Friday, December 28, 2018


Integrity – it is a solid, sturdy word which describes solid, sturdy people. We like to be around people of integrity not because they’re fun to hang out with, but we know they’ll help if we find ourselves needing a hand.

Integrity – something we look for in other people and struggle to maintain in ourselves. We have a love-hate relationship with integrity. When it comes easily we feel good about ourselves. When we’re tempted to bend or just go all out and break the rules we despise and show contempt for integrity.

This weekend we’re going to be studying two unsung heroes who lived near the end of the Old Testament period – Nehemiah and Malachi. Both are inspirational examples of integrity, men who stood for what was right against ongoing opposition, often at the expense of great personal cost. While they may not have recognized it when they were alive, the integrity of both Nehemiah and Malachi were rooted in the Christmas event we are currently celebrating. Human integrity is rooted in God’s integrity to fulfill his promise of sending a Savior (Messiah) to restore the Eden existence human beings shattered by our disobedience.

As we enter the new year, it is healthy for us to do some serious soul searching on this matter, to absorb fully the effect of God’s integrity in our lives and then to commit ourselves to reflect that integrity in our daily walk in 2019.

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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Three Presents

This coming weekend we’re going to be offering worship services on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Each one centers on the principle message of Christmas – God becoming a human being in the person of Jesus Christ – but each service also presents this life changing message in a slightly different way.

On Sunday families with children of our congregation will present the great news of Christmas through readings and hymns. It will be a time of learning and worship for anyone looking for a clear straightforward explanation of what happened at the birth of Christ.

The Christmas Eve Candlelight service on Monday will focus on the historical truth of Christmas. Through various types of presentations we will address the questions, “Did Christmas really happen?” and “What does an event which took place 2000 years ago have to do with me?”

Christmas Day’s service will address the significance of Christ’s coming in the light of the brokenness of human life. Everyone admits something is wrong with our world but few can agree on a solution for our problems. God breaking in to history offers the solution we need for our problems, the once and for all solution.

Regardless of which service you choose to attend, think about asking a friend to join you. What better present could you offer another person than an opportunity to know the God who made them, the God who gave everything to save them for all eternity?

Sunday, December 23 - 10:00 am Children's Program
Monday, December 24 - 7:00 pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Tuesday, December 25 - 10:00 am Christmas Day Service

Friday, December 14, 2018

When There Aren’t Miracles

Every once in a while even Christians would like to have a supernatural reaffirmation from God that he is still in control of all that is going on. We’re not demanding that he turn the Pacific Ocean into blood like he did with the Nile River at the time of the Exodus. No, all it would take would be something small like having our Bibles opened to exactly the right page when we sit down to read them and then have the specific passage he wants us to consider blinking on and off in neon red colors. We just want something reassuring that he has got us covered.

The last several hundred years of Old Testament Jewish history are a lot like our current times in regard to miracles – there just don’t seem to be many. Was God hiding himself from the Jewish people? Is he hiding today?

This weekend we will be studying the book of Esther. The events it describes take place about 480 BC, near the very end of the biblical period we call the Old Testament. The incredible thing about this book is that not only don’t we find any miracles, the name of God isn’t even mentioned! But as so often happens in our reading of the Bible, our first reaction isn’t always accurate. In the account of Esther, it becomes very clear God is working behind the scenes, using people to accomplish what he wants.

That’s very similar to what he does today. And that’s why there are important truths in this short book. Just like Esther, God has put you on this earth at this time, in this place for a reason.

Is that part of your daily thinking?

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

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Truth about Starting Over

For all that is said about starting over, there is one truth which every person who has ever had such an experience knows – it isn’t easy!

Starting over usually means something has probably gone wrong and a correction needs to be made. Because of mistakes, whether ours or those of other people, significant changes need to happen in our lives. At first, we are very excited because we envision how different our lives will be if we actually put those changes into practice. We yearn to be free of the consequences of past errors.

Unfortunately, starting over in life is something which takes time, patience and perseverance. We quickly find that the changes we dreamed of when we first began our “restart” will only come after a prolonged period of living a self-disciplined life – something which is so hard to do. Our most potent enemy often is ourselves. We become weak. We just want to give up. We get to a point where we think it is easier to go back to our old ways rather than maintain those habits which will break the past mold of life.

We have a vivid example of a very challenging “start over” in the return of the Jewish people who had been exiled in Babylon for over 70 years. Their dream of a rebuilt Temple, a new Jerusalem and a renewed nation became a reality only after years of demanding sacrifice. What we actually see from the 20-20 vision of history is God using difficult circumstances to bring about the fulfillment of his plan to reclaim the human race for himself. The starting over process lasted 400 years but by the time it was complete, everything was set for the coming of the Messiah – the One who would bring the Eternal Start Over.

If you are in need of a “start over” or in the middle of one and find yourself ready to give up, join us for one of our services this weekend. Knowing you are not the only one in your situation and Who is willing to help you through makes all the difference.

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

Friday, November 30, 2018

Going Home

Home is a powerful word which brings vivid images to mind. For those going home, such thoughts are encouraging. For those having to leave home, those same thoughts are devastating. When elderly people have to leave their home of many years, the pain can be unbearable.

In our weekend services we’ll be studying the book of Daniel. The stories in this particular section of the Bible are captivating: the three men in the fiery furnace, Daniel himself being thrown into a lions’ den and various others. But think back to the day Daniel left Jerusalem for the long journey to Babylon. He was maybe 16 years old. As a prisoner of war, he would become an exile living in a strange, far away place. As Daniel looked back at the leveled city of Jerusalem, what were his emotions when his eyes fell on the place he had called home? Did he ask, “Will I ever return?” Whether he sensed it at the time or not, the answer would be “no”.

Jesus Christ talked about home in a very different way than we’re accustomed to. He said that for his followers, home is where he is. He was talking about heaven. The season of Advent is a four week time of preparing for Christmas during which Christians meditate on not only the coming of Christ 2000 years ago, but also his promised return on Judgment Day. In his own words, that is the day he is going to take us home.

Daniel lived the majority of his life as an exile in a strange land. It wasn’t his choice of places to live, but he trusted in God’s bigger plan for his life because he knew where his real home was. Have you looked at your present life that way – as a stranger temporarily living in a place you will leave behind for your real home, where Jesus is? If that thought made you stop and pause for a moment, you might want to join us for one of our worship services. Your image of home could change dramatically!

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

Saturday, November 24, 2018


I know a man who recently had his leg amputated above the knee. Understandably, it was a traumatic, life changing experience – one he is having difficulty accepting. So why did this man agree to have his leg amputated when he knew it was going to be such a horrendous experience? That’s pretty obvious. It was either amputate the leg or die of infection. Amputation is always the last resort option, never a pleasant choice.

In our study of The Story Bible, we are in the middle of several chapters which are hard for some people to make sense of due to God’s harsh treatment of the people which he had specially created to represent him in this world during this period of history (the nation of Israel). There are horrific foreign invasions, natural disasters, internal conflicts which all finally lead up to the utter destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the annihilation of its population. Of course, the question is, “Why would God allow something like this to happen?”

Knowing what took place centuries after these terrible events, we could describe them as a “spiritual amputation”. The nation of Israel had abandoned God. The kings, priests and people were all bent on being like the folks around them – they wanted to just blend in with everybody else. And it went on this way for hundreds of years despite God sending all sorts of warnings through special messengers called prophets.

The people of Israel were convinced life was better without God. God was even more convinced of the exact opposite and so for as challenging as it is for us to accept, through the cruelty of Babylonian armies, God amputated certain “spiritual infections” which would have led to the end of Israel as a nation.

We have a challenging study this weekend, a study which goes so much deeper than the trite “God is love” descriptions and forces us to deal with God’s justice and holiness in the light of human evil. What we’ll find might not be pleasant, but it will be definitely effective in helping us to answer the important questions in life. And in the end, isn’t that what matters?

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

Friday, November 16, 2018

Signs of the Times

For many the word “prophet” brings to mind the image of an old man with a long white beard shouting, “The end is near!” or “Repent and change your ways!” Doomsday preaching often doesn’t have much of an effect not because it is untrue, but our society has, in a very real sense, become immunized to the harsh reality that things can get really bad, really fast. We’ve become so accustomed to our wealth that we see it as something which is owed us. For some reason, most have the belief that every year should be a little more prosperous than the last.

