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Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

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

 

January 2021


January 31, 2021  "Are You God's Prophet?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 24, 2021  "God's Annoying Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 10, 2021  "Light to See" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 3, 2021  "The Outsiders' Perspective" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2020


December 24, 2020  "Light in the Darkness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 20, 2020  "Are you a Royal?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 6, 2020  "While You're Waiting..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

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

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

April 25, 2021

“Love Actually, Part II:  Love in Action” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, April 25, 2021, Year B / Easter 4 –  Acts 4:5-12  •  Psalm 23  •  1 John 3:16-24  •  John 10:11-18

The big idea:  Disciples who imitate Jesus in spending their life to serve those in need not only give new life to others but also experience God’s presence and new life in themselves.

Application:  Share Christ’s love by caring for God’s creation – both humanity and the natural world - and experience God’s presence working through us to transform others’ lives and our own.


        How do we know that God is present with us?

        This may be one of the most difficult questions of faith.  And it’s definitely one of the most important ones.

        More than once, I have been asked this question as someone struggles with a personal crisis that turns into a crisis of faith.  A loved one dies too soon.  A diagnosis leaves us stunned.  A job is lost.  A spouse is unfaithful.  A friendship is betrayed.

And prayers upon prayers upon prayers seem to go unanswered, as suffering continues.

        Then comes the inevitable question:  where is God?  How do I know he’s even here?

That is the question that the faithful remnant of John’s community are asking themselves and their leaders. 

You’ll remember from last week in the first of this 4-part sermon series on love, that John’s community has been ruptured.  A group of doubters have left.  Those who remain are asking difficult questions, including this one:  how do we know God is still with us?

The community Elder who writes this sermon that you and I call I John, has a very definite answer.

        God is with us, he says.  How do we know, you ask?

We know because God is love.  Wherever there is love, God is present.  And love for one another is the sure sign of God’s children living together as his family of faith.

“But what does his love look like?” the people respond.  Will we know it when we see it?

The surest way to recognize God’s love is to look at Jesus and those who follow him.  God’s love is present wherever disciples are doing what Jesus did.  “We know love by this,” the Elder say, “that Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”

Of course, that means us, too.  When you and I hear these familiar words we know he is summarizing Jesus’ teaching in the gospel of John.  We tend to think that’s all there is to his message, as if laying down our lives were the end of the story.

But Jesus didn’t stop there.  Yes, he tells the crowd that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.  That’s the part all of us remember.  But he doesn’t stop there.  He goes on to say that he lays down his life in order to pick it up again.

In other words, his obedient witness does not end with self-sacrifice on the cross.  That would be like the Easter story ending with the women simply finding his dead body in the tomb.  That would make Jesus a martyr, not a savior.  And that really wouldn’t be worth celebrating.

But we know the Easter story continues.  It reaches a joyous, jaw-dropping climax in his bodily resurrection.  That is the source of our new life.  It is God’s emphatic victory over death, and his gift of new life to anyone willing to embrace it.  

When disciples truly receive and believe this good news, the evidence is in their willingness to love and sacrifice for one another as Jesus did.  And then they become the living proof of God’s presence.

Here’s what that looks like.  Day in and day out, their mutual love consists of acts of caring, kindness, compassion, and material support.  It is a dynamic demonstration of going beyond the “words and speech” of a true disciple, to the “work and truth” of discipleship.  It’s the confirmation that John’s community is abiding in God, and God is abiding in them as they serve one another’s needs.

        The lives of those they help are transformed.  We know what that feels like.

All of us have experienced being the recipients of such great love.  We have known times of real, genuine need.  Sometimes the need is emotional.  At other times, the need is material.  Or it may be physical or logistical.  But we have all, from time to time, found ourselves in a position of needing help.

And so we know how life-changing it is to receive that much-needed help in the form of loving kindness from those around us, especially in the community of faith.  That’s one of the things this congregation does better than any church of which I’ve ever been a part.

And there is no question.  When this happens, we are experiencing the caring provision and loving presence of God.  

But there is more happening there than we may recognize.  It may surprise us.

We have also had the experience of being on the giving end of that loving kindness.  And when that happens, God is acting through us, not only to transform the lives of others, but to transform us as well.

Does that surprise you?  That God wants to share his love through us, not only to give new life to others, but to give us – the giver – new life, as well?

It shouldn’t.  Because that is how God made us.  The proof is in the way our brains are wired.

Neuroscientists tell us that giving to others is a powerful way to create personal joy for the giver.  Their research shows that helping others has a positive impact on our brains, and on our well-being. 

When we love and care for others, our brains release three chemicals:  oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine.  These hormones elevate our mood and counteract the negative effect of a stress hormone called cortisol.  The result is the feeling of joy.

Some people call it the helper’s high.  I prefer to call it God’s love in action.  Whatever name you give it, it transforms the life of the helper, as well as the one helped.

This is not news to our Roman Catholic friends. They are fond of pointing out that St. Francis was already aware of this dynamic way back in the 13th century.  He famously said, “It is in giving that we receive.”

