Son of God [Name Above All Names]

NAAN-Series-GFX_App-Wide.pngAs we continued our series, “Name Above All Names,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I looked at one of Jesus’ most revered titles: Son of God.  With roots in the promises to Abraham and David, Jesus’ identity as the Son of God stretches all the way before Creation and speaks of His unique relationship with God the Father and way of living upon earth.

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

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Where Are We?

Is the terrifying trend in American politics a slim chance to recover our souls? Will the alarming rhetoric and substanceless rampaging open the eyes of our people to reality, meaning, and consequences, or have we teetered over the edge of sanity into the purgatorial spiral of steady cultural decay?

Will the remnant stand up, speak out, or help stave off decay’s burn within the holy community of the kingdom? Which pathway is the best way forward for these days?

Still the Cross is the crossroads of history, the epicenter of life, and the intersection of present-time with eternity. The sacred feast is still the place where we are with Him, look back in our union with Him in His death, and look forward to the anticipated union in eternal light with Him. There is no other gateway of God’s grace than that found Jesus Messiah. There is no emperor to save us for now we see clearly that all the emperors have lost their clothes. Their naked power is revealed for what it is: the belly-rolled fat of shameful excess, the heaving one-upmanship of sexual aggression, and the pale skin of lifeless hearts never exposed to the Light. The emperors, we find, are just like us: powerless before greater powers and lifeless without life.

Now, like children lost in the pounding waves, wee gasp for air and strive to rise above the surging powers we have unwittingly set in motion. Even so, those powers…they are not God.

Rest

This weekend at Eastbrook, I continued our series, “The Real Jesus,” with a message on Jesus as the Lord of the Sabbath, called “Rest.” The main text was Mark 2:23-3:6. The main point of my message was that Jesus is the only one who can bring rest to our souls and, in our restless world, the only one who can bring peace.

You can listen to the message here at the Eastbrook web-site.

The outline for the message is included below:

The Authority of Jesus (Mark 2:23-28)
– The disciples’ action
– The Pharisees’ complaint
– Jesus’ comparison
– Jesus’ assertion

The Concern of Jesus (Mark 3:1-6)
– The concern of the man
– The concern of the people
– The concern of Jesus
– The concern of the religious and political leaders

Two Traps and the Way Out
– The Trap of Legalism: Rigid rules
– The Trap of Antinomianism: Lax living
– The Way Out: The Rest of God

The King

This past weekend at Eastbrook, I continued our series, “The Real Jesus,” with a message on Jesus as the King. Since this series is rooted in the Gospel of Mark, the main text was Mark 1:14-20. The main point of my message is that Jesus is the King over all the kingdoms of this world and over all our lives.

You can listen to the message here at the Eastbrook web-site.

The outline for the message is included below:

King’s Conflict (1:14, 18, 20; Colossians 2:15)
– Rival earthly kingdoms (1:14)
– Rival personal kingdoms (1:18, 20)
– Rival powers and authorities (Colossians 2:15)

King’s Call (1:15)
– Turn – the response of repentance
– Trust – the response of belief

King’s Commission (1:16-20)
– Follow – the focus on Jesus
– Fish – the focus on others

God Alone Does Marvelous Deeds (part 2)

Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds – Psalm 72:18

This final word in Psalm 72 highlights something else that is especially pertinent for those of us in leadership. It is a critical reminder with two parts. The first part is this: even with all of our efforts and plans, God “alone does marvelous deeds.” I am not the source of the marvelous deeds that I may see in my life, ministry, or church. God is the source. Even if I am the one most visibly attached to success, it is God who is the source. A clear conclusion we can draw from that truth is that God is the one to be praised…not me or you.

There is another part to this statement for those of us in leadership, and it has to do with our perspective: our ministry does not depend on us. As we expend energy and make strategic plans, there is only One who will make that energy useful and bring success from those plans. Again, God “alone does marvelous deeds.” If there will be marvelous results from our energy and plans it is because of God. Does this mean we stop expending energy or planning? Absolutely not! As we get active and make plans, though, we should do so with prayerful reliance on the only One will bring something ‘marvelous’ from us.

God alone does marvelous deeds.

God Alone Does Marvelous Deeds (part 1)

Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds – Psalm 72:18

Psalm 72 is a psalm that builds walls to keep me out when I read it. I feel immediately disconnected from what it is saying. The words are all about the king: praising him and praying for him. When I read these words, I am unsure of what to do with them. How does this connect with my real life today?

The psalmist sings to God grand blessings over the leader of the nation: may he be just and righteous, may he bring prosperity, may he rescue the poor and defenseless, may he bring peace, may his foes bow before him, and so on. I suppose we could transpose these blessings onto our national or state leaders, but it feels like doing so is a stretch.

But as the distance between us and this psalm appears to increase, a marvelous statement appears. The psalmist comes to grip with a striking truth. All of his prayers for and praise of the king remind him of something else. No king can do all of these things. Even a good king will struggle with doing them. We need only look at the life of David. Being ‘just and righteous’ seems a far cry from adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. The history of the kings of Judah and Israel chronicles mild human successes and massive human failures. All the wonderful things that a leader can offer are not always so easily realized. Leaders fail. And a leader’s successes oftentimes seem few and far between.

And so, the psalmist switches focus from the human king to the King of kings. He stops praising a man and starts praising God.  “Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds” (vs. 18). God alone does marvelous deeds. When good things happen, the psalmist writes, we can trace them back not to a human leader but ultimately to God. The Apostle James restates this when he writes: “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). God is the source of all good that we know. God is unchanging. Are we looking for a human leader to provide all that we need? Don’t hold your breath. When our leaders’ success comes, we do well to trace the goodness back to its original source in God.