Friday, August 16, 2019

“I Only Wanted to Be Happy”

Have you ever said, “I only wanted to be happy” after having made a bad decision which blew up in your face? It’s a pretty common experience for most of us. Wanting to be happy seems like such a good reason for doing things. Who doesn’t want to be happy? Ironically, however, wanting to be happy frequently causes us to be extremely unhappy.

Last week we began a new sermon series called “Foundations”. We’re studying the first chapters of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. In it we encounter foundational principles for living – pillars on which we can solidly build our lives day after day after day. These teachings enable us to navigate the rough waters of life by providing a clear path to know and do God’s will. And in the end, that will make us happy the way God intends.

Join us for one of our weekend services. Regardless of what has happened in the past, now is the time to start building a life foundation that will stand…no matter what.

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

Friday, August 9, 2019

Foundations

If there is any part of a building one doesn’t want to cut corners on, it’s the foundation. The walls, roof and interior can be of the highest quality materials and workmanship, but if the foundation is compromised, the structure is going to fall apart, probably sooner rather than later.

Jesus once told a story about foundations. His account though, had to do with the beliefs or values which serve as the foundation of our lives. What he basically said was: if a person’s beliefs about what is important in life are not right, no matter how much success they might have, things are going to fall apart for them.

Some of the foundational beliefs on which we build our lives are based on how we answer the questions, “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? What is right and wrong? What happens when I die?” There is heated debate in our society if there are even answers to those questions much less one correct response. The result is a great deal of confusion on the part of many people concerning the whole reason for their existence.

While the first three chapters of the opening book of the Bible, Genesis, have been relegated by some to the dust heap of antiquated mythology, for Christians, this portion of the Bible is one of the cornerstones of our understanding of human life. One could say that Genesis 1-3 is a huge part of our life foundation.

If you’ve been struggling for answers to the big questions of life recently, join us for one of our weekend services. You might get some “extreme makeover” ideas for your life foundation.

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

Friday, August 2, 2019

Maybe Our Problem with Heaven is Us

It can be uncomfortable talking about heaven with some people because of their rather condescending attitude towards life after death.

“So, if you say the right words when you die you get to go to the big amusement park in the sky and ride the roller coaster forever!”

“If there aren’t cigars and whiskey in heaven, I don’t want to be there.”

“Are you saying everybody is going to play harps, sit on clouds and be nice to each other all the time? Come on. Get real!”

Even Christians sometimes wonder, “Is heaven too good to be true?”

But wait a minute. Maybe the problem is we’re so jaded by our self-centered, me first life and culture that we sell God short. Let’s be honest, if God is more than a souped up Avenger, he’s in a league of his own. He is all powerful. He is perfectly good. He can do what we would never imagine. And that is exactly the kind of God we both need and want. We don’t want some hybrid Hercules type who is pretty much like ourselves!

Now if God is so great, so good and so powerful, and then he tells us he’s got a really great place for us, do you think you’re going to find drug dealers there? Will you expect serial killers, power hungry dictators or even typical husbands and wives viciously attacking each other over dinner because of something one of them said three years earlier? Do you think people in God’s heaven will be bored, hopeless and depressed? That doesn’t seem to fit!

When talking about heaven God could have just said, “All I’m going to say is that this place I’ve got for you is really cool.” That would have been enough. But to whet our appetite for eternity he described cities with streets of gold and buildings with gem-studded walls to get us out of our narrow-minded ideas that this life is the end all and eternal life is just an afterthought.

If you’ve ever wondered about life after death and whether it’s all that important, join us for one of our weekend services. It might give you a new appreciation for the phrase, “The best is yet to come.”

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

Lessons on Love

We hear so often “Love is the answer,” that this response has become a predictable cliché that goes in one ear and out the other. The problem is not that love isn’t what is needed to resolve complicated differences between people, the sticking point is that everyone seems to have a different idea of what love is. Some people say that love means there is no judgment. Others talk about tough love. Still others simply say, “Love is being nice to each other.” But that leaves us with the question, “What exactly is it to be nice?” And then there are those who equate love with sex. But reality shows us if sex is love, we might need less of that kind of love to eliminate some of the tragedy in our world!

If you’ve been singing the old song, “All You Need is Love”, but aren’t really sure how love practically plays itself out in your day to day life, join us for our Sunday morning worship service. A man named John who was very, very close to Jesus Christ wrote extensively on this subject of love. You might not like everything he says about it, but you will have a clear understanding of the kind of love that actually rocks our world.

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, July 19, 2019

“The Surveillance Camera God”

A woman recently complained that she was brought up with the idea that God was like a surveillance camera, constantly filming everything we do, holding over us the continual threat of vicious retaliation should we step out of line. As a result, this individual decided that God was not for her and embarked on a life of pretty much doing whatever she wanted.

