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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Gone but not Forgotten 1/08/2012
Grace to you, and peace from God our heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Since yesterday was a significant day in the history of our congregation as our former building of worship was removed through burning, it seemed appropriate to bring forth a message which would comfort us and strengthen us in the knowledge that even though the old church building is no more, our fellowship in Christ Jesus continues into the future in our new building.

I would like to preface this message by offering sympathy and empathy to all those who through the years were associated with the Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church in its location at the intersection of HWY 15 and CSAH 27. Many have been blessed in Christ Jesus through the years through worship of God and through the fellowship of the Word that has been preached and taught by faithful servants within this congregation. Memories that are created in a place of worship are bound tight to the physical structure and it is with understanding of this reality that we carefully and prayerfully had approached this day.

In keeping with the thoughts shared above, and in consideration for all concerned in our community and congregation, current or past, we are planning to work toward constructing a small replica of the former building. That would give a place of memory to those who were so closely connected with the church through the years, for it is hoped that it would be built upon the same site that was occupied by the 99 yr old building. It could not only serve as a memorial, but it would provide passerbys a resting place, a place for prayer and meditation and it would also serve as a bridge to those who have continued to worship with us in our new church building which is app. 1/4 west of Hwy 15 on CSAH 27.

We not only wish to retain the memories of the building, but even more so we wish to "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, (imitate) considering the end of their conversation (life).

8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:7-8

In relation to this, we will be placing the Pastor Oscar Wilson memorial reader board that formerly was in front of the old church in the front of our new facility. The Scripture above instructs us to not forget those who have spoken the Word through out the years and to follow their example into the future. We recognize and appreciate those who labored in word and doctrine within this congregation through the years as we continue to live in the fruit of the preaching of the Gospel that they preached.. Many have faithfully taught and preached the Word in this congregation and for that we give thanks to the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings!

In our lives memories are created through happenings upon which our life is nurtured and built. Recognizing that not all memories are ones that provide growth and transition into the future, we use occasions such as these as opportunities of testing that upon which we are building our lives. We might say: "What is the foundation of my life?" It is a question that we must answer for ourselves and which answer depends upon our knowledge and understanding of God. When Jesus came to earth to redeem us, He faced those whose knowledge and understanding of God was not based upon that which God had revealed to the world through the Holy Scriptures. Let us pick up on a discussion that Jesus was having with the Jewish leaders as recorded in John's Gospel.

John 2:13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Jesus began to reveal in the midst of false and ignorant worship of God and pointed to the Himself as the New Temple, but neither the Jews or even His disciples understood what He was talking about.
It is no surprise that it was so hard to understand Jesus' statement which referred to Himself as the Temple in light of many years of worship which centered around a place of worship as opposed to worshipping the person of God. Let us drop back into one of the numerous places in Scripture which illustrate this reality, going back to the weeping Prophet Jeremiah.

KJV Jeremiah 7:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.
3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.
5 For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

They put a lot of stock in the place of worship but were living inward lives of sin. They were rebuked by the Lord through Jeremiah for saying things with their mouth but were not living in a repentant heart. And therefore in the Lord's eyes, that which they called the temple, God told them that it had become a den of thieves. The Lord is not blind to what we are inside.

We now go back to the New Testament and see how Stephen, a man of honest report and full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, spoke to the Jews a number of years after Jesus had come to earth as the New Temple; had lived a perfect life, suffered, died, arose from the dead and ascended to heaven where He now reigns over the universe. Stephen spoke directly to this struggle that mankind has always faced: Worshipping a created thing, physical things, rather than the Creator. In relation to our discussion, the Jews were so attached to that which they knew, that they did not receive Jesus as the New Temple. The hung onto the old temple.
For brevity's sake, we will consider parts of the discussion. We pick up the conversation that was going on between Stephen and the Jewish leaders.

