Friday, March 31, 2023

The Feel-Good Jesus


“What’s in it for me?” 

That can be a legitimate question. If we’re being asked to do something which requires a great deal of time and energy, we do need to know how we are going to benefit from all our efforts. 

But that question can also dominate our lives. It’s not a long step from being responsible to becoming totally self-centered. We look at people and think, “What can they do for me?” We consider helping someone and wonder, “What will I get out of it?” And, whether we will admit it or not, we sometimes feel the same way about Jesus. We wonder, “What has he done for me, lately?” 

The truth is, even in our relationship with God, we’re wanting to get our way and that usually means wanting to feel good. It isn’t hard to figure out why so many people are looking for a Feel Good Jesus. They just want him to make them feel good about themselves so that they can enjoy life on their terms. 

On the first Palm Sunday, there were a lot of people looking for a Feel Good Jesus. They were shouting “Hosanna” and dancing in the streets. But what they wanted was a Jesus who would make them feel good by driving the Romans out and ushering in a time of financial prosperity. A Jesus who would suffer, die and rise again did not fit into their feel good plans. 

While it’s easy to look back in history and judge other people with 20-20 hindsight, it is a much healthier exercise to look closely at our own attitudes towards Jesus and ask, “Do I want the Jesus of the Bible or do I want a Jesus who will grant me an unlimited number of personal wishes? 

As we celebrate Palm Sunday, remember Jesus comes as the King of Kings. He does not give us the option of molding him into the kind of king we want him to be. We must receive him as he is, whether it makes us feel good or not. 

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

Friday, March 24, 2023

“It Depends!”


How would you define the word “truth”? Take a moment or two and think about how you would respond to that question. At first glance, the answer seems so simple. We might even say something like, “Well the truth is the truth. You know. That’s just the way it is.” But what does that mean, “the truth is the truth”? 

If you asked people, “What is truth?” many would respond, “That depends on a lot of factors.” The impression they have is that truth is something that changes from day to day, person to person. We are comfortable with mathematical truths. No one will dispute that two plus two always equals four. The answer to that equation always has to be the same. But there is much disagreement over the truth about right and wrong, good and evil. Is it wrong to cheat on a test? Some will say, “Yes”! But many will also reply, “No, it’s okay to cheat if it will help you get what you want. It just depends on the situation.” And there is the key phrase “it depends”. 

Does the truth depend on one’s circumstances or is there some kind of unchanging, constant truth which permeates all human life? It’s an important question which we don’t talk about enough because how we answer that question will have huge implications on our daily lives. 

Many years ago a politician went against his gut feeling, making a decision he knew was wrong. To salve his conscience he muttered, “What is truth?” That man was Pontius Pilate. He has been remembered throughout history for that moral compromise. But the importance of Pilate’s question is not that it was motivated by self-serving cynicism, but rather that the answer to his question was standing in front of him. It was to Jesus Christ he addressed the question, “What is truth?” 

Relegating truth to a category of personal preference can seem liberating to the human spirit. It does just the opposite. It makes us slaves to our circumstances and our self-serving desires. Freedom is not in the statement, “Truth depends….” but rather in the confession, “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.” 

If you’re not sure how you would answer the question, “What is truth?”, join us for one of our weekend services. Jesus said that the truth he offers sets people free. Isn’t that worth checking out? 

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

Friday, March 17, 2023

“I Would Never Do That!!!”


It’s an expression of ignorant arrogance we find ourselves falling into on a daily basis. We look at other people. Make snap critical judgments and automatically make ourselves out to be superior with the dismissive declaration, “I would never do what they did?” The tragic irony of such an attitude is that very often we do much the same things for which we so harshly criticize others. But we deceive ourselves by thinking, “My situation is different.” 

On the night before Jesus Christ was crucified, one of his most vocal disciples, Peter, did what he would have considered the unthinkable. He denied even knowing Jesus not once, not twice, but three times. For two thousand years what Peter did has been discussed and debated, leaving people scratching their heads wondering what could have happened to a man who so confidently said hours earlier, “I will die for you, Jesus!” 

The truth is, there is the denial potential in every Christian. We are not nearly as spiritually strong or courageous as we imagine. The story of Peter is our story. But it is a story that though it begins tragically, ends very, very well. That’s because our God is the master of turning even the evil we commit, into something good. If Jesus could take Peter’s denial and use it to turn him into a great Christian leader, he can do something similar with us. 

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

Friday, March 10, 2023

Saved to Serve


It’s really not an option. We can make all the seemingly strong arguments to explain away what Jesus says, but, in the end, he said it and if he really is the Son of God, then we need to obey. The topic in question is serving. The night before Jesus was crucified, he washed his disciples’ feet. Then he turned to them and said, “…you also should wash one another’s feet.” 

If you are feeling a bit defensive, you are in good company. Most everyone is extremely hesitant about serving, and for various good reasons. Everyone is busy taking care of their own problems. How can we get involved in the life of another person when we ourselves often need help? 

“Won’t people take advantage of me?” Yes, they absolutely will. People took advantage of Jesus. In fact, people have disregarded and disdained what Jesus did for them for 2000 years in epic proportions. He knew they would do that. But he served anyway. 

“I can’t change anyone’s life. Whatever I do for someone else, it won’t make a difference?” How do you know? Remember, it’s not you working the change, that’s God’s job. You and I are just called to serve. 

“But I don’t want to serve!” Does anyone? Isn’t it the truth that rather than serving, we want everyone to serve us! That why being a follower of Jesus Christ makes us different, very different. 

Serving requires effort, patience, perseverance, and courage. But it is what Christians do because it is what Christ did for us. 

Join us for one of our weekend services. Serving may not be high on your priority list right now, but if you are serious about living a consistent Christ-centered life, then it needs to be. And one more thought. Jesus said “If you serve, you will be blessed.” Being blessed by Jesus, isn’t that worth giving some thought? 

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

Friday, March 3, 2023

Sin Sick


      “Men since the beginning of time have sought peace... Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn have failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. We have had our last chance. If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual renewal and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our matchless advances in science, art, literature, and all material and cultural developments of the past two thousand years. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.”

General Douglas MacArthur (1945)

       It is almost 80 years since General MacArthur spoke those words and we are still at the brink of Armageddon. Thinking back on the past 8 decades, it is, in a very real sense, miraculous that with all the destructive capacity nations have, the human race continues to exist.

      But the same theological problem persists, just as powerfully as it did at the very worst moments of World War II. It’s not a new problem. It’s not a complex issue. The problem is sin, evil, whatever you want to call it; but the problem always shows itself in prideful selfishness.

      The cure is theological, it’s not self-help. The cure is the old, old story which modern people love to dismiss but remains stubbornly relevant – the story of Jesus Christ. The cure is beyond us and some are beginning to admit it. We are sin sick and desperately need the supernatural intervention of Jesus Christ which comes in the form of healing forgiveness.

      If you are done with DYI fixes for sin in your life, join us for one of our weekend services. There is sturdy, solid hope – its name is Jesus. 

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.