Contact us LOGIN
Gathering service Banner
Worship and Sermons
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

 

 

June 9, 2019

“Speaking of Dreams and Visions” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, June 9, 2019, Year C / Pentecost – Genesis 11:1-9  •  Psalm 104:24-34, 35b  • Acts 2:1-21  •  John 14:15-17, 25-27

 

THEME:  Don’t squelch the Spirit – let it inspire us to dream.

 

Although we live in an age when video is everything, I’m still a fan of radio.  One of my all-time favorite radio shows is Car Talk.  Have you ever listened to it?

Until a few years ago, you could listen to it on Saturday mornings on Public Radio.  You can still listen to podcasts on the NPR web site.  If you have, then you know it was hosted by two brothers, Tom and Ray Magliozzi.  They grew up in a tough Italian neighborhood in Boston.

On the air, they liked to give the impression they’re just a couple of goombas who became car mechanics, but Tom and Ray are no dummies.  Both of them graduated from MIT.  By the way, if you want a good laugh, google their 1999 commencement address at MIT.  It’s hysterical.

What made the show so entertaining was their sense of humor.  They’ve been described as a cross between Mark Twain and the Marx Brothers.  They would banter back and forth with one another, and with the callers who would phone in with questions about something that had gone wrong with their car.

 

One of the funnier shows I remember featured a caller named Jim.  Jim admitted he had driven his car five miles - with the parking brake on.  He was calling in because he was concerned he had damaged his car.  Here’s how the two brothers responded, in their thick Boston accents:

Brother Tom says:  Don't worry, Jim. You're certainly not the first moron to have done this.

Brother Ray says:  Yeah, my brother may have been the first.

It’s all in good fun.  And, let’s be honest.  We’ve all done that, haven’t we?  In fact, would you raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten into your car, buckled up your seat belt, turned the key and then headed out on the road – only to realize the parking brake was still on?

I sure have.  And we’re not alone.  It turns out that driving with the parking brake engaged is more common than you might think.  But it’s easy to detect.  As Tom and Ray advised the caller, the very first thing you notice is a lack of power.

And that lack of power is the same problem we have when we try to live as Christians while keeping the brakes on the Holy Spirit.

That’s clear in this morning’s passage from Acts.  It’s Pentecost, 50 days after Passover.  We are with the apostles in the upper room in Jerusalem.  They’re doing what Jesus told them to do, watching and waiting for what he promised them: a baptism of fire. 

Suddenly, the walls of that upper room begin to shake and echo with the roar of wind, like a tornado.  The apostles look around at each other, amazed to see tongues of flame over everyone’s heads.

Spontaneously, they all burst out in praise for God’s mighty acts. 

By this time they’ve gotten the attention of everyone outside on the street.  These onlookers are amazed because each of them, no matter what their native language, is able to hear and understand what the disciples are saying in Aramaic. 

They wonder aloud what on earth is happening?!

Some think the apostles are drunk and dismiss it, but Peter’s explanation is far more compelling. These strange and wonderful signs are nothing less than the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise spoken by the prophet Joel.   This is the inauguration of the end times!

As Joel foretold, God has poured out his Spirit on absolutely everyone – men and women, slaves and free, Jews and Gentiles and people of every nation, young and old alike.

Dreams and visions are sure signs of the Spirit’s presence.  And we know that, for Luke, the presence of the Spirit is THE defining mark of a Christian. 

But not everyone will embrace this gift.  Among the crowds out on the street, some still see it as nothing more than drunken raving.

Friends, the same is true today, 2,000 years later.    

Every Christian wants to make God’s Kingdom real here and now by loving one another as freely as God loves us. But we’re not always so willing to trust the Holy Spirit to guide us and empower us to do that.  

As a result, we lack the power to live and love the way God wants us to.

And there is no better example of that than our hesitation about dreaming.

Luke is clear that all God’s children have been given the gift to dream dreams and see God-inspired visions of the way things could be, should be and – one day – will be.  

Our job is to take those dreams and visions seriously;  to trust that the Spirit is not only behind those dreams, but will work with us, and through us, to make them reality.

But, in my experience, church folk like you and me hesitate to dream.  We are reluctant to trust our vision that God’s Kingdom can – and always has been – realized through ordinary, flawed disciples like you and me.

This week I’ve been wondering why that is. Maybe it’s because we think dreams and visions are for kids.  Somewhere in our youth, someone told us to stop being a dreamer and get realistic.  And so we did.

Or maybe we just don’t want to be disappointed. Somewhere along the line, we dared to dream about a better future, but it didn’t work out for reason that were never ours to control anyway.  So now, even if we don’t like the way things are going, if we stop ourselves from dreaming of anything better, at least we won’t be let down again.

Or maybe we just know how messy dreams and visions can be.  Whose vision do we pursue?  How do we know it’s what God wants us to do?  And what if we disagree?

All of these hesitations are like putting your foot on the accelerator with the parking brake still engaged.  The inevitable result is we lack the power to move ahead.  

Wouldn’t it be better if we took the parking brake off?

That’s what our Session has been doing.  Over the past months, Session has been discerning a vision for SSPC.  Together we’ve prayed and brainstormed, we’ve studied, discussed and debated.  This process will continue as our new class of Elders join Session at our upcoming meeting later this month.

A vision is a brief, compelling description of the world God is calling us to work for.  It gives us a vivid mental picture of what God’s Kingdom can look like here in Mechanicsburg, in the greater Harrisburg region and perhaps beyond.

We on Session would like your help.  Let’s do a little dreaming together. 

Turn to 3-4 people around you:

  1. Describe the community God wants the SSPC congregation to work toward. (define community as local, regional or beyond)
  2. What is the role of God’s love in this community?

Thank you for your input.   This vision statement will be the measuring stick for our decisions and our actions.  And it will require all of us to rely on the Holy Spirit as both our compass and our inspiration.

This same exercise can work for all of us in our individual lives.  But before we can rely on the Holy Spirit we have to first be open to it and willing to trust it. 

Max Lucado, the great Christian author, once said, ““The wizard [of Oz] says look inside yourself and find your self. God says look inside yourself and find [the Holy Spirit]. The first will get you to Kansas. The latter will get you to heaven. Take your pick.”   

Friends, I hope and pray that you and I choose to look for the Spirit.  Let it stir up a holy dream inside of us. 

Let’s set our compass in that direction, and then, casting our hesitations aside, let’s trust the Spirit’s power to make that vision real.

After all, we don’t want to be one of those people who try to accelerate with the parking brake on do we?

May it be so.  Amen.

 

Last Published: June 13, 2019 12:48 PM
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

 

 

Gathering service Banner