Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

76-6224 Ali'i Drive
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740
USA

Living Stones Church, a church in Kona Hawaii, is a diverse group of individuals united by a common love for Jesus. Our goal is to become the kind of church described in the Bible: a culture of faith. 

Living Stones Church Blog

Be inspired and challenged by posts shared here by the pastors, staff and ministry leaders of Living Stones Church. 

Easter

Megan Mitsuda

by John Randerson

We devote a massive amount of time, energy, and money to put on a spectacular Christmas event. It is one of the highlights of the year for us, and a major drawcard for the community. But Easter is not a major event for us. Our numbers will be up since there is a tradition in the West for people to go to church on Easter Sunday. But how will this particular day be more than just another Sunday? What about Good Friday? Or the season of Lent? I believe Easter is the most important event in history, and way more significant than Christmas. I’m not talking about bunnies, chickens and chocolate eggs, but about how Jesus procured our salvation and our eternal destiny!

On Good Friday we need to reflect on the tragic events of that day. The fate of humanity resting on the shoulders of Jesus who sweat blood as he drew the courage to endure the humiliation and pain of crucifixion. John chapters 18 & 19 tell the story of that day. Reading and meditating on those verses brings what Jesus did into focus for us, and prepares us for the miracle of resurrection on Easter Sunday.

What does the Bible tell us about Christmas and Easter? We will ignore the well-known fact that Jesus was most certainly not born on December 25th, and the less well-known fact that the wise men could not have been part of the manger scene. Some traditions just can’t be messed with! 

But only two of our four Gospels tell us about the birth of Jesus—Matthew and Luke. Mark and John set out to prove that Jesus is the son of God by what he did during his ministry years, and by his death and resurrection. The miraculous birth of Jesus is not part of their story. In contrast, all four Gospels devote a huge amount of space to the last week of Jesus’ life.  26% to be precise. How much space does the Christmas story get—3%! 

Paul sums up the Gospel in just a few words in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (NIV). 

Paul then goes on to make the case that if Jesus was not physically raised from the dead then our faith is a waste of time, and Christians are a bunch of losers deserving only the world’s pity. The birth of Jesus is not even a part of his argument.

I am no Grinch! I love Christmas and love our celebration of it. But Easter reminds me that my faith rests on what Jesus accomplished on the cross and then consummated by rising from the dead! Death has lost its sting! Satan loses!  

Hallelujah, Christ is risen indeed!

The Pride Chronicles: No-Conflict Zone

Megan Mitsuda

Author: Sara Burns

Everybody knows that it’s prideful people that cause the most fights. Think of super villians. The good guy is always stealing the bad guy’s fame or power so the bad guy has to fight them. Captain Hook and Peter Pan, The Queen and Snow White, whatever that big fella’s name was and Popeye. Their pride all came out in their constant conflict. But there’s a sneaky form of pride that I have recently been investigating. It is the pride of conflict-avoidance.

What I have concluded is: Pride can be revealed by a lot of conflict around someone and also by no conflict. This little sneaky form of pride is resisting any and every form of conflict.

Here’s the test: if I am avoiding conflict for the good of another, that’s love. If I am avoiding conflict out of prudence and discretion, again, it’s a win. If, however, I am avoiding conflict because I don’t personally like conflict, then maybe I need to take a closer look at my motivations.

Bad Reasons to Avoid Conflict

What are some of the wrong reasons I have for avoiding conflict?

One, it tarnishes my perfect record. Arguments tend to expose. My emotions become a little more raw and unpredictable. I may end up saying something I didn’t want anyone to know was inside me, let alone hear. I may reveal a selfish motivation or hidden insecurity, and have now given evidence against myself. I don’t want that because I want a perfect score.

Here’s a painful truth: conflict-avoiders, like myself, are prone to self-righteousness. Since we are expert emotion-controller/concealers, we think those hidden faults are more excusable. We think that our composure and restraint render us irreproachable. Jesus liked Peter more than the Pharisees, and he let it all hang out. Just saying.

Secondly, I may avoid conflict because I just don’t want to be bothered. It’s draining and sticky and takes a lot of brain-power and emotional energy. And so, I find that in trying to avoid conflict, I often avoid contact. This especially happens with people who irritate me, people who seem antagonistic to me, or people whose problems I don’t think I can fix. I’m not only avoiding conflict, now I am avoiding potential conflict-makers.

