SERMON PODCASTS

 
Check out some of the most recent messages below. Sermons are downloadable for on-the-go listening.
Older messages can be found on Pastor Jon’s YouTube Channel

Feb 12, 2018
Judges 6-7 “Absurd Opportunities: Gideon”
Series: #makethemost
The narrative of Gideon opens with God’s people wandering away from Him.  This is part of what is known as the “Judges cycle.”  God’s people wander, enemies oppress Israel, God’s people cry out, God sends a judge, and the judge helps to rescue them and lead them back to God.  In the book of Judges, this happens repeatedly. It’s easy to look at these stories and wonder at the foolishness of God’s people.  Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, their story is ours more often than we want to admit.  No matter what, though, God never leaves His people.  When they call out to Him, God always answers.  This truth is carried forward in Jesus Christ as well, the ultimate answer of God to His people’s cry for help in the midst of oppression.  Jesus came to set us free that we too might live for God! Questions to take home:
  1. Have you ever woken up and felt like you were lost, just wandering through life?  What was going on in your life at the time?  Did something change that caused you to wander away from God?
  2. God shows up to Gideon and calls him to lead His people, and yet Gideon questions and even tests God.  Have you ever experienced a calling that you questioned?  Do you feel like you have ever tested God?  What were the answers and how did you get them?
  3. Sometimes we are the leaders, other times we those who need to be led.  Is there a “Gideon” in your life that has helped to lead you back to God?  Has God called you to be a “Gideon” to someone in your life?  Who was that person?  Share this with someone!
WatchNotesDownloadDateTitle
  • Feb 12, 2018Judges 6-7 “Absurd Opportunities: Gideon”
    Feb 12, 2018
    Judges 6-7 “Absurd Opportunities: Gideon”
    Series: #makethemost
    The narrative of Gideon opens with God’s people wandering away from Him.  This is part of what is known as the “Judges cycle.”  God’s people wander, enemies oppress Israel, God’s people cry out, God sends a judge, and the judge helps to rescue them and lead them back to God.  In the book of Judges, this happens repeatedly. It’s easy to look at these stories and wonder at the foolishness of God’s people.  Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, their story is ours more often than we want to admit.  No matter what, though, God never leaves His people.  When they call out to Him, God always answers.  This truth is carried forward in Jesus Christ as well, the ultimate answer of God to His people’s cry for help in the midst of oppression.  Jesus came to set us free that we too might live for God! Questions to take home:
    1. Have you ever woken up and felt like you were lost, just wandering through life?  What was going on in your life at the time?  Did something change that caused you to wander away from God?
    2. God shows up to Gideon and calls him to lead His people, and yet Gideon questions and even tests God.  Have you ever experienced a calling that you questioned?  Do you feel like you have ever tested God?  What were the answers and how did you get them?
    3. Sometimes we are the leaders, other times we those who need to be led.  Is there a “Gideon” in your life that has helped to lead you back to God?  Has God called you to be a “Gideon” to someone in your life?  Who was that person?  Share this with someone!
  • Feb 4, 2018Numbers 13:26-33 “Absurd Opportunities: Israel”
    Feb 4, 2018
    Numbers 13:26-33 “Absurd Opportunities: Israel”
    Series: #makethemost
    Throughout our lives, we face big decisions, difficult situations, and struggles that seem overwhelming.  Sometimes these are giant things like changing jobs or moving, other times they might the immense prospect of just getting through a day, a week, or a season of life.  It can be easy for the promises of God to be clouded by doubts and fears. The people of Israel, after experiencing God’s presence and love at Mount Sinai, come to the edge of the land promised to them by God and look at the monumental task that is before them.  They too feel uncertain, fearful of what could happen if they fail.  Only a few look at the opportunity for both trust and faithfulness as lean on God’s promises and strength. Questions to take home: When has there been a time in your life where you faced a seemingly monumental decision?  How did you approach that moment?  What did you decide to do? Are there promises of God that you often find yourself turning to for strength and assurance?  What are they?  How do they impact your life from day to day? As a church, sometimes it feels like we are like the Israelites on the edge of the promised land.  Are there things that you see in our future that you are excited for?  That concern you?  What are they?  Which promises that God has for us give us strength and assurance to trust and be faithful to His vision and calling for us as a church?
