Friday, October 19, 2012

Can You Make the Bible Say Whatever You Want?

Absolutely! You can use the Bible to support just about any viewpoint. Take a phrase or sentence out of context, tweak the meaning of a word and … presto, a person can use the Bible to claim that Jesus is coming back to take us to heaven in a spaceship! Every day, people use the words of others in ways the original speaker or author never intended—just think of the recent presidential and vice-presidential debates. It isn’t hard to manipulate another’s words to one’s advantage. However, this does not mean that what the person intended to communicate wasn’t clear. And that is what is so important to remember when it comes to interpreting the Bible.

There are people who give the impression that the message of the Bible is so vague, so open, that there is no single, specific way to understand what it means. They claim everyone can interpret Scripture in their own unique manner and no one has the right to say that particular interpretation is wrong.

If you have read the Bible at all, you know that it isn’t that hard to figure out. If we follow a few simple and practical rules of interpretation as we read the Bible, we’ll see the meaning of even some of the more difficult passages begin to open up. Join us this Saturday evening (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) as we discover together how we can read the Bible and be sure we are getting the meaning God intended when he inspired the original writers. If God has spoken to the human race through the Bible, could anything be more important?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Life’s Not about Feelings, It’s about Jesus

Most non-Christian people explain their lack of interest in Christianity very simply—they just don’t feel they need it. It's not that they have done an exhaustive study of Christ’s life and teaching. It’s not an intellectual decision they’ve made. Instead, their choice is emotional. At the particular point of time in their life that they find themselves, they feel they are better off without an involvement with Christ, Christianity, or Christians.

The real question, however, is "What is true?" The New Testament doesn‘t present Jesus Christ from an emotional point of view. Its message is not, “Believe in Jesus so that you will feel the way you want.” Rather, in very straightforward and plain terms, the writers of the New Testament claim they are presenting the historical event of God becoming a human being for the purpose of bringing human beings back into a right relationship with the God who created us. Jesus isn’t about feelings; Jesus is about truth. He’s about the way things are. He’s about making life into what God intends it to be.

This Saturday evening (6:00 pm) and Sunday morning (10:00 am) we will be examining the books of the New Testament, looking at the big picture of this section of the Bible. And to be honest, it’s all about Jesus. We are confronted by these greatest of all propositions: When you see Jesus, you see God. When you listen to Jesus, you are listening to God. Regardless of how we may feel about those claims, the only thing that matters is to find out if they are true. If they are, then there is no feeling we can experience that is worth walking away from him.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Story of the BIble: God Loves You, No Matter What

That’s a statement that could be abused, wouldn’t you say? Many people might react to it with this argument:

“If you tell people that God loves them regardless of what they do or how they live, they are going to treat Him like a doormat! They’re going to do what they want to do, no matter how bad, and then expect God to do good things for them. That’s not right! That’s not the way it is, or at least it shouldn’t be.”

There is a growing number of people in our culture who are angry, and maybe rightly so. They are angry that some people are not playing by the rules and seem to be getting away with it. The people who are angry, in many cases, could be called “good people”, in the sense that they work hard, pay their taxes, and live responsible lives. When other people don’t pull their weight and still expect the same benefits as those who do, the “good people” believe discipline is in order rather than aid. And they may have a point. But when it comes to God, no one can ever think His love shouldn’t be unconditional, that there is some standard of merit we should meet to earn it. Why? Because it just won’t happen. There will never be a human being who will deserve God’s love. The story of the Bible reflects exactly the statement: God loves you, no matter what.

If you feel that there are some people who need to shape up some before they deserve from God what you have been given, then you need to start reading the Bible more regularly and with greater attention. This Sunday we continue our series “Get to Know the Bible” with an overview of the Old Testament. What you will see is that not one person during that time deserved anything from God. Rather, this period of history is the story of God’s relentless pursuit of the human race—to offer people another chance to come back to him, to know him as “Father”, to live life as he intends.

There are no sweeter words to the human ear, no stronger message on which to build our lives, than this: “God loves you, no matter what.” Join us this Saturday evening (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) to hear what you won’t hear anywhere else; to hear what you need to hear.

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.