Jul 18, 2021
1 John 1:1-4 “The ART of Sharing”
Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”): “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 As we close out this sermon series on Effective Evangelism, we’ve talked about several “tools” that we have to effectively build relationships with other people that can lead to faith and/or spiritual conversations.  Ultimately, though, evangelism does boil down to actively sharing the Gospel Message.  Many Christ-followers fear this because of the discomfort it may bring or due to the perception that they would not “present it right.”   The Bible, though, is replete with examples of sharing the Gospel message and a choice few of them come in “presentation form.”  Even Jesus, after healing people, simply told them “go and tell others what the Lord has done for you.  The reality is that most people aren’t actually interested in a presentation.  We don’t need to try to “sell Jesus” to people, the invitation that we are given is to tell others what we have experienced in our own lives, what God means to us and has done for us. Something to take home (Practice using the club):
  1. Read 1 Peter 3:13-16.  What is your story?  Have you taken the time to write it down and/or share it with someone?  If someone asked you today why you are “different” or about your “hope” what would you say?
  2. Set aside some time (15-30 minutes) in the next two days to reflect on this question: “What has knowing God added to my life?”  Journal your thoughts or make a list of why God has been worth knowing and spend time praising Him for each reason.
  3. Pray and look for an opportunity to share one of the reasons on your list with an unbelieving friend this week.  Don’t force it; pray and watch for God to open up an opportunity.
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  • Jul 18, 20211 John 1:1-4 “The ART of Sharing”
    Jul 18, 2021
    1 John 1:1-4 “The ART of Sharing”
    Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”): “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 As we close out this sermon series on Effective Evangelism, we’ve talked about several “tools” that we have to effectively build relationships with other people that can lead to faith and/or spiritual conversations.  Ultimately, though, evangelism does boil down to actively sharing the Gospel Message.  Many Christ-followers fear this because of the discomfort it may bring or due to the perception that they would not “present it right.”   The Bible, though, is replete with examples of sharing the Gospel message and a choice few of them come in “presentation form.”  Even Jesus, after healing people, simply told them “go and tell others what the Lord has done for you.  The reality is that most people aren’t actually interested in a presentation.  We don’t need to try to “sell Jesus” to people, the invitation that we are given is to tell others what we have experienced in our own lives, what God means to us and has done for us. Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    1. Read 1 Peter 3:13-16.  What is your story?  Have you taken the time to write it down and/or share it with someone?  If someone asked you today why you are “different” or about your “hope” what would you say?
    2. Set aside some time (15-30 minutes) in the next two days to reflect on this question: “What has knowing God added to my life?”  Journal your thoughts or make a list of why God has been worth knowing and spend time praising Him for each reason.
    3. Pray and look for an opportunity to share one of the reasons on your list with an unbelieving friend this week.  Don’t force it; pray and watch for God to open up an opportunity.
  • Jul 11, 20211 Thessalonians 1:2-10 “The ART of Serving Together”
    Jul 11, 2021
    1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 “The ART of Serving Together”
    Scripture Passages: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 Message Title: The ART of Serving Together Thoughts for Reflection: Some of the most transformative experiences of my life have been while serving on mission trips.  There is something about the experience of solving problems and meeting needs in Jesus’ Name that brings you closer to both God and to those you are working with.  It doesn’t just have to be mission trips, though.  Helping a neighbor, serving in the community, or even assisting a random person while out running errands are all ways we can communicate the love of God through our actions. Serving together with others has an even greater impact.  It opens up opportunities to experience the love of God being shown to another.  This is a non-verbal and yet very tangible and practical way of communicating God’s love, mercy, and concern for others.  Engaging in service for someone with another person softens hearts and can open up opportunities for deeper spiritual conversations.  People rarely care how much you know until they know how much you care. Questions to take home:
    1. Think of a time when you worked together with friends on a service project.  What impact did it have on you personally?  What impact did it have on the relationships with your friends?
    2. What are some of the barriers in your life to serving others (time, knowledge, confidence, etc.)?  What are some of the barriers that keep you from asking others to serve with you?  How can you begin to address these barriers this week?
    3. Identify a need in your own community, neighborhood, or workplace and ask someone you know there if they would help you meet that need.
