Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wise Men Still Seek Him -- Here's How

Christmas Eve Service - Friday, December 24 at 7:00 pm
Make your Christmas Eve extra special this year by joining us for an inspirational hour of traditional Christmas carols, Bible lessons, dramatic readings and prayers. Jesus is the reason for the season--make Him the center of your celebrations this year.

Christmas Day Service - Saturday, December 25 at 10:00 am
The Christmas story is ancient, one you've heard many times before, but each time we ponder it there's something new to learn and apply to our lives. It is truly the "Good News" which never gets old.

Sunday Worship - December 26 at 10:00 am
Journey out to the fields and listen with the shepherds to the startling message of the angels. The shepherds' lives were never the same after that angelic visit. Come and find out why.

New Year's Eve Supper (5:30 pm) and Worship (7:00 pm)
Sit under the stars, listen to the ocean waves lap against the shore and ponder what the Maker of the stars and ocean has done in your life this past year and what He may hold in store for you in 2010. If you choose to join us for supper, please bring a dish to pass.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Live the "Big Picture" Life!

"Are you saving enough right now to have a secure financial retirement?"
"Are you taking care of your body today so that you will be healthy when you are older?"
"Are the courses you are studying going to prepare you for the work world?"

Each one of the above questions is a "big picture" question. And if we are honest with ourselves, they make us a little uncomfortable, even defensive. Take for instance the first one. Who isn't worried about having enough money for retirement? But when it comes time to actually put money away for the future, how often don't we give in to the rationalization, "I've got to live a little too. What's the use of having all sorts of money when I'm old if I'm not happy now"? In regard to the second question, all we have to do is look at our expensive but unused exercise machines to acknowledge our good physical fitness intentions that never get carried out. The truth is, we can understand the "big picture" of the different areas of our lives, but it is still very hard to live out the "big picture".

This Sunday we are going to end our study of the Apostles' Creed by looking at its final words, "I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting". Talk about the "big picture"! We all know we are going to die. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. In our hearts, we also have the very strong suspicion that life doesn't end with death. Something inside says we are going to be held accountable for what we did with our time on this earth. And the more we look at life in the here and now, the more we sense the necessity of that end of life accountability.

Jesus Christ offers us substantial and specific answers to our questions about death and the hereafter. In fact, his life, death and resurrection give us the "big picture" of our lives. He tells us clearly that our current lives on this earth are a preparation for the next life in eternity. He explains how we can have that life and how to prepare for it right now.

Some people have the idea that living the "big picture" Christian life is to miss out on the best human life has to offer in the vague hope of getting something better in the future. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A life of preparing for the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting is a life rooted in reality. It is a life built on the rock of Jesus Christ's resurrection. It is a life that can see through the temporary, empty pleasures which attract and then end up destroying so many. It is a life that is ultimately triumphant.

Join us this Sunday (December 12) at 10:00 am to get a glimpse of the "big picture" life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Forgiveness--the Best Christmas Present Ever!

Do you remember what you got for Christmas last year? Does it still make you feel like you did when you saw it for the first time? Are you still using that present? Do you even have it?

One of the sad realities of life is that presents lose their novelty pretty fast. And though they can make us happy for a while, that happiness never lasts quite as long as we would like. Since this is an article meant to get you thinking about going to worship on Sunday, you probably already know that somehow, some way we're going to talk about Jesus as the best Christmas present ever. But before you glance down at the announcements, think about what it would mean to you if you could open a box this Christmas that would take away grudges long held within you that corrode your heart like acid. Imagine how you would feel for the rest of your life if you could give up the bitterness you feel toward certain people who hurt you deeply. Wouldn't it be literally incredible to be able to genuinely forgive yourself.

The words, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins" were meant to be much more than a sentence to be recited each Sunday. Those words, which describe why Jesus Christ came to this earth and what he accomplished, are meant to declare that our lives have been changed for eternity and the present. The forgiveness of sins is far from an abstract theological term. Its meaning and significance literally change life as we know it.

