Mary, the Slave


2014.12.21 - Leshia Knopf - The Church Calendar

Mary, the Slave

Luke 1:26-38

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As the road to Christmas comes to a culmination, Leshia (our Pastoral Intern) takes us to visit Mary, the mother of Jesus.

And Mary gives herself a title that, to many of us, seems oppressive or wrong. She calls herself “God’s slave”.

How is THAT good news?

The text:

Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

"Who Are You?"


2014.12.14 - Kevin Makins - The Church Calendar

Who Are You?

John 1:6-8, 19-28

We return to John the Baptist this week and look at his answer to a very peculiar question: who are you?

Which is a question we all need to answer. Who am I? And what makes ME… me?!

What (or who) defines our identity?

The text, John 1:6-8, 19-28:

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

Survival Skills for Desert Living


2014.12.07 - Jared Both - The Church Calendar

Survival Skills for Desert Living

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Mark 1:1-8

John the Baptist is a weird, ecentric dude!

Another ecentric dude, Jared Both, takes us through an introduction to John the Baptist, looking at who he was, and what he had to say.

The text, Mark 1:1-8

1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; 3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ ”

4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

When the Stars Fall (A Very Ferguson Advent)


2014.11.30 - Kevin Makins (with Jesse Korgemaa) - The Church Calendar

When the Stars Fall (A Very Ferguson Advent)

Mark 13

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So I am immediately regretting this whole “following the church calendar and lectionary thing”.

May I present to you THE FIRST TEXT OF ADVENT 2014:

MARK 13:24-37

24 “But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.

27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. 28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.

30 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.

34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35 Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”


So what in the world is this Jesus talking about? Is it the end of the world? The rapture? Nicolas Cage?

What do you mean the stars will fall and heavens are shaken? AND WHAT does this mean for us as disciples of Jesus?

And does this text have ANYTHING to do with Advent? Why did they pick this text (hundreds of years ago) to be read at the start of the road to CHRISTMAS?!

Please open your bible to Mark chapter 13, and let’s dive in.

The Church Calendar: God's Redeeming Time

2014.11.23 - Leshia Knopf - The Church Calendar

God’s Redeeming Time

Colossians 1

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We’re spending a year doing WHAT?

That’s right! For the next year we will be following the “lectionary readings” of the church calendar.

The church calendar is a tool used by the church for something like… 1700 years! Christians around the world and throughout time have been on a common rhythmn, telling the story of scripture to one another, year after year. It’s amazing, uniting, powerful… and yet foreign to so many of us!

What is the church calendar? How is it useful? How was it developed? And WHY do we feel God is calling us to follow it for a year?

How a Pinky Feels


2014.11.16 - Kevin Makins

How a Pinky Feels

Galatians 5, 1 Corinthians 12

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The church is called to be a diverse group of people, united across all the traditional tribal lines of age, gender, background, culture, status, etc.

It’s a lovely vision, isn’t it? Only one problem: it’s really, really friggen hard to feel like an outsider, or to feel like you’re just DIFFERENT from everyone else.

What does the gospel say to united groups of diverse people?

The Scapegoated God - The Sign of Jonah


2014.11.09 - Kevin Makins - The Sign of Jonah

Jonah Epilogue: The Scapegoated God

Romans 1-3, 11, John 11

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Jonah was called to preach to the first empire the world had ever seen. The early Christians also existed under an empire: the Roman Empire. And it’s a small group of Christians, meeting in Rome (in the belly of the beast) that Paul declares: I am not ashamed of the gospel.

What is the good news of Jesus? How does it end hostility between segregated groups? And why does it matter that Jesus was nailed to a cross?

***ALL THIS AND MORE! In the shocking conclusion to The Sign of Jonah!***

"You Christians Are So Unlike Your Christ" (Ya, We Know!) - The Sign of Jonah


2014.11.02 - Kevin Makins - The Sign of Jonah

“You Christians Are So Unlike Your Christ” (Ya, We Know!)

Matthew 12, 2 Corinthians 4

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As we near the end of the story of Jonah we come to the question: what is the Sign of Jonah?

And what does it have to do with a famous Ghandi quote?

ACT IV: The Chapter We Don't Talk About - The Sign of Jonah


2014.10.26 - Kevin Makins - The Sign of Jonah

ACT IV: The Chapter We Don’t Talk About

Jonah 4

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When you hear the story of Jonah it’s often told as a Three Act Play: Jonah hears God’s calling and flees, he’s swallowed up by a sea monster and changes his mind, he goes to Nineveh and BAM! they repent.

