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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 29, 2018

“The Love of the Beloved” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, April 29, 2018 [Easter 5 B] –  Psalm 22:25-31  •  1 John 4:7-21  •  John 15:1-8

FOCUS:  Trust that God loves us because he became one of us and died for us, and let his self-giving love overflow in our love for others.

 

Do you remember what it was like to be a teenager?  Did you ever feel awkward?  I sure did.  Especially, when it came to girls.

Growing up I was one of four boys.  Not having any older sisters to ask for advice, I was pretty much clueless about dating.  Even as a young adult, when it came to matters of the heart, it always seemed to me that men and women spoke a different language.

So, when I met a young woman I was attracted to, there was always that tense, anxious wondering:  should I ask her out?  What will she say?  I would ask my buddies, and women friends who I worked with, how do I know if she likes me?

Gradually I figured out that there were signs I should be looking for.  Frankly, I’m not sure I ever figured those out. 

This was well before I ever met Beth, who thankfully, was very straight forward.  But even then, as we were getting more and more serious, I wondered, how do I know she really loves me? 

I hear a very similar question echoing in our text from I John. 

How do we know that God loves us?  That’s the question I’ve been wrestling with this week. 

          For some of us, God’s love is just something we assume, without ever really thinking about it.  But, for many people, trusting that God really does love us is more difficult.  We want proof.  And we tend to look for it in all sorts of places.

We look to see how God answers our prayers, for example.  Does he intervene in our lives, and does he do what we ask him to do? 

Others see proof of God’s love in a beautiful sunset, a loving spouse, or a happy family.  Still others see it in a fulfilling job or a successful career.

Ben Franklin even found proof of God’s love in his favorite beverage.  “Beer,” he said, “is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

The problem, of course, is that when we try to find proof of our belovedness in what God provides for us, inevitably we’ll doubt his love when our needs go unmet. 

Even more so, when we suffer.  And all of us suffer in this life.  At those times, we question not only whether God loves us, but whether he’s still present with us. 

One of the most perceptive spiritual writers on this topic is Henri Nouwen, a Priest, a professor and a psychologist.  Henri spoke eloquently and often of the danger of seeking assurance of God’s love in the circumstances of our lives. 

His astute observation was that we tend to fall prey to three great fallacies.  These fallacies prevent us from claiming our true identity as God’s beloved children.

The first fallacy is believing that we are what we do.  For those of us in well-defined occupations – teacher, doctor, lawyer, homemaker and pastor – this is a familiar pitfall.  The first question someone asks us is often, “What do you do?”

But, even the most stable, well-trodden career paths can be fickle.  What happens when we lose a job?  I know several of you who are experiencing this right now.  And what happens when we retire?  Who are we then, without a professional title to define us?

A second temptation is to believe that we are what others say about us.  Now, a good reputation is certainly important.  All of us seek respect, affirmation and admiration of others.  But, this too is a slippery slope.

What happens when we are not appreciated, or even worse, when others criticize us unfairly, often for their own self-serving reasons?

Finally, we’re tempted to believe that we are what we have.  Does the neighborhood where we live, the number of bedrooms in our home, or the size of our yard define us?  Do we believe that we are what the car we drive says we are?   Our culture certainly encourages us to believe that.

Sooner or later, all of us are forced to part ways with the material things in our lives.  If our identity and our sense of worthiness in God’s eyes are wrapped up in those things, we’re in for a rude shock.

That’s the problem when we live this kind of life.  It’s like being on a rollercoaster:  constantly up and down.  That’s how it will always be, so long as we continue to look for the proof of God’s love in our present circumstances.

The real proof of our belovedness, however, isn’t located in our ever-changing station in life.  It originates in the past, long before we were ever born.  That’s what our scripture from 1 John tells us.

“God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

There are two very important pieces of good news here. 

First, God’s love does not depend on our initiative.  He loved us first, before we even knew him. 

From the very beginning of creation, God has loved humankind.  That’s what his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was all about.  It’s what he promised Moses at the time of the Exodus. “I will take you as my people and I will be your God.” 

That sounds like a marriage covenant, doesn’t it?  That’s what it is – eternal love, for better or worse.

Even when his people rebelled against him and rejected him for idols, God sent prophets to remind them he still loved them.  When his people were in exile in Babylon, he spoke through Jeremiah to reassure them:  “You shall be my people, and I shall be your God.”

This is a God whose love knows no bounds.  He’s constantly pursuing us.  Like a mother searching for a lost child in a crowded shopping mall, he will not give up. 

If there is one message, one great theme, that spans all of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, it is exactly this:  God will not quit loving us and seeking us.  

He will go to any length - even becoming one of us and dying for us – to show how much he loves us and wants to draw us to himself.  That is the ultimate proof of his love.

His love is not conditional.  It’s not contingent on our worthiness.  He doesn’t love us because we’re lovable, but, rather, in spite of our unloveliness:  our guilt, our shame – our sin. 

That’s the second piece of good news.  We don’t have to have our act together before God will love us.  God pours out his love for us whether we deserve it or not.

Friends, this is what it means to be God’s beloved.  Can you imagine a more wonderful, extravagant love than that?

When we’ve been loved like that, the only faithful response is to let that love overflow into the lives of others.  And that means we have to offer that love without boundaries or conditions.

That’s a challenge.  It’s hard – very hard.  It means deciding to love another person for who they are, not necessarily for what they do.  In fact, it often means loving them despite what they do. 

That doesn’t come to us naturally.  It’s an acquired habit, a behavior we have to learn.  The place where it begins is at home.

John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach and devout Christian, said, “The most important thing in the world is family and love.”  So, we practice sharing God’s love by trying to love our spouse, our kids – our parents and our siblings – the way God loves us. 

And learning to love others unconditionally doesn’t stop with our family members.  God calls us to love even our enemies. 

Not long before his death in 2010, the Sporting News interviewed Coach Wooden.  Wooden said one of his greatest heroes was Abraham Lincoln.  When the reporter asked him why, he said: "[Lincoln] had love for everybody. He had as much sympathy for the Southerners who had lost their lives as for the Northerners who had lost their lives.

 “At the end of that terrible war, when they were discussing reparations to the South, the Secretary of State, who was critical of Lincoln’s generosity, said, ‘You're supposed to destroy your enemies, not make friends of them.' Lincoln’s answer was, ‘Am I not destroying the enemy when I make a friend of him?'”

That’s what God’s love looks like when we share it with those who are hard to love, and don’t love us back.  It’s only possible when we accept that they are God’s beloved, just as we are. 

Friends, you and I are God’s beloved.  God loves us all without condition or reservation. 

He made that love visible and present to us in his son.  Jesus is the proof of that love, and he is the source of the love. 

Let’s share it with all the other children of God, whether they’re with us around the dinner table, or around the world. 

May it be so.

Last Published: April 30, 2018 9:59 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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