Friday, October 25, 2013

Before and After

“She’s gonna be alright. She just needs to rest. Give her some time, yeah. That’s all she needs. Time. Preacher, can you go in there and see her please. Says she wants a prayer…Thank you.”

The old man was shaking. Maybe he knew, maybe he didn’t, but his wife inside certainly knew. As the preacher walked in the dark little room he saw the emaciated figure of a woman from whom life was slowly escaping.

“He doesn’t know does, he?”

“Don’t know if he does or doesn’t,” replied the preacher.

“I know what’s happening. Say a prayer for me. Don’t need to be much. Just something to take away the fear.”

It was short and simple – nothing fancy or elegant. The preacher wasn’t much good at those kinds of prayers. So after a few words he said, “Our Father, who art in heaven….” The dying woman quietly began to pray with the preacher and for a few moments the two voices blended into one in the hushed darkness.

“Thank you,” she said when it was over. “Before you came I was a little scared. I’m ready now. Sweet Jesus, I’m ready for you to take me.” And she closed her eyes as she heavily breathed.

It’s a story of a time gone by. It’s a story of simple people with a simple faith. But that simple faith made all the difference when it counted. This coming weekend we are going to study the “before and after” of a person who comes to know Jesus Christ. While we may not fully appreciate the “before and after” affects of Christ’s forgiveness at conversion, we will certainly cherish them at the moment of death – when Jesus is the only one who can make a difference. Join us this Saturday evening (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) for the “before and after” difference Jesus Christ can make in your life.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Is Faith Believing What You Know Isn’t True?

Mention the word “faith” today and on some faces you will see eyes roll and a look of exasperation. In our culture dominated by scientific and technological advances, faith has been set aside as something for those who can’t keep up in the world of data, numbers and formulas. The truth is, everybody lives by faith in the most important areas of their lives.

As the bride and groom look into each other’s eyes and say, “I do”, they are making that commitment by faith. They believe they are going to live happily ever after because they have shared many good times together, but finally, in tying the knot, the two are taking a step of faith.

The young woman has worked day and night for six years earning her bachelor and masters degrees. As she walks into her new office for her first day of work she is looking forward to a long and successful career. Is she certain it will work out as she hopes? No, she’s going on faith.

An old man painfully tosses and turns in his hospice bed. Doctors have told him he has only a few months to live. He thinks about death and what will happen after he takes his last breath. He remembered Steve Jobs final words were, “Wow, oh wow!” But what did that mean? Did Jobs see something, hear a voice, experience God? Or was he feeling the effects of the pain killing drugs? And of course, that was Steve Jobs. What about him – just a regular common guy who didn’t even know how to work his I Phone much less make one? What would happen to him? He hoped for the best, but he didn’t know for sure. He was going on faith.

Everybody has faith? What’s yours? More importantly, what is your faith based on?

Join us this Saturday (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) and see where you are in this matter we call faith.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The One Thing No Man Wants to Hear

Tell a man to climb Mt. Everest and he’ll ask, “When can I start?” Order him to build a bridge from Hawaii to the mainland and he’ll respond, “How many lanes do you want?” But tell that same man to ask for help and he will walk away offended.

Challenges often bring out the best in men. It’s a chance to show their competence, ability, hard work and all the other traits men admire. But when it comes to admitting the need for someone else to lend a hand, men give the impression they would rather die than be helped.

The great irony is that the same man who will be the first to help others will refuse to allow people to return the favor, even when it is obvious his need is real. Is it that same independent pride which keeps so many men from ever getting close to God?

The opening chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans are offensive to anyone. He makes a very strong case that no one, no man or woman, is able to approach God on his/her own terms. The only way to God is through the door of destitution – by admitting, “Lord, I need you to make me into what I can’t be by myself.”

There is a saying, “The truth hurts.” From God’s point of view it would be more accurate to say, “The truth heals.” This Saturday evening (6:00 pm) and Sunday morning (10:00 am) we have the opportunity to study one of the tremendous chapters of the Bible (Romans 3). For the last two weeks as we’ve studied the opening chapters of Romans we have been forced to look at our lives honestly. It has been at times uncomfortable, at times depressing. But it all leads to just one thing – healing. And that healing is available to us all!

Friday, October 4, 2013

When Humility Is a Necessity

“These boots are made for walking,
And that’s just what they’ll do
One of these days these boots
are gonna walk all over you.”

Often humility is defined as letting another person take advantage of us. But in our culture of aggressive, assertive individualism, we want to let others know that just isn’t going to happen. That’s why we like songs like Nancy Sinatra’s hit “These Boots Were Made for Walking”. This song is a personal anthem declaring to anyone who will hear, “Don’t mess with me.”

It is interesting that the Webster’s Dictionary has a very different definition of “humble”.

“having or showing a consciousness of one’s defects or shortcomings…”

What’s important to note about that definition is it says nothing about other people taking advantage of the individual, instead, it emphasizes that the humble person sees him or herself the way they really are and doesn’t try to cover up the truth, even if the truth is not personally flattering. An example of a humble person then would be someone who, after making a mistake, can openly say, “Yes, I made a mistake. I blew it.” Now that doesn’t seem negative at first glance, does it? It is becoming harder and harder, however, for people to be humble in the dictionary sense. We seemed to be obsessed with the idea that it is a sign of weakness to admit that we are not only capable of making mistakes, but that some of those errors are very serious.

People might be able to get away with the “I’m never wrong” image with some other human beings, but such an attitude is absolutely disastrous with God. In fact, the only way a person can begin to get close to God is by having a consciousness of one’s defects or shortcomings.

The message of Jesus Christ’s coming into this world to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves is the most liberating and life changing story ever heard. But that story only makes sense if read through the eyes of humility. Join us this Saturday evening (6:00 pm) or Sunday morning (10:00 am) to experience how one preacher of the past described the journey to God. He said, “The way up always begins on our knees.”

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.