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Nov 11, 2018
Matthew 6:19-24 “Treasured Possession”
Series: Colossians
Introduction Video Credit: "Rooted week 8: Whiteboard Money" https://youtu.be/aRE3tTbXGHg
 
Everyone needs money. You need money to purchase the necessities of life. The government needs your money to continue to function. Non-profit groups need your money to continue to serve in their varying capacities. Businesses need your money in order to make money and pay their employees. Producers need money to sustain themselves and provide for their families. Everyone needs money… except for God.
 
God doesn’t need money; in fact, God doesn’t need anything. God is the one that provides us with the things that we need, money being just one of those things. However, God does want our money in the same way He wants everything else He has blessed us. Our Lord wants our money, time, energy, and everything else to be used to honor Him above all else. Ultimately the use of those things comes from what is in our heart, and that is what He wants most of all.
 
Questions to take home:
Why do you think that is it difficult to talk about money with other people? Why is it difficult for us to talk about money in the church?
 
The Bible talks a lot about the “first fruits” when it comes to giving to God. Why do you think that giving the first fruits of our resources/blessings is important? Does the way that you use the money and resources that God has blessed you with honor Him? If so, how?
 
If not, are there steps you can take to move toward honoring God first with your money?
 
Scripture Passages Referenced: Matthew 6:19-24; Deuteronomy 6:5; Exodus 20:3; Proverbs 22:7; Colossians 3:24; 1 Peter 2:16; Psalm 62:10; Luke 16:14-15; Luke 12:15; Matthew 6:25; 1 Chronicles 29:14; Philippians 4:19; Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 3:10; Deuteronomy 16:17; 2 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 8:5; Psalm 121; Matthew 15:8
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  • Nov 11, 2018Matthew 6:19-24 “Treasured Possession”
    Nov 11, 2018
    Matthew 6:19-24 “Treasured Possession”
    Series: Colossians
    Introduction Video Credit: "Rooted week 8: Whiteboard Money" https://youtu.be/aRE3tTbXGHg
     
    Everyone needs money. You need money to purchase the necessities of life. The government needs your money to continue to function. Non-profit groups need your money to continue to serve in their varying capacities. Businesses need your money in order to make money and pay their employees. Producers need money to sustain themselves and provide for their families. Everyone needs money… except for God.
     
    God doesn’t need money; in fact, God doesn’t need anything. God is the one that provides us with the things that we need, money being just one of those things. However, God does want our money in the same way He wants everything else He has blessed us. Our Lord wants our money, time, energy, and everything else to be used to honor Him above all else. Ultimately the use of those things comes from what is in our heart, and that is what He wants most of all.
     
    Questions to take home:
    Why do you think that is it difficult to talk about money with other people? Why is it difficult for us to talk about money in the church?
     
    The Bible talks a lot about the “first fruits” when it comes to giving to God. Why do you think that giving the first fruits of our resources/blessings is important? Does the way that you use the money and resources that God has blessed you with honor Him? If so, how?
     
    If not, are there steps you can take to move toward honoring God first with your money?
     
