85th Anniversary | Use It or Lose It | Sermon Only
85th Anniversary | Use It or Lose It | Sermon Only
August 20, 2023 |
Sunday Morning
85th Anniversary | Use It or Lose It | Sermon Only
John C. Majors |
Hebrews 11
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Sunday Morning | August 20, 2023 | John C. Majors | Louisville, KY Well. Good morning, Valley View. It’s great to be with you today to celebrate 85 years together. It’s already been. Go ahead. It’s fun. It’s already been exciting just to see how many people God has had here for so many years. And today we’re going to talk specifically about our history. And there’s an important reason you’ve probably used this phrase. You’ve probably heard this phrase I’ll let you complete it all started. You either use it or or lose it. Right. This becomes very painfully aware to me each time one of my kids, it’s about seventh or eighth grade math, right? I have an engineering degree. And that’s about that’s where I’m out. I’m like, I’m done. Okay. I haven’t used complex math in a really long time. You use it or you lose it. If you’re not actively working to keep things you’ve gained, they’re fading away. And the same is true of our history, of our foundation. Remembering actively remember how God has worked in our lives in the history of Israel. They got derailed when they quit remembering. And when we stop actively remembering is just a matter of time before we forget about God all together. And so today we want to be purposeful, to be intentional, to actively remember, not to praise us. Look at how great we’ve been for 85 years. That’s ridiculous. To praise him, to give gratitude for his goodness, for his generosity, for how he has shown up. Now to do that, I’m going to do that through the lens of four people. We’re going to look at four different people in the history of the church. And as I talk about each of them, I want to talk about four principles. One principle for each of them and one verse of scripture, because we don’t just want to remember what they did. We want to also ask now how then does God using that to call us to repeat what they did moving forward. Because the history of the church doesn’t stop today, Lord willing, I hope not. Right. We’re looking forward to the next 85 years. This is the beginning of another season of his blessing. And so what is he calling us to do in response to what happened? We’re not just remembering what happened long ago, but we’re looking forward at the same time. So I’m going to walk through four different people, four lessons, four points from them, and four scripture. So the first person go ahead and throw out this picture of Miss Lula Tyree, and this is a picture of her at the time. She’s 98 years old now. Who’s Miss Lula Tyree? Well, one morning across the street from here on old third, that’s where she lived at the time. She was sitting on the porch with a friend of hers, Annie Quillen. And she said, Annie, Annie, I really feel that God has put on my heart a burden to start a Sunday school, but I don’t know how to do that. What should I do? Would you join with me and pray for wisdom for that? Now, Annie was a member at Impeachment Baptist. Lula was a member at Beechmont Baptist, which is a ways up the road. And so she really felt like we need something here in this area. Plus, there were kids everywhere, everywhere they looked, there were children playing. We got to do something to reach these children. And so they began to pray. And it wasn’t long before in her home they had the first Sunday school service that Eddie Lee just mentioned. Five children, five adults and 12 children right off the bat. That was really the beginnings of Valley View Baptist Church was in her home for that first Sunday school meeting. And then as they continue to meet and pray and begin to gather more and more, it just began to grow and grow and eventually her house couldn’t hold them anymore. And she said, Where are we going to meet now? Right across the street there was a farm and there was a huge shade tree just right across the street from it. And, you know, this was the summer. Let’s go meet over there. Let’s go meet under the shade tree. This was back before air conditioning, if you can imagine that. I’m sure it was some place, but it wasn’t common. Let’s go meet under that cool shade tree. So they started to meet and it kept growing and kept growing. The word got out among other churches and other churches said, Hey, we want to be a part of helping that Highland Park Baptist. Highland First Baptist. They sent a pastor. He’ll come and preach. Some 19 old Baptist gave money towards the start of Valley View. Multiple churches were involved and people from all over the community came. And before long, this was one of the first major services they had under that tree of 40 people gathered under that tree. In fact, Lula Tyree. I don’t think you’re in that photo, George. Are you are you looking at it, trying to decide? That was a couple of years before your time? Not many, though, but Lula Tyree, she actually brought that picture to the pastor here at the church in 1979. Brother Howell was the pastor then, and she brought that picture. She said, I found this in my records. I want you to have this as one of the first gatherings we had. And, you know, this would have been 40 years after the church started. Yeah, 40 years after that. I’m doing math. I’m had, as I already talked about, use it or lose it, right. 