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Showing posts from February, 2009

That's It!

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I will soon be heading back to Lancaster. My two days away with God (DAWGs) proved to be refreshing and renewing. I spent much time in pondering, planning, praying, and reading (Scripture and a few other books I am currently reading through). In one of these other books (Christless Christianity) I was struck by one of the author's insights. It struck me because for quite some time I have sensed a significant shortcoming among American Christians (and it may be so for Christians elsewhere in the world, but my observations are, for the most part, of American Christians). Michael Horton's comments were one of those "ahah!" moments for me. This is what he writes:

"In American religion . . . there is almost no sense of God's difference from us - in other words, his majesty, his sovereignty, self-existence, and holiness. God is my buddy, my inmost experience, or the power source for my living my best life now."

I stopped after reading those words ... "Ye…

Take Time to SLOOOOWWW Down

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One winter when I was in high school, we experienced a substantial snow storm. A couple of days later, we had an ice storm. This one-two punch of winter weather, left the hills around my small town knee-deep in snow, topped with a thick glaze of ice. So what did my friends and I decide to do? Go tobogganing! Why not? So with toboggans in hand, we struggled up (try walking up hill on ice and you will know what I mean by that word "struggle!") our hill of choice. Upon reaching the top, we quickly boarded our toboggans (four to each toboggan) and off we went (or better said, "off we FLEW!"). I do not know what speeds we reached that night (and yes, we did it at night!), all I know was we were MOVING FAST! And the sound of our toboggans zipping across the ice-glazed snow could be heard from quite a distance away!

When I think back on that experience - I can't believe how courageous (or should I better say, FOOLISH) I was. Wearing no protection, with one wrong mo…

Insight from C.S. Lewis

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"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'(C. S. Lewis)

To which group of people do YOU belong?

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Relevance without the Gospel?

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Recently I have been reading through Michael Horton's book, Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church. In chapter one, he writes the following:

"Where the gospel is not taken for granted, it is often a means to an end, like personal or social transformation, love and service to our neighbors, and other things that in themselves are marvelous effects of the gospel. However, the Good News concerning Christ is not a stepping-stone to something greater and more relevant. Whether we realize it or not, there is nothing in the universe more relevant to us as guilty image-bearers of God than the news that he has found away to be 'just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus' (Romans 3:26)."

Horton hits that proverbial nail on the head. Far too many churches have been so busy trying to be relevant to an increasingly godless culture, that they are losing their grip on the ONE THING that makes a church relevant! I pray that here at Gr…

Too Casual?

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Last evening I was reminded of just how casual our society has become. Sharon had ordered a DVD set for her mother titled, Reminisce Through the Decades - The 1940s. I made a comment to my wife at one point when a group of guys were playing tag football in their back yard ... and each of the young men was wearing a tie! But back in those days, it was common for men to wear ties almost around the clock (just watch a I Love Lucy episode and take a look at how Ricky dresses as he is just "chillin" around the house!). My how things have changed. Oh there are still times when men and women get "dressed up" - weddings and funerals for example. And there are still some professionals who also routinely wear their suits - like bankers, attorneys and professional athletes. But for the most part, men so rarely wear ties that many don't even know how to tie one! Business attire as been replaced by "business casual" attire for most offices. We have become a ca…

Think Ahead!

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Authorities in Cape Haze, Florida claim they arrested a man after he had robbed a gas station. Nothing unusual about that. Police arrest people every day for robbery, and convenience stores/gas stations are often favorite targets. But what makes this case so strange is how they caught the thief. After the hold up (which the robber accomplished by threatening the cashier with a knife), the 23 year old took off in his car. However, he did not get very far as he ... are you ready for this? .. he RAN OUT OF GAS! Now ... there's a guy who failed to THINK AHEAD!

But that's true of many of us. We tend to be very MYOPIC (near-sighted) when it comes to life. We often don't think ahead. We are so into the present moment, we fail to give much thought about our future. As a result, we are often ill prepared for what comes down the highway of life.

In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever that we THINK AHEAD! One way to do this is to be sure our financial house …

Contagious?

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When I was a kid growing up, my mom always made sure I never left the house without being properly bundled up against the cold winter air. "The quickest way to catch a cold is to go without a coat" she would tell me. Well, my mom was almost always right. But in this case, she was wrong. Exposure to winter's chill might lead to frostbite, but it won't lead to catching a cold. Only exposure to the viruses that can cause the common cold will result in catching the illness. The most common of these viruses is known as the rhinovirus, but other viral causes include the parainfluenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, coronavirus and adenovirus (are you impressed yet? Don't be. I just copied these from a list on some medical web site!). Now as we know, these viruses are very contagious. This is why colds are far more prevalent in winter months. It is during the winter that we have the most prolonged and close contact with others as we live much of life indoors. And so…

I Know I Should Be Sharing My Faith. But . . .

