What is our picture of Jesus?

We must examine the picture of Jesus that we have in our minds.

Many times, we have a sentimentalized picture of Jesus. It is a hallmark picture of Jesus that is not reflective of the Jesus of the Gospels. We idealize and romanticize the person and work of Jesus to the point where He is no longer connected with the real world in which we live.

Jesus is the eternal Son of God, but He was also the incarnate Messiah of God. He was a middle-eastern man who did not have a place to lay His head. He walked dusty roads. He ate, He grew tired, and He slept. He spent time with people, both the socially important and the socially unimportant. He loved parties and He loved upsetting peoples’ expectations.

And Jesus loved children. Not just sentimentalized children at their best, but everyday children at their worst and in the worst positions possible.

Jesus went to the blank spaces and invites His people to enter into the blank spaces of children with Him.

God does not need to call us to the comfortable spaces because we naturally go there. God does not need to call us into peace because that is the natural desire of every human heart. But God calls us into the uncomfortable, distressed blank spaces because His love cannot hold back.

I love the words of South African missiologist David Bosch: “Mission has its origin in the heart of God. God is a fountain of sending love. This is the deepest source of mission. It is impossible to penetrate deeper still; there is mission because God loves people.”[1]

So, because of God’s love, we are called into love.

Because God goes, we too must go.

Because God enters into blank spaces, so we too must enter into blank spaces.

[For more on this theme, access my message “God of the Little Ones.”]

—-

[1] David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991), 392.

Worry and Faith (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Worry and Faith,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is part of our series “The Kingdom Life.” The text for this week is Luke 12:22-34.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When have you experienced the greatest worry in your life? How did you deal with it?
  2. This weekend we continue “The Kingdom Life” series by looking at Luke 12:22-34. After beginning your study in prayer, ask God to speak to you, and then read those passages aloud.
  3. This teaching from Jesus begins with a strong exhortation not to worry. What does Jesus say not to worry about in 12:22, 29?
  4. Jesus offers two examples from nature – the birds and the wildflowers – for His disciples. What do these two examples tell us about worry and faith?
  5. What does Jesus tell us about God’s thoughts and actions on our behalf in relation to our worries (12:24, 30-31)?
  6. How have you learned to give your worry to God? Take a moment to read Philippians 4:6-7. How does this illustrate the connection between prayer and worry?
  7. Jesus’ summary statement in 12:31 is well-known. What do you think it means?
  8. In 12:32-34, Jesus exhorts His disciples to not fear, but to do something else instead. What does He call them to do?
  9. What do you think it means to live as a reflection of Jesus’ words in 12:34?
  10. What is one way that God is speaking to you personally through this study? If you’re on your own, write it down and share it with someone later. If you are with a small group, discuss this together.

 


Daily Reading Plan

To encourage us together in our growth with God, we arranged a daily reading plan through this series. You can also join in with the daily devotional here. As you read each day, ask God to speak to you from His word.

Monday, May 8                     Luke 12:22-26
Tuesday, May 9                    Matthew 6:25-27
Wednesday, May 10             Psalm 147:1-11
Thursday, May 11                 Luke 12:27-34
Friday, May 12                      Matthew 6:28-34

Worry and Faith

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church we continued our series “The Kingdom Life” by exploring the topic of worry and faith. My message centered on Jesus’ words in Luke 12:22-34, giving some attention to John 20:19 and Philippians 4:6-7 as well.  Here’s my contention: if Jesus opens the doorway to God’s presence through the Cross and the Resurrection, then it is possible to move from a place of fear to fearlessness in our lives.

I started off with the results of the 3rd annual Survey of American Fears. I’m not sure what you’re most afraid of, but you might enjoy looking at the last few entries on the list of all fears Americans have.

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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The Cost of Discipleship (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “The Cost of Discipleship,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is part of our series “The Kingdom Life.” The two texts for this week are Luke 13:22-30 and Luke 14:25-35.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When have you done something that really cost you something or had to sacrifice one pursuit for another?
  2. This weekend we continue “The Kingdom Life” series by looking at two passages Luke 13:22-30 and 14:25-35. Begin your study in prayer, asking God to speak to you, and then read those passages aloud.
  3. Jesus makes a statement and then tells a parable that illumines that statement in 13:22-27. How would you summarize what Jesus is saying here?
  4. There are several implications of Jesus’ teaching, which He outlines in 13:28-30. Which of these stands out most strongly to you?
  5. In Luke 14, Jesus delvers further into the costs of following Him. In verses 26-27, how does Jesus describe the cost of discipleship?
  6. Jesus offers two examples of rightly assessing the cost in 14:28-32. What do those tell you about following Him?
  7. When has following Jesus cost you something relationally, materially, or in terms of suffering?
  8. Jesus’ description of salt not losing its saltiness conveys something not losing its value by ceasing to be what it is. What might this mean in terms of discipleship?
  9. What is one way that God is speaking to you personally through this study? If you’re on your own, write it down and share it with someone later. If you are with a small group, discuss this together.

Daily Reading Plan

To encourage us together in our growth with God, we arranged a daily reading plan through this series. You can also join in with the daily devotional here. As you read each day, ask God to speak to you from His word.

Monday, May 1         Luke 13:22-30
Tuesday, May 2        Matthew 7:13-14
Wednesday, May 3  Matthew 19:16-30
Thursday, May 4       Luke 14:25-35
Friday, May 5             Matthew 10:37-39

The Cost of Discipleship

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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