    Scripture Passages Referenced: Matthew 6:19-24; Deuteronomy 6:5; Exodus 20:3; Proverbs 22:7; Colossians 3:24; 1 Peter 2:16; Psalm 62:10; Luke 16:14-15; Luke 12:15; Matthew 6:25; 1 Chronicles 29:14; Philippians 4:19; Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 3:10; Deuteronomy 16:17; 2 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 8:5; Psalm 121; Matthew 15:8
  • Nov 4, 2018Colossians 3:1-17 “Living Alive”
    Nov 4, 2018
    Colossians 3:1-17 “Living Alive”
    Series: Colossians
    When it emerges from a cacoon, having undergone the process of metamorphosis, a butterfly is fundamentally different than the caterpillar that it was.  Spreading its wings, the butterfly springs into the air, flying naturally as if it always had done so. The old way of doing things is no longer an option; it isn’t even natural for the transformed caterpillar. New life in Christ is like metamorphosis.  When we come to faith in Christ, a transformation takes place.  Scripture says we are a “New Creation,” that the “old is gone and the new has come.”  Paul says, here, that our old self is dead, buried in Christ and that we are then raised to New Life in Christ, that we are brought to fullness in Him, and that the results of this are a fundamentally different person than was before. Questions to take home:
    1. Paul makes a transition between what we believe to how it impacts our lives.  At this point, he assumes faith on the part of the reader. Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  What does that mean to you? How has it impacted you?
    2. A list of vices, things that belong to our “earthly nature” or our “old self” is given.  We called to “take them off” or “put them to death.” Which one(s) of these do you struggle with the most?  How can you move toward greater freedom from them this week?
    3. Read Colossians 3:11-17.  The natural effect of new life in Christ is unity in Christ through a love for one another. What does this look like to you?  How does/should this look in the church? Read 1 Corinthians 13. How does this enhance what we’ve just read?
  • Oct 28, 2018Colossians 2:16-23 “Interrupted Connection”
    Oct 28, 2018
    Colossians 2:16-23 “Interrupted Connection”
    Series: Colossians
    We live in an increasingly connected world.  Fueled by technological advances, information and communication are available instantaneously through the internet.  Whereas 100 years ago, an understanding of “lag time” in communication was recognized by the time it took for a written letter to travel a distance, “lag” is not measured in milliseconds between computer and server.  More importantly, when there is an interruption in connection, the results seem almost cataclysmic in our lives. Paul continues strengthening the church in Colossae in their struggle against false teachings and resistance from within and outside the church.  Following his comments in verses 6-15, Paul encourages them not to allow the judgments or opinions of others sway their belief or the practice of their faith.  This is especially true, Paul says, if their religious commitment is centered more on tradition and less on God. For their part, tradition focused worship represents an interrupted connection to the head, which is Christ. Questions to take home:
    1. How did you feel the last time you experienced an internet outage or your phone not working?  How about slow or lagging connections? How immediate was your reaction and what did you do about it?
    2. Have you ever felt disconnected or distant from God?  How did you feel in that situation? Compare your responses between question one and two.  Are you comfortable with how they match up? Would you change something? If so, how?
    3. What are some ways that you can better establish or secure your connection with Christ in your faith walk?  What is one step (make sure this step is specific and measurable) you are willing to take to move in that direction this week?
  • Oct 21, 2018Colossians 2:6-15 “‘Really Christian”
    Oct 21, 2018
    Colossians 2:6-15 “‘Really Christian”
    Series: Colossians
    I remember, in my younger days, having to get dressed up to go to church.  Though it seemed torturous at the time and I hated every minute of it, I remember vividly my parents explaining that “we give our best to God.”  The irony our “best” clothes causing a rather chaotic and heated morning prior to entering God’s presence in worship is certainly not lost on me. Paul, in our Scripture today, warns the Christians in Colossae to not be taken captive by human traditions.  He uses the tradition of circumcision as an example. Though the act certainly had meaning in the Old Testament, it was virtually pointless if it didn’t involve a changed heart and a transformed life.  This is the point that Moses makes in Deuteronomy, the one that Jesus draws forward in His life and work, and the one that Paul reminds us today: it’s not about how we look, it’s about where our heart is. Questions to take home:
