Sermon Archives

God’s World Arranging Heart in a Florist

Florists are made in the image of a God who arranged everything! What they do, and how they do it, can TEACH US something about the World Arranging Heart of God

Seeing God Through an Optometrist

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten takes us through the godliness of the profession of an Optometrist. Why the eye doctor? First, they have front-row seat to a miraculous part of creation called the “human eye” (a part of creation that reflects some of its Maker’s wisdom!) Second, Optometrists are made in the image of a God who wants people to SEE! (their passions are an expression of God’s passions… and point to God’s heart!)

Hearing God Through an Audiologist

What does the nature of an audiologist teach us about God’s sense restoring heart? Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda loop Church brings us the gospel message of a God who wants to restore our hearing. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” – Jesus (Luke 8:8)

Finding God at Crossfit

Put your exercise gear on! Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church brings us the gospel message by unpacking the exercise regimen called “Cross Fit”. As Pastor John says, “All good workouts are God’s good work outs.”

Engaging God Through Purity

Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop presents part 6 of our series on The Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount- “Blessed are the Pure in heart, for they will see God.” Pastor John discuss what it means to be PURE IN HEART and what keeps us away from that place – what we lose when we live IMPURE in heart lives. God made us and wants us to live full abundant lives. Our desires were made for God more than anything. His desire for us is pure and he wants more than anything to give us a new heart, to make us pure again. What joy is found in seeing the face of God smiling back at us!

Engaging God Through Mercy

 “Engaging God Through Mercy”. Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop presents part 5 of our series on The Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount- “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Pastor John unpacks these words using the powerful example of Father Fagba, a Catholic priest in the Central African Republic. We live in an all too merciless world. When we own our own fallibilities and take the right actions in love, there is a better chance to be more merciful with each other. Can we be in the right relationship with God when we are not in the right relationship with his people? It is one thing to be morally tough but quite another to be mercifully soft in that toughness.

Engaging God Through Justice

Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop presents part 4 of our series on The Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Today, Pastor John unpacks the fourth Beatitude (blessing),” Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”. Considering recent events around the world today, vaccine inequality, racism, climate change… it is hard to imagine that God faces this continually moment by moment, time after time and weeps with us… and here we are, yearning to make things right, hungering and thirsting for justice. Knowing we can not live with out God’s justice and victory prevailing. Hopeful that God will keep his promise and make all things new again. In the meantime, all we can do is reach out to each other. See each other. Wonder, rage, grieve with each other. And Transform together knowing God through our small acts of love and acceptance.

Engaging God Through Meekness

Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop continues his series on The Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Today, Pastor John discusses the third Beatitude (blessing),” Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”. Pastor John unpacks for us what it means to be “meek”. Given the life and times of our world today, meekness seems to be quite counterintuitive! We live in a world that praises strength and power. So, what does it really mean to be of a “meek” nature? And what does it have to do with inheriting the earth?! Jesus lived it so that we could learn from his example and be to others what he is to us. And then, well, we gain everything – in short, we, “inherit the earth” and can live a life renewed with God.

Engaging God Through Mourning

Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop continues his series on The Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes are blessings spoken by Jesus to us. To receive a blessing from God is to know that God is with us. Today’s Pastor John discusses the second Beatitude” Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Mourning, as Eugene Peterson says, is present in ALL our lives, ALL the time. It can break out into the surface of our lives at the most banal of moments triggering a deep, deep brokenness. Jesus offers us a way out, a way to be whole again. He knows your name, your story – Jesus KNOWS you. When we step into our grief and pain, admitting our loss to God, we open ourselves up for healing and comfort.

Engaging God Through Spiritual Poverty

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop begins a new series on The Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes are blessings spoken by Jesus to us. To receive a blessing from God is to know that God is with us. Today’s topic focuses on the first part of the Beatitudes – “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Pastor John discusses what it means to be “poor in spirit.” Those of us who have hit rock bottom, who are desperate, fallen short, are left with no options certainly can fall into this category. However, this is exactly where we can find God, walking with our spirit crushed, looking for a way out, our of control selves, blessing us and inviting us to let him in on our life’s journey.

