The Spirit and the Beijing Olympics - John Van Sloten

August 24, 2008

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Media @ New Hope CalgaryWhat might God be saying through the Beijing Olympics? What does this event say about who we are as human beings? And what do the games reveal about the one who made us?

“The nations will walk in its light and earth's kings bring in their splendor. Its gates will never be shut by day, and there won't be any night. They'll bring the glory and honor of the nations into the City.”
Heaven as described in Revelation 21:26, MSG

“You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. (KNEW) Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally. I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”
The Apostle Paul, referencing the OLYMPICS (which started in 776BCE) in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

1Do you see what this means--all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running--and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. 2Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. 3When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Hebrews 12:1-3, MSG

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:18


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August 24, 2008
Pastor John Van Sloten is at it again, finding evidence of his God this time in a Jamaican runner, and attributing his success to God's creativity when designing humans. The fact that Usain Bolt is an almost perfect running machine is not attributable to any god, it is a result of countless hours of dedicated training on his part.
Are we to believe that God created Bolt more perfect than others in order that he could excel in sports and thereby earn millions in endorsements, while untold millions are born with all manner of birth defects, ensuring them of either a short or long life of pain and misery? Is Van Sloten going to address these individuals in his sermon when he is busy raving about the intrinsic way God made us, or will he, as I suspect, conveniently forget to mention those millions of God's creations who were basically defeated from birth? I think we all know the answer.
Van Sloten can offer no proof whatsoever that we were created by any God; he believes this only by faith, and therefore of what value or relevance is his sermon!

Rick Wilm

Hi Rick,

You ask ” Is Van Sloten going to address these individuals in his sermon when he is busy raving about the intrinsic way God made us, or will he, as I suspect, conveniently forget to mention those millions of God's creations who were basically defeated from birth? I think we all know the answer.” If you’re really sincere in asking this question, well, you can check out this link to a sermon John wrote about Disability and the Divine. http://newhopechurch.ca/page.php?pgid=search&id=searchbrowse&movieid=465

This is just an intro to his sermon to give you an idea.

Today we’re going to talk about disabilities; how they drive us (all) to God and how, in a very mysterious way, they reveal him.

“In 1996 the World Health Organization estimated that 10 to 11% of the world’s population has a disability, “up to 600 million.”
World Health Organization.
Declining Resources for Rehabilitation: A Matter of Concern. January 30, 1996

“If we were to place these 600 to 650 million people together, they would comprise the world’s third largest nation with the highest rates of homelessness, joblessness, divorce, abuse, and suicide.”
World Health Organization. Declining Resources for Rehabilitation

“I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations… At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, “My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 MSG

“Christ is God's ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tiny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can't begin to compete with God's "weakness."
I Cor 3:23-31 MSG

I’ll pass your email on to Pastor John as well. I hope the link helps you understand it a bit more. Faith has a lot of relevance and value to millions of people so maybe having a conversation with some people about faith and what it means to them might be valuable to you. I’m sure you can find some!

Barb Bronson
Office Administrator
New Hope Church

Hi Barb, Talk about a quick response.
As you have probably guessed, I am an atheist who believes that all religions throughout history have caused more war, misery and suffering than they have ever cured; the crusades, Inquisition, witch burnings, pedophile priests, etc. I find that the Bible is comprised of mostly ridiculous stories that no one in the 21st century should find believable, I mean talking snakes and donkeys, demons causing illness, people resurrected from the dead, fiery chariots ascending to heaven, the sun standing, still, a man riding around in the belly of a whale, a god who is also his son and also a ghost, and on and interminably on. How anyone can believe these myths is beyond me.
My biggest objection to religion is the belief that there is a supreme deity out there who never shows himself and yet we are to believe that if we do not slavishly obey and worship him we will be sent to a place of eternal torture and suffering for eternity, whether we have even heard of his existence or not. A monster such as this could not be considered a loving, compassionate, benevolent being. And the belief that he would let a demon (Satan) roam the world interfering with his divine plan is beyond ridiculous. God is supposed to be omnipotent; why not just get rid of Satan? Why? Because if he gets rid of Satan there is no more need to fear evil in the world, no more reason for the existence of the church, and all the priests, preachers, imams, Rabbis, etc. would have to find another means of existence.
Religion, all religions, were founded by ignorant humans, unaware of the nature and workings of the universe and so concocted fabulous beliefs to attempt and explain the things they feared. Science has now dispelled these myths. A person who believes in a god is not morally superior to one who does not. And which religion, of the thousands of different religions and sects has the truth, how could anyone know exactly what this omnipotent being required? All religions believe they, and they alone have the definitive answer.
Having said all this, I do not care if people believe in a god, but they certainly seem to care whether or not I do, else they would not threaten me with eternal damnation and suffering for failing to believe.
John phoned me several years ago in reference to an article he wrote in the Herald, and he seemed to be a nice person, who at least had the courage to stand up to his convictions. A lot of Christians, or people of any religion are no doubt good, honest people, sincere in their beliefs. I just happen to hold views contrary to theirs and feel a need to get my beliefs out in public as well.
Thank you for responding and I wish you a good day.

Rick


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sports,olympic,2Corinthians 3:18,Hebrews 12:1-3,1 Corinthians 9:24-27,Revelation 21:26

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