PJ

PJ

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Day After . . .



I awoke this morning, drained and still very tired. So ... I will post some thoughts tomorrow about the wedding day - but if you have a moment to watch and listen to this video, this was the song I chose for our Father-Daughter dance. Enjoy!





Thanks for stopping by . . .

PJ (a.k.a. "The Father of the Bride")

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Dearly Beloved . . . "

It won't be long now! In just a little over 9 hours I will be walking my daughter down the aisle. And shortly after reaching the front of the sanctuary ... the question will be asked, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" Wait a minute!! "Woman??!!" My little girl Kate is no longer a little girl but a "WOMAN??!!" It is true. Somewhere along life's journey - I looked away ... and when I looked back my little brown-eyed girl was no longer a girl - but a beautiful young woman. A college graduate. A successful high-school teacher. And soon - a wife! I can scarcely believe it! But I am so very glad for her and her soon-to-be husband!

As I look ahead to the wedding ceremony, I can't express how privileged I feel. Not only do I get to do what every dad gets to do (walk his daughter down aisle) - but I also get to officiate the ceremony, guiding Ryan and Kate through their vows in the process! I consider that a huge honor!!!

I am excited for Kate and Ryan for I know that when a husband and wife seek to live together as God intended (with the husband CHERISHING and not controlling his wife and the wife RESPECTING and not restructuring her husband) God will indeed bless, granting to the husband and wife a "taste of heaven" on earth.

I know - that's been my experience with my bride of some 30 years now! I am praying that Kate and Ryan will experience the joy we have had (and continue to have!).




Thanks for praying for us today!!!

And thanks for stopping by . . .

The Father of the Bride (a.k.a. "pj")

Saturday, June 28, 2008

One More Day - But Who's Counting?

Yesterday I had a great day celebrating with the groom in Washington, DC (in the photo the groom, Ryan is in the blue shirt). We took in, among other things, the National Archives (to view the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States), the WW II Memorial and a Washington Nationals vs. the Baltimore Orioles baseball game. Needless to say, by the time I got home (about 1:15 AM) I was one worn out Father of the Bride!

After a very short night, I was up and at it this morning ... running a few errands and then spending a few minutes with my daughter. At one point she made mention that tonight would be her last night at home ... for some bizarre reason, those words plucked my heart strings which in turn flipped on the switch to my tear ducts. We had a good cry together (but better here in the privacy of my living room than while walking her down the aisle before the watching gaze of 556 eyes (or 278 people)!

I am hoping to post tomorrow morning with some thoughts ... but I must run now as I have more things to do before the rehearsal at 4:30 this afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, June 27, 2008

Only Two More Days!

In less than two hours I will be heading south with a bunch of guys who are going to celebrate my-future-son-in-law's impending marriage. Our day will include some sight seeing in Washington, DC, dinner and then a baseball game featuring the Washington Nationals vs. the Baltimore Orioles (now those who know my future-son-in-law will not be suprised about the day's itinerary. Baseball and U.S. history are at the top of his interests - but below his interest in my daughter!!!) . BUT before I leave on our excursion, I have to deliver all the reception favors to the resort (they need them no later than noon today). I will be glad to do so ... after all, I placed each and every one of the 556 truffles into their little white boxes (two per box and wearing these little plastic gloves while I did so). I sure hope the guests at the reception really (I mean REALLY) enjoy them! I spent several hours yesterday helping my daughter, wife and a few others putting the favors together. (I also made a "plum" run to pick up about three dozen more of the fruit - and if you are wondering what the plums are for - see my previous posting).

In a little less than 56 hours the wedding ceremony will begin. Hmm. I am still trying to figure out just how as Father of the Bride I am going to be feeling at the moment when I walk my baby down the aisle. More on that tomorrow. Now I have to run ... got some truffles to deliver!

Thanks for stopping by. . .

pj

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reflections of the Father of the Bride (part 2)


At the beginning of this week, I had big plans to write a brief posting each day leading up to my daughter's wedding. Well as you can see, I missed doing so yesterday. Let's just say my day included some unanticipated "errands."

First we made a mid-morning stop at Willow Valley Resort (reception site). There we discussed all the last minute "make-sure-all -the-ducks-are-in-line" type of details for the reception. This meeting concluded with the final payment ("ouch!"). From there, my wife took our daughter out to lunch - a relaxed, reflective and very enjoyable dad, mom and daughter time (most likely the last before the big day!). From there we drove to Costco to pick up plums for the wedding reception (I think they are being used in conjunction with informing reception guests as to their seating assignment - and, Oh by the way, I NEVER dreamed how difficult it would be to decide who is sitting with whom at a reception!!!). After cleaning Costco out of their plums - we then drove to some candy store to pick up truffles --- 550 truffles --- to be used as reception favors!! So it took a while for the store staff to get the order together ... so instead of getting home right after lunch (as I had been expecting) - we didn't pull into the driveway until close to 4:00! Then somehow, I found myself folding these little boxes that were going to be used to "house" the truffles.

After supper (which included hamburgers that I cooked up on the grill), I finally thought I was going to get some "time off." Nope - my wife had to run out to pick up ribbon and tissue paper for the plums and the favors -- and since I had been informed that my tux was in -- we made yet another run. So all that to say -- I had no time to post to my blog yesterday. So I thought before more "stuff" comes shouting to be done today -- I had better get a posting done.

Two years ago my son got married. After going through that experience as "Father of the Groom" - I remember thinking to myself, "That was not all that bad. I can easily do this again!" What I did not take into account that when I would have to do it again - it would be with two daughters, not sons! And let me tell you - there is a world of difference between being the "Father of the Groom" and the "Father of the Bride!" So if you are reading this and you have all daughters -- guys get ready! But I do want to say this -- It's worth it all!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reflections of the Father of the Bride (part 1)

In just five days (God willing!), I will be walking my youngest daughter down the aisle to give her away to her soon-to-be husband. It seems like just yesterday that Kate was just taking her first steps! Where has the time gone?

Earlier this morning, I showed Kate my copy of the wedding ceremony (what a great privilege to be able to officiate the ceremony and walk Kate and Ryan through their vows to one another!). Her response was to jump up and down with excitement as she exclaimed, "Only five more days!" My response? Sweaty eyes! But I guess I'll experience more than that by the time this week is over!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Big Event's Coming!

In just six days, our youngest daughter, Kate will be marrying her wonderful fiance, Ryan. It is hard for me to believe that all of our months of planning is almost over! Yea! So beginning tomorrow (Tuesday, June 24th), I will be out of the office so I can be available for any last minute "stuff" that has got to be done. My plan is to post a brief blog posting each day as I reflect on what's happening from my perspective as the Father of the Bride.

