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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I AM the Resurrection and the Life 11.1.2015
Jesus says: I AM the resurrection and the life! Whether it is remembering departed saints, or praying for those who are being persecuted for their faith around the world (IDOP) or whether it is ourselves living in a time when the powers of darkness are being unleashed against the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, we all have one thing in common as Christians: We have been united to the One who is the Resurrection and the Life and living in that reality, we will never die.

This message will reach its apex after Jesus enters a gloomy death scene, groans as He sees the consequence of mankind's fall into sin as death is there staring them in the face. As He groans at their inability to believe in Him as their Giver of Life, He then illustrates what it means to be raised from the dead by raising up a very dead Lazarus. Jesus was showing them the truth of His words "I AM the Resurrection and the Life." through the example of His raising of Lazarus even as He Himself would arise from the dead. He not only pointed to the reality of the resurrection from the dead, but in raising Lazarus He was demonstrating that death was going be done away with through His death and resurrection.

He came down to give us life, and as we seek to encounter our Living God in our places of worship this Sunday, may we again be renewed in the power of His resurrection unto life! May that same Spirit that raised Him from the dead that dwells in us have similar groanings toward those whom we encounter during our week to the end that we would encourage them with the words of the Gospel: __________________come forth! (and live)!

As I mentioned in the opening of this message, today is All Saints Sunday, a day in which the church remembers those who have died in the Lord. Originally it was intitiated in order to honor the memory of the 1000-3000 Christians who were martyred in the first 300 years after Jesus's resurrection.

The old English “hallowed” means holy, sanctified, “set apart” (as for service). Martin Luther’s 95 theses were meant for all Christians, or all “holy ones” “saints”. He posted them in 1517 on “All Hallow’s Eve”, or “All Saint’s Eve”, at the All Saints’ Church (the University of Wittenberg campus church) in Wittenberg, Germany

Martin Luther’s core message?: All Saints are saved by grace, through faith, revealed by God’s Word in Christ.

So where did the day originally come from? In the first 300 years of the church, so many were martyred for their faith that throughout the church days were set aside to remember all Saints.

Saint Polycarp, choosing Christ over Caesar: “Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

The earliest reference to a day being dedicated to the commemoration of All the Martyrs and All Saints of the Christian Church comes from the 2nd century. The document is titled The Martyrdom of Polycarp.

“…whenever we can gather together in joy and happiness, the Lord will allow us to commemorate the birthday of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already engaged in the struggle and as a training and preparation for those who are about to do so.”

Well-known early saints (from the 4th and 5th century) Ephraim the Syrian, Basil of Caesarea, and St. John Chrysostom also all speak of a common day set aside to remember and honor all the saints in the church.

Today we remember many of those who have been part of our congregation here in Kingston, Mn. May the Lord continue to heal those who are yet grieving, and may it give us resolve to perservere even as those who have gone before us have.

Regan Aho, Ed Branson, Elmer Branson, Ray Daniels, Dean Dorman, Kenny Dorman, Jake Fischer, Rachel Howk, George Huro, Jerry Huro, Mabel Huro, Russel Huro, _______Jarl, Rachel Jarvi, Lila Johnson, Joe Johnson, Phil Johnson, Louise Kilpela, Vivian Lennox, Anne Manninen, Sophie Marks, Lempi Myllykangas, Robert Oberg, Myarold Pick, JD Rahkola, Benji Schaaf, Bob Schaaf, Marjorie Schaaf, John Sauer, George Saukkola, Walter Somero, Ina Mae Somero, Dave Sprengler, Manda Sterner, Simon Sterner, Verdelle Sterner, Florence Wilson, Elsie Wirkkala and a number of other

In summary, let us not miss the significance of what Jesus did when He delayed coming to the aid of his friend, Lazarus, for in coming "too late" He was going to far far more good than keep one sole man alive, for in His raising of Lazarus He presented a foreshadowing of His resurrection from the dead for through it He brought life and immortality to all who will receive it. As I said earlier, death is gone for good for all those who answer in true faith: , "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world."

