The Spirit

Chosen Words Series Gfx_Thumb

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I continued our series,”Chosen Words,” by exploring Jesus’s words to His disciples about the Holy Spirit from John, chapters 14-16. The message explored 5 images of the Holy Spirit as described by Jesus.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can join in with the “Chosen Words” devotional online.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Trouble (discussion questions)

Chosen Words Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Trouble,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This continues the series, “Chosen Words,” where we will journey through John 13-17 over the next number of weeks.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When did you face deep troubles in your life? What happened and how did you deal with?
  2. We continue our series, “Chosen Words,” by studying John 13:18-14:4, where Jesus faces into deep troubles. Before you read those verses aloud, take a moment to ask God to speak to you as you read His word.
  3. The first section of this passage, verses 18-30, focuses largely on Jesus’ expectation of betrayal at the hands of Juda. Judas is mentioned five times in John 13 (vss 2, 26, 27, 29 30). What do you notice about Judas from these verses?
  4. Jesus clearly knows that someone will betray Him (vs 21), but it also appears that this is part of God’s plan (vss 18-19). How could these both possibly be true?
  5. In the second section of this passage, verses 31-38, how would you summarize Jesus’ description of what He will face next? What do you think this means?
  6. In verses 34 and 35, Jesus offers “a new command.” Although this may be familiar, what do you think it means practically to fulfill this command? Why do you think there is a direct connection between this command and identification of Jesus’ disciples?
  7. Jesus confronts Simon Peter’s bold declaration with a hard truth about his upcoming failure. Why do you think Jesus said this to Peter?
  8. When do you think it is the loving thing to do to confront someone with a hard truth?
  9. The third section is found in 14:1-4. Here, Jesus balances words about His departure (13:31-33) with the reassuring work of God. What does Jesus promise to His followers?
  10. How do Jesus’ words here help your perspective on the challenges of your own life or the global events unfolding around us?
  11. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you about life with Him through this study? How will that shape your life in the next week? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

 [Next week we will study John 14:1-31; 15:26-16:15. Read it ahead of time to prepare. Join the 40-day journey associated with this series by visiting


Chosen Words Series Gfx_ThumbWhat do betrayal, failure, and peace have to do with one another? In one way or another, they all relate to trouble.

We continued our series,”Chosen Words,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church looking at the trouble of Jesus, His disciples, and in our lives. I took us into John 13:18-14:4, exploring Jesus’ encounter with Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s failure. This highlights our own need to be watchful of our temptation to betray Jesus or deny Jesus when trouble comes down upon us.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can join in with the “Chosen Words” devotional online.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Who is the Holy Spirit? (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message at Eastbrook Church this past weekend beginning our “Holy Spirit” series entitled “Who Is the Holy Spirit?

Discussion Questions:

  1. This week, we are beginning a new series on the Holy Spirit. What are some questions that you have about the Holy Spirit?
  2. Whether on your own or with a group, begin your study by asking God to speak to you. Read the Gospel of John chapters 14-16 out loud. This is Jesus’ most extensive teaching in John’s gospel. There is a lot in here about the Holy Spirit, but the surrounding context is also important.
  3. What names or titles did you notice were given to the Holy Spirit in John 14-16?Read More »

Obedience to Christ and Experience of Christ (part 2)

The second part of Jesus’ statement in John 14:21 reveals that obedience and love for Christ impact two other parts of our spiritual life. Our love for Christ becomes tangible on the pathway of obedience to Christ. That pathway of obedience leads to the love of the Father for us. Now, we know that God’s love is not dependent upon us and our obedience. But our experience of God is tied to our love for God.

As the next part of Jesus’ statement makes clear, our love for Christ leads not only to an experience of Christ’s love for us, but also His revelation of Himself to us. Obedience is a key element toward seeing Jesus.

Do we want to see Jesus more clearly in our everyday lives? Do we want Jesus to show Himself to us? Then we should begin in obedience. In a Scripture I referenced earlier, we hear it this way:

Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them. (John 14:23)

Our experience of God will grow as we choose the path of obedience.

Obedience to Christ and Experience of Christ (part 1)

Whoever has My commands and obeys them is the one who loves Me. Anyone who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them. (John 14:21)

I find this verse inescapable. If I truly love Christ, then I will both know (“have”) His commands and obey them. There are many who claim they love Christ, yet their lives are not marked by obedience to Christ. Their words have not become a reality in their lives because His words have not become a reality in their lives. Obedience is the mark of true love in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Later in this same teaching Jesus says, “Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching….Anyone who does not love Me will not obey My teaching” (John 14:23a, 24a).

Two questions that we have to consider are:

  1. Do I ‘have’ Jesus’ commands?
  2. Do I ‘obey’ Jesus’ commands?

Obviously, in answer to the first, I have the commands of Christ in a literal way. As I write these words, a Bible lies open on the table before me. I am in possession of Jesus’ words. I could rightfully say that I own them because I purchased this Bible and it is now mine. Yet it is appropriate to push the words have and own to their limit. Even if I have them in my possession, do I really have them inside of me? Do I own them internally?

In terms of the second question, I must consider whether I obey Jesus’ commands. Without a doubt, my obedience is not complete. I aim to obey, but I daily fall short of complete obedience. I fail to help that person in need. I don’t walk across my yard to share my faith with my neighbor. Obedience increases, however, as we grow in grace. As Paul wrote to the believers in Rome: “so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness” (Romans 6:19). Offering ourselves in obedience will lead to holiness; it is a process of growth.