Lanterns of light arranged in a cross shape.Welcome to our worship services on Sundays at 4 pm, temporarily online due to Covid-19:

31 January by Helmuth Garoeb (OIEF YouTube)
24 January by Mich Peedo (OIEF YouTube)
17 January by Patrick Nesbitt (OIEF YouTube)
10 January by Ari Savuoja
(Virtuaalikirkko)
3 January by Hany Ferdinando (OEIF YouTube)

Check the links above for online services, and follow up for possible updates also at Covid-19 (BF)

 

Decorative star image for Advent, Christmas Welcome to spend time at the end and the turn of the year focusing on the most essential – Jesus Christ and his message for mankind. Our worship services will be temporarily online due to Covid-19. Check the links below for online activities, and follow up for possible updates on resuming on-site activities:

Online Worship services (on Sundays at 4 pm)
20 December by Ari Savuoja (Virtuaalikirkko)
13 December, Christmas Carols (YouTube)
6 December by Mich Peedo (YouTube)

Bible studies
Temporarily suspended until further and separate notice. Check back later for possible updates.

As usual, there will be no services or activities during 20 December and 2 January. Follow other sources for worshipping and studying God’s word, and apply it – be blessed and be a blessing, all year round. (BF)

 

Chistmas Carols logo depicting a Christmas star.

Welcome to join the Christmas Carols on Sunday, 13 December at 4 pm. This year the traditional event will be arranged virtually via YouTube at https://youtu.be/EOIXNZAXuks

You’ll be able to sing along English, Finnish and German carols this year, and enjoy music performances and Bible readings also in other languages.

We pre-recorded the service on 11 December in smaller groups at St. Luke’s church in Oulu. We ran out of time to add all of the texts to the video. To sing along, consult the texts hereafter, or (at least partly) in the description section at the YouTube video.

Our world and works have all kinds of limitations. Jesus came into this world so that we may be healed and rest in Him. May the carols and music warm your hearts and bring you joy! With lots of thanks for Christ our Saviour :-)

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Worship Service can be found here on the OIEF Youtube channel

 

We wish everyone to stay safe and sound, and help to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We keep you posted at OIEF’s page on Covid-19. Please consult www.oief.fi/covid-19 for up-to-date information on the situation in Oulu, as well as safety measures and recommendations in our midst. (BF)

 

This blog post has been merged with OIEF’s page on Covid-19 information. Please consult www.oief.fi/covid-19 for up-to-date information, safety measures and recommendations. (BF)

 

(Un)belief - a picture illustrating faith and unbelief.Why did most of the Pharisees, even though they knew all about the Messiah as revealed in the Old Testament, reject Jesus? They even saw or heard of many of the miracles that Jesus performed. In John 9 we are told that Jesus healed a blind man “so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The Pharisees heard about this and investigated in the healing. They repeatedly summoned the healed man and confronted him face-to-face. The man could only say “I was blind but now I see”. Eventually the man also voiced his faith saying to Jesus, “Lord, I believe”. The Pharisees, however, closed their eyes and ears to the reality of Jesus’ healing powers, and him being the Son of God. Read more about “Belief and unbelief” according to Ari Savuoja’s sermon from 18 October 2020. (BF)

 

Amazing Blessing from Christ Designed to Enable Faith to Grow

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says (Psalm 68:18): ‘When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.’ (What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:7-15)

In this Bible text Paul quotes Psalm 68:18. The psalmist portrays God, as the winner over the devil, returns to His kingdom followed by His captives. This was a common practice at that time. In those days, the winning king would distribute plunders to his army and followers. Interestingly, Jesus, as the winning King, adopted His captives, the believers, into His family. So, Jesus gives treasures instead of plunder.

Paul emphasised that these treasures (gifts) were given to specific groups of people in the church, such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The main goal of these gifts is to equip the saints, to support ministry, and to build the body of Christ. All the receivers listed above are church leaders who have to provide responsible teaching to support the church to grow in faith. The ultimate goal is to achieve unity of faith and spiritual maturity.

We are surrounded by many false teachings that evolve from time to time. So, the body of Christ must know how to identify them. As part of this responsibility, OIEF organises Bible study every Wednesday evening. Here, we learn God’s words and spend time in prayer.

So, the ABCDEFG, Amazing Blessing from Christ Designed to Enable Faith to Grow, is a formula to remember that God wants our faith to grow by giving the believers blessing (gifts) via the church leaders. How should we respond to this?

  • Read your Bible, it is God’s word, a user’s manual to live in this world
  • if you are leaders in the church, God demands responsible teachings that bring faith to grow
  • if you are not leaders, God demands your eagerness to learn from God’s word.

(Hany Ferdinando)

 

Hike & Seek Logo showing a forest trailDo you seek some rest after a week of studies or work? Join us for a 5 km hike in the north of Oulu on Friday, 2 October at 17.00. We’ll meet up in a small group (10 persons) at Bastian’s home, Paloniemenranta 1 B 3. From there we will silently walk towards and into the Ahvenoja forest to enjoy the scenery and each other’s (silent) company bearing in mind current safety measures.

The terrain is not too difficult, but be prepared for a muddy and slippery trail, with tree roots and stones on our way. We shall also balance across two small creeks. After some time we will reach a forest glade. There we will take a break for a devotion and moment of sharing. Otherwise the purpose is to keep quite, calm down from a week’s labour and let go of (almost) all things occupying us.

Interested? Sign up by 30 September to bastian@oief.fi, +358 40 6755 195.
After signing up, you’ll get a link to our whatsapp group. (BF)

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Walk in UnityIn Ephesians 4:1-6, Paul refers to himself as a “prisoner for Christ”. Does this sound strange? “Being a prisoner” normally comes with the stigma of “a bad guy”. It also means to suffer from distrust and humiliation.

Usually people would thus not refer to themselves “as a prisoner”. Rather, people typically rely on their power, authority, and relationship. For example, they present themselves as a respected leader, as a beloved husband/wife, etc. But Paul used the expression of “a prisoner fro Christ” to show that he himself has no power and authority, but God does.

Paul asked his fellow people and Christians today “to live a life worthy of the calling they have received” (Ephesians 4:1). Such a life in the footsteps of Jesus is characterised by humilty, gentleness, and patience:

Humility

In the Greek culture humility was associated with slaves, so it refers to being completely humble. The greatest example of being completely humble is Jesus Christ, as in Philippians 2:6-8. Humility and pride are at different poles. Being a humble person brings unity with the other, but pride destroys it. So, humility is putting Christ first, others second, and oneself at the last.

Gentleness

Gentleness is sometimes written as meekness. Gentleness is mostly associated with being weak and “without anger or disputing” (1 Timothy 2:8). Jesus describes Himself, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus, however, became quite angry when some people turned the Temple of God into a market to deceive others (Matthew 21:12-17). Gentleness is a mark of the Christian character (1 Timothy 6:11). Gentleness is about compassion and exerting power – but under control.

Patience

In Greek patience refers to a long time before getting angry, of not giving way to anger. Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The greatest example for patience is demonstrated by God, who patiently waits for sinners to repent (Romans 2:4). All believers already experienced God’s patience that brings them to salvation.

By promoting these three attitudes, we bring unity among Christians. God always shows this by example and also “walks the talk” in an exemplary way. Walking in unity is not about walking on the same path. It is about having intertwined minds among believers to live with God. (Hany Ferdinando)