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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

 

 

September 18, 2022

“Mammon, Part I:  The Way of Righteousness” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, September 18, 2022  -  Year C / 16th Sunday after Pentecost – Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 and Psalm 79:1-9  •  Amos 8:4-7 and Psalm 113  •  1 Timothy 2:1-7  •  Luke 16:1-13

THEME:  God, who is Lord of our hearts and lives and the source of our material blessings, requires us to use them for his purposes, especially to help those who have less.

 

Do you remember your first pet?  Maybe when you were a child?  And your parents gave you responsibility for taking care of it?

That happened to me when I was in the 4th grade.  That year, we got a dog, an English setter named Mab, short for Amabel.  And it fell to me to take care of her.  I fed her, brushed her and petted her.  I even built her a dog house.

She had been trained as a hunting dog and she was used to running with horses.  So, every morning and afternoon I took her with me on my paper routes.  I would ride my bike and she would run along, just like she used to do with the horses.  She loved it.

Taking care of her was not always easy.  In fact, sometimes the responsibility was downright scary. I can still remember the morning she was hit by a slow-moving car.  She was used to running in open fields and so she didn’t think twice about running across the street.  To this day, I can still feel the awful sense of dread that I felt that morning.  

And then how relieved I was that she turned out to be OK.  In retrospect, that is when I first began to understand just what it means to be a steward of something important.  It was an important lesson to learn.  And Jesus is trying to convey that same lesson of stewardship to his followers in our reading.

Jesus is teaching his disciples, and the Pharisees are listening in.  The parable he tells is one that has kept readers of Luke’s gospel scratching their heads ever since it was first written down.  Here’s how it goes:

There’s been some gossip circulating about a particular manager.  Rumors and allegations of mismanagement have gotten back to the rich man who owns the enterprise.  He confronts his manager with the accusation of squandering his property.  He demands an accounting.     

Whether this is simple incompetence or willful fraud on the part of the manager, we don’t know.  What we do know is that the manager now faces imminent unemployment.  In a society without any kind of social safety net, his situation is dire because his options are few.

So, he devises a scheme to ingratiate himself to the clients and customers who owe money to his boss.  One by one, he sits them down and systematically discounts their bills.  By so doing, he is playing the old game of the ancient Roman world:  I do you a favor and then you have to pay me back.

He is hoping that, when he shortly finds himself out of a job and in need of a place to stay, they will take him in so he doesn’t starve on the streets.  When the owner finds out what he has done, he actually commends the manager for being shrewd. 

The trouble with this text comes when we try to place ourselves within it.  With whom are we supposed to identify?  The manager?  That can’t be.  His lack of integrity and incompetence hardly make him an example to follow.

What about the rich man?  His great wealth relative to the vast majority of his dirt-poor neighbors makes it difficult to identify with him.  And we are positively baffled by his commendation of his manager’s discounting scheme, especially when he has already condemned the manager for squandering his property in the first place.

Or are we supposed to identify with the rich man’s debtors?  But they seem to be complicit in the manager’s fraudulent, self-serving scheme, so we can hardly look to them for the example to follow in this parable.

That leaves us with no one with whom we can identify.  And that is precisely the point Jesus is making.  He is holding up all these behaviors as examples of the self-serving way the world relates to money.

 But before we go any further, let’s correct something here.  When Jesus uses the phrase that you and I see translated as ‘dishonest wealth’ a better translation is unrighteous or unjust wealth.  He is not referring to the way the money was earned so much as the way the money is used.

The world views wealth and property as desirable in and of themselves.  But for Jesus, money is the means to do what is just, especially to help those who have less of it. 

The trouble is that money can so easily become an end in itself.  And then we invent all manner of reasons to justify the acquisition of more and more of it, like a hoarder who can never get enough stuff.  And then we begin to justify the things we do to get more money.

That’s what happened to the Pharisees.  According to Jesus, they had become lovers of money.  Jesus is clear:  the love of money is idolatry.  That’s what he warns against when he says we cannot serve both God and Mammon.  We can only love and serve one of them, not both. 

That’s because the love of money is a sickness of the heart.  We can tell when we are afflicted with this illness when money becomes our primary source of security and pleasure, when we place our hope in earthly property and possessions instead of the fellowship and faithfulness of God.

Living like that is the way of Mammon.  But there is another way to live.  A more just and righteous way.  It has three steps.

First, it begins by reconsidering the source of the money in our wallets and bank accounts.  Jesus tells us what that is.  He makes it clear in this parable that money is entrusted to us by God.  We may think we own it because we earn it, but it is only ours by God’s grace.

That means that we hold our wealth loosely.  We understand that having enough is best.  As long as we have enough, we don’t panic when we have less of it, and we don’t congratulate ourselves and become smug and arrogant, looking down our nose at others when we have more of it.  We are simply grateful that God has provided us with what we need to live and thrive.

The second step is to ask ourselves a question that nowhere near enough people in this world ever ask.  How does God want me to use the money he has entrusted to me?  In other words, what does faithfulness look like when it comes to disbursing our money?

Around here we hold up tithing as the foundation of financial faithfulness.  Tithing, of course, is the Biblical standard of returning to God 10% of the money he has entrusted to us, along with the gift of our time and efforts.

Not everyone is in a position to do this.  And those who are able are not always able to do this all the time.  But we can all make the attempt.  When our circumstances permit, we can increase what we return to God by 1% of our gross annual income each year.  That is what we call the road to tithing.

The real power of walking this road is the impact it has on our relationship with God.  It is both a financial and spiritual discipline.  It’s the regular reminder that God comes first in our lives.  When God comes first, everything else in our lives becomes secondary.  Those other things recede into their rightful place.  That includes money and any other false idols that threaten to overthrow God as Lord of our hearts and lives.

Speaking personally, my faith and my relationship with God is never stronger than when I am able to tithe.  I will commit to walking the road to tithing with you this coming year.  I hope you will walk with me.

There is more that tithing does.  Tithing has a carryover effect.  It encourages us to be faithful with the rest of our spending, too.  It leads us to make wiser, more prudent, more faithful decisions about spending the remainder of our money.  It encourages us to honor and glorify God with those decisions as well, especially when they benefit those who have less than we do.

Then, when the opportunity comes to spend money on fun things, we can enjoy those even more because we have zero guilt.  We may not splurge quite as often, but when we do, we really and truly enjoy it.

That leads us to the third step on this way of fiscal faithfulness.  That is to enjoy the peace and calm of this righteous life that comes from putting God ahead of Mammon.  Unlike most people, we rest easy.  Even though it’s not always easy to do it, we know that our faithful use of the material wealth God has entrusted to us is just and righteous in his eyes. 

In other words, we have been good stewards – and we know it.  And there are few better feelings in this life than that.

May we all feel that way.  Amen.

Last Published: September 19, 2022 2:37 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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