Friday, January 25, 2013

Jesus’ Upside-Down Plan for the Good Life

There are people who have the mistaken impression that Jesus only talked about life after death. They think he pretty much told his followers to expect to be miserable during their human lives in the expectation that after they died he would make it up to them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While Jesus did tell his followers to make eternal life their priority, he spoke at length and in detail about how to live in the here and now. The best and most specific treatment on this subject is called his “Sermon on the Mount”. For three whole chapters (Matthew 5 – 7) Christ talks about how those who call themselves his disciples will live. And here’s the thing, he says that living the way he describes will make them “blessed” and “happy”!

What confuses people is that Jesus’ plan for the good life on this earth demands humility, sacrifice and commitment – qualities which are just the opposite of what most people imagine make up the good life. The popular idea today is that to enjoy life a person has to pretty much have life on his or her own terms (AKA “having it your way”). You probably know a lot of people who have chosen the “having it your way” model for happiness. Is it working? Do they have the good life? Probably most people won’t admit to failure in their good life quest, but the statistics on disastrous behavior have increased at such an alarming rate that one has to wonder,

“If people are enjoying the good life,
why are they doing such crazy stuff which brings so much unhappiness into their lives?”

Jesus’ plan for the good life may seem upside down, but remember who he is. He definitely has more information on the subject than we do. Why not check his plan out this Saturday (6:00 pm) or Sunday (10:00 am)? You may find out the life he offers is exactly as he said, “The abundant life (John 10:10)”.

Friday, January 18, 2013

“How Much Is Your Life Worth?”

Sounds like a line from a movie, doesn’t it? And yet, as we approach the 40 year mark since the Supreme Court announced that it would be legal to perform abortions in the United States, it would be a healthy exercise to think seriously about the value of human life. Much has happened since January of 1973 to cheapen human life, not the least being over 50 million abortions. While that figure in itself is overwhelming, the prospects of an even greater tidal wave of bloodletting are appearing on the horizon.

In the past there was an unspoken agreement among people in our country, even those not holding to Christianity, that human life is special and no one has a right to tamper with it. Today, such is not the case. We are at the point of now allowing limited, mistake prone human beings to take what has always been God’s job – decide when life begins and ends.

At this particular moment in your life you may feel the issues of abortion, genetic engineering and euthanasia are little more than abstractions. Don’t be fooled, everyone is involved, everyone will be affected by how our society decides to address these issues. We’ve been told human life began by accident and has no divine purpose or worth. If that is what many of the most powerful and influential people in our country believe, how can we feel secure that anyone’s right to live will be protected? “How much is your life worth?” Not much, if we take God out of it.

Join us this Saturday evening (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) in celebrating the dignity and importance of human life. No matter who you are or what situation you may find yourself in, you are alive for one reason only – God himself wants you here. And that is reason enough to celebrate!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stop Setting Yourself Up to Be Tempted!

Have you ever been in a bad situation and found yourself blaming God? A small voice inside us says something like, “God, how could you let this happen to me. I don’t deserve this!” Painful circumstances do hurt. They can rip us apart. And yet, we need to ask ourselves, “Have I demanded a certain lifestyle from God and imposed my will on his?”

We live in a world that is constantly talking about individual rights. We are led to believe that we have the right to anything we want. When it comes to our relationship with God, however, that kind of thinking only sets us up for devastating temptations. God hasn’t promised to meet our every expectation in life. In fact, he’s made it pretty clear that if the only gifts he gave us would be the forgiveness of sins and life eternal, they would be enough.

This Sunday we are going to be studying the account of Jesus, early in his ministry, being tempted by the devil. Satan attacks directly the “I deserve…” feelings of Christ. But the reaction of Christ is much different than ours. And that is what we need to consider as we face the daily barrage of “But you deserve...” attacks in our lives.

We’ll never be free from Satan’s temptations, but we can be better protected by not setting ourselves up. Join us this Saturday at 6 pm, Sunday 10 am or 6 pm (Wheeler Chapel) for a refresher on temptation preparation.

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.