NEBRASKA CITY – A Nebraska City radio morning show hosts is making the transition to the church pulpit.
Keith Valenzuela, a former B103 FM radio broadcaster and creator of Keith’s Country Store, was installed as the full-time pastor at Bethel United Church of Christ in January.
He said his spiritual journey was shaped by his radio career, which included broadcast production with the national program Focus on the Family.
Valenzuela: “I met a lot of different people that were Christians and were in main stream, Col. Oliver North comes to mind, President George W. Bush Sr., other prominent figures, that I was able to meet and they would share their faith.”
As a radio host, Valenzuela liked to jest about the U.S. Department of Redundancy Department and challenged listeners not to “complify” but rather “simplicate” their lives. He said in some aspects the positive style is the same.
Valenzuela: “I call myself a cartoon in real life. I like to have fun with people. I have a good sense of humor and I would like to think it’s refreshing for them, but I also need to realize there are some people who look at things with more of a serious tone.”
He said there is apathy in the society as a whole and even among believers, but said the Christian message today is as relevant as ever.
Valenzuela: “The word says specific things that I don’t think we need to make apologies for. I think Christians as a whole need to just get out there more and not be ashamed of their faith, but integrate into the community.”
Valenzuela: “People, I think, go to church to get re-charged and they want to hear a positive message. How can they take what’s in God’s word and apply it to their everyday lives. That’s where I come in. I ask the Lord for guidance on that. Let’s face it, we have stresses with our work, we have stresses with our family, we have challenges we face. It would be nice to go to a service and get some knowledge on how we can hopefully overcome those challenges and trust the Lord on that.”
He credits America’s Biblical roots for the morals of society that helped the nation thrive and said he believes the church has a key role in the country’s moral future.
Valenzuela: “When you look at our history, morals were pretty key, I would say until the late ‘60s, when you started to have the free love movement and everything else. That’s when the church started to become silent on certain things. They didn’t really let their voices be known about cultural shift is what s I’ll call it.”
He said the Christian message is relevant today because it offers hope for people dissatisfied with the emptiness of occupations, struggle with relationships and lack of meaning in their daily tasks. He encourages people to turn to Jesus to glean the hope that He offers.