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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Called, Equipped, Sent
Dear friend,
On the Day of Pentecost the Lord poured out His gathering Spirit in order to declare the "wonderful works of God," that Comforter whom Jesus had promised would come when He "went away." (John 16:7). We have been called through the Gospel by this Spirit into His kingdom, we have been endowed with our own unique gifts by Christ, (Ephesians 4:7) and therefore we have the privilege to collectively use those gifts for the gathering of other souls into His kingdom.

Today we are going to experience a presentation of Destiny E.W.O. (Elderly, Widows, Orphans) by one of its board members as well as by one of our confirmation students, Elise Seifert. The foundation of their organization is grounded in the following two Bible verses:

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.....

1 Corinthians 12:12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

Destiny E.W.O. is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus through being His vessels of blessing to the needy both here in the United States as well in Uganda. They recognize the truth that as Christians we have many opportunities to demonstrate that the love of God dwells in us through our laying down of lives for those whom we serve.

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

In our two scripture readings today we heard of the testimonies of a fellow believer from the OT and from the NT. Isaiah saw and experienced the holiness of the Lord and as a result saw himself as sinful and unworthy until he was assured that his sin had been purged/forgiven. As a result of knowing and experiencing that His Lord had cleansed him from his sin, when the question went out as to who would go to tell others, he responded:
"Here am I; send me."

Apostle Paul wrote of his sinful past, the Lord's grace and mercy and of that mission that the Lord gave to him.

1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The Apostle recognized Jesus Christ had shown him mercy for an example for others. In other words, others could receive encouragement that if Paul had been granted mercy, surely they would receive mercy also.

Jesus, full of and moved with compassion pointed to the multitudes who were as sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

After He has said this to them, He appointed them to be his disciples. I wonder if they were thinking about the "other guy" when he called them to be his disciples........

KJV Matthew 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

1. The harvest is great.
2. The laborers are few.
3. All are to pray to the Lord of the harvest.
4. He is the one who calls, equips and sends laborers.

1. He has called us
2. He has equipped us. (He equips the called, rather than calls the equipped)
3. He wants to first of all pray to Him that He will send forth laborers into the harvest.

Lord, truly the harvest is great, but the laborers are few. So in accordance with your Word, we lifting up our hearts and voices to You, the Lord of the harvest, asking that you will send forth laborers into your harvest.

So Lord, you spoke this 2000 years ago, and things are the same today. The numbers that have not been gathered in are great and the harvesters are few. We pray that you will send forth more gatherers into your kingdom. Lord, it is easy to pray that you would send other laborers into your harvest, but what about ourselves? Shouldn't we be open to being sent?

Are all sent into some kind of service for you, Lord? "Yes, you are, and the substance is the same regardless of your age, your position of your relationship to others."

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

All need to hear the gospel of Christ, "Your sins are forgiven through the name and blood of Jesus Christ!" We sometimes lose sight of that which God has done through Jesus for the entire world, in that He has redeemed them from their sin, but they either have not heard about it or have not received it when told about it. We also sometimes lose sight of how God sees them, wrongfully thinking that He has already rejected them.......He longs for them to come to him.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Some years ago I was listening to a young woman giving her testimony of working in an office in which her coworkers had quite a different view of God than she did. She related of how the Lord had been telling her through His Spirit that her actions were important as a Christian since those watching her would recognize that she had different values and loyalties than they did. But she went on to say that He was telling her that she needs to tell them of what He has done for them on the cross, in other words, share the Gospel with them.

She went on to say that as she thought through of how to approach the gospel with them, that she had a revelation of what happened at the cross that she had never understood before. She said that all her life she had looked at those who were living in their flesh as judged of God and in whom God was displeased/angry with. But as she read the scriptures, and the Gospel begin to open up to her she realized that she had been wrong in her approach, not understanding that when God had reconnected the world to Himself through Jesus, that is what it meant. He had atoned for the sin of the world by placing them on His Son, His wrath against sin had been appeased and He now looked at all humanity through the redemptive work of Christ.

Well, some would say, then all people are going to heaven because of what Jesus did on the cross. No, because as John writes in the 17th verse of the third chapter "He that believes is not condemned, but he that believes not is condemned already." Now this young lady had a whole new understanding of how she viewed those she longed to bring to the knowledge of what God had done for them. So she posed a question for them and it went something like this:

"Do you know where you are in relation to God?" She did not share of their responses to her question, but as you can see it gave her a whole different outlook on her coworkers as she now saw them through the eyes of God in His redemptive work in His Son. She was able to tell them that through the cross they have been redeemed and her prayer for them was that they would receive this gift of forgiveness by believing that which God had done for them.

Through the years many have told me that it is too good to be true that God would be so gracious, for they had sin in their past that in their mind was too great for anyone to ever forgive, even God in Christ. Even though I have done my best to encourage them to believe what God has done for them, nevertheless they have struggled to do so. I have prayed with them and for them, knowing that only the Holy Spirit is able to open their eyes to see that which has been done for them.