You Shall Not Steal

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten talks about the tenth commandment.

Engaging God Through Your Character

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop discusses “Engaging God Through Character”. What does it look like? How can our ‘good character traits” be a means through which we can engage God in the world around us? Pastor John asks us to consider where we are in this pandemic. How has God grown our character over this past year? How can we LOVE like Christ? When we’ve seen the truth about ourselves, we can choose to own it and rise above it. This is the work of God in our lives.

The Vision of Marda Loop Church

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church brings us part 2 of his 3-part series on change in the church. Last week, Pastor John left us with the question” Are you willing to change?’ This week, Past John presents the “Vision of Marda Loop Church” – what the change occurring in Marda Loop Church will look like in the months to come. God is calling Marda Loop Church to step into the faith life he has placed before us. We are a church that seeks to help people Engage God Everywhere – at home, at works, at school, at play, in the valley and on the mountain top. God is everywhere and is in everything. We invite you to join us on this exciting journey. We (Marda Loop Church) are amid a season of change that began long before COVID. Next week, we will have a community Zoom call to share our thoughts on the Vision of Marda Loop Church.

God's Changing Church

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church begins a 3-part series on Change in the church. Pastor John‘s message is an overview on how the church has always changed and how it always needs to change. We are increasingly challenged to trust and make space for God’s new thing to happen. What is holding us back? How do we move forward to be who God is calling us to be? These are exciting times! We (Marda Loop Church) are amid a season of change that began long before COVID. Next week, Pastor John will address the theological foundation of the vision that God has placed before us. In the third week, we will have a community Zoom call to share our insights on Gods’ Changing Church at Marda Loop Church.

You Shall Not Lie

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church talks about the ninth commandment, “You shall not lie”. 

Rembrandt's Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church concludes his Lenten/Easter Art Series by with Rembrandt’s painting “Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene”. Pastor John asks us to remember and re – enter the event that changed the course of history and has the power to transform our lives. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of our Christian faith. Just as Jesus met Mary and called her by name, he is stands in front of us, today, calling. He knows our name. He knows everything about us and still loves us. This is the miracle of Easter! The power of the resurrection is found in the voice that whispers to our hearts, reaching out and into us – calling us to him.

Rembrandt's The Raising of the Cross

In this Good Friday message, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church shares the gospel message of Christ’s crucifixion using Rembrandt’s painting “The Raising of the Cross”. Rembrandt knew the truth about the human condition. He knew what Jesus knew- that we are a broken people and we have fallen short of the glory of God. Just as Rembrandt put himself into the painting, Pastor John asks us to imagine ourselves standing at the foot of the cross. What would we have done? Are we ready to enter the story and own our part? Rembrandt’s painting asks us to follow the light and see ourselves for who we truly are and remember that we can follow the story to the end, rejoicing in the very perfect ending of the grace, love and mercy we find on Easter Sunday. Pastor John ends this message with communion. We invite you to take part by making sure you have something to eat and drink (like a cup of juice and a piece of bread) on hand.

Engaging God Through Rublev's "Trinity"

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church continues his Lenten/Easter Art Series by inviting us to consider the 600-year-old icon painting “The Holy Trinity” by Andrei Rublev. Through Rublev’s painting, we can engage the presence of God. Pastor John invites us to step into this ancient painting and connect to God’s ever-present presence. Just as Rublev’s painting has a space at the table for us, God has created space for us to experience and encounter him every day in every way. Through the “The Holy Trinity”, we are invited to an eternal, divine community of love. Will you accept the invitation?

Marc Chagall and the Selfless Love of God

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church shares the gospel message of God’s selfless love for us. Pastor John takes us back into the remarkable story of Ruth using the eyes of Jewish artist Mark Chagall. The story of Ruth teaches us how to perceive and experience God’s light when it is lived out in selfless ways. Indeed, it gives birth to the very presence of God.

