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

Ancient Words of Life
January 27, 2013

Front Cover: Genesis 1: 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Call to Worship: We praise you because we are fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, we know that full well.

Announcements
Opening Hymn:
Praise Song:
Reading: Psalm 139 1-18
Praise Song:
Scripture Reading/Prayer/Lord's Prayer/Offertory Prayer: Ecclesiates 11:1-5
Offertory Hymn: #131 My Jesus, I Love Thee
Sermon Text: John 1:1-4; Genesis 1:26-31; Jeremiah 1:1-10; Luke 1:39-44
Sermon Title: The Sanctity of Life
Benediction
Closing Hymn: #180 Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated, Lord to Thee



During the WW2 era, a noted theologian stated that a preacher should preach with the Bible in one hand the newspaper in the other hand, thereby stressing the importance of connecting the timeless truths of the Scriptures with events of the current day. Following His advice, we will do just that in this writing, for this week included three major events of historical significance: A national holiday marking the life and contributions of Martin Luther King Jr in bringing civil rights to the Negro race, the inauguration of President Obama and the 40th anniversary of legalizing of the abortion/murder of children in the womb. Wow, what a week of confiction....

How does one approach a week so full of conflicting emotions and thoughts? Well, I am at a loss as to how to do it, but for sure it causes one to fall down before the Lord in prayer, asking Him for help as to how to proceed.

As our sermon texts we listed various passages which give an overview of the sacredness/sanctity of life and which when read will ground us in who God is, what He has done, is doing and will do.. Let us not forget that He is God. So, here we go, asking for wisdom from Him, who gives wisdom very liberally to all who ask for it.

This weekend it was our privilege to attend a retreat for men at which Pastor Gary Kangas shared with us concerning the biblical teachings that govern the three stages of man's life: son to parent, husband to wife and Father to son. During that time there was a lot of information shared by Pastor Gary from the Scriptures and which was illustrated through his own experiences as well as through other people's experiences. It was a time of quietness before the Lord, with the focus being on our relationship with the Lord first of all, which then carried into the relationships that are described above. Pastor Gary brought along a song had touched him and which he felt(he was right on) would be a good tool to keep us centered on the Word as we discussed our "secondary" relationships of life.We sang this song together and each time we did, the words sunk deeper into our hearts. It would be fitting to put these words here before us in this writing:

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God's own heart
Oh, let the ancient words impart.

Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e'er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home

Chorus
Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
Oh, let the ancient words impart

Holy words of our Faith
Handed down to this age
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God's own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart

Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
Oh, let the ancient words impart

MICHAEL W. SMITH

Pastor Gary emphasized the importance of being grounded in the "ancient words" of Jesus Christ so that we will be able to "see" and so that we will not be seduced into falling for that which is offered up to us from the world, our flesh and the devil as to the meaning of life as well as for the formula for life's relationships. The words of this song are well thought out, speak of the importance of being connected to the ageless Scriptures and can serve as a prayer for us as we listen, sing, pray and rejoice in the "Ancient One, Jesus the Christ." I encourage you to listen to this song over and over again (you can find it on youtube) and as you do, bask in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the ancient words do impart......grace and truth in Him....

Michael W. Smith saw of the importance of not straying from the "ancient words" and therefore composed this song which teacesh us, reminds us, encourages us and inspires us as we move through this world which is decaying and dying, but does not know it.

Pastor Gary shared a poignant illustration which once heard is not easily forgotten, which should give us cause to think on these things, as an individual, as church, and as a nation......

There was a painter who was hired to paint the white lines on the highway. He went to work and painted five miles the first day, three miles the second day and one mile the third day. Of course, his boss asked him why this was happening: "The paint bucked kept getting further away.".........................

At times one can be overwhelmed with the immensity of the sin in the world, as well as in one's own heart. At those times it is important to get back to the "paint bucket" We are instructed to pray for one another, for our leaders and so forth, but at times it is overwhelming, is it not? But we need to remember that it is not our responsibility to oversee the world, for that is God's task and He is doing it quite well. We have been given life by God so that we would live our lives in consecration to Him through serving people. In light of that, let us consider the life of the author of our closing Hymn today...

'Take My Life and Let It Be."


Frances Ridley Havergal was a Christian devotional writer, a poet, hymn writer and musician. She was born on
December 14, 1836, to a religious family at Astley, Worcestershire, England. She was the youngest child of
William Henry Havergal, a Church of England minister and noted poet and church musician who authored over
100 hymns.

At the age of 3, Miss Havergal could read; at the age of 4, she began reading and memorizing the Bible; at 7
she began writing poetry.

