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Stories Jesus Told

Everyone loves a good story! They have a way of disarming us, tearing down the barriers in our lives and the walls that we have put up, and allowing us to truly listen. This is one of the reasons they are so effective. It is also a large reason that Jesus used them in his teaching. We call them “parables”, but at their roots, they are short stories that convey large truths.

This is one of many topics that will be offered starting June 4th through the new elective Stories Jesus Told, Sundays, at 9:30am, in Room 203. We will start by discussing what makes up a parable and how we can study them correctly. Then, the class will analyze and discuss several of the parables of Jesus.

This will be a great opportunity to dive into some of the more confusing passages in scripture to try and discern the truth these short stories carry. We are excited to start this class as a way to engage believers in their own spiritual growth! We know this will be beneficial, and cannot wait to see you there.

Guest Author: Josiah Weece is an intern at Valley View Christian Church. He is a senior at Ozark Christian college studying preaching. He is the third of four boys and is engaged to be married in the fall. He loves to preach and teach when he can.

PROPEL: Series Three

Over the last few months I’ve been praying for God to shine His light into the deepest, darkest corners of my heart. I’ve learned a few things…

  1. Buckle up – this is much like praying for patience. If you’re not ready to do the work, don’t pray this prayer. God will reveal things you don’t want to see in yourself and you’ll be left with no alternative but to do the work.
  2. It’s difficult. This prayer is a perspective shift-er like no other.
  3. The work, like people, is always worth it.

The words ‘growth’ and ‘leadership’ can be very polarizing. Both words conjure up our deepest darkest fears and put them on full display in our minds. In my mind, they set off a full suite of “what if”s. What if I can’t… what if they don’t like me… what if I mess it up… what if _____.  When we are isolated in our own mess, we are right where the enemy wants us. It’s easier for him that way.

Both words also imply community. Growth doesn’t happen alone! It happens by the power of the Holy Spirit and the support of a loving community. Sure, you can lead yourself, but why stop there? If you’re doing a good job leading yourself, others notice and, dare I say, grow from your example.

As followers of Christ, we are all called to lead others to Him. If that brings the terror of public speaking to mind (or the thought of an equally awkward one-on-one conversation) and you’ve already checked out, hang with me!  In some cases, yes, that’s what it means. HOWEVER, the cool thing about God is that we’re not all called to lead people in the same way. Paul talked to the Corinthians about how the human body has parts that are individual and function in specific, designed ways. So too is the church as the body of Christ, and so too are you.

God designed you on purpose for a purpose. He doesn’t make mistakes, and He doesn’t choose junk.

PROPEL exists to discover that purpose and activate it. Regardless of where you are in your journey, the next PROPEL Series on “Growth” will move you forward in your passion, potential and purpose. If you haven’t yet discovered what those are for you, do the work! People are worth it.

I would love for you to join us the 3rd Sunday of each month during the 9:30 hour to discuss the next 6 sessions on Growth:
Session 1: Elbow Room
Session 2: Enlarge
Session 3: Stretch
Session 4: Lengthen
Session 5: Strengthen
Session 6: Growth

 

Guest Author: DeeAnn Feurst. DeeAnn is a God-focused, love directed Jesus Girl. With empty nest years looming, God is taking her passions, brokenness, and affection for confections and turning them into a ministry, a catering business, and specialty food shop. DeeAnn has been a member at Valley View for seven years and serves on the worship team, in various capacities on the Women’s Ministry team, and has had the privilege of co-leading the PROPEL curriculum for over a year now.

Meet Missy!

We are so excited to welcome our newest staff member, Missy Farley, as our Children’s Minister! In between packing and other preparations, she was kind enough to sit down and answer some fun questions so we can get to know her better. 

How long have you been in ministry?

I’ve officially been full time in Children’s Ministry for over 8 years. Prior to that, I served as a volunteer for five years!

What excites you about working at Valley View?

Wow! That’s a great question. I’m excited to serve alongside a stellar team that Loves Dallas, Lives Free, and Leads Others. Their humility and authenticity shines through in all they do to expand His Kingdom. I’m also super excited to get to know and love on the kiddos in KidzView, and to partner with Valley View families.

