The First Day

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. (Luke 24:1)

the first day:
walking with heavy loads and burdened hearts
to the place His breathless body lay.
every hour seemed so still
since that dark day.

but now, the first day:
their hesitating procession to the tomb
finds the place, but not Him;
and aching emptiness
meets anger’s anxiety.

yet, on the first day
two men send shivers of loud light
mingled with a message:
‘He’s alive like a new day’s dawning!’
and they remember His words.

this first day is the third day
that sends the dark day running.

[This is the fifth in a group of original poems composed for Holy Week, which begins with “Unseeing in Sleep.” Read the next poem, “Unbelievable Words,” here.]

Joseph’s Offering

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus….With Pilate’s permission he came and took the body away. (John 19:38)

as the crowd dispersed
i came to honor Him.
perhaps it was too late…
but the cost was real for me,
as others from the Sanhedrin
turned their dark looks upon me.
our entourage gathered His limp form
with painful effort from the tree
and wrapped it with care.

standing there, at the Executioner’s workplace,
i couldn’t help but think that
He deserved more than this;
that my present actions were a feeble attempt
to cover my earlier inaction.

Jesus, wrapped in linen and death’s shadow,
seemed like a gift Jerusalem
was not worthy to hold.
so we took Him to the tomb,
with the women following close,
and placed Him gently within
for safe-keeping until the day of the Lord.
but my heart ached within me.

[This is the fourth in a group of original poems composed for Holy Week, which begins with “Unseeing in Sleep.” Read the next poem, “The First Day,” here.]

New Hope (discussion questions)

Exiles Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “New Hope,” which is the first part of our series “Exiles” on the book of 1 Peter. This study walks through 1 Peter 1:13-2:3.

  1. When was a time that something you were hoping for came true? How did hope sustain you in the waiting period?
  1. This weekend we continue our series, “Exiles,” on the New Testament letter known as 1 Peter. Take a moment to begin your study in prayer, asking God to speak to you and transform you through His truth. Then, whether you are alone or with others, read 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 aloud.
  1. Peter begins his letter with an extended prayer celebrating the hope that we have with God in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:1-12). In this next section of the letter, he explains how we live fixed upon that hope. 1 Peter 1:13 begins with an imperative statement. What do you think Peter means when he writes: “set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming”?
  1. In 1:14-15, Peter build upon the new identity given to believers in Jesus by their “new birth into a living hope” (1:3). What does Peter call the believers toward in these verses? Why does he say we should live that way?
  1. ‘Holiness’ or being ‘holy’ has fallen out of fashion these days. Why do you think that is? What might it look like for us to live meaningfully holy lives today in our everyday settings?
  1. Peter builds on the theme of holiness in 1:17-21. What is Peter’s main exhortation to the believers here? What does he say are the main reasons believers should do that?
  1. Moving from the focus on holiness and appropriate fear of the Lord, Peter begins to talk about the way we live with one another as Christians. How would you restate Peter’s main request of the believers in 1:22?
  1. In what ways do you think holy living and loving others relates to our hope in Jesus Christ? Why do you think these topics be related in Peter’s mind for ‘exiles’ (1:1) and ‘foreigners’ (1:17)?
  1. Drawing upon imagery found in Psalm 34:8, Peter encourages the believers in 2:1-3 to grow up with God by having the right sort of spiritual nourishment in their lives. Why do you think they must rid themselves of certain things (2:1) and also crave certain other things (2:2)? What do you think the ‘pure spiritual milk’ Peter is referring to means in our everyday lives?
  1. What is one specific thing you sense God is speaking to you about your life through this study? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray about what you share together. If you are studying on your own, write it down, pray about it, and share this with someone during the next few days.

 

New Hope

Exiles Series Gfx_Web HeaderThis past weekend at Eastbrook Church we continued our series entitled “Exiles: A Study of 1 Peter,” looking at the hope we have as exiles. We journeyed into Peter’s words on that hope and how it transforms the way we live in 1 Peter 1:13-2:3.

You can watch the message here or subscribe to our audio podcast, following along with the outline below. You can also follow the entire series at our web-site.

If you’re interested in getting to know us more at Eastbrook, please take a moment to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Vimeo. You could also join our community by downloading the Eastbrook app.

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New Life (discussion questions)

Exiles Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “New Life,” which is the first part of our series “Exiles” on the book of 1 Peter. This study walks through 1 Peter 1:1-12.

1. When was a time that you felt extremely out of place? What happened?

2. This weekend we begin a new series, “Exiles,” where we will journey through the New Testament letter, 1 Peter. Before starting this study, pray that God would transform you as you read and ponder the Scripture. Then, whether you are alone or with others, read 1 Peter 1:1-12 aloud.

3. Background: While there is some debate, the letter known as 1 Peter was most likely written by the Apostle Peter somewhere in the early to mid-60s during the reign of Nero. Peter writes to a group of followers of Jesus Christ in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), who are facing trials for their faith. It is most likely that this group includes Jewish-background believers with some ties to Rome as well as local Gentile (non-Jews) believers. Peter writes in order to encourage them with God’s truth so that they will persevere (1 Peter 5:12).

4. 1 Peter 1:1-2 provides the opening or salutation of the letter. What do you notice about the recipients’ situation? How does Peter say about God here?

5. In verses 3-5, Peter bursts forth with praise and thanksgiving for God. What has God done for believers, according to Peter in these verses?

6. If the believers receiving this letter were suffering in their cities, why do you think Peter’s words about their inheritance is so important (vss 4-5)?

7. Peter leads us into a deep discussion about trials in verses 6-9. What does he say is the purpose of our trials and why can we have joy in the midst of them?

8. What trials are you facing right now? What do you think it looks like to live into Peter’s perspective on suffering shared in these verses?

9. One thing we can easily forget as believers is what a gift it is to know about Christ. Read verses 10-12 and reflect on what Peter is saying about our perspective on the gospel compared to those in the past and even the heavenly angels.

10. What is one specific thing God is speaking to you about your life with God through this study? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray about these things together. If you are studying on your own, write it down, pray about it, and share this with someone during the next few days.