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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

October 2022


October 2, 2022,  "Keeping the Flame Burning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2022


September 18, 2022,  "Mammon, Part I:  The Way of Righteousness" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2022


August 28, 2022   "Why Do We Sing?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

December 5, 2021

“Advent 2:  Wilderness Preparation” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, December 5, 2021 Year C Advent 2:  Malachi 3:1-4  •  Philippians 1:3-11  •  Luke 3:1-6, 10-14

THEME:  Have a wilderness experience this Advent to prepare for Christ’s coming . . . and return.

           

          Have you ever had a wilderness adventure?

In 1975 when I was 13 years old I went with a group of boy scouts to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.  It was the greatest adventure of my young life.  There were about 20 of us.  For three and a half weeks, we hiked in the high desert, from grasslands up mountains, across canyons, over rivers and through forests of pinion pine and fir trees.

Philmont is a huge place – 140,000 acres of wilderness, crisscrossed by 300 miles of trails, some marked better than others.  You can get lost there.  For that very reason, they send a trail guide with you for the first few days, just to make sure you get off to a good start.  But then, you’re on your own. 

We quickly learned that high desert weather is unpredictable at best.  It might be boiling hot during the day and freezing cold at night.  On the 25th of July, at the height of summer, we woke up to snow. 

I have never felt so exposed and so vulnerable.  There were nights when I didn’t sleep because bears were nearby.  There were days when sudden violent thunderstorms scattered lightning all around and sent us scrambling for cover.  

There was a time we ran out of water on a detour for a “scenic view” that turned out to be more like climbing a mountain.  To this day, I have never been so thirsty.

There were times when we got lost, when we didn’t know which trail to take or how to get to our campsite.  There were times when we got sick and tired of the food and sick and tired of each other.

But there were other times, too.  Times of sheer beauty and revelation of God’s goodness.  Like the night we woke up at 2:00 in the morning to hike up 12,000’ foot-high Mt. Baldy to see the sun rise.

The higher we got, the less oxygen there was.  We got dizzy.  We tripped on rocks we could barely see.  We had to stop frequently to catch our breath and gather our stragglers.  Then we arrived at the peak, just as the sky began to glow over the horizon.  We sat in hushed awe, realizing that we were looking down on clouds below us as the sun’s first rays broke through.

It was a life-changing adventure.  I prayed more on that trip than I had in my entire life to that point.  It taught me just how dependent we are on each other and, especially, on God. 

That’s what wilderness adventures are all about.  And John the Baptist knows that as well as anyone.

Luke is taking pains to locate the story of John the Baptist at a specific time and place in history.  His check-list of the Imperial, regional and religious authorities tells us that the year is 29 CE.  The place is the Roman client state of Judea.

But Luke is telling us more than that.  The Emperor Tiberius, the Roman governor Pilate, the puppet king Herod and the Roman-appointed high priests Annas and Caiaphas all hold immense power.

But as powerful as they are, there is a higher power still:  the universal reign of God’s Kingdom.  The time has come for God’s people to choose which ruler they will serve.  That’s why John has called them into the wilderness.

There’s something odd about John, and I don’t just mean the way he dresses or what he eats.  By virtue of his ancestry, John really should be a priest. 

He is descended from priests on both sides of his family.  His father, Zechariah, is one of the priests who serves in the Jerusalem Temple.  His mother, Elizabeth, is descended from a long line of priests that go all the way back to Aaron, Moses’ brother.

So why is John not following in the family business?  If he were, he would be serving in the Temple.  But that’s not where John begins his ministry. 

The last we heard of John, he was a young man spending his days out in the wilderness.  As Luke brings him back into focus, that’s where we find him:  out in the barren desert near the Jordan River, calling all the people throughout the region to be baptized, to be cleansed of their sins, and to reorient their lives to serve the coming King who really is king.

God commissioned him to prepare the way not for Caesar, not for Herod, not for any other earthly ruler, but for his cousin Jesus, who is God’s Messiah, the one true Lord of lords and King of kings.

The wilderness is the perfect place for that preparation.  The wilderness is where God refined and reformed his people after the Exodus from Egypt.  It’s where he reminds them who they are, and whose they are.

In the wilderness, human illusions of self-sufficiency are shattered.  It’s where humanity faces the temptation to abandon God until we finally rediscover just how much we need God, and how faithful God is in delivering us.

During this season of Advent, John the Baptist is calling you and me to rediscover that we are God’s children.  We belong, first and foremost, to him.  All those other powers and authorities that lay claim to our allegiance are secondary to the love and faithfulness we owe God. 

The problem is we don’t necessarily see that until we are in the desert.

Sometimes life just takes us there.  We find ourselves forced into the wilderness by circumstances beyond our control.  Maybe COVID has done that for you.  Maybe you’ve lost a job or a spouse or a parent or sibling this past year.  You’re in the wilderness.

Maybe COVID has been a time of just a little too much togetherness for you and the loved ones in your life.  Maybe it’s put some strain on your relationships, aggravating old wounds and calling up past hurts.  You are in the wilderness.

Maybe you were holding your own, dealing with the stress of COVID until this latest strain catapulted you back into the darkness of uncertainty and fear that marked our days before vaccines were available.  Depression and anxiety have reasserted their ugly heads, once again casting a pall over your life.  You, too, are in the Wilderness.

Even if you’re healthy and well-balanced and life is good, there are seasons of life when God calls all of us to go into the wilderness to be reminded who we are and who we serve.  Advent is just such a time. 

It’s no mistake that the word “Advent” comes from the same Latin root word as the word “adventure.”  They both mean something that is about to happen or about to arrive.  That’s really what Advent is:  a season of adventure that leads to transformation in preparation for the expected arrival of Jesus Christ.  It is a wilderness adventure. 

When it comes to wilderness adventure, few people know more about that than Bear Grylls. 

Bear Grylls is probably the world’s best-known wilderness survivalist and outdoor adventurer.  You probably know him from his hit TV series on the Discovery Channel called “Man versus Wild”. 

        He’s done so much more than that.  After three years training as a commando in the British Special Forces, Bear went on to become the youngest British man to scale Mount Everest at the age of 23.  And he didn’t stop there.

He went on to cross the Atlantic Ocean on an inflatable dingy, dodging ice bergs amid gale force winds.  He circumnavigated the British Isles on a jet ski.  He flew a paramotor vehicle over the Himalayan mountains and climbed the highest peak on Antarctica.  There are few wilderness places Bear has not chosen to enter. 

What you may not know is that Bear is also a committed Christian.  What attracts him to the wilderness is that it requires something more than physical strength.  It requires faith. 

In all his adventures, when he pushes himself to the limit, when his own resources are no longer enough and he is at his wit’s end, he rediscovers that his faith is what sustains him.  His wilderness adventures reeffirm his trust in God.

[Insert video:  https://youtu.be/r51yGelqHsE  2:16 – 3:11]

Friends I invite you to have your own Advent wilderness adventure.  Your preparation begins with 3 questions.  Think of this as your wilderness preparation checklist:

First, ask yourself, am I willing to do what John the Baptist commands and use the resources that I have been given for the well-being of others who suffer?  Am I willing to use my influence or position to help them?  Then make a plan to do just that. 

Second, especially for those of you who are suffering, can you lean on God even in the midst of your pain and doubt?  As angry as you may be with God, can you still stay open to the evidence that God’s loving hand is at work even in the midst of your despair?  Then begin to make an honest accounting of the evidence of God’s love.

Finally, who makes you feel loved?  And, equally important, who feels loved because of you?  Write those names down and picture their faces.  Then try to picture the faces of others you’d like to include in your circle of love.

Friends, let these three questions lead you into your Advent wilderness adventure, knowing that the God of love demands our allegiance, over and above all other earthly powers.  The good news is there is no higher power than God and nothing more powerful than his love.

And when Christmas morning comes, let yourself be amazed at how God’s love took on human form in a little infant in the manger.  The same infant who grew into a savior and promises to return as a mighty king.

        May it be so.   

Last Published: December 9, 2021 2:36 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

October 2022


October 2, 2022,  "Keeping the Flame Burning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2022


September 18, 2022,  "Mammon, Part I:  The Way of Righteousness" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2022


August 28, 2022   "Why Do We Sing?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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