And the beauty of this wisdom is that there is no limit to how far and wide we can share God’s love by giving ourselves for others.  St. Francis himself proved that.  For him, it even extended to animals and plants.  Since God created the flowers and the birds, Francis considered them his brothers and sisters, too.

In his mind, every living thing deserves our love and care.  The care and kindness with which we treat them, ought to be no different than the way we treat our human brothers and sisters.

He said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men.” 

In other words, our loving care for the natural world, that God created for us and for our benefit, speaks volumes about our love for our human siblings.  In fact, they are directly connected.

Both humanity and the natural world are gifts from God.  God does not want us to love one and abuse the other.  Loving both is what God intends.  And loving both can transform us to be more joyous, more faithful Christian disciples.

If ever there was an appropriate message for this week when we celebrate Earth Day, it is this one. 

In the broadest sense, the community of which you and I are a part includes not only the worldwide family of God’s children, but the world itself.  That means everyone and everything on this planet.

It’s no secret that climate change threatens both human beings and the plants and animals with whom we share our existence, and which sustain us.

But, to some Christians, speaking of “creation care” suggests that we value nature more than people.  But the simple truth is that caring for the planet is also caring for people.  Because climate change is devastating for both.

It works against all the money, time, effort and love that we Christians (and others) have invested over the years to improve the lives of those who suffer from poverty, malnutrition, food insecurity, disease, and all manner of other health issues.

Climate change also threatens to erase the gains we have made across the globe in addressing other issues which might at first seem unrelated.  It aggravates problems like wars, refugee crises, and air pollution.  This is why climate change has been called a “threat multiplier.”  

Complicating things further, the impact of climate change is felt most keenly in the two thirds world, especially in Africa and South Asia.  These are the very same places where all these problems are already felt most keenly.

From our perspective, it’s harder for us to see these issues because we don’t experience them as directly and with the same impact as these folks do.

But there is hope.  Increasingly, we in the church are coming to see that climate change is not a conservative or progressive issue.  It’s not a Republican or Democratic issue.  It’s a Christian issue.  For us, it’s not a question of politics, it’s a question of faithfulness.

And the Elder in John’s community has shown us what the answer will look like. 

It will look like Jesus’ followers leading humanity in coming together as siblings in God’s family of faith.  It will look like disciples sharing Christ’s love across any of the artificial boundaries that threaten to separate us from our fellow siblings in the human and natural world. 

Whether that love takes the form of new technology, new techniques or new habits, or all three, it will be Christ’s love in action.  And the presence of God will be unmistakable.

And as God works through us, he won’t just transform the lives of those we help.  He will transform our lives, too.

May it be so.

Rev. Don Wahlig, April 25, 2021, Year B / Easter 4 –  Acts 4:5-12  •  Psalm 23  •  1 John 3:16-24  •  John 10:11-18

The big idea:  Disciples who imitate Jesus in spending their life to serve those in need not only give new life to others but also experience God’s presence and new life in themselves.

Application:  Share Christ’s love by caring for God’s creation – both humanity and the natural world - and experience God’s presence working through us to transform others’ lives and our own.


        How do we know that God is present with us?

        This may be one of the most difficult questions of faith.  And it’s definitely one of the most important ones.

        More than once, I have been asked this question as someone struggles with a personal crisis that turns into a crisis of faith.  A loved one dies too soon.  A diagnosis leaves us stunned.  A job is lost.  A spouse is unfaithful.  A friendship is betrayed.

And prayers upon prayers upon prayers seem to go unanswered, as suffering continues.

        Then comes the inevitable question:  where is God?  How do I know he’s even here?

That is the question that the faithful remnant of John’s community are asking themselves and their leaders. 

You’ll remember from last week in the first of this 4-part sermon series on love, that John’s community has been ruptured.  A group of doubters have left.  Those who remain are asking difficult questions, including this one:  how do we know God is still with us?

The community Elder who writes this sermon that you and I call I John, has a very definite answer.

        God is with us, he says.  How do we know, you ask?

We know because God is love.  Wherever there is love, God is present.  And love for one another is the sure sign of God’s children living together as his family of faith.

“But what does his love look like?” the people respond.  Will we know it when we see it?

The surest way to recognize God’s love is to look at Jesus and those who follow him.  God’s love is present wherever disciples are doing what Jesus did.  “We know love by this,” the Elder say, “that Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”

Of course, that means us, too.  When you and I hear these familiar words we know he is summarizing Jesus’ teaching in the gospel of John.  We tend to think that’s all there is to his message, as if laying down our lives were the end of the story.

But Jesus didn’t stop there.  Yes, he tells the crowd that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.  That’s the part all of us remember.  But he doesn’t stop there.  He goes on to say that he lays down his life in order to pick it up again.

In other words, his obedient witness does not end with self-sacrifice on the cross.  That would be like the Easter story ending with the women simply finding his dead body in the tomb.  That would make Jesus a martyr, not a savior.  And that really wouldn’t be worth celebrating.

But we know the Easter story continues.  It reaches a joyous, jaw-dropping climax in his bodily resurrection.  That is the source of our new life.  It is God’s emphatic victory over death, and his gift of new life to anyone willing to embrace it.  

