Saturday, September 24, 2022

It’s Just Not a Good Idea to Mess with God

 


When it comes to taking on God toe to toe, not too many people rank ahead of the Pharaoh of Egypt during the time of Moses, about 1500 BC. Sure, he was the typical tyrannical ruler who did as he pleased to whomever he pleased, but what makes him stand out is he went 10 rounds with God, and he still didn’t give up on the idea that he could beat God at his own game. 

The account of God freeing the Israelite nation from slavery in Egypt, commonly called “The Exodus”, is a narrative full of drama and the supernatural. But above all, it is the timeless story of a human being telling God he is not needed. If anyone could say they visibly, tangibly experienced God acting in their lives, it had to be Pharaoh. From one predicted natural disaster to the next, Pharaoh would begin to soften towards God’s sovereign rule of his life, only to shut the Almighty down when life returned to a certain degree of normalcy.   

How different are people today? Not much! As long as life is good, we feel no need for God. When troubles come, we get mad at him for letting us suffer. We may begin to open to the idea that maybe we really do need him, but then the pain is relieved, and we go back to calling the shots of our lives. It’s like the guy who claimed that the proof God doesn’t exist or do anything in our lives is that you can curse and swear at him, call God joke and a fool, and not have anything happen. The same man who said that died of cancer a year after making those remarks. 

It shouldn’t take lightening bolts to get us to think seriously about messing with God. The absolutely consistent statistic that every human being who is born will die within 120 years at the most should get us to think more seriously about his role in our lives. Whether you are a religious person or not, the word “death” brings to mind some kind of judgment for if nothingness is the end result of physical death, all our hopes and dreams of having a purposeful, important life end. It just doesn’t make sense that life begins by chance, becomes meaningful while we are alive and then ends in oblivion when we die. The God hypothesis is much more likely. 

Join us for one of our worship services. Instead of messing with God like Pharaoh, receive the incredible invitation to join his family through Jesus Christ. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am 


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Have You Tried to Pull Yourself Up by the Bootstraps???

 


The meaning of the above phrase is generally regarded as “helping oneself without the aid of others”. Most often it is used to express the very healthy attitude that we should not depend on the charity of others when we ourselves are capable of meeting our personal needs and necessities. 

What complicates the message of the phrase is that unless things have changed in the last couple of hundred years, it is pretty difficult (impossible?) to actually pull oneself up by the bootstraps! The cartoon above illustrates the problem. So without in any way diminishing the importance of taking a healthy pride in providing for our personal life needs, it is important to admit that there are some areas in our lives where we cannot help ourselves. Ironically, it seems, those are exactly the facets of our lives over which we want control. The most glaring example of this is our relationship with God. 

Ask ten people, “Why do you think you are going to heaven?” and probably eight will say, “Because I’ve led a pretty good life.” Popular thinking is that when we die, we will present to God a list of all the good and kind things we’ve done during our earthly lives, and he will respond, “You’re good enough to go to heaven. Come on in!!!” That may be what a lot of people think, even people who identify themselves as Christians, but that is not what Jesus Christ or the writers of the Bible said. Quite to the contrary, Jesus taught that getting into a right relationship with God depends on God, not us! Our part is to believe, to trust. In fact, Jesus was downright brutal in his evaluation of our potential to save ourselves. He bluntly said, “You’re helpless. You need to be saved because you can’t save yourself.” That’s kind of offensive to the human spirit, but that’s what he said. 

If you aren’t really sure where you are at with God, join us for one of our weekend worship services. And before then, kick around these questions: 

How good is “good enough” to get into heaven?

What is my “good” score?

How do I keep score?

Do I have enough time to get to the “good enough” level? 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, September 9, 2022

“It Is What It Is!”



A few years ago, the phrase “It is what it is,” seemed to be on everyone’s lips. It was a way of saying, “I can’t really explain why this or that happened, but it sure is making my life hard.” 

Life is unfair. That seems obvious, but it’s extremely hard to accept when life is unfair to us. You’ve got to admit, if you were the big fish in the small bowl, you’d have to wonder why your situation wasn’t reversed with that of the little fish. 