As I think of Kate's and Ryan's wedding day, my thoughts are drawn to another wedding day that the Bible talks about. Listen to the Apostle John's description:


Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' " And he added, "These are the true words of God." (Revelation 19:6-9)


What a glorious day that will be - when the Church, the Bride of Christ is married to the Eternal Bridegroom - Jesus Christ, Lord of lords and King of kings! Will you be a part of the ceremony! If you are not sure, I encourage you to go to the following link and find out just how you can be sure: http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/index.asp


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Beef of the Bible!

Yesterday I asked the question, "Where's the beef?" The sad situation within the Church today is that the average Christian has "dumbed down" his or her knowledge of the Bible. This is tragic for one cannot obey and apply what one does not know to begin with! For your weekend "fodder" I have included below some insightful comments about the Bible and our interaction with it. Take a moment and read through these ... and then examine your own practice of Bible intake.


"The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual growth. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian." --AW. Tozer




"The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed." --Patrick Henry




"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand." --Mark Twain



"For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant." --Martin Luther



"When you read God's Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, "It is talking to me, and about me." --Soren Kierkegaard


"Here, then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God's Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy." --R. C. Sproul


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where's the Beef?


Take a moment and view this 30 second commercial which first aired on January 10, 1984.






Where's the beef?" That is a good question that all of us need to ask when it comes to the "beef" of the Word of God. There is an alarming situation that is arising in the Church. On average, Christians today are reading, studying, memorizing, and applying the Bible less and less and churches are getting away from solid biblical preaching and teaching. Take a moment and look at your own interaction with the Scriptures. Read Psalm 1 and ask yourself if the psalm is a good description of you. And pray for our churches that we would renew our commitment to the Word of God!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Now That's Amazing!

Dan Cohen just finished up his freshman year at Duquense University. He also just completed an amazing feat. He took a 4-by-4-by-4 Rubik's Cube and solved it in 46.03 seconds! Now that's amazing! And if you have ever struggled to solve one of these puzzling puzzles - you know just HOW amazing Dan's effort was! In fact, in doing what he did - he set a new world record, shaving .6 seconds off the old record which was set just last year by a Hungarian man.

Life can be a lot like a Rubik's Cube. We encounter a lot of different scenarios involving family, work, schooling, friends, health, finances, etc. And no matter how hard we try - sometimes we just can't seem to get the pieces to fall into place. When this happens (and sooner or later - more likely sooner - it will happen!) and you begin to feel anxiety and fear begin to grow in your soul, put into practice Psalm 46:10. In this verse God tells us to "Be still, and know that I am God." The words "Be still" literally mean "cease striving." What this verse is telling us is that when life is growing more puzzling by the hour and we don't know how we are ever going to see it "solved" - we need to stop, take a deep breath, and then look to God. After all, he's the one (and the only one) with the solution in hand. Now as we fix our focus on God ... something incredible happens deep inside of us. Isaiah 26:3 gives us this promise: "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Even in the midst of great "puzzlement" - we can experience peace! Now that's amazing!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Do You "Own" Things - Or Do Things Own YOU?

I was very relieved when I saw the recent list (put out by CCC Information Services of Chicago, an industry group that tracks theft and vehicle damage) of the top 25 automobile models that are targeted by thieves. Why was I relieved? Because neither of our two cars (a PT Cruiser and a Nissan Sentra) were on the list! But if you own a model of the Acura Integra you had better take extra anti-theft precautions. Six of the top 10 most-stolen cars were models of the the Integra!

Now what does this say about our society that there is an actual industry group that makes money tracking car thefts? For one thing, it shows that many give no regard whatsoever to the Eighth Commandment, "You shall not steal." But why do people steal? For some it might be a matter of personal preservation. They are so desperate to provide for their families, they see stealing as their only (or best) shot at doing so. Others steal to fund an expensive drug habit. Others steal for the thrill of it - the rush that comes from doing so and getting away with it. But I believe the reason most people steal is because they have do not have the right perspective on material things. They believe that if they had something that they currently do not (like an Acura Integra) - they would find the satisfaction that they are seeking.

Now there is nothing wrong with "owning*" things - but when things begin to own you - you need a change in perspective. God gives us "creature comforts" to enjoy (see 1 Timothy 4:3-4 and 1 Timothy 6:17). But he forbids us from reaching out and taking from someone else what he has given to them.

So - are you content with what God has given you? Is your attitude one in which you "own*" things - or do your things own you?

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

*We "own" knowing that everything we have really belongs to God and is simply "on loan" from Him!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why Am I A Christian?

This intriguing question is behind a book John Stott wrote in 2003. In this book, Stott places before his readers 7 reasons as to why he is a Christian. Now some people might offer the following reasons as to why they happen to be a Christian: I was born into a Christian home, I accepted Christ as college student, I "went forward" at a Billy Graham crusade. Now granted, all of these are certainly part of the answer. Stott in his first chapter discusses what he considers "the most significant factor" as to why he or any of us are Christians. Read on and consider what he says,

"Why I am a Christian is due ultimately neither to the influence of my parents and teachers, nor to my own personal decision for Christ, but to "the Hound of Heaven." That is, it is due to Jesus Christ himself, who pursued me relentlessly even when I was running away from him in order to go my own way. And if it were not for the gracious pursuit of the Hound of Heaven I would today be on the scrapheap of wasted and discarded lives." (Why Am I a Christian, pp. 14-15)

Wow! Powerful! If you are a Christian today - pause right now and praise the Hound of Heaven - that he never gave up his pursuit of YOU!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, June 13, 2008

Information to Application...

Yesterday I wrote about the "hypermilers" and how they try to squeeze every last mile out of a gallon of gasoline. Late yesterday afternoon I drove my wife down to North East Maryland for a special sea food dinner (it was her birthday). After dinner we drove to Sandy Cove Bible Conference to walk and sit and enjoy the beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay. All in all we had a delightful time.
Now since I drove a total of 90 miles round trip, I had the opportunity to apply some of the tips of the hypermilers. And given that my car is equipped with a gauge that tells me how I am doing gas mileage-wise, I was set to test what I had read. The car I was driving was a 2006 Nissan Sentra. The best mileage I had been able to achieve to date (and we have had the car for one year) was about 36 miles to the gallon. Last night, when it was all said and done -- are you ready? -- I had achieved an astounding 43.7 miles to the gallon! So how did I do it? What tips did I apply? For starters, I used a light foot (not going over the speed limit, coasting down hills ... going a little slower up hills), avoided jack rabbit starts and stops and not running the A/C. In view of these results and the high gas prices at the pump, though I do not plan to join the full ranks of the hypermilers, I do plan to become a "quasi hypermiler!"

