No where more than in America are Christians caught up in the twentieth-century syndrome of size. Size will show success. If I am consecrated, there will necessarily be large quantities of people, dollars, etc. This is not so. Not only does God not say that size and spiritual power go together, but he even reverses this (especially in the teaching of Jesus) and tells us to be deliberately careful not to choose a place too big for us.
We all tend to emphasize big works and big places, but all such emphasis is of the flesh. To think in such terms is simply to hearken back to the old, uncovered, egoist, self-centered me.
Francis Schaeffer, A Christian View of Spirituality (Westchester, Ill: Crossway, 1982), 9.
It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God’s Word and
sacrament. Not all Christians receive this blessing. The imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the Gospel in heath lands stand alone. They know that visible fellowship is a blessing. They remember, as the Psalmist did, how they went “with the multitude… to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday (Ps 42:4)… Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living in common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Life Together. New York: Harper and Row, 1954.
As we highlight another year at Garden Valley Chapel, we ascribe glory, strength, and goodness to our God. “Good and upright is the Lord” (Ps. 25:8).
Lots of pictures and video clips still portray only a small part of the life and ministry of God among us.
Songs used in this year’s slideshow:
1) “Glorious Unfolding” by Steven Curtis Chapman (The Glorious Unfolding, 2013)
2) “My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness” by Keith & Kristyn Getty (Hymns for the Christian Life, 2012)
3) “All I Owe” by Matthew Smith (All I Owe, 2006)
4) “Planting Trees” by Andrew Peterson (Counting Stars, 2010)
Thanks are due to some skilled photographers for their contribution to this year-end show: Joseph Friedrich, the Smith Family, the Steward Family, Art Philbrook, and Jay Morrissette. Special thanks to my lovely and faithful bride, Angie, who gathered and organized all the photos.
May these shared memories cause you to thank the one true God for His great care and goodness to the saints at Garden Valley Chapel. What a privilege it is to shepherd the flock of God.