Church Merger

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Church Merger

WoodburyWeb

We are so excited to share the plan to reach out into Woodbury in new and unprecedented ways. Over the past three weeks, we have been sharing the dream of doing more together. If you missed one of those messages you can check them out at vimeo. (Start with the January 25th message.) Valley Creek Church and River Valley Church will merge together the Sunday before Easter (March 29th) and form the Woodbury Campus of River Valley Church at East Ridge High School in Woodbury.

Valley Creek Church will continue to meet at Oak-Land Jr High (820 Manning Ave, Lake Elmo) for the next few weeks until we merge together. We believe greater things are in store as we partner to reach our city for Christ. Pastor Trent will continue leading the Woodbury location as campus pastor.

The best is yet to come! Pastor Trent & Melinda

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I love our church!

I loved the unity in the room during our "Valley Creek Huddle" a few weeks ago.  We are trusting God to do more than we ever thought or imagined!  I noticed four things:

  1. Vision - We are looking forward to the future and have a new strategy. Our vision is the same. We want to be a place that leads people to become fully devoted followers of Christ. We want everyone in our community to know they matter to God and they matter to us. Our leadership team is working to help us regroup, refocus, and reengineer our plans for the future. We will be sharing more details in the weeks to come.
  2. Unity - There is such an amazing unity within our church. You are excited about taking the next step. Together we can accomplish what we cannot do on our own!
  3. Honesty - I love every person at Valley Creek. We were able to have honest Q&A with our church family. I believe communication is so important for church health. I love it when people engage in the process and realize the important role they have in the church.
  4. Passion - You are passionate about seeing people in our community come to Christ! You believe every person should use their unique gifts and talents to impact the world. You believe God wants Valley Creek to be a place where people can experience transformation. You are encouraging us to take steps that we have never taken before!

This is the beginning of a great adventure!

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Finding God in the Pool Hall

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Finding God in the Pool Hall

pool

Last Sunday Daniel shared part of his story with us.  You can watch it here.

Daniel's Story from Valley Creek Church on Vimeo.

Jesus took him on an unexpected journey.  How long has it been since you have stepped outside your ordinary routine?  Maybe you are lacking adventure, maybe it is time to take the next step with Jesus and see where the path leads.

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VCC Missions Auction 2013

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VCC Missions Auction 2013

thanks3Our youth group recently visited an evening service at the Union Gospel Mission. The teens put together bags of candy and included an encouraging Bible verse to hand out to every person. VCstudent was so excited about the opportunity that they decided to do more. Lynn Friedman, Jeremy Lubich and our students hosted a Missions Auction. They collected donations to sell at the auction and promoted the event.  Valley Creekers loved it! They raised over $1200 for the Union Gospel Mission. What a great way to make a difference to those hurting in St. Paul!

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Drink it in

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Drink it in

Last Sunday I saw something refreshing.  Something life giving.  Something that everyone is looking for.  I noticed how now more than ever, people were mingling with each other.  After the service was over... It wasn't over.  People gathered in the lobby, shared stories, laughed and prayed together. Maybe you missed it, but I think this can change everything. People are not looking for the slickest Christian show in town.  People are longing to be known and live life together.  Don't get me wrong, I believe we need to present the message of Jesus in creative and engaging ways on Sunday mornings.  But I know nothing is as appealing as one on one relationships.

Our "Parent Panel" did an excellent job answering your questions on parenting.  Thanks Rebecca, Andy, Melinda, and Barb!  You provided practical Biblical wisdom for some really challenging situations.

I think the panel was part of the secret sauce that made relationships flourish yesterday.  People who sit next to you in the auditorium were able to share some of their journey.  We are all on this adventure of following Jesus together.  We need each other.

Many of us had an extra cup of Caribou Coffee in the lobby after the service.  I saw a few people tipping the cambro over to savor the last drop.  I think that what we were really quenching was a relational thirst.  Life is too short to live disconnected, let's drink it in.

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Ideal Family Resources

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Ideal Family Resources

idealFamily_webDiscussing family situations over the past few weeks can remind us of some lingering hurt. Here are some counselors and books that our team has found helpful. Check them out! Counseling

Parenting

Marriage

Purity

General

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Valley Creek Letter

Hi Valley Creek, I wanted to pass along four things today:

  1. Thank you Nancy for sharing your story with us at VCC. It was powerful. I love that Jesus still changes lives!
  2. I can’t wait to see how God uses the Thanksgiving meals you have donated to Union Gospel Mission.  Thank you for making a difference in our community!
  3. In two weeks we start a brand new series called Simple Christmas. I don’t know about you, but if I am not careful the “most wonderful time of the year” can quickly turn into the “most dreaded time of the year.” We are going to simplify the story of Christmas and get back to the heart and soul of what this season is all about.
  4. This Sunday we wrap up our "Ideal Family" series.  We will be answering your parenting questions you submitted last Sunday on 3 x 5 cards.  If you have a question that you would like answered fill out the following contact form.  No questions are off limits!

