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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2020


November 15, 2020  "Accepting Your Mission" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 1, 2020  "The Hope of the Saints" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2020


October 18, 2020  "Whose Image Do You Bear?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 11, 2020  "Righteous Clothing" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2020


September 13, 2020  "The Circle of Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2020


August 9, 2020  "Faithful Witness in Thyatira" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2020


July 5, 2020  "Sanctification:  An Old Struggle" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2020


June 28, 2020  "Sanctification:  A New Ethic" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 21, 2020 "Sanctification:  A New Mindset"  by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2020


May 31, 2020 "Witness Power" by Rev. Don Wahlig

May 10, 2020 "Show Us the Father" by Rev. Don Wahlig

May 3, 2020 "Abundant Life Amid the Sheep" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2020


April 26, 2020 "We Had Hoped..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 12, 2020 "Meet You in Galilee" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 5, 2020 "The Kingdom and the Cup" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2020


March 29, 2020 "Lazarus:  Faith in New Life in Christ" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 15, 2020  "Faith in the Wilderness: Moses" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 8, 2020  "Faith on the Road: Abraham" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2020


February 16, 2020  "God's Growing Wisdom: our Faith" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 9, 2020  "God's Hidden Wisdom: the Spirit" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2, 2020  "God's Foolish Wisdom: the Cross" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2020


January 26, 2020  "God's Gospel Wisdom:  Christ" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 5, 2020  "God's Heavenly Guidance" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2019


December 29, 2019  "Traveling Tips" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 24, 2019  "The Embodiment of Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 8, 2019  "The Path to Peace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2019


November 24, 2019  "How to Recognize Your King" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 17, 2019  "A Good Ending" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 3, 2019  "What Makes a Saint?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2019


October 20, 2019  "Money as Means" by Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

March 8, 2020

“Faith on the Road: Abraham” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, March 8, 2020, Year A / Lent 2 – Genesis 12:1-4a  •  Psalm 121  •  Romans 4:1-5, 13-17  •  John 3:1-17 or Matthew 17:1-9

THEME:  Trust in God’s promise and providence and follow his calling.

 

        If you are a Penn State football fan, then you have grown accustomed to some tremendous comebacks over the years.  Even though I’m a Rutgers fan, I’ve been impressed by the likes of Trace McSorley and Saquan Barkley as they’ve led the Nittany Lions to some dramatic come-from-behind wins. 

But the greatest Penn State comeback of all transcended anything that happened on the football field.  That comeback began with what appeared to be an insurmountable failure.

On November 5, 2011, we heard the news of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.  Within days, the University had fired long-time head coach Joe Paterno.  Numerous others followed him out the door.

        Gradually, the scope and duration of what can only be called evil began to emerge.  Heartbreak for the child victims and outrage at the behavior of adults were widespread.  We all remember feeling the shock and horror, as we prayed for them.

        There were other victims, too.  Even before the NCAA issued unprecedented sanctions and a huge fine, many were predicting the scandal would be the ruin of the entire athletic department.  That included thousands of student athletes who participated in 30 different sports, all of which were financially dependent on the football program.

You don’t have to be a football fan or even a sports fan to appreciate the sense of catastrophic failure that the Penn State community felt.  Those who were left behind to pick up the pieces felt that more keenly than most.

Dave Joyner, for example, who was appointed acting Athletic Director, put it best.  He said, "It might not have been a death penalty, but we were in the ICU."

One man’s inclination to evil had dramatically affected the lives of the rest. 

As I thought about that this week, it occurred to me that’s exactly what happened to humankind after Adam and Eve.  Abram is the one God chooses to pick up the pieces of their failure.

The best way to understand what God is asking Abram to do is to imagine his life before.  For many years, he’s been living with his wife Sarai, his Father Terah and his brother Nahor and his family.  They live in what is today Southeastern Turkey, a few miles north of the Syrian border.

They’ve prospered there.  They live on fertile land along one of the tributaries of the Euphrates River.  They and their flocks have plenty to eat, and reliable water to drink. 

It’s a good life.  Except for one thing:  Abram’s wife, Sarai, is barren.  She’s apparently unable to have children.  That’s a major disappointment for Abram, and the source of great shame for Sarai.  In this patriarchal culture, the withholding of children, was considered a sign of God’s displeasure.

        But, at age 75, Abram has become used to this sad reality.  He has no expectation it will change.  It’s just how things are:  the dead-end of his family line.

In the bigger picture of Genesis, Sarai’s barrenness is a symbol.  It represents what has become of all humanity.  The life of providential care and blessing God intended for all humans turned into a curse when Adam and Eve disobeyed him. 

Their disobedience led to all manner of human wickedness, including murder.  Seeing how depraved humanity had become, God decided the only way forward was a new start with Noah and his family.

But even that didn’t stop humanity’s rebellion. They gathered together in a great city, and in their arrogance, they decided to make a name for themselves by building a great tower reaching high up into the heavens.

What humans saw as a monument to their own glory, God saw as a breach of the boundaries separating Creator from creation.

So, he confused their language and dispersed them. As a result, humankind became alienated from God and one another.  Like Abram’s family line, humanity itself reached a dead-end, with no power to invent a new future.

Only God could do that.  And that’s exactly what he did.  He refused to let human rebellion and alienation be the final word.  

He selects Abram to be the forefather of a new people, God’s own people, Israel.  First, he issues the call:  “Abram, leave behind all you know, your family and your home, and go to a land I will show you.”

Then come God’s promises:  “I will make of you a great nation and I will make your name great.  I will bless you, and I will bless all nations through you.”  Those are some promises!

