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

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.