Pastor Trent

[contact-form subject='Parenting Questions - Blog Form'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

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A Letter from Pastor Trent to Valley Creek Church.

Hi Valley Creek Church, eight things I want to share with you today... #1 — Sunday was powerful! We dove into the second week of our series “I Believe in You.”

  • We get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget we are commanded by God to share our lives with each other.
  • Having someone pour into you is great... But the privilege of investing your life into someone else is amazing.

#2 — Our welcome team hit it out of the park last Sunday.

  • I was talking to a senior citizen in our church. She told me how she has been bragging about you to everyone she meets. She told me that every Sunday a greeter rushes out to her car to personally escort her into church...
  • Thank you Valley Creek. You are always looking for ways to express God’s love in practical ways.

#3 — Eight Eleven kids in KidsCreek made first time decisions to follow Jesus!

  • I love what God is doing! One of the adults working with pastor Charity said “God’s presence was so real during the service you could feel it.”
  • KidsCreek is NOT CHILD CARE! KidsCreek is providing age appropriate ministry that partners with parents to make a difference in the lives of every elementary student.

#4 — Creeks Edge had their first event Sunday afternoon for 5th graders.

  • I can’t believe my daughter is already getting ready for the transition to VCStudent in June!
  • Thanks to the Middle School team leaders who made the Video Scavenger Hunt at the Mall of America a success!

#5 — We have an impromptu group of people Christmas caroling at a retirement home this Sunday night. Love it when people see an opportunity to share God’s love and do something about it.

#6 — Can’t wait for this Sunday.

  • I get to talk about one of my favorite verses: “Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” (Psalms 71:17–18 NIV)
  • You make a huge difference on the next generation!

#7 — INVITE SOMEONE to our Thursday Night “Christmas at the Park.”

  • Our creative arts team is planning a special night of Christmas music and revealing Christ in Christmas.
  • Add this date to your cell phone now. 7pm, Thursday December 15, at the Indoor amphitheater of Central Park attached to the Library in Woodbury (where our church used to meet a couple years ago).

#8 — I am pumped about 2012! Our new series will make an impact on your life. More details to come.

--Pastor Trent

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Going through the valley

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Going through the valley

Every one of us experience unexpected detours. We get sidetracked in the valley.

Three things to know about the valley:

  1. The valley does not care who it affects.  The Bible promises us, "In this world you WILL have trouble."  Everyone goes through valleys.  Expect it.
  2. The valley does not follow your timetable.  You might have filled your calendar, but the valley has a way of interrupting your schedule.  It often comes at the least opportune time.
  3. The valley will not last forever.  It is not your permanent home.  You walk THROUGH it.  Your time of trouble builds you on the inside the way no mountain top can.

How do you get out of the valley?

 

  1. I follow the shepherd.  Ever noticed the shift in pronouns in Psalm 23:4?  They switch from third person to second person.  Valleys are personal.  Instead of talking about God, you talk to God.  You completely depend on your relationship with the shepherd.
  2. I trust His protection. God's got your back.  He carries the rod and the staff to watch over you and guide you.
  3. I let Him soothe my hurt. God forgives you and heals you.  He promises to bind up your broken heart.  He pours His soothing oil on your deepest hurts.  A deep hurt takes awhile to heal... but you will be stronger where you were hurt.  In fact, He will use your hurt to help others in their valley.

We all hurt.  The only difference between a follower of Jesus and everyone else is that you never go through the valley alone.

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.”  (Psalms 23:4–5 NLT)

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White Space

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White Space

white

Last week I sat down in a comfy reclining chair and looked out the window at a picture perfect nature preserve.  The trees were budding, the soft music was playing.  It felt like just a taste of heaven... until I heard the dentist drill revving up.  Four novocain shots and a temporary crown later I was on my way back to the office. I could hardly move my tongue.  If you called me on my cell you know why I didn't answer.  I didn't walk away more rested.  In fact in the end I was more tense (especially after every zing I felt on my tooth).  I usually think I am too busy to take some down time.  My to do list is just as long as yours.  Sometimes I buy into the lie that says I can do more in 24 hours than Jack Bower. The antidote to busyness is MARGIN.