The Group of Seven: Engaging God's Grandeur

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten speaks about the power and grandeur that God has placed into the Canadian landscape, and how these stunning locations inspired a group of Canadian painters in the 1920s and 1930s to create masterworks of colour and shape.

Vincent Van Gogh (and the Glory of Being Human)

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church invites us into the world of Vincent Van Gogh and looks at the “glory of being human.” Van Gogh painted and sketched compelling portraits of ordinary people because he saw the extraordinary in them. He saw people using God’s eyes, loved and unique creations. We were all made in God’s image. Pastor John asks us “What would it mean to engage in His presence, listen for His voice, or catch His ear, next time you sit down to a dinner with others?” Can you see God’s fingerprint on you? your neighbour? The homeless guy by the side of the road? As Pastor John says, “If Jesus made everyone… then he made every one…” everywhere, everyone – HIS.

Life Next to God

What does living a life next to God look like? Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church takes us on the road to Emmaus, walking and talking with Jesus. Using this image, Pastor John shares the gospel message of Christ in Psalm 16. What joy in life we can have when we live “in Coram Deo”, our eyes fixed on Christ, knowing God is with us in all things.

How to Cope When Good Things Happen to Bad People

What do we do when GOOD things happen to BAD people?! This is the topic that Pastor John Van Sloten from Marda Loop Church brings to us today. Pastor John invites us to unpack Psalm 73 with him by holding a certain person who we believe to be like this in our thoughts as he dives into God’s word. Today is communion so make sure you have your food and beverage of choice ready for the end of the service!

Holding On

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church talks about how to “HOLD ON”. What do we do when life threatens to overwhelm us, and things are out of control? How do we hold on when we are powerless, surrounded, restricted or anxious? Pastor John shares the gospel message by encouraging us to dig deeper and reflect on the Old Testament Psalm 46. The psalms are life-giving emotional reflections of the human condition. We can turn to them often in our deepest sorrow and in our moments of greatest joy for they reflect God’s saving word and action throughout history. When we recall the faith stories of the past, we are in turn, given the faith that we need for today. We need only be still and know that He is God. To donate to Marda Loop Church or to discover more about our church and Pastor John Van Sloten, please visit our website at http://www.mardaloopchurch.ca.

The Faith Building Power of Mountains

Today’s topic is “The Faith- Building Power of Mountains”. Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church reflects on the brokenness of our world, be it the coup in Myanmar, the storming of the US Capitol, systemic racism, the ongoing ravages of COVID, you name it, it is broken. We are broken. Pastor John encourages us to look up, past the weight of the world and gain a new perspective. He urges us to consider God’s creation- the mountains looming in the distance, seemingly immoveable from our point of view, yet constantly in motion and life-giving from an eternal point of view. Our lives, frail, fleeting and fraught with despair are all lovingly held in the all-powerful hand of God. The God who created the mountains and the water to flow from a rock is more than enough for whatever we are facing.

Knowing God Through Your Knees

John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church focuses on how we can know God through our knees, this week. “Knowing God Through Your Knees” is a sermon that was previously shared at New Hope Church. It is certainly amazing to think that the design of the knee was a thought in the mind of God before it ever came to be! Our knees have the immense capacity that enables us to image God more fully. This sermon is part of a John Templeton Foundation Grant that was given to Fuller Seminary for a STEAM project and will be part of a book that Pastor John Van Sloten is currently writing.

You Shall Not Steal (Scheme, Cheat, Swindle, or Commit Fraud in Any Way

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church shares his thoughts on commandment number 8 – “You Shall Not Steal” in his series on the Ten Commandments. If we look about in our world, we will soon notice all the different ways we “steal” from each other. Stealing is about more than swindling our neighbour. It is also about squandering the gifts that God has given us! We live in denial in relation to the many larcenous things we do by depersonalizing, minimizing or conscience laundering. After all, “Everyone does it” seems to come easy to our lips. We would not be stealing from ourselves, robbing ourselves of our best possible life. The fact remains, however, that we miss out on all the goodness that comes from living a ‘non-stealing life”. We are called to add to people’s lives, not take away from them. We are called to love – selflessly. Like all the previous commandments, God gives us this command, not to limit or control our lives, but to enable us to live our best life and flourish.

