Change and New Beginnings

by Pastor Dennis Webber

Image Top: Kintsugi - translated to “golden joinery” or “golden repair” is the art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold. 

Image Top: Kintsugi - translated to “golden joinery” or “golden repair” is the art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold. 

When writing to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul reminds them that the Kingdom of God is not open to those who deliberately choose a lifestyle of wrongdoing.  He then reminds them that that is what many of them were before they had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.  He says it this way – “That is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

A couple of those terms are pretty technical but Paul is trying to get them to understand that when Jesus sets us free from our old self of selfishness and addictions we are in His words “free indeed.”  All of us need to have the crud of our lives washed off but we are talking much more than a getting a spiritual shower.  

Paul uses those technical terms to indicate that everything about us changes when we engage in an encounter with Jesus.  Our very nature, our motivations, responses, and relationships change.  We are sanctified; our legal standing with the authority of the universe changes.   We, the person who did all of those things in the past, are declared fully forgiven and rehabilitated.  We are justified.

The Bible is full of stories about human lives being changed by personal encounters with God.  Moses the slave and murderer becomes Moses the deliverer.  Rahab the prostitute becomes Rahab the protector and along the way becomes part of the family into which Jesus is born.  Saul of Tarsus, who by his own admission was a violent man and an aggressor, becomes the apostle to the Gentiles.

As inspiring as these stories are, my favorite stories of change and new beginnings are the ones happening right now, right here.  It is the drug addict and thief who is now sober, productive, and yes charitable; a user having become a giver.  It is the promiscuous lady who has come to see herself in a new way.  A wayward daughter who now knows she is a daughter of the King.  It is the self-righteous man who has come to understand that a whole bunch of stuff is not the same as being personally whole.

That is why we are spending the first 8 weeks of the New Year to celebrate new beginnings.  Every week we are going to share in the stories of individuals who have experienced a new beginning with Jesus.  We are going to celebrate that change.  We are going to celebrate the journey that continues from that change.  We are going to encourage one another to finish the change that started when we were washed, when we were sanctified, and when we were justified.

To read the full newsletter this article appeared in, go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletter, January 2018, Vol. 2, Issue 1.

Posted on January 8, 2018 .

"Mini-mony"

by Shanna O'Donnell

Image Top: Kintsugi - translated to “golden joinery” or “golden repair” is the art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold. 

Image Top: Kintsugi - translated to “golden joinery” or “golden repair” is the art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold. 

Hello family, my name is Shanna O’Donnell and I am a grateful believer. I have been an official member of Parkway for the last year, but have attended off and on for most of my adult life. I have been blessed with a crazy beautiful marriage to the love of my life for 16 years and I have 3 awesome teenagers that experience autism. Life is busy and my connection to the Lord and my church family is extremely important to me.

I was raised in a household that believed in God, but did not believe in the church and I was never really acquainted with the bible. It wasn’t until I got married to my amazing husband that I was introduced to the idea of attending. Being married at such a young age and living in denial about my 3 children, I struggled with self worth, depression and crippling anxiety. Untreated and unconnected to Christ, I fell into the darkness of sin and addiction.

Out of desperation in 2007 I hit my knees and have since been on a journey with the Lord that I never thought possible. I was scared to surrender and resisted the idea that I was loved. I tried out multiple religions in an effort to justify my sins, when in reality I was looking for the freely given love of our Savior. Every time I attended church, I was overwhelmed by the Spirit and my own emotions would scare me away for weeks, sometimes months.

I wanted something different so I tried out different churches and embarked on a relationship with Jesus. In November 2014 I gave my life to the Lord and was baptized. The church I was attending lacked the personal connection I so desperately craved and I once again found myself in the balcony of Parkway. Overwhelmed by the Spirit, I knew I had found my family.

Being a part of the recovery community here in the Rogue Valley, my path to restoration was lacking the influence of Christ. Knowing that I needed him to be successful, I started attending Celebrate Recovery on Thursday nights and focusing on the truths of God instead of the lies of the enemy. The love of Jesus Christ has filled every broken space in my heart that I tried to fill with people, places and things.

In January of this year, my marriage took some brutal blows from our past and we reached out to the pastoral staff here at Parkway for guidance. With the help of our mentors and God’s unfailing love, my marriage and my life in general is overflowing with joy. The love of Christ alone brought me out of the darkness of my self induced chaos. I am now on the leadership team of Celebrate Recovery and you can find me every Sunday morning at Parkway praising my heart out.

