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Valley Church News

wisdom for the information age 1
June 24, 2016

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise."
~ Psalm 111.10

     We live in what has been called the information age. In this age of information, humanity has placed a lot of hope and trust in the accumulation of information to lead individuals and the world into greater peace and prosperity, into an information-induced shalom. There's just one problem: information alone cannot accomplish what our age wants it to accomplish. Information needs something to make sense of it, something to interpret it, something to put it into a larger context. In short, information needs wisdom. It needs nothing less than the wisdom of the living God.
     This summer we will be turning our attention to the Psalms and Proverbs, two books that fall within what is termed wisdom literature in the Old Testament. We turn to these books to learn again the wisdom that will help us live beautifully and shalomfully in relationship with our God, with our neighbors, and with creation, and which will enable us to rightly interpret all this information with which we are constantly bombarded.
     Before our time together this Sunday, I encourage you to begin this journey into God's wisdom by reading and reflecting on Psalm 111.

Jonah - Daniella Doller - slim cropThe Challenge of Jonah:

     As we concluded our study of Jonah this past Sunday we were confronted by challenging questions that the story of Jonah presents. I'm going to repeat and expand on some of those questions here in order to provide us with an opportunity for further reflection:
  • Jonah attempted to possess and use God's Word for his purposes. Am I, like Jonah, attempting to possess, use, and even twist God's Word(s) for my own purposes?
  • Jonah sought the demise of his enemies. Am I seeking the doom of my (or my nation's, or my group's) enemies? Do I rejoice in the misfortune of the ungodly? Am I praying that all people, even my enemies, will repent and come into right relationship with God, or am I ignoring the need to pray for them? What steps can I make to more faithfully pray for and seek the good of all people, even my enemies?
  • Jonah sat outside the city when he was called to go into it and "share its judgment, repentance, and salvation" (Jacques Ellul). Am I either sitting outside the culture, or am I in any way becoming just like the culture to which I've been called to speak and live prophetically within?
  • Jonah was more interested in his reputation than he was in God's reputation. Jonah didn't want to be associated with a God who acted like God acted in relationship to Nineveh. Jonah favored one part of God's self-revelation over another part and wanted to be associated only with a God who reflected his desires rather than the overarching purposes of God and the whole counsel of his Word. Jacques Ellul put this problem this way: “To achieve this salvation [for Nineveh] God has risked everything. He risks his honor. He places himself under the judgment of men. He is ready to be a figure of derision among them. . . But this degree of humiliation into which God in effect drags his servants is insupportable to Jonah; Jonah has too high a view of God's dignity. God, however, does not locate his dignity at the same point as man does.” We can all be like Jonah, tempted to think that we're worried about God's dignity when in fact we're really worried about our dignity – our reputation. Any one of us can be tempted to distance ourselves from a certain kind of God, or a certain characteristic of God's, willing to ignore or bury part of God's Word in order to protect what we think is God's reputation but which is, in fact, our reputation. It's not actually our business to worry about God's reputation (or even the reputation of God's church). God can take care of his own reputation. It's our job to be faithful to God. It is true that if we faithfully proclaim and embody God's Word in its fullness, there's a really good chance that, like Jonah, we will eventually find the degree of humiliation God drags us into with himself nearly insupportable. Yet we must stay the course. And we can stay the course, through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the knowledge that God's reputation and ours will be vindicated on the day of judgment. So, it's worth stopping to ask ourselves: do I bring demand(s) to the table when it comes to God that safeguard my reputation before others? How might I be limiting God, burying some of what God has revealed about himself and the world, running from part of God, in order that I can be associated with a certain kind of god – a god, in the end, whom I've fashioned after my own desires?

Upcoming Opportunities and Events:

Men's Lunch:
     The men of Valley Church (and their friends!) are invited to gather for food and fellowship at Apple Hills on Thursday, June 30 at noon.


~ Valley Church ~
Gathered as God's family, we are sent into the world as agents of God's mission of renewal.

This Sunday:
Worship Service
at 10:00 a.m.

That we might better pray for one another:

     We pray for healing and strength for Dot Simonds following TIA-like episodes, and for wisdom and guidance for the doctors who are diagnosing and treating her.
     We continue to give thanks for our graduates and ask for God's continued guidance and blessing of the graduates and their families during this season of celebration and transition.
     We pray for quick and full healing for Beth Cunningham's back.
     We pray for the shalom of the greater Binghamton area, and for guidance as to specific ways we as individuals and as a church might partner with God as stewards of his reign to cultivate that shalom in the city of our exile.
     We pray for God's world: for the people of Ethiopia in the midst of drought; for ongoing restoration, renewal, and justice for the people of Haiti; for refugees fleeing violence around the world; for those who are persecuted for their faith around the world; for God's miraculous intervention in the Middle East; for the people and leadership of the United States during this election season; for organizations fighting to protect religious liberty in our changing world.

     We pray for friends and family: we pray for a co-worker of Susan Law's who is mourning the sudden loss of his mother and faces a long road of caring for a father with dementia; for Jerry and Claire Krempel's granddaughter Joselyn's pregnancy; for Jim Canary, Sr.; for the family of Scott Wright, Jr.; for continued healing and patience for Erin Peterson's brother Keith following his bicycle accident; for healing for Adam Derzanovich; for Mike Corgan's nephew who is battling heroin addiction; for healing and rehabilitation for Marcus Doller's mother; for energy and strength for Alistair Krempel; we pray for those battling cancer: for Deb Harmon's brother, for Jim and Marsha Conrad's friend Judy, for Marcus Doller's friend Scott, for the DeYoungs' niece/cousin Terri; for the Petersons' friends Pat and Amy.

Sunday Morning Ministries for
June 26, 2016

Greeter: Terry Woodnorth

Ushers: George de Jager and Charlie Huizinga

Intercessory Prayer: Kurt Monroe

Scripture Reader: Alec Peterson

Nursery: Marsha Conrad

Church Telephone: 607.648.8224
Church email:
Church website:

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Valley Church
1452 River Road
Binghamton, New York 13901

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