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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The Seeking Father 3.6.2016
Dear friend,

Who is God? How have we come to know who He is?


Today's lesson is set up immediately by the first two sentences in the 15 chapter of Luke's Gospel. The outcasts were approaching Jesus to hear him, while the ruling church officials were talking against Jesus and His way of doing ministry.. To allow sinners and publicans to come to Him and worse than that, to eat with them was totally contrary to the rules and practices of the kingdom that was presided over by the Pharisees and scribes.

How does Jesus respond to them? He tells three stories which will proceed to illustrate who God is, for in these parables/stories, the heart of God toward both the sinner as well as the self righteous is revealed. For God is not who we think He is or who we think He should be. Rather He reveals Himself though His attitudes and actions as recorded in His Word.

KJV 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.

Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost; these three stories all address lostness: The lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost boys.


KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.


3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
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.

The first parable speaks to the value of one lost sheep, and of how shepherds would leave the ninety and nine, seek the lost one until it is found. When it is found, he would rejoice, and upon coming home, he would celebrate the recovery of the lost sheep with his friends and neighbors in community. The loss is community oriented and the recovery is community oriented. Furthermore, there is rejoicing in heaven before the Father. A shepherd was not something that the Pharisees and scribes would like to be associated with and to be referred to as a shepherd would have been an offense to them. Let us note that the sheep was not able to find itself. The emphasis is on the seeker.

Next Jesus...


8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

He points to the diligence of the woman, (again challenging their attitudes) who were not valued and honored in their culture, and of how she diligently seeks for the lost coin until she finds it. Again she shares her joy in community, the angels in heaven rejoice before the Father also. The coin had no ability to find itself. The emphasis is on the seeker.

Children's Lesson: Lost and Found! Show them ten coins, lose one of them and have them search for it until they find it, and watch the joy among them when they find it. The Seeking Father


Then Jesus gets to the third story.......and in this one He broadens out the story, so that now it involves both the lost and the seeker.. It is a story of two lost boys.

11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me

Here is the next challenge to the hearer. In that culture to ask for your inheritance would mean that you want your father dead, you want his stuff and want to do your own things. This is sometimes referred to as a Luke 12 moment. Unfortunately many have experienced this Luke 15:12 experience.....The expected reaction by the father of that culture would have been to beat the son for asking such a thing and order him to stop it. But what did his father do?


.15:12b And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

Luke 15:12 occurrence of leaving the Father's house. All have left the Garden of Eden but not all have grown up knowing the Father. Some have heard of the love of the Father, but have never known it, some have never even heard of it having grown up in the absence of His Word and the Christian community.

He began to be in want as he lost money, freedom and self respect in vs 14, 15, 16. Until we see our need why would we seek him? The Father's seeking won't mean anything until we begin to be in want. He was dirty, smelly and was badly in need of a bath.

His Father is watching and waiting.....for his son to turn to him in his want and need......



17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.


The pigsty turned out to be the door of opportunity for change. But not everyone is able to it in that way. Sin brings instant gratification, but provides no ultimate satisfaction. It is a broad road that leads to destruction. It is like drinking saltwater, in the end the thirst will be unquenchable. He began the journey back home, and as he approached his town, there came his father to meet him,

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. He was seeking his return, He was watching for him, when he saw him compassion rose up in him so that against all cultural taboos he ran through the town to meet His. Sin his leaving home had been known by the town and community, the son may not have made it through the town alive if his father would not have run to the outside of the town to meet him. The kiss that is described here is one of continually kissing, not just a one time kiss. Instead of the expectation of the culture in that the son would be rejected upon his coming back, the Father received him with joy.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

The son's prepared speech of repentance did not get completed as it seems he was cut off from saying anymore, and His Father received him back in full sonship, demonstrating this by putting on the emblems of sonship: The best robe, the ring and the shoes. Those emblems were for sons, and not slaves. He then called for a great celebration to be held in the house because....


What about the older boy

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

His father should have punished him according to culture expectations for his older boy humiliated him in front of his house, but His Father came out to kindly draw him into the house......

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
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.

