A Prayer of Thanks for the Melody of Good News

“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it.” (Luke 16:16)

We heard it ringing in the air—
Your voice proclaiming, “Good news! God’s Kingdom is here!”
Our hearts rose up and our ears perked up
as this message intrigued us and spoke to us.

Castaways and over-achievers, drop-outs and all-stars,
the hungry and the overfed, the thirsty and the drunkards,
the insecure and the over-confident, the sick and the well-groomed,
the misused and the misusers, the lost and those not knowing they were lost—
all of us broken sinners, poor and needy,
we heard it ringing in our ears.

When bad news dominates and ill report abounds
what You brought to us was like a fresh melody
in chaotic discord; like a cup of fresh, cool water
in a parched land; like a three-course meal
for a starved-out prisoner with no hope.

Hope—that’s what we hear in Your invitation,
and love—a love that’s eternal and unstoppable,
and joy—a joy deeper and more buoyant than any other.

We heard it ringing in the air and in our ears,
but more, we sensed it ringing in our souls.
We sensed it so deep we felt the tickle of falling fast,
and all we could do was laugh from our bellies
and sing our own soul’s melody
as You braided it in with Your good news song.

The Chaos of Joy: Remembering Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Your presence breaks over the hills like a rising sun.
Zechariah’s words echo through the atmosphere,
mingled with the rustle of feet and whisper
of palm branches laid down before You. Then
the first voice rings out, “Hosanna!”, and then
another replies, “Blessed is he who comes in the Name
of the Lord!” Then more voices resound, “Hosanna!”
The journey from the Mount of Olives to the gates
of Jerusalem assumes the momentum of an avalanche
as the crowd grows to a commotion of
great celebration. “He is here,” they seem to say.
“The One who we have waited for all our lives.”

A Morning Prayer of Closeness to God

“Let the dawn bring news
of Your unfailing love
for I put my trust in You.
Show me the road
that I must travel
for You to relieve my heart.”

(Psalm 143:8, NJB)

Early in the morning I draw away
to be only with You.
The time seems to move too quickly
and I know I must step toward what comes next.
But here, in this treasured hour,
this spot of rest and place of being,
I draw near to You—
to hear from You,
to savor You,
to delight in You,
to rest in Your love,
and to share my love with You.
I have nothing in me that is good
save the goodness You planted in me.
Neither am I overcome by evil
because You lavished grace upon me.
Keep me close to You today, God,
for You are my true joy, life, and peace.

Living with Joy

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continued our preaching series entitled “Joy Appears,” which continues our celebration of Christmas and the joy that has appeared in Jesus our Messiah and Savior. In this second and final week of the series I take us through speedy exploration of themes of joy in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians. There is so much here!

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

What is Joy?

A definition of joy

The difference between happiness and joy

Living with Joy in Prayer (Philippians 1:3-8)

Cultivating joy through prayer

Cultivating joy through gratitude for others 

Living with Joy Because of the Gospel (Philippians 1:12-18; 2:19-30)

Experiencing joy in the Gospel we have received

Experiencing joy as the Gospel is proclaimed (even through wrong motives)

Experiencing the joy of the Gospel in us and through others 

Living with Joy in Relation to Others (Philippians 2:1-4)

Cultivating joy in the imperfect Christian community

Cultivating joy as God makes us more like Jesus

Living with Joy Beyond Circumstances (Philippians 4:4, 10-13)

Choosing joy 

Choosing joy amidst trials 


Dig Deeper:

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize a verse from Philippians that stood out to you from this study. Write it on a notecard or make it your smartphone or computer background so you see it regularly.
  • Set aside some time in prayer this week where you will specifically express gratitude to God. You may want to write things down as you pray so you remember what you’re thankful for afterwards.
  • Express your appreciation or gratitude verbally or in written form to someone this week, whether a family member, a friend, a roommate, a classmate, or a work colleague. 

Jesus the Joy-Bringer

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we began a new preaching series entitled “Joy Appears,” which continues our celebration of Christmas and the joy that has appeared in Jesus our Messiah and Savior. In this first week of the series, Pastor Nic Fridenmaker explores how Jesus brings joy in His birth and ministry. What is joy? How does Jesus really bring joy? How is this different from manufactured joy? How can we experience joy in Jesus?

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people..”  (Luke 2:9-10)

A Little History Lesson

Christmas

Epiphany

A Little Language Lesson

Happiness

Joy

A Big Announcement

Matthew 2:1-12

Luke 2:1-15

Joy then, and joy now.

Fear

Joy

Community


Dig Deeper:

This week dig deeper into Joy:

  • Watch this video again, and as we celebrate the Christmas Season, find ways to share Joy with those around you: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/chara-joy/
  • Memorize on Isaiah 51:11.
  • The Gospel brings “great joy to all people.” Share the gospel this week in a tangible way. 
  • Merry Christmas!