Friday, July 28, 2023

Fighting Against God


It happened on a radio talk show years ago. A man who had spent several years in prison and then later remade his life going on to become a successful lawyer was explaining how such a transformation came about. At the end of the conversation, the interviewer asked, “If you could go back in the past and change something, what would it be?” There was a brief silence and the convict turned lawyer quietly responded, “Nothing.” The talk show host was taken by surprise and weakly repeated, “Nothing?” His guest went on to explain. “I had to go to prison to learn what I needed to learn. When I was young, I was so hellbent on living my life the way I wanted that nobody or nothing was going to keep me from doing just that. I had to learn the hard way.” 

Many years before a man by the name of Jonah had similar thoughts. God had told him to do one thing and Jonah was bound and determined to do the exact opposite. He knew better. He knew what he was doing was not wise, but he went ahead and did what he wanted. Jonah didn’t go to prison; he just spent a few days in the belly of a fish. But the lesson was the same as that of the man being interviewed, a human being can’t fight against God and win. 

The book of Jonah isn’t just for runaway prophets or convicted felons – it’s for each one of us. There isn’t a human being alive who hasn’t experienced the conflict of knowing what God wants us to do and then defiantly turning our back on that clear command. And many of us have also recognized the futility of fighting against God. Somehow, someway, he gets us where he wants us to go. Unfortunately, the process is so often much more painful than it needs to be. 

For some, the book of Jonah is the ultimate fish story. For those who can dig deeper and honestly look at themselves and their lives in relation to God, there are a whole lot of lessons to learn from this defiant man who still wanted to serve God. If you find, too often, that you are putting on the gloves and wanting to duke it out with God when it comes to his guiding and directing your life, join us this Sunday! 

Sunday Worship Time: 10:00 am

Friday, July 21, 2023

Too Big to Fail


Like most novel terms, the saying “Too Big to Fail” can have various meanings, but for most it leaves the impression of a person or group of people who believe they are so important, so necessary that no matter what they do, someone is going to rescue them. It’s a term that is almost always linked to extreme pride. 

Only until recently pride was typically seen as a serious moral defect. Today, however, arrogance has been not only legitimized, it’s been glorified! The bigger, badder, meaner a person can be, the more reason to be proud. It’s a sign of strength to get in someone’s face and say, “I’m better than you and what are you going to do about it?” 

The irony about pride is that though we admire and seek it, we detest it in other people. That should be an indication our view of pride is warped and needs re-evaluation. As you can probably imagine, the Bible writers have a good deal to say about pride and it is very different from what we see and hear in our day-to-day lives. 

Near the end of the Old Testament, there is a short book, only one chapter, by a man named Obadiah. It’s all about a group of people who thought they were too big to fail. History bears out the fallacy of that thinking. Obadiah’s message is brief, to the point and extremely important – no one is “too big to fail” in their relationship with God. To get it right with Him, humility, not pride, is the key concept. If you don’t struggle with pride, check your pulse to see if you are alive. If you are, think about joining us this Sunday for a healthy examination of pride, people and God.

Sunday Worship Time: 10:00 am

Thursday, July 13, 2023

“Until Then!”


It’s usually a positive parting of ways when one person says to the other, “Until then!” It means that they have some kind of future meeting planned and they are both looking forward to that encounter. “Until then!” means there is going to be a next time. 

The cataclysmic effect of human rebellion against God’s rightful rule of the world created the most permanent “good-bye” imaginable – death. It is the singular traumatic event we experience when we speak for the last time with someone we care for deeply. In those gut-wrenching moments, the only emotions we feel are those of loneliness and intense separation. The pain is so devastating, people have debated for thousands of years if there is some kind of life after death in which people will be reunited. Some have eagerly latched on to such hope, others have dismissed it as wishful thinking. But then something happened two thousand years ago on an early Sunday morning which exploded the after-death reunion discussion. 

A man who had made spectacular claims about himself did something to back up those claims in an irrefutable way – he came back from the dead after being executed on a cross three days earlier. Jesus Christ, the most controversial figure in history settled the question of life after death with his own physical return to life. The evidence which he left to support his historical resurrection is as strong today as it was when his first followers announced the news to the world. 

What does an event which took place 2000 years ago mean to you? It means you don’t have to say “good-bye” to those you love. Through Christ, you can say, “Until then!”, even as they take their last breath. That’s a message too good to pass on. Join us for our worship service this Sunday and begin living an “Until then!” life. 

Sunday Worship Time: 10:00 am

Friday, July 7, 2023

Living Large


It’s hard not to want to jump into the photo above. What’s not to like about it? A gorgeous pool, a comfortable lounge chair, the warm sun, a refreshing beverage, and a peaceful environment. It’s the ultimate vacation scene. It’s what we dream our lives should be. It’s “living large”! Maybe we don’t want to sit by a gorgeous pool all day, every day, but we do want to have life on our terms all day, every day. It’s addictive, having nice things to eat, pleasant activities, no stress, and enough money so that we never have to ask, “How much is it?” 

Enjoying the creation God gave human beings is part of his plan for our lives. What he did not plan for, however, is that our sole objective in life be to dedicate our entire selves to leisure, comfort and the pleasure of satisfying our physical and sensual desires. The difference between appreciating what God has given us and living large is perspective. The believer understands that our happiness in life happens when we put God first in every part of our lives, even the enjoyment of physical blessings. Living large sees those physical enjoyments as the ultimate goal of life – the reason for living..

Living large is a subtle trap so many Christians fall into, especially in our very prosperous United States. We may not be able to live large all the time, but we experience the sensation enough that it becomes intoxicating. 

A man by the name of Amos talked about the Living Large Syndrome. Before you blow him off as an irrelevant fanatic who lived 3000 years ago, join us for our Sunday worship service. You’re going to be surprised at how little the living large temptation has changed in three millennia. 

Sunday Worship Time: 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.