She was eleven when her mother died after suffering a long and hard illness.

Miss Havergal was converted and committed her life to Christ in 1851, at the age of 14. She said, "I committed
my soul to the Saviour ... earth and heaven seemed brighter from that moment; I did trust the Lord Jesus."

Educated at home and in private schools in Worcester, England, and in Dusseldorf, Germany (1852-53), her
scholastic achievements included several modern languages, in addition to Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.

Miss Havergal had a thorough training in linguistics and music and was a pianist and singer.

She was also a devoted Bible student, memorizing the New Testament as well as the Psalms, Isaiah, and the
Minor Prophets.

Although highly cultured and educated she maintained a simple faith and confidence in her Lord. She lived a
disciplined prayer life and it is said that she never wrote a line without first praying over it.


Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee



"I believe my King suggests a thought, and whispers me a musical line or two, and then I look up and thank
Him delightedly and go on with it. That is how my hymns come."

"Writing is praying with me. You know a child would look up at every sentence and say, 'And what shall I
say next?' That is just what I do; I ask Him that at every line He would give me not merely thoughts and
power, but also every word, even the very rhymes."


Quite early in life, her poems were published in "Good Words" and other religious periodicals. Her poems are
permeated with the fragrance of her passionate love for Jesus.

In 1870, her father died suddenly.

After 1873, she literally carried out her now famous couplet,


"Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King."

and she sang nothing but sacred music of the love of God and His way of salvation. Her life's mission was to
sing and work for Jesus. She had both a great taste for music and a good knowledge of harmony, a natural and
inherited turn for melody, a ringing touch on the piano, a beautiful and well-trained voice. These gifts she now
entirely devoted to Christ; whether at home or in mixed society she always "sang for Jesus."

Her hymn of consecration, "Take My Life and Let It Be" was written by Miss Havergal in 1874. She gives the
following account:

"Perhaps you will be interested to know the origin of the Consecration hymn 'Take my life.' I went for a little
visit of five days [to Areley House]. There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long
prayed for, some converted, but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer 'Lord, give me all in this
house!' And He just did! Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after
I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, & then and there both
of them trusted and rejoiced; it was nearly midnight. I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night
in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed themselves, and chimed in
my heart one after another till they finished with 'ever only, ALL FOR THEE!'"


Her prayer, "Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold," in the same hymn was not lightly stated.

In August, 1878, Miss Havergal wrote to a friend,

"The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. 'Take my
silver and my gold' now means shipping off all my ornaments to the church Missionary House, including a
jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me ... Nearly fifty
articles are being packed up. I don't think I ever packed a box with such pleasure."


Miss Havergal also wrote many small devotional tracts and narratives in prose and numerous little books of
poems and hymn texts, all marked by the same earnest and practical piety.

Themes for her writings were faith, consecration, and service.

Frail in health all of her life, Miss Havergal one day caught a severe cold which caused inflammation of the
lungs. When told that her life was in danger, she exclaimed, "If I am really going, it is too good to be true!" At
another time she responded, "Splendid! To be so near the gates of heaven." At the very end, it is reported that
she sang clearly, but faintly, another of her hymns, "Jesus, I Will Trust Thee, Trust Thee with My Soul." Then,
according to reports by her sister,


She looked up steadfastly, as if she saw the Lord; and surely nothing less heavenly could have reflected
such a glorious radiance upon her face. For ten minutes we watched that almost visible meeting with her
King, and her countenance was so glad, as if she were already talking to Him! Then she tried to sing; but
after one sweet, high note her voice failed, and as her brother commended her soul into the Redeemer's
hand she passed away.


Frances Ridley Havergal died at Caswall Bay, Swansea, Wales, June 3, 1879, at the age of forty-two. She never married.

On her tombstone at Astley, Worcestershire, is engraved her favorite text,

"The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7


Last Sunday a young member of our congregation came up to me and asked me if I could get him a picture Bible for him. I assured him that I could and at this time my wife and I would like to present him with his request. My heart has been encouraged by the love for Jesus, for his eagerness and commitment to "read the ancient words."


Nicolai, as you read this love letter from God with an open heart, may the holy words of faith, handed down to this age which are in this Bible, which came to us through sacrifice of Christ, change you and me both, imparting, (giving) us life through Christ and in Christ..........Lord, bless Nicolai, but not only him, all the young in this congregation with life and not only life, but an abundant life in the forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus. May their open hearts be filled with your grace, your love, your truth, and your peace. Oh, Lord, we pray this on our knees, with eyes looking up to you and with hears filled with faith and hope.....

