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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

October 2019


October 6, 2019  "A New Family" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2019


September 15, 2019  "Sight? Or Insight?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2019


August 25, 2019  "Seeing as God Sees" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 4, 2019  "Five Lies & the Truth" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2019


July 28, 2019  "Walking Hand in Hand" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2019


June 23, 2019  "The New, True You!" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 16, 2019  "The Fuzzy Logic of Discernment" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 9, 2019  "Speaking of Dreams and Visions" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2, 2019 "Who's the Prisoner?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2019


May 5, 2019 "Vision Correction" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2019


April 21, 2019 "So, Where Is He?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 14, 2019 "A Wondrous Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 7, 2019 "For Love, or Money?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2019


March 31 "Grace Forgotten" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 17, 2019 "The Love that Won't Quit" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2019


February 17, 2019 "The Kingdom Vision" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 10, 2019 "Fishing Tips for Amateur Anglers" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 3, 2019 "Grace Unlimited" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2019


January 13, 2019 "The Promise of Baptism" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 6, 2019 "The Message of the Magi" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2018


Christmas Eve, 2018 "Self-giving Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 23, 2018 "Sing Along" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2, 2018 “Living in Between" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2018


November 18, 2018 “Persistent Witness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 11, 2018 “Everyday Foxhole Faith" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2018


October 28, 2018 “True Discipleship" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 21, 2018 “How the Truly Great Get that Way" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 14, 2018 “The Cost of Discipleship" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2018


September 30, 2018 “Holding It All Together" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 23, 2018 “Gentle Wisdom" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 16, 2018 “Finding the Right Words" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 9, 2018 “Jesus: Savior...and Lord?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

January 14, 2018

“Come and See, Come and Follow” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, January 14 [Epiphany 2] – 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)  •  Psalm 139:1-18  •  1 Corinthians 6:12-20  •  John 1:43-51

FOCUS:  See God in Jesus and invite others to join us in experiencing God’s presence by following Jesus where he went – to serve the poor, the least and the lost.  [MLK]

                                       

          Growing up, I always considered myself lucky to have a birthday in the third week of January.  It was like a little added joy just as the memories of Christmas began to fade.  Best of all, it was usually right around the weekend of the Super Bowl.

          Then, when I was in college, President Reagan made it even more special.  He signed legislation making the third Monday in January a Federal Holiday in commemoration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, which is one day before mine. 

          I’m chagrined to tell you that, for a number of years, that’s how I thought of MLK day – a 3-day weekend to celebrate my birthday. 

          But gradually, as I worked and worshiped with more African Americans, I became more aware of the reality of racism in this country.  As I did, I came to appreciate the sheer courage of Martin’s resolve to fight hatred with Christian love and non-violent resistance.

          That’s why I spent time this week looking back at old footage of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

          You’ll remember it all began with Rosa Parks. On December 1st, 1955, she was arrested for audaciously refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white man as the law required. 

          The black community had had enough of the segregation laws of the Jim Crow Era.  Seeing this as an opportunity to protest them, several local black clergy got together.  One of them was 26-year old Martin Luther King.  Together they decided to boycott the bus Company. They formed the Montgomery Improvement Association to oversee that boycott.

          In short order, Martin captivated the city and the nation.  Here was an inspiring Christian leader confidently willing to take on racism and injustice with Christ-like non-violence.  In the end, his example of Christian discipleship attracted millions of followers who formed the Civil Rights Movement.

          In our gospel text, we see one of the examples that inspired Martin.  Jesus is on home turf in Galilee.  He’s begun to recruit his first group of disciples.  In John’s gospel (unlike the others), Jesus first invites Andrew, who then brings his brother Peter.   

          The next day, Jesus invites Philip.  Philip, in turn, invites Nathanael.  In all these conversations, the invitation is always short and simple, “Come and See; follow me.”  

          This is John’s account of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  As you know, John has a unique approach that sets this gospel apart.  When we compare his description to the others, it’s striking what is not here. 

          There’s no miraculous haul of fish as in Luke. 

          Compared to Matthew, there’s no glorious baptism in the Jordan, no divine affirmation, and no dove-like descent of the Holy Spirit.

          Compared to Mark, who is usually the most economical with words, John doesn’t even have Jesus preaching repentance.  The only thing Jesus offers here is an invitation:  “Come and see, and follow me.”

          Seeing is important in John’s gospel – it’s one of his great themes.  What John has in mind is not literal eyesight, but spiritual insight.  For him, being able to see correctly means perceiving what and who is truly of God.  

          Those who have this spiritual vision see as Jesus himself sees.  They recognize God’s ways and those who follow them.  This is exactly what’s happening when he encounters Nathanael.

          Jesus recognizes him immediately:  “Here is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”  Nathanael is stunned.  ‘How do you know me? I’ve never even met you before, let alone spoken with you!’

          Jesus’ answer is equally astounding:  “I saw you under the fig tree.”  

          Nathanael is so moved that he immediately confesses Jesus as the Son of God.  In John’s gospel, this is the hallmark of true spiritual vision: recognizing the true character of Jesus and responding faithfully.

          Jesus promises Nathanael will witness in person what their great ancestor Jacob could only dream of:  a ladder carrying angels between heaven and earth.  

          At first blush, Jacob’s heavenly escalator for angels seems like an odd thing to promise your followers, doesn’t it?  But Jesus has in mind something far more tangible than a mystical vision. 

          He’s talking about himself.  Jesus is the ladder, the link between heaven and earth.  He’s is the bridge that connects humanity with God.

          In fact, he is God in human flesh.  His disciples will experience God’s presence by following him, by doing what he does and going where he goes.  

          Friends, I can hardly think of a better example of evangelism for us to follow.