The story ends here and we don't know if the older boy went into the house or not. That is not important, as this story was told by Jesus, yes for them in that culture, but He also told it for all people of all time, including you and I.

We heard of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost boys. May the Spirit of God which always points us to the seeking and waiting heart of our Father through Jesus Christ draw us towards the Father's house. There we will find Him waiting with open arms to receive us back to Himself, and there will be a great celebration of joy in the heart of the Seeker, in our individual heart, in the hearts of the community of believers, and in the realms of heaven with the angels and our Father.

May I close by placing four verses in this story that demonstrate the heart of our Father towards both of his lost boys........Let us think deeply upon these verses as we consider our attitudes and actions........

KJV Luke 15:12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

KJV Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

KJV Luke 15:28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

KJV Luke 15:31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

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.

In tenderness He sought me,
Weary and sick with sin;
And on His shoulders brought me
Back to His fold again.
While angels in His presence sang
Until the courts of Heaven rang.
Refrain
Oh, the love that sought me!
Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold.



May our meditations be blessed as we consider the seeking heart of our Father towards us and towards all.

One that was lost, but now is found! Praise God!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala



Posted on 06 Mar 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Grace of Repentance 2.28.2016

Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!!

Are there sinners that are worse than others and they deserve to be killed more than others? What about those who are killed by what appears to be chance? Are they "getting punished" by God? How does Jesus respond to these questions? Our lesson today is from the 13th chapter of Luke's Gospel and it addresses the questions that we have just considered.
In the latter part of chapter 12 of Luke's Gospel, Jesus has been teaching of the necessity of being prepared for His Second Coming..

12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
58 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.
59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.

Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

This portion of Luke's Gospel emphasizes our need to be prepared to receive the Lord when He returns for the last time. Jesus answers their question by shifting the focus from others to the hearers themselves and says to them after each situation: "I tell you, nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall likewise perish." He then in verses 6-9 uses a parable to reveal of the patience and longsuffering that His Father has towards those He wants to come to this place of changing their mind: repentance.

While He emphasizes the grace that is longsuffering and is offered through the metaphors of digging and dunging,(trials, suffering in life and God coming in His Word and Spirit to teach us) He again points to the heart of the hearer and of the need for their repentance. He is coming again and upon death all will receive their reward depending upon whether they have come to repentance and faith or not. Those who have received the grace of repentance towards God here in time and have received the Gospel of forgiveness through Christ by faith, will hear the words in Matthew 25:34b

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Those who rejected eternal life through not believing the Gospel of forgiveness through Christ will hear:

Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Dear friend, I have placed below some points below which show the contrast between what repentance is and what is it not. I hope that it will be beneficial for us to learn more of what Jesus was referring to when He spoke of repentance to this crowd. Each one of the paragraph's below are worthy of deep thought, of meditation and then of personal application into our own hearts and lives. I would like to use the last paragraph for an example to illustrate of what I mean.
Repentance is not just a conversion exercise, it is our daily, moment-by-moment lifestyle.
Let me start by saying that the tradition that we practice in our congregation of holding Lenten Services is a very needful one, for it is during these times that we remember the suffering of Jesus and are brought face to face with the awful knowledge that it was our sin that nailed Christ to the cross. And because God's wrath against sin had to be appeased/satisfied, wrath which we fully deserve, God poured out His wrath upon His Son instead of upon us. As we follow Jesus through His final weeks of His life, we pray that as we consider how Love denied Himself, of how Love suffered alone and of How Love died alone, (for our forgiveness) we pray that our hearts would reach towards the mercy of God that He has already poured out upon the world. May our hearts be like a sponge that has been freshly wrung out and is awaiting a fresh filling of the Water of Life through Jesus Christ. This is what repentance is about, for we by nature tend to move away from our Lord, and so it is necessary for Him to be calling us back to Himself through allowing us to experience our own weakness as well as placing before us His Word and His Spirit. In this way, He digs and He fertilizes.
Earlier in life, I thought that repentance was a one time event that I looked back upon as a day of being reborn, but as I grown in my knowledge of the Scriptures it is apparent that repentance is "not just a conversion exercise, it is our daily, moment-by-moment lifestyle." What does that mean?
It is not just admitting our sins, but confessing our sins, and not just the surface things, the dandelion heads, but getting to the root and the heart of the issues, dealing with the pride, dealing with the self-righteousness, dealing with being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. In all of that, that is the ground in which, the soil in which the Spirit starts to grow up the graces of Christ in us and to set us free.
Let me illustrate this with a personal example: Years ago my wife and I were discussing something and it came to a point at which she and I could not agree and therefore tensions began to rise. I remember saying that "this is how I feel and I am not changing my mind!" We went our separate ways, and as I thought more about it and why I was right in my "stand," a small still voice begin to speak the grace of repentance into my stubborn pride. It was not a judgmental voice, or a harsh voice, but it was One that was telling me that the division that had risen up between us was about a very small matter. By His grace, my heart began to soften towards my wife, and soon I found myself calling her up to share with her of how foolish and stubborn I had been with her in this. As we talked and assured each other that our differences were covered in the blood of Christ, peace and joy began to return into my heart and into the one heart that is between us. That is no greater joy to live and to walk in than in the peace of a good conscience which is enlightened by the Holy Spirit of God through His Word.
So, in conclusion, what a joy to walk in the grace of repentance, a grace that comes softly to us when we offend His Spirit, a grace that calls us back to "right thinking," and a grace that empowers us to lay down our lives for the sake and blessing of those around us.
Thank you, Lord, for the grace of repentance which you have given to us in Christ.
Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Below are some resources for your learning.

