Weekly Newsletter: March 24, 2016

Verse for today:

Proverbs 1:24-33

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Call of Wisdom

24 Because I have called and you refused to listen,
    have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
    and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

Wisdom is not just a mother; she is also something of a prophet. Her first speech is nothing if not straightforward, and it is strongly reminiscent of several of the prophets. The irony is that so few people do listen to her voice.  Wisdom is, after all, on the busiest corner where everyone can hear. Everyone can, but not everyone will. We learn from this section that wisdom’s patience is long, but not unlimited. To reject truth is dangerous. There is a serious price to pay. The passage takes an even worse turn by describing how Wisdom will laugh when the foolishness of her audience comes back to roost. Such retribution is a hallmark of the traditional pole of Wisdom Literature throughout the ancient Near East and which is represented in the Bible most strongly in Proverbs and certain parts of Job.

Lady Wisdom’s words are reminiscent of the Deuteronomist and the prophets, but she speaks of wisdom versus foolishness instead of right living versus sinfulness.  Wisdom, Deuteronomist, and prophets all spell out the consequences of right versus sinful living in the hope of persuading listeners to choose the right way instead of the sinful way.

Bad things result from bad — or, in this case, foolish — behavior. What is striking, if not troubling, is Wisdom’s statement that she will laugh when ill fortune, panic, and anguish come upon her audience (verses 26-27). Proverbs 1:20-33 “is best understood as a sermon.  Its goal is to change the hearts and minds of the hearers”.  A few things should be said about Wisdom’s attitude here, which seems unfeeling and cavalier. The first is that Wisdom not only says she will laugh when this misfortune happens, but also that she will not answer when her audience finally comes to its senses and calls out to her (verse 28a). Indeed, even if they search diligently for her, they will not find her (verse 28b). These statements also indicate there is a statue of limitations on such important matters. One cannot live foolishly forever without reaping the “benefits.” And when those results come in, it is too late to undo the path that produced them.

Note the structure:

A because I called and you refused… (verse 24)
and because you ignored my counsel… (verse 25)

A’ Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof…. (verses 29-30)


Morning Service – English

10:00 a.m., Easter Sunday 

SPEAKER:  Pastor Diana Luz Parada 

Sunday School Teachers: Shery Hansraj

First Testament Readings and Psalm Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Epistle Reading 1 Corinthians 15:19-26; Acts 10:34-43
Gospel Reading John 20:1-18; Luke 24:1-12


Evening Service – Spanish / Español

5:00 p.m., Domingo Santo 

Esta semana se celebran la pasión y resurrección de Cristo. Disfruta de música y reflexión para meditar en el significado y relevancia de estos eventos en nuestras vidas.

This week at BUC:

Easter Sunday – Potluck lunch:


This will be followed by an Easter Egg hunt for the kids.

Saturday March 26th 10:00 am-AAAM Program

PlFotorCreatedease come and join us as we share with those in the community that most need it.  Our “oldies” would love to meet you! The 3rd Saturday of every month we have an opportunity to serve those in need, with food packages and not simply a Christian service and attention.  This is an opportunity to serve!


Next week at Balboa Union Church:

douglas-sheplerWe welcome Rev. Douglas Shepler and his wife Aleta, who will be visiting us for three weeks.  Pastor Shepler will be speaking next Sunday, April 3rd, 10:00 a.m.


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, was in hospital on Monday but expecting to feel much better and hopefully join us for Easter.

We pray for Luis Villar, one of our helpers in the Church: he has a lesion on his leg, which is taking a long time to heal due to varicous veins.

We pray for Pastor Bill Wilbur, of our sister church: Gamboa Union Church, who has been feeling quite under the weather and undergoing various tests to find out how the doctors can provide him with the best treatment.

Update from Bill Wilbur, Gamboa Union Church

March 20,  2016

“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might,  he increases strength.”

