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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

March 2019


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

 

August 2018


August 26, 2018 “Whom Will You Serve?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 19, 2018 “Fill 'Er Up, Please!" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 12, 2018 “The Christian Diet" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2018


July 22, 2018 “Whose Plan is it Anyway?" by Bryan Corbin

July 1, 2018 “Keeping God First" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

February 17, 2019

“The Kingdom Vision” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, February 17, 2019, Year C / 6th Sunday after Epiphany – Jeremiah 17:5-10  •  Psalm 1  •  1 Corinthians 15:12-20  •  Luke 6:12-26

THEME:  Grasp Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom and let is inspire us to make it real here and now.

 

There’s an old story about three stone masons.  Each one was working on different sections of a long foundation wall.  One day, a curious little boy came by.  He was fascinated by what was happening. 

He asked the first stone mason, “What are you doing?”  With an impatient scowl, the man replied sarcastically, “What’s it look like I’m doing?  I’m setting these stones.”

Undeterred, the boy went over to the next stonemason, and asked him what he was doing.  Barely looking up, the man said, “Can’t you see?  I’m building a wall.”

Not letting the grumpy reactions of the first two men dampen his enthusiasm and curiosity, the inquisitive little boy walked over to the third stone mason and asked him what he was doing.  

The man stopped his work, wiped his brow and turned to the little boy with a broad smile.  He said, “Well, young man, I’m building a cathedral for God!”

I’m pretty sure I know which one of these three was doing the best quality work.  I’m also sure I know which one was truly enjoying his work. 

In his mind’s eye, that third man had caught the architect’s vision.  It inspired him and made him passionate about making that vision a concrete reality, even when he couldn’t yet see that reality with his own eyes.

That’s the power a vision has to guide and inspire us.  It makes us passionate about our work because we can see the big picture.

That’s exactly what Jesus is trying to do for his disciples in our gospel text.

He’s spent the entire night up on the mountain.  Up there in the darkness, he consulted God to discern who should become part of his group of closest followers.  When he comes down in the morning, he chooses twelve disciples whom he also calls apostles. 

Disciples are those who are taught – they’re students.  Apostles are not only taught, they’re sent. These twelve are the ones Jesus will send out to share the good news with the world.

That number 12 is not a coincidence.  It represents the twelve tribes of Israel.  They were God’s original Covenant partners, but things went wrong. 

They failed to uphold their end of the agreement.  They neglected the widow and the orphan, they sent away the alien and the stranger.  They oppressed, the poor and the powerless.

So, Jesus’ inner circle of twelve hand-picked disciples represents a new Israel – a more faithful group of followers, both Jew and Gentile alike.  Their purpose is to lead others in realizing God’s Kingdom.

The very first thing Jesus does is paint for them a vision of what that Kingdom looks like.  This vision begins with the poor, the hungry and the downtrodden. 

A number of us, I suspect, at one time or another, have been poor.  Some of us have been hungry.  All of us have experienced what it’s like to be overtaken by sadness and grief.

But there’s something more here.  When Luke talks about the poor, the hungry and the downcast, what he has in mind is an entire class of people.

They are the marginalized.  They have no power, no position, and no status.  They eked out a living and barely managed to survive on what little they could earn or grow.

The message Jesus brings down from the mountain is God’s not happy about that.  God does not intend such suffering for any of his children.  The world where God’s reign is fully realized is one where all have enough – enough food, money, clothing and shelter – and enough love.

For those who find themselves in the fortunate position of having more than enough of these things, there’s a stern word of warning.  As long as there are those who suffer and live on life’s margins, the work of discipleship is not done. God wants all his children to flourish.

That’s what makes the good news of God’s Kingdom so good.  It’s why Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God more than anything else.

He wants to inspire his disciples – including you and me – to catch his vision and work to make it a reality.  In doing that, we, too, will be fulfilled and redeemed.

So Jesus paints a picture of how things can be that is so compelling we can see past the way things are.  That’s the key to an effective vision.

