Friday, November 17, 2017

Where Are You Going?

“Where are you going?” Seems like such a simple question. We ask it all the time. But that simple question takes on a much greater significance if it is made in reference to one’s journey in life. In that context, it asks, “What’s your life all about? What is your purpose and goal?” It’s easy to get so distracted with all that goes on each day that we just shove these kinds of questions under the carpet of our minds. And if we are not experiencing any great problem at the moment, we might even find it more convenient to leave such deep things for another time.

But tragedy, suffering, pain and death have a way of ripping off the mask of complacency. To be able to work through our difficulties we need solid, trustworthy answers to the question, “Where am I going in my life?”

If there was a person who knew what his life was all about, it was the Apostle Paul. Convinced that Jesus Christ rose from the dead in his mission to win forgiveness of sins for all people, Paul dedicated his life to serving Christ with everything he had. His words continue to inspire us today:

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

If you feel like the direction of your life looks more like a rudderless sailboat on a stormy sea than a direct bee line to the God who made you, join us for one of our weekend services. The third chapter of Paul’s letter to his Philippian Christian friends has plenty of joyful answers for the journey.

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

Friday, November 10, 2017

When Jesus Matters

There are times when we listen to the message of the Bible and it seems to go in one ear and out the other. It isn’t that we intentionally do this, but we’re so caught up in living that Jesus just doesn’t seem to have much to do with what we are experiencing. And then something happens that hits us straight on and shouts, “Only Jesus is going to get you through this!” I had one of those experiences this past week.

On Wednesday my mom passed away quietly in our home. It was beautiful that just a few moments before she went to meet Jesus I had read powerful passages of the resurrection to her. Still, at the moment of death there is that question for those of us who must remain: “How do I get through this?” For the Christian, the answer is “Jesus” and “only Jesus”. He is the almighty God. He is the One who conquered death so that we can follow in his footsteps. He is the One who gives hope when we can find it nowhere else.

I have a friend who receives these weekly e-mails. Frequently he responds with the single encouragement: “Rejoice! The tomb is empty. He has risen!” In the past I have often just glanced at that reply and moved on. Not today. For it is the fact that Jesus is the risen, living Lord that we can be confident he will shepherd us through even the darkest of valleys.

Rejoice! The tomb is empty. Jesus has risen!

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

You Can’t Always Get What You Want


When it comes to truth, the singing group “The Rolling Stones” is not going to be a go-to source. Most of their songs present life from a very unrealistic and deceptive perspective. But one popular phrase they wrote years ago still rings true today: “You can’t always get what you want.” The irony of that statement is that deep down we believe we should always get what we want. And when that does not happen, we are miserable.

The greatest joy thief in human life is not the pain and suffering we must all endure (although these things are very significant), it is rather the expectation that we should always have our way and the total horror and disgust we experience when things don’t turn out as we wish.
So, the great question is: How can we be happy and joyful in life when that which makes us happy and joyful is an impossibility?

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a group of Christians in a Greek city called Philippi. He was in jail at the time he penned the letter. We could say he was in about the worst possible situation a person could be in. He probably wasn’t getting anything he wanted. Yet, the one word he repeats over and over again is “rejoice”! How can a man say “be joyful like me” when he is in prison? Is he a big fake or, did Paul know something we don’t.

One thing for sure – Paul knew Jesus Christ. And it was Jesus Christ that served as the bedrock for his joy, even in a horrible prison cell. Are you struggling with being joyful in your life? Maybe you’re letting it be stolen from you. Join us for one of our services this weekend. Start experiencing the joy Jesus Christ wants you to have.

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


Friday, October 27, 2017

Growing Roots



Cutting down a tree usually doesn’t take that much time if you have a good chain saw and lumberjack skills. Removing the stump of the tree, well, that’s a different matter. Stump removal doesn’t require much talent, but it always demands a lot of hard work. And that’s because of the roots. Over the years the roots of a healthy tree plunge downward and spread out, looking for precious water to nourish the trunk and limbs. To make it even more difficult, a tree has several large root networks originating at the bottom of the stump. Those roots are what keep the tree upright, even in the most violent winds. Hurricanes might break trees in two, but rarely is a tree uprooted. Plain and simple, roots are essential to the health and well-being of any tree.

As Christians we need to sink our spiritual roots deep into Christ. Each day we face the storms of problems, suffering and temptations. To weather those assaults, our root system must be well developed, feeding our faith and holding us firm. During his ministry, Jesus gave his followers two powerful ways to grow strong spiritual roots – the sacraments of Baptism and Communion.

While most Christians are pretty familiar with these sacred acts, are we benefitting from them as much as Jesus intends? Throughout most his life, Martin Luther lived in danger of being killed by a variety of people who believed he was better off dead than alive. To face this kind of stress on a daily basis, Luther talked much about the strength and comfort he received from his baptism and by regularly taking Communion. Do you find yourself spiritually feeling more like a ship tossed about on a tumultuous sea rather than a sturdy oak tree withstanding tornado force gusts? Join us this weekend for one of our services. Together let’s celebrate what God offers us in the sacraments. More than that, let’s use them to grow the roots of our faith.

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







Friday, October 20, 2017

Roles

The saying, “Everybody has a role to play,” refers to the importance of people carrying out their unique responsibility in a given situation and restraining themselves from taking on a function that was not assigned to them. When someone does overstep their bounds by trying to do something they weren’t trained to do, the consequences are often disastrous.

For the last two thousand years, there has been a struggle in society to define the proper roles of the Christian Church and political governments. This has been called the “Church and State” debate. At times the Church has seized the authority of political governments and ended up losing its mission of representing Christ on earth. At other times governments have tried to eliminate Christianity and the result has been genocide.

One of the great Reformation themes deal with the God-given division of duties of the Christian Church and political governments. The rediscovery of the Bible teachings regarding Church and State has revolutionized Western civilization since that time. While this topic may seem to be something from the dust pile of history, it remains an explosive issue today. From those who would remove every vestige of God from the public forum to the growing influence of Islam which sees no separation between religion and the State, there are many conflicting views. It’s important for the informed Christian to know what the Bible says. You’re invited to join us for one of our weekend services.

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Call to the Important Life

I sleep in late
Another day
Oh what a wonder
Oh what a waste.
It’s a Monday
It’s so mundane
Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener


Courtney Barnett, at the young age of 29, bluntly describes the way some people feel about life – it’s a waste. Each new day is only reason to sleep in because life has nothing to offer other than a boring, mind-numbing routine. It seems odd that at a time in history with so many opportunities to explore pursuits people never dreamed of even 100 years ago, many see life as nothing more than the same old, same old.

