February 11, 2018
When You Don’t Love Other People
“Hurt people hurt people.” That’s what someone said who was setting up a help centre for at-risk youth. He meant that when you experience deep hurt in your life, you often continue those patterns of hurt since it’s what you know.
In light of that, the opposite is also true: Loved people love people.
On February 11 at Westminster we got into Part 2 in our current teaching series called “Christian Atheism: Saying you believe in a life-changing God but living like it doesn’t make a difference.” It’s easy to say we believe certain things; but when our beliefs aren’t reflected in our lives, aren’t we basically living like functional atheists? (No offense to the atheists out there; but the point is that belief in a life-changing God should make a distinct impact on how we live.)
So we provided a biblical definition of love, how to live that way (because it’s not possible to do on your own), some practical next steps, and a story about throwing a birthday party for a prostitute that provides us with some inspiration.
Do you want a more clarity about this key ingredient to a more robust faith? Then this is for you.
The message is called “When you don’t love other people.” Listen in!
February 4, 2018
Belief gives birth to behaviour
Part 1 – “Christian Atheism: Saying you believe in a life-changing God but living like it doesn’t make a difference.”
“Christian Atheism.” I know, it’s a strange phrase. Isn’t Christianity the opposite of atheism?
Well, you’re right. It should be.
On February 4 at Westminster we started a series called “Christian Atheism: Saying you believe in a life-changing God but living like it doesn’t make a difference.”
What do we say about prayer, verses how we actually pray? What do we say about knowing God or loving our neighbours or sacrifice or priorities or the Bible or church or heaven and hell or money, verses how we actually live our lives?
In Part 1 we dove into this: When you say you believe in a life-changing God… but don’t know Jesus.
We did this because how you answer the question “Who is Jesus?” is the most important question you will ever answer. And it totally impacts your faith and how you live your life.
This series isn’t meant to make you feel more guilty, but to provide you with more clarity. It will also embolden and firm up your faith.
You don’t have to change the world. But, with God’s help, you do need to change yours.
Part 1 is called “Belief gives birth to behaviour.” Listen in!
January 28, 2018
Trudeau, Trump, Wynne – What does the Bible teach about a Christian’s attitude toward government?
Politics and government are in the news a lot these days. People are polarized. Civility and common sense can seem scarce. It’s easy to get cynical. Especially when the Christian faith seems increasingly at odds with public policy.
So on January 28th at Westminster we gave a few examples of this, looked at a key passage in the Bible about “governing authorities” and asked: What does the Bible teach about a Christian’s attitude toward government?
Is it always respectful? Always suspicious? Or is it something else?
I realize this is a controversial topic. Perhaps there’s no way around that. But looking to the Bible can give us practical and faithful help in troubling times.
January 21, 2018
Fighting Greed in a Culture of More
John Rockefeller was asked, “How much money does it take to satisfy a man?” He replied, “Just a little bit more.”
His answer was insightful—not only about how many people think about money, but about how they think about life in general. “If only I had better clothes, or a nicer house, or was more popular, or better grades, then everything would be perfect.”
But more doesn’t always mean better. And it certainly doesn’t equate to faithfulness.
On January 21 at Westminster we had Part 3 in a series called “Keeping up with the Joneses: Why it ruins your joy, wrecks your priorities (and what to do about it).”
We probed the human tendency toward greed (even in normal, everyday ways), how it poisons your perspective, distorts reality, and undermines your awareness of God’s goodness and provision in your life.
We also talked about 1 practical thing you can do to bring your priorities back to God.
The message is called “Fighting Greed in a Culture of More”
January 14, 2018
Dealing with the judgments of others vs the judgment of God
Madonna was very honest in an interview with Vogue Magazine.
She said she feels mediocre and uninteresting unless she keeps doing new things to prove she’s special. “Because even though I have become somebody,” she said, “I still have to prove that I am somebody. My struggle has never ended and I guess it never will.”
Her interview was incredibly honest. And I think it reveals an inner turmoil that a lot of us face.
Many people have a secret fear of somehow losing at life; at being judged negatively by other people, as if we don’t measure up. And because of that, we try to keep up and compete with others to feel good and worthwhile and special.
It’s an exhausting way to live. But there’s good news. It doesn’t have to be that way.
In Part 2 of our ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ series, we explored 1 Corinthians 4 and how Paul views himself in light of the judgments and criticism of others. What we find is biblical wisdom that helps us resist the modern inner urge to keep up with the Joneses.
The message is called, “Dealing with the judgments of others vs the judgment of God.” Listen in! And be encouraged.
January 7, 2018
Worrying less about unimportant temporary things
Series: Keeping up with the Joneses: Why it ruins your joy, wrecks your priorities (and what to do about it) – Part 1 of 3
“Keeping up with the Joneses” is an expression that has to do with how you think you’re measuring up (and “keeping up”) with the people around you. It has to do with comparison.
Let’s be honest. Most of us do it.
We look at the people around us and often measure our worth and “success” based on how we compare with other people’s homes, cars, gadgets, grades, relationships, social media status, and even spiritual maturity!
We know it’s not a good idea, but we keep… on… doing it—even though it kills our joy and wrecks our priorities.
On January 7th at Westminster we started a 3-part series to explore this unhealthy phenomena and what to do about it. It’s called “Keeping up with the Joneses: Why it ruins your joy, wrecks your priorities (and what to do about it).” The apostle Paul gives enduring advice that still holds true today.
If you take this teaching seriously I think it will result in a less anxious, more confident, and more joyful you.
Part 1 is called “Worrying less about unimportant temporary things.” Listen in!
December 24, 2017
Since God Hasn’t Given Up on the World
Have you noticed? The world is troubled. There are political tensions, there is a lot of anxiety, depression is increasing. And in the midst of it all many people suffer from a ‘crisis of purpose’ and whether or not there is any greater meaning to their lives.
With all of that in mind, in comes Christmas Eve. How does the nativity story give us help and hope for the coming 12 months especially in the middle of these troubled times?
This was what we explored at Westminster in Barrie on December 24th with the help of a Holocaust survivor, input from normal people like you who talk about how they serve others, and the story of a God who never gives up on his world. The answer will give you help and hope for the coming 12 months of your life.
The message is called “Since God hasn’t given up on the world.” Listen in! And Merry Christmas!
December 3, 2017
W.W.J.D. – What Would Joseph Do? (His Courage and Yours)
Something seems broken about Christmas—not in its meaning, but in HOW we celebrate it. Every December we can get easily swept away in an expensive, stressful and hectic bluster of candy-cane flavoured insanity.
So at Westminster we’re looking more closely at the nativity story to find out how we can make it all more meaningful—and today explored the idea of courage. It might be surprising to you, but it’s a huge part of the story.
So we looked at what courage is, how it takes shape in the story, how you can have courage yourself as a person of faith, and how it can make your Christmas more meaningful as we try to more closely honour the One who is the reason for the party.
The message is called “W.W.J.D. – What would Joseph do? His Courage and Yours.” Listen in, and let your heart prepare him room.
November 26, 2017
Saving Christmas (From Ourselves)
Something seems broken about Christmas—not in its meaning, but in HOW we celebrate it. Do you find Christmas too busy, too expensive, too sad, too shallow or too stressful? If so, you may be getting sucked into the Holly Jolly Hurricane that starts to blow every December, carrying all of us away from our sensible moorings in bluster of yuletide insanity.
In light of this, on November 26th at Westminster we started a 2-part mini-series: A Servant Christmas: How the birth of a Servant Saviour can make your Christmas more meaningful. In it, we explored Matthew 1 and how to root ourselves in a more meaningful Christmas in very real, practical and biblical ways. The message is called “Saving Christmas (From Ourselves).” Listen in.
November 12, 2017
Mathematics of Spiritual Warfare
In National Lampoon’s Vacation, Chevy Chase plays a father who falls asleep at the wheel of his car while he and his family (also sleeping) careen through neighbourhoods putting everyone in danger.
On November 12th at Westminster we talked about the much-neglected topic of spiritual warfare. But if we don’t talk about or take spiritual warfare seriously, it’s like we’re also asleep at the wheel, possibly putting ourselves and those around us in danger.
In North America, it’s a topic that has fallen out of favour—probably because we’ve been so influenced by a kind of thinking that devalues or ignores anything that doesn’t fit with a horizontal or naturalistic view of reality.
But there’s more than what meets the eye in our world and lives. That idea might make some people uncomfortable, but if Jesus takes Satan seriously, so should we.
We talked about common misconceptions, what spiritual warfare actually is, why you’re already in battle, and four practical things you can do about it.
