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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

 

 

April 15, 2018

“Daring to Hope” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, April 15, 2018 [Easter 3 B] – Psalm 4  •  1 John 3:1-7  •  Luke 24:36b-48

 

FOCUS:  Dare to embrace the hope of Jesus’ resurrection by taking up our call to be his witnesses.

I don’t know about you, but I’m exasperated with this weather.  It seems like every time we get a little hint of some real springtime temperatures, we get yet another dose of winter.   But we have hope that spring will actually arrive, even though it’s not here yet.

And that’s true for many things in our lives.  When we’ve gotten fed up with circumstances and events as they are and yearn for them to be different, hope is a very good thing to have.  In fact, hope is essential.

That’s exactly the point being made in our gospel text. 

When we pick up the story, the disciples are in an uproar.  It’s the third day since Jesus was crucified.  They’ve gotten reports from some in their group who claim to have actually seen Jesus alive earlier that same day. 

Two of them have just returned from Emmaus.  They swear they encountered Jesus on the road.  They only recognized him when he broke bread with them -  and then, suddenly, he was gone. 

There’s also been word that Peter, too, has seen Jesus alive.  And all of this is on top of the very strange reports of the women who went to the tomb and found Jesus’ body gone.

As they stand buzzing about these things, Jesus is suddenly right there in their midst! 

          Understandably, they’re overcome with confusion and terror.  ‘Is it a ghost?’, they wonder?

Jesus brings them his peace.  To lay their doubts to rest, he offers them physical proof that it really is him, resurrected - in the flesh.  He reminds them that not only did he tell them earlier about the need for the Messiah to die and be resurrected, but the scriptures all point to the same thing.    

Then, as their joy begins to overcome their disbelief, he gives them their commission.  They are to be his witnesses.  

Their job is to call others to repent – to reorient their lives to God and trust in the Messiah.  They’re to start in Jerusalem, and then take this message out to the world beyond.  

They will no longer be disciples – i.e. ones who are taught.  From now on, they are apostles – ones who are sent.

Let’s step back a moment.  Can you imagine what they’re feeling?  They’re on an emotional roller coaster.  One minute, they’re grieving the humiliating death of their teacher, the one they thought would redeem Israel.

Then, in the midst of their grief, come a series of reports that make them wonder “Can he somehow still be with us?”.  A part of them desperately wants to believe this, but their rational minds tell them it’s an impossibility.

          And then, even as they’re questioning all this, Jesus appears to them in the flesh, nail marks visible - and he’s hungry!  How much more human can you get?  

His message is that everything that’s happened was supposed to happen.  Its’s all part of God’s plan of salvation.  And they have a key part to play in it. 

The question is do they trust in him and the reality of his resurrection enough to place their hope in God’s plan?

That’s the only way they’ll be able to do what he’s asking them to do.  They can hardly call people to repent and trust in Jesus as God’s means of redeeming humankind if they themselves don’t have that same hope. 

So, everything hinges on whether or not they’re willing to embrace that hope.  

That’s the question this text poses to you and me. 

God’s plan for salvation is in motion.  Just like the apostles, you and I have key parts to play in that plan:  Jesus wants us to be his witnesses.  Are we willing to embrace his message of hope?

That hope is as essential to us as it was to the apostles.

One of our modern-day experts on the power of hope is Dale Archer.  He’s a well-known Psychiatrist, media personality and New York Times best-selling author.  He says, “Hope is an emotion that springs from the heart, not the brain.  It's not a wish for things to get better -- it's the actual belief, the knowledge that things will get better, no matter how big or small.”

That’s exactly what the disciples need.  It’s what we need, too.      

Repentance, of course, means change – a change in direction, turning around – in other words, a new way of living.  If you and I are going to call others to repent, then we have to start with ourselves. 

The first step in that change is our willingness to believe that we can change.  Many people have a hard time believing that.  We tend to think that who we are and what we will be are necessarily dictated by who we have been.  We all know the old saying that leopards don’t change their spots. 

But, while we may not be able to change our skin, research shows we can change our lives.  Our attitude makes all the difference.   

Henry Ford said it best, “Whether you think you can do a thing, or you can’t do a thing – you’re right.”  In other words, our hope – which comes from our trust in the resurrected Jesus Christ– is what makes that change possible.

A terrific story about that kind of hope was told in the movie called “Under the Tuscan Sun.”  It’s the story of a woman named Frances May whose life in San Francisco is upended when she divorces her philandering husband.  On a whim, she buys a house in Tuscany.  Her hope is to change her life, to create a new life for herself in this 500-year-old villa outside a small Italian village.

Eventually, the reality of what she’s done comes home to her and she confesses to a friend, Signor Martini, how foolish she feels thinking she can actually have the new life she wants.  He reassures her by telling her this story. 

 “Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice.  They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew some day, the train would come.”

          Friends, that is the kind of hope Jesus wants us to have.  The assurance that, no matter how things are right now, they don’t have to stay that way.  God has a plan for this world, and for each of us.  There’s a new life waiting for anyone willing to follow Jesus in reorienting our lives to God’s purposes, just as Jesus teaches us to do. 

          If placing our hope in Jesus and his resurrection makes this change possible in our own lives, then we’ll have no problem sharing with the world the good news that new life is possible for them, too.

It’s like being a good sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous.  A sponsor is like a mentor.  AA members will tell you that effective sponsors are those who’ve walked the path of sobriety, with the help of their own sponsor who taught them to surrender to God.  Now, they feel called to help others make that change in their lives, too.

In the same way, our effectiveness as Christ’s witnesses rests, first and foremost, on our own repentance, our openness to being changed by embracing the hope of new life in Jesus.  Then, we have to be willing to take up our commission to share that hope with others.

But take note:  Repentance is a lifelong process.  Yes, our lives have been changed by Christ, but none of us can ever claim to be fully the person God intends me to be.  We are always a work-in-progress.

That’s simply the nature of being human.  We are ever and always susceptible to sin, most especially to pride.  The danger comes when we think we must look pretty good in God’s eyes, because, well, we look pretty good in our own eyes!

But with humility and perseverance, we can be at peace.  We can dare to embrace the hope of Jesus’ resurrection and take up our commission to be his witnesses.

To whom will you witness this week?   Who will see the way you live and wonder “How can he be so hopeful and positive, even in the midst of hard times?”  Or, “How can she be so patient and concerned for others, even folks she doesn’t know?”  Or “I wonder why they go to Silver Spring Presbyterian Church?”

Don’t be surprised if they ask you out loud.  When they do, let’s tell them the source of our hope, plain and simple:  Jesus Christ, who died and rose for us and teaches us how to live.

As we witness to him, we would do well to remember the words of the Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, who said, “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

Friends, let’s plant those seeds: seeds of new hope in others.  And let’s trust that the Holy Spirit will water them and make them grow.

May it be so.

 

 

Last Published: April 17, 2018 9:10 AM
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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