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.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

In today’s sermon, Pastor Jamie talks about the Nativity scene as described in the Bible. She talks about the coming of the Wise Men, and the star that appeared to herald the birth of the King of the Jews. Their journey was a long, arduous trek that took many months, and was of great cost. God guides our lives in a similar way, today. Not with a bright shining star, but with other guiding lights. Sometimes, in the darkness of life, we rely on these shining lights. And when we don’t have the clarity or ability to see in the distance, we must trust in God and have faith in his plan. We must have faith that God’s light is always there.

Isaiah 60:1-6

Arise! Shine! Your light has come;
the Lord’s glory has shone upon you.
2 Though darkness covers the earth
and gloom the nations,
the Lord will shine upon you;
God’s glory will appear over you.
3 Nations will come to your light
and kings to your dawning radiance.

4 Lift up your eyes and look all around:
they are all gathered; they have come to you.
Your sons will come from far away,
and your daughters on caregivers’ hips.
5 Then you will see and be radiant;
your heart will tremble and open wide,
because the sea’s abundance will be turned over to you;
the nations’ wealth will come to you.
6 Countless camels will cover your land,
young camels from Midian and Ephah.
They will all come from Sheba,
carrying gold and incense,
proclaiming the Lord’s praises.

Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. 2 They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”

3 When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. 4 He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:

6 You, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah,
because from you will come one who governs,
who will shepherd my people Israel.”

7 Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” 9 When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. 11 They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.

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A New Day…

In today’s sermon, Pastor Dottie talks about the dreams we have for our own future. Things like gaining weight, or losing weight. Goals of being healthy, writing books, job possibilities, running marathons, getting a degree. Many of the things we dream of do come true, so this is our week to dream of what we hope to create. What we hope to set aside. Are we ready to take on the new year of 2019?

Prelude: “A Christmas Prelude on In Dulci Jubilo” by Charles Callahan
Postlude: “Noël étranger” by Louis-Claude Daquin

Scripture: Luke 2:22-40

22 When the time came for their ritual cleansing, in accordance with the Law from Moses, they brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. (23 It’s written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord.”) 24 They offered a sacrifice in keeping with what’s stated in the Law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

25 A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He was righteous and devout. He eagerly anticipated the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he wouldn’t die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple area. Meanwhile, Jesus’ parents brought the child to the temple so that they could do what was customary under the Law. 28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said,

29 “Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word,
30 because my eyes have seen your salvation.
31 You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples.
32 It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and a glory for your people Israel.”

33 His father and mother were amazed by what was said about him. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your innermost being too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, who belonged to the tribe of Asher. She was very old. After she married, she lived with her husband for seven years. 37 She was now an 84-year-old widow. She never left the temple area but worshipped God with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 She approached at that very moment and began to praise God and to speak about Jesus to everyone who was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Mary and Joseph had completed everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their hometown, Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The child grew up and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

The Future of Hope

In today’s sermonette, Pastor Jamie asks us to think of all the road trips we’ve been on, whether we were the driver, passenger, or the small child asking, “Are we there yet?!” The response is always “No! We’ll let you know when we get there.” In life we ask the same question, wondering when we’ll get there. Christmas is a season of preparation for the Christ child, waiting for the God-Man Jesus to be born. We wait for the final coming of God. Christianity is a culture of waiting. Not waiting like waiting in line at the grocery store, but the eager expectation of something that wonderful that has been a long time coming. We await the joyful moment of meeting God again. Watch the full sermon and enjoy the music worship, and thank you for joining.

Scripture: Matthew 11:2-11

2 Now when John heard in prison about the things the Christ was doing, he sent word by his disciples to Jesus, asking, 3 “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

4 Jesus responded, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. 5 Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them. 6 Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me.”

7 When John’s disciples had gone, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John: “What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A stalk blowing in the wind? 8 What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes? Look, those who wear refined clothes are in royal palaces. 9 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 He is the one of whom it is written: Look, I’m sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way before you.

11 “I assure you that no one who has ever been born is greater than John the Baptist. Yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

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.