Acts 6 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
11 Then they instigated men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

KJV Acts 7:1 Then said the high priest, Are these things so?
2 And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

Stephen now recounts the history of God's progressive revelation of Himself to the world by sharing from the beginning of the Jewish nation, starting with their hero, Abraham. Please read from your Bible the verses that are inbetween these two portions. Here he focuses in on external structures (a tabernacle and a temple) which had been built according to God's plan which served them during their time, but which in God's mind pointed to the day of Jesus Christ, the True Temple. Here Stephen speaks of the transition that Jesus had pointed the Jewish leaders to in John's Gospel which we referred to earlier.

44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
46 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
47 But Solomon built him an house.
48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

Luke 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

The significance of the temple veil being rent into two had escaped the Jewish leaders when Jesus had died, and in the case above in which Stephen speaks to them, it continued to escape them as is indicated by their reaction against Stephen's preaching to them and through the application he brought forth in his sermon.

Acts 7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

What did they not understand? What did they not see? The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians gives us a clear explanation as to what had happened as a result of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We pick up in the letter in the middle of the second chapter, remembering that Paul had expounded upon that which God had done through Christ Jesus in the beginning part of this wonderful letter of grace to the world. He now speaks to the union that Jesus Christ created when He entered into humanity and reconciled all to God.

Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

All humanity how had access to the Father by one Spirit and no one is a stranger or foreigner, but all are fellow citizens with all the saints, which make up the family of God. We are brought to God by Christ through grace by faith, which means that God put us into His family solely by His doing and has given us the faith to believe such a wonderful reality.

He goes onto say that the family that we are now a part of is built upon the foundation of the Word that God has spoken through the apostle and the prophets, with Jesus the Christ, the True Temple as the Cheif Cornerstone! The building that we are is made up of individual parts, but together we are pieced together and are growing unto an holy temple in the Lord. Within this temple is where God lives through the Spirit.

Therefore, from the Scriptures we can conclude that even though a church building is a place in which we have been blessed in Jesus Christ and precious memories are within our minds, hearts and souls, we recognize that the true temple of God is contained within the collective body of believers through and in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12 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.

May the memories of the blessing of worship and fellowship of the past that you experienced in the Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church always be precious to you. May that which was planted and which sprouted in your heart in that building continue to blossom and bloom in your life so that you can be a blessing to future generations not only among those in another building, but anywhere that the Lord has called you to bloom for Him. We thank you for your patience with us during this difficult time of transition for all of us.

We invite you to worship with us in our new church building just west of Hwy 15 on CSAH 27. May the Lord richly bless you in his love!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 08 Jan 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
He Rejoices In Us! 1/01/2012
Blessed New Year to you!

As we begin this New Year in our lives which are passing and fading away, we continue our relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through spending time with Him in prayer, with Him in His Word, with our families and with one another. As we look to the New Year with its joys, challenges, sorrows and worries, may it be that as we grow in the grace and knowledge of God through His Son, we would be assured, we would be encouraged and we would be strengthen in the reality of who we are in Him. For our knowledge and experience of who we are in God's sight has great signficance and meaning in our lives as we live them out in the coming year and into the future.

Financial and Economic woes, family sickness and or death, struggling or broken relationships, uncertainty of one's future vocation or job, worries about children and grandchildren's futures and so on. There are many things to think about, to pray about and to wait upon the Lord for Him to show the way and work out the future.

Martin Luther understood the importance of trusting in God as opposed to trusting and depending on man as he struggled to bring change and correction to the Catholic church in the 1500s. As through money the leader of the church was trying to influence him back to the church, Martin's reply was brought back to the Pope.

"The fool, referring to Martin Luther, does not love gold." Then Martin was told, "Why do you think that the Pope cares for the opinions of a German boer? The Pope's little finger is stronger than all Germany. Do you expect your princes to take up arms to defend you? I tell you no. And where will you be then?
Luther replied in a simple way. "Where I am now. In the hand of Almighty God."

In our text today from the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah, we find some valuable encouragement and instruction. Previous to this portion of the Scripture (Isaiah 61:10-62:5) Isaiah has spoken of the Servant Jesus, pointed to His mission and showed the Israelite people of their restoration from the captivity that they had been in due to their disobeying God'. As a result of this Good News, their response was that they rejoiced in the Lord and they were joyful in him for what He had done for them.

