Turning to God in Troubling Times

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Natural disasters… global terrorism…national tensions…difficulties in our personal lives…What do we do when we face troubling times? The Hebrew prophet Habakkuk faced circumstances not altogether very different from us. In his troubling times, Habakkuk raises his voice to God and hears answers he does not expect. This weekend at Eastbrook Church we begin a five-part series, where we will grapple with faith, fear, trouble, injustice, and worship of all-powerful God through the words of the prophet Habakkuk.

May 30/31 – Crying Out when God Seems Absent (Habakkuk 1:1-4)

June 6/7 – Suffering and the Surprising Plans of God (Habakkuk 1:5-11)

June 13/14 – Talking with God When Pain Looms Large (Habakkuk 1:12-2:1)

June 20/21 – Faithfulness in a Confusing World (Habakkuk 2:2-21)

June 27/28 – Learning to Rejoice in the Lord (Habakkuk 3:1-19)

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

Overcome (discussion questions)

Chosen Words Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Overcome,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This continues the series, “Chosen Words,” where we will journey through John 13-17 over the next number of weeks. This week specifically looks at two separate passages, John 15:18-25 and John 16:16-33.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some of the simple things that give you joy in the midst of the challenges of life?
  2. This week we continue our series, “Chosen Words,” looking at John 15:18-25 and 16:16-33. Before you read these two portions of Scripture aloud, take a moment to ask God to speak to you as you read His word.
  3. In John 15:18-25, Jesus directly addresses the tension – even hatred – that will exist between the world and Jesus’ followers. The ‘world’ in John’s writings represents, as one scholar says, “the godless world…organized in opposition to God, and therefore opposed to His people.” What reasons does Jesus offer for why the world will hate Jesus’ followers in verses 18-25?
  4. How have you experienced hatred or tension in your own life because of your allegiance to Jesus? How did you respond?
  5. Moving forward to John 16:16-18, what is troubling the disciples? Look back over chapters 13-16 and consider how many times Jesus hints at His pending departure from the disciples. Why do you think Jesus is saying this?
  6. In verse 4, Jesus says: “neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” If bearing fruit is directly tied to ‘remaining’ – or ‘abiding’ or ‘staying put’ – in Jesus, what does Jesus specifically mean by remaining in Him from this passage?
  7. While some different interpretations of this passage exist, it is most likely that Jesus is talking about His departure for arrest and crucifixion (John 18-19), and His return to the disciples by resurrection (John 20). How does Jesus explain this happening in 16:19-22?
  8. Jesus further explains the change of relationship with His Father that will occur for Him and for His disciples in verses 23-28. What new characteristics of relationship exist for His followers because of the Cross and resurrection?
  9. What do you think is the significance of Jesus concluding this entire segment of teaching found in chapters 13-16 with the words about overcoming and peace found in verse 33?
  10. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you through this study? How will that shape your life in the coming week? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

[Next week we continue our series, “Chosen Words,” by exploring Jesus’ prayer from John 17. Read that portion of Scripture ahead of time.]


Chosen Words Series Gfx_ThumbWhat sort of a Messiah would promise trouble and difficulty?

That’s exactly what I set out to address as I continued our series,”Chosen Words,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. I explored two separate passages, John 15:18-25 and John 16:16-33, both of which address these more difficult words of Jesus.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can join in with the “Chosen Words” devotional online.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Chosen Words Series Gfx_ThumbWhat do betrayal, failure, and peace have to do with one another? In one way or another, they all relate to trouble.

We continued our series,”Chosen Words,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church looking at the trouble of Jesus, His disciples, and in our lives. I took us into John 13:18-14:4, exploring Jesus’ encounter with Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s failure. This highlights our own need to be watchful of our temptation to betray Jesus or deny Jesus when trouble comes down upon us.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can join in with the “Chosen Words” devotional online.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Facing Overwhelming Odds

In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah are facing an overwhelming situation. The combined Moabite and Ammonite armies are bearing down upon them with one aim: destruction and take-over. The odds are not good and there seems to be little hope of relief.

In the horn of Africa right now, drought and famine are placing 10 million people in dire circumstances. The country of Somalia particularly is in need. There is little infrastructure or governmental stability. The extremist group, al-Shabab, has terrorized the country in the past and even now denies there is a famine, while stirring up strife in the capital of Mogadishu. How can food and hope break into this situation?

In our own lives, we all face seasons of trouble that can feel overwhelming. In recent days I have talked with people facing economic worries, employment difficulties, and relational strife. What do you do when you face overwhelming odds?Read More »