What are two or three things you do for fun?

Travel, movies, and spending time with family and friends.

If you had to dye your hair one unusual color for a year, what would you pick?

Hot pink.

What do you feel will be your main priorities with KidzView this year?

  1. Establish relationships with KidzView kids, parents, and volunteers.
  2. Create an exciting environment for kids on Sunday morning where they can realize their story is part of God’s story, and grow in their personal relationship with Jesus.

Have you spent much time in Dallas?

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Dallas a dozen times.

What are you most looking forward to about living in the area?

I’m looking forward to new adventures and endless sweet tea.

Do you have a favorite verse or Scripture passage?

One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Finish the sentence: I am called by God to…

…love Him and love others. To be His hands and feet. To live on mission by spreading the Gospel.

Please join us in welcoming Missy! You can email her an encouraging note at mfarley@vvcc.org, or drop off a card at the Welcome Center this Sunday. If you are able, we are also collecting gift cards to restaurants to help her with an easy transition as she settles into this new season.

Baby Dedication

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

IMG_6539My husband and I dedicated our son Luke at Valley View almost three years ago (Samuel had been dedicated previously). Surrounded by family and friends, we vowed to raise Luke to love and follow Jesus, we prayed over him, and we listened to those we love pray over him and offer words of encouragement. This is a special memory that I hold tight to, especially when we have parenting struggles and disappointments.

Baby Dedication is a special weekend set aside for parents to make a public decision to raise their child or children to know and love Jesus. It’s a wonderful time for families and friends to share in the excitement and join them in making this commitment to the Lord.

Baby Dedication is a three-step process:

  1. Wednesday, May 3rd at 7pm, we will be having a class designed to explain the purpose of baby dedication. Parents will be given tools and resources to help create a godly environment for their children.
  2. Saturday, May 6th at 9:30am, we will host a breakfast for the families of the children being dedicated. This is where parents formally dedicate their children, and they are encouraged to invite their families and friends to join them.
  3. Sunday, May 7th, during the 11am service, the Valley View church family will get a chance to recognize, celebrate with, and pray for the families.

If you have a baby or child who you would like to dedicate, we would love to have you join us! Click here to register. If you have any questions, please contact Amy at airby@vvcc.org.

Established

When I was a kid, my family moved around A LOT. As the child of military parents, we seemed to always be on the move… so much that I went to eleven different schools between kindergarten and the twelfth grade! I’m sure this sounds like an absolute nightmare to some people, but I’ve always tried to find the silver lining–since I was always “the new kid”, I had to learn early on to be adaptable and get long with all kinds of people. As an adult, I am grateful for these life skills I got so much practice in over the years.

Even though I think my wandering childhood had some good effects on me, I also feel like it put a spotlight on a particular longing I’ve always had in my heart–a craving to belong to something substantial and permanent; to be rooted and established in one spot.

Regardless of how you were brought up, I think this is a somewhat common desire for people, especially women. We all want to feel understood, we want to make a difference, and we want to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

I don’t think this was an accident! God certainly had something specific in mind when He created us with the desire to be “established”. There’s a great example in Ephesians of how beautifully this desire can work for His glory when we understand, and point that desire towards serving Him:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” -Ephesians 3:16-19

 

Read those words again… let them really sink in. We are established in LOVE! That’s where our roots are! It doesn’t matter if you moved all over like I did, or lived in the same house from the day you were born until you moved out as an adult–our most important sense of belonging and power comes from Christ. And it gets even better when we come together as a group with other believers. Incredible, right?

I’m super excited about our Spring women’s event, because we will be talking about this very verse!

Our Women’s Ministry Team has been planning this event for months now, and as we put finishing touches on everything, we are praying that ladies will come and feel enriched and uplifted by a night of good food, good friends, and good words spoken to us by Brenda Bird! If you haven’t registered yet, do it today! Bring a friend along and enjoy an evening where you can plant your feet firmly in the love of Christ. Oh, and there WILL be dessert! (Just in case you needed more convincing…)

ESTABLISHED Church Screen UPDATED

See you there!

