To Live as One for the Sake of the World

This past weekend as part of our preaching series, “United,” with other churches I had the privilege of preaching at Kettlebrook Church. This final week of the series I expanded upon the statement that the church is called to live as one for the sake of the world. I explored the two halves of Ephesians 2 in order to look at the way God has made us one with Himself through Christ and also made us one new humanity together through Christ. I explored that portion of Scripture with some attention to the reality that, as Archbishop William Temple once said, “the church is the only organization that exists for the benefit of its non-members.”

You can find the message video and outline below, starting at 24:48. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


United – a new series at Eastbrook

This coming Sunday at Eastbrook Church we begin a new preaching series entitled “United,” which explores the essence of what it means to be the church. The church is most fruitful when it’s fully united. Jesus’ dream for the church is full unity. What a divided world needs is a united church. Join us for a series in partnership with other churches to talk about four essential aspects of the life of the church.

For this four-part series we are partnering with other churches in the “Brook” family of churches, and thus will pause our extended walk through the Gospel of Matthew, which we will return to in February.

Join us each weekend of this series in-person or via Eastbrook at Home.

Here are the weekly topics for the series:

January 9 – “People Who Are Called by God”

January 16 – “To Live as a Family”

January 23 – “To Be Sent on Mission”

January 30 – “To Live as One for the Sake of the World”

What Happens When the Church is Activated on Mission?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

In the book of Acts we see the Holy Spirit set the early believers ablaze for the work of God. We encounter Peter, who steps forth with boldness to preach the good news and thousands come to believe Jesus is the Messiah. We see bold people like Stephen, who speaks of Christ and it costs him his life, and Philip, who shares across cultural and religious barriers to bring the Samaritans to Jesus. We see an enemy of Christ, Saul of Tarsus, become a passionate evangelist and bold church planter, the Apostle Paul.

Acts is an active book where we see the church activated on mission. What does it look like when individual believers and church communities are activated by God for His work? Suffice it to say that things happen.

But let’s look at something we could miss here. Acts is an active book but we also see two things in Acts that Christianity is not about.

Christianity—following Jesus—does not leave us much space for being boring or apathetic. Sometimes in the midst of the world, with all the needs, all the challenges, all the serious situations, we can become overwhelmed by the needs. This sometimes leads us to turn away from the needs of the world, focusing on our own lives and challenges. Essentially, we become apathetic. But activated churches and Christians are not apathetic or boring. They are engaged with the needs of the world because God cares about people and the needs of the world. God is an active, giving missionary God.

At the same time, even though Acts is an active book, it is not a busy book. In fact, there is a big difference between being busy and being active. The early church was activated by the Holy Spirit to join in with God in a focused way for God’s mission. But the early church was not meaninglessly busy. Some of us, when we become Christians, think that we are to become busy for the kingdom. But there is not a lot of space for busyness in the activated church. Some of us need to remember that God is not all that interested in uncommanded work. He wants us to join in with His kingdom mission but not to be aimlessly rushing around with whatever captures our attention in the moment. In fact, what captures our attention may lead us away from the activated mission God has for us. As a wise mentor once shared with me: we may need to consider whether we are more in love with the work of the Lord than we are in love with the Lord of the work.

Activated Christianity is not about being boring and neither is it about being busy. Activated Christianity is not about apathy to the world’s need nor is it about frenzied activity. The book of Acts shows us that the church is activated by the power of the Holy Spirit for the mission of God in the world.

Dan Ryan: Seeking Transformation through Jesus [MissionsFest, week 2]

This past weekend at Eastbrook we continued our pause on our preaching series, “Who Do You Say I Am?”, in order to continue our annual MissionsFest. Last week Dr. Ed Stetzer was with us for a message entitled, “The Commissions of Jesus for a Post-COVID Church.” This week my colleague, Pastor Dan Ryan, spoke about where Eastbrook is headed with local and international mission through a message entitled “Seeking Transformation through 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.


  1. Revisiting Dr. Stetzer’s sermon:
    a. We are Sent
    b. To All Kinds of People
    c. With a Message
    d. Empowered by the Holy Spirit
  2. Busyness vs Transformation
    a. Losing sight of the end goal
    b. What is the end goal?
  3. Transformation in Jesus
    a. Luke 4:16-21
  4. Integrated Transformation
    a. Our mission is to Proclaim & Embody
    b. It is a mission focused on the Spiritual and the Physical
    c. Mission lives in the tension of these two
    d. Jesus was fully man and fully God, a whole human and a whole spirit
    e. As Jesus is, so is our mission integrated
  5. Seeking Transformation
    a. What does it take to see transformation?
    b. Example: Milwaukee Rescue Mission
    c. Moving forward in Local Outreach
    i. Seek the Holy Spirit
    ii. Serve Together
    iii. Build Relationships
    iv. Seek Transformation
  6. Afghan Arrivals
    a. Opportunity to support
    b. Building teams around each arrival
    c. Your chance to join us
  7. Focusing on Transformation
    a. Stories from overseas
    b. How to join in – Perspectives & Short-term
    c. Prayer

Digging Deeper:

  1. Read Jesus’ Commissions again, particularly Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:16-20 and spend time unpacking the different parts of each commission.
  2. Read Luke 4:16-21 and also Isaiah 61 and envision a city and a world where this takes hold.
  3. Spend time away with God this week reflecting on the connection between His Commissions and His Transformation, and what part He is calling you to play.
  4. To unpack the theological understanding of this transformation, read Surprised by Hope by NT Wright
  5. Reach out to a fellow brother or sister in Christ who is serving in the city or world and invite them to a shared meal or over coffee to hear how they have witnessed God’s work of transformation.

The Church and Mission: Three Compelling Statements

Here are three statements that I have returned to recently in my thinking about the church and its mission. Each is saying similar things with distinct emphasis. What do you think about these statements? What do you think about the relationship between the church and its mission?

Vincent Donovan, a missionary to the Masai in Tanzania in the mid-twentieth century, in his book Christianity Rediscovered:

Mission is the meaning of the church….The church exists only insofar as it carries Christ to the world….The idea of church without mission is an absurdity.

William Temple, archbishop of Canterbury in the early twentieth century:

The church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.

Paul Borden in his book, Direct Hit:

Healthy congregations are defined by sacrifice… They exist more for those who are currently not part of the group than for those who comprise the current congregation.

What do you think?