I preached this past weekend at Eastbrook about “Prayer as Living within the Power and Love of God” from Ephesians 3:14-20. Thinking about the love of God is something I never tire of. Although it didn’t make it into the sermon, I was reminded of this quotation from from C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves:
God is love….[and] This…love is Gift-love. In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give….God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing…the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a ‘host’ who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and ‘take advantage of’ Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.
 C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1960), 175-6.
Here is the video of my message, “The Cross in Shadows,” from Eastbrook Church‘s Journey to the Cross worship service on February 14, 2018. This was the beginning of our Lenten journey with the life of Joseph and the accompanying devotional. You can read the text of this message here.
Today marks the beginning of our journey to the cross. At Eastbrook Church, we invite you to join with us in a day of fasting and prayer before a family-friendly worship service at 7 PM. For more info on fasting, read a series of posts I wrote here.
Traditionally, this journey is known as Lent and begins on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a forty-day spiritual journey (minus Sundays) toward Easter. Often you see people walking around with a dark smudge of ashes on their forehead. It is a sign of our mortality; “that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14) and to dust we shall return.
Lent is so much more than a worn-out church tradition about self-absorbed sorrow and meal-skipping. Rather, Lent is our journey into greater depths of life with Christ through an experience of His journey toward, into, and through the Cross. It prepares us for a deeper experience of the joys of the resurrection on Easter Sunday.
I usually participate in Lent as a spiritual journey in some form. Many times I choose to abstain from something (e.g., food in some form, regular forms of entertainment) in order to have more space to reach out to God in prayer. Fasting is helpful, I believe, only insofar as we put some other meaningful practice in its place that moves us toward Christ.
Traditional Lenten disciplines are fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. In these three disciplines we can see a movement from abstaining from something (fasting), turning to God (prayer), and putting another discipline in its place (almsgiving).
Today also marks the beginning of the “Life of Joseph” Lenten Devotional. I encourage you to join us as we journey through the life of Joseph in our preaching series and through the devotional.
Read the “Life of Joseph” Devotional in 1 of 5 Formats:
- Online—Visit eastbrook.org/josephdevotional each day for the reading, or connect with the online version through Eastbrook’s social media channels.
- Daily Email—Sign up for a special email list that will send you each day’s devotional at 4 am each morning. Sign up here.
- Mobile App—Download the Eastbrook Church mobile app and use the “Devo” tab to read each day. The devotionals will be published each morning at 4 am.
- Printed Book—A limited run of free devotional books are available at Eastbrook Church (5385 N. Green Bay Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53209).
- Digital Download—Download the PDF of the book for us with your tablet or to print out at home here.
[This day is traditionally known as Ash Wednesday. For a look at what Ash Wednesday is all about, read “What is it?: Ash Wednesday and Lent?“]
I continued our series, “The Kingdom Life,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church by looking at two challenging teachings of Jesus on the cost of discipleship. As with the rest of this series, we are exploring key teachings of Jesus in light of the resurrection. This third message in the series, “The Cost of Discipleship,” faces both the cost of not following Jesus from Luke 13:22-30 and the cost of following Jesus from Luke 14:25-35. It was also an African Global Gateway weekend at Eastbrook, which gave us the chance to sing, dance, and reflect some of the unique cultures that are a part of our church within our worship service.
You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.
Also, you are welcome to join in with the daily reading plan for this series.
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