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Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

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 15, 2020

“Faith in the Wilderness: Moses” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, March 15, 2020, Year A / Lent 3 – Exodus 17:1-7  •  Psalm 95  •  Romans 5:1-11  •  John 4:5-42

THEME:  Learn to trust in God’s provision and grace through the desert experiences in our lives.

 

Over Christmas, 1968, three American astronauts, Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders, did what no one had ever done before.  In their Apollo 8 spacecraft, they traveled across 22 million miles of dark, airless void to orbit the moon.

Never before had humans traveled so far, so fast.  Never before had we seen the moon from so close, or the earth from so far.  Millions watched, transfixed by what they saw.

A significant part of their mission was to prove the reliability of the spacecraft as well as the communications and coordination with Mission Control back in Houston.  If all went well, it would pave the way for NASA to land astronauts on the Moon.

The space craft made 10 lunar orbits.  Each time, the astronauts vanished behind the far side of the Moon.  For 45 minutes, they lost all contact with Mission Control.  All that was audible was static. 

On the first orbit, the tension in the cockpit was palpable.  At last, they heard the reassuring voice from Mission Control, "We've got it!  Apollo 8 is in lunar orbit."  With great relief, Astronaut Lovell responded, “Good to hear your voice, Houston".

        It was reassurance that they were not alone.  The ones caring for their well-being were with them after all.  After a few more orbits, the astronauts got comfortable that they would never be left alone on their mission up there in the wilderness of space.

        That’s how God wants the Israelites to feel as they make their way across the wilderness of the desert.

        You would think, having witnessed the ten plagues God unleashed to persuade Pharaoh to release them, the Israelites would be quick to trust God. 

You would think, having seen God’s power part the Red Sea, and then close it up over their Egyptian pursuers, that the Israelites would be ready to trust God.

And you would think, God’s power to turn a bitter spring into sweet, potable water after three days in the desert without a sip would convince the Israelites to trust God.

You would also think even the most skeptical of the Hebrews would be convinced of God’s grace and provision when he fills their hungry bellies with manna in the morning and quail in the evening.

But you would be wrong. At least that’s what our text from Exodus is telling us.

God’s trying hard to teach this people, his chosen people, to trust him and obey him, but they’re stubborn – and so quick to doubt him. 

Each time they’re in a tough spot, they bring their quarrels to Moses.  And each time Moses reminds them their quarrel isn’t with him – it’s with God.

Then they come to a dry, barren place called Rephidim.  Once again, the people’s rebellion against God is directed at Moses.  “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, only to kill us and our animals with thirst out here in the desert?” 

Once again, Moses turns to God. “Lord, what shall I do with this people?  They’re about ready to stone me.”

And once again, Yahweh comes through. In front of the Elders, Yahweh stands on a rock.  He directs Moses to tap it with his staff.  And from the rock, the water gushes.  And the people drink until their thirst is quenched.  If they ever did thank God, scripture doesn’t record it.

God graciously and faithfully responds not to the people's lack of faith and gratitude, but to their basic human needs. And it won’t be the last time. 

This is the central message of Exodus.  It begins the moment God hears the Hebrews groaning in Egypt and remembers his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And it carries all the way through to the moment he renews that Covenant with Moses on Mt. Sinai.

There, God teaches Moses to sing a new song: “Yahweh, Yahweh, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

And there Moses asks, “O Lord, I pray, … go with us.  Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.’

That’s what this whole desert experience is all about.  The desert is a place of testing.  It’s what lies between God’s redemption of the Hebrew slaves and their deliverance to the promised land of Canaan.  In the desert, God is teaching them to trust him and obey him as they live between his promise and its fulfillment.

Isn’t that where we all are?  Aren’t we all somewhere between redemption and heaven, between the promise of baptism and the fulfillment of the Kingdom?

That’s what it means to be a Christian disciple.  We too are journeying through the wilderness.  Just as God tested the Israelites, so does he test us – and for the same reason. 

The hard times in our lives are opportunities to learn to trust God and obey him.  Don’t get me wrong:   God does not inflict pain and suffering on us.  But nor does he guarantee we can avoid them.  These desert experiences are simply part and parcel of all our lives.

The question is not “will we doubt God?”  We’ll always have our doubts.  Every time we hit a dead end, every time we lose a job or a loved one, we wonder the same thing the Israelites did.  Is God with us or not?

The better question is can we learn to trust that God will forgive us and remain with us, despite our doubts and failings?”  We fear judgment, but we should expect grace.  Because with God, grace always outweighs judgment.

There is a story about C. S. Lewis.  Back in the 1930s, there was a British conference on comparative religions.  Experts from around the world gathered to debate whether there are any beliefs that make the Christian faith unique. 

Some said the incarnation of God in human form as Jesus.  But, that got shot down pretty quickly.  There are several other religions that also teach that gods appear in human form.

Then someone else asked what about resurrection?  But, here again, other religions offer vivid accounts of individuals returning from death to life.

So, the discussion continued.  The debate raged on.  After a while, C. S. Lewis walked into the room.  He looked around at the animated conversation taking place, and asked “What’s the rumpus about?”  

When his colleagues told him they were discussing what belief, if any, sets Christianity apart from other religions, he smiled and said “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”

And, after some more discussion, they all agreed.  Grace is the core Christian belief: that God’s love and redemption are offered to us as a free gift, requiring only faith and gratitude.

But we all know the world doesn’t operate according to the principle of grace.  In fact, grace works against almost every human instinct.  And when we try to live out our faith in the world around us, it doesn’t take very long to discover that fact.

That’s a realization that came early in life to one of our more famous Christian disciples.  When he was in high school, the rock star Bono, lead singer of U2, was inspired by a group of friends to begin taking scripture seriously.

The more he read, the more he tried to live according to what Christ taught.  He quickly realized the world operates on a very different principle:  the principle of karma.  What you put out is what you get back. 

That’s when it hit him:  when God entered this world in Jesus Christ, he turned that worldview upside down.

In an interview, Bono said:  “Grace is completely counter-intuitive.  We can grasp concepts like fairness, revenge, even atonement, but it’s very, very hard for humans to grasp grace.” 

But what if we could?  What if you and I began to live with a more conscious appreciation and expectation of God’s grace?

For one thing, we’d be more grateful and closer to God.  Knowing he sees all our short-comings, but doesn’t hold a single one against us – that has to give us a real sense of gratitude.  Even more, he still loves and cares for us, despite the fact that we regularly doubt him and rebel against him, the way the Israelites did in the desert.

And we’d also be a lot more forgiving, knowing how much God has forgiven us.  We’d be less critical and less likely to judge others harshly, knowing that our judge is the one who has already forgiven us and redeemed us.

And we’d certainly be more humble.  We’d be less inclined to think we’re always right, or best or first.  After all, it’s hard to put yourself above others when you realize God put himself last, that he suffered death as the lowest of humanity, and all because he loves us.

And that would make us more loving, too.  More willing to give ourselves for others, knowing that he gave his life for us.

Grateful, forgiving, humble and loving.  These are the hallmarks of a grace-filled life, a life lived in God’s unceasing presence.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  Like the Promised Land, but the only way to get there is by traveling through the wilderness.  In those desert experiences, that we learn to trust that God is with us, and always will be, despite our doubts.

Like those Apollo 8 astronauts, we too can learn to trust that we will be cared for on our mission.

That’s the kind of faith Moses had. 

Friends, we can have it, too.  May it be so.

 

Last Published: March 16, 2020 2:36 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

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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