Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
This is the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus and everything He accomplished for us through His life, His death and His resurrection from the dead. We often focus upon the birth of Jesus without being aware of the fact that a majority of people in the world have no idea as to why we are really celebrating His birth. They may know that He is the lead figure of Christianity just as there are lead figures in most religions. But celebrating the birth of the lead figure of a religion is not really relevant to life. But, for those who understand what Jesus has done, His birth is absolutely the most relevant birth to celebrate in this life.
I have been reflecting upon some of the simple and yet life changing promises Jesus made. To the woman at the well in John 4, who was marginalized because of multiple divorces, living with a man while unmarried, and being a disrespected Samaritan female, Jesus promised
”but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:14
Jesus promises the woman an inner transformation that will result in living forever. To Martha, after the death of her brother, Lazarus, Jesus shared these words of promise.
”Jesus said to her (Martha), “Your brother will rise from the dead.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” John 11:23-26; see also John 8:52
It is actually amazing that any person in this life could offer things like not dying, resurrection, everlasting life and inner transformation. These offerings were things that the Baby Jesus grew up and offered to everyone. He promised a victory over suffering and death. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament written hundreds of years before He was born. Those familiar with the Old Testament referenced Him as “the Messiah.” The woman at the well, in her talk with Jesus about “living water,” referenced the coming of the Messiah in whom she had hope.
”The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am He, the One speaking to you.” John 4:25-26
Jesus told her He was the Messiah of Old Testament Prophecies. There are many prophecies we remember during the Christmas season because they predict that the Messiah will come by natural birth of a woman but grow up to die for sin and redeem people from a damaged creation. These prophecies reference the identity of the Messiah and things the Messiah will do.
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Therefore, He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has given birth. Then the remainder of His kinsmen Will return to the sons of Israel. And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of Lord His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.” Micah 5:2-5
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will name Him Immanuel (meaning “God with Us”).” Isaiah 7:14
“For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of armies will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:5-7
It is a blessing for those of us who know Jesus to recognize the connection of the baby Jesus with the most magnificent promises made in history. These Old Testament prophecies were given to people in times of discouragement to offer hope of a better future. One of the greatest descriptions of what the baby Messiah would grow up to accomplish is expressed in Isaiah 11:1-10 (which I encourage you to read).
But the hope reflected in these prophecies is now our hope in the present time. We have the advantage of seeing many of the OT prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. We have the historical Jesus who did supernatural things among us and spoke truth about the unseen well-documented in the writings of people who knew Him or knew people who knew Him. We have a hope much more secure because of the time in which we live.
“And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” II Peter 1:19
It is, because of what we know, a privilege to celebrate the birth of Jesus in 2020. I encourage you to be aware of how people need to know the things Jesus has done, has promised and will do in order that they too might celebrate His birth. In times of discouragement, our hope is a living hope because the baby Jesus conquered death. Because of Jesus there will be peace on earth and creation will be healed. I hope you have a great Christmas. To God be the glory for the things He has done.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24
“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40
“and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:28
Connecting with Each Other
Be aware of the need to socially connect in all ways possible during this season of our lives. Some of our family and friends are feeling isolated and depressed. Communication is a remedy that is both encouraging and healing. It is “light” in the lives of others to hear your voice and encouraging words. Consider keeping in touch with a few people so that they are mindful of your love and kindness.
- Join us for an outdoor Worship Night in the Valley Park Church Parking Lot: Hosted with “The House, LA,” a church we are working with in the San Fernando Valley. This worship night is featuring Christmas Music. Sunday, December 13, 6 pm in the Valley Park Church Parking Lot
- Attend a Wednesday Night Bible Study at 7 p.m. via ZOOM. You can download ZOOM at https://zoom.us/download. If you need help, call me. Wednesdays at 7 pm. Zoom Meeting ID: 894 4077 3923 Password: 949729
- Meet with some of our Senior members on Thursdays at 10 a.m. in the Church courtyard.
- Fellowship and join our study on prayer at the Men’s Group on Saturdays at 9 a.m. in the Church courtyard.
- Sundays we enjoy time and fellowship after the live-streaming service in the courtyard where we can easily manage social distancing.
Let’s prioritize some time together in some of the things we are doing. I would like to see you participate.
Sincerely in Christ,
Valley Park December Birthdays
12/03 Sara Lineberger
12/06 Cynthia Houghton
12/08 Dean Spiva
12/10 Susan Han
12/15 Kaye Weber
12/16 Mark Capehart
12/19 Jericho Eugenio (child)
12/22 Jade Rivadeneira (child)
12/25 Ariel Capehart
12/26 Romina Navarro (youth)
12/30 Richard Capehart (child)
Valley Park Financial Report
through November 30, 2020
Weekly Budgeted Giving Estimated $2,692
Weekly Giving- 5 week month
November 8 (2 weeks) $12,833
November 29 (3 weeks) $7,568
November Target (2,692 /week x 5) $13,460
November Actual $20,401
November Variance Plus $6,941
YTD= “Year to Date” begins July 1, 2020)
YTD Target $59,224
YTD Actual $57,679
YTD Variance minus $1,545