  • Jul 4, 20211 Peter 1:3-9 “Enduring Hope”
    Jul 4, 2021
    1 Peter 1:3-9 “Enduring Hope”
  • Jun 20, 2021Luke 15:1-7 “The ART of Welcoming”
    Jun 20, 2021
    Luke 15:1-7 “The ART of Welcoming”
    Scripture Passages: Luke 15:1-7 Message Title: “The ART of Welcoming” Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”): “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 Have you ever had an experience where you felt an abundance of welcome and hospitality?  There are so many things that can help create this feeling.  Whether it is the physical space, the people that are hosting, or simply the overall feel of the event, welcoming people in any capacity takes some manner of thought, intentionality and effort.   Our Scripture today opens with Jesus spending time with some of society’s most disliked and rejected people.  They were drawn to Jesus because of His welcoming nature, much like the father of the prodigal son (a story later in Luke 15).  We often read this story and resonate with the run-away son; afterall, we are all sinful.  Have you ever put yourself in the place of the father though?  The man lost half of his possessions to his loser son, and yet welcomes him home again with open arms and a party!  Or… are we more like the older brother? Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    1. How was your preconceived understanding of hospitality confirmed or challenged through our Scripture and Message today?  What is God calling you to enact or adjust in your life in response to this?
    2. This week, practice welcoming at least one time in each of the three aspects of welcoming - in your face, in your space, and in your place.
    3. Do a personal assessment of the Five Barriers to Welcoming.  Pick one or two that are your weakest and begin working on removing them this week.
    4. Pray specifically that God would reveal to you a person or couple that you know don’t know the Lord and with whom you could begin to develop a stronger relationship - welcoming them into your life.
  • Jun 13, 20211 John 4:7-21 “The ART of Loving”
    Jun 13, 2021
    1 John 4:7-21 “The ART of Loving”
    Scripture Passages: 1 John 4:7-21 Message Title: The ART of Loving Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”): “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 Love.  It is one of the most important words in all of Scripture.  We are reminded that God is love and that the very definition of love is found in God and is seen in His action toward us.  The Bible tells us that, even while we were still God’s enemies, He sent His Son Jesus to die so that our relationship with Him could be restored.  Regardless of the ways culture tries to co-opt or redefine the word, God’s love and purpose stands FOREVER marked as His constant work to draw humanity back into relationship with Himself. Knowing that God loves us isn’t the end of the story though.  As we have been talking about, we are Christ’s ambassadors, modeling Him with our lives.  God’s radical love for us is one that we are called to emulate in our relationships with others.  Just as God has freely offered His love to us, so too we love others unconditionally, setting ourselves (opinions, assumptions, feelings, etc.) aside for the sake of Christ. Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    1. How would you describe the way God sees you and loves you?  Make a list.  How does this list clarify the way we are called to show God’s love to other people?
    2. What does it mean to show God’s love to a stranger?  What are some practical ways you can bless those around you this week and shower them with God’s love? 
    3. Read Luke 6:27-36.  Who is in your life today that fits this category.  Pray for them right now.  How is God prompting you to reconcile with this person?  How can you show them God’s love?
    4. Who has God put on your heart today?  How does He want to use your unique love and care to impact this person’s life?
  • Jun 7, 2021Genesis 3:1-13 “The ART of Asking Questions”
    Jun 7, 2021
    Genesis 3:1-13 “The ART of Asking Questions”
    Thoughts for Reflection: “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 “Daddy, why…”  “Daddy, what...” “Daddy, how…” There is a near constant chorus of question-asking in my household.  My children, ages 5, 3, and 1, are all in various stages of discovering things about the world that they are living in.  They are explorers, ever-curious about the things that have happened, are happening, and will happen.  Apart from observation (noticing & listening), asking questions is how they (and we) learn about why things are the way they are. Today we move into a new phase of our “Effective Evangelism” series as we talk about asking questions.  God, in the midst of the brokenness that was unfolding in the world He created, begins the work of rebuilding a connection with Adam and Eve by asking them questions.  He didn’t lead with criticism, condemnation, or an “I told you so.”  We too can build connections by asking good questions, trusting God to open the doors to a deeper understanding of those we are called to in this community. Questions to take home:
    1. Think of a time when you felt genuinely loved and cared for because someone was engaging you with good questions.  Think of a time where someone was asking you questions that seemed to only fit their own agenda.  What made those moments good or bad?
    2. What makes a good question?  Read Luke 10:25-37 & Mark 8:27-38.  How does Jesus model good question asking in these narratives?