What is true today, was certainly true 2700 years ago when the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel began to descend into moral and political quicksand. God sent prophets throughout the years to warn both leaders and people, but everybody was too busy either working or partying to pay attention. The end came swiftly and brutally. It didn’t have to be that way, but finally God gave the people their wish – to have life their way, to have life without Him.

If you had a choice between the following two scenarios, which would you choose?

For you to say to God, “Thy will be done.”

For God to say to you, “Thy will be done.”

If you chose the first, why don’t you join us for one of our services this weekend? If you chose the second, you probably won’t want to join us for worship. But do at least consider for a moment this weekend what it would mean for God to leave you alone forever.

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

Friday, November 9, 2018


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

It might be argued that we no longer know how to properly observe Veterans Day because we have forgotten Armistice Day.

There may be something to that. The generation that stopped in silence as church bells rang for two minutes each year at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month—that generation has faded away. The armistice went into effect exactly 100 years ago.

We might find some of their names etched into old gravestones. We might recall the words of their poem, “In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row…” In a history book we might read that on one day, July 1st, 1916, British forces suffered 57,470 casualties—including 19,240 fatalities (in one day!)—and gained three miles of blood-soaked soil.

Armistice Day was always observed, never celebrated. It was much too painful of a memory. Total World War One fatalities were over 20 million, with 21 million wounded. Over 116,000 American troops died in that war. Nothing to celebrate.

We don’t feel that pain. Our generation has been spared that anguish.

60 million lost their lives in World War Two. Over 400,00 were Americans. Add 34,000 Americans in Korea; over 58,000 in Vietnam; include the Gulf Wars, and the numbers become overwhelming.

But many Americans don’t feel that pain. Some are too young. Some don’t care.

We do. We should. The name may now be Veterans Day, but the cause of the observance remains the same: We need to remember. There are lessons to be learned. Appreciations to be offered.

“Thank you for your service!” has replaced the “Baby killers!” that some Vietnam veterans heard. We thank God for that.

We thank him for those in the past who left behind factory jobs and college classrooms; those who left behind carpenter tools and horse-drawn plows; those who left behind high school sweethearts, weeping mothers, and moist-eyed fathers—because their country called.

We remember them.

We remember those who never fired a shot in anger, whose job was to load trucks; fill out forms; or prepare food. We needed them. We remember those who had to make decisions that others would receive as orders. We remember those who tended to the wounded; and those who prayed with the dying. We remember them all. We remember them as gifts provided to our nation by a gracious God.

We remember Him most of all. Without Him, all valiant efforts would fail. Without Him, there would be no heaven for any of the fallen. We remember that it was the armistice that His Bethlehem angels announced. Heaven’s declaration of peace between the Holy One and mankind stands through the end of time into forever. We will not forget that.

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

Friday, November 2, 2018

Gone Bad

“The milk’s gone bad.”
“What happened? It all started out so good. How’d it go bad?”
“He’s just gone bad.”

“Gone bad,” those are the words we use to describe something or someone that began well but ended in disaster. It’s a phrase which is typically accompanied by a powerful frustration and sadness. There is the nagging thought, “It didn’t have to be this way. It could have been so different.”

“Gone bad,” it’s a phrase which describes so much of the Bible. From beginning to end God gets involved and everything is great. But within a short time, people do things which make it all go bad. “Gone bad” is certainly an accurate depiction of the history of Israel after the glory days of King Solomon. In a few short years Israel falls from the pinnacle of world power to suffering a vicious internal split resulting in two small time players on the world scene. What happened? The kings and the people lost their vision of what really mattered – their special relationship with God.

This weekend we have the opportunity to see what history is all about from God’s point of view – for nations and individual people. It’s a very different view than the one we’re normally presented. It doesn’t focus as much on what great people and movements accomplish but rather what a great God is doing as he guides human history to its conclusion. If what’s going on in the world doesn’t make sense to you and the future seems so uncertain, join us for one of our worship services. Maybe a fresh look from God’s perspective will give you some much needed hope.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please respond to this e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

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

Friday, October 26, 2018

Too Good to Give Up

When the stock market crashed in 1929 certain investors who had lost their fortunes jumped out the windows of their high-rise offices. They were so unwilling to give up the luxurious lifestyles they had grown to enjoy that they chose death over a life of “going without”.

Everyone knows how easy it is to get accustomed to a higher standard of living while it seems almost impossible to endure the agony of giving up material comforts we’re used to.

Success and prosperity, they are a two-edged sword. On the one hand they can transform our lives and those of others in many positive ways. On the other hand, prosperity can lead us down a path of pride, sensuality and selfishness.

David’s son Solomon followed his father to the throne of Israel. He inherited a nation united, strong and with a booming economy. Being talented and charismatic, Solomon took Israel to even greater successes. He was a king who had it all.

As so often happens, the “all” destroyed him. His money, power, status and wives took from him what held everything together – his relationship with God. By the end of his life he wrote, “I looked at all I had done and it was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Living in the most prosperous country at the most prosperous time in history, we’re wise to spend some time this Sunday morning with Solomon, the king who had it all and lost it.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please contact us and we’ll get one out to you.

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, October 19, 2018

Unsettling Bible Stories

There are some Bible stories that are hard to understand. We don’t like to talk about this because it sounds like we’re having doubts about our faith. But if we’re honest, what God does in certain situations doesn’t seem to agree with what he has done in other similar cases. An example of this is the famous King David. We all admire and respect his radical trust in God when he challenged the giant Goliath in a literal Death Match, but we shake our heads in wonder when God seemingly so easily forgives David for stealing another man’s wife and then having him killed.

Even a quick read through the well-known Old Testament stories gives ample examples of the Lord putting to death people for doing things which seem minor compared to what David did. We wonder, “Is God inconsistent?”

Maybe, just maybe, there’s more to learn about ourselves from God’s forgiveness of David than we would like to admit. Could it be that rather than spending time comparing the severity of David’s sins with those of other people we should be looking at ourselves? In certain situations, David displayed a trust in God that would put the best of our faith moments to shame. Yet, he had the potential to commit the most heinous of sins. Maybe what we learn from this man is that all of us are capable of the same crimes he was. The incredible grace which David needed, we also need. Instead of looking down on the man we should join him on our knees and say with him, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion…wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.”

The grace of God is so shocking it has been called scandalous. Praise his name it is because we all certainly need scandalous grace.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please respond to this e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

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

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Unchosen

Leaning back against the chain link fence he heard the ball bouncing and the shouts of young boys. Sighing, he pushed himself off the fence and slowly began to walk away, eyes glued to the ground in humiliation. He was the 11th man in a playground pick up basketball game. No one said anything, but it was crystal clear to everyone after the teams had been chosen – he was not needed, in fact, he was not wanted.

What a difference two years can make. The same humiliated boy is welcomed by cheering voices as he steps on to the court. They yell, “Where have you been? We didn’t think you were coming.” Months of consistent practice have turned the same youngster from being unchosen and unwanted to the most needed and desired player of the group.

Unfortunately, a few months of practice doesn’t turn everyone into a star. Many languish through life in anonymity, desperately wanting to have someone recognize their significance.

The Bible story of King David doesn’t seem to be one about a person needing a self-worth boost. And it isn’t. Rather, it’s a story about God taking a young boy and making him a part of his divine plans for this world. A close reading of David’s life shows it isn’t a story about an extraordinary human being, but rather an extraordinary God who does some pretty extraordinary things through very ordinary people.

The application for us is singular – God wants us to be a part of what he is doing in this world just as much as he wanted David to play his role 3000 years earlier. The Lord may not have a giant Goliath for you to kill, but in his plan, whatever you do for him will be as important.

Have you ever thought about it – you are wanted to be a part of doing what is most needed?

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

Friday, October 5, 2018

Finishing Well

When you look around your home, do you see some unpleasant reminders of projects you started so enthusiastically, but never finished because you just lost interest? What remains is a memorial to good intentions and not enough follow through. The saving grace of those half-finished efforts is they don’t run away. They are always there for us to finish when we find the time, money and energy. Unfortunately, it isn’t the same in our relationship with God.