But there is nothing to fear. As the 17th century monk Brother Lawrence said, “We must go about our labors quietly, calmly, and lovingly, entreating Him to prosper the works of our hands; by thus keeping heart and mind fixed on God, we shall bruise the head of the evil one, and beat down his weapons to the ground.”
Let’s not be asleep at the wheel. Let’s live abundantly, victoriously and confidently as the people God made us to be. And let’s do it with both eyes open.
Listen in. The message is called “Mathematics of Spiritual Warfare.”
[National Lampoon’s Vacation is a Warner Bros. movie from 1983]
November 5, 2017
How to advance world peace
In North America, over 40 million people are diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There is sabre-rattling between North Korea and America. There has been a deluge of natural disasters. Terror attacks continue in Las Vegas, Manhattan, and elsewhere. Plus, the past 100 years have been plagued with global conflict.
Some people just don’t want to think about it. But others long for a better world. So how do we get there? And how do followers of Jesus advance world peace, especially as a minority in our country?
November 5th was Remembrance Sunday at Westminster. We used it as an opportunity to try and answer this important question. And although you can’t always have a say in what happens AROUND you, you can have a say in what happens THROUGH you.
And that’s something all of us need to pay attention to—for ourselves, for our country, and for our world. The message is called “How to advance world peace.” Listen in.
October 29, 2017
How To Be Wealthy (without any money)
According to Mother Teresa, the spiritual poverty in the West is WORSE than the physical poverty in Calcutta. Wow. That’s a pretty huge statement. But why would she say that?
On October 29 at Westminster we had Part 2 in a mini-series called “Rich Man, Poor Man: What makes the rich poor, the poor rich, and how to be wealthy without any money.” We explored 1 Timothy 6 and asked how we can guard against using stuff, possessions and money to fill the spiritual and moral void that can be so prominent in our culture.
The biblical answer is definitely practical wisdom for the ages, especially in a society that constantly preaches “More! More! More!”
Listen in to the podcast. It’ll give you help as you try to live in a way that is (truly) wealthy.
The message is called, “How to be wealthy (without any money)”
October 22, 2017When Possessions Possess You
Why do many rich people feel like they’re missing something? Why do many poor people seem to have something that others don’t? And how can we live wealthy lives regardless of how much money we have? I think the answer to that question is something a lot of us want to feel more confident about! Since Jesus talked a lot about the connection between money, possessions and the heart, so will we.
On October 22, our pastor took us into the Bible to help us think it through. It was the first of two Sundays of a mini-series titled, “Rich Man, Poor Man: What makes the rich poor, the poor rich, and how to be wealthy without any money.”
The message is called “When possessions possess you.” Listen in!
October 8, 2017
The True Barometer of Your Faithfulness
I’ve never been thankful for fleas. But these days, I’m starting to wonder.
October 8 was Thanksgiving Sunday at Westminster. We explored the incredibly close relationship between thankfulness and faithfulness. In fact, as R Alan Culpepper wrote, “Gratitude may be the purest measure of one’s character and spiritual condition.”
We dove into the story of the 10 lepers and why intentionally cultivating gratitude in your life makes you stronger and better able to handle adversity.
The message is called “The True Barometer of Your Faithfulness.”
October 1, 2017
Does God Even Exist? – Part 3: The Maker of Morality
Why do we think it’s wrong for someone else to cut in line? Why do we think it’s wrong when someone bullies a child and takes their money? Why do we think it’s right when people keep their word, share, or help those in need?
And why is there a basic sense of right and wrong that transcends cultures and countries?
On October 1st at Westminster this is what we explored at Westminster as a part of our series “Does God Even Exist?” In this third and final installment we looked at the argument from morality.
Not only did we look at what this argument says, but also at the popular counter arguments. Then, we summarized the whole series by wondering whether the existence of God makes any difference at all.
Part 3 of our series is called The Maker of Morality. Listen in. And be encouraged!
September 24th, 2017
Does God Even Exist? – Part 2: “God, That’s Beautiful”
Is our universe and world just here by chance, or is it by design? Are we the result of randomness, or is there an orchestrated intelligence to life on earth?
On September 24 this is what we explored as a part of our teaching series called “Does God even exist?”
Do you want to know the actual mathematical probability that we are here by chance? Then this is for you. Do you want to know an argument for God’s existence from how the universe and world is designed? Then this is for you. Do you want to know why James Clerk-Maxwell had a Bible quote over his famous physics laboratory, what Stephen Hawking says, or why famous atheist Anthony Flew changed his mind and started believing in God. If so, this is for you.
Part 2 of our series is called “God, That’s Beautiful.” Listen in!
September 17th, 2017
Does God Even Exist? – Part 1: Mind Before Matter
I personally think that’s the one question that changes everything. Are we here on purpose, or by chance? Is there something after death, or not? Is there right and wrong, or is it all relative? Do truth, beauty and love have meaning? And do they make a difference? I think all of these questions underlie a bigger one: Does God even exist?
For three weeks at Westminster, this is what we’re exploring. On September 17 we dove into Part 1. As a part of that, I pulled apart the modern myth that science and faith are opposites. Then I explored the first of three arguments about the existence of God.
Do you want to better understand what science is (and isn’t)? Then this is for you. Do you want to better understand the reasons to believe? Then this is for you. Are you kind of unsure but want to know more? Then this is for you.
I invite you to listen in. Be challenged. Be surprised. And be ready. Part 1 is called Mind Before Matter. Listen in!
September 10th, 2017
One heartbeat away from meeting your Maker
We live in the age of distraction. Researchers even talk about “DAF – Directed Attention Fatigue.” Our brains have to work incredibly hard to wade through the information that is hurtling toward us. The result is that we’re mentally tired, leaving us fatigued. When that happens, not only is it hard to know our priorities, but to live them out on a daily basis.
Here’s why this is important. Because every one of us is one heartbeat away from meeting our Maker. It could happen at any time. So doesn’t it make sense to make sure you’re ready?
On September 10 at Westminster, we explored Psalm 90:12 and wrestled with this question: “How can I organize my life now—today—so that I am at peace and ready to meet my Maker at any moment?”
Listen in. The message is called, “One heartbeat away from meeting your Maker.”
August 6th, 2017
Why do people go to church less?
A few years ago I went into a grocery store and everyone was looking at me funny. Turns out I had pink barrettes in my hair! (I had been playing with my daughter and forgot to take them out.) As a result, I stood out. I was different.
Well, guess what. That’s you.
If you go to a church service on Sunday morning, you’re a part of the curious minority of Canadians who stand out because you are in church on Sundays.
On August 6th, I used my Sunday message to answer a question I sometimes get asked: “Why are people going to church less?” I first looked at trends in global Christianity, then the situation in North America, to try and explain what’s happening. (If you ask me, more and more people are subscribing to a new religion. But I’m guessing it’s not one you’ve heard of before.)
All of it points us back to the more urgent question: Why go to church in the first place?
Listen in. Be challenged and encouraged for the journey in a changing society.
July 30, 2017
Aren’t all religions basically the same?
Aren’t all religions basically the same? That’s a question I was asked recently. It’s a good one. After all, a lot of world religions seem to believe in a higher power and have some version of the “golden rule.” Plus, in a modern, diverse society, shouldn’t we all just focus on what we have in common?
“Religion” is a big topic. 4 out of 5 people on planet earth believe in some sort of higher power. So on July 30th at Westminster, I did my best to speak about whether all religions are basically the same…and what makes Christianity different. (The answer may surprise you.)
More clearly understanding your faith can make it more powerful and authentic in your day-to-day life. I certainly want that. Do you? Listen in. And be both challenged and encouraged.
July 23, 2017
God moves in mysterious ways… Really?
“God moves in mysterious ways.” Have you ever heard that before? Or said it?
It’s one of those expressions that just kind of makes sense. But is it biblical? And if so, how does it change our perspective in an encouraging, helpful way, as we try to live a more God-honouring life?
What’s mysterious? What’s not? What difference does it make?
That’s what I talked about on July 23 at Westminster. I hope the result gives you motivation and encouragement for whatever you’re dealing with.
The message is called, “God moves in mysterious ways… Really?”
July 16, 2017
Getting God’s Wisdom Into You
Recently I was asked this question: “How do we know what to take from the Bible and what’s not as important?” It’s a great question. Maybe you have it too. After all, the Bible is huge. It’s sometimes complicated. Plus, how do you interpret confusing passages? This is what I explored on July 16th at Westminster.
