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  • The Da Vinci Code - How the Bible came to be
    January 08, 2007
    Message: The DA VINCI CODE
    I personally would have like to have heard some additional points/comments in this sermon. My suggestions.
    First, the verses in 2 Peter 1:20,21. "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (NIV)
    or
    The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it's not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God's Word. (The Message)

    My thoughts are that God(the Holy Spirit)worked through the emotions, thoughs, experiences and the very heart of the person that wrote the Scriptures.

    For example, Jeremiah, the weeping prophet was pleading for the tribe of Israel to turn away from their sin and return to right living as required by God. Is it not really a loving Father, God speaking to these people through this faithful man?

    Also, the Apostle Peter experienced the anguish of denying that he knew Christ. Followed by Jesus reinstating Peter in John 21:15-17. This experience later enables Peter to write, "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
    or
    So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ--eternal and glorious plans they are!--will have you put together and on your feet for good. (The Message)

    I would have liked to have heard them because they have value to me, Spiritual value. That in part is a reason of why some books made it into the Old Testament. Jewish people agreed that Yahweh speaks through thess writings. And still does today.

    Similarities of the Gospels is partially a result of oral tradition. The learning and passing on of history/stories by memorizing them verbatim. A cultural practice of the time.

    Why do I write this? I feel strongly about it. It's not intended to judge criticise but to comment. It must be incredible difficult to sift throught all the material and form a sermon.

    It has been good to read these Scriptures again. They instruct me, give me hope and remind me of who's in control. I need to hear it. It has also been good for me to struggle through this e-mail. It brings clarity.
    Shalom
    Praying for you, Pastor John.
    Neil Reynolds


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    Lost
    December 14, 2006
    Pastor Robin
    Just want to say a big thanks for your message on 'Lost' that you gave at New Hope Church. I am a regular listener to the messages by John and have put links up on my myspace to a good number of those messages (www.myspace.com/dougiew) .

    Just wanted to let you know that I have put a couple of links up for the messages given at The Annex (My Name is Earl and House). I have a good number of people who visit my myspace page who appreciate good teaching and some who are not Christians at all who download various messages.

    MySpace is a great way for me to spread the message of the Gospel and it's brilliant that The Annex puts up the message for people to hear. I hope that this is okay with you. If it is not please let me know and I will take them down.

    Be blessed in your ministry Robin and may you always know the presence and help of the Holy Spirit in all that you are seeking God for at The Annex.

    Yours in the fellowship of the Gospel
    Doug Watson
    Glasgow, Scotland.




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    Lost
    December 10, 2006
    I guess a big part of it is that I believe that God is the one that draws people to Himself and it is not our job to save anybody, but rather to be Christ-like in all that we do. I don’t recall Jesus ever calling people to say a certain prayer but rather that we are to follow Him. I am sorry that Emily thinks that to love a person is to point out their sin and need for salvation, I don’t see this in Jesus, I see the saviour of the world teaching that we are to love God with everything that we have and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves and he then tells us (King James version): Matthew 28:19-20 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    When can we teach? When we have confronted people with their sin and depravity or when we are acting like Christ and teaching with our lives, I suppose both, but I know which one I would respond to?

    If I said that “God loves it all”, I apologize I meant that God loves everybody no matter their religious beliefs, that’s my understanding of John 3:16.

    I still completely believe that we are to “preach the gospel and when necessary use words”, as attributed to St. Francis.
    Robin Bailey


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    Lost
    December 09, 2006
    This is ridiculous. "Using his media, using his tv, his people."

    I'm a Christian. I also am a big Lost fan. But I know that any Christian allegory between Lost and the Bible is ridiculous. Nobody knows what's going on in Lost and you can make it mean whatever you like.

    Call me divisive, but I actually care enough about people to tell them about their sin and their need for salvation. Telling them that God loves them does not do anything at all, a person has to have a deep conviction of their sin and want to change their life. They must know that the wages of sin is death, and unless they come to salvation through Jesus, they will face that penalty.

    Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    You said, "It doesn't matter what religion you are, God loves it all."

    God loves everybody, but hates sin. He constantly says "Have no other Gods before me." I think Jesus Christ was probably the most divisive of them all. He is a loving saviour, full of grace, but he also is a righteous judge who must punish sin when the time comes. If people are not covered by Christ's blood on the cross, then they will pay those consequences.

    This is why I think it is most ridiculous to just say, "Hey, it's okay...just try to do the best you can, love everybody because God loves you." That's only one side of the story and it's very decieving.
    Emily


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    J.S. Bach
    December 03, 2006
    Dear Pastor Sloten,

    I just read the article in the Calgary Herald dated December 2, 2006 about "going to let Johann Sebastian Bach do the preaching".