Established t-shirts are also available for purchase at registration! Find more details at vvcc.org/established.

Guest Author: Shonte Eyre. Shonte attends Valley View with her husband, Marcus, and serves as a dedicated volunteer in Valley View’s Women’s Ministry and Guest Services. She approaches life with a joyful curiosity, and her creative eye makes everything she touches better than it was before.

the BEYOND store

You’ve seen the hoodies, hats, and journals available at vvcc.org/beyondstore and in the lobby on Sundays–now get the full scoop! 

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F.A.Q.

Q: What is the BEYOND store?

A: A fun new way to donate to BEYOND! You can purchase Valley View swag while simultaneously giving towards the campaign. The store will open in seasons for a limited time, and will have items for sale that are unique to each season.

Q: How much of my purchase actually goes to BEYOND?

A: When you spend $15 on the journal, about $6 is donated to BEYOND. For the hoodies, it’s over $20; for the hats, the campaign gets about $8.

dsc_3432webQ: Can I buy from the store in the lobby on Sunday?

A: You can only purchase from the BEYOND store online (right here), but we’ll have samples in the lobby for you to check out and a kiosk where you can make a purchase after you see samples of the items in person!

Q: How long will it take to get my purchase?

A: Your order will arrive sometime between March 26 and April 9. In order for each item to be made at lowest possible cost, we are taking orders from February 19 through March 16 and then making a bulk order. What you pay covers the entire cost of production, and everything above that goes straight to BEYOND! The more items purchased, the lower production costs are, and then even more money gets donated to help Valley View get debt free!

dsc_3406webQ: When is the next season of the BEYOND store and what items will be featured?

A: Right now, we’re thinking about sports bottles and maybe a tote you can take to the pool or grocery store. If you want to give some input on what you think we should make next, email shester@vvcc.org and let us know–tell us what you think, or make a request! The next season of the BEYOND store will open in May.

Q: What’s the story on this campaign again?

A: You can get the full update and catch the vision at vvcc.org/beyond, but here are the basics: part of us following Jesus’ call to Live Free means we need to get debt free as a church. BEYOND is a financial campaign to help us do just that, plus take care of some nagging building repairs that will stop our roof from leaking every time it rains. The website can give you budget numbers, and you’re welcome to ask an Elder or staff member about church finances any Sunday: just walk into the Next Room (the glass-walled-room in the lobby) and ask.

Check out the BEYOND store today!

If young love is a flame…

I love fires. The good fires… you know, like campfires, wood burning stoves, or a fire in your fireplace on a cool day.

One of my favorite things in this world is to sit around a campfire with friends and family and talk as we sit mesmerized by the flames. But in order for a fire to get to that point of consistent, reliable flames giving off good heat, it takes time and attention to sustain a good fire.

Marriage is very similar. I came across this quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s brother, Henry Ward Beecher:

“Young love is a flame; very pretty, very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.”

From my experience, those deep burning coals in a good fire require time and attention…just like a deep, abiding love relationship in marriage takes time and attention.

Every marriage needs time and attention. No matter how good it is or how messed up it is… it needs time and attention. It’s easy for the flame to die out without fuel or because the elements around (wind and rain) destroy it. But, given the proper attention and time, the fire becomes deeply strong. So it is in your marriage.

That is precisely why Valley View is hosting a marriage event called “The Mingling of Souls” on February 10th and 11th. We want to purposefully build in time in the rhythm of our church culture and, hopefully, your family culture, to make an investment of time in order pay some attention to your marriage so that it will stand the test of time and temptation.

The Mingling of Souls is a simulcast that features Matt and Lauren Chandler. Matt is the Lead Teacher at The Village Church. Together, Matt and Lauren will share from their own experience, and from their experiences as Pastors working with marriages. You will love their conversational style and approach to Mingling of Souls.

Take a time out away from busy sports schedules, yard prep, or sitting on the couch in order to focus time and attention on your marriage.  Registration is required to attend. Limited childcare is available, so register today!

