Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
The transition from 2022 to 2023 is a good time of the year to remember the past, express gratitude for God’s many blessings and make a few constructive resolutions that reflect our commitments to Jesus in 2023. Make time to reflect upon your walk with Jesus in 2022 and consider renewed commitments in 2023. A few of my reflections and commitments are as follows:
Don’t forget the “Invite Cards” as an important and effective way to encourage people to visit Valley Park on a Sunday morning. Continue to pray that Valley Park reaches the “unchurched” and especially people who “do not know Jesus” through our ministries. Visiting on a Sunday morning is a meaningful introduction to what we do. God can use our praise and teaching of the Bible to touch lives and help people know Jesus on a more personal level. Reaching new people for Jesus is one of our primary goals for 2023.
God’s Blessings in 2022: For Valley Park, 2022 could be considered a year of huge blessings and answers to prayer.
I am grateful for a worship team that displays a huge amount of talent and sincerity in leading our church family in praise. I have always been thankful for the giftedness of two to three members willing to serve on the contemporary worship team and in the traditional worship service. But we are privileged to have a significant number of new and gifted people leading us on Sundays. I feel like we are being led in a “concert” of praise every Sunday morning and believe it is one of the most encouraging things that has happened in 2022. We need to be thankful for how God has led so many wonderful and talented people to VP in 2022. Thank you Jesus!
In addition, and not as visible are the many newer people who have been coming who are actually connecting to us as a church family seeking to know Jesus more intimately. Some of this is due to the worship team. But just as significant is that we have become a people more focused on reaching out to people. A significant part of this is the heart of our Food Pantry servants. Our Food Pantry has become more of a community, and we are seeing more people visit VP as a result. It is also due to the increased commitment of our members to loving and encouraging people. We are a church that reflects the heart of Jesus for people. I am thankful for how our Food Pantry servants and members of VP have grown in their commitment to loving people.
I have prayed that God would lead us to become a brighter light for Jesus in our community. I can say He is answering my prayers and restoring a healthy vision for the future. I am thankful for what He is obviously doing!
My Vision for 2023: For each one of us there are reasons for expressions of gratitude for the many ways Jesus has blessed us this past year. Our goals for the coming year involve the many things we know we need to do to honor Him in the year to come. There are priorities that should be involved in the formation of our goals for 2023. The first is simply our growth in our relationship with Jesus. The second is growth in our commitment to serving Him in ways that build up the lives of others. I offer three texts from the Bible that inform “My Vision” for 2023.
2 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.John 15:1-4
12 “Then, when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’; and you are correct, for so I am. 14 So if I, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example, so that you also would do just as I did for you. 16 Truly, truly I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”John 13:12-17
34 I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.”John 13:34-35
Typically New Year’s “resolutions” involve priorities in self-service. I have rhythms in life that help me maintain my body and mind so that I live longer and am able to sustain myself for usefulness to others. But Jesus described my need to “abide in Him” in order to live a fruitful life. So, for “Spiritual Purposes” and honoring Him as my Savior and Lord, I ask myself what I could do better to “abide in Him” in 2023.
Components of this self-analysis include time reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), time talking with Him (prayer) and how much I am connecting with His heart for relationship with God, the Father, and people (this is what Jesus prioritized that was informed by the will of God). These are deeply personal commitments that require some degree of regular commitment of time with a focus on thoughtful contemplation. This is a daily practice for me, and it typically involves writing to articulate my thoughts in verbalized form. You don’t need to be like me. But you could make adjustments in your life to “abide in” (live like) Jesus more in 2023 than you did this past year.
The other two scriptures reflect the “New Commandment” in action. Jesus’ new commandment was not simply “to love,” but to “love as I have loved you.” This means He loved His disciples sacrificially. It was an “all in” commandment which has implications for our love of the members of a church family as brethren. So, I cannot avoid the value of the church in my experience. Jesus gave me a “new commandment” to make sure I understand His will for my life. And He said it would be the visible proof of my commitment to being His disciple.
The other passage above expresses the “New Commandment” in servanthood. We do call Him “teacher” and “Lord.” Yet he served them and did not elevate Himself above them. If He lived life this way, then we should not consider ourselves as better than Him and refuse to serve. Jesus made it clear in the new commandment and by example that we should be living life to serve the brethren. So, my goals in 2023 demand that I consider how I am building up Christians on behalf of Jesus until He returns. Again, you don’t need to be like me. But we can all resolve to make adjustments in our lives to “serve” the family of God more in 2023 than we did last year.
Let us together pray for the health and growth of Valley Park in 2023. To God be the glory.
Valley Park Ministries: Pray for the Following Ministries
o Volunteers Needed- Saturday, January 7, 9:30 A.M.
We are removing Christmas decorations.
o Project Angel Tree (Prison Fellowship)
Thank you to all of you who supported “gift giving” to children of incarcerated parents. We distributed close to 50 gifts. Pray that God touches lives through what we gave.
o Children’s Ministry – Diana Nason
All children join parents in the sanctuary at 10:30 A.M. for music and worship. They are dismissed to their class during the greeting time before the sermon.
Parents need to sign their children in when they drop them off and pick up their children promptly after service in Room 4 (1st -5th grade) or Room 2 (Pre-school through Kindergarten).
o Youth Ministry- Victor Paz Meeting Location- Ranch House
Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 PM in the Ranch House.
Sundays at 10:30 A.M. in the sanctuary for worship followed by Bible Study in the Ranch House. (11 A.M. to 12 P.M.)
o Small Group Opportunities
Wednesday evenings at 7 P.M. in the Conference Room to study, talk and pray.
o Food Pantry
Wednesdays – We are serving close to 110 families involving close to 500 people. We always need help between 1-5 P.M. with set up, serving and cleanup. Please help us reach out to the people who come.
Valley Park’s January Birthdays: Members, Friends and Youth
Please consider giving us your contact info and birthday so we can include you in our recognition of birthdays.
1/1 Paul Boyadjian
1/5 Karen Walker
1/10 Liz Skinner
1/15 Margo James
1/16 Joe Rivadeneira
1/19 Chloe Green (Child)
1/30 Marvin Spiva