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.

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.