Aug 1, 2021
Romans 6:3-11 “Baptism: Identifying with Jesus”
  • Aug 1, 2021Romans 6:3-11 “Baptism: Identifying with Jesus”
    Aug 1, 2021
    Romans 6:3-11 “Baptism: Identifying with Jesus”
  • 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 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!
  • Oct 29, 2017Matthew 25:1-13 “Long Obedience”
    Oct 29, 2017
    Matthew 25:1-13 “Long Obedience”
    Thoughts for Reflection: We live in a world of instant everything.  Technology provides us with notifications, information, purchasing power, and entertainment right at our fingertips.  Even meeting people and relationships have been subject to the digital world of “right now.”  We assume that things we can get immediately into our hands must be good while dismissing those things that take time to develop or acquire. Our Scripture today, however, presents us with a different ideal when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven.  “Discipleship,” writes Eugene Peterson, “is a long obedience in the same direction.”  While God can certainly act in an instant to make things happen, His desire for our hearts (and our giving them to Him) is a long process of surrender and revelation as we see the Kingdom of God unfold in and through our lives. Questions to take home:
    1. Why is it that we are always in such a hurry?  Is the cultural norm of busyness something that is supported in Scripture?  What do we learn from the parable today that we can apply to our busy lives?
    2. The Parable of the Ten Virgins is a tale of both waiting and preparedness.  How do we prepare for Jesus’ coming in the midst of the waiting that we find ourselves in?  What things could we do to better prepare ourselves in this respect?
    3. Scripture reveals the importance of rest; even in this parable, sleep was not actually the issue.  Sometimes we think being prepared means being overly busy or always working, how does this parable challenge that notion?  In what ways are you intentionally resting?
  • Oct 22, 2017Matthew 21:23-32 “The Right Way?”
    Oct 22, 2017
    Matthew 21:23-32 “The Right Way?”
    This morning we come to worship God through Jesus Christ, His Son, the embodiment of Truth.  God’s Truth, Love, Grace, and all of the characteristics of God are communicated in His Word to us.  From that we are able to learn both who we are in Christ and how God calls us to respond and live into that identity. Sometimes, however, we like to pick and chose which truths we think are the right way to live while ignoring others that seem to be more culturally acceptable.  We claim to have Christ in us, claim Him as our Savior, even claim to follow Him, but then choose not to when it’s too difficult or inconvenient.  Sadly, in that same thought, we also readily question and point fingers at those who are “off the path” in a more visible or, perhaps, culturally unacceptable way forgetting that we too are God’s people, fully dependent on His grace alone. Questions to take home:
    1. Are there some Truths that Scripture teaches that you tend to look at more than others?  How about us as a church?  Is there a way that we could be better about not cherry picking the truths and sins for our own convenience?
    2. Jesus poses an interesting question about which kid actually did what the father wanted.  Is it better to say yes and then not do something, or say no and then change your mind?  Why do you think so?
    3. What if we cast this question in the form of “religion” vs. “relationship”?  Who is doing what the Bible wants, the one who says yes to relationship with Christ but then follows religion, or the one who says no to religion but then finds a relationship with Christ?
  • Oct 15, 2017Mark 10:17-27 “All In”
    Oct 15, 2017
    Mark 10:17-27 “All In”
    It’s hard to give 100% of ourselves to anything these days.  Not only is there so much to do each and every day, but there are so many things battling for our attention.  Families run here and there, bringing kids to the next sport or school event.  Technology, with its constant updates and instant communication, makes it incredibly difficult to be fully presence in any situation, at any time.  Even church has become something to do, and faith more of a “checklist” religion than a relationship. Scripture challenges our “do everything culture,” in the same way it challenges a “do everything” religion.  We cannot simply follow all the rules, go to church each week, and call it good.  When the rich young ruler asks if this is enough, Jesus challenges him to be “All In.”  Are we “All In” when it comes to our relationship with Christ?  Or is faith simple another thing we have to do? Questions to take home:
    1. What does it mean for you to be “fully present” in a situation (at work, at home, with a friend, in your time with God, etc.)?  Do you struggle with this?  What is one way that you could help yourself to be more present wherever you are?
    2. Jesus tells the rich young ruler to “go sell everything” and follow Him.  Do you think he was serious?  What do you think He was referring to?  How could we apply that to our own lives today?
    3. It’s really easy to turn a conversation about “giving things up” into legalism, creating more “to dos” while removing others.  Are there things that are inhibiting your relationship with Christ?  What things can you adjust in your life to better represent your priorities?
  • Oct 8, 2017Matthew 18:1-5 “Winners and Losers”
    Oct 8, 2017
    Matthew 18:1-5 “Winners and Losers”
    No one wants to be a loser.  We live in a culture in which competition and achievement are not just valued, they are idolized.  Common, everyday things become competitive without us even thinking about it and, quite frankly, we don’t really know how to stop that.  It is ingrained in us because it is ingrained in American culture. The Kingdom of heaven, however, is profoundly different.  We come before God as equals, sinners that are fully dependent on His grace in our lives.  Greatness doesn’t come from being the best church attender, the highest giver, or anything else that our culture tends to emphasize.  Instead, Jesus challenges us to deep humility and service, the way of the cross, as the way to Kingdom “greatness.” Questions to take home:
    1. What is it in us that pushes us to compete with each other?  How does God’s love help us to overcome this internal urge?  How does God’s Spirit transform this drive?  What does that look like in our lives?
