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August, 2017 - Issue #155
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

"Let go and let God." This saying once served as a powerful reminder to me that God was bigger and stronger than anything I faced. Now it sounds trite and when I hear it, I want to scream! "Let go and let God," sounds easy, but anyone who is angry, hurt, sad or disappointed can tell you it isn't. When we feel wronged, we want to retaliate. Unfortunately, vengeance doesn't fit with Jesus' teachings! In these moments - which come all too frequently - we need something more active than, "Let go and let God" and less-worldly than retribution.
In the Christian tradition, Jesus modeled what God hopes our lives would be like in a world filled with hate and conflict. The apostle Paul counseled the Christians in Rome, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may discern the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2) In other words, our actions flow forth from our thoughts and when our whole lives can embody the Godly values and characteristics Jesus modeled, we can discern what is right and Godly.
Transformations do not happen overnight. We aren't perfect and we won't get it right every time. Our emotions may get the best of us; but if we are truly seeking after God and God's ways, our thoughts will direct our actions in Godly ways marked with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Pastor Steve Peralta of Valencia United Methodist Church umcv.org

Meet Pastor Steve Peralta of Valencia United Methodist Church
How would you describe the "feel" of your church?
Valencia United Methodist Church "feels" like your neighborhood church, version 2.0.
What are the basic premises that you focus on the most, as a church and/or pastor?
We focus on Biblical preaching, life-impacting worship, life-transforming small groups, community-serving outreach and grace-filled relationships.
What's different or special about your church?
We believe that God's love and grace are available to everyone without boundary or restraint. It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, or where you are at in your life; you are welcome here and at our communion table.
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