A man named Martin Luther lived in a period of history that many would regard as absolutely depressing due to the overwhelming amount of repetitious manual labor which was required just to stay alive. But there was a fire in Luther that burned within him, a fire that wanted to know God and what life was all about. When Luther came to understand who the God of the Bible is and what he has done for us, his daily life began to make sense. And what a revolution he started. Instead of seeing his life as “just another brick in the wall” of meaningless human history, Luther experienced human life as an extension of God’s working in the world. Regardless of a person’s situation, being connected to Jesus Christ, means their life is connected with the eternal.

Whether it’s Monday or Friday, there is no such thing as a mundane day. Every day for a follower of Jesus Christ is the opportunity to change forever. If you find yourself wanting to sleep in a little too much because you don’t feel your life has importance, join us for one of our weekend services. Accept the call to the important life!

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

Friday, October 6, 2017

Grace, Only Grace

One day Christian writer CS Lewis passed by a seminar at Oxford University about world religions and heard some very heated debate going on inside the room. He asked what the seminar participants were arguing about and was told, “They are trying to find out if there is any teaching in one certain religion that can’t be found in any of the others, something totally unique.” Lewis laughed and said, “That’s an easy one – grace,” and he walked away.

Grace – a word that can have many meanings in our daily lives, but when it is used in the Bible, it refers specifically to the most important Christian teaching. Grace is all about God making people right with himself based on Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Being saved, becoming part of God’s family, going to heaven – it happens because of God and not us. He gives it all to us as a gift we don’t deserve.

Grace is hard of us humans. It’s hard to appreciate. It’s hard not to abuse. But when it comes to living and especially dying, there is no more beautiful sound to hear than the word “grace”.
Grace – it is a life changer both now and in eternity. You may feel you have it all, but if you don’t have grace, you don’t have what you need most. Join us for one of our services this weekend, get a fill up of grace.

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ideas that Rocked the World


Everybody put notices on church doors back then. That was the community bulletin board. So, when a monk climbed the stairs of the church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517, no one imagined how the piece of paper he would nail to the door would change things. For Martin Luther, his was a quest for truth. He thought that by becoming a priest he would find his way in life. To his surprise, it only led to more questions. He had tried to find answers but it seemed the ones he was coming up with were at odds with the status quo. And so, with his 95 theses Luther made the debate public and started what is called the Reformation.

The influence of the Reformation is vast and diverse. It most intensely affected the Christian Church but it also greatly influenced education, economics and government. For the next five weeks in our worship services we’ll be studying how Reformation teaching continues to touch our lives today. Our series theme is: Reformation Roots.

October 1 – Rooted in the Bible
October 8 – Rooted in Grace
October 15 – Rooted in our Calling
October 22 – Rooted in the Kingdom
October 29 – Rooted in the Sacraments

This Sunday join us for one of our weekend services as we look at what the Bible means to us and why it is the foundation on which we rest our faith and build our lives.

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



Friday, September 22, 2017

Are You a Prayer Hare or a Prayer Tortoise?

Everybody knows the old story about the race between the Tortoise and the Hare. It’s a good story with an even better moral – keep on going because persistence pays off.

Unfortunately, the story of the Tortoise and the Hare can be applied to the prayer lives of all too many Christians, in a negative way. We talk a lot about prayer. We offer to pray for people at the drop of a hat. But our prayer discipline is much like the race strategy of the Hare. We start off well enough, with lots of enthusiasm, but our attention is very short-lived and our perseverance wanes quickly. To be honest, we pray about something a few times for a few minutes and that’s about it. Whatever the reason, we find it one of the most difficult spiritual disciplines to pray long and hard over a matter for an extended period of time. And yet that is exactly what Jesus tells us God the Father is looking for in a parable he told called “The Persistent Widow”.

Someone once said prayer needs to be like breathing. We’re to live in an ongoing conversation with God. Maybe one reason so many of us feel like were gasping in our relationship with God is for our lack of serious prayer on a regular basis. If you need a jumpstart in your prayer life, join us for one of our weekend services and start breathing easier!

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

When God Isn’t Fair (and why that’s good!)

Our relationships are based on an invisible bartering system more than we care to admit. Who of us hasn’t felt a certain resentment when a friend or family member didn’t respond to a gift the way we expected? We felt used and taken for granted. Only when an apology is offered or the other person does something to return the kindness will our resentment begin to subside. Such thinking may be the way the human race operates, but when we come to the way we relate to God, Jesus makes the shocking statement: “Forget trying to pay back God.” Now it’s not that God doesn’t appreciate us trying to do nice things for him. The problem is our motivation.

If our thinking is, “I’ll do something that God likes, then he’ll feel indebted to me and he’ll give me something in return,” we’re all wrong. God doesn’t need us. We may like to think he does, but that just isn’t the way things are. What we need is the humility to acknowledge our dependence on God and that anything he does for us is an act of grace (getting what we don’t deserve). So instead of trying to pay him back, our motivation needs to change to one of thankfulness. Doing something nice for someone after they have done something for us that is so fantastic we could never pay them back is a lot different than buying that same person a birthday present of equal value to the one they recently gave us.

If you are struggling with a growing resentment for God because you feel he isn’t paying you back for your believing in him, join us this weekend for one of our services. The story Jesus told about some field workers is confrontational to our thinking, but if we get what he is saying, it can revolutionize our life as a disciple of Christ.

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Finding Out about God from the Source

People usually begin their description of God with words similar to these,

“Well, for me, God is like….”

Regardless of what they say about God, their reliability comes into question because their data comes from a very biased source – themselves. Much of our information about God comes from what people think about him based on what they’ve heard, seen and experienced. Some of their material might be legitimate, but wouldn’t it be nice if God opened up about himself and tell us what he is like?

Jesus Christ told three stories about God which serve as some very helpful first hand information about the Almighty. The reason we can say Jesus has this kind of credibility is that he not only claimed to be God, but went a long way in proving that statement through his resurrection from the dead. What is shocking about Jesus’ description of God is that it is so positive! For the last 50 years or so people have felt the need to put God in his place. As a result, many have only a distorted cartoon caricature of the One who made them. What Jesus says, however, erases any such possibilities.

When we let God speak for himself, the news is too good not to pay attention. If you have been down on God lately, join us for one of our services this weekend. You need to get your information from the source!

