- Do you come to this website to see the Pathway bulletin?
- Is this your only way to see the bulletin?
- Are you on Facebook?
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.
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
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
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.
Because Saranac schools are closed today, Supper’s Ready and The Rock are cancelled. See you next week.
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.
Have you ever considered a vacation in Smyrna? You might find out something about your worth. You probably would not choose that destination, it does not sound like a great place. From a resident’s point of view it is a place of affliction and poverty. Some of the people there make false claims about themselves concerning their righteousness, but the Spirit says that they are a synagogue of Satan. Oh, that was not a compliment. The encouragement from the Spirit seems to be,
‘Oh, by the way, you will suffer and be put in prison (as a test), you will be persecuted (for a limited time) even to the point of death, but don’t worry about it. Just stay faithful and you will get some kind of authority/reward/crown and the second death will not hurt you at all.’
However, the Spirit calls the church in Smyrna “Rich.” Would you like to go to this rich place? The unfortunate truth is that most of us live there at least from time to time. Some of us in the church, the ones who have it “all figured out” but not really, live very close to the synagogue of Satan. Some might even be Deacons in that synagogue. I take no pleasure in saying that, but it might be true. Others of us live in the shadow of that synagogue and are under its persecution.
So what is the Spirit saying to the church in Smyrna and what is the Spirit saying to the church at large? I think the message is about worth. For example, don’t measure your worth by your circumstance. The Smyrna church was in horrible poverty and yet they were rich in the things of God. They were rich in mercy. They had not set themselves up as the authorities that rule everything. They did not have to make a judgement on everyone. They understood and practiced humility and meekness. This may be why the church gets the crown of life. The crown of life might signify authority, wealth and health.
Another thing that the Spirit might be saying to the church may be a warning against the façade. God desires to drive falseness from our soul. He calls this falseness a synagogue of Satan. It seems like there is a clear choice to be made. Join the synagogue of Satan with all of its accusations, and self-important righteousness, which is a mean spirited righteousness that is evil in every aspect, or practice humility and submit yourself to God to join His way. The former is easier and seems successful and the latter seems lowly, but maybe it is the other way around. Maybe the Spirit is saying that things are not always the way they seem in our limited perspectives. Maybe the Spirit is saying hang on…the rescuer is coming, hang on…
What do you think the Spirit is saying to the churches? See you next in Pergamum.
Today, Sunday November 29, marked the beginning of Advent. Today, also marked the beginning of West Berlin and The Bridge coming together for Sunday worship.
This morning, the combined teams led in the singing, setting the tone for the worship experience.
Pastor Joel Leipprandt delivered the message, “Love Revealed: To Bring Justice.” The scripture text was Isaiah chapter 42.
After the message, we celebrated communion. Then we sang and were dismissed.
Pastor Joel summed it up very well with two words: “Better Together.” That certainly seems to be the case.
This is the online location for West Berlin Wesleyan Church. If it looks like our blog, that’s because it is. In addition to that, you’ll find info that was on our former Website. Take a minute and explore the other pages (links below the top banner).
Please send comments to webman [at] wbwc [dot] us.