Ricky Stanley to Speak on June 14, 2015

RickStanleyRick Stanley will speak at Pleasant View Church on Sunday, June 14, 2015.

The service will start at 10:45 a.m. Stanley, who was Elvis Presley’s stepbrother, today is one of America’s most respected evangelists.

In 1960, Rick and his two brothers were living in Virginia when his mother, Dee Stanley, married Elvis’ widowed father, Vernon Presley, and took them to live at Graceland. Rick was 6-years-old, and Elvis was 25.

As Rick grew older he traveled with Elvis as his personal assistant and bodyguard. The lifestyle eventually led to a dependence on alcohol and narcotics.

When Elvis died in August 1977, Rick thought his life was over since it had been centered on his big brother for so many years.

Through the consistent prayer of a high school friend, Robyn Moye, Rick gave what was left of his life to Jesus Christ. He was miraculously delivered from his alcohol and drug dependencies.

Sensing God calling him into the ministry, Rick attended Criswell College in Dallas, Texas on a full scholarship provided to him by Dr. W. A. Criswell after hearing Rick’s story. He went to do his graduate studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Rick also went on to marry that high school friend — and he and Robyn have two daughters, Brittany and Bethany. Rick has appeared on “Good Morning America”, “Regis and Kathie Lee”, “20/20”, “Larry King Live” and many other television programs. He has also spoken at Billy Graham crusades.

Jessey and Brittany Vemula

jessey and brittanyOn Sunday, February 1, 2015 Pleasant View will be blessed to host a young couple who are serving as General Baptist missionaries in India.  It is our privilege to introduce Jessey and Brittany Vemula.

Jessey Vemula is from southern India. He was born and raised in a Christian family. His father, Rev. Charles Vemula, was in ministry for 30 years and was able to plant 42 churches before his death in 2013.

Soon after Jessey finished his secular education, he joined Berean Baptist Bible College for theological education when he was 15 years old. He was saved in 2001 and called by God to ministry in July 2002.

Jessy states, “When I responded to God’s call, I realized that it was every Christian’s responsibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. I also felt that God has not only put a great burden in my heart to reach the unreached millions in India but also to plant churches in the most difficult and remote areas where no church has existed before. In the future I would like to start a Biblical Institute where future leaders are raised in the sound doctrine.”

Jessey came to the United States to pursue a Doctorate degree in theological education and met his wife, Brittany, in 2011. Brittany was already involved in children’s ministry and was willing to support his calling and join Jessey in his mission. She has a great calling in her life to work with abandoned children and marginalized women in India.

The Vemulas have returned to India with a mission to evangelize the lost, plant churches, work in the orphanage the family has started, and minister among those trapped in the sex trade suffering with HIV/AIDS and leprosy.

Look here to see how you can help the Vemulas achieve God’s work in India.

Cricket County Cafe – Dinner Theater 2014

cricketcountychristmascafeGranny Taylor is fixin’ to cook up a storm at her famous Christmas supper, and she asks the snooty City Cousins to help. Though such manual labor is clearly beneath them, the only reason they agree is to hear the amendment to rich Uncle Zeke’s will read after the last customer leaves.

Dodging grouchy Granny’s verbal bullets, they bust their britches to get their work done, because money talks — with a Southern twang! But there’s more brewing at the Café than just the coffee.

Country Cousin Fester turning into a cool dude?

Grumpy Granny a wanna-be Snow Queen?

And what’s with Oswald buttering up his boss faster than Granny’s homemade biscuits?

Uncle Zeke’s will reading stops everyone in their tracks. There’s a major attitude shift in the Café as all recognize the folly of their selfish ways and focus on the birth of the baby Jesus. Warm-hearted and inspirational, but still a hoot!

Join us on December 6 and 7 at 6:00 PM  for Christmas at the Cricket County Cafe. Tickets are $5 and benefit our local toy drive.  Call the church for more information.

Operation Christmas Child – The Greatest Journey

The Greatest Journey

The Greatest Journey

Pleasant View General Baptist Church donated 184 boxes to Operation Christmas Child in 2014.  Thanks to Laurie McCord and all who donated time, gifts, and money to make this possible.  As exciting as it is to see so many shoe boxes donated, it is even more exciting to think about what happens next – The Greatest Journey.

The Greatest Journey is the exciting follow-up discipleship program used by Operation Christmas Child to help children become faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

The journey to faith begins when children are offered Gospel storybooks during Operation Christmas Child gift distributions.

The most far-reaching impact comes later, when boys and girls are invited to participate in the voluntary Bible study course produced by Samaritan’s Purse. The materials, printed in over 70 languages, contains colorful illustrations that explain the Good News of Jesus Christ in a simple, engaging style.

The 12-lesson set guides children through a study of who Jesus Christ is, what it means to follow Him, and how to share this exciting message with others. After children complete the program, they are presented with a personalized certificate.