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

Friday, September 1, 2017

Having to Think More Than We Want

There are many reasons why we tend to shy away from talking about religion and politics with people who do not share our views. One is that we are forced to reevaluate our beliefs based on how other people disagree with us. And that is hard work, especially when we’re discussing something important to us. It makes us uncomfortable because we are challenged with the possibility we might be wrong. While it might be comfortable to put our beliefs on cruise control, that is not something Jesus encouraged. He was constantly confronting people about what they believed concerning God, daily life and eternity. And to be honest, many didn’t appreciate what he had to say.

In two short stories, one about a man who found a treasure chest in an empty field and another about a pearl merchant who came across the mother of all pearls, Jesus talks about priorities – what is most important to us. What makes these stories confrontational is that he asks if we consider him to be such a priority in our lives that we would be willing to give up everything for him. Now that requires some soul searching! But that is the way Jesus is, always pushing us to a deeper appreciation of what he has done for us and a more intense commitment to becoming the people he wants us to be.

Join us for one of our services this weekend. Maybe you’ll have to think about some things you’d rather not consider, but whenever it’s something about Jesus, you can be sure your efforts will bring benefits.

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

Insider Information

According to Investopedia.com “insider information” is…

“…a non-public fact regarding the plans or condition of a publicly traded company that could provide a financial advantage when used to buy or sell shares of the company's stock. Insider information is typically gained by someone who is working within or close to a listed company.”

Movies about Wall Street have portrayed powerful and greedy people who have unfairly used insider information to make enormous sums of money. In reality though, in most cases they either abused the system or downright made illegal business transactions. So “insider information” has gotten a bad name in the minds of a lot of people.

Jesus, however, talked about some “insider information” that everyone needs to know. In his story about a field full of both wheat and weeds, Jesus talked clearly and forcefully about the reality of a day of judgment, a time in history when every single human being would be held accountable for the lives they lived on earth. It’s information that rocks our thinking, because much of the time most of us live for the moment without giving the future, much less a day when we’ll be held accountable for our actions, much thought at all.

The same Jesus who physically rose from the dead gives us insider information about the subject we fear most and know little about – life after death. If you’ve been “living for the day” but are feeling increasingly uncomfortable about the time when your days will come to an end, join us for our Sunday morning worship service. The inside information Jesus offers is spectacular.

Sunday morning service: 10:00 am

Friday, August 18, 2017

Riddles and Parables

What talks, burns a hole in your pocket, doesn’t grow on trees, and can’t buy you love?

That’s right – money. The stuff we love to have more of and hate to talk about. What’s interesting is Jesus loved to talk about money. Here are some shocking statistics:

• Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions.
• In the Gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with the subject of money.

Why did Jesus talk about a subject we detest bringing up? Because he knows what a powerful influence money has on us. Sure, we say money can’t buy happiness, but our behavior often indicates we agree with the quotes below from folks who were a little bit more honest about their attraction to the green stuff.

"I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position." Mark Twain, American author and humorist (1835-1910)

"When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know that it is." Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and writer (1854-1900)

"It's a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money." Albert Camus, philosopher (1913-1960)


Human beings can do incredibly wonderful things with money. But, we are also capable of self-destructing if we don’t use money properly. Jesus told a story about a guy who was living the American dream. You know what the title of the story is? The Rich Fool.

Join us for one of our weekend worship services. You may not enjoy what Jesus has to say, but it might just be the best investment you ever made.

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dirt Stories at the Beach

Jesus got his hands dirty. For thirty years he built houses, fixed furniture and worked on roofs. He knew what daily life is like. And that’s why his stories are still so relevant today. They speak to us in ways we can understand and yet at the same time communicate spiritual truths so necessary for us to grow in our relationship with him.

This Sunday we’re going to study the most famous dirt story of all time – the parable of the sower and the seed. You know it. You probably are thinking, “I’ve heard this story so many times what more could I learn from it?” No, the plot isn’t very complicated. It’s about four types of dirt. Of course, the dirt represents our hearts and the searching question Jesus is getting us to ask ourselves is, “What kind of dirt are we?” Do we have a heart that ignores him, forgets him in times of trouble or prosperity, or do we have a heart in which he can grow and take over?

We’re going to talk about dirt at the beach. That’s kind of weird. But it’s also going to be fun! Our service Sunday at 11:00 am is going to be at at Foster Point Pavilion on Hickam Air Force Base, one of the most beautiful locations on all of Oahu. Because we’re going to be in a special place, we’re going to have a special activities based service that both you and your kids will enjoy. After, join us for a great potluck lunch. Hot dogs, hamburgers and other grilled meats will be provided. Please bring a side dish to pass.

After lunch we’ll have games and of course Hickam Beach is a whole 100 yards down the street, so bring your swim suit! Don’t forget, the service starts at 11:00 am at Foster Point, that’s one hour earlier than usual.

One more thing, please bring a lawn chair(s) if you would like to sit on something a little more comfortable than a picnic table.

Saturday evening service: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning service at church: 9:00 am
Sunday morning service at Foster Point: 11:00 am

Friday, August 4, 2017

Stories that Speak to the Heart


Stories. We love to hear them. We love even more to tell them. There is something about a story which catches our attention. Jesus Christ told a lot of stories during his years on this earth. We call them “parables” but they are really stories; stories which are simple, understandable and always have some spiritual lesson to teach. When Jesus told a story, it was always meant to speak to our hearts.

One story he told was about a person who had a plank in his eye and yet he insisted on trying to take out a little speck in the eye of his friend. Kind of crazy, right? Not anymore crazy than you and I, with all our faults, arrogantly trying to tell someone else to clean up their act. It’s pretty easy to identify other peoples’ weaknesses and be totally oblivious of our own. Even more shocking is the incredible ease with which we brutally expose other peoples’ faults. We call it ripping on other people. Jesus said it was judging. Whatever you call it, Jesus said, “Don’t do it” as it is one of the highest forms of hypocrisy.

But there’s more to this whole matter of negatively judging other people. This attitude reveals in us something that is very wrong, very destructive to our relationship with Christ.

Identifying what’s wrong with other people – it may be something we enjoy doing. But it certainly is not a part of what Christ had planned for our lives when he allowed himself to be nailed to the cross.

If you’ve started to realize that ripping on other people, though it gives a certain temporary satisfaction, is eating away at your heart like acid, join us for one of our services this weekend for a story that will speak to your heart.

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

Friday, July 28, 2017

Forgiveness: Real or Just a Church Thing

Everybody talks about how important it is to forgive one another, but do we really believe it, especially if we’ve been hurt in a big way? Some say forgiveness is a possibility, others say “no”, it’s just a pious platitude that idealistic people wish for but isn’t practical. Most would probably say forgiveness depends on the severity of the hurt the individual has experienced.

