HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series December 31, 2023

Sunday Sermon Series December 31, 2023

Whether you call them homilies, sermons, or talks, there’s a lot you can learn from the spiritual leaders in our community. While in a perfect world, you’d have time to listen to everyone, that simply isn’t possible for most with limited time to spare. To help, we’ve surfaced and summarized the teachings from the audio sermons of some of the most influential priests and pastors from around town and in the Christian sphere.

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Fr. Mike Schmitz

In Fr. Mike Schmitz’s homily on the Feast of the Holy Family, he reflects on the complexities of family life, acknowledging that while families can be a source of tremendous blessings and joy, they can also be the source of great difficulties and suffering. He highlights the challenges faced by modern society, such as declining marriage rates and increasing isolation, emphasizing the importance of family bonds. Fr. Mike draws attention to the reality of broken families and the need to establish healthy boundaries even within family relationships.

The homily delves into the struggles faced by families today, referencing statistics on marriage rates and fertility in South Korea. Fr. Mike emphasizes the impact of these societal changes, particularly the rise in isolation and the separation from family connections. He notes the prevalent cultural trend of distancing oneself from family members, evident in jokes and memes about enduring holiday gatherings.

Fr. Mike turns to the Holy Family as a model, dispelling the misconception that they were a perfect family without problems. He highlights instances in the life of the Holy Family where they faced misunderstandings and lived in poverty. The homily emphasizes the humility of Jesus, who chose to enter a poor family and live a life borrowed from others, symbolizing his immersion in the brokenness of human existence.

The homily concludes with a call to follow the timeless commands of God, despite the challenges of the present age. Fr. Mike encourages listeners to reflect on the enduring nature of the human heart and its inherent connection to family, love, and relationships. He draws inspiration from The Lord of the Rings, suggesting that in tumultuous times, individuals must discern good and evil and apply these timeless principles to navigate complex family dynamics with wisdom and grace.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

Joel Thomas addresses the importance of positive relationships for happiness, health, and longevity. He refers to a previous week’s discussion on barriers to such relationships, highlighting the increasing trends of isolation, insulation from diverse ideas, and growing independence in society.

The focus of this week’s sermon is on independence, emphasizing the cultural norm that maturity involves moving from dependency to independence. The speaker reflects on how the societal shifts since the 1970s have eroded the traditional model of relationships, citing the devaluation of the nuclear family, the impact of technological advancements like television, and the rise of the self-help movement.

Drawing parallels with the biblical story of King David and Bathsheba, the speaker illustrates the consequences of individualism and the pursuit of personal desires without considering the community. David’s actions, driven by pride and success, result in disastrous consequences, showcasing the dangers of living independently and isolated from accountability.

The sermon emphasizes the need for interdependence, challenging the cultural shift towards individualism. It argues that success can be blinding and intoxicating, while failure can be humiliating and disorienting. The speaker contends that healthy, interdependent relationships provide a support system that helps individuals navigate challenges, share burdens, and maintain sanity in a culture that often pushes for independence.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

In Father Juan Carlos’ homily, he reflects on the Gospel passage depicting the Holy Family’s visit to the temple in Jerusalem to express gratitude to God for the blessings of their son Jesus. Drawing parallels to the congregation’s act of giving thanks for the year 2023, Father Juan emphasizes the importance of being faithful to God’s word as the best way to show gratitude. He encourages families to follow the Holy Family’s example by placing God at the center of their lives. This involves overcoming excuses for neglecting prayer or missing Mass and embracing a commitment to prayer as a couple.

Father Juan shares practical ways for families to express gratitude, such as reaching out to parents, grandparents, and friends on the last day of the year. He underscores the significance of being thankful for blessings and encourages couples to make Christ the center of their relationship through prayer. The homily emphasizes that prayer in relationships should be translated into actions, fostering teamwork in daily tasks, expressing kindness, and providing emotional support. Father Juan encourages couples to pray together, acknowledging that prayer is essential in navigating the challenges of married life.

The homily concludes with a call for families to see themselves as domestic churches, imitating the Holy Family’s faithfulness to God amid challenges. Father Juan assures the congregation that, like Mary and Joseph, they can trust in God’s mercy, and he prompts a moment of reflection on three blessings received during the year. The congregation is invited to present their homes and families to the Lord, recognizing that the same Spirit transforming the bread and wine during the Eucharist can also transform their lives. The homily encourages maintaining a healthy perspective through gratitude, emphasizing that God’s blessings are a source of strength in times of stress and difficulty.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

 In this conversation, Brad Anderson, Dan Watson, and Grant Patrick of Passion City Church are greeting their community for the New Year and discussing various topics. They mention having all their locations linked together, including Atlanta, DC, Cumberland, Trillith, and 515. The conversation touches on their excitement for the upcoming year and involves some playful banter about American football teams in the College Football Playoffs. They express their anticipation for hosting tens of thousands of college students from around the world in just a few days.

They also feature a live look-in from Passion City DC, where they discuss the growth and impact of the church in 2023, particularly in acquiring a new space called 12 O1. Brennan Britton, reporting from DC, shares how they’ve outgrown their previous location and highlights the positive changes since moving. The conversation then transitions to reflections on the past year, emphasizing gratitude for the faithfulness of God.

Grant Partrick encourages everyone to remember and be grateful for what God has done in the past, fostering a sense of hope and expectation for the future. Dan Watson, one of the pastors, shares his perspective on entering the new year with gratitude and hope. They also discuss their preparations for Passion Conference 2024, where thousands of students are expected to gather in Atlanta.

The conversation concludes with a call to prayer for the upcoming conference, emphasizing the desire for God to move mightily and bring about life-changing moments for attendees. The pastors express their gratitude for the community’s support and encourage everyone to consecrate themselves for the amazing things God has in store for 2024. The conversation ends with a prayer and a time of worship.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

Katie Wilson’s sermon focused on Luke chapter 2, she delves into the often-overlooked latter part of the chapter. The passage begins with Mary and Joseph’s faithful act of presenting the baby Jesus in the temple for purification, adhering to Jewish customs despite their humble circumstances. Wilson emphasizes the significance of their commitment and how it mirrors the congregation’s call to be faithful and place God at the center of their lives, especially during moments of uncertainty.

The sermon shifts its focus to Simeon and Anna, two lesser-known figures in the nativity narrative. Simeon, described as righteous and devout, had received a divine promise that he would witness the Messiah before his death. Wilson vividly illustrates the anticipation and joy Simeon experiences as he finally encounters baby Jesus in the temple. Anna, an elderly widow dedicated to worship and prayer, also recognizes the Messiah, highlighting the theme of faithful expectancy.

Wilson draws parallels between the congregation’s search for Jesus in their lives and the faithful anticipation demonstrated by Simeon and Anna. The sermon underlines the transformative power of recognizing Jesus in ordinary, humble moments, akin to Simeon holding the infant Messiah. Wilson encourages the congregation to ask for “eyes to see Jesus” in their daily lives, acknowledging that Christ often manifests in unexpected and subtle ways.

Listen to the full version here.

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