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

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.