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

"Be Imitators of God" 5/5/2013
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Ephesians 5:1-2

Dear friend,

This weekend it has been our privilege to have our brother, Pastor Rodney Johnson, in our midst for a series of services and seminars. He was born in this area, was baptized and confirmed in our congregation and after leaving this area has served in pastoral ministry for around 40 years in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The overall theme of both his preaching in the worship services and his teaching in the seminars has been "Be imitators of God." On Friday night he preached from Paul's letter to the Ephesians (4:1:-5:2) with the ending thought and application of the message contained in the two verses of chapter 5:

'Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

It has been a time of blessing for me as I have sat and listened to our brother share from the Word of God, and as he illustrated many of the truths that he is teaching in practical ways through his own life's experiences as well as by using examples from nearly 40 years of his pastoral counseling ministry.

On Saturday he taught two seminars about relationships, the first of which focused on communication: conflict in communication and how to resolve conflict in communication. The second seminar was targeted for married couples and entitled "Effective Communication/Keeping Love Alive." These sessions were filled with biblical teaching broke down into understandable concepts through personal stories combined with humor and wit. We were given many handouts that are designed to be tools that if personallly utilized and applied could bring improvement and success to our relationships. Within a few weeks we hope to post both the audio files as well as the pdf handouts on our website at kingstonalc.com. If you have any questions, please email me using the contact information on our website.

Since Pastor Rod is bringing the message this morning, I will not post my usual sermon transcript, but instead will write a little concerning as to how these two verses (Ephesians 5:1-2) have been opened to me by the revelation of the Holy Spirit through the Word as well as through my relationship with Pastor Rod. These two verses tell us what to do and from what example we are to do it. We are to be imitators of God as his children by walking in the same love with which Christ loved us and gave himself for us. As we do that the offering of our lives in love will be a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

God is love and because He is love, He loves. He can be no other, he can do no other. Therefore as we grow in our understanding of the meaning of love and as we grow in the experience of love, we find ourselves moving away from what is in it for me towards: "How may I serve others in love?". This has huge impact in our everyday relationships, and especially in our closest ones such as our families of origin, our marriages and in our congregations. Allow me to retrace my experience in what I tend to call "God's school of love."

When my wife and I were first married, I did not understand what love was, but I knew that I wanted to be with her more than anything else in all the world, but yet it was largely about what was in it for me. As we struggled through the first five years of marriage and as she patiently sought to teach me about love, I began to understand that when I served her without expectations she blossomed and reciprocated, but if I did it grudgingly or because it was something I had to do, our marriage did not flourish, but ended up being more like a business arrangement. I could see that when I loved her without my wrongful expectations, she reciprocated for she was energized to give love in return.

As we grew in our knowledge and experience of love, we grew closer and closer as we enjoyed the joy of being together in all aspects of a marriage. We have had over 40 years of being together in deepening love and intimacy. Then came an experience with Pastor Rod that opened up an entire new realm of love...Please read on.

A couple of years ago I took a counseling class on line in which Pastor Rod was the instructor. One day he was telling us that he is troubled now that his wife was in an advanced stage of Alzheimer's. As we listened, he began to tell us that he is wondering from where is he going to find the capacity to love his wife through all of this. Wow, I thought, is he being honest!! He went to to say that he and his wife have had over 50 years of their wonderful marriage, but now, in his humaness and honesty, he was baring his soul before us, wondering..

He told us that as he was thinking and praying on this, he received what he referred to as an epiphany, (revelation) He said that he heard something like this from our Lord. "Dear son, I have blessed you with a beautiful marriage with your wife and now through the responsibility and privilege of loving her when she cannot reciprocate,(serving her) I am presenting to you the opportunity to grow deeper in the knowledge of my love. It will be through serving her in love that you will be able to grow even deeper in the knowledge of my love for you. It will be through the deeper understanding and knowledge of my love for you that you will be empowered to love your wife as my abundant love flows through you into her."

Wow.......Wow......Lord, is this what you mean when you call us to be "imitators of you?" Yes, replies our Lord through His Word.

We might say, well, it works for Pastor Rod, but what about us? Will it work for me if I come to that place? Will I be able to love my spouse if she needs extreme care? Will my spouse love me if I am not able to love in return? There is a lot to think about, for we all have our own situation to which this principle applies, for sure.

Are we an imitator of God in our own home with spouse? We all struggle with our selfish nature, and God understands that, but nevertheless He calls upon us to grow in his grace and knowledge. When we do that, we will see more and more of how He loved us while we were yet sinning initially, he continues to love us while we still sin, he yet loves us while we often times spurn his love........He does not turn away from us, for he loves us.

He loves us because he is love. Rather than turn away from us, he loves us with the desire that we would love him in return with the love that he has and does love us with. He never turns away in disgust and impatience, but he loves us, loves us, loves us.....................

I am thankful for Pastor Rod coming to be with us here in our area. I am being refreshed and renewed in the knowledge of God's love once again, so that I am again seeing others as people to love and to care for, to nourish, to strengthen, to inspire and so forth. I am thankful for his willingness to be vulnerable in the sharing of his knowledge and of his experience so that I/we will be encouraged, instructed and empowered to serve others even as God served us.

May we say when we understand arightly, that "Love seeks ways to serve?" Yes, I believe we may.

May we be "Imitators of God" today and always!

Grace and Peace to you today!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala








Posted on 05 May 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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