Friday, February 28, 2014

What It Means To Be a Follower of Jesus

Recent polls show that at least 70% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. However, of those Christians, 18% have not prayed to God in the last year, 57% haven’t read the Bible in the last week and 33% haven’t been to a Christian church in the last year. From those statistics, it seems that there is a broad range of interpretation in regard to how being a Christian influences one’s daily life.

This Sunday we’re going to be studying various teachings Jesus gave to those who followed him. What he says pierces any idea that being a Christian is like belonging to a club or an organization. The message of Christ is challenging, but then the one who offers the tough words demonstrates his incredible authority.

Everybody follows someone. Who do you follow? If you are not sure or are considering making a change, join us this weekend and learn what it means to follow Jesus Christ. It could be the start of something better than you ever imagined.

Saturday night worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Have People Made God Into a Wimp?

In the early part of the 1800s German university professors decided that the miracles credited to Jesus Christ in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were just too hard to swallow for people living in such a technologically advanced time in history. So, they conveniently erased all the supernatural acts of Jesus, leaving him to be just a misunderstood teacher.

Later in that same century Charles Darwin published his book “On the Origin of Species” in which he relieved God of his duties as Creator and Preserver of the universe.

A century passed along with two world wars which decimated the planet and in the 1960s Time magazine declared, with the encouragement of French philosophers, that God was dead.

In the early 1970s signers of the “Humanist Manifesto” boldly declared that humanity could not look to the Divine for help stating: “We are the masters of our destiny.”

God has taken a lot of hits over the last two hundred years. Surprisingly though, people haven’t given up on him completely. It may be the fear factor: Who do you turn to when no one can help except God? Or, it could be that people don’t know how to fill the vacuum if they take him out of their lives. So there still remains an overwhelming majority of people who believe God exists. The only problem is, they’ve reduced him to the category of a wimp.

Due to the influences of Darwin and the humanists, for most people, God is nothing more than a concept, or an impotent elderly gentleman wringing his hands over the sad state of affairs we human beings have gotten ourselves into. Oh, once in a while God does something impressive, but his involvement is rather erratic and inconclusive. The popular God of today is a token symbol of spirituality. The one who really holds the power is the individual human being.

This weekend at our services we’re going to look at a story of Jesus Christ’s life without the cynical glasses of the German university professors of the 1800s. In this story we don’t see a wimpy, misunderstood Jesus. No, we stand before a jaw droppingly awesome Jesus. A Jesus who speaks a word and a dead man comes back to life. Fairy tale? Hardly. The New Testament Gospels are historical documents with solid historical evidence to back up what they present. The only way to discredit the histories of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is to take the attitude: “I don’t believe miracles can happen, therefore what is written about Jesus didn’t happen.” That kind of thinking though is not based on historical investigation, that’s based on the belief God doesn’t exist therefore miracles can’t happen.

The Jesus of history, the Jesus of the Bible not only has mind-blowing power, he is also totally committed to the human race. No, Jesus is no wimp. He is the awesome God – exactly the God we need.

Saturday night worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, February 14, 2014

What Have You Been Eating Lately?

Everyday new information appears about the merits or hazards of certain foods. How many carbs should we consume each day? What foods produce good cholesterol, which cause bad cholesterol? We’re told, “You are what you eat.”

Eating has become a very serious business indeed!

Many years ago Jesus gave a presentation on food. As we would expect, it was very different from anything we would think of. He said, “I am the bread of life.” Now what does that mean?

It is important to understand that at the time of Jesus eating was a lot different than it is today. Sure, people put food in their mouths, chewed, swallowed and digested. But eating, then, was more urgent. Food was scarce for most people and daily meals weren’t always a certainty. Some days, a whole lot of people went without food.

Today, we have such an abundance of food, that eating is more an act of pleasure and taste than it is a necessity to stay alive.

When Jesus said he is the “Bread of Life” he meant that he is the absolute necessity of every person’s life. Just as no one at that time could imagine living without bread, Jesus is saying none of us can truly live without him.

Today, our struggle isn’t to find enough food, it’s rather eating the right foods in the proper quantities. Our taste buds seem to crave “junk foods” and detest the vegetables and fruits we know are so healthy for us. Unfortunately, we do the same in our spiritual lives. Instead of going to the One who gives us what we need, we run after things that make us feel good for a few moments, but leave us unsatisfied and discontented for the long term.

What kind of spiritual food have you been eating these days? Join us for a feast this weekend, the kind of feast only Jesus can put on!

Saturday night worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, February 7, 2014

What Jesus Said about Prosperity, Death and Eternity

The subjects of prosperity, death and eternity are like labyrinths – there are so many different facets of each that we wonder where we should start our investigation. But then Jesus comes along and in less than 20 short verses tells us everything we need to know about each subject. You’ll find what he says in Luke 16:19-31.

Prosperity is neither a blessing or a curse – it’s a test to see what we’ll do with it. Jesus didn’t condemn money, as some people would like to give the impression, he simply said, “Don’t let it take over your life. Use your money in a way that demonstrates you are my follower.”

Death is not the end, it’s a transition either to a better (heaven) or worse (hell) existence. What people have always naturally felt, that human beings are held accountable for their earthly lives, is confirmed by Jesus.

Where we begin eternity, there we will stay for eternity. In the story Jesus told, there was a man who had a tremendous amount of prosperity when he was on this earth but went to hell because he let his money become his god. Instead of using his material blessings to glorify God, he spent them glorifying himself. When the confused man realized what a monumental mistake he had made, he pleaded for mercy. Unfortunately, he was informed that the time for mercy was while he was in the physical world of human beings.

The story Jesus told is strong. It is a story that challenges our priorities. It is a story that confronts us with the consequences of our choices. Jesus once said that the only thing that really matters is to receive him as Lord and Savior and then live in such a way that we prepare ourselves for an eternity with him.

It is easy to shrug off Jesus’ statements as too spiritual to be practically lived out in our world. But that is exactly why he told the story in such a hard hitting way. Yes, it is difficult to live life as a preparation for eternity, but the reality is, eternity is coming and we will enter it no matter how much we may resist. The only question is, “Where will we spend eternity?” Jesus told the story so that we would not have to be in doubt.

Saturday night worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

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.