You know who I’m talking about. You have faces from your circles of acquaintances popping to mind. There are people you view as sleeping lions and you tiptoe around them. God has amazed me, though. Some of the people with whom I assumed I would have the most conflict, have ended up being some close allies. In short, God is teaching me honesty, forthrightness, love and sacrifice will go such a long way in bringing opposites together. Love being the key ingredient.

Also, I have realized that in these situations, I haven’t stopped to ask God for help. I am pridefully relying on the resources I naturally have. But God is showing me to reject my “personality test results” if it gives me an excuse not to step boldly into new territory. I am a lion chaser, even though people have told me my whole life I am a “peace-maker”. I can’t let the assumptions I have made about my natural makeup to trump what God is challenging me to become. My personality test should just show the areas of sanctification that will be more of a challenge. I can’t say, “I don’t speak the truth in love” because I am an “I” (for introvert), or I can’t “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” because I am a “T” not an “F” (thinker, not feeler). We must embrace Jesus as our personality, though it will be expressed in many facets through our different make-ups.

Thirdly, maybe you don’t avoid contact but you try and diffuse situations and never address anything. Acquiescence may be godly wisdom and humility...and it may be the opposite. Letting things lie and not challenging people may seem like love in your eyes, but it really may be pride.

Yes, God says we are to live at peace with all men, “as long as it depends on us”. But is it lasting peace to cover things and pretend like they don’t bother us?

I was having a conversation with a friend this week who said, “I use the rule that I forgive offenses. But if there is someone in my life with a pattern of behavior that continually causes offense, I talk to them about it. It’s more loving that letting my resentment build.” This of course has to be accompanied by discernment and wisdom for the person in question and the situation, but I think it is very good advice. If I absolutely refuse to bring up a friend’s offensive behavior (and I say friend because you most likely don’t have the right to bring up a stranger or acquaintance’s faults), then you are not a loving friend.

Don’t let the preservation of your personal peace bubble supercede your love for a friend and passion to see them walk in the fullness of the Lord. Desire their good always. If something is ruffling your feathers and it’s more than just your irritable nature, they deserve to have a loving friend point it out so they don’t walk around offending others in the same way. You know the friend that points out when you have spaghetti sauce on your cheek or spinach in your teeth? Same idea. Help them avoid future embarrassment. Lay down your own uncomfortableness. Be willing to be wrong. Be willing to take the chance of having misread them, even. Maybe in the process, you will learn something about yourself that you can change, and that’s a bonus, right? Yes, right.

Be prepared for people to rage, qualify, or flat out deny the things you bring up, but here again will be a glorious chance to lay down your life and its pride, and take up your cross of self-denial. There will be times that God calls you to be a loving voice of conscience in someone’s life and you still walk away blamed and with a tarnished reputation in some circles. As long as from start to finish you were humble and full of generous love that wanted reconciliation, then it’s okay. It’s okay if you weren’t proven right in front of others. It’s okay if it wasn’t immediately well-received. Jesus was maligned, ridiculed and scoffed at for bringing loving truth. It’s your inheritance too. Follow it out in love. Keep walking away in love and never stop the love when they have stopped theirs. Hope for the best, pray for the best, and be humble.

 

 

Hidden Weapons

Megan Mitsuda

Author: Sara Burns

I have discovered a new source of personal revival. It’s in my kids’ room at night when we are putting them to sleep. Many nights I throw them in their pajamas, hug them, kiss them, and hightail it out to enjoy the first few minutes of peace and quiet of the day. But on the nights that I pause and spend time praying with them, Jesus meets us. I have realized a powerful secret through these times. Holy Spirit has things to tell me through their voices. This is for you too. Holy Spirit has things for us to discover that will be found as our kids’ spirits unite with their Father. The kids in our body. If the body of Christ is made of many parts and each one is essential, then we can’t afford to set aside our children as inconsequential members. There is more in their prayers than cute voices (and they are cute) and endearing naivete.

You may have heard, but it merits being repeated: there is no junior Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that moves in us and changes us and releases miracles and comforts and counsels, does the same in our children, in the same measure. We as parents and church family members have the duty and privilege to not only walk them into greater intimacy and communion with their God, but experience what God has to speak to us through them.