When we don't have margin we have stress.  Designers know the value of "White Space." We fill up every square inch of the page because we think I have a little extra, why not cram more in.   Most high end brands understand the importance of simplicity.  We try to add just a little bit more... that is all that I need.  Psalm 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need."    When we fill the void with more stuff we become more distracted, cluttered, and busy. What we are looking for is not another "thing" it is Him.

Don't get me wrong, I am all about "Carpe Diem."  I want to get the most out of the moment.  But to get the most out of life I must let there be room for white space.

The Bible promises that our Good Shepherd will "make us lie down in green pastures and lead us beside still waters."  Get over the guilt of having some margin. He is ready to quench your spiritual thirst.

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How the Grinch Stole Church

This week the leader of our prayer team wrote an awesome poem about our church:  By Judy Wolf (With apologies to Dr. Seuss!!) Down in his cave the Grinch was perplexed "That Valley Creek Church keeps on growing. What's next? "I don't like the way those Whos pray in each service; "And when Whos get saved, it makes me real nervous. "I don't like to see all the guests they are bringing; "But mostly I don't like the way they keep singing."

"I've just got to stop them. But how?" was his thought. And in his evil mind he came up with a plot. So on Saturday night came the Grinch with his truck, stealing their trailer, thinking, "They're out of luck.. "Without this, they'll surely be left in the lurch; "Without this, they certainly can't have their church."

Sunday morning came round, and with it the Whos That were sitting and drinking up their Caribous. Then came the call - "The trailer is gone! "Now what do we do? How will we go on? "Where is that trailer we're so used to bringing? "Can we still have church? Will there still be singing?"

"Yes, our trailer was stolen," the Who Pastors said; "But that doesn't mean we can stay home in bed. "Our church isn't made up of boxes and bins; "It's made up of people forgiven of sins. "It's made up of those to the Lord who are clinging; "Of those who, in spite of hard time, keep on singing. "It's made up of all who say 'Jesus is Lord'; "It's made up of all who depend on His Word.

"So we will have church, we will meet as before; "Welcoming those who will walk through the door. "We'll meet and we'll sing, and we'll worship and pray; "And thank God for His mercies; they're new every day."

"What's this?" yelped the Grinch. "Why, what are they bringing "From their homes and some stores? "And what's that? Is that singing?"

Yes, the Whos they still came; They weren't left in the lurch. And small Whos made cards saying, "WE ARE THE CHURCH".

And that poor old Grinch? Why his ears must be ringing; 'Cause at Valley Creek Church, All the Whos are STILL SINGING!!

Acts 2:42 - "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers."

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Equipment Stolen -- Church Stronger

Sunday March 15, at 7:00 am, our setup team left Caribou Coffee to pick up the church trailer. A few minutes later, we discovered $50,000 in Valley Creek equipment was gone. I made a few phone calls to our team leaders and watched our church make the most of a difficult situation. Each of our leaders made Sunday morning a success! I was expecting a great service when I left the coffee shop; I didn’t realize it would be a morning that would strengthen us in ways I couldn’t imagined. God says, “Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” (James 1:12 MESSAGE) When we plow through adversity, the reward is living life beyond our expectations. God has great dreams ahead for Valley Creek Church. We are a church that loves God and loves people...nothing more and nothing less. I can’t wait to see what He does through our church over the next few months.

Last week I spoke on, “How to Love God Together.” We do not need stuff to worship God. When our eyes are off ourselves, we can focus our eyes on Him. I’ve been asked a number of times this week, “How could we go on with a church service?” The answer is simple, it is because each one on our team looked to God instead of the circumstances.

KidsCreek is learning the virtue of Hope this month. Their definition of hope is: Believing something good can come out of something bad. We are living that out right now in our church.

We’ve got to look at our Creator instead of our problems. Don’t focus on the stuff that is lost, instead focus on what He is doing within us. He is uniting us closer as a church family. Together we can do more for Christ than we can ever do alone.

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Great Radio Station

If I have the radio on in my car, I am usually listening to KTLK or KNOW talk radio.  I love getting both sides of the news.  I have recently been on a classical music kick... don't hold it against me.  Last night Melinda found a new radio station and I've been loving it this morning.  You can find it on 95.3 FM or stream it online at www.praisefm.org.  Most Christian radio stations play the same older music over and over.  This has been a fresh change for me.  They are broadcasting from downtown Minneapolis at North Central University.  Hope you enjoy it! (Photo by praisefm)

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Sunday's Live Survey Results

Our first attempt at using live polling via text messaging went great (First service had a technical glitch, but second service had no issues).  I think this will be a great way to interact with our church in the future. (Photo by Steve Ellenwoods)

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Do voter guides change the world?

