Weekly Newsletter: January 15, 2016

Verse for today:

Jeremiah 29: 11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Sometimes things are not as we want them to be.  Despite our best efforts, our circumstances aren’t “user friendly”. Perhaps 2016 didn’t start quite as you had hoped.  Panama is looking at a very long and dry “dry season”, with discussions of how to start saving water already.  Some of the foremost critics of the financial world are indicating that in 2016 we should expect a “correction” like the one in 2008 – i.e. a crash of the financial markets.  When we look at the world situation – perhaps we don’t see peace and hope.

This verse says that God plans to prosper us, give us hope and a future:  But what about translation? Obviously knowing the original language helps, but everyone can look at different English translations in hard copies or on the internet. Consider these three translations:

NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

ESV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

NAU ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Hmm. “Prosper you” in NIV becomes “welfare” and “wholeness” in the other two translations. In general, an interpretation that only holds with one translation is likely to be suspect. According to Webster’s, “prosperity” means “the condition of being successful or thriving; especially economic well-being.” That is certainly not what “wholeness” means, and even “welfare” has quite different connotations. This should give you an important clue that learning the specific Hebrew word will be helpful.

As it turns out, in this case the Hebrew word is one you may already know: “Shalom.” Normally this word is translated “peace”, but it has a much wider range of meanings than our word “peace”. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament uses these words to describe it: “Completeness, wholeness, harmony, fulfillment. . . . Unimpaired relationships with others and with God.” So the emphasis of the word is not on economic prosperity, but more on the positive relationship with God and others.

Jeremiah was trapped in the city of Jerusalem which was being dissembled by the Babylonians.  False prophets were telling the people, “Don’t give up; there’s still hope.  God will surely send a miracle of deliverance as He has in the past.”  But Jeremiah’s message was, “There’s no last minute miracle on the way.  The judgment of God is falling.”  In chapter 29, he wrote to exiles who had already been deported to Babylon, giving the same message, but in the middle of it we find this remarkable verse of comfort and hope (v. 11).  In looking this chapter, we can learn something about responding to negative surroundings.  When we are not where we want to be, how should we respond? What relationships can we build on?

Verses 13 and 14 of Jeremiah 29 give us our response:

Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.

So, as you are looking at 2016 and the possible difficulties that you may face – look at your relationships.  Which are the important relationships that you want to be drawn closer in?  What are the relationships you want to build on?  How will your hope and future look if these were stronger and firmer?  How will your relationship with God become stronger and firmer this year in spite of your circumstances?


Worship Service at 10 a.m. – ALL ARE WELCOME!

SPEAKER: Joel Guerra

Sunday School Teachers: On Vacation

First Testament Readings and Psalm Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalm 36:5-10
Epistle Reading 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Gospel Reading John 2:1-11

 Prayers Concerns

Please Pray for Our Brothers and Sisters from Siria and Iraq

Lord, please remind the world that we are all brothers and sisters and there should be no violence among us, only love and attempts to understand one another.

We also remember in prayer our former pastor:

  • Luis Veagra – facing health issue

Up-coming BUC Activities

Visit to Fundacion Nueva Vida in Howard

January 17th (3rd Sunday of the month) we will be vising the Fundación Nueva Vida home in Howard – please join us immediately after the service to go on this visit.

BUC Patio Sale Saturday – January 30thPatio sale ad 2 2016

The coming weeks will be receiving donations of clothes and shoes of ladies, gentlemen and children, also home appliances in good condition, all that you already do not use or do not have any more space in your house to keep it, please come and donate it to BUC patio sale, our office schedule is of 9:00am to 4:00pm (Wednesday the office is closed) contact to us to 314 1004 or office@balboaunionchurch.org, memebership@balboaunionchurch.org  to coordinate delivery of the donation with the secretary, also we need Volunteers to help in the organization of patio sale

 Volunteers are required for:

1- Monday-Friday – January 25th – January 29th – to sort all of the clothes/furniture/ children’s toys / etc., and put prices on everything

2- starting 7.30 a.m. on Saturday morning – we need teams (usually 2 teams/relays) – that can “walk the floor”, answer questions, and collect the money (we usually have one person helping add up the amount and another with the money).  Where possible, we would like two teams for the “till” at all times, as otherwise we get backed up.  Ideally we need about 10-15 volunteers on the actual day of the patio sale.  Typically we are done by midday (there’s nothing left of any great value).

Sunday, January 31, 2016 – Annual General Meeting

Our annual general meeting should be held on the 1st Sunday of February, but given that this year it is Carnavales weekend, we will be moving the AGM forward to the 31st of January, 2016.  We are asking for nominations to the following positions:

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

Committee Chairs:

  • Worship & Ministry
  • Christian Education
  • Adult & Youth Activities
  • Finance & Stewardship
  • Property Management
  • Missions
  • Membership

Our current Council Members and Chairs are looking forward to serving this year on the Council and Committees as the Congregation best sees fit according to their talents and abilities.

Other news:

Building 773:

We continue our work sprucing up Building 773 – the basement, apartment C and other common areas.  We would be happy to have any volunteers that can assist with this, and any donations towards this work would always be appreciated.

Good Deeds Program in Casco Viejo:

In  BUC Missions we are Collaborating with “Good Deeds ” Program: Here is more information regarding the Good Deeds Program. And here is some information regarding their activities, if you want to participate and volunteer more actively.