Our Story

In January, Parkway will kick off a seven week testimony series. Each week you will hear a story from people who have lived lives of brokenness. For some, the brokenness was “out there” and for others it was well hidden, but all suffered the consequences from their own choices and from the choices of others. Stories will be on abuse, addiction, sexual brokenness, homosexuality, pride, legalism, and for most a combination of consequences.

God showed the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah that we are all pots shaped by the Lord and when we break, it is in His gentle hands that we are picked up and stitched back together with seams of gold. We are even more beautiful for our scars, yet WHOLE and able to serve in His kingdom. We proclaim our brokenness as a testimony of His love for us. 

In this series of testimonies, you will hear how broken and mended vessels have become a tool for ministry in our communities. We are all walking across the bridge of ministry, going from chaos to stability and back into the chaos as our stability
leads to ministry.

Join us in 2018. Enter into the stories. Be a part of the conversations. Bring a friend or neighbor to hear from one of our own. Come and witness grace. 

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

To read the full newsletter this article appeared in, go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletter, December 2017, Vol. 1, Issue 5.

Posted on December 1, 2017 .

There is Life After 50!

by Pastor Ron Marsh

Image Top: Annual B.I.G. (Blessed In God) Dinner at the Grants Pass Golf Course.

Image Top: Annual B.I.G. (Blessed In God) Dinner at the Grants Pass Golf Course.

Introducing our ministry to our empty nest adults, Life After Fifty (over 50 and still working) and Traditions for our retired adults.  LAF (Life After Fifty) events are offered on a monthly basis for our still working adults who have graduated their children into the main stream of life.  THERE IS…Life After Fifty with no children in the home, take advantage of these times to get acquainted with other folks of like circumstance and enjoy being empty nesters.  Watch for monthly events focused for you: game night in January, Valentine’s dinner in February and an evening Seder meal
in March.  Look for specifics as the dates draw closer, they will be published in this newsletter, on the website, in our bulletin, and on our bulletin board in the Fellowship Hallway by the patio entrance.

Pictured above is our annual BIG (Blessed In God) day event.  This year about 90 of us ate a wonderful meal at the Grants Pass golf course dining room.  Our first year trying this event off campus was a total success.  Due to the generosity of one of our supporters, who paid for the meal for all who attended, we were able to give our portion of the meal fees to aid the ROC (Reaching Our Community) food pantry Thanksgiving Basket Give Away.  The ROC will distribute 650 food baskets to the individuals and families in our community.  Traditions thanks our donor supporter and the ROC for their commitment to feed the less fortunate and needy in our county and Traditions is honored to be able to support these families.

Traditions will be distributing gifts to the former Fairview Rehab Center, usually about 75 folks, on Dec 21st during our meeting time followed by a Christmas potluck lunch.  You are invited to participate in distributing these gifts to the shut-in adults in our neighborhood.  Traditions ministry is also supporting families by adopting two families this year for Christmas gifts and food for a holiday meal.  We have adopted a family recently graduated from the Gospel Rescue Mission and a family that has recently been restored through our efforts and connections with Royal Family Kids.  These families struggle once public assistance ceases so we are helping them transition into responsible healthy lifestyles.  We also are assisting four elderly widows for the
holiday season.  Thank you all for your support financially and spiritually so we are able to pay forward to help meet these needs.   

If you are interested in a mid-week uplift, ministry to others and belonging to an active group of believers, join us on Thursdays at 10:00 AM  and/or  our special monthly activities.  THERE IS…Life After Fifty, God isn’t done with you yet, there are many who still do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, so join us as we continue to serve in the Kingdom, offering opportunities and ministry to our growing community of over fifty adults.

To read the full newsletter this article appeared in, go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletter, December 2017, Vol. 1, Issue 5.

Posted on December 1, 2017 .

What God Did in Me at Oregon Youth Convention

by Braden Pennington

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Two weeks ago, I was able to go to Oregon Youth Convention with our youth group. I went expecting God to do things in my life and showing me the answers to my questions I had. The most powerful times of the trip for me was during worship.  During the last evening worship session, the holy spirit urged me to pray for a particular person. After some negotiating I went and prayed for the person. This act of obedience taught me a lot more than I expected! I discovered that when I surrender in obedience to God that I truly become a living vessel for Him. When we let God live through us all the time, that’s when we are living life to the fullest.  Now the challenge for myself is to let God breathe through me all the time living completely surrendered 24/7.  I challenge you as a reader to do the same.  Let God access every part of your life so that He can fully live through you and create you into the beautiful person He has created you to be.