As a part of this, I offered 5 practical tools to help you seriously wrestle with, and better understand, the Bible. I hope the result is more wisdom for life’s decisions. The process is not always easy, but it’s worth it. As Thomas Merton said, “The Bible may be difficult and confusing, but it is meant to challenge our intelligence, not insult it.”
Listen in. The more you get into God’s wisdom, the more God’s wisdom gets into you. The message is called “Getting God’s Wisdom Into You.”
Note: You can access the handout here: 2017 07 16 Getting Gods Wisdom Into You-handout
July 9, 2017
If You Don’t Give Something Up
Joy. A Meaningful life. Both good things, right?
Speaking to the graduating class of Eton College, the great medical missionary Albert Schweitzer said that “happiness consists in service, in giving yourself here and now to that which is worthy and above your own self-interests.”
On one level, we know that. But it’s very hard to live out. Why? Because we all risk contamination by a very selfish and individualized society. Instead of seeing our service toward others as an essential part of who we are, we see it as optional. But it’s not.
On July 9th at Westminster, we explored the story of the Widow’s Offering to get a fresh and practical perspective on what it feels like (and what it means) to live a life of service toward others–and how it relates to having a more joyful, meaningful life. The message is called “If you’re not giving something up.” Enjoy!
July 2, 2017
The Tenth Fruit
Every year on the Sunday before Vacation Bible Camp, our camp co-director and Music Director, Jennifer Harris, offers an annual message to the congregation.
“Thou Shalt Not… Complain?” You’re probably never heard that commandment before. But after reading Galatians 5 and Philippians 2, it sure makes sense!
Listen in as Jenn gives some practical wisdom on a topic many of us struggle with. Her message is called “The 10th Fruit.”
June 18, 2017
Hypocrite? – How to have less hypocrisy and more integrity in your faith, relationships, and mirror.
“You’re a hypocrite.” Has anyone ever said that to you? It’s a nasty and unpleasant thing! A hypocrite is a pretender—someone who says they believe certain ideals but doesn’t actually live them out in their own life. Hypocrites were the people Jesus often railed against. But guess what? It’s easy to become one! (And this slide can happen easily whether you think of yourself as a “traditionalist,” “progressive,” or somewhere in between. On June 18 at Westminster, I shared a tool to help you be more like Jesus and less like the hypocrites he warned us against. The result will be greater spiritual integrity. The 20-minute message is called “Hyprocrite?” Listen in.
June 11, 2017
Why Physical Health is a Spiritual Matter
If you run out of gas your car will stop working. It’s so obvious, right? Well, if it’s so obvious, why does it happen to so many people?
It’s because we don’t always pay attention to what we’re supposed to pay attention to!
Building on these ideas of things that are obvious, good for us, but that we often neglect, on June 11 we took a look at a third key to becoming a stronger person.
It has to do with how you treat your body. But even more importantly than that, it has to do with what God thinks of your body, and what he wants to do with it—and you.
The message is called “Why Physical Health is a Spiritual Matter.” Listen in!
June 4, 2017
In Weakness, Strength
Honesty is a virtue. I’m not sure anyone would argue with that. It’s good to be honest about how we deal with our neighbours and about answering people’s questions. But we’re not always honest about needing help. Maybe that’s because we think “being strong” is the same as being independent. (But it’s not.)
Strength isn’t about pretending to have it all together, knowing all the answers, and lying about how perfect your life is. That’s just stubborn foolishness.
In fact, it’s the strong ones who are honest about needing help. And it’s also the strong ones who are serious about getting that help. On June 4th at Westminster, I explained why.
It was part 2 in our series called “Stronger – 3 keys to what everyone wants to be but few achieve.” The message is called “In weakness, strength.” Listen in. (And get stronger.)
May 28, 2017
The Right Thing, Not The Easy Thing
“Dear God, please make me stronger.” I think that’s probably the #1 prayer for a lot of people. Stronger to do what you need to do; or to deal with health problems; or stress at work; or a family issue; or challenging friends; or to follow Jesus; or be the right kind of parent; or choose the direction to take or decision to make.
Being stronger would be awesome. So why do so few people get there?
I think it’s hard because we (a) misunderstand what strength is, and (b) don’t know what the Bible actually says about becoming stronger. So that’s what we’re talking about for three weeks at Westminster in a series called “Stronger: 3 Keys to What Everyone Wants To Be But Few Achieve.”
They say “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” And neither are you. You don’t need to arrive before the sun goes down, but you do need to lay some bricks. To help with that we’ll explore 3 things that you can do. Starting now.
Part 1 on May 28 was called “The Right Thing, Not the Easy Thing.” Enjoy!
May 21, 2017
Is persecution coming to Canada? Persecution is a big word. It can make us think of people in harrowing circumstances on the other side of the world. But will the persecution of Christians in Canada become a reality in our lifetime? Is it already starting to happen? However you look at it, you probably know that things are changing. Your faith makes you increasingly different. So how do you inform yourself, and how to do you respond? That’s what we talked about on May 21 at Westminster. The message is called “Retaliate.”
May 14, 2017
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
“You are standing on the shoulders of giants.” The idea is simple—and powerful: That other people before you have spent time and energy on you, and prayed for you. These are spiritual giants who have sought the best for you.
On May 14 I offered a message that was rooted in 2 Timothy 1 and 3 about the kind of lasting impact we can have in each other’s lives. It was Part 3 in a series called “Team – Why you need other imperfect people in the game of life and faith.”
We were incredibly blessed by Julie Cunha and Guy Gagnon who joined me for a part of the message to personally tell us about the spiritual giants in their own lives.
And guess what. Not only are you standing on the shoulders of giants, but future giants are standing on yours! So who you are with the people God has placed in your life matters… huge. God grows what you sow into the next generation.
Listen in. The message is called “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.”
May 7, 2017
Someone’s Missing Piece
“Why are you significant to someone else’s life?” That question might be easy to answer if you’re helping a best friend in crisis of if you’re a parent. But when thinking about the people in your daily life and your community of faith, how would you answer? 1 Corinthians 12 has some important insight for us. So that’s what we explored in Part 2 of our current teaching series called “Team – Why you need other imperfect people in the game of life and faith.” Your presence can be medicine to someone else. Your insights can fill in someone else’s blind spots. What you have to offer can be the answer to someone else’s prayer. You are someone’s missing piece. (And they are yours.) Listen in and be encouraged. The message is called “Someone’s Missing Piece.”
April 30, 2017
Imperfect People are Perfect Opportunities
We live in a highly individualistic society. With iPads, drive thru windows, and personalized almost-anythings, we seem to love minimizing inconvenience. So it’s easy to bring that same perspective to our faith. We can make it about “me and God” and ignore the role other people play in our lives and faith. On one hand, I get that. Different people have different opinions and do things differently–and that’s not always easy to live with. But here’s the thing. Life is a team sport. It’s more like baseball than it is like running a 100-metre sprint. We need other imperfect people if we’re going to thrive. So on April 30 I started a new series called “Team – Why you need other imperfect people in the game of life and faith.” Part 1 is called “Imperfect People are Perfect Opportunities.” Listen in!
April 23, 2017
Miracles – What are they? Do they still happen?
Jesus performed miracles–turning water into wine, walking on water, bringing the dead back to life. But what do we make of it all as modern, scientific people? Should we do what U.S. President Thomas Jefferson did and take our scissors and cut out the miracle stories from our Bibles leaving us with just Jesus’ ethical teachings? On April 23 at Westminster we looked at two of Jesus’ healing stories to learn more about the kinds of things he did, and what difference it makes for us today. Listen in!
April 16, 2017
If he’s risen, he’s right
Dead or alive? Yes, it’s a Bon Jovi song. But it’s also the most important question we ask on Easter. Is Jesus dead, or is he alive? Is he a historical figure who came to an untimely end? Or is he God-in-person, raised and ruling? And what difference does it make in your life? How you answer just might change everything. That’s what we dove into on Easter Sunday at Westminster. The message is called “If he’s risen, he’s right.”
Resource: During the message I referenced a resource page to help answer some questions about the reliability of the Bible and trustworthiness of the resurrection stories. You can link to that here.
April 9, 2017
Series: “What’s the Point? – How to link up your very normal life with God’s very extraordinary plan?”
When Better Isn’t Easier
We live in a culture that promotes convenience, comfort and quick fixes. But if we’re going to be authentic followers of Jesus, the question we need to ask is this: Does God always make your life better by making it easier? That’s what we explored on April 9 at Westminster as we brought our “What’s the Point?” series to a close. The answer will probably challenge you, but hopefully inspire you! The message is called “When Better Isn’t Easier.” Listen in. And be open to what God can do through you.
