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

Love is a Verb
Dear friend,

God has made every provision for our lives and salvation through the person and work of Jesus Christ. He has given us everything we need through the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is pleased with His Son as with us also for He sees us through in and the merits of His Son.

He has placed us in various stations in life and called us to serve our neighbor, since all of our needs have already been met in Jesus Christ. He has gifted us in certain ways so that we may serve our neighbor and meet his/her needs. And the beautiful mystery is this--God hides himself in our vocations, so that the service that we render to our neighbor is sacred, because it is God who is at work through us, meeting the needs of our neighbor.

As Martin Luther stated, God does not need our good works (since we have been given the gift of salvation), but our neighbor is the one who needs our good works.

In our three Scripture readings that we have chosen for today, Deuteronomy 6:1-13, Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, the teaching of the ways of God are emphasized. In the first one, the intentional and continual teachings to our children are pointed out; in the Romans reading, because of mercy we received from God, we are called to offer our bodies/lives unto the Lord as our reasonable/logical service and in our third reading, the essence and the function of the church is explained and illustrated.

As we think of these scripture passages today, may we remember the vision statement of our congregation, that which we have collectively agreed upon and have committed to use as a signpost along the way of our congregation's life.

The Vision of our congregation

As grateful recipients of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and being members of His Body, we pray that our fellowship will be:

1. A place to praise, to worship, to pray, to hear from the Lord, and to fellowship as the body of Christ in a manner which the love of Christ among us will be evident to those within and without our fellowship.

2. A place to increase in faith, to learn, to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to grow in holiness, consecration, and service; to recognize and to develop our God-given talents and gifts for the glory of God, for encouragement to believers and for the saving of the souls of those who are perishing.

3. A place to mobilize and to encourage the use of our collective God-given talents and gifts in order to fulfill the commission which Jesus has given us.

4. A place which will influence the community and surrounding area toward biblical precepts and behaviors

As we consider our ways before the Lord, both as individuals and as a corporate body, may the Spirit give us ears to hear and eyes to see that way and direction which the Lord has laid out for us through His Word. May we be given the ability to truly consider our ways: Are they consistent with His ways? Or are they my ways, are they your ways? May our ears and eyes be opened to the teaching that is given in our text of study today.

All Spiritual Gifts are by the Holy Spirit

KJV 1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

The One and Only Spirit gives Individual Gifts for the Benefit of All.

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. {administrations: or, ministries}
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.(for the benefit of all)

The Spirit Himself Distributes the Gifts in the way that He wants to.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
(distributing to each one individually as He wills).

Through the Spirit, We are United into One Body but with Many Members.

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.

All Members of the Body are Necessary and Useful

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. {schism: or, division}

It is okay to desire great giftedness, but the greatest gift is to love.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.(individually)
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

All Spiritual Gifts are by the Holy Spirit
The One and Only Spirit gives Individual Gifts for the Benefit of All.

The Spirit Himself Distributes the Gifts in the way that He wants to.

All Members of the Body are Necessary and Useful

Through the Spirit, We are United into One Body but with Many Members.

It is okay to desire Great Gifts, but the Greatest Gift is Love.

Now let us put these thoughts together in summary and offer a little application for our own lives and for the congregation that we may be a part of. We are aware that the primary purpose for the letter to the Corinthians is to address a spirit that had created the "haves" and the "haves not." Division existed amongst the members of the congregation and so Paul addressed that main problem as well as other problems that he was aware of.

As he writes to them in this 12th chapter, he first points out that it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that they have been invited to be a part of this amazing union of believers in Jesus Christ, for no one is able to call Jesus Lord, except through the Holy Spirit. All gifts are given by the Spirit according to His will and are given for the purpose of ministering to others. No member is not needed, but all are needed and are useful for the overall purpose of ministry. It has been through the Holy Spirit that we are all united together in salvation and for the common purpose of ministry to others. Even as Jesus did not rebuke His disciples for wanting to serve in more visible ways, Apostle Paul does not either. But they both qualify it by pointing out that the greatest gift is to be a servant to others, which is only done through love. It is the nature of love to serve others.

This will be explained in the 13th chapter of this same book, for in that chapter Paul goes onto point out that even the most visible and powerful gifts are meaningless if they are not mixed with love. As we read through the 13th chapter, we will undoubtedly find ourselves falling far short as we recognize our inabilities to love as we should in and of ourselves, finding comfort in the knowledge that there was only One who loved and loves perfectly. As we live in the Spirit, we are motivated by love which moves us to consider how we might serve our neighbor whereever we may be, but yet we have the flesh which always looks to serve itself first. This will always be the case to some degree, so that it is important to see ourselves as God sees us. We must remember that we have been gifted with righteousness by faith through grace and it is because of this great mercy received that we offer ourselves in service to our neighbor.