May our hearts be lifted up in praise to the Giver of Life today!!!!!!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 01 Nov 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Let God be God! 10/25/2015

Let God be God
Repent and believe your sin forgiven!

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

When we as humans are living under the power of original sin, we will not and cannot "let God be God". Rather, we will determine who God is according to our way of "seeing" the things of religion in our egocentric nature. In other words, we will not "Let God be God!" We understand very clearly that in the absence of the illuminating and revealing power of the Holy Spirit, we will alway reject that which God has done for us in Christ, but even as believers in whom the Holy Spirit dwells we yet lean far towards thinking that we are "letting God be God," but in reality we are yet living in our own self created image of God.

Nearly 500 years ago in Germany a monk named Martin Luther came to the realization that he would never accomplish righteousness in himself.
From the revelation of the Gospel revealed in Romans 1:16-17, He discovered that God's righteousness was given to him from outside of himself, for it was an alien righteousness that was gifted to him through the merits of the only Sinless One, Jesus the Christ, a gift that is received by faith. In other words, he finally came to see that in order to receive the benefit of the atoning work of Jesus the Christ, he must "Let God be God!"

In our Reformation Day sermon this Sunday, we will revisit our brother Martin's experience of coming to see that only by "letting God be God" via revelation from heaven would he come to peace with his God. Before he thought that God was an angry God, but now due to seeing the glory of God as revealed in the cross of divine judgment and mercy, all became new. He now melted in the presence of that same divine judgment and grace, recognizing for the first time that God's judgment had indeed come, but that the Innocent One had bore the shame and guilt for his sin, and he, Martin had been granted divine mercy.

Lord, please open up the Gospel to everyone this Sunday and everyday so that we all might by your grace "Let You be God.!" Therefore, change our/your minds about God and believe that your/our sin is forgiven.......and swim in the depths of His divine mercy.

How do we "let God be God?" From "Let God be God" by Philip Watson 1947 "Luther gained a new conception of God, or rather, he entered into a new relationship to God, a relationship established not on the basis of Luther's righteousness (his fulfilment of the commandment of love toward God according to the Law) but on the basis of God's righteousness, i.e. God's fulfilment of His promises of love, according to the Gospel, toward Luther... The love of God became no longer primarily our love for Him, but His for us; the work of God which He effects in us....He must (a believer) must seek to comprehend, not the 'divine essence;, but the 'divine will and affection', not God as He is in Himself, but in His relation to men...For Luther the forgiveness of sins means very much more than a doctrine to be "believed" and much more also than a merely subjective experience. It is a real act of God, the living God, through Christ, the living Christ, by which God Hiimself, in sheer unmerited love, establishes communion with sinful man."

On a personal basis, I had what I have come to know as a "Luther experience" as I had similar struggles for many years not yet understanding that God had justified me through the cross and that it was not by asking of forgiveness that kept me right with Him. Until the day came when a dear brother in Christ whom I especially remember at this time of the year (Reformation) asked me a question: "When were you saved?" "I said that I have always believed so I suppose I could say that I have always been a believer." Well, he then quietly told me that I was saved 2000 years ago on the cross of Christ. I looked at him in bewilderment and did not say much more, but eventually left, but my mind was whirling with this latest revelation through this brother. A week later after struggling with what he had shared with me, after much asking God for the truth, after searching the scriptures and after talking to other believers, one day the lights came on and all the confusion of the many years of struggling to please God with my thoughts, my attitudes and my actions went tumbling into His vast sea of grace.

I could hardly believe it, that I was pure and righteous before Him solely through His righteousness! That was when my life began anew and it has only gotten more clearer as He has opened up to me more and more the beauty of what Luther and millions of others have come to see since the Gospel was unleashed in the early church and when it was re-discovered during the Reformation by Martin Luther. It has a power of its own and we need to simply let it do its work whereever He pleases and wills to do so.
What has been your experience in relation to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are you letting God be God today?

Let God be God!! We receive that which He gives, which is the grace of repentance and the forgiveness of our sin through Christ Jesus.

Blessed Reformation Day!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 30 Oct 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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I AM the Resurrection and the Life 11.1.2015
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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