The tragic reality is a person can start out so beautifully on fire for Christ, only to have the flames of faith slowly extinguished over time. It can be some type of crisis or the grinding routine of daily experience, but by the end of life the person has drifted away from Jesus.

This weekend we’ll be studying the transition in the history of the nation of Israel from the rule of the judges to that of kings. It started so well and ended pathetically. In some cases, it was just bad choices on the part of the kings, in others it’s hard to know exactly what happened. But what we do know for sure is, the finish is more important than the start.

Where are you in your walk with Jesus Christ? Is he still in front with you joyfully choosing to follow him each day or do you find yourself drifting from him as the days go by, a vague image in the distance? Join us for one of our weekend services. Get a spiritual jumpstart that will help you to finish even better than you started.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please respond to this e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

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

Friday, September 28, 2018

Just When You Least Expect

Everything seems to be a combination of darkness and confusion. In a mixed state of frustration and despair you throw up your hands and wonder out loud, “What am I going to do?” But then, when you least expect it, help comes. Not only is that help unexpected, it comes through the most unlikely people in the most improbable ways. There is no rational explanation to be found. Some call it luck, others a happy coincidence, while Christians say it’s a God thing.

People have written books on the subject of God’s mysterious ways of helping human beings. They contain all sorts of interesting explanations and insights, but there is one fundamental lesson to hold on to in these strange ways God works and that is, he does come to the rescue.

This past week you’ve been reading through the short book of Ruth. It takes place in the middle of the darkest time in Israel’s Old Testament history – the period of the Judges. But in the midst of this spiritual wasteland, God uses an unsuspecting young woman from Moab to demonstrate his powerful helping love. It’s a story one could easily pass by in the grand narrative of the Bible, but don’t do that. Spend time in the book of Ruth because God so often works in similar ways today – through quiet yet faithful people.

If the way seems dark to you at this point of your life, why not spend some time with us this weekend as we study the story of Ruth? It might just open your eyes to the light you’ve been looking for.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please respond to this e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

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

Friday, September 21, 2018

The “Rub Off” Effect

It usually happens without our even knowing. We have changed. But we have not even realized what we’ve experienced. It takes another person, someone who knows us well to say, “You’re different. Something’s happened to you.”

We protest, but they insist. We ask for evidence and they mention some little things we have started to do which we explain away as being inconsequential. Yet, we are bothered by their observation and wonder if by some chance they might be right. We ask ourselves, “What could cause me to change?””

Every personal relationship has a “rub off” effect. In some cases, it is minimal, in others it is life changing. People we spend time with begin to influence our way of thinking, speaking and acting. The more time we spend with them and the greater we value their friendship determines the amount of “rub off” they have on us.

In some cases, the “rub off” is very positive. We encounter people who raise us up, morally and intellectually. Unfortunately, it is more often true that we tend to take on the negative influences of other people. This is exactly what happened to the people of Israel after they received the Promised Land of Canaan from God. Instead of driving out the people who had inhabited the land, the Israelites intermingled with them and within a short time became just like them.

The book of Judges is one of the darkest and most depressing of the Bible because it registers the history of a people chosen by God to be his instruments of rescue and redemption falling headlong into an abyss of sexual perversion, brutal violence and idol worship. The “rub off” effect of the Canaanites on the Israelites was overwhelming.

Spiritual compromise is as relevant a subject today as it was at the time of the Judges. At first it seems harmless, even tolerant. But in the end, many Christians find they have lost their relationship with Christ and become imitators of our culture. If you sense a little too much of non-Christian thinking has rubbed off on you, join us for one of our weekend services. It may be time to take a stand.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please respond to this e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

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

Friday, September 14, 2018

Choose Whom You Will Serve?

The battles were over, the war had been won. The land God had promised to give the Israelite nation centuries earlier was finally theirs. Joshua, bent under the pressure of leading the people into battle so often, stood before those who had followed him one more time. But instead of leading them in a jubilant victory party, he asked but one question, “Choose whom will you serve?”

Some in the crowd looked confused. Others put back the corks in their champagne bottles. Everyone became quiet. Again, he shouted, “Choose whom will you serve?” What did the old man mean?

In his raspy voice he said, “You know I was with Moses from the beginning. I’ve seen it all. I’ve been there every single time you ran after other gods the moment things didn’t go your way. Now you are here. You’ve seen what God has done for you with your own eyes. You didn’t tear down the walls of Jericho, God did. You didn’t win all those battles because of your military prowess, God was fighting for you and you know that. So, I ask you again, who are you going to serve? Are you going to serve the Living God who made you his special people, or, at the first sign of pain are you going to run after a cheap drugstore god who offers you instant relief?”

Silence hung over the sea of people. Suddenly, the weak voice took on an almost superhuman strength. Joshua’s parting words to his people rang out loud and clear for all to hear, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

Who will you serve? Will you answer with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord?”

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please respond to this e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

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

Friday, September 7, 2018


What do you think of when you hear the word “wasteland”? Probably images of vast stretches of arid land, tumbleweeds blowing randomly in the wind come to mind. To be wandering in a wasteland is to be lost, desperately lost in a forlorn wilderness with little hope of finding a way out.

Life has its wastelands. Periods in which we find ourselves wanting something or someone, certain that whatever it is we want, that will make us whole. Yet the harder we try to acquire what we desire, the more we sink into a sea of lostness, losing our reference points. We feel a distance, with other people, with God, even ourselves.

The Israelites of the Exodus left Egypt with such high hopes and spectacular dreams only to find themselves wandering in a wasteland of unsatisfying pleasure, envy and fear. It took 40 years to find their way out of this wasteland, but it was a necessary 40 years, a time of molding discipline which left an indelible mark on the succeeding generation.

Wastelands can spiritually kill us or be an opportunity for renewal and recommitment. Are you in a wasteland? Are you not sure of where your headed? Join us for one of our weekend services. The way out of the wasteland makes all the time spent there worth it.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please respond to this e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

That famous line from the fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is completed with the words, “who’s the fairest of them all?” They were spoken by the evil queen who detested her step daughter Snow White, a young girl who was far more beautiful.

While we may not share the same enormous quantity of vanity as the jealous queen of Snow White, we do look into the mirror hoping for positive results. And that is, in a sense, good. It would be a sign that something was wrong if a person looked into a mirror hoping to be disappointed with the reflection.

There is a mirror, however, which does portray a vicious, nasty image of us all. That mirror is called “The 10 Commandments”. In talking with people about those laws, you might get the impression that their main purpose is to help people know what and what not to do so that they can go to heaven. A close look at those commandments and the way we actually live our lives, though, makes it pretty clear most of us aren’t going to be very successful taking that route. In fact, if we’re honest, none of us can make it into heaven being good.

So, when we look into the mirror of the 10 Commandments, what should we see? What do you think? If your answer was, “Somebody who isn’t as good as they thought they were,” then you’re right on. The drawing at the beginning of this article gets it right. We look at ourselves, our thoughts, what we say, what we do and compare them to the 10 Commandments. What we see isn’t what we like and it certainly isn’t what God wants from us. While the commandments don’t give us a flattering vision of ourselves, they are indispensable in pointing us to the only One who can resolve our problem – Jesus Christ.

This Sunday we continue to walk through the Story of God. We are at the moment when the Lord gives Moses and the Israelite people the 10 Commandments. It’s a history changing time – for all of us. If Jesus dying on the cross is going to make sense to you, take a good long look into the mirror of the 10 Commandments.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please respond to this e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, August 24, 2018

Some Things We Can’t Do for Ourselves

It is a humbling experience to have to admit we need help. Nobody enjoys it. We do everything possible to avoid having to go through such a situation. It’s our pride, our self-esteem. We’d like to think that we have the strength and smarts to overcome whatever life brings our way. Reality, however, teaches us this attitude just isn’t true.

God’s Story in the Bible describes how he came to our rescue, despite our stubborn inclination to resist his help. In chapter 4 of the Story Bible we encounter God’s brilliant rescue of the nation of Israel, stuck in Egypt where they are living as slaves. It’s a grand and glorious deliverance which only he could carry out. But the Exodus, as it is known today, is only a shadow of God’s ultimate mission of deliverance which his Son Jesus Christ accomplished 1500 years later.

