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
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.