April 2, 2017
Series: “What’s the Point? – How to link up your very normal life with God’s very extraordinary plan?”
You Can Be a Daily Movie Trailer
Purpose produces passion. That’s part of what we talked about last week in our current teaching series: “What’s the Point? – How to link up your very normal life with God’s very extraordinary plan.” The idea is simple but powerful: If you have a meaningful purpose in your life, you have more passion, energy and motivation. But you can’t link up your “normal” life with God’s extraordinary plan if you don’t know what that extraordinary plan is! On April 2nd at Westminster, we explored 1 John 2 and some very specific ways to do just that. The message is called “You can be a daily movie trailer.” You don’t have to change the world; but you do need to change yours.
March 26, 2017
Series: “What’s the Point? – How to link up your very normal life with God’s very extraordinary plan?”
What’s the point? Have you ever asked yourself that question? I have. It’s a question we ask when we’re feeling overwhelmed or alone or frustrated. But it’s also a question we ask as life goes on and we simply haven’t taken the time to figure out how our daily purpose fits into God’s eternal plans. Too often we go through life like Tykes just learning how to play hockey: with sporadic scurrying speediness! So on March 26 at Westminster we started a new series: “What’s the Point? – How to link up your very normal life with God’s very extraordinary plans.” In Part 1 we explored why this question is so important, and also what God’s bigger plans actually are. If we aren’t confident about God’s big plans, we probably won’t be confident about our day to day lives. Part 1 is called “Co-Renovators.” Listen in!
March 12, 2017
Series: “Clench – How To Love People You Just Don’t Like”
Part 3 of 3: Your Care For Someone Else Can’t Be Big IF
Sometimes the most significant thing you can to do care for someone else is staring you right in the face… literally. What are the last two words in this sentence? “Love your neighbour as yourself.” If you want to be a person of love; if you want to have capacity for compassion; if you want to have margin for mercy; if you want to have get-up-and-go to share goodness–even with people you just don’t like–then you need to be proactive about spiritually caring for yourself. Why? Because your care for someone else can’t be big if your spiritual care for yourself is small. This is what we explored in Part 3 of the Clench series as we brought it all together. The message is called “Your Care For Someone Else Can’t Be Big IF.” Listen in!
March 5, 2017
Series: “Clench – How To Love People You Just Don’t Like”
Part 2 of 3: Do You Make Decisions… or Reactions?
Do you make decisions… or reactions? Truth is, we’re emotional beings–both men and women. So those strong feelings we have–often made worse by difficult people–can put us at our worst when we’re trying to be at our best. But the love Jesus calls us to live is not something that is so easily bullied. In fact, when you study Romans 12, what you find is that love is a decision whereas hostility is a reaction. This is the compelling idea we explored on March 5th with Part 2 in the series called “Clench – How to love people you just don’t like.” Listen in!
February 26, 2017
Series: “Clench” – “How To Love People You Just Don’t Like
Part 1 of 3: How To Deal With “Those” People
Some people just drive you crazy. They’re people at school or work or church or in your family or at the arena. But since Jesus tells us to “love one anther,” how can we be at our best when some people put us at our worst? On February 26th at Westminster we started a new 3-part series called “Clench – How to love people you just don’t like.” It’s called “Clench” because sometimes some people make you just want to clench your teeth. You know the ones! For Part 1 we explored some foundational wisdom from Romans 12 that we need to take seriously if anything we try to do as a people of love is going to hold. You may not like someone, but you can still love them.
February 19, 2017
Angels among us
Are there angels among us? I think so. And after you hear these two powerful stories, you might think so too. A month ago I offered a message about angels. Since that time, several people came forward with stories about their own experiences where God was incredibly active in their lives at a time of great need. So on February 19th at Westminster, we shared two of them. And I’d really like to thank the Dennis family and the Walther-Ford family for their willingness to share. Their stories help us. Why? Because when you talk about your faith you bring about faith.” The message is called “Angels among us.”
February 5, 2017
The Darker the Dark…
“It’s hopeless.” Unfortunately, we live in a time where many people struggle with overwhelming feelings of hopelessness. Whether it’s rising suicide rates, anxiety-provoking news about politics, or personal struggles, many people are struggling. But “it’s hopeless” doesn’t have to be the only response. On February 5th, we explored the idea of what it means to be a people of hope in a world where many struggle with hopelessness. We looked back at the past 12 months to see evidence of God’s hope and light, and asked how this can be a part of God’s response to the hopelessness that many people experience. The message is called “The darker the dark.” Listen in!
January 29, 2017
Angels (Their Battle and Yours)
What’s the deal with angels? Does each person have a guardian angel? Do they look like the chubby winged creatures we see on Hallmark cards? Why does God use them? What does the Bible actually say? On Sunday, January 29th my message was focused on angels and was in response to an email I received asking some of these questions. I also shared two experiences that have made me wonder about angelic visitors in my own life! For some, this is new territory. But no matter what you’ve heard up to this point, my hope is that a better understanding about angels will help you approach the difficulties of life in a healthier way. The message is called “Angels (Their Battle and Yours).” Listen in.
January 22, 2017
Lead With Love
“Unless we are the church for others, we are not the church at all.” So said Dietrich Bonhoeffer. What he meant was that unless we are proactive in how we love, care for and bless the people around us, we’ve failed in our calling to be God’s people. Love is huge! So on January 22nd at Westminster I offered Part 3 in a series called “Peachy – How to have confident convictions and lead with love when others thin your faith makes you foolish or fanatical.” In this final installment I focused in on Paul’s advice to “value others above yourselves.” Since this is easy to say and hard to do (!) I offered 6 practical suggestions for how to make that happen, especially when your faith can make you seem different in a changing world. This final message in the series is called “Lead with Love.” Listen in. I hope your find it helpful, practical and inspiring.
January 15, 2017
Why do you believe what you do? No, seriously, why? I’m not talking about someone else’s reason, or what you think the “right” reason is. What is the real reason? Your reason? Are you able to express it? And are you able to do so confidently? On January 15th at Westminster, I offered Part 2 in a series called “Peachy – How to have confident convictions and lead with love when others think your faith makes you foolish or fanatical.” Part 1 explained some of the modern changes in our society with respect to attitudes towards religion and people of faith, and how this can make you feel different. In Part 2, I take us through a key biblical passage and two exercises to make you more confident in your convictions. I should add that the brochure I talked about can be accessed in blog form here.
January 8, 2017
Be different from the world for the world
Society is changing. And if you’re a person of faith, you’ve probably noticed that with each passing day you’re increasingly different than the people around you because of that faith. So what should we make of this new reality? Why is it happening? And most importantly, how do we follow Jesus with confident, loving integrity? Well, you can be “peachy.” On January 8th at Westminster, I started a new series called “Peachy – How to have confident convictions and lead with love when others think your faith makes you foolish or fanatical.” In Part 1 I offered us a new definition of what it means to be “peachy” and also something we have in common with many of the Christians in the first century which can help us today. The message is called “Be different from the world for the world.” Listen in!
December 24, 2016
Sometimes You Have To Let Go of Something Good
Christmas Eve and Charlie Brown. Hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Christmas Eve: It’s a time to remember Jesus’ birth, but also to think about what that birth might mean for you personally as you walk boldly into 2017. On December 24th at Westminster, this is what we did not only with the words of the angels to the shepherds, but with the wisdom of blanket-carrying Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The message is called “Sometimes you have to let go of something good…” Listen in and be encouraged. Merry Christmas!
December 4, 2016
Is There A War on Christmas?
Is there a War on Christmas? According to some people, there certainly is. Maybe you’ve heard about controversies surrounding Starbucks holiday cups or whether to call Christmas Trees “Holiday Trees.” Is there anything to the idea that the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus is under attack? That’s what we dove into on December 4th at Westminster. The message is designed to help us understand what’s going on, and also to celebrate the season in a way that honours who Jesus really is. Listen in.
November 27, 2016
An Audience of One
Our lives are full of detours and Plan B’s. That’s just the truth. And that can sometimes get us down, especially if we beat ourselves up about what ‘could have been’ or live in the shadow of other people’s expectations. But God wants more for us than that. On November 27th we brought to a conclusion the “Plan B” Series — What to expect from God when things don’t go as expected. We dialed into one of Jesus’ healing stories and asked how that can shift our thinking about our own Plan B’s today. Listen, grow, and adopt one practical suggestion to remind yourself of your higher calling. The message is called “An Audience of One.”
