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

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.