40 years after the church started, brother, how he was so amazed by that. He said, You know what? Your seed of faith has led to so much happening here. Just five adults and 12 children. And in your living room, look now look at what God has done, because at that time, multiple buildings were here and he started to walk through, Here’s all that God is doing at Valley View. Now here are the ministries at work. Here’s what God has brought about. And you know what she said to that after he got done explaining all that God has been doing. And she said, I saw it all from the very beginning. I had the vision at the very start for where this would be today. And I thought about her in that statement, that vision, looking forward to God, working throughout this community, bringing all kinds of different people together. I think the lesson for us in that is just just one word for us to take from that. The word faith walk by faith. What has God put on your heart that has called you to take a step of faith, to walk by faith, to do something that requires you to depend on him? She even said to her friend, How do we do this? I don’t know what to know. I don’t know what to do. But I know he has put this on my heart to reach this community. A key verse for us, and that is in Hebrews Chapter 11. Turn to Hebrews. Chapter 11. If you have a church Bible that will be on page 947. If you don’t have a Bible, you can go out to the connection corner any time and get one and the pages on the screen tie into that Bible. That’s a free copy for you to have. We want you in God’s Word. Turning there, reading it on your own, studying the Bible on your own. It’s such a powerful way to grow as a Christian. But Hebrews Chapter 11 is often called the Hall of Faith, the chapter of Faith. I encourage you to read the whole thing. You’ll see in Walk Through. Here’s what this person did. Here’s how they leaned on God by faith. By faith, by faith. But look at how the chapters starts. Chapter 11, verse one. Now faith, and this is often considered the definition of faith. Faith is the assurance of things. Hope for the conviction of things not seen. And you think back to literary. I’m not I’ve not seen it come about yet, but I can see it in my mind already. Here’s what God is going to do. I’m sure of it. I’m convinced he is going to work for by it. People of old recovered their commendation received their commendation by faith. We understand that the universe was created by the Word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Skip down to verse six and without faith it is impossible to please him for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him. So when we think about Lula’s example of having a vision for how God will move and her taking a simple step of faith, you know, she didn’t have to have it all figured out. She didn’t have to have a master plan and already have the buildings laid out and know who were going to be the key volunteers and leaders. She said, God, would you move? Let’s start. Let’s trust, let’s trippin. Let’s take a simple step of faith. I think that’s a powerful testimony for us today. And I know there are a number here in this room that feel like God has given you a vision for how he wants to use you to reach some in this community. Maybe it’s a group of people that have been neglected. Maybe it’s someone you feel especially connected with and God has given you a vision and maybe it’s not all clear. Don’t give up on that. Don’t get What if Lula had said, But I’m not a leader, but God can’t use me. But somebody else will probably step up and do that. Don’t give up on that vision. Keep walking by faith. Keep trusting. He’s going to move. It might not be way that you think he would. It may not all be spelled out. You may not have it all figured out on the front end, but that’s what it’s part of what faith is moving forward in faith. So that’s the first person. Lula literally walk by faith, take a step of faith. Now for the second person, the second example for us to look at today, and you can go ahead and put up this picture. This is of Morris Roberts. His nickname was Rosie. I don’t know why. Who knows? We could speculate about that for a while. Maurice Rosie Roberts and his family and Rosie was the interesting guy. He heard about this vision that Lula had, that Annie had. And he was his sister and he lived right across the street as well. He heard about what God was doing, what God had put on their heart. He was watching this group grow and he got excited about it. He was excited to see what is God going to do in our community. And so when he heard other churches were getting involved, when when they needed a place to meet, he said, Yeah, go across the street to my shade tree. That was his farm across the street. Y’all are welcome to meet there. He made his place available when people needed a place to sit under the shade tree, he donated the