    1. Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9.  How do the words that Moses speaks there relate to our passage today?  In what ways do these words speak to you today?
    2. Read Mark 7:1-23. How are the words that Jesus speaks here similar to what Paul says in our passage today?  How do they relate to Moses words from Deuteronomy?
    3. What are some “human traditions” that you hold to in your Christian walk?  What are some that we hold to as a church? How do you think that we can keep our focus on the transformative call of Christ rather than the things we feel comfortable with in life?
  • Oct 14, 2018Colossians 1:24-2:5 “Default Reaction”
    Oct 14, 2018
    Colossians 1:24-2:5 “Default Reaction”
    Series: Colossians
    Isaac Newton’s third law of motion states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  Essentially, this is referring to the forces that are acting on two separate objects and how they interact when one acts against another.  This can be seen in everyday interactions such as the collision of football players at the line of scrimmage or the mess that is made when your car windshield is hit by (or hits) a large juicy bug. Each of us can act a bit like this as well.  Whether we encounter a stressful situation at work or naughty kids at home, if we aren’t thinking about it we can have a default reaction, be it anger, sarcasm, or maybe even disengaging.  Paul, in our Scripture today, talks about his reaction to his encounters with resistance, forces in opposition to his faith and his calling to preach the Gospel. Questions to take home:
    1. What is your default reaction when you encounter a stressful situation?  An unexpected situation? What about when you encounter resistance to your faith or the message of Jesus Christ?
    2. Read Romans 5:3-5.  What does Paul have to say about suffering’s place in the Christian life?  When have you experienced a time when, in the midst of a struggle or resistance, you grew in your faith and experienced God in a new way?
    3. Think of someone in your life that hasn’t accepted Jesus or is resistant to the message of the Gospel?  How are you contending for them, as Paul talks about in Colossians, in an effort to help them come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord?
  • Oct 7, 2018Colossians 1:15-23 “All Things”
    Oct 7, 2018
    Colossians 1:15-23 “All Things”
    Series: Colossians
    Have you ever taken a moment to look up at the night sky and ponder the immense vastness of the universe?  Have you ever considered how something as small as an ant or a mosquito perceives the world around them? Did you know that light travels further in a single second than most humans will travel in a lifetime?  Things like this can be mind-boggling. Yet, despite our lack of ability to comprehend some of these things, our Scripture today reminds us that they all exist because of Jesus.  Not only that, they all exist for Him, through Him, AND are held together by Him! Scripture says that God is aware of all of it, knowing the names of every star that HE placed there and, even in the overwhelming greatness of creation, God knows each one of us by name and concerns Himself with every aspect of our lives. Questions to take home:
    1. Can you think of some other Scripture passages that reflect the majesty and awesomeness of God when it comes to creation?  Passages like Genesis 1, John 1:1-17; and the final chapters of Job, are all great places to see the greatness of God’s handiwork!
    2. How does seeing the sheer enormity and immensity of God’s creation change your perception about God?  Will it change how you interact with God?
    3. The extent of God creative ability is rivaled only by the reach of God’s redemption and restoration in Jesus Christ!  Scripture says that all things are reconciled to Him. How does this impact your view of Jesus work of salvation? What difference does that make?
  • Sep 30, 2018John 7:37-38 – Guest Speaker: Jessica AcMoody
    Sep 30, 2018
    John 7:37-38 – Guest Speaker: Jessica AcMoody
    Series: (All)
    Jessica AcMoody is the Principle of River of Life School in Benton Harbor, MI.  Hopkins Community Church supports River of Life as our regional Missionary/Mission organization.
     
