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Showing posts from October, 2009

Got Faith?

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Just what is faith? Michael Horton, in his newly relased book, The Gospel-Driven Life, wrote the following about faith:

"Faith in God is generally treated by the powerful of the earth as a crutch for the weak and foolish. As King Nebuchadnezzar admired his accomplishments from his lofty penthouse (see Daniel chapter 4), he was doubtless of this opinion. However, he literally lost his mind. It is not foolishness, but sanity that recognizes the way things really are. God is Creator and Lord; we are all nothing more than ants pretending to conquer the earth when we merely crawl on top of our own anthill." 

How about you? Got faith? Do you really see the way things REALLY ARE? That in God "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28)? HE is Lord - not you, not me, not anyone or anything else!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

The Unwelcome Certainty of Life

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This morning, two headlines on the back page of our local newspaper got my attention. The first read, "Grave crisis: No room for London's dead." The story went on to discuss a serious shortage of burial space in England's largest city. And when you consider that London has been around some 2000 years, it's not surprising to read that cemeteries are running out of room. The second headline read, "Wal-Mart starts selling caskets online."  So for as little as $999 you can order a "Dad Remembered" or "Mom Remembered" casket for your departed loved one (and yes, you don't have to purchase a needed casket from a funeral  home - a federal law requires funeral homes to accept third-party caskets).

Both of these articles are a stark (I am going to avoid using the word "grave" here - :)) reminder that death awaits us all. No matter how hard we try to avoid thinking about it (and in many cases try to delay it with our attempts to…

Talk about a Wrong Assessment!

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Shortly after the President gave a short speech, the Chicago Times reported on the speech with this assessment: "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States."  The London Times reported on the same speech by saying, “The ceremony was rendered ludicrous by some of the sallies of that poor President. Anything more dull and commonplace it would not be easy to produce.” Finally, the Harrisburg Patriot and Union weighed it with its evaluation of the President's remarks by saying, "we pass over the silly remarks of the President: for the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall no more be repeated or thought of.”

The President who gave this speech was none other than Abraham Lincoln. And the speech was The Gettysburg Address. Many people don'…

Back from Vacation with Some Random Thoughts

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As I begin to settle back into the routine of work, here are some thoughts floating around my head:

1. Time sure seems to operate differently when one is on vacation. Whereas time usually moves quickly while at work ... while on vacation it passes with blazing speed! As I crawled out of bed this morning it was hard for me to believe that I had just had a week's vacation - but yep, I counted my days off and it was a week!  Hmm. Why does vacation time speed by so fast?  I guess the old adage is right - "Time flies when you are having fun!"  And one thing that characterized my week off was a boatload of fun (which for my wife and I included lengthy visits to Appomattox Court House (where Lee surrendered his army to Grant) and Gettysburg (the new visitor center there is quite impressive!) - what can I say? We love history!) There are many lessons to be learned from history. From time to time its benefical to take a look back (whether it be our nation's history or our own…

Gone Fishing! Well not Really - Just Gone!

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I plan to take the next several days off. I will be back posting sometime around the middle of next week (the 28th). Until then ...

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Take Care of Your Good Name!

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The headline caught my eye, "ID THEFT: Your good name is at risk." So I delved into the article. I was astonished to read that the local Lancaster paper had gone onto the Internet and by researching public documents, found the social security numbers of several prominent Lancaster countians. Upon reading that, I decided to do some research of my own. After about 15 minutes of searching public documents on the County's Recorder of Deeds site - I was stunned to see MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER on a public document that any Tom, Dick or Harry (or Mary, Jane or Sally) could view!  So I quickly filled out and submitted a redaction request and today I can rest a lot easier knowing that my SS # is not out there for just anyone to find (and use!!).

Our reputations (which would include our credit rating) can be severely damaged if the wrong person gets hold of our private information and uses it for financial gain (theirs not ours!). So we need to guard this info carefully. And reme…

The Good Old Days?

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The automobile, which is now a part of the very fabric of American society (there are approximately 250 million vehicles of various sorts in operation in the United States today) is only a little over 100 years old. When the auto first hit the streets, it was nicknamed "the horseless carriage," for prior to the auto the horse was the basic staple of transportation. So much so that in large urban areas, the number of horses caused a huge problem. Consider New York City for example. In 1900, New York City was the home of 200,000 horses, or one for every 17 residents. That's a lot of horses. And just as all the motor vehicles on today's highways have their down side, so did horses. The biggest of which was .... can you guess???   .... manure! That's right! Two hundred thousand horses can produce an awful lot of manure, especially when you consider that the average horse produces about 25 pounds of manure each day! Multiply that by 200,000 and you have about 5 millio…

Too Good to Be True?

