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

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.