Friday, May 25, 2012

Which Road?

Every day we face dozens of forks in the road which come in the form of decisions. But those decisions are really about which road in life we are going to take. Will it be the road that makes us happy on our terms but leads us away from the God who made us? Or, will it be the road that leads us to him, regardless of what we might experience at the moment? Sometimes those decisions seem small and of little consequence and yet, each one makes our footing firmer on that particular road.

Most people unconsciously choose their road for life. They think they are doing what is best for them without giving much consideration for what their decisions say to God. For Christians, though, there is a determined moment in our lives when we set the tone for the decisions we will make at all the future forks in the road. In the Lutheran Church we call it Confirmation Day. On the day of their Confirmation, followers of Christ stand before their fellow believers and publicly confirm that Jesus Christ is their Lord, and their intention to serve him with their lives from that day forward.

What do your daily decisions reflect about the road you've been taking in your life? Have you even given that question much thought lately? This Sunday (May 27 at 10:00 am) we will be celebrating the Confirmation Day of one of our young people. You are invited to join in our celebration, but even more importantly, to take this opportunity to recommit your life, every part of it, to Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Going Home

While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven (Luke 24:51).

You do not need to tell military personnel that going home can be a very special, eagerly awaited event. Most still treasure the memory of doing that after basic training. Yet that trip wasn’t as good as going home after a stressful and dangerous deployment. Even better if the words “Mission Accomplished!” and “Well done!” apply. WWII Vets still talk about their trip home, and the victory parades afterwards.

We can only speculate what Jesus felt as the day drew closer when he would be going home. He talked about it more frequently as the time approached. But, first he must complete the mission. First, he must rescue us. After that could come the celebration.

The first victory parade took place early Easter morning. When we say in the Apostles Creed, “he descended into hell” we are referring to his trip down to the confines of the damned. There he proclaimed his victory over sin, death, and the Devil. No cheers of welcome greeted him there. No boos, either. Shame, regret, and defeat, are the standards of hell. Before him every knee bowed in submission. Not only demons were present. The victory lap was lined with all the humans who had died rejecting the Savior God.
40 days later Jesus ascended into heaven. The disciples had no idea of what was going to happen. They were headed down the familiar road to Bethany when suddenly Jesus stopped to give them his blessing. As he was doing this, he began to rise up into the air. The liftoff was without sound or smoke. It was a perfect extraction. Power from heaven drew him up and up until a cloud hid him from human sight.

To make sure the disciples understood, two angels appeared: “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
The Holy Spirit gives a glimpse of the homecoming on heaven’s side. St. John writes, “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand… In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise” (Revelation 5:13)!

Too bad we were not there to see and hear this! But then, it does give us something to look forward to. Jesus tells us this: “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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” (John 14:2,3).

It doesn’t make any difference where we are right now. It matters little how easy or tough our life is. It makes no difference what troubles or danger lie ahead for us. The day will come when our tour of duty on earth will come to an end. That’s not a day to fear. That’s the day when, following Jesus, we are going home.

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Is It Possible For Modern Mothers To Be Happy?

Women, especially wives and mothers, are in what seems to be a never ending psychological war. Go to the grocery store and there in the check-out lane are all the women's magazines with photos of sultry models accompanied by headlines suggesting that any woman can look like the ones on the covers by following a certain diet and workout program. At home mothers turn on the TV to get a little break from the kids who at times can drive them crazy, only to find a wide variety of experts explaining how they can have perfect children in a matter of a few days. Added to the pressures of looking good and the responsibility of raising children, women are expected to hold down challenging jobs, be involved in the church and community and still have time left over to be the perfect wife! It's no wonder why many women are foregoing both marriage and children. It's just impossible to be and do everything society expects of mothers.

Mother's Day has become such an important celebration for Christians because it gives us a chance to seriously consider what God intends for mothers. Not only should motherhood not be an overwhelming burden, it should be one of the most enjoyable experiences a woman can have in life. God did not create the family as a punishment, but rather as a blessing. Mom, if you feel like you are on a never ending treadmill which has reduced life to an exhausting routine of chores and tasks, it's time to reevaluate. It's time to let God's Word speak to your heart on what his will for mothers is. Join us this Sunday (May 13) at 10:00 am to bring back the joy of being a mom in your life.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Branches Band To Play This Sunday, May 6 at 10:00 am "We All Really Do Need Someone To Lean On"

Nobody can do life alone. It's just too tough. We need other people in our lives. We need them for support, encouragement, and love. And yet, so often, people are the source of the greatest pain and hurt we suffer in life. When this happens, the tendency is to isolate ourselves, keeping our relationships at a superficial level in which we feel in control. Is that the best we can do though, a shallow imitation of the deep relationships which God intends for us to enjoy?

This Sunday, with the help of our special guests, Branches Band, we will be exploring what God wants us to experience in our relationships with other people. During the worship service we will look at several passages from the Bible which present a refreshing alternative to our culture's tragically self-centered view of relationships. After each reading, Branches Band will lead us in a variety of Christian music, ranging from beloved hymns to original songs written by the group's composers.

People were meant to do life together. Join us this Sunday and find out how much better life can be because of that!

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.