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Showing posts from April, 2009

On Moose Taunting...

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Last week at a middle school in Palmer, Alaska, a moose wandered onto the school property. When a group of students who were outside for PE class spotted the moose, they began to taunt the moose (now how one taunts a moose, I have no idea). The moose became so frightened that it threw itself repeatedly into a wall and ultimately died as a result of its injuries. The students were disciplined for their mistreatment of the moose. The principal held an assembly to reinforce proper behavior around moose in order to prevent a similar situation from occurring again.

Animal lovers especially will look at this incident and think, "How cruel! I hope those students pay for their crime!" And I would agree, it is a shame that the actions of these students led to the death of this moose. But I wonder how often we do similar things - not to animals but to our fellow human beings? We may not be so overt in our "taunting" of one another, yet I think we are guilty of taunting far m…

Back in Town with Some Random Thoughts

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Finally after a week of vacation and a two day police chaplaincy conference, I am back in town in the office and trying to figure out what I need to do first! But before I tackle the rest of my TDL (To Do List) I thought I would post some random thoughts for you to think about.

1. Vacations are a great time to work on significant relationships in one's life. This past week was a wonderful experience for my wife, Sharon and I. We spent a bunch of quality time together. Hours of driving in the car (and driving to South Carolina and back I do mean hours!) gave us plenty of time to just talk - and that doesn't include all the time we spent talking as we walked and ate and just "hung out" together. It made me realize that during our non vacation time (which is by far the bulk of our year!) - we must be sure to make time for each other to just talk!

2. Even though my wife and I were sad when it was time to return home - there is still a good feeling that I experience every t…

The Pain Behind the Badge

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Well ... the inevitable occurred. My week long vacation came to an abrupt end on Sunday. As I type out this blog posting, I am sitting in a room at a conference center in Carlisle, PA where I am attending a regional training conference sponsored by the International Conference of Police Chaplains. Today's sessions have centered on the growing problem of police suicide. Consider the following stats: every year in this country somewhere between 150-175 police officers are killed in the line of duty. In comparison, each year sees anywhere from 350 - 400 officers die of their own hand (or approximately one police suicide every day in the U.S.). That is a sad and sobering statistic.

Today's seminar focused on the pain that police officers experience on the job and the toll that pain takes upon them. And because most police officers do not deal with stress in healthy ways (after all, they are cops and cops have to be tough!) - when the stress grows to unbearable levels, some officers…

Heading Out of Town!

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Dictionary.com defines a vacation as "a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday." As of 1 PM today (Sunday) - my wife and I will be heading south on I-95 for a week of vacation. I will be suspending my work at church in order to get some R and R (rest and recreation). Our road trip will include stops in Chester, VA (just south of Richmond), Walterboro, Beaufort and Charleston - all in South Carolina. SOOO ... this will be my final blog posting until I return from the sunny (I hope!) south. Until then ... remember to keep your knees on the floor, your heart in the Book and your eyes to the sky!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Too Much of a Good Thing and the Temple of God . . .

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Recently, people in Painesville, Ohio were astonished when they turned on their tap water to get a drink. Instead of clear water filling their glasses ... the water was pink! And for someone like me who is not really a pink fan, it must have been quite the surprise! It all happened due to an Ohio Water Company equipment malfunction. A chemical feeder designed to release potassium permanganate (used for taste and odor control), poured too much of the chemical into the water, causing the pink color. The water company got right on the problem and by the next day, the water was back to normal!

This shows us that even a good thing - if it is used too much - can be too much! I think all of us should give this some thought, especially when it comes to the care of our physical bodies. Yes, that's right - I said "the care of our physical bodies." Why is this important? I will let the Apostle Paul speak to this. He writes, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Hol…

OUCH! When Another Member of the Body Is Hurting!

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This past Saturday evening I was involved in a collision. No, it did not involve my vehicle and it did not occur on some suburban street. Rather it all happened in a split second right in my own living room. My little toe on my right foot, moving at a high rate of speed, encountered an immovable object. And my toe lost! Writhing in pain, I collapsed on our sofa. When I finally opened my eyes and took a look at my toe, I noted that it was sticking outward from the rest of my foot (and usually it hugs closely my fourth toe) at about a 45 degree angle. At that point I knew it was broken. My first thought was, "Why did this happen the evening before Easter Sunday??!!" I spent the rest of the evening with an ice pack on my toe and keeping it elevated. And the next morning, in spite of my best efforts, I was unable to wear a shoe on my right foot. So I wore a slipper instead. One person who saw me in the hallway at church asked me if I was wearing the slipper as part of a sermon …

TOMORROW IS APRIL 15! AGAIN???!!!

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It is inevitable (unless the return of Jesus intervenes!). You can bank on it. April 15th will roll around and with it the deadline to file your tax returns. I always work ahead. This year, I completed my federal and state returns sometime in February and my local return last week. But there are many ... millions ... who wait until the last minute. This is why post offices remain open to midnight on April 15 and why some Internet sites crash due to the onslaught of e-filers who are e-filing their tax returns as April 15th reaches its conclusion. It is called procrastination. And with millions of taxpayers procrastinating - there are probably millions of reasons as to why they do so! But no matter the reason for their procrastination, the deadline will not yield -and even though many opt to file an extension request, all must file something!

For followers of Jesus Christ, there is coming in the future another day of accounting. Unlike the IRS's day of accounting, the date is unknown…

Happy Easter!!!

