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


Friday, May 6, 2022

Confusion


While it may be considered politically incorrect to say it, we do live in confusing times. We’re confused about what it means to be a human being. We’re confused about what defines male and female. We’re confused about whose life matters and whose doesn’t. We’re confused about what makes up a family. It seems our culture is living in a perpetual state of James Dean perplexity who profoundly expressed his innermost feelings in the film Rebel Without a Cause with the words, “I am so confused.” 

Our confusion is more than just a feeling of frustration. It influences every area of our lives – including how and why we celebrate Mother’s Day. How important are mothers? Aren’t children molded most by their digital experiences and colleagues at school? Who is mother? Is being a mother all about the biology of giving birth or is it just about the relationship? Can a man be a mother in a figurative sense? Some even question the necessity of the concept of the traditional family. Studies are referenced which indicate children thrive better in government funded settings! So, do we need moms and dads? 

Before we give up on Mother’s Day, let’s go back to the resurrection which we celebrated only a few weeks ago. At first glance we might think there is little connection between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the commemoration of Mother’s Day in 2022. That would, to say the least, be a mistake. We often say, “Easter changes everything.” And that is true. Christ physically coming back to life means he is God, he did pay for our sins and eternal life is a reality, not a pie in the sky wish. It also means what he said about our relationships with people and especially family is true. We can have certainty in the midst of the current confusion. And that’s some very good news. 

Join us this weekend for one of our worship services. Living in confusion doesn’t have to be the only alternative. Let the resurrection give you some solid certainty of what matters most. And yes, your mom and your family matter big time! 

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


Friday, April 29, 2022

The Message Is the Mission

 


It is one of those intimidating moments, hearing someone shout, “I don’t care what you do, just get it done!” What’s so unnerving about that kind of command is that you know whatever has to be done, isn’t going to happen easily. And to make matters worse, you won’t be given any direction, guidance, or help. It’s all on your shoulders! That is not a pleasant situation to be in. 

After his resurrection, Jesus Christ gave his followers a mission – one that continues to be valid to this day. He said, “Go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you.” A tall order, to say the least. But Jesus didn’t walk away yelling, “Just figure it out and get it done.” Instead, he gave those first disciples not only the life-altering message of his death and resurrection but also promised that both he and the Holy Spirit would be with them in carrying out this task. A supernatural message with supernatural support. Now that’s a mission to be part of. 

Jesus once said, “The field is ripe, but the harvesters are few.” He was saying that there are a whole lot of hurting people in the world needing what only he offers. The tragedy is, so many of us Christians are hesitant to give those people what they so desperately need. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you automatically are part of his mission. Whether it’s easy or difficult for you to talk about your faith in Christ, you are part of his plan to bring other people back into his family. That mission is of the greatest importance, and it brings the greatest of blessings! Join us for one of our weekend worship services. Be a part of the mission! 

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


Friday, April 22, 2022

Cool! But What Does It Mean?



Easter Sunday is always so positive! The hymns are upbeat. The church is beautiful. Everyone greets each other with, “He is risen!” To which we reply, “He is risen indeed!” Wouldn’t it be great if every Sunday was like that? Now that is a good question. An even better question is, “Why don’t we celebrate Easter everyday of our lives?” 

Maybe the problem is, we really don’t understand the message of the resurrection. Sure, we all get it that Jesus was dead and three days later he was alive. We acknowledge that the most incredible miracle of all time had taken place. But maybe we are more like the honest Christian who said, “I believe Jesus rose from the dead, I just don’t understand what it means to me,” than we would like to admit. Don’t roll your eyes in amazement that a person calling themself a Christian could say something like that. How would you respond if someone were to ask, “Tell me how the resurrection of Jesus makes a difference in your day-to-day life?” 

Apparently, the disciples had a problem grasping the full sense of what it meant for Jesus to be alive after his crucifixion. On Easter Day, at least two times, we’re told that Jesus had to “open the minds of his disciples” about what they were witnessing. The resurrection is about so much more than just the eye-popping fact that Jesus reversed the natural laws of death and decomposition. Whether we are confused about our reason for being alive or depressed about the way our life is going or we’re terrified about the prospect of growing old and dying, the resurrection fundamentally transforms our understanding of all the difficult issues in life with which we struggle. The message is as important as the miracle. 

