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

I am for you. 12/1/2013
Writer's note: Please be advised that this explanation of today's text is not what is preached per se on that day. It is as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: "The sermon is constructed twice, once in the study and secondly in the pulpit. Writing the message out before hand keeps a person tethered to the Word as well as allows the Spirit to open one's heart and mind to the message before preaching it to others. Thank you.



"For I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15

By making that promise to our first parents, God has indicated that He has decided for us, that He is for us and not against us.

Therefore, I greet you with grace, mercy and peace from Him, our God and our Father and the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Our reading today, on this first Sunday in Advent comes from the last book of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which is placed at the end of the Bible because that is the logical place to put it. In the New Testament, the Gospels speak of the life and words of Jesus Christ in His body, the book of Acts testify of the resurreciton life of Jesus Christ in His body of believers, the church; the Epistles to the churches explain the Gospels and Acts, teach us doctrinal truths and how to live as a Christian and the book of Revelation reveals Christ who is, was and is to come.

Revelation: 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

We read the first chapter of this last book of the Bible, in order to understand the context of our verses today.

KJV Revelation 1

In chapters 2 and 3 are letters that our Lord instructed Apostle John to write to seven existing churches at that time, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Let us note that the letters are written to the angel of the church, who is held in the hand of the Lord. Are angels the ministers of the church? Most would agree that that is probably what is meant, which gives us two very important factors to think over. Christ is holding those, who are ministers, in His hand of divine appointment to the office and of the assurance of His blessing, and He is also showing those in the ministry of the heavy responsibility that lies in the office of the ministry of being faithful to Him and His Word. We cannot miss this initial groundwork that is being laid.

We also note that the letters are not written to the candlesticks/churches, but to the angels/ministers. This does not mean that they were not read to the congregations also, but it does show that the heavy load of being faithful in the teaching of the ministry first and foremost of all lies with the minister of those congregations whom Jesus was addressing.

It also must be noted that first of all these letters were written at the request of Christ to congregations that existed in that time, which had people like ourselves who lived in a different era, but who knew according to the Scriptures that God was for them. Because people of all time have the same natures and the same environments to live in, these letters can have application for churches of all ages and will continue to do so right up to the time when the eastern horizon brightens for the last time and our Savior comes with His angels to receive us to Himself.


In our Wednesday night Advent services, we are preaching a series entitled, "God is for us, God is with us, and God is in us." The reasoning behind this approach is so that we are renewed in the knowledge that God has decided for us and has never changed His mind concerning that reality: He is for us....He is for us. As we have already showed through our readings in Psalm 124 and in the Lamentations of Jeremiah of how the believers of yesteryear leaned on the "God for us" truth/reality, likewise for us in today's world it is equally as important that we are renewed in our minds and hearts of this reality, "God is for us."

Just as in King David's time they sang those Psalms that they had committed to memory as they made their annual pilgrimages towards Jerusalem, the city on the hill, we also as we pass through this temporary dwelling place as strangers and pilgrims, are singing the songs of the Heavenly Jerusalem which continually remind us that "God is for us," as we sing as they did, "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Psalm 124:8

Jeremiah wrote a number of years later of the tendency that permeates the human race, the tendency to feel discouraged because of the troubles and trials of life.....and of the importance of recalling/remembering that "God is for us."

18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD:
19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.
20 My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.

We are downtrodden and discouraged, but then we recall.....that God is for us.

21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

"For I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15

Through the Promise given in the Garden of Eden after mankind fell into sin, God has revealed that He is for us.

So as we briefly look at our text from Revelation 3:14-22 today, let us not forget that God is for us.


Who He is
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Who they are/where they are in their relationship with Him
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

His counsel to them
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

He is for them in love
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

His invitation to them
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

We all understand and have the experience that when things are going well it is easy to forget from where all these things come from. We tend to be self sufficient in ourselves and forget that God is the Giver of all gifts. This was the case in Laodicea.

Laodicea was a wealthy town that was known as a strategic banking center. They used their own wealth to pay for the reconstruction of the city after a devastating earthquake in A.D. 60, rejecting offers of financial aid from Rome. The city was also famous for the soft, black wool it produced and its ancient medicine, particularly an eye salve. All three industries finance, wool, and eye salve came into play in this letter. Laodicea’s water supply was also relevant to the message in this letter as the water had to travel several miles through an underground aqueduct before reaching the city. Therefore, the water arrived foul, dirty, and tepid lukewarm, just like the people in the church. MacArthur, New Testament Commentary on Revelation, 135- 136

It is noteworthy that in each of the seven letters Jesus declares who He is before He begins to speak to the individual congregations. In this letter, He points to Himself as the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. In other words, we better listen to what He has to say, for He is the self Existent One who alone is worthy and qualified to describe Who He is.

