Sunday Bible Class: 8:45 a.m.
Sunday Worship Service: 10:00 a.m.

Saturday Evening Worship Service: 6:00 p.m.

A Member Church of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Friday, December 12, 2014

One Man Forgives, Another Doesn’t. Does It Matter?

Two men suffer unimaginably at the hands of other human beings. The horror they experienced leaves them drastically altered. They are never the same. One man holds on to the hurt and injustice, the other gives up that same hurt and injustice and forgives.

The first man says what had been done to him cannot be forgiven, that forgiveness on his part would minimize the awfulness of the crime. The second man claims his forgiveness came from God, that he was compelled to do the same towards those who had treated him so brutally.

Someone has said that forgiveness is the most unnatural of all human actions. Revenge and hate we don’t have to learn. Forgiveness is hard at any age.

Does forgiveness matter? Of course it does. Even people who have no belief in or inclination toward God know that forgiveness is essential for any meaningful relationship. But that leaves the question, “Why forgive?” Are we to forgive just to maintain a marriage, a friendship, a working relationship? Is forgiveness just part of a contract that benefits the people involved? Apart from God, there aren’t very satisfactory answers to those difficult questions.

Simply put, from a Christian point of view, Christmas is about forgiveness and nothing else. Christmas is the historical account of God becoming a human being for one purpose and one purpose only – to win forgiveness for human beings – all human beings.

The forgiveness of Christmas is definitely supernatural, but that doesn’t mean it is restricted to God. The forgiveness which Jesus Christ brought to people was meant not only to be applied to our relationship with him, but also with other people.

Does forgiveness matter? Forgiveness is what makes us so special to God. Forgiveness is what makes relationships most important in life. Forgiveness is what transforms us from brute beasts to human beings capable of living out the image of God. Forgiveness is life-changing!

Join us for one of our week-end services. We all need as much forgiveness as we can get.

Saturday Evening Worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday Morning Worship: 10:00 am

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Peace

When World War I was being fought (1914-1918), it was known as the “Great War” or “The War to End All Wars”. The carnage and destruction of that war were such that it led people to think, “This war is so terrible, people will never, ever want to go to war again.”

Tragically, a war (World War II) broke out between the same nations only twenty years later of such epic proportions that many people today have difficulty even remembering World War I. For as much as the human race yearns for peace, we have great difficulty achieving it.

Not only is conflict hard to avoid among nations, even members of the same family are challenged when it comes to getting along over prolonged periods of time. Our penchant to disagree has led to the cynical comment, “Put two people in a room and sooner or later you’ll have a fight.”

Christmas has been called the “peaceful time of year”. Many quote the words of the angels, “Peace on earth, good will toward men,” and sigh with disappointment that there isn’t more evidence in our daily lives of that peace. They wonder if peace on earth is even possible.

Has peace been an illusion which you have chased but never been able to hold on to for any length of time? Maybe our problem is understanding what kind of peace the angels were talking about that Christmas night. Maybe our concept of peace and God’s are different. Maybe peace isn’t such an unreachable dream. Join us this weekend for one of our services. Peace can be a bigger part of your life in 2015 than you ever imagined!

Saturday Evening Worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday Morning Worship: 10:00 am

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why We Need to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Using the word “my” just comes so naturally, doesn’t it? Especially when we are talking about things which we believe belong exclusively to us. We say,

“My health”
“My time”
“My money”
“My family”
“My house”
“My car”
“MY LIFE!!!”

The possessive pronoun “my” effortlessly rolls off our tongues. Why? It’s all in the grammatical description of the word – possessive. We human beings love to possess things. In fact, most of our problems are about some dispute over possessions!

But then we read an inconvenient passage like Psalm 24:1:

“The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Oops, maybe we need to rethink the whole subject of what we possess and what we don’t. About 3500 years ago God warned the nation of Israel about falling into a false pride over their possessions. He said,

“Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God… You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:12ff)

Giving thanks just doesn’t come naturally. It is something we need to work on. And that is why Thanksgiving Day is such a healthy holiday. We take time to focus on the true source of our blessings – the God who made us. Join us tomorrow for a joyous celebration of thanks. You’ll be happier for it!

Thanksgiving Day Worship: 10:00 am
Thanksgiving Dinner: 11:00 am

Friday, November 21, 2014

How Will It All End?

Depending on what source you read, scientists tell us that the sun will burn out in either 2.8 or 4.6 billion years. At that time, the planet earth will become uninhabitable. Since most of us are probably not going to be around (even if the sun only lasts 2.8 billion years), this prediction doesn’t bother us much. If we think a little deeper of how life on earth will end, however, there are some unsettling conclusions about the “burned out” sun theory.

If human life is going to continue in its current cycle (people are born, live and die) until a certain point when the earth will no longer support human beings, but it will continue to exist in the universe – just without people – what does that mean about all those folks who were born, lived and died? What was the point of our being on the earth?

When Jesus Christ walked the planet, he talked quite a bit about returning a second time – but this return would be very different from his first coming. He said that the second time he would come to the earth it would be in all his glory and power as God to bring an end to life as we know it. More importantly for human beings, he claimed he would bring about a definitive judgment of all people – a judgment that would be in effect forever.

Jesus talked about this Day of Judgment frequently because it has so much to do with the way we live right now. According to him, how we will be judged then depends on what happens while we are living and breathing right now. Have you ever thought about your life from that point of view?

One of the key questions everybody wonders about from time to time is, “What happens when I die?” This weekend, we’re going to be studying what Jesus said about that question. His answers are pretty exciting.

