July 20, 2020
A young boy had just gotten his Driver's License. He asked his father, who was a pastor, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father said to him, "I'll make you a deal. You bring your grades up, study your Bible a little and get your hair cut and we'll talk about it."

After a month, the boy came back and again asked his father if the could discuss the use of the car.

The father said, "Son, I've been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your Bible diligently, but you haven't got your hair cut."

The young man thought a moment and then replied, "You know, dad, I've been thinking about that. You know Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair." To which his father replied, "Yes, and they walked every where they went."

Shared by Leila Bauer

Love Your Enemies
While sheltering in place, I have been enjoying a series entitled “Foyle’s War” which is set in Britain beginning in 1940 after Hitler conquered almost all of Europe and set his sights on the British Isles. I decided to simultaneously watch a documentary about that war.

Hitler came to power in 1933 and began his reign of terror. In just three years, from 1939-1941, Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, France, Belgium, USSR, Yugoslavia and England. Six million Jews were gassed in concentration camps built for the purpose of eliminating an entire race of people. However, after the air cleared, the overall results of the war included the deaths of 26 million Russians, 6 million Polish, and about 3 million in the countries between Germany and Russia. Over 3 million deaths were recorded in France, Greece, Italy, Great Britain, and the United States. 

I often wondered how a country with a long Christian tradition like Germany would have agreed to committing such atrocities upon their fellow human beings.

After checking the facts, I understood. After World War I, The Great War, Germany was required to pay reparations for starting the war. Land was taken from her and given to Poland and Czechoslovakia. In 1919, The Treaty of Versailles required Germany to disarm, make territorial concessions and pay  reparations  to certain countries. In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks (roughly equivalent to $442 billion in 2020) . In practical terms, a loaf of bread in Berlin that cost around 160 Marks at the end of 1922 cost 200,000,000,000 Marks by late 1923. Pensions were wiped out. People were scared and angry.

By 1923, in response to Germany’s lack of payment, the industrial center of Germany, the Ruhr, was confiscated causing extreme poverty among most of the German people. The German government responded with " passive resistance " by letting workers and civil servants refuse orders and instructions by the occupation forces. Production and transport came to a standstill and the financial consequences contributed to  German hyperinflation  and ruined public finances in Germany, France, and several other countries as well. Hitler capitalized on Germany’s humiliation and pain to rally them to war. World War I, the war to end all wars, led to an even greater war, World War II.

War is not new. The Romans conquered all of the known world just as the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Greeks had done centuries earlier. The Romans leveled Jerusalem in 70 A.D. However, though Christians were persecuted and killed, they were not galvanized by hate but by love.

As we shelter in place, we should be pondering our individual and corporate sins not only to confess them but to learn from them, even sins that were committed by those in the far distant past. We think we are far away from such atrocities but we are not. I hear and read the prophets of hate every day; sometimes even from those who say they are Christians.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them (I John 2:9-12).

Jesus told us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37-39).

However, Jesus also said, ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven ’ (Matthew 5:43-45).

Who is your enemy? Who is God asking you to love right now? How could you love them? Ask God for help. Confess your hatred. Make amends and make that connection today. 
JOIN A PSALM 23 BIBLE STUDY with Pastor Phil

Several years ago, Pastor Phil wrote a Bible Study on Psalm 23 called Stress Busters. Since our message series is on that Psalm, we are offering you this Bible study. You can study it on your own, or you can join a group facilitated by Pastor Phil and study it together!

To download this week's Bible study CLICK HERE.

The Bible study group will be done through Facebook. It will be a closed group, meaning only members can take part. It will not be available or visible to the public. On the group Facebook page, we will post our answers and thoughts from that week's Bible study. It will be fun, build our faith, and help us stay connected. If you want to be sent an invitation to join our Facebook group email Pastor Phil at psommervillepgcc@gmail.com.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to properly open the study.
If you do not have it on your computer, you can download and install it for free.
To download Acrobat Reader CLICK HERE.
When the page opens, unclick the two optional offers for McAfee Security and then click on the yellow button that says "Download Acrobat Reader."
Painting by Bettye Grant
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Blessings, PGCC staff
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Pleasant Grove Community Church
1730 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville, CA 95747
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