Whatever it is people hear about the God of the Bible, the whole concept of a Big Bully in the sky shouting at us, “Behave or else” is skewered when compared to how He has revealed Himself to humanity.

This weekend we are going to be studying what the Apostle John, the disciple who knew Jesus best, wrote about why Christians live as they do. Ironically, fear of punishment is not the primary motivator, but instead our relationship with Christ. Make no mistake, John is very big on living like a Christian. We won’t find any, “It really doesn’t matter how you live” from him. But his motivation is so different from the “Surveillance Camera God” mentality. Rather than fear, John reminds us of who God has made us – part of his family. He takes us to the cross and shows us the contrast between good and evil which cannot be compromised. For John, it wasn’t a matter of “I have to live like a disciple of Jesus,” but, “I want to”.

If you find yourself identifying with the woman described in the first paragraph, join us for one of our weekend services. Your relationship with God is too important, too good to be spoiled by an “I have to” life.

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Uncompromising Jesus

At a time when people prefer the question, “How does it make you feel?” to “What is true?”, Jesus can come off as uncompromising. There were a lot of people that disagreed with the claims he made about himself when he lived as a human being on this earth. Some were incredulous, “That man just called himself God!” Others showed disdain, “Who is this guy from Galilee who claims to forgive sins?” And still others were mocking, “It took 46 years to build this Temple and you are going to rebuild it in three days?!?!”

But Jesus never backed down. He was not all that concerned that what he said upset people. His priority was to enable them to understand what he was saying about himself and their need for what he was offering them. Christ never diluted his message. In fact, at times he stated the truth in a way that was so clear, so in your face it infuriated people. One might ask, “Why would Jesus do that?” On reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, there can be only one response: He was totally convinced he is the true God, the only Savior from sin and death, the only eternal hope for human beings. It really doesn’t matter how those statements make us feel, but it is absolutely necessary for us to know they are true.

Jesus’ resurrection is the ultimate proof that what he said about himself is trustworthy. Because the events of the first Easter Sunday are historical, we cannot compromise on Jesus. But why would we? Who Jesus is and what he did for us is too good to change.

Join us for one of our weekend worship services. Discover why you wouldn’t want a compromised Jesus.

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

Friday, July 5, 2019

Belief Matters

While there are some people who disdain the concept of beliefs, saying that the only principles which can be trusted are those that are demonstrated and replicated in a science laboratory, the issues which cause the most conflict among us are all based on beliefs. Whether people are discussing immigration, the legalization of marijuana, abortion, LGBTQ rights, end of life issues and many others, peoples’ concept of right and wrong are based on beliefs. And they feel very strongly about their beliefs, stating they are right and people who disagree with them are wrong.

When there is division over right and wrong, it could be that everyone is wrong, but there is very little chance everyone can be right. And that fact should motivate us to think seriously about our beliefs in regard to right and wrong.

Two thousand years ago an old man named John wrote a short letter to some Christians he knew very well. This John had been a follower of Jesus Christ and had personally seen Jesus many times after his resurrection from the dead. In this letter John explains why belief matters, especially when it comes to right and wrong.

If you find yourself confused by the information you’re getting about the current controversies of our day and are wondering if there actually is a right and a wrong, join us for one of our weekend services. Things just might clear up if we go beyond ourselves and our limitations to find a solid foundation on which to base our beliefs. Reading John’s letter gives us that opportunity!

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

Friday, June 28, 2019

“There’s Always Time for God Stuff Later”

Wise king Solomon searched far and wide, everywhere under the sun, trying to find what to live for. He experienced it all, everything we human beings think will bring us happiness. His ongoing response was the monotonous refrain: “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” Solomon came to the realization there just wasn’t anymore pleasure to feel, no more power or money to gain, no more wisdom to achieve. What was this man’s conclusion to his search for meaning apart from God? In the last verse of his book on the subject he writes:

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13


These words are a good reminder to those who put God off thinking that if they get serious about Him now, they’ll miss out on the good things in life. Jesus Christ said it is just the opposite.

“I came so they can have real and eternal life,
more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
(John 10:10 - Message Bible)


If you have this nagging, vague notion that God is an important part of your life, but have fallen into the habit of thinking, “There’s always time for God stuff later,” join us for one of our weekend services. You might change your mind.

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

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Problems We’re Forced to Face

There are some things we cannot avoid in life, try as we might. Regardless of how smart, efficient, honest and hard-working we are, at some point we are going to have to deal with injustice, a sense of confusion about the direction our lives are taking and finally death. All three cause considerable pain and suffering. All three are neither easily nor quickly resolved. All three can destroy our lives. What are we human beings to do?

