Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Fruit of the Holy Spirt 8/3/2014

Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be multiplied unto you now and always, Amen.

Praise the Lord, I am free, the young boy shouted, Christ has won the victory for me, my name is written in heaven, and I with the Psalmist David, praise His Holy name for delivering me from the bondage of sin and death!!! I am free, I am free, I am free, from the condemnation of the law, for it has been fuflilled in Christ's obedience.

I am free, I am free.......then I thought... Now what do I do with my freedom that God has given to me? .

How do I decide what to do with my freedom? Opening the letter of Apostle Paul to the Galatians, I read:

Galatians 5: 13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself

Well, here is my first clue to my search, for it is written that I am not to use my freedom/liberty to serve my self/my flesh but by love to serve my neighbor. I seem to recall how the Apostle wrote another letter in which he explained very clearly as to what it looks like in real life by love serve one another:

Romans 13: 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

So it is clear that to really love my neighbor is to never work any ill towards him/her, but to honor him/her in their station of life. For example, I will not take another's person's wife or husband for sexual gratification, I will not hurt nor harm my neighbor physically, I will not tell lie about them or I will not seek to get something that is theirs that is not mine. I will love my neighbor by seeking to help them in any way that is possible for me to do, for love seeks to serve and never to try to rule over them or to dominate them.

And I can see that to love my neighbor as myself, it would be like that if I was in some kind of crisis, I would be giving all that I had to help change the crisis for the better. In the same way, when I would see my neighbor in need and it was within my means to help him/her, I would do so as if I was helping myself. And this could refer to someone in my own household, in my church or in my neighborhood.

For if I simply use my freedom to serve myself and not seek to help others, it will not work out too well, for....

15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

But rather, I am to live in the dominion and under the good influence of the Holy Spirit, resist the urge to please and to serve myself, for in doing I will not fulfil the lust of the flesh. The urge to serve self is strong, but, Oh Lord, help me to live in your Spirit. I must remember that I am hooked to the vine and all the strength to resist my flesh comes from the Vine. I am not like a branch broken off of an apple tree that is stuck in the ground with the hope the apples will come forth on the tree, for I am connected to the Tree, Jesus Christ.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

For all around me, in the world, from the devil and in my own flesh, (which was crucified on the cross, but does not acknowledge that it is dead), is a war against the new man in the Holy Spirit, trying to gain the power. But thank you, Lord, that you have freed me from the slavish desires to please myself at the expense of everything that is good in my life: my faith, my wife, my family, my congregation, my brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. It is not that those desires to please myself at the expense of others is not present, but through the indwelling Spirit of God I have better desires that allow me to live in true freedom. I am free to live for the benefit of others, first of all which is my family.....

For I have been delivered from the power of sin, the law, which is given to incite passions in myself to the end that I would be brought to despair of my own efforts and look to Christ. For the evidence of a self serving dominate nature is revealed in the following expressions of self love......which are called the works of the flesh....these sins/works listed here are in the area of sex, of religion, of society and in vices relating to drinking which causes drunkenness.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

I understand that we are not talking of myself being free of temptations and sins of weakness, but we are talking about being given to live in these things in denial that they are against the law of God which is called sin. It is one things to struggle with an inclination to a particular weakness to sin, but quite another to cast off the truth of God as revealed in His Word to live in any sin.
I can see now how living in these sins is really serving self, for they are all against the Ten Commandments. For they are either violation of the first three which call us to love God or the last seven which call for our love to our neighbor. All sin basically ends up serving oneself and one's own selfish desires, rights and needs.
Paul is clear in saying that one lliving in the flesh and not in the Spirit will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Wow, that is scary......Oh, Lord, help me to live in your Spirit, protect me, keep me and guard me with your power, to have concern for those who are boldly and defiantly living in sin and to pray for them and when appropriate to speak to them in love and in truth.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. {affections: or, passions}
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Now, Lord, after hearing about the warnings of the flesh and how it wants to take control by cutting me off of the Vine, I am gratified to hear about the fruit that comes out of the Vine, through the Spirit. Thank you, Lord, that you have given me love for you, you have given me joy in the forgiveness of my sins, and as a result I have peace. And it is all because you have loved me, it is all because of the joy that was set before you in redeeming me and it is all because of your going to the cross that you are at peace with me.

