My Altar to You: a prayer

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You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek You;
I thirst for You,
my whole being longs for You
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
(Psalm 63:1)

This morning is my altar to You, my God.
I burn the sacrifices of my attention,
the first fruits of my time and my energy.
Receive praise from my offering, my God,
even as I choose to rejoice in You above all.

My appointments are my altar to You, my God.
I lay before You each and every conversation,
the planned and unplanned,
the upbeat and the negative,
that everything I do and say might be
an offering unto Your service as worship.

My inner life is my altar to You, my God.
May the inner place where no words are uttered
but inner dialogue remains,
where no actions occur
but from which all action flows –
may it be the place where Your glory descends –
beyond words and actions –
to set the offering of my self ablaze
with Your glory.

Roots: Looking Back and Reaching Forward

 

This coming weekend at Eastbrook Church we begin a new preaching series entitled “Roots: Looking Back and Reaching Forward.” This series is the second of a three-part series related to our 40th anniversary as a church, following on our series, “Power in Prayer.” This is a series celebrating our legacy as a church, and also recalibrating as we head into the future together. We will look back at what God has done in our midst at Eastbrook, while also looking forward to what God is calling us into as a church.

September 7/8 – “Activated by the Holy Spirit”

September 14/15 – “Truly Community”

September 21/22 – “Growing Disciples”

September 28/29 – “Sacrificial Generosity”

October 4/5 – “Worship in the Beauty of Holiness”

C. S. Lewis on God’s Gift-Love

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I preached this past weekend at Eastbrook about “Prayer as Living within the Power and Love of God” from Ephesians 3:14-20. Thinking about the love of God is something I never tire of. Although it didn’t make it into the sermon, I was reminded of this quotation from from C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves:

God is love….[and] This…love is Gift-love. In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give….God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing…the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a ‘host’ who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and ‘take advantage of’ Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.[1]


[1] C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1960), 175-6.

The Promised Lamb of God [Name Above All Names]

NAAN-Series-GFX_App-Wide.pngI continued our new series, “Name Above All Names,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This series began with our Christmas celebration of Jesus as the light of the world, continued in the last two weekends with Jesus as “Friend of Sinners” and “The Gate” (Thanks, Pastor Dan Ryan!), and now turns to Jesus as the “Promised Lamb of God.”

This message leaps off from John the Baptist’s description of Jesus in John 1:29:

Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

The message then looks at four “clues” to Jesus’ identity as the Lamb of God found throughout the Hebrew Bible: the ram provided on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22), the Passover lamb (Exodus 12), the daily sacrifice (Leviticus 1), and the suffering servant (Isaiah 52-53).

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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Kevin Durant’s MVP Mom

I began my message this past weekend by mentioning Kevin Durant’s 2014 MVP acceptance speech. Particularly, I highlighted how the sacrificial love of his mother helped him transcend his circumstances and become more than he imagined. You can watch the entire speech or simply jump ahead to see him talk about his mom at 23:29.

Who is your example of sacrificial love?

The Glory

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there. (Luke 23:32-33)

without fanfare, the King of Glory is pinned
with gory force upon the beams of wood.

the people watch with voiceless stares.
the sneering rulers speak their fears.
the soldiers mock with maiming force.

overhead the notice speaks sharp
truth: this is the King of the Jews.

with no apparent human heroism,
His snapping skeleton – bloody body –
hangs heavy as God’s heart becomes a wound
opened wide with welcome for all who wash
their weary selves within its messy flow.

but now He hangs at God’s cross purposes
as holiness and grace collide with fire.
the vulture views the spectacle and waits,
as all earth’s air is drained out of God’s lungs.

[This is the fourth in a group of original poems composed for Holy Week.]