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Showing posts from May, 2008

Now That's Something to Think About!

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Today I noticed a quote at the bottom of a friend's email. The quote really got me thinking. So I thought that maybe it would really get you thinking as you spend this last weekend of May (Saturday) and this first weekend of June (Sunday) doing whatever you tend to do on a weekend. Read the quote through slowly and then read it again. Then pause to give it some thought!

"Before we can pray 'Thy Kingdom come,' we must be willing to pray 'my kingdom go.' (Alan Redpath)


Thanks for stopping by ... (and thanks, Dave, for the quote!)
pj

Attack!

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If you have reservations at a resort in Zihuatanejo, Mexico - you might want to reconsider. Or if you do go, you'd better think twice about going in the water. This popular Pacific coast resort town has seen three shark attacks in the past month, two of which have proven fatal. This is highly unusual, given that shark attacks in this area are unheard of ... at least in any one's memory. Marine biologists and city officials are baffled as to the reason behind the attacks (my guess - hungry sharks?). But whatever the case, Zihutanejo's tourist industry is taking a hit as many decide to vacation elsewhere. And those who are still surfing the waves off of Zihutanejo's beaches are keeping a wary eye out for the tell tale fin of a cruising shark.

Followers of Christ can learn a lesson from all this. Just as surfers can become the target of a hungry shark, we are in the cross hairs of "hungry" spirits. These spirits are the fallen angels who joined Lucifer (a.k.a. &q…

Joel Osteen: Is He Telling a Good Story or God's Story?

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This past Sunday, I referred to an interview that Larry King conducted with Joel Osteen. Joel is senior pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, probably America's largest church (38,000 in weekly attendance!). Osteen is also a bestselling author. When King asked Joel if he ever used the word "sinners" in his preaching, Joel responded by saying, "I don’t use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don’t." I followed up the quote by asking the question of how can a pastor who is supposedly preaching the Bible never use the word "sinners" when the Bible uses the word "sin" some 2000 times?

Since Sunday, I have been asked by a couple of people to expand on Joel and his teaching. So I thought I would share a little with all of you who visit my blog of what I think about Joel Osteen's teaching.
I want you to know I have read and listened to Joel on several occasions (definitely not as much as some of you may have - but enough). From the get-…

A Blog Flashback . . .

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I posted the following blog back on June 19, 2006 (and we thought gas prices were HIGH then!!). Enjoy!


As Gas Prices Soar Scam Artists Are Cashing In

As I sat in my Lazy Boy recliner yesterday afternoon (which happened to be Father’s Day), I had a glass of iced tea (unsweetened) in one hand, and the Sunday newspaper in the other. With one eye I was browsing through the paper and with the other I was watching some World Cup Soccer (or should I say “football?” - nah!). One article in particular caught my eye. Apparently with the price of gas at the pump on the rise, so are the numbers of scams designed to part you from your money. Once such scam offers a “top secret gas pill”. Offered by a company called BioPerformance, the pill claims to change the molecular structure of gasoline so that it burns more efficiently. By adding one pill to a tank of gas, the company claims you will see an increase in gas mileage anywhere from 20 – 35 %. That sounds good to me! However, this secret pill is n…

How Do You Spell Relief?

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Friday evening my wife Sharon and I went to the Lancaster Barnstormers game at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Soon after finding our seats, a Barnstormer employee found my wife and asked her to participate in one of the between innings activity that they do each game. So rather reluctantly (my wife does not like to be the focus of attention - especially in a large crowd) she agreed to participate. So after the opposing team batted in the first - it was the Sharon Smith show! She got to play a version of "The Price Is Right." She had to pick the four digits of the price of some fancy dishwasher. Her pick was $1375 and the actual price was $1495 (must be a dishwasher for a restaurant at that price!). So did she win anything? I think she came away with a $25 gift certificate to some kitchen appliance place and a certificate for a free set of knives from the same establishment. But most of all she came away with a HUGE feeling of relief that her ordeal was OVER! I also reminded her t…

Let's Pray for Steven Curtis Chapman and Family

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Many of you, like me, have been blessed by the music of the Grammy and Dove award winning musician, Steven Curtis Chapman. Yesterday afternoon, tragedy struck his family. His youngest daughter, 5 year old Maria Sue, was struck and killed in the family's driveway by a vehicle driven by one of her older brothers. The police are referring to the incident as a "tragic accident." Somehow, those words seem woefully inadequate. As a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the pain Steven, his wife Beth and the rest of the family are experiencing right now. But I am glad to know that the One who knows exactly how they are feeling is there alongside of them right now, wrapping his arms of strength and comfort around them.