What if they pitch fits, stick out their tongues at their brothers, and disobey their mommies? Are they disqualified from listening to the voice of God? I’m going to pause and let you think about that one. I’m just going to wait and let you think about it…

Ok, now that you’ve pondered, what did you come up with? Whatever your decision, make sure you apply the same principle to your own life now. If you said yes, then that means next time you honk your horn in anger, send a spiteful text, or jaywalk (law-breaker!), you are disqualified from hearing God. But that isn’t walking in the grace and forgiveness Jesus purchased for you! He died for you to have a close relationship with God despite your sinfulness. If you said no, then the next time you misbehave, make sure you are also not disqualifying yourself from directly seeking His forgiveness and staying close to Him.

That said, the wonderful thing is our kids have built in safeguards just in the fact that they are kids! We adults who finally start trying to live the normal supernatural lifestyle have to make some pretty silly and embarrassing mistakes...and we don’t have the excuse of being kids. Just think, kids can take risks for Jesus and in most people’s eyes it is totally forgiveable. Because they’re cuter than you and me.

Not only do they have the cuteness factor as a protective perk in their first faultering steps in the Spirit, but they also have adults (parents, Sunday School teachers, and others) who can mentor them in their spiritual growth. We all have a mandate to raise the upcoming generation to walk closely to God. There are two parts to this job. We challenge them to take fun risks of faith, and we mentor them in knowing God.

What does this look like? This looks like leading by example in stepping out in faith: praying for the sick man at Safeway and bringing them along; prophesying goodness over their lives and encouraging them to do so in their sibling’s and friend’s lives. This looks like encouraging them to receive the Holy Spirit and then listen to His voice. (It’s not rocket science, folks. These are the basics.) It looks like helping them distinguish what’s God’s voice and what’s their own imagination; walking them through the Bible and teaching them what it says and how God thinks and feels about things. It looks like being an understanding ear to their struggles and feelings and giving wise, compassionate counsel. Don’t we want all the same in our walks? We want coaches who push us forward! Wouldn’t it be cool if we each had “parents” to whom we could bring everything we think God says and have them help us understand it? Our own personal spiritual mentor available 24/7! We need to help our kids take full advantage of this time of life.

The result is we will see kids who are walking in the strength of the Lord into adulthood. They will be taking up their own callings at earlier and earlier ages and living fully in the awareness of a God who loves them personally and uniquely. They won’t need to question, “Is God really real?” when they hit their teenage years. They will know Him personally and will have tested their faith already.

Isaiah 54:13 says:

All your children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be the peace of your children.

God desires relationship with His children of all ages and He earnestly desires fellowship with them. He wants to bring them wholeness. It is our jobs as parents and adults of the church to present a feast of the Lord’s presence before our kids. We need to let them taste and see that the Lord is good. He is ready to show them.

There is Kingdom ground waiting to be taken by children. There are nations whose false gods will crumble at the prayers of our kids. There is a great catch of fish that children will pull in for God’s great name. We cannot underestimate the power God wants to display in the humble form of children. His power is made great in their weakness. He has ordained praise from infants, not because it’s cute. It will humble the mighty and put the great of the world to shame. Children are one of God’s mighty hidden weapons.

Be Bold

Megan Mitsuda

Author: Maclain Boss

Our God is so great and amazing! While traveling to Fiji on an outreach this summer, God showed our team so many glimpses of Himself and His work. We saw His beauty in the vast and breathtaking nature around us- the sparkle of the bright sun on rivers surrounded by rolling green hills just before sunset, the warm grains of sand beneath our feet on the beaches, the cool rain and morning dew dripping into our tents. We saw His servants at work in the missionaries we stayed with our first two nights. Their passion and fire for the people of Fiji to know Christ was inspiring and their enthusiasm for loving the Lord infectious. We saw Him heal a man we prayed over, which was actually really cool because it was two of our students that the Lord used, and in my journal just that morning I had asked God to call hearts to Him and provide miraculous healings. We had the opportunity to share Christ and the hope that only come from Him with so many different individuals- Fijians, Hindus, children, parents, hospital patients, and basically everyone we encountered. Everyone we asked to pray for allowed us to pray for them, and I fully believe God is answering those prayers even this moment drawing hearts closer to Himself and healing physical ailments. I saw team members come so much more alive in their faith and boldly proclaim and live it out.

