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Showing posts from November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)



Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)






Thanks for stopping by ... and have a blessed THANKSGIVING celebration!

pj

Thanking God as Our World Is in Crisis!

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Modern day pirates are taking ships and lives off the coast of Africa. Warfare rages around the globe (over 30 current conflicts according to globalsecurity.org). Recent natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis) have taken thousands upon thousands of lives. World economies are crumbling. It is clear that our world is being shaken to its very core.

But as followers of Jesus, should we be filled with anxiety and a sense of dread? Certainly not! For as Believers, we receive "a kingdom that cannot be shaken" (Hebrews 12:28). This kingdom is none other than the Kingdom of God. And though the our world might appear to be on the verge of collapse - God's Kingdom is ROCK SOLID! So do you see why we should not be anxious or full of fear? Instead, we must "show gratitude by which we may offer to God and acceptable service with reverence and awe" (Hebrews 12:28).

Tomorrow, as you celebrate Thanksgiving Day, be sure to thank God for His unshakable Kingdom (…

So, Who Are You Going to Lean on?

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Recently in my reading I ran across a quote that really (I mean REALLY!) got me thinking! These words were written by Elizabeth Elliot. Her husband was one of the five missionaries killed by the Auca Indians in 1956. Elizabeth writes,

"It is not the level of our spirituality that we can depend on. It is God and nothing less than God, for the work is God's and the call is God's and everything is summoned by Him and to His purposes, the whole scene, the whole mess, the whole package - our bravery, our cowardice, our love and our selfishness, our strengths and our weaknesses . . . [God uses] as the instruments of His peace a conglomeration of sinners who sometimes look like heroes and sometimes like villains, for 'we are no better than pots of earthenware to contain this treasure [the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ], and this proves that such transcendent power does not come from us, but is God's alone.' (2 Corinthians 4:7 NEB)"

T…

A Prodigy

A prodigy is defined as being "a person, especially a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or ability: a musical prodigy" (source: dictionary.com). Take a moment and view this video and you may just find yourself listening to a prodigy!




Wow! This girl can sure tickle those keys! I could practice the piano for 8 hours a day for the rest of my life and not be able to play as well as this six year old can! But that is OK by me. I know that playing the piano is not one of my gifts. So I content myself to sitting back and listening to those who have the gift and ability to play piano (or any other musical instrument for that matter).

But what about the gifts and abilities that I do possess? All of us have been given different gifts/abilities by God. And sitting back and not utilizing them is not an option. God shapes us so that we in turn might serve him and serve others (for His sake!). Ephesians 2:10 is a great reminder of this truth. The Apostle Paul writes, &qu…

Concerning Tuxedos

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From my recent wedding experiences in marrying off our daughters (not to mention my son's wedding in July of 2006), I learned a number of things about tuxes. First, they are expensive to rent (even with the discount I received as “father of the bride!”). In addition, they are quite warm. No matter the season (in my case it was summer and early fall) – tuxes have a way of maintaining body heat. Also I learned that they have a way of making a person look rather sharp (at least that’s what a lot of people told me – so either they were just trying to be nice, or they felt sorry for me – knowing I probably spent a lot on its rental – or they were being honest. I’ll opt for the latter!). All in all I’d have to say that my experiences with tuxedos (the first in some 28 years) – were far better than I had expected.

In our “dress-down” increasingly “casual” society, weddings are still one of those few times where people, for the most part, still “dress up.” I like that. I think it’s a good …

The Tyranny of the Urgent

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A number of years ago, Charles Hummel wrote a little book titled, The Tyranny of the Urgent. In this short but powerful booklet, he reminds us of just how easily we can get distracted from what is truly the important things of life. How so? Hummel points out that all of us every day face what he calls life's urgent demands (things like paying the household bills, raking the leaves, running the kids to soccer practice, buying the groceries or doing the laundry). These things have to be done ... and most of them have to be done RIGHT NOW! But the more important priorities in life (such as time spent with God in prayer and the Word, calling to talk with a distant friend, playing in the back yard with your kids, or talking about your dreams with your spouse) - these things can be left undone. And as the urgent demands continue to scream at us - we can tend to lose sight of the truly important.

I am feeling a bit harried by life's urgent demands. I must admit that I have not spen…

Down Time on the Weekend

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Weekends are a great time to enjoy some "down time" as most people take a break from their work-week routine (although, my weekends tend to be the busiest time of my week!). Be sure this weekend to give some quality time to your family and other close relationships ... and also to God! Take a moment and think about the following quote:

"I cannot understand how there's always the present, and how quickly the present becomes the past." (Dean Meyers)

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

I Love My Church!

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In recent years, "The Church" has taken a bad rap. Books such as Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do about It and So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore? remind us that many people don't think too highly of "The Church."

I want to go on record of saying that I LOVE my church (which is one of a multitude of local expressions of "The Church"). And I am not alone. Jesus Christ also loves my church. One of several New Testament metaphors for "The Church" is that of "the Bride of Christ." Jesus loves "The Church" (and therefore each local expression of "The Church") because "The Church" is HIS bride! He died for her and He is at work in her "to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless" (Ephesians 5:26-27). Did …

Buddah? God? Or Something Else?