Often times people may ask this question: I know that God sees me as perfect in His sight through His Son, I know that I should be a part of the overall church congregation, but I do not have any kind of gift to offer. I respond: "Do you know have the gift of love?" The first understanding of the gift of love is to realize and to know that God by His love has loved you/me to the point that He gave His Son for you and for me in payment for our sins. He sacrificed His only Son for you and for me. When we have come to realize and to believe that truth, He downloads into us the Holy Spirit who then begins to indwell in us.

The life of Christ begins to be preeminent in our life so that through the Word and the Spirit we are transformed and changed to be more like Him in thought, word and deed, even though we feel our weakness in these areas by often having thoughts and doing words and deeds that are not Christlike. In other words, as the awareness of His love for us increases, in a mysterious way His love takes more of a stronghold in our mind and heart so that through us flows a desire and a committment to serve our neighbor in love.

As we consider our station in life, whatever it may be, may we endeavor to look for ways to "outdo one another in serving" so that collectively as a family and as a congregation we will sow grace and truth in our families and congregations. We are in Christ and the nature of Christ was and is to serve in love through action. You may ask, what kind of actions might I serve?
The theme of our VBS this year is "Love in Action." At their young age, the children will be taught what the fruit of the Spirit is from the teachings of the Bible:

Galatians 5:22-23a But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...
teachings which will be illustrated with hands by crafts that they will put together. Then on Friday they will be given the opportunity to show their love for their neighbor by the action of bringing their crafts to some of the local hospitals where the staff will be asked to present the crafts to children who are in the hospital.

May we be reminded through the love actions of these dear children in our VBS that the gifts, talents and resources given to us by God were not put there for our benefit alone. They were given to us in order that we might be equipped to meet our neighbor's needs.

What are some ways that we might display love in action in relation to our VBS?

1. Pray for the children who will be part of our VBS, pray for the leaders of the VBS, Invite and offer rides to your neighborhood children/grandchildren/children to VBS. Pray that VBS will be a blessing to all who participate in it. Offer to serve in the VBS

2. Prayer and Encouragement: We have a prayer list on which we have listed many many names of people who have ongoing difficulties. Regularly pray for all on the list, as well as others who you know need prayer, ask the Spirit to lead you to one or more people whom you may offer ongoing encouragement and support through personal contact. Adopt one or more of those who are serving in our military. Send them a note once in awhile. (We should include their mailing addresses)

3. Offer to Serve in your congregation in the giftedness that you have been given: Primarily: Love, Here I am, How may I help????

Here is our current prayer list that we publish each Sunday........Today we are going to lay hands of love and blessing on Caleb Hendrickson who on Tuesday will be leaving for training in the National Guard

Bryce and Amanda Schauer and her mom Debbie, who is beginning treatment for cancer.

Bob Nominelli, husband of Norma Nominelli, who in hospital with serious health issues. Norma is a daughter of the late Andrew Mickelson.

Jess Grunder: who was in a bad traffic accident, needing extensive surgery to recover. He is a friend of the Zwettler family.

Doug and Sue Saukkola: Their ongoing health concerns.

Wendy Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns.

Van and Michelle Zwettler: Prayers for strength as he continues treatment for cancer.

Darrel Schauer: For comfort and strength as he awaits a kidney transplant (Dave's brother)

Carrie Garth (with Danielle) Ongoing health issues.

Dale Huro: healing of his paralysis and for peace and comfort.

Diane, Jane Hendrickson's coworker for healing from cancer as she begins chemo.

Laurel K Wirkkala: wife of Pastor Orval's brother Allan. She is undergoing treatment for cancer.
Our seniors: Strength & Patience as they deal w/the issues of

All those who are grieving over the loss of loved ones.

All leaders, both in the Christian church as well as in our government.

Zachary and Sarah Hendrickson (and their extended family) in Alaska in their military service.

Aaron Isaacson- Brian & Melissa Peterson’s nephew, he is in the Air Force ~ Serving in Europe

Cory Surla-He deployed to Afghanistan on December 8th, and has requested prayers for him and his family. He transferred from the Marines to the Army for Medical Training. He is Wendy Salo’s nephew!

James Johnstone-Katie Salo's brother, he is in the National Guard and is home in MN until mid-Jan. & then will go to VA., for 8 weeks of training then, will be stationed in MNPLS. MN.

Shelby Holaday-A friend of Caleb Hendrickson - in the Army National Guard

Jebo Aho- He is now home from Afghanistan .Pray for his transition back to civilian life.

Logan Aho- He is now home from Afghanistan. Pray for his transition back to civilian life.

Jon Kilpela-Lawry Kilpela's grandson is back in the United States.
Owen Stonelake-Wayne & Vickie's son, he is stationed in New York.

Jeffrey Torola- is in the Navy stationed in Charleston, S.C. he is Bill Torola's brother.

Caleb Hendrickson - in the Army National Guard

KJV Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

In His Service,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 27 Jul 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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3/21 7:00 pm:Lent service
3/23 11:30 a.m.:Senior Luncheon
3/29 7:00 pm:Maundy Thursday ...
3/30 7:00 pm:Good Friday Wors...
4/1 10:20 am:Resurrection Sun...
See Full Calendar...

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