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.
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  • 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 23, 2021Youth Sunday 2021
    May 23, 2021
    Youth Sunday 2021
  • May 16, 20211 John 5:13-14; Matthew 9:35-38 “The ART of Praying”
    May 16, 2021
    1 John 5:13-14; Matthew 9:35-38 “The ART of Praying”
    Last week, Pastor Jon shared a message on the “Art of Noticing”. Today Pastor Jim follows up with a second crucial tool – the “Art of Praying”.
     
    Nineteenth-century evangelist George Muller was a godly man known for his tenacious practice of purposeful prayer. It was his belief that prayer could influence people toward true faith in Christ, and his life evidenced this conviction. He prayed faithfully, he prayed daily, and he prayed by name for unbelievers he personally knew.
     
    In his book George Muller: Man of Faith and Miracles, author Basil Miller recounts the evangelist’s experience praying for five not-yet Christians in his life:
     
    In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of 5 individuals. I prayed every day, whether sick or in well, on land or sea. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the 5 was converted. I thanked God and prayed on for the others. Five years later, the second was converted. I thanked God for the second and prayed on for the other three. Day by day I continued to pray for them, and 6 years passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the 3 and went on praying for the other two.
     
    Shortly after the death of George Muller in 1898, the two men for whom he had prayed over half a century finally turned to Jesus. It is hard to overemphasize the power of praying intentionally for specific individuals.
     
    WRITE DOWN the names of 2 or 3 people you have NOTICED in the last
    week – or maybe the name (s) of someone God has brought to your mind
    just this morning.
    1. ______________________________
    2. ______________________________
    3. ______________________________
    Commit to pray specifically for them this week – for a set amount of time each day.
     
    Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and eyes to know HOW and WHAT to pray.
     
    Choose a prayer partner and join together at least once this week (more, if possible) to pray for those on each of your lists – ‘praying in agreement' with each other. If it’s not feasible to do
    this in person, you could also do this together over the phone.
  • 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 11, 2021John 3:1-12 “You Must Be Born Again”
    Apr 11, 2021
    John 3:1-12 “You Must Be Born Again”
    Series: Discipleship
  • 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 21, 2021John 10:1-16, 27 “Listening to God”
    Mar 21, 2021
    John 10:1-16, 27 “Listening to God”
  • 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.
  • Mar 7, 2021Romans 8:1-4 “Radical Obedience: Trading in the Old”
    Mar 7, 2021
    Romans 8:1-4 “Radical Obedience: Trading in the Old”
    Thoughts for Reflection: Radical Obedience starts with a foundational understanding of who we are IN CHRIST.  As we heard Scripture last week, our identity as those who are IN CHRIST calls us to become what we are first by aligning our minds and our hearts on “things above.”  In other words, we need to constantly preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to ourselves, remembering that we are saved by grace through the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.  This is TRUE from the moment that we confess our sins to God and declare our faith in Jesus Christ. Our Christian identity is central for the activity of our lives.  Our Scripture today reminds us of these same truths: “There is, therefore, NOW no condemnation for those who are IN CHRIST Jesus.”  This is a true and present reality that we live out of.  Understanding this means we aren’t working to get salvation, we aren’t working to keep it or maintain it, we are trying to fix it or improve our score before God.  We are operating in the TRUTH of who we are IN CHRIST and with the power of the Holy Spirit guiding and empowering our lives. Questions to take home:
    1. Read 1 Peter 2:9-10, 24-25.  What does this passage have to say about your identity IN CHRIST?  How do you get that identity?  Verses 11-12 follow with instructions on Christian living.  How does this ordering of things help you to understand the impact of your identity on your life?
    2. There are three great “Therefores” in the book of Romans.  Read Romans 5:1-2, 8:1-2, and 12:1-2.  What do these three passages have in common?  How do they deepen your understanding of who you are IN CHRIST and what impact that has on your life?
    3. One of the key points that Paul makes in Romans 8:1 is the fact that our identity IN CHRIST is a present and future reality.  Those who have passed on to glory are no more or less secure IN CHRIST than we who live in Him.  What difference does that make for you?
  • Feb 28, 2021Colossians 3:1-17 “Radical Obedience: Setting our Minds on Christ”
    Feb 28, 2021
    Colossians 3:1-17 “Radical Obedience: Setting our Minds on Christ”
    Thoughts for Reflection: We have been unpacking our Vision of boldly bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to every household in the Hopkins community through Expectant Prayer, Effective Evangelism, and Radical Obedience to the Holy Spirit.  Over the last several weeks we’ve talked about how prayer will fuel this Vision.  Today, and through Easter, we will be talking about Radical Obedience to the Holy Spirit and what that looks like for us as individuals and as a church. Radical Obedience sounds pretty… well… radical.  For us, this concept is not actually new.  In Christ we are a new creation and we are given a new identity.  For the Christ follower, we are called to BECOME what we already ARE through the Spirit’s work in and on our lives.  Obedience that is ‘radical’, from the world’s perspective, starts, as Paul says here in Colossians, starts with orienting our minds around our Savior, Redeemer, and Lord and then living according to His commands and our God-given new identity in Him. Questions to take home:
    1. Who are you?  If you were to list the top 5 things you spend your time and energy on, what would come out on top?  If your closest friends were to make the same list based on what they know about you, how would they describe you?  Is that congruent with your Identity in Christ?
    2. Scripture says that “since we have been raised with Christ” we are to “set our hearts on things above.”  Based on what we heard today, what does this mean for you?  What things are you pursuing in your life or in your family’s life that are not from “above”?  How can you reorient your lives to better heed this Biblical command?
    3. Read Matthew 6:24 & 1 John 2:15-17.  How does this speak into our Scripture passage for today?  How does it speak into your life right now?  As we continue to “return to normal”, are there other ‘masters’ in your life that should not be returned to?  Which ones and how will you avoid them?