    It is Gods word alone that was preserved for those who are sincerely seeking Gods grace and salvation, not worldly music. Even if the worldly principles are the highest, Gods word alone is sufficient and should be taught to the exclusion of any man made teachings or man made standards. For it is man made standards that fall short of the Glory of God and what He requires us to understand and believe. To mix man made standards with Gods word is to say Gods word was not sufficient and not good enough on its own. I would love to hear your explanation to God when you have to explain why you felt the need to add to his word and improve upon his finished work - and possibly where you are also implying by your actions that your congregation needs more than what God had to offer through his word.

    Since you are a teacher I probably don't have to point out the numerous clear scriptures that supports the foregoing.
    Roger


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    Architecture and a Designer Deity - Design and You
    November 12, 2006
    John,
    Thank you for validating what I do!! You reinforced that by bringing beauty or that 'look that feels just right' to clients, I am in some way drawing them closer to God. About a year and half ago I did a course on finding my spiritual gift. My answer to the question of what principal, cause or purpose I wanted to live out in this world got summed up in the following statement - To restore people's joy in (God's expression of the aesthetic) beauty - . Wow, your sermon this morning spoke so beautifully to me. Sam and I call that kind of beauty our "God moments". In fact, I could feel the Holy Spirit moving through the church as well this morning. I also wrote down the book series by Christopher Alexander to go on my Christmas list!! Am pondering a beauty quote from God to go on my website www.oakleafandreel.ca - just don't want it to be too 'churchy'. A friend of mine is going to tighten up the writing so this might be the ideal time .....Hmmmmm.
    On another note ... how 'bout that Velvet Elvis - the gift that keeps giving!! I have another one for you 'When Heaven Invades Earth' by Bill Johnson - not sure you'll be ordering 150 copies of it, but it's definitley worth a read!
    Already looking forward to the sermon next week.
    Shelley Megale


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    Hearing God in Folk Music
    October 17, 2006
    I listened to the service with Cara and it was really good. It's not what you expect in a Church service but I guess that is how wonderful God is. He always brings the unexpected to us. I love the fact that God is at work in places that we would often never think of looking. I guess He did that when He sent His Son into the world - sent Him to a place where no one would have thought of looking.
    Doug
    Glasgow, Scotland



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    Anger and Metallica
    October 02, 2006
    Musicians and artists are gems... the few folks that speak their mind and are
    not afraid to feel, and then speak freely about it.
    Alot can be learned from that type of honesty. Opinions, thoughts, feelings,
    musings, all shared without rules or concern of what the next person might
    think. Sure, there can be a lot of darkness in there (just like anywhere), but
    as Bono (U2) said... "Don't believe the devil, i don't believe his book, but the
    truth is not the same without the lies he made up..." ("God Part II) You
    can't appreciate the true light if you don't dig into the honesty of humanity.
    Kudos John, you seem to see God in the "strangest" places. I agree with Lars
    about your sermon choice that sunday: "$^%#ing Amazing!!"
    -t




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    Starbucks Spirituality
    September 29, 2006
    I think a major draw for Starbucks specifically is the "guarantee" of getting the same thing every time. Their brand is built on you being able to place your order (once you learn how of course...) and get the same result EVERY time at EVERY location. This is a guarantee that we just don't ever get in real life from relationships. We can control the result at Starbucks. We know what to expect and that alone is worth the price tag and the language aquisition required to order. The initiation is worth it. I know that I depend on them to give that to me. This is also true of our relationship with God - we know he is there - no matter what, no matter where we go, we know we are His! Safe, but costly. To know this peace we must submit ourselves to and place our trust in him. I've often thought how comforting it was to know that I could trust that my money was well spent at Starbucks - it wouldn't be wasted - they would always come through (for my caffeine fix anyway). I know this to be true of God as well. My trust is well placed, my investment is safe and He will always be there when I need him. I depend on that...
    Kate



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    Starbucks Spirituality
    September 27, 2006
    Sometimes there's this beautiful thing that happens when you stop for coffee and get not only the balm of a peaceful moment over a hot cup... but when you also get this sense that someone poured a little of themselves into the cup as well. It doesn't happen all the time... especially in our current labour crunch. But, when it does... it really is wonderful. Sometimes you get a glimpse of someone who truly loves what they do... they love owning and running a coffee shop/a meeting place, they love creating new intriguing beverages, they love drizzling the perfect caramel crosshatch, they love presenting a latte with a perfect flourish of foam and espresso on top. I can't help but see God in that... in a heart that loves what it is doing. In hands that really care about what they are creating. There's nothing like ordering a Caramel Macchiato and having your Barista say ' I LOVE making these!!' and seeing in their eyes and hands that what they are doing is so much more than just a job to them. It's in these moments that I can't help but think of the God I know who delights in presenting me with a stunning cloud formation, a brilliant starry night or the beautiful face of a friend. And He doesn't have to...He could just hand me life and be done with it, but He makes it beautiful.
    c