Would you please take a moment and pray for this family, knowing that where our prayers focus, God's power (and in this case, comfort) falls!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj



What? Me Apologize?

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I spent yesterday morning being trained in CPR. We were also trained in the use of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). The training, taught by a well qualified instructor, was sponsored by the American Heart Association. It was solid instruction and all of us in the class learned much. Hopefully we will never have to apply what we learned - but if we are ever confronted with a person in need of CPR - we are now qualified to administer it!

As I thought about my training yesterday, the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared" came to mind. Going through this CPR training has prepared me just in case I ever find myself in a situation in which a person is in need of CPR. As a follower of Jesus, all of us are called upon to "be prepared." In 1 Peter 3:15 we are told, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Alwaysbe prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." Reg…

So What Am I Complaining About??!!??

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Yesterday as I was driving through Lancaster with my wife seated in the front seat next to me, a very slow motorist in front of me caused me to hit a red light that I should have easily gone through as a green light. I heaved a great sigh and began the old grumbling under my breath routine. My wife, being ever so gracious, gently asked me why stopping at a red light was bothering me so much. Ouch! She was right! Why did that bother me? After all, at most it would cause me to arrive at my destination a minute or two later than if I had made the light! And really, what is that compared to the suffering of people around the world such as the survivors of the Typhoon in Myanmar and the earthquake in China.

I was reminded again of just how silly it is when we complain and grumble about the little stuff in life that irritates us as I was reading this morning the opening chapters of Job. Here was a guy that lost all of his possessions, all ten of his children and his health - and yet did not …

The Biggest and the Best Family Reunion of All Time!

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83-year-old Irene Famulak is about to experience something she never dreamed possible. After a separation of 66 years, she is about to be reunited with her younger brother. It was in 1942 when the Nazis invaded her home in Ukraine. Irene, along with her parents and 6 brothers and sisters were shipped off to concentration camps in Germany. She hasn't seen another family member since ... but that is about to change. Her younger brother used the services of the Red Cross Holocaust in Germany to see if he could track down any surviving family members. The search led to Irene who now lives in Philadelphia. Now the family is planning to get the two of them together in Germany. And how does Irene feel about all of this? "I'm so happy. I’m going to hug him. I’m going to kiss him. I’m going to cry. I want to see him."

Now that is QUITE the feel-good story! I cannot imagine the emotion that both Irene and her brother are experiencing. But I am very happy for them! Family reunio…

A One Two Punch on the Way?

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It was a mere eleven days ago that Cyclone Nargis raced through Myanmar, leaving tens of thousands dead in its wake. Now the United Nations has issued a warning that another major storm may be headed for the devastated region. The UN weather center which is tracking the developing storm (presently off the coast of Thailand) is saying that the storm may become "a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours". Just what the survivors of Cyclone Nargis need to hear! IF this storm develops into a major cyclone and IF its track takes it across the same region of Myanmar (two "ifs" that may or may not happen) - this would prove to be a catastrophic "one-two" punch for the people of Myanmar!

The suffering that these people are going through (and the suffering of the survivors of the destructive earthquake that just hit China) lead many to dismiss the existence of God. After all, if there were a loving and powerful God, then wouldn't he keep these bad…

Gifted and Talented!

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Bonnie Richardson is a high school junior at Rochelle High School in Texas. But she is no ordinary high school junior. In fact - she recently did something no other high school girl has ever done in Texas (and probably anywhere for that matter!). All she did was go out and win the state 1A team track championship ALL BY HER SELF! That's right. She won a total of 42 points in five events (firsts in the high jump and the 100 meter dash, seconds in the 200 meter run and the long jump and a third place finish in the discus). This was enough to give her high school the team title - in spite of the fact that she was the only athlete from her high school competing! Richardson is truly one gifted and talented athlete!

Speaking of gifts and talents, all of us in the family of God are gifted and talented. Sure our gifts and talents differ in both content and extent -but none the less each one of us is uniquely shaped by God. Scripture makes this clear in Ephesians 2:10 where we read, "…

Think on This C. S. Lewis Quote . . .