    2. Do you think that there is a difference between healthy competition, the drive for positive improvements, and unhealthy competition, the drive toward pointing out negative flaws, in the God’s Kingdom?  Do you think there is any room for competition in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Why?
    3. Jesus’ call to His disciples, and to all who follow Him, is to take on the role of servant.  This doesn’t mean we should just follow all the time, but rather that we lead by example.  In what ways can you better serve those in your life and show them God’s love not just through your words, but your actions?
  • Oct 1, 2017Luke 9:1-17 “Authority and Abundance”
    Oct 1, 2017
    Luke 9:1-17 “Authority and Abundance”
    Thoughts for Reflection: Today is World Wide Communion Sunday.  It is a day that the Church around the world, from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group celebrates communion as one body, the Body of Christ.  We remember together that we are not here because of what we have done, but because of what God has done through Christ, in us.  We also remember that we are, together, called to be on mission with God in the world. As we open Scripture today, we encounter a moment when Jesus sends out His disciples with His authority to continue the mission and work He was doing.  We also hear that, upon their return, much had been accomplished for the Kingdom.  Jesus is foreshadowing an even greater call that would go out to all His followers, the Great Commission, in which the whole church participates. Questions to take home:
    1. Scripture is full of instances where God’s authority is given to a person or group of people for the purpose of fulfilling God’s will.  Can you think of some examples?  What is similar or different about them from today’s passage?
    2. After some time following, Jesus confers His authority on to His disciples and sends them out.  They return, Luke says, not as disciples but as apostles.  Today we talked about the difference in meaning of “disciple” and “apostle.”  What was that difference?  Where is God calling you to step out and make the transition from disciple to apostle?
    3. The Kingdom of God is one of abundance; every need is met beyond anything that could be asked for or imagined.  We are sent out to be proclaimers of the Kingdom.  How has God already met some of your needs for this task?  What needs do you feel still need to be met?  As we take communion (or as you remember it later), ask God to provide abundantly for them as He has for so much already.
  • Sep 24, 2017Matthew 13:31-34 “The Little Things”
    Sep 24, 2017
    Matthew 13:31-34 “The Little Things”
    There is no shortage of needs in the world today. Whether it is hurricane relief, earthquake recovery, the battle against hunger or poverty, or perhaps even standing against injustice, there is always something more we could be doing. Far too often, however, these momentous tasks are way too large for us to handle, and it frequently leads to inaction.
    This week Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven in terms of things that are start off very little but have a profound amount of growth and impact in the environment around them. He doesn’t tell us that we have to be the most wealthy, popular, influential, or powerful. Instead, Jesus simply points to the faithful and trusting actions of God-fearing individuals that have far-reaching effects in the world.
    Questions to take home:
    Have you ever experienced a moment in your life where you knew you could help someone with something? What did you do? What caused you to do (or not do) what you should have done?
    What is it that usually stops us from taking action when the Holy Spirit prompts us? Can you think of any Scripture passages that would help to encourage us when those times comes? Write them down on a card and keep that card with you this week.
    Sometimes the “big things” scare us into inaction. What is one “little thing” that you could do this week that could sprout into something much greater? Will you do it?
  • Sep 17, 2017Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 7:36-50 “Debt Forgiveness”
    Sep 17, 2017
    Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 7:36-50 “Debt Forgiveness”
    The Kingdom of God/Heaven is one of the central parts of Jesus’ teaching during His earthly ministry. Over the next several weeks we will be looking at what Jesus meant and what the Bible refers to when the “Kingdom” is mentioned. We will also look at how this teaching impacts and transforms our lives through the message of the Gospel.
    Forgiveness is the central pillar of the Kingdom of Heaven. Embodied in the life and work of Jesus Christ, our Scripture today reveals Scripture in terms of a massive, unpayable debt that is wiped away. Rather that treating us the way we deserve according to the Law, God shows us His great Love and Grace, forgiving our sins and setting us free from their burden when we place our faith in Jesus Christ.
    Questions to take home:
    Read Ephesians 2:8-9. How do you define “Grace” and “Faith?” What does this passage mean to you? How does it impact your daily life?
    Jesus’ teaching on God’s forgiveness involves action on our part as well. How does this impact how you view the subject of forgiveness? Why is forgiveness so hard for us?
    What changes need to take place in your life when it comes to forgiveness? Are you quick to forgive, or better at holding a grudge? Is there someone in your life you’ve not forgiven that needs to be? Pray that the Holy Spirit would soften your heart and help you to see that person as God sees them, no matter what you may have against them.