Greetings

Welcome to This New Life, a website devoted to biblical hope and radical grace. Thanks for stopping by. We’re Tim and Sonya Valentino. We live in Fleetwood, PA, a small town halfway between Reading and Allentown. Both of us are into family, nature, hiking, music, art, history, museums, Christian ministry, theological education, and the Philadelphia Phillies. We’re also into coffee. The darker the better.

We’re on the journey of life with the Author of life. Let’s walk together and marvel at the scenery. As we go, let’s “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We’ve created This New Life as a resource to help with that endeavor. We also write to clarify our own thinking. And laugh at ourselves.

On this site we try to provide a balance of content creation and content curation. Creation refers to the materials we generate ourselves. Curation refers to the materials that other people publish and we repost. Our goal for This New Life is simply this:

Creation + Curation = Inspiration + Formation

Personally

Tim has an Italian last name, but that’s only because he’s adopted. Genetically, he’s just a general-issue white guy from somewhere in Western Europe. Only his taste buds are Italian. His personality tests always come back INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging), so he plays around a lot in the sandbox of his own mind. Back in the day, he was an NCAA Division 1 swimmer. Today he just floats and blows bubbles.

Sonya’s personality type is similar to Tim’s, except she’s an extrovert. She’s a natural leader, visionary, and entrepreneur who loves to encourage God’s people and mobilize them for ministry. A trained musician, she enjoys praising the Lord in song and leading believers in worship. She can still fit into her wedding dress from 1988 despite a lifelong addiction to French fries and other potatoey stuff. She loves dogs and hates mice.

By the grace of God, we met in college, fell in love, and tied the knot on a hot summer day in West Virginia. We would do it again in a heartbeat—this time in a church with air conditioning. The best way to know who we are, how we’re doing, and what’s happening in our lives is to communicate with us directly. Life is good.

Vocationally

Tim works as an Instructor of Biblical Studies and Practical Theology at Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, PA, and as an online professor for Huntington University’s graduate program in Huntington, IN. Sonya is the owner and operator of Grace Notes Music Academy in Fleetwood, where she teaches piano, voice, and brass music lessons.

Both of us also serve as Directors of Community Relations at Evangelical Seminary, where we help recruit students and cultivate donors. And both of us also serve on staff at Faith Evangelical Congregational Church in Temple, PA, where we assist in member assimilation, leadership development, and worship renewal.

At best we’re flawed servants pointing to a flawless Savior, so we need as much grace as anyone else. Probably more. Despite our many shortcomings, God has used us over the years. Our joint calling is best summarized in the words of Acts 5:20, “Tell the people the full message of this new life.”

Educationally

Tim received a high school diploma from Reading High School, Reading, PA in 1983 (salutatorian); a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV in 1988 (English); a Master of Divinity degree from Evangelical Seminary, Myerstown, PA in 1995 (summa cum laude); and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY in 2009 (expository preaching).

Sonya received a high school diploma from Wheeling Park High School, Wheeling, WV in 1983 (with honors); a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV in 1987 (Music Education, magna cum laude); and a Master of Arts in Ministry degree from Evangelical Seminary, Myerstown, PA in 2017 (with distinction). We love to learn new things about God and the world he created.

Theologically

The Holy Trinity has captured our hearts through the sacred Scriptures. Consequently, our aim is to be “boldly, broadly, and beautifully evangelical,” a phrase coined by Dr. Anthony Blair. (It’s the “beautiful” where many of us fall short.) We’re amazed by grace, centered on the gospel, thrilled by the covenant, fascinated by the law, grateful for the cross, overjoyed by the resurrection, desperate for the Spirit, and thankful for the church when she portrays the heart of Jesus to broken people who need hope and healing.

Those who have helped shape our spiritual lives include C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Mark Noll, Ravi Zacharias, Josh McDowell, William Lane Craig, Tim Keller, Haddon Robinson, Elizabeth Achtemeier, Alice Matthews, Janet Hagberg, Robert Guelich, Philip Yancey, Ron Sider, Dave Dorsey, Keith and Lorena Moore, and the faculty at Evangelical Seminary. Like Jacob of old, we earnestly seek God’s blessing on our lives, but in the end, we can only limp to the finish line as fellow pilgrims on the journey. But we will finish.

Politically

Political convictions? Yes, we have them. But we’re not sold on either of the major political parties in the United States. In fact, neither party wants us or claims us as their own, and we’re o.k. with that. It allows us to address the issues of the day from a non-partisan, worldview perspective. Sometimes we think the Republicans are right. Sometimes we think the Democrats are right. All the time we think King Jesus is right.

For the sake of the gospel, Tim is a registered Independent. While this affiliation prevents him from voting in the primaries, it also helps him stay above the fray (mostly). Sonya has a party (so she can vote in the primaries), but it’s tenuous. We believe that politics, like humanity, is broken, so we pray for all our politicians as the Bible directs, even the ones we disagree with. Let’s aim higher and find another way to be friends.

Relationally

We have two adult children, Andrew and Bethany, and a son-in-law, Micah, whom we regard as our own. Andrew holds a film and media arts degree from Temple University and currently works as a videographer for WFMZ-Channel 69 in Reading, PA. He also does photography and videography on the side. His interests include film, anime, screenwriting, science fiction, apologetics, philosophy, and music. (Because Tim is adopted, Andrew was the first blood relative he ever met.)

Bethany holds a speech language pathology degree from Bloomsburg University and currently works as a psychiatric assistant at Pennsylvania Counseling Services in Lebanon, PA. Her interests include worship, dance, discipleship, and sharing her faith. Her husband, Micah, holds a psychology degree from Kutztown University, and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy degree from Evangelical Seminary. He currently works as a counselor at Salisbury Behavioral Health in Wyomissing, PA. His interests include music, worship, guitar, computers, woodworking, and car repair (thankfully).

For more information on the rationale behind This New Life, you can check out our inaugural post. For more information on our family, you can check out our family post.

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