Friday, December 11, 2015

“Just Wait Until…”

An angry little girl shouts to her brother who has just broken her favorite doll, “You just wait till Dad gets home!”

The teenage boy who is being pushed around by bullies in his classroom mutters, “Just wait until the teacher finds out.”

As the thieves run from the man they robbed, he thinks, “Just wait until the police get a hold of you.”

In each case the people involved were in a tough situation and they couldn’t do anything about it. They felt betrayed by justice. Bad things had happened to them unfairly and they couldn’t do anything about it. Their hope was in a person who they believed had the ability and the desire to help them right the wrongs done to them.

We live in an unjust world. That’s not being negative, that’s the truth. Bad people do bad things to good people and get away with it. Good people do good things for others and somehow end up suffering for doing what is right. No, the good guys don’t always win. In fact, they lose a lot. So what are we to make of this unfair world in which we live? Are we forced to give up in despair?

No way! The message of Christmas is God announcing to the world, “Just wait until the Messiah comes. He will right the wrongs, heal the unfairly broken and bring perfect justice to a corrupt world. Just wait!”

This weekend we’re going to be looking at the credentials of the coming Savior as the Old Testament prophet Isaiah described him more than 700 years before his birth. While those credentials are impressive, more importantly, they give us strong, solid hope to fight for justice in a very imperfect world with the certainty that our Messiah will return to make all things new, all things right.

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

Our Greatest Need

If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.
But since our greatest need was forgiveness,
God sent us a Savior.

The best Christmas present is the one Jesus offers all people, every year. If you haven’t opened it yet, what’s holding you back? Join us for one of our weekend services to celebrate the only lasting reason for the season!

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

Judgment Day Is What Makes Life Worth Living

Let’s be honest, Judgment Day is out of style. People don’t want to think about it, much less talk about being held accountable to God for their lives. The whole concept is associated with scare tactics from the Dark Ages. Even churches don’t make much mention of it in their worship services.

Regardless of what people might think about Judgment Day at this particular point of world history, it is what gives definition and meaning to our everyday lives. Without an accounting for what we human beings do each day, what would be the lasting meaning of our lives? If there were no Judgment Day, what are we to make of all the people who sacrificed their lives to fight evil? In fact, if God does not judge us, how do we know what is evil?

It is easy in our culture to get so caught up in having fun today, that we become totally distracted and even turned off to the reality that God is concerned with the way we spend our lives. But if God doesn’t care what we do, why should we? And what eternal significance will our lives have?

Judgment Day has suffered a massive public relations attack but that doesn’t make it less a reality. Jesus spoke of it time and time again in the most explicit terms. Make no mistake, according to him, it’s going to happen.

But when Jesus talked about Judgment Day, he never meant it to scare the people who love him. In fact, he said that Day is one to look forward to, to pray for! So why don’t you join us for one of our services this weekend? Rather than spoiling your life, Judgment Day will make it worth living!

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Friday, November 6, 2015

Why Martin Luther Still Matters

If, when you saw the name Martin Luther, you thought of a German Christian who lived in the 1500s, you are probably in a small minority. Despite the prominence history books give this man, few people today see his relevance for a modern, secular world. And so for most, Luther and the Reformation has been relegated to the dusty backroom of history along with the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Renaissance and even the Revolutionary War!

But there are questions which are timeless, which, no matter the age, are as relevant as the air we breathe.

What happens when I die?
What is true?
Does my life matter?

There’s not a single living being who does not, on a regular basis, consider these subjects and wonder, “Is my response adequate? Do I know what I’m talking about when I try to answer these questions or am I just spewing words in an attempt to fool others and myself that I know what I am talking about?”

If you are getting older or having health issues, you’re thinking about death and what happens afterward. If you have lost a job, a spouse has walked out, or you have gone through a totally unjust experience, you are asking, “Is there right and wrong? Does truth matter or is life just about getting what you want?” If you feel like you are stuck in a rut that is getting so deep you don’t think you’ll ever get out, you could well be asking, “Does my life matter?”

You might be surprised to learn that the primary reason Martin Luther is a giant of history is because of the answers he gave to the three questions above. If you still aren’t sure of your own answers to these questions, join us for one of our weekend services and check out what Luther had to say about them.

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Friday, October 30, 2015

What Did They Do?

Looking back on the early years of the Christianity one of the things that catches one’s attention immediately is the rapid growth of the Church in the midst of so much hostility and persecution. Even more impressive is the fact the people involved were not highly educated nor were they equipped with financial or political resources. The first Christians were what we would call “a very humble people”. So what happened? What did the average Christian in 50 AD look like as he lived in a brutally hostile world?

We get a glimpse of how the early Christians lived their daily lives in the midst of people who violently opposed their beliefs from the last chapter of a short letter the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in a city named Colosse. This weekend we’re going to be finishing our series on this book of the Bible with a study on how Christians are to interact with non-Christians. What Paul tells us is not only challenging, but more importantly, essential if God is going to use our lives to make a difference for other people in eternity.

Years ago there was a very popular book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which was read by many for the purpose of learning how to better get along with others. For as necessary as that skill is, it is even more important for Christians to win friends and influence people to life eternal. How often do you take that into consideration as you live with people? Do you see them as immortal beings heading either in the direction of eternal blessedness or eternal horror? What you do, what you say can make all the difference for a person. Are you making the most out of your opportunities? If this kind of thinking hasn’t been a part of your way of looking at life, join us for one of our weekend services and make a start. You’ll find that others aren’t the only ones who will benefit.

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What You See Is Not What You Always Get

The acting and technological special effects of films and TV have become so sophisticated that it seems we are watching real life. Veterans of the D-Day invasion saw the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, shook their heads and commented, “It was like we were reliving the whole thing again.” Portrayals of everyday life on weekly TV series seem to reflect exactly what happens in daily life. We can so identify with certain characters that they almost seem real. The key word in that last sentence is “seem”. A lot of things seem like reality when presented electronically but they’re not.

Years ago software was developed that enabled users to print out on paper exactly what they saw on their computer monitors. The developer of the software used the phrase “what you see is what you get” to describe what their program could do. Too many people today have that same thinking when they see daily life portrayed on TV. They believe the kind of life the actors portray is the way people in real life actually live. That belief, however, is absolutely untrue.

The kind of lifestyle presented in our TV shows and films makes a mockery of God’s holy laws for human life. The 10 Commandments have been ridiculed and set aside. It is every person for him/herself. “Do what you feel is best for you” is the watchword of the film industry. What people on the screen do may reflect reality, but how their behavior impacts their lives is where this “make believe” world begins. Watching films and TV series we’re led to believe a person can break God’s commands and everything will work out, that life is one, long yellow brick road. What a lie! Even the casual observer can look around and see that everything God says from spiritual priorities to sexuality to relationships to materials things is spot on. Those who choose to ignore his wisdom most often self-destruct. Sure, some may seem to escape the consequences of their selfishness, but that is a very, very small minority. The dissatisfaction, depression and boredom which marks the lives of so many people is directly the result of living a TV life.

If you want reality, don’t watch TV, read the Bible. If you want a turnaround in your life, don’t listen to an actor or actress, listen to the God who made you. This coming weekend, as we continue to study the book of Colossians, we’re going to see how a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can revolutionize our day to day life. Why not give the tube a rest and join us for one of our services?

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Convoy

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

The Christian lives life in the middle of a long convoy. Let’s compare it to a military experience.

You are in the middle of a convoy in a distant and dangerous land. The lead vehicle is out of sight, and so is the last one in line. You have been on the route so many times that there is nothing new to see. The dust kicked up ahead of you hides much of the view, anyway.