Lead Others

In various places and seasons of life, everyone of us is called to Lead—in our families, at the workplace, at church, in our communities—no matter how many people are following. In a multitude of ways, Jesus commands us to step up and take responsibility, influence those around us for good, and challenge others to become followers of Jesus.

What could God do if you embrace His leadership challenge? Could he restore relationships? Could he transform your work environment? Could he change the culture of a church? Could he bring fairness, justice and morality back to our community?

Your influence matters!

Every follower must learn how to lead.

Staff Recommends: Bible Translations and Tools

We are passionate about Scripture’s power to change your life and even impact the lives around you as you dig in to God’s Word this year.

What’s exciting (and maybe a little intimidating) is Christian bookstores are overflowing with different options and tools for studying Scripture. There are so many translations, age-appropriate versions, study Bibles, paraphrased Bibles, illustrated Bibles, chronological Bibles, journaling Bibles, and more.

Looking for an easy starting point? Valley View staff has a list of personal recommendations that could help you engage with God’s Word:

Print

esv-study-bible

The ESV Study Bible is a well-rounded study tool and is a great resource for many topics concerning the Bible, History and God. It has background information, commentary and cross-references, as well as over 50 articles concerning topics such as Interpretation, Original Biblical Language, as well was information about other religions. If you are looking for a resource to help you grow in understanding of the Bible, the ESV Study Bible is fairly compact and has a lot of helpful information.
-Chad Pickens, Outreach Minister

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-11-58-45-amThe Jesus Study Bible is a brand new group effort project with contributions from Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, and Randy Alcorn. Many fail to realize the whole of scripture points to Jesus! This Bible exists to help us recognize this truth by highlighting Jesus on every page. I think this Bible can be a helpful tool in your spiritual development and understanding of the grand arc of scripture.

– Joel Harney, Student Minister


for kids

niv-adventure-bibleThe NIV Adventure Bible is great for Elementary aged kids because of the vivid pictures and comments that are really applicable to life for kids.


079-179-2

The Jesus  Storybook Bible is great for kids of all ages but is only a selection of stories and not the whole Bible. We love it because of the thoughtful language and beautiful pictures as the author shows how all of the Bible points to Jesus.


action-bible-product-3d_originalThe Action Bible is written in a graphic novel format that really captures the major stories and themes from the Bible. If you have a kid who likes graphic novels, this is a great one to pique their interest.

– Mike Havens, Family Life Minister


Audio

streetlightssamplercover

Finding the Streetlights Bible was a game changer for me. I still love using my printed study Bible for quiet moments when I can sit and study, but during long trips in the car or putting away laundry (the worst chore, honestly), I’ve been streaming Streetlights and it’s so encouraging. A fresh way to hear familiar passages; several chapters were in my top 100 tracks of 2016! Find it on Spotify or purchase on iTunes.

– Sarah Rosie Hester, Communications Director


175x175bbMy friend Scott Hamilton told me about this app called Through the Word that has a 10-ish minute-long audio commentary on every chapter you read through. I was impressed.

– Daniel Harney, Worship & Creative Arts Minister

 

 


Apps

downloadFind this app called YouVersion. Many of you already have this on your phone, but I want to challenge you to find a Bible reading plan on this Bible app! You can do an entire Old and New Testament plan or you can just do it for 40 days. Find a specific plan, read through the Bible this year, and you will be amazed how God will guide you.

-Joe Weece, Senior Minister


verses

I downloaded this app called Verses to see if it could help me memorize Scripture, and so far I love it! I’m not great at committing anything to memory, so the fact that this is working for me is pretty huge. They have little memory games that increase in difficulty as you complete each round successfully. It’s nothing too innovative yet, but I’m hoping they add more features because I really like it so far. The only thing is that you have to purchase whatever version of the Bible you’d like to memorize, unless you like KJV – it comes with that version for free.

-Sarah Rosie Hester, Communications Director


Plans

Check out this list of Bible-reading plans and tools to help you stay committed to reading God’s Word this year.