How about you? How do you feel about forgiving other people? More importantly, are you able to forgive? If you’re like most of us, you probably would like to be able to forgive a whole lot more than you do.

But it is hard to forgive. The feelings are so strong. Feelings of resentment, bitterness and even downright hate can overwhelm us.

And then we go to church on Sunday and pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Those words stop us in our unforgiving tracks. Jesus says that we can’t expect God to forgive us if we can’t forgive other people. Forgiveness is that important!

If you are starting to feel a little uncomfortable, maybe even some resentment – that’s okay. We’re all beginners when it comes to learning how to forgive. But no matter how hard it is, forgiving is the wise way of the Christian life.

Someone once said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” We all need help in this area of our lives. Let’s begin to walk the path of forgiveness together.

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Ant and the Grasshopper

In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"

"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."

"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "We have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.

When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger - while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for days of need. Aesop


It’s an old story many of us heard when we were little children. The point is pretty obvious: be disciplined in getting your work done before you play. Discipline, that’s a hard word for all of us at any age. There is a powerful portion of Grasshopper in all of us that just wants to put off the tough stuff in life until another day. In no area of life is this disdain for discipline more harmful than in our relationship with Jesus.

When we’re young we’re too busy for him because we’re having fun. In middle age we don’t have time for him because we need to make money. And in later life we just don’t care any more because we’re all tired out.

This Sunday we continue our series in the book of Proverbs called The Way of Wisdom with a study on the disciplined Christian life. While discipline may not be the most attractive word in our vocabulary, it is definitely one of the most important. If the Grasshopper attitude is taking over more of you than you’d like, join us for one of our services this weekend.

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Feeling Good

“I just want to feel good, have some fun and be happy.”

You might be thinking, “Since this is a church blog the quote above isn’t the way I should feel. But to be honest, I can’t help wondering what’s wrong with wanting to feel good, have some fun and be happy?”

The answer to that question is, “Absolutely nothing!” Christians would definitely be very warped people if we only wanted to experience pain, suffering and unhappiness. The great difference between feeling good as a Christian and feeling good as a non-believer is the goal. Christians see feeling good as a result of our relationship with Jesus Christ. For many non-believers, pursuing those things which make them feel good is the primary goal of life. For Christians, we have limits and boundaries which protect us from distorting our desire to feel good. On the other hand, without Christ it is not difficult to find oneself living by the motto: “If it feels good, do it,” which has led to incredible physical and emotional pain in the lives of countless people.

Rather than restricting or forbidding human pleasure, God designed that part of us and tells us how best to enjoy this blessing without it taking over. If lately, you’ve been asking yourself, “Am I having fun yet?”, join us for one of our weekend services. You may discover that God is the Master of feeling good, having some fun and being happy.

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

Friday, July 7, 2017

When No One Is Watching

Integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage. Integrity is keeping your word. Integrity is that internal compass and rudder that directs you to where you know you should go when everything around you is pulling you in a different direction. Some people think reputation is the same thing as integrity, but they are two different things. Your reputation is the public perception of your integrity. Because it’s other people’s opinions of you, it may or may not be accurate. Others determine your reputation, but only you determine your integrity.

Integrity is critical to everything we do because it is the foundation of trustworthiness in our own eyes, in the eyes of those around us, and in God’s eyes.

From the moment you are born, you—and you alone—determine whether you will be a person of integrity. Integrity does not come in degrees—low, medium, or high. You either have integrity or you do not. (Tony Dungee, Uncommon)


Join us for one of our services this weekend as we continue to walk in the way of wisdom as it is presented in the book of Proverbs. This week we’ll consider what it means to live a life of integrity – even when no one is watching except the Lord.

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

Friday, June 30, 2017

T.G.I.F.



We look forward to Friday, especially a Friday that is followed by a long weekend like this one. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why – we don’t have to go to work for a few days. We can relax, do what we want and just enjoy life.

Our love affair with T.G.I.F. is understandable, but it also speaks volumes to our understanding of work. For many, at best work is a necessary evil while in the worst sense it is like slavery.

“The beginning of an essay penned by Bob Black in 1985 entitled The Abolition of Work read, ‘No one should ever work. Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you'd care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.’ In a leisure-loving culture, many would wholeheartedly echo Black’s sentiment. Americans spend approximately 50 percent of their waking hours devoted to work. Is work a curse, or is it something that humans were uniquely designed to do? In stark contrast to the assertions of Bob Black, the significance and beneficial nature of work is a resounding theme in the Bible.” https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-work.html

Christian author Timothy Keller says this about work,

“Work is as much a basic human need as food, beauty, rest, friendship, prayer, and sexuality; it is not simply medicine but food for our soul. Without meaningful work we sense significant inner loss and emptiness. People who are cut off from work because of physical or other reasons quickly discover how much they need work to thrive emotionally, physically, and spiritually.” (Every Good Endeavor)

A good portion of your life is either being spent or will be spent working. Don’t you think it would be wise to find out what the One who created work in the first place has to say about it? Join us for one of our weekend service and together let’s walk in the Proverbs Way of Work Wisdom.

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sticks and Stones


It would be nice if the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” was true, but reality teaches us it most definitely is not. The photo above graphically depicts how destructive words can be.

People die because of something said. Tongues can be weapons of mass destruction, launching holocausts and wars. Tongues can also be the death of marriages, families, friendships, churches, careers, hopes, understanding, reputations, missionary efforts, and governments.

But people also live because of something said. The tongue can be “a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4). Tongues reconcile peoples and make peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Tongues can make marriages sweet, families strong, and churches healthy. Tongues can give hope to the despairing, advance understanding, and spread the gospel

So what will you do with your tongue? Will you let it run loose, guided by your feelings and emotions? Or will you follow the path of wisdom, letting God mold your words so that they bring life to those who hear them? Join us this Sunday for our worship service: The Way of the Wise Tongue.

Sunday morning service: 10:00 am

Friday, June 16, 2017

Where Is He?

The title of the book is, god is not here. The lack of capitalization is on purpose. It was written by a soldier who had gone through horrendous circumstances in Iraq. He was torn between what he thought was right and decent, and what he saw himself doing. It is not an uplifting book.

But the question about the presence of God in war is not an uncommon one. Faced with what can be the mayhem and atrocity of warfare, many people have asked, “Where is God? Why doesn’t he stop this? Why didn’t he prevent this?”

