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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

May 2022


May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

January 21, 2018

“Restored to Service?” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, January 21 [Epiphany 5] – Isaiah 40:21-31  •  Psalm 147:1-11, 20c  •  1 Corinthians 9:16-23  •  Mark 1:29-39

FOCUS:  Follow Jesus’ example of spending time with God to restore our spirit and reenergize our call to serve others.

 

          Do any of you enjoy reading adventure novels?   I sure do. 

          It probably won’t surprise you that there are all sorts of lists of the best adventure novels of all time.  All these lists are different, but there are half a dozen novels that consistently make it.  Can you guess which ones?

  • The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien,
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson;
  • Moby Dick – Herman Melville;
  • Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain,
  • The Call of the Wild – Jack London
  • Gulliver’s Travels -  Jonathan Swift

          I want to suggest to you this morning that the Gospel of Mark deserves a spot on this list.  Mark’s gospel reads just like an adventure novel.  Take the first chapter, for example.

          In the span of a few verses, the good news of God is announced and John the Baptist appears, calling the crowds to repentance.  Jesus, the promised one, arrives and, as John baptizes him, the heavens split and God’s voice pronounces his favor. 

          Jesus announces the "good news" that God's reign is, in fact, already at hand.  He recruits a few fishermen to be his first disciples. 

          Before we can catch our breath, Jesus takes them to the local synagogue on the Sabbath.  There, his public ministry begins.  

          The congregation is awed by his authoritative teaching and his command over demons.  They rush home to spread the word about this miraculous teacher / healer.

          Meanwhile, Jesus retreats to Peter’s house where his healing work continues.  Peter’s mother-in-law has been laid low with a fever.  As a result, she’s unable to fulfill her role of providing hospitality.

          When Jesus takes her hand and lifts her up – she’s healed.  She immediately brings them food and refreshment.

          Then, in the blink of an eye, it’s sundown. The Sabbath is officially over and news of this miraculous teacher / healer has brought the town to Peter’s doorstep. 

          One after another, the people bring their ailments to Jesus, seeking healing.  And, one after another, he makes them whole.

          Frankly, it all sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?  And Jesus is exhausted. 

          I don't’ think any of us would be surprised if he went to bed early that night and slept in the next morning, would we?

          But, instead, he does the exact opposite.  He rises well before the sun and heads off to “a deserted place” to pray away from people.

          Have any of you ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test?  If so, you’ll remember it tells you, among other things, whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.

          They didn’t have this test 2,000 years ago, but it’s a pretty safe bet Jesus was an introvert.  He was forever going off to pray alone.  That’s how it is with introverts:  they need time alone to recharge their batteries.

          But there’s something more happening as Jesus prays out there in the darkness.  In truth, he wasn’t alone.

          He was in conversation - with God.  Now, it probably didn’t sound like a conversation, but then again true prayer usually doesn’t.  At it’s deepest, it’s a physical experience of the Holy Spirit that can produce a language all it’s own. 

          That’s what the apostle Paul thought.  In Romans, he writes, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit itself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

          That’s what prayer was like for Pope John Paul II.  Staff and visitors in the Vatican’s private chapel would often comment that they overheard him groaning as he prayed.

          Maybe Jesus did that too.  But, whatever happened out there in that lonely place, it restored Jesus to his calling, just as he restored Peter’s mother-in-law to her calling.

          When we think about her calling, let’s not make the mistake of projecting our 21st century notions of what constitutes appropriate gender roles back onto domestic life 2,000 years ago.  In the 1st century Palestinian world, it was her calling and her honor to show hospitality to guests in her home.

          But there’s a problem.  She has a fever.  Most folks who comment on this text don’t bother to consider why she has a fever.  But I wonder, is it because she’s been working too hard, trying to care for everybody else in the household?

          Whatever caused it, her illness precluded her from doing the work that provided the basis for her identity, both within the family and within the community.

          Deprived of her ability to fulfill that role, she confronted the same question unemployed workers do today.  They ask themselves:  ‘Who am I when I am no longer able to pursue my calling?’  It’s an existential crisis.

          By curing her from the fever that confined her to bed, Jesus restored her to health, and to her calling to serve others.

          That is exactly what happened to Jesus himself when he went out into the early morning darkness to be alone with God.  He, too, was restored to his calling.  The question is, how did that actually happen?

          It seems to me that he received three things in that time of prayer:

  • reassurance of God’s presence,
  • reaffirmation of his calling and
  • renewed energy to pursue it. 

          Friends, the lesson this text teaches us is that we can receive those same three things when we go off to pray.

          If you’re beginning to contemplate a renewed commitment to service and discipleship for Lent – and I hope we all are – then let me suggest we start by following Jesus’ 3-step example of prayer.  Let’s call these our Lenten lifts.

          First, in prayer we seek and receive reassurance of God’s presence.  This is not as mysterious as it sounds, nor does it have to be complicated.  

          It can be as simple as repeating to ourselves a phrase from scripture.  In the silence of our hearts, we can say something like “Here I am”, as Isaiah did, or, as Jacob said, “Lord, surely you are in this place and I did not know it.”

          In reality, God is always close at hand.  The question is “do we recognize his presence?”  Spending time in quiet prayer reminds us that – yes, indeed – he is with us, now and always.  We need that reassurance every bit as much as Jesus did.

          The second Lenten Lift in our prayer life is the reaffirmation of our calling.  We all share one primary calling, of course:  we’re all called to be Jesus’ disciples.  That means sharing the good news by loving and serving others.

          But, each of us lives out that primary calling in different ways.  For example, we are called to love our neighbor – and that will be different for each of us.  We’re each called to love our families.  Again, that’s going to be different for everyone. 

          These are our specific callings.  They arise from the intersection of how God made us, where God placed us, and whom God calls us to love.  All of our gifts and circumstances are different, and that’s why our specific callings are different.

          When we let God speak to us in prayer, the reaffirmation of these specific callings takes different forms.      Sometimes it’s cognitive – a logical recognition that we need to more fully love our kids, siblings or parents. 

          Sometimes, it’s an emotional experience.  Someone we know well, or someone we hardly know at all, has a deep, pressing need.  In prayer, the Spirit tugs at our heart strings.  Our compassion compels us to show Christ’s love to that person.

          Other times, the reaffirmation comes from reflecting on the example of someone else’s discipleship.  In prayer, the Spirit inspires us to do what they’ve done, to love others as they have loved them. 

          A shameless plug:  In our upcoming Lenten Faith & Film Series, all of us, no matter how young or old, will have weekly opportunities to be inspired in exactly this way.

          That brings us to the third Lenten prayer lift.  After reassuring us of God’s presence and reaffirming his specific call on our lives, the Spirit works through prayer to reenergize us to undertake our specific calling.

          You might say it fills up our gas tanks with God fuel, cleans our spiritual spark plugs and tunes our evangelism engines so we can take off again in pursuit of our calling.

          That’s how we are restored to God’s service through prayer, just as Jesus was:  Reassured of God’s presence, Reaffirmed in God’s call, and reenergized for God’s work.

          When his disciples found him in the morning, Jesus was ready to lead them off on a teaching and healing tour to share the good news throughout Galilee.

          What about you and me?  Are we willing to trust the power of prayer to restore us to our specific calls, as Jesus did?

          If we are, odds are good that you and I will find ourselves playing a part in God’s own real-life adventure story as we follow Jesus in sharing the good news. 

          Wherever that leads us, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be even more exciting and fulfilling than any paperback novel.  May it be so.          

Last Published: February 13, 2018 12:42 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

May 2022


May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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