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The following is a true account. The incident occurred earlier this week in a Burlington Coat Factory store in Columbus, Ohio. A Ms. Linda Brown arrived at the store in a limo. She walked in and proceeded to the front of the store where she announced that she had won the lottery and would pay for each shopper's purchases up to $500 per shopper. Well that is good news for people in these tough times, so people quickly filled their shopping carts and headed for the registers. And while waiting in line, they called their relatives and friends telling them to come to the store and get in on the deal. And did they ever come. The store was soon filled with over 500 enthusiastic shoppers with another 1000 waiting outside to get in. But when the cashiers realized that Ms. Brown had no money to pay the tab - they quickly shut down the buying spree. And that ignited a riot. Angry customers threw their merchandise on the floor. Others grabbed their items and fled the store. One police detect…

I'll Make You Fishers of Men

Here is a nice acapella number by Rhonda Vincent that I stumbled across. I hope you will enjoy (and will be reminded of our need (and privilege) to be fishers of men!).



Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Being a Voice for the Voiceless

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There is a new independent film that will be released in the not too distant future. The documentary seeks to expose the terrible reality of abortion by focusing on the financial aspect of the multimillion dollar abortion industry. The film will most certainly be attacked by the pro-abortion* faction in our country. The film, titled Blood Money does not yet have a distributor, but its producers are hopeful that one will soon be found. If you want to help get this movie to the big screen, you can do so by either going to the movie's web site (www.bloodmoneyfilm.com) or view the film's trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYaTywSDmls. Let's together be a voice for those who have no voice!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

*I do not use the term pro-choice to describe the pro-abortion position for where is the choice for the unborn child?

Unwanted Guests and a Very Common Name

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A month ago during my flight home from Africa, I remember thanking God that I had made it through the trip without getting sick (which is always one of my greatest concerns while traveling on a short term international mission trip - it is tough to keep up with the schedule when you are incapacitated due to illness!). Little did I know then that I was not totally accurate in that assessment.

About a week after being home and having overcome the effects of jet lag, I began to notice that I wasn't quite feeling right - fatigue, some digestive issues (that's all I will say about this) and weight loss (which I thought was due primarily to not eating due to the off and on nausea I was experiencing). I kept thinking that things would clear up ... but when they persisted, I made an appointment to see my doctor which I did last week. He called me yesterday with the results of some stool samples that I had to deliver last Friday to the lab (fun, let me tell you!!!). Sure enough, I did …

Some Random Thoughts to Start Your Work Week

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Here we are on a Monday morning once again (Mondays - as is true of any of the days of the week - sure do seem to come around quickly, don't they?!). To get you started with your work week, here are a few random thoughts:

1. Today is the first day of a work week for most of us. But there are some among us who have the day off - most government workers, bank employees, teachers and staff in some school districts, etc. And the reason for the day off? It's Columbus Day. Yep. In 1934, the U.S. government made the observance of Columbus Day a federal holiday. In 1971, the government permanently established the official Columbus Day holiday as the second Monday of October. Now why do we observe this holiday? Supposedly it is to commemorate the date of Christopher Columbus' "discovery" of America which occurred on October 12, 1492. My guess is that most people who have the day off will give little if any thought to the man behind their holiday. Reminds me of the way we …

A Lighter Posting . . .

I am a coffee drinker. Perhaps not as hardcore as some other coffee drinkers that I know, but I do enjoy my couple of cups of hot java to start my day. And in case you wonder what those two cups of coffee do for me --- take a moment to view these two Starbucks commercials. Enjoy!



Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Ouch!

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Last evening, I turned on my television to catch the final inning of the Dodgers-Cardinals baseball game. The Cardinals were leading 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth (that's the last inning for you non baseball fans!). The Dodgers were at bat. They had one runner on first base with two outs. The batter hit a line drive to left field. The left fielder ran in on the ball ... he extended his glove to catch the ball (which would have been the third out of the inning and thus the end of the game with the Cardinals winning). However, he somehow misjudged the ball and ended up dropping it. The next two batters both got hits ... game over with the Dodgers winning the game, 3-2. I imagine the left fielder was feeling pretty disgusted with himself as he sat after the game alone in the locker room.

All of us make blunders. Yep. We drop the proverbial ball. And yep. We (at least I know I do) get pretty down on ourselves when we do. And I guess that is OK ... as long as we don't stay disgust…

I Like to Read!