    3. How does attitude and heart play into good question asking?  Read Philippians 2:3-5.  How does this alter or confirm your earlier answer?  What might you need to do this week to align your heart and attitude with this Scripture passage?
  • May 30, 2021Mark 10:46-52 “The ART of Listening”
    May 30, 2021
    Mark 10:46-52 “The ART of Listening”
    Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”): “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.”  2 Corinthians 5:16 We live in a world that is filled to the brim with noise and busyness, living our lives on the run from this thing to that with our raidos on or our headphones in.  We HEAR so much on a normal day, but how much we actually LISTEN is a subject for much debate.  Sadly, this norm has translated into our relationships as well.  We are a part of conversations that we are not even listening to; we are there but not present. Scripture calls us to something deeper, though, and as always we look to Jesus as our model.  Whether it was children running to Him, a sick woman, or a blind man calling out for Him, Jesus never ignores; His attention is never divided.  He hears them and then draws them in so He can listen to them.  In giving them His time and His ear, He shows them that they are important to Him and that He loves them.  As we practice the ART of Spiritual Conversations, we are called to model the same, truly listening both to God and to those He places in our lives. Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    1. What is the difference between listening and hearing?  What do you think causes us to practice hearing more than listening?  How can you intentionally adjust your hearing habits toward active listening?
    2. Practice listening to someone this week without offering any advice or trying to fix things.  Ask good questions and just listen.  (Suggestion: start with your spouse and/or children)
    3. Ask an unchurched friend, neighbor, or acquaintance this question: “I’ve been wondering if you’ve ever met anyone or experienced anything that made God seem real to you?”  Listen intently to their response, reflect back to them what you heard them say, and invite them to clarify anything you may have misunderstood.  Don’t interrupt or offer your own opinions - just listen well, and pray.
  • May 9, 2021Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 8:43-48 “The ART of Noticing”
    May 9, 2021
    Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 8:43-48 “The ART of Noticing”
    Thoughts for Reflection (A club for your “Evangelism Golf Bag”):
     
     
    “From now on, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view.” 2 Corinthians 5:16 Throughout Jesus’ ministry, we see Him interacting with every person he encounters. Whether it was the “unclean” Samaritan woman, a blind man, Zacchaeus, the woman just brushes his cloak or the crowds around him. All of this begins with noticing. Jesus was aware of the people around Him; He was willing to see them.
     
    The notion of “Evangelism” is uncomfortable for many Christians because we wrongly think of it as pounding down the doors of unknown strangers with our Bibles, trying to cram Jesus down their throats. For Jesus, however, we see that the first step for Him in building a relationship with people is simply noticing them. To see people through the eyes of Jesus, it means that we must first be willing to open our eyes, to put our tasks aside, and intentionally look at those around us.
     
    Something to take home (Practice using the club):
    Noticing is a relational act of kindness that anyone can do. It doesn’t take any courage, but it just requires that you do it. What can you do this week to be more intentionally aware of the people around you in your everyday life?
     
    Noticing people can move us to compassion and action as people become real to us, in need of a real Savior. Pray this week that God would help you to see people the way Jesus saw the crowds. Noticing is the first step to bringing someone the good news about Jesus.
     
    Noticing is a precursor to knowing. How will you create space in your life to intentionally notice those around you? As you start to see people, pray for them and for the work God is doing in their lives as well.
  • May 2, 20212 Corinthians 5:16-6:2 “Effective Evangelism”
    May 2, 2021
    2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2 “Effective Evangelism”
    Thoughts for Reflection: My golf bag contains approximately 16 golf clubs, 50+ golf balls (mostly ones I’ve found), and hundreds of tees, amongst other things.  On average, I probably use 5-6 different clubs in a round of golf… when I actually play.  Every club has a purpose, so I am told and is useful for different situations.  Truthfully, I carry clubs in my bag that I have no idea how, and therefore no intention to use.  I’ve tried some of these “less-used” clubs at times; it is amusing, at best, to everyone around me. The Christian life is kind of like my golf bag.  We have lots of “clubs” and Scripture tells us that they are all useful.  There are things like discipleship, different kinds of prayer, worship, devotions, and evangelism.  Most of us are pretty comfortable using a few of the clubs in our bag but tend to avoid most of the others…  Over the next several weeks we’re going to look at some of the so-called “clubs” in our Christian bag and how we can use them to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those around us. Questions to take home:
    1. What do you think of when you hear the term “evangelism”?  How do you react to that term?  Why do you think you respond that way?