Solomon, the supposed “man of wisdom” discusses these three problems we’re forced to face in his thesis on the meaning of life apart from God – the Old Testament book of the Bible we call Ecclesiastes. His conclusions, in and of themselves, are rather gloomy. But that is not where the study ends. Solomon had become bitter, almost jaded in his thinking over the years. It seems that while he recognized the activity of the living God in the world of humanity, he did not appreciate the overwhelming optimism it brings to those who embrace His working in their lives.

For New Testament believers, Jesus Christ radically transforms our understanding of God’s commitment to people, even in the face of injustice, confusion and death. His crucifixion and resurrection provide us with the right responses to the real-world problems which confront us all.
Whether you are facing these challenges right now or are wondering what your reaction will be when it is your turn to meet them head on, the biblical teachings we’re going to study this weekend are too important to leave for another time.

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

Friday, June 14, 2019

Money – The Two Sides of the Coin

Money – hundreds of millions of people have lost their lives trying to get it. Countless relationships have disintegrated over the subject of money. On the other hand, ask anyone how to solve the critical problems of our world and money will be at the top of the list of solutions.

There are few things which produce such powerful human reactions as money. That’s why it’s a topic Jesus talked about so much. One time he said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” It was a warning to be on guard against money becoming most important in our lives.

Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, talked about money too. However, he fell into the trap of letting it control him instead of the other way around. His conclusions are both well known and sobering. Above all, they continue to be extremely relevant 3,000 years after they were written.

Money is like a scalpel; it can hurt or heal. What is it doing in your life? If you aren’t sure, join us for one of our weekend worship services.

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

Friday, June 7, 2019

Change and Timing

Learning to adapt to change and finding the right timing are both significant challenges for most of us. We often become comfortable with our routines in life and even something as small as placing the toothpaste in a different section of the medicine cabinet can be reason for personal trauma. On the other hand, we are mystified why sometimes what we do works out well when other times we’ll do or say the exact same thing and it will blow up in our faces. The old saying is, “Timing is everything,” but who knows what the right time is?

The man who wrote the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes struggled with change and timing like the rest of us. In his search for the answers to life’s greatest questions, Solomon wrestled with these two also. His conclusions aren’t the most positive. But then he did most of his research apart from God.

Change may be inevitable, and timing may always be complicated, but God is in control. No matter how out of control your life may seem at this moment, our all powerful God’s rule over everything is the one great assurance that in the end, things will work out.

If you’re having trouble dealing with change in a certain area of your life or can’t seem to figure out this whole “timing” thing, join us for one of our weekend services. Solomon asks the right questions and we get the right answers from Jesus Christ.

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

Friday, May 31, 2019

“Foundations”


The old saying goes, “A house is only as strong as its foundation.” That statement certainly bears itself out looking at the photo of the new apartment building which, though recently built, didn’t have the kind of foundation a structure that size required. Foundations aren’t just important, they are essential.

Each one of us builds a foundation for our lives. This foundation is made up of our core values, beliefs and priorities. Everything we do in our day to day lives results from this foundation.

A man name Solomon wrote a book in the Bible about life foundations. He was a man famous for his wisdom. But something happened to him. Somehow his wisdom got away from him and he went through a phase during which he was searching for his life foundation. Since he was wealthy and powerful, he had every option available to him. The tragedy of it all was the conclusion he came to. He wrote, “It’s all meaningless, like chasing the wind.”

The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes speaks to readers of the 21st century as powerfully as it did in the year 1000 BC when Solomon wrote it. It’s a book that makes us think, sometimes confronting us with brutal honesty. Ultimately, however, when we read it in the light of the person of Jesus Christ, it is a book that leads us to joyfully and thankfully build our lives on the foundation of Jesus.

If the foundations of your life seem to be showing signs of cracking, join us for one of our weekend services.

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

Friday, May 24, 2019

“What’s the Point?”

What does it take to get you to throw up your arms in frustration and shout, “What’s the point?”

We all have our limits. Things don’t go the way we want, and it seems that no matter how hard we try, our circumstances don’t get better. Maybe it’s a person we’re trying to get along with. Maybe it’s a financial situation that never seems to improve. And maybe it is just life in general. What’s the point of life? Now that is an important question.

This weekend we’re going to be studying the events of the first Pentecost which took place 10 days after Jesus ascended into heaven, removing himself visibly from the presence of his disciples. He had told his followers that it was actually better for them that he leave so that the Holy Spirit would come to them in a more powerful way. The disciples were probably more than a little skeptical about that promise until the day of Pentecost.

While we often think of Pentecost as little flames of fire over the disciples’ heads and their ability to speak in languages they had never studied, the real significance of that incredible day was the message which the apostle Peter preached to the people who were gathered around. He told them the point of life is to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior – nothing else comes close to that one priority. It’s a challenging statement which Peter backed up with his eyewitness claim of having seen Jesus alive after his crucifixion.