lumber. He even got his hands dirty, helped build the benches that everyone sat on. Kind of created an outdoor chapel environment, took some of that money that other churches had donated. In fact, I asked Larry Piercey, Larry knew Rosie. I asked him, Tell me a little about Rosie. What was he like? And he said, you know, the interesting thing about Rosie, I don’t know that he ever held any, like official leadership positions in the church. He may have, but he wasn’t really a prominent leader. But he was there. He was committed. He was all in he was giving of himself in so many ways. In fact, as I’ve said, his name, some of you may know that name is so familiar. I know I’ve heard that name. Where have I heard that? Well, if you’ve been out at the ball field, go and throw that sign. Maurice Rosie Roberts Memorial Field. But they dedicated the whole ball field to him. You’ve probably some of you are going, How did I not see that? I’ve walked past that so many times. I’m so embarrassed when I take a poll. It’s okay. All right. I may have had to have had that pointed out to me, even. But part of what Roosevelt did was he gave to the church. He that was his land. And he said, I’m so excited about what God is doing here. I love the fact that people can gather. He was really excited about softball and seeing people just come gather fellowship, have a place to connect in a way that hopefully honors God. And when I think about him, the principal, I think about Rosie. Let’s just be generous. Be generous, of course, with your finances, but also with your time and talents. He didn’t have to be the person upfront. He said, I’m going to be used by God by the way he’s wired me. I can build things I can give of my time. When it came time to build the first building, which isn’t here anymore, but he he was all in on that, helping to create it. When that building was overflowing, he said, We need to build a basement underneath this thing. I’ll help dig it out. What? Understand? A basement leaked its entire history of the building, which I think we might still have some of those issues in our basements here. But he said, I want to be used by God. I’m going to be generous. In fact, there’s a great section of scripture. Turn to second Corinthians eight, Second Corinthians. So right after first Corinthians, which is after the Gospels and acts in Romans, second Corinthians eight, when I read the description of the people in this passage, this is how I want to be described. Look at verses one through five. We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia. So he’s speaking about these churches in particular for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed and a wealth of generosity on their part. Notice the conditions here in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty all work together towards extreme generosity. And look at their attitude here in this part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means of their own accord, and then their attitude begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the Saints. You know, they say give with a joyful heart. I mean, what a picture here. Out of the abundance of joy, begging us earnestly to give, please, can we give some pause? I have to say that’s enough. But. Whoa, hang on. You need this for yourself. You guys are already poor. I want to be known as that kind of giver, begging earnestly. And I think Valley View in its history. I mean, just look at the fact I was just talking with the guy right before the service, he says. I remember when we first started talking about renovating the fellowship hall and in it was a year ago was a year ago July, where I said, Hey, let’s see if God might provide the funds for us to renovate this. Let’s see what he might do. And in a year he provided the funds and it’s and is done both out of your generosity. It’s really amazing. And, you know, it’s not only the financial giving, though, a whole bunch of you helped out recreating that space. In fact, if you were I’m going to have you stand in a second, but let me just mention some of the things. And I know a lot of the people that like to serve in the background don’t want to stand. They want to stay in the background. But I want you to stand it when I say to stand, because I want everyone to see how much went into it. It’s not about you individually, it’s about collectively how many people served. But we hauled out all those old panels, ripped out carpet, repainted that area, and then replaced ceiling tiles and light bulbs, painted a number of elements. But then also there was a number of people involved in preparing for our reception. That’s afterwards today. So if you were a part of any bit of that, go ahead and stand now. Go ahead and it’s okay. I’m going. Keep going. I know there’s more. Keep going. Be generous. Be generous with your time, with your talents, with your finances, and watch God work. All right. That’s Rosie Roberts. Now for the third person I want to mention. We’ll just go ahead and throw up this sun. How many of you know where this sign is in the building? I see a couple of hands, not too many, because it’s pretty kind of hidden away if you’re