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C. S. Lewis is one of the most quoted writers of all time . . . and there is a reason for that. He is one of the most insightful writers of all time, especially when it comes to matters pertaining to Christianity and how it intersects with life. So as we approach yet another weekend, here is a C. S. Lewis quote to "chew on". . .

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. (From Christian Apologetics)

Question: Would people looking at your life see that Christianity is of infinite importance???

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

On Being Relevant…

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I first posted the following on August 23, 2005. I thought it was worthy of a re-post. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I hear and read a lot these days about the need for the church (and Christians) to be “culturally relevant.” The dictionary defines the word “relevant” as “having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand.” In effect, to be culturally relevant is to have a bearing on or a connection with our culture. This means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Many, I am afraid, in the pursuit of cultural relevancy have emphasized the wrong things and lost sight of the main thing. (Are you with me?)

My approach to the Christian life is the K.I.S.S. approach (Keep It Simple Smitty). So as I consider the need to be culturally relevant (and it is a need – no one will give us a hearing if we walk around like Ork from Mork!), I believe it boils down to the main thing. If we pursue this main thing – we will ALWAYS be “culturally relevant.” So just what is this …

Microwaves Are Great - Usually!

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One night last week I was really hungry and for supper we were having one of my favorite meals - leftovers! (and it helped that the leftovers included turkey - I love turkey!). So I piled my plate high with turkey (and veggies, of course) and then placed it in the microwave. I hit the 2 minute tab and hit "start." When the buzzer sounded, I took the plate out all ready to dig in. But Houston, we had a problem! In spite of being nuked for two solid minutes, the food was still refrigerator cold. Hmm. Microwave must be on a wrong setting. So I checked the micro out and tried again . . . and again the results were the same - cold food. The micro was BROKEN! And I ate a cold turkey dinner (still, I must a admit - a cold turkey dinner is still enjoyable in my book!)

Now although I did not expect our microwave to break down, it did not surprise me that it did. Things like microwave ovens break. It is part of the package of life. They break and either we get them repaired or we get t…

Lean on Me!

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I noticed this morning in the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal what seemed to me to be a larger than usual number of obituaries. A quick survey of the Intell's obituary column of the past week confirmed my observation. Today's column listed 26 individuals, ranging in age from 17 to 93. What got my attention was that three of these individuals who died were in their fifty's (one of which was MY age!) and two others were in their forty's.

Now you might be wondering why I was reading the obituaries. Well I don't do it for the reason that some people give - to check to be sure their obit is not in the paper! So why do I read the obits? Having lived here in Lancaster for almost 19 years, I have become acquainted with many people. So I look to see if there is someone I "know." Someone I can pray for ... someone whose family I might be able to reach out and touch with the love of Jesus.
This is what Jesus calls us to do, isn't it. In Galatians 6:2 we are calle…

Don't Fall Asleep on the Job!

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The lead story on the news the other night was the incident in which a security guard at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was suspended for "being inattentive on the job." But really, this is not good for any employee on any job. If a person is being paid to do a certain task, then he or she needs to give himself or herself fully to that task. Of course, in the case of an inattentive nuclear power plant security guard - the results of such inattention could be disastrous! (perhaps this is why the Federal government has established rules stating that critical nuclear power plant employees must be attentive at all times - which, by the way, seems silly that the government felt it had to establish such rules!).

Just as it is crucial that critical nuclear power plant employees be attentive to what they are doing - it is crucial that we as followers of Jesus Christ be attentive as well. The Apostle Paul told Timothy, "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere i…

On This National Day of Prayer: Pray As Jesus Taught Us to Pray!

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In 1775 the first day of prayer was declared when the Continental Congress "designated a time for prayer in forming a new nation." Then on April On April 17, 1952 President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law. Today all across the United States, people will be gathering to pray.

As you spend time praying today (and other days I trust!) - there is no better guide for our prayers than the prayer Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. It is most often referred to as "The Lord's Prayer." In this paradigm for prayer, Jesus teaches us that we must begin our prayers by reminding ourselves of just who it is to whom we are talking. "Our Father, in heaven" tells us that the God to whom we pray is our Father (that makes us His children - wow!) and he is in heaven (and what is God doing in heaven? Sitting on this throne, ruling the universe!) Allow those first six words of this great prayer …