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

Gone but not Forgotten 1/08/2012
Grace to you, and peace from God our heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Since yesterday was a significant day in the history of our congregation as our former building of worship was removed through burning, it seemed appropriate to bring forth a message which would comfort us and strengthen us in the knowledge that even though the old church building is no more, our fellowship in Christ Jesus continues into the future in our new building.

I would like to preface this message by offering sympathy and empathy to all those who through the years were associated with the Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church in its location at the intersection of HWY 15 and CSAH 27. Many have been blessed in Christ Jesus through the years through worship of God and through the fellowship of the Word that has been preached and taught by faithful servants within this congregation. Memories that are created in a place of worship are bound tight to the physical structure and it is with understanding of this reality that we carefully and prayerfully had approached this day.

In keeping with the thoughts shared above, and in consideration for all concerned in our community and congregation, current or past, we are planning to work toward constructing a small replica of the former building. That would give a place of memory to those who were so closely connected with the church through the years, for it is hoped that it would be built upon the same site that was occupied by the 99 yr old building. It could not only serve as a memorial, but it would provide passerbys a resting place, a place for prayer and meditation and it would also serve as a bridge to those who have continued to worship with us in our new church building which is app. 1/4 west of Hwy 15 on CSAH 27.

We not only wish to retain the memories of the building, but even more so we wish to "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, (imitate) considering the end of their conversation (life).

8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:7-8

In relation to this, we will be placing the Pastor Oscar Wilson memorial reader board that formerly was in front of the old church in the front of our new facility. The Scripture above instructs us to not forget those who have spoken the Word through out the years and to follow their example into the future. We recognize and appreciate those who labored in word and doctrine within this congregation through the years as we continue to live in the fruit of the preaching of the Gospel that they preached.. Many have faithfully taught and preached the Word in this congregation and for that we give thanks to the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings!

In our lives memories are created through happenings upon which our life is nurtured and built. Recognizing that not all memories are ones that provide growth and transition into the future, we use occasions such as these as opportunities of testing that upon which we are building our lives. We might say: "What is the foundation of my life?" It is a question that we must answer for ourselves and which answer depends upon our knowledge and understanding of God. When Jesus came to earth to redeem us, He faced those whose knowledge and understanding of God was not based upon that which God had revealed to the world through the Holy Scriptures. Let us pick up on a discussion that Jesus was having with the Jewish leaders as recorded in John's Gospel.

John 2:13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Jesus began to reveal in the midst of false and ignorant worship of God and pointed to the Himself as the New Temple, but neither the Jews or even His disciples understood what He was talking about.
It is no surprise that it was so hard to understand Jesus' statement which referred to Himself as the Temple in light of many years of worship which centered around a place of worship as opposed to worshipping the person of God. Let us drop back into one of the numerous places in Scripture which illustrate this reality, going back to the weeping Prophet Jeremiah.

KJV Jeremiah 7:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.
3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.
5 For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

They put a lot of stock in the place of worship but were living inward lives of sin. They were rebuked by the Lord through Jeremiah for saying things with their mouth but were not living in a repentant heart. And therefore in the Lord's eyes, that which they called the temple, God told them that it had become a den of thieves. The Lord is not blind to what we are inside.

We now go back to the New Testament and see how Stephen, a man of honest report and full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, spoke to the Jews a number of years after Jesus had come to earth as the New Temple; had lived a perfect life, suffered, died, arose from the dead and ascended to heaven where He now reigns over the universe. Stephen spoke directly to this struggle that mankind has always faced: Worshipping a created thing, physical things, rather than the Creator. In relation to our discussion, the Jews were so attached to that which they knew, that they did not receive Jesus as the New Temple. The hung onto the old temple.
For brevity's sake, we will consider parts of the discussion. We pick up the conversation that was going on between Stephen and the Jewish leaders.

Acts 6 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
11 Then they instigated men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

KJV Acts 7:1 Then said the high priest, Are these things so?
2 And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

Stephen now recounts the history of God's progressive revelation of Himself to the world by sharing from the beginning of the Jewish nation, starting with their hero, Abraham. Please read from your Bible the verses that are inbetween these two portions. Here he focuses in on external structures (a tabernacle and a temple) which had been built according to God's plan which served them during their time, but which in God's mind pointed to the day of Jesus Christ, the True Temple. Here Stephen speaks of the transition that Jesus had pointed the Jewish leaders to in John's Gospel which we referred to earlier.

44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
46 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
47 But Solomon built him an house.
48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

Luke 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

The significance of the temple veil being rent into two had escaped the Jewish leaders when Jesus had died, and in the case above in which Stephen speaks to them, it continued to escape them as is indicated by their reaction against Stephen's preaching to them and through the application he brought forth in his sermon.

Acts 7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

What did they not understand? What did they not see? The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians gives us a clear explanation as to what had happened as a result of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We pick up in the letter in the middle of the second chapter, remembering that Paul had expounded upon that which God had done through Christ Jesus in the beginning part of this wonderful letter of grace to the world. He now speaks to the union that Jesus Christ created when He entered into humanity and reconciled all to God.

Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
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.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

All humanity how had access to the Father by one Spirit and no one is a stranger or foreigner, but all are fellow citizens with all the saints, which make up the family of God. We are brought to God by Christ through grace by faith, which means that God put us into His family solely by His doing and has given us the faith to believe such a wonderful reality.

He goes onto say that the family that we are now a part of is built upon the foundation of the Word that God has spoken through the apostle and the prophets, with Jesus the Christ, the True Temple as the Cheif Cornerstone! The building that we are is made up of individual parts, but together we are pieced together and are growing unto an holy temple in the Lord. Within this temple is where God lives through the Spirit.

Therefore, from the Scriptures we can conclude that even though a church building is a place in which we have been blessed in Jesus Christ and precious memories are within our minds, hearts and souls, we recognize that the true temple of God is contained within the collective body of believers through and in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

May the memories of the blessing of worship and fellowship of the past that you experienced in the Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church always be precious to you. May that which was planted and which sprouted in your heart in that building continue to blossom and bloom in your life so that you can be a blessing to future generations not only among those in another building, but anywhere that the Lord has called you to bloom for Him. We thank you for your patience with us during this difficult time of transition for all of us.

We invite you to worship with us in our new church building just west of Hwy 15 on CSAH 27. May the Lord richly bless you in his love!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 08 Jan 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns