HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series January 7, 2024

Sunday Sermon Series January 7, 2024

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.

You can skip to a specific section by clicking the links below.

Jump to:

Fr. Mike Schmitz

Fr. Mike Schmitz emphasizes the significance of the moment when Jesus is revealed to the nations. He traces the historical progression of God’s self-revelation, starting with Abraham and his family, through the growth of the people of Israel. Fr. Mike underscores that the Feast of Epiphany goes beyond the mere revelation of God; it highlights the recognition of God by the nations and the subsequent response.

Fr. Mike delves into the crucial question of how people respond when God reveals Himself. He contrasts various responses, including Herod’s rejection and indifference, stressing the importance of finding the proper response to God. According to Fr. Mike, the most vital and appropriate response is worship, asserting that worship is not merely an expression of love but an act of justice. He underscores the centrality of worship in every religion, defining it as the heart of the relationship with God.

The homily draws attention to the sacrificial aspect of worship, referencing the story of Cain and Abel. Fr. Mike emphasizes the need to give God our best and to put our hearts into worship, avoiding a superficial or indifferent approach. He recounts the story of Moses and Pharaoh, highlighting the importance of offering everything to God, reflecting the uncertainty of how God wants to be worshipped. Fr. Mike concludes by emphasizing the significance of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where Jesus’ sacrifice is offered to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. He underscores that even if no one is present, the Father is glorified, and the world is sanctified at every Mass.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

A Better Question

In his sermon, Andy Stanley addresses a crucial question that he believes everyone should ask and answer in every season of life: “What breaks your heart?” He emphasizes that this question is not exclusive to religious individuals and goes beyond personal comfort. Stanley acknowledges that contemplating this question may evoke various emotions, such as guilt or motivation, but he underscores its potential to focus and transform individuals.

The speaker illustrates the importance of this question by referencing biblical stories like Moses, Queen Esther, and Nehemiah, who were moved to take action when confronted with injustices. Stanley asserts that even if one doesn’t have an immediate answer to the question, it is vital to allow it to bother them until they arrive at a response. He suggests that individuals won’t have to face monumental challenges like those in biblical narratives but might have to step out of their comfort zones to address what breaks their hearts.

Stanley reassures the audience that they won’t have to give up everything but will likely have to sacrifice something. He encourages people to consider the opportunity cost of not addressing what deeply moves them, emphasizing that missing the chance to make a difference in the world or someone’s life is a greater loss than any potential sacrifices.

The sermon concludes with a reminder that life’s value is measured by how much of it is given away. Stanley urges individuals to pay attention to what breaks their hearts, engage in discussions about it, and recognize the significance of this question in their journey, especially for those who follow the teachings of Jesus.

Listen to the full version here.

Cathedral of Christ The King

Monsignor Francis McNamee starts his homily with a heartwarming anecdote that unfolds during the Christmas holiday as a grandfather imparts the essence of Catholic rituals to his grandson during a church visit. The exchange between the two encapsulates the significance of donations, the transformation of bread and wine, and the reverence for the Word of God within the Catholic tradition. McNamee then transitions to the biblical narrative of the wise men who followed the star to find the newborn Jesus, relating their journey to the spiritual quests in individuals’ lives. He underscores the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and calling them, highlighting their encounters with personal challenges and temptations, such as the deception of King Herod.

The homily delves into the wise men’s moments of obscurity and dissolution, ultimately overcome through the Holy Spirit’s prompting, leading them to Bethlehem and the divine revelation of God’s humility in the form of a child. McNamee draws parallels between the humble circumstances of Christ’s birth and the present world’s afflictions, urging believers to recognize the hidden God in the midst of human suffering and difficulties. The homily encourages a conversion to true faith, emphasizing that the wise men model a belief in the goodness of God rather than worldly splendor. As the homily concludes, the congregation is prompted to reflect on the mysteries hidden within their own lives, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to overcome temptations and discover the light leading to Christ, echoing the central question: What light are we following, and is it bringing us to Christ or distracting us from His path?

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

Ben Stuart begins by illustrating the power of desperation as a motivator for change. He shares a personal story about a severe back injury that left him in excruciating pain, highlighting how the fear of permanent disability and the inability to fulfill his responsibilities motivated him to seek drastic changes. Stuart emphasizes that great motivation often stems from desperation, awe, or community.

The narrative then shifts to a biblical context, focusing on King Jehoshaphat facing a coalition of enemy nations threatening Judah. Stuart draws parallels between the motivational factors in his personal story and the biblical account. He underscores the importance of desperation, highlighting Jehoshaphat’s response to the dire situation. The king’s vulnerability and acknowledgment of his inability to face the impending threat become a turning point.

Stuart introduces the idea that motivation requires at least one of three elements: community, desperation, or awe. He explains that while individuals may lack an inspiring environment or a supportive group, desperation can be a powerful motivator in itself. The sermon then transitions to the main theme of the series called “Call on Heaven,” where Stuart and his congregation explore practical spiritual disciplines, such as prayer and fasting.

The biblical passage from Jehoshaphat’s story illustrates the power of desperation leading to seeking God. Stuart encourages the audience to understand that true spiritual motivation comes from a combination of desperation and awe in the face of God’s sovereignty. He emphasizes the need for a compelling “why” to drive individuals towards spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting, making it clear that great motivation requires both desperation and awe.

Stuart closes the sermon by connecting the biblical narrative to contemporary challenges, urging the audience to evaluate their level of desperation in the current societal and political climate. He emphasizes the importance of seeking God’s intervention and restoration in desperate times, highlighting the potential impact of a community collectively turning to God in prayer. The sermon concludes with a powerful message about the transformative power of desperation and awe when seeking God’s guidance and intervention in challenging circumstances.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

In this sermon by Kris McDaniel, he explores the urgent language in Mark’s gospel and how it resonates with the beginning of a new year. McDaniel acknowledges the common experience of failed New Year’s resolutions and the sense of discouragement that often accompanies early January. Drawing from Mark’s introduction to the gospel, he highlights the significance of intentional listening, emphasizing the need to step out of the busyness of life to hear what God is saying. McDaniel discusses John the Baptist’s role as the last Old Testament prophet and his call for repentance, urging listeners to assess their lives honestly and engage in a road construction project of the soul.

He then delves into the baptism of Jesus, emphasizing that God affirmed and loved Jesus before any public ministry or miracles occurred. This, McDaniel suggests, challenges the cultural narrative that emphasizes achievement before acceptance. He explores the symbolism of the dove descending on Jesus, connecting it to the biblical story of Noah’s Ark and the promise of a receding flood of brokenness. The sermon concludes with the idea that entering the wilderness is inevitable but not solitary, as the love of God and the Holy Spirit accompany believers through challenging seasons. McDaniel encourages self-reflection on what wilderness seasons reveal and how individuals can seek God’s attendance during such times. He poses two fundamental questions for contemplation: “What have desert and Wilderness Seasons revealed in you?” and “What does it look like for you to be attended to by God when you enter into the desert?”

Listen to the full version here.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on our site are written by our local community of contributors as a reflection of their personal experiences. All information is researched and provided in good faith, however, it does not necessarily represent the views of the organization they’re writing about nor that of the City on Purpose staff, and/or any/all contributors of this site. If there are issues with the accuracy of this piece, we want to fix them. Please contact City on Purpose to submit a request for an update. We strive to be an honest resource for all those in the city – thanks for helping us make that possible! You can also review our full Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions, and Privacy Policy.