Heading East to India!

As I stumbled out of bed this morning it hit me – today is the day we leave for India! At that, thoughts began to flood my mine. Thoughts like: “Goodbye nice comfy bed!” “Now what important, vital-to-life item did I forget to pack?” “I’m really going to miss the Fam!” “Do I really want to go to INDIA?” etc., etc., etc. By the time the fog in my mind cleared and the thoughts began to subside I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror. I looked at my reflection. My reflection looked back at me. Together we smiled – yes the day that had been set for our departure a long time ago was here! Just how long ago was this date set? Philip Dongre, the executive director of Children's Fellowship of India asked me to return to India two years ago as we were wrapping up my first trip to CFI. This trip has been on the board for some 24 months! Wow! And I am as ready to go as I will ever be!

As I think about this trip I am grateful for a number of things. I am grateful for the group from Grace who will be accompanying me (Dave Mersky; Ted, Janet and Megan Long; Randy, Shirl and Andrew Pearson; Beth Reilly; Ronda Chaney; Hannah Heilenman). I am thankful for Philip Dongre. I have met few like him. His passion for Christ and the children of Children’s Fellowship of India is contagious. I am grateful for the opportunities I will have to teach God's Word and serve the children and staff of CFI. I am thankful for our church family here at Grace and their generous support for our India ’08 team – both in the giving of their finances and the ongoing prayer support - not to mention the boxes upon boxes of clothing given for the boys! Finally I am thankful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If He had not extended his grace to me when I was a teenager, I am not sure where I would be today. But I am sure where I would not be – and that is on a plane to travel to the far side of the world in service for Jesus Christ!

Would you do me a favor and pause right now and offer a prayer for our team, the people whom we will serve in India (both children and adults) and our families we leave behind? Thanks for your prayers. James tells us that “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Thanks so much. This will be my last posting until I get “back in the saddle” in early March.

Thanks for stopping by . . . and thanks for praying for us!


Destination: The Father’s House

I’ve been a bit busy this week as I prepare for my upcoming trip to India. Squeezed between other responsibilities has been time spent on teaching prep, packing lists, shopping trips, etc. – all to be ready to depart tomorrow (Sunday). I’ve also spent time reflecting on my first trip to India which I took in February of 2006. That trip was a huge blessing – and I am asking God to bless again as He did back then.

There is another trip I will be taking one day. But unlike my trip to India, I have no idea of the departure date. Only God does. I am referring to the trip ALL of us will one day take – from earth to eternity. I often wonder what Heaven will be like. I can’t talk to anyone who has been there and come back. But I can hear from the One who lives there. In my opinion one of the most fascinating descriptions of Heaven is found in the early verses of John 14. There Jesus refers to Heaven as “My Father’s House.” Given the fact that we are the children of God through our faith in Jesus Christ (see John 1:12-13 and 1 John 3:1) Heaven, “the Father’s House,” is our true home. That in and of itself is enough to say to me that Heaven is a wonderful place – a place that is better by far than any place on earth (see Philippians 1:23). Dorothy of Oz fame said it so well when she clicked her ruby slippers and repeated, “There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home!” (And keep in mind - she was talking about Kansas!). What a glorious day it will be when we get to go HOME! Let me ask you - are YOU ready for eternity? If you have any questions, please email me and we can "talk."

Thanks for stopping by . . .


Kids Be Gone!

Kids Be Gone is the exclusive North American distributor of a device known as the Mosquito Kids Deterrent Device. The Mosquito, manufactured by the British company Compound Security, is designed to disperse unwanted teens that tend to gather in shopping malls or stores. The technology behind the Mosquito has to do with human anatomy. As we age, our ears lose the ability to hear higher frequencies. The Mosquito works by emitting emits a high-frequency noise that is audible (and quite annoying) to those generally age twenty and younger. According to Compound Security, ten minutes or so of hearing this sound is enough and most teens will move out of its range (which is about 40 to 60 feet) and out of your hair!

To say this device is kicking up some controversy would be an understatement. In England, the country's commissioner for children and a civil liberties group have linked up recently in a campaign to ban the Mosquito and other similar devices.

My purpose is not to weigh in on this controversy. But as I thought about this device, I thought, "It sure would be nice to have a similar device to ward off Satan and his henchmen. We could call it Satan Be Gone!" However, this is not possible. So we must roll up our spiritual sleeves and grab a hold of the armor and weapons that God gives us to ward off the attacks of the Enemy. For a full listing, read through Ephesians 6:10-18. At the core of the armor and the weapons is God's Word. At the end of the day what matters most in our fight against the spiritual forces arrayed against us (and do NOT fall into the trap - out of sight out of mind when it comes to the Enemy of your soul. Just because you cannot see him, does NOT mean he is not near! Read 1 Peter 5:8 for a reminder of this truth AND note that Paul in Eph. 6:13 does not say "If the day of evil comes" but rather "When the day of evil comes.") - but what matters most is how well you know and apply God's Word in your life. SO -- how are you doing with God's Word? Is reading and studying and obeying it a priority in your life? I hope so. You will only be successful in the spiritual battle when the Word has its proper place in your life.

Thanks for stopping by . . .


What Is the "Take" on Your Life?

Aristedes was a philosopher who lived in Athens during the second century A.D. In his writings, he identified a number of attributes that Christians possessed that distinguished them from the rest of the world. Among them were the following: fidelity, truthfulness, contentment, respect for parents, love for neighbors, purity, patience in the face of persecution and kindness to strangers. He also noted how they cared sacrificially for widows, orphans and other poverty stricken people. In a letter to the Roman Emperor, he stated, "And see, because of them, good flows on in the world!"