    You can find more information about River of Life school on their Facebook page:  
     
     
    or on their website: 
     
  • Sep 23, 2018Colossians 1:1-14 – “Continual Prayers”
    Sep 23, 2018
    Colossians 1:1-14 – “Continual Prayers”
    Series: Colossians
    Thankfulness is something that is really easy to be aware of when things are good.  Prayer is something we tend to do more of when things aren’t so good. How often do we find ourselves so thankful that we are driven to prayers of thanks to God?  In the same way, how often, in the midst of life’s struggles, do we find ourselves in prayer and overcome with thankfulness that we can indeed come before God and find our help in Him? Paul begins this letter with prayers of thankfulness for the great faith that was being displayed among the church in Colossae.  His joy grew out of the fruit of their faith, people living for Christ and the kingdom of heaven expanding because of it. This morning, as we continue kicking off our fall season, we have the opportunity to offer thanks to God for the ministries present here, the leaders who lead them, and expansion of God’s Kingdom because of them! Questions to take home:
    1. Paul opens this letter with thankfulness for their faith in God and love for God’s people.  How do we take time to celebrate each other’s faith? What do we do to be thankful for the love that we have for each other in the community of faith?
    2. Do you remember the people who were influential in introducing you to Jesus?  Maybe they were parents, Sunday school teachers, or a pastor. How thankful are you for them?  When was the last time you told God that? When was the last time you told them?
    3. Because of what he has heard, Paul says they “have not stopped praying” for the Colossian church.  What are some things going on at HCC that you are thankful for? What are some things you are concerned about?  Commit them to prayer this week!
  • Sep 16, 2018Titus 1:5-16 ; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Peter 5:1-11; John 21:15-25 – “Lead and Feed”
    Sep 16, 2018
    Titus 1:5-16 ; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Peter 5:1-11; John 21:15-25 – “Lead and Feed”
    Series: (All)
    “Where the shepherd goes, so go the sheep.”  I’m not really sure whether this is a common phrase that is used, however, the principle is sound and the concept true.  While it was not the responsibility of the shepherd to make the sheep eat, failure to lead them to sources of food and water and to protect them from the dangers around them could have been devastating to the flock. This is, perhaps, the main reason why Jesus, Peter, and Paul all treat the notion of leadership with such great importance.  Jesus teaches His disciples about leadership and Paul lays out, many time, the expectations for leaders. There is, however, something different about them than the average leader though: Paul doesn’t necessarily seek the wealthiest or most successful, he seeks those who act like Jesus did and point to Him with their lives. Questions to take home:
    1. Read the 1 Timothy 3 passage again.  What are some of the qualifications for leaders that are present here?  How do you think these qualities would be beneficial for leadership in the church?
    2. The closing narrative of John 21 is intimately related to Peter’s reflections on leadership in 1 Peter 5.  How do you think Peter’s experience with Jesus there impacted his future leadership of the church? What do you think we can learn from it as we consider future leaders?
    3. This week begins the process for nominating Elders and Deacons for next year’s consistory; in your mailbox is the nomination ballot.  Given what we have learned and read, prayerfully consider the individuals eligible. Who do you feel God is calling to serve in the next class of Elders and Deacons?
  • Sep 9, 2018John 21:1-14 “What Now? A Conversation on Vision”
    Sep 9, 2018
    John 21:1-14 “What Now? A Conversation on Vision”
    Series: (All)
    Fishing is not my favorite sport.  Sitting in a boat for hours, especially when the fish aren’t biting can be arduous and boring.  Trying different baits, moving to different spots, trolling, drifting, or staying put… so many things to try, but when the fish aren’t biting there’s pretty much nothing you can do to change it. Jesus’ disciples experienced something like this too.  After returning to Galilee as instructed by the resurrected Jesus, they go out fishing together for a night and catch nothing.  Like the first time they met Jesus, though, He instructs them to “let down their nets” in a different way and the result of their obedience is remarkable!  And whereas their nets began to break the in the first experience, almost 3 years prior, this time the nets hold fast and the entire catch is brought in. Questions to take home:
    1. After His resurrection, Jesus instructed His disciples to go to Galilee to meet Him.  Why do you think they decided to go fishing when they got there? What do you think they learned because of it?
    2. John recognizes Jesus first, but Peter is the one who jumps in and swims to shore, leaving the other disciples to manage the great catch of fish.  What significance do you think Peter’s actions have? How about the other disciples? What can we learn from them?
    3. In this narrative, there are many allusions to other actions and miracles that Jesus did during His earthly ministry.  Read John 21:1-14 again. Which things are familiar to you? Do you think this is intentional? If so, why?
  • Sep 2, 2018Acts 3:1-10 “Stay in the Process”
    Sep 2, 2018
    Acts 3:1-10 “Stay in the Process”
    Series: (All)
    Guest Preaching: Pastor Eliazar Alonzo
  • Aug 26, 2018Hebrews 13 “The ‘Laundry List'”
    Aug 26, 2018
    Hebrews 13 “The ‘Laundry List'”
    “Just tell me what you want me to do.”  It’s a phrase I’ve said to my wife many times.in the midst of some confusion about expectations or something.  I’ve learned, however, that in these moments, our discussions are not actually about the things that need to be done, but about my attitude in doing them.  Rather than simply accomplishing something because it is there, Bethany wants my heart to be in it; I should want to help, not just do it out of obligation. The author closes the book of Hebrews with a list of practical ways in which followers of Jesus live out their faith in the world.  Boundaries such as these can be found throughout the New Testament and can easily be seen as “to-do” list from God. However, God isn’t looking to fill a religion with work, He desires a relationship, showing us love and loving for us to love Him back and to show it in how we live. Questions to take home:
