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

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.