It’s a great thing to be able to take care of ourselves. But when it comes to our relationship with God, only he can do what we can’t do for ourselves.

If you are starting to realize the need for deliverance in your life, join us for one of our weekend services. What God wants most for you is to let him do what you can’t do for yourself.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, please respond to this e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

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

Friday, August 17, 2018

When Fact Is Stranger Than Fiction

What begins as a sibling rivalry turns ugly, very ugly. And from there the story becomes increasingly complex and bizarre. From slavery, to prison, to Deputy Pharaoh, Joseph lives out a rags to riches story not even a Hollywood filmmaker could invent.

But the account of Joseph is so much more than adventure – it’s a lesson in God working out his plan in this world. It’s a lesson which you and I need to take to heart as we look at our own lives as we struggle to answer the question, “Why am I on this earth?”

The repetitious monotony of our daily lives works like an opioid, deadening our spiritual senses to all that God is doing around us. Instead of joining him in his work, we settle for a joyless routine of survival when God is wanting for us to thrive in the excitement and significance of making a difference for eternity.

While Joseph certainly must have experienced days of despair, he kept his focus on who was in control. He lived out the saying, “Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything.” The same God who wrote the incredible story of Joseph’s life wants to write the same kind of story for you.

Join us for one of our worship services this weekend. Get a taste of what your story might be like.

* If you would like to participate in the Story Bible series but have not yet received your copy of the Story Bible, send us an e-mail and we’ll get one out to you.

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

Beyond Bible Trivia

How do you fare when one of the categories on Jeopardy is “The Bible”? Are you proud of yourself when you are able to respond, “Who is Nebuchadnezzar,” to the question, “This ancient king had three men thrown into a fiery furnace,”? Bible trivia is fun and it is definitely helpful to have a working understanding of Bible history. It is, however, the divine truths which we learn from those historical events which change our lives here and for eternity.

This weekend we’ll be studying chapter 2 in the Story Bible – God Builds a Nation. We’ll see how God used a man named Abraham to form a nation which would become his representative in the world. It might all seem to be a lot of ancient history with little relevance to us living almost 4000 years later. But the events of the Bible are not really about people and movements – the main character is always God and what He is doing among the human beings He created.

Far from being dusty names and facts from the past, the story of Abraham is a riveting account of God working powerfully in a man as He carries out the Rescue Mission of all time.

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

Friday, August 3, 2018

Where Does Your Story Begin?

Discovering one’s family history has become huge over the past few years. It began with people spending hours researching old family records. Today, the newest trend is to take a DNA test to discover your origins. In an advertisement for one ancestry company a man wearing lederhosen described how all his life he believed he was of a German descent. However, much to his surprise, he learned that actually he had Scottish blood. By the end of the commercial the man was wearing a smart looking kilt and playing bagpipes. Apparently, he felt a new sense of identity which made him extremely happy.

For some people knowing their genealogy has a profound impact on the way they see themselves. Others, however, seem to care little. Regardless of how you feel about your ancestry, there is one aspect of where you came from that should be of concern. And that is, how human life started. Are human beings no more than sophisticated animals who are the product of random chance or are we the result of a personal God choosing to create human beings with a special meaning and purpose? The answer to those questions is far more than academic, it is life changing.

This weekend we begin our series of reading through the Story Bible. We start where we need to, at the beginning. And what a beginning it is. Instead of leaving us in the dark about where our story begins, the Bible powerfully assures us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If you need to find out more about where you came from, join us for one of our services.

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

For What?

He (Elijah) came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life.” (I Kings 19:4).

The prophet Elijah was no wimp. He championed the message of God to a people who had turned against the Lord. He challenged 400 priests of Baal to a showdown about who truly is God.

Elijah had served his God and his nation with faith and fury. But his conviction and passion were gone. He was disgusted, discouraged, and depressed.
“I have had enough, LORD!”

Why feel defeated after so much success? The answer lies in something we can relate to – a powerful sense of futility. Disheartened, Elijah was asking himself, “For what?”

The same question has been asked by troops returning from places where they worked feverishly to carry out their missions, risked their very lives, and saw comrades fall. Coming home, it seemed America didn’t care. And the people they had protected were still at risk.
Wasn’t it Jesus who said that wars and rumors of wars will take place until the end of time? So, what’s the use of confronting enemies? Why risk one’s life when there will be no end of war?

For that matter, will any of our efforts accomplish something that will last? Won’t we, and most everything else, turn to dust? All of our hard work and planning: “For what?”
The Lord God shocked Elijah out of his misery by asking: “What are you doing here Elijah?”

No self-pity allowed! No attempt to convince him that he had accomplished much good. In the same way that a sergeant may straighten out the complaining private, so God informs Elijah, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself! You have a mission to accomplish. Get going!”

The Savior God is still in control. His will certainly will be done. His kingdom will come. We are not God. We have no way of knowing what all is taking place. Our vision is limited. Our judgment is flawed.

His strength overruns our weakness. His victory wipes out our failures.

Faithful service is never for nothing. If you’re feeling like Elijah, struggling with the question, “For what?”, join us for one of our weekend services. Get a shot of spiritual adrenalin to keep up the good fight that is never without success!

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

This devotion was written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
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Friday, July 20, 2018

Faith: Weakness or Strength?

When you see or hear the word “faith” would you say your first impression is one of weakness or strength? For some people faith is definitely a sign of weakness, a demonstration that a person cannot resolve his/her problems and so has to resort to something make believe in order to cope.

The word faith, however, has a rich history of being a strong foundation of life and society. For years couples have gotten married on faith, believing that together they will be happier, more fulfilled individuals. By faith our American people elect government officials every two years believing that they will lead us to be a better people. By faith, brave young men and women go off to war believing that even if they have to give their lives, the cause they are fighting for is bigger, more important than their very existence.

And yet, we must admit that all the above examples of strong faith have, in too many instances, turned out to be disastrous. Couples have married only to divorce. Voters elect government officials but end up suffering for their ineptness. Millions have given their lives for causes which history has labeled as pure evil.

Regardless of the misconceptions people might have about faith, we cannot live without it. The key is, to have faith in what is true. And therein lies the great point of dispute. As Pontius Pilate asked 2000 years ago, “What is truth?”

The individual who wrote the New Testament letter we call “Hebrews” devotes an entire chapter to the subject of faith. It’s a beautiful tapestry of teaching, testimony and application. Reading Hebrews 11 is an exercise that always bears fruit.

If you’re struggling with how faith applies to your life, join us for one of our services this weekend. You might find your faith muscles get a little bit stronger.

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

A World Without Warnings

If you are over 40 and read the title of this article, “A World Without Warnings,” you might have shuddered in terror. If you are under 20 years of age your reaction might have been, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Age has a lot to do with the way we respond to warnings. In the early years of our lives our reaction to someone who cautions us about something we intend to do is “yada yada”. A remarkable transformation takes place, however, as we get older. We turn from carefree risk takers who ignored the conservative warnings of our elders to the very ones who warn other people!

Now older readers might be chuckling a little because we remember how things often blew up in our faces because we blatantly disregarded wise warnings. It might even be that some of us feel deep regrets. Hard, hard experience is the single most potent force in opening the human spirit to warnings.

God gives us warnings in his letter to us. A simple way of putting his warning might be, “Do get so caught up in what you are doing that you blow me off.” Tragically, people of all ages react to his warning with “yada yada”. Others dismiss his strong advice as primitive scare tactics. But the grim reality is, no matter how fun life can be, it is going to end for each one of us. We may not like to be warned about this inevitability, but even the most laid back person must admit it is probably a good idea to give what happens in death some thought.

This weekend we’re going to be looking at some warnings God gives us in the New Testament book of Hebrews. Sure, they can go against the grain of our egos if we’re into a macho competition with God. But if we have the uneasy feeling that instead of us telling God what to do, we should be listening to him, these warnings serve to keep us focused on what is really important in life. Warnings, they can save lives – for eternity.

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

Friday, July 6, 2018

How Hard It Is to Ask for Help

Researchers suggest that a great way to begin a relationship is to ask another person for help. For instance, if you just moved into a new home, it’s wise to ask your neighbor for advice about something or to borrow a ladder or tool for a project you are doing. The idea is that people feel superior when they are asked for help and of course everyone loves to feel superior to others. While it may well be an accurate observation, it says a lot about human beings. And, it also explains why so many people refuse to ask for help even when they desperately need it. It’s a pride thing. They don’t want to feel someone else is more capable or intelligent.

