Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Is the Best Day of The Year

Probably you don’t have time to read this. Maybe it’s the kids who need to go to some activity or you have an appointment or maybe you are just dog tired from an exhausting day and the best thing you can do is relax. You’ve got a lot on your plate – too much at times.

Is Easter the best day of the year? Isn’t Christmas better? You may actually still be reading to see why Easter is the best day of the year. Well, think about it, about all the stuff that is stressing you out. If Jesus did physically rise from the dead, how important is it all? Now I’m not trying to minimize your issues. But think about it.

What are all the bills you have to pay going to mean the day Jesus raises you to eternal life in heaven with him? How important, as you enter heaven, will it be that the kids got to all their soccer practices? Your job with all the responsibilities you have, will it still be stressing you out as Jesus says, “Welcome home!” Even the real tough stuff like cancer is no match for Easter. Jesus rising from the dead overwhelms any disease because he says that his resurrection guarantees us that in heaven there will be no more pain or disease. And that hole in your heart that’s there because the one you so dearly love is no longer with you, Easter Sunday means the separation is only temporary, very temporary.

Easter is the best day of the year because it changes everything. It turns human life on its ear. We go from meaningless chemical containers who lead empty, unimportant lives to people made to love and be loved for eternity, whose every day has eternal significance no matter how insignificant it may seem.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cause for Crying

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it. (Luke 19:41)

It’s hard for us to get the full picture of the first Palm Sunday because it is impossible for us to see that day through the eyes of Jesus. It would seem to be a day that filled him with joy and satisfaction. But, it wasn’t.

When early in his ministry he preached a sermon in his hometown, they tried to throw him over a cliff. When he worked miracles, some said it was by the power of the devil. He was accused of blasphemy. When would they see him for who he really was?

It seemed as though Palm Sunday was that day. He rode into Jerusalem with crowds shouting their approval. They sang that he was the successor to the great King David. Finally, he was recognized as a King! Was it not a day to celebrate?

Then, why was Jesus crying?

We might guess it was because he knew the crowds would turn on him. We might wonder if he was anticipating the lash of the whips, and the nails driven through his hands and feet. But we would be wrong.

He was not crying for himself, he was crying for the people of Jerusalem. Their rejection of the Lord of Glory and the peace that he offered would bring them pain, disaster, and death. He told them, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:43) He foretold the days when enemies would surround Jerusalem, when they would smash the walls of the city—and the children within the walls. “They will not leave one stone on another,” he told them, “because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:43,44).

It was enough to make the Son of God cry.

This tells us something about our sin, doesn’t it? And it tells us something about our Savior!

The consequences of sin are horrible—worse than we can imagine. Only God, and those who have entered eternity without him, know how horrible.

The love of God for us is wonderful—greater than we can imagine. Only God, and those who now dwell in heaven with him, know how wonderful.

We look in at that Palm Sunday from a great distance. But, it is not a dusty page from history. It is as current as today. For today is our chance to embrace the Savior in faith. Today is our opportunity to see him for who he is, and for what he has done. Today is our chance to join the voices of those shouting his praises.

We have no cause to cry. Today is our Palm Sunday!

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military.
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Truth: Don’t Put It Off for Another Day

Think of the things we plan on doing but often never get to, such as…

* cleaning the garage
* understanding our taxes
* learning a musical instrument or second language
* saving for retirement
* reading the fine print on our investments and health insurance policies
* exercising regularly
* doing the thousand projects on our “to do” list
* making a will
* add your own…
Some of the items on your “never got to” list aren’t all that important. When you think about them you might even chuckle and say to yourself, “I’ve been saying I’m going to take care of that for years. Who am I fooling? I’m never going to get to it.” And, it probably won’t matter all that much if the garage never gets cleaned or you don’t learn to play the guitar. But if you don’t make a will, or save for retirement or exercise regularly, well, the consequences of putting those things off can be catastrophic!

People have the tendency to be procrastinators with something else very important – the Truth about life and death. It’s a very personal subject which makes us all feel vulnerable, and so we tend to put it off and live our lives one day at a time, thinking that someday it will all come together for us and we’ll know what Truth is.

Jesus Christ talked a lot about Truth and he encouraged people to think seriously about what he said. Hours before he died Jesus spoke with a man who didn’t have a clue either about the definition of Truth or where he could find it. Little did he recognize Truth was looking at him. The words of Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?” have rung through the halls of history. Join us this Saturday (6:00 pm) or Sunday (10:00 am) to discover Truth in the person of Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hope for When We’ve Failed Totally

Two men, both close to Jesus. They have seen his incredible miracles. They have listened to him explain the mysteries of life. And yet, at the end of his ministry, both men failed Jesus miserably. Judas Iscariot betrayed him into the hands of the people who would eventually have Christ crucified. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times.

Two men, so similar in so many ways, and yet, how differently their lives ended! Judas committed suicide. Peter became a pillar of the Church and wrote two books of the New Testament. What can we learn about coming through this kind of moral failure from their experiences? Join us either this Saturday evening (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) and take hold of the hope Christ offers even to those who betray or deny him.

Friday, March 1, 2013

“Can Something So Simple Really Do Any Good?”

Have you ever gone up to take Holy Communion with that thought in your mind? Sunday after Sunday, year after year, century after century people from all over the world have lined up at the Communion rails of their churches to receive a little piece of bread and less than an ounce of wine. After the minister sends them on their way with the words, “Depart in peace” nothing seems to have changed. Life goes on. So what is the big deal about this ritual that it continues to be carried out by so many people each day?

God has a way of accomplishing the most incredible things through the most common means.
Jesus used five small loaves of bread and two fish to feed over 5000 people. At his word well water became the finest of wines. A touch of his hand cured the sick and raised the dead. An instrument of execution, the cross, became the way by which he opened eternal life to sinful human beings. Through a simple ritual using bread and wine God himself comes personally to his followers and whispers in our ears, “You are forgiven. My body and blood prove it. No one, nothing can take you away from me!”

Don’t sell God short. He keeps every promise he makes. And the promises he makes in the simple act of Communion are too good to pass up. Join us either Saturday (6:00 pm) or Sunday (10:00 am) to discover just how much Jesus Christ offers you in Communion.

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.