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

Waiting.........12/02/2012
Dearly beloved,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with us now and always, Amen.

Our text today is from Luke 21:25-36.

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.


29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.


34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.



Today is the first Sunday in Advent, a word that means arrival or coming. It is "Happy New Year" for the new church year as last Sunday was the last Sunday of the "old church year." The last few Sundays of the church year focused on end time happenings and typically with the beginning of the new church year, the focus is on the first coming of Jesus Christ. Sometimes the question is asked: Why this emphasis on the church year? Why is it important to follow it?

The simplest answer would be that it enables one to remain connected to the life of Jesus so that one will be kept insulated to some degree from the life that we live in this world. We continually need to be reminded that it is what He has done for us as our tendency is to think of our accomplishments independent of that which He has done for us and is doing in us. Jesus says in the 17th chapter of John that "we are in the world but not of the world." We cannot live lives separate from the influences, effects and consequences of the things that happen in the world, but we can keep ourselves informed, inoculated and to a certain degree, be kept immune from the world's influences. The Apostle Paul said it this way in his letter to the Galatians:

ESV Galatians 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
ESV Galatians 6:15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

He pointed out he has no desire to have sinful fellowship with those who reject Christ and the people who reject Christ have no desire to have Christian fellowship with him.

The season of Advent is a time of expectation, of joy and of excitement. As we look at our text today, we might wonder why it does not at first glance speak to the first coming of Jesus, but it seems to point to His second coming. As we read the part of our text, we are left feeling uncertain, shaken, and perhaps a little afraid.....but why should we be uncertain????

21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth near.

The first coming of Jesus brings unto us the message of the Gospel, which is described as the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ in 1 Cor 15:1-4.

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

KJV John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

KJV John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.


Having received this message through repentance and faith, we are delivered from the guilt and the power of sin, for we have been reconciled/reconnected to God through the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ. If we do not have this assurance, the thought of Jesus coming again will bring fear and trepidation into our heart and mind. But knowing that Christ has redeemed us and having received this gift by faith, we with joy and excitement await His return as we live our lives looking up to heaven from which our Saviour will one day come to receive us to Himself. We are like a child awaiting the day when they will be able to open their Christmas gift, that sits under the tree and which has their name on it. We are waiting, waiting, waiting.......


29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation (age) shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.


34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.


Whether we apply this text to the destruction of Jerusalem AD, to the time of Christ's being lifted up on the cross, to His resurrection, to the time of the coming of the Holy Spirit, or to the time of His final return, does not really make that much difference. What makes all the difference in the world is that we have recognized and believe that He came to save us the first time and that when He comes again, He will not come to save us, but to take us to glory with Him.

In this text we are shown the instability of the dying world, for there is no stability in those things that can be shaken and that will one day pass away. The only substance that will remain are His words and all the truth that is contained in them, namely salvation through Jesus Christ. For all His promises have had and will have fulfillment. We are told in this text to not be overcome with the events and things of this world and to not be overcome with anxiety at the things that are going to happen in this world and, sadly, to those who have not or will not recognize the Christ of the eternities. The picture we get in this text is that the attractions of this world are like a trap that is set and which like many traps is disguised as to what its intent is to do to the unaware.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Rev 12: 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Having experienced the forgiveness of sins through Christ's atonement, we will stand before our God in the covering of Christ's righteousness, we have testified of that reality here, and through His indwelling Spirit we have not loved our lives, but have disowned ourselves and belong to Christ alone. Because we are His, our desire is to follow Him......so then watching and praying is a natural outflow of our union with Him. It is not a must, a have to, but I want to and I will.......

We are told to watch and pray: Beware, keep our eyes open, do not believe everything we read or hear. How does it line up with the Scripture? Do we hear the voice of Jesus, our Good Shepherd?

Pray always? One method is to pray the Scriptures when we read them. Carry on an intimate conversation with our Father as we fellowship in the Spirit with Him and His Son in His Word.

As we read and pray over our text as well as over these following words from our Father, let us think about what He is sharing with us concerning that which is true and is reality. Lord, give us this grace to do so.....

KJV 2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.


KJV Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Jude:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Waiting with you...