Could it be that many people walk away from Jesus Christ for the same reason? A person can come to Jesus with only one attitude, that they need help, big time help. This may be why men find it so difficult to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord because it means admitting they can’t do life on their own terms. What a tragedy it is when self-deceptive pride gets in the way of what we need most. Why is such pride self-deceptive? Because we are weak. We can’t do life alone. We may think we can. But inevitably, everyone gives into to age and death. What a pathetic sight it is to see a man in his nineties curled up in the fetal position whimpering in helpless fear when all his life he was considered a man who made things happen.

No matter how strong and successful you may be right now, there will come a day you will need the help only Jesus Christ can give. Why don’t you join us for one of our worship services this weekend? You may find that when it comes to asking help from Jesus, your whole life will change for the better.

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

Friday, June 29, 2018

“I Would Never Do That!”

When we hear the statement “I would never do that,” we assume the person who said it is talking about their personal morality, that they would never do something which the majority of people consider to be wrong. But there is another way of taking that statement, a meaning which we have all probably used. We’ve seen or heard of a person making a huge sacrifice on behalf of another person and we are shocked by the selflessness of the individual and admit we probably wouldn’t be capable of doing the same thing. Such behavior both humbles and inspires us.

In the New Testament book of Hebrews there are a great many passages describing the incomparable nature of Jesus Christ – that as the Son of God, he is unique and superior to everything we human beings know and experience. Yet, at the same time the author of this short letter contrasts the greatness of Christ with the unbelievable suffering he went through to accomplish the reconciling of God with human beings. His selfless sacrifice leaves us wondering why he went through it all when he didn’t need to. We’re left with the inescapable thought, “I would never do that!” But Jesus did, and that can make all the difference in eternity and right now.

A good many of us struggle with getting along with people. And the main reason for the conflict is usually we want our way and are willing to do just about anything to get what we want. We are selfish instead of selfless. We can justify our thinking, rationalize our pride but what we need is Jesus. We need to understand how his selfless suffering can change our selfish arrogance. If you are struggling with selfishness, join us for one of our services this weekend. Spend some time with the Selfless One who sacrificed so much so that you might spend eternity with him.

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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Cut to the Heart

It’s a painful experience to be in a discussion and have a person unintentionally say something which clearly and specifically exposes an area of our lives where we have failed miserably. The speaker probably didn’t mean to hurt us and maybe no one else even perceived how what was said applied to us – but we knew. And we were shaken to the core. While such moments can be awful to endure, they are also healthy because they remind us of who we really are and what we are capable of.

The message of the Bible is described as a two-edged sword which cuts to the very core of our being, revealing how much we need our Savior God. Maybe that’s why so many set aside their Bibles, what they read is just too hurtful to their egos. But the goal of God in giving us his Word is not to beat us down into a senseless humiliation but rather to show us he is the only solution to our natural condition. The truth sometimes hurts, but if that painful truth leads us to the loving arms of our healing God, then we need to hear more of that truth.

Join us for one of our worship services this weekend. Let the Word do its life changing surgery in your heart.

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Without Searching Google, “Who Won the 1989 Super Bowl?”

So, what’s your reaction to that question? “Who cares?”

Are you racking your brain, pounding your fist on the table saying, “I know who won that game, it’s on the tip of my tongue?”

Are you in the middle of an internet search to find out that the 49ers beat the Bengals 20 to 16?

Whatever your reaction might be, what was so important to so many people on January 22nd, 1989, today is just another piece of trivia that has little influence on the lives of the vast majority of those alive when the 49ers beat the Bengals.

Winning is a big thing. It always has been and always will be. Someone once said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” But when it comes to so much of what people struggle to win, the truth is, it isn’t all that important in the long run.

Sunday we’re going to be talking about Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan. On first glance, that might not mean a whole lot to you. But give it a few moments to sink in. We’re always talking about the struggle between good and evil. Christ’s victory means the good wins. It means there is hope. It means that even death might not be the final word. The word “victory” fills our minds and media, but when it comes down to the victory which matters – there’s only one – the victory of Jesus Christ.

If you’re interested in what that victory means to you, join us this weekend for one of our worship services. You might find there’s a whole new way of looking at winning and losing.

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

Friday, June 8, 2018

Figure It Out for Yourself!

Have you ever had someone shout at you in frustration, “Figure it out for yourself”? It’s a pretty discouraging experience because you’ve gone to that person not knowing what to do in a situation that is pretty important. You’re looking for direction, but the person you’ve gone to doesn’t have a clue of what you should do and isn’t interested in putting any time or effort into helping you. So, at a loss of what to do they say something to the effect of, “Look, it’s your problem. Don’t bother me with it. Go figure it out for yourself!” We leave feeling not only even more uncertain as to what to do, but also rejected.

What if God just put a big sign in the sky for all people to see, “Figure it out for yourselves”? What if God were silent, silent about himself and us? How would we know about right and wrong? Where would we get answers to questions like, “Why was I born? What’s the point of my life? How am I supposed to live?”

The person of Jesus Christ is God’s resounding answer to our deepest questions about life. He has not been silent. He has not cast us aside to figure things out for ourselves. Instead, he himself came to this world not only to speak to us, but to figure everything out for us.

If you’re having trouble making sense of life, join us for one of our services this weekend. God is not silent. He has spoken. And what a message it is!

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

Friday, June 1, 2018

If God Isn’t in Control, Who Is?

The question is not a new one. People have been asking it for centuries. “If God is in control, why do so many bad things happen on a daily basis?” The famous atheist Bertrand Russell reportedly said, “No one who has witnessed the death of a child can possibly believe in a loving God who rules all things for the benefit of human beings.” It would seem either God is not in control of what is going on or he is not loving. Either option isn’t very attractive.

At the end of his life the Old Testament Israelite Samson might have asked similar questions. From birth he had been chosen to lead his fellow countrymen out of the political repression of the neighboring Philistines. He had spent most of his life doing just that, but for all his efforts, not much seemed to have changed. Now, blinded and imprisoned by the very people he was meant to defeat, Samson wondered if God really was in control.

Things didn’t turn out the way Samson had envisioned for his life. But that doesn’t mean God had lost control. Looking back on history we see that Samson had a role to play in God’s master plan to send his Son into the world. Maybe Samson wanted a more influential part, but what he did was necessary. No, God’s rationale is not always apparent to us. Before we choose to write him off, however, we need to consider massively one question: “If God is not in control, who is?” It is not enough, no, it is even intellectual disaster to cynically dismiss the question with the flippant response, “No one is in control. Everything just happens.” That kind of thinking won’t do, not on a practical, daily basis because it means everyone of us has no purpose for being on this earth nor any value. We are all just random chance accidents. Our passions, our loves, our efforts, our pain, our suffering have no significance other than the chemical reactions they produce in us and in others.

If you find yourself resentful towards God because you don’t think he’s doing the best job running things, join us for one of our services this weekend as we explore the options of making sense out of life without God being in control.

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

Friday, May 25, 2018


There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow (Ecclesiastes 1:11).

“The end of war is in remembrance.”