About 4000 years ago there was a young man by the name of Joseph. He was a bright and talented guy who had 10 brothers who hated him so much they sold him to a bunch of slave traders who took him more than 300 miles from home and traded him as a piece of property. Now, Joseph may have been a bit arrogant, and his father did show favoritism, but did those shortcomings really deserve such drastic retribution? I wonder if when asked, “Why are you here living as a slave?” Joseph responded, “It is what it is.” 

Joseph worked hard for his owner, was blessed by God, and became the manager of the household. Things were looking up until his owner’s wife tried to seduce him. When he politely refused, she accused him of attempted rape and put him in prison. 

Don’t you think the question was asked, “Joseph, if you didn’t do anything wrong, what are you here for”? 

“It is what it is.” 

Joseph does a repeat performance in the prison. Soon he’s running the place. He meets two government officials who are troubled by enigmatic dreams. He interprets both dreams. One of the men is reinstated to his position, but as you might have guessed, he forgot about Joseph. 

Did another prisoner ever ask, “Joseph, what happened to the guy you helped? Did he forget about you?” 

“It is what it is?” 

You probably know the rest of the story. Joseph eventually interprets some dreams for the king of Egypt (aka Pharaoh) and suddenly after about 20 years of “it is what it is” living, Joseph finds himself running the Egyptian government. Sometime later Joseph is reunited with his brothers who sold him into slavery. They were, with good reason, just a little bit worried about how he would react to them. But by this time, he had learned that “it is what it is” didn’t explain anything which had taken place in his life. Instead, he responded, 

“Am I in the place of God? You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…Don’t be afraid.” 

You and I may not always understand as clearly as Joseph did the ways God worked through the difficult times he experienced, but we can have the same confidence that God is as active in our lives as he was in Joseph’s. If you are at a loss to explain why and what is going on in your life, if the best you can say is, “it is what it is”, join us for one of our weekend worship services. God does work in mysterious ways, but though they be mysterious, they are always the best.

 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Unlikely Hero

 


The individual in the graphic is the quintessential definition of a non-descript person. He literally blends in with the wallpaper. If someone would ask, “What grabs your attention concerning that person?” the only answer would be that he is bland, neutral, and common. Certainly not the stuff a superhero is made of. 

While most would agree that Marvel Superheroes and Biblical Superheroes are more different than alike, still, we expect more from the so-called spiritual giants of the Bible than from ordinary run of the mill Christians. We would expect them in some way to stand out. But that is not what we find in the Bible. The people God uses to accomplish the most for him are very often those from whom we would expect very little. That is surely the case with Jacob. It’s not that Jacob is unintelligent or lacked talent. His problem was an inside job. He couldn’t get enough of himself. Jacob was a “I’ve got to look out for myself” guy. A survivor. And yet, God took him and taught him through his bad decisions that God’s ways were better than his ways. The end result? God took a man with little spiritual credibility and turned him into a spiritual giant. 

The chapters in Genesis which record the account of Jacob are not about a man turning his life around. No, it’s the story of God turning around the man. The life of Jacob is without a doubt, a God thing. 

“So what?”, you ask. Well, the application is pretty simple, but very personal. If God can change Jacob, he can change you and me. The question is, are we willing to be changed? If your answer is “yes”, join us for one of our weekend services. If your answer is “no”, join us anyway. You might find more take aways from how God worked in this man named Jacob than you thought. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am 


Friday, August 26, 2022

Commitment

 


We live at a time when the most important question seems to be, “How does it make you feel?” When feelings are king, commitment tends to fade into the background for the simple reason, often commitment requires that we dismiss our feelings to do what is right and necessary. That is why some say that the institutions of our country such as marriage, family, patriotism, and morality are crumbling. Upholding these foundations requires our “feel good” addiction to be put on hold while we commit ourselves to accomplishing what is necessary. Many are unwilling to do that, and the result is more and more self-centered individualism. We have become a society of people going through life alone – and it is by choice. 

Interestingly, when we see how God works in the world which he created, the word “commitment” aptly describes his actions. God is 100% faithful to the human race. He’s not giving up on us and he’s not going to let negative feelings caused by our rebellion against him in any way dampen that commitment. Regardless of the personal cost, God comes to people with the offer of a renewed relationship with him which has no strings attached. The cross of Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of his commitment to our eternal good. 

