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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

 

 

May 13, 2018

“When God Doesn’t Choose Us” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, May 13, 2018 [Easter 5 B] –  Acts 1:1-11,15-17, 21-26  •  Psalm 1  •  1 John 5:9-13  •  John 17:6-19

FOCUS:  Trust that when God says ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ to our desire to serve him in one way, he has another plan for us to serve him.  [Theme:  Dealing with rejection as opportunity.]

I’ve been thinking this week about the SuperBowl back in February.  If you’re an Eagles fan or even a sports fan, you know what a terrific game that was.  Of all the great story lines, the one that stands out to me is the Eagles’ quarterback, Nick Foles.

Coming out of high school, Nick Foles had to choose between scholarship offers in basketball and football.  But it was football he really loved.  He felt sure he was meant to be an NFL quarterback.

Eventually, he wound up at Michigan State.  But there were some bigger name quarterbacks ahead of him:  Kirk Cousins, Brian Hoyer.  Seeing the writing on the wall, he transferred to the University of Arizona.

When the 2012 NFL Draft rolled around, the word on Nick Foles was strong arm, good size, solid team player and great character.  There was also his mental fortitude:  nothing could faze him.

But, once again, there were other, bigger names chosen ahead of him.  87 other college players were selected before he was, including 6 other quarterbacks.

The Eagles finally took him in the third round.  But, after a coaching change, he was traded to the St. Louis Rams.

Then the Rams drafted a big name rookie, Sam Bradford, and, one more time, Nick Foles was not chosen for the starting role. 

When the Rams released him, it looked like Nick Foles would spend the rest of his NFL career bouncing from one team to another as a back-up quarterback.

That’s how he found his way back to the Eagles.  They wanted him to play second fiddle to yet another young, big name quarterback, Carson Wentz.

So, with characteristic grace and emotional maturity, Nick Foles rode the bench for the first 13 games of the Eagles’ magical season last fall.  And then, in week 14, Carson Wentz got hurt.

Finally, it was Nick Foles’ time to be the chosen one.  It was the spot he had prepared for and hoped for his entire career, from the time he was a little boy.  The result was the first Superbowl for the Eagles, and an MVP award for Nick Foles. 

When I read this morning’s scripture about the choosing of Matthias, I couldn’t help but think that Nick Foles might see something very familiar in Joseph Barsabbas, the one not chosen to be an apostle.

Here’s where our story starts.  Just before he ascends to heaven, Jesus tells his Apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit will empower them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem and throughout the world.

In the meantime, there’s one piece of business that has to be taken care of:  they need someone to replace Judas.  When Jesus picked the disciples, twelve was not an arbitrary number. 

The twelve represented the reconstituted tribes of Israel, and so with Judas gone, they’re down to eleven.  They need one more, someone who had been with them who knew Jesus from the beginning and walked the whole way with him to his resurrection and ascension.

The crowd of 120 men offers up two candidates – Joseph Barsabbas (nick-named “The Just”) and Mathias.  As was commonly done, they cast lots to determine God’s will.  They prayed "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen.”

As had been done for centuries, they threw two stones – Urim and Thummim.  We’re not entirely sure how they worked, but the result indicated the decision God intended.

And so Mathias was chosen.  Undoubtedly he was honored and pleased to serve Christ’s mission in this way.  It was God’s validation that his heart was in the right place.

But what about Joseph Barsabbas, the one not chosen?  What must he have been wondering?  

Well, what would you or I be thinking?  Maybe ‘What’s wrong with me?  Doesn’t God think I’m able to do this important work?  Doesn’t he trust me?’

We can be pretty sure that there was nothing wrong with his heart.  You don’t get a nickname like “The Just” without earning it.  He was widely considered to be a righteous man, close to God’s heart in all things.

And yet God didn’t choose him.  In fact, this is the second time he’s been passed over as a potential disciple.  He was around at the very beginning when Jesus first began recruiting the twelve, but he wasn’t chosen then either.

The hardest part is that Joseph hasn’t been rejected by his peers.  He’s been rejected by God.