This old saying may surprise us. Few who have survived the trauma of war are anxious to relive those days in memory. The pain of the disorder from post-traumatic stress is often caused by the mental replaying of those traumatic events. Thus, the natural inclination is to avoid the memories of war, and many veterans have become quite good at doing that.
That is not necessarily good. Avoiding memories can prevent healing.
Memorial Day is a good time for us to remember war with its casualties of bodies and minds. King Solomon of old would encourage us to do this.
For all of his wealth, wisdom, and power, Solomon had much to lament. In the God-inspired Book of Ecclesiastes, he groans out his misery in life. He opens the book with the words: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
He soon moves to his complaint about remembrance. He says there is none. Thus, there is no meaning to what people have done.
As flags are lowered and wreaths are laid on tombstones at this time of year, the phrase that may come to our ears is, “They have not died in vain.”
This declares that the death of those who have fallen in service to our nation was not meaningless.
Not everyone agrees. Not everyone follows the parade to the burial ground. Not everyone acknowledges the flag at half-mast. Not everyone stands still at the sound of taps.
Not everyone appreciates the sacrifices of those who lost their life to preserve our freedoms.
But those who, like Solomon, lament the lack of remembrance of what was accomplished by those who came before, they will see the meaning of Memorial Day.
The Christian will see the day through God’s eyes. The Christian will remember that our nation does not deserve the blessings of freedom that float down upon it. The Christian will remember how close our nation has come to losing these freedoms at times. The Christian will remember that those who stepped forward to defend our nation were gifts provided by the hand of God.
It is a time to acknowledge the gifts we have received through the wars that have been waged and the sacrifices that others have made.
It is a time to consider the cost that the loved ones of the fallen have paid.
Remembrance allows us to see the larger picture, to weigh the fuller cost, and to appreciate the greater value of what has been handed down.
We will remember God’s promise that the day will come when, “Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Micah 4:3).
Until that time comes, on a Memorial Day we will repeat the prayer of those who have gone before us:
“Lord God of hosts, be with us yet.
Lest we forget. Lest we forget.” Amen.

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

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

Friday, May 18, 2018

Warts and All

If someone tells you a story about themself and says, “I’ve got to tell you what happened, warts and all,” you know you might be in for some uncomfortable moments because they are going to tell you things about themself which are embarrassing. Normally, people do just the opposite, they cover up the things in their lives that make them look bad. When it comes to our person, we definitely like to promote our strong points and hide the defects.

It is interesting that the Bible writers make no such attempt to put mascara on the moral flaws of some of its main characters. This Saturday we’re going to watch the newly released movie on the life of Samson. The following four Sundays we’ll be studying different accounts in his life. Without a doubt, Samson is a flawed man in many ways. He was a womanizer who made rash decisions which led to the loss of peoples’ lives. At times, he seemed unaware that God had given him incredible strength for a specific reason.

But throughout his life we notice one thing: for all the messes Samson gets himself into, God carries out His plan for Samson’s life. And that should be a tremendous encouragement to us. Each one of us has our share of warts. In fact, those warts sometimes lead us to the idea we aren’t qualified to do much for God. Nothing could be further from the truth. God’s whole purpose in leaving his people in this world is to remove those warts one by one so that we become more powerful workers for good in this world. Samson is an example that God can use anyone to accomplish what he intends. That’s an exciting message for us!

Saturday evening dinner & movie: 5:30 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, May 11, 2018


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).

We did not pick our mothers, nor did they pick us. Someone else was in charge of the selections.

If we wonder why we were not born in Bangladesh, or in the year 1496, the answer lies not in our genes, but with our God. Without his direct action, we would not be. Before our mother was born, we were already chosen to be her child. It was foreordained.

But that does not mean that we are the product of some mechanical formula worked out eons before our birth. We are the result of individual, careful, and loving decisions by the same one who formed the stars and calls them out by name.

Our heart and lungs, our brain and nervous system, were custom made. Our fingerprints were designed just for us.

As one knits a blanket to a certain size and with a certain pattern, so the Creator fashioned us. The psalmist calls out in the next verse, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

But the pattern we were made from was not completely new. Pieces of us match pieces of our parents and relatives before them. Maybe it is said that we have our father’s ears, or our mother’s smile. Someone may have pointed out that we have our grandfather’s eyes. Maybe when we look at old pictures we notice that, as a child, we looked much like one of our great-grandparents when they were young.

We are not an accident. We are not merely the product of a biological process. We are the handiwork of God. We are wonderfully made.

He could have decided to call us into being out of nothing, as he did the sun and moon. Instead, he chose to form us inside of a woman. He picked out our extended family. He set the time and place for us to draw our first breath.

He selected our mother.

Our father was also of his choosing. A dad’s role is different, however. But both deserve special treatment. “Honor your father and mother!” is an order from our Creator.

That command stands no matter how good of parents we think they are. By honoring them, we honor God.

But mothers stand out as extra special. It was a female that was chosen as the one to serve mankind in a very special way. It was a woman who gave birth to the incarnate Son of God.

Jesus of Nazareth called Mary, “Mama.” He was both her son and her Savior. He brought her pain. He gave her heaven. It’s the same gift he offers us.

We were fashioned according to God’s pattern for God’s purpose. We were designed to live forever. Mary’s Son has made this possible.

For that, we thank our Savior God and acknowledge the wonder of his greatness. He has blessed us in many wondrous ways.

As one of his wonders, he has given us our moms.

We pray: God of mercy and might, as we consider how wonderfully we are made, we are compelled to declare, “How great thou art!” We thank you for giving us life. We ask you to use us for the purposes you have chosen for us. We thank you for our moms. Amen.

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain

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

Friday, May 4, 2018

A Legacy that Lasts

Everybody would like to be remembered for what they accomplished while they lived. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen too often. Really, how many people are remembered by anyone 100 years after their death?

To think that all our intense struggling to leave a mark on this earth only ends up being washed away like a sand castle on the beach is unnerving. It leads us to question, “For what am I working so hard?” And that is an excellent question for the very reason that it is extremely hard to answer – apart from Jesus Christ.

This weekend we will be commemorating Christ’s return to heaven (Ascension) at which time he took back his full glory and power as true God. It is an event full of significance. Above all, it is an invitation to a life on this earth that matters. Jesus left this final instruction with his followers:

“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The same Jesus who spoke those words is the same one who broke the power of death over the human race through his resurrection from the dead. This “forever” victory he won, he now gives to us to offer to other people. Think about what that means! If, in some way, your actions and words influence a person to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord, what you did is never going to be forgotten. How does that compare to the other things you’re working for right now?

The Ascension – it means your life today matters for eternity.

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

Friday, April 27, 2018

Resurrection Celebration

The word “celebrate” has a very positive image in our minds. Who doesn’t want to go to a celebration? Even a “Celebration of Life” gathering (which is a nice way of saying “funeral”) offers the hope that something good will come out of the event.

Celebrations offer a needed break from our routine lives of work and fulfilling responsibilities when we can cut back, relax and just enjoy ourselves. But unfortunately, they are just that, infrequent breaks from the routine. In fact, if we celebrate too much, our pleasure tends to diminish.

There is, however, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus which can’t be experienced enough. The Apostle Paul dedicates a whole chapter (15) in his letter to a group of Corinthian Christians to this subject and why we can’t get enough of it.

This weekend we’re going to be finishing our Resurrection sermon series with a celebration that doesn’t need to end – ever. Why don’t you join us?

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

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Resurrection Repentance Revolution

The life of the apostle Peter can be divided into two parts: BDJ and ADJ. BDJ stands for “Before Denying Jesus” and ADJ obviously refers to “After Denying Jesus”. The horrific nature and context of Peter’s denial could have ruined the rest of his life. Instead, Jesus used this betrayal to literally revolutionize Peter’s life. BDJ, Peter was a self-centered man who believed in his own integrity and personal character. ADJ, this same man realized the truth about himself and let Jesus remake him into the man he was meant to be.

This weekend we’ll be studying a seaside conversation Jesus had with Peter after his resurrection. To say the least, it wasn’t a pleasant one for Peter. He was reminded by Christ of that fateful night when he had screamed, “I swear to God I don’t know the man!” Jesus led him to a hard but healthy repentance which opened the way for full and liberating forgiveness. That is what revolutionized the life of Peter. And it can do the same for us 2000 years later. The resurrection does change everything, both in eternity and right now!

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

Friday, April 13, 2018

When the Blinders Come Off

It is a very frustrating experience to not get a joke which cracks up everybody else. Or to have someone explain three times how to do something on our computer and still not know what they are talking about. It’s as though something has taken hold of our minds and we are locked in a prison of ignorance. On the other hand, what a tremendous feeling it is to finally get something we have struggled to understand. That’s when we have the “aha” moment. It seems as though the mental blinders have come off and we can see everything clearly.

The first Easter Sunday two of Jesus’ disciples were on their way from Jerusalem to a village about 8 miles away. As they walked, they discussed what had happened the previous few days. It was a heated discussion. They weren’t angry with each other, but neither of the two could make any sense out Jesus of Nazareth being crucified. It seemed like such a senseless tragedy.