Join us this Sunday (December 5th) at 10:00 am and open with us the forgiveness of sins which Jesus Christ offers you!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Don't Worry about Santa Claus Coming to Town!

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He's making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!
O! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town

You've probably heard this Christmas song two dozen times already and it's not even December! For years it has served as a motivator (threat?!) to young children to behave during the Christmas season. And it works. How often haven't you heard parents shout at their children in the middle of the toy section, "Get back in that cart or Santa isn't going to bring you anything this year"? You know what's interesting about that is, you never hear the kids question, "How do you know what Santa is going to do?" The tragedy of it all is that people are afraid of who they don't need to be afraid of and completely dismiss the One of whom they should have total respect and awe.

The Advent season is upon us and as Christians this is an excellent time for us to remind ourselves that while Santa is not coming to town, Jesus Christ is coming at any moment. But instead of having to dread that Day, we have confidence because of his first coming at Christmas that we can instead look forward to his second coming. Christ's life, death and resurrection have eliminated the need for us to wonder, "Have I been too naughty for heaven or have I been nice enough?" When He said, "It is finished," He declared us ready for heaven by virtue of his sacrifice.

Don't worry about being ready for Santa or all the get togethers or even the gift giving; the question to ask this year is, "Am I ready for heaven?" Join us this Sunday (November 28th) at 10:00 am and discover that in Jesus, you can't be more ready.

Friday, November 19, 2010

"It Doesn't Make Sense To Me"

Have you ever explained why you are a Christian to someone and had them reply, "That's great you feel so strongly about what you believe. But for me, it just doesn't make sense"? You probably walked away feeling frustrated, wondering what it was you should have said to have changed their mind.

In recent times we have made great advances in our pursuit of higher learning. But there is one area of our lives that refuses to be overcome by our search for knowledge and that is the spiritual side of us. Try as we might, we human beings are never going to figure out God completely. In fact, we are never going to find him on our own. At first glance, that seems like a pretty pessimistic statement. Unfortunately, it is all too true. The reason we won't ever find God by ourselves is due to the fact we deep down don't want to find him. Sure, we want to find a God who will protect us and help us when we are in need and who will leave us alone when things are just fine, but we definitely don't want the God who claims the #1 place in our lives on a permanent basis.

While we can talk about "finding God", the truth is, it is God who finds us! This week our study of the Apostles' Creed brings us to the phrase, "I believe in the Holy Spirit". Sunday, we are going to see not only who the Holy Spirit is and what he does for us, but just as importantly, how much we need his activity in our lives. Until we understand how distorted our human view of life is without the Holy Spirit, we will continue to hinder his ongoing work in us. He is the One who enables us to "make sense" out of the cross of Christ. He is the one who leads us to bring our lives to Jesus and say, "Take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord to Thee."

Join us Sunday (November 21st at 10:00 am) and start making sense not only out of life, but also of all eternity.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Snow White and Judgment Day

Do you remember the magic mirror in the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? The wicked queen would look at herself and say, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, Who's the fairest of them all?" And the mirror would always answer, "You are!" Of course, that is exactly what the queen wanted to hear so she spent a considerable amount of time in front of it. But one day she asked that question and instead of hearing the words which soothed her soul, the mirror replied, "Snow White is the loveliest in the land." This was the truth, however, it was a truth the queen did not want to hear. But instead of going to a spa for some touch up work, the queen took after Snow White and you well know the rest of the story.

So what is the moral of this fable?
Don't ask questions of mirrors unless you are ready for an answer you don't like.
That might not be exactly what the Grimm brothers had in mind when they wrote Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but it sure is a good way to get us thinking about Judgment Day.

Jesus talked a lot about Judgment Day and encouraged his followers to always be prepared for that day. If you have some time tonight, check out what he said in Matthew 25. Now you might wonder, "How do I know I'm ready?" Take a look in the mirror of your daily schedule and as you go through how you spend your time, ask yourself the question, "What does the way I use my time tell me about who is the Lord and Savior of my life?"

