Sermons

A central part of Worship at Catalina are the words and thoughts shared by our pastors. Their sermons may be long or short, theologically challenging or emotionally moving. We hope you hear a message that will bring you closer to God.

Turning Around

In today’s sermon, Pastor Dottie talks about the eclipse of the heart. That time when life casts a deep shadow over our life to the point we’re searching for the slightest pin prick of light to give us a new direction in life, and hope.

She shares the epic life story of Kevin Cavanaugh, a commercial real estate developer whose business was thriving until the 80’s when, during the housing crash he lost everything except for one building he owned. He even lost his home. During this time he took to heart the quote: “Greed is a little bit more than enough.” The word “Enough” became a theme for his life. In his company he overcame wage disparity, gender inequality, helped homeless have shelter, and more. Listen to the full sermon for inspiration and lessons on turning your own life around and find the guiding light for your life.

Prelude: “Meditation on Veni Emmanuel” by Philip Moore
Postlude: “Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding!” by Raymond Han

Scripture Matthew 3:1-11

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:

The voice of one shouting in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.”

4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

The Hope of a Child

In today’s sermon, Pastor Dottie talks about vulnerability. She draws from a couple quotes made by a thought leader of our time, Brene Brown. She said, “If we want greater clarity or deeper meaning in our spiritual lives, vulnerability is our path. Also, “Vulnerability sounds like truth, but feels like courage.” This means vulnerability is not always easy. We come to church as our vulnerable selves. Perhaps we have lost someone, or received a difficult health diagnosis, perhaps we’ve moved, or feel alone. We admit that we don’t have all the answers and aren’t always sure what to do. Listen to the full sermon for thoughts on how to find answers and enlist God’s help for life’s troubles.

Prelude: Messiah Medley by Handel/Edwards played by The Catalina Bell Choir

Postlude: Carillon on “People Look East” by Mark Himmelman

Scripture Isaiah 9:1-7

1 Nonetheless, those who were in distress won’t be exhausted. At an earlier time, God cursed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but later he glorified the way of the sea, the far side of the Jordan, and the Galilee of the nations.
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.
3 You have made the nation great; you have increased its joy. They rejoiced before you as with joy at the harvest, as those who divide plunder rejoice.
4 As on the day of Midian, you’ve shattered the yoke that burdened them, the staff on their shoulders, and the rod of their oppressor.
5 Because every boot of the thundering warriors, and every garment rolled in blood will be burned, fuel for the fire.
6 A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
7 There will be vast authority and endless peace for David’s throne and for his kingdom, establishing and sustaining it with justice and righteousness now and forever.

Service (Methodist Vows Series)

In today’s sermon, Pastor Jamie talks about discipleship. Being followers of Christ makes us servants as we follow his example. Why do we serve? Everything in our world was created with a purpose. The pews, microphone, everything serves a purpose and would probably be useless or break if we tried to use it for something it wasn’t created for. We were created by God with the purpose of doing good works. We find great joy in serving God and serving others in his name.

Prelude “He is King” by Robert J. Powell
Postlude “Festive Postlude on “Lancashire”” by Charles Callahan

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:7-11

7 The end of everything has come. Therefore, be self-controlled and clearheaded so you can pray. 8 Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins. 9 Open your homes to each other without complaining. 10 And serve each other according to the gift each person has received, as good managers of God’s diverse gifts. 11 Whoever speaks should do so as those who speak God’s word. Whoever serves should do so from the strength that God furnishes. Do this so that in everything God may be honored through Jesus Christ. To him be honor and power forever and always. Amen.

Gifts (Methodist Vows Series)

In this sermon, Pastor Dottie talks about the Thanksgiving holiday as a time to remember what we are grateful for. In our worship services we ask you to give with a grateful heart, but today we express an even greater spirit of thankfulness. Today’s scripture shares the story of the Widow’s Mite. Jesus acknowledged the widow’s great sacrifice. The gospel’s message is about giving with gratitude in our hearts rather than begrudgingly. John Wesley taught that we are not owners of anything in this temporary world. We are stewards. To be wise stewards we should give liberally, and do no harm in the way we earn our living. As we live modestly we have more to share with others.Gifts, rightly given, have a portion of God’s spirit in them, and that spirit and love are transferred to others as we give them in the spirit of love and gratitude.

Prelude “Three Spirituals” arr. Barnes / The Catalina Brass
Postlude “Carillon on ‘Darwall’s 148th'” by James Biery

Scripture Luke 21:1-4

Looking up, Jesus saw rich people throwing their gifts into the collection box for the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow throw in two small copper coins worth a penny. 3 He said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than them all. 4 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had to live on.”

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

4 There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 5 and there are different ministries and the same Lord; 6 and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good. 8 A word of wisdom is given by the Spirit to one person, a word of knowledge to another according to the same Spirit, 9 faith to still another by the same Spirit, gifts of healing to another in the one Spirit, 10 performance of miracles to another, prophecy to another, the ability to tell spirits apart to another, different kinds of tongues to another, and the interpretation of the tongues to another. 11 All these things are produced by the one and same Spirit who gives what he wants to each person.

The Vow of Presence

In today’s sermon, Pastor Dottie talks about the Methodist vow of “Presence.” The basic way of describing presence is “showing up.” When you show up for someone you show up because your body is present, but really showing up means being present in soul. She shares the example of Pastor Hal Cowart who showed up for people with his presence, his guidance, and his blessed words of wisdom and love. He showed up for many people in the spirit of loving and caring and sharing God’s word.

We, as followers of Jesus Christ and a community of believers we share our concerns, our faith stories, our highs and lows. We share classes and learn how to be better followers. We haven’t reached that “perfection” as talked about in today’s scripture, but that perfection is in the process. Perfection comes from trying to understanding each other, being present for each other. This transforms us into a church and community that is so wonderful people want to be part of it. Find ways to show up for each other. Some of us are doing a good job of this already, but the call is to see how we can show up more, or better.