And, Lord, thank you, that you have also given me patience, kindness and goodness, imperfect for sure on my part, but yet you have downloaded the fruit of your Spirit into my being so that through me would flow the fruit that flows from heaven's endless supply of grace toward us through Christ Jesus. Just as the sap flows through the branches of a tree into the branches, in the same manner, your fruit flows into me and through me in order to demonstrate your patience, your kindness and your goodness to those around me. Dear Father, please help me to be patient, help me to be kind in my approach to my family, to my congregation, to my neighbors everywhere. Help me to look upon people not in their flesh, but in their redeemed state through Christ. Help me to demonstrate your patience, your kindness and your goodness, remembering that it is your kindness that leads them to repentance.

Dear Father, thank you for laying the fruit of your Spirit out so plainly and in a systematic manner. For you first taught me of yours and mine relationship in love, joy and peace, then you taught me of the relationship between my neighbor and I and now you wish to help me to consider my own heart in the last three aspects of the fruit of your Spirit.

For your faithfulness never fails, you were the meekest of all men in that you came to serve us and you had tremendous self control. Again, Lord, thank you for downloading the fruit of the Spirit into my heart and being, so that whatever faithfulness, meekness/gentleness and self control that is in me is of you and not of myself. I am all of the opposites, for of myself I am unfaithful, not gentle and out of control. Help me to draw strength from You, the Vine, Jesus Christ.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (no conflict with the law)
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Now I understand, Lord, what it means that there is not any conflict with the law, in the sense that love is the
fulfilling of the law. Perhaps it will take some explaining here, but in essence if I go back to what Paul said in verse 13 about not using my liberty to serve myself, but by love to serve my neighbor, it all makes very good sense. For in the fruit of the Spirit I see my relationship to You, Lord my relationship with my neighbor and my relationship with myself. I first am in right standing with You, Lord, then with my neighbor and then my ongoing work of grace in myself is explained in verses 22b and 23. He then goes on to remind me of the importance of the affections and lusts of our flesh being crucified, in other words, put to death. I recall again other places in the scripture which can help me understand hthe meaning of verse 24..

KJV Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
ESV Romans 6:11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus
KJV Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

I have always struggled with this concept, of what is said in verse 24. But yet according to the scripture I/we are dead to sin (Romans 6:2) and I/we are to reckon/consider ourselves dead to sin. (Romans 6:11) and I/we are to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies, that I/we should obey in in the lusts (6:12)

An illustration from a brother has helped me understand this over the years in that our flesh is like a big snake that has been shut up in a house with the door locked. He cannot get out to roam freely but while in the house he uses his tail to wreck a lot of things in the house.

So it is a mixed bag here considering the thought of our flesh being crucified with Christ and our ongoing battle with it wanting to rise up and get the upper hand. I understand, and I hope you do to, that your flesh died on the cross with Christ, but yet when we feel the motions of sin stirring and wanting to rise up, we think: "How can it be dead with what I feel?" Think of it as a bee which has had its venom removed. It can sting you and I all it wants but it has no power to harm us for its power behind the sting is gone.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Since I live in the Spirit, in other words, that is who I am in Christ, I am to walk in the Spirit, wanting to esteem my neigbhor better than myself, to consider her/his needs before mine rather than seeking my ways and in so doing provoking her/him. Living in the Spirit I am satisfied with who God has made me, appreciate my fellow believers and help them in their giftedness so that collectively we will serve all neighbors for the glory of God in the salvation of their souls.

Well, friend, thanks for listening this morning.

a friend in Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 03 Aug 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Love is a Verb
Dear friend,

God has made every provision for our lives and salvation through the person and work of Jesus Christ. He has given us everything we need through the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is pleased with His Son as with us also for He sees us through in and the merits of His Son.

He has placed us in various stations in life and called us to serve our neighbor, since all of our needs have already been met in Jesus Christ. He has gifted us in certain ways so that we may serve our neighbor and meet his/her needs. And the beautiful mystery is this--God hides himself in our vocations, so that the service that we render to our neighbor is sacred, because it is God who is at work through us, meeting the needs of our neighbor.

As Martin Luther stated, God does not need our good works (since we have been given the gift of salvation), but our neighbor is the one who needs our good works.

In our three Scripture readings that we have chosen for today, Deuteronomy 6:1-13, Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, the teaching of the ways of God are emphasized. In the first one, the intentional and continual teachings to our children are pointed out; in the Romans reading, because of mercy we received from God, we are called to offer our bodies/lives unto the Lord as our reasonable/logical service and in our third reading, the essence and the function of the church is explained and illustrated.