We all have 24 hours per day -- no more, no less. Having this set amount of time forces us to make choices on how we will spend it. And those choices are what tell us what is most important to us. Take a hard look at the way you've used each of the 24 hour periods you received from God since last Friday. If someone else went over your activities with you, what would lead them to identify you as a Christian?

The magic mirror in the Snow White story was actually pretty useless. But the mirror of our daily and weekly schedules can help us stay on the path to eternal life. It may hurt us to honestly look at the way we've used our time recently. But Jesus said that the truth, when it is based on his person and teachings, will set us free, even if it causes pain.

This Sunday (November 14 at 10:00 am), as we continue our study of the Apostles' Creed, we are going to see what the following statements mean to our lives:
He (Jesus) ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
These truths might not make us feel comfortable, but they will definitely help us to see what is most important in life so that when Judgment Day does come, we're ready.

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's The Same Old Thing!

There is nothing more frustrating for parents, while in the midst of explaining something very important, than to see that bored, glazed over look in the eyes of their teenage son or daughter. No matter how hard the parent tries, their teen just doesn't get it. Maybe the child is being rebellious. Maybe it's just a matter of immaturity. Regardless of the reason, though, the parent knows their teen is going to suffer from not learning that particular life lesson. Often, because parents feel strongly about teaching certain values to their children, they will repeat over and over again the themes they are trying to get across. And that is one reason teens give for their looks of boredom. "Dad, Mom, you say the same old thing. I've heard it all before!" Dad and Mom respond by saying, "But that doesn't make it any less true or important!"

Getting bored with something we're familiar with unfortunately isn't only for teenagers. How often hasn't it happened to us when we hear the familiar story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins that our attention is suddenly stolen by an intriguing spot on a ceiling tile or a fascinating bug crawling along the floor? We rationalize by thinking, "But I've heard this story so many times."

As musical scales are to the musician and technique drills are to the athlete, the cross is to the Christian. We can't hear it, think about it or apply it to our lives enough. We can go to church three times a week, study the Bible every day for an hour, but if we don't understand what happened on Good Friday, we won't get life right.

This Sunday our theme is: "The cross is the crux of Christianity." The word "crux" is actually the Latin word for "cross". Long ago people realized that what Christ did on the cross is the heart of Christianity. Take the cross out and you don't have Christianity. And so in the English language, the word "crux" has taken on the meaning "that which is essential" or "the most important part of something". Join us this Sunday (October 31) at 10:00 am ready to hear what might seem like the same old thing. But that familiar message is what has been changing lives for the past 2000 years. And it can surely change your life too!

Friday, October 15, 2010

You Are Somebody--God Says So!

Use of the term "self-esteem" has exploded in recent decades. Whether it was right or not, years ago people didn't talk much how a person felt about him/herself. Maybe it was because people didn't have the time or leisure to worry about such things. Or, it might have been that folks looked at the world a little bit differently at that time. Things have changed though, and in the last 40 years or so we've been encouraged to not only explore how we feel about ourselves, we are told it is important to share our findings with others.

The increase in peoples' interest in self-esteem has led to a significant number of books and seminars on the subject with the purpose, of course, to help us feel better about ourselves. There is no doubt that how we view ourselves will affect greatly not only the way we feel, but how we live our lives. However, a positive self-esteem has to be based on something solid. In other words, if I feel good about myself, there has to be a reason for such feelings. For instance, if a young person works hard on a term paper and receives a high grade, he/she has reason to feel good about a job well done. On the other hand, if that same young person throws together a report in a few hours and receives a poor grade, then those good feelings are not appropriate.

A few years ago a speaker had several thousand people chanting, "I am somebody! I am somebody!" What exactly those folks meant when they shouted, "I am somebody" is up to debate, but it probably had to do with something like, "I deserve respect and you better do what I want." Every single human being deserves respect but to demand that just because we are alive we should get our way, that is another thing. Unfortunately, much of what is written and discussed concerning self-esteem today comes from that self-centered point of view.