So in taking the information and applying it - I found that it works! It is the same with the Bible! When we take the information that God gives to us in its pages - info about life and how we are to order it in HIS presence and then apply this info to where we live we live - we will discover (as I discovered with the info from the hypermilers) that it (the truth of God's Word) works!!! And this should not surprise us. For the Bible is given to us by the Designer, the Creator and the Sustainer of life!

So...the next time you open the Bible (which I surely hope will be TODAY!) ... remember that the Bible is not given for merely your information -- but your transformation. God wants you to take what you read and apply it to where you live!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Going the Extra Mile?

Wayne Gerdes, of Wadsworth, Illinois is a "driven"man. He is obsessed with squeezing every extra mile out of a gallon of gasoline that he possibly can. And he has been surprisingly successful! He's been able to run a Ford Ranger pick-up so that it got 84 miles per gallon. And driving his current car, a hybrid Honda Insight, he's been able to achieve an amazing 180 miles per gallon! You see, Gerdes doesn't want just good or even great gas mileage - he is after "hyper" gas mileage. That's right, he's a breed of drivers known as "hypermilers."

Now how does he do it? For starters, he drives smart: a light foot on the gas pedal, less idling, no jack rabbit starts and stops. But Gerdes doesn't stop there. He does other things like checking his tire pressure every week to make sure the tires are at their maximum weight and learning to "sweat it out" on a hot day by forgoing the car's air conditioning (which can cut gas consumption significantly). In this day of high gas prices, all of us who want to get that "extra" mile out of a gallon of gas can learn something from these hypermilers!

Jesus talked about going the extra mile. In Matthew 5:41 he says, "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." He was referring to a common practice of Roman soldiers, who were allowed by law to require anyone they encountered to carry their gear for one mile. Jesus is saying that if this happens to you ... carry their gear for a second (or extra) mile. Let's purpose today to go the extra mile for someone. Look for an opportunity to be a "hypermiler" for Christ!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When It Comes to Your Life - Who Is On Center Stage?

This morning as I was reading from Charles Spurgeon's Morning by Morning devotional, I encountered the following question that Spurgeon poses for his readers, Why does God leave us His children on earth when he could transport us to heaven the moment we trust Christ? He answers the question by saying, "We are here that we may 'live to the Lord' and bring others to know HIS love." Now of course we know Spurgeon is right on target with his answer. The Bible clearly tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that "whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." So life is NOT about me - it is ALL about HIM!

However, all too often we get that reversed ... and we live life in a way that shouts to those around us that life is all about ME! Please take a moment and watch this video which makes this point in a striking way. Then take another moment before you rush back to whatever is yelling for your attention and ask yourself if your life is ME-centered or God-centered.





Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When Life Does Not Work As Advertised!

Yesterday, I went to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play ... yes in Pittsburgh. Some might say that is a long way to go to see a baseball game. I agree. 225 miles and four hours of driving is quite the distance. That is why I don't do it very often (if twice in four years qualifies as "not very often.") But we had a great time, in spite of the mid-ninety degree temperatures (we managed to sit in the shade as did most of the other fans in attendance). And what made the trip so noteworthy - the Pirates won the game, rattling future hall of a famer, Randy Johnson in the process! So all in all ... it was a relaxing way to spend my day off.

On the way home, we stopped to grab a quick dinner at a new rest stop on the PA Turnpike. As we scoped out our options in the food court, we decided on Burger King, figuring we could grab a quick sandwich and drink and be on our way. So I walked up to the register (they were not busy at all) and placed our order for two whopper juniors, one chicken sandwich and three small drinks. Simple. Cheap. After filling our cups, I returned to the counter to pick up the order while my two companions found a seat (which was not very hard to do!). Now remember, BK is advertised as a "fast food" restaurant. But for some reason, last evening - our order was filled in any way BUT fast! It took almost 20 minutes for the BK crew to fill our order of three sandwiches. When the manager finally realized what was going on, she threw in two large order of fries for us to "ease our pain" (and I am sure, "expand our waistlines!). So what we had hoped would have been a 10-15 minute turned into a stop of just over 30 minutes!

OK - so what do you do when life does not work as advertised. Things don't always work the way we think they should. And often, we encounter life in all of its painful brokenness. How should we respond? Let me suggest one thing you can do. Instead of focusing on how life is NOT working for you at the moment, think about what God has done, is doing AND has promised to do for you for all of eternity! This will help you get "life" into perspective and bring a certain joy to your heart. In Psalm 126:3 the writer declares, "The LORD had done great things for us; we are glad!"

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hmm ... Richard Dawkins on Evolution

I've always known that Darwinists take a huge LEAP of faith in embracing the theory of evolution - but when I saw the following video of Richard Dawkins doing his best to answer a rather simple question, it struck me at how huge a leap it actually is. His answer to the question makes no sense at all. Evolution teaches that through slow and gradual change across billions of years, new species arise from older species. If this is indeed the case, we should see evidence of this process (and lots of it) in the fossil record. However, the fossil record shows NO evidence at all of these alleged intermediate creatures that are in the midst of evolving from say reptiles into birds. Sorry, Mr. Dawkins - nice try but the total inadequacy of your theory is clear to see in your rambling answer to the question.

Watch ... and then pray for this man that perhaps he will one day "see the light" and bow before the God who made him.








Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Clay Pots and the Power of God!

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

The "treasure" Paul is referring to here is what he just mentioned in verse 6 - "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

The "jars of clay" in this verse were cheap and breakable clay pots most often used in Paul's day to hold garbage or human waste. So what Paul is telling us here is that in the whole process of salvation, it is not us who through our power can save ourselves or anyone else - but rather salvation is only and totally the work of God! It is through HIS power that the gospel advances. And incredibly he does it through us clay pots!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, June 6, 2008

Why Do Doughnuts Have Holes?

Today, believe it or not, is National Doughnut Day (do you ever wonder who decides these things? I mean, why couldn't today be National Plant a Tree Day or National Hug Your Child Day? - both of which I think would be a better thing to do than eating a doughnut or two!).

As I got to thinking about doughnuts, I got to wondering why doughnuts have holes. I did a little research (about 2 minutes worth!) and came up with two interesting theories. The first states that bakers discovered that in frying up these pastry delights, it was difficult to get them to cook evenly throughout. But some baker somewhere learned that he could solve this problem by removing the center. Voila! The doughnut was born.

A second theory goes back to life on the high seas. Allegedly, a certain sea captain named Hanson Gregory, while manning his post one stormy night, found it impossible both to steer his vessel and to eat his fried cake. In frustration he took his cake and impaled it over one of the spokes of the ship's wheel. When he finally got back to his cake, he realized he had created a nice little finger hole that helped him grip his cake so he could eat it. Pleased with his spark of "ingenuity," Mr. Gregory ordered the galley's cook to fry the cakes with the hole in them from that point onward. And so the doughnut was born.

