Friday, August 30, 2013

If God Were To Tell Us about Himself, Would We Listen?

What kind of question is that? Of course we would listen. He’s God and so we need to hear what he says.

And what if he says something about himself we don’t like – something that messes with our lives? Would we still listen to him?

About 3500 years ago God made a startling self-revelation to a man named Moses and a nation called Israel. He wouldn’t reveal himself in a more personal way until 1500 years later. But what God said about himself hasn’t always been the most popular through the centuries. He basically said, “I am God. Human beings were created by me and I made you to live according to my will.” God then went on to describe himself as incredibly loving, compassionate and gracious. In a sense, he said he is like a father who would do anything for the good of his children.

Unfortunately, people gloss over the part of God’s love and then get hung up on his commandments (there were 10 big ones he gave to all people for all time). It seems the human race has gotten to the point in its history that people don’t want to be told what to do – even by God.

The account of Moses receiving the Law on Mount Sinai describes the many facets of the awesome God who is. Some of his qualities comfort us, others scare us. But to experience him as he intended, we need to understand and accept all of his attributes – even if they make us uneasy or demand that we change our lives in some way. Remember, this is the same God who watched His Son pay for our sin on the cross. Could he want anything but the best for us?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Exodus Quiz

Take thirty seconds and see how many names or words associated with the Exodus you can come up with.

Stop reading now! :)

If you paid attention as a child during Sunday School classes you probably came up with:
Moses – Pharaoh – the burning bush – the 10 plagues – the crossing of the Red Sea.

The stories of Moses leading the people of Israel out of Egypt after spending 430 years in that country are full of charismatic characters and spectacular events. It’s easy to get so caught up in the drama that we miss what is really going on. A careful read of Exodus chapters 1-15 though, shows that much more than being a story of political liberation, Israel’s leaving Egypt is a powerful example of God working out his plan for human history.

In reality, no one, not even Moses, was particularly cooperative with what God was doing. Which leaves us with a tremendously important lesson: It is more important to do what God tells us to do rather than what we want to do. This kind of thinking very much goes against the idea that each person’s purpose in life is to do what he or she wants. While repressing our desires is considered politically incorrect, it is spiritually the wisest thing a human being can do. Ultimately, God’s will is going to be done, whether we work with him or against him. What a tragedy it would be for us to find out that all the while we were living life on our terms, we were, like Pharaoh, futilely fighting against God.

The Lord usually gives people the chance to rant and rave that they don’t need him or anyone else. They can sing, “I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life. Go ahead with your own life and leave me alone.” But in the end, people are mortal. We die. And then we must stand before God and answer for our lives. At that moment, tough talk doesn’t cut it.

Join us this Saturday evening (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) to consider the alternative to what we hear all week long. Maybe there’s more to life than just doing our own thing. And maybe that’s the best news we could hear.

Friday, August 16, 2013

What to Do When Life Isn’t Fair

When unexpected and unjust suffering hits us straight on it’s hard to imagine any other strategy than survival. So much of our lives are spent trying to avoid such times that when we do have to experience them, we tend to become unglued.

This coming Saturday evening (6:00 pm) and Sunday morning (10:00 am) we’re going to be studying the account of a man named Joseph. His story is so compelling that even blockbuster movies have been made about it. What makes Joseph’s life get our attention is how much of it was just plain unfair. Joseph was a man of integrity and character, but everywhere he turned, people, including his own family, were doing everything possible to destroy him.

After thirteen years of one disaster after another, Joseph finally ends up as one of the most powerful men in the world. But ironically, he doesn't use his power to punish people. Rather, he literally saves the lives of millions of underfed people.

If you are thinking, “God has to be behind this guy somehow,” you are exactly right. Joseph’s life wasn’t a series of random chance events which incredibly came together to create an inspiring success story. No, Joseph would be the first to say his life was a testimony to what God can do with a person even in the most extreme situations.

The Bible story of Joseph is a story for each one of us. There will be times in life when we’ll wonder out loud, “God, what are you doing to me? Why are you letting this happen? Where are you?” It is in those moments we can claim the same promise and hope Joseph had when he was sold as a slave far from home or sitting in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. More than that, we can actively live out that hope on a daily basis. For the follower of Jesus Christ, life is about much, much more than survival, even when it isn’t fair.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Have You Ever Made a Deal with God?

Most of us, at one time or other, found ourselves in a situation that was disastrous and we couldn’t do anything to make it better. So we did the only thing we could think of – we tried to make a deal with God. It probably went something like this:

“Dear God, I just don’t know what to do. I’m so confused. I know I haven’t been the best person in the world, but I’ve tried hard to be good. I really need your help now. And I promise, I really do, that if you get me out of this I will be the best person ever!”

In the heat of that desperate moment we surely meant everything we said, but looking at that kind of prayer from a more objective point of view, it’s pretty clear we were looking for a quick fix for our problems and we figured God was the best option available to give us what we wanted.

Whether or not we received what we asked for on that occasion, the truth is, the best thing we can do is let God make a deal with us.

“God makes a deal with people?”

That’s right. His deals are called covenants. This Sunday we’re going to look at a covenant God made with a man named Abraham about 4000 years ago. In the most important part, that 4000 year old deal God offered Abraham is the same deal he offers us today. It’s a win-win deal in which God does what only he can do and in return he asks only for a grateful, sincere love.

If you’ve gone through life making deals with God which have continually left you disappointed, join us this Saturday evening (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) to consider the life changing deal God offers you.

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.