Bill Hybels, the former senior pastor at Willow Creek church, famously said “Vision is a picture of the future that creates passion in people.”

It takes passion to work for a world that looks so different from the one you and I know. 

40 million people in America still go to bed hungry every night, including 11 million children.  An equal number live below the poverty line.  The number of those suffering from depression is approaching 20 million.

Clearly, the poor, the hungry and the downtrodden are still very much with us.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is millions of Jesus’ disciples have grasped his vision of the Kingdom and are hard at work making it visible.

In the US and across the globe, school feeding programs are on the rise.  Not only do they provide children with nutrition, they help keep them in school.  And that helps reduce poverty.

According to the World Bank, over the last 25 years, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty.  The global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history. This has been rightly called one of the greatest achievements of our time.

At the same time, there have been numerous advances in the treatment of all manner of diseases, including depression and related mental health illnesses.

Likewise, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in programs to sensitize people to both conscious and unconscious bias based on everything from race to sexual orientation to mental illness, and beyond. 

It’s too soon to say that these programs have reduced the effect of prejudice, but they’re certainly a step in the right direction.

Behind all of these advances, you will find Christians – ordinary Christians like you and me – passionate about sharing the good news of God’s Kingdom.

The same is true right here in Central PA.  This week I had two up-close and personal experiences of that kind of passionate discipleship.  The first one was on Monday, when I went to prison. 

Seriously – I went to the York County Prison with a group of fellow pastors.  We had a tour of the inside of the jail and spent some time with the prison chaplain.

His name is Darin Schoch.  Darin is one of 375 chaplains who belong to an organization called Good News Jail and Prison Ministry. Together, he and his colleagues serve the spiritual needs of inmates in 115 correctional institutions in the US and beyond.

Darin spends his days coordinating a ministry that involves over 200 worship services, Bible studies, counseling sessions, and classroom training regimens every week inside the jail.

Having experienced that environment first-hand, I understand how oppressive and stressful it is, not only for the 2,000 inmates, but for the dozens of guards who work there.  

Darin ministers to them all with a calm grace.  To those whom God sends his way, Darin is the embodiment of the hope of Jesus’ good news.

Earlier that same day, we visited New Hope Ministries in Dillsburg.  There we met with the Executive Director, Eric Saunders.  Eric and his team are on a mission to share the love of Christ with anyone in need who come through their doors. 

As they provide folks with food, help with rent or utilities, transportation or medical referrals, the staff at New Hope Ministries are doing exactly what Jesus intends them to do:  sharing the good news in concrete ways. 

Both Eric and Darin are prime examples of what happens when Christians catch Jesus’ vision of his father’s Kingdom, and are inspired to make his Kingdom real.  

So, what about us?  What’s our picture of what the Kingdom should look like here in Mechanicsburg?

Since last fall our Session has been working on that.  They’re in the process of drafting a new vision for our congregation.

It’s not a mission statement that describes who we are and what we do today.  It goes beyond that – it’s a picture of the future that Jesus is calling us to work toward here at SSPC.

If we all catch it, we’ll be more like that 3rd stonemason, the one who was doing so much more than merely building a wall. 

This Kingdom vision will inspire and guide us in everything we do, and everything we decide.  It’ll give us a renewed sense of passion and joy for the work of discipleship.  

And history has shown that when Christians come together with passion and joy, it is positively, irresistibly contagious. 

Friends, that’s how God’s kingdom is built. May we continue to build it, here – with more passion and joy than ever before.    May it be so.

Last Published: February 25, 2019 12:04 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

March 2019


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

 

August 2018


August 26, 2018 “Whom Will You Serve?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 19, 2018 “Fill 'Er Up, Please!" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 12, 2018 “The Christian Diet" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2018


July 22, 2018 “Whose Plan is it Anyway?" by Bryan Corbin

July 1, 2018 “Keeping God First" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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