In each of the letter, He says, "I know your works," before He moves onto the the particular message that He is bringing to the minister. Without exception, this is how He chooses to approach each church, to first remind them that He is for them, that He cares for them and that in love He is coming to them.

He then speaks to the Laodiceans that He is concerned for them, since they are neither hot nor cold but are lukewarm. When one is feeling the presence of the Lord through faith, one could be considered hot and when one feels like God is far away or even may feel like God is against them, that could be considered cold.

Jesus is saying that either of those is much preferred to the lukewarm one who has need of nothing of His/Him, does not know that they are afflicted, wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind, and naked. In other words, they are self sufficient in themselves and have no need of what Christ is offering....and they are warned that that condition is nauseating to Him and will cause Him to vomit them out of His mouth.

Does Jesus then use their life in Laodicea to point out where the real riches are, where they real clothing is and where the real "seeing oil" is? It seems as if He is doing that.



Apostle Peter wrote about the "real gold," which never perishes.

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.




Jesus in verse 19 again returns to the theme of "I am for you," as He reminds them of His love and care for them, telling them that "as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten/correct/discipline and desires that the fruit of His love toward them would be their zealous effort to change direction in their way of thinking, to repent.

He then says: Behold! Listen now, for I am standing at the door, and I am knocking: "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me."
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:20-22

Listed below are two references which seem to give understanding to the concept that when we have fellowship with Christ at His table, our desires tend to become lost in His desires. We learn to live for the sake of the other person, and not to please ourselves, even as Christ did for us.

Please consider as to how the righteous did not even recognize that when they served the needy, that they were in reality serving Christ. Also consider as to how Apostle Paul thought he was serving God but when Christ revealed to him that as he was persecuting the (the congregants) church, he was persecuting Jesus.

When we are in fellowship with Christ, we are not putting notches on our belt for our good works towards others. We simply serve the other since the Christ in us does what He does. Even though we fight with selfishness, the overriding influence in our life is the life of Christ who lives in us and through us.


Matthew 25: 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

KJV Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

As we consider our ways today, asking the Spirit to enable us to hear the gentle knocking of the Good Shepherd, may we truly hear what the Spirit is saying unto us in our congregation, but not only ours, for the messsage is to the churches.

This coming weekend it is our privilege to host Reverend Jay Weidner and his wife for our Winter Services. We have flyers printed up which you will be able to distribute to your acquaintances, friends and neighbors.

The seminar will be conducted in a very informal manner. A list of questions have been sent to Reverend Jay for his preparation and you are invited to come with any questions that you might have concerning human relationships. It is an excellent opportunity to invite others to the hearing of the Word of the Lord.

May the Lord add His blessing to His Word today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 01 Dec 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Thanksgiving 11/24/2013
(The following is written by the late Eeverend Alvin Holmgren)


Our national day of thanks provides an opportunity for us to count our blessings. It is a special heritage we have received from our pilgrim fathers. The desire for freedom of worship prompted them to come to this new land. The worship of God was the important priority of their lives. It caused them to embark upon a long and dangerous sea journey and a challenging venture to establish homes in a new and unexplored land. But they set out! Freedom at all costs was their goal!

From those early coloniat days, this good example has been followed in our nation. We believe that the first thanksgiving was not only a feast on the harvest of their crops, but a festival of thanks to the Lord for His providence--for sparing their lives, for religious freedom, for ample food, and for the friends they had made among the natives. Together these two peoples shared a feast of thanksgiving.

Traditionally thanksgiving has been a time of sharing with our extended family and friends. It is a happy occasion when we can sit down together with our loved ones at tables laden with food, enjoying the heritage of freedom which has been obtained and preserved for us throught the blessing of God and the sacrifices of many sons and daughters. We owe a debt of gratitude to our Heavenly Father and to the early fathers of this nation. May our hearts respond with gratitude and praise this thanksgiving.

For us as Christians there should be an additional dimension to our thanksgiving. May it not only be a time of sharing with our own, but a sharing that extends beyond the circle of family and friends.

We have many blessings to share. First of all, we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. OUr gratitude to God for His salvation can best be expressed by sharing the hope we have with others. When we possess something as valuable as eternal life, we want all others to become partakers of it, too. To say that we value this gift of eternal life and be unwilling to share that hope with others is a contradiction. Jesus said: "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God, but he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8-9)

The practical side of our Christianity is the giving of ourselves and of our talents and of our goods. When St. Paul was enroute to Jerusalem for the last time, he spoke touching message to the Ephesian elders. He said: "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city saying that boinds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know ye all, among whom I ahve gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face not more" (Acts 20:22-25) Then he charged them with these words: "I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)

Reverent Alvin Holmgren 1986
Posted on 24 Nov 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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I am for you. 12/1/2013
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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