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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

May 2022


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

 

 

April 17, 2022

“New Life, or an Idle Tale?” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, April 17, 2022  -  Year C / Easter:  Psalm 114  •  Romans 6:3-11  •  Luke 24:1-12

THEME:  Trust the Easter message of resurrection that promises new life in Christ, a life success, wealth and comfort as Jesus de.

 

Did any of you find yourselves reading more than usual over the COVID period?

I sure did.  I discovered some new authors along the way.   For example, I finally discovered James Patterson, American’s best-selling author of mysteries and thrillers.  How I missed him for 50-odd years is a mystery in itself.  But, hey, better late than never, right?

I also discovered Clive Cussler.  If you recognize that name, then you know that he writes crime thrillers.  What I love about his novels is they’re often set in a historically significant period, and he shines a light on what it was like to live back then. 

But the biggest literary discovery I made during COVID was David McCullough.  David McCullough has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his historical non-fiction and biographies.  First, I made my way through 1776.  That’s his account of George Washington and the rocky start of the American revolution.  Right now I’m reading his biography of John Adams.  It’s tremendous.  Next on my list is his biography of Harry Truman, which was one of my Christmas presents this year.

We all have different tastes when it comes to literature, of course.  But, if you’re like a growing number of Americans, you very well may have used the COVID period to explore self-help books.

In the publishing business, the self-help category is absolutely booming.  You might assume that this is due solely to COVID, but this trend was already accelerating at least a decade earlier.  You may recognize some of the titles:

“Atomic Habits,” “Atlas of the Heart,” “Brighter by the Day,” “12 Rules for Life.”  Lots of different titles, but they all promise one thing:  a new and better life.  But, as good as these are, they cannot compare to the promise of new life we read about this morning.

It is the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion.  As the women make their way to the tomb in the early morning, there is no hint that Jesus is anything but dead.  They carry spices to anoint his dead body according to Jewish custom. 

But when they arrive it quickly becomes clear things are not at all as they suppose.  Instead of Jesus’ body, they find two angelic messengers apparently stationed in the tomb to answer any inquiries about Jesus’ whereabouts.  Clearly, God wants to make sure everyone knows Jesus’ corpse was not stolen or taken elsewhere.

So, the angels deliver their message to the women.  Jesus is not here.  He’s not here, because he’s not dead.  He is risen, just like he said he would be.

Then they remind the women that Jesus told them all this before, all the way back home in Galilee where they first joined the other followers of this enigmatic rabbi/prophet/miracle-working son of Man.

As they think back to those early days, it must seem to them like a lifetime ago.  In fact, it has been a lifetime:  the life of Jesus of Nazareth who now enjoys new life as the risen Christ.

The women are stunned, barely able to process what is happening.  They run back to tell the other disciples.  But their message falls on deaf ears.  The eleven do not believe them.  They dismiss the women’s story as an idle tale.

To be fair, all the women have is a message, nothing more.  Granted, it’s a message delivered by angels, but it is a mere message nonetheless.  And that is what you and I, and every other Christian have been given, too.  We have the word of Good News, but it’s only a report, not an eye-witness sighting. 

We have been given the message of resurrection.  And just like in Jesus’ day, it runs counter to everything we think we know in this world.  That life is finite, death is permanent.  So, it’s not so surprising that the disciples fail to take the women seriously.

But one of them – Peter – was at least curious enough to look into it.  Peter, and Peter alone, was willing to go to the tomb and check out their story.  Was this simply due to his impetuous nature?  Or was it because he was their leader?  Probably both, but there was a deeper reason.

Of all the disciples, Peter most needed this message to be true.  He was the one who had the chance to support Jesus when he desperately needed it, as he stood before the high priest facing all those slanderous accusations the night of his arrest.

But, instead of doing something to help Jesus, Peter did the opposite.  He denied even knowing Jesus – not once, but three times.  Even worse, Jesus saw and heard him do it.  So, Peter knew that Jesus knew he had failed. 

