Kauko Vehniäinen – sermon in opening service of Keuruu Pentecostal midsummer conference, June 20, 2012, in Finland
You’re really welcome today. I’m glad to have the opportunity to give a preach. I don’t have to invent own ideas, but thoughts based on the word of Bible. I have participated these midsummer conferences from my early childhood. When watching the people around me, sometimes I may think: oh, how much he’s changed since we met first time. But when shaking hand, I may say: oh, you haven’t changed since our first meet at all. Is our Heavenly God also wondering the same?
The topic of my speech is: “the way to the future”. The sign of the whole conference is: “the mark of 100”, which also means thinking about the future, even it’s good and useful to know and to explore the history.
Finland is a beautiful country, good place to live and worth of defending. This isn’t a war speech, but Finland is worth of defending also in a spiritual meaning for things which have a value. It’s lucky to be born in Finland, but there are problems too, which are harrowing and making wondering. Many people are suffering from spiritual emptiness and lack of peace in mind. According to a research only 27% of the Finnish people believe in God in the manner that the Bible declares. In this sense we are suffering from a recession. This is a big national challenge for the employees serving the churches and congregations.
Life is a journey. We have to estimate the challenges we have. The past and the history form the future and they have an impact. The Pentecostal movement has its past and history, and they have an impact today and to the future.
In my childhood home we had lots of congregational home bible studies, worship services and fellowship meetings. The gospel was proclaimed, people repented their sins and changed their way of living, more people came to church, but there was resistance too. Once in the dark wintry time people from church were gathered to my home and some young people outside – not only were smoking – but also they had harnessed a horse so that it started to eat from the church sleigh. But the gospel didn’t cease spreading in church and from house to house. Both you and me have our own memories of the events and situations by which we have come to this present moment.
God wants, that we neither postpone our lives to an uncertain future or remove it to the past. God wants today to manifest himself as our loving God. Once in a whole secular magazine of technics was told, how a preast had explored peoples attitudes to the present and to the future. The topic was: “The model of a postponed life”. People are waiting for their holiday, vacation and retirement. Only few had the ability to live the present.
God has given us our lives, which are worth of living today and now. God also wants to recreate. Apocalypse 21: verses 5,6 proclaim: “All am I going to recreate. Note down these words, because they’re trustworthy and true. Now the words have realized: I’m the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. They who win are allowed to drink from the source of the living water."
What is important today and now? And in the future?
The solid and the true words. The word of God is trustworthy. We can put our hope to it in every situation of our lives. Usually human words and opinions slowly fall down and lose they significance. The word of God never fails, even Heaven and earth will pass away.
In my childhood home we had a rowing boat, typical in the Savonia region. One of my brothers once wrote to its bow: “sure”. The boat was very useful, lots of used, but also had to be fixed and patched. One day my brother added some letters to the bow: “unsure”. Very often our plans are failing. But here in Keuruu even the congress and bible school area are proclaiming the gospel. The Kingdom of God is spreading.
”I am the Alpha and the Omega”. Jesus Christ is the first and the last. God’s plan is that Jesus should have the first place in oure lives too. Our time is characterized by self-centredness and human-centredness. Some people may be considered defamed because of talking about Jesus Christ. It is great to give the first place in life to Jesus Christ. He forgave our sins, gives us the future and the hope, he will take his stand on the earth, his name is powerful: it forgives our sins. This is the joy to be a Christian.
The Holy Spirit was spread during the Apostles when the word of God was proclaimed. Even today the proclaiming of gospel brings the presence of the Holy Spirit on us and proclaims powerfully Jesus Christ. He has to be the first and the last in our lives: no one else can save us. These no other name, which can save us, no other name under Heaven.
A gift of the living water is offered to us. That describes the blessings of God. He wants to give them today too. When you’re thirsty, it makes you search for water. We need that spiritual thirst. It saves our nation. Every individual human is longing for God. Life is a gift in itself. Living water proclaims grace. God wants to give it us also today. By grace has God saved us by giving us faith. It isn’t based on human endeavours, so that no one can boast.
Salvation is made by God from the beginning to the end. He just waits, that you give your life to him. For free, everything is ready. In the history of the Pentecostal church have many received this gift.
“All am I going to recreate” in Apocalypse means, that something better is still forward. In Heaven is everything new. The old has disappeared and the new has replaced it. There’s no death, no diseases, no dark sides of life. We want to welcome all the Finnish people to there. We can receive the eternal life, given by Jesus Christ.
I want to encourage all of us to renew by the power of Holy Spirit today! He wants to give us a fresh and new experience of grace and goodness of Holy Spirit. We can be released from our past and we can step forward to the future and to the new life. Personally I want to be renewed in my faith daily. Put your hope in God! He wants to help you! He wants to give the blessing of Holy Spirit to your life.