This Sunday, as we continue to study the Apostles' Creed, we're going to learn what it means to confess, "I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth." What we'll find is that the true basis for our self-esteem is determined by Who made us. When we realize that our bodies, minds and special talents all are gifts from our Creator, well, that puts a whole different emphasis on how we feel about ourselves. From a Christian point of view, self-esteem is not based primarily on how we see ourselves, but rather on the fact that God himself made us. Not only that, he sent his Son to die in our place to bring us back into his family. The worth which God gives us is of eternal value. And it is that value which develops humility and compassion in us as we consider how much God has done for us. Whether you suffer from too much self-esteem or too little, understanding that the reason you are alive is solely because of God's express intent will enable you to see yourself and your life in a positive, productive way that won't be subject to feelings or pride. And what a difference that will make in your life! Join us this Sunday, October 17 at 10:00 am.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Belief Matters

A few years ago a friend said to me, "When it comes to religion, I go by what my mother taught me. She said,

'It doesn't matter what you believe about God as long as you practice what you believe.'"

This person's mother was probably saying that no matter what people believe, they should practice the golden rule which is "do unto others as you would want them to do unto you." That sounds good in a conversation, but unfortunately doesn't hold true in real life.

The fact is, belief matters more than any other one thing in our lives when it comes to our behavior. Every single person on earth has a belief about why he/she was born, what the purpose of life is, how we are to live and what happens after death. And those beliefs are what serve as the basis for peoples' actions. No matter how thoughtless something we do might seem, it comes from our beliefs, from the way we view life and the world.

Throughout history we see example after example of people who committed the most horrendous crimes against other people and we wonder how they could do such things. But if we could get into their minds, understand their beliefs, we would see why they did what they did. In many of these instances, the people that did such terrible things actually thought they were in the right!!!

This coming Sunday we are going to begin a sermon series on the Apostles' Creed. One might wonder what this ancient creed has to do with people living in the 21st century. But these ancient words contain the basic truths of Christianity, the beliefs which have served as the foundation of life for millions of people throughout the last 2000 years. And those beliefs remain as vital, powerful and above all--true--as they were 2000 years ago.

If your life is going to matter, first your beliefs have to matter. Join us this Sunday, October 10 as we begin to mine the spiritual riches of the Apostles' Creed!

Friday, October 1, 2010

United We Stand

It isn't in style to say, "I need you," to another human being. Instead, we are told to be independent, to develop a lifestyle that keeps other human beings at a distance, a controllable distance. Some people even say, "You don't want to get too close to anyone because then you are vulnerable, open to being hurt." The truth of life, however, is much different. From the time we are born, we are dependent on other people and this principle holds true until the day we die. We can't do life alone, no matter how self-sufficient we might try to be. That's good news though. In fact, it is fantastic news, because God designed us not only to be dependent on him but interdependent on each other. When we understand that truth, our lives become not only much easier, but much more full.

When the Apostle Peter came to the final chapter in his letter to a group of first century Christians he reminded them to stick together, to work together, to support one another. Why? Because Christians share a common enemy who is bigger than we are. That enemy is Satan. Jesus called Satan a deceiver, the father of lies and a murderer. Those statements in themselves tell us how dangerous the Devil is. Throughout the New Testament we hear again and again of the necessity of Christians coming together for the purpose of mutual support and encouragement as we fight together against the attacks of Satan. When it comes to the Christian life, we are in this together, for eternity.

The Devil is just as much a "roaring lion looking for someone to devour" today as he was two thousand years ago when Peter first wrote those words. What we 21st century Christians need to take to heart is what it means to be "devoured" by Satan. Peter isn't being overly dramatic, he's describing the horrible consequences of leaving Christ and following Satan. Jesus left no doubt: he opened heaven for all, however, if a person rejects his offer, the only other alternative to spending eternity in heaven is to spend it in hell. That's what Satan wants. That's why together we must do everything from preventing that from happening. Together we stand. Join us this Sunday and let's stand together.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What Would It Take?

"I love life!" What would it take to get you to say that? A million dollars? A trip around the world? A date with Miss America or Mr. Universe? A spot on "American Idol"? A little peace and quiet? What would it take?