November 20, 2016
The Ripple vs. The Resume
Life is full of detours and Plan Bs. The things that happen are often not the things you expected would happen. So how do you navigate the unexpected and forge a worthwhile legacy that will last even after you’re gone? On September 20th I shared Part 2 in our current series of messages called Plan B: What to expect from God when things don’t go expected. We dove into Jeremiah 29 and the exile of God’s people into Babylon–one of the biggest Plan B stories in the Bible–and asked ourselves what we can learn about forging our own legacies today. The message is called “The Ripple vs. The Resume.” Listen in.
November 13, 2016
ED is not your friend
Has everything in your life turned out as you thought it would? (Me neither). Life serves up some pretty unexpected and challenging things, and we need to collect ourselves and regroup. On September 13th I started a new Sunday series called “Plan B – What to expect from God when things doing go as expected.” In Part 1, we looked at Proverbs 19:21 to learn about what we can expect from God when things don’t go as expected. The message is called “Ed is not your friend.” Listen in.
November 6, 2016
When You Believe in the Hope of Tomorrow
When you believe in the hope of tomorrow you can be the hope of today. But what is “the hope of tomorrow”? The Christian faith has long held that Jesus will one day return. What happens on that day—and after—is a great source of hope which gives us confidence to be the people of hope today. November 6th was a good day to think about it because it was Remembrance Sunday, a day when we give thanks for those who served and died in the horrors of war, and when we renew ourselves as people of peace and hope in a troubled world. The message is called “When you believe in the hope of tomorrow.”
October 30, 2016
It Takes A Village to Raise A Child (of God)
People. Some are great. Some make you want to tear your hair out. Either way, when it comes to building up your faith, a stronger connection with other believers equals a stronger connection with God. On October 30th at Westminster, we explored Hebrews 10 and discover that other people to your faith are like muscles to your flesh. This biblical insight is especially urgent in a time that seems to make it hard to build connection and community with other people. Listen in. The message is called “It takes a village to raise a child… of God.”
October 23, 2016
Don’t Believe Everything You Feel
Decisions. You make hundreds of them every day. And what you decide impacts the life you live. But what should be the role of your emotions and feelings in what you decide? On October 23rd at Westminster, we looked at Psalm 42 and suggested an answer to that critical question. With long-term consequences, this one perspective may change how you approach your life. The series is called “Decisions: How to make wiser decisions about pretty much everything in a topsy-turvy world.” Today’s message, Part 2, is called “Don’t Believe Everything You Feel.”
October 16, 2016
Decisions, decisions, decisions. One cup of coffee, or two? Do you gossip about a friend, or stand up for them? Do you go to the doctor, or assume it will go away? Do you do the easy thing, or the right thing? We humans make hundreds of decisions every day. And the decisions you make have a direct impact on the future you live. On October 16th at Westminster, our pastor started a 2-Sunday min-series called Decisions: How to make wiser decisions about pretty much everything in a topsy-turvy world, and gave people a tool to help them do just that. The message is called “Carpe Futurum.”
October 2, 2016
Who’s Following Who?
You don’t just want to live “the good life.” You want to live a great one. And I’m guessing that’s true no matter what you do. You want to be the kind of person who helps and serves others. Plus, you know it helps to re-prioritize your life so that you can make that happen. So what next? That’s what we talked about on October 2 at Westminster with the final installment of our “Good Life” series. We looked at a passage in Luke 9 and asked, “Who’s following who?” Oh, and by the way, transformation trumps information every time. Listen in.
September 25, 2016
Permanent Complication Vacation
I don’t think anyone on planet earth would argue that be generous and serving others is a bad idea. So why is it so hard to do this on a daily basis? That’s what we explored on September 25th for Part 2 of the “Good Life” series at Westminster. We dove into the story of the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10 and asked ourselves some serious questions about our priorities, and we walked away with a few practical tools to help us live greater lives. Plus, we had a few laughs along the way. The message is called “Permanent Complication Vacation.” Listen in!
September 18, 2016
Getting or Giving
People talk about “The Good Life.” Whatever it is, it’s something to aspire to, right? But when you go a bit deeper, “the good life” is actually about comfort, the accumulation of things, and a kind of happiness that doesn’t last. But it seems to be a part of a “new moral code” that is gaining traction here in the Western world. On September 18th at Westminster we started a new 3-part series called “The Good Life — Why settle for ‘the good life’ when you can have a great one?” In Part 1 we explored John 10 and Jesus’ purpose to offer us something more: “abundant life.” Let’s journey together to learn a bit more about what that means. The message is called “Getting or Giving.”
September 11, 2016
The Main Thing
September is the REAL New Year’s. Do you know why it’s so hard to keep New Year’s resolutions in January? It’s because the real new year was four months ago… in September. So in September we’re setting priorities and plans for the next 12 months. But it’s hard. Why? Because now more than ever we live in a culture of distraction. On September 11 at Westminster we looked at Proverbs 4 to see what advice it could give us for staying focussed, despite our tendency to get pulled in a hundred directions. If you live in 2016, this message is for you. It’s called “The Main Thing.”
September 4, 2016
Now, It’s Personal
It’s easy to let faith fall flat, to let it go from a living relationship to dry religion. But it is so much more than that. If you’re wondering about how to take that next best step to cultivate a personal faith and a stronger awareness of God’s power and presence in your day-to-day life, you may want to listen to the message from September 4th at Westminster. We looked at three different levels of belief, the Bible, and some of our own experiences, to open ourselves to a more personal faith. The more personal, the more powerful. The message is called “Now, it’s personal.”
August 28, 2016
What’s Happening Inside of You
When it comes to life, it’s easy to neglect the things we can’t see–even the things that are incredibly important… like our souls. On August 28th at Westminster, we explored Psalm 86 to help us think about how we might glorify God even with the deepest part of ourselves. This helps us have more integrity in our faith–not only because it’s easy to neglect what we can’t see–but because what’s happening inside of you coaches what happens on the outside of you. Listen in.
July 17, 2016
God Can Use What You Think Is Useless
Some experiences are so difficult that they seem useless. They seem useless because they don’t make us happy and seem to cut us off from experiencing God’s presence more powerfully in our lives. But here’s the thing. God can use what you think is useless. He’s like that. After all, he’s not called the Creator for nothing! On July 17 at Westminster, our pastor explored Romans 5 to help us understand how. The message is called “God can use what you think is useless.”
July 3, 2016
What You Wouldn’t Have Done Anyway
When it comes to faith there are some pretty big ideas… love, faith, obedience. In fact, they’re so big that it can be frustrating to figure out how to incorporate them into your daily life. So on July 3rd at Westminster, our pastor zeroed in on one simple statement designed to inject some enlarged faith into our daily decisions. It’s a “bite-sized chunk” that will help us live out the idea of obedience more faithfully in our day to day lives. The message is based on Psalm 119 and is called “What You Wouldn’t Have Done Anyway.”
June 12, 2016
“Turbulence” Series – Part 4 of 4
Courage In Your Temporary Battle
The storms we face in life seem like a battle. But what kind of battle? The better you can answer this question, the more likely you are to summon courage in the fray. In this final installment of the Turbulence series, we brought it all together with a message called, “Courage In Your Temporary Battle.”
June 5, 2016
“Turbulence” Series – Part 3 of 4
Margin Creates Capacity
What is essential and what is optional? Whether we know it or not, we live each day answering that question a thousand times. How we answer is especially important when it comes to how we use our time. “Margin” is rest; it’s that time of renewal. In your life, is it optional, or is it essential? How you answer that question impacts your capacity to deal with turbulence when it comes. That’s what we tackled on June 5th at Westminster with Part 3 of the “Turbulence” series. The message is called “Margin Creates Capacity.”
May 29, 2016
“Turbulence” Series – Part 2 of 4
The Today Strategy
On May 29 at Westminster we had Part 2 of our Sunday Series called “Turbulence: How to navigate the storms of life (because no one gets a free ride).” One of the difficulties in turbulence is anxiety and worry. We start to think that because things are tough now, things will always be tough. We obsess bout tomorrow and miss God’s peace today. So what do you do? You get a strategy. In this message we explored Jesus’ words to not worry. It’s called “The Today Strategy.”
May 22, 2016
“Turbulence” Series – Part 1 of 4
Who Do You Listen To?
On May 22 at Westminster we began a new series of Sunday messages called “Turbulence: How to navigate the storms of life (because no one gets a free ride). Truth is, you’ve either been through a storm, are in a storm, or are one phone call away from a storm. So this series in designed to explore biblical help and hope for the journey ahead. On this first Sunday our pastor stressed the importance of healthy voices in our lives: “Healthy voices in your life accelerate healthy choices in your life.” The message is called “Who do you listen to?”