You Shall Not Commit (Cognitive, Emotional, or Visual) Adultery

“You Shall Not Commit (Cognitive or visual) Adultery”.  This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church discusses about adultery as installment 7 on his series on the Ten Commandments.  Like all the previous commandments, God gives us this command, not to limit or control our lives, but to enable us to live our best life and flourish.  A pure heart is an undivided heart.  When we falter in a love that is meant to be exclusive and pure, our hearts crumble.  God wants us to love with an undivided heart, just as He loves us.  He is always faithful, and we can live free and confident in His love.  This is how God made us to be in our relationship with Him and with others.  Please note, Pastor John concludes this sermon with communion, so please be sure to get your drink and food of choice prepared. 

You Shall Not Commit (Word) Murder

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church discusses murder as installment 6 on his series on the Ten Commandments.  Given our life and times of late, do we not either purposefully or unintentionally KILL each other all the time?  How many times have we taken on the role of judge, jury and executioner and skewer others with our words with either our inside or outside voices?  That poison pen tweet or text, the wicked insults, the salty jab…  We live in a world filled with serial verbal killers where any semblance of that gentleness, patience and self-control that defines our humanity disappears at any given moment.  What is God’s will for us in all of this?  God loves and cherishes all life. When we tear each other down, we destroy not only them but also ourselves. 

Commandment 5: Honour Your Parents

Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church, continues his series on the 10 Commandments with Number 5- “Honour your mother and father so that you may have a long life”.  What does this mean for our world today when so often we tend to put our elders in long term care and let someone else care for them? What about the parent who is abusive either emotionally or physically? How do we honour them and God?   Pastor Van Sloten tackles this difficult topic by pointing us to the example set for us by God.  As children of God, He shows us how to honour each other and our elders so that we can truly live a long life.

God's Hope for Ugly Ducklings

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church takes a look at how despite all the rejection in our lives, God has made us belong to a group.

A (Joyful) Pandemic Christmas

Welcome to our Christmas Eve Service!   Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church continues his Christmas series with the topic of  “ A Joyful Pandemic Christmas”.   Our joy is sourced in something greater than family gatherings, celebrations with friends, exchanging presents or a big Christmas Eve pageant at the church.    This is a deeper joy, a joy that comes when our idols of baubles and things have toppled and we are left with the wonderful gift of  God with us  – “unto us a Child is born”.  This new life in our world wipes out the memory of every pain and brings joy everlasting that no one can ever take away.

Holding on to Hope in a Pandemic

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church continues his Christmas series with the topic of Hope. Hope is the belief that things will work out well in the end (and given our life and times, isn’t that exactly what we need right now?) We can not hope and still ignore the mess that is right in front of us. Nietzsche famously said “when you look into the abyss, the abyss looks back at you”, or words to that effect. Hope that denies the brokenness of our present world is no hope at all. As God’s image bearers, we are called to give and be the hope for a broken world. We are called to investigate the abyss and consider the truth of what is going on around us and share God’s grief and sorrow, suffer with those who are suffering and walk with each other buoyed by the power and strength of His grace. Jesus is our hope, He is Immanuel – God with us. This is what enables us to live each day in expectation that all will be well in the end.

A Light(At the End of the Tunnel)

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church continues his Christmas series with the topic of Light.  The themes of light and darkness are front and center, especially during this time.   If you are lighting Advent candles with each passing week, the light of the candles can represent the darkness in our souls and hearts that fade as they are overcome by Light.  We are in a struggle in this life.  A struggle to live in the light and allow the light of Christ to fill the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds.  This light is visible in the people around us, in the physical distancing wave of a stranger passing by, in the hands of the health care workers, in the eyes of a loved one on a video call.  Love is God’s light in us as we can be the light of Christ to others in our families and in our community.