When someone says they love life, normally that means things are going their way. They are in a pleasant and comfortable situation without any real threats or discomforts. The fact that most people don't find themselves in those kinds of situations very often may well be the reason we don't meet too many folks who say, "I love life!"

It really is kind of sad! We human beings do everything we can to protect and prolong our lives and yet for most of the time we are breathing we consider our quality of life significantly below the "I love life!" standard. Is there a way to live more positively or are we condemned to a "Things are going okay" level of living?

The apostle Peter makes a remarkable statement in a letter he wrote 2000 years ago to a small group of Christians who were undergoing intense persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. He wrote,

“Whoever would love life and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

What gets our attention is that from what Peter tells us, loving life is not based on having everything go your way, instead it comes from knowing who God is and living as He has commanded. In other words, loving life comes from a relationship with the Lord and not one's situation in life. That's revolutionary! It means that we can be going through some traumatic situation and still love life. Have you ever looked at things that way?

Join us this Sunday (September 26) at 10:00 am. Together let's learn how to love life, no matter what the circumstances are in which we find ourselves.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Marriage: How You See It Determines How It Will Go

Marriage counselor, Dr. Paul Faulkner, recently wrote:

"The number one reason marriages fall apart is selfishness."

You might think it doesn't take a Phd to figure that one out, but it is Dr. Faulkner's blunt presentation of the problem that catches one's attention. He doesn't talk about a lack of self-fulfillment or frustration with not achieving one's dreams. He identifies the problem as it is, when people don't get their way in a marriage they walk.

We've all heard many times from our elders that marriage is give and take--that you can't get your way all the time. But even though we've heard those things so often and probably even believe they are true, that is not the way most people see marriage. Whether folks will admit it or not, we see marriage principally as a way to make us happy. Is that wrong? Of course not! But if that is the only principle your marriage is based on, there is good reason to expect some very rocky times ahead. And the reason is, very often we don't get our way in our marriage relationship and there are regular times when that same relationship doesn't bring us a great deal of happiness. So what does this all mean? Marriage isn't worth it? Not at all. The problem isn't with marriage though, the problem is with how we see it.

Marriage is a tremendous blessing from God, but the way we experience that blessing comes not from having our spouse do everything we want, but rather our fulfilling the roles God has given husbands and wives. Marriage is like all the other wonderful things God has given us which we seem to misuse and make a mess of. The happiness we so desperately want from having a husband or wife comes from living selflessly. Which really means we are to look at marriage the way God does.

We are studying the apostle Peter's first letter to a group of Christians living about 65 AD. They were going through some very tough times and Peter wrote to these people to help them understand how Christians live in tough times. One of the topics the apostle touches on in this letter is marriage. And what he tells his original readers is as relevant today as it was then: until we see our marriages as one more opportunity to serve Jesus Christ, we are going to have a difficult time getting it right.

A lot has been written to ridicule what the Bible teaches us about marriage, but when we look around at real world husband-wife relationships what we find is that the biblical principles which Peter sets forth are so glaringly missing. And the tragic result is often divorce. As always, God's way is the best way--even when it comes to marriage. Don't miss the opportunity to get your marriage headed in the right direction. Join us this Sunday (September 19) at 10:00 am.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Submitting for Christ and the Tapout

When a fighter can no longer continue in an Ultimate Fight Championship bout he taps his opponent. As soon as that signal is given, the fight is over. For a UFC combatant, the tapout is the last resort, to be utilized only if every possible means of going on has failed. It is the grudging acknowledgement that the other fighter is superior.

For many people, submission is just another word for tapping out. If there is no other alternative, then they submit; but if there is the least little hope of showing themselves equal, if not better than the other person, they carry on the fight for victory. Unfortunately, their idea of victory often is, in reality, a loss--especially when it has to do with the way people get along. It is a tragedy to think of how many families have disintegrated because one person or the other had to have their way, had to be right, had to show their superiority. What happened was people confused winning with pride. And pride is usually a potently destructive force.

When it comes to real winning, the greatest victory in the history of the world came as a result of submission. Jesus Christ could have torn the nails which had been pounded through his hands and feet right out of the wooden cross on which he hung. He did not stay there because he had no other choice. He stayed because he chose to stay. He was submitting.