But there’s a fourth act in Jonah, a chapter we don’t talk about, and it’s probably the strangest part in the story!

And ultimately it asks the question: what do we do when we’re #blessed?

Note: At 41 minutes there is a brief financial update from Matt Willard!


2014.10.19 - August “Gus” Konkel - The Sign of Jonah

Turned Upside Down

Jonah 3

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August “Gus” Konkel is a professor at McMaster Divinity College, and we first met him when doing some preliminary research on the book of Jonah. As we talked with Gus three things were quickly revealed: He is super smart, he is very wise, and he reads from the Hebrew text.

Then we found out he taught a class called “Preaching Jonah”… So of course we had to have him join us!

Gus preaches about the repentance of Nineveh, the culmination of Jonah’s prophetic word, and what “repenting” is truly all about.

Leviathan on a Leash - The Sign of Jonah


2014.10.12 - Leshia Knopf - The Sign of Jonah

Leviathan on a Leash

Jonah 2

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When Jonah fell into the waters he fell into the one place where a good god shouldn’t be: a place of chaos and death.

And the strangest thing happens…

Prophet Pagans, Pathetic Prophets - The Sign of Jonah


2014.09.29 - Kevin Makins - The Sign of Jonah

Prophet Pagans, Pathetic Prophet

Jonah 1

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The author of Jonah is making subtle commentary in the book. See if you can find it!

Also, Kevin tells a story about the worst spiritual retreat he ever had. Worst. Spiritual. Retreat. Ever.

The Nazis of the Ancient World - The Sign of Jonah


2014.09.29 - Kevin Makins - The Sign of Jonah

The Nazis of the Ancient World

Jonah 1

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The world Jesus lived in was ruled over by the Roman Empire. Nearly a millennium before Jesus, there lived a man named Jonah.

And the world of Jonah had it’s own Empire: the Assyrians.

And the capital city of Assyria? Nineveh.

As we dive into the text of Jonah, we also dive into the world he inhabited, and it is most certainly a violent, depraved, and wicked world.

Two side notes: 

1) The quality of the recording this week is… subpar. It’s listenable, but not great. Listen at your own risk!

2) This sermon has a fairly large audio clip from Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” - the clip is about 10 minutes, but the full episode comes in at over an hour. It’s ABSOLUTELY worth listening to if you want to understand more about the Assyrians and the city of Nineveh.

To download the rest of the episode visit this link:

For more podcasts from Dan Carlin, including his “Hardcore History” series, visit

Dan, you are incredibly smart, interesting, and talented. Please don’t sue our little church. xoxo

I've Got Good News, And I've Got Bad News... - The Sign of Jonah


2014.09.21 - Kevin Makins - The Sign of Jonah

I’ve Got Good News, and I’ve Got Bad News…

Matthew 12

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We begin our series on the story of Jonah by looking at… the Gospel According to Matthew. Obviously.

And as we do we dive headfirst into a CRAZY text about “The Lord of the Flies”, robbing strong men, awesome haircuts, trees producing fruit and the only sin God can’t forgive.

Left Foot, Right Foot (Same Page Sunday 2014)

2014.09.14 - Kevin Makins - Same Page Sunday 2014

Left Foot, Right Foot

Matthew 28, Ephesians 4

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It’s been four years… FOUR YEARS of being a congregation! How are we doing? What’s next? What is the POINT of this “being the church thing?”

And the question everyone is really asking: how can we avoid dragging a foot?

Alcohol: Party Like Jesus - So What?


2014.06.15 - Kevin Makins - So What?

Alcohol: Party Like Jesus

John 2, Psalm 104, Joel 3, Amos 9, Proverbs 23, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, Isaiah 5, 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Peter 4, Romans 14, Matthew 11

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Should Christians drink alcohol? If not, why? If so, how?

And is there a way to enjoy alcohol that doesn’t devolve into harsh judgements, or dumb decisions, or long lists of rules, or selfishness, or vomit-in-your-hair? What does the bible say about alcohol?

Well apparently a lot! (Seriously, look at all there verses up there)

This sermon is a fairly lengthy exploration of alcohol in the bible, but it’s ultimately asking one simple question: how did Jesus drink?

Technology: The Stencilling on the Casing of an Atomic Bomb


2014.06.08 - Kevin Makins - So What?

Technology: The Stencilling on the Casing of an Atomic Bomb

Genesis 11, Acts 2

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Some of the topics in this series are often talked about in church… but Christians rarely talk about technology.

Technology surrounds us: it’s cars and bikes and running shoes and smart phones and printed books and slides on a screen!

And it shapes us. Whether we want it to or not, technology changes us.