The Weekend Wanderer: 30 November 2019

The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like.

Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 1.36.36 PM“The First Christian” – Some Christians, in an effort to avoid what can become an overemphasized Mariology, downplay the role of Mary in our faith. Luke’s telling of the gospel story, however, highlights Mary as an ideal picture of true Christian discipleship that all of us should look to as an example. The preeminent prayer of the life surrendered to God comes from Mary’s lips: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). Jennifer Powell McNutt and Amy Beverage Peeler’s article, “The First Christian,” offers a moving exploration of Mary as Christian exemplar.

 

Missional“Futurist Church Series :: Where is ‘Missional’ 10 Years after the ‘Conversation’ Peaked?” – The past ten to twenty years of church ministry conversation seems to have been dominated by the word “missional.” Sometimes, it seems, “missional” has become more of a buzzword than a word of substance, but it is still an important theme in the ministry of the church in a post-Christian era.  This interesting interview brings together five important voices in the early missional movement: Alan Hirsch, Michael Frost, David Fitch, Brad Brisco, and Jeff Vanderstelt.

 

advent-playlist_v2-01“An Advent Playlist” – Music is one of the most powerful means for engaging in both cognitive and non-cognitive worship and spiritual formation. At one level, our conscious mind intellectually engages with the words and beauty of music. At another level, our spirit engages non-cognitively with the emotive swells of music and find that songs linger in our memory and heart beyond mere intellectual consideration of it. As we prepare for Advent, I was glad to stumble upon this curated playlist on Spotify for Advent by Victoria Emily Jones from the Art & Theology blog. There was much here that I wasn’t familiar with, which is a gift at this time of year.

 

Fred Rogers“Mr. Rogers was a televangelist to toddlers” – When I graduated from high school, I participated in a recognition banquet where each student had to name one of their heroes. I said “Mr. Rogers,” which was partly a joke but partly truth. I appreciated how Fred Rogers’ faith had shaped his life toward public witness. With all the appreciation of Rogers’ life and influence in recent years, and in the form of two recent movies, Daniel Burke’s article at CNN is a welcome testimony to a Christian life lived as a public witness toward the love and hope found in God.

 

_109823848_gettyimages-1135630791“Egyptian woman ‘wins court battle’ over unequal inheritance laws” – There is a lot of discussion these days about faith and the public square, with most of the examples coming from Western society. We often ask not only “how should Christian faith interact with politics?”, but “can Christian faith really make a difference in the public discourse?” Here is a quite different example from Egypt, where Coptic Christianity collided with Islamic Sharia Law in relation to legality of gender equity for inheritance. “A Coptic Christian woman in Egypt says she has won a legal battle to receive the same inheritance as her brothers. Under the Islamic Sharia inheritance laws the country mainly relies on, female heirs inherit half that of male relatives. Huda Nasrallah, 40, brought the case to test the legality of the statute. The human rights lawyer built her case around Christian doctrine of equal inheritance. Two courts had earlier ruled against her based on Sharia. Sharia has been used in personal status law regardless of an individual’s religion, and this verdict could set a precedent.”

 

Music: Handel’s Messiah” by Jenny & Tyler from Christmas Stories.

[I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.]

Prayer as Power for Mission with God (Romans 15:23-33)

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I concluded our series “Power in Prayer: Learning to Pray with St. Paul.” After looking at Ephesians 3:14-21 on praying our way into God’s power and love and Colossians 1:9-14 on how prayer shapes our souls, this weekend I explored Romans 15:23-33 on how prayer connects with our mission in the world.

You can watch my message from this past weekend and follow along with the message outline below. You can also engage with the entire series here or download the Eastbrook mobile app for even more opportunities for involvement. Each weekend I am also providing some resources for prayer related to the passage or theme of the week.

Resources for prayer

Each month we have a prayer guide for the church, the city, and the world. How could you more actively utilize these resources in praying for others?

Operation World is a helpful resource for intercessory prayer for the nations. Access it online or purchase a hard copy to pray over the world in a more informed manner.

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I Am Filled with God’s Power

In our current series at Eastbrook Church, “Who Am I?“, we are exploring biblical answers to questions about our identity as human beings. This past weekend I concluded the series by looking at how the Holy Spirit anchors our identity in God, connects us to a broader family, and sends us out with a new sense of mission.

You can view the message video and an expanded 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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Jesus on the Move (Gospel of Luke, part 3)

jesus-on-the-move-series-gfx_app-wideThis past weekend at Eastbrook Church we began the third part of our six-part journey with the Gospel of Luke entitled “Jesus on the Move.”