Repentance means changing one's mind and turning towards God
The verb translated "repent" in the New Testament (metanoeo) literally means "to perceive afterwards"; so that repent means "to change one’s mind or purpose" (Thayer). God commands all men everywhere to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). That is, God commands a change the mind and purpose concerning sin in one’s life. Turning to God for salvation cannot occur unless first there is repentance (a change of mind) toward sin. Repentance is not turning; it is the change of mind that produces turning to God. Paul declared the gospel "to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance" (Acts 26:20). First comes the repenting, then the turning.

Repentance involves sorrow over our sin
Godly sorrow results in repentance that leads to salvation: "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorry of the world produces death" (II Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow is directed toward God. Since sin is against Him, our sorry for our sin must first be turned heavenward (cf. Psalms 51:4).

Repentance means a changed life.
The fruit of repentance is borne in a changed life. Since what we do comes from the heart, when our heart changes our life will show that change. The person who continues to practice sin after claiming to have repented is deceiving himself (Romans 6:1-2).


Repentance is not denying and covering up sin.
There is no change of mind toward sin when our intent is to refuse to acknowledge our sin to God or to those we have sinned against. "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). Sin is only truly "covered" when it is forgiven by God: "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalms 32:1). Repentance is necessary for that forgiveness to occur.

Repentance is not simply being sorry for sin.
Judas was "remorseful" (NKJV) when he saw that Jesus was condemned to death, but his sorrow led him to suicide (Matthew 27:3-5). That’s not the action of godly sorrow that leads to salvation without regret (II Corinthians 7:10)! Herod was "exceedingly sorry" when Herodias’ daughter asked for John’s head on a platter. But, he stood by his rash oaths to save face, and killed John (Mark 6:26). Just being sorry for your sin does not mean you have repented (changed your mind and purpose about it).

Confession is a fruit of repentance, it is evidence that we have come to repentance.
Many people confess (acknowledge) their sin but never repent. Certainly one must admit his sin in order to be forgiven (I John 1:9). But confessing sin does not mean one has changed his mind about the sin.

Repentance is not just a conversion exercise, it is our daily, moment-by-moment lifestyle.
It is not just admitting our sins, but confessing our sins, and not just the surface things, the dandelion heads, but getting to the root and the heart of the issues, dealing with the pride, dealing with the self-righteousness, dealing with being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. In all of that, that is the ground in which, the soil in which the Spirit starts to grow up the graces of Christ in us and to set us free.
Posted on 28 Feb 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Seeking Father 3.6.2016
- 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.
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