Pastor John’s Blog
Pastor John’s Blog

Look to the Heavens

The moment when it felt the largest … was when we were standing at the base. One son noted, “it’s hard to look up at it.” And it was true. Our natural inclination is to look up and stare at something so impressive, so majestic, a shining display of ingenuity. We naturally look up, and yet it’s also hard to look up. My neck starts to ache. The sun reflects off the stainless steel skin of the arch, forcing me to squint. The brightness of the blue sky also fatigues my eyes. Leaning back to look up and trying to take it all in puts pressure on my lower back in a funny way (I’m sounding older than I am). The size of it all looming over me causes a slight dizzying effect. It’s not long before I have to look back down to take a break from the effort. We naturally want to look up, and yet looking up is hard.

God at Work Behind the Scenes

The thing I learned that day is that God is always working behind the scenes to prepare you for what is next, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even when you think your work or season of life is a complete waste, He is still at work. One of our memory verses last year was I Corinthians 1:8-9. In it are two powerful phrases: “God is faithful,” and, “He will sustain you.” He is faithfully working behind the scenes to prepare and sustain you for what comes next. This is also a major theme of the book of Esther, which we started studying this past Sunday. God’s name is not even mentioned in Esther, and yet He is at work behind the scenes, orchestrating events. 

We Are Not Professionals

We try to do things with excellence at Valley View. We don’t ever want to excuse laziness or sloppiness. And yet we also never want to think it’s our ability to be polished and well put together or ‘professional’ that will transform the hearts of those who don’t know Christ. There is only one power that does that, and as Andrew pointed out Sunday, it is the power of the Holy Spirit stirring and awakening hearts to know and love Jesus.

Saturating our Hearts in God’s Word

John Piper lists ten reasons to read the Word daily, all of which increased my understanding of how essential our regular reading of God’s Word is for health and life and growth. The Bible is where we see what real life is about. Many of the messages we absorb throughout the day are tugging us toward a false reality – one not concerned with Christ. Starting the day by saturating our minds with truth helps us to believe truth rather than lies.

Total Meaning

Seven years ago I walked into a meeting room to listen to our ministry leader give a monthly update. He said something along the lines of “This year I experienced one of the most profound moments of my life, in fact, apart from the birth of my children, it was likely the most profound moment.” What was it? A total eclipse of the sun. We were living in Little Rock at the time, not in the path of totality, and I didn’t care to take the drive up to Missouri, but after hearing this, I was sure we would drive wherever we had to this time.

Abiding Joy

…even in the midst of challenges, those who know Christ have a peace, a hope, and a joy that gives us the ability to acknowledge that we truly are blessed. That’s one of the things I love about Valley View. I love coming on Sunday and seeing joy pour out of so many, even in the midst of some very real challenges many are facing. We don’t pretend life isn’t hard, and yet we lean on the joy of knowing Christ and the power of community to get through the pain.

Growing a Spiritual Family Tree

Who has God put on your heart to invite? They might be the beginning of a chain of eight or more families of a new spiritual family tree. God might use you to change the spiritual legacy of generations throughout our community just by taking one step of faith to invite someone. And over time, as we plant new family trees, our prayer is that these seeds grow into a mighty forest throughout all of Southwest Louisville!

Worship as Evangelism

Everyone wants to encounter God at church, that’s why we come. And when we do encounter God, when we experience His presence, we want others to know and experience that too. In fact, Bob makes the point that a worship service filled with the awe and joy of God’s presence is one of the most powerful evangelistic tools the church has today. Where else can one encounter the presence of God in such a powerful and tangible way? Even a pre-Christian (a friend of mine says that instead of ‘non-Christian’ – I love it) can sense that something powerful is at work in a worship service where God is moving.

The Caverns Below

After leaving Mammoth Cave we went to the Corvette Museum. A few years ago a massive sink hole opened up right in the middle of the main showroom of the museum. It swallowed up 7 or 8 collector Corvettes. Where did this sink hole come from? A cave that was deep under the structure, one there long before the museum. This dark cavern lay dormant for so long and yet eventually ate away at the life above it.