Once Jesus’ ministry begins, the Gospel of Luke thrusts us into the deep end of Jesus mission. We see Jesus teaching, healing, working miracles, rebuking religious authorities, and so much more. Each story is so rich that we might lose perspective on what God is doing through Jesus. We want to sharpen up the focus so that we don’t lose sight of what Jesus’ activity is all about: the mission of God in the world.

You can follow along with the series via our web-site, our Vimeo page, our Facebook page, or by downloading the Eastbrook Church app.

Next Steps from MissionsFest

dwell-series-gfx_thumbAs we drew Eastbrook‘s 2016 MissionsFest to a close this past weekend, here are the next steps we shared this past weekend in relation to the messages by Ken Katayama (“Christ in Us“) and Pastor Paul Bland (“Embodied Presence“).

READ a book!
Joyful Witness in The Muslim World: Sharing the Gospel in Every Day Encounters by Evelyne Reisacher
Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People by Michael Frost

PRAY for Eastbrook’s partners
Over the next month, use our prayer page to pray for our International Field Workers, as well as our Local Partners. Contact me for that prayer page.

ENGAGE at Eastbrook’s Sunday 9:30 am Missions PRAYER Class
This weekly class meets in Fellowship Hall every Sunday at 9:30 am and is a great time to get informed, involved, and to intercede for our world in prayer.

VOLUNTEER at the International Language Center
Serve and meet some new friends from Iraq, Somalia, and Burma! See what happens at this center and consider tutoring a refugee.

MEET a new friend
Women, become a friend to a Muslim woman! Contact Laura Fears to get connected.

SHOP, EAT & DRINK at a neighborhood store, restaurant or coffee shop
Get to know the owners and workers. Ask the owner how you could be a blessing to their employees.

SERVE at the Eastbrook Church Food Pantry
Come help distribute groceries and build relationships with our guests. Contact Chris to volunteer.

JOIN THE NEIGHBORHOOD MINISTRY TEAM
Reach out to the neighborhood around Eastbrook Church. Contact J.C. to take a next step.

COACH OR PLAY BASKETBALL with young men from our neighborhood
Saturday mornings. Contact J.C. to take a next step.

EAT dinner with some of your neighbors
Get to know their life stories by inviting neighbors over to your apartment or home for a meal together.

SUPPORT financially Eastbrook’s Missions Budget for 12 months
Visit the Eastbrook website for more information on how you can financially support the Missions Budget.

7 on Mission

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I continued our “Becoming 7” series this weekend at Eastbrook with a message called “7 on Mission.” This series is an overview of our vision for the year, focusing on our big five vision objectives: becoming a Revelation 7:9-10 church; growing disciples; reaching out; multiplying leaders; and increasing church engagement. Sometimes we aim to become a “10” but in this series we will talk about why we are aiming for “7” instead.

You can also follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.

Becoming 7 (Revelation 7:9-10)

“There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9)

 

 

The Movement of Mission (Acts 1:8; Luke 24:46-49) 

  • Called to life in Jesus
  • Called to power in the Holy Spirit
  • Called to witness in word and deed
  • Called to the other – the nations

 

Four Tensions

  • The inward / outward life of the church
  • The church focused on Jesus / the church focused on others
  • The power of God / the work of the church
  • The church at peace with God / the church at odds with the world

 

Becoming 7 on Discipleship

  • Our goal at Eastbrook

 

Perched on the Shoulders of Giants (EMQ)

emqonline

In October, I had the privilege of writing an article for the Evangelical Missions Quarterly entitled “Perched on the Shoulders of Giants,” reflecting on how legacy can be a positive aspect of future vision for churches on mission.

As a follow-up to the article, they invited me to join in with their monthly podcast, which was just released yesterday. Although the article is only available to EMQ subscribers, the podcast is available to everyone here.

For a taste of the topic, here is the first part of the article:

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” (Josh. 1:5-6)

I have a baton sitting on my desk in my office with the verses above etched into it. It reminds me daily of the challenge and responsibility to carry forward the legacy of mission at Eastbrook Church, where I serve as senior pastor. Throughout our thirty-five years as a church, a strong sense of mission has been upheld not only by our founding senior pastor, Dr. Marc Erickson, but also by the ownership of our entire congregation. A courageous group of spiritual giants stand within the memories of Eastbrook’s history of mission like a local version of Hebrews 11.

When I took the helm just over four years ago, we entered a season of leadership transition, weathering it well by God’s grace. In the midst of this transitional time, we have worked at keeping the calling to mission central in this new era of ministry. I want to share four characteristics I have come to believe are essential for building on legacy to strengthen churches to move forward powerfully for mission.