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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Ascension Day May 25, 2017

Today, May 25, 2017, we commemorate the day on which Jesus ascended to heaven after being on earth for 40 days after His resurrection. It is an important part of His ministry, an event of which we confess our belief, in the second article of the Apostle's Creed.
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

Luke 24:44-53

Today as we reflect on the truth of the Ascension of Jesus, we are reminded that Jesus reigns over all creation, without exception and it is His longing that He would reign in our hearts and the hearts all our descendants. He established His kingdom of grace through entering into the human race, took our sin guilt and debt upon Himself, took our death, and was raised from the dead on Easter morning. He ascended to heaven 40 days after His resurrection. He left us his church with call to shout out the Good News that God has forgiven them through Jesus and that they must come to the awareness of their sin and to know and to receive His gracious and merciful forgiveness of their sin.

Just why is the Ascension of Jesus important for us and to us?

1. It establishes Jesus as the reigning king over all powers in all ages.
2. It gives us access to Gods throne for mercy and grace.
3. It provides an Advocate on earth whose presence is limitless.
4. It gives us the spoils of Christs victory, gifted leaders and spiritual gifts.
5. It keeps us longing for His return.

1. It establishes Jesus as the reigning king over all powers in all ages.
Ephesians 1:20.21 speaks of the power God exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Further, we have been coseated with him in the heavenly realms in Jesus Christ(Eph. 2:6.7

Jesus Christ did not ascend spiritually, leaving behind his body and world history; rather he ascended in the flesh, opening up space within history for the in-breaking of the powers of the age to come.

For this reason, Paul summons us to stand against Satans schemes (Eph. 6:11). It is the Lords power that makes this possible (Eph. 6:10) a power we can access as believers seated in the heavenly realms with our ascended King. We need this power since the problems we face appear to be human conflicts, but are ultimately struggles with the forces of darkness (Eph. 6:12).


1. It establishes Jesus as the reigning king over all powers in all ages.

2. It gives us access to Gods throne for mercy and grace.
In Jesus we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens (Heb. 4:14). Passed through the heavens, is the ascension language; Jesus passed through the heavens to be seated at the Fathers right hand (Heb. 1:3).

What is the result? We can now draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). Whether we are battling cancer, bitterness, betrayal, pride, or discouragement, we can pray with confidence because of our ascended Lord who intercedes for us.

1. It establishes Jesus as the reigning king over all powers in all ages.
2. It gives us access to Gods throne for mercy and grace.

3. It provides an Advocate on earth whose presence is limitless.

The night before he was crucified, Jesus promised his disciples that he would ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever, the Spirit of truth (John 14:16.17). Later, he returns to this theme: But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7).

What advantage would this create for the disciples? They followed and loved Jesus. Why would they want him to leave so the Spirit could come? The answer is simple, yet profound. The incarnate Jesus was limited by space and time. He could not be with each one of his followers at once.. If he had stayed on earth, he could not have been there simultaneously for Peter in Rome and John on the island of Patmos. But the Holy Spirit can. His empowering presence is available to all followers of Jesus everywhere at the same time.


1. It establishes Jesus as the reigning king over all powers in all ages.
2. It gives us access to Gods throne for mercy and grace.
3. It provides an Advocate on earth whose presence is limitless.

4. It gives us the spoils of Christs victory, gifted leaders and spiritual gifts.

In Ephesians 4:7 to 12, Paul connects the grace we have received with the ascension. This grace refers to spiritual gifts Paul describes elsewhere (see 1 Cor. 12) and to the gifted ministers of the Word (Eph. 4:11).
Paul makes the connection by quoting Psalm 68:18, a description of Gods triumphal ascension to his throne after leading his people out of Egypt and into Canaan. Acting in the role of God himself in Psalm 68:17 to 18, Christ had triumphed over the cosmic forces arrayed against Gods people.

Then, from his lofty position at Gods right hand, Christ distributes gifts to Gods people to equip and mature them. So we share in Christs heavenly triumph, not by imitating his ascension but by receiving its benefits, specifically the gifts and gifted leaders needed for building up the church in unity and maturity.

1. It establishes Jesus as the reigning king over all powers in all ages.
2. It gives us access to Gods throne for mercy and grace.
3. It provides an Advocate on earth whose presence is limitless.
4. It gives us the spoils of Christs victory, gifted leaders and spiritual gifts.

5. It keeps us longing for His return

At the ascension of Jesus, the two angels declared: This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11). The ascension creates a longing for the return of Jesus. It reminds us his reign is already but yet not yet.Though presently seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Heb. 1:3), Jesus will return to establish his kingdom in fullness and put his enemies under his feet (1 Cor. 15:24 to 27).

It iss no wonder we are longing for the return of our King! When Jesus descends in the way he ascended, the bad times will be over for good, the darkness will lift, and everything sad will at last come untrue.

Now you know why Jesus disappeared. His ascension was not merely an exclamation point at the end of the resurrection; it provided his followers with power, grace, mercy, presence, gifts, and anticipation enabling them to advance his mission.