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    Starbucks Spirituality
    September 27, 2006
    The first word that comes to mind when I think about coffee shops is community. In communities everywhere the 'coffee shop' is often a gathering place where people gather to talk about everything under the sun over a good cup of jo. The quote you mention from the founder of Starbucks is very appropriate - coffee shops are often a third place where people can get a sense of belonging or place to shed the worries of the outside world - if only for 15 minutes - and sit in quiet contemplation; a sactuary of sorts.
    Without getting into a rant on Starbucks vs the independent coffee shop, there has to be something other than the $5 coffee and sanitized, sterilized environments found in many Starbucks that draws so many people in. Aside from the fact that a Starbucks is usually never more than several hundred feet away from you in any given city, people find community there and are drawn to the relationships and fellowship that grow there - with the staff, with the patrons.
    I do not think that it is a coincidence that God is using at least one coffee shop as a place where people can be and feel His presence in the community. Right now, a small coffee shop in Santa Monica LA exists for the sole purpose of being the light of God in that community (okay...shamelss plug for my brother and sister in law check it out at www.thetalkingstick.net). The CRC set out a number of years ago to use this coffee shop as a church plant (for lack of a better word) tasked with bringing the presence of God into that community. Afterall, what better way to get plugged into the fabric of a community than though their sanctuary of all things coffee? Their story is pretty cool and definately can testify that there is MUCH more to the coffee shop culture than dark roast, foam, and perhaps a little caramel.
    Darren Clark




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    Theology of Oil
    March 02, 2006
    I was talking about this Theology of oil series at work today (I work at an oil company) and my friend thought at first I was talking about oil used for anointing someone. Apparently in Swedish the term is close to greasing the person. (My friend is from Sweden.)

    When we got back to the Theology of oil that I wanted to discuss we wondered if God would have intentionaly put the oil where he did. My friend remembered an expression, God gives oil to those who can't feed themselves. I'm guessing this in reference to the Norwegens. It's interesting that he was able to quickly recall an expression that involved both oil and God. Well at least I found it interesting.



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    Theology of Oil
    February 25, 2006
    Waddle says "The world's theologians need to get together and ponder a question: Why did God create oil? The world's future depends on an answer." Wouldn't it be better if it was the world's leaders that got together and asked the same question? How about CEOs of oil companies?

    New Hope getting together to discuss this is a start. I'm looking forward to the discussion.




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    Texas Hold'em Poker
    January 31, 2006
    I thought that the sermon on texas hold'em was in my opinion, one of the best sermons I've heard in a while. I thought drawing the parallels between the feeling of risk and being all in in poker, and being all in in our faith and the risk feeling that occurs was an incredibly connection. In reality - i think this message is really going to "stick" with me, any time taking those risks - hiking a mountain and standing at the peak realizing the risks that you took to get to the top and then the reward that came with it.
    I thought that the message did cover it's grounding in making sure people were aware of when gambling - or alcohol - or sex went too far - that's when it becomes an addiction and the person becomes less whole, and exits important relationships. There were resources in the program and a checklist for people to examine if gambling was becoming an addiction.
    Yes - the sermon did touch on a hot topic issue - however, i think that the message was clear. For instance, the same message could have been preached using extreme sports as the example - but less people can connect with that. Here, we have something relevant, probably something that a lot of people have played for fun (just like playing any other board game). , and something a lot of people can connect with. Overall, I thought the message was fabulous and certainly rang home with myself and those people that I talked to.

    An idea for the future.....what about a message on taking risks in your faith and what that looks like? Just a thought



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    Texas Hold'em Poker
    January 31, 2006
    When I first heard that John was going to do a sermon on gambling - I thought that it could be an issue that would evoke some strong feelings. It has - and it's been great. Some of the best discussions I've had with my kids and extended family and friends from other churches were because of this message. It was awesome - and I felt (and everyone I talked to agreed) that it was something that was perfect for church - for newbies as well as old because it was something we could all relate to in many ways. John gave some great examples and some good follow-up and it all helped to solidy my thoughts on faith and salvation too. As Christians we have won the jackpot!



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    Texas Hold'em Poker
    January 30, 2006
    Just some thoughts that occured to me in the past 24...

    I think that the issue of Gambling could be placed under the heading "disputable matters". These type of issues don't come accross well for sermons in my opinion for the sole reason that they only ever cause division (thus the name - disputable matters). I believe what we are called to do as Christians in these matters (according to scripture) is keep our ideas to ourselves. Unfortunately, as a result of our Church trying to find and balance on that fine line between sacred and secular, I think we may have caused a lot more confusion and hurt instead of direction and healing. Perhaps we should take more caution when talking about these issues, for they only lead to conflicts - art vs p0rn, indulgence vs addiction, drinking vs 'drunking', medicine vs drugs...