May 15, 2016
“Influence” Series – Part 4 of 4
The Way To Help Everyone
On May 15 at Westminster we had Part 4 (and the wrap-up) of our series called Influence. When we take a close look at the people who’ve been the most influential in our lives, they’re not necessarily people with impressive credentials, but with impressive character. In this message we looked at a fourth characteristic that is present in people who have godly influence with the people around them. The message is called “The Way to Help Everyone.”
May 8, 2016
“Influence” Series – Part 3 of 4
Custom Made to Make a Mark
On May 8 at Westminster we had part 3 of our series called Influence. Usually when we hear that word we think of people like Oprah Winfrey or Steve Jobs—people with big television audiences or powerful companies. But you are a person of influence. And you already have more influence than you think. The key is to grow it to build character, community and the kingdom of God. So in this message we looked at a characteristic that is essential in people who have godly influence. The message is called “Custom Made to Make a Mark.”
TECHNICAL NOTE: The first 30 seconds of the message weren’t recorded. During that time I introduced an experiment where I try to hammer a nail with a watch, play crokinole with a book, and drink a glass of water with a marker.
May 1, 2016
“Influence” Series – Part 2 of 4
Be The First One To Admit
On May 1 at Westminster we had part 2 of our series called Influence. Usually when we hear that word we think of people like Oprah Winfrey or Steve Jobs—people with big television audiences or powerful companies. But you are a person of influence. And you already have more influence than you think. They key is to grow it to build character, community and the kingdom of God. So in this message we looked at a characteristic that is essential in people who have godly influence. The message is called “Be The First To Admit.”
April 24, 2016
“Influence” Series – Part 1 of 4
Integrity is Character Consistency
Influential. When we hear that word we usually think of people like Oprah Winfrey or Steve Jobs—people with big television audiences or powerful companies. But you are a person of influence. And it’s no less important. On April 24 at Westminster, we started a new 4-part series called “Influence: You already have more influence than you think. Grow it to build character, community and the kingdom of God.” Listen in and join us for the journey.
April 10, 2016
Direction Determines Destination
Direction determines destination. In other words, the direction you choose to go affects whether or not you reach your destination. It’s true for school, for work, for yourself… and for church. On April 10 at Westminster I shared the new mission and vision statements for the congregation. I also offered a suggestion about what you can do this week to think about your own personal mission in life. Listen in, and see what God is doing.
March 27, 2016
If God Did It Then
On Easter morning at Westminster we gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. But it’s important to ask, “Did it actually happen?” It’s a good question. After all, Christianity rises and falls on the resurrection of Jesus. And if you’re open the possibility that God can do incredible things in the past, then it opens you to the possibility that God can do incredible things now and in the future. The message is called “If God Did It Then.” Listen in.
March 20, 2016
Fan or Follower?
When it comes to your faith, have you ever asked yourself: Am I being authentic? On Palm Sunday at Westminster, that’s what we explored as we took a look at the crowds who watched and cheered as Jesus entered Jerusalem on the week of his death and resurrection. The message is called “Fan or Follower?”
March 6, 2016
“You Can Run” Series – Part 3 of 3
When You Show Mercy
On March 6 at Westminster we had the last instalment of “You Can Run,” a series about Jonah, a spitting whale, and you getting back on track. Building on Parts 1 and 2, we looked specifically at Jonah’s attitude at the end of his adventure, and asked what it can teach us about becoming more spiritually mature. The message is called “When You Show Mercy.”
February 28, 2018
Prepare Him Room
On February 28th at Westminster, we took a 1-week break from our “You Can Run” series and heard a message by Cathy Clark. On this third Sunday in Lent she talks about Mark 10, Jesus’ coming crucifixion, and how we might ready ourselves for that pinnacle event as his people.
February 21, 2016
“You Can Run” Series – Part 2 of 3
Obedience Isn’t About What You Can Do
On February 21st at Westminster we continued our series called “You Can Run” about Jonah, a spitting whale, and you getting back on track. Due to a medical emergency during the message, the live podcast wasn’t completed. (Fortunately, the individual who was struggling now seems to be okay.) So what I did was sit down afterward and share the message in a less formal talk style. It’s called “Obedience isn’t about what you can do.”
You can access the handout that is referenced during the talk here: Obedience – 2016 02 21 – 10 commandments handoutB
February 14, 2016
“You Can Run” Series – Part 1 of 3
You Can Run From God
On February 14th at Westminster we started something called “You Can Run: A 3-Part Series on Jonah, A Spitting Whale & You Getting Back on Track.” For Part 1 we looked at the first two chapters, and thought about Jonah’s opposite-direction flight from where God wanted him to go, and what this might have to do with… you. The message is called “You Can Run From God.” Listen in.
February 7, 2016
The Castle of Your Character
Who will you be when you face your Goliath? What kind of character, what kind of soul, will emerge? Whatever character is, we want it, and we want practical guidance to grow it in our modern lives. All of this lies at the heart of the message at Westminster on February 7th as we took a look at a story Jesus tells in Luke chapter 16. It’s called “The Castle of Your Character.” Listen in.
January 31, 2016
When You’re Losing Control
Do you ever feel like you’re losing control? And whether you’re struggling with that now, or if you come across that situation at some point in the future, wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow access some godly perspective that lifts us and helps us deal with the adversity in our lives? By exploring Psalm 62, this is exactly what we talked about at Westminster on January 31st. The message is called “When you’re losing control.”
January 24, 2016
The Match (Letting Go of Your Future)
Have you ever wondered about God’s plan for your future? That was a central question on January 24th at Westminster as we wrapped up our series on the Prodigal Son called Open Closed. The message is called “The Match (Letting Go of Your Future).” Listen in.
January 17, 2016
Is it time to bury Mesus? On January 17th at Westminster we had part 2 of a 3 part series on the Prodigal Son called Open Closed. Do you hold on tight to what’s essential and let go of what’s optional, or do you hold on tight to what’s optional and let go of what’s essential? This week we dove in to the next part of the story and tried to consider the perspective of the older brother. The message is called “Burying Mesus.”
January 10, 2016
The More You Look Up To God…
On January 10th at Westminster I started a new 3-week series of Sunday messages called “Open Closed.” Imagine your two hands—one open and one closed, with this question in mind: Do you hold on tight to what’s essential and let go of what’s optional, or do you hold on tight to what’s optional and let go of what’s essential? To help us grapple with this question, we’re taking an in-depth look at the Story of the Prodigal Son. The kick-off message is called “The More You Look Up To God…”
December 27, 2015
The Mulligan People
In the blur of Christmas it’s easy to forget WHY Jesus came. The angel reveals one of the main reasons to Joseph: “he will save his people from their sins.” On December 27 at Westminster we took at closer look at this story from the Bible and made forgiveness personal. The message is called “The Mulligan People.”
December 24, 2015
You’re Never Ready
Christmas Eve is a special night. And one of the things we all share in common is that we stand on the brink of another 12 months. What will they bring? What will God bring? My message is called “You’re Never Ready”—and is a messenger of bad news that is ultimately very good news. Listen in. And Merry Christmas.
December 20 2015
Let The Author Write Your Story
On December 20th it was our annual Christmas Cantata at Westminster, so I didn’t share a full message. But I did offer this short reflection on Christmas in response to the singing of our choir. It’s called Let the Author Write Your Story.
December 6, 2015
Cut and Paste
Series Part 3: Spend
Time. God isn’t making any more of it. There’s only 24 hours in a day. And it’s the lead up to Christmas which means it’s even busier than usual. But does it have to be? That’s what we talked about on December 6 at Westminster as a part of our series of Sunday messages called ‘Spend.’ We continued to explore Luke chapter 2 and extract some biblical wisdom for how to spend our time well this Christmas. The message is called “Cut and paste.” Listen in.
November 29, 2015
Lean In To Simplicity
Series Part 2: Spend
Christmas has become overwhelming. It distracts our time, our attention, and also our money and resources. On November 29 at Westminster this is what we talked about as we dove further into the Christmas story in chapter 2 of Luke’s Gospel. The message was called “When You Lean In To The Nativity You Lean In To Simplicity.” And let me say a special thank you to Jackie Luke who helped out at the end of the message.
November 22, 2015
Attention Directs Direction
Series Part 1: Spend
Spend. Is your Christmas characterized by how you SPEND your attention, money and time, or is your Christmas characterized by how your attention, money and time SPEND you? That’s a new Sunday series we started at Westminster on November 22 and it’s going to take us right through the holidays. Because you know what? The birth of this baby isn’t supposed to be a burden. Listen in, and let’s journey together.