As often is the case, the convoy stops for no apparent reason. The driver of your vehicle slams his hands on the steering wheel and his foot on the accelerator. “We’re outta here!” he shouts, and punches left at an intersection where the rest of the convoy turned right.

What are you going to do? Celebrate with your driver, or scream at him to turn around?

What might happen in “the sandbox” may just as easily happen in the part of our life that we call spiritual.

If we have been a Christian for a while, maybe even for as long as we can remember, the times can come when we wonder if we should try a new route in life. Other paths seem interesting, appealing. Other ways of traveling through life seem to be easier. Following in the path of parents, grandparents, and Christian friends can become boring.

Why not try something different? Why not step out into the unknown? Why not follow the lead of someone who is already steering us onto that new path?

Those who have been downrange know the danger of heading off onto unfamiliar and unsecured roads. The long line of troops already traveling the road ahead in safety is a sign that this is a good way to go.

We live our Christian life in a convoy. The line is so long that we have only heard about those at the front. We have never seen the people called Adam, Abraham, David, and the Apostle John. We just know that they have gone ahead of us on this same path.
And what path is that? It’s the one that follows the footsteps of Jesus. He once said, “I am the Way…” He added, “No one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)

Where our Father is—that’s where we are heading. We are trying to reach the safety of our fatherland. The way is dangerous. The enemies are many and mighty. But, this convoy will make it through!

It is an old road. If it is also a familiar road, that is a special advantage. We have already learned of its value. We already know it is safe. And, we absolutely know where this path ends.

Maybe when we get close enough to the end we will be able to hear echoes of those who went before us, now shouting in the celebration of victory.
If not, we need only wait a little longer, only go a few more miles down this path.

Soon we will be gladly joining them.

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

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Friday, October 9, 2015

What Makes Jesus So Special?

Wherever you go in the world, you’ll find people who recognize the name Jesus. And even though they might not know much about him, they do know it is a special name, that this man did something which impacted the world in a major way.
Studying the first 300 hundred years of the Christian church one sees it was a time of great difficulty, of ongoing persecution in which many believers suffered, some losing their lives. And yet, Christianity continued to spread and grow at a breath taking pace. The growth didn’t come through force or power though. It came as a result of common people quietly living Christian lives on a day to day basis.
Throughout the years historians ask the question, “Why did those early Christians continue to believe and remain faithful even in the midst of such horrible hostility?” Several answers have been proposed, but there is only one explanation which is satisfying – the unique person of Jesus Christ. Christians of the early centuries and up to this day believe that Jesus Christ is totally special – different from everyone else who ever lived or will live.
This weekend, we begin a study of the little book of Colossians, a New Testament book written by the Apostle Paul. It is a short read, only 4 chapters, but in those 4 chapters we find a brilliant presentation of this special Jesus Christ. And the tremendous news is, he’s just as special today as he was 2000 years ago!

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Friday, October 2, 2015

Do You Pray Expecting an Answer?

So after you say “Amen” and get up off your knees, how confident are you that God will answer your prayers? Would you say 100% sure? Maybe 75%? Or, after you pray do you feel like the quarterback who has just heaved a “Hail Mary” pass in the last seconds of the game, hoping against hope that things might just work out against all odds?

It could be that our expectations of God answering our prayers might have to do with what we have asked for. If we have just requested a quick fix solution for a problem we need to learn from (like overcharging our credit cards with unnecessary purchases), we might feel a little hesitant about claiming a positive answer in Jesus’ name. On the other hand, when we look at what Jesus teaches us to pray for in the Lord’s Prayer, we might feel that God might more likely honor those petitions.

Here’s something important to remember in our prayer lives: a “no” answer can be just as much a blessing as a “yes” answer. We’ve all read stories about people who have, for example, become incensed over a missed plane flight only to later discover the plane crashed. Their life was saved because of a “no” answer. God can work just as powerfully in our lives through his “noes” as much as he can through his “yeses”.

As we end our series on the Lord’s Prayer, we are going to be studying this weekend, the closing words which are known as the Doxology (or “hymn of praise”). While the words, “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen” don’t request anything from God, they do express a bold confidence that the Lord to whom we have prayed has all the ability to make good on his promise to answer our prayers in the best way possible.

If you have been feeling your prayers are going unanswered, maybe the problem isn’t your prayers, it could be your god. Maybe he is just too small. Join us this weekend for one of our services. Pray with us to the One who not only answers prayer, but who has no limits or restrictions on how he answers us. You can pray and expect an answer. It may not be the answer you want today. But in eternity, you will not stop praising the Lord for those answers.

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Friday, September 25, 2015

“If You Knew for Certain God Was Listening, What Would You Say to Him?”

So what would you say to God? Many people would probably bring up some unpleasant time in their life and ask the one word question, “Why?”

The world is so messed up and God doesn’t seem to notice. “Why?”

There are so many bad people doing bad things and they get away with it. “Why?”

People don’t agree on much these days but one thing everybody will admit is that things aren’t the way they should be and the situation doesn’t seem to be getting better.

This Sunday we’re going to be studying the words of Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver us from evil.” We all have a lot of questions about Satan, evil and how our lives are affected by them. But while the questions abound, there aren’t many solid answers being offered by our society. This weekend we’ll take on a deep, and often, very emotional topic. You may not be totally satisfied with all the Bible has to say on this subject, but one thing is for sure, you’ll get answers to these tough questions that offer a hope you won’t find anywhere else.

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Friday, September 18, 2015

Playing With Fire

When I was young the 4th of July meant one thing for sure, a huge bonfire. My dad would collect dry brush from the forest for months until there was what seemed like a mountain in our front yard. It would have only taken a match to light this huge torch, but my dad was given both to the dramatic and the dangerous. At about 10:00 pm we would gather around his pile of brush with friends and neighbors to sing the national anthem. A few minutes before getting everybody together, my dad would pour five gallons of gasoline on the pile. Yes, it was a crazy dangerous thing to do. But that’s what he did, every year, because he wanted to see the expression of shock on everyone’s face when he lit the fire as they sang, “Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light…” Fortunately, maybe miraculously, my dad never hurt himself all those years of playing with fire.

In the book of Proverbs there is a question: “Can you scoop burning coals into your lap without getting burned?” That’s a no brainer. But the writer isn’t talking about somebody actually holding a burning log in his lap, he is talking about playing with the temptation to sin. My dad got away with playing with gasoline and fire, but no one, no one ever gets away with playing with temptation. We human beings always get burned. The only question is, “How badly do we get burned?”

This weekend we are going to be studying the 6th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer – “Lead us not into temptation.” If you are breathing right now, you are going to be tempted in some way in the next hour or so. That is the world we live in. What matters is, what you do with that temptation.

Have you been playing with the fire of temptation? Do you rationalize it with, “I can stop any time I want?” Join us for one of our services this weekend in order to look long and hard into the face of temptation. See it for what it really is – fire that will burn your soul.

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Forgiveness is Meant to Work Both Ways

“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”

Before you read on, look at that sentence one more time. Think about what it says. There are two parts to it. The first half of the sentence is a request which is based on us doing something in the second half of the statement. If you are scratching your head at these words of Jesus, that’s good because they can be confusing. “Does Jesus mean that God’s forgiveness of our sins is based on our forgiving other people? So if we refuse to forgive a friend or relative, then God will refuse to forgive us? If that is what he means, who in the world can be forgiven? Has anyone ever forgiven fully and freely during his/her entire life?”

This Sunday we’re going to be looking into what is called the 5th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. It is all about forgiveness. And it is very clear that Jesus means for forgiveness to work both ways. There’s no room in Jesus’ teaching for a cheap grace that sucks up God’s undeserved love but refuses to give any of it to other people.

