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Showing posts from January, 2008

Learn to Laugh! It's Good for You!

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Recently, I spent time with a third grader. During our conversation he told me that had had just watched his parents wedding video (at which I officiated) and he said, "You looked a lot different then - you even had hair! But one thing is good - you still have your sense of humor!" Now this little guy did not have to point out the obvious (about the hair - or better said the lack of it!). But I was glad he thought I still had a sense of humor.

I believe a sense of humor is a valuable asset. Life is too short, too hard, too uncertain - and without the ability to laugh (and especially to laugh at yourself!) life would be one very tough path to walk. In fact, there are many therapeutic benefits of laughter. According to holistic online, "Dr. Lee Berk and fellow researcher Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California have been studying the effects of laughter on the immune system. To date their published studies have shown that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduc…

Ouch, That Hurts!

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Yesterday I read an interesting article about a growing business in the U.S. It seems that an increasing number of people who have been tattooed in the past are now having second thoughts and want the tattoo removed. It seems that for many, yesterday's ink has become today's regret. To remove a tattoo comes at a very high cost in both dollars and pain. Dermatologists first numb the skin and then utilize special lasers that pulverize the ink pigments into tiny particles, which then get absorbed by the body. This process can be so painful that one dermatologist said of the process, "When I say 'painful,' you can't believe it. I've had Marines pass out unconscious. It's a killer." And if you are really serious about getting rid of that ink Rembrandt, then start saving. Professional tattoos require six to 10 (and sometimes more) laser treatments to remove. Each session can cost anywhere from $250 to $500! Any way you want to cut it, tattoo removal hur…

You and Me a Trophy?

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Yesterday, my wife Sharon and I took a drive up to Cabela's, a large outdoor recreation store (and when I say "large" - that is a gross understatement!). Now Sharon and I neither camp nor canoe ... and I do not hunt (although I do enjoy fishing). So why did we drive 50 miles to Cabela's? For starters, we wanted to see their displays of mounted outdoor life (ranging from white tail deer to black bear to even a huge African elephant). In addition to these mounted animals, Cabela's has some nifty aquarium's hosting some of the biggest largemouth bass I have ever seen (in addition to scores of other freshwater species of fish). Cabela's also has a large pond full of trout (and HUGE ones at that!). You can even feed them (for a quarter you get a small handfull of fish food pellets) .. and boy do they like to eat! We spent almost three hours enjoying all that Cabela's had to offer (including lunch). If you have yet to visit Cabela's - I encourage you to…

A Thought for Your Weekend . . .

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Here is an outstanding quote from an outstanding book by Nancy DeMoss. I encourage you to give it some thought.
"Our culture is obsessed with being whole and feeling good. That drive affects even the way we view the Christian life. We want a 'painless Pentecost'; we want a 'laughing' revival. We want gain without pain; we want resurrection without going through the grave; we want life without experiencing death; we want a crown without going by the way of the Cross. But in God's economy, the way up is down.
You and I will never meet God in revival until we first meet him in brokenness. Our families will never be whole until husbands and wives, moms and dads, and young people have been broken. Our churches will never be the vibrant witness God intended them to be in the world until their members - pastors and laypeople alike - have experienced true brokenness" (Nancy DeMoss, Brokenness: the Heart God Revives, pp. 49-50).

Isaiah 57:15
For this is what the hi…

Thank God an "Out-of Towner" Paid!

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No one ever wants to have an accident behind the wheel. But there are some cities and towns where you really don't want to have an accident - especially if you are an "out-of-towner!" One of these towns is Erlanger, KY. Erlanger is a suburb of Cincinnati. And like many other cash-starved municipalities, it is looking for new ways to help fund its police costs. When a member of the Erlanger PD responds to an accident in which an out-of-town driver is at fault, the city plans to start issuing a bill. (Are you ready for this?) The tab will be $14 for the first 30 minutes that an officer is on the scene with an addition charge of $7 for every 15 minutes thereafter. If a police vehicle is involved an additional $154 charge is levied. I wonder if they give you a satisfaction guarantee with the charge?

Now you can't really blame this town of Erlanger (population of just under 17,000). Police protection is not cheap - but it is necessary! So it must be paid for ... and why no…

Why Persist in Prayer?

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This past Sunday, I preached on the two parables Jesus taught to encourage us to persist in our praying. His point in the Parables of the Persistent Neighbor (Luke 11:5-13) and the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8) is this: IF a sleepy neighbor who does not want to be bothered and a godless, self-absorbed judge are moved by persistent asking THEN HOW MUCH MORE will persistent asking move the hand of a God like our God!

Now as I have spent much time thinking on this ... it got me wondering why God would want us to keep on asking, seeking, knocking in prayer. After all, he knows all things and he knows what we need before we even ask him (see Matthew 6:8). So why does Jesus teach us to persistent in our prayers until God comes through? Is it because God needs his arm twisted to answer our requests? Does he need coaxed to respond? This question is not always answered well, but I think J.I. Packer handles the question superbly in his thought provoking, soul inspiring book, Praying. In the boo…

A Thought for Your Weekend...

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John Piper in his book, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, writes these striking words, "Christ does not exist in order to make much of us. We exist in order to be making much of him." Piper is right on! Our faith is all about HIM - yet all too often we make it all about us! Remember, our faith is called CHRISTianity, not MEianity! So get intentional today about making much of Jesus Christ in every arena of your life!

Thanks for stopping by. . .
pj

It Got Me to Thinking . . .