Now, if you ask me, the first of these theories sounds a lot more credible than the second. But whatever the case, doughnuts have holes. Without the hole, it would no longer be a doughnut. And what would this world be without doughnuts to dunk in your coffee (perhaps a slimmer world?)?

What is true of doughnuts, is also true of Christians. There are a number of things that are true of us -without which we would no longer be Christians. I could go on and on about this - but let me cite just one: compassion for people in need. Of all the major world faiths, Christianity is the one that has done the most for the needy people's of the world. I saw this clearly while in India. The leper hospital we visited for example was started by Christian missionaries. All the orphanages in the area were again Christian. Everywhere we went, the vast majority of humanitarian aid was being administered by Christian groups. Not surprising, given the compassion for needy people that Jesus demonstrated when he was on earth. So as followers of Jesus, we must continue to reach out to those in need (my wife and I have been supporting two children through Children's Fellowship of India (http://www.cfindia.org/) for a number of years as we seek to imitate Jesus in this regard). But as we do, we must never lose sight of the gospel. Alleviating suffering for this life only is not enough. We must prepare the needy for eternity.

To sum it all up ... let me ask you two questions. If you are committed to following Jesus, what are YOU doing to help the needy of this world? And if you are giving to some sort of aid organization, are you sure they are giving out the GOSPEL along with the food, clothing, medicine, etc. that they are distributing?

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

PS - If you are looking for a wonderful organization to support, stop by Children's Fellowship of India's web site. Check it out. CFI is adding about 20-25 more children this month and is in need of additional sponsors. For a mere $30 a month, you can sign on as a sponsor. And be assured that along with the food, education, clothing, shelter and health care that these boys receive, they also receive the gospel!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pass the SPAM, Please?

As fuel prices rise, people are making a number of changes. For one, they are driving less. Gas sales in the U.S. have been in decline in recent weeks and urban centers around the country are reporting a significant upswing in the number of people using mass transit. In addition, Americans are switching from gas guzzling SUV's to smaller, more fuel efficient cars. But all of this is not surprising. But what might surprise you is that SPAM is on the increase. Now I am not talking about the cyberspace version of junk mail - but rather the mystery meat product put out by the Hormel Food Corporation.

Hormel recently reported that the sale of SPAM is up some 14% over the last year. That surprises me. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of questions about SPAM. Like, for starters, what exactly is it? Some say the word SPAM stands for "Something Posing As Meat." OK. I think I'll buy that (the explanation for the meaning of the name that is - certainly not the product itself!). I think the name originally came from picking out the first two and the last two letters from the description of the product (being "SPiced hAM."). Of course, it may have started out as spiced ham ... but now you can get a variety of SPAM, including "SPAM Classic," "SPAM Oven Roasted Turkey," SPAM Hot and Spicy," "SPAM with Bacon," "SPAM Lite" and "SPAM Golden Honey Grail." And did you know that SPAM is so popular in Hawaii that the MacDonald's and Burger King franchises there offer it as a menu item right along with their Big Macs and Whoppers!

Now I don't think we will be seeing SPAM on the menu at the MacDonald's next door to the church facility anytime soon. But if you are like many trying to stretch your food dollars, you may very well find yourself bringing home one or two cans of SPAM. My wife has not done so (at least not yet!). And if she did - I would eat it (OK, I am going to get transparent here -- I actually enjoy the stuff - that is if I don't take the time to start thinking about just what it is that I might be eating!).

SPAM is one of those things that people like to joke about (GI's in WW II referred to the SPAM they were given to eat as "ham that didn't pass its physical" and "meatloaf without basic training.") And it does appear to be one of those things in life that you either love it or hate it! It seems that very few people are "lukewarm" about their take on SPAM.

However, when it comes to living out the Christian Faith, my observation is that there are far too many Christians who are "lukewarm" about their faith. These believers are very casual about their approach to living out their faith. If you look at these Christ followers, it may prove difficult to see just who it is they are following!

How about YOU? Are you casual about your faith? Lukewarm about your relationship to Jesus Christ? Or when it comes to loving God, loving others, and impacting our world for the King are you passionate? Enthusiastic? Prepared to give your ALL? Give it some thought. Jesus deserves nothing less than all that we have and all that we are!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Let the Little Children Come!

Mark 10:13-16 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

You got to love this little one!




Thanks for stopping by. . .

pj

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I Can't Believe It Happened to Us!

Last Wednesday evening as I was reading the back page of the Lancaster New Era, the following article caught my eye:





Thieves drill into cars for 'liquid gold'

The Associated Press

DETROIT -- Dale Fortin is getting a new kind of customer at his Detroit auto repair shop, customers who have not just been in a fender-bender or had a windshield smashed by a rock. The soaring price of crude oil has turned gas tanks into a cache of valuable booty, and Fortin has replaced several tanks punctured or drilled by thieves thirsting for the nearly $4-a-gallon fuel inside. "That's the new fad," said the co-owner of Dearborn Auto Tech in Detroit. "I'd never seen it before gas got up this high."


While gas station drive-offs and siphoning are far more common methods of stealing gas, reports of tank and line puncturing are starting to trickle into police departments and repair shops across the country. Some veteran mechanics and law enforcement officers say it's an unwelcome return of a crime they first saw during the Middle East oil embargo of the early 1970s.


Little did I realize as I was reading that article that our church would become a victim of this very crime. The crime was discovered early this past Sunday morning when one of our staff went to move one of our church vans. It was parked near the main entrance of the church and he was moving it to a more "remote" location in our parking area. Smelling gasoline, he looked under the van only to see a screwdriver protruding from the gas tank. Someone had punctured the tank with the tool and attempted to collect the gasoline that flowed from the hole.

This criminal act is just a reminder of the sinful nature of humanity. Not only did these thieves steal they vandalized AND they did it against a church! A non profit organization that seeks to give back to the community. As a result of their actions, we are not only "out" the gas that was stolen, we must also pay to have the gas tank repaired or replaced.

But before I get all bent out of shape about the sinfulness of the perpetrator(s) - I must look into the mirror of the Word of God myself. Even though God in Christ has saved me from the penalty of sin, the presence of sin is still with me. I still sin in what I say (and sometime what I fail to say!) and in what I do (and why I do what I do) and what I don't do. Every follower of Christ must realize when we are victimized by the sins of others - that we also victimize those around us with our sin. But praise God that we are FORGIVEN. And because the Holy Spirit is now living with us, He can (and WILL) enable us to rid ourselves of sin as we prayerfully depend upon Him. We will never be totally sinless in this world ... but we can be more holy tomorrow than we are today ... all by HIS grace and for HIS glory!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Day After . . .



