Dear Valley Church Family,

I was driving through the Costco parking lot earlier this week and saw this license plate pictured below.

Can you read it? Here’s a close-up.

Yes, it says “VLOVEULORD” with “got Jesus?” on the frame. And do V ever! God, our Heavenly Benefactor, has given “Vus” (I couldn’t resist) everything in his Son — a new identity, new possessions, new power and…and…well…something else that’s new too. But you’ll have to come on Sunday to discover what that something is.

What’s more, VLOVEULORD for making the Alpha Day Away at Redwood Christian Park an eternally significant event. It was also a total hoot — with a little friendly competition to add some spice. Here’s a picture of guests playing Bocce Ball. All eyes (Rhonda, Anna, Tina, Elvie, Carol and Will) are making sure that George is doing a proper measurement (“Don’t pull any fast ones, George!”)

In this next shot, notice Tyler’s excellent throwing form — legs slightly bent at the knees, eyes focused on the pallino (the little ball that you try to get your ball closest to) and even a rakish smile that says, “Nobody can touch me out here!” Little Noah (2 years old) and chomping at the bit for his turn is thinking, “You got nothin’ on me, Big Guy. Gimme the ball!”

Of course, the highlight of the Alpha Day Away related to the purpose of Alpha, that is, introducing our friends, family, neighbors, colleagues — in short, EVERYONE within arm’s reach — to the Christian faith. The theme for the day: “Who is the Holy Spirit and what does he do?” We also introduced our guests to musical worship. Here’s a picture of my daughter, Anna, leading.

She was nervous alright, but able to serve because many adults have had a role in mentoring her — Lisa, Ambrose, Cindy, John and others whom I’m (unfortunately) forgetting at this moment. I know Pastor Daniel will also influence her as time goes on. Remember too that not all these “mentoring” adults play instruments or sing. For example, Nora has organized volunteers to bring meals on Friday nights so that the students being trained to sing, strum, beat and adjust sound can learn with full stomachs. It takes a whole team, doesn’t it?

Here’s another picture, a wacky one. We didn’t get everyone in this shot. We’re missing Aya, Melody, Noah and Sidney. But you get a good idea of the spirit of the day.

Finally, here’s a behind-the-scenes-look at some of the Alpha Food Team members on a recent Tuesday night (Martin, Claudia, Joby, Ralph, Aunt Betty, Susie and Leslie). The kitchen is clean, the leftovers are packaged and ready to give away to guests and leaders. And Jesus, is present too — notice the “empty chair” in the foreground. I think that a reverent imagination can see him sitting there. Why do I say that? Because in John chapter 2, our Lord Jesus is in the backroom of a banquet hall working with the servants.

Let’s gather on Sunday and sing some “VLOVEULORDs.” Sound good? I know I speak for the elders and staff by signing off with,

VLOVEU, Church Family,