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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

 

 

February 10, 2019

“Fishing Tips for Amateur Anglers” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, February 10, 2019, Year C / 5th Sunday after Epiphany – Isaiah 6:1-8  •  Psalm 138  •  1 Corinthians 15:1-11  •  Luke 5:1-11

THEME:  Jesus wants to use us as his disciples regardless of how unworthy or inexperienced we think we are.  We just need a teachable spirit.

 

Ever since it first launched 20 years ago, I’ve been a fan of the cable TV channel “Animal Planet”.  You’ve probably seen it as you flip through your menu of cable TV channels.  For those of you who don’t watch it, it’s just what it sounds like.

Animal Planet airs a variety of shows about wild animals. Their official mission is "keeping the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing people up close in every way."  In order to do that, they focus on shows that portray animals as characters in a story.

One of the very best of these shows is called River Monsters.  Do any of you ever watch it?

If you do, then you know the host is a professional fisherman, an Englishman named Jeremy Wade.  He’s almost like a freshwater Captain Ahab. 

In each episode he goes on a quest to hook strange and sometimes dangerous fish.  Giant sting rays in the rivers of Thailand, tiger fish in Zambia, man-eating catfish in the Amazon – he’s caught them all. 

He is the consummate professional angler. 

I am utterly amazed at his knowledge of fishing.  He knows which lures to use, what line, what rod, where he should stand and where he should cast, and what time of day he should fish.

And all of that has to be adjusted for the weather, the cloud cover, the temperature, the water level.  There must be a million different scenarios that run through his mind when he’s fishing for these strange creatures.  And even then he’s not always successful.

And I think to myself, I could never do that.  The extent of my angling expertise is limited to putting a worm on a hook, dropping it over the side of a boat, and waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting.  I figure only a professional can really fish with any confidence.  So, I rarely ever do it.

That kind of thinking is what Jesus is addressing in our gospel text this morning. 

        Here is a professional fishing enterprise:  Peter and, presumably his brother Andrew, have joined with the two Zebedee brothers, James and John, in a commercial fishing venture.  They’ve got their own boats and nets.  Evidently, they’ve been at least modestly successful.

But not this day.  They’ve been out on the water all night, casting their nets, with absolutely zero fish to show for it.  So, in the early morning light, there they are, cleaning their nets in the shallows, when who should come along but this itinerant teacher they’ve no-doubt heard of. 

And he’s not alone.  As usual, he’s attracted a crowd.   They’re following him as he walks along the lake shore.  They want to hear more about God’s Word.

When Jesus sees Peter’s boat, he sees the opportunity for a teachable moment – and also something more.  He hops into the boat and asks Peter to push out a little bit so he can teach the crowd.

And, when he’s finished, he turns his attention to Peter.  “Push out further, into the deep water,” he tells him. 

Peter is understandably reluctant.  Then Jesus tells him where to throw his net.  His reluctance aside, Peter obeys.

When the haul of fish is so great it almost swamps both boats, he’s overcome with awe and fear.  

Peter knows he’s in the presence of the divine.  His first reaction is abject humility.  He falls to his knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, I’m a sinful man!"

Just how sinful he really is we have no idea.  But whatever his sin is, it doesn’t matter one iota to Jesus.  He wants Peter and his partners to become his disciples.  He wants them to join him in a different kind of fishing.  "Do not be afraid,” he tells Peter, “from now on you’ll be catching people."

It turns out that, even experienced commercial fisherman like these need fishing tips from Jesus. 

Folks, so do we.

Jesus invites Peter and his partners - and all of us - to become his apprentices.  He wants us to join his team, to learn from him what it means to be disciples and evangelists.

But all Peter can see are his shortcomings.  He may be an expert when it comes to pulling fish out of the lake, but when it comes to fishing for people, he’s a rank amateur.