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Ram Bahadur Bamjan sits quietly in the jungles of southern Nepal. But he doesn't sit alone. In spite of being only 18 years old, Bamjan has attracted thousands of followers. And just what is it about this teen with the flowing locks and white robe that has garnered the adoration of so many? The crowds come because they believe him to be the reincarnation of Buddha. But for many - he's even more! Here is what a few of his followers have said about Bamjan:

"I got a chance to see God today. They say he is Buddha, but for me he is just God."
(Bishnu Maya Khadka, a housewife)

"I have no doubt in my mind he is a God." (Meg Bahadur Lama, a local farmer)


So what are these people basing their judgment about Bamjan's identity upon? Just what is the evidence they cite for making such a claim? They believe Bamjan has been meditating without food and water since he was first spotted in the jungles of southern Nepal in 2005. Wow! That's about three years (or 109…

The Fragrance of Gratitude

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Years ago an incident occurred on the Metro in Washington, DC in which a crowded subway train stalled on the tracks. Before stalling, the riders were dozing, reading or just "zoning out." But once the train stalled (and stayed stalled) - the harried commuters, all anxious to get to their homes, exploded. They noisily vented their anger and frustration. They blamed the driver, the Metro authorities, the federal government and anyone else that came to mind for this irritating disruption of their day. Somewhere in the midst of this growing bedlam, a woman holding a number of bulky bags from her day of shopping, dropped one of them containing a bottle of perfume she had purchased. The bottle shattered, releasing into the air the perfume's pure, luxurious fragrance. As this sweet smell made its way through the crowded car, the people sniffed, smiled and then relaxed. They began to laugh about their situation. What was once seen as horrible was now "no big deal!"

As …

Back in Town with Some Random Thoughts

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I am glad to be back in Lancaster! My time in Indiana was VERY productive. Grace College/Seminary are alive and well ... but are facing some challenges given the current recession in which we find ourselves. But with great leadership at the helm and God on His throne - I am optimistic concerning the future of Grace Schools.

Since I am still digging out of the pile of work that accumulated while I was gone, I thought that in lieu of a regular posting - I would post just a few random thoughts that are floating around in my head.

1. Seeing that today in Veterans Day - please take a moment to thank a vet and pray for the men and women in our military. Sharon and I gave a card to our son-in-law, who served in Iraq. We enjoy our freedoms in part due to the sacrifice of our service men and women.

2. Offering hospitality is a great way to demonstrate the love of Jesus (which is why we are commanded to do so - see Romans 12:13 and 1 Peter 4:9). I was on the receiving end of some very gracious …

On My Way to Indiana

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Today I catch a mid-morning flight to Indianapolis. I am heading out to Indiana to attend the Board of Trustees meetings of Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary. The two schools are located in north-central Indiana, in the small resort town of Winona Lake. The Board is made up of about two dozen men and women from across the United States (and one member lives in Germany). We meet twice a year (March and November). Now I take this responsibility very seriously. The Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (of which our church is a member) has entrusted the direction and well-being of these two schools to our Board. That is why we are called a Board of Trustees. We have been put in trust for these two schools. I also serve on the Board of Trustees of Hebrew Christian Fellowship. HCF is a board which focuses on reaching Jewish people for Christ. Again, our Board has been entrusted with the oversight of this mission.

In a similar way - every single follower of Jesus Christ has bee…

Today is D-Day!

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Today millions of Americans will go to their local polling place to cast their vote (I just got back from voting). That means that more than likely by the time we all wake up tomorrow, we will know who will occupy the oval office for the next four years (We will also be able to say "good-bye - and good riddance! - to all the annoying campaign commercials that have flooded our television screens for the past year plus!). So today is Decision Day!

Now - no matter who wins the election, keep in mind that the ultimate King still rules. That's right. No matter who lives in White House, God remains firmly entrenched on His heavenly throne. And from there He is actively orchestrating the ebb and flow of human history. This is made clear in Daniel 2:21 where we read, "He (God Almighty) changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them." So the bottom line of today's election? Whoever wins - does so by permission of God Himself. God has a plan .... and he is…

November's Here . . .

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It might be hard to believe but I just confirmed it by looking a the date on my wrist watch - today is the third of November! And as I look out the window of my home office, I can see a carpet of golden leaves on my back lawn that says, "Ditto - it's November!" Personally, I think November is a great month - for many reasons. The football season is in high gear (football is my favorite sport) and the autumn colors are often spectacular. But the biggest reason that I like November is that it contains one of my favorite holidays - Thanksgiving Day.

As we approach Thanksgiving, you will probably find me posting some thoughts on the topic of gratitude. Giving thanks to God is probably the most underrated spiritual "discipline" in the toolbox of spiritual disciplines. It is simple to do yet profound in its affects. For starters, consider the following quote about the giving of thanks:

"Being thankful is not rocket science. Though the topic of gratitude goes a…