A New Bag, Artwork, Foster the City, Listening Seminar and Baptisms

Hey Family,

I met with my friend Andy Wu a couple of weeks ago for coffee. I get there before he does and so I’m getting some work done when he strides in, drops off his computer bag and walks to the counter. I look at his bag and think, “That’s it. That’s EXACTLY what I need.”

Why do I need a new computer bag? Well, I had been dragging around my old, ratty computer bag for — let’s just say — way too long. The thing was completely worn out. The foam was showing. Wire frame protruding (see top). Zipper broken (see bottom left). But it had served me faithfully for years by protecting my laptop and I was more than a little attached to it. Here’s a picture of my old trusty bag:

As you can see, its day had come. Another thing. Not only was it worn out. It was way too big for my new, svelte laptop that Matt M. got for me. See, I had bought the old bag for my former jumbo laptop. No exaggeration, my old bag was approaching suitcase proportions. In fact, someone once mistook my bag for a SUITCASE. Yeah, I walked into Peet’s Coffee with my LUMBERJACK computer bag (and backpack) and a woman looked at me and said, “My, you sure do have a lot of LUGGAGE.” I’m not sure that was a compliment.

So, I knew that I needed a new computer bag but here’s the thing: I DETEST BUYING THINGS. I never know how much items are supposed to cost, and I hate doing the research. One day I worked up my “purchase courage” and walked into Office Max to buy a new computer bag. I confess, I FAILED. Too many options. I was overwhelmed from the minute I walked down the “bag aisle.” It’s not all my fault. It had a bad vibe. See, all the bags were wired tightly to the racks to prevent retail theft. I felt VAGUELY GUILTY just by handling them. I lost my nerve. I walked out and LIED to myself, saying, “I can get more mileage out of my old bag.” Yep, D E N I A L. Sure enough, as soon as I got home, I was kicking myself when I realized that with my bag’s broken zipper, there was nothing to keep my new computer inside the bag, the very raison d’etre for my bag.

So, now you understand how excited I was when I saw Andy’s bag. I thought, “I’ll get exactly the kind he has – brand, color, and size.” So, I whip out my phone to take a picture of the label. I feel a palpable sense of relief because now I have a GAME PLAN. Just then Andy returns with his coffee and sees me photographing his bag. I tell him about my bag woes and how I’m going to get the SAME KIND he has. If it works for my buddy Andy, it will work for me.

Then, this SUPRISE. He looks at me between sips and says, “You can have my bag.” I’m silent. Then, I say, “I can’t take your bag.” He says, “Sure you can. I have another one like it at home. Take it.” Again, I protest. Then, Andy, who is the most even-tempered person I’ve ever met, looks at me with some exasperation and says, “No more conversation! You’re GOING to take this bag.”

And then to indicate his seriousness, he starts to empty the contents of his bag on the table! Here’s a picture:

So, that’s how I got my new bag! I didn’t have to shop. I didn’t have to spend a dime. And now I don’t look ridiculous when I walk into Peet’s Coffee. (I’d like to see what that woman in Peet’s would say about THIS bag.)

Why do I tell you this bag story? Because we’ll be talking about God’s New Covenant on Sunday as we study Hebrews 12:18-24 in our “Extraordinary Hope” series. The Mosaic Covenant is like my old bag. A beautiful gift from God that served an invaluable purpose but has now been fulfilled by the New Covenant that Jesus mediates. Just like I was attached to my old bag for good reason, the Hebrew believers were attached to aspects of the Old Covenant from force of habit. The author of Hebrews will say that the New Covenant incorporates important aspects of the Old Covenant while having profound and breathtaking advantages over the Old Covenant, which has now run its course.

OK, now for some exciting things. My friend Micayla Jones has done a new art piece for us. Unlike in the past where we’ve put the art on the back of the sermon notes, you’ll go home with a small print to remind you of Hebrews 12:18-24. Wait ‘til you see it!

Also, my friend Elena Jones has something for us as well. It’s a Foster the City Prayer Guide.

Please pick one up at the Usher’s Desk or the Welcome Table. Or you can find the Prayer Guide by clicking HERE.

As you know, we’re developing a partnership with Foster the City because we want to be a church that is active in foster care and supportive to those who do foster care in the name of Jesus Christ. Elena led an information meeting last month and we had THIRTY PEOPLE show interest in supporting this ministry in some capacity. More on this on Sunday, May 5, when Dave Carlsen preaches, and Elena gives us more leadership.

Don’t forget about our Listening for Heaven’s Sake seminar tomorrow (4/20) at 8:30 AM. This will be a TRANSFORMATIONAL event if you attend. Visit https://valleychurch.org/v/events/listening-for-heavens-sake/ for details.

Finally, we will be celebrating three BAPTISMS on Sunday. That will be the highlight!

OK, that’s all for now. See you on Sunday.

For Jesus,