Finding Peace in a Pandemic

Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church begins a series on Peace, Light, Joy and Hope for the Christmas season. Today, Pastor John explores the theme of Peace, the kind of peace that passes all understanding and that holds us together in the worst storm- that kind that is so powerful that nothing can assail us. Is there even such a peace? The truth of the matter is that this peace, is exactly what we celebrate every year at this time. This Peace came in the form of a person, Jesus Christ, for he himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14)” For a person of faith”, Pastor John says, “peace is not just a state of mind, it’s a presence.” This is the peace that Christ offers.

God's heart for Plastic Sustanability

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church concludes his series on Faith and Science in part 2 of The Theology of Plastic. Pastor John takes on the issue of environmental sustainability and plastic in God’s ecologically self-sustaining world. In a world where everything is so disconnected and therefore unable to work together to find lasting environmentally sustainable solutions, is there any way to pull everything back together? Surprisingly, Chemistry is the key to it all and the ONE who fashioned the key, the one who spoke all of this into being is holding it all together.

The Theology of Plastic, Chemistry, and Catalysis

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church continues his series on Faith and Science with a message on The Theology of Plastic, chemistry and Catalysis. Understanding chemistry and chemists bring us that much closer to understanding how God thinks. It all matters! God has called us to steward this physical world, including figuring out how to make more out of the matter that God has given us. We can never become the new creations that God meant us to be without the catalyzing work of Christ. Christ is the catalyst that breaks our bondage to death and creates a new bond to a new life! God is making everything new and we are acting in his creation-catalyzing work.

God's Saving Hope in a Vaccine

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church continues his series on Faith and Science with a message on vaccines. At a time such as this, when we are looking for hope, the news that a vaccine is on the horizon certainly brings the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel into focus. Pastor John unpacks this news with a theological eye exploring the nature of God’s “healing creativity power” and just what a vaccine’s nature can teach us about God. Even as He has built a saving way into our immune systems, God has built in the potential capacity to be saved into all things.

Knowing God Through Science

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church shares the gospel message through an introduction to faith and science. This is the second message in the 3-week series on God and Work, titled, “Knowing God Through Science”. Imagine, the mediator of salvation is also the mediator of creation. What better way to know Jesus than through his creation! Pastor John encourages us to allow the Spirit to point us to God in all spaces that unveil His truth and revelation. As Psalm 19 says, the heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands”. When we consider the beauty of the physical universe God has made, let us remember that it was brought into being by way of THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE that is JESUS CHRIST.

God's Advocating Heart in a Lawyer

Pastor John shares the gospel message through his interviews with a litigator and a prosecutor. Christ is our first advocate, our mediator before the throne of God, and the Holy Spirit, the second, working within us to remind us of the truth of advocacy. The work of the lawyer who gives voice to the voiceless and who speaks for us and helps us in ways that only they can, is doing God’s work. Anyone who has the heart and capacity to speak to and right a wrong is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work. All advocating moments are pregnant with God’s heart. We are called to trust the Spirit to give us the words, the way and the capacity to bring justice for all people and all things.

The 10 Commandments #3: Resting With God

This is the fourth sermon of Pastor John Van Sloten’s series on the 10 Commandments. What does it mean to “rest with God”? Why is it important to keep the Sabbath holy? May you also find ways to rest in God especially during these hectic and troubled times.

The 10 Commandments #3: Knowing God's Name​

Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop church continues his series on the 10 commandments with commandment number 3 – “Knowing God’s Name”. What does it mean to misuse God’s name? What does it mean to rightly use God’s name? We are called to “not take God’s name in vain” – to not treat God’s being as empty. It is possible for us to repeatedly and habitually turn away from God’s mercy to the point that turning to God becomes impossible. His character becomes unreal. Pastor John encourages us to remember His Name, to know who God is and treat him accordingly. For as we do this, one day, we will truly know our real and eternal selves. We are His and He knows our name.

