John van de Laar

is a Methodist minister, songwriter, musician, and the founder of Sacredise, a training and publishing ministry that explores the connections between worship, justice & transformation (www.sacredise.com). He is the author of The Hour That Changes Everything and Learning to Belong. John is married to Debbie (also an minister) and they have two sons.

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New Sight

A few years ago an experiment was done in which participants were asked to count how many times a ball was passed between a team of basketball players dressed in white. What made the task a little more challenging was that a team dressed in black was passing another ball around at the same time. Nevertheless, many participants were able to arrive... Keep Reading

Carrying Crosses

This week, we find ourselves journeying through the most important week of the year. Many of us will share in special times of worship to remember the events that happened two millennia ago. This is Holy Week – when we reflect on the suffering of Jesus. But, what makes this week important is not just the remembering, or even the understanding we might... Keep Reading

The Sacrament Of The New Year

How is 2015 going for you so far? The first month is now behind us. Maybe you feel on track. Or maybe the excitement and anticipation you felt in those first few weeks has begun to dissipate. I want to suggest that there’s another way to look at New Year. I believe that it can be an incredible opportunity, or even better – a sacrament. The sacraments... Keep Reading

A Less Anxious Life

Author Adrian Plass tells of a charismatic preacher who passionately encouraged his listeners to reject worry. After explaining a number of times that faith was the end of worry, and describing how he never worried about anything, he ended his sermon. As he walked off the platform, he said to Adrian Plass, “I’m worried that I didn’t get through to them.” Adrian... Keep Reading

Learning to Communicate

I discovered today that the World Wide Web is estimated to contain around nine billion pages. At least five hundred thousand new blog posts are published each day through just one popular blogging platform. There is no lack of voices trying to make themselves heard. But, are we really communicating with each other? I invite you to consider worship gatherings as a laboratory... Keep Reading

Learning to Share

It’s just a television commercial, but the story is real and moving, and it has stayed with me for a long time. In the opening scene a little boy kicks a soccer ball into a goal and pumps his fist into the air with a triumphant “Yes!” Then the camera pans out to reveal that he is alone on the field and... Keep Reading

Learning to Trust

It seems that humanity is experiencing a crisis of faith. Religion has been dismissed by a number of writers as offering nothing but ignorance, violence, and suffering. Political and economic leaders have been exposed as corrupt, self-interested and lawless. Our word is no longer our bond, and the quest to live with honesty and integrity can seem naïve and foolish. But, the consequences... Keep Reading

Learning to Enjoy – Part Two

Perhaps the most powerful of the God-given, joy-inspiring practices at our disposal is that of giving thanks. In order to be thankful, I need to take stock of the goodness that has been given to me. When I recognise the love that friends and family members lavish on me, and when I can acknowledge the millions of tiny gifts that life makes... Keep Reading

Learning to Enjoy – Part One

I’m not sure that we really know how to enjoy things anymore. The wide variety of choices we now have available to us means that the chances of “buyers remorse” after taking ownership of something new is ever more likely. We have become so obsessed with novelty that we start looking for the next new thing long before the old and familiar... Keep Reading

Learning to Get Real

A few weeks ago my son had his wisdom teeth removed. What made this such a strange experience was that, although he felt fine, two teeth were growing almost horizontally and threatened to cause damage to his health if they weren’t removed. In order to ensure his future well being, we had to inflict pain on him, cut his gums open, and... Keep Reading

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