What’s the point of your life? According to Jesus Christ, it is to know him in a personal way as your Creator, Savior and Lord. If you’re interested in what that looks like in a practical way, join us for our Sunday morning service.

Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, May 17, 2019

It’s Going to Work Out

When I was a little boy, it was my dad who brought the “It’s going to work out” presence to the difficult situations in which I would find myself. Whether he was able to solve the problem or not, with him there I knew I was safe. I knew I’d get back home. And somehow, someway life would return to normal. Even after I became an adult, it was always a calming influence to talk to him when hard times came into my life. To me, just the tone of his voice reassured me, “It’s going to work out.”

But, as happens to us all, my dad got older and eventually developed a significant case of dementia. I remember the first time the reality of his situation hit me. Par for the course, I called him up to ask for his help. But this time, he couldn’t. He couldn’t make it all work out. His voice, instead of being calm and assured, was frightened and confused. Over the phone talking with him, I sobbed. I don’t think my tears were out of pity for him, but for me. If things we’re going to work out, I couldn’t depend on my dad anymore.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, forty days after his resurrection, his disciples must have felt the way I did the day I realized my dad suffered from dementia. With Jesus around, things always worked out – even his being crucified! But now he was removing his visible presence from their day to day lives. The One who always made things right was gone. How would they go on? What these followers of Christ would later learn was that the Lord’s Ascension was the crowning confirmation that everything would work out for them – and will work out for us.

For many Christians the Ascension is an event that is an after-thought in the life of Jesus, an anti-climax in the shadow of his resurrection. That’s not the case! Join us for one of our worship services this weekend and discover why you can be sure that with Jesus, your life is going to work out.

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

Friday, May 10, 2019

Sacrificial Love and Selfish Love

When it comes to comparing sacrificial love with selfish love we’re caught between a rock and a hard place. Most of us have a very hard time giving something up we enjoy for the benefit of other people. Sacrifice is great…as long as others are doing the sacrificing. Now, we all very much enjoy selfish love because we get what we want. Who doesn’t like that? But, we’re also aware that everybody else likes to get what they want. If some people get their way, others don’t, and that’s where the conflict starts. So, our dilemma is: sacrificial love is great for getting along with other people but it isn’t what like to do, while selfish love is very enjoyable for us but hard on getting along with others.

This Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. It is an excellent opportunity to study what the Bible says about the kind of sacrificial love we so often associate with mothers and their children. But this is a topic which goes far beyond mothers; it is a subject every Christian needs to take seriously every day of our lives. The sacrificial love of Jesus Christ changed all history for all of eternity and it is meant to transform our lives on a daily basis. Sacrificial love was the way God opened heaven to the human race; he intends for it to open the way to blessings in our lives and those of other people.

We invite you to celebrate Mother’s Day with us!

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

Friday, May 3, 2019

Wake Up!

Usually our impression of the term “wake up” is negative. Either we have to break out of a pleasant sleep to get up and do something unpleasant or someone is insulting us, saying that we should be smarter and understand better what is going on in our lives. However, “wake up” on Christmas Day when all the presents are waiting to be opened, well, then those two words are music to our ears.

In a vividly picturesque way, the Apostle Paul describes physical death as God’s way of waking us up to eternal life in heaven. Far from being a punishment or put down, God’s wake up call is the invitation to take off all the problems and pain of our earthly lives to put on a new, supernatural body which is made not only to last forever, but to exist in holiness.

Tomorrow morning one of two things is going to happen to you. Either you are going to hear “wake up” via your alarm or a family member, or you are going to hear the voice of Jesus saying, “Wake up, it’s time for you to be with me, to live the way you were meant to live.” Whatever happens, you have a lot to look forward to. Either you will be Christ’s representative in this world, or you will be his companion in his world.

Sleep well!

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

Friday, April 26, 2019

Non-Negotiable

When you hear someone say, “I’m sorry, but this is a non-negotiable,” you know that there is probably going to be some type of confrontation. The term “non-negotiable” is another way of saying, “I’m drawing a line in the sand. I’ll go this far but no further.” While some non-negotiables actually should be negotiable, there are some things a person needs to insist on as true, as the basis of one’s morality and integrity. One of the great issues of our day is the lack of moral non-negotiables.

When it comes to Christianity, the first and most important non-negotiable is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Living in an age which is enthralled with science and technology, it can be tempting to tone down the stupendous supernatural character of the resurrection in order not to offend peoples’ non-miraculous sensitivities. But there’s no way to get around it. The resurrection is the miracles of miracles. If it happened as the gospel writers show it did, then the only sensible reaction is to bask in the power of God being displayed and its meaning for us.

