Praying into the Center (discussion questions)

Jesus at the Center Series Gfx_App SquareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Jesus the Revelation of God,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the second part of our series, “Jesus at the Center,” from the book of Colossians. This week we looked at Colossians 1:15-23.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you were to describe why Jesus is important in 2-4 sentences, how would you put that into words?
  2. This week we continue our series, “Jesus at the Center,” from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. We pick up where we left off by reading Colossians 1:15-23. 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 that portion aloud.
  3. Background: Some scholars think that Colossians 1:15-20 is part of a pre-existing Christian poem or hymn that Paul uses here to illustrate his thoughts in words with which his readers might be familiar.
  4. Paul highlights two critically important features of God’s work in Jesus Christ in this section. The first of those features is found in verses 15-18a. What do you think it means that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God”?
  5. The word ‘firstborn’ can mean either literally being born before others or it could mean having precedence over other things or people. Based on what we see in vss 16-17, which of these meanings do you think is accurate to the sense of verse 15? Why?
  6. What do you think Paul is trying to communicate about Christ’s place in God’s creation work in these verses (vss 15-18a)?
  7. Midway through verse 18, Paul turns toward a second feature of God’s work through Christ, that of reconciliation. The word ‘firstborn’ is used again here. What does Paul want us to understand this time about Jesus as the firstborn?
  8. These verses are more focused on Christ’s earthly life and ministry. How would you say Jesus had God’s fullness in Him during His earthly life and work?
  9. According to vss 19-20, how did God reconcile and make peace through Christ? Why is this important?
  10. Paul turns a corner in verse 21, aiming the same themes of the previous verses at the manner in which believers live their lives for God. What does Paul say here about our life with and for God? Why do you think this is important for this part of the letter, for the Colossians in their time, and for us today?
  11. What is one significant thing that God is speaking to you through this study? If you are on your own, you may want to write it down, pray about it, and then share it with someone later. If you are with a small group, share these things with one another and then pray for one another about these things.

Memorize: This week we begin to memorize Colossians 1:15-20 together by focusing on Colossians 1:15. Read the verse through multiple times a day this week. Consider some of our other recommended helps for Bible memorization here.

Jesus the Revelation of God

Jesus at the Center Series Gfx_App Wide

I continued our new series, “Jesus at the Center,” this past weekend at Eastbrook  by looking at Colossians 1:15-23 with a message was entitled “Jesus the Revelation of God.” Along with this we began a series-long effort to memorize Colossians 1:15-20. You can find some helpful resources for that here.

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.

Read More »

Created by Love

horizonThe Bible tells us that God created the world. If you believe the Bible contains the truth of God, such a statement is enough for you. However, if you do not believe the Bible contains the truth of God, then you may be more skeptical about such a statement.Consider with me a few things about the world in which we live and why there may be more rational and logical reasons for entertaining the idea that there is a Creator God.

Consider the various species of animals and plants that exist in our world. Now consider the wide range of environments to which those diverse species of animals and plants are fitted. The intricate diversity and simultaneous specificity shows us an expansive wonder within our world. While some may take this in itself as a rationale for a Creator God, this is not necessarily the case. Some would argue from a naturalistic perspective that the self-contained processes within creation have developed what we recognize as uniquely fitted environments and species within our world.

Now, let’s take it a step further. Consider the expanse of the universe that we have come to understand, Read More »

||40days|| week four: listen in Creation

Our ||40days|| journey through Lent continues this fourth week with attention to our theme: ‘listen’. In previous weeks, we have looked at the journey of Lent, the need to acknowledge things in our lives, and then to turn from them.

Today, with the focus on listening to God, we look at listening to God in Creation. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 19:1:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

The psalmist tells us that skies actually speak of God’s glory. Look out the window right now, if you have the chance. Take a look at the endless blue that stretches over your head. If there are clouds, consider the intricacies of light and shadow that are merely a conglomeration of condensed moisture floating on the air currents. See the tops of trees that scratch the skies with their outstretched limbs. Each of these elements of nature speak forth God’s power and creativity. Read More »

Saturday Prayer 45

All around me in the natural world, I see reminders of who You are, oh God.
Every season reveals Your person and glory.

In the beauty of deep skies,
in the variegated contrasting colors of falling leaves,
in the slanting shadows of autumn’s sunlight

All these things remind me that You are here
ever and always
You are God unchanging
in Your creativity and power

I praise You.

[This is part of a series of prayer posts in 2012 that began here.]