Some shake their heads in confusion. Others decide that God must be M.I.A. At COP Restrepo, someone wrote on the wall: “God hates us all forever!”

It isn’t just the professed atheist or the unchurched who wonders, “Where is God?” Sometimes the child of God also finds that question flooding into his mind.

We understand that there is evil in this world. We have come to expect a certain level of cruelty and viciousness. But sometimes we run into something that pegs the needle of unacceptable to the limit. We start to wonder about the justice of God, the love of God—even the very existence of God.

In short, with the devil’s encouragement, we have begun to play God.

We look at situations, and we make decisions about what a loving, just God should do. Then we fault him for not doing what we think we would do.

But he does not exist to please us, nor he does he act to do so. We are not his boss. We are not his inspector. We are not his teacher. He is not subject to our acceptance; and he does not need our vote.

“Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.”

This would be scary if we did not know for certain what it is that pleases him.

We don’t have to guess about that. The Good Shepherd assures his followers, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke12:32)

He is not subject to mood changes. He cannot be bribed. He will not go back on his word.

It pleases him to treat us as members of his family and heirs of his kingdom. It pleases him to rule the world for our benefit. It pleases him to remove all cause of fear from our lives.

We do not need to see him with our eyes. Our souls recognize him as Lord and King. He is there for us. He is ever-present. He is our faithful Father.

A good thing to remember on a Father’s Day.

We pray:
Heavenly Father, doubt and confusion sometimes enter our mind. We are so used to living by the phrase of “seeing is believing” that we forget that you operate above and beyond all senses. We forget that we see only a small piece of the picture of our lives. We sometimes forget that you are our Father who is in heaven. Point us to your Word. Let us again hear the words of Jesus, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” Then convince our doubting hearts that we are, indeed, watched over and blessed—now and forever. Amen.

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida. Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Way of Wisdom

The potential to gather knowledge has never been greater. From online websites to TED Talks to the myriad of universities and colleges scattered throughout America, we have daily opportunities to learn facts and concepts.

And then there is wisdom. Wisdom just doesn’t have the appeal that knowledge does. Wisdom seems a little stuffy, like something that is attractive only to condescending older people who believe their purpose in life is to lecture younger people on how they should live their lives.

While the pursuit of knowledge is and should be a priority for all of us, it is a necessity to grow continually and incrementally in wisdom. For while the accumulation of facts can enable us to do great things, wisdom offers us the chance to live great lives.

This Sunday we’ll begin our summer sermon series “Proverbs – The Way of Wisdom”. The book of Proverbs details God’s unchanging plan for wise living in a world that increasingly becomes more complex and confusing. Proverbs is a book of soul searching, a book that challenges us to take our daily walk with Christ to another level. Join us this weekend for one of our worship service and together let’s begin our walk in the way of wisdom.

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

Friday, June 2, 2017

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 kidnapped your focus. 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 26, 2017

What to Do with Your Life

The season for graduation is coming to a close this weekend leaving millions of young people during the long Memorial Day weekend to consider the unnerving question, “Now that I’ve graduated, what am I going to do with my life?” Some have a pretty good idea of the direction they intend to take their lives, while others feel clueless. Regardless of where they are at in their planning process, however, every young person wants to have a life of significant value. We all do.

But how does a person measure a significant life? Is it based on how much money we earn? What people think of us? Our personal self-fulfillment? A combination of all of these?

Jesus Christ had a few words to say about the significant life the last time he was visibly present among his disciples. He basically told them: “Be my witnesses wherever you go, whatever you are doing.”

Jesus had a lot to say about money, achievement and fulfillment, but it was always in the light of eternity and who he claims to be. It’s not that he didn’t give these things importance, he just insisted that each one be kept in its proper place in our daily lives.

What about you? Regardless of your age, have you asked the question recently, “What am I doing with my life?” If the answer you come up with is all about things that have a life span of 10-50 years, maybe it would be good to look into something more long term – like being a witness for Christ.

Join us for one of our worship services. You might find you’ll enjoy the long weekend a whole lot more.

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

If There Were No Churches

Yes, yes, it is true that our relationship with Christ is between us and him. No one can believe for us. And no, technically, maybe one could say that it is possible to be a disciple of Jesus without associating in a formal way with other Christians. But let’s be honest, does anyone really believe that Christianity would survive, much less flourish without congregations of Christians who gather regularly to worship Christ and support each other?

Being a follower of Jesus is not about emotional experiences at certain times of life, nor is it a cultural ritual which identifies people as a unique group. It is a daily walk with the Lord and Savior we confess. It is a life of following him through good times and difficult trials. And it is a life lived in his family, the Church. For regardless of all the shortcomings of the Church throughout the ages, the Christian congregation is still the best place to come to know Christ and grow up in the way he wants us to live.

This Sunday we will be having a guest speaker, Pastor Michael Otterstatter, talk with us about the importance of our churches and specifically the need to have well trained pastors and teachers to serve in our congregations. As Vice-President for Mission Advancement at Martin Luther College, Pastor Otterstatter works with people of all ages who are interested in the teaching and preaching ministry. As a result of his work and that of others at Martin Luther College, thousands of lives have been touched for Christ throughout the world.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news – the best news. Celebrate the sharing of that good news with us this Sunday.

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

Friday, May 12, 2017

Good Feelings or Glue?

Good feelings or glue? Sounds like a strange title for an article about Mother’s Day. But if we accept Mother’s Day is so much more than just a sentimental day to superficially say “thanks” to mom, if we see Mother’s Day as a time to examine what a benefit and blessing family is to the human race, then yes, the question “Good feelings or glue?” is very relevant.

In our present moment in history, many are lamenting the state of the family. It seems like in many ways we are redefining what the word means. Much of that has to do with the fact that for many, good feelings are the foundation of the family. If everybody in the family feels good about each other and themselves, then the family stays together. If those good feelings dissipate, suddenly the family disintegrates, each person going his own way in search of good feelings.

The Christian view of family is much different – it is all about glue, the glue of commitment. If people are committed to each other, good feelings can take a back seat in importance enabling the members of a family to achieve incredible accomplishments despite horrendous obstacles. Commitment holds people together in the tough times which is the basis of the profound relationships we human beings were made for.

While every mother is an imperfect human being, there is no doubt that in the human race a mother’s commitment to her children is a universal icon of what we most admire about commitment. And that is why we need to celebrate Mother’s Day. Yes – absolutely – we need to give our moms some long overdue gratitude. But more importantly we all, as Christians, need to reevaluate the role of commitment in our relationships.