To help these boys and girls continue to grow in their faith, we want to provide them with their very own copies of the Greatest Gift of All New Testament. This special edition also includes selected Old Testament stories, a dictionary, and a section that encourages the children to memorize Scripture.

All of the materials used for The Greatest Journey are provided at the request of local churches and ministry partners.

Millions of boys and girls have indicated that they have committed their lives to Jesus Christ after receiving shoe box gifts and participating in our follow-up program. By sharing their faith one-on-one, these children in turn lead friends and relatives to Jesus Christ. Miracles multiply as more and more families come to Christ and churches are planted in communities where none previously existed.

“I give thanks to God for the opportunity He gave me to study the Bible lessons,” said 14-year-old Gimena from Paraguay. “Through them, many children have met Jesus. I invited my friends to the classes, and many of them received Jesus as their Savior too.”

Don Piper To Speak at Pleasant View Church

Don PiperWe will have Don Piper for our featured speaker during our Harvest Day weekend of October 18 and 19, 2014. Don will speak at 7:00 PM on October 18 and at 10:45 AM on October 19 for our Harvest Day service.  You will not want to miss this!

He has mesmerized and inspired nearly three thousand audiences around the globe since the release of his New York Times best selling book in 2004. Millions have experienced the 90 Minutes in Heaven story in person, on television, radio, and print media. Don Piper has sold over 5 millions copies of his books in 40 languages. His first book, 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life, remained on the New York Times best-seller list for nearly four years! This book, from Baker Publishing Group’s Fleming Revell, is widely considered to be a landmark book that has led to a renaissance in the interest of Heaven.

Following his radio and television broadcasting career, Don Piper pursued a calling that he had had on his life since adolescence and became an ordained Christian minister. During his service as a pastor, in fact on his way to church, Don Piper was killed in a horrific car crash in 1989.  A pastor who was on that lonely highway behind him, felt called by God to pray over Don’s dead body and did so for ninety minutes. Others who were told of the accident, but not of Don’s death, also prayed. After an hour and a half, as the pastor prayed over Don’s lifeless body, Don began to sing a song!

90 minutes in heavenDon Piper returned from the gates of Heaven to endure 13 excruciating months of hospitalization, 34 major surgeries, including some never before attempted in the United States, and years of painful therapy and rehabilitation. He now shares his incredible lessons of answered prayer, miracles, overcoming tragedy, pain and loss, and the reality of Heaven. Indeed, each time Don rises to speak, people are astounded that he can even walk onto the platform. But he does and those in attendance are simply not the same after he concludes his presentation.

Around the world Don Piper has shared the story of hope and healing. He’s appeared on NBC’s Today Show, Dateline NBC, ABC’s Nightline, FOX Network’s Sean Hannity’s America, and The O’Reilly Factor. A frequent guest on Trinity Broadcasting’s Praise the Lord and Christian Broadcasting Network’s 700 Club, Don has also appeared on D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Hour, and Life Today with James Robison, among many others programs. He’s also been interviewed by literally hundreds of radio stations, newspapers, and magazines all over the world.

Don has released three additional books: Daily Devotionals: 90 Readings for Hope and Healing in 2006; Heaven Is Real: Lessons on Earthly Joy in 2007; and Getting to Heaven: Departing Instructions For Your Life Now in 2011, all from Penguin-Putnam.

Don Piper is known around the world as, “The Minister of Hope.” He founded Don Piper Ministries, a 501-c3 entity, in 2007, to channel revenues from book sales and speaking income to help over 40 ministries here and abroad.

Don’s home is in Pasadena, Texas. He has been married to the former Eva Pentecost since 1973. They are the parents of three children, a daughter Nicole and twin sons, Chris and Joe. Eva and Don have two grandchildren, Carlee and Will.

He walks today as a result of miraculous and medically unexplainable events. He has inspired millions and if you are led to invite him to share with your event, he will lift your audience to a new level of hope and determination!

I Am Second

Inspiring the Revolution of Second.

On January 12, 2014 Pleasant View issued the 22 day challenge to all in attendance.  A challenge to kick start your spiritual new year but more importantly a challenge to be second!  To discover more read on… to accept the challenge click here

I am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others. Actors. Athletes. Musicians. Business leaders. Drug addicts. Your next-door neighbor. People like you. The authentic stories on iamsecond.com provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to the unfulfilled. You’ll discover people who’ve tried to go it alone and have failed. Find the hope, peace, and fulfillment they found. Be Second.

Go a step further, talk with the people in your life. Spread the revolution of Second. Share the videos with friends. Gather a group of friends to discuss the films. Start an I am Second group.

I am Second is designed to help people discover their purpose in life. Have you discovered yours?

To find out more about the people and leadership team behind I Am Second you can check out Who We Are.