The forgiveness of Jesus Christ is meant to change us radically – and the place it begins is the hardest – being able to forgive other people.

Don’t avoid the hard sayings of Jesus. The ones we like the least are also the ones which we need to most learn.

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Thursday, September 3, 2015

How Much Stuff Is Enough

“Nobody knows but it sure is fun trying to find out!”

While most people will admit that money and material things don’t necessarily lead to happiness, deep down the response above reflects the way people live out their view of what we affectionately call “stuff”.

Stuff can even be a dangerous trap for Christians. Unlike so many other temptations, the fine line between a Christian understanding of stuff and a selfish view of the things we have is often very difficult to identify. It is very easy to subconsciously let our stuff become more and more important and without even realizing, it becomes the god of our lives.

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus mentions stuff only once and in almost a passing way. He tells us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” It’s a pretty simple prayer isn’t it? “Lord, please give me what I need each day to get by. That’s all.” An easy prayer to understand, a hugely difficult prayer to pray sincerely, especially for a culture in love with shopping.

How much stuff is enough? An excellent question. A soul searching question. A painful question. And above all, a question between each of us and God. No one can answer this question for us. It’s got to come from within.

Join us this Sunday. Start asking the questions about stuff so that God can lead you to personally answer the question, “How much stuff is enough in my life?”

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Friday, August 28, 2015

Strong Willed or God Willed

“Strong willed” – when that term is used for children it is a code to warn adults, “Those kids are going to do things the way they want. You aren’t going to force them to do anything, so don’t even try!”

The truth is, people don’t grow out of being strong willed just because we get older. How many times have we heard or even said about our own lives, “I know I made a big mistake but at that time nobody was going to tell me what to do. I was going to do it my way no matter what.”?

Jesus taught that this issue of being strong willed is something we need to pray about. He said,

“When you pray, pray like this,

Our Father in heaven,
May your name be kept holy,
may your Kingdom come,
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We wring our hands over the immense and complex problems of the human race, and yet every one of those problems is a result of strong willed people choosing their will over God’s will. As our Creator, God made us in his image – that means we are designed to operate according to the way he made us and the world in which we live.

If you’re strong willed but wondering if maybe there might be a better way, think about joining us for one of our services this weekend. You might just find God’s will is a breath of much needed fresh air.

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning services: 10:00 am

Friday, August 21, 2015

Who’s the Boss?

Everybody has a boss. Someone might think, “Not me. Nobody tells me what to do. I do what I want.” Well, that person does have boss – themself. Now that might not seem like a “boss” in the sense that we usually use the word, but the bottom line is that individual is the one who calls the shots in their life. Just as a boss tells the workers under him what to do, people make daily decisions based on what they think is best for them.

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to pray about this matter of who’s boss. In a few short words, “your kingdom come,” he says, “God is the only one who deserves to be the boss of our lives.”

Have you recently thought about who is Number #1 in your life? It’s easy to get so busy that we don’t think much about why we are doing what we’re doing. We just get caught up in a routine and don’t reflect on who or what is driving our lives.

Many people in our society resent the idea of someone telling them what to do. In fact, that may be the most common reason so many don’t want anything to do with Christianity. They just don’t want to be told what to do. What a sad understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what he means to our lives.

Jesus said he came to give us a full, rich life. His intention isn’t to enslave us by a set of strict rules, but free us from the stranglehold of our distorted desires. Consider the cross and what happened there. Would the One who suffered on the cross go through what he did for our sake only to later make our lives miserable?

Someday every knee will bow at the name of Jesus and every tongue will confess that he is Lord. The greatest blessing, though, is for those who receive him as the king of their lives now.

Today, pray the words, “Lord, be the king of my life. Your kingdom come to me.”

Saturday night service cancelled this week only.
Sunday morning services: 9:00 am at church - 11:00 am Foster Point – Hickam AFB

Friday, August 14, 2015

Honor God

If a TV journalist conducted a live interview with God, one question to be asked would surely be, “God, just exactly what do you want from human beings? We have all these people claiming to represent you saying, ‘Do this and do that.’ But much of what they say is contradictory. So most people just do what they think is right. Can you clear us up on this subject?”

God’s answer just might be very short, two words: “Honor me. That’s all I ask of you.”

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches his followers the basics of prayer – who to pray to and what to pray for. After telling us to address our prayers to God our Father, he says, “Honor God.” We say, “Hallowed by thy name” but the meaning of those words is, “Honor God.”

Every human being has hopes and dreams for their life. They are what drive us, what keep us going when things get tough. All too often, however, those hopes and dreams are rooted only in this life. They have little to do with the God who created us and everything to do with us getting what we want. When we die, those hopes and dreams lose their meaning.

When God tells us to honor him, he’s telling us that if our lives are going to have any meaning or purpose or hope beyond the day we die, he must be in first place. In its most basic sense, honoring God is worshiping him and living under his rule. Everything else flows from that relationship.

How often do you pray that – to honor God? If life has been challenging lately, maybe the reason is God hasn’t been getting the honor he deserves. Maybe that honor has been going to someone else who doesn’t deserve it. Join us for one of our weekend services. It could be getting back to the basics of life is just what you need.

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Walking with God

There is an old hymn that goes this way,

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Those given to a cold, realistic view of life scoff at such a warm personal relationship with God. They mockingly ask the questions,

Where is God when the cancer is diagnosed?
Where is God when babies die of hunger?
Where is God when earthquakes instantly kill thousands of people?

And it is true, when those crushing moments happen all human beings are left in shock, left to grasp for answers. But even more important than answering the “Why?” questions of tragedy is the matter of finding a reason and the strength to carry on. It is precisely at this essential point the skeptic is left speechless. For his only response can be, “Carry on because it is the only alternative to giving up.”

It is God alone who walks with us on the path of agony, the God who at one point in history actually walked in our shoes, who comes to us with those reassuring words, “If I am for you, who can be against you? If I considered you worth dying for, you can believe I will somehow get you through this.”

Maybe the most powerful reassurance of God’s ongoing, personal presence in our lives is written in the 23rd Psalm. This weekend we are going to mine the treasures of that prayer. May it be the beginning of a lifetime of walking with God.

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Fake

Fake people – they’re hard to take. Most fakes are pretty easy to pick out. They say certain things or do something that just isn’t right and it betrays their true intentions. The good fakes, however, are the dangerous ones. They are the people you believe in, people who seem to be so consistent, so straight forward and honest. But when the time is right, when they are at the point of getting what they want, all the integrity and honesty vanishes and is replaced by only pure self-centeredness.

King David had a son who was a master fake. His name was Absalom. He was so good at faking he even fooled his father and that mistake almost cost David his life. Absalom was a man who thought only of himself. That attitude was the seed from which all his deception flowed.

For a while Absalom seemed to get away with his game. But in the end he self-destructed. Fakes, no matter how good they are, have the overwhelming tendency to be discovered and suffer the consequences of their actions.

Self-centered. Manipulative. Each one of us struggles with the Absalom syndrome. Sometimes we fake people without even knowing it. We just fall into a way of acting that we believe will get us what we want without even thinking about what we are doing. The only way to get rid of the fake in us is to expose it. It’s uncomfortable but necessary. Besides, no matter who we might fool, God sees through us. And regardless of what other people think of us, in the end, it’s only what God sees in us that matters.

Absalom was a man we find easy to condemn. But when we look closer at the mirror of our motives and intentions we see an Absalom staring back at us. The first step to eliminating him from our lives is to admit he is there. Join us for one of our weekend services and begin rooting out the Absalom in your life.