Now as we receive the Lord's benediction, may we be reminded that it is placing on us that which God has done for us in His Son Jesus Christ. May we hear the power that is in these words today...

May the Lord bless us and keep us,
May the Lord make his face shine upon us and be gracious unto us,
May the Lord lift his countanance upon us and give us peace.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always, Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 27 Jan 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Joyous Wedding at Cana 1/20/2013
Sermon: January 20, 2013

Front Cover: John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.


Call to Worship: Dear Father, as we see and hear the things that Jesus did and said, may our faith be stronger and bolder!

Announcements

Opening Hymn: We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise

Praise Song: We are One in the Spirit

Reading: Psalm 36

Praise Song: Amazing Grace (Our chains are gone)

Scripture Reading/Prayer/Lord's Prayer/Offertory Prayer: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Offertory Hymn: #365 The Church's One Foundation

Sermon Text: John 2:1-11

Sermon Title: Wedding at Cana

Holy Communion

Benediction

Closing Hymn: #465 O For a Thousand Tongues

Dear congregation

In the Gospel of John there are seven signs that are recorded which are meant to bring people to believe in Jesus.

1. The wine at Cana (2:1-11).

2. The healing of an official's son, also performed at Cana (4:46-54).

3. The healing of a sick man
(5:1-9).

4. The feeding of the five thousand (6:1-14).

5. Walking on the sea (6:15-21).

6. The healing of the man born blind (9:1-34).

7. The resurrection of Lazarus (11:38-44)



These are not the only signs that Jesus did in His life, but in John's Gospel these are recorded so that all might believe.......as is written "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name" (20:31).

In the creation story, God put lights in the sky to serve as signs (Genesis 1:14).

Following the great flood, God put a rainbow in the sky to serve as sign of the covenant that he would not again use a flood to destroy all life (Genesis 9:13-17).

A sign is more than a demonstration of power. A sign reveals something--points to something beyond itself. At Cana, the sign points to Jesus' glory (v. 11). Signs, however, unlike miracles that are done openly, are hidden from some. Not everyone understands their significance. The disciples believe (v. 11) and many believe (v. 23), but "the Jews" (v. 18) are skeptical. Even the chief steward has no clue about the real meaning of this sign (v. 10).

Our meditations will be on John 2:1-11.

KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

There is a book that children love in which a young man named Waldo is hidden among many others persons who are similar in appearance as Waldo is, but they are not the real Waldo. The questions is asked on each picture in which he is hidden and children seem to be captivated with seeking to find "Waldo." Among humanity there is similar question that is intriguing to us also, as we seek for the meaning and signficance of life, but instead of asking about the location of Waldo, we strive to find the real Jesus. Jesus knows this, and in the middle of his ministry one day he addressed this by asking a couple of questions Himself.


Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

As it was in those days, it is the same today: He asks us as to "whom do we say that He is." The children look for the outward appearance of Waldo while we look for more than just the outward appearance. We seek to understand the meaning of what He has done/does and said/says in relation to our lives.


As Jesus began his ministry, he and his disciples were invited to a wedding in the little town of Cana, of Galilee. That would be similar to a town like Kingston in the larger area of Meeker County. It was an obscure town in which our Lord performed his first miracle, or as John calls it, the first sign. The goal of John's Gospel is recorded for us in this fashion, which is after Jesus showed Himself to Thomas after His resurrection...

John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.


KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

Jesus and his disciples were invited to this wedding at which was his mother, Mary. The couple is not mentioned by name whose wedding is in a small obscure town in Galilee. In those days weddings were more public occasions, lasting for days and wine was an intregral part of the festivities. It is thought that it was the responsibility of the host to make sure there was adequate wine and if it ran out it would be like it would be a disgrace and perhaps their wedding would be remembered as the wedding in which the wine ran out.

Upon this happening, Mary told Jesus "They have no wine." She did not ask Him to solve the problem, but hear statement implies a request by her that He do something about it. I remember becoming more aware of the importance of listening for the implication of a statement rather than just listening to what is said. My oldest daughter and I were driving home from a basketball game and as we were going along, she told me that she was thirsty. I heard her say that and did not think any more about it. We kept on driving and the next day my wife asked me why I did not stop to get our daugher a drink. I said, "she did not ask." My wife said, "She did in a way ask.".......

We know that Mary "pondered" in her heart the things that she had seen and heard about her son, and in this case, did she "kind of throw it out there" so see what his response would be?