  • Jan 28, 2018Exodus 2:1-10 “Absurd Opportunities: Moses”
    Jan 28, 2018
    Exodus 2:1-10 “Absurd Opportunities: Moses”
    Series: #makethemost
    All throughout Scripture water is symbolic of change.  It was out of water that God created all of creation and it was with water that he “started over” in the flood.  Moses was drawn from the water, giving him a new chance at life and the people of Israel passed through the waters of the Red Sea and the Jordan river, each representing a fundamental change in their identity. This morning, as we celebrate the sacrament of baptism, we recognize that we who are in Christ, have also passed through the waters.  Baptism is a symbol for us that there is something different about who we are, a fundamental change in our identity.  We are God’s people, called to new life in Jesus Christ, by faith, through grace.  While baptism itself does not save us, it reminds us once again that God’s salvation is for us! Questions to take home:
    1. When Moses was drawn out of the water, the whole trajectory of his life changed.  Have you ever experienced a moment in your life when you knew your future was changing?  What was that moment?  How did things change?  What impact did that have on you?
    2. God always equips us for the calling that He has for us.  Can you think of a time when you went through something that you didn’t understand but that came back to be helpful later on?  Would it change your perspective if we looked at every experience as a possible opportunity for being equipped?  How?
    3. Moses’ faithfulness to God’s call meant two things: confronting powers in the world and leading God’s people to freedom.  Are there things in your life that God is calling you to confront?  Are there people in your life that God is calling you to lead to freedom in Jesus Christ?  What and/or who are they?  What do you need to do to move toward it?
  • Jan 21, 2018Genesis 45:3-15 “Absurd Opportunities: Joseph”
    Jan 21, 2018
    Genesis 45:3-15 “Absurd Opportunities: Joseph”
    Series: #makethemost
    When bad things happen to us, it can be very hard to look at them as anything positive.  It is hard to have the perspective of opportunity when things are in the dump.  More often than not, it feels better, easier, and safer to give up, give in, and just walk away.  No matter what the situation, past or present, it is (let’s be honest) incredibly hard to see God at work. Scripture doesn’t promise us that our journey of faith will be a cakewalk.  It certainly doesn’t set up for us the idea that if we do all the right things, life will be easy and full of worldly wealth.  However, God does promise, all throughout Scripture, that He will never leave us, that He has great plans for us, and that He is working out all things for our salvation.  This promise doesn’t ensure that life won’t be hard at times, but it does assure than nothing we encounter is too difficult for Him to handle, is able to separate us from Him, or can take away the assurance of hope and salvation we have in Jesus Christ. Questions to take home:
    1. Can you think of a time in which it seemed like nothing was going your way?  How did you feel in the midst of that?  Where did you see (or not see) God at that time?
    2. “Hindsight is always 20/20,” or so goes the saying.  Looking back on this event now, would you react differently?  What work was God doing in the midst of this?  How have you grown from it?
    3. The narrative of Joseph is not just about personal growth, but about God’s faithfulness and the impact of obedience even seemingly hopeless situations.  How has God shown His faithfulness to you recently?  What is He calling you to be obedient to in your life right now?
  • Jan 14, 2018Genesis 12:1-4; 22:1-14 “Absurd Opportunities: Abraham”
    Jan 14, 2018
    Genesis 12:1-4; 22:1-14 “Absurd Opportunities: Abraham”
    Series: #makethemost
    Have you ever heard the phrase, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”?  Sometimes, on long trips, we need to remind ourselves of this after seemingly endless hours in the car.  More often than not, we just want to be there!  We live in a culture of instant everything, long waits are not something we are accustomed to or we desire. God’s call to Abraham was the very beginning of a long journey, for both Him and the world.  While the destination was known, getting there was a lifelong voyage and commitment.  We too are on a journey of faith.  Sometimes the destination is readily clear to us, other times we feel like we are traveling in a fog.  Yet all the time God is at work, drawing us ever deeper in our relationship with Him and our life in Christ. Questions to take home:
    1. Have you experienced God’s call on your life?  Maybe it is general, like the call to faith and response of living in gratitude of our salvation; maybe it is specific, like a call to a specific ministry or person.  Where are you at in that call?