Prelude: “Materna” by Charles Callahan
Postlude: “Dance Postlude on ‘Coronation'” by David Schelat

Scripture: Acts 2:42-47

42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.

Vows: Witness

In today’s sermon, Pastor Dottie talks about who our great “cloud of witnesses” are. It might be a loved family member or respected mentor, a close friend or romantic partner. She relates her parents’ great talents and abilities for teaching and listening with heart. Our “cloud of witnesses” might include great figures in history such as Sister Theresa Chavez, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Wesley, Mary Magdalene and more. Whoever our cloud of witnesses, the great power they have is to strengthen and bolster us. Everywhere we go in life we’re going to have hard times and be unsure about our decisions. Our cloud of witnesses makes us feel love and supported through these times and remind us we are not alone.

The first Christian witnesses were the angels singing, the shepherds seeing Baby Jesus, and they took it upon themselves to tell everyone. In 2012 we added a word to our vows as Methodists: “witness”. God needs our witness and it is important that we witness to God, ourselves and others our love for God and his love for us.

Prelude: “Preludio ‘Sine Nomine’” by Herbert Howells
Postlude: “All Saints” by David Thorne

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2

So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, 2 and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.

Luke 24:44-53

44 Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46 He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power.”

50 He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lifted his hands and blessed them. 51 As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. 53 And they were continuously in the temple praising God.

Prayers

In today’s sermon, Pastor Dottie talks about the vow of prayer, in which we say, “No matter what’s happening, no matter how much I don’t like you tomorrow or disagree with you on whatever, I am committed to praying for you.” Prayers at night, morning, also list your church, and the people. Our prayers for each other will help us get through the difficult times and celebrate the joyous times.

The letter that Paul wrote in today’s verse was a letter of prayer and encouragement to the Philippians. Worrying helps nothing, but praying instead is the start of what it means to be a faithful Christian. Prayer changes us from fearful to courageous. Prayer opens us up to what God has in store for us. Don’t be anxious…pray.

Prelude “Meditation on Beautiful Savior” by Cathy Moklebust / Played by The Catalina Bell Choir
Postlude “Peal on “Darwall’s 148th”” by James Biery

Scripture Philippians 4:4-7

4 Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! 5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.

There Comes a Time

In this sermon, Deaconess Marjie Hrabe considers those who have gone before us. The countless thousands of Christians who have come before us have made it possible for us to worship in freedom, today. There’s a season and a time for everything. She talks about her well intentions about helping other people in need. When we feel the burning desire in our hearts and the call of the Holy Spirit to do our part, it helps to think what God has done for us. He has brought us out of spiritual slavery, sent prophets to teach us, and His own Son to save us. God never turns his back on us, so by renewing our covenants with Him frequently we are reminded not to turn our back on Him.

Prelude “Promenade Modeste” by Mussorgsky
Catalina Brass Quintet

Postlude “O God Our Help in Ages Past” by Charles Callahan

Scripture Lesson Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

There’s a season for everything
and a time for every matter under the heavens:
2 a time for giving birth and a time for dying,
a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,
3 a time for killing and a time for healing,
a time for tearing down and a time for building up,
4 a time for crying and a time for laughing,
a time for mourning and a time for dancing,
5 a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,
6 a time for searching and a time for losing,
a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,
7 a time for tearing and a time for repairing,
a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,
8 a time for loving and a time for hating,
a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What do workers gain from all their hard work? 10 I have observed the task that God has given human beings. 11 God has made everything fitting in its time, but has also placed eternity in their hearts, without enabling them to discover what God has done from beginning to end.

12 I know that there’s nothing better for them but to enjoy themselves and do what’s good while they live. 13 Moreover, this is the gift of God: that all people should eat, drink, and enjoy the results of their hard work.

Scripture Lesson Revelation 21:1-6a

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “All is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will freely give water from the life-giving spring.

The World is my Parish

In this sermon, Pastor Jamie talks about the invitation Jesus extended to his Twelve Apostles to follow him and learn the ways of God. He also invited them to become fishers of men and to spread the word of God out into the world. The Methodist Church has gone through various phases of actively engaging the community around it versus turning inward and worship together. John Wesley, for instance, preached in coal mines, in the fields, everywhere he went. He was not constrained by boundaries or the “walls” that people sometimes build. He proclaimed the love of God no matter what, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.

Prelude: “Variations on Wondrous Love” by Robert Lau
Postlude: “To God Be the Glory” by Edward Broughton

Scripture John 3:16-17 and Matthew 28:16-20:

John

16 God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. 17 God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Matthew

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”

The Sacraments

In today’s sermon, Pastor Jamie talks about the different sacraments. Methodism follows two sacraments: Baptism and communion. Baptism represents our initial covenant with God to follow him and keep his commandments. Communion reaffirms the covenant of baptism, so while we only get baptized once, communion is an ongoing reminder of God’s grace and our commitment.

Prelude: “The Communion Table” by Michael Shea
Anthem: “Let the Same Mind Be in You” by Thomas Pavlechko
Postlude: “Prelude in C Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach BWV 549

Scripture: Matthew 3:11-17 and Matthew 26:26-30

Matthew 3:11-17
11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.”

13 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River so that John would baptize him. 14 John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you, yet you come to me?”

15 Jesus answered, “Allow me to be baptized now. This is necessary to fulfill all righteousness.”

So John agreed to baptize Jesus. 16 When Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on him. 17 A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.”

Matthew 26:26-30
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” 27 He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven. 29 I tell you, I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 Then, after singing songs of praise, they went to the Mount of Olives.