Hmm. As I thought about this philosophers "take" on the Christians of his day, I got to wondering what his "take" would be if he were writing about the Christians of 21st century America. Better yet - what if he were writing a description of you as a Christian? What would his list look like? Take a look again at the attributes in his list and ask yourself, "Are these true of me?"

Thanks for stopping by,



Here is a blog posting from August 2, 2005. It was pertinent then ... and just as pertinent today. Read and reflect.


If you have been in touch with the news this week, you have heard that after many delays, the space shuttle is back in space. However, cameras have spotted a potential problem. It seems that some of the filler between the tiles on the underbelly of the shuttle is protruding. NASA fears that upon reentry, this protruding filler may ignite and lead to another Columbia-type disaster. The protruding filler must be removed. To do so will require one of the astronauts to take a space walk and perform a task never done before in outer space. Therefore, NASA is taking every precaution and preparing diligently the astronauts on the shuttle to carry out this task. Why the fuss? Because what would be a simple task on earth is proven much more difficult in space. We were not made to function in outer space. Earth is our home. When it comes to space – we are aliens. So to do even simple things in that harsh and unfriendly environment requires huge amounts of effort, training, and equipment!

When it comes to our walk through this life, the Bible says we Christians, like the astronauts in space, are aliens here on this earth (check out 1 Peter 1:1 and 2:11). As such, we often find life to be harsh and discomforting. But we should not be surprised. This world is not our home. Our true home (heaven) awaits us somewhere down the road. But God has given us His Holy Spirit to accompany us through this life. He is with us to equip, encourage, and enable us to live out our faith – no matter how difficult or unfriendly our environment. Are you truly relying upon Him? Don’t underestimate your need or His power!

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Working Hard? Or Hardly Working?

I recently stumbled across an Internet article that listed the top thirty jobs for 2008. As I read through the list, it hit me that this list was actually a commentary on our society. For example, eight of these thirty jobs are health related jobs. Not surprising given the aging of our baby boomer population (of which I am one!). Five of the career fields are in some way connected to the mental health/counseling arenas. Again not surprising given the growing dysfunction of our society. Two of the top ten jobs are veternarian techs and veternarians. Nothing unexpected here. Just take a look around and see all the "Puffy" the cats and "Rover" the dogs you see! If you want to check out the entire listing, you can find it at: http://msn.careerbuilder.com/custom/msn/careeradvice/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=1248&SiteId=cbmsnsl41248&sc_extcmp=JS_1248_spotlight340&CM=Spotlight_V1_Careers_Feb08&HL=thisyearsbestjobs&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=b9642bb8caab4e62b03442b95e1b119a-255522958-R7-4.

Now perhaps you already work in one of these top 30 jobs (if you do look at the list, you will see that I do not!). But no matter what your job, let me encourage you as a follower of Jesus Christ to work your job for all you are worth! If the Apostle Paul urged slaves to work hard, how much more should we who are free and are paid do the same. (Note: In Ephesians 6:7 he writes, "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.") Christians should be the best workers in the workplace - bar none!
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Rainy Days and Mondays

Early in 1971, Richard and Karen Carpenter (a.k.a. "The Carpenters") released a song that was destined to be their fourth consecutive hit. The song titled Rainy Days and Mondays included the following lyrics:

Talkin' to myself and feelin' old
Sometimes I'd like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin' around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down

Seeing that today is a Monday and knowing that it is raining outside at the moment - I guess I should be feeling pretty low right now. But, I just did a quick check and I am not. I do admit that I am tired - which is always the case on a Monday following a Sunday in which I preached three times. But I am not feeling down.
One reason I am not feeling down on this rainy Monday is that I spent some time earlier today reflecting on just how great our God is. I was praying through Psalm 150 and ran across these words in the first two verses of the psalm:
Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
As I praised God for his acts of power in my life ... and praised him for his surpassing greatness, I felt my spirit within me being revived and blessed. Praising God has a way of doing this. It helps to keep our problems in perspective by reminding us that our God is far bigger than ANY problem we will ever face.
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There's Power in Prayer and It's Divine!

Earlier this week I revieved by email an invitation to pray and fast on January 30th for God's Spirit to move in Europe. Ever since my wife Sharon and I spent time ministering to the Eruopean team of Grace Brethren International Missions, God has "burdened" our hearts for the European mission field. So I wanted to "heed the call" but my schedule on the 30th was jammed full. So instead, I decided I would fast thru lunch the day before ... and spend some focused time praying for Europe. I was not alone. I received an email from Paul Klawitter this morning. Paul, the Eroupean Regional Director for GBIM wrote these exciting words,

"Dear praying friends,

My heart has been moved with the oh-so-many notes from around the world of people who joined us in prayer yesterday—people from California to Pennsylvania, South America and all across Europe. And if this has moved my heart, how much more so the heart of our loving Father. And God is already moving in response to our prayers. I received this note yesterday morning (Note that a few people wrote to say they could not dedicate the day on Wednesday to prayer so they began on Tuesday)..."

Paul went on to include a note which he has asked that we not post with its names and locations. But in a few words, this note was from one of Paul's coworkers in Europe who saw on the 29th the first coversion in his city after 7 months of making contacts. Coincidence that here I was U.S. praying that very day (along with many others) and there in Europe a man was gloriously saved? No way! When we ask, we shall receive. When we seek, we will find. When we knock, the door shall be opened. This is way cool. No, beyond way cool! Praise our merciful and faithful Father! There's power in prayer - and it's divine!

Thanks for stopping by,


Friday Coffee with PJ

My apologies for missing the past several Fridays. I was off last week, and the previous couple of weeks I got caught up in the Thanksgivi...