November 15, 2015
Progression Not Perfection
Perfectionism. Maybe that’s you, maybe it’s not. But whatever you think, there’s a bit of it in everyone, and it’s actually holding you back. This is what we explored on November 15 at Westminster. The message is called “Progression Not Perfection.”
November 8, 2015
My Security is in God’s Eternity
On November 8 at Westminster we marked Remembrance Sunday—a day when we give thanks to God for our freedoms, and honour the sacrifice of the many men and women who died in the horrors of war. With this as the backdrop I offered a message about security and fear. It’s called “My Security Is In God’s Eternity.”
November 1, 2015
Better Is Possible (It’s one thing to believe skydivers have parachutes that work. It’s another to jump out of a plane.)
It’s one thing to believe skydivers have parachutes that work. It’s another to jump out of the plane. That was a main idea on November 1 at Westminster. We celebrated the sacrament of Baptism, were blessed by several of our young people confirming their faith, and had an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party in the Sunday School. All of it has to do not just with what we SAY we believe, but how we LIVE what we say we believe. The message is called “Better Is Possible.”
October 11, 2015
It’s Not What You Have; It’s What You Do With What You Have
Are you tired? Are you tired of the hamster wheel? Of wanting more? Of always comparing yourself to other people? Or being compared? Of confusing needs and wants? Do you want to you want greater peace of mind? If so, the Thanksgiving Sunday message at Westminster on October 11th might be just for you. It’s called It’s Not What You Have; It’s What You DO With What You Have. (As I mention in the message, the title quote is from Andy Stanley.)
October 4, 2015
Trust Your Father, Not Your Feelings
How do you know when the Holy Spirit is at work? That was the main question that led the message at Westminster on October 4 as we brought our 3-week series on the Holy Spirit to a close. We explored Jesus’ words in John 16 and benefited by the incredible story of Nancy Coen, and helpful insights of theologian Jonathan Edwards. The message is called “Trust Your Father, Not Your Feelings.”
September 27, 2015
It’s Not Just About What You’re Doing–But Who You’re Becoming
Ever been stuck? Ever had a time in life when you wonder, ‘What am I doing? Can God use me in this situation?’ If so, the message from September 27 at Westminster might be just for you. It’s the 2nd message in a series called Power: Waking Up To The Power & Possibility of the Holy Spirit. It’s called: “It’s not just about what you’re doing, but who you’re becoming.”
September 20, 2015
God’s Best Within Your Chest
Power: Waking Up to the Power and Possibility of the Holy Spirit. That’s the title of a new series of Sunday messages at Westminster. And on September 20th we kicked it off by exploring three questions: Who is the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit do? And what difference does it make? This first message is called “God’s Best Within Your Chest.”
September 13, 2015
If You’re Not Dead, You’re Not Done
On September 13 we had our Welcome BBQ at Westminster where we got back into the swing of things for a new and exciting 12 months. I shared a message that I hope will encourage and equip us for the year ahead, using the enigmatic story of Abram’s call. It’s called “If you’re not dead, you’re not done.”
September 6, 2015
You Go To Who You Know
When the storms of life come, and they do come, you go to who you know—meaning that, by instinct, we tend to go to the people we trust for counsel and comfort. Wouldn’t it be great if we trained ourselves, by instinct, to go to the greatest source of comfort and counsel in the universe? The message for September 6 is called “You Go To Who You Know.” [NOTE: To download the 1-page resource I talk about in the message click here: 2015 09 M Ruttan Red Letter Focus]
August 30, 2015
When the Ego Goes to the Side; Jesus Can Go To The Centre
I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t want to grow. But for many of us, there’s something holding us back. I call it the great enemy of spiritual growth. Just because it’s invisible, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. That’s what we dove into on August 30 at Westminster. The message is called “When the ego goes to the side; Jesus can go to the centre.”
August 16, 2015
What You Do and Expose Yourself To Creates You
Like it or not, you’re impressionable. So am I. Maybe not for everything, but probably for a lot more things than you think. The culture around us, the messages we hear, our relationships, what we watch on TV or social media, all of it has a shaping impact on us. So how do we ensure we’re getting shaped in a good way? In a godly way? That’s what I explored on August 16 at Westminster. The message is called “What You Do and Expose Yourself To Creates You.”
August 9, 2015
Protect Your Soldiers
“In the battles of your life, who fights with you?” It’s a great question because life is often just that, a battle. It’s not easy—and I don’t think it’s supposed to be. On August 9 at Westminster we looked at Paul’s letter to Philemon and explored how God parachutes people into our lives, soldiers, to help us. So what do we do with them? Do we take them for granted? Do we just take and take and take? If you are like me you want fresh ways to think about life’s difficulties and be better equipped to soar through them. The message is called “Protect Your Soldiers.”
July 12, 2015
Small is Big
Ever feel like you’re small? Ever ask yourself: Does what I do have any lasting significance? Me too. The message at Westminster on July 12 was framed around these exact questions. It’s called “Small is Big.” Enjoy, and be encouraged.
July 5, 2015
All We Like Mountain Goats
Vacation Bible Camp 2015 is upon us! And on July 5, our VBS Rally Sunday, we got all geared up for it and focussed on the theme Conquering Challenges With God’s Mighty Power. The message was delivered by Jenn Harris, Westminster’s Music Director and was called “All We Like Mountain Goats.” Enjoy!
June 14, 2015
In Your Weakness You Discover God’s Strength
Dear God, please give me ________________. One of the most popular ways to finish that sentence is with the word ‘strength.’ Dear God, please give me strength. And whatever it is we want it for the various uphill twisting pathways of life. So what do we do with our weaknesses? On June 14 at Westminster I shared a difficult part of my own story and also the path back to a place of renewed vitality and light. The message is called In Your Weakness You Discover God’s Strength.
June 7, 2015
It’s Not What You Know—It’s Who You Know
June 7 was Anniversary Sunday at Westminster. 53 years. And so the question I asked was, What unifies us? What makes us strong? What is the one thing that will root us, and soar us, into the next 53? I think the answer helps us collectively as a church, but also as individuals wherever we are at in life. The message is called “It’s not what you know—it’s who you know.”
May 24, 2015
Mature People Give Others Credit
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” So says Mark Twain. Wow, that is huge food for thought. Have you ever asked yourself, Why was I born? On May 24 at Westminster this is what we explored as we tried to move ourselves forward in a very practical way with one thing we can all do this week to take us to the next best step. The message is called Mature People Give Others Credit. Enjoy.
May 17, 2015
Mature People Match Words and Actions
I want to be more spiritually mature, as a person. I want there to be more harmony, more of a match-up between what I say and what I do. Can you relate? If so, this message is for you. On May 17 at Westminster we gathered and reflected on these exact questions. The message is called Mature People Match Words and Actions. Listen in.
TECHNICAL NOTE: The message has some ‘fuzz’ on the line for about the first six minutes; but it clears up after that. Thanks for your patience.
Jesus Will Judge Humanity To Restore Harmony
At Westminster on May 10, I brought our series on the Second Coming to a conclusion. We’ve covered a lot of ground over the past three Sundays, and today we answer the question: What will Jesus do when he comes? And it’s closely related to the question, Why does he come? Listen in. The message is called Jesus Will Judge Humanity to Restore Harmony.
May 3, 2015
Since God Will Restore The World To How It Should Be—So Should We
On May 3 we had our second Sunday in our series on the Second Coming of Jesus. What will happen when he comes? Will it be like the Left Behind series where Jesus snatches up the faithful and takes them off into the clouds? Where does that idea come from? Well, to get to the heart of it you need to start from the end and work backwards. The message is called Since God Will Restore The World To How It Should Be So Should We. Listen in.
The Good News Isn’t Just About Something You Know; It’s About Someone You Are
The Second Coming of Jesus. It’s something the Christian faith has long believed in, but we rarely ever talk about it. The first coming? His life and ministry? We talk about that all the time. But why not the second? When he returns? On April 26 at Westminster I began a new 3-week series on just that. And this first installment was really geared toward sharing some critical background to help us gain a clearer view, and also how we can get ourselves ready for his arrival, whenever that is. The message is called The Good News Isn’t Just About Something You Know; It’s About Someone You Are.
Adopt A Vocabulary of Victory
During Easter God’s voice of victory seems super present. The empty tomb, resurrection, hope, God wins. But as time goes on, other influences creep in. Negative voices, trials and tribulations and cultural fuzz. So how do we hold on to that? God’s Easter voice of victory? Good question. That’s what we dove into on April 12 at Westminster.