What It Means for Our Lives

Though often overlooked, the ascension completes the earthly mission of Jesus and signifies his enthronement as heavenly king. Jesus has completed his Fathers mission and he now rules with all authority and intercedes with all sympathy as our mediator and high priest. Here are four implications of the ascension of Jesus for our lives.

1. Remember that Jesus is presently reigning as king and remains active and engaged in our world and our lives.

2. Therefore live boldly, confidently, and strategically as servants of the exalted king of heaven. Know that your labors in the Lord Jesus are not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

3. Sufferers, take heart that Jesus is not indifferent to your struggle. He has endured great suffering and is thus the most merciful and sympathetic counselor and mediator. Take your cares to your ascended Lord who hears your prayers and can respond with all heavens authority.

4. Finally hope in a glorious future. The ascended Lord will return as judge and king. He will abolish injustice, end suffering, and destroy death and set up his kingdom of truth, righteousness and love. Best of all, we will be with our king forever
Posted on 25 May 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Abiding in the Word May 21. 2017
John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Dear friends,

May God’s Love that has been poured out into all humanity through the cross of Jesus Christ be with you and in you today!

Today it is our privilege to have a guest speaker, Pastor(retired) Ansten Tretten from Lake Worth, Florida along with his wife Roberta and their son Jeff. Today our guest will be speaking from the fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel in which Jesus expands on his opening statement of “I AM the vine and you are the branches. The verse that has been placed above tells us that those words that He spoke to His hearers were done so for the purpose that His joy might remain/abide in them and that their joy might be full. This message was spoken to His disciples in the last part of His life and is part of His longer message in the Upper Room contained in John 13-16 during which He speaks much of the coming Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth and so on.

I have been getting excited as the time of our worship service this morning draws closer, as we await His Presence and His Voice this morning in our gathering together for worship, for fellowship and for Holy Communion with our Lord at His Table.

Our second reading, which is previous to the sermon today, will be from Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. One of the main purposes of this letter written to them was for the reason that they had become fragmented by divisions amongst them which resulted in their going away from following Christ to following certain gifted men. In chapter 12 he shares with them that he doesn’t want them to be ignorant of the gifts that God bestows on His people, he wants them to know that all gifts are given by God, they are given by Him for His purposes and that all gifts are designed to work together and not in competition.

He then tells them in the last part of chapter 12, (12:31) “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” What is that more excellent way? Well, let us read the 13th chapter to find out what that more excellent way is.

In our King James, the word charity is used, which means God’s love, which is a one way never ending unconditional love. Each time the word charity is used, let us think God’s love toward us in Christ Jesus.

KJV 1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity/God’s love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity/God’s love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity/God’s love, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity/God’s Love suffereth long, and is kind; charity/God’s Love envieth not; charity/God’s Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity/ God’s Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity/ God’s Love, these three; but the greatest of these is charity/God’s Love

What is the meaning of all this? Well, giftedness is worthless if God’s love does not dwell in the heart of the gifted one. What would that look like? It would mean that instead of praying for others, we criticize them, instead of helping them discover their giftedness, we tout our giftedness, instead of helping them find places to use their gift, we minimize their gift and tout ours, instead of speaking highly of them, we drag them down.

God’s love is pure and ours is not. How many times have we gone through these verses by reading them three times in this manner? The first time we place God’s love in place of charity, the second time we put our love in the place of charity, after which the Spirit rebukes us and convicts in great grace, and, well, the third time we go through these verses we are hopefully broken and so we are praying that He would forgive us for our lack of love and asking Him to pour His love into our hearts through His Spirit.

It is not difficult to see why this is the most used (chapter 13) reading for wedding messages as it sets the ideal of love that every couple would love to live in, but yet recognizing that their marriage is the union of two imperfect people. Could we say that the success of our marriages and the amount of joy we experience is directly related to how well we abide in Him and in His Word? That certainly has been my experience, for it has been through continually being brought back to the knowledge of what real love is, God’s love, that joy has been restored as well as increased. It has been through the Lord humbling me before Him and before others (especially before my wife) that I continue to be reminded that God’s love can only flourish in a heart that hears and abides in His Word.

In a conversation with our dear brother Ansten, he made a statement that further illustrates what has been written above. “Whenever people are not getting along, all they need to do is to get closer to Christ.” Amen to that….

I am very eager to hear the Voice of the Lord today through my dear brother in Christ. I am very eager to be reminded that it is only in Christ that we have joy and it is His desire that our joy in Him would be full!

How I pray this morning for many to come into this house that is dedicated to the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s love as revealed in Christ Jesus.

How I pray that we all will have concentrated minds, attentive ears and soft and believing hearts so that we might be able to hear His Voice this morning. May the Spirit of God descend mightily from heaven this morning, may our needy hearts that long for the rain of His grace be gently nourished this morning and above all, may the incomparable, unmatchable, and never ending love of God lift us to praise His Name in our sanctuary this day and forever!!!!!! Amen and Amen!

Praising Him with you!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala


Posted on 21 May 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Ascension Day May 25, 2017
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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