So as we close this writing, may we be mindful of the words that Jesus spoke to all, "Pray to the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth laborers into His harvest." As said earlier, it is the substance of the message that is of utmost importance, that through Christ you are forgiven: Believe it! Our stations will vary and different responsibilities will be ours, but the message is always the same: Believe your sins forgiven through the name and blood of Jesus Christ!

May we pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would send laborers into his harvest, who would preach the message of the gospel. May we be open to being a vessel of His grace and mercy!

May we continue to believe the gospel message today and always!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 22 May 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Pentecost 5.15.2016
Dear friend!

In our three scripture readings today, (Genesis 11:1-9, Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:1-21) we are presented with the greatest of contrasts. For we hear of fallen humanity seeking to build a tower in order to make a name for themselves (after the flood that destroyed all life on land except those who were in the Ark) and we hear of the Prophet Joel prophesy towards the Day when the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all flesh.

There is a stark contrast in that which fallen humanity was attempting to accomplish vs that which those who spoke under the influence of the Holy Spirit brought to the hearers in Jerusalem on that day. While humanity focused on their abilities and what they could do, the Word that all present on the Day of Pentecost heard was of the "wonderful works of the Lord." i.e, what the Lord had already accomplished through Jesus Christ, the Promised Messiah and Savior.

Through Jesus, God poured Himself out unto all flesh, through His suffering and death, was raised from the dead, ascended to heaven and 10 days later, with great noise and fire came the Promise of the Father: The Holy Spirit of God!!! He is here and is on the move mightily, urging us to faith in Christ and in so doing, equipping us to be sent out to tell others of what God has done for them.

The call still goes out: whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (2:21b)

Let us read of this amazing happening, which occurred approximately 1983 years ago.

KJV Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

May we backtrack to John's Gospel in order to be reminded who this Spirit is......Who not what.

He is eternal
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

He is the Teacher of Truth
14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

He is the Spirit of Truth
15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

He it the Convicter, Convincer.
16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

He reveals Christ
16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Coming of the Spirit and the Sending of the Church (slide)

God wants us so much that He has made a wide way to get to Him, for He has made a door in Christ. Anyone that wants to come through that door will be saved. The world has changed. We cannot be a fort, but we need to be like a base camp, as a way to reach out into the world to reach the lost. We can curse the evils of the day or we can looks for ways to reach out.

We need a renewal of the Holy Spirit of God, where the people all around us become worth reaching, they are worth all the effort that we can give to do that. This is where we are at. God knows what He is doing, He is bringing about a renewal in His way. He brought about a renewal when He scattered the people in the beginning so that they would obey His command found in Genesis:

KJV Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

God has been on the move since the beginning, and we as mankind have continually looked for ways to do our own thing since our rejection of God. He has not stopped coming for us, neither will He stop until the end. Many ask me as they look at the state of our nation and ask: "How much will God take before He comes down" and they usually are thinking of judgment on those who are doing evil.

But let us think more closely and get our thinking right. God has come down in judgment already, for He came down and took the judgment on Himself in His Son on the cross. Those "others" do not deserve any more judgment than we do, for we are all guilty, every last one of us. Let us be careful in calling judgment down on others, and instead let us be thankful that we have been freed from judgment by God. We not only have been freed but we are now being sent to set those who are living in the denial and rejection of God in order to bring them to freedom. Real freedom!!

Are we living in this freedom which has come to us as a result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all mankind? Has He worked repentance towards God and faith in Christ in our heart? If not, why have you not received this great gift of forgiveness through Christ by the power of His Spirit? What does it take for a heart to turn away from self and towards God? Let us consider this testimony of a Civil War Major as we think on the work of God's Spirit in our life.

"Whittle rose to the rank of Major and while leading a charge, actually filling in, and he was wounded in his sword arm which led to the amputation of his arm and a stay in a prisoner of war camp. It was while he was in this POW camp that out of boredom he began to search for something to read. He found in his personal effects the little New Testament that his Mother had placed there. He read through the New Testament in a matter of days and started through it again.
One night the nurse woke him up and told him that one of his men was dying and had been begging for someone to pray for him. The nurse told Major Whittle that he (the nurse) was a wicked man and could not pray. Major Whittle confessed that he too was wicked man with many sins in his own life and could not pray either. The nurse said that he thought Major Whittle was a Christian because he had observed him constantly reading the Scripture and the Major Whittle did not cuss as the other men. The nurse begged Major Whittle to at least accompany him to see the boy as he did not want to return alone.
Moved with compassion, Major Whittle reluctantly agreed. Here, in Major Whittle's own words, is what took place that night: "I dropped on my knees and held the boy's hand in mine. In a few broken words I confessed my sins and asked Christ to forgive me. I believed right there that He did forgive me. I then prayed earnestly for the boy. He became quiet and pressed my hand as I prayed and pleaded God's promises. When I arose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace had come over his troubled face, and I cannot but believe that God who used him to bring me to the Savior, used me to lead him to trust Christ's precious blood and find pardon. I hope to meet him in heaven."

In his amazement as to the workings of God, the Major then later wrote this following hymn:

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own. Refrain:
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

May the blessings of Pentecost be poured out again upon us anew through His Spirit!!!!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 15 May 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Called, Equipped, Sent
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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