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Most Christians I know would agree with the following statement: "As a Christian, God expects me to share my faith and point lost people to Jesus." At the same time, most Christians I know fail to follow through in practice what they believe in precept. Now there are a lot of reasons for this, such as a fear of rejection (you don't have to share your faith too many times before you realize most people aren't really interested) a spiritual apathy (I know where I am going, who cares about others), a feeling of being ill-equipped to witness (how does one witness to a Muslim or a gay person?) or just plain busyness with the ongoing demands of life. Whatever the reason for our struggle, (and I admit I have a way to go in this area as well), let me issue a challenge to you that if you take me up on it - you will find yourself improving in this spiritual ministry of personal evangelism. The Way of the Master has an excellent website (www.wayofthemaster.com) that is designe…

"I am Truly Humble," Frank Said Proudly!

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Humility. It is something that we all need yet few possess. Consider the following quote:

"Humility is a paradox. The moment you think you've finally found it, you've lost it. There has yet to be written a book entitled, Humility and How I Achieved It. And yet, God expects (and rewards) an attitude of servant-like humility in His followers." (Unknown)

How about YOU? Do you consider yourself humble? Or almost humble? Most of us think we are more humble than we are. And we think so proudly! Let's forget about being great and get on with serving others - for Jesus' sake!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Don't Worry!

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Charles Haddon Spurgeon, called by many the "Prince of Preachers" preached to as many 10,000,000 people in his lifetime. From 1854 until his death in 1892, Spurgeon was the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London. Today, more published works by Spurgeon exist than any other Christian writer. Among the many things he wrote, consider the following brief quote:

"Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength."

Wow! Well said by Spurgeon and very true to my experience. I have yet to change anything by worrying about it! But I have found myself paralyzed with dread and fear when anxiety grabs hold of my heart. Jesus tells us ... no Jesus commands us ... to stop worrying (just check it out in Matthew 6:25-34 where three times he says "do not worry!"). So the next time you feel yourself worrying ... pick up your Bible and read Matthew 6:25-34. Put off the anxiety you feel rising up within and replace it with faith…

Octoraro Orphie and Punxsutawney Phil Agree: Button Up for 6 More Weeks of Winter!

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Monday was Groundhog Day. And the two most famous groundhogs in Pennsylvania both saw their shadows - indicating 6 more weeks of winter (of course, one look at the calendar will basically tell you the same thing!).

Yesterday morning, I was reminded in a rather surprising way that these two critters were right with their prediction! Around 5:30 AM, I got a phone call from someone canceling a breakfast meeting that I had set up with him for 6:00. "It will take me too long to dig out of my driveway" he explained. Perplexed, I walked over to a window and looked out. Sure enough there was between 3 and 4 inches of snow that had fallen overnight covering my front lawn, driveway and the street in front of my house. "Where did this come from?" I asked myself. The weather guys had said we might see a few flurries overnight! So I proceeded to go out and clear my driveway of the snow flurries that had fallen! Upon returning to the house, my wife informed me that some parts of …

Unusable? Never!

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Within minutes of winning the Super Bowl this past Sunday, the victorious Steelers were sporting caps that heralded their Super Bowl Championship. Obviously these were pre-printed and were all set to be distributed at the game's conclusion. But what if the Cardinals had won? Just as there was a supply of Steeler Super Bowl attire on the Steeler sidelines ... there was a similar supply on the Cardinal sidelines that would proclaim the Cardinal's Super Bowl championship. But since that never happened, the caps were never distributed. So did you ever wonder what happens to all those caps (and the shirts and other attire that was waiting to be shipped to a number of retail outlets across the country)? And of course, throw in the same scenario for both the AFC and NFC championships -- and you have a lot of attire that can't be sold. So what happens to all of this?

I wondered ... so I got online to find out. Here is what I discovered: World Vision, a Christian relief organization…

It's A WIN - a SUPER Win!

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Well ... it's now official. The Pittsburgh Steelers are now, as the USA Today put it, "The Lords of the Rings" (as in Super Bowl rings). As a result of their victory in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Arizona Cardinals, the Steelers have won 6 Super Bowl rings - more than any other NFL team. As a Steeler fan, that brings a smile to my face! Because of this, there's been a lot of talk that the Steelers have become America's team (replacing the Dallas Cowboys in that role). Frankly, I do not care if the Steelers are America's team or not - they are, however, MY team! So my congratulations to the Steeler's organization and the Steeler nation.

As I think of all these pro athletes go through to get to this level of play - I am amazed! Would I love to catch a game winning TD catch in the Super Bowl before millions of people? You know it! But would I be willing to pay the price these guys pay to even be in the position to do so? Absolutely not! The pain, th…