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"He is not here; he has risen!" (Matthew 28:6). These words and the truth they convey bring us reason to celebrate. For without the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ we would remain "without hope and with God." May your Easter celebration deepen your love for Jesus, His Father and the Holy Spirit!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

"Good" Friday?

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Most people would never choose the adjective "good" to refer to the day of someone's death ... let alone such a brutal and violent death such as the death Jesus Christ endured. Yet "good" is the adjective we use to refer to the day when Jesus died. Read the following Scripture and concluding prayer by John Piper ... and I believe you will see why the day Jesus died was indeed a GOOD day!


Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 - The wages of sin is death . . .

Mark 10:45 - The Son of Man came . . . to give His life a ransom for many.

1 Peter 2:24 - He himself bore our sins in His body on the cross.

Isaiah 53:6 - The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

1 Peter 3:18 - For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 - God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 6:23 - The wages of sin is d…

Spring Cleaning!

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Now that spring is here (although the weather has been more like mid winter the last two days!), many of us have already gone through (or are planning to soon go through) the ritual known as "spring cleaning." Last Wednesday, our church staff took the morning and in place of our regular staff meeting, we cleaned our offices. My office was LOONNNGGG overdue for a thorough cleaning! And it took us ("us" because my wife graciously offered to come in and help me out) four hours of almost non-stop work! In that time I filled a box of books to be given away ... and hauled four large trash bags of "stuff" out to the dumpster.

Now did I enjoy the time of cleaning? Of going through shelves and shelves of books and deciding what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to give away? Of cleaning out drawers and sorting through piles of "stuff?" Absolutely NO!!! But am I enjoying the fruit of that labor? The labor that has left my office cleaner and more order…

Post-Christian America?

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The cover of the April 13th edition of Newsweek Magazine struck me and left me wanting to read the cover article. The cover is black and contains in red print the title, "The Decline and Fall of Christian America" - and it is printed in the form of a cross.

The article is based on the results of a new survey that was recently published. The survey, the American Religious Identification Survey reveals a sobering trend in our country. According to this study, the percentage of self-identified Christians as fallen 10 percentage points since 1990, from 86% to 76%. In addition, the number of people willing to describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has increased about four-fold from 1990 to the present, from about 1 million to 3.6 million. Based on these statistics, the article goes on to claim that although Christianity is not dead in America, it's influence upon American culture is declining - and will most likely continue to do so well into the foreseeable future.

Now, I …

A Difficult Question

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Recently, I was asked a question that went like this: "If God is all powerful and heals people of cancer, stroke, heart attack, etc. . .why hasn't he ever healed an amputee by restoring his or her amputated limb?"

Hmm. Good question! Here is how I answered this difficult question (difficult because of the deep emotional pain behind it):

We live in a fallen broken world .. a world marked by pain and sorrow. This is due to humanity's rebellion against God. Because the world in which we live is "temporarily out of order" (it will be one day be made right again - see Revelation 21-22 for the details), physical illness, disease and injury occur. In the midst of all this brokenness, God has graciously given to man the medical knowledge to bring healing to many (though not all). In the case of an amputee - the cost of his or her healing is quite high compared to the cost of other "healings" (for example surgery to repair a hernia or a cataract of the eye)…

Some Thoughts on The Shack

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Many have asked me recently about my view of the book, The Shack. I posted these thoughts back in August of 2008. What I said then I still believe now. Blessings!! - pj



Recently a friend passed on a copy of the bestselling book, The Shack (by William P. Young) to my wife. The book tells the story of a man (Mack) whose young daughter was brutally murdered. After several years of grieving her death, Mack receives a mysterious note from "Papa" (the book's name for God the Father), inviting him to the shack where his daughter was killed to spend some time together. Mack ends up going and once there he is surprised to find the Father, Son and Holy Spirit waiting for him.

I just finished the book on Sunday night. I must say that the ending did make my eyes perspire a little bit. Would I recommend the book for others to read? I don't think so. I found the writing to be good at points and not so good at other points. But what concerns me most is that Christians are reading th…

Shaped to Serve!

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When we make the decision to follow Jesus Christ, God does an amazing thing. The Apostle Paul puts it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" You see, by a work of God's grace, we become HIS “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which HE prepared in advance for us to do”(Ephesians 2:10). Now due to life’s busyness, we can easily lose sight of this truth. That is why we must from time to time renew our commitment to serve our Lord. If we don't, we can all too easily slide into the mode of serving Me, Myself, and I! SOOOO .... all this to remind you of this glorious truth: serving Jesus is one of the highest privileges of life! So let's all determine to use our God-given SHAPE to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

What Are You Exporting?

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Spam. We all know what it is and we all have grown to hate it (and I am not talking about the canned variety of SPAM that you can purchase at the grocery store)! I am referring to the very annoying (and even sometimes malicious) unsolicited junk mail that shows up in our email in boxes! In fact, we go to great lengths to limit the amount of incoming spam through the use of various spam filters that are on the market today. If it were not for these spam filters ... I think all we would do in the course of a day is deleting spam!

Did you ever wonder where all this spam comes from? I noted in yesterday's paper a list of the top countries when it comes to the origin of spam. Guess what country tops the list? If you guessed the good old U.S. of A. - you got it right! The U.S. comes in on top with 17.5% of all spam originating right here at home! And when you consider that second place Russia originates only 7.8% -- you can see that the U. S. is not in any danger of losing this distin…