    In addition to all I have already said, I think there was a stretch for a connection in the sermon between gambling and casting lots. I know that the connection made didn't hold any truth for me, for the practice of casting lots was always used as a means to make decisions. That point is explicit throughout scripture.
    Just something to think about...
    Anonymous



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    Who are you ? Calling
    January 07, 2006
    What's unique to note is that only after God sent Christ (for us to 'look' at) could He then 'look' at sinful man again. All of God's wrath was averted through Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross, and as a result, Christ acted as a sponge for the sin of the world - in turn allowing God to view us again with love; the only love that comes through Jesus.

    Pretty cool to think about.
    Joal



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    CJ92 Crash Interview
    October 20, 2005
    Hi John!
    I agree with you completely on your take on "Crash" - its the most thought-provoking movie I've seen in a long time (to be cliche about it), and have had some great conversations with others who have seen it. Another good conversation starter? "Now 17% less judgemental" t-shirt at the gym...
    Miss you!
    Angela (C2C)



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    Super Hero Series - Superman
    September 25, 2005
    you are unwrapping stories all over!, and this happens in many places that God reveals himself, I enjoy unwrapping Gods amazing revelation in mathematics, the further I go, the more I see His hand of creativeness and perfection, and then to point it out and watch students reactions... and question, will it always work this way?
    gerald



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    Anger and Metallica
    August 21, 2004
    My name is Rachel Dyer, and I'm a junior theatre major at Wilkes University. I saw your website in an article in a magazine that I don't remember the name for - but the article was about Metallica, and the connection between them and old testament prophets. It caught my attention, so I went to website to read more on it, but couldn't find the link. Instead I found the link to your arts in the ministry section, and began reading that instead. I am constantly looking for ways to incorporate my faith into the arts - acting in particular, because its business is so warped and cutthroat, and not neccessarily one that accepts Christian veiws easily. I'd just like some more information on what you guys do there, and what your plans are for the future. Thanks so much for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Rachel Dyer


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    Anger and Metallica
    July 10, 2004
    Listened to your sermon on Metallica. Good stuff! Your web site is awesome. thanks for putting everything out there for free.
    Dwayne Conyers


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    Anger and Metallica
    May 13, 2004
    hi -
    i'm an attorney and band manager in austin, texas and
    was on the cmj.com messageboard this morning and
    noticed a post from someone who had linked the sermon
    by pastor john with a note that said "ever wondered
    what a sermon based on metallica would sound like?". initially, i was pretty skeptical, but, gave the sermon
    a listen.

    i was raised with a "church of christ" father and a
    "catholic" mother in southern louisiana, which is a
    very catholic oriented part of the u.s. - ultimately, i
    have found myself studying the bible and faith outside
    of church and attending catholic services for prayer
    and community (that said, because SoLa has such a heavy
    catholic presence, some of our priests were able to
    have more "alternative" catholic services by
    incorporating things like a band called "the
    zydecatholics" who performed more upbeat, zydeco rhythm
    religious music at sunday evening services).
    so, when i heard the sermon this morning i was moved to
    write - i think it is important for pastors to know
    when they are reaching people - even if those people
    live thousands of miles away.

    i really enjoyed the sermon (especially in my line of
    work!) please pass along my "thanks" to pastor john
    and if i ever get to calgary, i'll see you on sunday!

    trevor


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    Anger and Metallica
    May 09, 2004
    John,

    Thanks for your sermon on Metallica this morning. I've been in and out of the Church for 30 years, and have rarely been to such an honest and thought provoking Sunday morning.

    Most pastors would have looked down their noses at something like Metallica. Or they might pretend to embrace it, using it as a gimmick to get people in the church doors, then spinning the band's message into some kind of pro-Christian dogma.

    You didn't do those things, which was a breath of fresh air for me. Too often the Church tries to sanitize everything, but doesn't really deal with some core issues: life can suck, and humans get angry.

    Sure, we admit it, and then finish off with a round of "Jesus loves me" or "light the fire again", to make sure the pews stay full next week. That kind of dishonesty has caused a lot of people (including myself) to develop a deep resentment towards the Church.

    So again, thanks for this morning's sermon, and for your work at New Hope. It's quite encouraging.
    James Dueck


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    Anger and Metallica
    May 05, 2004
    Hi,
    Just read on Blabbermouth that you are doing a Sermon on Metallica, amazing. I am a massive Metallica fan and a Christian, would be cool to attend and hear the points raised, pity I live in Wales, UK.... Doh
    Anyway hope it goes well
    Andrew


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