looking. I’ll just tell you, if you’re looking at the front of the church there’s a building to the far right if you’re standing on third, which I don’t recommend. But if you if you are look at the building, the far right, there’s a door there that used to be kind of a chapel area. Now that’s the children’s wing right inside that door is this sign the Jean Cook building now thought the picture of Jean Cook, Jean and his family. Jean was a member here for a long time. The nameplates 97, he passed in 96 and they named the building after him. Jean was known for being a man who cared deeply about this church, who was committed to this church at so many levels. In fact, let me just read to you. I had to write all these down to make sure I get them right. Let me just read to you some of the roles he served in in this church, some of the titles he held, some of these I don’t even know what they are. We don’t have some of these around anymore. But listen to this list. Softball Program Director, Training Union director, Deacon, Trustee. Sunday School Teacher. Brotherhood President. Financial Secretary. County Committee Chairman. He usually served two or three widows at a time, regularly visit an inmate on death row hospital visits, building and grounds maintenance, supervised custodial staff, oversaw bank deposits, helped with answering the phones. Y’all are gone. Why do we need all this other staff then? One guy can do that. All right, Now, why did I say that? I didn’t mean that. Listen, all those titles here was the most honored one that I had mentioned that was on the list. The one that he valued the most day care and Kindergarten Committee chairman. His passion was the children. When we had daycare here every day, he was there talking with the children, talking with the teachers, investing in them, loving on them. He was so excited about what God was doing through the children. It’s no coincidence that that’s how Valley View started was a burden for region. The children. And when I think about him and part of the reason they put his name on a plaque and put it up on the wall is so that we would remember that and model that in fact, I think the key phrase is invest, invest in future generations. As a church, we need to be thinking ahead to future generations. There’s a great verse that I love in first Corinthians six, and the verse is in the context of sexual immorality. But the point it makes is really critical and and applicable to so many parts of life. First Corinthians 619 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you whom you have from God? And here’s the phrase to remember You are not your own, you are not your own. You’ve been bought with a price, so glorify God with your body. Now, that applies to a lot of realms, but just having that phrase in mind, you are not your own. And you’ve heard Rick Warren say this Life is not only about you. Life is not only about me. In fact, life is never worse. When then I’m totally self-absorbed and make sure it’s all about me. It’s not good for me. It’s not good for anybody. But when I get my eyes off myself and onto others and on to future generations and I’m thinking about serving others, that’s where you start to really find life. We talked about that in John Chapter 12 last week. If you want to find your life, lose it. That’s where you start to gain real life when you’re giving. And we got to give from a place health. All that’s true. But we are not our own. We want to be investing in the next generation. You know, the amazing part of that story with Jean Cook, one of the neat things is he continued to do what was modeled at the beginning of this church. So early on, this church was all about how do we invest in the children, how do we invest in the next generation? And I’m going to show you a series of pictures. Don’t put them up yet. But that went out when I found these photos. We have this box of old material of history of the church. When I encountered these pictures, I thought they were copies of the same photo. At first I just kind of flipped through them until I realized, Now, these are all different pictures. These are pictures go ahead and start putting these up. When we have them in groups of two of early children, Sunday school class. That’s our first white building that was out front. These are individual Sunday school classes, groups of children. George, you probably are in one of those. I’m guessing. We don’t know. We’ll examine that later. And by the way, we left one off. There was one more. We actually had seven photos. You can put up the full collage just to show them all early on. Very early in the church. This is the 1940s. We’ve got Sunday school class kids, Sunday school class stack of kids, stack of kids, stack of kids. From the very beginning, God was using Valley View to reach kids. And you and I today, when I look at our church and all that we’re doing, I think you’d be hard pressed to find many other churches that are intentional as intentional to serve children. Of course, we could do better every church could. But that legacy has continued. And the important thing for that is, look, we’re not a church that’s only about children. And part