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?

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.