I read this article from the washington post.  It mentions churches who support a political candidate during the Sunday service.  This Sunday I'll be talking about Jesus, not politics. Last week I received multiple phone calls to have voter guides placed in our church and provide onsite voter registration.  I politely said, "No Thanks," and then listened for the next five minutes about how sorry he was to hear that I was supporting the decline of America.

Don't get me wrong... I want you to vote, but our church is not going to tell you who to vote for.  I do not want to reduce people's view of a person to a "voter guide."  I believe people need to be more informed than that.  The issues this world faces are complex.  I listen to both conservative and liberal talk radio.  I think it is healthy to listen to both sides of every issue.  A great way to have an informed view on both Obama and McCain is to watch them talk with Pastor Rick Warren (Author of The Purpose Driven Life) during the two hour Saddleback Civil Forum.

Here is what I believe...  The decline in America is not caused by the lack of voter guides.  The decline is caused by people missing out on God.  The power of politics is pretty small compared to the power of a life changed by Jesus.  If I believed politics changed the world I would have become a politician.  I believe the world is changed by people who discover God's purpose for their lives instead of following a made up purpose.  I am committed to "CHANGE"...  but real change happens in the center of each person... a change that only happens when God gets involved.  That is the change you will hear me talking about this Sunday.  I'll vote for a changed life over a changed Washington anytime.

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Large Dark Roast Please

I love hanging out at coffee shops.  But what is the deal with the Starbucks cup sizes?  I have gone along with the funny cup size names for years. But this morning I rebelled. What in the world is "Venti" anyways? (Googled it - Italian for 20oz) Why is a "Tall" actually short?  Why is a "Grande" (Italian for large) medium? In my great act of rebellion I ordered my coffee this morning by saying a "I'll have a large dark roast please". The barista corrects me... surely I must have been mistaken...  I am a regular I should have known better than that. "Venti?" She asks, looking at me with a puzzled look.   She waits for me to acknowledge the error of my ways.  I smile and nod and take my coffee.  I guess I just need more coffee to keep me from making a big deal out of nothing.

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Text More During Church

This Sunday bring your cell phone to church and leave it turned on (vibrate mode is appreciated). We will take live polls (using your cell phone) during the service and have the results shown on screen as soon as you hit send. I've heard others complain about texting during services. I am looking forward to engaging texters! Let me see those cell phones out this Sunday. I want to see what you have to say!

I also came across another way we can use texting to keep you in the loop. This week we are starting a "VCC Top Three" text message we will give you the top three events you need to know about. If you want to get in on this text TOPTHREE (all one word) to 41411. You can also Subscribe Online by entering your phone number in the subscribe box .

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Connecting

I am committed to helping people connect to God, connect to each other, and connect to our world. Right now I feel like our church needs to zero-in on connecting with each other. As I look out in our worship experiences I see so many new faces. I know many are new to our community and new to following Christ. I don't want anyone feeling like they need to make this spiritual journey alone. Our small group options are a key part of making this happen, but what about those who are just not "into" small groups. Is there a way to help people meet up outside of Sunday? In our high tech world we want real interaction. There is even a website called Meetupdedicated to helping people "Get on the internet to get off the internet."

We're going to try three ideas this summer...

1) Never Eat Alone -- In the eighties we had "Dinners for Eight" or some cheesy title like that. We still need to have some sort of connection over lunch or dessert. Everyone likes food, why not eat with someone new. We're going to try and help people take the risk of expanding their social circle at church. I like the title of the book "Never Eat Alone" I haven't read it (I don't like the premise of building your network for your own benefit) but I do like the idea of building relationships on purpose.... not to sell Amway, Tastefully Simple, Tupperware, Melaleuca (enter your favorite pyramid marketing idea here) but to invest in real relationships. We need one another as we follow Christ.

2) Name Tags -- I think people feel bad that they cannot remember people's names in church. They have seen them for six weeks in a row but they are too embarrassed to admit they forgot their name. We're going to have a monthly "Amnesty Sunday." Even if you are guilty of forgetting someone's name, you get to have a chance to learn it again.

3) Photo Directory -- This is kind of an extension to #2. I want to be praying for people in our church by name each week. When I look at the names in our online database, I don't have all the names and faces connected. I want to know who I am praying for. We have a guy in our church who is passionate about this project. It will be great to have this completed next month. I remember hearing Rick Warren say that he had 1000 names memorized in his church. There is no reason why I cannot know everyone by name until we reach 1000.

Do you want to get connected? Let me know.

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