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

Friday, July 17, 2015

We Aren’t Condemned to Repeat History

David, the man who had been so incredibly blessed by God, blew it. And he messed up big time. He was taken down by his lust and pride. Satan didn’t need anything complicated – just a pretty woman taking a bath and a good dose of fear. That’s all it took to turn the rest of David’s life upside down.

The story of David and Bathsheba is well known. It shocks us. It makes us wonder what God saw in David. But more than anything else, it should warn us. If David could take such a fall, any of us can end up in the same predicament.

Adultery, murder and cover up – not the kinds of behavior one would expect from a person who is described as a “man after God’s heart”. But that is what the Bible calls David. And so there is a measure of hope in all the tragedy. If God could offer redemption to David, it will be available to us also.

Join us this weekend for one of our services. We all need a strong warning about giving in to temptation and a reminder of the hope which only Jesus can give when we fall flat on our faces.

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

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Committed God

The word commitment is one we don’t usually associate with God. Maybe that is because we have a hard time imagining to what God would need or want to be committed. Everything comes from his creating hand. All things are under his sovereign rule. And yet the story of the Bible, from beginning to end, is the account of a committed God who is dedicated to bring back to himself the uncommitted human beings he created. Some have called it the greatest love story of all time. One thing no one can deny about the story of the Bible is: God takes the initiative in restoring the broken relationship between himself and people.

The formal term the Bible uses for this commitment is “covenant”. In both the Old and New Testament we witness God making covenants, sometimes with individuals, at other times with the human race. What is incredible to consider is why, in the first place, God would invest so much of himself in us. But he does, and with an intense passion.

This Sunday we’re going to study a covenant which God made with David. It is a covenant that has long reaching implications and applications for every Christian because it is directly related to the person of Jesus Christ. More importantly, we’re going to look at the covenants God makes with each one of us as individual believers. There’s a Bible verse which says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Does our daily behavior reflect that kind of thinking? Join us this weekend for one of our worship services. It’s time for all of us to let the commitment God has for us begin to transform our lives.

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

Friday, July 3, 2015

Give Up or Stand Up?

Another 4th of July has come. It is a time to relax, go to the beach, barbecue and spend time with family. But it ought to be more than that. This holiday is meant to reflect on what America is all about and our role as individual Christian citizens of this country.

Over two hundred years ago the young United States of America was called “The Great Experiment”. The world had never witnessed a country founded and brought forth on democratic principles. The idea of government by the people, for the people and of the people was as strange to most at that time as the thought of a monarchy is to us today.

“The Great Experiment” has thrived. As a nation we have prospered incredibly. Our influence in the world is undeniable. The 4th of July, for Christians, is an opportunity to acknowledge God’s blessings on this country, of which we are privileged to be called citizens. It is also a time to consider our unique role in America’s future.

Recent events have led many Christians to become pessimistic about the future. There are those who claim the best of America has passed. Some are throwing up their hands in despair.

It is not the time for Christian Americans to give up, but rather to stand up, as light and salt disciples of Jesus Christ.

Jesus never gave a guarantee that American government or any government would be friendly to his followers. In fact, he said just the opposite. He said, “Expect suffering.” At the same time, though, he tells us to go out and make a difference for him even though there is resistance at every turn.

The outcome of America’s future is in God’s hands. What that will be we do not know. But one thing Christ has made very clear: as citizens of the United States, we do not have the option of retreating into isolation. Instead, we are to stand up, and with Christ as our Savior and Lord, live with powerful Christian integrity and be prepared to speak of Jesus with a respectful gentleness.

Join us this weekend and stoke your Christian light so you can keep on showing the way to Jesus, no matter how dark things may seem.

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

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why Worship?

It’s a legitimate question. Why do people worship? Some might shrug their shoulders and say, “Because that’s the way I was brought up.” Others might say, “It’s the right thing to do.” And still others may feel that if they don’t worship God, something bad will happen to them.

After David became king of Israel he decided to bring the Tabernacle and ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. The Tabernacle was the mobile place of worship for the Israelites constructed by Moses some 400 years earlier. The ark of the covenant was the single most sacred item of the Tabernacle which represented God’s presence among the Jewish people. The day of the ark’s arrival was one of exuberant worship for David. He didn’t just nod his head solemnly and whisper, “Amen” as the ark made its way to the city. No, he shouted prayers of praise. He sang at the top of his lungs. Yes, he even danced.

On this particular day, worship for David, was a reflection of all that was good in his life and he recognized that every single bit of that good came from God.

Some associate worship with a dismal image of sitting in a dimly lit, drab church, singing unintelligible songs and listening to a boring sermon that has nothing to do with their day to day lives. Don’t let a distortion keep you from experiencing God and all that God intends for you. Because that, in essence, is worship.

Join us this weekend for a time of worship. Read Psalm 103 as a preparation. You’ll be glad you did!

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

Friday, June 19, 2015

When God Suddenly Matters

When the good times are rolling, God often becomes the object of token thanks. But when those same good times grind to a halt and we find ourselves in a mire of problems God suddenly becomes a very important option. Maybe it’s because we have come to our senses or maybe it is due to the fact we have nowhere else to turn. But, when we start to hurt, God begins to matter big time in our lives.

This Sunday we’re going to study about a phase in David’s life during which he was literally in a desert full of problems. With each passing day Saul’s insane jealousy for David along with the desire to kill him grew. David went from being the poster boy of Israel to a persona non grata. On the run with very little support, David lived in caves and desert wastelands for a period of some 7 years.

During this time he must have asked God, “Why? Why are you doing this to me when you told me I was going to be the next king? What possible good can come out of this?” God did not give David the resounding answer he was looking for, but the Lord did get him through.

Periods of pain can be God’s way of not only getting our attention, but bringing us into his family in a way pleasant times never could. Life can be hard, very hard. To deny it would be to fool ourselves. We need to be ready for when the going gets tough. David shows us how. Join us for one of our weekend services and get ready for whatever life sends your way!

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

Friday, June 12, 2015

Are You Looking For a Good Friend? Then Be a Good Friend!

There’s no shortage of people looking for a good friend. What’s in short supply are people willing to be a good friend. This Sunday we’re going to see what a great friendship looks like as we explore the commitment David and Jonathan had for one another. Jonathan, especially, demonstrated the unique characteristics of humility and self-sacrifice which enabled David to become king of Israel.

Too often we bring a “I want it my way” attitude towards our friendships. We feel that if our friends don’t do what we want, then they are no longer worthy of being our friends. We’ve lost the understanding that great friendships don’t just happen, they are hard earned over time with lots of commitment, trust and sacrifice.

If you feel like your friends are superficial, that they wouldn’t stand by you if you were in a tough situation, join us this Sunday and learn from the example of Jonathan. If you can be a “Jonathan” to others, there’s no doubt, you will find the kind of friends you’re looking for, people who will be there for you, in good times and bad.

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

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Jealousy Is When You Count Someone Else’s Blessings Instead of Your Own

The Bible talks a lot about jealousy. Probably because it has such a powerfully destructive influence on our lives. It doesn’t matter how much money or power or education or talent a person has, everyone struggles with being upset over not having certain things others have.

The great tragedy is that jealousy steals any possibility of happiness. Take a look at the Bible passages below. Don’t they describe well what happens to the jealous person?

“Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.” Job 5:2

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

This coming weekend we’ll be looking at what happened to a man named Saul when envy and jealousy began to take over his life. To make a long story short, he pretty much lost everything. The irony is that the very man Saul was jealous of, David, was his most loyal supporter. Had Saul counted his own blessings and left David be, his life would have been radically different for the better.