Week 29 – Maturing the Vision

The year was 1788.  The Constitution had just been ratified, and this radical new idea of a democratic, representative government called the United States of America was forming.  But some clarity was needed.

On one hand you had the Federalists, who maintained that because of national security and international credibility, this new government needed a strong federal arm, that would have as much or more power than the states had individually.  The Anti-Federalists, on the other hand, argued that putting too much power in the hands of the federal government rather than the states would be tantamount to making the President another King, which was precisely the problem they were trying to address.

So, the conundrum:  how to keep the federal government from becoming too powerful, while giving the states the autonomy they needed, and protecting the rights of individual citizens from an overly aggressive commonwealth.

The answer was the Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which provided for enough checks and balances to satisfy the Anti-Federalists.  Now individual rights such as freedom of religion, due process, unreasonable search and seizure, trial by jury, excessive punishment and the right to bear arms were in place.

What happened?  The vision of this new venture of democratic government needed maturing.  It needed to be fleshed out in practical terms so people understood how to apply its new principles in everyday life.

Chapter 29 does precisely that.  This chapter in The Story is by far the longest chapter, but it matures the vision as Paul lays out the practical elements of the Christian life in his letters to the embryonic, emerging churches of the first century.  Jesus had brought a radical, unexpected vision that challenged people to think in terms of spiritual transformation rather than political upheaval.  The key principles of His teachings were still there:

  • Love God and your neighbors as yourself.
  • Lose your life in order to find it.
  • Become a servant.

But how did Christianity work if the person who I’m commanded to love has just divorced me, or taken me to court?  How do you bring Jews and Gentiles into one Kingdom, when each has a totally different frame of reference?  Since Jesus was a Jew, do you have to become a Jew first before becoming a Christian?  And what do we do now with the Law?  Just toss it after all these years?  What happens when people start taking this new religion and, as humans are prone to do, use it for their own ends?

It’s not an exact parallel, of course, but this chapter in the Story, in a way, serves as a set of instructions and clarifications to the gospel much like the amendments to the Constitution elucidate and illuminate the principles on which we were founded.

This was especially important because as we see in Acts, God’s plan was not to keep the church in a cloistered biosphere, a pristine environment where it could be kept safe from the influences of the world.  Quite the opposite:  the church was supposed to go change the world by engaging with it, influencing it, and making disciples of all nations by going, baptizing and teaching.

What we’re looking for today are themes that are interwoven throughout the writings of Paul as he visits, addresses, equips, reprimands and encourages these new believers.

Jewish converts already understood sin, God, and the long history of His work in their lives.  But Gentile converts began at square one.  So Paul adapted his methods of teaching, depending on his audience.  His letters to each church reveal a wide array of problems; but while he addressed each church differently, there are some common threads that run throughout his letters – issues that do not surprise us, knowing the nature of the new organism that was being created.

Chapter 29Small group; Adult Sunday School Class (PDF); Family PagesAudio; Little Ones/Preschool ( Take Home PageTrading Card PosterActivity Sheet); Early Elementary (Take Home PageTrading Card PosterActivity Sheet); Kids (Take Home PageActivity Sheet)

Week 28 – Acts: A Book of Transitions

When you come right down to it, aren’t we all in an in-between place?  We know that we are foreigners in a strange land, and our real home lies elsewhere.  But in each of our Lower Stories, we frequently find ourselves saying, “In the meantime…at least for now…”  Some of us are in an in-between time professionally; some are recovering from wounds, professional, emotional or spiritual, and need an in-between place to heal, to re-equip ourselves for the journey ahead.  Some of us are in an adjustment time that requires we rearrange our priorities, because we suddenly find ourselves with children, or maybe without children, or maybe without a job.

If you think you might currently be an in-between person in an in-between time, then Acts is just the book for you.  In this book, Luke chronicles the passage from one era to another, and all the things that change in this revolution called Christianity.

In this book, we have deserters turning into outspoken, single-minded preachers.  We have a brief time of waiting followed by a stunning moment of empowerment and conviction.  We have a New Community that shared everything, sacrificed for each other and had favor with outsiders.

We see these previously frightened disciples now performing some of the same miracles Jesus did, and then being thankful that they had the privilege of suffering for Jesus’ name.  We have a man named Stephen selected because he was “full of the Holy Spirit” and wise, who tragically became the first martyr for this new movement.  We see his death as a catalyst to persecution that drove the gospel message out of Jerusalem and into Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.  We see a dyed-in-the-wool, foam-at-the-mouth legalist like Saul have a literal come-to-Jesus moment, and then be commissioned to be the uttermost parts of the earth mouthpiece.  We see eyes opened and paradigms destroyed as Peter and Cornelius form the first Odd Couple and thereby open salvation to the Gentiles, which paved the way for Paul to then go to those uttermost places and preach the Gospel.

