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You may have noticed that the Pathway bulletin is no longer posted on this home page.  Bulletins have been moved to a separate page.  This website will be replaced with a new and improved version.  Please leave a comment with answers to these three questions and other thoughts.

Thanks for your input.

Hearing God

Do you long to approach God as you would a dear friend? Is it truly possible for you to hear God speak today? You can learn to recognize God’s voice, if you listen! You don’t need to be a super-religious person to hear from God. All you need is a hunger for him and a listening ear.

I have found what many have discovered: God speaks through his Holy Word, and he communicates with us as we pray. He whispers to us through his Holy Spirit in the quietness of our hearts. He does this because he wants us to be in an intimate relationship with him – a relationship he desired before we were even created. A.W. Tozer said, “God waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.: He waits for you to want him!

Listening is a lot like waiting. When we’re in the midst of either, we often feel like we are wasting time. Paradoxically, some of God’s greatest gifts come in the still hours we spend in his presence. When we really learn to hear God’s voice, we allow him to share his plans with us and actually involve us in his work! We never know what truth God will show us or how he will impact others through us, but one thing is sure: Life becomes an adventure.

God is always listening to you. He invites you to listen to him as well. “Be still, and know that I am God,” he says to you (Psalms 46:10). Listen…

– Marilyn Hontz, Listening for God

Law and Grace

Do you ever wonder how you can overcome the tendency to do wrong things? I mean, we kind of lean toward messing up don’t we. I would really like to get rest from the fight against myself where I know what is right but don’t do it. Maybe I need a tutor, but I would probably try to sneak off and do something bad even with a tutor.

In the early Roman Empire, Greek culture reigned supreme. The Greek language was dominant and education was of rising importance. At first education was limited to the practical side of life. As the role of education expanded mathematics, reading and writing also became more important. In a typical upward mobile family it became important for the whole family to be educated especially in the Greek language – the language of philosophy and politics. Since it was cheaper to buy an educated Greek slave than to send children to a school, slaves were purchased to be tutors.

The job of a typical tutor was to watch over the education of the household children. They were to be certain that the children learned the “right” lessons. The apostle Paul lived in that world and in explaining the role of the law to the Galatians in chapter 3 he illustrated that the law was like a tutor. The Message renders it this way, “23-24 Until the time when we were mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God, we were carefully surrounded and protected by the Mosaic law. The law was like those Greek tutors, with which you are familiar, who escort children to school and protect them from danger or distraction…25-27 But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.”

So how do you read the law in the Old Testament? Do you only hear the authoritarian voice of a demanding God, or do you hear the voice of promise? The promise is a right standing before God – rightness in our lives – a rightness that is a gift, not a rightness we work toward. The law was given as a protector delivering us to that place where we could receive that rightness from God directly – the law was only the tutor. That promise was given to Abraham, who believed God. Are you an ever failing rule keeper, trying to follow rules that can never make you right? “Galatians 3:5-6 Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.”

Today is Pentecost! In the church it is the celebration of the giving of the Holy Spirit. The result of receiving the Holy Spirit is power to witness to a life changed on the inside by God. The Holy Spirit is not the tutor – He is the comforter and the transformer. He is the promised one who makes the promise come alive within us. We celebrate that love this morning.

-Pastor Mark Lipscomb

Mother’s Day — Consider This

I recently asked my son how many moms he has and he said, “two, a birth mom and ‘this’ mom.” Your mom might not be your birth mom. Maybe it’s your grandmother or an aunt? Maybe it’s a step mom or a friend of the family that took you in? Moms come from different places. Sharing the same blood doesn’t make you a mom. Taking care of a child, watching them grow, kissing their booboos, reading bedtime stories and cheering them on at baseball games, those are some of the things that make you a mom. The interesting thing is that all moms have a common thread. They love their sons and daughters and they love them unconditionally.

We don’t all get to start out life with the kind of love the TV commercials show. Sometimes life is messy, but hopefully somewhere along the line a woman takes us into her heart and becomes our mom or at least a mom figure. That woman “mothers” us like God wants us to be mothered. For that, I am thankful.

In Exodus 1:15-22 there is a story of the Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah. They were instructed by the king of Egypt to kill all the male Hebrews as they were delivered. They chose to be disobedient to their king and didn’t kill any of the boy babies. They chose to obedient to God and not to the Egyptian king. They didn’t know these children, they just knew that they needed to live. Because of their obedience they were blessed by God.

No matter what kind of mom you are, we are grateful. Thank you for meeting us in the womb or meeting us later in life. As children of “mothers” we love your imperfect love.

Thank you!