There is no miracle cure for jealousy – nothing that we can do or say that will instantly remove it from our lives. It is something we will struggle with because it is part of our human brokenness. But that is no reason NOT to fight it now. Don’t let envy and jealousy steal the peace and contentment God wants you to have in life. Join us this Saturday evening or Sunday morning for one of our worship services and start the fight!

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

Friday, May 29, 2015

Is There a Goliath in Your Life that Needs to Be Taken Care Of?

The story of the young man David taking on and defeating the giant Goliath in a fight to the death is one of the most well-known stories of the Bible. It is the ultimate example of the underdog winning. But this story is much more than a heartwarming account of the little guy beating the big guy. It’s a story about God working in this world. It’s a reminder that each of us faces Goliaths in our own lives, though they make take on different forms. And it is a call to courageous action against seemingly unbeatable odds.

Goliath sized problems have a way of paralyzing us. We try our best to solve them by our own efforts but nothing seems to work. And then God steps in. Maybe he uses a person (even ourselves) or a set a circumstances to bring about a solution to our Goliath problem which we would have never expected. No, God doesn’t work in this way all time, but when it is necessary, when it fits into his plan, he uses all the resources he has at his disposal (and those resources are quite significant!) to cause things to turn out for our eternal good. For all his faults, David believed this truth with all his heart. Do we?

Join us this weekend for one of our services. Get what you need to take on your Goliath!

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

Friday, May 22, 2015

Flags and Flowers

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).

When he was 9, he wove red, white and blue crepe paper through the spokes of his bicycle and proudly rode after the high school band in the Memorial Day parade. His mother smiled.

When he was 19, he marched as a Soldier in a Memorial Day parade. His parents came to see it. His mother smiled.

Before he turned 21, the hometown Memorial Day parade turned into a place where freshly turned dirt lay before a headstone with his name on it. His mother felt she would never smile again.

There are those who scoff at Memorial Day events, and write them off as an attempt by the government to cover over the horror of war with flags and flowers. In reality, it is a chance to remember and explain.

A veteran of warfare wrote: “The beginning of the end of the war is in remembrance.” Those who have lost sons or daughters or comrades in war need to remember their names and their deeds. It is a debt that is owed. It is a step toward healing.

The pain of loss may be numbed by many means, including stuffing the memory into a dark, far corner of the mind. But that doesn’t make it fade. It just festers there. It must be brought into the light of day and the brightness of God’s Word in order to be accepted and understood.

The dream of no more wars will always prove empty as long as this world stands. It is not God’s fault. It is the outgrowth of sin. But, while sin may be the root cause of war, waging war to protect others is not sin. It is carrying out the command of God in the Commandment that protects life.

Evil is a deadly threat. Peace treaties and negotiations cannot keep it subdued for long. All too soon it breaks out of its cell, and threatens the weak. Sometimes it requires bloodshed in order to put it down. Sometimes it is the blood of the defenders of life that spills onto the ground.

The young do not know this. It must be explained to them. They need to learn of the sacrifices that past generations have made on their behalf. They need to learn that sometimes freedom from evil is bought with blood.

Christians understand this. They remember the story of the Son of God on earth. They know that it was his blood that set them free from the tyranny of sin, death, and the devil. They know that if they are called upon to lay down their life for their country, their Savior will one day raise that body to join its soul in a place where there will never be any war.

Flags and flowers—they help us remember, they help us explain, they help us heal.

We pray:
Lord of grace and glory, Americans remember their fallen on the holiday we call Memorial Day. Help us to remember the cause of war, the horrors of war, and, at some times, the need for war. Help us explain to a new generation the reality of evil, the need for sacrifice, but above all, the need for you. Without you, any victory is fleeting, and any healing is short-lived. Without you, America is at the mercy of its enemies—and its enemies do not possess mercy. Therefore, shower us with your mercy from on high that we may never forget those who died for our freedom, and the One who died to make us free forever.

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain

“What do you think God looks for in Christians?”

We know what to look for in a CEO. We know what skill set a person needs to be an NFL quarterback. But what does God want to find when he peers into the heart of a Christian?

Beginning this weekend, we’ll be starting a sermon study series on one of the most famous men in the Bible – King David. We know more about this man than any other person in the Bible except Jesus Christ himself.

If you’ve done some reading in the Old Testament, you know that David was not what anyone would describe as an ivory tower saint. No, he was a man full of flaws – capable of committing the worst of sins. And yet, Bible writers describe him as a “man after God’s own heart”!

The story of David is no different than our story with God. He takes us as we are and then molds us into the person he wants us to be so that he then can use us to accomplish what he has planned. When we step across the threshold of death, no one will be interested in CEOs or NFL quarterbacks. All that will matter at that moment will be what we did for God.

If you haven’t thought much about what God is looking for in your life, how about joining us this Saturday evening or Sunday morning to give it some consideration? Someday, the most important statement anyone will make about your life will be, “You were a person after God’s own heart.”

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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

“The Invitation”

You’ve been waiting for weeks. The days have dragged on for what has seemed like an eternity. The waiting and wondering have stolen your attention. You can think of nothing else. Then it comes. The invitation you’ve been counting on, dreaming about, even living for. Maybe it is an invitation to study at a certain university. Maybe it is an invitation to assume a new career. And maybe it is an invitation from a certain person with whom you have fallen in love. Whatever the invitation might be, when it comes, everything changes.

On the day of Pentecost things changed dramatically in the spiritual world. For century after century God had been planning, working and preparing for the arrival of Jesus Christ. Suddenly, he appeared in history – God in human flesh – and just as suddenly he ascended into heaven to appear to human eyes again only on Judgment Day. The work was done. The relationship God intended for humans was restored through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Now all that was left was to invite people to receive what Christ had won. And that is where the day of Pentecost comes in.

When we hear the word “Pentecost” we tend to think of wind and fire, but it is really about an invitation – the invitation God offers every one of us to become part of his family, part of his eternity and part of his working in this world. What is most startling is that invitation comes through people – ordinary, everyday people like you and me. From today until the moment Christ returns, we have the opportunity – no – the privilege to offer the invitation of Pentecost to the people in our lives. If you have been sensing a certain dullness in your life as a Christian, Pentecost is the cure. Start sharing the invitation!

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

Friday, May 8, 2015

"It's Time to Go Home"

After a long day at work, a trip away from home or a deployment in a distant land, the sweetest words a person can hear are, “It’s time to go home!” Home, where everything is familiar. Home, that place where we are accepted for who we are, even with our idiosyncrasies and faults. Home, where we feel secure and safe.

One of life’s most heartbreaking experiences is to witness an elderly person having to leave the home they have treasured for many years. The anguish they feel is almost unbearable for all that is dear and familiar is being ripped from them. But it is the way of human life. Our bodies break down and we get to the point where we can no longer take care of the home we love. In fact, we need help even caring for our own personal needs. And so, when we are least prepared, we are forced to adapt to something new, an unknown place, an unfamiliar routine.

There is a passage in the Bible that helps us deal with the constant and often unpleasant change of mortal life. It says, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord, Christ Jesus.” Heaven, that is our home which no one nor anything will ever be able to take from us. Heaven, that place Jesus said he is preparing for us. Heaven, that place where we’ll never again cry, scream in pain or face the ugly jaws of death. Heaven, that is home.

When Jesus ascended into heaven his disciples were speechless. What were they to do without him? Suddenly a couple of angels shook them back to their senses with the words, “What are you doing standing there looking up into the sky with your mouths hanging open? Jesus went up to heaven and he is coming back. So get out there and tell people about their real home – home with Jesus in heaven.”

Are you battling the nagging feelings of depression because you just don’t feel “at home” where you are? Are you worried about where you will live in the coming years? Do you wonder if you will ever again find that place you can, in your heart, call “home”? Then join us this Saturday evening or Sunday morning. Hear the soul steadying message that Jesus has got exactly the home you need – for all of eternity. What a way to live! No matter what happens today, we’re on our way home!

