Posts

Showing posts from May, 2010

Have a Blessed Memorial Day!

Image
Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Living by the Book!

Image
Single mother and Wal-Mart employee Heather Ravenstein did what she thought she had to do - stop a shoplifter from stealing a $600 computer. The suspect had set off an alarm when he exited the store without paying for the computer. Ravenstein went after him. When she caught up with him (he was walking somewhat briskly), she asked him to see the receipt for the computer. When he ignored her request, she grabbed the computer. After a brief tussle, he let go of the box and ran off. Yea Heather Ravenstein! You foiled the attempts of a would-be shoplifter, thus saving Wal-Mart (and really all of us in the long run, as costs associated with shoplifting are passed on to us the consumer) money!

But wait! Not so fast. The next day, Ravenstein was fired by Wal-Mart. According to a spokesman for the giant retailer, Wal-Mart has a policy that clearly states that only a manager or someone in asset protection is to try to stop a customer from stealing. This policy is in place to protect both emplo…

Big Brother is Watching!

Image
In an attempt to curb increasing crime rates in urban areas, a growing number of municipalities are adding surveillance cameras to their downtown streets. This has many libertarians quite upset. "It is an infringement upon a person's privacy," they protest. Many claim it is unconstitutional (although I am not a constitutional scholar, I don't think the right to privacy is actually a right mentioned in the Constitution). But in spite of protests, the cameras are there ... and being used quite effectively.

Now it is not my purpose to argue the pros and cons of such cameras (although my view is if you don't have anything to hide, what's the problem with the cameras?). I do want to remind all of us that all the cameras could be removed and we would STILL be under surveillance. Scripture tells us that "the eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good" (Proverbs 15:3). So it does not matter whether "Big Brother is watch…

Don't Neglect Your Family and Friends!

Image
Monday was my day off. I spent the day cultivating relationships that are important to me. I had breakfast with my oldest sister (who lives in Etters, PA in northern York County). I went to a late morning showing of Iron Man 2 with my son and then grabbed a late lunch with him at Burger King. I came home to spend time with my granddaughter who my wife was babysitting. Then that evening, I was with my wife, our two daughters, their spouses, my daughter-in-law and granddaughter (my son had to work) as we enjoyed talking over pizza at my oldest daughter's house. I wrapped up the day watching the final episode of Lost with my wife (see yesterday's post). All-in-all, it was a very good, satisfying day!

Family and friends. So important. But in our busy, fast paced lives, it is far too easy to overlook those who are (or should be) important to us. I believe all of us could to a better job at cultivating life's important relationships. It is the depth of relationships that will go…

The Series Finale of "Lost"

Image
I don't watch many TV shows. Apart from some newscasts and sporting events, I usually limit myself to watching one (or at most two) television series with any regularity. The one I have followed in recent years has been ABC's Lost. Those of you who are fellow "Lost-ers" have probably by now viewed the final episode of Lost (my wife and I viewed it last night as we were unable to see it live on Sunday evening). As the show concluded, I was trying to figure it all out and decide on whether or not I liked it (my wife informed me immediately that she indeed liked how it ended). Guess what ... I am still unsure of how I feel about the series' conclusion. But as I think on this (and trust me, I won't spend much more time on this) ... here are some thoughts:

1. For me, the series finale left too many questions unanswered, too many details unexplained. For example, we know how Jack died, but how did the others die? And why wouldn't Ben Linus enter the church for …

Now That's Weird!

Image
I've read some odd news stories in my life, but one recently might have taken the proverbial cake! The headline read, "Lord Jesus Christ hit by car in Massachusetts." The story went on to give the account of a 50 year old man who was struck by a car in Northampton, Mass. The man gave his name to police as "Lord Jesus Christ." When officers checked his ID, sure enough that was indeed his legal name. Ouch! I don't know if this man was given this name at birth or if he changed his name legally to "Lord Jesus Christ" (probably the latter is more likely). But in either case this is very strange! Certainly someone was/is trying to make some kind of statement. But exactly what? I have no idea!

But this leads me to ask you a question to "chew on" today. What kind of statement are you making with your life? The choices you make? The words you speak? The values you embrace? The schedule you keep? Think about it ... you might need to make some chan…

Gracing Others

Image
Michael Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback (and now a Philadelphia Eagle) who was convicted of running a dog fighting ring and sent to prison has been in the news quite a bit here in Lancaster. He was in town two weeks ago to speak at a local charity fundraiser. His presence got many people upset.And some are still "fighting mad!". One individual wrote a letter to the editor of the Lancaster paper, published just this morning. It's headline grabbed my attention. It read, "Vick does not deserve a second chance." I got to thinking about that and it struck me: WHO among us does? Really do I ... do you deserve a second chance? Especially when it comes to our standing before God. The Bible is clear: the only thing we deserve from God's hand is judgment. But God who is rich in mercy and love offers us a second chance. Not just once but over and over and over again! That's called grace! God giving to us what we in NO WAY deserve! And as God graces us…

When Life Brings Pain

Image
This is indeed a sad world in which we live. Far too often, we experience pain. It may be physical, financial, emotional, relational or spiritual in nature. But no matter how it manifests itself ... it hurts. And there are times the pain pierces us to the very core of our souls.