And you know the interesting thing about it all is that the more glue you have in your family, the more good feelings you will have.

Join us for one of our worship services this weekend. Get some glue in your life!

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

Friday, May 5, 2017

Discovering the Bible

Do you sense it’s time to start making the Bible more a part of your daily life but you just don’t know where to begin? This Sunday, May 7th at 8:45 am we’ll begin a new Bible class called “Discovering the Bible”. It’s a 4 week study designed to give you a broad overview of the Bible so that your weekly readings can be more meaningful.

Every human relationship is founded on honest and frequent communication. It is no different in our relationship with God. We may be speaking to him with our prayers, but how can we expect an answer from him if our Bibles are closed? Join us this Sunday with the commitment to restore the open lines of communication between yourself and God. Discover the Bible and discover how much he has to say to you.

Friday, April 28, 2017

No Blanket Was Needed

Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (John 20:6-8)

It was a cold day for North Carolina. Three people braced against the wind as they walked along a path. One was a Marine, just returned from Vietnam. Another was his wife. The last was the undertaker.

The wife carried a blue baby blanket. She said she didn’t want her baby to be cold. She insisted on wrapping the blanket around the tiny casket that soon would be lowered into the ground. No one had the heart to object.

They had planned a trip to show off their new baby to loved ones waiting in the Midwest. Now, instead of celebrating a birth, they were going home to grieve a death. The car was already packed. Baby rattles, baby bottles, and baby clothes had been given away to friends at Lejeune. They were too painful to look at. Only the blue blanket was kept.

On a winter’s night in Bethlehem the baby Jesus was also wrapped in cloth. We call it swaddling clothes.

Some 33 years later the bleeding body of this Jesus was again wrapped in cloth. We call that a shroud.

What a difference! The distinction between life and death is marked by the name of a cloth.

A mother wept over that grave near Jerusalem. A mother wept over the grave near Camp Lejeune. The blue blanket wrapping the tiny baby was prompted by the same tearful love that wanted to properly wrap the body of Jesus.

The two graves have much in common. “Tragic” is a word to describe both deaths. “Unexpected” is another. So is the word “heartbreaking.”

But the most important word is “empty.” Death could not hold the body in the Palestinian soil. Death will not hold the body in the Carolina clay.

Burial cloths serve no purpose for bodies that will be raised alive and glorious.

The wife of that Marine probably has gray hair by now. We hope that some of the pain has faded from her heart. We know for sure that one day it will all be gone.

One day her son will meet her with smiles of joy. On that day he will be able to tell her, “Mom, thanks for the thought. But you see, no blanket was needed.”

We pray: Lord Jesus, your empty grave takes away the sting of death. Your resurrection declares that those who die trusting you will rise to live forever. Dry all the tears of those who mourn the loss of a child of God. Renew their hearts to again know the joy of your salvation. Amen.


Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida. For an audio file of this, and other devotions, log on at http://wels.net/military.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Two Suicides and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Two men committed suicide this week. For as horrible as it is to say, many welcomed their deaths. Steve Stevens ended his life after shooting a 74 year old man. Stevens explanation for the execution was his rage over a broken romantic relationship. Aaron Hernandez, a former NFL star, hung himself in his prison cell. Hernandez was serving life in prison for first degree murder. Both men displayed such a contempt for the lives of other people that it seemed society heaved a collective sigh of relief at their deaths.

In the light of such human horror, the Easter message of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead seems impotent. What difference does it make in the face of this kind of human behavior? The simple, straightforward answer is: Everything! The tragedies caused by Stevens and Hernandez have been repeated throughout the centuries. They are terrible reminders of what we humans are capable of if left to ourselves.

But God has invaded our history to give us an alternative, an eternal alternative to senseless cruelties as those committed by Stevens and Hernandez. It could have been different for those two men. The power of the resurrection is that great. And that great power is available to you. Join us this Sunday as we continue to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It is THE life changer – for all of us.

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Best and Most Important Four Days of the Year

Beginning tomorrow evening we will be offering a series of worship services which cover the heart and soul of Christianity. This is a time of year that reverberates with a call to grow spiritually. Holy Communion, the cross and ultimately the empty tomb distinguish Christianity from every other philosophy, ideology or religion. Please take a look at the descriptions of each service in the “Upcoming Events” section to the side and make the commitment to attend at least one. God bless your worship this Easter season!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Of Kings and Wimps

The word “king” resonates with power and strength. We imagine in our minds a person who is decisive and forceful in both words and actions. Someone who will not be denied what they want.

On the Sunday Christians call “Palm Sunday” Jesus of Nazareth rode into the city of Jerusalem and was welcomed as a king. Five days later, that same group of people demanded his execution. Why? Jesus didn’t fit their “kingly” thinking. For those individuals Jesus fit more into the wimp category, one who would not challenge the status quo and instead spoke of spiritual and eternal things. They didn’t want inner change, they wanted blood in the streets and they wanted it now.

And blood did flow the Friday after “Palm Sunday”. It was the blood of the same one they had proclaimed king. Instead of riding on a donkey he was now nailed to a cross. But it was on that cross Jesus redefined the word “king” forever. Instead of an act of weakness, the death of Jesus Christ was the definitive victory in the most destructive war of all history. The reign of ongoing evil leading to death had been conquered.

All the great kings of the past who we study in history are now powerless – except one. He continues to reign and will forever. And the incredible thing is he wants you to reign with him. Will you join us for one of our weekend services to invite King Jesus into your heart?

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, March 31, 2017

“It’s Not Fair!”

It seems we grow up hearing and saying those words: “It’s not fair!” The interesting thing is that while the people around us may not agree with our statement, no one ever objects and says, “Who cares about what is fair?” We seem to be born with this understanding that there is fair and unfair, right and wrong, justice and injustice. Why doesn’t anyone ask, “Where does our sense of justice come from?” It may be that the reason for not asking that question is it leads to the uncomfortable conclusion that if human justice is to mean anything, there has to be some kind of supernatural or divine justice.

This weekend at our worship services we’re going to be studying the sentencing of Jesus Christ to die on the cross. His execution was a travesty of human justice but the perfect fulfillment of divine justice.

Throughout history we see how human justice has swayed back and forth on the pendulum of either being too lenient or too harsh. But no one will ever seriously claim there was a time when we humans got justice perfectly right. It is in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, however, that God gets justice right forever.

If you are sick of living in a “not fair” world, join us for one of our worship services this weekend!