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 02 Dec 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
A Leper's Thanksgiving 11/25/2012
Sermon Text: Luke 17:11-19 A Leper's Thanksgiving

As we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving here in our United States of America, and as we approach Advent which is the remembering of, thinking about and rejoicing in the first Advent of Jesus, we have chose a portion of Scripture for meditation concerning the healing that a leper received from Jesus. Our text is found in Luke's Gospel, 17:11-19. Jesus is healing, teaching and preaching as He journeys towards Jerusalem, where He will suffer, die and arise from the grave! While Jesus was here on earth, He was moving towards Jerusalem and the accomplishing of His Father's will in bringing redemption to the world. Previously Luke had written concerning this....

KJV Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

KJV Luke 13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

Continually toward Jerusalem, always coming for us, to us, to draw near.....to draw us to Himself...Let us read the text...

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Even since the beginning in the Garden of Eden after our fall into sin when we moved away from Him, God has desired to draw near us, but we have kept our distance. Here are two references which speak to that...

Genesis 3: 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Mark 14:53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.
54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

Sin and unbelief have caused and do cause us to slink away from our Creator and Redemmer and consequently He has been drawing near to us so that we would come into His presence freely and without fear. In time past He spoke to us by His prophets but in these last times, (New Testament days) He has spoken unto us by His Son. (Hebrews 1:1) He has come near to us, but due to sin and unbelief, we often will stay on the fringes, will worship Him from afar. I remember some years back that a brother told me that the text that brought Him back to the Lord was the verses that I included from Mark 14:53-54. He said that as the preacher was preaching the voice of the Lord came to Him and revealed to him that he was following the Lord from afar off, even as Peter was at this time in his life. The brother told me that as a result of hearing the Lord speak to him, he was drawn back into a closer fellowship with Jesus.

As we gather in worship and fellowship each Sunday, it is always good to be reminded that the first thing we should think on in a text of Scripture is to consider what it says about God and His heart for humanity. We need to remember that the entire letter that God has written to all mankind is a letter of promise and fulfillment of His saving grace and truth. We have separated ourselves, but He has come after us in order to redeem us unto Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. In our text today, He drew near to ten lepers, but only one seemed to grasp who Jesus was and of His saving grace. As we think today not on the nine who did not return, but on the one that did, perhaps it would be helpful to look at this account through the eyes of the leper.


"For years I have been alone, for no one can touch me, hold me, console, pray with me. I am alone. Not my wife! Not my child! Not my friends! No one has touched me! They see me. They have spoken to me. I even sensed the love in their voices. I saw concern in their faces as they talked. But there was no touch. Not once! No one touched me! They keep their distance, and I am very lonely in my pain and hurt.

What is common to you, I want. Handshakes, a friendly conversation, a warm hug. A tap on the shoulder. A kiss on the lips. Such moments have been taken from my world. No one touched me! When anyone comes near me, they are very careful not to brush up against me. What I would have given to have been bumped into to be caught in the crowd. For my shoulder to brush someone elses. But years it has not happened.

How could it! I am not allowed on the streets. I am not permitted in my own synagogue. Not even welcome in my own house. I was untouchable. A LEPER. And no one touched me........ until today.


Here is the story of my life in the past..
One year during the harvest, my grip on the scythe seemed weak. The tips of my fingers numbed. First one finger, then another. Within a short time I could grip the tool but not feel it. By the end of the season, I felt nothing at all. I said nothing to my wife, but I knew she suspected something! How could she not. I carried this hand against my wounded body like a wounded bird.


One afternoon I put my hands in the wash basin to wash my face. The water turned red. My finger was bleeding. I didn’t know I was wounded. How did I cut myself? On a knife? Did my hand slide across the sharp edge and me not feel it? It must have, but I didn’t feel anything! “It’s on your clothes, too,” my wife said softly. Before looking at her, I looked down and saw my clothes. BLOOD. I knew my life was changed.


“Shall I go with you to tell the priest?” she said. “No, I’ll go alone.”


I turned and looked into her eyes. She had started crying. Standing next to her was our three-year-old daughter. I squatted down and touched her cheek. I stood up and with my good hand I touched my wife. It would be our final touch.