Jesus Christ is God. He created the world. He can do whatever he wants and no one, no one, can make him do otherwise. But he chose to give up that glory to rescue human beings from an eternity separated from him. He chose to submit himself not only to the indignity of becoming a man, but to a death of excruciating pain. His submission, however, was all about strength. It had nothing to do with weakness.

And now he calls his followers to submit, to follow his example. If you want to go on the journey of life insisting you are too strong, too smart, too capable to submit, you'll eventually have to tapout when death comes knocking. But if you submit to Christ, you've got the One who has beaten even death on your side. You see, submitting for Christ is about supernatural strength. And as you live your life in gratitude to Christ, submitting when he requires, you will experience that supernatural strength in your life.

Join us at 10:00 am this Sunday (September 12th) for a supernatural strength supplement!

Friday, September 3, 2010

"You Can't Do Your Own Thing All The Time"

There are many different reactions to the title of this article and most are probably negative. How do you react when someone says you can't do something? Most of us respond, "Nobody tells me what to do and I don't do anything I don't want to do." And yet, the ability to be able to deny our desires and do what is most important for someone other than ourselves is fundamental to being able to live together. More importantly, it is an essential characteristic of the Christian life.

We don't like the words "submit" and "submission", but they are words we come across frequently in the Bible and they are used to describe how the follower of Jesus Christ lives in this world. In our continuing study of the Apostle Peter's first letter we encounter a brief exposition on Christian submission in a decisively non-Christian society. Peter does not describe this kind of submission as something particularly pleasant, but it is absolutely necessary in our witnessing of the difference Jesus Christ makes in our lives.

We live in an age which bristles at the sound of the word "submit". For an individual to not get what he/she desires is thought to be the main reason for unhappiness. And yet, no society can last if there is not a willingness for individuals to make sacrifices for the group. What makes Christian submission unique is not only that we understand the importance of denying ourselves for the good of others, but our God is the ultimate example of submission. He submitted himself to the cross so that we might live with him forever. He calls us now to imitate him as he works his will in this world through our lives. Isn't that just a little more important than getting our way?

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Are You With Me, Or Not?"

Not one of them dared to look into the coach's eyes as the question came out of his mouth. To a man, they knew their efforts in the first half of the game had been half-hearted at best. All the hours of practice during the week seemed to have been for nothing. The game plan the coach had carefully crafted had been ignored. Now they were losing by 24 points and there was nothing to indicate things would turn around during the final 30 minutes of the game.
"Are you with me, or not?" he shouted again.
Would his players follow his instructions, play together as a team and give their very best effort? The question demanded an answer of either "yes" or "no". "Maybe" was not an option.
"Maybe" is not an option when answering Jesus Christ's question, "Are you with me, or not?" While many people would like to "sit on the fence" with Jesus, saying things like, "He was a great man, a wonderful prophet, but I'm not so sure about him being God," they have answered his question with a "no". When it comes to life, we have to be on someone's team and we only have two choices--God's team or our team.
Many years ago a man named Peter was throwing out his fishing net into the Sea of Galilee, patiently plying his trade. His mind was probably on a million things; how many fish he had to catch to pay the bills, how to fix the leak in his roof and the fight he had with his wife earlier in the day. But then suddenly he heard a voice call out, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." At that instant Jesus asked Peter, "Are you with me, or not?" Peter answered with his feet. He followed Jesus that day and for the rest of his life.
Several years later as Peter was nearing the end of his earthly life he wrote a short letter to some Christians living in what today is the nation of Turkey. In the second chapter of that letter he confronted his readers with the same question asked of him years earlier. "Are you with Jesus, or not?" That question, 2000 years ago, was the most important question a human being could answer, and it still is today.
Certainly, Sunday is a day to rest, kick back and reenergize for Monday and the start of the new week. Most of all, though, Sunday is to clear our heads of all our distractions and hear from the One who created us, who paid for our sins, who is preparing an eternal home in heaven for us. This Sunday, through the writings of the Apostle Peter, our Lord is going to confront us with the compelling question, "Are you with me, or not?" Join us at 10:00 am (August 29th).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Filling Up on Junk Food