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As you can see from my listing of current reading, I like to read. One of the books I just started is the book, Rediscovering Holiness: Know the Fulness of Life with God by J.I. Packer. In the preface to his book, Packer explains what has shaped this particular book:


"The shape this book has taken reflects my belief that there is need to blow the whistle on the sidelining of personal holiness that has been a general trend among Bible-centered Western Christians during my years of ministry. It is not a trend that one would have expected, since Scripture insists so strongly that Christians are called to holiness, that God is pleased with holiness but outraged by unholiness, and that without holiness none will see the Lord. But the shift of Christian interest away from the pursuit of holiness to focus on fun and fulfillment, ego massage and techniques for present success . . . is a fact. To my mind it is a sad and scandalous fact, and one that needs to be reversed." 

Amen, J.I.…

Now That's an Outrageous Statement!

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Yesterday morning as I was reading our local newspaper, I came across the following quote: "How is denial of evolution by evangelical Christian politicians all that different than a denial of the Holocaust by Iran's Mahmoud Ahmaadinejad?"   I must admit that I had to look twice to make sure I had not misread what columnist Jeff Hawkes had written.

Now I read a lot of outrageous things in the newspaper. Things like adults driving drunk with young children in the car, suicide bombings killing dozens of innocent people and men and women embezzling thousands of dollars from charitable organizations - just to mention a few examples. But this statement of Hawkes is truly outrageous.

For starters, evolution is still a theory. No one has ever observed evolution (between species) and when paleontologists do make a supposedly "ground breaking" find (like the one recently in Africa) - their reports are full of speculation - because that is exactly what it is! In addition, …

A Lesson from a Back Yard Game of Wiffleball

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On Saturday afternoon, I spent an enjoyable hour playing some backyard wiffleball with my ten year old grandson. It would have been more than an hour if my grandson had his way. Every time I thought we had just played the last inning, he found a way to get me to play another (Am I smarter than a fourth grader? Obviously not!). Finally, when my body was screaming at me to quit - I laid down the law! The inning we were playing would be the last - no, ifs and or buts about it!  And it was!

Now as the game wore on and I wore out - my grandson kept asking more of me. "One more inning, Papa John, please?"  Of course, what am I going to say to the pleading voice of an adorable grandson? Forget it pal? Hardly!" So I kept giving him one more. But finally I came to the point of having no more to give! At that point I had to call it a game!

When we go to our Father in Heaven ... and we ask ... and we ask ... and we ask for more and more and more ... unlike me, He will ALWAYS have …

Monday Morning Sermon Rewind

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"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth." These are the words which David begins and ends Pslam 8. Indeed, our God is a majestic God. In verse 3 of this Psalm, David points out that the vast universe is "the work of God's fingers!"  Think of it this way, God created this complex and vast universe (which He "thought up!") as effortless as it is for you and me to snap our fingers!  Wow!  What a God.

I used the following illustration yesterday from the White House years of former President Teddy Roosevelt.


It is said that when President Roosevelt entertained diplomatic guests at the White House he was fond of taking them out to the back lawn at the end of the day. As the president stood gazing at the night sky, all eyes would eventually be cast heavenward, as his were. In his day, the vast array of stars was not dimmed by the city lights, and the magnificent display of God’s brilliant creation would overcome the party. After a long m…

DISTRACTIONS!

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U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray Hood, opened a two day meeting to discuss the danger of distracted drivers (6,000 people were killed and over a half a million seriously injured last year alone due to drivers being distracted while driving their vehicles) by saying, "To put it plainly, distracted driving is a menace to society. Distracted driving is an epidemic and it seems to be getting worse every year."  And just what is it that distracts drivers? The biggest culprit is the use of hand held mobile devices. People just can't seem to stop texting or dialing while driving ... and its obviously hard to do both at the same time - and therefore the problem!

Distractions are not only a problem for drivers - they are also a problem for followers of Christ. And this is often true when it comes to connecting with God through prayer. I know it is for me! That's why, when I stumbled across a book this week that addresses the topic, I did not hesitate to order it (well, I did…

Soda Jerks and the Immutability of God

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Recently I was in the middle of a conversation with a group of people when one of them made reference to her days as a soda jerk. One of the younger participants in the conversation, with a very puzzled look asked, "What is a soda jerk?"  It never occurred to the former soda jerk that our much younger friend would have no clue as to what a soda jerk was (for those of you who are wondering right now "OK, so what is a soda jerk?" - here's the scoop: "a soda jerk was a person — typically a youth— who operated the soda fountain in a drugstore. The term refers to the person who made an ice cream soda. This was made by putting flavored syrup into a specially designed tall glass, adding carbonated water and, finally, one or two scoops of ice cream. The result was served with a long handled "soda spoon" and straws. The name soda jerk came from the jerking action the server would use on the soda fountain handle when adding the soda water" (quote from…