This weekend, we’re going to be studying the life of Abraham. We often think of this man’s strong faith in God which he demonstrated over a period of many years. But the real story is that Abraham’s faith was the product of God’s commitment to him and all of humanity. If you’ve got the strange feeling that maybe feelings are being overrated, join us for one of our weekend services. Experiencing God’s commitment has a powerful way of changing the way we look at things. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, August 19, 2022

Sin Never Stays Small

 


If you’ve ever experienced the pain of food poisoning and wondered how it came on so fast, read the following description of how bacteria multiply.

 

When conditions are favorable such as the right temperature and nutrients are available, some bacteria like Escherichia coli can divide every 20 minutes. This means that in just seven hours one bacterium can generate 2,097,152 bacteria. After one more hour the number of bacteria will have risen to a colossal 16,777,216. That’s why we can quickly become ill when pathogenic microbes invade our bodies. https://microbiologysociety.org/why-microbiology-matters/what-is-microbiology/bacteria.html 

There is something much more dangerous than bacteria which also reproduces at an exponential rate when left unchecked – sin. Within three chapters of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, human life free falls from paradise to prison. The decision of Adam and Eve to be their “own gods” and live life on their terms produced a son who really did take matters into his own hands by killing his brother over hurt feelings. 

When human beings decide to be the masters of our destiny we get farther and farther away from God which in turn leads to greater corruption, violence and evil. At the end of Genesis chapter 1 God looked at all that he had made, and it was “very good”. In the opening part of Genesis chapter 6 we hear, “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.

What follows this description is one of the most well-known stories of the Bible – the Flood. 

The Flood account is an example of God’s perfect justice combined with his perfect grace. It is a judgment and a fresh start. Above all, it is a story which gives human beings hope that God hasn’t given up on us. Join us for one of our weekend worship services. None of us can hear that message too often. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, August 12, 2022

Why Is Life So Hard?

 


Why is life so hard? That question indicates there is something in us all that senses things should be different. We should be kinder, more patient, more compassionate with one another. Maybe the best way to say it is: we know that life would be a whole lot better if we would think about ourselves less and others more. But then, why would we do that? Looking out for others means cheating ourselves out of what we want. And so, we live wanting a different world but unwilling to do what is necessary to make it happen. How strange! How human! 

The biblical answer for the question, “Why is life so hard?” is brutally straightforward. Life is hard because of an event many years ago in which people decided things would be better without the God who created them. It was a decision which has brought unimaginable suffering and pain, so much so we are overwhelmed even trying to think about it. 

The account of Adam and Eve falling for Satan’s temptation at the beginning of human history is dismissed by some as a fairy tale. Upon close reading, however, it not only provides solid answers for questions about the hardships of life, even more importantly, it offers the hope that there is an alternative! If life is weighing you down with its challenges, join us for one of our weekend worship services. There is light at the end of the tunnel, more light than any of us could imagine. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am 


Saturday, August 6, 2022

Is It Time to Take a Hard Look at Ourselves?



Confusion, bewilderment, even anger are words that describe many Christians today. So much has changed in recent years to rock our way of looking at the world. While the 1960s was the actual beginning of the changes we see taking place today, no one at that time would have ever imagined the social movements we see today gaining ever increasing popularity. What people took for granted concerning gender, sexuality, marriage, and family have been set aside for radically different visions of how life ought to be. 

We Christians, however, must ask ourselves the hard question, “Why have things changed so drastically when the Christian concepts of gender, sexuality, marriage, and family were held by the vast majority of Americans since the founding of our country?” Could it be that some or even many of us have not been convincing examples that God’s way is best? Have we deviated from his ideal, even crossing over into the thinking that we can define our own rules in these matters?

If Christians are going to be a part of God changing peoples’ hearts and minds, our hearts and minds must be totally committed to him and his principles for living. There are few issues today which are as controversial as sexuality, marriage, and family. There are few issues more important than these. As God’s representatives in this world, we need to be equipped and committed to not only presenting what he teaches on these subjects, but to living out those principles. Join us for one of our weekend services. Be a part of the change! 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Nothing to Go By

 


A man who volunteered to participate in an experiment spending three days in complete darkness thought he was going to catch up on lost sleep and cash in on some easy money from the research grant. Little did he know what he was in for. After the initial longed-for snooze, the man soon learned not being able to see anything had little to offer. Within hours he became frantic. Why? He had no reference points. Nothing to tell him where he was, what time it was, how much longer he had to stay in the darkness. There was nothing he could be sure of, and it pushed him to the brink of terror. 