    2. Paul writes that we are “Christ’s ambassadors as though God was making His appeal through us.”  Take a minute to think about that.  How does it settle with you?  How are you being an ambassador for Christ in your life?
    3. One of our Mission Metrics states: I actively seek opportunities to share the Gospel with people.  On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you say you land on this?  Remember that number; we’ll ask this question again in August.
  • Apr 25, 2021James 1:22-25; 2:14-26 “Faith in Action”
    Apr 25, 2021
    James 1:22-25; 2:14-26 “Faith in Action”
    Thoughts for Reflection: As we talked about last week, we who are In-Christ are, by the grace of God, given gifts by the Holy Spirit that we are then called to use in ministry to build Christ’s Church and God’s Kingdom.  Everyone was challenged to spend some time identifying and discerning their gifts (www.giftstest.com is one resource) and praying over how God was calling them to use their gifts in ministry and Kingdom work here at HCC and in Hopkins. Today we are hosting a “Ministry Fair”, a chance for you to take what you have discerned and put it into action through the ministries of Hopkins Community Church.  As we respond to God’s Word today, we will be sent out to learn about, interact around, and ultimately find a place or places that God is calling us to here at HCC that we can use our gifts to build His church here and his Kingdom in the Hopkins community.  Here is a list of the ministries that are represented: Property Team Deacons Sunday School (3 yrs. - High School) GEMS Cadets Middle School Youth Group High School Youth Group Adult Discipleship Meals Team Worship Team Outreach Team Congregational Care Hospitality Team Security Team Nursery Walk Out Worship Ladies for the Lord Additionally, Kathy will have a table set up to assist people in getting connected to the new Church Center app that will become the central hub of communication for HCC.
  • Apr 18, 2021Romans 12:1-8 “Playing to Your Strengths”
    Apr 18, 2021
    Romans 12:1-8 “Playing to Your Strengths”
    Thoughts for Reflection:
    Over the last few decades, there has been a measurable increase in the use of personality profiles and “strengths” evaluations. Educators, counselors, and employers have all identified the need and advantage to knowing and encouraging their students, clients, and employees to use and leverage their strengths for their own advantage and that of the institution they are a part of. None of this, however, is new. Humans have been doing this for thousands of years.
     
    Whether it is positions assigned on sports teams or careers chosen by young people, we all tend to gravitate toward what we are both passionate about and good at. Christ-followers have an added layer to this in the form of Spiritual Gifting. We, who are in Christ, are given gifts by God through the Holy Spirit which, in some cases, offer us additional super-natural giftings, and in others further leverage our natural passions and talents but do so for Church growing, Body-building, KINGDOM purposes to the glory of God.
     
    Questions to take home:
    Read Ephesians 4:1-16. What do you read here about unity? What do you see here about Spiritual Gifts? How are they related?
    Read 1 Corinthians 12. What do you see here about Spiritual Gifts? What does Paul say about their appropriate use within the Body of Christ (Church)?
    Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. How does this passage on giving relate to the other passages on Spiritual Gifts and their use within the Body of Christ and for the Kingdom of God?
    Go to “www.giftstest.com” and take the Spiritual Gifts assessment. What is confirmed from this? What is surprising to you? Write down or bring the results with you next week to church!
  • Apr 4, 2021Luke 24:1-11; John 20:3-10 “Why Jesus’ Resurrection is Important”
    Apr 4, 2021
    Luke 24:1-11; John 20:3-10 “Why Jesus’ Resurrection is Important”
    Series: Apologetics
    Thoughts for Reflection: Jesus-followers talk at length about the death of Jesus.  For many of us, we believe Jesus’ death is the main event of Holy Week.  We say, and rightly so, that He died for our sins; through His blood we are washed clean.  When we think about what God accomplished for us, we think of the cross.  Truly no amount of words or sermons can ever exhaust the magnitude of Jesus’ death. The great celebration of the Christian faith, however, does not revolve around the cross but instead comes three days later on what we know as Resurrection (Easter) Sunday.  Naturally, then, the question arises: “Why is Jesus’ resurrection so important?”  God’s answer, as we’ll hear this morning, is that the Resurrection of Jesus literally affirms and confirms everything about WHO Jesus is, WHAT He did, His victory  over death, gives us reason to BELIEVE and offers us the ASSURANCE of the HOPE of SALVATION now and forevermore. Questions to take home:
    1. When you think about the Gospel and the forgiveness of sins, do you find yourself drawn more toward the cross and the events of Jesus’ death or the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection?  Why do you think that is?