of my burden is to serve everyone who’s here. I to make sure whether you’re 100 or one that we’re serving, who God has brought us. We’re not just a kids church. We’re not just the senior citizens church. We’re serving everyone God has brought us. However, as I say, that the sign of a healthy church is that there are lots of children in your church. The sign of a growing church is that there are lots of children in your church, and if your church doesn’t have children, it’s just a matter of time before the doors shut. In fact, TIME How many of you, if you’re comfortable raising your hand, would say, Yeah, the last church I was a part of. That’s what happened, right? Raise your hand if that happened to you. You can just look around and see a number of people. You were in a church that, for whatever reason, stopped multiplying and slowly trickled away and died off. And so we want to be active. And how do we reach the next generation? How do we invest in the next generation? The other amazing part of that God use that burden to not just reach kids but to multiply value. Early on they wanted from that probably within the first ten years said, you know what? What happened here? We need to multiply that out. And so they went and started a Sunday school class off St Andrew’s Church Road that ended up becoming Cardinal Hills Baptist Church, which is still up on St Anthony’s Valley. View was a part early on of saying, We need to multiply, we need to plant other churches Valley View as a part in giving, investing in West End Baptist being started and some of you have been a part of serving. They’re serving on Saturday morning feeding the homeless. I love seeing how God use the burdens for one ministry to multiply, others to send out others into other areas, to multiply out other churches. Because a healthy church is growing. And so Gene could model that for us out of his passion, out of his burden for children, God used him to continue that legacy of investing in future generations. So that was the third person to focus on. That was our third point. Invest in future generations. And now for the fourth one. And before I mention this person, I want to just share a little lesson I learned from Dennis Rainey. He was a guy I served under in ministry in Little Rock marriage and family ministry called Family Life. When we came there, one of their buildings, they have three different buildings. At the time. One of their buildings was called the Ingle Building and it was named after a guy. Merle Ingle and Merle had been an incredibly successful, successful executive at one time, managing over 7000 people in the role he was in as a vice president of a big electrical company. But Merle Ingle, he gave all that up. He came to serve at FamilyLife to help assist all help that was needed there, to bring more organization, more order, more structure. He became the CEO. Oh, now here’s the cool part about Merle. When Julian, I showed up to serve there, he was still there. He was still serving as the CEO. And Dennis said this. I heard him say it many times, Let’s not wait to the people we want to honor our gone. Let’s honor them while they’re with us. Let their current example can inspire us as well. So for the fourth person that I want us to make note of today and learn from today, it’s not a person. It’s a couple. Larry and Sharlett Peercy are the ones we want to mention today. And if you don’t know who they are, go ahead and put up a picture of them on the screen. Oh, wait, that one’s kind of old. That’s well, no, that’s jumping ahead a little bit. Go back. I had them in a specific order to try to make a humorous point about myself because that’s a picture of me that got mixed in. Go ahead to the next one of Larry and Sharlett a little older. Okay. Now let’s see their current picture that we already saw bring back up. That’s Larry and Sharlett Peercy and Larry and Sharlett, much like where Dennis said, we’re going to honor those who are with us while they’re with us. What I want to do today is to announce we’re going to rename the fellowship hall, the Larry and Sharlett Peercy HALL Yeah, Yeah. Not going to. We did. It’s done. As you can see. And here’s why. When I think back to my time at Valley View, So I grew up here, started coming here and I think 78 is about the time we came here. It was here until 2002. We moved to Little Rock. As Eddie Lee mentioned, the church has had its ups and downs. It’s had its highs and lows. We don’t ignore that reality. And I remember being here in college and Brother Howard had left maybe not under the best circumstances either, and the church was declining in attendance. And the associate pastor at the time, Tony Trunnell, he moved into the role and Tony was a great guy. But attendance continued to decline. And we were in a lot of debt as a church. And it got to the point really, we could have just met in the chapel. I mean, it was basically kind of just a group of people right here in the middle. And then Tony left, and that was hard for me. I was in college at the time and I felt like I was in a key season of growth. In fact, I felt like Tony’s influence, specifically mentoring and discipleship. My