I awoke this morning, drained and still very tired. So ... I will post some thoughts tomorrow about the wedding day - but if you have a moment to watch and listen to this video, this was the song I chose for our Father-Daughter dance. Enjoy!





Thanks for stopping by . . .

PJ (a.k.a. "The Father of the Bride")

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"Dearly Beloved . . . "

It won't be long now! In just a little over 9 hours I will be walking my daughter down the aisle. And shortly after reaching the front of the sanctuary ... the question will be asked, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" Wait a minute!! "Woman??!!" My little girl Kate is no longer a little girl but a "WOMAN??!!" It is true. Somewhere along life's journey - I looked away ... and when I looked back my little brown-eyed girl was no longer a girl - but a beautiful young woman. A college graduate. A successful high-school teacher. And soon - a wife! I can scarcely believe it! But I am so very glad for her and her soon-to-be husband!

As I look ahead to the wedding ceremony, I can't express how privileged I feel. Not only do I get to do what every dad gets to do (walk his daughter down aisle) - but I also get to officiate the ceremony, guiding Ryan and Kate through their vows in the process! I consider that a huge honor!!!

I am excited for Kate and Ryan for I know that when a husband and wife seek to live together as God intended (with the husband CHERISHING and not controlling his wife and the wife RESPECTING and not restructuring her husband) God will indeed bless, granting to the husband and wife a "taste of heaven" on earth.

I know - that's been my experience with my bride of some 30 years now! I am praying that Kate and Ryan will experience the joy we have had (and continue to have!).




Thanks for praying for us today!!!

And thanks for stopping by . . .

The Father of the Bride (a.k.a. "pj")

Saturday, June 28, 2008

One More Day - But Who's Counting?

Yesterday I had a great day celebrating with the groom in Washington, DC (in the photo the groom, Ryan is in the blue shirt). We took in, among other things, the National Archives (to view the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States), the WW II Memorial and a Washington Nationals vs. the Baltimore Orioles baseball game. Needless to say, by the time I got home (about 1:15 AM) I was one worn out Father of the Bride!

After a very short night, I was up and at it this morning ... running a few errands and then spending a few minutes with my daughter. At one point she made mention that tonight would be her last night at home ... for some bizarre reason, those words plucked my heart strings which in turn flipped on the switch to my tear ducts. We had a good cry together (but better here in the privacy of my living room than while walking her down the aisle before the watching gaze of 556 eyes (or 278 people)!

I am hoping to post tomorrow morning with some thoughts ... but I must run now as I have more things to do before the rehearsal at 4:30 this afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, June 27, 2008

Only Two More Days!

In less than two hours I will be heading south with a bunch of guys who are going to celebrate my-future-son-in-law's impending marriage. Our day will include some sight seeing in Washington, DC, dinner and then a baseball game featuring the Washington Nationals vs. the Baltimore Orioles (now those who know my future-son-in-law will not be suprised about the day's itinerary. Baseball and U.S. history are at the top of his interests - but below his interest in my daughter!!!) . BUT before I leave on our excursion, I have to deliver all the reception favors to the resort (they need them no later than noon today). I will be glad to do so ... after all, I placed each and every one of the 556 truffles into their little white boxes (two per box and wearing these little plastic gloves while I did so). I sure hope the guests at the reception really (I mean REALLY) enjoy them! I spent several hours yesterday helping my daughter, wife and a few others putting the favors together. (I also made a "plum" run to pick up about three dozen more of the fruit - and if you are wondering what the plums are for - see my previous posting).

In a little less than 56 hours the wedding ceremony will begin. Hmm. I am still trying to figure out just how as Father of the Bride I am going to be feeling at the moment when I walk my baby down the aisle. More on that tomorrow. Now I have to run ... got some truffles to deliver!

Thanks for stopping by. . .

pj

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reflections of the Father of the Bride (part 2)


At the beginning of this week, I had big plans to write a brief posting each day leading up to my daughter's wedding. Well as you can see, I missed doing so yesterday. Let's just say my day included some unanticipated "errands."

First we made a mid-morning stop at Willow Valley Resort (reception site). There we discussed all the last minute "make-sure-all -the-ducks-are-in-line" type of details for the reception. This meeting concluded with the final payment ("ouch!"). From there, my wife took our daughter out to lunch - a relaxed, reflective and very enjoyable dad, mom and daughter time (most likely the last before the big day!). From there we drove to Costco to pick up plums for the wedding reception (I think they are being used in conjunction with informing reception guests as to their seating assignment - and, Oh by the way, I NEVER dreamed how difficult it would be to decide who is sitting with whom at a reception!!!). After cleaning Costco out of their plums - we then drove to some candy store to pick up truffles --- 550 truffles --- to be used as reception favors!! So it took a while for the store staff to get the order together ... so instead of getting home right after lunch (as I had been expecting) - we didn't pull into the driveway until close to 4:00! Then somehow, I found myself folding these little boxes that were going to be used to "house" the truffles.

After supper (which included hamburgers that I cooked up on the grill), I finally thought I was going to get some "time off." Nope - my wife had to run out to pick up ribbon and tissue paper for the plums and the favors -- and since I had been informed that my tux was in -- we made yet another run. So all that to say -- I had no time to post to my blog yesterday. So I thought before more "stuff" comes shouting to be done today -- I had better get a posting done.

Two years ago my son got married. After going through that experience as "Father of the Groom" - I remember thinking to myself, "That was not all that bad. I can easily do this again!" What I did not take into account that when I would have to do it again - it would be with two daughters, not sons! And let me tell you - there is a world of difference between being the "Father of the Groom" and the "Father of the Bride!" So if you are reading this and you have all daughters -- guys get ready! But I do want to say this -- It's worth it all!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reflections of the Father of the Bride (part 1)

In just five days (God willing!), I will be walking my youngest daughter down the aisle to give her away to her soon-to-be husband. It seems like just yesterday that Kate was just taking her first steps! Where has the time gone?

Earlier this morning, I showed Kate my copy of the wedding ceremony (what a great privilege to be able to officiate the ceremony and walk Kate and Ryan through their vows to one another!). Her response was to jump up and down with excitement as she exclaimed, "Only five more days!" My response? Sweaty eyes! But I guess I'll experience more than that by the time this week is over!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Big Event's Coming!

In just six days, our youngest daughter, Kate will be marrying her wonderful fiance, Ryan. It is hard for me to believe that all of our months of planning is almost over! Yea! So beginning tomorrow (Tuesday, June 24th), I will be out of the office so I can be available for any last minute "stuff" that has got to be done. My plan is to post a brief blog posting each day as I reflect on what's happening from my perspective as the Father of the Bride.