    2. There is a sort of joking prayer, “God give me patience and give it to me now!”  We laugh at this but have to admit a bit of truth in it too.  Do you find yourself wanting things immediately?  Is that true in your faith journey as well?  How do we combat this?  Does the narrative of Abraham speak to this?
    3. Sometimes we don’t know the ultimate destination of our calling; sometimes we see it very far off.  In either case, we know the journey will probably be longer than we would like.  What can we do to better experience and appreciate the journey?  What is God trying to teach you along the way?
  • Jan 7, 2018Genesis 6:9-7:5 “Absurd Opportunities: Noah”
    Jan 7, 2018
    Genesis 6:9-7:5 “Absurd Opportunities: Noah”
    Series: #makethemost
    Over the past several months, we have been we have included in our prayers a request that God provides us with opportunities to follow Him, both here in church and in the Hopkins community.  Last week we looked at Paul’s encouragement in the book of Ephesians to #makethemost of every opportunity.  We also talked about what it would look like to view every moment of our lives as a God-given opportunity. Today we are beginning a series of messages on some of the most well-known Bible stories.  Many of us have heard these stories since we were young and each of them provides an example of some God has called making to most of the opportunity God had presented them with.  Each of them followed God’s call and their obedience had a profound impact. Questions to take home:
    1. How has looking at every moment in life as an opportunity changed the way you look at your day to day schedule?  Have you seen new opportunities or different ways that God is working?  What is one major impact that this way of thinking has changed you?
    2. Have you ever had a “crazy idea” about something you felt you should do?  Were you excited or afraid?  Did you do it or avoid it?  What caused you to act how you did and are do you think it was the right action?
    3. Do you pray for things like patience, courage, strength, etc?  What opportunities has God placed in your life to be those things?  Have you taken those opportunities?  Why or why not, and what changes have you seen?
  • Dec 31, 2017Ephesians 5:8-20 “Make the Most”
    Dec 31, 2017
    Ephesians 5:8-20 “Make the Most”
    Series: #makethemost
    Every new year we spend time making resolutions about the new year.  We want the coming year to be better, more productive, healthier, and so much more.  We resolve to read more, learn more, or perhaps be more present in our relationships.  Yet typically, every new year is met with the same habits, actions, and inaction that the last year was full of. What is probably the saddest thing about this is it leads us to a life full of “defaults.”  We do what is “normal” and socially/culturally expected, making choices without consideration because it’s “what we always do” or “what everyone else is doing.”  It seems like we are just sleepwalking through life.  Scripture calls us to WAKE UP, urging us towards a greater awareness of our lives and the opportunities that God is placing before us. Questions to take home:
    1. What are some New Year’s resolutions that you are thinking of making for 2018?  Do you intend on keeping them or are they simply resolutions for the sake of resolutions?  How can you be more intentional about following through on them?
    2. Scripture calls us to “make the most of every opportunity; what does that mean to you?  Do you typically see the normal day to day things in your life as opportunities?  How can you #makethemost of the opportunities in your life each day?
    3. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”  St. Irenaeus once said “Man fully alive is the glory of God.”  Are abundant life and making the most of every opportunity linked?  How can you make this a daily part of your life and walk with Jesus Christ?
  • Dec 24, 2017Isaiah 61:1-62:3 “Glad Tidings”
    Dec 24, 2017
    Isaiah 61:1-62:3 “Glad Tidings”
    Series: Advent
    Jesus’ coming is heralded by angels who bring “glad tidings” of “great joy” for “all people.”  This verse in Luke 2 is probably one of the most memorable in Scripture, of course hearing it in the voice of Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas.  That, we say, is what Christmas is all about. But what is that good news really?  We say that Jesus coming is “good news.”  It’s the beginning of the Gospel, really, a word that means Good News.  But what is that good news?  For us, it isn’t just that Jesus came to the earth that is the “good news,” it’s the profound impact that God’s only Son had on the world and on our lives.  Our Scripture passage from Isaiah 61 reminds us of just some of the real-life impacts Jesus has on our lives. Questions to take home:
    1. Isaiah lists a number of things that would be accomplished through Jesus’ life and ministry.  Where do you see yourself in this passage?  What impact does Jesus’ ministry then, and His continual presence now have on your life?