There are those who say that life should have no reference points. Everyone should be able to live as they chose, believe what they want, be what they feel. It sounds attractive, but such a view of life puts one in a state of utter emotional, psychological, and spiritual darkness. If there is nothing of which we can say, “I know this for sure,” then how do we confidently answer questions such as, “What’s right and what’s wrong? For what should I be living? Am I accountable for the way I live? Are there limits to anything?” 

The first three chapters of the book of Genesis, which is the first of the 66 books of the Bible, serves as a foundation for life. It tells us about God, us, and our relationship with each other. It explains the point of life and how to live it out. It tells us what went wrong with human beings, why and even gives the solution. 

Everybody needs something to go by as they journey through their life. If you are wondering whether you either need to re-evaluate your reference points or add some more, join us for one of our weekend worship services. You might find that a story you thought was just for kids can change your life. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, July 22, 2022

What’s at Stake?



Years ago, when older people wanted to encourage kids to take a risk and try something new, they would say, “Give it a try! It can’t kill you!” The idea behind the phrase was that even if the youngster failed, there wouldn’t be any great consequence to deal with. In many areas of our lives, that advice is good. So often we miss out on great opportunities because we are afraid to take the risk of trying something and failing. 

On the other hand, there are some things we might like to try but know are seriously dangerous, so we stay away from them. The stakes are too high if we fail. In the final paragraphs of his first letter to early Christians in Turkey, the Apostle Peter warns his readers about what is at stake if they let down their guard in resisting Satan. With graphic language Peter describes the devil as a vicious, hungry lion just waiting to devour the spiritual life of a person. 

For some, the concept of a super powerful malignant force interacting in human history seems ludicrous. But what else satisfactorily explains the ongoing, ever-present struggle between good and evil which is the history of the human race? How can we even define “good” and “evil” if there are no such things as God and Satan? There needs to be some standard greater than human beings by which we can make such judgments. 

When it comes to your life, what’s at stake is eternity. It’s not “one and done” for people. It’s “one and forever”. If you feel a bit unnerved by the idea that there is an extremely potent wickedness trying to lure you away from God for eternity, join us for one of our weekend worship services. The best news of the Bible is, you don’t have to be afraid. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am 

Friday, July 15, 2022

What Is Your Goal?

 


In a motivational speech body builder/actor Arnold Schwarzenegger enthralled listeners with a story of his childhood which came to be the defining moment in his life. As an 11-year-old going to school one morning in his home town of Thal, Austria, young Arnold saw a poster of body builder Reg Park who also went to Hollywood to make movies. At that moment Arnold said to himself, “I want to be a body builder like Reg Park. I want to go to America and make movies. I want to make millions of dollars. I want to be famous.” From that point on, everything he did in his life was guided by that dream. At the conclusion of his speech Arnold said, “It all begins with your vision. What is your ultimate goal? If you don’t have a vision, all you will do is wander through life, probably very unhappy.” 

While you may not be a huge fan of body building or appreciate the drama of “The Terminator” films, one has to give Arnold credit, he kept his eye on his goal and he achieved it. The question is, was Arnold’s goal the most important? Many, many people would say, “Yes, absolutely.” Others, would wonder, “Isn’t there something more valuable to shoot for than money and fame?” 

The apostle Peter was probably a strong guy from all his years of fishing, but that wasn’t the point to his life. He had an encounter with Jesus Christ and that was the defining moment for him. Everything that he had known up until that point in his life now took a secondary place to knowing and living for Jesus. In a letter he wrote about 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection, Peter encouraged Christians to make the goal of their lives to be prepared to meet Jesus on Judgment Day. In an understated way he says, “The end of all things is near.” And then he goes on to describe a life dedicated to giving glory and honor to God rather than oneself. It’s definitely a counter-cultural message. But it does make one ask, “Is what I am living for going to mean anything when I die?” 