    2. Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-28.  What are some of the major impacts of the Resurrection that Paul lists here?  Can you think of others that he doesn’t mention here?  Which of these great things do you find most resonates with you and why?
    3. How will you take the joy and hope of the Good News of Jesus' death AND resurrection with you into this next week?  What will it change for you and who will you tell that Jesus is alive?
  • Apr 1, 2021John 13:1-17 “The Fullness of His Love”
    Apr 1, 2021
    John 13:1-17 “The Fullness of His Love”
    Series: Lent
    Maundy Thursday, April 1, 2021
  • Mar 28, 2021Luke 9:51-62 “Following Jesus”
    Mar 28, 2021
    Luke 9:51-62 “Following Jesus”
    Thoughts for Reflection: Our Scripture passage today follows Jesus’ transfiguration, a pivotal moment in His ministry.  From this point on, Jesus is laser focused on His trajectory toward Jerusalem, knowing all that awaited Him there.  From the beginning of His ministry to the end, Jesus is constantly and consistently calling people to “follow me”.  In each of these circumstances, this call is an invitation to leave their former life and commit to a new path.  His call is not for the fickle though, as we see today.   Following Jesus is not a one-time decision that is carried out when it suits us.  In many cases, we seek to get a person to “pray the prayer” but seldom do anything to follow that up.  Declaring Jesus to be Lord of our lives is not simply a decision made once; it is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment commitment.  And we must count the cost, for following Jesus means going with Him to Jerusalem and everything that lies there for Him and for us. Questions to take home:
    1. Read John 4:1-42.  What do you make of the Samaritans’ rejection of Jesus here in Luke 9?  What is it that drives their rejection?  Are there things in your life that prompt us toward similar rejection of Jesus’ teachings & commands (or parts of them)?
    2. Read Matthew 19:16-26.  Consider the “rich man” and the three men in our Luke 9 passage today.  Jesus’ responses are specific to each of them, challenging them to choose between Him and what was ruling their lives.  What would Jesus say to you?  What is coming between you and following Him?
    3. Read Luke 14:25-35.  How does this passage emphasize what we have already read?  Contrast the different reactions of the disciples on Palm Sunday (Luke 19:28-44) and Maundy Thursday (Matthew 26:47-56).  How do the different reactions speak into this teaching on following Jesus?
  • Mar 14, 2021James 4:13-17 “The Enemies of Obedience”
    Mar 14, 2021
    James 4:13-17 “The Enemies of Obedience”
    Thoughts for Reflection: Christian obedience flows out of the Identity that is given us in Christ when we come to faith in Him.  It is not, as we have discussed, done out of obligation or with the notion that we can earn or maintain our status before God.  Obedience to Christ and His Word come as a grateful response to all that has been accomplished on our behalf through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.  God invites us to see ourselves as He sees us, to live into the Identity He graciously gives us, and to then become what He has declared us to be. As we think about Radical Obedience to the Holy Spirit as one of the ways we will be driven to carry out our Vision of boldly bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to every household in the greater Hopkins community, we turn our attention to those things which inhibit obedience.  Fear, control, doubt, and presumption all fall into this list and show themselves as the opposite of discernment, trust and confident obedience.  This morning we will look at several narratives in Scripture that illustrate the importance of ridding our lives of these enemies of obedience. Questions to take home:
    1. We read several narratives about people who struggled with obedience to God’s direction.  What one of these narratives do you resonate with the most?  How is God speaking into your life through it and what is He asking you to do?
    2. How would you define “Radical Obedience” after what we’ve talked about over the last several weeks (Colossians 3:1-17, Romans 8:1-4, James 4:13-17)?  How is God urging you to make adjustments in your life to be more radically obedient to His direction?
    3. Would you say that you are “fully dependent” on God?  Why or why not?  Is there anything in your life that you need to alter to move toward greater dependence on God?
    4. Read Proverbs 3:4-5.  This week, I encourage you to memorize these two verses.  As you pray this week, ask God to help you live into them.  When you find yourself struggling, quote it to yourself and ask God for wisdom on how to handle what you are experiencing.