You probably know how the story ends. If you don’t, check out Luke 24:13-35. It’s a great example of Jesus opening peoples’ eyes to who he is and what he means to us. Everyone of us struggles with spiritual blinders. We may understand Jesus’ rising from the dead better than those first disciples did walking down the road 2000 years ago, but there are things God is doing in our lives that we question or doubt. We just can’t seem to understand what he is doing and it is a barrier in our relationship with him.

If you feel you are not seeing Jesus as clearly as you think you could, join us for one of our weekend services. Let him take the “blinders” off.

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

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Surprising God

We live in absolutely incredible times! Think of what we can do today. We can see what is inside our refrigerators while we are in the grocery store. We can turn on a cooking pot full of food sitting on our kitchen sink while we are still at work. We can start our car and cool it down while we are in the house getting ready to leave. Pretty impressive. Technology has allowed us to control our lives in ways people never imagined years ago.

We’re used to getting things the way we think they should be. But then God comes along and refuses to play by our rules. What we think he should do is often very different from what he does, and that frustrates us. While we enjoy a small, pleasant surprise every now and then, we do not appreciate the surprising God who regularly insists on doing things in ways which totally catch us off guard.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are God’s two greatest surprises. Even today, it makes one wonder how God works. This Sunday we’re going to go to the tomb with Mary Magdalene, the first person to witness Jesus’ return to life. That surprise changed her life and it can change yours too!

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

It’s No April Fools, He Is Alive

For Christians, it almost seems sacrilegious that we will be celebrating Easter on the first of April, the day known as April Fools day. It is inevitable that there will be some who will take the opportunity to ridicule the resurrection of Jesus Christ by comparing it to an April Fools joke.

But maybe having Easter fall on April 1st is healthy for us Christians because it compels us to confront the question, “Did Jesus physically rise from the dead in a specific time in human history?” A serious consideration of this question ought to lead us to a resounding, “He is risen. He is risen indeed.”

The resurrection of Jesus, however, is meant to produce much more than just an emotional affirmation of its truthfulness. The fact that Jesus came back from the grave changed the lives of his first disciples which in turn led them to change the world. The same can be true for us.

The great English writer G. K. Chesterton was asked once by a reporter what he would do if the Risen Christ were now standing right behind him. The questioner knew of Chesterton's firm belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ, but he was not prepared for the answer he got from Mr. Chesterton, who simply replied "but He is."

Consider how our lives would be different if we took seriously Chesterton’s statement, “He is standing right behind me”? Our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection is meant to remind us that Christ’s promise to “be with us always” is to be practically lived out each day. Think about the possibilities of that kind of life!

Join us for Easter!

Easter breakfast: 8:30 am
Easter morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, March 23, 2018

What Will You Do with King Jesus?

That was pretty much the question the Jewish religious leaders were left with after the events of Palm Sunday. The preacher/miracle worker/rabbi from Galilee had taken the city of Jerusalem by storm earlier in the day putting the name “Messiah” on everyone’s lips. Jesus had left no doubt about his claim when he entered Jerusalem that day, fulfilling the messianic prophecy every God-fearing Jew had learned from Zechariah, that the Messiah would enter the capital riding on a donkey.

And now what to do with this self-proclaimed king? That was the question those in power were struggling to answer. We know the conclusion they came to – “kill Jesus”. Only five days later, led by the High Priest Caiaphas, Jesus of Nazareth was sentenced to death by crucifixion.

Killing Jesus, however, did not silence, once and for all, the question, “What will you do with King Jesus?” Because of his resurrection, Jesus confronts us, two thousand years later with the same challenge. Will we receive him as he claims, the Messiah – King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Or will we reject him as an imposter as the religious leaders did when they sent him to the cross?

If you are struggling with an answer to Jesus’ question, join us for one of our weekend services.

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

Friday, March 16, 2018

Breaking Point

Alone with a choice to make. Take the easy way out or do what needs to be done. But the right choice has a cost, a huge cost.

No one likes to be in a situation like the one described above. We want what is certain and sure, what is pleasant and easy. We do everything to eliminate the unknown from our lives. Sacrifice for what is right can make cowards of us all.

The Garden of Gethsemane is a scene of decision in the life of Jesus Christ which brought him to the breaking point. He could have walked away from it all, escaping through the back of the garden and disappearing into the barren Judean Wilderness nearby. But that was really no option. Everything he had done up to that moment pointed to what he was about to experience. His birth, ministry, miracles and teaching were all just a preparation for the cross.

But what a cross! What a sacrifice! As he trembled, soaked in bloody sweat on the damp ground by an olive tree the pressure of actually going through with it all was overwhelming.

You know how the story goes. You’re familiar with the events after Gethsemane. Most are. The question is, “Why? Why would he go through with it when it wasn’t even a problem of his making?” That’s where we come in – you and me. Christ went through his breaking point so that we can have the strength to overcome our breaking point. Someday we’re going to breath our last and then stand on the edge of eternity. At that moment, only one thing will matter to us – that Jesus Christ got off his knees in Gethsemane and walked to the cross of Golgotha.

Spend some time in the Garden of Gethsemane with us this weekend as we contemplate how Jesus went through his breaking point – for us.

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

Friday, March 9, 2018

Our War Within

It is downright unnerving to imagine that at this very moment there is a super powerful being lurking around you with only one intent – to lead you into believing that he has more to offer you than God. If you are thinking of some darkly dressed ugly creature spewing saliva from his mouth with a crazed look on his face, you’ve got it all wrong. Satan is a master of disguise and deception. Yes, he can be crude and frightening, but he can also be debonair and seductive. It all depends on the kind of web of lies he is weaving to catch you in.

The war between God and Satan within each one of us may be invisible but it is more real than much of what you experience in your daily life. It is ongoing, fierce and with eternal consequences. Judas lost the war. Peter, through Jesus Christ, won it. What about you?

The first step to victory is knowing what this war is all about. That’s what we’re going to be talking about this weekend in our worship services. We’re going to study what happened when Peter, one of Jesus’ main disciples, denied even knowing Christ. We’ll look at the battle he lost dreadfully and the ultimate victory Christ gave him afterward. Peter’s story is a glimpse of what is going on inside us.

The war within you is raging whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. The sooner you do, however, the sooner Christ will take the field for you. Then, there is no doubt about the outcome.

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

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Generosity Transformation

There is a passage in the Bible which says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” There aren’t too many who can hear that passage without at least having to suppress a cynical, “Really!?!? That’s not the world I live in!”

Our world runs on the belief that the person with the most stuff is the happiest. We see it lived out in real life and on TV. We’re encouraged to believe it by all the advertisements we’re exposed to each day. And, we’ve got something inside us that wants us to believe it with all our hearts. In an environment like that, how can giving ever be better than getting?

While we may think the above described way of thinking is “reality”, just the opposite is true. Instead, it is the deception of Satan to take our eyes off the God who created and redeemed us. Every single human being struggles with the sin of “me first”. It was the first sin and it continues to be the most destructive. “Me first” or “I’m going to live my life the way I want” pushes God out of his rightful place in our hearts and concentrates all our attention and focus on ourselves. And being selfish just feeds that tendency.

Generosity breaks the cycle of self-fixation. It takes our eyes off ourselves and makes us realize that there is more to this world than “me, myself and I”. And very often, that is the first step God uses to open our eyes to who he is.

When generosity is coupled with our walk with Christ, it becomes a powerful tool which He uses to ever increasingly take our eyes off our self-centered desires which enslave us and give us the opportunity of experiencing the freedom of a life lived for him. In heaven, we will become like Christ, free of sin and all its consequences. While we’re here on this earth, he is using generosity to begin that transformation.

If you are ready for a life change, join us for one of our services this weekend!

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Spring-Clean

It happened every year around the second week of April. The tell-tale signs were tulips pushing through the ground, taking off the storm windows and putting on the screens, and the sound of my mother’s voice, “Get your winter clothes ready to put up in the attic.” And then it would begin, with a grim and determined face my mother would begin a week-long battle with what she perceived to be mountains of accumulated winter dirt in what she called “Spring-Cleaning”. It was a tough week because she was a little more irritable than usual and dinner very often was Spam with cloves or chipped beef on toast. But for all the negatives of spring-cleaning, when it was all over, the whole family agreed it was worth it. Spring breezes gently blew through the open windows, accenting the pleasant detergent smell that saturated the house. It seemed all the stale smells and germs of winter had been blasted away, replaced with a refreshing and invigorating feeling of clean.

