Faith and the Final Vision [Daniel 10-11]

I continued our series on the book of Daniel this past weekend at Eastbrook Church by exploring the final vision Daniel has in the book, found in Daniel 10:1-12:4. In order to walk through this entire passage in one message, I had to pick and choose certain things to focus on, and I chose to give attention to the spiritual conflict that permeates all human conflict upon earth.

Four action steps I offered, which are not included in the outline below are:

  • Seelet God unveil our eyes to have a vision of the spiritual conflict around us
  • Run – knowing our inability and weakness, let us run to God for deliverance, and ultimately to Jesus as our Savior
  • Stand – as trials and difficulties arise, let us learn from the Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:10-17 to stand form in God’s strength and armor
  • Pray – only in God’s presence and power will we endure, so may we pray our hearts out in the midst of the conflict

Late in the message, during the point about running to God, I shared a quote by H. C. G. Moule from his Ephesians Studies, which I’m sharing here:

If these revelations of an invisible host around us, bent upon our calamity, do nothing else for us, they may at least render the inestimable service of driving us home, as for our very life, to personal dealings with our Personal Deliverer. He can indeed face for us the dreadful personalities marshaled in the Shadows that surround our life.

You can view the message video and 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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Praying for Unity in Conflict [30 Days of Prayer]

Summer of Prayer Ads_Banner“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23)

In our earthly lives, we will at times falter in the battlefields of conflict. We may find ourselves raising our voices against one another in anger or bitterness. Sometimes we do this to another’s face with harsh words and false accusations, while at other times we secretly pass the sweet morsels of gossip or shards of slander into the ears of another.

No matter how it happens, when we stumble into the lands of conflict, the journey toward restored relationships and unity must be infused with prayer. Yes, we must use the best of the wisdom found in the Proverbs of the Bible and the greatest advice of wise counselors. Still, true unity will never come through human efforts alone. When conflict arises in us or around us, the best first step is to fall down on our knees and cry out to the God of the universe in prayer. He alone can speak to the hearts of others – and also to our own hearts – about the causes of conflict and remedies for unity.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes: “Christ stands between us, and we can only get into touch with our neighbors through him. That is why intercession is the most promising way to reach our neighbors, and corporate prayer, offered in the name of Christ, the purest form of fellowship.”[1]

If your heart is bound with bitterness or rolling in rage, now is the time to desert the battlefields of conflict and seek the sweet remedy of the glory of God released in prayer. As we do this, we may surprisingly find that God not only changes the other person or situation, but He changes us as well. In fact, we may find that we are the one who most needs to be changed.

Prayer is truly the pathway to unity through transformed relationships.

Father,
the conflict rages all around us
  and within us.
We need Your help
  and Your grace,
to turn away from the battlefield
and turn to Your table.
There, help us sit
  as brothers and sisters
in Your holy presence,
  sharing the cup of our salvation
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.


[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Touchstone, 1995).

[This post is part of the “30 Days of Prayer” devotional. Read other posts here.]

Reconciliation [Life of Joseph, part 5]

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church we continued our series “The Life of Joseph: God’s Sovereignty in Our Suffering” by looking at Joseph’s overtures toward reconciliation with his brothers in Genesis 45-46.  This message was essentially about the nature of and difference between forgiveness and relational reconciliation.

You can view the message video and sermon outline for this message below. You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast. Also, join in with our daily devotional that accompanies this series during Lent.

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Open Wounds [Life of Joseph, part 4]

After returning from international travels this past week, I returned to Eastbrook to continue our series “The Life of Joseph: God’s Sovereignty in Our Suffering.” This weekend we explored Genesis 42-44, with special attention to the transformation that occurs in Joseph’s brothers, particularly in Judah.  My goal in this message was to open up the ways in which the pathway to healing often involves stepping into painful places to catalyze growth. I outlined three cuts – or steps – into difficulty that we see helps restore relationship and ignite spiritual growth in these chapters.

You can view the message and sermon outline below. You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast. Also, join in with our daily devotional that accompanies this series during Lent.

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