Jesus responded: 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

In other words, He is making a statement in question form: "How do I figure in this need? My hour is not come yet, (referring to His greatest hour of going to the cross to redeem us) He also seems to be helping her in her inner ponderings to understand that He is more than her son, and that He is the Son of God first of all. How will Jesus handle and balance the immediate need which was expressed by his mother?

How does she respond? What does she say? "Do whatever He tells you?" Wow, she caught on quickly, and then gave the best advice that one can give. "Obey the Lord in what He calls upon you to do."

Did Jesus see a teachable moment for humanity? We could say that He did and so let us see what happened next...


6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

The servants obeyed the command of Jesus, filling the stone pots up, and then told them to bring that which was in the pots to the governor/ruler of the feast, who, when tasting the wine made this statement to the bridegroom, not knowing (the ruler) that a miracle had been performed by Jesus:

"10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now."

He essentially told the bridegroom that he was surprised that the good wine was being served last, for that was not the way it was done. We can understand this concept as most likely as the guests begin to "feel good" they would lose their ability to discern between good and bad wine.. So he was most likely confused as to why the good wine had been kept until the later part of the celebration. It was a sign given, which had an outward and visible appearance and as a result his disciples believed on Him.....

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Now let us consider the possible meaning of this passage in context of the entire Bible.

1. He revealed that He was God, for only God can do divine things. 2:9

2. He was making a transition from the OT to the NT.

3. He revealed Himself to the simple people of the day in a quiet out of the way place. He did not begin his ministry by raising by healing them or by raising them from the dead, but rather He changed water into wine. He did it to meet a very real need for the bridegroom and used it to show the greater sign.

4. He revealed Himself at a wedding, which has overtones throughout the entire Scriptures.

5. He revealed Himself by using wine as a metaphor which is symbolic of grace and joy in the Holy Spirit.


Putting all this together, does it not give encouragement to us today? He is God, yet a human being who humbled Himself for us. He is the One who divides history, as today is the year 2013 AD, which marks the anniversary of His birth. He began His ministry in the ordinary things of life, by meeting a real need and using it to point to the joy that is in the heart of the Father in His sending of His Son to rescue us from our sin. In the same way that joy was spilling out of the hearts of the wedding guests at being given new wine, much more we have been graced by our Father through Jesus Christ so that we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

KJV Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

This morning I read the following testimony, which reveals how the Lord came to minister grace to a needy soul in her time of need. This is written by a mother whose young son has serious and ongoing health problems. She uses her sister's experience to tell us of how she was encouraged, and then passes on encouragement to us....Please read on.....


"When my sister, Megan, was 5 or so, she mentioned to my mom at breakfast one morning that she had seen a pretty lady in her and her siblings bedroom when she awoke during the night. My mom was curious (and a tiny bit concerned). Megan proceeded to add that the lady wasn't even wearing shoes and she was standing next to and singing a song to her baby brother in his crib. My mom asked what song she heard and sweet little Megan sang her part of an exquisitely beautiful hymn- one that no one could recollect ever hearing. As a teenager back then, I was incredibly moved and still am every time I remember the story that she happily shared.

In our lives, we're bound to face difficult issues. We feel despair and alone at times. But God will never leave or forsake us, even when we can't find Him. He really is that good. You, dear one, are loved to pieces as you are, worthy, and here for a purpose. Don't give up." Julie Manninen

Wow, that fills us with hope, joy and peace, does it not? May her words, which are words that have been written out of a heart that has come to know the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, bless all of us today who read them. I especially like that, "Don't give up!"

In closing, there is one more application that cannot be left, must not be left unsaid. As the disciples sat down for the annual Passover meal with their Master, everything seemed usual and ordinary, for they had grown up having this Passover meal. But... on this night, everything changed. At first it seemed the same, but then......


Luke 22:13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

So far, it seems normal, but then.....


19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Now He took the bread, broke it and gave it to them and told them that what they were eating was his body. He then took the cup of wine and told them that is was the New Covenant in His blood, which is shed (on the cross) for them.

We are going to partake of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ now. May it remind us that He was broken and bruised on our behalf, and that through His sacrifice we have the forgiveness of sins, past, present and future. May we trust in His grace that is greater than all our sin and as we eat of His body and drink of His blood, may we rejoice with great joy in the Holy Spirit as we leave from here today, reminded, refreshed and reinvigorated in Him. May the peace and joy that we possess today cause our eyes of faith to look with expectant hope to the day when we will be in His Presence in the fullness of joy!

May we go in peace today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 20 Jan 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Ancient Words of Life
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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