In the Silence, God is Here

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:11-12)

the wind whips by and I tumble and fall.
the earth shakes and I cannot catch my footing.
the fire flashes the night and I shake in fear.

then…stillness..the LORD
I rise and stand and enter His holy presence,

“Speak, LORD, for Your Servant
is listening.”
in the silence, He is here.

The Voice of One Calling Out

This past weekend we continued our series “Power in Preparation” at Eastbrook Church by looking at the appearance of John the Baptist near the Jordan from Matthew 3:1-12 and how this sets the stage for Jesus. John is an extraordinary character in the gospels, whose life and preaching is incredibly challenging.

You can view the message video and outline below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’”  (Matthew 3:1-2)

John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-4)

  • Repentance
  • The kingdom of heaven
  • The voice (Isaiah 40:3)
  • The prophet (2 Kings 1:8)

The Wilderness (Matthew 3:1, 5-6)

  • Old Testament backgrounds: Jeremiah 2:2-3; Hosea 2:14-15; Ezekiel 20:35-38
  • Turning from self to God
  • Stripping and judgment
  • Purification and renewal

Brood of Vipers (Matthew 3:7-10)

  • Pharisees and Sadducees
  • Fruit in keeping with repentance
  • True children of Abraham
  • The tree about to be cut down

The One to Come (Matthew 3:11-12)

  • More powerful and even greater
  • A baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into the life and ministry of John the Baptist in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize John’s message in Matthew 3:2
  • Set aside some time this week to read Matthew 3:1-12 again. Then write, draw, paint, or pray aloud your own response to this series of events in Jesus’ life.
  • Read more about John’s life in the following passages:
  • Luke 1:5-25, 39-80
  • Luke 3:1-20
  • John 1:6-8, 19-34
  • John 3:22-36
  • Matthew 11:1-19
  • Matthew 14:1-12
  • Mark 6:14-29
  • Matthew 17:11-13; 21:32
  • Explore Bible maps related to the life and ministry of John the Baptist here.

Prayer that Listens: Elijah

We continued our series “Great Prayers of the Bible” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. Each week we explore selected prayers throughout Scripture in order to learn more clearly how to pray. This series accompanies our Summer of Prayer at Eastbrook. Our main focus in July is praying with others, including a week of 24/7 Prayer on our campus.

In this message, “Prayer that Listens,” I looked at the life of Elijah from 1 Kings 19. My goal was to open wide a few key ideas on prayer:

  • praying our exhaustion to God – there is nothing we can throw out God that He cannot handle
  • the grace of unanswered prayer – why it’s good that God sometimes does not answer our ignorant prayers
  • praying while in the in-between place, or liminal space, in which God leads from here (what we know) to there (what is new)

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

Read More »

Transfigured (discussion questions)

jesus-on-the-move-series-gfx_app-squareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Transfigured,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is part of our series, “Jesus on the Move.” The text for this week are from Luke 9:28-36.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When have you experienced real jaw-dropping awe in your life? What happened or where were you?
  2. We continue the series “Jesus on the Move” this week by looking at Luke 9:28-36. Before you begin this study, ask God to speak to you from His Word, and then read the text aloud.
  3. This story occurs after many miracles, as well as Peter’s declaration that Jesus is God’s Messiah (9:20) and Jesus’ prediction of His death and resurrection (9:21-27). Like many other pivotal events, this episode arises in the context of prayer. Why do you think that is important?
  4. Jesus’ physical transformation seems to be a ‘sneak preview’ of the glory of God found in Him. Moses and Elijah stand nearby and talk with Jesus. Read Deuteronomy 18:14-21 and Malachi 4:5-6. What would you say is the significance of Moses and Elijah’s presence here?
  5. Peter, John and James are startled to attention by this amazing sight. Peter wants to build booths, which may refer to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-44; Deuteronomy 16:13-17). Why do you think Peter says this?
  6. The appearance of a cloud over this glorious gathering is reminiscent of the glory of God covering His people in a cloud (Exodus 40:34-35; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14). What does the voice from the cloud tell us about who Jesus is; even who Jesus is compared to Moses and Elijah?
  7. Habakkuk 2:20 says, “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” Take some time in stillness and silence to reflect on the glory of the Lord.
  8. What is one thing that God is speaking to you personally through this study? If you’re on your own, take some time to write it down and share it with someone later. If you are with a small group, share it with one another.


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.

Feb. 20           Luke 9:28-36
Feb. 21           Matthew 17:1-13; Matthew 3:1-3
Feb. 22           Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 3:16-17
Feb. 23           Mark 9:2-13
Feb. 24           Acts 2:22-23; Deuteronomy 18:15, 18