When disciples truly receive and believe this good news, the evidence is in their willingness to love and sacrifice for one another as Jesus did.  And then they become the living proof of God’s presence.

Here’s what that looks like.  Day in and day out, their mutual love consists of acts of caring, kindness, compassion, and material support.  It is a dynamic demonstration of going beyond the “words and speech” of a true disciple, to the “work and truth” of discipleship.  It’s the confirmation that John’s community is abiding in God, and God is abiding in them as they serve one another’s needs.

        The lives of those they help are transformed.  We know what that feels like.

All of us have experienced being the recipients of such great love.  We have known times of real, genuine need.  Sometimes the need is emotional.  At other times, the need is material.  Or it may be physical or logistical.  But we have all, from time to time, found ourselves in a position of needing help.

And so we know how life-changing it is to receive that much-needed help in the form of loving kindness from those around us, especially in the community of faith.  That’s one of the things this congregation does better than any church of which I’ve ever been a part.

And there is no question.  When this happens, we are experiencing the caring provision and loving presence of God.  

But there is more happening there than we may recognize.  It may surprise us.

We have also had the experience of being on the giving end of that loving kindness.  And when that happens, God is acting through us, not only to transform the lives of others, but to transform us as well.

Does that surprise you?  That God wants to share his love through us, not only to give new life to others, but to give us – the giver – new life, as well?

It shouldn’t.  Because that is how God made us.  The proof is in the way our brains are wired.

Neuroscientists tell us that giving to others is a powerful way to create personal joy for the giver.  Their research shows that helping others has a positive impact on our brains, and on our well-being. 

When we love and care for others, our brains release three chemicals:  oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine.  These hormones elevate our mood and counteract the negative effect of a stress hormone called cortisol.  The result is the feeling of joy.

Some people call it the helper’s high.  I prefer to call it God’s love in action.  Whatever name you give it, it transforms the life of the helper, as well as the one helped.

This is not news to our Roman Catholic friends. They are fond of pointing out that St. Francis was already aware of this dynamic way back in the 13th century.  He famously said, “It is in giving that we receive.”

And the beauty of this wisdom is that there is no limit to how far and wide we can share God’s love by giving ourselves for others.  St. Francis himself proved that.  For him, it even extended to animals and plants.  Since God created the flowers and the birds, Francis considered them his brothers and sisters, too.

In his mind, every living thing deserves our love and care.  The care and kindness with which we treat them, ought to be no different than the way we treat our human brothers and sisters.

He said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men.” 

In other words, our loving care for the natural world, that God created for us and for our benefit, speaks volumes about our love for our human siblings.  In fact, they are directly connected.

Both humanity and the natural world are gifts from God.  God does not want us to love one and abuse the other.  Loving both is what God intends.  And loving both can transform us to be more joyous, more faithful Christian disciples.

If ever there was an appropriate message for this week when we celebrate Earth Day, it is this one. 

In the broadest sense, the community of which you and I are a part includes not only the worldwide family of God’s children, but the world itself.  That means everyone and everything on this planet.

It’s no secret that climate change threatens both human beings and the plants and animals with whom we share our existence, and which sustain us.

But, to some Christians, speaking of “creation care” suggests that we value nature more than people.  But the simple truth is that caring for the planet is also caring for people.  Because climate change is devastating for both.

It works against all the money, time, effort and love that we Christians (and others) have invested over the years to improve the lives of those who suffer from poverty, malnutrition, food insecurity, disease, and all manner of other health issues.

Climate change also threatens to erase the gains we have made across the globe in addressing other issues which might at first seem unrelated.  It aggravates problems like wars, refugee crises, and air pollution.  This is why climate change has been called a “threat multiplier.”  

Complicating things further, the impact of climate change is felt most keenly in the two thirds world, especially in Africa and South Asia.  These are the very same places where all these problems are already felt most keenly.

From our perspective, it’s harder for us to see these issues because we don’t experience them as directly and with the same impact as these folks do.

But there is hope.  Increasingly, we in the church are coming to see that climate change is not a conservative or progressive issue.  It’s not a Republican or Democratic issue.  It’s a Christian issue.  For us, it’s not a question of politics, it’s a question of faithfulness.

And the Elder in John’s community has shown us what the answer will look like. 

It will look like Jesus’ followers leading humanity in coming together as siblings in God’s family of faith.  It will look like disciples sharing Christ’s love across any of the artificial boundaries that threaten to separate us from our fellow siblings in the human and natural world. 

Whether that love takes the form of new technology, new techniques or new habits, or all three, it will be Christ’s love in action.  And the presence of God will be unmistakable.

And as God works through us, he won’t just transform the lives of those we help.  He will transform our lives, too.

May it be so.

Last Published: April 26, 2021 10:10 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

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

 

January 2021


January 31, 2021  "Are You God's Prophet?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 24, 2021  "God's Annoying Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 10, 2021  "Light to See" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 3, 2021  "The Outsiders' Perspective" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2020


December 24, 2020  "Light in the Darkness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 20, 2020  "Are you a Royal?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 6, 2020  "While You're Waiting..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

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

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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