As I think of Kate's and Ryan's wedding day, my thoughts are drawn to another wedding day that the Bible talks about. Listen to the Apostle John's description:


Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' " And he added, "These are the true words of God." (Revelation 19:6-9)


What a glorious day that will be - when the Church, the Bride of Christ is married to the Eternal Bridegroom - Jesus Christ, Lord of lords and King of kings! Will you be a part of the ceremony! If you are not sure, I encourage you to go to the following link and find out just how you can be sure: http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/index.asp


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Beef of the Bible!

Yesterday I asked the question, "Where's the beef?" The sad situation within the Church today is that the average Christian has "dumbed down" his or her knowledge of the Bible. This is tragic for one cannot obey and apply what one does not know to begin with! For your weekend "fodder" I have included below some insightful comments about the Bible and our interaction with it. Take a moment and read through these ... and then examine your own practice of Bible intake.


"The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual growth. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian." --AW. Tozer




"The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed." --Patrick Henry




"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand." --Mark Twain



"For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant." --Martin Luther



"When you read God's Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, "It is talking to me, and about me." --Soren Kierkegaard


"Here, then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God's Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy." --R. C. Sproul


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where's the Beef?


Take a moment and view this 30 second commercial which first aired on January 10, 1984.






Where's the beef?" That is a good question that all of us need to ask when it comes to the "beef" of the Word of God. There is an alarming situation that is arising in the Church. On average, Christians today are reading, studying, memorizing, and applying the Bible less and less and churches are getting away from solid biblical preaching and teaching. Take a moment and look at your own interaction with the Scriptures. Read Psalm 1 and ask yourself if the psalm is a good description of you. And pray for our churches that we would renew our commitment to the Word of God!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Now That's Amazing!

Dan Cohen just finished up his freshman year at Duquense University. He also just completed an amazing feat. He took a 4-by-4-by-4 Rubik's Cube and solved it in 46.03 seconds! Now that's amazing! And if you have ever struggled to solve one of these puzzling puzzles - you know just HOW amazing Dan's effort was! In fact, in doing what he did - he set a new world record, shaving .6 seconds off the old record which was set just last year by a Hungarian man.

Life can be a lot like a Rubik's Cube. We encounter a lot of different scenarios involving family, work, schooling, friends, health, finances, etc. And no matter how hard we try - sometimes we just can't seem to get the pieces to fall into place. When this happens (and sooner or later - more likely sooner - it will happen!) and you begin to feel anxiety and fear begin to grow in your soul, put into practice Psalm 46:10. In this verse God tells us to "Be still, and know that I am God." The words "Be still" literally mean "cease striving." What this verse is telling us is that when life is growing more puzzling by the hour and we don't know how we are ever going to see it "solved" - we need to stop, take a deep breath, and then look to God. After all, he's the one (and the only one) with the solution in hand. Now as we fix our focus on God ... something incredible happens deep inside of us. Isaiah 26:3 gives us this promise: "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Even in the midst of great "puzzlement" - we can experience peace! Now that's amazing!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Do You "Own" Things - Or Do Things Own YOU?

I was very relieved when I saw the recent list (put out by CCC Information Services of Chicago, an industry group that tracks theft and vehicle damage) of the top 25 automobile models that are targeted by thieves. Why was I relieved? Because neither of our two cars (a PT Cruiser and a Nissan Sentra) were on the list! But if you own a model of the Acura Integra you had better take extra anti-theft precautions. Six of the top 10 most-stolen cars were models of the the Integra!

Now what does this say about our society that there is an actual industry group that makes money tracking car thefts? For one thing, it shows that many give no regard whatsoever to the Eighth Commandment, "You shall not steal." But why do people steal? For some it might be a matter of personal preservation. They are so desperate to provide for their families, they see stealing as their only (or best) shot at doing so. Others steal to fund an expensive drug habit. Others steal for the thrill of it - the rush that comes from doing so and getting away with it. But I believe the reason most people steal is because they have do not have the right perspective on material things. They believe that if they had something that they currently do not (like an Acura Integra) - they would find the satisfaction that they are seeking.

Now there is nothing wrong with "owning*" things - but when things begin to own you - you need a change in perspective. God gives us "creature comforts" to enjoy (see 1 Timothy 4:3-4 and 1 Timothy 6:17). But he forbids us from reaching out and taking from someone else what he has given to them.

So - are you content with what God has given you? Is your attitude one in which you "own*" things - or do your things own you?

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

*We "own" knowing that everything we have really belongs to God and is simply "on loan" from Him!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why Am I A Christian?

This intriguing question is behind a book John Stott wrote in 2003. In this book, Stott places before his readers 7 reasons as to why he is a Christian. Now some people might offer the following reasons as to why they happen to be a Christian: I was born into a Christian home, I accepted Christ as college student, I "went forward" at a Billy Graham crusade. Now granted, all of these are certainly part of the answer. Stott in his first chapter discusses what he considers "the most significant factor" as to why he or any of us are Christians. Read on and consider what he says,

"Why I am a Christian is due ultimately neither to the influence of my parents and teachers, nor to my own personal decision for Christ, but to "the Hound of Heaven." That is, it is due to Jesus Christ himself, who pursued me relentlessly even when I was running away from him in order to go my own way. And if it were not for the gracious pursuit of the Hound of Heaven I would today be on the scrapheap of wasted and discarded lives." (Why Am I a Christian, pp. 14-15)

Wow! Powerful! If you are a Christian today - pause right now and praise the Hound of Heaven - that he never gave up his pursuit of YOU!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, June 13, 2008

Information to Application...

Yesterday I wrote about the "hypermilers" and how they try to squeeze every last mile out of a gallon of gasoline. Late yesterday afternoon I drove my wife down to North East Maryland for a special sea food dinner (it was her birthday). After dinner we drove to Sandy Cove Bible Conference to walk and sit and enjoy the beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay. All in all we had a delightful time.
Now since I drove a total of 90 miles round trip, I had the opportunity to apply some of the tips of the hypermilers. And given that my car is equipped with a gauge that tells me how I am doing gas mileage-wise, I was set to test what I had read. The car I was driving was a 2006 Nissan Sentra. The best mileage I had been able to achieve to date (and we have had the car for one year) was about 36 miles to the gallon. Last night, when it was all said and done -- are you ready? -- I had achieved an astounding 43.7 miles to the gallon! So how did I do it? What tips did I apply? For starters, I used a light foot (not going over the speed limit, coasting down hills ... going a little slower up hills), avoided jack rabbit starts and stops and not running the A/C. In view of these results and the high gas prices at the pump, though I do not plan to join the full ranks of the hypermilers, I do plan to become a "quasi hypermiler!"

So in taking the information and applying it - I found that it works! It is the same with the Bible! When we take the information that God gives to us in its pages - info about life and how we are to order it in HIS presence and then apply this info to where we live we live - we will discover (as I discovered with the info from the hypermilers) that it (the truth of God's Word) works!!! And this should not surprise us. For the Bible is given to us by the Designer, the Creator and the Sustainer of life!