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


Friday, March 24, 2017

“Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say”

Years ago that was a politically incorrect way of saying, “Tell the truth. Don’t twist the facts, don’t leave out anything important and don’t add anything to change what is true.” Today, however, truth is undergoing a transformation. It used to be that people understood the difference between gravity truth (those truths which apply to everybody equally – like gravity) and pizza truth (those truths which are based on peoples’ personal likes and dislikes – such as pizza). At the present, it seems that almost everything is now sliding into the category of “pizza truth”. What that means is everybody gets to decide for him or herself what is true. But that becomes very complicated when people have to work together to achieve some type of task. If everybody is operating on their own interpretation of what is true, agreement over even the smallest detail is going to be complicated.

Many years ago the man who condemned Jesus Christ to be executed on a cross asked the question we, as a society, are struggling with, “What is truth?”  That question leads to dozens more:

            “What is the truth about good and evil?
            What is the truth about how I should live?
            What is the truth concerning the way I should treat other people?
            What is the truth about what happens after death?”

If Pontius Pilate was confused about truth, Jesus Christ sheds a laser-like beam on the subject. He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Jesus said what he meant and meant what he said. And his physical resurrection from the dead gives him a credibility no one else in human history has.

If you are in search of the truth, join us for one of our weekend services.

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, March 17, 2017

Power Struggles

Power is a seductive word. We hear it and we want it. We all like to be in control. We enjoy the benefits power brings to a person. But power can also be very dangerous. Much of the tragedy of history is directly related to some sort of power struggle. And yet, power used wisely, for the good, can bring tremendous benefits.

As we again journey through the Lenten stories of Christ’s last hours on earth, we come this weekend to Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter’s denial and the Lord’s trial before the High Priest Caiaphas. In each case, we see a contrast of power – human and divine. There is the human power which is dependent upon weapons and driven by lust. There is the supernatural power of Jesus Christ which is dependent on sacrifice and motivated by perfect love. One power leads to instantaneous results, the other affects all of eternity.

The power struggle continues today in our lives. Which one will we hold on to: human power or God’s power?

Join us for one of our services this weekend. Get the power you need, the power that won’t ever give out…ever.

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Trust Factor

“Who do you trust?”

That is a question many people are having a difficult time answering these days. In both personal and public relationships, people feel their trust has been broken, that they’ve been manipulated and used by people of whom they believed were out for their best.

It could be that in some cases people expected more from others than a human being could possibly provide. However, the general observation that faithfulness to other people is not the virtue it once was seems to have some truth to it. Because people have placed personal happiness as their main goal in life, being true to someone else at the expense of their own well-being has been relegated to a low-level priority. The result being, trust between people is broken rather easily.

In the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, we see all sorts of broken trust, especially in regard to Jesus’ very own followers. While they wanted to be loyal and faithful, when things got sketchy, they bailed on Jesus and abandoned him in order to save their own skins. But Jesus is an incredible contrast to his disciples! He remains rigorously faithful to the end. During his ministry he spoke again and again about the necessity of his death and resurrection. In fact, he claimed it was the reason for his coming to this earth. Faithful to his words, faithful to the disciples, faithful to the human race, Jesus Christ walked unwaveringly to the cross. The lesson for us? We’ll never get trust right with other people until we put our full trust for today and eternity in Jesus Christ. He is where the subjects of faithfulness and trust begin and end.

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, March 3, 2017

Have You Been Offended by Jesus?

Children’s Sunday school stories have portrayed Jesus as a soft-spoken, kindly man who would never raise his voice or offend a person, no matter what. It may be an appealing image to little children, but it is not at all an accurate description of the Lord. It doesn’t take long when reading the Gospels to see that Jesus offended a lot of people on many different occasions. Does that mean he isn’t kind and caring and loving the way we present Jesus to our children? Absolutely not, but to not take action when confronted with evil is not being caring and compassionate! When Jesus stood toe to toe with evil, he didn’t back down, even if it offended people.

This Sunday we begin our Lenten sermon series “When God Turned Human Life Upside Down”. And that is exactly what happened when God entered this world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. And, the truth be told, Jesus still turns peoples’ lives upside down. Why? Because what we think is so vital to our lives Jesus gives little value or condemns, while those things which he told us are of the greatest worth, we disregard as irrelevant and unimportant.

There is no more “upside down” portion of Jesus’ life than the days leading up to his crucifixion. Nothing he did seems to make sense to the human mind. And yet, what he did in those few short days changed eternity.

Have you experienced being offended by Jesus? If not, join us for one of our services this weekend. It may be the best thing you can do for Lent!

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

We Christians talk a lot about evangelism. We know that it is of the greatest importance. We agree that it has eternal consequences. We also know that with the help of the Holy Spirit, any Christian can effectively witness to others. But for some reason, whether for fear of rejection or not saying the right thing, we just don’t talk about Jesus very often and hope that somebody else does.

Many years ago a man said to his niece who had suddenly been put into a position of tremendous importance and responsibility, “Don’t make excuses for not doing what needs to be done. Don’t you think that you were put into this situation for the very purpose of taking a stand for that which is right?”*

You and I were born for this time. God placed us here at this moment in history to be his representatives in this world. That is the reason for our existence. If we do not speak of him, if we do not live our lives in a way that demonstrates the distinct difference he makes in our lives, then we have lost our reason for living.

This is our time! Let’s stand up for Jesus! Everyone of us!

*Esther 4:14

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

It’s All About People

You’re busy. Lots to do. Deadlines to meet. Life is hectic!

For the next 10 seconds, just stop and ask yourself, “What would happen to my overcrowded schedule if there weren’t any other people in the world?” Sounds like a stupid question, but it does put things into perspective. If there weren’t any people in the world, your schedule would probably clear up immediately. You’d have all sorts of windows to work with for the rest of the day.

The point is, our existence is all about people. That’s the way God designed it. Actually, God is all about people. Just look at the God stories in the Bible. While we find Him doing many different things, whatever it is He is doing, it always has something to do with people. Doesn’t it follow then, that what we’re here on this earth for has something to do with people?

For the last four weeks we’ve been talking about why God has us here on this earth as individuals and as a congregation. Every sermon study has had something to do with Jesus’ parting words to his followers, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” We’re here to help people get to know Jesus. Is your life all about people, especially helping them get to know Christ? It’s what we’re here for!

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bearers of Good News

How do you react when someone says, “I’ve got good news and bad news, which one do you want to hear first”? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say, “Just tell me the good news and keep the bad news to yourself”? Good news is so good to hear! Almost as thrilling as receiving good news is being the one who brings it. When we have particularly good news for someone we might even dramatically say, “I come bearing good news!”