The celebration of the resurrection didn’t end with Easter Sunday. It’s going to continue in full force this coming weekend in our worship services as we reaffirm the non-negotiable statement, “I Know that My Redeemer Lives!”

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

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

You're Invited!

Each year we commemorate the events of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. Please read through the descriptions of the various services we will be holding over the next several days and join us for those you are able to make.

Maundy Thursday (April 18 – 5:30 pm)
Seder Supper

Join us for a family-oriented dinner and worship service this Thursday as we commemorate the events of Jesus’ life on the night before his crucifixion. It is a beautiful opportunity to connect God’s plan of rescuing the human race which begins in the Old Testament and is completed with the coming of God’s Son, Jesus. We’ll begin at 5:30 pm. Please bring a dish to pass.

Good Friday (April 19 – 7:00 pm)
Service of Darkness

There is no other place a Christian ought to be on Good Friday than before the cross. Though we’ve heard the story countless times, its meaning and application never diminishes. The joy of Easter is in what Christ accomplished on Friday. Join us for this powerfully solemn worship service at 7:00 pm.

Easter Sunday (April 21 – 10:00 am)
The Resurrection and the Question that Won’t Go Away

“Why God, do you let so many bad things happen in this world? Why do you let bad things happen to me?”

Those are tough questions. Questions which keep us up at night. Questions for which there are no simplistic solutions. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ can be the starting point for coming to solid responses to the “Why” questions of life. While the answer the resurrection holds out to us may not be the one you want right now, it can be the one you need forever.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Who Is Your King?

You have a king who rules your life. Whether you have identified that king or not, someone or something has filled the decision-making place in your heart. Most people enthrone themselves. But there are some who let another person or a dream or an idea call the shots for them. Sometimes people even have a king in their lives which they would rather depose, but they feel incapable of making a change. Who rules in your life?

One Sunday about 30 AD, Jesus of Nazareth entered the city of Jerusalem on a donkey. He did that on purpose. He was fulfilling a prediction made hundreds of years earlier by an Israelite prophet that the Messiah, the promised Savior King would do just that. Everyone present caught on immediately and they responded with shouts of enthusiastic support.

That support, however, did not last long. Five days later Jesus was crucified. But it was on the cross that he demonstrated the power and extent of his kingly rule. He did what no political king could – he destroyed evil and death. And his resurrection from the dead confirmed once and for all his rightful rule in the lives of every human being. Yet, he will not rule by force – only by invitation.

Join us for one of our weekend services. Invite King Jesus to rule in your heart!

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

Friday, April 5, 2019

Life after Easter

The two major celebrations of the church year are undoubtedly Christmas and Easter. After Easter though, we sometimes find ourselves asking, “Jesus rose from the dead. That’s exciting. Now what?” The answer to that question is the ascension of Jesus which took place 40 days after the resurrection.

Jesus’ ascension is one of the events in God’s working in this world which is often unappreciated. Like the first disciples who saw him slowly fade into the distance we think, “That’s not fair. He’s abandoned us!” But far from leaving us on our own, Jesus returned to heaven fully restored of all his power and glory as true God. Though invisible, he is intimately involved in the workings of the world on a daily basis, bringing human history to its ultimate conclusion, an event referred to as Judgment Day.

What Jesus said about Judgment Day and the role of Christian people in working with him in bringing it to pass answer huge questions critical to our lives such as, “Where is this world heading?” and “What is my role in the grand scheme of things?” Knowing how history is going to end and how we as individuals can practically be a part of that eternity changing moment of history is vital…right now and when it happens.

Join us for one of our services this weekend. Let’s talk about life after Easter!

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

Friday, March 29, 2019

Can We Really Change?


Our first reaction to that question is, “Of course! People can always change. It all depends if they want to.” Statistics, however, paint a very different picture of change – that it is often temporary and always excruciatingly difficult. Whether the issue is drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping (and the list goes on and on), we human beings find ourselves enslaved by behaviors which destroy us and no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to change.

One writer put it this way, “Finite, sinful people are neither smart enough, selfless enough, nor strong enough to overcome the downward pull of self-interest and self-preservation that characterizes all of us some of the time, and many of us most of the time.”

The reason the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in human history is because it explodes the straight-jacket of a finite life. Being restricted to an existence spanning only between our birth and death diminishes profoundly the motivation to make the necessary sacrifices to bring about real change. Jesus returning to life three days after his crucifixion confirms what we’ve already suspected – there is life after physical death. And it is the same Jesus Christ who offers anyone and everyone the opportunity to spend that life after death with him.

Knowing there is more to come, to look forward to, human beings have every reason to open themselves up to the changes Christ rose from the dead to bring about in their lives. The full effect of those changes may not come until we see Jesus face to face, but come they will!