If the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ hasn’t been unleashed in your life, join us for one of our worship services. Whether it sounds like a cliché or not, it’s true, the resurrection changes everything!     

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



Friday, April 15, 2022

It Either Happened or It Didn’t

 


With some things in life, it all comes down to the very simple statement, “It either happened or it didn’t.” Whichever it may be, things become clear based on what actually took place. There is no more relevant example of this than with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Either it happened or it didn’t. Either his corpse miraculously came to life and he physically left the tomb or his cadaver is still there, or buried in some other place. There isn’t room for “maybe” when it comes to the resurrection. While that seems confrontational, this perspective enables us to appreciate the enormous importance of what happened on the day we call Easter. 

If Jesus did physically rise from the dead, everything that he said about himself and all that he promised those who put their trust in him as the Messiah, is true. Not only is it true, but those teachings and promises are worth both living and dying for. If Christ did not leave the tomb in his body, then he is little more than a strange footnote in history. 

For two thousand years millions of people throughout the world have celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. For two thousand years many other people have tried by all means available to explain away the resurrection. But they have not succeeded. The best answer to the question, “Where is the body?” continues to be the first, “He is not here, he has risen, just as he said.” 

There is an old Easter greeting which is still popular today. On meeting, one Christian says, “He is risen!” To which the other responds, “He is risen indeed.” All of which is to say, “It happened! Jesus is alive!” There is no better, no more life and eternity changing message than this!     

Weekend worship service time: Sunday: 10:00 am

(Saturday service cancelled this week only.)


Friday, April 8, 2022

The Week that Divided History

 

It all began that Sunday afternoon almost comically. Thousands of pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the yearly Passover festival jumping, shouting, waving palm branches all because an itinerant preacher from Galilee was making his way into Jerusalem on a donkey! 

The next day that same preacher was like a bull in a China shop as he berated moneychangers in the Temple. Throughout that day and the next, he became increasingly more confrontational towards the religious powerbrokers of the nation of Israel. To those who followed him, the preacher spoke of difficult, dangerous times ahead. 

On Thursday, there was a calm before the storm. A meal with his students. Fellowship, teaching, and new rituals. Strange but powerful rituals. After dinner, the group went out to a well-known garden to pray. That’s when the pace picked up. Not long into the night soldiers led by one of the preacher’s disciples came to the garden and arrested him, taking the tightly bound prisoner to the High Priest to go on trial. 

Several trials were held that night and into the next day, leading to a final condemnation by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. The charge? Claiming to be the Son of God and a potential threat to Roman law and order. The sentence? Death by crucifixion. 

The sentence was carried out effectively but not before a series of surreal and wonderful events took place. By three in the afternoon on Friday, the preacher known as Jesus of Nazareth was dead. All that was left to complete his story was his burial, carried out by two of his followers. 

It seemed to be the end of the story. But on the following Sunday morning, the script would be re-written in a way which would change history. Dead people don’t come back to life, no matter how they died. But Jesus did. And that changed not only history, it changed forever. 

The week we are beginning this Sunday, known as Palm Sunday, is called Holy Week. During the next seven days we will study, consider, and stand in awe of events which have changed the lives of millions throughout the centuries. 

Join us for one of our weekend worship services. What happened during this week more than 2000 years ago is too important to let pass by unnoticed.     

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


Friday, April 1, 2022

Jell-O Truth


 

You have to be older to appreciate the joys of Jell-O. When it first came out, Jell-o was absolutely captivating. Not so much for the taste, but for its color and moldability. The bright reds, yellows and greens of Jell-O could make even the drabbest dinner of meat loaf and mashed potatoes seem vibrant. But even more thrilling was the fact that one never knew what shape the Jell-O would take. For most it came in a bowl, but for those who had more daring meal preparers, one might expect just about anything from Jell-O in the form of a fish, a bird, a building. You name it, Jell-O could be molded in that form. 

