Guest Speaker, Shannon Dean from Camp Chestermere shared on John 3:16. Shannon explored the different ways over the years he has understood this verse and the impact it has had on him personally. Is the calling of Camp Chestermere and Lake Ridge to be a people that would so love our neighbours that we give of ourselves so that they would see the one that makes difference in our lives?
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This Lent season we’re talking about how God meets us. Join us on Sunday mornings as we explore the biblical ‘One-Another’s. Pastor Evan shares on grace and how God’s love for us is poured out in the moment Jesus choses to die on the cross for us. The lent story is literally about exposing the weakness. Revealing in our weakness, our failures that is actually the moment that Jesus makes the choice. Jesus did not give his life for you at your best, he gave his lief for you at your worst. The practice of grace begins internally in each of our own souls. Us coming to understand the depth of God's grace for you and I. Our failures call us back to Him.
Pastor Evan wraps up this quick two-week series on discernment. What does it look like to be healthy, good spiritual discerners? Discernment is the process that we use, whether big or small to make a decision to separate or decide or to come to a conclusion. It is a process that takes place in and through the spirit of God. Pastor Evan shares the 5 foundations of the process of discernment from the book Pursuing God’s Will Together, by Ruth Haley Barton.
Pastor Evan begins the two week series on discernment. What does it look like to be healthy, good spiritual discerners? Discernment is the process that we use, whether big or small to make a decision to separate or decide or to come to a conclusion. Reading through the story in John 9 Pastor Evan shares on spiritual discernment. It is the ability to distinguish between good (that which draws us closer to God) and evil (that which draws us further apart from God). We need those around us to help grow a capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and activity of God - in the ordinary and the big moments. It’s important to ask ourselves in this process, “what are the barriers that stand in the way of me seeing what God is doing?”
Pastor Preston shared in our sermon series “Ordinary Saints." Jesus saw people as more than they were. They were beloved, holy, and beautiful to God. Our journey of following Jesus is about accepting who Jesus says we are. This week Pastor Preston shared the story of when Jesus Saw Zacchaeus. Zaccheus is noted not only as a tax collector, but as the chief tax collector of Jericho. Jesus offers him unexpected love.
Pastor Evan shared in our sermon series “Ordinary Saints." Jesus saw people as more than they were. They were beloved, holy, and beautiful to God. Our journey of following Jesus is about accepting who Jesus says we are. This week Pastor Evan shared the story of the samaritan woman from John 4. The story is from 2000 years ago and it was a male dominated culture. Men and women were not seen as equal. That was not the way Jesus saw the culture or women. Jesus held women at the same place as men. We see that in the way he lived out his life. The women he had around him were these power house women. Jesus shared his more intimate secret with the samaritan woman and by cultural standards did this in a dirty and unholy place. Jesus saw the saintly in this person when no one else could see.
We joined Camp Chestermere during their School Year Camp for students aged Gr. 6-12 to worship together. This Sunday, Erik our Youth Ministry Leader, shared what God had laid on his heart. The theme for the weekend was participate. Erik shared on how participation is an invitation to participate in relationship with God. God invites you to participate in what he’s already doing. He doesn’t use you. God meets us where we are at.
We’re introducing this podcast with a bit of context on a unique Sunday morning. It was with broken hearts on Sunday, October 7 we learned of the sudden passing of our dear friend and worship leader, Melissa. With great sadness we worshiped together that morning. Pastor Evan shared that morning with a raw and emotional sermon. We wanted to share this message with you in memory of Melissa. Our hope is that this message is encouraging to you and that we can be reminded how God enters into our story sometimes in extreme pain and sadness.
Worship bring us together. It is the gathered people of God collectively expressing our heart for Him. In John 14:1, it says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, but trust in God, trust also in me.” A sense of peace that came with that. Jesus had only given them reason to trust him. Jesus promised to give you and I a gift: an advocate, counsellor and a guide. The very spirit will be present and it will be around us, beside us and inside of our hearts. He told them they could trust it as if Jesus was physically present with them. He promised the same spirit inside of them should be shared and would be in all of those gathered who trusted in the voice of God. It was strange, because even as they were sad and upset by whatever was going to happen to Jesus there was a sense of peace they were all going to endure in the end. Even Jesus was going to be ok.