Join us for our Sunday morning service and let the change begin.

This Saturday only – Dinner & Movie Night – 5:30 pm
Sunday morning service – 10:00 am

Friday, March 22, 2019

Daydreaming


It’s another gorgeous Aloha Friday in Paradise, so if you did some daydreaming about the weekend, that’s pretty normal. So what did you dream about? Going to the beach? Doing some shopping? Taking a mini vacation? Just sleeping in?

Daydreaming is a way of escaping the routine of our day to day lives. We jettison to another world in which we have life exactly the way we think it would be best. Unfortunately, for most of us reality and our daydreams remain two very separate worlds for our entire lives. And that can leave us a little depressed at best and cynically bitter at worst. Our daydream worlds reflect what we think we need most to be happy and fulfilled. Yet, when we aren’t able to achieve what we think we need, we feel cheated by life.

Jesus Christ regularly talked about what we need to be successful, happy and fulfilled. However, what he considers necessary shocks us. In the daydream of Jesus we don’t find a ton of money, beautiful people laughing or fast cars. All we see is a bloody cross on a lonely hill. Our reaction is, “How can that make me happy?” To which he replies, “Trust me, what I did on that cross will make you happy not for five minutes or five hours or five years, but forever. It’s what you need most. It’s all you really need.”

There’s one more huge difference between our daydreams and that of Jesus. Ours don’t come true. His does.

If you’re feeling a little cheated by life, join us for one of our worship services. You’ll find what you need most. And…you might even find your daydreams coming true!

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



Friday, March 15, 2019

God’s Take on Greatness

The disciples of Jesus get a lot of unfair criticism over their constant debates about which one of them was the greatest. It’s not that their obsession to be considered the best was pretty childlike, it’s because we all are just like Peter, John and the others. From little on we dream of greatness, of appearing on TV or having people ask for our autograph. As adults, we still find ourselves fantasizing in a Walter Mitty world of greatness. We want to be acknowledged and valued. To be honest, we all secretly or openly want to be the greatest…just like those disciples of Jesus.

Jesus Christ was, is and always will be The Greatest. But his concept of greatness is so tremendously different from our thinking. Our desire for greatness is selfish and pride driven, it serves primarily us. The greatness of Jesus is all about the good of other people. His greatness accomplished the liberation of the human race from all which makes us miserable. Christ’s greatness comes from serving, ours comes from asserting.

On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus’ disciples were still arguing over which one of them was the greatest. In a shocking reversal of roles, Jesus gets down on his knees and begins to wash each man’s feet in a vivid lesson of what true greatness is – serving.

It’s no secret that God’s take on greatness isn’t too popular. It never has been. And that is one reason human history is drenched in the blood of war. And it has to be that way. No one will ever submit to the greatness of another without the use of force. That is, unless it is the greatness of Christ.

The mystery of God is that he never forces anyone to acknowledge the truth about his greatness – he only invites. And his invitation comes to each one of us personally through his Son Jesus Christ who says, “I have come so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10 Message Bible

Is it time to reconsider what greatness means to you? Join us for one of our weekend services. You might find the greatness God offers is exactly what you’re needing.

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

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Future Is Uncertain, But the End…That’s a Given


There are times when it seems that Jesus and Satan are involved in a massive arm-wrestling contest over the control of our planet. When there is peace and prosperity, we imagine Jesus is winning. During times of war and poverty, we think Satan has the edge.

The last book of the Bible, Revelation, is also the most confusing. Leading the reader through a series of almost psychedelic visions describing what will take place before the end of the world, the apostle John leaves us not only uncertain, but downright scared. Life for human beings in general, and Christians especially, is going to get progressively more difficult as we approach the end of life as we know it.

But if there is any doubt about the final outcome, John’s revelation leaves no question the victor is and can only be Jesus Christ. In one terse sentence the defeat of Satan and all evil is described. One sentence! And then the triumphant depiction of heaven begins! It’s majestic, breath taking and inspiring. Life as we experience it today ends. The only fitting description for heaven is to imagine everything Satan used to make our lives miserable in the here and now will be absent. It will be different and it will be mind-blowing!

Are you experiencing one of those times in life when you’re starting to wonder who’s winning the cosmic war between good and evil? Join us for one of our services this week end. You need to hear what’s coming! It’s too good to leave for another time!

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

Friday, March 1, 2019

Going the Distance


One of the most bittersweet books of the Bible is a short letter the Apostle Paul wrote to a young colleague and friend named Timothy. Paul is probably writing from the Mamertine prison in Rome. It is a dungeon with only one entrance, a hole 15 feet from the floor. Most were left to die there. No one escaped. Paul was waiting for his death sentence to be carried out.