The great tragedy of humanity is that the best news is not recognized as such. And even those who have the privilege of sharing it keep the message of Christ to ourselves because we are intimidated by the negative reaction people often have toward it.

On the evening of Easter, the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion, he appeared to his disciples and gave them a startling message:

As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:21

That may not sound all that earth shaking until we consider that it is God’s forgiveness we’re talking about and it is precisely that forgiveness which opens eternal life with God to human beings. If you are a follower of Christ, you are a messenger of that greatest news. What a privilege! God doesn’t just give you an opportunity to change the world, his message changes eternity!

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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Does the Message Matter Anymore?

With “alternative facts” and “fake news” hitting us on a daily basis one wonders if the whole concept of truth is even relevant to most people. Have we come to the point where truth is determined by the individual, that each person can decide for themself what is true and what isn’t? In many, many areas of our lives no one accepts such an idea. Imagine going to the store and trying to convince the cashier that your one dollar bill is the same as a $100 dollar bill just because for you, that is the way things are! What would your boss say if you told him that for you 8:00 am really means 10:30 am?

Regardless of the influences of the culture in which we live, deep down we have an intense desire to discover the unifying truth which holds our lives together. For Christians, that truth came in the person of Jesus Christ. His resurrection from the dead gives us the necessary proof that his claim to be the Way, the Truth and the Life is valid.

Yes, the Christian message still matters, just as much as it did when Christ first sent out his disciples with it. The torch of that message has been handed down generation after generation until today. We have the privilege of carrying it in our time. That is what we are here for.

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Salesman

“Don’t you see the sign? It says, ‘No Solicitors’.”

“I’m not trying to sell you anything, sir. I just wanted to give you this invitation to our Easter church service.”

“Don’t give me that stuff. You church people are just like salesmen, trying to get people to believe the way you do.”

Unfortunately, it isn’t just non-Christian people who view Christians trying to share their faith as salesmen. We ourselves can fall into that thinking. Some of us convince ourselves that if we say things in just the right way and have a convincing answer for every question we will be able to get people to believe in Christ. Others of us give up without trying because we know we won’t say things just right nor will we have any kind of an answer for our skeptical friend’s tough questions.

Last week we started our series “What We’re Here For” on reaching out to non-believing people. We saw from Christ’s last command to his disciples that our mission is to take what he did out to as many people as possible. But far from being the art of the sell, sharing Christ is about using the tools God has given us. While it is only to be expected that we’ll prepare ourselves as best we can to speak about Jesus, our confidence is in the unchanging Bible message, Baptism and Holy Communion to create faith in the hearts of people.

God gives us the privilege of joining him in what matters most to every human being. We don’t have to “sell” them on that, we just need to give them the tools which the Holy Spirit uses to bring them to faith. A thousand years from now, nothing you have done in your life will compare to the lasting effects of joining God in touching peoples’ lives.

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, January 20, 2017

Choices


Years ago I was talking with a young man who was about to start college. He was very intelligent and so just about any type of major would have been open to him. But the enormous variety of study options was exactly what rendered him unable to make a decision about what course of study to choose. Soon after he left college, frustrated that he couldn’t make up his mind about the career he wanted to pursue.

We love choices, but too many choices leaves us with an exaggerated fear that we will make the wrong choice and so condemn ourselves to a miserable life.

Jesus doesn’t leave his followers with any choice when it comes to the mission of our lives. He says, “Go, make disciples wherever you are.” Geography, occupation, economic status really don’t mean much. What matters to Christ is that we, his followers, are representing him wherever we are, whatever we are doing.

In a culture which celebrates the ability to be one’s own person and do whatever we want to do, there is the great temptation to be distracted from the mission Christ gives us and invest ourselves in all the interesting activities around us.

The great challenge of the Christian today is not failing, but rather succeeding at what does not
matter. Pleasure, popularity and power are all attractive, very attractive, but they will not accompany anyone through the door of death. Only one thing lasts – people. And the mission Jesus Christ gives us is all about people.

Are you ready to take on your mission?

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Lines in the Sand of Our Times


Drawing a line in the sand means a person takes a stand on a certain issue which communicates something to the effect of, “I cannot compromise after this point.” Drawing a line in the sand is sometimes seen as a bold and courageous action; at other times it is interpreted as being intolerant and unloving.

At the present moment our country is torn apart over controversial moral questions such as abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and transgender. Christians have been described as narrow minded, intolerant and uncaring because of our attitudes in regards to these issues. Some have even suggested that Christianity will soon die out if it does not readjust its view on these moral subjects.

So what do we do? Do we compromise what Jesus Christ and the Bible clearly teach in order to become more acceptable in the eyes of our society? Or, must we courageously draw a line in the sand and, speaking the truth in love, present our truth to the confused culture in which we live?

What would Jesus do? What did Jesus do? He engaged with people. He never compromised his teachings, but he reached out to people with one goal, to bring them to faith in him. Above all, Christ died for them, just as he died for you and me. Knowing how much Christ values each human life, even the lives of those living in radical and challenging disobedience, we are compelled to reach out to them with the truth of Christ.

If you’re confused about the Christian reaction to the changing moral values of our day, join us this weekend for one of our services. See how you can draw a line in the sand which may seem controversial, but is actually the greatest act of love.

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

Friday, January 6, 2017

Being Intentional

“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

We start 2017 with such good intentions to become better Christians by the end of the year. It’s not that we don’t care about spiritual growth. We do! In fact, we’re passionate about it and feel genuinely repentant that we don’t seem to make much headway in this whole matter of becoming the kind of people God wants us to be.

Now to be sure, it is God himself who works in us the changes we so desperately need. Yet, in most cases he seems to work best when we intentionally commit ourselves to actually doing something that has to do with spiritual growth.

Most of us treat spiritual exercise much like physical exercise. We are totally agreed that we need to get into better shape but that’s about where it ends, nodding our heads and saying, “Yep, I got to exercise more this year.” Of course, that statement in and of itself never got anyone physically fit. Until we start putting the tennis shoes on and hitting the pavement, no progress is made.

This coming weekend we’re going to be looking at what the Apostle Paul wrote about intentional Christianity. It’s challenging and it’s exactly what we need to hear at the beginning of this new year. If there is going to be spiritual growing in 2017, it’s got to be intentional. Join us for one of our weekend worship services. Start being “on purpose” in your Christian living.

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

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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