To understand this text, we must understand the parallel that exists between Israel being delivered from physical captivity and our being delivered from captivity of sin. Both of the responses are understandable by us today. We could outline this text in the following manner.

1. God has delivered us in Christ, clothed us in the beauty of His righteousness
2. We rejoice in this personal knowledge and experience it corporately
3. God gives us a new name and greatly rejoices in His relationship with us.

1. God has delivered us in Christ, clothed us in the beauty of His righteousness

61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

We have been covered with the perfect covering that is needed for our sin, the robe of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, therefore we greatly rejoice!!! We see this also referred to in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

2. We rejoice in this personal knowledge and experience it corporately

As a result of being blessed by God through Jesus Christ, we ourselves become blessers of other people, in that the kingdom of God grows as the seed sprouts, either as in a tree, in a garden or in an orchard.

11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

A good friend asked me this question in relation to seeds and their mulitiplication. He asked me: "How many seeds are in an apple? I replied, "Only so many." Then he asked, "How many apples trees are in an apple? I thought about it and said, "There are many as long as they are planted and growing. Jesus alluded to this in Matthew's Gospel:

Matthew 13: 31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Carrying a ton
When we hosted our annual convention here in 2009, I recall Pastor Saitijoki illustrating this very clearly by speaking of the time when he was walking with his son who was carrying some small seedlings on their way to plant them. He told his son that he was carrying 2000 pounds of trees. His son looked at him with a question in his eyes as to how that could be. His father went on to explain to him that these small trees would eventually grow to be large trees once they were planted.

So far in this text the focus has been on God's action for us, our response to Him and the blessing that comes upon others through us.

3. God gives us a new name and greatly rejoices in His relationship with us.

KJV Isaiah 62:1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.
3 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

This next part seems to focus more on how God sees us. We often see ourselves in our poorness and project that opinion of ourselves onto God. We learn from our youth of the fickleness of love, for we remember sitting in the grass using a clover to decide if our latest girlfriend or boyfriend loves us or not. "She love me, she loves me not, she loves me, she loves me not. Is that how God's love is toward us. But is that right? Does He see us as we see ourselves? No, He does not. Again, who is speaking here? Is is God, Is it Jesus?

KJV Isaiah 62:1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

The Gospel text for today is found in Luke 2:21-40 and concerns Jesus's circumcision and the giving of His name, Mary's purification, and the testimonies of Simeon and Anna. He was named with the name that the angel told them was to be his name before he was born. He was given the name of Jesus which means Jehovah is salvation.

Names in the Bible are significant. Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah,

KJV Genesis 17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

KJV Genesis 17:15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.

Names has signficance in our day, but maybe not to th extent that they did in timies past.
When God changed the name of Abraham and Elizabeth, the change reflected who they would be in His plan.

In the New Testament, we see a name change in Peter's life.

KJV John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

What is that new name that He has given us?
What is your name? Is it not Christian. We all have our familial names and our first names which determine to a large part of who we are today. We are born into a family which our last name reflects, but the first name is often given us by our parents and it reflects that which they desire us to be. Our name may be given us from a "so called names for babies" book or we may be named after someone our parents admired and to some degree desire that we would grow up to be like that person.

My father named me after a co worker in a factory. I learned early on in my life that it was not a name that everyone liked, but through an experience at one of my first jobs, I was given the wisdom to know that the person makes name and that the name does not make the person. I was hired on to a crew and when the foreman asked me what my name and after I told him Orval, he said something not nice about my name, in fact, he was quite mean! He asked me what my middle name was and I told him Andrew, (I am named after my Grandfather's brother, Andrew)

For six months he called me Andy, which was at first kind of hard to get used to, but after awhile it was okay. I remember kind of wondering about why he would not like my given name, but beyond my comprehension I was given the wisdom to simply work hard for him as part of the team and be Andy. One day he started calling me Orval, nothing was ever said by anyone, and life went on. I do not know what trait my father saw in the Orval at the factory, but I did know at that time that I did not have to let the rudeness and lack of tact by my foreman define and determine who this Orval would be. He could call me Andy all he wanted to, but I would be the one who God had made me to be...
which brings us back to the question: What is my name? What does God call me?