Paul is down. He is in a horrible place. His legal sentence is worse. And even some of the people he called friends and Christians have turned their backs on him. From the words he writes we can almost picture an old man sitting in filth. Cold, alone, he desperately asks his younger friend to come quickly to help him die well. If ever there was a scene to remind us that Jesus Christ never promised a problem free life to his followers, this is it.

But the letter ends on a powerfully triumphant note.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. *

Paul knew that the One he trusted in was rock solid. Despite the tragedy he was experiencing, he believed with all his heart that the life Jesus saved him for could not be compared with anything he would have to endure in this life. And so, Paul went the distance. Will we?

* 2 Timothy 4:7-8

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

Friday, February 22, 2019

Your Mission

Do you sense there is an urgency in your life, that you have an important mission to complete which will have some kind of profound impact on other people? Or do you see life more as an often repetitious, even dull meandering through routine daily tasks which no one seems to notice? Is it pretty hard some days to get excited about what is going to happen during the next 24 hours?

This week we’re going to study the life of a man named Paul. If you would have been able to speak with him in his later years he would have told you that things turned out totally the opposite of what he had expected. But in the same breath he would have added that he wouldn’t have changed anything.

Paul came to know Jesus Christ in an incredibly startling way. That encounter changed his life forever. In fact, his life became a mission for Jesus. His was a life of challenges and suffering, and yet at the same time what he did changed the course of history.

God has his eye out for modern day Pauls, people he can use to touch the lives of others for all of eternity. It isn’t an easy or comfortable life. It is, after all, a mission. But what a mission it is!

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

Saturday, February 16, 2019

What Now?

We’re told that Jesus appeared to his disciples over a period of 40 days after he physically rose from the dead on that first Easter Sunday. He used those occasions to continue to teach his followers what the meaning of his crucifixion and resurrection were and what both events had to do with their lives and God’s ultimate plan for human history. Still, as these disciples watched Jesus ascend to heaven, one gets the feeling that there was the nagging question in their minds, “What now, that he is gone?”

The answer to that question came 10 days later in the form of a powerful display of the Holy Spirit coming upon those first followers of the Lord. It was a new beginning in many ways, but above all, it answered the question “What now?” Jesus was not visibly present among his followers, but they knew without a doubt their mission was to get his message out to the world.

Have you gotten to a point in your life that you are asking the “What now?” question? You don’t have to be old to ask it. All it takes is a series of circumstances which leads one to wonder what really brings lasting meaning and value to human life. The title of the chapter we’re studying this week in the Story Bible is “New Beginnings”. Join us. See if you might find a new beginning to answer that question, “What now?”.

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

Friday, February 8, 2019

Life’s Foundation: Fact or Feeling?

It’s a question we struggle with every day of our lives, every decision that confronts us. Are we going to base our behavior on what we believe to be true or on how we feel? Feelings are fun; feelings give us all different types of pleasure, but feelings can sometimes be totally wrong, leading us into disaster. We can all think of examples in our lives when we wish we would have followed the facts rather than our feelings.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christianity. If Jesus’ body is still in the tomb Easter Sunday, there’s no point in giving him much thought at all. He was a man who said he was god but wasn’t. But the tomb was empty that Sunday 2000 years ago and until today no one has come up with a better explanation than that given by the angels to the women who first went to the place he was buried, “He is not here, he has risen, just as he said he would.”

“Jesus Christ has risen.” He is alive. He is who he claimed to be. Everything he said is true. We have foundational facts for living which guide our feelings so that rather than be enslaved by them, our lives are enriched through those emotions. When the truth of the Resurrection is the foundation of our lives, we begin the exhilarating journey to the life God intends for us.

Join us for one of our weekend services. Let the resurrection story work its miracle in your life.

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

Friday, February 1, 2019

In the Dark

“She’s such a smart person. How can she be so in the dark about what is going on in her life?”

Have you ever said something like that about another person? Has someone said that about you? Being “in the dark” isn’t necessarily about not being intelligent or smart, it just means we don’t see things the way they really are, for whatever reason, and so can’t make good decisions.

In his teaching, Jesus described humanity as being “in the dark”. As a race, we have so much incredible potential, but we don’t see things the way they are, primarily when it comes to the big issues of life such as, “Why are we here? What’s the point of my life? What happens when I die?” Because of our broken relationship with God we answer those questions from a limited, self-centered understanding of reality.

This week’s reading in The Story Bible is titled, “The Hour of Darkness”. It narrates the last days of Jesus earthly ministry, including his crucifixion. It is a dark chapter. And yet, the irony of all that happens is that the result is Jesus shattering the spiritual darkness which permeates human existence and replacing it with the liberating light of a second chance with God and an opportunity to experience life as He means it to be. Because of Christ going to the cross, no one needs to be in the dark about what really matters in life anymore!