          There are lots of ways to do evangelism. There are the classic crusades, like Billy Graham led.  Others prefer public preaching on street-corners.  We can also distribute tracts in train stations and shopping malls.  Some go door-to-door.

          Still others prefer to evangelize first and foremost through their actions.  They use their Christian living as an example for others to follow.  They evangelize through outreach, attracting others to the faith through hands-on mission work.

          In fact, there are probably as many means of evangelism as there are different kinds of people.

          But of all of these, the most powerful is also the most personal.  It’s what Jesus did:  a simple invitation to someone we know well:  ‘come and see what life in a community of Christians is like.’  But are we really sure this will work?

          A few years back, LifeWay Research surveyed 15,000 people nationwide. They wanted to find out which of the different evangelism approaches are most likely to bring folks to church.

          80% of Americans said a personal invitation from a family member or friend would be effective in persuading them to visit a church.

          I’m curious:  how many of you first came here to Silver Spring because someone invited you?

          You know first-hand how it works.  It’s as simple as saying, “I was thinking about you this week.  I’m really enjoying church at Silver Spring.  It’s helped me - and I think you might like it, too.  If you’re not doing anything Sunday morning, why don’t you come with me?” 

          Whatever the response is – favorable or not – accept it graciously, without judgment or pressure. 

          Even if the answer is ‘no thanks’, you’ve planted a seed.  God knows what to do with that little seed.  The day will come when that person asks you about faith and the role this church plays in your life. 

          And that’s where discipleship comes in. Discipleship and Evangelism are two halves of a whole.  Our discipleship is what inspires others to accept our invitation and to join us in following Jesus.  

          That’s what Philip was doing for Nathanael.  He invited Nathanael to follow Jesus as he himself was doing.  And the invitation wasn’t just to join Philip, but Andrew and Peter and eventually all the other disciples as well.

          That’s how evangelism and discipleship work together.  

          Ed Stetzer, Pastor, Evangelism Professor and Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, recently had this to say:

          “Discipleship,” he wrote, “is a group sport—best done in community!  There are no Lone Ranger Christians.  When we truly believe that our actions will impact the spiritual development of others, it will change the way we live.  We are responsible before God to be involved in discipleship—ours and others.”

          That means we invite and encourage one another to follow Jesus by doing what he did and going where he went – to the poor and the outcasts, serving the least and the lost, even when it’s uncomfortable and risky.

          That’s exactly what Martin Luther King did.  It’s why we celebrate his birthday tomorrow.  

          Everyone assumed the bus boycott would last just a few days. But the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months.  As the boycott dragged on, Montgomery’s civic leaders began to feel the economic pinch.  That’s when the death threats began.  Martin received as many as 40 a day.

          At it’s worst, Martin later wrote, “I was ready to give up. With my cup of coffee sitting untouched before me, I decided to take my problem to God.  With my head in my hands, I bowed over the kitchen table and prayed.

          "God, I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left . . . I can't face it alone.”

          Then something remarkable happened.  “At that moment, I experienced the presence of God as never before . . . It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying: "Stand up for justice, stand up for truth; and God will be at your side forever."  Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything.”

          Standing up for God’s truth and justice is what Jesus did.  It’s what his disciples recognized in him – God in the flesh, speaking God’s truth and doing God’s work of loving the least, despite the danger.     

          Friends, this kind of faithful discipleship is also what enables others to recognize Jesus in us.  It’s what attracts them to churches like this one.  It’s what encourages all of us to keep growing in the faith together.

          But you don’t have to be a prophet like Martin Luther King to be Jesus’ faithful disciple.  All it takes is the commitment to invite others to join us in living his divine truth and justice in our own lives. 

          This congregation is blessed with plenty of ways to do that.  We’re working on new ones, too.  The question for each of us is whether we will follow Jesus’ example by asking another to join us.

          Who is that person in your life?  A friend?  A neighbor?  Maybe a parent or child?  Whoever it is – let’s make tomorrow the day we invite them to come and see; to come and follow. 

          May it be so.

 

Last Published: February 13, 2018 12:30 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

October 2019


October 6, 2019  "A New Family" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2019


September 15, 2019  "Sight? Or Insight?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2019


August 25, 2019  "Seeing as God Sees" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 4, 2019  "Five Lies & the Truth" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2019


July 28, 2019  "Walking Hand in Hand" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2019


June 23, 2019  "The New, True You!" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 16, 2019  "The Fuzzy Logic of Discernment" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 9, 2019  "Speaking of Dreams and Visions" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2, 2019 "Who's the Prisoner?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2019


May 5, 2019 "Vision Correction" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2019


April 21, 2019 "So, Where Is He?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 14, 2019 "A Wondrous Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 7, 2019 "For Love, or Money?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2019


March 31 "Grace Forgotten" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 17, 2019 "The Love that Won't Quit" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2019


February 17, 2019 "The Kingdom Vision" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 10, 2019 "Fishing Tips for Amateur Anglers" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 3, 2019 "Grace Unlimited" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2019


January 13, 2019 "The Promise of Baptism" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 6, 2019 "The Message of the Magi" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2018


Christmas Eve, 2018 "Self-giving Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 23, 2018 "Sing Along" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2, 2018 “Living in Between" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2018


November 18, 2018 “Persistent Witness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 11, 2018 “Everyday Foxhole Faith" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2018


October 28, 2018 “True Discipleship" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 21, 2018 “How the Truly Great Get that Way" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 14, 2018 “The Cost of Discipleship" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2018


September 30, 2018 “Holding It All Together" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 23, 2018 “Gentle Wisdom" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 16, 2018 “Finding the Right Words" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 9, 2018 “Jesus: Savior...and Lord?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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