Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
We have been gathering for Worship on Sunday mornings for the month of June. It has been wonderful to have our church family members together again even though we have missed those of you who have not been comfortable attending. We have honored distancing, worn masks, enjoyed breakfast and after church fellowship and have been grateful for the return to some sense of normalcy.
For those of you who have stayed home, I hope you have been tuning into sermons and that the services have been helpful in creating some sense of connectedness. We do care about you and regret the detachment.
We did have a church business meeting last week and were able to manage the quorum necessary to approve leadership and the budget for the fiscal year that runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. With everything going on in the city and nation, it is encouraging that we have been able to sustain the management of the church for the sake of our church family and future. June was a very positive month in that we managed to get so much accomplished that is necessary for the year to come.
Now that the church is meeting on Sundays, the one weekly Bible study we have maintained is on Wednesday nights. Please join us if you have a computer and let us know how you are doing…. Face to face via ZOOM.
The youth group is meeting again on Wednesday evenings and practicing social distancing. Our youth are getting involved again in each other’s lives. Attendance has actually been close to 10 youth regularly and we have added a few new youth to the group. My observation is that they are having a blast on Wednesdays and Sunday mornings and don’t always want to go home.
For the church and youth, it appears the virus will demand our attentiveness in distancing, sanitizing, and minimum group gatherings into the future. I do not foresee that we will safely be able to lighten up in our attentiveness to these things before winter begins and that is doubtful. “Be prepared for the long haul” is my assessment. Also, praying for the death of the virus and an effective vaccination is important.
July 4 is Independence Day!!! I am a proud American and celebrate the United States as one of the best countries in history. Each and every one of us enjoy the benefits and privileges of being in this wonderful country. It is our freedom that gives us liberty to talk about and explore ways to eliminate those who are racist and threatening the lives of other human beings created in the image of God. The United States will rise to the challenges imposed upon us by those who are hurting and angry. We will, together, as a nation sharing a common burden, create a better future. Our freedom will prevail in creating change that is healthy to all who live in our wonderful country. Where differences divide, I believe the majority who vote will prevail in guiding us toward what is best.
Over the last month I have preached on priorities for Christ-followers. That is,
- that we don’t hurt others and we pray for those who would do us harm.
- that we are not focused upon changing everyone but upon changing persons “one at a time.”
- that the problem in society flows from a problem within the human heart. We cannot change society without Christ changing the hearts of individuals. We need to focus upon leading people to Christ for real transformation of their life. They will make a difference in society if this happens.
So, our challenge is sharing the gospel and building the Kingdom of God through the ministries of the local church. We must not let the larger picture discourage us. We need to focus upon what we can do for people in our community. The larger picture is discouraging but what we can do in our community involves small victories that can make a difference in our culture.
Our present challenge is that we are isolating so much. Our ministry to our community requires social contact and interaction. For this reason, I am most passionate for God’s intervention to end the threat of the virus. Subsequent to that, we can be more focused upon the healing of individuals and nurturing of the family of God. That is our calling. That is what Christ has called us to prioritize. That is what Christ prioritized when He lived among us. If it is what He prioritized, then we should make it our priority also.
We have time. We can prioritize individuals. Phone calls are good. Cards are good. Helping with needs is good. Fellowship, with distancing, is good. Talking about Jesus and His love and grace is good. Do not be discouraged. Consider new ways to make a difference in the lives of others.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.“
Keep yourselves protected! Find new ways to serve Jesus Christ in the context of where you are right now! Believe God can heal our country if we lead people to Him!
Sincerely in Christ,