Copies of the weekly John Knox Sunday Sermons are posted below in chronological order.

Close Enough to Hear

Romans 12:9-12

Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan

Our Disaster Response team to Beaumont, TX was divided between 2 sites.  One site was in Port Arthur and the other in Beaumont.  The Beaumont sit belonged to Joyce and her husband Percy who we found out died a few weeks back.  In addition to their concerts in Houston and playing at the church and elementary school, we were looking for another opportunity for our Oberlin students to share their talent and offer a concert.  Joyce was willing and invited her friends.   Friends from elementary school;friends that have been friends for 70 years.  Being that it was 40 degrees, the audience (members of our team and friends and neighbors of Joyce) gathered in her garage, the garage that our team had spent the week measuring, cutting, hanging, taping and mudding drywall.


But during the driveway concert where the musicians were arranged in a semicircle, I noticed that the music stand of one of the students kept dropping.  It was slightly angled to hold the music, but on occasion, the angle would disappear, the stand would collapse, and the music would go flying in the wind.  Peter would do his best to use his viola bow to hold the music and find paint sticks and rocks to hold it but, on this occasion, someone needed to just keep the music stand upright.  So I moved carefully to the center of the concert.  Sat on the driveway, held the music stand, and then found myself overwhelmed by the sound.  A cello was in front of me, violins and violas surrounding me.  Never had I heard sound like that.  The vibration of the stings, the pace, the strength, the talent.  Best seat in the house (or driveway)!  Not only could I hear like never before but I watched their expressions.  There was joy, focus, engagement, comradery, service.


Belonging, Believing, Behaving

Psalm 25:1,4-10, Mark 1:9-15, Hebrews 4:14-16

Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan

February 18, 2018

Years back here at John Knox we launched a video series called Alpha.  Its focus is to provide a space where people, sceptics especially, are free to launch their questions, address their suspicions, and inquire about faith. 

Nicky Gumbel at one point in the series raised the following point: 

For so long the church has functioned in the following manner. 

Behave, Believe, and then Belong.   If you behave a certain way and believe like we do, then you might belong. 

But this seems contrary to how Jesus operated.  Jesus first invited people to come and see. He welcomed the children, welcomed the outcast, welcomed the poor, the lame, the hungry (Belonging).  Then, he taught.  He passed along parables and tough truths to those who had the guts to really listen and the humility to learn a better way in this world.  As followers journeyed with Jesus, they came to trust in God and believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Belief).  And then, they started to live like Jesus.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, they became witnesses to Jesus in word and deed and by the power of the Spirit, behavior changed (Behavior).

"Fruit of the Spirit"

Pastor Amy Gupta

Galatians 5:13-26


Good morning!

It’s so good to be here with you today.

I see some of the faces from our marriage retreat this weekend. It’s been great to spend time with your church and get to know you. I really like how intergenerational this church is.

Fun to have a bit of real winter weather too. We’ve had a really mild winter in Portland. It’s been like mid to upper - 50s for the last few weeks. Or as parents know the weather - too warm for our kids to want to wear their jackets and too cold for them not to complain if they don’t have their jackets.

Today we are going to be talking about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. Just out of curiosity - how many of you can remember a song about the fruits of the Spirit from your Sunday school days? (I’ve got Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Storms & Song

Psalm 40:1-5 and Matthew 7:24-29

Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan

A hermit went to Abbot Theodore:

 “I know precisely the objective of life. I know what God asks of us, and I know the best way of serving God. Even so, I am incapable of doing everything I should in order to serve the Lord.”

Abbot Theodore remained silent for a time. Finally, he said:

“You know that there is a city on the far side of the ocean. But you haven’t yet found the ship, nor have you loaded your bags, nor crossed the sea. Why spend time commenting on what it is like, or how one should walk through its streets?

"Knowing the objective of life, or recognizing the best way of serving the Lord is not enough. Put into practice that which you think, and the way will be revealed all by itself.”

You Gotta Come and See

I Samuel 3:1-18 and John 1:43-51

Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan


Opening verses: Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Though life may be exhausting with toddlers around, the truth is we need them close.  How many of us have been minding our own business, when a young one grabs our hand, or tugs at our sleeve, eager, determined to get us in front of what they have just discovered.  Their eyes are wide-open and their force is mighty though they stand only 3 feet tall.  And suddenly we find ourselves being led.  And before us, down low is a flower, a line of ants, a caterpillar, a hoof print in the snow or soil.  

On a day off in the fall I was gathering driftwood from the beach when a friend of mine brought her preschool class toward me.   I smiled as I listened to the chatter of the children and observed the joy of their teacher.  They were free to explore and wanted their teacher and me, to see what they were seeing.  

Jesus finds Philip, and Philip finds Nathanael.  There is no long explanation, just the invitation, “come and see” (John 1:39).  Nathanael is not obligated to take his word about Jesus as the one about whom Moses and the prophets wrote; he can find out for himself.   So our job is not to answer every question or be threatened by them.  Questions are an opportunity to help those who are curious venture into the ranks of those who are willing to come and see.  Our job is not to think for people; it is only to invite them.  So Philip takes Nathanael to a place where he can encounter Jesus for himself.  And to his amazement, in the presence of Jesus, Nathanael discovers he is already known.