A lot is being said these days about the large amounts of low quality foods we Americans are consuming on a daily basis. Some reports have come out even predicting that due to our bad eating habits, our life expectancy rate will actually fall in the coming years. What a testimony to the tastiness of junk food! We know it isn't good for us. And yet, we still eat it in huge quantities. All this is not new information; we've all had the personal experience of opening a bag of chips with the intention of eating just a handful only to leave it moments later half empty.
The most deceptive part of junk food, though, is that while it makes our stomachs feel full, it doesn't give our bodies the nutrients necessary to live a healthy life. Over the years, that lack of nutrition takes its toll, leaving us to deal with severe health issues.
While it gets far less attention from the media, many people today suffer from spiritual malnutrition. Spiritual junk food comes in the form of books, TV shows, and magazine articles which present life from an "It's all about me!" point of view. We're told to do whatever is necessary to make ourselves successful, fulfilled, happy--and always on our terms. And, we like to hear people tell us to live for ourselves; it makes us feel just a little bit less selfish!
The problem is, we know deep down that self-centered living is temporary. In the Bible that kind of life is described in terms of a flower that blooms in the morning and then is burned up by the afternoon sun. What we need is real spiritual food that will enable us to survive not only the heat of life's problems, but the raging fire of death. This Sunday, as we continue to study the first letter of Peter as we find it in the New Testament, we are going to see what real spiritual food is--the food of the Word of God. If you are tired of being spiritually tired all the time because you aren't getting the right food, join us Sunday at 10:00 am and fill up with food that will take you into eternity!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Alternative

The Friday online edition of the Wall Street Journal printed a rather unusual but thought provoking article by the title “The Perils of Wanna Be Cool Christianity”. The basic proposition of author Brett McCracken is that some churches have gone too far in an effort to attract young people. He writes.

There are various ways that churches attempt to be cool. For some, it means trying to seem more culturally savvy. The pastor quotes Stephen Colbert or references Lady Gaga during his sermon, or a church sponsors a screening of the R-rated "No Country For Old Men." For others, the emphasis is on looking cool, perhaps by giving the pastor a metrosexual makeover, with skinny jeans and an $80 haircut, or by insisting on trendy eco-friendly paper and helvetica-only fonts on all printed materials. Then there is the option of holding a worship service in a bar or nightclub (as is the case for L.A.'s Mosaic church, whose downtown location meets at a nightspot called Club Mayan).

However, according to McCraken, the results of such attempts to be relevant may do more harm than good.

"In his book, 'The Courage to Be Protestant,' David Wells writes: 'The born-again, marketing church has calculated that unless it makes deep, serious cultural adaptations, it will go out of business, especially with the younger generations. What it has not considered carefully enough is that it may well be putting itself out of business with God...'
If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that 'cool Christianity' is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don't want cool as much as we want real.
If we (young people) are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it’s easy or trendy or popular. It’s because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It’s because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched-–and we want an alternative. It’s not because we want more of the same.”

In his letter to a group of persecuted Christians the apostle Peter describes the "alternative" life people of all ages are looking for today. It surely is not an easy, trendy or popular life. It is, however, rooted in the unchanging eternity of God. It is a life that offers stability, truth and trust. Above all, it offers eternal life, free of charge to all who will receive it. Jesus Christ is God; he doesn't need gimmicks. Join us at 10:00 am this Sunday morning (August 15) for the best "alternative".

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Foster Point Service on Hickam Air Force Base

Sunday, August 8, Community Lutheran Church met at Foster Point Pavilion on Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a beautiful outdoor service, BBQ potluck, and fellowship.

It was a great time and we had an excellent turnout of members and visitors. If you didn't make it out this time, make sure to watch our website for the next fellowship outing.

Here are some photos from the day:

New Website - Community Lutheran Church Hawaii

Check out Community Lutheran Church's new website:

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

My photo
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.