So commented parish pastor Sampo Luukkonen from Lohja during one of the final speeches kept on Tuesday. Meeting other [believing] pastors [ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland] and peer support is especially important when one at times feels loneliness in their work. The presentations, devotions, worship service and many discussions of timely topics caused many to say as they left for home: “It was worth it to come.”
God’s power is dynamite
In the opening devotion Aimo Hautamäki spoke of the gospel, which according to Apostle Paul is God’s power unto salvation for all who believe (Rom 1:16,17). Hautamäki recalled the origin of the word “power,” which is “dynamis” in Greek. Hautamäki said that this is also the root word for the explosive dynamite. The gospel is dynamite, the speaker noted. It had the power to change Paul’s entire life. Paul was blind both temporally and spiritually. The rock of self-righteousness, upon which Paul had built his salvation, was crushed when Jesus appeared to him. Paul’s eyes were able to be opened when he heard the word of the gospel through Ananias. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, for he had seen its power in his own life. Hautamäki recalled the advice of an old preacher for him as a young pastor. The brother had encouraged him to always preach the forgiveness of sins before leaving the pulpit. There may be someone among the listeners who personally receives strength from the gospel to believe.
God’s care is correct
Two presentations were kept at the Pastor’s meeting. Urpo Luokkala presented the topic ”The Holy Spirit creates the congregation” and Kyösti Pieviläinen presented the topic “Righteousness of faith.” One example in Luokkala’s presentation was Jesus’ parable of the true vine. He also used a horticulturist’s perspective to help explain the parable.
– The branches of the vine are always directed downward and support each other. The vine is a fruit-bearing plant, not an ornamental plant. The intent is that the plant would produce as much fruit as possible. The gardener continuously watches the leaves to know what the condition of the tree is. In the parable, care is focused on pruning the plant. This activates growth, but one cannot cut too much at one time. “Suckers” may also appear in the plant. This name is applied to branches that do not bear fruit, but draw energy away from the growth of the plant. These are mercilessly cut away, Luokkala stated.
Knowledge is beneficial, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to faith
Speeches considered the sovereign activity of the Holy Spirit. God acts through His spirit where and when He wills. He awakens man to feel his sinfulness in many different ways, but justifies or makes one righteous only by the gospel proclaimed from God’s congregation. According to Apostle Paul, faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17).
Pauli Kivioja noted that the righteousness of life needs to be spoken of alongside the righteousness of faith.
Valde Palola noted that in the end, the doctrinal questions of faith do not completely open through the methods of systematic theology.
– We are always left before a mystery, or even paradoxes. Scholarly theological studies are beneficial, but they are not acceptable as textbooks of faith in God’s congregation.
Speaking of the relationship between theology and faith, Matti Kontkanen stated that we need God’s protection so that we would not fall in love with that wisdom that we have ourselves. Jesus thanked God that the mystery of faith has been revealed unto the childlike.
Understanding and care in mutual faith
SRK invited LLC representatives to attend the gathering. LLC sent Sam Roiko and Jon Bloomquist to attend. They spoke about the heresy that has taken place in the midst of North American Christianity. Discussions that have taken place for years in smaller and larger gatherings have not restored unity. At the continent-wide meeting in May 2021, both sides acknowledged that there were two groups within North American Zion. After a long discussion at the LLC Annual Meeting in the summer of 2022, congregation delegates proposed that the Minneapolis and Wolf Lake congregations would be removed as organizations from LLC membership. This was the decision of the annual meeting. In this way, the previously experienced division became visible. The members of these two congregations have been invited to attend services at other nearby congregations.
During the discussions, participants asked questions about the current situation. In their speeches many touched on heresies, their causes and signs. In the final speeches, as well as in other conversations, many expressed relief to personally hear about the situation and to experience the unity of faith across national borders.
Erilaisena syntyvä perheenjäsen tuo uusia sävyjä vanhemmuuteen. Kehitysvamma tai jokin muu vamma tuo usein mukanaan erityisiä hoivan tarpeita. On luonnollista, että tällöin vanhempi pohtii omia voimavarojaan, osaamistaan tai jaksamistaan vanhemmuuden äärellä. Osa huolista saattaa toteutua, osa taas ei. Ihmeellisesti elämän antaja, Jumala, antaa erityislapsen vanhemmille voimavaroja ja erityistä taitoa olla juuri tämän lapsen vanhempi. Moni kokeekin pian, että erilaisuus onkin erityisyyttä, sillä lapsi tuo uudenlaista merkitystä ja iloa perheen elämään.
Kodin joulu -levyllä soivat ennen kuulemattomin toteutuksin monet perinteiset joululaulut.
Mihin syntien anteeksiantamus perustuu Raamatun mukaan? Kirjoittaja käy läpi Uuden testamentin anteeksiantamusta käsittelevät kohdat, joiden kautta avautuu monipuolinen ja selkeä kuva aiheesta.