Friday, April 29, 2011

Jesus' Resurrection: A Fresh Start

The poet Alexander Pope wrote:

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast."

It would be nice to think that way, but the truth is, people often lose all hope. Watch TV for just a few minutes and you'll see at least one advertisement for a drug which combats depression. In spite of our increasing comforts and prosperity, hope seems to be a rare commodity in the post modern world. Whether it is a financial issue, a health problem or a relationship which is falling apart, people get so wrapped up by all that is going wrong that they see no possible solutions. The result is they often choose either suicide or a life of apathy.

There was a woman named Mary Magdalene who had been a part of Jesus' group of disciples for most of his ministry. Meeting Jesus had turned Mary's life around and as a result she stood by him till the end. Even on that first Sunday morning after his death on the cross, Mary went out at dawn with some other women to finish embalming Jesus' body. When she got to the tomb the body was gone. But instead of remembering Jesus had predicted he was going to rise from the dead, Mary plunged into despair, thinking someone had stolen the body.

Hopeless is the only word to describe Mary Magdalene at that moment. Where would she go? What would she do? The only one who had been able to help her had been brutally killed as a criminal. In her despair, all Mary could think about was finding Jesus' corpse so she could give it a dignified burial. It was a pathetic scene.

But the thick fog of hopelessness was cut with one word -- "Mary". The moment Jesus spoke her name Mary Magdalene had a future, a purpose, and above all, the certainty that everything was going to work out. Mary had a fresh start in life!

Wherever you are in life, the resurrection of Jesus Christ offers you that same fresh start full of hope. Jesus said, "Because I live, you also will live...In my Father's house are many rooms...I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." Being with Jesus for eternity--that's what the resurrection means to you.

Join us this Sunday at 10:00 am to begin your resurrection fresh start!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Only Important Question

The account of Jesus' resurrection on the first Easter Sunday can raise a wide variety of questions but only one is of any real importance: "Is it true that Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead?" This is not only an important question, it is THE question. For if the answer is negative, then we are stuck in the same predicament we have been in since the beginning of time--we continue to be prisoners of death. But if the answer is positive, then everything changes--absolutely everything.

The reason the disciples of Jesus Christ readily gave up their lives for preaching his resurrection was that they understood its consequences on the human race. They realized that it would be morally unconscionable not to divulge this message to all of humanity. To hide the message of the resurrection would be more dastardly than to keep secret the cure for cancer.

Have you seriously examined the historical evidence of the resurrection? Have you thought deeply about what Christ's coming back to life could mean to you and how it would change your life? Or have you been too busy living at a breakneck speed to have time for questions like those? Is it possible there may be something in the Easter story that could literally transform your life?

Join us this Easter Sunday at 10:00 am. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is just too important to dismiss without a fair hearing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Kind of King Is Jesus?

How many times haven't we prayed, "Thy kingdom come" or sang "Crown him with many crowns" without even considering what kind of king Jesus is? People throughout the centuries have misunderstood, misused and even manipulated for their own interest the kingship of Jesus Christ. Certainly the people who proclaimed Jesus "King" on the first Palm Sunday didn't understand what they were saying, for five days later those same people cried, "Crucify him, crucify him!"

What makes it difficult for us to appreciate the royal claims of Christ is that his reign is so different than that of any king who has ruled in human history. What are we to make of a king who has no army, rides into his capital city on a donkey and says, "My kingdom is not of this world"? Even more unnerving is that he told his followers that he was going to Jerusalem not to set up a world government, but rather to be crucified!

When we go to the end of the story (Easter Sunday), however, we discover that King Jesus accomplished for humanity what no earthly king could begin to imagine. He destroyed the power of death over our lives. He doesn't force us to be subject to him. In fact, he doesn't demand anything. Instead, he invites us to receive what he won for us. The victory over death that only he could win, he now wants to give to us. That's the kind of king Jesus is.

Join us this Sunday (April 17) at 10:00 am to worship our King!

Friday, April 8, 2011

There's No Faking Out God

Tragic is the only word to describe a young woman who has fallen so deeply in love that she does not realize her husband is seeing another woman. She believes all the flattery ("I couldn't live without you,") and the lies ("I just couldn't get away from work,"), living in a world of illusion. Her trust is complete and her love undying. It's a cruel person who will lead on another human being for purely selfish motives, but it happens all too frequently. Divided hearts are nothing new.

If tragic is the word to describe a betrayed lover, pathetic is the only word for a person who tries to two-time God. Two-timing God is basically the same thing as the human variety. The person tells God, "I love you Lord. I trust in you for all things and I dedicate my life to you." But in day to day living the individual's life betrays the truth that he/she is living for self. Such a life is pathetic because the only one being fooled is the spiritual two-timer. God knows what we are thinking. He sees what is in our hearts. There is no faking him out.

This Sunday we're going to study an important meeting Jesus had with a young man who was so deceived that everything was right between himself and God that he didn't even realize he was bowing down each day and worshipping an idol--the idol of money. And it wasn't until Jesus hit him between the eyes with a clear proposition that he realized what had been going on. What Jesus said to this young man and how he treated him does not provide for a comfortable study. The implications of this meeting for our own lives, however, are of the greatest importance. It is an easy temptation to fall into, that of paying lip service to Jesus while living in a self-centered way. We need to hear Christ's strong words to jolt us out of our complacency. No matter how clever we are, we can't fool him. He will accept no other place in our lives than that of Lord. Join us this Sunday morning at 10:00 am to make a fresh start in your life with Jesus.

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.