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Someone loaned me a book a few months ago and I finally got around to taking a look at it. As I was reading the first chapter, the author (the pastor of a large church) made a comment that got me to thinking. He wrote, "You rarely defend the things you love." He made this comment in the context of relating how he had recently received a fund raising letter from the president of a large seminary. In the letter the president expressed the seminary's goal to train leaders to defend the faith. Hmmm. Sounds like a great goal to me. But not to this author. He does not think you need do defend "the things you love."

This pastor needs to open his Bible and read the book of Acts where on several occasions, the apostle Paul makes a defense of his faith. He also needs to read Philippians 1:16 where Paul states that he was placed in a Roman prison "for the defense of the gospel." Finally, he should take a look at Jude 3 where Jude writes, "Dear friends, altho…

OOPS! OOPS!

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I heard it on the news last week ... but still found it hard to believe. According to a British lawmaker, a British couple had their marriage annulled after discovering ... are you ready for this ... after discovering that they were actually twins! The two were separated at birth, adopted and raised by different parents, met, fell in love and then married! I cannot imagine their feelings when they discovered the truth ... Oh to be married to your twin brother or sister!

Now the legislator brought this to light as support for his legislation requiring more information be required on the birth certificates of adopted children. This, he said, would help avoid anymore situations like this one of marital oops oops! I think he may have a very good point!
For anyone who embraces Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, according to the Bible - we are born into God's family and are adopted by God as his children (Please see John 1:12-13, 3:1ff; Romans 8:23, Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:5)! The…

Racial Equality?

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Yesterday, my wife, Sharon and I had a "Date Day" which included a trip to the movies. The movie we chose, The Great Debaters is based on a true story (the photo here is of the actual debate team). The story unfolds in the mid 1930's in the small Texas town of Marshall. Against the backdrop of rampant (and sometimes deadly) prejudice against African-Americans, a small all black college debate team exceeds all expectations by going to Harvard and defeating the Harvard debate team ... who just happened to be the national champs. For me the movie was both inspiring and sobering.

The film inspires because it climaxes with a classic David vs. Goliath confrontation - with David winning the fight. I liked that! But the movie was also sobering in its portrayal of racial hatred that flourished in our country in the 1930's - especially in the deep South. Sad to think that people can be so hateful of another human being simply because his or her skin color is different. As I tho…

It May Be Winter Now ... But Spring's on the Way!

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We are now moving into the time of year on the calendar that is my least favorite. For me it seems like the days that make up the months of January and February must consist of at least thirty hours! And yea! February this year has 29 days instead of the usual 28!!!

But I take heart in the fact that when I turn my calendar just two pages, the month that turns up is March. And on the 20th of March, the words "First Day of Spring" are printed on the page. With the arrival of spring comes the weather that I really enjoy. And for the most part, the cold and snow of winter are a thing of the past (at least for another 9 months!). Now you can explain this by the use of the laws of the universe. Due to the movement of the earth on its axis we experience the four seasons, etc. But ultimately, there is a Divine hand that is ordering the universe. Daniel 2:21 tells us that "He (God) changes times and seasons." And because God is a faithful God whose "faithfulness continu…

Just Say "NO!"

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Numerous times throughout our days, temptation comes knocking. We must learn to "just say 'NO!'" I am encouraged along this line by the story of Joseph. Here was a young man who was being seduced by a woman ... who was offering herself to him. He was a single young man - so I am sure the temptation was indeed a powerful one! Here is how Joseph handled the temptation:

"Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. O…

Car Trouble!

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Last Friday I had to go downtown for a meeting at the county courthouse. I parked, as I usually do, in one of the parking garages on Duke Street. After about two hours, I returned to my car. But to my dismay, when I turned the ignition key, instead of hearing the roar of the engine - all I heard was a weird clicking sound. Great! So I pulled out my AAA card and called for HELP! In the meantime, my wife, Sharon ran off to find our daughter and fiance to see if they could come and give us a jump (I always carry jumper cables with me). Fortunately she caught them before they left. They drove to our location in the garage and jumped the car. Therefore, I was able to cancel the tow truck (I am so glad I got the car started. If I had required a tow, I would have had to push the car out of the garage since the tow truck was too large to get into the garage. This would have been quite the feat considering I was on the fourth level up!).

A few hours later, after dining at Olive Garden, Sharo…

Chew on This!

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Here is a C.S. Lewis quote for you to "chew on:"

"It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men."

From my own experience ... and from what I know of God's Word, Lewis is right on target with this statement! I hope you can join us for some corporate worship on Sundays...while not neglecting your own times of personal and private worship today (and every day)! Indeed, as we worship God - we experience Him!

Thanks for stopping by ...

pj

The Ultimate Back Seat Driver!

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A couple of months ago, I purchased a portable GPS navigational device to use in my car. It has proven itself worth every penny I spent to buy it. My Tomtom has successfully guided me to never-before-driven-to destinations - and it has made it easy! I sometimes wonder how I managed before Tomtom!
As good a road guide as my Tomtom has been - there is an even more amazing guide for our trip through life. God has given us the Bible. It will help us as we seek our destination - that of fulfillment, joy, satisfaction, purpose .... and ultimately eternal life in heaven. God's Word is our road map to God himself. Now, I do not know a Christ follower who would deny what I just wrote --- at least in word. But how many of us do deny by ignoring the Bible (or at the least - failing to interact with it on a regular basis?).
Let me encourage you as we step into this new year - that you examine your "Bible Intake Plan." Now if you don't have one - then get one! If you have one - m…