The 10 Commandments #2: No need for Idols

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church brings us the second message in his series on the 10 Commandments. The second commandment to “have no other gods before me” (No Idols), is not only about WHO we worship, but also, HOW we worship. We make idols out of the things we “love” in hopes that our lives will be more full, have more meaning, be complete – If we are to find our way to God, we don’t need to set the terms and conditions for living in relationship with Him, He makes the way for us through His son, our mediator. Through Jesus, all things are possible.

The 10 Commandments: I'll be your God

Today, we begin a series on some wise words to live your best life by – also known as “The Ten Commandments”.   Join us as Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church  dives into this ancient life giving teaching tool with the first commandment, “you shall have no Gods before me”. (Exodus 20: 3)  We have a God who hears and cares for us even when we think he is far away.  He is the creator of the universe and has brought us out of the slavery of our crazy, egocentric world.  No matter where we are in our lives, God loves us.  He is God- with-us and we will never be alone.  How cool is that!?

The theology of Lego™

“Everything is Awesome!” – especially in the God’s world! Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church sermon is titled “ The Theology of LEGO”. You are invited to get your LEGO out and create your masterpiece while listening to Pastor John’s talk. As Pastor John states“ …fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you , and quickly respond to it… God brings the best out of you”. Let this be our focus as we go about our daily lives.

Cognitive Biases (and the corruption of human thought)

This is the third and final sermon of Pastor John Van Sloten’s series on neuroscience. Today, Pastor John takes a look at cognitive biases and their impact on our relationship with God. A cognitive bias can easily tangle us up in sin and paralyze us from moving forward in our faith. However, these biases are just the relational tools we need to engage the world and can help us navigate the complexity of our lives. Pastor John Van Sloten brings the gospel message that points the way forward with all of our broken cognitive capacities. We need only be still and know that God has got our backs even in our blind spots.

Engaging God's Mind throught Theory of Mind

Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church continues his 3 week series on neuroscience. Today’s sermon is entitled “Engaging God’s Mind Through Theory of Mind”. As image bearers of God, are not our minds part of the image bearing nature of God? God created us with the theory of mind so that we can relate to and know Him well.

The Bio-Parable of a Neural Stress Reducing Mechanism

Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church begins a 3 week series on neuroscience. Today’s sermon is entitled “The Bio-Parable of Neural Stress Reducing Mechanisms”. As Abraham Kuyper’s states “ There can be nothing in the universe that fails to express, to incarnate, the revelation of the thought of God.” God’s divine thinking is embedded into all things. Given the general elevated anxiety levels of many people today, it is indeed amazing that God built a stress regulating mechanism into our brains so we wouldn’t get too overwhelmed! Pastor John shares the gospel message of hope that Christ is the Messiah that brings the saving that keeps life’s stresses from overtaking us. God has created the very means for us so that one day we will fully know and see the One through whom it all works.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

Today, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop church concludes his series on the “Parables of Grace” with the “The Parable of the Persistant Widow”. Pastor John walks us through this tale of mystery and paradox using the famous portrait of Florence Owens Thompson. While Florence never fully got the justice she deserved, GREATER JUSTICE seems to have reigned! God calls us to pray unceasingly, trusting that He will move in mysterious ways to play out the deepest desires of our ‘unanswered’ prayers in a profound manner that reflects His wisdom and glory. Pastor John Van Sloten encourages us to keep persisting in prayer and persevere. God loves you, sees you and will bring justice as only He can. Please note, Pastor John will lead us through virtual communion at the end of the talk so make sure you have your drink and food ready when the time comes.