dad had a big influence on my growth, which is such a powerful principle. So to see him leave, that was really hard. It hurt. And I wondered, Well, what are you doing? God, what’s going to happen here? Where do we go from here? And I watched after that, and there were a number of men and families who stepped up in the church. But for whatever reason at the time, Larry and Sharlett really stood out to me. Here I am a young college guy, and I’m watching them. They started Wednesday night, suppers back up again. It had been on the hiatus and they were there. And at the beginning of the meal, Larry’s there, setting up chairs, and at the end of the meal he’s cleaning off tables and folding up chairs and tables, and Sharlett’s back there cooking, making the meal. And they were there. And it seemed like everywhere I turn here they were serving here, they were making sure that things kept and he didn’t have to say it. The message was, We’re all in. We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to do whatever we can and pray that God moves and brings his favor back on this church. And as I thought of them, whenever think of the fellowship hall, I think of them. And it just felt like a natural connection. And by the way, there’s probably a lot of rooms here that could be named after lot of people. But the phrase that comes to mind with them, the principle that I think we all can take is just to serve. Serve Jesus modeled this, Larry and Sharlett modeled it. In fact, I love Mark 10:45 You can put that up on the screen. The son of man did not come to be serve, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many serve. Pour out, invest, be generous, walk by faith. Those are four principles that I think moving forward as a church, if we are embodying those, if we are looking at the names that have been put on the walls for a reason, following that example, I think over time we’ll see God continue to bless and multiply this church in exciting new ways, in ways really we couldn’t have even imagined. In fact, here’s what I want to do during this time to to close the service. Going back to Lulu Tyree and watch what she said. I feel like God has put on my heart to start a Sunday school. Will you help me? I know in this room some of us feel like God has given me a vision and I am passionately committed to seeing that happen. And then some have said, I feel like he’s given me a vision and I’ve given up on that. And some have said I want that kind of vision. Here’s what I want to do. Now. Wherever you are on that spectrum, I want to pray for you and I want to, as a result, I want to pray for us because I believe God has some of the best years ahead for valid use, some of the most amazing years ahead for Valley View. Not so that we can feel great, but so that he gets more glory, right? That’s the goal. And so here’s what I want to do. If you feel like if you fall in one of those categories, yes, God’s given me a vision and. I’m praying for that. He’s given me one, but I’ve given up on it. I need renewed hope. I want that kind of vision. I just want to ask you to come down here, just come down front to stand, kneel, whatever you want to do. Go ahead and do that now. And as you’re coming and as people are here, no matter how many they are, whether it’s one or 20 or 100 or whatever, I’m going to pray that God would multiply that vision over us. So go ahead and come now and our worship team is working their way up here. And after I pray over us, we’ll worship together, we’ll continue to worship. And then after all of that, I’ll give us some instructions on the reception. But just come now if you feel like, God, I have a vision. I want a vision. I need a renewed vision for how you want to use me, how you want to use this church, how you’re going to multiply out through the world, through the community in missions, and giving generosity. Just just come now and stand where you can or kneel or whatever, and pray for God to bless us, to give us great wisdom, to take steps of faith, to see him move God. We thank you for how you have moved for 85 years. And there have been ups there have been downs. And as we saying earlier, all through it all, you’ve been faithful. God, you are faithful. Thank you for being faithful when we are faithless. And I thank you for giving vision for ministry. And I know there are some here who know you’re going to move in some powerful ways and they’ve already seen you move in some powerful ways. I know there are others who’ve given up on that vision. Maybe they think you can’t move that way or you can’t use them. And others who are saying, God, I want to see you move in ways I haven’t even imagined. And I just pray right now. I pray today would be the day where we see you move in ways we could never imagine that you would use each of these families and many more to move in powerful ways in this community. This fellowship hall is not primarily about us. Yes, we gather. Yes, we fellowship. Yes, we connect. Yes, we study your word. But the hope is ultimately so that we spill out into world. And so give us wisdom. Lord, give us a favor. Help us to be more and more dependent on you. Jesus. We love you. Amen.