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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

 

 

March 25, 2018

“What Kind of King Are You Expecting?” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, March 25 [Palm Sunday) – Zechariah 9:9-12 • Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 • John 12:12-19

FOCUS:  Follow Jesus in sacrificing our will to God’s will and sacrificing ourselves for others, beginning with the person nearest you.

 

Have you ever had someone ask you to do something that seems totally illogical but then it turns out to be right?  I’m talking about a boss, a parent, a teacher or a mentor – someone who has your best interests at heart – who wants you to do something so counterintuitive it seems downright crazy.

The storm this past week reminded me of an example of exactly this.  I remember when I first learned how to drive in the snow. 

My brother insisted that, when the roads are slippery and you start to skid, you don’t try to correct your steering by turning away from the skid, you actually need to turn into it.  I didn’t believe him - until the first time I had to try it. And boy am I glad I did. 

I’m sure you can think of other examples.  It occurs to me that scripture is chock full of them.  Serving the God we serve, we shouldn’t be terribly surprised at anything he asks us to do. 

He told Abram to pack up his family, leave his homeland and travel over 1,000 miles to start a new life in Canaan with the promise that it would be a blessing – and it was. 

He told Noah to build an ark and load it with his family and animals of all different kinds because it would save their lives from the coming flood.  Sounded preposterous!  But it worked.

That’s also the kind of thing God is asking Jesus to do in our gospel text:  to give up his life so that others might have life.  That’s why, on this Palm Sunday, we find Jesus making his way to Jerusalem and his rendezvous with the cross.

Remember that the Jews living in and around Jerusalem were an occupied people.  Rome’s oppressive rule over the Province of Judaea produced tense relationships with the Jewish people. 

Even before Jesus was born, religious, socio-economic and political tensions frequently bubbled up to the surface.  The Passover Festival was when they were most likely to boil over into full-scale riot.

At Passover, Jews from all over made their annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  In the days leading up to the festival, the city’s population of 50,000 or so would swell to two or three times that amount.  The potential for violence was at its peak.

Naturally, Roman forces were on high alert.  Extra battalions of soldiers were moved in to keep the peace and quickly suppress any revolt.  Even the Roman Governor, Pilate, would make the trek from his seaside capital to take up residence in his Jerusalem palace to help keep order.

All in all, it would be pretty hard to miss the heavy hand of Roman occupation during this highest of Jewish Holy Days.  That’s the message Rome was sending to the crowds:  remain calm – or else.

But that doesn’t stop the people from buzzing about a miracle-working prophet and teacher named Jesus.  Some of them were there when he miraculously fed the 5,000.  Now, word is spreading like wildfire that he raised Lazarus back to life just the night before.

The crowds know the religious authorities are hunting for him.  They want to arrest him and have him killed, along with Lazarus.  So the crowds wonder, “Does he dare come to Jerusalem for the Festival?”

Sure enough, he does.  When word gets out that Jesus is coming into the city, the crowds rush out to meet him as if he’s a conquering hero.  They want to do the same thing here that they wanted to do when he turned those 5 loaves and 2 fish into a feast for thousands:  they want to make him King, King of Israel.

They’re fed up. They’re tired of living under the thumb of Roman rule.  They’re ready to overthrow Herod, Rome’s puppet King.  It’s easy to see why.  The poverty, the violent oppression of anyone who dares stand up to Roman abuse and exploitation, the corruption of their own leaders – they’ve had it up to here with all that.   

They want independence, an autonomous Jewish nation.  They want a King who will lead a revolution, a warrior king – like David.  That’s the kind of King they want Jesus to be.

No one in that crowd waving branches expected Jesus to go willingly to the cross.  Put yourself in their shoes.  They’re thinking “If this guy can work miracles and raise the dead back to life, then surely he can go toe-to-toe with the authorities and overthrow this miserable status quo.”

If we take this morning’s narrative seriously, that’s what you and I are doing when we wave our palms on this Palm Sunday. 