    1. How are the first five general guidelines for Christian life related to each other?  Rather than just being a “to-do” list, how do they challenge our heart as we live into our faith?
    2. Leadership is addressed in chapter 13.  What is the author saying to the church?  To their leaders? What things can we carry from this into the fall when we consider Elders and Deacons for the next year?
    3. Hebrews constantly reminds us that, in Jesus Christ, we look to better things than whatever this world has to offer.  Read verses 9-13, how do the words about a different altar and an enduring city comfort and inspire you? What do they impact your life?
  • Aug 19, 2018Hebrews 12 “Disciplined Running”
    Aug 19, 2018
    Hebrews 12 “Disciplined Running”
    My only real experience with competition when I was in high school was marching band.  We would practice each day during school and on some weeknights. Nothing, however, was more exhilarating than performing at competitions.  When there were people in the stands, to hear the performance and cheer us on, everything was different. Nothing was more memorable, for me than marching on the field of the Indianapolis Colts; there were so many people cheering for us. Hebrews 12 talks about a “Great Cloud” of witnesses that surrounds us as we “run the race” that is life in Christ.  These witnesses are all those who have gone before us, those who have followed Jesus Christ, the one who pioneered the way, faithfully.  They aren’t in the stands judging how well we live, but cheering us on toward the finish line! When we experience the twists and turns of life, feeling tired or worn out, we, of course, can look to Jesus.  We can also look to those who have gone before us and those around us for support and encouragement! Questions to take home:
    1. Hebrews 11 is full of stories of great heroes of faith.  Who are some of your favorites and how do their stories inspire and encourage you in your faith journey?  How does knowing that they are “cheering” for you impact your walk with Christ?
    2. Discipline is an important part of growth, whether you are an athlete in training or a child maturing to adulthood.  Yet, we aren’t necessarily comfortable with the notion of God disciplining us. Why not? How does Hebrews 12 challenge this perspective?
    3. Later in chapter 12, a comparison is made between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion.  Sinai is seen as a mountain of judgment, one that cannot be touched; Zion a mountain of life.  How do we sometimes confused in our lives and in the church? In what ways can we make sure to keep Mount Zion in our focus, the goal of life in Christ?
  • Aug 12, 2018Hebrews 10:19-11:1 “Confident Faith”
    Aug 12, 2018
    Hebrews 10:19-11:1 “Confident Faith”
    Every party requires some measure of planning.  Food and beverages have to be bought and prepared, decorations purchased and displayed.  In many instances, gifts are also involved, which need to be acquired and wrapped for later opening.  People need to be invited to the big event too so that the celebration can happen with others. In our journey through the book of Hebrews, a great deal of preparation has been taking place.  The author has been laying the foundation for the audience of a great celebration of faith in Jesus Christ, which starts TODAY!  As we open Scripture together this morning, we look in wonder at all that God has done for us in Jesus Christ and come confidently into worship, through faith, knowing that He has prepared a way for us back to God. Questions to take home:
    1. Reflect back on the summer so far.  What has been the most impactful thing you have learned from the book of Hebrews?  How has it impacted your life and your walk with Christ? Share that with someone close to you!
    2. What is faith?  How does the author describe faith here in the book of Hebrews?  What is the impact of faith here and what has been the impact of faith in your life?
    3. Chapter 11 in Hebrews is known as the “faith hall of fame,” and is full of stories in the Bible of faith in action.  Pick a few to read about in Scripture this week, maybe one a day. How is their faith confirmed in their lives? How does their story speak to you?  What can we learn from them?
  • Aug 5, 2018Hebrews 9:1-10:18 “Holy Place”
    Aug 5, 2018
    Hebrews 9:1-10:18 “Holy Place”
    There are two seasons in Michigan: winter and road construction. Most of us, at one point in our lives, have been impacted by road construction. Those detours can be incredibly annoying, eating up valuable vacation time or making us late for work. However, we understand that, when best way is closed for construction or repair, another way is needed if we are to reach our destination.
     
    In the beginning, God’s presence dwelled with His children in the garden of Eden. They spoke together, walked together, and lived in perfect relationship, all until sin entered the world. When that happened, the way to God was closed and another way, a detour was set up. This detour is seen most clearly in Scripture in the Tabernacle and Temple. Yet, Hebrews points out that we must not see this detour as the best route, but only a temporary version to the main route built in Jesus Christ.
     
    Questions to take home:
    The Tabernacle/Temple were constructed in such a way as to teach about the pathway back to God’s presence, with many rituals and sacrifices involved. What are some things that we do in our lives to work/earn our own way back to God rather than trusting in Jesus Christ?
     
    Blood was used in the sacrifices to symbolize repentance, forgiveness, and washing; it was a reminder that something had to die in order for there to be life for the sinner. How does Jesus’ sacrifice differ from the animal sacrifices? How does the significance of Jesus blood and sacrifice impact your life?
     
    Today we take communion, drawing on the themes of sacrifice, blood, and God’s presence. How do these things fit into the elements of communion? What significance do you think they have and what does taking communion teach us?