Past Sermon Series

  • Sabbath: Practicing God's Delight

    Pluck from the vine a ruddy tomato. Pinch basil leaves. Breathe deeply. Cultivate awareness. Perceive abundance. These are the signs of Sabbath — practicing God’s delight. Savour slow food. Enjoy conversation. Laugh, or cry, with neighbours. Welcome the stranger. Harvest truth. These are signs of Sabbath — practicing God’s delight. Live with wide margins. Flow with creativity. Find pleasure in your work and in the fruit of your labour. These are the signs of Sabbath — practicing God’s delight. In a ‘progressive’ culture that unconsciously struts status by a full schedule or equates worth with busyness… rest, ironically, can be hard work. Sabbath is not simply a break from frenetic, self-obsessed ways of living. Sabbath has the potential to redirect and transform all our existence, bringing it into more faithful alignment with God’s life-building and life-strengthening ways. Sabbath life is a truly human life — abundant, because it is founded in God’s overarching design for all places and all times.

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  • A Cloud of Witnesses

    The Christian faith spans generations, languages, cultures, and continents. For 2000 years, Christians the world over have experienced, practiced, and proclaimed the risen Christ — and today, each of us have received from these spiritual ancestors. This summer, Jubilee Mennonite Church and River East Church are once again partnering for our sermon series… but this year looks a little different. Instead of writing new sermons for each Sunday, preachers will be speaking with the words of someone else — words they’ve received that have gotten under their skin. Be it a mentor, a family member, a famous person or someone long deceased, this series nods to those who have gone before us, the great ‘Cloud of Witnesses’ that we stand with across time and space.

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  • Courage

    Courage is what stories are made of. From antiquity ‘til today, people from every corner of the globe value courage. Plato named courage as one of the four cardinal virtues. The ancient Japanese named courage second of ten samurai moral values. Canada’s First Nations name courage as one of the seven Grandfather Teachings. For them, the bear symbolizes the gift of courage, the ability to face life with integrity, to do what’s right even when consequences are unpleasant. We live in an era of mounting anxiety. A year and a half ago, five Manitoba schools present at an Mennonite Brethren function — CMU, MBCI, MB Biblical Seminary, School of Leadership, Steinbach Bible College. Each one mentioned the growing challenge of responding to students with high levels of anxiety. Our hunger for courage is increasing. The God of the Bible cares about freeing people from the power of fear. Over 80 times, the Bible commands, “Do not be afraid.” Pentecost is the generous outpouring of God’s resources to face fear. In the Season after Pentecost, this worship series explores how the Christian faith, rooted in the Trinitarian God of the Scriptures, contributes to the global, timeless conversation on courage. Be alert to how the Christian understanding of courage dovetails with courage in other traditions, and how it is unique.

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  • Acts of the Holy Spirit

    The Holy Spirit has been described in many ways: An energetic fire that can roar or flicker, but never be held; A breath, as close to us as our lungs, so intimate we forget it is there; As wind, knowing no bounds and found in all places; A womb, the place where we are born again. The book of Acts has many characters, but none so central as the Spirit of God. In some ways this book is a new Genesis — the story of the God creating a new world and new people in the wake of Christ’s resurrection. Sometimes the Spirit moves in exciting ways… often the Spirit moves in ways we find challenging. This Eastertide, we will be walking through the book of Acts, looking for the ways the Holy Spirit shaped, spurred, and stimulated the early church into new ways of seeing and new ways of living. They practiced reconciliation, shared resources, and took care of their community through weekly remembering of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We will do the same by meeting at the Lord’s Table each Sunday throughout the Easter season.

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  • A Walk Toward Forgiveness: The Way of Letting Go

    Because the world is broken – and it is broken in so many ways – forgiveness is a virtue. We not only forgive, but we also need to be forgiving. It should be part of our character. – Wilma Derksen During the season of Lent, we accompany Jesus on his journey, not TO death, but THROUGH death, a journey TO resurrection and new life. This year we travel the Lenten journey as a way of becoming forgiving people: What helps Jesus forgive those who wrong him? How does following Jesus give us the resources to forgive when we have been hurt deeply? How do we receive forgiveness and grace from God? The good news is that God is trustworthy even when life and people betray and hurt us. Trusting God, Jesus taught us how he himself prayed, “Father, forgive us as we forgive those who sinned against us.” In her 2017 book, The Way of Letting Go: One Woman’s Walk toward Forgiveness, Wilma Derksen explores the choice of forgiveness after the murder of their daughter. She identifies 15 obstacles to forgiveness and narrates how she and Cliff let go of them. In some ways she breaks down the path of forgiveness into baby steps. For this Lent series we’ve chosen some of the obstacles that Wilma identifies, and we invite Scripture to give us resources to let go of these obstacles as they play themselves out in our own journeys of forgiveness. Each week during Lent, look for a prayer…

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  • Making Space

    Epiphany is a word that feels like it should have an exclamation point following it: Epiphany! It is that moment of joyful discovery, a shift in perspective, a new space opening up in one’s heart, mind, and spirit. No wonder the early Christians chose the word “Epiphany” to describe the revelation of God through the incarnation of Jesus. This Epiphany season, River East is following this theme of inviting the Spirit to ‘make new space’ within us. Preachers have chosen a favourite word, story, or theme from Scripture — something they each have been ‘chewing on’ for some time — and will be offering them in a new light. Each Sunday will be an exploration of different territory, so be prepared to make new space!

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  • Reconstruct: The Building Blocks of Faith

    In our postmodern era, we are encouraged to deconstruct the world around us. Many may ask, What Canada 150 is really celebrating? Who is really benefiting from that legislature? Why are those voices heard, but others are not? What underlying assumptions are driving our society, for good and for ill? Religion is hardly exempt from these questions. Christianity is regularly picked apart, questioned, and scrutinized — this is often a good thing that promotes dialogue, nuance, and spiritual growth! However, deconstruction without reconstruction is merely destruction. In this series, we are asking, ‘What is beautiful about the Christian faith that we wish to affirm?’ We will consider several paradoxical ‘building blocks’… challenging questions that take seriously the critical lenses of our world, but also take just as seriously the new life made possible in Christ.

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