    2. Are there those in your life that fit into some of these categories?  How could they benefit from hearing the “Good News” of Jesus coming?  Have you told them these glad tidings?  Will you?
    3. Isaiah’s words have more to do than just physical changes in our lives, they have to do with our God given identity.  Isaiah uses words like “instead,” “inherit,” “clothed,” and “called.”  Christmas celebrations have often been relegated to celebrating Jesus’ coming; how can you remember that His coming ultimately led to the transformation of our identity?  Do we celebrate Christmas with an eye on the cross?
  • Dec 10, 2017Isaiah 9:2-7 “Recognizing the Light”
    Dec 10, 2017
    Isaiah 9:2-7 “Recognizing the Light”
    Series: Advent
    The Christmas season is one of light.  We decorate our houses and Christmas trees with lights which seem to brighten up the world in these dark winter days.  These lights are supposed to remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World and that, as John says, the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. For many of us, though, it seems that the darkness is often a lot more prevalent in our lives than the light.  Whether it’s the “bad things that happen to good people” or the ongoing battle with sickness, uncertainty, loss, or anxiety, darkness seems to be all around us.  Our Scripture today says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…”  It assures us that, even if the light is small, it is still piercing the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. Questions to take home:
    1. Last week we talked about the wilderness, which Scripture describes as a place of chaos and darkness.  In what ways are you walking in the wilderness during this holiday season?
    2. Scripture never talks about darkness without directing us to the light.  After reading today’s Scriptures, are there places in your life where you can see the light shining in?  Even if it seems small or faith, where is it?
    3. In Scripture, the response to God’s help and salvation is to “proclaim” it.  We see this in the Psalms and today in Isaiah’s testimony of God’s promise.  If you have “seen the light” at work in your life, will you tell someone about it this week?  Who?
  • Dec 3, 2017Isaiah 40:1-11 “Slow Preparation”
    Dec 3, 2017
    Isaiah 40:1-11 “Slow Preparation”
    Series: Advent
    Like the season of Lent, the season of Advent is a time of waiting and preparation.  It’s a time to slow down and anticipate the events that are about to take place.  Advent is a time of intentional reflection and of self-examination as we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts. Sadly, the Advent season, instead of being a time of slowing down, is a time in which everything speeds up.  Our lives are full of more; more parties, more shopping, more running around.  More, more, more.  Instead of preparation, we have distraction.  Instead of anticipation of a Savior, we look forward to sales.  Instead of reflection, we are full of worry, racing to beat the clock in the maddening countdown to Christmas. Questions to take home:
    1. What are some of the Holiday season traditions that you hold to each year?  What particular meaning do they hold in your life?  Does that meaning resonate with the Biblical call to “prepare the way for the Lord” as we prepare for Christ’s coming?
    2. Are there ways that you and/or your family intentionally slow down and prepare for Christ’s coming?  What are they?  Do you find these things to be life giving or added stress in a full holiday season?
    3. Do you sense God doing any work inside of you in this Advent season?  How is God removing barriers to a relationship with Him?  Are you willing to “open the door” to His presence in your heart?  What is one way you can do that this week?
  • Nov 26, 2017Isaiah 2:2-5; Revelation 21:1-9 “Kingdom Come”
    Nov 26, 2017
    Isaiah 2:2-5; Revelation 21:1-9 “Kingdom Come”
    As we come into worship today, we celebrate “Christ the King” Sunday.  Traditionally, this is the end of the church year, a time in which we anticipate and celebrate the second coming of Jesus Christ, the culmination of the coming of His Kingdom here on earth.  We wait expectantly for the fulness of Jesus’ transforming work to fully manifest itself here on earth. Unlike a book, which when finished is the end of the story, we look forward to this “end” as an ultimate new beginning.  In a similar fashion to our salvation, which when accepted in our lives ushers into the beginning of eternity even here on earth, we wait with excitement and hope for the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven.  When Jesus comes we will experience a completely renewed world in which sin and its effects will be wiped away forever!  And so, this morning we say together with the Apostle John, “Amen!  Come Lord Jesus!” Questions to take home:
    1. The Prophets declared the message of God’s coming Kingdom all the way back in the Old Testament.  It is something that both “will happen” and “is happening.”  In what ways are you experiencing the establishment of God’s Kingdom in your life?  How is that transforming you?
