Be different. Make a difference.

Since long before I arrived at Pathway, every month after the church gathers to worship God through prayer, songs of praise, fellowship, and Bible teaching, people pick up a reusable bag and a grocery list on their way out the door to participate in our Bag Hunger outreach. A week later, when the church gathers again for corporate worship, dozens and dozens of bags come back filled with goodies to be distributed through partnerships that we have with ministries and organizations who address needs in our community.

Along with other ministries of mercy through Pathway, why is Bag Hunger important to us as a church community?

From the very inception of the Church in Acts, Gods people have been set apart to be different and to make a difference.

And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. Acts 4:32-33

The early church community was different than any community in the world. At first its easy to assume that their behavior is what makes them different. However, its their identity and their motive that really sets them apart they are the people who believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians in the early church believed that Jesus resurrected from the dead and, in doing so, brought the first glimpse of the kingdom of God into this broken world. When Jesus passed the mantle of ministry onto the Holy Spirit inspired church, their motive mirrored Jesus motive:

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

Ministries like Bag Hunger give us a chance to show love to people in need, which is wonderful! But in doing good deeds, lets not forget our identity and our motivation: We believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ who gave us the first glimpse of Gods kingdom.

We are differentand because of that, we can make a difference!

Neighborhood Parties - Why Not Us?

 

Who is going to throw the best neighborhood parties this summerWhy not us?

When reading through the Bible have you ever been struck by Gods commitment to celebration? Think about it: in the Old Testament when God would do a magnificent work amongst his people, afterward they would often celebrate feasts and festivals and carry them out every year as a way of remembering Gods triumphs over his adversaries. One of the greatest examples of this is the Passover meal an epic celebration meal with several intentional parts that all serve as reminders of  Gods faithfulness to his promises, and ultimately death passing over Gods people. The event of Passover revealed Gods mercy, grace, and love and the meal serves as a beautiful reflection of that.

Now consider the New Testament. Jesus was always eating meals with people. His first recorded miracle was at a wedding celebration. He had a reputation for dining with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10). Pharisees even accused Jesus of being a glutton and a drunk (Luke 7:34). Time after time in the four gospel accounts we see Jesus eating with all different types of people.

Theres so much more! One of the precious sacraments Communion is a celebratory meal that reminds us of what Jesus accomplished through the cross. The culmination of God making all things new in Revelation is marked by a spectacular wedding feast!

Throughout history, and from Genesis to Revelation, God has revealed a commitment to celebration whether to rejoice in his victory over sin, suffering, and death, or to invite marginalized people into relationship with him.

As Gods people, the church, we should commit ourselves to throwing the best neighborhood parties this summer initiating with our neighbors, investing in relationship by showing them they matter to us, and inviting them into our livesbecause thats what Jesus has modeled for us.

We are committed to the cause of celebration at Pathway. We want people from the church to throw the best parties to bless their neighbors. If you need help throwing a neighborhood party we want to help by offering you our Pathway Neighborhood Party Kit that includes:

4 - 8 ft. tables
32 - folding chairs
2 - coolers
3 - corn hole sets
1 - pop-up tent
And…a BOUNCE HOUSE!!!

If youd like to reserve the Neighborhood Party Kit for your party, or if youd like to learn more, email gdegarmeaux@lifeatpathway.com.

From the Nations to Pathway

Recently I was corresponding with an international missionary and we were discussing the idea of blessing. We agreed that Christians addressing the felt needs of people is of high importance. There’s a saying, “sometimes it’s hard to hear Good News when you’re hungry.” And after all, who is going to argue with caring for orphans, widows, and the other most vulnerable people in our society? Sometimes people need to be shown love before they believe the message of love.

But my missionary friend was quick to interject that the greatest blessing that we have to offer is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we’re just helping people be more comfortable on the way to eternal suffering. That’s no blessing at all. Outreach is often the marriage of gospel presence and gospel proclamation.

That said, for several years Bag Hunger has been a wonderful instrument to help bless others in our community. As we continue this initiative we are excited to find creative ways to not only show the gospel, but share the gospel. For instance, this month our Path of Hope adoption ministry is leveraging Bag Hunger to collect supplies to bless children in the care of Beaver County Child & Youth Services. As they gather supplies and take them to BCCYS they’ll undoubtedly be asked, “What made your church want to do this?”

How do you think they’ll respond?

What would you say?

Consider what Paul told the church in Philippians 2 just after he encourages them to take on the humility of Christ, the greatest servant the world has known,

“…you will shine like stars in the universe, holding out the word of life…” Philippians 2:14-16