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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Thanksgiving and Sharing Pastor Alvin Holmgren
Our national day of thanks provides an opportunity for us to count our blessings. It is a special heritage we have received from our pilgrim fathers. The desire for freedom of worship prompted them to come to this new land. The worship of God was the important priority of their lives. It caused them to embark upon a long and dangerous sea journey and a challenging venture to establish homes in a new and unexplored land. But they set out! Freedom at all costs was their goal!
From those early coloniat days, this good example has been followed in our nation. We believe that the first thanksgiving was not only a feast on the harvest of their crops, but a festival of thanks to the Lord for His providence--for sparing their lives, for religious freedom, for ample food, and for the friends they had made among the natives. Together these two peoples shared a feast of thanksgiving.
Traditionally thanksgiving has been a time of sharing with our extended family and friends. It is a happy occasion when we can sit down together with our loved ones at tables laden with food, enjoying the heritage of freedom which has been obtained and preserved for us throught the blessing of God and the sacrifices of many sons and daughters. We owe a debt of gratitude to our Heavenly Father and to the early fathers of this nation. May our hearts respond with gratitude and praise this thanksgiving.
For us as Christians there should be an additional dimension to our thanksgiving. May it not only be a time of sharing with our own, but a sharing that extends beyond the circle of family and friends.
We have many blessings to share. First of all, we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. OUr gratitude to God for His salvation can best be expressed by sharing the hope we have with others. When we possess something as valuable as eternal life, we want all others to become partakers of it, too. To say that we value this gift of eternal life and be unwilling to share that hope with others is a contradiction. Jesus said: "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God, but he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8-9)
The practical side of our Christianity is the giving of ourselves and of our talents and of our goods. When St. Paul was enroute to Jerusalem for the last time, he spoke touching message to the Ephesian elders. He said: "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city saying that boinds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know ye all, among whom I ahve gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face not more" (Acts 20:22-25) Then he charged them with these words: "I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)

(Reprinted from November 1986)
Posted on 09 Nov 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Final Segment Pastor Steve Wuori 10/29/09

And then he was curious, as to, just how long should our patience last? And I don't know about you, but have you ever had someone sin against you seven times? Directly against you? And you have not been tempted to think a little bit? It is hard to imagine someone that many times sinning against us, directly, we become resentful, and certainly our patience begins to wear thin. And Peter, the most impetuous of all the disciples, he is the one asking the question because his reaction was like lightning. And he's saying, shall I give him seven chances? And as we so well know, Jesus says to him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Which is almost an an uncountable number to even imagine that we would forgive and forgive, and forgive, and forgive seventy seven time over. If seven was hard to imagine, seventy times seven is two hundred forty nine, isn't it? I can do very good math, but I can tell you, it's a lot, it's many, many many times of forgiveness. What Jesus is saying is not to start the clock and let it click down to 249..490., I was testing you, anyway 490 times and, he is not saying that at all, but He's saying it's more times that you could ever dream of, it more times than you could ever imagine, that you would have to forgive.

And all we can conclude from that is you can never not forgive, your can never reach the end of your rope, where your patience happens to have run out. And then, you are not going to forgive anymore. You can't. I can't, we can't, but we must forgive, always. And then if we had the time we could go through this description of the one who is forgiven much, that large debt of 16 million dollars worth or some large number and then he turned around and from someone who owed him 100 pence took him by the throat and said, "Pay me what you owe!" And how many time perhaps have you sinned against the Lord Jesus Christ? Or against God? Til 7 times? Till 490 times? Don't count, because you'll never ever pin it down. We cannot possibly know because we cannot divide sin into such discreet elements that we can say there is one sin and there is another, but we are sin. And therefore, we are wholly guilty, not in the numbers of times, but in such a way that we cannot even imagine. And so therefore the debt we have been forgiven is that debt of 10,000 talents.

It is a huge debt, we could not pay, we cannot start making payments on it. We cannot possibly being to earn the merit and favor of our heavenly Father. Because of what we are and because of what we have done. And therefore, we give all thanks and praise and glory and honor unto our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has taken that incalcuable debt and has forgiven it, so that even this evening, we are free living children of God. And if there is anyone here who has never experienced or tasted of that goodness of God, has never had need for repentance, if you are among the 90 and 9 just persons that needed no repentance, pray that the Word of God would impress upon you that you have a debt that will be paid by blood, one way or another. The wages of sin is death, it is always point in blood. The blood of Jesus has covered it.
Believe that, trust that, repent and believe. Otherwise your blood will pay for it. And it can never be adequate, it can never pay. And so look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith. He is the one who begins the work. He is the one who concludes the work. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the ending. The first and the last. Submit yourselves to Him. Believe in His words, trust in Him in that He has said. Pray that the good seed is sown within your heart. And that it will grow into that big and strong and powerful faith. That 60 foot oak, or that big mustard seed bush, or the canola bush, whatever it is, much more in appearance than what it was, that tiny seed that is sown into the heart. May God strengthen and bless and keep each one of us, May He take this seldom used place, of the Scripture, especially those few verses and add to his blessing within our hearts that we may grasp, that we may apprehend the importance of it. And my we look at one another with love and with favor. May we love one another as He has commanded us to do and may we always seek to be restored one with another. Because when we are rejoicing together, the rejoicing is great. The rejoicing is great when we see how different we are in so many ways, and yet we see that we are knit together in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. May his love therefore carry us this night and for the rest of this weekend and until the point where we no longer need faith and we no longer need hope, but only the love of God will remain. In Jesus Name, Amen."

Pastor Steve Wuori

Posted on 29 Oct 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Thanksgiving and Sharing Pastor Alvin Holmgren
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.