Whether you are an incredible success or feel you are kind of wandering through life, join us for one of our weekend worship services. After hearing what Peter has to say, you might consider changing goals. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am 


Friday, July 8, 2022

The Suffering Christian

 


Even after two thousand years of studying the life, ministry and teachings of Jesus Christ, his followers still have difficulty with what he said about suffering. His message is very straightforward: “Get used to suffering. It’s the way things are in a broken world.” An early Christian by the name of Augustine understood well what Jesus meant. He said, “God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.” 

Just talking about suffering today seems sadistic. We have so many ways of avoiding pain and discomfort, we wonder why anyone would choose to willingly suffer. But that is exactly why Jesus Christ came to this earth. It is the greatest of ironies: suffering enters human life because of man’s rejection of God. God enters human life to offer us a chance to return to him and accomplishes it through the sacrifice of his Son on the cross.

The suffering of Jesus Christ means that any serious follower of Christ can expect to experience the same as they journey through life. The Apostle Peter, in a letter he wrote two thousand years ago describes this reality in detail and gives us instruction on how to overcome. 

Regardless of what you believe, you will suffer at some point in your life. It is not a matter of “if”; it is only a matter of time. Jesus Christ can take that suffering and turn it into something that is eternally beneficial. Join us for one of our weekend services as we continue to study Peter’s first letter to Christians in modern day Turkey. It is far better to be prepared to suffer than to be held hostage in fear of it. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am 


Friday, July 1, 2022

The Doormat Dilemma



People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.                                                                    Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
      Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
      Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
      Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
      Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
      Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
      Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
      Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
      Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
      Give the world the best you have anyway.”

The Paradoxical Commandments ― Kent M. Keith 

The Paradoxical Commandments seem to be a crazy invitation to become a living doormat! And yet, they reflect the preaching of Jesus Christ and the writings of his disciples. Jesus said that his followers are meant to be just that, followers and imitators of him. 

When Jesus lived on this earth he set aside his personal rights and submitted his entire earthly life to one objective – rescuing the human race from the consequences of sin and evil. To those who have put their faith in him as their Savior and Lord, he calls us to willingly set aside our self-centered goals and submit them to the lifestyle for which he saved us. 

Will some people take advantage of this submission to God’s will? Absolutely. 

Does that mean we become doormats for other people to walk all over? Actually, it means being called “great” in the kingdom of heaven! 

Join us for one of our weekend worship services and begin to radically renew your relationships with other people. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, June 24, 2022

On the Journey Together

 


What do you do when you are frantic because of a problem which seems to be totally overwhelming? Most of us call someone. We reach out to another person, not because we necessarily think they can solve the problem, but rather we just need someone to hear what we are going through. That alone seems to help. The same is true when we are in a strange place and have lost our way. Even though the person with us is as clueless as we are on how to find the way, still, just having someone there makes it all less scary. 

It's a pretty obvious truth – we human beings need each other. Maybe we need to say that more often today as we are living in a culture which gives the impression that technology has taken the place of human contact; that we can have the best of both worlds, companionship without the messiness of people. Fortunately, we are realizing, it just doesn’t work, especially when life starts to break down. 

The apostle Peter wrote a letter to a group of Christians some 2000 years ago telling his readers pretty much the same thing: “You need each other!” Times were tough. Persecution for following Christ was increasing. The only way those early believers would make it through was to stick together. It’s no different today. A believer doesn’t have to experience persecution for their faith to go through times of questioning, confusion, or suffering. The journey through life can seem agonizingly slow and difficult. We need to be on the journey together. 

If you’ve always wondered about the practical importance of committing yourself to a group of other Christians, join us for one of our weekend services. Your journey just might change for the better – to your surprise. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, June 17, 2022

Lighthouse

 


For the sailor fighting for his life during a deadly storm at sea, there is no more welcome sight than the glimmering rays of a lighthouse off in the distance. Though the light seems to be only a flicker compared to the immensity of the darkness, it is enough to guide the sailor to safety. 

There are times in life that we feel we are engulfed in a storm of problems and challenges which threaten our very existence. We can’t make sense of anything and as a result become paralyzed by all the uncertainty and doubt created by our ever-changing situation. But for the Christian, there is the Lighthouse – Jesus Christ. No, he does not usually swoop in and resolve our suffering with a wave of a hand. Instead, he gives us the understanding and the guidance we need to day by day, step by step journey through the storms of life. 