After all, don’t we want the same thing they do?

We look around and we see the same problems they saw:  a culture drenched in violence? Check.  Rampant prejudice and fear? Check.  People living in the shadow of constant conflict and war?  Check.

Greed, immorality and corruption among those at the top, who are seemingly unconcerned about exploitation and oppression of those at the bottom?  Check, and check. 

Like the Jews in Judaea, we want Jesus to overthrow the status quo.  We want him to lead us to a triumphant and forceful victory.

In short, we want Jesus to be our kind of king.  

But Jesus wants none of it.  That’s the message he sent the crowds by riding into town on a humble donkey.  He refuses to be the kind of Warrior King they expect.

Nor will he be our kind of king.  Jesus is committed only to being God’s kind of King.  He’s come to do God’s will, and God’s will alone.  As foolish and crazy as it seems, that means sacrificing himself on the cross.  

That’s God’s plan.  That’s what Jesus told his disciples, but they don’t get it.  Peter even tried to talk him out of it. 

But he expects them, and all his followers, to lose their lives for his sake, and for the sake of sharing the good news of God’s love.

That’s how God changes the world.  Make no mistake:  God very much wants to change this world.  He wants to rid it of greed and corruption, of conflict and the injustice and oppression that make all of us weep. 

Hunger, homelessness, hate crimes;  Shootings in our schools and streets;  Exploitation of our youngest and most vulnerable, and  God’s creation crying out for care. 

And poverty:  poverty that cycles through generation after generation of broken families, crushing hopes and creating despair. 

These are the symptoms of a world that is broken. 

The way Jesus shows us how to change it may not be the way we expect.  He will not suddenly grant us the power to change hearts and minds of people everywhere and impose on the world the changes we want.

Instead, he wants us to be his hands and feet, to spend ourselves giving new life to others, especially those whom he called the least.  That means we have to sacrifice.

Odd as it may seem, the first thing we have to sacrifice is our own agenda.  That’s a tough one for a lot of us.  We all have our own ideas of what’s wrong with this world, and how to fix it. 

More often than not, our plans revolve around getting the kind of power we don’t already have and forcing others to go along with what we think is right.  In effect, we want to tell God what to do, and how to do it.

But that’s not what Jesus did.  He surrendered his will to God’s will.  He spent hours in prayer seeking God’s guidance.  Then he obeyed what he heard, even though, for him, it meant death on the cross.

That’s the next lesson he teaches us:  we have to be ready to commit ourselves to God’s plan, even if it means not only giving up our plans, but also our time, our energy, our resources and even our aspirations of whatever we define as “success”.

It sounds crazy doesn’t it?  Counter-intuitive? 

That’s as it should be.  It’s not going to make sense to us.  Afterall, Jesus’ disciples only understood what he was doing after his resurrection.  And the same is true for you and me. 

We will not be privy to God’s full plan.  We may not even see the results of our efforts to share his love with our neighbors.  And we may be tempted to give up because it doesn’t seem like we’re changing the world at all.

But, as Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.”

Friends, as we walk through this Holy Week with Jesus, let me ask you to consider:  Who is that person for you? 

Maybe someone you work with, or a neighbor?  Maybe someone you’re going to meet at Downtown Daily Bread this week or on the next ROAR trip – or maybe in the next pew?  Maybe it will mean reaching across boundaries of class, race and place in order to love them.

Let’s keep our eyes out for that person this week.  Let’s ask God how we are to help them.  Because that’s where we start.  Sure, it takes time, but that’s how Jesus built a movement of over 2 billion followers. 

That’s how God changes the world.

God’s probably not going to ask you to build an ark.  But he does ask us to follow Jesus in surrendering our will to his, and sacrificing ourselves for others.

It may sound crazy, but that’s what it means to call Jesus King. And that’s how we make this world more like God’s Kingdom. 

May it be so.

Last Published: March 29, 2018 3:18 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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