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  • Scripture various
  • Date Sunday, 29 October 2017
October 29 celebrates the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 thesis onto the door posting points of discussion. These 95 discussion points dealt with errors he saw within the Catholic Church. While his hope was to cause the Church to examine itself and correct the errors, instead the Church at the time decided to ex-communicate or kill anyone who spoke against it. Ironic, isn't it? One struggles to understand how the Church could have gotten so humanistic & self-focused as to kill those who spoke against its errors. Anyway, it did. So, from the action of Luther, arose a movement we now call "The Reformation." October 31 is Reformation Day, but we remember it on this Sunday.
The Reformers had a foundation that was almost universal across all Reformers, certainly universal across each major Reformer. That 'standard' is known to us as 5 absolutes on which the Church of Christ must stand. These each are referred to as a "sola," which is the Latin for 'only'.
This Sunday, we will remember the Reformation and be reminded of each of the solas surrounded by corresponding song & scripture.
These foundational standards are critical and must continue to be what the Church stands upon -- when these are forgotten, the Church of Christ will become only 'a church'. The head of said church will be a human leader. This church will lead many astray.
Let us never depart from each "sola."
  • Scripture Ecclesiastes 5:13-17
  • Date Sunday, 15 October 2017
This is a follow up from October 1st when we talked about how "Life Sucks." I want to talk more about the vacuum, but more from the aspect of the void and pressure. When a void or vacuum exists, atmospheric pressure on the outside of the vacuum is trying very hard to get in and equalize the pressure. When you stick a straw into a drink and pull air up through the straw, the pressure outside the glass or cup begins to pushing on the liquid and equalize the pressure inside the straw. So, as outside pressure pushes the liquid up the straw.

Now, let's put this fact together with the understanding that every human has a void left inside them. The minds seeks something ... somewhere deep within each human, is a want, a void, a vacuum, left behind from Perfected Creation to current broken creation status. So, this void is something every person must deal with ... so the question becomes: with what will we fill that void?

  • Scripture Genesis 1:27-29; 3:2-6
  • Date Sunday, 01 October 2017

I've always wanted to use a title like this. Now I have the unique opportunity to properly make use of this phrase. Life sucks - yeah, like any one of us didn't already know that. What does scripture say about how and why life sucks. Lots actually ... and little. Strange huh? Throughout scripture, it is understood that we "fall short of the glory of God." That is to say, we fail to glorify God. OK, still a bit vague. How about this: if you do something amazing for me, I'm going to thank you profoundly. But perhaps, I will go a step farther and tell other people about what you did. Maybe you saved my life. I'm going to make sure everybody I meet knows your name because you saved my life. That would be me glorifying you. Giving you the glory for what you did.

Now, back to God. God demands & desires to be glorified in the life of His people - His creation. Use the same analogy as above. Do we? Of course not. That is what it means to "fall short." Why? Because we are separated from God in this earthly life. God created us to glorify Himself. He created and saw that each was good. Back to life sucks - why does it? Because we were created perfect to glorify God. When humanity decided to separate itself from the Creator, from that point humanity lost the ability to fully glorify God. Created perfect - now living finite, not-so-perfect lives.

Life sucks because there is a void. Every human struggles at some life-point with seeking something. That something is an attempt to fill that something missing in each one's life. We define our 'what's missing' differently from person to person because we cannot define the infinite that once was in our now finite lives. So, it goes by different names. But, fact is fact is truth -- we strive for something.

There is a natural law that a void must be filled. That truth is all around us. Life sucks because of the void that must be filled.
OK, enough for now -- the rest involves a Shop-Vac and some noise ...
Sunday, October 1st @ 9:00AM, come to Pleasant Valley (you'll find our location on our website also) and find out more about why life sucks.
  • Scripture Acts 9:8-20
  • Date Sunday, 27 August 2017
Pastor Rick is back once again in the pulpit. Recuperation is slow -- much slower than I desire. Our thanks to Rev. Stephen Shaffer for coming from Stout to bring God's Word to us.

As I return, I feel compelled to return to the theme of reflecting on things. This will be the 3rd installment and, while they have been disjointed beginning on June 4, taking on an associated thematic bent on August 6, then again on August 13, and now on August 27, I pray this will greatly benefit people as hard life things happen to all.

This Sunday, August 27, we come back to Digression leading to Reflecting ... but then what? If I have suffered a jolting kick off my life-path and have spent time reflecting ... what do I do next? What is the next step in the process? On August 13, I offered several scripture texts that illustrated how reflection after digression happens even as we live as Followers of God. What even I missed was the fact that Scripture went a step farther, too. So, Aug 27, we will explore a great example from Scripture and talk about this next step.

I really pray you will strongly be led by God's Spirit to join everyone ... because I also am praying that God will lead me to be very honest and share some of what has come out of my time of reflection. See you Sunday. Christ's Peace

Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

John 14:6

Pleasant Valley Church, Holland, IA

Pleasant Valley Church

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Christ first, the Bible as God's inerrant Word & work, our future is both temporal & eternal. Hell on earth? Wait 'til you get to the "eternal" part!