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  • 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
  • Scripture various
  • Date Sunday, 13 August 2017
Last week, Pastor Rick's return to the pulpit began with "Reflecting on Things: part 1"
This week we continue this theme and look at scriptural examples of the idea that digression leads to reflection.
The idea here is that we each often find ourselves in a repetive rut of daily life. Things continue without us giving much thought to it. Or, sometimes, we want to give thought to it, but struggle because we lack the time. We might even cry out, "Stop the world, I want to get off," if even for a little while, so I can catch my breath. When we suddenly have opportunity thrust upon us, we stop and think about things. That tendancy to 'stop and think' is reflection. The reality of getting kicked out of our daily rut is known as digression. Thus, digression leads to reflection.

Reflection is reprocessing what already has been. The word is used with mirrors because the mirror produces nothing. It merely reproduces what already is. Congitive reflection is no different. We cannot 'reflect' on what has not yet been. We can dream or envision, but not reflect.

Is there value in such activity? Absolutely. But, this can also be abused when we allow the mind to rehash every little event in our daily life. Reflection that follows digression is of value because it should help re-center us. God wants a relationship with us. God often finds the greatest barrior to that relationship is simply the busyness of our daily lives. So, I encourage you to stop and think. Reflect on what God has done. Give God the glory.
  • Scripture Acts 21:12-15 +
  • Date Sunday, 04 June 2017
The Last Sermon ... well, OK, perhaps not. The Last Supper, definitely.
So, this Sunday is the final time I will be in the pulpit for a little while - so there will be many different 'Proclaimers' in the pulpit during June & July.

But, this Sunday we will share Communion together. And, we will explore Digression in the sense of wandering from the main path of a journey. Paul did that. I'll do that in a lesser sense.

Whether we are staying on the path or digressing, one needs to profess, "the Lord's will be done." That's not so easy is it? I can claim the Lord's will when things are going well ... but can I so easily claim the same when stuff isn't going my way and become difficult?

I pray you will join us at the Lord's Table and in my 'last message' (which isn't but is). God is good!

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!