Straight Through: Read the Bible cover-to-cover in one year. printable

ESV Daily Reading: Get a selection of the Old Testament, New Testament and the Psalms every day to read the whole Bible in a year. printablemobile calendar page 

Bible Reading Chart: Read at your own pace and keep track of what you’ve finished with this color-coded chart. printable

In-depth Study of Matthew: Go deeper in the Gospel of Matthew for an entire year. Available through the YouVersion app. in-app plan

40 Days in the Word: Walk through the steps of effective Bible study and application so you can build your life on the solid foundation of God’s Word and let it change the way you live. in-app plan

Read Through in 90 Days: Finish the whole Bible in 90 days! It’s a lot of reading time, but don’t forget about your audio options. Your commute could make this plan a breeze. printable

The New Testament in 90 Days: Only three chapters a day can get you through the entire New Testament in just three months or less. printable

Giving: Old Covenant Precedent and New Covenant Practice

Every group has its own lingo, vocabulary, and practices.  A term commonly used among believers but which rarely surfaces outside of church settings is “tithe,” used as a verb to designate giving to a local congregation or as a noun to designate the gift itself.  The strangeness of the term begs the question, “What is it?,” and its common use in the phrase “tithes and offerings” elicits a companion question, “What’s the difference between one’s tithe and that person’s offering?” Beyond these questions is yet another: Is the tithe an obligation for followers of Christ?   

The term “tithe” (Hebrew, ma’aser) means “tenth” and refers to one-tenth of a person’s agricultural or monetary goods, offered to God. The first explicit Old Testament record of a worshiper of God giving a tithe appears in Genesis 14 when Abraham gives a tithe to Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God (vss. 18-20) upon his victorious return from battling a coalition of Mesopotamian kings.  He tithed from the spoils in an act of thanksgiving acknowledging God as He who enabled him to conquer the kings and to rescue his nephew Lot, Lot’s family, and those who had been earlier taken captive from the cities of the plain. Many years later, Jacob vowed to give a tenth to Yahweh (Genesis 28:20-22).

Within the Law given to Israel through Moses, a tenth of Israel’s annual produce belonged to Yahweh and was set apart for Him (Leviticus 27:30-32). This command was based on the prior principle that the land belongs exclusively to Yahweh, and he had given it to Israel (Lev 25:23). Thus, Israel was considered a tenant on Yahweh’s land, and all the wealth the land produced rightly belonged to Yahweh. All material prosperity that the individual, family, or nation possessed was Yahweh’s gift and not solely the product of human strength and cunning (Deuteronomy 8:17-18). The tithe was thus “an expression of thankfulness for the blessings that God had given [Israel] in the land. The increase of grains, vineyards, flocks and herds was a witness to God’s largesse and a consequence of His love for them…When the people brought the tithe, they acknowledged that God owned everything and was graciously allowing them nine-tenths of the produce” (Gary Hall, College Press NIV Commentary: Deuteronomy, 245-246).

A substantial portion of this tithe of agricultural products would, of course, have been consumed within the flames of the old covenant’s sacrificial system.  The remainder went to support the Levites and priests in their sacred work, but even that group was required to offer Yahweh a tenth of what they themselves had received (Numbers 18:25-32).   The Law also speaks of a triennial tithe whose primary beneficiary were the fatherless, the widow, the foreigner, and the sojourner in the land, in addition to the Levites (Deut 14:28-29; 26:12).  

The Hebrew term teruma, often translated “offering” or “contribution” in the Old Testament, appears to have been used in one of two ways in distinction from the tithe. It was first used for those portions of sacrifices that were set aside for the priests (Exodus 29:27-28; Lev 7:32-33; Num 18:8, 11). Beyond that, the term designates special gifts offered beyond but often alongside the tithe (Deut 12:6; Nehemiah 12:44; Malachi 3:8). We, too, in contemporary discussion of giving make this same distinction.  The tithe refers to a tenth of our income offered to the service of Christ and His church, while “offerings” refers to gifts above and beyond the tithe presented to further the Lord’s work.  