The apostle Peter wrote to some believers about 2000 years ago who were going through times of painful persecution. With the strong, soothing words of a grandfather he points these suffering people to the only One who can keep them on the path to their final destination. Peter does not promise easy solutions. But he does assure his readers of the ultimate victory which is awaiting them. 

Whether or not you are in the middle of a life storm at the moment, the day will come when you will feel like the frantic sailor lost at sea. You will ask the questions, “Why is this happening to me? What should I do? How is this all going to turn out?” It will be at that moment you will need Jesus to be your lighthouse to safety. Join us for one of our weekend services. Now is the time to get ready for the storm. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Saturday, June 11, 2022

Courage for the Journey

Some have described human life as a journey. There is a lot to be said for that illustration. Our life journey takes us to many places and through a wide range of experiences, some good, some we would like to forget. There are times when it seems all is well and we’re right with the world. Even when difficulties cast a shadow on our happiness, we still manage to keep singing in the rain. But there are other periods which at times seem endless in which we feel like weary pilgrims, traveling through this world of problems. We’re told that getting old is not for the faint hearted. The truth is, just living takes courage. 

If ever there was a proactive, take charge, get it done guy, it was a man named Peter who was one of the original disciples of Jesus Christ. He was a bulldozer guy who sometimes was very constructive and at others, tragically destructive. At the end of his life, he wrote a letter to Christians in churches located in modern day Turkey. In this short missive he shows how the years had matured him. It’s a positive, upbeat message, but immensely realistic and practical. In short, he says, “You have to be ready for tough times.” But he doesn’t leave his readers in that abyss of the negative. He goes on to describe the courage we have in Jesus Christ as we face the hurricanes of life. 

For the next two months we’re going to be studying Peter’s letter. If you are a person who goes to church and too often leaves asking, “So what?”, wondering what you heard has to do with your day-to-day life, make the commitment to study what Peter has to teach us. It may be the courage you will need to finish your journey well. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, June 3, 2022

The Reason to Get Up in the Morning


People living two hundred years ago could not even imagine how we are living today. And if they could have seen into the future for a glimpse of our way of life, they would have certainly thought, “I would be happy all the time if I could live like that!” Ironically, just the opposite has happened. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Professor Liah Greenfield suggests that the United States and Europe are heading for a mental health crisis of proportions never seen before in history. The reason? Oddly enough, she suggests it is our prosperity and freedom of choice. 

“By definition, functional mental illness is illness of unknown biological origins. The constant, systematic increase in its rates of incidence since the 1840s is proof that its origins are not biological. Yet, against all logic, mental-health research focuses exclusively on biology and doesn’t cast a wider explanatory net. The evidence points to a historical and cultural explanation of the increase in incidence rates. Specifically, it suggests that functional mental illness is a characteristic disease of prosperous and secure liberal democracies.” “The West’s Struggle for Mental Health”, Liah Greenfeld, The Wall Street Journal –  May 31, 2022

 Human beings have always thought that having more material possessions and choices to determine our path to personal happiness is the goal of living. Many have arrived at that point and found the opposite. Instead of thriving, thousands are wondering why they should even get up in the morning. They have realized that the purely material world in the here and now only leads to a “been there, done that” life. We need to be challenged to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. But when we live as though we are the center of the universe, that becomes impossible.

Fifty days after the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, something happened to offer any and every person on the planet the opportunity to step out of themselves and be a part of a movement bigger than human life itself. Christians call that day Pentecost. Without going into detail, it is enough to say that the events which took place constitute God’s most extensive and inclusive invitation to join him in what he is doing in this world. It is an invitation to exactly the opposite kind of life discussed above. It is challenging. It requires sacrifice. In fact, it demands a whole new way of looking at things. But it is eternal. It is good. And above all, it is of God. 