Ever changing Jell-O forms are fun and diverting. But when human beings try to do the same thing with truth, the results aren’t as positive. Pontius Pilate summarized Jell-O truth when he sarcastically asked Jesus of Nazareth the question, “What is truth?” That question is still on the lips of billions of people 2000 years later. The venerable Mark Twain said, “Never let truth get in the way of a good story.” To the question, “Does truth still matter,” an article in Fortune magazine responded, “Yes, but we must be careful how we define truth.” 

The truth about truth is that if you ask 10 people how they define truth you will probably get 10 different answers. It seems like the most culturally acceptable answer to the question, “What is truth?” is, “Whatever you want it to be.” Sounds open minded, right? You believe what you want about truth, and I believe what I want, and everybody is cool. 

But then there is what Jesus says about truth. He makes us very uncomfortable with the whole subject when he says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” So maybe truth isn’t as much like Jell-O as we thought. And once you discover the truth of Jesus, you’ll be very glad it isn’t.     

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


Friday, March 25, 2022

The Crisis

 


Have you wondered how you would react if you were put in a crisis situation in which you had to make a decision that forced you to choose between doing what was right and doing what was best for you? We all hope we would do that which is good and noble, but fear makes cowards of us all. 

The account of Jesus struggling in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane shortly before his arrest brings to mind many images. But none so powerful as that of blood and perspiration oozing from his forehead as he begs God the Father to come up with a different way other than the cross to rescue the human race. The full force of what he must do has overwhelmed him, and being fully human, Jesus is terrified. 

Although he seems to waver, Jesus’ decision is made more than clear with his words spoken to God the Father, “Not my will, but yours be done.” He will do what he came to this earth to accomplish. He gets up from his knees to face those who have come to arrest him and ultimately take him to his crucifixion. 

One definition for God is “love”. Another is “committed”. Jesus in the crisis shows the extent of God’s commitment to us. He will not spare anything to give us what we need – forgiveness which leads to the eternal life God intended for human beings at the creation of all things. 

You may feel you are in “crisis” mode at this particular time in your life. So many things don’t make sense. At best, you wonder if God has taken a vacation. At worst, you might believe he is a monster purposely making life miserable for his creatures. Jesus in his crisis shatters both delusions. In his greatest suffering, he remains unalterably committed to rescuing us. And that is everything we need to overcome in our crises.     

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


Friday, March 18, 2022


“At the end of the day, you either believe or you don’t.” 

The statement above is spectacularly offensive to proud human ears. Who dares tell us to “just believe, take their word for it”? We are intelligent. We’re educated. We live in the 21st century and have a seemingly unlimited portal to information. So don’t tell us to “just believe”. Prove it! 

Now there are a good deal of horrible examples in human history of people following evil leaders just because they were told to go along with what these nefarious people said. There are countless tragic examples of broken trust in which individuals in whom many people put their deepest confidence were found to be unworthy of that trust. So, it is extremely wise to be very, very sure of the person or thing in which you are placing your confidence. 

Jesus said much the same thing when people wanted to follow him. He almost seemed to discourage some by saying, “Don’t follow me because of your emotions. Make sure you know what you are getting into!” But once people came to the point where they were convinced by many and varied evidences that he is the Messiah, the Son of God, then he began to teach them the importance of trust. He did this not because he wanted blind followers, but because human beings are limited in what we can understand about the unlimited God. 

One of Jesus’ teachings that continues to cause confusion among his followers is Holy Communion which he instituted the night before he was crucified. It is a shockingly simple ritual. Bread, wine, and the words, “Take and eat. This is my body and blood, given for you for the forgiveness of sins.” No need to take graduate level classes to do that! 

What makes us stumble is that in such simplicity, the power of God is working on our behalf. In a supernatural way Jesus Christ comes to each participant in a uniquely personal manner to affirm his covenant with them and the forgiveness of their sins. So simple, yet so eternally awesome. How it happens we can’t understand. The simplicity of Holy Communion requires the humility to say, “I believe even though intellectually I am unable to grasp how it happens.” For many, the humility of such simplicity is too great an obstacle to overcome. What about you. When Jesus says, “Just believe,” can you humbly receive the blessing he offers?     

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


Friday, March 11, 2022

How Do You Define Greatness?

 


After defeating highly favored Sonny Liston for the heavyweight boxing title, Muhammad Ali declared that he was “The Greatest”. For many years afterward Ali demonstrated greatness in the ring. Some people call him the greatest boxer who ever lived. 