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

Friday, May 1, 2015

When Being Happy Isn’t Most Important

Christians are being backed up to the wall these days by those who support gay, bi-sexual and transgender lifestyles. The question we are repeatedly asked is,

“Why do you think you have the right to deny happiness to people who choose a different sexual lifestyle?”

It is a piercing question, but it is also a question which ignores the basis of how anyone answers any question about moral behavior. Christians believe that all living beings, including humans, have our origin in a personal God who not only created us but is personally involved in our lives. The answer to any question about how we are to live has to be based on what he has revealed to us.

If God does not exist and human beings are not held accountable for their actions after death, then no one does have the right to say one type of behavior is better or worse than the other. Of course, such a view of life can’t work in the real world, but those are the implications of taking God out of human life.

But if Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, then everything changes concerning morality, good and evil, right and wrong. The resurrection of Christ means he is God and what he says about gender and sexuality is not only valid, it is the basis of our understanding of gender and sexuality.

So the question for Christians isn’t, “What makes us happy?” No, the question is, “What does Jesus Christ tell us is best for us?” And when it comes to the issues of gender and sexuality, he is very clear. But rather than restrict or repress us, Jesus said that everything he has done for us or taught us is meant to set us free, to give us the abundant life. Don’t you think his rising from the dead gives him some credibility on the subject?

This Sunday we are going to be celebrating Mother’s Day. Join us as we not only affirm all the blessings God has given us through our mothers, but also through women in general. God made humans to work best as male and female, men and women, complementing each other. Christian women need all the encouragement they can get to live out their essential role in today’s challenging world. Help us to give them that encouragement.

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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

“Is Heaven Worth the Wait?”

Now that is an embarrassing question for Christians. The fundamental teaching of Jesus is that life after death is far, far better than even the best life a person could ever live here on this earth. He even went so far as to say that there is nothing in this world worth having in exchange for life in heaven.

But, every Christian has, at one time or another, wondered, “Can I be sure there actually is a heaven? And is it really going to be so good that it is worth giving up some things I’d really like to do now?”

If ever there is a time of year to talk about heaven, it’s the Easter season. Jesus physically coming back to life after being dead for three days is a most powerful proof that, yes, there is life after death and Jesus Christ is the One who opens its door to us. Not only did Jesus say he is the way to heaven, he also gives us a short glimpse of what it is going to be like - and it is overwhelming.

Now to the question, “But is heaven so great that it’s worth giving up everything that is fun at the present?” Maybe the question should be, “What’s my definition of fun?” The same Jesus who rose from the dead also said that he offers human beings the “abundant life” – both now and in eternity. If we think “fun” and following Christ are polar opposites, we’ve fallen victim to the ultimate con man of history – Satan.

Several years ago there was a song about heaven not being worth the wait. Its message was: “Have as much fun now and don’t worry about what happens later.” Ironically, the man who wrote the song was battling depression while living the “fun” life. It got so bad that he tried to commit suicide. Now if having fun is so great, why would a person do that?

Jesus never tells us to do or not do something if it isn’t in our best interests. If we can’t do something in front of Jesus, then it isn’t fun, it’s a lie. And lies only come from the devil.

Join us for one of our weekend services and get a little taste of heaven. It is worth the wait. It’s worth everything.

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

Friday, April 17, 2015

Resurrection Relationships

Jesus coming back to life after his crucifixion changed everything. Unfortunately, we limit the word “everything” to ourselves. We think of how the resurrection means our sins are forgiven, heaven’s door is open to us and the certainty of all of Jesus’ promises being fulfilled. But have you ever thought about how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes our relationships with other people?

Everything about Jesus’ resurrection which is true for us, is also true for other people. All six plus billion people living at the present moment are meant for eternity. Where they will spend forever will be determined by whether or not they have received the resurrection message into their hearts and minds. Have you ever thought about your role in God making that happen?

Jesus repeatedly talked about the little things in life as the means through which he does big things. As you interact with people the rest of the day, think about each one of them entering eternity. Where will they spend forever? Is there something you can do, even if it is only being courteous, to be a positive Christian influence? You may very well never see the results of those intentional acts of kindness, but you can be sure Jesus Christ will use every one of them in a special way. Best of all, as you become more and more conscious of what you can do to help show the way to heaven, you yourself start to enjoy the journey there more and more.

Join us for one of our weekend services and celebrate your resurrection relationships.

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Desert of Doubt

“Did Jesus physically rise from the dead?”
“Is the Bible true?”
“How could God allow such terrible things to happen to me?”
“Is God really there?”

They keep us up at night. They gnaw at our soul leaving us anxious and exhausted.

Christians sometimes hide them because we think no other believer has ever doubted.

They can undermine a person’s relationship with Christ if they are not dealt with honestly and openly.

Every follower of Christ has doubts at one time or another, and most of us have regular struggles with spiritual uncertainties. One of Jesus’ closest friends, one of the 12 disciples had overwhelming doubts even after the resurrection of Christ. You know his name – Thomas. Even today we call skeptical people “doubting Thomas’” because of his statement to the other disciples, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe Jesus rose from the dead.”

Whether our doubt is about something in the Bible or a heart wrenching situation we find ourselves in, it has to be dealt with. The worst thing we can do is pretend it doesn’t exist. Thomas expressed his doubt. Whatever the reason, he could not bring himself to believe what his friends where telling him. If you are going through a season of doubt in your life, join us this weekend as we see how Thomas and other believers in the past dealt with uncertainty. Jesus may not resolve your doubt the way he did with Thomas, but he will answer your questions in a way that will best meet your spiritual needs.

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

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Is about Second Chances

What do you think passed through Peter’s head on the night before the day of Jesus’ coming back to life? Lots of regrets, that is for sure!

“How could I have denied him?
I never got a chance to tell him I didn’t mean it.
How can I live with myself?”

Peter needed a second chance, but he never imagined he would get one. How do you get a second chance from a person who is dead? We don’t know exactly what Peter’s first reaction was when he arrived at the empty tomb on Easter Sunday and it began to dawn on him that Jesus had risen from the dead, but one thought must have exploded in his mind. “I’ve got another chance with Jesus!”

The core message of Easter is: second chances. Not just for Peter, but for all of us. Join us this Sunday (10:00 am). Claim your second chance. It can be as life changing as Peter’s.

No Saturday night service – this week only.
Sunday morning service: 10:00 am

Friday, March 27, 2015

A King in the 21st Century?

“Long live the King! Long live the King!”

Those words have an antiquated ring in the ears of 21st century Americans. The truth is, however, having a king was the only form of government people knew up until the 1700s. Abraham Lincoln even called democracy the “great experiment”.

After more than 200 years of democracy few Americans would want to go back to a monarchy, but that doesn’t mean kings have gone by the wayside. A king is someone who rules. And everybody has someone or something rule their life. Who is the king of your life? What is it that takes priority over everything else? Is it the way you feel? Is it a certain goal you have not yet reached? Is it another person?

On Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. He did that for a very specific reason. 500 years earlier the prophet Zechariah had written that the coming Savior or Messiah promised throughout the pages of the Old Testament would signal his arrival by entering the capital city in just the way Jesus did.

The reaction of the people was predictable – they went crazy. Unfortunately, their enthusiasm was for all the wrong reasons. They thought Jesus was going to restore political power to Israel. When they found out that wasn’t the plan, five days later some of those same people shouted for his death. The misunderstanding of the people who made up the Palm Sunday crowd, however, doesn’t negate the truth that Jesus is King. It’s just his rule is different than they thought.