OYC Reflections

by Sarah Wiltrout

OYC was an amazing experience. OYC stands for Oregon Youth Convention. OYC is an every year church trip near Salem. I liked OYC because of the environment, the worship and the sermon. The students and leaders were kind and welcoming. The leaders were very fun and were a part of the reason that made the trip fun. The worship was very touching. My friends and I loved the services for worship. It was very much of a spirits rising type of worship. One of the speakers was Reggie Dabbs. All I heard all week was about how amazing Reggie was, and how they can’t wait for him to come back. Another leader that spoke was Brian Eno, who was so much fun.

OYC Reflections

by Nevaeh VanDusen

OYC was an amazing event with friends and a good place to find God and worship Him. The trip also came with some awkward moments, but we all laughed them off. I had the best time and I got really close with God. I loved the worship and the support that came with my walk.

To read the full newsletter (and see more images from OYC), go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletter, November 2017, Vol. 1, Issue 4.

Posted on November 4, 2017 .

Connect With Your Community at the Annual Harvest Festival

by Pastor St. John Eyre

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“Mom, it’s gonna rain on Halloween,” said little Susie. “My costume is going to be ruined.” 

Hey folks, regardless of the weather outside on October 31st, you and your kids will be able to enjoy a wonderful family fun event inside our gymnasium.  Welcome to the annual Harvest Festival.  

This attraction has become one of the most popular and well attended events in our community.  While it is presented by the Children’s Ministry Department, the entire church body gets involved in making this a memorable event for the so many families.  

Plans start very early to get everything ready for the Harvest Festival.  Candy donations are accepted starting October 1st in any of our convenient donation drop sites.  They are located in the church foyer, the Fellowship Hall and in the Preschool and KidFactorE wings.  The generosity of our church really gives us an opportunity to demonstrate how much we care about our community.

The Harvest Festival is a family friendly event, providing a safe and welcoming event for children.  While most of our guests include kids ranging from toddlers to 7th grade, the parents can often be seen alongside their kids helping them enjoy the many carnival style games.  There will also be a bounce house to help the kiddos work off some of their energy.  

For our adults, there is comfortable seating right in the middle of all the action.  They can sit down and relax with some refreshments from our snack bar that will include classics like a hot bowl of chili which is just perfect as the fall season approaches, some nachos or a hotdog with chips and a drink.

Every year Pastor St. John looks to add something new for the kids to enjoy.  Last year the floating wiffle ball ‘batter-up’ activity was a big hit.  New for 2017 is The Demoltion Zone obstacle course, The Camelot Castle jump house and Skee-Ball.  There will also be many of our favorite activities for the kids like the toddler friendly fishing pond, the duck pull and woggler boards.  

If you would like to volunteer for this event, please sign-up in the church foyer or contact the church office for more information.  So many of our volunteers have shared how much they look forward to being a part of this community outreach.  We strive for safety as well so if you do intend to volunteer please sign-up early as every volunteer will have to have a background check completed prior to the event.

This event begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. with the famous ‘Candy Toss’.  If you are not familiar with what that is you’ll just have to plan to be there to see it.  

To read the full newsletter, go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletterOctober 2017, Vol.1, Issue 3.

Posted on October 6, 2017 .

59 Kids, 78 heroes and Overwhelming Support From You!

By Allison McLain

It’s hard to believe another year of camp is complete, but our 12th year was one of our best.  Seventy-eight real-life heroes laid it all on the line to give our fifty-nine campers the week of a lifetime, full of countless moments that deeply matter and positive memories that we believe they’ll hold for eternity.  This week was a picture-perfect glimpse of what pure and undefiled religion really looks like--people truly loving God and loving people.  

Driving up to camp with the kids Monday morning, I had a very clear picture in my mind of God literally handing us these kids and saying, “Here you go. These are mine, and this week I’m giving them to you.  Love them well.”  Our team gave everything they had, and more, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to love each child deeply and to show them that they matter more than they could ever imagine.  These adults served beautifully and selflessly, and because of a massive influx of child applications this year, let us take more kids knowing it meant they’d have to work even harder.  On Friday, we handed our kids back to God, having done exactly what He entrusted us to do, and knowing that the trajectory of their lives is now a little bit different. 