Connection: Beyond our Vision

This week, we continue with  Michelle Gritter’s series on connections called “Legato”.   Today’s topic is Marriage.  “Marriage”, Michelle says, “is  part of God’s big connection story and so it’s a part worth understanding.”  How does marriage play a role in our call to be kingdom bringers?  What makes marriages work and what makes them disintegrate?  Married or not, each of us has a deep longing for connection.  When we stand on the edge of the chasms of our lives and call, “Hello?  Is anyone there?” – listen for there is a “Great Big Love” calling back to you.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son, August 16, 2020

This is the third installment of Pastor John Van Sloten’s series on “The Parables of Grace”. Today, Pastor John uses Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal Son to reveal how we are so much like the main characters in this tale. This parable and Rembrandt’s painting reveals the mystery of how mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing come together to bear witness to the gospel message of Jesus.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan ( Parables of Grace) August 09, 2020

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church continues his series on the Parables of Grace. Pastor John invites us into the Parable of the Good Samaritan with a brief study of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting. He challenges us to really see what is in front of us if we want to live our best lives now. We all have different beliefs but our hearts for each other, our compassion, our vulnerability, is what connects us to people if we but open our eyes and really see with God’s eyes.

The Spiritual Practice of Wearing a Mask, July 26, 2020

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten takes on the current ‘mask -wearing debate” that has been prominent in the news lately. Pastor Van Sloten speaks to the theology of mask wearing – not only is it physiologically good for us but did you know it is also SPIRITUALLY good as well? How can we make mask -wearing a “spiritual practice”? Listen as Pastor John Van Sloten encourages us to preach the gospel in this uncertain time by the simple act of wearing a mask.

What's so Special about Tabitha? ( Acts of the Church Series with Guest Pastor Dan Roukema) June 28, 2020

This week, guest pastor Dan Roukema, from Emmanuel Christian Reformed Church in Calgary speaks on Tabitha, a woman who broke the ceiling in a patriarchal world. By asking us, “How is the risen Christ active among us? How are we, the hands and feet of Jesus, causing things to happen that wouldn’t otherwise happen?”

thumbnail image courtesy of: https://tonyevans.org/

How to Lash Out Less ( and get along with those you disagree with) June 19, 2020

This week, Pastor John Van Sloten of Marda Loop Church tackles the difficult topic of ” how to be civil in an increasingly uncivil world.” It is something we all deal with regularly, how do we respond to those people we vehemently disagree with? These days seem to be fraught with finger-pointing, division, and hostility. Pastor John Van Sloten shares the gospel message that we, as human beings are meant to live together in peace. As members of God’s family, we are meant to be in a loving relationship with each other! That is the key to becoming a force for good in helping our world get along.

The Power and Parable of an Apology June 13, 2020

This week, Michelle Gritter continues her Legato series on connection likening a car to the family unit. What do you do when the parts of the car are not working together in harmony? Michelle explores ‘the humble but mighty apology” within the family and that leads us, by design, to our connection with God.

If you are interested in listening to the podcast that Michelle referenced, you can find the direct link at https://brenebrown.com/podcast and find it there.

 

Our Broken Hearts June 6, 2020

This week, Pastor John takes on the topic of racism.  The recent events around the death of George Floyd have been unsettling at best. The news of the day is consumed by the unrest and protests against racial injustice that is happening worldwide.  It is discouraging and heartbreaking.  The wounds of racism cut deep.  How do we respond?   Pastor John encourages us to earnestly look within ourselves and seek God’s heart.  We are made for so much more. 

 

Knowing God in a Pandemic Storm May 30, 2020

Today’s message is the second of a three part series on “Pandemic Metaphors”. Pastor John invites us into Rembrandt’s painting, “The Storm in the Sea of Galilee to share the gospel message. God is always in control. Our stormy chaos is not stormy to God. We begin to see the God – ness of God and that He is IN the storm with us.

Finding God in a COVID 19 Wilderness May 23, 2020

This is the first sermon in a new series on “Pandemic Metaphors”. Today, Pastor John walks us through our present day ‘wilderness experience’. Just as God used the desert wilderness to shape and build Moses and the Israelites, he is walking with us today, “a voice calling in the wilderness”. We’ve been knocked off our well worn beaten paths so that we can do some spiritual exploration. Pastor John encourages us to step out into a new space, awake and ready encounter God in a new way! Who is God nudging you to be?

