We’re back with the 3rd and final part of our Are We There Yet? series! As you all know, we’ve been spending this month getting up to speed on where we are as a church in the midst of the Exchange Zone. In this final leg before the baton is officially passed, Pastors Jeff and Beth are entering their role as Founding Pastors while Pastors Eric and Alexa Jones are now the Interim Lead Pastors until the official change of command on January 29, 2023.
In part 3, Wisdom for the Changeover Season, we receive an empowering message from our Interim Lead Pastors Eric and Alexa. We’re discovering 3 fundamental principles to embody as we continue our journey as a church through this season. Remember, we are all part of the transition at VFC! We each have a part to play, a role, and purpose throughout the rest of 2022 and beyond.
Proverbs 24:3 (NKJV) Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.
Think about a moment in your life when you’ve either given or received final words to or from someone. Whether it was before someone passed away or simply before the seasons with that person came to a close. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s understood that final words are not only important, but also full of intention, full of care, and full of wisdom and life lessons.
As the apostle Paul was nearing the end of his earthly life before departing to go be with the Lord, he wrote letters to his spiritual son, his mentee, Timothy. As we continue through the last leg of the Exchange Zone, our Interim Lead Pastors, Eric and Alexa, remind us of how important it is to lean into wisdom, especially during seasons of transition. Let’s take a look at the guidance Paul shared with Timothy:
1 Timothy 4:12-16 (NKJV) 12Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
1 Timothy 4:12 (NKJV) 12Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
No matter our age, young or old or in between, we should never be discounted or discouraged by that number because God has an intentional plan and purpose for our lives and can use us in every season! The Lord has plans for all generations to be used by Him for His kingdom’s purpose. Amen!
In the verse above, “example” is actually the Greek word, “typos” and it speaks to the idea of Timothy following an example, not so much being one. Paul encourages Timothy in this was as he also encouraged the church of Corinth, as seen in this next verse:
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV) Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
The encouragement here is that we don’t need to feel pressured! We don’t have to be perfect, we don’t have to have it all figured out. All we have to do is set our faces like flint to do one thing: follow the example of Jesus. In doing that, we become examples of how everyone else around us can also follow Him. Our one and only goal is to know Jesus and become more like Him!
The best, most powerful way we can make a difference in the lives of our families and friends and coworkers and neighbors is by living out the lifestyle of someone who follows Jesus with all that we are. Let’s be encouraged by these next quotes and scriptures:
“Preach the Gospel at all times; use words when necessary.” –Francis of Assisi
Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV) 14“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (MSG) Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it–not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives–and we publish it.
In Wisdom for the Changeover Season, Pastor Eric Jones shares an example from our own church of someone who embodies these verses and lives them out in a way that directs all the honor and the glory back to Jesus. Our church is full of people like that! We, too, can now set out to be people who shadow and mirror the life of Christ. Amen!
In what ways has someone been an example of Jesus to you? How did that impact your life?
How can you follow Jesus’ example and serve, love, and honor members of your family and community?
1 Timothy 4:13-15 (NKJV) 13Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.
Paul charged Timothy to not ignore the gifts of God in his life. We, too, are charged with that same mission! We must devote ourselves to pursuing and utilizing the gifts God has given us to build His house, His kingdom.
Romans 12:6-8 (NIV) 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If you gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
It’s time for us to go all in with our gifts and not hold back. We can’t count on someone else to do what God has called us to do.
2 Timothy 4:6 (NKJV) As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God.
Over the past 30 years, our Founding Pastors Jeff and Beth Jones have built the legacy and foundation of Valley Family Church by giving it all to build the kingdom, preach the gospel, and reach the lost. Because they did it, we can do it, too. Like Timothy, we have wise instruction to guide us!
What are your unique spiritual gifts?
How can you nurture and develop that gift that is in you further?
What ways can you share your gift with those close to you and in your community at large?
1 Timothy 4:16 (NKJV) 16Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
This is why we do all we do! Why is it important to be an example? Why is it important to use our gifts? It’s important because we are not just doing it for ourselves; we’re doing it for those who are still to come.
In all we do, we at Valley Family Church are going to continue with all that we have–heart, soul, mind, and strength–we’re going to continue investing, learning, giving, serving, and being a part of a church family who fervently pursues the Lord always.
Think of the stories that are still to come! Think of those who have yet to be reached by the Good News. God is going to use us on this rescue mission to bring the lost to Him. He will use us for all those who are yet to become our family members in Christ–our coworkers, our neighbors, those in our world who don’t yet know Him.
How do we take our strong foundation and continue to expand God’s family and reach more people? The same things that we did over the past 30 years are the same things that we need to continue doing over the next 30+ years. Amen!
Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV) 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
For 30 years, our church has committed to making disciples for Jesus. As we press on through the next 30 years, what does discipleship look like for you?
How can you, personally, participate in outreach ministry and loving our community?
Prayer: Father, we love you! Let us not despise the day of small beginnings. In light of all that you want to do, this is our launch point and we welcome it with open minds and open hearts as we commit to carrying out your will for our church. Lord, as we look ahead and continue to build on our strong foundation, encourage us to show up and give our hearts, souls, and minds to love one another and love our community and love this world. May our church exist to magnify the name of Jesus. We love you, God, and we pray all of this in your Son’s precious name, Amen!