Aloha, Hope Chapel Honolulu!
TOWARDS TIER 4 OR…?
As we head into month sixteen since the COVID-19 shutdown here in Honolulu, we will continue to emphasize our community responsibility to love our neighbors over our constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms. The CDC and Hawaii Department of Health still recommend masks in indoor spaces such as ours. Consequently, we will maintain vigilance in cleaning our meeting space, requiring the use of masks, and encouraging reservations to ensure social distancing as expressions of “love and good works” at least for the time being. You can find more information at Choosing Safer Activities | CDC. Let’s remain faithful and diligent to practice what is taught in that Hebrews 10:23-25 passage I wrote about last month, particularly verse 24’s “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (ESV).
Our culture-specific expression for such faith here in Hawai’i might be our practice of kuleana. The historical belief and practice of kuleana had more to do with the stewardship of local natural resources and the relational responsibilities of the living in light of their ancestors and future generations. While our practice of kuleana here at Hope Honolulu may seem similar on the surface, our shared faith in Christ adds the spiritual components of worship, discipleship and witness. Let’s continue to grow in our individual and community understanding and practice of sabbath, submission, renewal and prayer so that our witness for Christ might be powerful and effective as we become, go and make disciples of the people of Honolulu, the Pacific, Asia and beyond—beginning in our homes, of course!—through prayer and meaningful relationships based on the Person and Message of Jesus Christ!
FROM LUKE TO ACTS
Although the news today—at the time of this writing—communicates that we will have to wait about two more weeks to see how effective the COVID vaccines really are after this past Memorial Day weekend, I’m more concerned about how we’re going to adjust our practices by the time summer comes to an end. One of the ways in which I believe God is preparing all of us is through the Bible passages He has directed us to study together. As we read through Luke throughout the last several months, I’m confident that you gained much insight and encouragement about the who and what of the Person and Message of Jesus Christ.
Upon finishing our community reading of Luke’s gospel account this weekend, we will transition to his account of the Holy Spirit’s work in the Early Church: the Book of Acts. Luke’s gospel concludes with an almost canopy-like eschatology, much like the sheet full of unclean animals that Peter saw in that vision while at Simon the tanner’s house just before going to meet Cornelius the centurion and witnessing a Gentile Pentecost. In the Book of Acts, we will discover that this canopy might actually be better described as the Person and Message of the Holy Spirit. I’m not trying to say that the respective Persons and Messages of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are somehow contradictory or in competition. However, just as God so loved the world that He gave His Son, so the Son so loved His disciples that He made the way for us to be indwelt, directed, empowered and sanctified through the Holy Spirit.
These may seem foreign, strange or even crazy ideas to you as you read, and perhaps even re-read the preceding paragraph. If so, I apologize for troubling you, and ask you to listen less to me and listen more for the voice of God through His Word as we read Acts together. I am continuing to trust and seek God’s direction for the who, what, and how of Hope Chapel Honolulu in this next season. My hope is that rather than a return to “normal,” we would actually discover that He is doing a new and wonderful thing in and through our lives as individuals, families, friends, and as a local church—that tangible part of His Body here in Honolulu, the Pacific, Asia and beyond as God would lead and provide.
- Please pray for the leaders of our nation, state and city, in business, government and education, for the leaders in and around the Pacific, for the nations that your own ancestors have come from and continue to ask God to grant them repentance unto salvation as well as the wisdom, resources and faith to meet the challenges they face in their hearts, homes and employment.
- Please pray for our Church Council, Oversight Team, MiniChurch Pastors, and our many volunteers without whom our live and online gatherings would be impossible. Please pray for Jackson Nakasone who is the owner of our building, asking and thanking God for provision and protection as we prayerfully seek to follow God’s leading, wisdom, direction and resources!
- Please continue to pray for those nearly 60% of our local population who are unable to pay some or all of their bills, who are anxious about unexpected expenses, their health or that of their children, food, clothing and shelter, let alone education or entertainment. Please pray for those who are worried about unpaid rent as the national rent moratorium comes to an end this month. Please also pray for local business owners, their employees and their families. Please pray that we would seek and trust in the God of heaven and earth together!
- Please continue to send prayer requests and praise reports to email@example.com and, if you haven’t already, consider joining our email Intercessory Prayer Team so that you can help support others in prayer and rejoice with them at God’s miraculous answers!
May the steadfast power, love and faithfulness of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be revealed to you and yours abundantly, I pray in the Name of Jesus Christ!