That late in the Old Testament period, the prophet Malachi could levy an accusation against Israel that she was robbing Yahweh in the tithes and offerings (Mal 3:8) indicates that the people had rejected Yahweh as the nation’s benevolent provider (Deut 6:10-12; 8:11-16).  Moreover, the testimony of one of the governors of that time, Nehemiah, indicates that Israel’s failure to bring their tithes and offerings had resulted in the Levites and singers being forced to neglect their ministries in order to work in the fields to provide for themselves and their families (Neh 13:10-13).

In Malachi 3:10, the prophet employs the messenger formula “says the Lord of hosts” to make more solemn his charge issued to the nation to test Yahweh in the tithe. If the people would bring the “full tithe” into the storeroom, Yahweh would throw open heaven’s floodgates and pour out an abundant blessing.

Although the Lord indeed called upon Israel to test Him in the tithe, it is inappropriate to use the promise of Malachi 3:10 as some sort of “investment strategy” in which one obligates God to increase material prosperity in response to the payment of tithes. First, the promise was made to the nation as a whole, not to individuals. Second, the treatment of the promise as a means toward gaining wealth reverses the principles upon which the tithing laws were given. The Hebrew people were to tithe in response to what Yahweh had already provided, not to coerce or ensure provision. The tithe is not a bargaining chip with God in which we offer to God something He needs so that He will give us something we need or want. To treat the Lord in that way would be to treat our relationship with Him like that of a consumer and an auto dealer, rather than that of Creator with creation or of Redeemer with the redeemed. Third, the promise of abundant provision described by Malachi represented only a restatement of the promises God had already given to Israel in anticipation of their entrance into Canaan (Deut 28:4-12; 30:9). In this way, the promise was merely a reminder that Yahweh provided Israel with what it needs. Fourth, the promise is less a guarantee of prosperity than it is an assurance that the one who trusts Yahweh with the tithe is also able to trust Yahweh for provision.

What are those who live under the new covenant to make of the Old Testament commands and statements regarding the tithe?  Do tithe texts have no bearing whatsoever on contemporary believers in Christ because “we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:6, NIV)?  While the New Testament does not renew the tithe command in as many words, it nevertheless reflects key principles found within the tithing laws of the Old Testament. First, giving acknowledges that the believer is a steward of God’s possessions (Matthew 6:25-34; Acts 17:25; 1 Timothy 6:17). Second, giving generously on the basis of faith in God results in God’s provision of all that the giver needs (2 Corinthians 9:6-11). Third, giving should be proportionate in keeping with one’s means (Acts 11:27-30; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Cor 8:11-12).  Fourth, giving shows concern for the poor or those in need (Acts 4:34–35; 11:27–30; Rom 12:13; 15:26–27; Gal 2:10; 2 Cor 9:12–13; Ephesians 4:28) and for the provision for those who minister to the church (1 Timothy 5:17–18). Fifth, giving results in “many expressions of thanks to God” (2 Cor 9:12–13), just as tithing in the Old Testament resulted in the satisfaction of those in need (Deut 14:28–29). Since New Testament texts contain these parallels to principles in the Old Testament tithing laws and since tithing existed as a pattern for giving even before the Mosaic law was given (Gen 14:20; 28:20-22), one may consider the tithe or tenth a reasonable initial guideline for giving for new covenant believers, even though voluntary generosity is emphasized in the New Testament, and no exact minimal requirements are articulated. In His discourse on the fulfillment of the law within the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-6:18), Jesus contrasted life under the law with life in the kingdom. In doing so, He invariably called citizens of the kingdom to a higher standard. Generous giving should be the natural response of Christians for they are responding to God’s greatest gift, the crucified and resurrected Jesus and to the salvation that comes through the Lord’s Christ.

Guest Author: Dr. Mark Hahlen. Dr. Hahlen is an elder, small group leader, and “teacher at large” with Valley View Christian Church. He is also the chair of the Bible Department of Dallas Christian College and does supply preaching in churches throughout Texas and Oklahoma. His wife, Brenda, is a teacher in preView and is active in Valley View’s women’s ministry.

We will be regularly featuring guest blogs by different authors around Valley View throughout the BEYOND Campaign. If you would like to contribute, send your finished blog post to beyond@vvcc.org for consideration.