In reflecting on camp, Keith Ruska shared this: “So many of these kids are shuttled from one foster home to another and they can’t physically call a house a home. Many of those kids, for maybe the first time, found an open door of love from the Lord beckoning them to come to His home of love. That open door was provided by the unity and love God used to show them how love really operates.”

A few hours in, eleven-year-old *Sarah, surprised us by sharing that she was an atheist, and she didn’t know this was a Christian camp.  Her counselor told her she was free to believe whatever she wanted, that she loved her anyways, and that since she was at camp already, she might as well have a great week.  By Friday morning, Sarah said in an excited voice, “I believe in God!”  Later, her Grandma, in tears, shared that she had been praying for her to believe for years.  

Joy Chamberlain said, “The fact is that God’s love saturates their little hearts and they have ears to hear that God really does love them and He can make a big difference in their lives. The way I know this is by how kids love this camp. It’s more than just a bunch of nice people spending time with them, it’s the love of God.”

Parkway family, thank you for the support you’ve offered over the last twelve years and for the countless ways you’ve stood in the gap for kids who can’t stand for themselves yet, and for stepping up to the battle lines to fight for their futures and for their place in the Kingdom.  And if you haven’t joined us yet, we’ve got a place for you.

*Name changed to protect child’s identity

To read the full newsletter, go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletterSeptember 2017, Vol.1, Issue 2.

Posted on September 7, 2017 .

Communication, Connecting and Christ

by Pastor Dennis Webber

Welcome to our new newsletter format!  It is our hope that this will be one more way we all stay connected.  Living connected or disconnected is the big thing in life.  Sin disconnected us from our Creator so He came to reconnect with us.  He connected with us in personal ways, in life changing ways, and in eternity changing ways.  That same sin separated us from each other.  Not that there is enough space to really get away from each other, but we often find ourselves putting up with broken awkward relationships with people we would like to be close to, people we would like to be connected with.  So Scripture talks to us not just about being connected with God but how to be connected with each other.

As Jesus said, the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all that we are and all that we have and that the second commandment is similar to it, love one another the way Christ loved us.  Connected, not in forced ways but in life giving relational ways is at the heart of this Christian thing.

As we launch this new communication tool – because being connected means sharing information – I want you to be alert to some things.  First is the opportunity to connect with others in the Parkway family in ways that are life affirming.  You will notice that most of what you read in this newsletter is focused on events other than Sunday morning and often for gatherings of smaller settings like events for youth or men or women.  

We speak of our Care Groups as places “to know and be known, to pray and be prayed for.”  Be alert to opportunities to be a part of these groups as a place to find personal encouragement and connection.  If you do not find a group you can easily connect with, start one!  We will help you be a successful facilitator of friends gathering in the name of Jesus to know and be known, praying and being prayed for.

We will also be using these pages to report back on the successes and outcomes of some of the projects we engage in, everything from how much did we raise for that cause to how did that trip go that those young people went on.

Our focus on these pages will continue to reflect our understanding of why we are here as individual Christians gathered in this fellowship.  We are here to help people connect with Jesus.  We illustrate this with what we call The Bridge of Ministry.  It reminds us that God has saved us from ourselves and the futility of the life we were creating.  He then walked us across from where we were to a place of relationship with Him and others whom He had already saved from themselves.  In this new place we help each other live out this new life God has given us.  Along the way we have come to understand that God is asking us to work with Him in the process of saving other people from themselves.  

While one side of the bridge is firmly rooted in what God is doing for us collectively as people already saved from ourselves, the other side of the bridge is firmly rooted in the places we believe that God has asked us to partner with Him in saving others from themselves and the lives being forced upon them by sin and sin’s bad choices.

Consequently, part of what you will read about here are ways we are connecting either as individuals or collectively with those in the community that seem to be in greatest need of assistance.  You will read about volunteering to help people who are struggling with life controlling issues.  You will read about volunteering to help people going through life crisis.  You will read about volunteering to help children and families in the foster care system.  

Being connected in life affirming, life-giving ways is key to this whole Jesus lifestyle.  We want you to be informed.  We want you to be connected.  We want hurting and struggling people to be connected with Jesus.  It is great to be able to do life with you!

To read the full newsletter, go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletter, August 2017, Vol.1, Issue 1.

Posted on August 9, 2017 .