Faith in the Long-Term Victory Breathes Victory into the Short-Term Faith
It’s Easter Sunday. Jesus is alive! But how do we honour that ultimate triumph, while at the same time taking seriously the current difficulties we face? Are we ambassadors of a simplistic and naïve optimism? Or is there something more? This message dives into exactly that question as we gathered at Westminster on April 5. The message is called Faith in the Long-Term Victory Breathes Victory into the Short-Term Faith.
He Lost His Life To Let You Live
On Good Friday 2015 we gathered at Westminster, imagining we were around the foot of the cross, and pondering what Jesus’ sacrifice might mean for us. To do so, I brought in the unusual passage of Noah’s Ark. The message is called He Lost His Life to Let You Live.
To Love Like Jesus Means Loving “Beneath” You
I think it’s safe to say we all want to leave a legacy of love. But what kind of love? What does Jesus teach us about love? As we gathered at this reflective service at Westminster on Maundy Thursday, those are just the questions we dove into. This short message is called To Love Like Jesus Means Loving “Beneath” You.
You Are Saved From Something For Something–To Live His Love
Palm Sunday kicks off Easter Week. It’s the day we join in with those ancient pilgrims and yell, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” The word “Hosanna” means save. We want this king Jesus to bring us salvation. But what does that even mean? Does it just mean getting into heaven? And how does this saving King of love motivate me to live my life in the here and now? This is what we explored on March 29 at Westminster.
Prayers Speak Louder Than Words
March 15 was the second Sunday in a row we talked about prayer. We live in a time that downgrades the value of words—“actions speak louder than words” we are told. I get that. But I also know that God uses words, and we use words, words that have the potential for power. This is definitely true for prayer. The message is called Prayers Speak Louder Than Words. Listen in.
The Lord’s Prayer is a Mission Statement
As Max Lucado says, “You’re never without hope because you’re never without prayer.” On Sunday, March 8 at Westminster, I explored prayer—and more specifically, the Lord’s Prayer. Is it just some dusty thing we say from youth? Or do we really pray it? What if it wasn’t just about memorization, but resisting the million distractions of our world and being drawn inward and upward into God’s mission, God’s vision? The message is called The Lord’s Prayer is a Mission Statement.
March 1, 2015
Sunday Series: The 7 Deadly Sins & The 7 Living Signs
Part 8 (Conclusion), Sloth & Diligence: God Runs With You
On March 1 at Westminster I brought to a close our 8-week series on the 7 Deadly Sins and The 7 Living Signs with the sin of sloth and its counteracting sign of God’s Spirit working within you: Diligence. But the message really served to tie the whole thing together. I ask: “Why should we walk around as pale shadows of who we could be?” The message is called God Runs With You. Listen in and let’s grow together.
February 22, 2015
Sunday Series: The 7 Deadly Sins & The 7 Living Signs
Part 7, Greed & Generosity: God Gave You Two Hands: One to Receive, One to Give
Greed. Usually we think of it connected to some illegal corporate scandal. But in many daily ways it grows from the doubt in our hearts. We can doubt that God is good. We doubt that God will provide for us. And so we store up and take because we don’t think God has the goods to take care of us. And this comes out in our daily lives. The antidote, the greed therapy, is generosity. This is what we got into on February 22 at Westminster. The message is called God Gave You Two Hands: One to Receive, One to Give. Listen in.
February 15, 2015
Sunday Series: The 7 Deadly Sins & The 7 Living Signs
Part 6, Anger & Patience: Patience is Enduring the Dark of Today in The Light of Eternity
“When anger shows up, it often takes over.” So says Michael Mangis. And I think it’s true. Anger is so powerful… and pushy. But when is it appropriate, when isn’t it? On February 15 at Westminster this is what we dove into as a part of our Sunday series The 7 Deadly Sins & The 7 Living Signs. We also explored the discipline of patience—because patience is one of the main ways we can avoid being defined by anger. The message is called Patience is Enduring The Dark of Today in The Light of Eternity.
February 8, 2015
Sunday Series: The 7 Deadly Sins & The 7 Living Signs
Part 5, Lust & Purity: Respect God’s Image In Others
Lust. Sexual temptation. It can be a huge challenge in people’s lives, especially when we live in such a highly sexualized culture. So how do we see it all from a new point of view? How can we get help? This is what I talked about on February 8th at Westminster as we continued our Sunday Series on the 7 Deadly Sins & The 7 Living Signs. The message is called Respect God’s Image in Others.
February 1, 2015
Sunday Series: The 7 Deadly Sins & The 7 Living Signs
Part 4, Gluttony & Self-Control: Sometimes You Have to Say ‘No’ to Good Things to Say ‘Yes’ to the Right Things
When too much of a good thing goes bad. That’s gluttony. And it’s something that a lot of us struggle with. Too much food, or drink, to the point where it’s doing our bodies more harm than good. The antidote? Okay, sure, we need more self-control. But why? Well, here’s why: Because sometimes you have to say no to good things to say yes to the right things. This is what I dove into on February 1st at Westminster. Listen in to find out what I mean.
January 25, 2015
Sunday Series: The 7 Deadly Sins & The 7 Living Signs
Part 3, Envy & Kindness: The Cure for Constant Comparison is Kindness
On January 25 at Westminster I talked about envy, the curse of constant comparison—but also, the cure for constant comparison. Why do we keep trying to compare ourselves to other people, especially those with bigger houses, or pay cheques, or better looks, or higher achieving kids? Does it make us feel better? Why? These are the things I talk about—and also, how to make it better.
January 18, 2015
Sunday Series: The 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Living Signs
Part 2, Pride & Humility: Pride Blinds the Eyes, Humility Clarifies
Pride. It’s huge. It’s like the CN Tower of sin. And so, as we kicked off looking into the 7 deadly sins and 7 living signs as a part of our new Sunday Series at Westminster, we dove into what pride means—and you know what? It has farther reaching implications than you think. We also highlighted the “living sign” of humility—because if you’re going to try and excise something like pride from your life as you try to be more like Jesus, you have deliberately put something in its place: Cultivating humility. The message is called “Pride blinds the eyes, humility clarifies.”
January 11, 2015
Sunday Series: The 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Living Signs
Part 1, Introduction: The Gain Is Where The Pain Is
On January 11 at Westminster I began our new Sunday series. The introduction to this series is in the podcast itself so i encourage you to simply listen in to get a sense of what it’s all about. You can also watch a 2-minute video about the series on my YouTube channel here.
July 10, 2016
Who Are YOU With?
When you get dealt difficulty, you often get told that “God is with you.” That’s true. But are YOU with God? On July 10th at Westminster we had our Vacation Bible School Rally Service. We commissioned helpers and leaders, sang and prayed. And our Music Director, Jenn Harris, who is also one of the camp’s co-directors, offered a message called “Who Are YOU With?” Listen in. And be strengthened.
August 7, 2016
Lose Your Soul
On August 7th at Westminster we welcomed Tim Maassarany to lead the message. Tim is a deejay and the co-host of the All New Breakfast Club with Tim and Todd on Life 100.3FM, Ontario’s Christian Superstation. Tim spoke about Matthew 16:24-27 and how it is easy to get side-tracked with the allures and luxuries of the world around us. His message is called “Lose Your Soul.”
August 14, 2016
Thank You, Jenn
On August 14th at Westminster we had Music Director Appreciation Sunday. Gratitude is a huge theme in the Bible, and at Westminster we are so grateful for Jenn Harris, and the impact her music ministry has had on our faith and in our lives. 6 speakers shared words of gratitude — Don Hickey, Val Cousins, Claude Cox, May Proper, Aaron Harris, and Rev. Ruttan. Our Bible passage for the day was 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
October 9, 2016 – A Deeper Shade of Orange
On Thanksgiving Sunday we talked about taking gratitude to a deeper level. Building on Westminster’s monthly “Orange Idea,” Cathy Clark delivered a message based on Leviticus 25 that challenged us to pay forward the goodness of God’s blessing in our lives. Click here for a pdf copy of the message: c-clark-deeper-shade-of-orange And here to listen to the audio:
February 12, 2017 – The Names of God
On February 12th at Westminster, Cathy Clark delivered the message, reflecting on the many names of God, what they teach us, and how it impacts our daily walk of faith today.
April 14, 2017 – Commemoration
On April 14th, elder Cathy Clark offered the Good Friday message at Westminster, helping us reflect on the significance of the cross.