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Saturday, November 15, 2014

How Much Are You Willing to Suffer for What You Believe In?

It’s an uncomfortable question, isn’t it? When it comes to pain, most of us are more cowardly than we would like to admit. If something hurts, we try to avoid it. And yet, when it comes to following Jesus Christ, hurting is part of the walk.

Even a cursory reading of the Gospels is enough to realize that Jesus frequently talked about suffering because of our relationship with him. He said things like,

“No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20)

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” (Matthew 10:16)

And yet he always encouraged his followers not to give up, to remain faithful even to the point of death because what awaited them in eternity was far more valuable than anything they might have in this life.

Two thousand years later we must ask ourselves, “Am I ready to suffer for the One I believe in?” It’s a serious question, one we must think deeply about. Jesus always advised his disciples to “count the cost” of following him.

This Sunday we will be bringing before the Lord in prayer those who are currently paying a very high price for confessing Christ. But we also need to prepare ourselves for that day of persecution. It may not come in the same form as our brothers and sisters are undergoing in Syria and Iraq and North Korea – but it will come. Will we be ready? Together, let’s begin making preparations.

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, November 7, 2014

Grace and Fairness

Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Fairness is getting what you do deserve. If you have been brought up as a Christian you know a lot about the word grace. You know that the Bible teaches we are saved by grace, which specifically means God forgives our sins because of Jesus’ death on the cross. Being saved by grace means getting to heaven is a gift we receive, not something we earn. Throughout the years we are told to appreciate grace as God’s most important blessing to humanity. And most of the time we humbly acknowledge this.

But we have moments of doubt. There are things Jesus said which make us wonder about grace. One example is a story Jesus told about workers in a vineyard. On a certain day, some men worked 12 hours, some worked 10, some worked 6 and some only put in an hour’s worth of labor, yet all of them received the same pay! The story Jesus told wasn’t about pay scales, it was about grace. He was teaching people that it doesn’t matter how long a person is a Christian or how much work he/she has done in the service of Christ, in the end, those who have received grace go to the same place – heaven.

We all like the story of the thief on the cross converting in the last moments of his life and hearing Jesus’ words, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” But it also leaves us a little uncomfortable, like the story of the workers in the vineyard. We don’t like to admit it, but some of us might feel a little resentful about “being good” all our lives and then getting the same reward as some folks who had all the fun and then suddenly had a “God experience” at the end and snuck their way into heaven. That just doesn’t seem fair! Or, maybe we don’t really understand grace as well as we think.

Join us for worship Saturday or Sunday. You might find grace is much more than you ever imagined.

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, October 31, 2014

God’s Armies of One

What can one person do to make a difference in the world? Consider the following people:

Martin Luther

Noah built a football sized boat with the help of only his family and preserved the human race. Abraham left all his worldly possessions and extended family and went solo to a land his descendants would someday inhabit. That people altered the course of history. Paul singlehandedly planted Christian churches throughout much of the Roman empire in a period of about 30 years. The result is today there are some 2 billion Christians throughout the world. Martin Luther, by himself, took on the most powerful institution of his time, the Catholic Church, and confronted it with a reformation which has lasted to this day.

What can one person do? When that individual is part of God’s army – he can change the world.

You may not be a student of history, but if you believe that God is all powerful and uses that power in personally working through human beings, then Martin Luther and the Reformation have to matter to you. Luther’s life and legacy are a testimony of what God can do through a single human being. No earthly pleasure will reward you for wasting the present God has given you to make a difference in the forever of people. Have you ever looked at life that way? Luther did. You can too.

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, October 17, 2014

What Might Have Been

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

She came with a new, pink blanket in her hands. She should have been carrying something else. But, she wasn’t. They should have been heading home to family in the Midwest. But they weren’t. Instead, they were standing with two strangers in a cold and windswept cemetery.

They had come to bury their baby. She could not bear the thought of her little one lying in the cold ground—thus the blanket. Their minds were plagued by thoughts of what might have been.

He had returned safely from Vietnam and been discharged from the Marines two weeks earlier. He stayed on in North Carolina because his wife was in the hospital with a difficult pregnancy. They had plans for a baby shower when they returned to family and friends. They had planned what color to paint the baby’s room. They had planned for the joy of parenthood. They had not planned for the word “stillborn” to be echoing in their minds.

It seemed cruel. Both parents had been baptized as infants. They had gone to Sunday School and church. They had been confirmed. They had lived the Christian life while teenagers. So why was God so heartless?

He wasn’t. But his plans for them were different from what they were expecting. As they stared at the small grave on that December day, they may have felt that their plans were better than God’s plans. God’s plans hurt.

But human eyes are not able to see the future. Human minds cannot see how all the pieces of life’s puzzle might fit together. Human hearts cannot love to the depth of God’s surprising grace.

So, it is a good thing that God has plans for each of those he calls his own. Good thing that he can absolutely carry his plans out. Good thing that his plans are to prosper us in ways that cannot imagine—plans that will give hope and a future.

Good thing there is God!

Perhaps this grieving couple became the parents of other children. Maybe one of them grew up to be a Marine. Maybe one of them became a pastor. Who knows? God knows, and he already knew as he watched that pink blanket tenderly placed over that tiny casket.

With sorrow we may sometimes wonder why things don’t work out the way we had planned. With faith, we can be assured that all things will work together for our good.

What might have been is not as important as, according to God’s plans, what will be.

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
If you would like to receive Pastor Ziemer’s weekly devotions, please visit

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.