What name has He given us? Christian! Why does He give us that name? Because we have been purchased by His Son and now we united in Him and are called by our right name: Christian or Christ's own.

As we know names have meanings but God does not really see us as individuals, but He sees us in His Son Jesus Christ. As individuals we really cease to exist as we become part of the body of Jesus Christ. Who we are is defined and determined by how we live in the community of others through love, and not so much of how we act as individually or separate from community. By community, we mean our connections with other people.

1 Corinthians 12:12 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.

How much does God rejoice over us?

First of all, we recognize that this is a difficulty for us, to live in this knowledge that God indeed loves us and rejoices over us. Here are a couple of references which show us this.

KJV 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

1 Cor 13:9 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, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Micah spoke of our God in the following manner, God Himself spoke from heaven concerning His pleasure in His Son at Jesus' baptism and Jesus refects of the relationship that He and His Father share, desiring that we would share in the joy of that love.

KJV Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

KJV Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

John 1726 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

God said after he created humanity that it was very good,(Gen 1:31) and even though humanity was tarnished by the fall into sin, nevertheless, we are created in the image of God. God has not changed his mind and said we are bad, or evil. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus and in Him He has great joy in His relationship with us. Often times at the beginning of the New Year, we are looking for ways to improve ourselves in various ways, and that is good. But in this sermon we are focusing of the love that God has for us, the pleasure and joy that He has in our relationship. It is not based on our performance, but it is based on His performance.

He continually points us to how He has made us new through Jesus' work for us and calls us to live in that secure relationship. Through His Word He continually brings us back to that place, of living in the grace of the this relationship and following Him in His Word. It does not matter how far away we have gone, what is important is that we return to Him

He is seeking, He is waiting and watching for His creation to return/to come to Him.
But what about when we have forgotten that we Christ's and have forgotten that our name is Christian? And we have found ourselves in the far country, far from home? What about our loved ones? What about those who seemingly are happy being in the "far country?" What does God think of us/them? God loves us, is seeking, is waiting and watching for us/them to come home. Let us note the joy that is experienced by the three different situations in Luke 15 upon their being found and coming to their right name again.

KJV Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

KJV Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

KJV Luke 15:32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Two stories which illustrate God's grace and love for us.
Recently I heard a minister share at the on this parable which is commonly called the parable of the prodigal son, but it seems more fitting to refer to it as the parable of the compassionate and gracious seeking Father. After the minister had explained this parable of how the younger son left His Father's house and went his own way, but over time remembered His Father's house and returned there where he was welcomed and rejoiced over by everyone but his older brother, he gave a personal illustration of his experience.

He stated that he had grown up in the church, had been faithfully attending over the years, but his sister had gone into the world's ways. One night she knocked on the door, their father opened it and seeing her father, she cried, "Father, I have no place to go, I need to come home." At which her Father opened his big arms of love and embraced her pulling her inside their home. At which this minister, then young man of nineteen, challenged his father and said, "Father, you cannot take her in, she is a sinner." His dad replied, "You do not understand, she is my daughter and she will always be my daughter, I love her."

A recent personal experience
For a number of years I have wanted a GPS and this year I received one for Christmas from my daughter and her family. One programs a destination and the device will lead one to that point through visual and audio means. What has struck me with this device is that regardless of how many times one does not hear or heed the directions, the computerized voice recalculates a new route to get to the programmed destination. For me it has been an illustration of the relationship of grace that we enjoy in Jesus Christ, in that He always points us to Himself through His Word, not wanting us to lose our way, but to keep returning to Him. Therefore, I have named my GPS "Gracey" She reminds me that my name is Christian first of all, because of God's grace and mercy through His Son Jesus Christ.

May the Lord grant us the privilege of growing in His grace and knowledge as we continue in our relationship with Him.

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 01 Jan 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Gone but not Forgotten 1/08/2012
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob