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

Who may I show kindness to?
Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Dear friend,

May the abundant grace of God our Father and His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with us today and always! Amen.

A wonderful day of His grace again has dawned upon us, the rain has fallen upon us, the crops are greening up very well and we have another day in which to rejoice in the day He has made. He has made the day that we see and enjoy with our physical senses, but more than that we by faith and experience know that the day that we live in is an eternal day, a day which began with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and which continues forever and forever. It is only the cycles of the universe that cause the night and day cycle, but we as children of the Light walk in the day (the Light) continually with the promise from Jesus that when we walk in the Light we shall not stumble so that we would fall into the darkness.

As I approach this lesson I thought of how important it is for all of us to have regular physical health checkups with the doctor, so that if one would have contracted an illness it could be treated early in order to ward off a potential serious sickness. It is even more important that once we have been diagnosed with an illness that we would get regular testing done in order to determine as to the state of our illness/disease.

How much important would it be to have checkups in our spiritual life, as since we yet live in this world and are yet subject to not seeing as God sees, to not hearing as God hears and to not feeling as God feels. We are subject to forgetfulness of what it means to be a Christian, to be a follower of Christ as one in whom Christ dwells. We in our religious zeal often times place conditions and requirements in front of ourselves and in front of others which God Himself has not done. In our lesson today, Jesus is going to teach us that difference between religion (man's work) and Christianity (God's work). Another way to say it would be that one comes to "be" a Christian before they "do." It is not that we "do" to become a Christian, but it is that because we are a Christian we "do." Perhaps as we go through this teaching of Jesus what I have introduced here will become more plain.

Here is the part of the scripture that we will consider today in light of what I have already written above.

Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care do of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

We see in this parable that Jesus used to teach the lawyer (and us) that there were three that came upon the man left half dead, and who had no clothes on. The first two did not minister to him because either they did not know what nationality he was as he could not speak or they could not tell by his dress who people he belonged to. They both were bound by the rules that had been established by the hierarchy of their religious organization so they could not help him for fear of violating their rules.

The third one, a Samaritan, when he came by had compassion on him when he saw him. He went to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn to take care of him. The next day before he left ht took out two days wages, gave it to the host and told him: "Take care of him; and however much more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you."

Please allow me to give a little more cultural background to this account in order that we might understand what it must have been like to be living in that time.

For those listening, the responses and reactions by the first two (priest and Levite) would have drawn affirmative responses by them, as all that they had been taught and knew about how to "do" religion was "done" by the priest and the Levite in relation to the man lying by the road, half dead. But what do you think the audience said when the name of the Samaritan came up? We must remember that the prejudice and animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans was of hatred and separation. We recall this previous account of how this was played out as Jesus began his journey towards Jerusalem and the cross.

Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

The audience would have gasped, and perhaps said in their minds: "This cannot be, how can one who is not part of our religion and how we practice be one that is the hero of the story? The Samaritans are not part of God's chosen people, so it is impossible that they could be right! Who do you think you are anyway, Jesus, using a dog like the Samaritans as an example of God and yourself?"

Let me continue on to the part about the Good Samaritan bringing the man to the inn. A noted scholar, Kenneth Bailey, who has lived, studied and taught in the middle East for many years and who understands very well the cultural patterns and thinking stated that for the Samaritan to bring the man to the inn would be like an Indian bringing a scalped cowboy into the city of Dodge. That would certainly be done at very great risk.

Those are two bits of info which should help us to understand of the walls of animosity that were between the cultures, but are walls that God has broken down by the cross of Christ, as Apostle Paul explains to us.

Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

The scripture plainly teaches that God has bought back fallen humanity through the cross by the blood of Christ, and all animosity that existed between God and ourselves is erased in grace. He is our Peace and coming to Him in our brokenness and need, He give us peace of soul, for we are forgiven and accounted as righteous by faith. As a believer in Christ, we have been embedded with His love by the Holy Spirit, the love that loves others as we have been loved by Him.

On occasion I ask myself this question: Is my religion or relationship with Christ more like the lawyer in that I consider how much I have been doing for God as the plumbline of my spiritual health? Or does within me lie the love that God has downloaded into my by His Spirit, a love that is on the lookout for opportunities to serve others? As I ask God to help me see rightly and to see as He sees, He comes to me by His Spirit with comfort and assurance that I am His, and at times brings to my mind those opportunities that I have missed because of various reasons: fear, complacency, business, prejudice etc.

When we sit before the Lord, it is good to ask Him to open up unto us those areas that we could show mercy, which says something like this: "Who is there that I can show mercy and helpfulness to? Just think of the difference between religion which says "what are the requirements to get and to remain in good standing with God" vs "Lord, you have showed such great mercy to me that I am overflowing with gratitude, please open my eyes to those who I may show mercy to!!!"

Oh, dear Lord, help us to see as you do, think as you do, feel as you do for all human beings everywhere!!

If I may, I would like to present a couple of opportunities in which we as a congregation have opportunity to show the spirit of helpfulness to those who are in need.

Our annual VBS (Vacation Bible School) will be held this year from August 1 through August 5 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Everyone in this congregation is presented with an opportunity to serve our youngest neighbors: children. You might ask, how could I serve?

1. Pray for those children who will be coming or who could potentially come. We could begin with our family......

2. Give of our time, our abilities or our gifts.

John and Laurel Anderson have given us trees that were blown over by the wind in the Sleepy Eye area a couple of weeks back. We are soliciting people, chain saws, a wood splitter and a truck by which to take advantage of this kind offer to us.

After the service today, please let me know as to how you might be able to help us take advantage of this generous offer.
We are planning to go down there one day this week in order to begin the job.

Lord, how we pray today that your Spirit would so move us so that we would leave this assembly today with such a bountiful heart of gratitude towards you that we would be overflowing with love towards you and towards all. Lord, may it be that way today, or with anyone who is reading this writing. Lord, open our hearts to your love.........

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 10 Jul 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Temptation of Jesus
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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2/28 7:00 pm:Lent Service
3/7 7:00 pm:Lent Service
3/14 7:00 pm:Lent Service
3/21 7:00 pm:Lent service
3/23 11:30 a.m.:Senior Luncheon
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.