Isaiah 40:29


Over the course of the past 2 weeks,  this verse and many others similar to it have come to have a NEW  and deeper meaning for me.  God’s Word is more than a doctrine; it is reality.   This past Friday, 2 days ago,  I was released from the hospital after my neurologist  had urgently admitted me for which turned out to be a nine day stay.  On Wednesday March 9th,   after reviewing some specific blood work,  with great concern the doctor explained that I was showing strong symptoms of a chronic inflammatory disease of the muscles called polymyositis.   This is basically characterized by progressive muscle weakness throughout the body, “a wasting away of the muscles” which begins when white blood cells spontaneously invade the muscles.  Despite the difficulty in hearing a doctor’s report like this,  my spirit has felt greatly encouraged  and strong in the Lord,  as we have been so incredibly blessed to receive  such wonderful prayer support from the amazing Body of Christ.

We give thanks for wonderful spiritual leadership that has stepped in to assist during this time and we are so grateful for the Lord’s provision and faithfulness in all of this. God willing,  I plan on speaking on Easter Sunday on the power of the Resurrection and the new impact that this reality has had on my life.  We are continuing to look forward to wonderful people that the Lord is sending to bless us in these coming weeks during the morning services and a special baptism on April  10th.

We greatly appreciate your much needed continued prayer support for healing, strengthening, and further direction, etc.    Although I am home from the hospital,  I am quite weak and am continuing to be on cortisone medication, which can often have strong side effects.   We have been so greatly blessed to have our son David with us from Philadelphia during this time and he has been such an incredible blessing and help in so many ways.   Thank you SO very much for all your prayer support,  messages,  emails,  and phone calls  of support and encouragement.  We are extremely grateful to all of you and for all of you and will seek to continue to send updates.


Until All Know Him,

Pastor Bill

Other news:

Fundraising effort – 773 Land Purchase

2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

It is the pleasure of the BUC Council to inform you that we are fundraising to purchase the land under Building 773, across the street from the Church & parsonage.  As many of you know, BUC applied in 2000 for the purchase of the land, according to the terms of the Panama Canal treaty, of all three of our buildings: the church, the parsonage and building 773.  In 2012, thanks to the efforts of past and current members, the purchase of the land under the church and parsonage was finalised, and we were given title to not only our buildings, but also the land. At this time, we have title to building 773 itself, but we do not own the land under and around it.

We are asking all friends and members to collaborate and assist in any and all ways possible, financially, with their skills and time, so that we can make this purchase also a reality.  We ask you to give generously, as you are willing and able.

Please contact Leslie, our church secretary, for details on how you can make donations to this fundraising, or contact one of the Council members for more details if you have any questions. Thank you for your active involvement in these church plans for 2016!


Work on interiors 773 – “A much needed paint job”

As many know, building 773 has not received much of our attention over the past 20 years, as our focus has been on the maintenance and upkeep of the church building (we had major leaks in the roof a number of years ago as well as electrical issues which required our attention, and we still need to do maintenance work on our stain-glassed windows), with some attention being given to the parsonage (which also has a list of maintenance work that needs to be done).

However, a special donation was received specifically for common areas of building 773 – the shared laundry room, and the front and back stair wells.  Here are some photos of the progress that we are making on getting this “make over” completed.  
DSC_0117_1 DSC_0115_1 DSC_0114_1 DSC_0113_1 DSC_0112_1 DSC_0111_1 DSC_0110_1

DSC_0001_1 DSC_0004_1 DSC_0005_1 DSC_0006_1 DSC_0007_1 DSC_0008_1 DSC_0011 DSC_0012 DSC_0013

The new drywall (which is specially formulated for the humidity in Panama) is almost complete, after chipping off the worst parts of 20-30 years of paint. If all goes well, the paintwork will be finished this weekend, which means that on Monday or Tuesday the hot water heater can be installed in the laundry room, which will provide hot water for the 3 residential apartments.  But, there is still much work to be done on building 773.

Church Picnic 2016

This was a wonderful day for our church families, with many events for the kids that kept them busy all afternoon. We celebrated friendship and fellowship on the front lawn of the church, encouraging the adults to participate in the games all afternoon.

2016-picnic-5311 2016-picnic-5303 2016-picnic-5299 2016-picnic-5296 2016-picnic-5286 2016-picnic-5285 2016-picnic-5280 2016-picnic-5278 2016-picnic-5277