As we think of these scripture passages today, may we remember the vision statement of our congregation, that which we have collectively agreed upon and have committed to use as a signpost along the way of our congregation's life.

The Vision of our congregation

As grateful recipients of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and being members of His Body, we pray that our fellowship will be:

1. A place to praise, to worship, to pray, to hear from the Lord, and to fellowship as the body of Christ in a manner which the love of Christ among us will be evident to those within and without our fellowship.

2. A place to increase in faith, to learn, to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to grow in holiness, consecration, and service; to recognize and to develop our God-given talents and gifts for the glory of God, for encouragement to believers and for the saving of the souls of those who are perishing.

3. A place to mobilize and to encourage the use of our collective God-given talents and gifts in order to fulfill the commission which Jesus has given us.

4. A place which will influence the community and surrounding area toward biblical precepts and behaviors

As we consider our ways before the Lord, both as individuals and as a corporate body, may the Spirit give us ears to hear and eyes to see that way and direction which the Lord has laid out for us through His Word. May we be given the ability to truly consider our ways: Are they consistent with His ways? Or are they my ways, are they your ways? May our ears and eyes be opened to the teaching that is given in our text of study today.

All Spiritual Gifts are by the Holy Spirit

KJV 1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

The One and Only Spirit gives Individual Gifts for the Benefit of All.

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. {administrations: or, ministries}
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.(for the benefit of all)

The Spirit Himself Distributes the Gifts in the way that He wants to.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
(distributing to each one individually as He wills).

Through the Spirit, We are United into One Body but with Many Members.

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.

All Members of the Body are Necessary and Useful

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. {schism: or, division}

It is okay to desire great giftedness, but the greatest gift is to love.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.(individually)
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

All Spiritual Gifts are by the Holy Spirit
The One and Only Spirit gives Individual Gifts for the Benefit of All.

The Spirit Himself Distributes the Gifts in the way that He wants to.

All Members of the Body are Necessary and Useful

Through the Spirit, We are United into One Body but with Many Members.

It is okay to desire Great Gifts, but the Greatest Gift is Love.

Now let us put these thoughts together in summary and offer a little application for our own lives and for the congregation that we may be a part of. We are aware that the primary purpose for the letter to the Corinthians is to address a spirit that had created the "haves" and the "haves not." Division existed amongst the members of the congregation and so Paul addressed that main problem as well as other problems that he was aware of.

As he writes to them in this 12th chapter, he first points out that it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that they have been invited to be a part of this amazing union of believers in Jesus Christ, for no one is able to call Jesus Lord, except through the Holy Spirit. All gifts are given by the Spirit according to His will and are given for the purpose of ministering to others. No member is not needed, but all are needed and are useful for the overall purpose of ministry. It has been through the Holy Spirit that we are all united together in salvation and for the common purpose of ministry to others. Even as Jesus did not rebuke His disciples for wanting to serve in more visible ways, Apostle Paul does not either. But they both qualify it by pointing out that the greatest gift is to be a servant to others, which is only done through love. It is the nature of love to serve others.

This will be explained in the 13th chapter of this same book, for in that chapter Paul goes onto point out that even the most visible and powerful gifts are meaningless if they are not mixed with love. As we read through the 13th chapter, we will undoubtedly find ourselves falling far short as we recognize our inabilities to love as we should in and of ourselves, finding comfort in the knowledge that there was only One who loved and loves perfectly. As we live in the Spirit, we are motivated by love which moves us to consider how we might serve our neighbor whereever we may be, but yet we have the flesh which always looks to serve itself first. This will always be the case to some degree, so that it is important to see ourselves as God sees us. We must remember that we have been gifted with righteousness by faith through grace and it is because of this great mercy received that we offer ourselves in service to our neighbor.

Often times people may ask this question: I know that God sees me as perfect in His sight through His Son, I know that I should be a part of the overall church congregation, but I do not have any kind of gift to offer. I respond: "Do you know have the gift of love?" The first understanding of the gift of love is to realize and to know that God by His love has loved you/me to the point that He gave His Son for you and for me in payment for our sins. He sacrificed His only Son for you and for me. When we have come to realize and to believe that truth, He downloads into us the Holy Spirit who then begins to indwell in us.

The life of Christ begins to be preeminent in our life so that through the Word and the Spirit we are transformed and changed to be more like Him in thought, word and deed, even though we feel our weakness in these areas by often having thoughts and doing words and deeds that are not Christlike. In other words, as the awareness of His love for us increases, in a mysterious way His love takes more of a stronghold in our mind and heart so that through us flows a desire and a committment to serve our neighbor in love.

