Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
We continue to gather on Sunday mornings to “Live-Stream” our services. We are now six months into economic shut-down which has limited church our ministry efforts. We need to pray for the end of COVID-19, the freedom of those unemployed to go back to work, the restoration of businesses across our country and the freedom to attend worship services and build ministries that are honoring to the heart of Jesus Christ.
In our study of I John on Sunday mornings I have been encouraged by John’s effort to describe the Jesus he had known personally and intimately for three years of His life. John called Him the “Word of Life” and “Eternal Life,” associating Him with the creation of the world and living the kind of life someone unaffected by sin would live. He communicated that those who follow Jesus are called to be like Jesus and “light” in the world.
John was living in times of tremendous discouragement for Jews and Christians under Roman rule. The Roman ruler Nero had set fires in Rome in 64 AD and was accusing Christians of being responsible for the destruction. The Romans had captured Jerusalem and destroyed the temple in 70 AD. They dismantled every structure and all walls at the temple mount. John began His letter of encouragement to Christians by focusing upon Jesus and what it meant to be His followers. John offers a meaningful exhortation at the end of I John 2.
”As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.”I John 2:27-29 (NIV)
John understood that followers of Jesus Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit, know what matters most in this life when the world appears to be going crazy. His encouragement was that they needed to stay close to Jesus, “remain in Him” and “continue in Him,” so that they would be confident when He returns. His encouragement was that, as children of God, they needed to commit themselves to be agents of righteousness in every life situation.
This encouragement of John is very relevant to our life. We know who we are as children of God. We know He sustains us through His Holy Spirit living within us. We know that nothing in this life can threaten who we are and where we are going. We know that our most important commitment in the present time is being agents of light doing what is righteous and life giving.
I am anticipating a return to normalcy in the months ahead. What has changed in the present time is the ways in which we are able to love and encourage people. The “ways” have changed but we are still able to be agents of light in the lives of others. We are still able to do acts of righteousness. Let’s be grateful for the many things we enjoy and the freedom and ability to adapt to changing times. God is good and we are privileged to be His people serving Him in this life.
I am in the process of beginning dialogue about ministries to prioritize as soon as we begin to open up our church. I am anticipating we need to brain-storm with our church family about things we can do that are relevant to our church. Your input is welcome. Please email me at email@example.com if you have some thoughts in regard to things you believe the Lord wants us to prioritize.
Be aware of the need to socially connect in all ways possible during this time. People are isolated and it affects all our emotions. Communication is a remedy that is both encouraging and healing. It is “light.” Consider socially connecting in the following ways:
- Use the phone, texts and email to touch base with people weekly. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you a heart for a few people and make the connection consistently.
- Attend a Wednesday Night Bible Study at 7 p.m. via ZOOM. We are beginning a study on Wisdom this coming Wednesday. Consider joining us if even for a short time. If you don’t already have ZOOM you can download it at https://zoom.us/download. If you need help, call me. Email me for the Zoom ID and password.
- Meet with some of our Senior members on Thursdays at 10 a.m. in the courtyard.
- Fellowship with the Men’s Group on Saturdays at 9 a.m. to study the Gospel of John and to just talk.
Consider the encouragement of the Book of Hebrews:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching…”Hebrews 10:23-25
I like the wording of The Message: “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together.” There is in this encouragement a challenge to think outside of the box in our efforts to encourage our church family. Each one of us can make a difference. It is truly a TEAM (Together Embracing A Mission) effort. In the name of Jesus, I invite you to participate.
My God give us a new vision for how to build a strong Valley Park. To Him be the glory as He leads.
Sincerely in Christ,
Valley Park September Birthdays
02 – Diana Nason
02 – Justin Bedolla
05 – Suzanne Vasquez
09 – Charlie Garcia
12 – Eric Kirar-Villanueva
13 – Ludy Crizaldo
14 – Victor Paz
14 – Lilyana Vasquez
14 – Johanna Govea
17 – Luke Beugnon
24 – Maria Gutierrez
24 – Pam Ward
26 – Cindy Gray
26 – Daniel Kristofferson
27 – Robin Pokorski
28 – Bill Shannon
29 – Robert Vasquez
30 – Jai Belcher
30 – Merrill Eackert