Join us for one of our weekend services. The Pentecost invitation might shake up your life in more ways than one. But one thing you can count on, you will always have reason to get up in the morning. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am 


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Loose Ends Living

 


It is very stressful to live with ongoing uncertainty. When we aren’t sure how important situations in our lives are going to turn out, we say we have “loose ends to tie up”. We’ve even developed a new term to describe tying up those loose ends – closure. We talk about getting closure when something tragic happens in our lives such as a death in the family or a major disappointment. Closure is the process of coming to grips with the way things are, accepting that new reality and then moving forward. Sometimes closure brings peace. Sometimes it leaves us unsatisfied. 

For many people, there are a lot of loose ends in their relationship with God. They have questions about his involvement in their lives on a daily basis, whether he really makes a difference and if it’s worth the time and effort to develop a relationship with him. The Ascension of Jesus which took place 40 days after his resurrection ties up those spiritual loose ends and provides for us the closure we need to be certain of God’s commitment to us and the benefit of vigorously pursuing a deeper friendship with him. 

Jesus ascending into heaven tends to be considered a footnote in the life of Christ when compared to his birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. But it is the Ascension which confirms three massive truths on which we Christians build our lives: 1) There is an end goal to human history and God is behind it; 2) We can be sure that divine forgiveness is real, valid, and available to all people; 3) There is a divine purpose and plan for each of our lives. 

Join us for one of our weekend services and start tying up some of those important loose ends in your life! 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, May 20, 2022

A Portrait of Pride: The Human Disaster

 


Money has gotten a bad rap over the years due to a mistranslation of a Bible passage. The King James Version of 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” While greed has led a great deal of people away from God, it is not the singular cause of all sin. That distinction goes to the self-centered attitude of pride. Pride was the motivating factor in the first sin, and it has been part of every act of disobedience toward God since. 

We usually think of a prideful person as someone who considers themself better than other people. That’s just a symptom of something far more serious. Self-centered pride in its most basic form is the conviction that we know better than even God himself. When you think of it in those terms, isn’t that really at the heart of what is called sin and evil? We believe we know what is best and so we set God aside and take jurisdiction of our lives. 

Given how temporary human life is and then add to that the limited ability we have to manipulate much of what happens during the years we spend on this earth, it does seem rather presumptuous to tell God to step aside and hand over the reins. Even worse are the disastrous consequences of playing God. It just doesn’t work. He didn’t create us for that. 

Join us for one of our weekend services. You might just find that giving up control is exactly what brings your life under control! 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, May 13, 2022

Is Our Compass Broken?

 


Over the last several weeks the major news event has been the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision which could change abortion laws. Protests from the pro-abortion side have been vigorous and vehement. Because the majority of news networks favor abortion on demand, many interviews and articles have been aired with the intent of persuading people to the pro-choice side. Some of the arguments presented can seem daunting and Christians need to think clearly regarding this hot-button issue. 

Abortion choice advocates say that ending the life of the unborn child is a personal, private matter that should not be restricted in any way and that pro-lifers should not impose their views on others. 

Pro-life Christians argue that the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. There is no relevant difference between the embryo we once were and the adults we are today that justifies killing us at that earlier stage of development. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying a person could be killed then but not now. 

Above all, the Bible very clearly teaches that the unborn are one of us, uniquely created by our Creator. 

And that is really what the abortion issue is about: Is the unborn one of us? 

Nevertheless, many people want it both ways. They condemn abortion with words but want it to be legally available. They say things like, “I personally oppose abortion, but don’t want to impose my beliefs on others who disagree.” 

The obvious question is, “Why do you personally oppose abortion?” If abortion does not intentionally kill an innocent human being, why be opposed at all? 

Imagine if a person said, “I personally oppose spousal abuse, but I won’t impose my personal beliefs on you. After all, your moral beliefs are just as valid as my own.” If someone said that, you would not say they were neutral. You’d say their moral compass was broken.

Either a person believes that each and every human being has an equal right to life, or they don’t. Such statements make us feel uncomfortable. By taking a position, we fear offending other people and even worse, losing friendships. But Jesus made those kinds of statements on a regular basis, forcing his listeners to take a stand based on their relationship with him. 

Jesus said that our reason for life is to represent him in this world, to be light and salt to his glory. It would be very difficult to carry out that mission without thinking deeply on one of the single most controversial moral topics of our generation. Join us for one of our weekend services for a biblical and practical study of abortion from a Christian and biblical perspective. 

Weekend worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm – Sunday: 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.