As we consider our station in life, whatever it may be, may we endeavor to look for ways to "outdo one another in serving" so that collectively as a family and as a congregation we will sow grace and truth in our families and congregations. We are in Christ and the nature of Christ was and is to serve in love through action. You may ask, what kind of actions might I serve?
The theme of our VBS this year is "Love in Action." At their young age, the children will be taught what the fruit of the Spirit is from the teachings of the Bible:

Galatians 5:22-23a But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...
teachings which will be illustrated with hands by crafts that they will put together. Then on Friday they will be given the opportunity to show their love for their neighbor by the action of bringing their crafts to some of the local hospitals where the staff will be asked to present the crafts to children who are in the hospital.

May we be reminded through the love actions of these dear children in our VBS that the gifts, talents and resources given to us by God were not put there for our benefit alone. They were given to us in order that we might be equipped to meet our neighbor's needs.

What are some ways that we might display love in action in relation to our VBS?

1. Pray for the children who will be part of our VBS, pray for the leaders of the VBS, Invite and offer rides to your neighborhood children/grandchildren/children to VBS. Pray that VBS will be a blessing to all who participate in it. Offer to serve in the VBS

2. Prayer and Encouragement: We have a prayer list on which we have listed many many names of people who have ongoing difficulties. Regularly pray for all on the list, as well as others who you know need prayer, ask the Spirit to lead you to one or more people whom you may offer ongoing encouragement and support through personal contact. Adopt one or more of those who are serving in our military. Send them a note once in awhile. (We should include their mailing addresses)

3. Offer to Serve in your congregation in the giftedness that you have been given: Primarily: Love, Here I am, How may I help????

Here is our current prayer list that we publish each Sunday........Today we are going to lay hands of love and blessing on Caleb Hendrickson who on Tuesday will be leaving for training in the National Guard

Bryce and Amanda Schauer and her mom Debbie, who is beginning treatment for cancer.

Bob Nominelli, husband of Norma Nominelli, who in hospital with serious health issues. Norma is a daughter of the late Andrew Mickelson.

Jess Grunder: who was in a bad traffic accident, needing extensive surgery to recover. He is a friend of the Zwettler family.

Doug and Sue Saukkola: Their ongoing health concerns.

Wendy Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns.

Van and Michelle Zwettler: Prayers for strength as he continues treatment for cancer.

Darrel Schauer: For comfort and strength as he awaits a kidney transplant (Dave's brother)

Carrie Garth (with Danielle) Ongoing health issues.

Dale Huro: healing of his paralysis and for peace and comfort.

Diane, Jane Hendrickson's coworker for healing from cancer as she begins chemo.

Laurel K Wirkkala: wife of Pastor Orval's brother Allan. She is undergoing treatment for cancer.
Our seniors: Strength & Patience as they deal w/the issues of

All those who are grieving over the loss of loved ones.

All leaders, both in the Christian church as well as in our government.

Zachary and Sarah Hendrickson (and their extended family) in Alaska in their military service.

Aaron Isaacson- Brian & Melissa Peterson’s nephew, he is in the Air Force ~ Serving in Europe

Cory Surla-He deployed to Afghanistan on December 8th, and has requested prayers for him and his family. He transferred from the Marines to the Army for Medical Training. He is Wendy Salo’s nephew!

James Johnstone-Katie Salo's brother, he is in the National Guard and is home in MN until mid-Jan. & then will go to VA., for 8 weeks of training then, will be stationed in MNPLS. MN.

Shelby Holaday-A friend of Caleb Hendrickson - in the Army National Guard

Jebo Aho- He is now home from Afghanistan .Pray for his transition back to civilian life.

Logan Aho- He is now home from Afghanistan. Pray for his transition back to civilian life.

Jon Kilpela-Lawry Kilpela's grandson is back in the United States.
Owen Stonelake-Wayne & Vickie's son, he is stationed in New York.

Jeffrey Torola- is in the Navy stationed in Charleston, S.C. he is Bill Torola's brother.

Caleb Hendrickson - in the Army National Guard

KJV Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

In His Service,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 27 Jul 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Fruit of the Holy Spirt 8/3/2014
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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2/28 7:00 pm:Lent Service
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3/14 7:00 pm:Lent Service
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3/23 11:30 a.m.:Senior Luncheon
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.