I suspect most of us feel that way, don’t we?  We may have some experience and expertise in things like business, heating and air conditioning, medicine, teaching, or homemaking but, when it comes to following Jesus with our whole lives, and attracting others to do the same, we tend to assume we could never do that.

We don’t think we’re qualified.

        But since when has that ever stopped God from using someone to serve him?  Moses was a murderer with a stuttering problem.  God chose to use him as his prophet anyway.

Last week we read about Jeremiah’s call to be a prophet.  His first words were, “God, truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy."  Like Moses and Peter, he assumed he wasn’t qualified.  God used him anyway.

This morning we heard the story of God calling Isaiah.  His reaction sounded a lot like Peter’s: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips!"  But God called him anyway.

That’s how Jesus works, too.  Peter might be a sinful man, but that didn’t stop Jesus from choosing him to be the rock on which to build his church.

That begs the question, just what exactly did Jesus see in Peter?  Certainly not perfection or holiness.  Nor did Peter have any kind of expertise in the Jewish law.

What he did have was the single most important thing:  Peter had a willing spirit.  He was open to being led.  Whatever his shortcomings, his willingness to follow Jesus, and learn from him, more than compensated.

Friends, the same is true for you and me.  God does not ask us to be holy and blameless before we can serve him.  He doesn’t require us to be experts in the Bible.  He doesn’t demand to see our resume of missionary activity or worship leadership or pastoral care visitation. 

All he asks is “Are you willing to follow Jesus where he leads you?  Are you willing to learn from him?”

A few years back, Inc Magazine, published a list of the top 50 Leadership and Management Experts in the country.  As you would probably expect, there were some familiar names on that list:  the author Steven Covey, Jack Welch the former CEO of General Electric, Peter Drucker the renowned management guru, Dale Carnegie, and many others. 

But at the very top of that list is John Maxwell.  I have to confess I’d never heard of him.  So I did some homework. 

John Maxwell began his career pastoring a small church in Ohio 50 years ago.  Life was not at all easy for him.  He made lots of mistakes.  But along the way he became a student of personal growth using Christ and the gospels as his model.

Today, when he’s not busy writing yet another best-selling book on leadership, he travels the globe sharing his wisdom with leaders of corporations, colleges, and churches.

“People often ask me,” he wrote, “what most determines whether they’ll reach their potential. My answer is a teachable spirit . . .  A teachable spirit is what determines our growth.”  It doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes or even fail.  In fact, it’s when we fail that we learn the most. 

That was true of Peter.  He failed spectacularly, especially on that first Maundy Thursday when he denied Jesus three times.

But he learned from that failure.  After Pentecost, he went on to become one of the leaders of the Jerusalem church and one of the heroes of the book of Acts.  

None of that would have happened if he hadn’t been willing to put aside his self-doubt on that morning when Jesus stepped into his boat and called him to be his disciple.

Friends, where is Jesus calling us to follow him?  Where does he want us to go fishing for the hearts, minds and souls of new followers?

Maybe in our families, or at the office – or somewhere along our daily routine.

Wherever he’s calling us to go, let’s not let our self-doubt and our fear of failure get in the way.  Jesus can teach us to fish if we’re willing to learn from him, and – yes – that means being willing to fail.

That’s a lesson Jeremy Wade learned, by the way.  He wasn’t always such an expert fisherman.  He grew up in a small town in Suffolk, England where his father was the local Vicar. 

He learned to fish on the banks of the river that ran past his house.  Here’s how he described that experience:  “My first attempts to catch fish, age 7 or 8, were unsuccessful, but then I had some guidance from a school friend and after my first catch I never looked back.”  He was open to learning what he needed to know to be a better fishermen.

Friends, Jesus has a few fishing tips for us, too.   And over the coming weeks, as we explore Luke’s gospel, he’ll teach us what we need to learn in order to be better disciples.

The question is do we have a teachable spirit?

May it be so.

   

 

Last Published: February 11, 2019 11:30 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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