Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
The next four weeks are among the most important weeks of the past four years for Americans. The presidential election on November 2 has the potential of impacting our country in significant ways into the near and distant future like never before. There is a lot at stake that is not being reported or discussed.
Making informed decisions about what will be healthiest for the future of our country “appears” to be of the least concern among our voters. The emotions of hate and anger appear to be quenching the spirit of objectivity and reason among the American population. To be specific, this election is not about personalities we like or don’t like. It is not a popularity contest. It is about an ideology informing our country’s governance. It is not about the person we most like, but about the priorities we establish in the management of our spending, humanitarian investments, governance and moral principles. Yikes! Two world views are clashing in this election like never before in the history of our nation.
We are Christians in a world that needs Jesus. We need to be in prayer. We have two priorities in prayer and they do not necessarily align with each other.
The first priority is the impact of the party we elect on the future of the United States. We need to pray for specifics. One being that our voters will educate themselves on the issues that are involved and not be influenced by emotion. That is, those we elect will actually inform the management of our economy, empowerment of the police and border patrol, health care provision for our citizens, development of a non-partial educational system where every citizen has equal opportunity, moral compass concerning the unborn and their right to life, and the value and importance of God-honoring principles. The party elected will also influence and impact the respect of those who are Christian in a culture that is becoming known for rejecting Christian values and Christ-followers. Which party respects our Christian heritage in action? Praying for God’s blessing of America should involve specifics that strengthen America according to God’s revealed will.
The second priority is God’s plans for the future which may not necessarily involve a healthier and stronger America. It may very well be within God’s design that the strength of America economically and militarily will decline in order to facilitate events leading up to the return of Christ. What if we elect the less godly and productive leadership and this actually hurt’s America’s strength in the Near East and opens doors for more trouble in the Near East between Muslim countries and Israel. This could facilitate an end-times scenario necessary for a war that sparks Christ’s return to Jerusalem. This is the biblical narrative and this decline of US strength and involvement in the Near East could strengthen the anti-Israel sentiment of many. In fact, we have politicians who are unsupportive of Israel already. Empowering them could be a key factor influencing end-times scenarios.
So, as we pray, are we surrendered to the fact that we don’t know what needs to happen into the near future to accomplish our prayer for God’s will to be done on earth. We can pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” and in fact the worst leadership for America could be elected all for the sake of the coming of the Kingdom of God. Thus, our prayers for the benefit of America and our prayers for the coming of God’s kingdom could contradict each other.
I will personally pray for both the strength of America and the coming of God’s Kingdom while also praying that God’s will be done on earth. For, as Christians who trust in God in the midst of all circumstances, we know He knows best. Life is like that. We don’t always know what is best. But we ask God and trust Him to do what is best. Our prayers may change things, but more importantly, God sees and knows exactly what we, and the world needs for “peace on earth” to come.
”Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Phil 4:4-7
In the midst of our concern for the future of America, we remember that the Apostle Paul encourages us to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” He says we need to retain a gentle spirit in spite of every circumstance. He says we need to express our desires, our requests, to God. And He suggests “God’s peace” will be provided no matter how God responds to our requests. In other words, we know He hears our prayers. And we know He knows how best to respond. We can rest, be at peace, knowing that He is in control no matter what we see happening.
Thus, as your pastor, I encourage you to vote with an educated understanding of the two ideologies represented by our political candidates. I encourage you to pray knowing that God has a plan that will utilize whatever result we see from the election and as a result of our prayers. I encourage you to enjoy the peace that comes from knowing God is in control. I encourage you to draw close to Jesus in every circumstance.
May God give us peace through the month to come. May God’s Kingdom come and may His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Sincerely in Christ,
My Encouragement: Connecting with Each Other
Be aware of the need to socially connect in all ways possible during this time. People are isolated and it affects all of our emotions. Communication is a remedy that is both encouraging and healing. It is “light” in the lives of others. 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.
· 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.
· Sundays we enjoy time and fellowship after the live-streaming service in the courtyard where we can easily manage social distancing.
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,
See Birthdays and Financial Report Below!
Valley Park October Birthdays
01 Jolyne Han (Child)
06 Doris Dixon, Linda Garcia AND Suzanne Freeman
07 Budd Rude
09 Todd Lavachek
11 Steve Hoover
12 Teresa Honles (Youth)
14 *Nathan Cesar (Youth)of Natasha Alegado Castro
17 Cynthia Hernandez
19 Lupe Hallak
20 Christina Rivadeneira
21 Charity Capehart (Youth) AND Raquel Paz
25 Ralph Torres AND Christine Bedolla
26 Pilar Barrett
27 DJ Gennovario
29 Bryan Blair
31 Herbert Hernandez
Valley Park Financial Report
for September, 2020
Weekly Budgeted Giving Estimated $2,692
September 6 and 13 $4,624
September 20 and 27 $5,423
September Target (2,692 /week x 4) $10,768
September Actual $10,047
September Variance minus $721
YTD= “Year To Date” begins July 1, 2020)
YTD Target $34,996
YTD Actual $28,119
YTD Variance minus $6,877