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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

 

 

May 8, 2022

“Easter Discipleship, Part 2:  Follow My Voice” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, May 8, 2022  -  Year C / Easter 4:  Acts 9:36-43  •  Psalm 23  •  Revelation 7:9-17  •  John 10:22-30

THEME:  Be still and listen for Jesus’ voice, and then follow it.

 

        On this Mother’s Day, I have a question for you mothers out there.  Have you ever felt your unborn baby jump when it hears your voice?  If so, you won’t be surprised to learn that researchers in recent years have shown that babies learn to recognize their mother’s voice in the womb.

Both before and after birth, a baby’s heart rate increases when it hears its mother’s voice.  It slows down when it hears a stranger’s voice.  

Maybe that doesn’t surprise you.  But you may be surprised to learn that humans are not the only species who imprint their young with the mother’s voice.  Birds do this, too.  Mother birds teach their unborn offspring the songs to sing before they hatch.

This phenomenon is not limited to land animals.  It also happens among animals in the sea.  One of the most recent findings is how dolphins do this. 

Dolphin mothers begin teaching babies a signature whistle in the womb.  This unique whistle is like a vocal ID that allows one dolphin to identify itself to others.  Here’s how it works. 

For two weeks prior to birth, the dolphin mother sings her own signature whistle to the unborn calf.  That enables the dolphin calf to identify its mother after birth.

At about two months old, the baby dolphins produce their own whistle, which is unique to them.  That whistle is how other members of the extended family pod recognize them.  The young dolphins learn to recognize the unique whistle of their extended family members in the same way.  They sing their whistle to each other.

When the dolphins hear a relative’s signature whistle, they turn their heads to follow the sound.  But they will not do that for a strange dolphin who is not a member of their family pod.  In other words, they recognize the whistle of loved ones and respond to it, but they ignore the whistle of strangers.

And that is exactly how Jesus describes his followers and the way they respond to his voice. 

Ever since the opening words of John’s gospel, this question of who Jesus is has caused consternation and conflict.  Early in the gospel, people call him anything from simply Jesus, son of Joseph, to rabbi and prophet.  To a select few, like Nathanael and Peter, he is the Messiah, God’s Holy One. 

But once he catches the attention of the religious authorities, this debate about his identity becomes heated to the point of violence and death.  The scribes and pharisees claim to be from God.  They describe themselves as children of Abraham who have God as their father. 

Jesus refutes that.  If they were from God, he tells them, they would trust that he is from God and they would accept the message he brings from God.

Instead, their stubborn unbelief is proof that not only is Abraham not their father, neither is God.  Jesus calls them sons of the devil.  I’m pretty sure that didn’t go over too well.  Maybe it’s not so surprising that they pick up stones to kill him. 

Then Jesus heals a man who was born blind.  The authorities are torn.  On the one hand, he heals on the Sabbath, which violates Moses’ law, meaning he is not from God.  On the other hand, how could he do this unless he is from God as he claims? 

So, on his way to the Temple to celebrate Hannukah, the scribes and pharisees confront him.  “Are you, or are you not the Messiah?  Tell us plainly,” they demand.

But Jesus knows, whatever he says, the scribes and pharisees will not understand it and they will not accept it.  So, he uses a metaphor.  He is the Good Shepherd.  His followers are his sheep.

 The religious authorities are not his sheep.  They do not know him.  They do not recognize him.  They do not listen to his voice, and they certainly do not follow it.

But the sheep in Jesus’ flock know him and he knows them.  He calls them by name.  “My sheep hear my voice,” he says, “I know them, and they follow me.”  Where Jesus leads them is into eternal life, a life lived in God’s constant, intimate presence.  Psalm 23 gives us a picture of what that life is like.

Now, let’s be clear what we mean by eternal life.  Eternal life does not mean we will never suffer.  On the contrary, all of us, without exception, go through difficult times, painful times, even tragic times.

What eternal life does mean is that we do not go through hard times alone.  Our shepherd leads us, and we follow him.  And in him, God is with us every step of the way, even when we don’t recognize his presence.

But he recognizes us.  And, sooner or later, our shepherd inevitably finds a way to lead us out of those hard places and onward to green pastures.  There we are safe and nurtured.  There is hope, peace and joy.  Best of all, we know with certainty that God loves us because our Shepherd loves us – no matter what.

We don’t have to earn that love.  He loves us and cares for us simply because we belong to him.  We are imprinted with his voice.  When he calls us, we recognize his voice and we turn to follow him wherever he leads us.

But there are other voices in this world.  A lot of them.  They call out to us constantly with a very different message.  Mostly, they want us to be anxious and afraid.  The fears they stoke run the gamut.  The ongoing dread of COVID.  Fear of the other political party.  Fear of people who are different from us. Fear of random violence.  Fear of other countries.  Fear of the end of the world.

There are certainly many things we should be concerned about, as recent events in Russia and Ukraine have made clear.  And these issues need our urgent and focused attention in order to correct them, but fear won’t help that. 

Fear is a good way to sell news subscriptions, but it’s a lousy motivator for building consensus and long-term action.  Over time, fear breeds a sense of pessimism, hopelessness, and resignation which is the very opposite of the attitude we need to combat the world’s ills.

And, of course, all of this is made worse by the fact that we now have all this frightening news at our fingertips in a non-stop stream of social media alerts.  This is why a recent study by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans believe social media has a mostly negative effect on us.  This is true regardless of political affiliation, frequency of social media usage, and even age.

The question is, in the midst of the noise of all these other voices, how can we hear Jesus’ voice?  How can we be sure it’s him?

The dolphins have something to teach us here.  During those weeks when the dolphin calf is learning its mother’s whistle, the other dolphins suddenly stop singing their own signature whistles.  It’s as if they know the baby dolphin needs silence in order to hear and imprint its mother’s whistle.

        You and I are like that, too.  We need to be still, to shut out the noise in our lives, so that we can hear Jesus’ voice and feel God’s presence.  And not just once, but time and time again.  Every day, in fact.  In the midst of all the noise of the world, it’s all too easy to forget what Jesus’ voice sounds like and how he wants us to follow him.

        No one knows this better than mothers.  Parents in general are some of the busiest people I know, but especially mothers.  This has been true for Beth and me, particularly when our girls were young.  And it applies to all of us, whether you are a parent or not.  We all need to be silent and still on a regular basis.

In fact, that’s how we were made.  According to the Cleveland Clinic, being calm and quiet lowers our blood pressure and our pulse.  It steadies our breathing and relaxes our muscles.  Better still, it improves our focus and our cognition.  And focus and cognition are exactly what we need to hear Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

Will Graham, the grandson of the great evangelist Billy Graham, tells a story about exactly that.  People would always ask Will what his grandfather was like at home, when he was not on the stage preaching to millions of people.

Will said “my grandfather was very much the same humble, personable, wise gentleman at home as he was when he preached . . . There was only one difference.  When he was at home, my grandfather rarely talked.”

The two of them would spend their time simply being together.  Will said, “It was a beautiful thing.  Words didn’t need to be spoken.  We could just rest in the presence of one another.”

Friends, that is what it’s like to sit in stillness and silence with God.  The stress, the fear and the anxiety of the world fades away.  In its place, we find the hopeful peace of Jesus the Good Shepherd, pointing us and leading us to green pastures where God is our constant companion.

I have never known a time when that peace and gentle guidance is needed more than right now.  You need it.  I need it.  All around us, others are looking for it, too.

So, let’s invite them to come with us, and follow the Good Shepherd to the calm pastures of eternal life.

May it be so.

Last Published: May 10, 2022 3:26 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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