Jesus comes to each and every person with a revolutionary offer. He says, “Let me be your king and I will move heaven and earth to give you the truth about life, protect you from the devil, enable you to walk through death and finally open the door of heaven for you.” Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? So what’s the catch? Look at this same Jesus dying on the cross to make good on all those things he offers you and try to find the catch.

Maybe having a king isn’t so bad after all…if the king is Jesus!

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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

“What Will You Do With Jesus?”

Though the spring breeze had a chill to it, the tension of the moment made the air seem thick and stuffy.

“What was it with these people?”
“Why did they have such hatred?”
“What am I missing?”

Questions and more questions swirled in the mind of Roman governor Pontius Pilate as he stood before a crazed mob shouting “Crucify him! Crucify him!” The man they wanted nailed to a cross stood next to him. He didn’t seem like a threat. No, he wasn’t dangerous. In fact, there was something in the man that caught Pilate’s attention – that created a type of attraction to him.

Normally Pilate had little concern for human suffering. His job was to maintain Roman rule and keep the tax money flowing to the emperor. But today was different. There was something that compelled the Governor to set this Jesus of Nazareth free.

First there was the interrogation. Then Jesus was sent to King Herod. There was the flogging and the attempt to have the Nazarene set free instead of a killer named Barrabbas. But none of Pilate’s strategies worked. These people wanted the man dead. And not just dead, they wanted him humiliated, tortured!

In exasperation, Pilate turned toward the crowd. He looked into the contorted faces which seemed to have almost a diabolical twist. It was at that moment Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the province of Judea during the reign of Emperor Tiberius shouted out the question which continues to ring in human ears today,

“What should I do with Jesus?”

The people who made up the mob on that day told Pilate to crucify him. They were done with Jesus. They hadn’t gotten what they wanted from him and now they were ready to move on to the next charismatic leader who would give them hope. But that was two thousand years ago. That was their decision. What about us? How will we answer the question, “What should I do with Jesus?”

While Pilate thought the story would end later that day after Jesus was executed, the following Sunday some inconvenient events took place which changed everything…for all time. Pilate was right. Jesus was different. He was special. He came back to life that Sunday. And so the question, “What should I do with Jesus?” remains as relevant today as it did when Pilate first asked it.

“What will you do with Jesus?” Eternity is determined by our answer.

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

Friday, March 13, 2015

“Good Eye”

Many years ago when kids eight or nine years old could still play outside without adult supervision, I would go to the nearby park in the Spring of the year to watch our neighborhood high school team, the Washington Purgolders, practice baseball. True to their name, each player wore what seemed to me a shockingly colorful uniform of purple and gold. Sitting in the bleachers I would dream of someday being out on that field wearing a purple and gold uniform, complete with a baseball hat and genuine metal cleats! That possibility seemed very far in the future at that time, so for the moment I would wait for cracked bats or look for lost baseballs in the woods behind the field.

And I also practiced the lingo. If I couldn’t play with the big guys, I could at least talk like them. One of their favorite sayings during batting practice was, “Good eye.” If the batter didn’t swing at a pitch outside the strike zone, inevitably, someone would say, “Good eye, good eye,” to which everyone would seriously nod their approval. The way they said, “Good eye” sounded so wise, so profound. So I decided to give it a try one day. A batter passed up a pitch that hit the dirt before the plate and with all the voice I could manage shouted, “GOOD EYE!” The coach and all those big players stopped, turned toward me and then let out a huge laugh before going back to their practice. Embarrassed, I kept my great wisdom to myself after that.

“Good eye!” Being able to determine whether to swing at a pitched baseball can be important, but far more critical is the way we see life. Do we have good eyes when it comes to seeing and knowing what is true and important in life? Do we see God’s priorities as our priorities or are we looking for happiness in all different places?

This weekend we will be continuing our study of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry. We will accompany him to the courtroom of Pontius Pilate. There we will be confronted with the Roman Governor’s haunting question, “What is truth?” Do you have a “good eye” when it comes to truth? According to Jesus, how you see truth all depends on how you see him.

If you are looking for some corrective spiritual eye surgery, join us this week end for one of our services. You might just start seeing life with a “good eye”!

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

Saturday, March 7, 2015


For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. (I Corinthians 13:12)

They called it the enigma machine. It was a device that mechanically put messages into code. The most famous enigma machine was snatched off of a sinking Nazi U-boat in 1941. Using that machine as key, the Allies were able to decode Nazi naval messages for the rest of the war. Messages that otherwise would not have made sense, suddenly became crystal clear.

“Enigma” is a Greek word. It is the very same word that the apostle Paul used in this verse of the Bible. Translators have struggled to find a suitable word for our English language. The above translation uses the word “indistinctly.” Some translations read: “poor reflection” and “darkly.”

An enigma is a riddle, a puzzle.

With that in mind, the meaning of Paul’s words becomes easier to understand. Life often seems like a riddle. Sometimes God seems like a riddle to us. We wonder why God does this thing, but not that. We wonder how we fit into his greater plan. We wonder why he allowed certain things to come into our life—especially if they caused us anguish.

We simply do not have a clear vision of God. We have never seen him up close, and we are told that this is not possible during our earthly life.

Three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration caught a mere glimpse of him when the face and clothes of Jesus began to shine with a blinding light, and God the Father thundered from heaven: “This is my Son!”

It helps us to look into the account of what Jesus said and did while he lived on the earth. We gain insight as we listen to him throughout the pages of the Bible. We come to better understand the catastrophe that sin has caused this world, and the fierce anger of the holy God against it. We begin to grasp how high and wide is the mercy and love of God as we trace the unfolding of his plan of salvation through the pages of Scripture

The picture of heavenly things is not clear to those still living on earth. It’s like looking at a far off person’s reflection in a mirror. We see a general outline. We have some idea of his size. But, if that is all we can see, we still have questions.

How different if we stood face to face with the person! Then every detail would be clear.

It should not surprise us if we have questions about the details of God’s plans for us.

One day it will all be clear. One day we will understand everything perfectly. One day our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier will be an enigma no longer.

This devotion was written by Pastor Paul Ziemer

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

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Cross Was His Choice

He knew it was coming. He even told his friends months before what was going to happen. They couldn’t believe it. In fact, they had trouble even comprehending why he would talk about such things. But he did. And he talked about them over and over.

He didn’t have to go to Jerusalem. He could have stayed in Galilee where it was safe. But instead, he put himself in the most dangerous setting possible. He went to the Temple and caused riot – just before Passover, no less.

Even the night before he was put to death he had countless opportunities to walk away. But he didn’t. To be honest, it almost seemed like he was orchestrating the final outcome. But why? Why would anyone purposely do everything to make his own execution take place? Why would Jesus choose the cross?

You are the answer. Have you ever thought about Jesus’ crucifixion that way? Have you contemplated the immense truth of the Son of God choosing death so that you might live with him for eternity? If you haven’t, you’ve shortchanged yourself. We spend our lives looking to be loved and love. We give every effort to be seen by others as people of value. And so often, so very often we come up short when all the while supernatural love and worth are available to us at the cross.

Jesus Christ chose the cross so that you would be loved and have the greatest worth – for all of eternity. If that doesn’t make a difference in your life, nothing will.

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

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Jesus Challenge

Lent marks the 40 days before Easter. It is a time when Christians focus intensely on the suffering and death of Jesus. And it is precisely the cross which turns so many people off to Christ. They are willing to accept his teachings such as, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, but to believe with all one’s heart that we are so alienated from God because of our sin that only the death of the Son of God could forgive that sin – well, such a concept is just too much for them to accept.