What's Your Style? May 16, 2020

This the fourth instalment of Michelle Gritter’s Legato series on connection. Today, Michelle speaks on attachment. It is all around us. There are even websites, blogs and vlogs and online quizzes to help us determine our attachment style.
Using Philippians 3: 10-11, Michelle shares the gospel message of what it means to really know Christ. Michelle says, ” If you want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, you must start with who you are. What matters to you? What’s stirring in you? What are you worried about? Passionate about? … to come to know is to know and grow. “

The Bio-Parable of the Human Immune System May 9, 2020

Our bodies are amazing, mind-blowing creations! Pastor John shares how “science can be a source of therapy and grace in the face of all that we do not know in this pandemic time.” This is the parable of the miracle that is the human immune system. It is a story of God’s constant, faithful care, and presence in every moment of our lives.

God's Wisdom in Camus'"The Plague" May 2, 2020

Today, Pastor John draws a parallel between Albert Camus’ famous novel “The Plague” and life today, living through COVID 19. It is a difficult read; however, Camus’ story has a resonance for us today. Camus writes of a doctor’s helplessness as he is unable to cure his friend. Pastor John shares the truth that ONLY God has the imagination to see both the problem and the cure. “Who will rescue us from the body that is subject to death? ” (Romans 7:24)

Worry in a Time of Pandemic April 25, 2020

Our lives seem so out of control these days. There is so much to process- so much change. When is it all going to end?! And so, we worry. We agonize, we stress out. Pastor John shares Jesus’ wisdom on this very topic from the book of Matthew. As Pastor John says, ” Life is SO MUCH MORE than the things you often worry about. “

Serve and Return with Michelle Gritter April 18, 2020

Michelle Gritter brings us part 3 of her Legato series. Today, Michelle explores a modern parable of raising children to illustrate what happens when we are in crisis. We cry out collectively, “Why is this happening? Where is God in all of this?” The human experience has always been about comfort and struggle. Darkness and Light. Serve and Return. God is in charge of it all.

When Resurrection meets Pandemic April 11, 2020

Are you awake? What does it mean to be alive in the resurrected Jesus? Do you understand what that means? Using Piero della Francesca’s painting of “The Resurrection”, Pastor John shares the hope-filled perspective that Jesus, Son of God, brings to a pandemic filled world this Easter.

Good Fridy ( in a COVID World) April 9, 2020

Pastor John encourages us to enter into Rembrandt’s painting of the “Three Crosses” and relive the story anew…as a people who suffer… as a people who have suffered in the past… and as a people who are suffering now in the midst of a pandemic. Through Christ’s suffering and through our present troubled times, God is present in a very real way.

The Parable of the Front Line Worker April 4, 2020

This week, Pastor John speaks to seeing a reflection and hearing God’s voice in the faces and actions of the Health Care workers as they care for those who are in need. Pastor John shares a message of hope and courage in these trying times. God is with us.

Coronavirus, Anxiety and the Human Brain March 29, 2020

Michelle Gritter, guest pastor speaks about how we respond when our brains get hijacked by the tidal waves of information that have been coming our way these days. This is a stressful time full of anxiety, loneliness and disquiet. Michelle uses the imagery of the “rider and the elephant” in our brains to help us understand our need for connection within ourselves in the face of our fears.

The Parable of COVID 19 March 22, 2020

“There once was a world that had lost its way…” Society has been upended. Where is God in all of this? Pastor John Van Sloten brings a message of hope and faith in the midst of our present fears and turmoil with the Coronavirus. The scripture text is Psalm 46.

Supernovas ( and the Death and resurrection of matter) March 14, 2020

This sermon is the first in Pastor John Van Sloten’s Lenten series on Death and Resurrection. Listen as Pastor John delves into a comparison between the science between Supernovas and the Resurrection of Jesus . Sermon Text: Hebrews 1:2 New International Version (NIV) 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

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