Friday, October 23, 2020

The Gospel – All or Nothing

 

If you are going to learn how to swim, you have to jump into the pool. There is just no other way. Dangling one’s feet in the water or even going in waist high won’t do it. You’ve got to get wet all over. It’s all or nothing.

Not putting all one’s eggs in the same basket or using moderation in our approach towards something can be very wise. It’s just good common sense to use restraint or reserve…most of the time. But with some things in life, it is all or nothing – like learning to swim or skydive or get right with God. You must jump into the pool, jump out of the plane and put your trust completely in Christ’s forgiveness. To hold back in any of those situations means not learning to swim, skydive or spend eternity with God. The first two examples are pretty obvious, but why the “all or nothing” approach to God?

The question all people have asked through the ages is, “How do I get to heaven?” Most answers have centered on what the individual must do to make God happy. There have been variations on that theme, but by and large, the answer has remained consistent with the exception of Christianity. The core teaching Jesus Christ gave his followers is that when it comes to getting into God’s family, God does all the work and human beings do all the receiving. He didn’t leave any wiggle room, it’s all or nothing. Either Christ’s payment for sin on the cross was all sufficient to bridge the gap caused by evil between the human race and God, or it was the biggest waste in history. It’s kind of confrontational, but those are His terms, “receive it as a gift or do without”.

If you’ve had some reservations about God’s “all or nothing” approach to his relationship with you, join us for one of our worship services this weekend. In this case, the most risky approach is to hold back.

Worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm, Sunday: 9:00 am & 10:30 am.


Friday, October 16, 2020

When Something “Too Good To Be True” Is True

 


Everything seemed to magically fall into place. It wasn’t expected, even considered, but there it was, the opportunity of a lifetime and all you had to do was take it. But something strange came into your mind. “How could this just happen to me? Why me?” Those nagging questions led to one more, “Is this too good to be true?”

 Most of us have had experiences such as the one described above, only to learn the hard way that what we thought was so good, in fact wasn’t. One person has said, “Most of the big problems in my life started with the words, ‘It’s too good to be true.’” It seems that only in fairy tales do people actually have things “too good to be true” turn out well. It may be for that very reason some have such a difficulty believing the offer Jesus Christ makes to them. It could be the “faith” part, that all you can do is just believe.

Just believe and it is yours: a life of meaning, value, purpose, forgiveness and eternity. Is there a catch? Is it an illusion? Is it a cruel hoax to trick gullible human beings? One side of us agrees with the cynical observation that there is no such thing as a “free lunch” in life. A person always has to pay their part.

About 2000 years ago a man by the name of Paul of Tarsus said, “You can live with cynicism, believing you have to do your part in everything, including your relationship with God. But know this, you are going to die with that cynicism.” There is a better way and Jesus Christ offers it to you. If it seems that receiving eternal life in heaven through faith in Jesus is too good to be true, think of it another way – it’s the only way he could let you have it.

There are some critical areas in our lives which are beyond our capacity to control. We can’t stop the aging process, nor can we do anything about the inevitability of death. When it comes to life after death, wouldn’t it be the same? Where do we get the idea we can tell God what the entrance requirements are for eternal life? Instead, let’s take a huge breath of humility and then open our hearts to the forgiveness Jesus offers us, because he is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm, Sunday: 9:00 am & 10:30 am.

 


Friday, October 9, 2020

God’s Mercies in the Ash Heap

 


The smells of rotting corpses and burning buildings overwhelmed the senses of the few survivors who made their way out of the smoldering city of Jerusalem. There was a numbness which was paralyzing. That the silent procession would only end 600 miles later in a place called Babylon did not seem to register to the people. The only feeling they experienced was nothingness. There was nothing to stay for, nothing to go to Babylon for…really, there was nothing to live for. They had lost their families, homes, possessions, even their freedom. And God? If he even existed, they thought, what could he do in a situation like this? Their lives were much like their city, heaps of ashes.

Fast forward seven decades. It’s about the year 500 BC. Another small procession of Israelites is on a journey. This time, however, their travels will take them back to their homeland. They are different, very different from those who had been exiled to Babylon. This group knew God existed and believed he still had a destiny for their nation. They returned weak and vulnerable, but fully convinced there is only one Lord and one God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The rebuilding process was agonizing, long and very humble. But that generation of Jewish refugees who returned to their decimated land had made a beginning. And then there was silence – 400 years of silence until from the ash heaps of Jerusalem, the shout came from a lone preacher in the wilderness, “The Messiah has come! Open your hearts!”

Whatever you are going through in your life, God’s mercies are new, every day – even in the ash heap.

Worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm, Sunday: 9:00 am & 10:30 am.


Friday, October 2, 2020

God Can Make a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Ear

 

No, I didn’t know what that proverb meant either the first time I heard it. I was working with an old handyman and we were repairing a wall which had been built with low quality materials. After an hour or so he looked at me and sighed, “That’s good enough. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Not wanting to look stupid I knowingly nodded and waited until later when I could search the internet to find out the meaning of what he had said. I remember smiling when I read, “Be unable to turn something inferior into something of value…” That was exactly the case, because of the poor materials, we could have worked the rest of our lives and never been able to make the wall look like new. What we needed was a new wall made of quality materials.

We can feel that way about ourselves too. Can we really change? After so many mistakes, is it possible to alter our habits and lifestyle? Can we make a fresh start in life? Left to our own strategies, such a transformation is rare. But God is the Master at making silk purses from the sow’s ears of our lives. A fascinating example of this is a man named David. He lived over 3000 years ago but his life remains a powerful testimony of what God can do with a human life.

David is described as a man after God’s own heart and yet he was capable of horrific evil. How can that be? Only the hand of God working in his life can account for such radical change. David is one of the most inspiring, disappointing and challenging characters in the Bible. Regardless of where we are in life, what God did through him speaks to each one of us. 

If you find yourself shocked, at times, by the evil you are capable of doing, join us for one of our worship services this weekend. God can do in you what he did in David. You can be a man or woman after God’s own heart.

Worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm, Sunday: 9:00 am & 10:30 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.