If you follow Jesus, listening to sermons is a significant part of your discipleship. They are called a “means of grace” (i.e. they can be a channel of God’s generosity, guidance and help in your life, even via imperfect preachers). So don’t you want to understand, make the most of, and engage with them? This talk provides practical assistance. It’s about being proactive, not passive.
Category: Feature Talks
8 book recommendations to grow your faith
I was recently asked for book recommendations that would help grow someone’s faith. Here are 8 that I believe are accessible-yet-meaty.
Fun Lent Trivia
What’s the deal with Lent? Here’s a fun trivia session I had with the congregation about the name, 40 days, ashes, and our focus.
What do we really know about the historical Jesus, and how does that impact our faith? [Sermon]
Jesus is the centre of our faith. He came to give us life; but what was his like? What did he look like? What was
Something forgotten, fun facts and curiosities about the Christmas story
Why a census? How far to Bethlehem? Was Jesus born inside or outside? What is something we’ve forgotten (but previous generations didn’t)? This episode shares an informal, interactive time with the congregation on Christmas morning as I answer these questions and more.
“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” Does Jesus give us a blank cheque in prayer?
Jesus said: “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” Is that a blank cheque? This podcast is a short exert from a worship service on December 18, 2022 and provides some explanation.
A closer look at the nativity in Luke 2:1-20: politics, fear, subversion, war and hope
We know the Christmas story. Or do we? If it doesn’t seem revolutionary or exciting, you’re not seeing the whole picture. This podcast and blog is a closer look at Luke 2:1-20.
Exclusive Inclusion: Is Jesus the only Way? [Sermon]
In confusing times Jesus offers a word of clarity, compassion – and controversy. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Is Jesus really the only way? That’s what this sermon explores.
Jesus said he came to give us abundant life. What did he mean?
Is this Jesus’ version of “live your best life now”? Yes and No. Think bigger. Think life that is “abundant.” This podcast and blog distil Jesus’ use of the word “life” in John’s Gospel to two main ideas.
Why is there so much evil and suffering in the world if there is a benevolent being?
In this episode I answer a question in the Q & A Forum: “Why is there so much evil and suffering in the world if there is a benevolent being?”
Can we earn heaven? Matthew 7:21 unsettles me, please explain
In this episode I answer a question in the Q & A Forum: “What Jesus says in Matthew 7:21 unsettles me because it indicates that you can only get into heaven if you do God’s will. I thought we couldn’t earn heaven so this seems a bit confusing to me. I’m also very aware of my many faults and sins! Can you explain?”
This podcast and blog explains the meaning of the sacrament of baptism. It also explains who we baptize and provides a rationale.
The Shepherd’s Voice – a Bible reading and prayer
John 10:7-11 read by Ben Ruttan, and my opening prayer in worship based on the same text: The Good Shepherd and abundant life.
“Lead us not into temptation.” Would God lead us into temptation, so that we need to ask him not to?
In this episode I answer a question in a Q & A Forum about temptation from the Lord’s Prayer.
Can you explain the difference between a secular worldview and a biblical worldview?
In this episode I answer a question in a Q & A Forum about secular vs. biblical worldviews.
The difference between self-comfort and self-care and why it matters
If you think you’re caring for yourself when you’re really just comforting yourself, you may be creating more grief than gain. This episode is the audio version of an article I wrote with therapist Sarah Joy Covey for The Toronto Star.
Assisted Suicide (MAiD) in Canada—some biblical considerations
In this episode I answer a question in a Q & A Forum about assisted suicide and the quickly changing landscape in Canada.
Can we really trust that Jesus said and did all that, or have the Gospels been distorted?
Do the Gospels accurately preserve what Jesus said and did? Haven’t they become distorted? How can we know with any confidence? This podcast (audio and text) gives you 5 important points to consider.
How can I make rest happen when I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel?
How can I make rest happen when I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel? I was asked this at a Q & A forum. Here’s my response.
The Christmas Story Re-Examined
What if you’ve never truly heard the story you’ve heard a hundred times? In this episode (and post) I go in-depth with Luke 2:1-20 and explore these ancient towns, the threat of scandal, political contexts, shadowy shepherds, and the meaning of a Saviour, Messiah and Lord.