-Brendon Lake

Set Apart

The following is the introduction to this Sunday’s (April 6) worship service:

Today’s service will look quite a bit different than usual. The seating arrangement isn’t straight rows of chairs, but groups of tables and chairs. Our usual two services have been combined into one larger service. The music selection is more eclectic than what you would expect. Communion will be served in a way that might seem unfamiliar to you. We’ll have a meal together after the service, something that we don’t do regularly. And then we’ll have our annual meeting, something that we reserve for a once-a-year
occurrence. This morning will just be different.

Sometimes being different happens on purpose. Sometimes it takes effort to set ourselves apart from everything and everyone else. Today, we’re being different on purpose. It’s easy to come to church on a Sunday, bow our heads for a few seconds of prayer, sing four songs, listen to a sermon, and go home. But it takes intention to be different. This morning, we’re being intentional and incorporating prayer
throughout the entire service more heavily than usual. Why? Because the opportunity and privilege of prayer is one of the things that sets us apart as Christ-followers, and we want to take full advantage of that privilege! We often talk about the importance of prayer, but sometimes we neglect to actually engage in prayer. Sometimes we trust in our own strengths, our own ideas, our own plans, and our own resources in order to get things done.

But today, we will be intentionally different. Today, we will choose to lay aside our own strengths, ideas, plans and resources so that we can focus on God and His strength, His ideas, His plans, and His resources. Today, we look to His priorities and plans, and ask that our priorities and plans would align with His.

Today, we choose to take our place as a House of Prayer (Isaiah 56:7).

— Terra Penninga

In Memoriam — Nancy Hubbard

Perry and Nancy Hubbard have been missionaries with Global Partners since 1986. They have served in Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea, and Guyana. In 2008 they relocated to Panama where they currently live and minister.

Perry serves as the Interim Director of JIBACAM, the missions board for Ibero-America. He travels throughout Latin America presenting seminars on missions and developing materials to promote missions.

The Hubbards assist in the work of The Wesleyan Church of Panama. Perry is involved in the training of pastors and in the local men’s ministry. Nancy gives leadership to the hospitality ministry of the church and tutors English.

Some of you may remember 2006 when the Hubbards were with us for our annual missions conference.  They were both interesting and dynamic.  On their advice, we changed the way we organize our annual conference.

Sylvia and I were hosts to Perry and Nancy for that weekend.  I’ll never forget the frosty Saturday morning on the last day of September.  Nancy rose early and went out for a walk to see the effects of an over-night frost.  She captured the following image of a frost-touched dahlia in Sylvia’s flower garden.

This image, which she shared with us, speaks deeply to me of the fragility of life.  For over a decade Nancy fought the battle against cancer.

With deep sorrow, I read the message from Perry this morning.  While her adult children were rushing to Panama to be by her side, she passed into the presence of our Lord.  The children were able to speak with her by telephone before she passed.

Her battle over, I believe she would agree with the unknown poet who penned these lines.

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God has laid you see.
I took His hand when I heard him call
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found that peace at the close of day.

If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee
God wanted me now; He set me free.

 

Appreciate what ya got!

Marriage moment: take a minute to appreciate your spouse. Since I’ve changed jobs I only see her at home now. I miss those moments we had at break time and lunch times. You are my world Michelle Morgan-Trowbridge!
You say eww mushy. I say no thats what marital love is all about. Not getting enough of one another.

The devil made me do it.

Have you ever said that? Maybe even thought that? I don’t want to be considered a tool of Satan. There has been way to many times when this happens. We say or do something we think is helpful or justifiable and it turns out to devastate the one who is the receiver. There are times when we are just upset with something that doesn’t involve us and we have to say something about it. Oh my we just can’t keep quiet we have to speak. Satan wants to use those moments to devastate the church. I work in a factory. It seems that people are always worried about what someone else is to doing and how they’re doing it. It seems to always be negative. In these situations people seem to be so terribly negative seemingly to be the tool of the devil.
So here’s the gist of it. Let’s not be that tool that negates the work of God. Let’s be more careful of what we say and do in response to things we don’t necessarily agree with. Let’s be Christ to the world and to do so we need to Love everyone with Christ’s love. Our witness is null and void if we love conditionally.

Do you really?

Marriage hint:
How often do we say we love each other out of habit? Come home from work and what do we say? I love you. Before we go to bed? I love you. I’ve began to think a lot about this lately. I don’t want to say it out of habit. I do love my wife more than ever. 28 years ago April 1st I asked my wife to “go steady” with me, but the love I have for her now is different. My love is stronger, so when I say I love you Michelle Trowbridge I truly mean it.

Whether your dating or married, if you love your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, say it and mean it.