The Bible never says another word about Joseph Barsabbas.  So, we’re left guessing how he reacted.  Was he embarrassed? Bitter?  Did he stomp off in a huff, or was he gracious in defeat?  Did he congratulate Mathias and pledge to pray for him and help him any way he could? 

We don’t know.  But we would all certainly understand if he were disappointed.  How many of us have been denied a new position – whether in the church or outside of it – and wondered, as someone else was placed in the spot we wanted and prayed to be, “Why them and not me? 

We know what rejection feels like because we all experience it.  It’s the single most common emotional wound we humans receive as we go through this life.  Plain and simple, rejection hurts. 

There’s a biological reason for that.  Scientists have discovered that when we experience rejection, the same areas of our brain become activated as when we experience physical pain.  But, if we can move past the initial sting, we can see that rejection is an opportunity to be seized.

 At the same time Luke was writing the Acts of the Apostles, a Greek philosopher named Epictetus was teaching in Rome.  Epictetus is the one who said “It’s not what happens to you; it’s how you react to it.” 

The first step is honest self-reflection. Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet, famously wrote, “Would God the gift he give us, to see ourselves as others see us.”  That’s what we should pray for.  Ask God to help us see ourselves not only as others sees us, but also as he made us. 

When we do that, we realize rejection is almost never a condemnation of who and what we are.  Instead, it’s almost always a judgment that we don’t fit well with the circumstance we’re seeking.  In other words, our abilities, our skills and our interests are better suited to something else.

So, the second step in seizing the opportunity that rejection offers us is to take an inventory of our gifts.  God has given us all different qualities to do his work.  Our particular collection of these gifts is what makes us unique.  They will fit somewhere, because God has made us to do his work somewhere - at home, at work, and in church. 

That’s the third step:  to actively seek the place where God wants us to be, and then to be open to accepting it.  That is the place where we’ll be fulfilled in doing his work.  That is the place where our joy will be complete.

I’ve never felt that more keenly than when, 9 months after we were married, Beth and I both found ourselves laid off from our jobs.  It was a scary time.  We each had student loans to pay off in addition to a car payment, utility bills and rent.

Most of all, it shook our self-confidence.  We asked God why this was happening to us.  Did we somehow deserve this?  It was a time of doubt, insecurity and anxiety.

But in time, we managed to calm down.  We licked our wounds and swallowed our pride.  Then we each took an inventory of our skills and abilities.

It was that self-review that led me to work in marketing at American Express, and led Beth to work in Investment management for General Motors pension plan.  We were well-suited to these careers and it laid the foundation for everything we’ve done since then.  So, the pain of rejection became the platform for fulfillment and purpose.

By the way, that’s exactly what happened to our friend, Joseph Barsabbas Justus.  He went on to become one of the earliest Christian Bishops.  He died as a martyr under Roman persecution.  Today, our Catholic friends venerate him as a saint.

That’s how God works.  What looks like rejection to you and me is God’s way of saying ‘not yet’, or ‘not here’.  It’s not a stop sign – it’s a detour sign. It’s an invitation to discover where God does want us.  God has a plan for each of us to serve him in every area of our lives.  And God’s plan is always the right one. 

The way to figure out that plan is to reflect on the gifts he’s given us and to be open to taking up the work in which he wants us to use them.

Where is that in your life?  Maybe you’re already doing the work God intends you to do.  Maybe you’re already using the gifts God has given you to do it.  If so, you’ll know it because you’ll be feeling a sure sense of fulfillment.

But if you’re not, and you’re wondering why God doesn’t seem to be choosing you to do the work you most desire, whether it’s at home, here at church or at work, take a moment to reflect. 

Take an honest inventory of your gifts.  Then open yourself up to the possibility that God might be calling you to use those gifts to do something new, or somewhere new.

I can’t guarantee that God will lead you to the Superbowl, but I can guarantee you this:  whatever and wherever that might be, it’s where God wants you.  And that’s always the best place to be. 

Amen.

 

Last Published: May 14, 2018 11:16 AM
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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