Ephesians 6:10-20; James 5:13-16 – "Prayer Warrior"

Though Paul lays out each piece of spiritual armor, the whole topic of spiritual warfare as well as our call to “stand firm” is linked to prayer. Throughout Scripture, in fact, prayer is connected to spiritual strengthening and spiritual support; it is our connection with our general, our commander, and our Conquering King. Prayer is one of the main ways that we learn the voice of the Shepherd.

This morning in worship, we will spend an extended time in prayer both bringing our requests before God and also listening for His voice. While this will happen in a formal way during our normal congregational prayer, we believe the Holy Spirit is active both speaking to us and transforming us through all the elements of worship. Scripture urges us to “be alert,” reminding us to be attentive to how and what God is showing us through His Spirit.

Questions to take home:
What are the six ways that Ephesians 6:18-20 encourages us to pray? Does my prayer life reflect these six ways? Does the prayer life of HCC reflect this?

Scripture urges us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). What does this look like practically in our 21st century lives? How can we foster a deeper connection with God through prayer?

Prayer can be both intercessory (praying for others) and conversational (back and forth). What’s the difference? How often do we set aside our lists of needs and wants and take time to listen in prayer? If you are interested in learning more about listening prayer, please contact pastor Jon.

Ephesians 6:10-20 "Becoming Battle Ready"

  • The idea of a “spiritual realm” and angels and demons fighting is very foreign to us in our culture. What do you think gets in the way of us thinking about this or believing it exists?
  • Chip Ingram expands Ephesians 6:10 to say this: “allow yourself to be continually strengthened by the power already made available to you in your new position and relationship with Christ.” What power is Paul referring to here? How does this relate to your identity in Christ?
  • How does the fact that we are fighting from victory, not for victory change our perspective on life and the spiritual (and perhaps, physical) battles that we find ourselves fighting?

Philippians 3 "Citizens of…"

Christians in the early church faced a problem: how to live as earthly citizens of the Roman Empire, one the required pagan worship and had few morals, while living out their true, and higher calling as Disciples of Christ. For them, the two were not compatible and a choice had to be made, a choice that often put their earthly life in danger for the sake of the Cross. We can thank God that things are not necessarily that way here as we gather for worship.

Americans are granted the extraordinary blessing of religious freedom, one of many things we celebrate on Independence Day. There can be a danger here, though, as well. Christians have been lulled into a false sense of security, valuing our comfort over any sacrifice we are called to make. In some cases, we may even be guilty of putting our hope in a government to protect us rather than transforming power and hope of the Gospel.

This independence day, let us pray for our nation and our leaders, but remember that our salvation, our hope, and ultimately our freedom comes from Christ alone!

Questions to take home:
1. Paul talks about putting confidence in the flesh in verses 4-6. Are there places in my life where I put more confidence in myself or even my nation/government over the message of the Gospel or the cross of Christ?
2. Do you think Christians in the United States tend to value things like comfort and security over the call to make disciples or the cost of being a disciple? How is being comfortable potentially dangerous? What can we do to fight against that?
3. How is God calling me to be a faithful witness for Him amidst the celebrations of this Independence Day?

Ephesians 5:21-6:9 "Patterned After Christ"

The language of submission is not popular in the prevailing culture of the 21st century, and with good reason. The words of Scripture have been twisted and distorted to defend abuse and many other sinful actions and attitudes. Yet the word “submit,” can also be translated as “value,” and draws its deep meaning from the image of mutual submission and mutual valuing from the relationship of God in the Trinity. Each looking to the other, valuing the other, submitting to the other in a perfect, loving relationship.

Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” On Father’s Day, we might typically hear sermons challenging fathers towards greater valuing of their families (which is certainly important). Today, however, we are all challenged to a greater valuing of others, whether biological family, faith family, or our neighbors all around us looking to Jesus as our pattern and guide.

What are some things that I value in my own life? How do I show that in how I live each day?

What are some of the main values that Scripture encourages for Christians? How do we see Jesus Christ modeling them in His life?

Does my life reflect the values that Jesus modeled in His life and ministry, those set down in Scripture, or do I value my own interests? How can I continue to be, or change toward being more in line with what Christ calls me to?

Romans 5:1-5 "The New Life"

Christians talk a lot about “putting our faith in Jesus” which leads to the forgiveness of sins and our justification before God.  But Justification is just the beginning, the doorway into a new life with Christ.  Today we explore a bit of what that looks like.

What does it mean for you to have “Peace with God” now?  How does that peace impact how you live as a Christian daily?

Does the Grace we gain access to by faith in Jesus Christ transform your everyday experience?  How?

Through the Holy Spirit, we are united to Christ and experience the love of God; nothing can separate us from it (not even death).  How does this Hope affect your daily life?

Numbers 11:24-30; Acts 2:1-21 "Poured Out"

Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11 "What's the Big Deal?"

Genesis 8:10-19 "The Olive Branch of Peace"

Brett Alberda brings God’s Word on our annual celebration of youth ministries at Hopkins Community Church.

Matthew 5:1-12 "Blessed"

1 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Micah 6:6-8 "Love Overflows"