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 


Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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