Friday, May 30, 2014

The Basics of Faith

Typically, people who profess to believe in God have been called “people of faith”. The reason for that is since they can’t prove God exists by scientific means, they have to take their belief in him on faith. On the other hand, people who deny the existence of God are often called “people of fact”. They don’t believe anything unless it can be proven scientifically.

The truth is, no matter how skeptical an individual may be, no one can be a 100% “person of fact”. No one can prove through experiments what our reason for existing is or what makes people happy. Nor can anyone say they know beyond a shadow of a doubt what will happen when they die. In regard to those areas of life (and many more), everybody lives…by faith. The crucial question is, faith in what?

Christians have a very specific faith based on convincing evidences of God working in this world. This Sunday we’re going to begin a sermon series on the life of Abraham, a major figure in the Old Testament. He is a man whose life still impacts Christians today. He was, without question, a man of faith. His life is a textbook on the basics of faith.

What we believe will determine the course of our lives. Let’s go back to the basics. We may just find there’s a whole lot more to faith than we imagined.

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

Friday, May 23, 2014


Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.
Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.
(Deuteronomy 32:7)

“Lest we forget! Lest we forget!” With these words a famous poet of a generation past prayed that Britain would ever remember the source of its strength and the reason for its greatness. That same prayer is needed in America of today.

We observe Memorial Day, not by celebrating the many victories our Armed Forces have gained over the years, but by remembering our losses—especially the loss of lives. It is a sobering holiday.

This year, the thoughts of many quickly fly to the deserts and mountains of the Middle East. Older memories click back to pictures of rice paddies in Vietnam. A few others still recall a Sunday morning in Pearl Harbor. Such recollections often contain scenes of flag-draped caskets. For those, it is a painful holiday.

But, Memorial Day is not just for Veterans, or for households that hung a gold star in their window. It is a day to pass the memories down to the next generation—a generation pre-occupied with video games and cell phones, a generation that gives little thought to the past. Young people can easily assume that the blessings of freedom they enjoy are theirs by right. They did not pay the price, so they do not treasure the gift they have inherited.

Those who have survived the ravage of war and live with the bitter taste still in their mouth, they are the ones who know how easily life and victory can be lost. They point to the many grave markers, and to the names on a Wall, and say, “There, but for the grace of God, go I!”

Sometimes guilt accompanies that thought. “Why was my life spared, when so many others lost theirs?” But the Christian warrior remembers that his life is in his Lord’s hands. It was not luck or skill that saved him. It was not weapons or strategy that saved his nation. It was, and always will be, the grace of God. The One who died that he might live forever had still more for this warrior to do before he would be called home.

Memorial Day shows signs of pomp and glory. Troops in review and marching bands stir emotions of confidence, even superiority. But, the impact of the three-shot volley; the final salute; and the playing of Taps overtake those emotions. Many walk away from a Memorial Day ceremony in silence. Some are learning. Most are remembering.

This is a time for Americans to consider generations long past. It is a time to ask fathers and elders to tell their stories, and explain our history. Some of those stories are told with hesitant voices, from trembling throats. Some are told only with words chiseled in stone.

They need to speak, and we need to listen. When this is done, the guidance and blessings of the Lord God will become more apparent. History shouts out to America: “God shed his grace on thee!”

We need to hear that again, and again. We need to be remembering.

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

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Attic

Looking through the attic where we’ve stored possessions long forgotten can be a bittersweet experience. While we relive many memories, at the same time we can become depressed with the reality that what we once considered so important, has no practical meaning. We think about the time and effort we spent to acquire what now rests in boxes tucked into dark corners and we wonder what we will do with it all. We’ll never use those things again and they are of no value to anyone else. One side of us cringes at that thought of parting with it all. But deep down we know that if we don’t do anything, someone will someday have to make numerous trips to the city refuse center – all the while muttering, “Why didn’t he take care of all this junk before he died?” Stuff doesn’t last. It is always ends up being disposed of in some form or the other.

What about human life? Is it any different? Or do we each pass through the various phases of life and end up being disposed of just like a car or old television, only in a somewhat more dignified way?

Forty days after his resurrection Jesus Christ inaugurated a new phase in God’s dealing with the human race. After being physically present in human history for thirty plus years, Christ removed his visible presence from people. But before he left, he gave his followers a mission. That mission meant human life would never need to be dispensable or disposable. It is a mission about forever.

It may be that at this moment you are so busy you would like to have the time to catch a breath from all your activities to even think about eternity. But there will come a time when everything you are doing today will very probably be irrelevant. Apart from Jesus Christ, nothing lasts forever. It can be stored in some attic storage place for a while, but it will inevitably end up like everything else. It can’t last. But you will last – forever. Have you thought about that? Have you thought about how it will affect the way you live?

Join us for one of our services this weekend and begin living a life that lasts!

Saturday evening: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning: 10:00 am

Friday, May 9, 2014

The “Aha!” Moment

The frustration of not understanding a concept or idea another person wants to share can be overwhelming. Their explanations are clear and straightforward, yet something just doesn’t clique in our minds and we remain in the dark. Then suddenly there is the “Aha!” moment. We get what they were trying to say. It all makes sense. There is a feeling of relief and satisfaction. We get it!

Jesus had spent three years trying to explain to his disciples the mission and purpose of his ministry. The day before his crucifixion, they still didn’t get it. On Easter Sunday, Peter and John went to the empty tomb. When they saw the grave clothes in which the body of Jesus had been wrapped laying on the stone slab they knew something fantastic had taken place, but John himself admits, they still didn’t understand the significance of what was happening.

During the forty day period after his resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples several times in various geographical locations. Each occasion was a teaching moment for the Lord to help his followers realize why everything had to happen the way it did. Finally it clicked. The disciples got it. The crucifixion was about divine payment for sin. The resurrection confirmed that payment made by Christ was accepted in full by God the Father. They knew what these truths meant to them personally, and they grasped the importance of sharing those truths with other people.

This Sunday we’re going to study the “Aha!” moment of Jesus’ disciples. But there is so much more in this account than a history lesson. In reality, it is an opportunity to experience our own “Aha!” moment – to understand not only who Jesus is and what he did for us, but also what that means practically in our daily lives.

Join us this Sunday at 10:00 am. You might just find yourself saying, “Aha!”

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Indispensable Christian Woman

“Everything you can do I can do better!”

That saying sums up the way people view each other. We see others as competition and somehow, someway we try to find something in them about which we can feel superior. This kind of thinking has caused a blurring of lines between the sexes.

God created human beings male and female to complement one another. The result of sin has caused a self-centeredness in both sexes that has morphed complementation into competition. The results of that kind of thinking has had earth shaking consequences on not only the family, but society in general. Why? When people compete there are winners and losers and unfortunately winning and losing usually generates hostile relationships.

Men and women are different physically, mentally and emotionally. Neither one is “better” than the other. We are just different. For thousands of years people accepted these differences as both obvious and good. There was an understanding that men are better at doing some things than women and women were better at doing many things than men. In the last 50 years or so, however, there has been a tremendous amount of effort given to eliminate this recognition of the differences between the sexes and create a unisex society.

While a few powerful people in the entertainment and news industry have poured billions of dollars into trying to convince men and women that there are no differences in the way we are hard wired, the realities of those differences are still as obvious as they were centuries ago. An important part of our Mother’s Day worship this year is to celebrate the differences God made in his creation of men and women and to encourage ladies to boldly and enthusiastically live as Christian women. Ladies, the world needs what only you can give it. Christian woman are indispensable.

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

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.