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

From the InterLutheran Theological Seminary
September 2009

Dear Friends,

Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: 22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
(Daniel 2:20-22 KJV)

Living means dealing with changes. Some of them are easy to take and some of them more difficult. Daniel the prophet certainly understood this as he was carried off into exile as a young child and grew up in a land foreign to him. Still Daniel never lost heart and God remained faithful to him revealing the meaning of dreams to him and giving him visions of His work in progress. It is doubtful that as a boy Daniel would have chosen to live in exile yet God purposed to do so and brought great joy and comfort to Daniel working a strong faith in him through difficult circumstances.

The decision to serve in full-time ministry isn’t an easy one. It often means severe changes in life-style not only for the minister but also for family members and other loved ones. Yet from personal experience one can freely testify that God always remains faithful throughout and even in the time of difficult changes makes His presence known in ways unimaginable.

One of the clearest ways God brings this comfort is through the support of the body of Christ. The two most obvious ways are prayer and financial support but it also comes through a kind word or remembrance, a verse of encouragement and thankfulness or thought expressed to offer exhortation to pursue the calling.

It is our prayer that as we begin this new school year you would continue to remember all of us here as we go through the changes God puts us through to refine us. Pray for us and remember us in your giving. Bless us with your words and encouraging thoughts. Remember those that God has called to the harvest as they face the challenges of going through the necessary changes of a good training. We also remember you and your many kindnesses to us and will continue to pray for, encourage and speak well of you.

God’s Peace,
Jay Weidner
Posted on 16 Sep 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Children on the lap of Jesus
Mark 10:13-16 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Just before I got up to preach on Sunday, I was captivated by the little child being held in her grandmother's lap in the middle part of our church and how the child appeared very content and happy in the lap of the one who loved her and cared for her, and as a result of this in my mind and heart, something leaped inside of me which related to the need for children to know that they are loved by Jesus. This knowledge is received from their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, pastors, brothers and sisters and so on... and they receive it or do not receive it depending upon how the adult has received it or has not received it from Jesus. That is why the main influence on children and their continuing and growing knowledge of the heart of Jesus toward them is mainly communicated to children by them being loved and appreciated by those who have the care and nurturing of them. As Jesus through demonstated love responded to the young children being brought to him, he used them as a model for those who seek to enter into His kingdom, as he took the children into his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. What reminder for us of the need children have to be held in loving embraces by those who do love them as they teach them about the love of Jesus toward them.

The fruit of success of our Sunday School is directly related to how we transmit that which we have received, not so much the words, but out the sense of the heart of Jesus toward children. As important as Bible Stories are, and as important as it is for children to memorize Bible verses and Catechism lessons, the most important concepts that need to be transmitted at their age is that Jesus loves them, for the Bible tells them so.

Having said all that, I am very thankful for the heart that our congregation has for the children, for it is a reflection of the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. It has been said that a nation will go according to the way they view their children (that is not a good picture for our country). In the same way, a congregation will go according to how we live before our young, both in loving them as well as guiding them. The older they get, the more they need biblical teaching of truth, as they grow in the knowledge of both their acceptance with God by grace as well as their responsibility to walk in the light of the truth, so as to be a light in this dark world.

"Jesus took them up into his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." This is my continued prayer for our Sunday School, that through all the actions and lessons that our children receive from us, that they could grow in their awareness of the love of Jesus for them. All of you as parents are doing a great job of demonstrating this love, and thereby, transmitting this knowledge to your children. Thank you, each of you."

A fellow child of God in the lap of Jesus,

Pastor Orval
Posted on 09 Sep 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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From the InterLutheran Theological Seminary
- 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.