So...the next time you open the Bible (which I surely hope will be TODAY!) ... remember that the Bible is not given for merely your information -- but your transformation. God wants you to take what you read and apply it to where you live!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Going the Extra Mile?

Wayne Gerdes, of Wadsworth, Illinois is a "driven"man. He is obsessed with squeezing every extra mile out of a gallon of gasoline that he possibly can. And he has been surprisingly successful! He's been able to run a Ford Ranger pick-up so that it got 84 miles per gallon. And driving his current car, a hybrid Honda Insight, he's been able to achieve an amazing 180 miles per gallon! You see, Gerdes doesn't want just good or even great gas mileage - he is after "hyper" gas mileage. That's right, he's a breed of drivers known as "hypermilers."

Now how does he do it? For starters, he drives smart: a light foot on the gas pedal, less idling, no jack rabbit starts and stops. But Gerdes doesn't stop there. He does other things like checking his tire pressure every week to make sure the tires are at their maximum weight and learning to "sweat it out" on a hot day by forgoing the car's air conditioning (which can cut gas consumption significantly). In this day of high gas prices, all of us who want to get that "extra" mile out of a gallon of gas can learn something from these hypermilers!

Jesus talked about going the extra mile. In Matthew 5:41 he says, "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." He was referring to a common practice of Roman soldiers, who were allowed by law to require anyone they encountered to carry their gear for one mile. Jesus is saying that if this happens to you ... carry their gear for a second (or extra) mile. Let's purpose today to go the extra mile for someone. Look for an opportunity to be a "hypermiler" for Christ!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When It Comes to Your Life - Who Is On Center Stage?

This morning as I was reading from Charles Spurgeon's Morning by Morning devotional, I encountered the following question that Spurgeon poses for his readers, Why does God leave us His children on earth when he could transport us to heaven the moment we trust Christ? He answers the question by saying, "We are here that we may 'live to the Lord' and bring others to know HIS love." Now of course we know Spurgeon is right on target with his answer. The Bible clearly tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that "whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." So life is NOT about me - it is ALL about HIM!

However, all too often we get that reversed ... and we live life in a way that shouts to those around us that life is all about ME! Please take a moment and watch this video which makes this point in a striking way. Then take another moment before you rush back to whatever is yelling for your attention and ask yourself if your life is ME-centered or God-centered.





Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When Life Does Not Work As Advertised!

Yesterday, I went to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play ... yes in Pittsburgh. Some might say that is a long way to go to see a baseball game. I agree. 225 miles and four hours of driving is quite the distance. That is why I don't do it very often (if twice in four years qualifies as "not very often.") But we had a great time, in spite of the mid-ninety degree temperatures (we managed to sit in the shade as did most of the other fans in attendance). And what made the trip so noteworthy - the Pirates won the game, rattling future hall of a famer, Randy Johnson in the process! So all in all ... it was a relaxing way to spend my day off.

On the way home, we stopped to grab a quick dinner at a new rest stop on the PA Turnpike. As we scoped out our options in the food court, we decided on Burger King, figuring we could grab a quick sandwich and drink and be on our way. So I walked up to the register (they were not busy at all) and placed our order for two whopper juniors, one chicken sandwich and three small drinks. Simple. Cheap. After filling our cups, I returned to the counter to pick up the order while my two companions found a seat (which was not very hard to do!). Now remember, BK is advertised as a "fast food" restaurant. But for some reason, last evening - our order was filled in any way BUT fast! It took almost 20 minutes for the BK crew to fill our order of three sandwiches. When the manager finally realized what was going on, she threw in two large order of fries for us to "ease our pain" (and I am sure, "expand our waistlines!). So what we had hoped would have been a 10-15 minute turned into a stop of just over 30 minutes!

OK - so what do you do when life does not work as advertised. Things don't always work the way we think they should. And often, we encounter life in all of its painful brokenness. How should we respond? Let me suggest one thing you can do. Instead of focusing on how life is NOT working for you at the moment, think about what God has done, is doing AND has promised to do for you for all of eternity! This will help you get "life" into perspective and bring a certain joy to your heart. In Psalm 126:3 the writer declares, "The LORD had done great things for us; we are glad!"

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hmm ... Richard Dawkins on Evolution

I've always known that Darwinists take a huge LEAP of faith in embracing the theory of evolution - but when I saw the following video of Richard Dawkins doing his best to answer a rather simple question, it struck me at how huge a leap it actually is. His answer to the question makes no sense at all. Evolution teaches that through slow and gradual change across billions of years, new species arise from older species. If this is indeed the case, we should see evidence of this process (and lots of it) in the fossil record. However, the fossil record shows NO evidence at all of these alleged intermediate creatures that are in the midst of evolving from say reptiles into birds. Sorry, Mr. Dawkins - nice try but the total inadequacy of your theory is clear to see in your rambling answer to the question.

Watch ... and then pray for this man that perhaps he will one day "see the light" and bow before the God who made him.








Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Clay Pots and the Power of God!

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

The "treasure" Paul is referring to here is what he just mentioned in verse 6 - "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

The "jars of clay" in this verse were cheap and breakable clay pots most often used in Paul's day to hold garbage or human waste. So what Paul is telling us here is that in the whole process of salvation, it is not us who through our power can save ourselves or anyone else - but rather salvation is only and totally the work of God! It is through HIS power that the gospel advances. And incredibly he does it through us clay pots!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, June 6, 2008

Why Do Doughnuts Have Holes?

Today, believe it or not, is National Doughnut Day (do you ever wonder who decides these things? I mean, why couldn't today be National Plant a Tree Day or National Hug Your Child Day? - both of which I think would be a better thing to do than eating a doughnut or two!).

As I got to thinking about doughnuts, I got to wondering why doughnuts have holes. I did a little research (about 2 minutes worth!) and came up with two interesting theories. The first states that bakers discovered that in frying up these pastry delights, it was difficult to get them to cook evenly throughout. But some baker somewhere learned that he could solve this problem by removing the center. Voila! The doughnut was born.

A second theory goes back to life on the high seas. Allegedly, a certain sea captain named Hanson Gregory, while manning his post one stormy night, found it impossible both to steer his vessel and to eat his fried cake. In frustration he took his cake and impaled it over one of the spokes of the ship's wheel. When he finally got back to his cake, he realized he had created a nice little finger hole that helped him grip his cake so he could eat it. Pleased with his spark of "ingenuity," Mr. Gregory ordered the galley's cook to fry the cakes with the hole in them from that point onward. And so the doughnut was born.