It’s been said by none other than the great theologian Walter Bruggeman, what God promises Abram is what all of us crave:  well-being, prosperity, security and prominence. 

Aren’t those the same things the builders of the Tower of Babel were after?  But they had to learn they couldn’t attain those blessings for themselves.  That’s a lesson we all have to learn.

Only God can provide those blessings.  You and I can only receive them.

So, the question for us is the same one that confronted Abram: will we trust God’s promises enough to follow his calling?

Let’s not be too quick to answer.  First, let’s consider what God is really asking of us.  He’s calling you and me to do the same thing he asked Abram and Sarai to do.

We, too, are meant to be a people with no fixed home, at least not in this world.  We, too, are meant to be a people on a journey, a journey of faith that leads to God’s kingdom. 

That’s why the earliest Christians were not called Christians.  They were simply known as “followers of the way.”  Before there was an organized church or a recognized system of beliefs, there was a way of living that set Christian disciples apart from the world around them.

At the heart of that distinctive way of life is an obedient faith in God, grounded in hope and expressed in love.

That’s the way Jesus lived.  He walked the path of obedience.  And it led him to the cross.

As his disciples, you and I are called to follow him on this path.  We, too, are meant to live a life of faith, obedient to God’s call, grounded in hope and overflowing with love.  And, in this Lenten season, we rededicate ourselves to that journey.

Inevitably, that means living in such a way that, sooner or later, we stand opposed to the way of the world. 

The world sees barrenness and lifelessness as final verdicts.  The idea of hope, of trusting in God whom we cannot see, is an alien concept to them.

We, on the other hand, see barrenness as the place where God does his very best work.  It’s where he makes resurrection happen.

We all reach dead ends in our lives.  We lose a spouse, a parent, or a child.  A marriage or a career comes to an unexpected end.  We hit the wall financially, emotionally or spiritually – or all three.

It looks to us like there is no future ahead, nothing to hope for, to dream about – to work toward.  We’re just stuck – stuck in a dark place and we can’t see any way out.

But with God, that’s never the end of the story.  He refuses to leave us in darkness.  Like he did with Abram and Sarai, God calls us to a new future.  He reaches out to us.  He leads us to a new place, a place of promise and blessing.

It’s up to us to trust in those promises, the way Abram did, to trust that God can make a way where there seems to be no way.

How stunned do you think Abram was, when God promised to make of him a great nation?  He and Sarai couldn’t even have children.  Don’t you think they wondered how can God possibly make this happen?  Later on, when angels repeat that promise, Sarai even laughs about it!

But, even so, they trusted God and they stepped out in faith.  And God kept his promises to both of them.

They weren’t perfect people.  They had moments where they doubted God and deviated from his path.  But, even when they stumbled, they responded by renewing their trust in God and following him. 

Friends, we can do that, too.  None of us is perfect.  None of us is faithful to God every day and in all ways.  Far from it.  We all have doubts.  We have moments when the logic of the world seems much more credible than the hope of God’s promises.

But the source of our hope is not the world. Our hope is in a God who can create a new future - for the world, and for us.

What new future is God calling you to follow him into?  What part of you needs to come alive again?  Are there important relationships in your life that seem lifeless?  What about at work?

What might that new future be that God wants for us as a church?  How, specifically, might God be calling us to experience his grace and share his love with all?

Whatever that new future looks like, we can trust that God can make it possible, even if it doesn’t seem that way today.  Because we trust in a God who specializes in resurrection.

Resurrection. That’s the same word many people use to describe the athletic programs at Penn State, by the way.  In the months and years following the scandal, the whole Penn State family pulled together. 

What looked like a department in a death spiral became the country’s model athletic program where athletes and athletics thrive.  Yes, even better than Rutgers.

Friends, God wants us to thrive, too.  The question is:  will we trust him?  Will we follow him?

May it be so.

Last Published: March 9, 2020 12:39 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2020


November 15, 2020  "Accepting Your Mission" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 1, 2020  "The Hope of the Saints" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2020


October 18, 2020  "Whose Image Do You Bear?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 11, 2020  "Righteous Clothing" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2020


September 13, 2020  "The Circle of Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2020


August 9, 2020  "Faithful Witness in Thyatira" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2020


July 5, 2020  "Sanctification:  An Old Struggle" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2020


June 28, 2020  "Sanctification:  A New Ethic" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 21, 2020 "Sanctification:  A New Mindset"  by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2020


May 31, 2020 "Witness Power" by Rev. Don Wahlig

May 10, 2020 "Show Us the Father" by Rev. Don Wahlig

May 3, 2020 "Abundant Life Amid the Sheep" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2020


April 26, 2020 "We Had Hoped..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 12, 2020 "Meet You in Galilee" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 5, 2020 "The Kingdom and the Cup" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2020


March 29, 2020 "Lazarus:  Faith in New Life in Christ" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 15, 2020  "Faith in the Wilderness: Moses" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 8, 2020  "Faith on the Road: Abraham" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2020


February 16, 2020  "God's Growing Wisdom: our Faith" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 9, 2020  "God's Hidden Wisdom: the Spirit" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2, 2020  "God's Foolish Wisdom: the Cross" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2020


January 26, 2020  "God's Gospel Wisdom:  Christ" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 5, 2020  "God's Heavenly Guidance" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2019


December 29, 2019  "Traveling Tips" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 24, 2019  "The Embodiment of Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 8, 2019  "The Path to Peace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2019


November 24, 2019  "How to Recognize Your King" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 17, 2019  "A Good Ending" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 3, 2019  "What Makes a Saint?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2019


October 20, 2019  "Money as Means" by Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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