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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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
The Ascension of Jesus 5.8.2016
Dear friend,

Thursday, May 5, was Ascension Day, and today is Mother's Day. Thursday is the remembrance of the day on which Jesus ascended to heaven after being on earth for 40 days after His resurrection. It is an important part of His ministry, an event of which we confess our belief, in the second article of the Apostle's Creed.

I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

Jesus is now enthroned in heaven, at the right hand of the Father (a place of power and authority) and it was after His ascension that He began His kingly rule. He accomplished the redemption of all humanity, and now through His ascension He is reigning as King over all. Below is a brief outline of His continuing work.

1. When Jesus ascended and sat down at the Father's right hand, the Father verified the accomplishment of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and confirmed that the final payment for sin had been made.

(Heb. 10: 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

2. When Jesus ascended, the intercessory work of Jesus on behalf of His people began. In this ministry, we are assured that we will always have access to the Father forever (1 John 2:1) (Hebrews 7:25)

KJV 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

KJV Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

3. When Jesus ascended, His eternal reign over all enemies began. As Peter wrote, "Now that He has gone into heaven, He is at God's right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him" (1 Pet. 3:22).

4. Finally, when Jesus ascended, the church was gifted and commissioned to preach the Gospel. Ephesians 4:8-12
Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Today as we reflect on the truth of the Ascension of Jesus, we are reminded that Jesus reigns over all creation, without exception and it is His longing that He would reign in our hearts and the hearts all our descendants. He established His kingdom of grace through entering into the human race, took our sin guilt and debt upon Himself, took our death, and was raised from the dead on Easter morning. He left us his church with call to shout out the Good News that God has forgiven them through Jesus and that they must come to the awareness of their sin and to know and to receive His gracious and merciful forgiveness of their sin.

Today is Mother's Day, and a day in which to reflect on motherhood. Every person has one thing in common: We all had mothers. Yesterday a woman's luncheon was held during which a devotion was shared from Proverbs 31, a passage in scripture which commonly is said to describe the ideal woman. I was inspired for today's message (through eavesdropping on the presentation) to include a list of some of the mothers that are included in the bible.

Before I present the list, I would like to point out that motherhood is not only related to giving physical birth, but more importantly it is described by Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. Let us listen to this conversation.

Mark 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Eve: Life
"Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living."
Gen. 3:20
Eve knew the heartache of losing a child after her son Cain killed his brother Abel. She had another son Seth. It was through Seth that the ancestry of Jesus Christ was established.

Rachel: Ewe
“And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son: and said, God hath taken away my reproach.”
Gen. 30:22-23
Rachel was the wife of Jacob and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob worked for Rachel’s father for 14 years. By the time they united, Rachel couldn’t conceive, but she pressed on, and God blessed her with a child.

Jochebed: Jehovah is Glory
"And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water."
Exodus 1:22-2:10
Jochebed was the mother of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. She gave up Moses and trusted him to God by creating a boat and setting him into the Nile after

Sarah: Noblewoman
“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. “Therefore from one man and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”
Hebrews 11:11-12
Sarah was the wife of Abraham and struggled to have a child until Isaac was born when she was in her 90s. Sarah went on to become the first Matriarch of the Jewish people.

Rebekah: Ensnarer
"And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is thus, why do I live?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger."
Gen. 25: 19-34
Rebekah was the mother of Jacob and Esau, the wife of Isaac. As her children grew up, she watched the rivalry. This conflict would become a divide for generations. Rebekah was known for her hard work and hospitality to strangers as she believed that they were sent by God.

Deborah: Bee
“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?” Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”
Judges 4:4-10
Deborah was a mother, prophetess, judge and lived for God despite the sin that influenced her land of Israel!

Ruth: Friendship
“But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

Ruth 1:16
When her husband died, Ruth cared for her widow mother-in-law, Naomi without complaint. God honored her faithfulness and blessed her with a husband and new family. She would become the mother of Obed and great-grandmother of Israel's king David.

Hannah: Grace
"And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, 'O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."

Samuel 1:10-11
God answered Hannah's prayer and she conceived Samuel. She filled her vow to the Lord and Samuel was taken to the temple and was entrusted to the priest. Because of her obedience, Samuel became the most famous prophet in Israel's history.

Mary: Rebellion
"When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you.”

John 2:3-5
Mary was the mother of the Savior of the world. How much pressure is that? It must have been hard to have the Son of God school you “[That He] is about doing his Father’s business.” She understood why Jesus was sent to earth, and watched Him tortured and killed. She put aside her wants for Gods.

Anna: Grace
"There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. There is nothing mentioned in the Bible about Anna being a mother However, this Prophetess worshipped day and night in the temple even after losing her husband and dealing with grief. She is important because she was an example to other mothers and women that time with God can heal brokenness."

Luke 2:36-38
There is nothing mentioned in the Bible about Anna being a mother However, this Prophetess worshipped day and night in the temple even after losing her husband and dealing with grief. She is important because she was an example to other mothers and women that time with God can heal brokenness.

Application: There were ten mothers that were mentioned, it may be that you connected one of these due to similar circumstances. They all struggled, but yet through it all trusted in God.

As we think of our mothers today, what would be one word that would describe her?
Secondly, what would be one word that those coming after you would use to describe us as a mother, remembering that Jesus ascribed motherhhood to those who are doing the will of His Father?

Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

The disciples were very despondent after the events of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday. They had huddled with fear behind closed doors in the afternoon, Jesus came to them there speaking peace and assurance to them. He then spent 40 days with them teaching them about their future work in His kingdom, telling them that the Comforter/Teacher was coming not many days in the future. Now as He left them to return to heaven, they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem to wait for the Promise of the Spirit, their hearts filled with great joy!

May we all continue to do the will of our Father, and in so doing fulfill our calling to our children.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 08 May 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Pentecost 5.15.2016
- 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.