Now, if you ask me, the first of these theories sounds a lot more credible than the second. But whatever the case, doughnuts have holes. Without the hole, it would no longer be a doughnut. And what would this world be without doughnuts to dunk in your coffee (perhaps a slimmer world?)?

What is true of doughnuts, is also true of Christians. There are a number of things that are true of us -without which we would no longer be Christians. I could go on and on about this - but let me cite just one: compassion for people in need. Of all the major world faiths, Christianity is the one that has done the most for the needy people's of the world. I saw this clearly while in India. The leper hospital we visited for example was started by Christian missionaries. All the orphanages in the area were again Christian. Everywhere we went, the vast majority of humanitarian aid was being administered by Christian groups. Not surprising, given the compassion for needy people that Jesus demonstrated when he was on earth. So as followers of Jesus, we must continue to reach out to those in need (my wife and I have been supporting two children through Children's Fellowship of India (http://www.cfindia.org/) for a number of years as we seek to imitate Jesus in this regard). But as we do, we must never lose sight of the gospel. Alleviating suffering for this life only is not enough. We must prepare the needy for eternity.

To sum it all up ... let me ask you two questions. If you are committed to following Jesus, what are YOU doing to help the needy of this world? And if you are giving to some sort of aid organization, are you sure they are giving out the GOSPEL along with the food, clothing, medicine, etc. that they are distributing?

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

PS - If you are looking for a wonderful organization to support, stop by Children's Fellowship of India's web site. Check it out. CFI is adding about 20-25 more children this month and is in need of additional sponsors. For a mere $30 a month, you can sign on as a sponsor. And be assured that along with the food, education, clothing, shelter and health care that these boys receive, they also receive the gospel!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pass the SPAM, Please?

As fuel prices rise, people are making a number of changes. For one, they are driving less. Gas sales in the U.S. have been in decline in recent weeks and urban centers around the country are reporting a significant upswing in the number of people using mass transit. In addition, Americans are switching from gas guzzling SUV's to smaller, more fuel efficient cars. But all of this is not surprising. But what might surprise you is that SPAM is on the increase. Now I am not talking about the cyberspace version of junk mail - but rather the mystery meat product put out by the Hormel Food Corporation.

Hormel recently reported that the sale of SPAM is up some 14% over the last year. That surprises me. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of questions about SPAM. Like, for starters, what exactly is it? Some say the word SPAM stands for "Something Posing As Meat." OK. I think I'll buy that (the explanation for the meaning of the name that is - certainly not the product itself!). I think the name originally came from picking out the first two and the last two letters from the description of the product (being "SPiced hAM."). Of course, it may have started out as spiced ham ... but now you can get a variety of SPAM, including "SPAM Classic," "SPAM Oven Roasted Turkey," SPAM Hot and Spicy," "SPAM with Bacon," "SPAM Lite" and "SPAM Golden Honey Grail." And did you know that SPAM is so popular in Hawaii that the MacDonald's and Burger King franchises there offer it as a menu item right along with their Big Macs and Whoppers!

Now I don't think we will be seeing SPAM on the menu at the MacDonald's next door to the church facility anytime soon. But if you are like many trying to stretch your food dollars, you may very well find yourself bringing home one or two cans of SPAM. My wife has not done so (at least not yet!). And if she did - I would eat it (OK, I am going to get transparent here -- I actually enjoy the stuff - that is if I don't take the time to start thinking about just what it is that I might be eating!).

SPAM is one of those things that people like to joke about (GI's in WW II referred to the SPAM they were given to eat as "ham that didn't pass its physical" and "meatloaf without basic training.") And it does appear to be one of those things in life that you either love it or hate it! It seems that very few people are "lukewarm" about their take on SPAM.

However, when it comes to living out the Christian Faith, my observation is that there are far too many Christians who are "lukewarm" about their faith. These believers are very casual about their approach to living out their faith. If you look at these Christ followers, it may prove difficult to see just who it is they are following!

How about YOU? Are you casual about your faith? Lukewarm about your relationship to Jesus Christ? Or when it comes to loving God, loving others, and impacting our world for the King are you passionate? Enthusiastic? Prepared to give your ALL? Give it some thought. Jesus deserves nothing less than all that we have and all that we are!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Let the Little Children Come!

Mark 10:13-16 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

You got to love this little one!




Thanks for stopping by. . .

pj

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I Can't Believe It Happened to Us!

Last Wednesday evening as I was reading the back page of the Lancaster New Era, the following article caught my eye:





Thieves drill into cars for 'liquid gold'

The Associated Press

DETROIT -- Dale Fortin is getting a new kind of customer at his Detroit auto repair shop, customers who have not just been in a fender-bender or had a windshield smashed by a rock. The soaring price of crude oil has turned gas tanks into a cache of valuable booty, and Fortin has replaced several tanks punctured or drilled by thieves thirsting for the nearly $4-a-gallon fuel inside. "That's the new fad," said the co-owner of Dearborn Auto Tech in Detroit. "I'd never seen it before gas got up this high."


While gas station drive-offs and siphoning are far more common methods of stealing gas, reports of tank and line puncturing are starting to trickle into police departments and repair shops across the country. Some veteran mechanics and law enforcement officers say it's an unwelcome return of a crime they first saw during the Middle East oil embargo of the early 1970s.


Little did I realize as I was reading that article that our church would become a victim of this very crime. The crime was discovered early this past Sunday morning when one of our staff went to move one of our church vans. It was parked near the main entrance of the church and he was moving it to a more "remote" location in our parking area. Smelling gasoline, he looked under the van only to see a screwdriver protruding from the gas tank. Someone had punctured the tank with the tool and attempted to collect the gasoline that flowed from the hole.

This criminal act is just a reminder of the sinful nature of humanity. Not only did these thieves steal they vandalized AND they did it against a church! A non profit organization that seeks to give back to the community. As a result of their actions, we are not only "out" the gas that was stolen, we must also pay to have the gas tank repaired or replaced.

But before I get all bent out of shape about the sinfulness of the perpetrator(s) - I must look into the mirror of the Word of God myself. Even though God in Christ has saved me from the penalty of sin, the presence of sin is still with me. I still sin in what I say (and sometime what I fail to say!) and in what I do (and why I do what I do) and what I don't do. Every follower of Christ must realize when we are victimized by the sins of others - that we also victimize those around us with our sin. But praise God that we are FORGIVEN. And because the Holy Spirit is now living with us, He can (and WILL) enable us to rid ourselves of sin as we prayerfully depend upon Him. We will never be totally sinless in this world ... but we can be more holy tomorrow than we are today ... all by HIS grace and for HIS glory!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Are You Preparing for Eternity?

Our journey on earth is but a breath ... a heart beat when compared to the expanse of Eternity. We all must remember that how we live live in the here and now will impact our experience in the then and there.

Thoughts on how biblical truth impacts all of life.