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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

October 31, 2021

“SSPC Values Part 5:  Steward God’s Gifts” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, October 31, 2021 Year B Pentecost 23 (Proper 26, Ordinary 31):  Romans 12:1-2, 9-21  •  Matthew 16:21-28  (Non-lectionary)

THEME:  Follow Jesus by serving him with our time, talent and treasure.

          

        In June 1932, a student at St. John’s University in Brooklyn, New York sent a letter to some of the most well-known and well-respected public figures of the day.  He was doing research for an article in Youth magazine. 

        The question he posed was one that young adults have asked for a very long time.  “What are the necessary qualifications for success in the world?” 

The respondents included famous scholars, poets, supreme court justices, scientists and busines figures.  They cited things you might expect:  hard work, ethics and integrity, following your passion, and capitalizing on your skills.  A few even suggested that worldly success was due in large part to sheer dumb luck.

Edwin Arlington Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet known for his wit, had some slightly more humorous advice.  He responded, “Be sure that you know what you want to do.  If you are sure of that, success will probably take care of itself – so long as you do not want to write poetry.”

But there was one response that stood out from all the rest.  It came from the preeminent scientist of the day, Albert Einstein.  His answer was a single sentence.  He said, the only worthwhile life is a life lived for others.

Leave it to Einstein to address not only the question, but the assumptions behind it.  Worldly success is not what matters.  What matters is loving your neighbor.  And that is precisely what Jesus is saying to his disciples.

        There’s been a real buzz about Jesus as he makes his way through the towns and villages of Galilee.  People are making all kinds of assumptions about him. He’s aware, of course.  But he is more concerned about who his disciples understand him to be.  When he asks them, Peter hits it on the head:  “you are the Messiah, son of the living God.” 

Like a teacher whose pupils finally get it, Jesus is delighted.  He heaps all sorts of praise on Peter. 

Peter will be the rock on which Jesus builds his church.  Peter will hold the keys of the kingdom, a kingdom that not even death itself can overcome.  Whatever Peter binds on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever Peter loosens on earth will be loosened in heaven.  

How’s that for power?  Can you blame Peter if it goes to his head?  With power like that, he could rule and reshape the Roman empire!  Peter could set right everything that has gone wrong with the world, marching forward, side-by-side with Jesus, God’s Messiah.

But there are two things Peter does not understand.  His place is not at Jesus’ side, it’s following behind him.  And the road Jesus is walking leads not to earthly glory, but to suffering and death. 

So, Jesus sets him straight.  The Messiah has to suffer and die before being resurrected.  And when Peter objects, Jesus reminds him of the proper place for a disciple.  “Get behind me, Satan.”  The temptation to earthly power and glory does not come from God.  It comes from Satan, the great deceiver himself. 

The road that Jesus walks is the road that his disciples will walk, too.  That road is lined with crosses. 

“If any want to become my followers,” he tells them, “let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.  Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

You and I are Jesus’ disciples, too.  When we consider how we should respond to Jesus, I suspect that two pictures come immediately to mind.  The first is martyrdom.  Afterall, isn’t that what the disciples did?  They all gave up their lives for the good news, often in cruel and gruesome ways.

Martyrdom didn’t just happen in the days of the early church. In the 16th century Reformation that we celebrate today, hundreds of Protestants were killed for their faith.  That’s why our banners are red this morning.

The other response we think of is monasticism.  From the earliest days of the church, some Christians left their ordinary lives behind in order to live a life of solitude.  Out in the wilderness, they sought God’s consolation as they confronted demons and entertained divine visions.

The first of these were the desert fathers and mothers.  In the first three hundred years of Christianity, they went out into the desert to live a life of solitary discipline and prayer.  Eventually they began to gather in monastic communities that lived by a rule of life.  Over the centuries, these cloistered groups of monks and nuns multiplied.

These are both holy callings, to be sure.  The vast majority of us, however, are not called to be either a martyr or a monastic.  Which begs the question.  Just how does Jesus expect us to give up our lives to follow him?

A more helpful way of asking that question is this:  what gives our lives meaning?

Philosophers have been asking that question for a very long time, centuries before Jesus.  The quest for meaning is fundamental to our identity as human beings.  Plato, one of the earliest Greek philosophers, defined humankind as simply "A being in search of meaning."

As Christians, the source of meaning for our lives is of course Jesus.  But, the question remains.  If we’re not going to be martyrs or monks, what does following Jesus look like for you and me?

The answer has three parts:  inspiration, motivation and location.

First and foremost, our inspiration for following Jesus is Jesus himself and the life he led.  He gave his whole life over to loving and serving others.  Didn’t matter who they were, what their background was, or what their circumstances were.  He didn’t care how many social, religious or political boundaries he crossed in order to reach others with the good news of God’s love.  We ought to do the same.

Second, our motivation is the same as his.  To point the way to God’s Kingdom by helping others thrive.  For Jesus, that meant healing the sick, curing the lame, feeding the hungry, lifting up the downtrodden, and standing up for the marginalized.  That is our motivation, too.

Third, our location is the same as his.  We follow Jesus by serving others wherever life take us, and whenever we encounter those in need.  We follow him at home, at work, and at school.  We follow him on the Sabbath and every other day of the week, too. 

Inspiration, motivation and location.  Jesus is the source of all three.  These three aspects of discipleship have something else in common, too.  They orient us toward others.  They’re not about glorifying ourselves or increasing our own worldly success.  They’re focused on helping others thrive. 

That’s the bottom line for any Christian disciple. The meaning of our lives is to follow Jesus in serving others, ahead of ourselves.

We’ve all been given the gifts we need to do that.  Those gifts come in three varieties:  time, talent and treasure. 

Let’s start with talents.  When it comes to serving others, the first question to ask is what gifts we have been given to do that.  This may seem like such a basic question that it’s almost silly to ask it.  But that question is not silly at all.  In fact, this is one of the wisest and most important questions we can ask.  It is at the very heart of discipleship.

If you want to know what your gifts are, then ask yourself these questions.  What do I do well, that seems easy to me?  What is something that other people associate with me?  How have I used this gift in the past?  All these things will tell us what our talents are.

When it comes to time and treasure, the measures are more quantifiable. Our calendar and our checkbook tell us a lot about how faithfully we are using these gifts.  If you have ever done a personal time audit, for example, you’ll get a pretty good picture of how well you’re using this resource to follow Jesus.

When it comes to how faithfully we use the financial resources that have been entrusted to us, it’s an enlightening exercise to look at our bank accounts.  Billy Graham said it this way: “Every person’s checkbook is a theological document.  It tells you who and what they worship.”  

The goal is to work toward tithing, giving one tenth of our income to the work of God through the church.  As I have said often, if you are not tithing already, don’t start immediately.  It’s a better and more sustainable strategy to simply try each year to increase your giving by 1% of your income until you reach 10%.   

Circumstances don’t always allow for that of course, but, speaking personally, I have found that moving intentionally and sacrificially toward tithing has a profound impact on discipleship.  That’s because prioritizing God’s work in making financial decisions, leads us to be more faithful in using our time and talent to follow Jesus.  I have experienced this in myself, and I have seen this in others.

It is my hope and prayer that you will experience this, too.  Because following Jesus with our whole lives doesn’t mean we have to become a martyr or a monk.  It means following him with our time and our talent, as well as our treasure.

  With that in mind, let me now invite you to come forward and offer your commitment for 2022.   As you do, I leave you with this quote from Winston Churchill. 

We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give.  Jesus would agree with that. 

 

Last Published: November 1, 2021 3:10 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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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