For instance, one evening we were driving past a Hindu temple that was lit up with the words on the building glowing green, and it was actually pretty creepy looking. In the backseat of the car, a high schooler started praying over that place and the people who would go there- that Christ would take over and become Lord and Savior in their lives. It was so cool and encouraging to see him take the initiative like that and trust God to hear and answer his words. On another occasion as we were walking around the hospital praying for patients, I was amazed by the authority with which each of the high schoolers were praying. They spoke life and hope into each individual’s life that they prayed over and it was all through the Spirit working in them!

Conviction hit home for me that day when we went to the hospital and prayed for patients. And note that this is a third-world hospital where everyone is laying on beds in one large room, divided by a few short walls you can see over, sometimes with very unsanitary conditions and few nurses or doctors. As we split into pairs and set out walking through the different wards I began to feel guilty because I didn’t want to be there. I was uncomfortable; I didn’t know how to approach people let alone know what to say once we did approach them. I didn’t have fancy words or prayers to offer. And I was the leader. I was supposed to know what I was doing. I was supposed to be the example to the students. But somehow there was no excitement in going up and sharing Christ with people and praying for them because I was more focused on my own insecurities. What if I say something wrong? What if it’s awkward or I make them feel uncomfortable? What if I don’t offer them what they need (knowing that Christ is more than enough but somehow not feeling like those words were enough)? The world of what ifs is a dangerous world to live in and we can easily get trapped there forever if we allow ourselves to.

But fears aside, I knew this was why we came to Fiji- to share the hope that we have within us (or at least claim to have within us). If we really believe everything we say we do about Christ and if He really is the hope we hold to, I knew that we had no reason to keep that to ourselves, uncomfortable or not. So uncertain and hesitant we continued onward going up and talking to people and asking how and if we could pray for them. And it got easier as we went along, maybe not less awkward, but we certainly were more confident. Even more amazing is the fact that everyone, including the Hindus, allowed us to pray. God’s going to totally change their lives and they won’t even know what amazingness hit them!  

While we were walking through the children’s ward we came to this family eating lunch outside. The father’s name was Thomas and he was there with his 5 children who all had Tuberculosis, which they had contracted from their mother. She died from the same disease nearly a month ago. Immediately my heart went out to them and I wanted to make things better for them all. We spoke with him for a few minutes and then prayed for him and the children. And as we walked away I started thinking how I wish I could have offered him something more- more hope, more comfort, something, anything. But then I caught myself and realized that yes perhaps we could have offered more specific words of comfort, but ultimately through speaking Christ and praying for them we gave the ultimate gift of hope. Did I really not believe that God is big enough to use even our simple words and prayer? No our God is so big and great and powerful. He can use any vessel of His message. It may be awkward and uncomfortable; we may not feel like we said things right or eloquently, but that leaves more room for Him to work. Paul says His strength is made perfect through our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). When it’s not all perfect words it leaves no question of it being our human eloquence that brings about transformation but rather it has to be God’s work.

I don’t know that going from bed to bed in hospitals or house to house in neighborhoods (as we did in the villages) are the most effective means to share the gospel and reach people in our culture. After all, Paul said he became all things to all men; he used different methods in different places to reach different people, always meeting them where they were (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). I think that direct evangelism such as we did in Fiji meets the culture where it’s at because the people are so open and welcoming, and perhaps even desperate for a message of hope. There you could share your entire life story and faith, hear theirs, and pray for them and their family, all within the first 30 minutes of meeting someone and before ever knowing their name. Here everyone (including Christians) is much more individualistic and closed off from sharing such “personal” things. You wouldn’t want to offend anyone or shove your faith down his or her throat, right? And somehow that closed off culture has given us an excuse to stay comfortable in our church circles never taking risks and being bold in sharing our faith, not wanting to ruffle any feathers or be seen as weird. But we need to share. We need to go. The call was universal to all of us to go out and share the gospel in all nations, which includes the strangers at Target and the orphans in Uganda (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8). I am so thankful for the reminder in that hospital that we do have the hope that everyone needs. We know the cure to people’s search for meaning, we know the One who will heal all their diseases, we know Who loves each and every one of them with a greater love than they’ve ever known, we know the way to a full life. And we have a responsibility to share that.

As one of the high schoolers said at the testimony night reflecting upon the trip, “We need to be bold. We have nothing to be afraid of.” Let’s go when God says go and be bold in our faith. We have nothing to fear.