So when this occurs, how can we cope? How can we "keep on keeping on" with the demands of life. It's tough putting in your eight hours on the job when your life is falling apart around you. Recently I ran across the following words in a book I am reading (a book that I would label as one of the best books I have read recently!). Please take a moment and read through Kevin DeYoung's remarks:

"He (God) will turn to good whatever adversity He sends me. The Bible is not naive about suffering. Trusting in God's provision does not mean we expect to float to heaven on flowery beds of ease. This is a 'sad world' we live in, one in which God not only allows trouble but at times sends …

Wrong Time, Wrong Place

Image
In the early morning hours of this past Sunday, 7 year old Aiyana Jones was shot and killed by Detroit Police. It was the result of a tragic accident. Assistant police chief, Ralph Godbee was quoted as saying, "This is any parent's worst nightmare. It also is any police officer's worst nightmare. And today, it is all too real."

Police were executing a search warrant on the house where Aiyana lived. They were seeking a homicide victim who had gunned down a 17 year old teen on Friday night. As the police SERT team entered the house, there was apparently some physical resistance offered by an inhabitant in the house. As a result, an officer's gun discharged, striking the 7 year old girl, inflicting a fatal wound. The police did eventually find and arrest the suspect without further incident.

Now I am sure there will be some sort of anti-police outcry on this. But I am also hopeful that the police department will do a thorough investigation and take the necessary st…

A Thought for Your Weekend .... and Beyond!

Image
While browsing some shops at Cape May this week, I spotted the following statement that I thought worthy of passing on:

"Life is not a matter of counting years, but a matter of making years count." 
Well said, don't you think? Reminds me of what Paul the Apostle wrote to the church in Ephesus: "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Mayberry in the News?

Image
Two weeks ago I titled one of my postings, "It Ain't Mayberry Anymore!" The very next day after posting those thoughts, I read in the paper that the actress who played the role of Deputy Barney Fife's girlfriend, Thelma Lou, was robbed in Mount Airy, NC, the small town that the fictional town of Mayberry was based upon. The actress, whose name is Betty Lou Lynn, now 83, was approached by a man while shopping in downtown Mount Airy. The man grabbed her purse and fled. Police were notified, and after a brief chase, were able to arrest the suspect and retrieve the actress' purse. The irony in all of this is that Lynn had moved to Mount Airy from Los Angeles because she was fed up with the crime there (she had been victimized several times while living in L.A.). But she has learned that crime is not confined to big cities. It's everywhere - even in Mayberry! All the more reason to pray ... and to support our police - the thin blue line between order an…

Gone for some R & R!

Image

The Struggle to Pray

Image
On this our nation's 59th annual observance of a Day of Prayer ... I ask myself, "Why is it that I struggle so much to pray?" (and if you are anything at all like me ... I am sure you struggle too). As I thought of that, the following answers came to mind.

1. The last thing (and I do mean the LAST thing) that the Enemy of our souls (a.k.a. "Satan") wants to see is God's people on their knees in prayer. As hymn writer William Cowper put it so well, "Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on his knees." Given this ... Satan will do all he can to keep us from praying. It is part of our spiritual battle.

2. All of us as humans have this very stubborn streak of self-reliance and independence that runs through the core of our fallen nature. We therefore do not realize often just how dependent we are upon God. We think we can do life on our own. So we go about our routines giving little thought to God and our need for His help. This keeps us fro…

Some Midweek Random Thoughts

Image
Here we are, already at the midweek point of most people's work week. So as you begin to head down "the home stretch" toward your weekend, some random thoughts for you to "chew on."

1. This world is a real mess! Reading the newspaper, watching television news or reading news updates via the Internet can be down right depressing. Wars and rumors of war, earthquakes and famines in various places. Hmm. Sounds a lot like Matthew 24! Are these signs that the Lord's return is "at hand?" It could very well be that Jesus Christ will return a lot sooner than most of us think. If He were to return before the end of this day - would YOU be ready to meet Him?

2. Why is it that I an so quick to avoid what I know I need most? What I am thinking of is quiet time spent in the presence of God. Yesterday's time (much of it quiet time with God) spent at the National Cathedral was a reminder of just how much I need to build alone time ... quite time ..…

Heading for some QT in DC!

Image
Today our church staff and a couple of our lay elders are heading to Washington, D.C. and the National Cathedral. Our purpose is to get away from the pressing demands of our ministry schedule for some quiet time with God. The National Cathedral with its beautiful chapels and gardens, supplies a wonderful venue for the spiritual practices of silence and solitude. And in our busy world, silence and solitude is something all of us must make time for! Vance Havner, a well known and appreciated evangelist of yesteryear said it well when he said we Christians "need to come apart lest we come apart!" My prayer for me, our staff and elders is that we will grow in our love for God as a result of our time away with Him ... and bond even more deeply with each other.

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj