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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

 

 

February 13, 2022

“Love, Faith, Hope – Part III:  The Life of Hope” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, February 13, 2022 Year C Epiphany 6:  Jeremiah 17:5-10  •  Psalm 1  •  1 Corinthians 15:12-26, 50-55  •  Luke 6:17-26

THEME:  Because of our experience of God’s love and our faith in the resurrection, we are optimists, living lives of Christian hope.

 

Beth and I were out at dinner the other night.  We don’t eat out a whole lot and when we do we usually don’t splurge, but this was a special occasion.

It was a really nice place. A great wine list and an extensive menu.  In fact, there were so many choices it was hard to make up our minds.  The appetizer list alone looked so tasty we could have easily ordered our entire meal from that.

It got me wondering.  What is the purpose of an appetizer?  So, I did a little digging.

The main function of an appetizer is to whet your appetite and prepare you for the main course.  That’s why great chefs often go to extraordinary lengths to coordinate the flavors, colors and textures of their appetizers with the entrees they offer. 

Appetizers are the first indication of what the main course will be like.  But they are not the main course.  That is the same message Paul is trying to get across to the Corinthians.  

A group of these Corinthian Christians have gotten a taste of the new life Christ promises.  They claim to have been given the spiritual gift of special wisdom.  This divine knowledge is manifest in their ability to speak in tongues.  In their minds, this ability is confirmation of their special spiritual status.

These Corinthians believe they are already living a changed life, a new life.  So, they see no need for future resurrection, because they think they have that life now.  Why should they believe in something as foolish as what Paul has taught them about Christ’s resurrection? 

In fact, they have written to Paul with that very question.  They’ve asked him “Do we really need to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead?”  After all, it defies everything we know about death.  Death gets the last word.  You live, you die and that’s it – end of story.  We all know that.  In the meantime, we’ll just enjoy this new, spiritual experience now while we’re alive.

Paul will have none of it.  If Christ wasn’t resurrected, then neither will they or anyone else be resurrected.  Without resurrection, death does win.  If that’s true, Paul’s preaching and their faith has all been in vain.

But death does not win.  Resurrection is real.  There is a life beyond this one.  And it is so much more than they can imagine.

As Paul says, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”  Pitied because they will have mistaken the appetizer of spiritual experience in this world for the entrée of eternal life in the coming Kingdom of God.

The Corinthians are like those of us who think we can happily exist on appetizers.  A great salad.  Shrimp Cocktail.  A tasty soup.  They’re good, but if that’s all we think there is, we will be missing the main course, and the best part of the meal.  A great meal is far more than just an appetizer. 

And further, both are better when we have them together.  The main course tastes even better when you’ve had a great appetizer.  And you appreciate the appetizer more when it makes you anticipate the main course.

The same thing is true of the Christian life.  Each experience of the risen Christ, present with us now, points to an even greater reality in the world to come.  That new reality begins the day when Christ returns, restores us to life, and welcomes us into his Kingdom where we will live with him forever, in glorious new bodies, face to face with Christ in all his glory.

That gives us hope.  We know that nothing we experience here is final.  Not sin or decay, not conflict or evil, not deprivation or hunger, not loneliness or anything else that marks the human struggle of this present age.

All of that will be wiped away because of what Jesus did by going to the cross, and even more so by coming out of the tomb.  That was God’s victory over death, and it enables our victory over death, as well.  That is the good news.

But let’s not stop there.  Because the hope we have is not just about our life after death.  It is also about this life.  Our trust in the gospel enables us to live lives of hope in the here and now.   

This is why I am an optimist.  Living the life of Christian hope is a way of perceiving the world and everything that happens in it.  It is a lens that focuses on people and events in such a way that we can see God at work loving us, protecting us, providing for us.

This does not mean that we see the world through rose-colored glasses.  We do not ignore the presence of sin, suffering and evil.  In fact, just the opposite.  Whether our own pain or somebody else’s, we feel it and we feel it deeply.

But we trust that God can work through even the most difficult events of our lives.  And we also know that God wants most of all to work through us to make things better, to make others whole.  That’s how we share the hope we have with others.

Christian hope also changes the way we perceive the good times in our lives.  When good things happen, we don’t puff out our chest and say, “Hey, look what I did!”  We trust that, behind every blessing, God is at work.  With gratitude and joy, we celebrate, praising and glorifying God.

Above all else, both in good times and bad, we know we are never alone.  As God promises his people in every age and every generation, “Fear not, for I am with you.”  And in the risen Christ, God is very much with us. 

When we recognize his presence, in the events of our lives and in the words and actions of others, it’s a reminder of the even greater glory to come.  These glimpses of the future are God-moments.  They are the appetizer that makes us look forward to the main course of life in his Kingdom.

What that means is that, for the Christian, we spend far less time reminiscing about the good old days than we do focusing on the far greater days that lie ahead.  We are optimists.  We trust that the best is yet to come. 

But this is not always easy.  Undoubtedly, there have been times in all of our lives when life was simpler and easier.  Times when we did not face surge after surge of an epidemic.  Times when loved ones were still with us.  Times when our bodies worked better than they do in the present.  Times when our financial circumstances were more certain.

Nevertheless, we stubbornly persevere in hope, confident that nothing in our lives can compare to what the future holds.  

Over these last three Sundays, we have explored the three essential movements of the Christian life:  love, faith and hope.  They have led us here, to the inescapable conclusion that to be a Christian is to be an optimist.  Our optimism is rooted in hope.  Hope is sustained by faith.  Faith is inspired by the ongoing experience of God’s love.  This is the life of Christian hope and you and I get to live it.

In a few moments, we will sing about this life of hope.  In our hymnal it’s called “In the Bulb There Is a Flower”, but in other places it goes by the name “Hymn of Promise.”  I can think of few hymns that describe the life of Christian hope better than this one.

You probably know this hymn.  But what you may not know is the story of the woman who composed it.  Her name is Natalie Sleeth.  Natalie was a lifelong Christian, church organist and composer.  She wrote over 180 choral pieces. 

When she was in her fifties, she came across a line of poetry by T. S. Eliot that said “to make an end is to make a beginning.”  This suggested to her the way the seasons give way to one another, the way that life leas to death and from death, new life emerges.

As she was writing this hymn, her husband Ron, a pastor and professor of preaching, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Naturally she dedicated her new hymn to her husband.  It debuted just a few weeks before he died.  At his request, it was sung at his funeral.  It’s been sung at many funerals ever since.

When we examine the words, we can understand why.  “In the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be.  There’s a dawn in every darkness bringing hope to you and me.  In our doubt there is believing, in our life eternity.  In our death a resurrection, at the last a victory.”

Natalie and Ron Sleeth lived that life of Christian hope.  They knew God’s love.  They trusted his promise that death does not get the last word.  They put their faith in God’s promise of new life in the resurrection.  That made all the difference for them, both in this life and in the next.

The same is true for you and me. Because of the resurrection, our hope is not limited to what happens in this life.  Christ’s presence in our lives today is a foretaste of the new life to come.

And that is an appetizer to the greatest banquet you and I will ever have. 

May it be so.

 

Last Published: February 14, 2022 10:16 AM
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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