This weekend at Eastbrook Church we begin a new series entitled “The Life of Joseph: God’s Sovereignty in Our Suffering.” As we trace the life of Joseph in Genesis, we get a glimpse of how God is at work in our lives. We can grapple with how we respond in faith through the ups and downs of life. We all face troubles in life, but God is at work in the midst of those troubles, even if He seems hidden. In this Lenten journey, we will explore themes of faith, suffering, God’s hiddenness and God’s sovereignty from the life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50. Read more background to the life of Joseph here.
Along with the weekend messages, I want to invite you to join a 40-day devotional journey. You can find out more about how to access that devotional in print or electronically here.
February 14 – “The Cross in Shadows”
February 17/18 – “Descending” (Genesis 37:1-36)
February 24/25 – “Caught” (Genesis 39:1-20)
March 3/4 – “Lost and Found” (Genesis 40:1-41:57)
March 10/11 – “Open Wounds” (Genesis 42:1-44:34)
March 17/18 – “Reconciliation” (Genesis 45:1-46:34)
March 24/25 – “Blessing and Rescue” (Genesis 47:1-50:26)
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?“]
As we continued our series “Unshackled: Joy Beyond Circumstances” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church I walked us through Philippians 1:27-2:11, where the Apostle Paul shifts his attention from his present circumstances to the situation of the Philippians.
You can view the video and sermon outline of this message, “The Joy of Faith,” below. You can also follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.
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As we begin the new year, we also begin a new series this coming weekend at Eastbrook Church entitled “Unshackled: Joy Beyond Circumstances.” In a world at odds with itself, how do followers of Christ live with irrepressible joy in God? In this six-week series we will journey through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians to develop a theology of joy. We want to begin the year with the fullness of God’s joy in Jesus Christ.
In preparing for this series I have been reminded of how many well-loved verses are found in Philippians. Here are a few:
- “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (1:6).
- “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21).
- the hymn to Christ in 2:6-11
- “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you” (2:12-13).
- “Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (2:15-16).
- “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (3:7).
- “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (3:12).
- “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (4:4).
It is that last verse which serves as a resounding theme of the letter of Philippians. Paul, writing this letter while imprisoned, illustrates through his own life that joy can exist regardless of our circumstances. Join us for this journey to joy as we begin 2018!