Time has passed and no one has touched me since...... until today. The priest had not touched my bleeding hand when I went to him with my bleeding hand. He looked at my hand wrapped in cloth. He looked in my face. I never faulted him for what he said. He was just doing his job. He extended his hand, palm forward and said, ‘YOU ARE UNCLEAN.” With one sentence he made me know that I had lost everything my family, my farm, my future, and my friends.


My wife met me at the city gates with a sack of clothing and bread and coins. She didn’t speak. My friends had gathered. What I saw in their eyes is what I have seen since pity! As I stepped out, they stepped back.


Oh, how I repulsed those who saw me. Years of leprosy had left my hands gnarled and the tips of my fingers were missing as were portions of my nose and left ear. At the sight of me, people would pick up their kids and head in the other direction. Children pointed and stared. I could not hide my sores with my clothes they were too many. The clothes could not hide the rage in my eyes either.


Many nights I just shook my fist and yelled, “Why me, what did I do?” But never a reply. Some think that I sinned. Some think it was my parents’ sin. I don’t know. All that I know was that I was tired of it all. I grew tired of the bell that I had to wear around my neck to let people know about me. As if I needed it. One look at me and it began ‘UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN.”


Several weeks ago, I walked to my village. I could still see them working in the fields. I hoped I could see her, my wife, but she was not anywhere that I could see. I could see kids playing and... and for a moment... just a moment... I forgot about myself and watched with enjoyment. I was no longer a leper just a farmer, a man, a father.

I was so enjoying their happiness that I stepped out from behind the tree and it happened: “LEPER, LEPER, GOOOO AWAY.” I left as quickly as I could, trying to get away rapidly.



But one day, oh do I remember The Day, when everything changed. I cry in thankfulness yet today when I think about it. ........We were standing together, afar off from the rest of the people, when we saw Him.We saw the big crowd around Him, we saw them listening, so from a distance, we all cried to Him, lifting up our voices, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. There was a great silence, as the crowds waited to see what was going to happen.

Many cried: Unclean, Unclean, but Jesus did not join in with that cry. Instead, looking on us with compassion, He told us to go show ourselves to the priests.....As we walked towards the place where the priests were, we were all healed of our leprosy.......I could not help but turn back to the One who had told us to go to the priests. The other nine kept on going, but how could I not return to this Jesus and fall on my face before this Jesus, with a loud voice giving glory to God???? How could I not be thankful for Jesus? So many have rejected me because I am a foreigner, but this Man Jesus has healed me!!! I thank Him, I praise Him, I love Him....

Then I heard Jesus ask a question about the ten that He had healed and who had been cleansed of leprosy. As I was alone before him on my knees overcome with thankfulness for my white and clean body, I heard him ask as to the whereabouts of the other nine. I heard him say that they have not returned to give the glory to God, and I heard him refer to me at his feet as one who had come back to give thanks.

KJV Luke 17:17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Then he spoke directly to me: "Arise, go your way, because you believe in me you are clean and whole.
I am clean, I am forgiven, I have hope, I have my family back, I have friends who now hug me again, I have those who truly care about me now, they take time for me now........they truly love me.

Are we in the pain of loneliness, isolation, rejection like the leper was before He received the "touch" of Jesus? Do we need a fresh touch of Jesus? Do we need the refreshment of repentance and honesty before Him and with others? Are we bitter because of life's circumstances?

Have we forgotten the love that He has for us, and have been looking for His love in the wrong places? Have we lost the joy of gathering together with His people? Are we longing for His touch of compassion, of tenderness, of love today? Are we struggling with our past? Our present? Our future?

He is near today, He is listening for our cry to Him so that He might show mercy and forgiveness to us. May we come before Him in humility and honesty with a broken and contrite heart, a needy heart, for with such hearts God is well pleased.

May we be encouraged by this following account of another person who called out to the Lord in his time of need.

Mark 10:46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

He is near today......Call out to Him, believing.....He will come to you...to give you life, eternal life.

May His grace be upon us today and forever, amen!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 25 Nov 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Waiting.........12/02/2012
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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2/28 7:00 pm:Lent Service
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.
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