For most, a great person is usually someone who has a tremendous influence on other people. An individual who changes the way others live and see things. The great person is always famous and much of their lives is spent being studied and analyzed. Such is greatness to human beings. 

On regular occasions, the disciples of Jesus debated greatness, specifically they argued about which one of them was the greatest. Their ideas on the subject were similar to those just mentioned above. Jesus’ input on the matter of greatness turned their thinking upside down. He said, “It isn’t about telling people what to do and attracting everyone’s attention, no, greatness is in serving, in doing what God put you on this earth to do.” 

Serving has a rather negative connotation. It’s something we do only when we feel obligated or compelled by circumstances. Serving is certainly not something we choose to do. And yet, that is exactly what the ministry of Jesus Christ was all about – serving. And serving in a way which cost him everything. 

If you are confused about the true definition of greatness and how to achieve it, look to Jesus Christ. His greatness through serving will enable you to experience greatness on a level you have never experienced.     

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


Friday, March 4, 2022

Michael Henchard’s Will


 

Michael Henchard, the main character of Thomas Hardy’s novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge, had a considerable number of good qualities. Tragically, his rash outbursts of anger caused him to make disastrous decisions which obscured the positive in him. Near the end of his life, several meltdowns led to the unraveling of everything he had accomplished. Before he died, he wrote this chilling will: 

That Elizabeth-Jane Farfrae (his daughter) be not told of my death,

or made to grieve on account of me.

& that I be not buried in consecrated ground.

& that no one be asked to toll the bell.

& that nobody is wished to see my dead body.

& that no mourners walk behind me at my funeral.

& that no flowers be planted on my grave.

& that no man remember me.

To this I put my name.

Michael Henchard 

Heartbreaking is the only way to describe what Henchard felt about his life which was coming to an end. But maybe that was the intention of the author, to lead his readers to ask the question, “What am I doing with my life? When all is said and done, will I want to be remembered or forgotten?” 

Jesus had a lot to say about the difference between living a precious life and a wasted life. This weekend we’re going to study what happened at a dinner party he attended. To some, what Jesus said about the precious life is shocking. But as always, what he says is pure “Jesus” and it is absolutely life changing. 

We live in a time of mental busyness, our minds always being occupied by some new piece of information, whether it is important or not. If you can’t answer confidently which kind of life you are living (precious or wasted), take the time to join us for one of our weekend services. If you listen to what Jesus says, there is no way Michael Henchard’s will ever will be yours.     

Worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm & Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, February 25, 2022

Listen


 

“I told you last week. How could you forget?” 

“You did? I don’t remember.” 

“It was Tuesday after dinner. You were sitting right here. I told you. You nodded your head and said, ‘Got it.’ How could you forget?” 

That’s a common conversation not only for married couples but for any group of people who communicate frequently. We hear a lot, but we don’t tend to listen well. And that is probably because listening is hard work. 

This coming weekend we’re going to be studying the Transfiguration of Jesus. It is a defining moment in his ministry in which he gives a small group of his followers a glimpse of his divine glory and power. Shortly before this miracle, Jesus had begun to teach them that he was going to be arrested, tortured, killed, and then rise again. His disciples didn’t know what to make of it. With Jesus’ popularity on the decline, they were probably also questioning their future with him. 

Through a mind-blowing physical transformation and an otherworldly conversation with two people who had been dead for centuries, Jesus lays to rest the disciples’ doubts. But something else happens. A voice comes from the sky. A voice which can only be identified as that of God the Father. He says, “This is my Son whom I love. Listen to him.” 

What short but profound statement! “Listen to Jesus.” Which very naturally leads us to ask ourselves, “How much have I been listening to Jesus?” It’s pretty easy to hear a lot of information about him, it is another thing to listen to him and then put his words into practice. 

If you haven’t been listening much to Jesus lately, join us for one of our services. You’ll find there are some very good reasons to pay attention to what he says. Maybe what will surprise you most is how much his teachings will change your life for the better.     

Worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm & Sunday: 10:00 am


Saturday, February 19, 2022

Different

 


“Different” is not a label most of us would like to have. We don’t want to stand out in a crowd, having people gape at us, wondering what in the world would make us act in such a weird way. One of the most courageously spectacular examples of being different took place about 2500 years ago. A megalomaniac leader had set up a huge statue in his own honor and demanded that all of his subjects bow down to it. It was the ultimate act of insecure pride. In one setting he gathered his most trusted leaders in an open-air event and commanded them to drop to their knees at the appointed moment. We don’t know exactly how many people were there, but hundreds or thousands would not be an exaggeration. When the moment came to worship the statue, every single person in the crowd prostrated themselves in worship – except three men. There they stood, all alone – totally different in a sea of conformity. If you don’t know how the story ends, check it out in Daniel three.               

Being different is something Jesus Christ taught about regularly. He insisted that if a person is going to be his disciple, they will conduct their lives in a way that very often won’t comply with current thinking. This weekend we’re going to study one of his teachings on this subject. It’s the kind of passage that makes a person wonder if it would be possible to live in such a way in our world. But it is. Throughout the centuries hundreds of thousands of people have lived distinctly different lives for one reason: Jesus Christ is their Savior and Lord. 

As you consider stepping out of the mainstream and choosing the “different” life Jesus calls you to, don’t focus on the question, “What is it going to cost me?”, but rather, “Is what Jesus teaches us about life true? 

Join us for one of our worship services.     

Worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm & Sunday: 10:00 am


Friday, February 11, 2022

Rose Colored Glasses?


 

                 Matthew 5:3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

                4Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted.

                5Blessed are the gentle,  because they will inherit the earth.

                6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be 

             filled.

                7Blessed are the merciful, because they will receive mercy.

                8Blessed are the pure in heart, because they will see God.

                9Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.

                10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, because theirs                  is the kingdom of heaven.

These words of Jesus are beautiful, there can be no denying that. But are they practical? Can anyone possibly live out their day-to-day life following the principles Jesus presents? 

Human life has been and always will be brutally competitive. There are winners and there are losers. The losers don’t stick around long. Humble, gentle, merciful, peacemaker, open to being persecuted? All of those behavior traits would seem to lead to absolute disaster. We live in a world which if you don’t look out for yourself, no one will! 

And yet, we haven’t yet mentioned the word Jesus repeatedly used to describe the result of living out his plan for our lives – “blessed”. People define “blessed” in different ways, but one thing all the definitions have in common is that it is good to be blessed. Every human being wants blessings! And so, we are left with the confusing thought that behavior which common sense would tell us leads to a whole lot of pain and suffering, Jesus says leads to blessings beyond our comprehension. 

Jesus never said that his teaching would always be obvious. But he did prove beyond any doubt through his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead, that when he says something is good for us, we should listen carefully. Some might say the “blessed” statements of Jesus present life through overly optimistic rose colored glasses. Jesus might well respond, “But are they true? That’s what matters.”     

Worship service times: Saturday: 6:00 pm & Sunday: 10:00 am


Saturday, February 5, 2022

The Recruitment Pitch?

 


If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” 

Jesus clearly did not take Marketing 101! It just doesn’t make sense. The same one who said that he came to rescue all people for eternity now makes an individual appeal to those same people by saying they would have to give up all their personal rights and be subject to his leading, which by the way, would involve a considerable amount of discomfort. Seems like a disastrous plan to get people to buy in to his movement. But that is just the point, Jesus isn’t concerned about convincing human beings to “buy in” to what he was doing. His concern was not to flatter people into following him. No, he was inviting people to be a part of what they needed most. Jesus was interested in confronting us with divine truth. 

Sometimes people want to bargain with Jesus. They may not say it in so many words, but their attitude is, “Lord, I will follow you if you give me the kind of life I want.” That thinking, however, is something Jesus never tolerated. We don’t come to him on our terms. Instead, we surrender our rights because we believe the Truth about life, death and eternity are all found in Christ. 

When people asked about becoming one of his disciples, Jesus always encouraged them to consider seriously what they were getting into and their expectations. He never promised a joyride of pleasant experiences. Instead, he offered a realistic picture of following God in a sin broken world. An easy life? No. A never-ending adventure? Absolutely! 

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.