Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
During the few years of Covid I witnessed growing division between friends and families over a multitude of issues. I was discouraged about a growing justification for lack of kindness and disrespect for people including Christians. So, I began praying in January of 2021 for God to give us a vision for how to reach the community in which Valley Park exists in new ways. I believe God has been answering my prayers for Valley Park since the middle of the pandemic.
I believed new gifted people/new ideas would result in a fresh approach to the things we wanted to prioritize in a new way. Covid was a time of uncertainty for me in my vision for what we could do after Covid declined. But I kept praying for God to do something despite my inability to see what that “something” might be.
I now see a great amount of evidence that God is doing things in ways I never imagined. It encourages me to see Valley Park’s coming Easter celebration as more exciting than in years past.
Some of the things I have seen include: more visitors at church from our food pantry, more children in the church, growth in our children’s ministry, new families in the church, increasing financial support of the church, new worship leaders who love the church, a transition in worship style that is exciting, more excellence in our on-line expressions of the church, more excellence in everything we are doing, more commitment of our members to sharing meals together, more bonds of fellowship among those who are attending, an overall increased enthusiasm about what Valley Park is becoming as a Church Family. I did not plan for what is happening at Valley Park and am realizing multiple ways I need to adapt to build upon it. In total, it is answered prayer in a form I could not have imagined. I am grateful for what God is doing.
With all that is happening, we are approaching the weeks that celebrate the most important event in history. I want to draw your attention to things we will be doing and need to do up until Easter Sunday.
- “Resurrection of Jesus”- We need to own the fact that the “Resurrection of Jesus” is the most important event in history to celebrate and gives us reasons we should be excited to invite people to church. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead with an immortal body is the only real reason in the world to have hope in the existence of living with immortal bodies after our time on earth is completed. I love life in the physical body. It has its struggles for many reasons, but I only want to eliminate the struggles and keep what I am enjoying. The resurrection of Jesus is the only objective reason for hope in this world that the life we enjoy will never end.
- “Palm Sunday”: Valley Park celebrates Palm Sunday April 2 at 10:30 A.M. Palm Sunday is the Day Jesus entered Jerusalem, was celebrated as the Messiah, and was killed four days later. It is important to contemplate the implications of Jesus’ choice to enter Jerusalem with the knowledge that this was the determined week for the end of His life that would provide forgiveness of sins. Palm Sunday is a day of preparation for the week in which Jesus died to save the world from the consequences of evil.
- “Remembering Jesus in the Last Supper”: We will do a communion service on Wednesday, April 5 at 7 P.M. in obedience to the command of Jesus to “do this in remembrance of me.”This time of remembering will focus upon Jesus’ teachings on the night before He died and the intimacy of the unity we share because we are Christ’s followers.
- “Easter Sunday”: Easter Sunday is the most important celebration of the year. We come because it’s the day when Jesus’ followers declared “He Is Alive.” So, it is a time to rejoice for the victory over what was previously believed to be the termination of life through death. Because Jesus is alive, we believe we will live beyond death. Hallelujah! Also, our children will be singing on Easter Sunday so you might want to tell people with children to start coming on Sundays as the kids will be practicing for Easter Sunday.
The “Celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection” is the main reason to invite every person we know, love and meet to church. I will make “Invitation Cards” for all of us to hand out and they will be on the visitor’s table after service next week, March 12th. Join with me in praying that Easter Sunday, the most well attended church service of the year in most churches, will provide encouragement to people who are isolated or not involved in a church family to see the encouragement we enjoy and experience at Valley Park.
Continue to pray that God will use Valley Park to extend the love and grace of Jesus to our community.