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

Friday, January 25, 2019

He Was Not “Just a Good Man”

When it comes to who Jesus Christ claimed to be, no one has explained the issue better than C.S. Lewis in his best selling book, Mere Christianity.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


In chapter 25 of the Story Bible, “Jesus, the Son of God”, there is no doubt Jesus not only believed he is the Son of God, but he clearly told people the same thing and then encouraged them to put their faith in him as the one who gives eternal life! The claims he makes are certainly not those of “just a good man”.

Jesus is controversial. He does not allow us to casually consider him and his teachings when time affords us. As God, he demands not only that we recognize him as God, but also receive him as the Savior and Lord of our lives. And what a God he is! Everything changes – forever – because he is not “just a good man”.

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

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Extraordinary Jesus

More than nineteen hundred years ago, there was a Man born contrary to the laws of nature.

This Man lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He did not travel extensively. Only once did he cross the boundary of the country in which he was born.

He possessed neither wealth nor influence. His relatives were inconspicuous and had neither training nor formal education.

In infancy he startled a king; in childhood he puzzled doctors; in manhood he ruled the course of nature, walked upon the waves as pavement, and hushed the sea to sleep.

He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for his service.

He never wrote a book, and yet more books have been written about him than any other person of history.

He never founded a college, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students.

He never practiced psychiatry, and yet he has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors far and near.

He never marshaled an army, nor drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun; and yet no leader ever had more volunteers who have freely given up their lives to further his cause.

The names of the past, proud statesmen, scientists, philosophers, and theologians have come and gone. But the name of this Man grows in fame with each passing year.

His enemies could not destroy him, and the grave could not hold him. He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed as God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils. He is the risen, the personal Christ – our Lord and Savior.
Text adapted from the writings of Evangelist Sam Jones.

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

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Unpredictable Jesus

It becomes clear very early in the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, you can’t put him in a box and make him fit into some type of spiritual leader stereotype. One minute he is being tempted by the devil, the next he is curing a leper. During the first part of one week he spends a few days socializing at a wedding, while in the latter part of the week he turns the Temple in Jerusalem into bedlam. To a ruined woman at a well he tells her straight out he is the Messiah, the Promised Savior of the Old Testament. To a wealthy, aristocratic religious leader he seems to speak in riddles. Jesus…you can never predict what he is going to do.

We might think we would like a Jesus we can figure out. Probably because that would mean we could then control him so that he would do what we want. But maybe that is just the point. As God himself in a human body, Jesus brings a totally different view and purpose to human life. And we can be pretty sure it is going to be very different from ours.

This past week in our daily readings of the Story Bible we accompanied Jesus during the first year of his public ministry. In that short time, he said and did so many things; he changed so many lives. But above all, he came to bring change which only God could.

If you are looking for a god who will pat you on the head, commiserate with your problems and then, with a Grandpa-esque wave of a hand magically take away all your problems so that you can live life on your terms, you won’t find him in Jesus. Yes, there is powerful empathetic emotion in Christ’s dealings with people, but above all, he does everything possible, everything necessary to get them to heaven – that’s what he came for. Sometimes he was gentle, sometimes his methods were tough, but above all, he came to rescue us and that’s exactly what we see him doing.

Join us for one of our weekend services. Be ready to be surprised by the unpredictable Jesus.

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

Friday, January 4, 2019

When God Got a Face

We are curious about peoples’ appearances. For instance, if you are reading a book you enjoy very much, on several occasions you probably turned to the back cover to look at the photo of the author. While physical looks can often be deceiving, we feel that just being able to put a face with a name is important.

The birth of Jesus of Nazareth is the event which enabled all human beings to put a face with the name – God. From the beginning of recorded history people have tried to describe God in a concrete way. Some of those attempts have been surreal such as the Hindu god Lord Ganesha who has the body of a man, the nose of an elephant and 4 arms. The idea of a god who cannot be seen or touched or spoken with is for many, unacceptable. And so, an image invented by another human being is the only option.

Throughout the Old Testament, the God of the Israelites made it very clear he would not accept worship through any kind of statue or carving. He did not want people to limit him by their human preconceptions of who and what he should be. But then, suddenly, God reveals himself in the most tangible way possible, he becomes a human being and lives life as we know it for some thirty years.

Jesus didn’t mince words when it came to who he is. On one occasion he said to his disciples, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” In Jesus, God got a face. And what a face it is, full of all the power and majesty we would expect from God joined with an uncompromising commitment to bring us into his family, even if it meant dying on a cross.

This Sunday we begin the New Testament portion of our Story Bible series. If you haven’t been able to accompany the weekly readings up to this point, don’t let that keep you from starting this week. God’s face is too good to not look at!

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

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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