Acts is a book of transitions

  • Ministry of Jesus to ministry of apostles
  • Hiding to boldness
  • Presence of Jesus to presence of Holy Spirit
  • Old covenant to New
  • Israel as God’s chief witness to the Church
  • The place of worship from synagogues to churches in homes
  • Jews to Gentiles
  • Circumcision to baptism (Acts 10)
  • Jerusalem to rest of world
  • Law to grace

Week 27: He Is Risen

They were ashamed, afraid, and absent.  Mere hours after they pledged never to leave Jesus—even to die with Him—the Eleven were nowhere near the cross as the sun began to set.  But the Roman soldiers were still there, and pierced his side to prove Jesus was very, very dead.  Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were an unlikely duo show up at the cross.  These two members of the Sanhedrin shed their secret discipleship and took responsibility for burying Jesus’ body.  Wrapping Him in enough spices for a king, they laid him in a nearby tomb.  Remembering Jesus’ words, the Jewish authorities and Pilate secured the tomb and posted a guard there to keep the 3-day resurrection story from gaining any traction.

Early Sunday morning, a small band of faithful women carrying spices approached His tomb, wondering who could remove the rock that sealed the entrance.  Imagine their shock as an angel announced to them that Jesus was not there, “He is risen, just as He said!”  Hearing the news, Peter and John sprinted to the tomb.  They, too, found it empty.  As Mary Magdalene remained there weeping, Jesus appeared to her.

Later the same day, an unrecognized Jesus approached two downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus.  They said all of Jerusalem was abuzz with the events of the last three days, and the One whom they had trusted to redeem Israel had been crucified, and they were disappointed.  Some silly women even had an unbelievable angelic vision, and the tomb was empty.  With all these confusing stories, what’s a guy to do except head home to Emmaus?  Jesus admonished the two for their unbelief, and then He used Moses and the Prophets to teach them about the Messiah.  After eating with them, when their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, He disappeared from their sight.  But they finally got it!  With a lot of tutoring, they finally got it!  So they headed back to Jerusalem at full speed to report their experience to the Eleven.  Then Jesus appeared to them as well, and after assuring them He was not a ghost, He did the same thing again:  He re-explained the Old Testament in light of all that had happened, and opened their minds so they too finally understood.

This brings us to our point:  We’ve got to see the big picture.

What Jesus did, both for the disciples headed to Emmaus, and for the Eleven, was to tell them “The Story” – he put in perspective everything that had happened so they could understand the purpose for which he had died, and then raised.  Because they had seen Jesus through the lens of the Messiah they wanted and expected, these events made no sense at all.  A military or political Deliverer would never make his demise the point of his mission.

But Jesus took them to “hot-air balloon level” to see the big picture.  He helped them see that Israel had never kept the Law very well even on their best days.  And when they didn’t, they had this makeshift, stopgap mechanism to cleanse people of their sins, which had to be repeated over and over again.  It never quite did the job, but it was a precursor to a once-for-all, permanent atonement.  This one-time sacrifice wouldn’t just address the problem of sins over the last year, but would provide forgiveness prospectively, covering all the sins you would commit in the future, justifying the believer once for all time.

What he had done was to put everything they knew from Jewish historical writings into context and a frame of reference that made sense to them.  As He told them “The Story”, the light bulbs over their heads started going off.

Chapter 27Small group; Adult Sunday School Class (PDF); Family PagesAudio; Little Ones/Preschool ( Take Home PageTrading Card PosterActivity Sheet); Early Elementary (Take Home PageTrading Card PosterActivity Sheet); Kids (Take Home PageActivity Sheet)

Week 26: The Cross: The Hour of Darkness

Claude Harmon, a great golf instructor, had this advice for other golf instructors: “Whenever someone comes to you to learn to play golf, you will see in their swing ten different problems. Your job as their teacher is to find the one that causes the other nine.”

When we look at the world we can easily see ten problems, but what is the one that causes the other nine? With all the problems in the world, is there one that causes the others? The Bible gives a resounding, “Yes!”Jesusdealt with the particular problem, the fountainhead of all others, on the cross. When the problem was addressed,Jesusdeclared, “It is finished.” The question comes to us, “What was finished?” What happened on the cross that makes the cross such a big deal? In The Story we find an answer to this question—Matthew27:41-42. Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said,  ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.'”

The assessment of Jesus’ death on the cross by the religious leaders was correct. Jesus could not both save himself and save us also.  He could save himself and leave us in eternal jeopardy, or  He could save us and lose his own life on the cross. The algorithm of God is that God restores life to the world by the death of his Son.

Chapter 26Small group; Adult Sunday School Class (PDF); Family PagesAudio; Little Ones/Preschool ( Take Home PageTrading Card PosterActivity Sheet); Early Elementary (Take Home PageTrading Card PosterActivity Sheet); Kids (Take Home PageActivity Sheet)