Pastor Evan wraps up the sermon series with a few stories of seeing God in the train wrecks with Courtney and Lindsay. This sermon series has profoundly important for us not just the scripture or the stories, but because this is actually the heart of what God calls the church to be about. Broken, messy people doing life together with the help of Jesus. Jesus promised you that life was going to come off the rails. The greatest offence we could do is to hide. When He has given you a community of followers of Jesus and a community who speak the life of God in our life and story. God draws near to us. He would move into the neighbourhood and demonstrate his heart and his passion in our messy lives. In the midst of our doubt, pain, anger, and fears. God faces you in the midst of your fear. He does it with compassion, with love and with courage and truth.
Some of the train wrecks come from outside and some come inside ourselves. There are sometimes hurts or lies that linger inside ourselves. Pastor Preston shares what it looks like for us to pay attention to the train wrecks on the inside of us by teaching from Galatians 5:22. God is very interested of what's going on inside. We have a hard time admitting there are some pieces of destruction or darkness inside of us. We would rather be told how to clean up the pain and mess inside of us. We may want a sermon that teaches us how to follow rules, hurt less and how to make it look better on the outside. God is working to liberate us, love us, free us from the shadows of sorrow, guilt and shame.
On the final week of our sermon series Pastor Evan takes a different approach of summarizing the story by reviewing the whole letter from Paul in Colossians and asking individuals to read parts of it through out the message. Paul was writing to the people of Colossae attending a small house church, who are ultimately brand new to the faith. Paul is encouraging them to seek Christ and trust. Paul wants us to know that no matter what we do God's love is not being withheld. His love is present with us. God's love is pouring over you and it's always been there.
Pastor Evan shares the story of Paul writing to the early church of Colossians and in their young church they had people in all walks of life. They were just a small group of messy people that were trying to figure out how to hear the voice of God and try to apply what they were learning about this Jesus guy they were hearing about. They weren't perfect and they hadn't figured it out. But they could see little signs that God was in this place.
Pastor Preston wraps up our sermon series "Welcome Home" by sharing on compassion and friendship. Jesus comes to us first to meet us with his compassion first. He is taking us to experience compassion. We sometimes hear messages that our filters have us thinking Jesus wants us to do more. To be hospitable, host a meal, be more neighbourly. The story of God is not asking you to be Martha Stewart. The story of God is about making a space for you. This is why it's a story of compassion. We can't practice compassion with other people if we can't treat ourselves kindly. When we are filled, we can fill others.
Pastor Evan explores the importance of hospitality and the barriers we perceive there to be around it. What is your definition of hospitality? What are the barriers you perceive to inviting people into your homes and your life? Maybe productivity? Fear? Self-preservation? Insecurity? So if we look into the deepest parts of our humanity we can suddenly see there are not so many differences between the stranger and us. Our calling as the people of God is not to change people, but to create a space where change can happen. What does it mean for you to be a person who creates safe places for people to experience our loving father in heaven.
As we continue through our Welcome Home sermon series we welcomed guest speaker Gary Hatt who spent some time sharing what God has put on his heart over the last little while.
As we get closer to Easter, Pastor Preston shared on the journey from Envy to Courage. He explored how envy clouds our vision, and how God’s love leads us into new life. Envy and courage hinge on how we relate to the goodness in others. there are at least three evil components to envy: the deep discontent that comes when I see that another person has what I want; the desire to have it for myself; and the desire for it to be taken from him.
We continue on our "Loved to Life" sermon series where we are exploring God sending his son, Jesus to enter into the story in a place of tension. Each week we'll explore a different vice and virtue and examine the journey. Pastor Evan shares on what it means to move from sloth to faith and move through the tension between. In today's culture sloth is defined as lazy or an inability to get moving. It's so damaging in our context. We would say laziness is one of the worst things in our culture because we are obsessed with productivity. What if there is a different definition? What if the definition was about a deeper sense of not feeling worthy. If you don't feel worthy enough then why would you try and work hard? Jesus enters into the story and begins to teach our value and worth. The spiritual work for us is to learn from Him what it means to be receptive to the great divine gift God has given to us.