In the event of Jesus’ life which we are going to study from the Gospel of Mark this weekend, we’re going to encounter a different type of cleaning – a spiritual cleaning. The day after Palm Sunday, Jesus went to the Temple only to find it more of a farmers’ market than the place to meet the living God. He would have none of it and promptly began to throw the merchants out. For that reason we call this story the “cleansing of the Temple”. But it was more than just getting rid of the commerce, Jesus was teaching us about the importance of worship - pure and right worship. Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple is an opportunity for us to take a healthy, honest look at our worship lives and ask the question, “Jesus, do you need to do some cleaning in my heart?”

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

Friday, February 16, 2018


Satan is all about lies. That’s what Jesus said. The devil will twist, distort and exaggerate in his efforts to mislead us. Sometimes, he will just flat out confront us with something that is obviously not true, but he will package it in something incredibly attractive so that we buy into what he is saying. Lies – plain and simple lies. That’s what the Evil One want us to believe.

There are few areas of human existence where Satan more effectively ruins lives with his lies than in marriage. Having convinced us that we need to be most concerned about our individual happiness, he then leads us into thinking that a committed relationship like marriage can work with two people primarily looking out for their own interests. The results have been heart breaking, leading many today to question whether marriage is viable.

Jesus Christ, however, has a much different view of marriage. One time a group of religious leaders asked him about divorce. His response was a robust endorsement of marriage.

This weekend we’re going to be studying what Jesus taught about marriage. It’s much different than the lies of Satan. According to Christ, marriage is closely connected to our relationship with him. It is an opportunity to deeply influence the life of another while at the same time to be incredibly blessed.

Join us for one of our weekend services. Get a glimpse of marriage as God means it to be!

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

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Jesus of Surprises

One thing a person notices about Jesus is that he just isn’t predictable. That is especially true in the way he dealt with the religious leaders of his day. We would think that these would have been the people he related to, went to for support and encouragement. But instead, they were the ones Jesus most severely condemned. What he told them is that while they may have seen themselves as religious, they were not doing what God wanted. In fact, they were messing with God by changing what he had told them in the Old Testament to fit their idea of religion.

But Jesus wasn’t interested in religion. He was looking for disciples, men and women humble enough to receive him as their Savior and Lord. The religious leaders wanted just the opposite. They developed a system of rules and regulations designed more to make them feel good about themselves rather than know and experience the living God.

Unfortunately, the temptation to mess with God hasn’t gone away over the years. Sure, we can read about the mistakes of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and see where they went wrong, but the temptation to twist and distort clear teachings of the Bible to fit our way of looking at things is still very strong. It really is about letting God be God instead of making God fit our ideas of what he should be like.

Some Christians feel God isn’t doing much in their life. It may be because they’ve limited his power to work in them due to a warped understanding of who he is and what he intends to do in our lives. Join us for one of our weekend services. While you might be surprised at what Jesus says and does, you will definitely be challenged by him to grow in your relationship with him.

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

Friday, February 2, 2018

A Very Different Way of Looking at Things

How do you think most Christians would answer the question, “Why are you a believer?” Probably many would respond, “To go to heaven.” That is a very correct answer. Jesus himself said that he came into the world for this very purpose, to open up heaven for all who trust in him. But Jesus said there is a lot more to being a Christian than just waiting around here until we die and go to heaven. Unfortunately, some Christians fall into just that kind of thinking.

This weekend we’re going to be studying the teachings of Jesus in regard to what it means to be his disciple. Through a series of five short stories (parables) Christ makes it clear that being part of his family is all about being productive and useful in this world until he takes us to heaven. The stories are easy to understand but challenge us to the core of our thinking to reevaluate the way we have been living as the Lord’s disciples. But then again, nothing Jesus said was to make us comfortable. When he spoke, it was always to make us more like him.

If you think it’s time to start becoming more like Jesus, join us for one of our weekend services.

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

Members or Disciples?

Typically, the size of a church is determined by the number of members it has. A “member” describes a person who has made a confession of faith in Christ and has also committed themself to be a part of that congregation. While membership in a local church is very important in our spiritual lives, it is good for us to remember that when Jesus walked the earth his primary call was to discipleship. While being a member of a church and a disciple of Jesus Christ share many of the same characteristics, it is good for us to remind ourselves of the radical nature of Christ’s invitation to be his disciple.

The word disciple means “follower”. In Jesus’ day a teacher would gather disciples who would live with him. The purpose of this close and ongoing contact was that the life of the disciple would become like that of the teacher.

As we continue to study the Gospel of Mark, this Sunday we are going to delve into what Jesus meant when he invited people to follow him. We’ll find it is so much more than being a member of an organization. Rather, it is an invitation to a lifestyle which touches every area of our lives. Being a disciple of Jesus challenges, corrects and molds those who follow him. Above all, it is an invitation to go on a never-ending adventure with him. Join us for one of our weekend services and start on your adventure with Jesus!

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

Friday, January 19, 2018

Measured Miracles

Jesus did some eye-popping miracles causing a variety of reactions. Some people claimed he was a witch doctor. Others said he was a snake oil salesman. Still others totally misunderstood why he performed the miracles and got mad at him for not doing more. It is no wonder Jesus spoke about miracles in a very measured way.

While he claimed the power to do any and every kind of supernatural feat, typically Jesus reserved his miracles for private situations, and even then did everything to keep people from broadcasting what he had done in order to avoid gawkers and others looking for entertainment.

The reaction to miracles among Christians today is as mixed as it was then. Some question if miracles still happen. Others wonder if there is a need for them. And a whole lot of believers would like to know what’s keeping them from experiencing a miracle!

This Sunday we are going to be studying two events in the ministry of Christ which give us a glimpse of how he saw and used his miraculous powers. If you’ve been wondering about the role of miracles in the 21st century, join us for one of our weekend services.

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

Friday, January 12, 2018

The God Who Stoops

There is something about a dignified adult stooping down to speak with a little child that brings a smile to our faces. It’s a powerful gesture that sends the message to the child, “You’re important to me, so important that I am willing to get down to your level so that we can have a conversation.”

When you think about the events of this past Christmas season, wasn’t it really all about God stooping, getting down to our level so that he could not only communicate with us, but above all to do something about the unbreakable grip evil and death has on us?

The act of stooping demonstrates an attitude of commitment and concern. Is that what you think of when you consider Jesus? Do you see the all-powerful Son of God putting aside everything that has to do with being God and coming down to our level in the greatest rescue mission in history? Do you let his commitment to you be the foundation of how you see yourself in this world? Do you remind yourself often that God considers you so important, he was willing to stoop for you?

This Sunday we’re going to be studying Jesus’ baptism and temptation in the wilderness. These are the first events of his three-year ministry. And both portray our God who is willing to get down to our level, get dirty in the brokenness of our world so that we might have hope that no one or nothing can ever take away.

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

Friday, January 5, 2018

Lone Voices in a Sea of Apathy

In a recent article on evangelism describing the difficulties of reaching out to people with the message of Christ, the author described a large number of Americans as “apathetic” spiritually. He went on to say that these people have no real interest in God or what he means to their lives. If you have ever tried to talk about Jesus with someone, you very well may have had the same experience.

Living in such a spiritual wasteland can leave Christians feeling like we are lone voices calling out but our words are falling on deaf or plugged up ears. 2000 years ago a man named John started preaching in a literal wilderness a few miles east of Jerusalem. He was one man with a stern yet electrifying message and the result was no less charged. One person can make a difference – especially when the message is supernatural.

John the Baptist didn’t have a comfortable life nor a storybook ending. Actually, his death was gruesome. But this lone voice marked the beginning of the movement which changes everything – he signaled the coming of Jesus Christ.

Did John understand the reasons for all the things which happened in his life? Did he appreciate the significance of his work? Probably not. But his lone voice remained strong until his last breath. If you feel a connection with John the Baptist and what he lived through, join us this weekend for one of our services. Together, let’s unite our lone voices so that the world hears the message it so desperately needs.

Saturday, January 6 evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday, January 7 morning worship: 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.