Two thousand years ago the apostle Paul openly admitted, “The cross is offensive.” It is offensive to our pride, to our independence, to our “can-do” spirit. The cross tells us we are helpless, totally dependent on divine mercy. The cross of Christ is the greatest of insults to the human heart.

But to those who have experienced life and looked at it with realistic eyes, for those who have come to grips with the certainty of death and the loss of everything dear – the cross, the old rugged cross becomes the most precious truth in the world. For it is in the cross that we have hope, we have comfort, we have life no matter the circumstances in which we may find ourselves!

Jesus challenges us to see human life for what it is, to honestly evaluate our capabilities to resolve our problems – especially the problems of evil and death. But he also offers us the ultimate solution – a solution that is free and full.

Join us for one of our weekend services. Let’s walk together the journey of Lent.

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

Praying Like Jesus Prayed

“I need to pray more!”
“I’ll be praying for you.”
“About all we can do now is pray.”

Those are all statements we can identify with. As Christians we know that prayer is important. We believe it makes a difference. But the sad truth is, we very often don’t pray. We all have our reasons, but we’re the ones who lose the most when prayer becomes only an occasional activity in our busy lives.

While Jesus said a lot about prayer, he also prayed a lot and we have many of his prayers recorded in the Gospels. This Sunday, rather than just talk about prayer, we’re going to pray through the prayers of Jesus. Maybe if we learn to pray like him, our own prayers will become more real and relevant.

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

Saturday, February 7, 2015

How to Lose Heaven

Why in the world would a Christian want to even think about losing heaven, much less consider how to make that happen? Because Jesus did. In fact, he frequently talked about how people who thought they were going to heaven were actually doing everything possible to give up exactly that in which they had so much confidence.

This Sunday we are going to study a story Jesus told about a wealthy man who prepared a sumptuous banquet for his friends. When it came time for the festivities to begin, however, none wanted to attend. They all made excuses that they had better things to do!

The point of Jesus’ parable was: people can outwardly receive God’s heaven invitation, but their priorities, attitudes and lifestyles can cause them to not take that invitation seriously. And for Jesus, to not take heaven seriously is to lose it.

When you became a Christian, Satan did not suddenly call off all attacks on your faith. Instead, he doubled them. Those attacks can be “in your face”, or they can be so subtle, we sometimes don’t even realize they are happening. No Christian would ever admit to wanting to lose heaven. But we are definitely all open to being led to believe that heaven is for such a long time in the future that all we really need to think about is taking care of business today.

An intense focus on the present very often leads to a dismissal of eternity. There is just too much to worry about today and heaven is forgotten.

Does your spiritual vision need readjustment? Accept our invitation to study the banquet Jesus offers this weekend. It might just help you to see things differently.

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

Friday, January 30, 2015

Is God Cheering for the Patriots or the Seahawks?

If you dismissed the question above as silly, you are in the minority opinion of the American people. According to a recent poll, 53% of Americans believe that God “rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success”.

This Sunday the world will stop for the sports world’s undisputed biggest yearly event – the Super Bowl. What started as a game which drew a less than sell-out crowd in 1967 has become the icon for our supersized, superstar culture. Everything will be big. Everyone will be beautiful and talented. Even the TV commercials will be the best of the best. Super Bowl Sunday is not for the average guy on the street, except to buy lots of food, souvenirs and a bigger big screen TV (for the game, of course).

Yes, we give lip service to the old phrase “all people are created equal”, but when it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, the real us comes out. We all want to be either a starting quarterback or the entertainer at half time. And every form of the media gives its very best effort to reinforce our fantasies.

What do you think God makes of all our excitement over Super Bowl Sunday? We can get a pretty good idea by looking at a story Jesus told many years ago. It’s a story about two men, one fantastically successful and the other a social outcast. The outcome of their lives seems to be a no brainer, but the way Jesus explains it, we’re left scratching our heads and wondering if maybe we’ve got to readjust our thinking.

Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday, it’s a lot of fun. But what Jesus Christ offers you for the long term, makes the Super Bowl look like a pick-up game in a back alley. Join us for one of our week end services. Really, it might even make the game better!

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

Saturday, January 24, 2015

How Sturdy is Your Foundation?

At the moment, the building site manager’s decision to cut down on the amount of cement used to mix the concrete for the new apartment building’s foundation seemed insignificant. It was such a small amount. Certainly it would not make any difference in the long run.

It did. Ten years later cracks began to appear in the walls of various apartments. Consultants were brought in to fix the problem. For a while it was a mystery. But the cracks kept getting bigger and bigger. Finally the truth became obvious – the foundation of the building had shifted. It had become compromised. After time, the problem became so serious the building had to be torn down.

The foundation is not usually the first thing people notice about a building. Yet we all know that if it is not sound, the days are numbered for the construction on which it rests. Simply put, the foundation is the most important part of any building.

Jesus said the same thing about our lives. There is a vastly different outcome for those who opt to build their lives on materials of their own choosing compared to those who build their lives on the teachings of Christ.

Like the foundation of a building we often take for granted everything is just fine with the foundation of our lives. A familiar story Jesus tells gives us the opportunity to take a close look at what the state of that foundation really is. And it is certainly wise to take a good look because the storms of life will someday seriously challenge that foundation. Now is the time to get ready for those storms.

Join us for one of our weekend services. Check out the foundation of your life. Is it strong enough to go the distance?

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

Saturday, January 17, 2015

How Much Is A Human Life Worth?

“Insofar as some human beings are incapable of reasoning, remembering, and self-awareness, they cannot be considered persons. Put simply, dogs, cats, and dolphins are persons, while fetuses, newborns, and some victims of Alzheimer’s disease are not.”

Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 1st edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979) , pp. 110

How much is a human life worth? The answer to that question very much depends on who is speaking. Peter Singer, former professor at Princeton University, is among a growing number of people who believe that the value of human life is to be determined by subjective measurements established by other human beings. The world has seen the results of such thinking in the horrific human slaughtering fields created by men such as Josef Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Adolph Hitler. These three leaders, who were responsible for the combined deaths of more than 20 million people, believed, like Singer, that the value of human life is not by nature inherent, but rather to be determined by others. And they took upon themselves the authority to decide whose life had worth and whose did not.

This weekend we will commemorate Sanctity of Life Sunday with millions of other Christians in America. It will be an opportunity to thank our God for the life he gave each one of us, both physical and spiritual. It will be an opportunity to study his Word to appreciate how relevant and important biblical life principles are to us individually and as a society. Finally, it will be an opportunity to commit ourselves to making a difference in our world – to uphold the sacred and awesome gift God has given us – life! Please join us for one of our weekend worship services.

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

Friday, January 9, 2015

Make a Difference!

Painting a room can be such a rewarding experience. A fresh coat of paint can transform a dull, drab area into an inviting and attractive space. The “before” and “after” difference is dramatic. It feels good to look at what we’ve accomplished because we can see the difference we’ve made.

If only life were like painting. If only we could see the difference we make in all the facets of our lives. Unfortunately, such is not the case. Often, no matter how hard we try, things don’t seem to change – even the tiniest bit. It’s easy to get the feeling that what we do doesn’t really matter much to anyone. And that is just plain depressing.

In his most famous sermon, Jesus Christ challenges his followers with the statement: “You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world.” With those word pictures he was saying, “I want you to be my representatives in combating the spread of evil and showing people who are in the dark about life what the Truth is.”

If you have been trying to change the world all by yourself and have gotten frustrated or are close to giving up because you don’t feel you are making a difference, join us for one of our weekend services. You’ll be encouraged. You’ll be motivated. How can anyone not be inspired when Jesus Christ invites us to work with him to change lives for eternity?

Saturday night service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning service: 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.