mission. We see Jesus teaching, healing, working miracles, rebuking religious authorities, and so much more. Each story is so rich that we might lose perspective on what God is doing through Jesus. We want to sharpen up the focus so that we don’t lose sight of what Jesus’ activity is all about: the mission of God in the world.

You can follow along with the series via our web-site, our Vimeo page, our Facebook page, or by downloading the Eastbrook Church app.

7 on Multiplication (discussion questions)

becoming-7-series-gfx_app-squareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “7 on Multiplication,” which concluded our series, “Becoming 7,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Who has been one of your biggest influences, mentors, or encourages in life? Why have they been so important to you?
  2. This week we continue our “Becoming 7” series by looking at the importance of multiplying leaders for the sake of God’s kingdom work. We will look at three examples from Scripture on this. As you begin your study, ask God to speak to you about His kingdom and purposes in the world.
  3. Let’s turn our attention to the life of Moses. First, what do you know about Moses’ life and work? Now, turn to Exodus 18 and read it aloud. What is the situation? What is Moses’ problem and how is it affecting the people?
  4. In Exodus 18:13-23, what does Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, suggest Moses do and why would this be helpful for Moses and the people?
  5. How does Moses act on this here (18:24-27) and beyond (Numbers 27:12-23)?
  6. Now let’s look at how Jesus lives out this same principle of leadership multiplication. Read the following passages and summarize what Jesus was doing in each of them:
    • Luke 5:1-11, 27-32
    • Luke 6:12-16
    • Luke 9:1-6
    • Luke 10:1-20
    • Luke 24:36-39; Acts 1:4-8
  7. How would you summarize Jesus’ approach to multiplying ministry leaders?
  8. As we continue in the life of the early church we see a similar approach at work in the Apostle Paul’s ministry. Read Acts 20:4-5 and reflect on what we know about these men with Paul and what this tells us about what Paul is doing.
  9. Paul summarizes his principle of leadership multiplication in 2 Timothy 2:2. Read that aloud and restate it in your own words.
  10. Who are you developing in your life as a disciple or ministry leader? Write their name here: ___________________. How can you become more intentional and responsive to the Holy Spirit with that individual or those individuals? If you do not have anyone at this time, begin to pray that God would move you out to pour into someone else. Whether on your own or with a group, take some time to pray based off of what God was speaking to you during this study.