Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
Well, election day has come and passed. I have delayed writing this monthly newsletter in the hope that there would be a declared winner. As of yesterday, Joe Biden is our new President Elect.
The challenge for Valley Park and for all Christians into the future is representing a “Christ-Centered” disposition in a divided country. Both presidential candidates shared the support of an almost equal number of American voters. The election exposed division in America unlike ever before. America is a divided nation no matter who is president.
In my opinion, the nation is divided by a huge variety of issues including religion, value of the unborn, personal beliefs, frustration experienced in life, desire to be healed, ethnic and cultural differences, traditions, preferences and even commitment to self-service at the expense of others. The United States has become a melting pot of so many kinds of people and belief systems that it is my strong conviction that we will never unite around anything specific. I believe we, as Christians, need to be honest about what America has become because we are called to be witnesses in the context of what exists.
I want to offer a few suggestions on how we should respond to the divisions that exist in America, in our communities, and families.
“A Divided Nation Needs a United Church”
I will offer a few focus points after examining a few important biblical passages. The Apostle Paul teaches seven unifying facts we learn about the church from Jesus.
”Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:2-6)
The Foundation of a United Church: “One Body,” “One Spirit,” “One Hope,” “One Lord,” “One Faith,” “One Baptism,” “One God and Father of all.”
None of these references to “what unites us” has anything to do with politics. They have nothing to do with agreeing with each other on all matters in this life. They have everything to do with the fact that we are children of God united by what is true about us as Children of God in the Family of God.
The Work of a United Church: These facts about the “truths that unite” are reflected in what we do together. We have a mandate from Jesus; a work to do. That is, that we “go, make disciples of all people, and teach them to obey Jesus.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Jesus said to those who questioned Him about His identity as the Son of God that His work reflected His identity.
“Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38)
While we may not always agree, we are family and children of God with a work to accomplish that reflects our oneness with Him (John 17:20-23). Partnering with Jesus in the work of God is a fundamental expression of our unity. In addition to our foundation for unity as a Church, we have a purpose to serve that proves we are a United Church.
In the light of these truths, I offer these encouragements:
1. The true leader we care most about is Jesus Christ, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. God is in charge of world politics and what we think is best for the United States as our country may not be God’s will. Therefore, we have voted and the results are in God’s hands. We now need to pray for those who rule over us. (I Timothy 2:1-6)
2. We can give thanks for the country in which we live. Power is divided between the House, the Senate, the Judiciary and the Executive Branch. We are privileged to have a wonderful form of government that protects our rights and privileges with a balance of power that provides accountability between four expressions of governance. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)
3. Consider ways in which you can be more involved in doing or supporting the work of serving alongside Jesus a world that needs His redemption. The Bible says we are “ministers of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:17-21) partnering with Jesus Christ in redeeming a world alienated from God. Our commitment to this work displays our Christian Unity to a world in darkness.
“A Nation Divided Needs a Church United”
The election is past. We have articulated our reasons for who we think to be our best representatives and we have voted. Our responsibility as citizens of the United States of American has been honored.
As citizens of the Kingdom of God we have more important things to do. We have a mandate of Jesus Christ that will secure eternal life for those who are brought under the umbrella of the cross and His grace. Let us now work together as a “Church United” to represent our detachment from the things that are dividing American. Let us represent the love and grace of Jesus in every environment so that our Father is glorified.
Connecting with Each Other
My next sermon series will be “A Divided Nation Needs a United Church.” On November 15 we will host Pastor Wes Dunn who will preach on His efforts to promote a United Church.
Pastor Wes Dunn (The House, LA)
Sunday, November 15th, 10:30 am at Valley Park
Be aware of the need to socially connect in all ways possible during this time. Some of our family and friends are feeling isolated. 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:
· Attend a Wednesday Night Bible Study at 7 p.m. via ZOOM. 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, or the meeting information, 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.
Sincerely in Christ,
Valley Park November Birthdays
04 Luke Vasquez
06 Vicky Jiminez
07 Bill James
08 Nicholas Kirar-Villanueva (child)
09 Ginny Hoover
17 Nick Gennovario
19 Sylva Bricker-Saucedo
22 Wilna Brestel
22 Grace Chavez
24 Monica Paz
Valley Park Financial Report
for October, 2020
Weekly Budgeted Giving Estimated $2,692
October 4 $735
October 11 and 18 $4,720
October 25 $3,704
October Target (2,692 /week x 4) $10,768
October Actual $9,159
October Variance minus $1,609
YTD= “Year to Date” begins July 1, 2020)
YTD Target $45,764
YTD Actual $37,278
YTD Variance minus $8,486