    2. God’s Kingdom has come and is yet to come.  This represents ongoing spiritual and physical transformation in the world.  How do you see this happening around you?  How are you called to participate in it?
    3. “Christ the King” Sunday represents both and end and a beginning.  We anticipate and prepare for the coming King even as we transition into Advent, which is also a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus to the earth.  How will you prepare this year?  Are there things that could hinder or distract you from this preparation?  How will you be alert to them?
  • Nov 22, 2017Psalm 30 “I Will Not Be Silent”
    Nov 22, 2017
    Psalm 30 “I Will Not Be Silent”
    Series: (All)
    A recording of the message and sharing of thanks at our Thanksgiving Eve Service
  • Nov 19, 2017Matthew 25:31-46 “A Simple Act of Kindness”
    Nov 19, 2017
    Matthew 25:31-46 “A Simple Act of Kindness”
  • Nov 12, 2017Matthew 24:4-14; James 1:2-5 “What Should We Do?”
    Nov 12, 2017
    Matthew 24:4-14; James 1:2-5 “What Should We Do?”
    We come to worship the Lord of the Universe, the creator of all things who continually provides and sustains all of creation in the palm of His hand.  He is faithful from beginning to end; He never slumbers nor sleeps and is always near when we call.  Scripture reminds us that no matter what happens in this world, there is nothing that can separate us from God. These are comforting words for us in the midst of great uncertainty in the world.  As tragic incidents like terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and more continue to occur at an alarming rate, we often find ourselves struggling to understand how to respond.  Fear can be a constant enemy, so we look to our Lord and Savior for comfort and to God’s Word for reassurance, strength, and instruction on what we are to do in the face of such evil. Questions to take home:
    1. How would you define faith?  What does having faith in God mean for your life?  How does this faith impact your perception of the things going on in the world today and your response to them?
    2. There has been an unusually high amount of criticism of those who offer their prayers to victims and their families this week.  Why do you think that is?  How do you think that prayer helps?  When have you experienced the positive impact of prayer?
    3. Nehemiah 4 is an interesting narrative of God’s people in uncertain times.  How can the example set by Nehemiah’s wisdom and leadership inform how we respond to the uncertainty that is present in this world?  What things could we apply to our church life?
  • Nov 5, 2017Matthew 25:14-30 “Kingdom Investment”
    Nov 5, 2017
    Matthew 25:14-30 “Kingdom Investment”
    Scripture is full of testimony to our God who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Apart from the physical blessings that we experience in our lives, God also gives gifts and talents to each and everyone of us. These gifts are varied in both type and amount. What matters is not the specifics of the gift, but rather the fact that the gift is used for the Kingdom. Sometimes, however, we confuse God’s call to faithfully use these gifts with the drive for success and achievement. The result for us can often be fear of failure in God’s eyes. That notion, however, is challenged in our parable today. When the master condemns the “lazy servant,” it isn’t for his failure, it’s because he didn’t even try. Success and faithfulness are two very different things; one focuses on our work and achievement, the other focuses on trust and obedience.
    Questions to take home: Scripture assures us that God has given each of us gifts. Do you know what your gifts are? Sometimes they can be found in the things we are most passionate about. Sometimes we can learn of them by asking those closest to us. What can you do to discover your gifts, or more about them, this week?
     
    Has there ever been a time when you have felt called to something but were afraid? What were you afraid of? How does today’s parable and the reality that God calls us to faithfulness in the use of our gifts help with that fear?
     
    Hopkins Community Church is seeking to be a place where everyone can use the gifts God has given them. How could you use a gift or passion that is in your life to build up the community of faith here? Are there opportunities for you to do that? If so, we need you! If not, we need to hear from you so we can work towards that!