All the disciples deserted Jesus, but for Peter, that sense of failure ran deeper than the rest.  He had more reason than any of them to cling to any shred of hope that Jesus might somehow, miraculously, be alive.  Could it possibly be that Jesus was not dead after all?  That would give Peter a new lease on life.

Friends, that’s the same way it is for you and me.  We, too, have heard the good news - Jesus is risen!  He’s alive!  Even though it defies everything we know about the limits of life and the finality of death, Jesus asks us to trust that death has been conquered.  New life is possible in him.

But while this new life is certainly different from the old life we’ve had, it may not be the new life we imagine.  And it’s certainly not the kind of new life promised by those self-help books on Amazon’s best-seller list.

They hold up to us a vision of new life that is usually about being successful, materially-rich and comfortable.  This worldly vision has inevitably crept into the church, and into the message that comes from some of our pulpits.  It even has a name.  It’s called the prosperity gospel. 

There is no shortage of prosperity preachers who step all over themselves trying to convince us that following Jesus will make us rich and successful, that Jesus wants us to have that new house, that new car and that new boat.

The funny thing is, I have looked for that promise in scripture, but I can’t seem to find it. 

That’s because material prosperity is not what Christ promises his followers.  New life in Christ starts and continues with sacrifice.  I realize that’s not the sexiest way to sell a book or a faith, but that’s the reality.

We start by surrendering, by giving up our lives – our old lives – and by trusting Jesus’ promise that, in giving our lives for others as he did, we too will be lifted up to a new life.

But, you know what?  Maybe I’ve missed something.  I’ve always been curious about those prosperity gospel preachers.  They pack sports arenas with their congregations.  They all seem to have a thriving TV ministry and have you seen their houses? 

So, I’ve decided that I am going to try my hand at it.  But I’m going to give it my own spin.  Call this the prosperity gospel according to Don.  Here we go.

Jesus wants you to be successful, rich and comfortable.  That’s right:  success, wealth and comfort are central to the gospel and those who would share it.   

First, is success.  Jesus wants us to succeed by listening for God’s will and then putting it into action.  We succeed by giving our time, effort and money to help make this broken world look more like the Kingdom Jesus constantly talked about. 

A disciple achieves success by being on the lookout for those in need and finding ways to help them heal and flourish, by forgiving others who hurt them and refusing to hate their enemies.  This is how disciples are successful.

Second, Jesus wants his disciples to be wealthy.  His followers will be rich in relationships.  It’s not how many relationships we have, but the quality of those relationships.  The wealthy disciple has a strong and vibrant relationship with God, through Jesus.  Their prayer life and their worship life are rich with the experience of God. 

Their personal lives are rich, too.  They are made of a web of rich connections with family and friends.  Disciples can relate to others, even strangers, and have compassion for them.  They can listen with empathy so that others feel truly heard, even if the disciple can do nothing about their pain.  This is how Jesus’ disciples are rich.

Third is comfort.  Jesus leads his disciples to rest in the Lord.  His disciples are comfortable because they understand that the Sabbath is God’s gift to us, a time to rest and recharge, a time to be with loved ones.  For disciples, comfort means peace, the peace of knowing that we do not have to earn God’s grace and redemption, because Jesus already did that. 

We only need to trust that, through the Spirit, Jesus will guide us as we move forward on the path he walked to achieve God’s purposes.  That’s why the comfortable disciple is also a hopeful disciple, because God’s plan is always the best plan.  This is how disciples are comfortable.

Friends, there you have it.  This is the real prosperity gospel, the one Jesus actually preached.  It’s how you and I become successful, wealthy and comfortable by following him.  

You won’t find it in any self-help book, but you will find it in the gospel of Jesus Christ, whose wisdom far outweighs that of the world. 

It is the Easter message of resurrection.  That, in Jesus Christ there is indeed a new life for you and me. 

The question is will we embrace it?  Will we?

May it be so.

 

Last Published: April 18, 2022 3:04 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

May 2022


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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