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Showing posts from July, 2010

"Daddy, Not So Far Out!"

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Earlier this week I took a glance at the comics section of the daily newspaper (which I rarely do). On this particular day (which happened to be the day after I got back from our beach vacation), the Family Circus comic was about ... of all things ... the beach! It pictured little P.J. (the youngest of the clan) standing in toe-deep water. His father, is standing on P.J.'s ocean side in perhaps ankle deep water. As P.J. looks at his father, he says, "Not so far out, Daddy. Not so far out!"

This made my heart smile. I thought back to a few days earlier when our granddaughter Ella (a tad younger than P.J. and still not grunting out much more than a few basic "words") was walking very tentatively in the surf. And when the waves began to roll in ... she wanted up! As long as she was in my arms, she did not mind if I waded out into the surf. The waves did not appear nearly as big to her as she was held in my embrace.

Just as P.J. looked for safety and security from h…

Poison Ivy, Bed Bugs and Our Walk with God

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Two stories in the local paper today caught my attention. The first was a story about the rise of poison ivy cases here in Lancaster County. It seems that doctors and health care workers are seeing a significant increase this year in the numbers of people they are treating for this nuisance. Experts are offering numerous factors behind the increase. But no matter the reasons, since 85% of us are sensitive to the resin found in poison ivy, here's the bottom line: "Leaves of three, let it be!" (or pay the price which won't be nice!).

The second story detailed New York City's recently declared war on bed bugs! As a result of a recent survey of NYC residents, one out of every 15 New Yorker admitted to battling bed bugs last year. In raw numbers that's about 400,000 people! Ouch! And these nasty little critters, whose nocturnal biting leaves itchy red welts, are showing up in all sorts of places: hotel rooms, theaters, clothing stores, office buildings, housing pro…

I'm Back .... for a While!

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Now that I am back from my travels to Cincinnati, Ohio and Ocean City, Maryland ... here are a few thoughts rambling through my rather numb brain - numb from being blitzed by all the work that has piled up in my absence!

1. "Vacation Time" passes at 3.67 times the rate of all other kinds of time. Have you noticed this phenomena? It seemed like we had just pulled out of our driveway on the way to Ocean City when lo and behold we were pulling into our driveway on our way back from Ocean City! This just doesn't seem quite fair to me ... but it's the way things are! SO ... I will accept it and move on!

2. Adjusting to new surroundings and routines can prove trying for adults ... but can be downright next to impossible for a 14 month old toddler. We were reminded of this during our stay down at the beach. Our granddaughter Ella thought sleeping in the same room as Mommy and Daddy meant more time to play ... when Mommy and Daddy (and the rest of us) wanted to sleep! (In all …

VACATION TIME IS HERE!

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I will not be posting until next Wednesday. I am leaving this morning for a family vacation with my wife and our kids. We will be enjoying some hardcore beach time for the next several days.

So until I get back ... may God bless you and keep you ... and make HIS face shine upon you! And in turn - allow his light to shine through you upon others!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Joy in Serving Others!

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Sharon and I arrived home last evening after an all-day drive from Cincinnati, Ohio. Was I ever glad to see our driveway! Dorothy was right - "There's no place like home!"

During our time at Celebrate 2010 (the national conference for our Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches), Sharon and I enjoyed many aspects of the conference. The worship celebrations were just that - opportunities for celebrative worship and challenges from God's Word. It was also great to connect with other "Grace Brethren" people from around the world and to hear stories of God at work throughout our fellowship of churches.

On Saturday, Sharon and I took part in "We Care Miami Valley." This ministry initiative of serving included both the adults of Celebrate 2010 and the youth of Momentum 2010. We came together in the Dayton, Ohio area to serve churches and para church ministries. Sharon and I chose to come alongside of the ministry of the Dayton Vineyard Church in inner city …

Racing in the Wrong Direction!

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I have been enjoying reading a newly published biography on the German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer titled, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. I have been amazed over and over again by this man who, at the cost of his life, stood up for his beliefs in the gospel of Christ while standing against the evil of the Nazi regime. If you are looking for an inspiring read, I highly recommend this book!

One of the many Bonhoeffer quotes that I highlighted is the following: “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.” His words got me thinking. How many people in this world are currently on the wrong train? Many! And as far as eternity is concerned, it does not matter what they are doing on that train ... they are headed for destruction (Proverbs 14:12: "There is a way that seems rightto a man, but in the end it leads to death"). Life for so many is like a train heading for a bridge that crosses a deep gorge ... and the bridg…

Time Is a Precious Gift - Don't Waste It!

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Suresh Joachim might not be a household name here in the U.S. (and probably most other places in the world). But he does hold a world record. Last year Jocachim set the Guinness world for consecutive hours of television viewing. And just how long did Joachim stay glued to the tube? 72 hours! That's three days! And he did it by drinking some 30 cups of coffee.

Now I don't know about you. But quite frankly I am not all that impressed. Big deal. The guy watched TV for three straight days without falling asleep or taking a "time out." At the end of the day, what impact will his feat have on this desperately needy world in which we live? But before I go too far dismissing Joachim for wasting his time, I need to look in my own mirror (and I suspect you do as well). How much of what I do is, in the grand scheme of things, a literal waste of time. Now I am not saying that when we pause from life's busyness to watch a television program (or engage in any type of recreation…

Follow the Evidence!

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When CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) first hit the television airwaves, I was a fairly consistent viewer. I enjoyed watching how these men and women would meticulously comb over and over a crime scene, collecting as much evidence as they could find. And once they had the evidence -- they would allow it to tell them what happened. One line I heard repeated over and over again was "Just follow the evidence."

I have thought of that often when I have run across individuals who are hard core evolutionists. These individuals certainly don't follow the evidence. Here's just one (of many that I could offer) line of evidence as an example. DNA is a nucleic acid that is found in every human cell. It carries our genetic information. The volume of this information is mind boggling. A single human cell contains enough information storing capacity to hold all the information contained in the 30 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica some 3 or 4 times over! That's amazing! Now j…

A Few Questions to Ponder

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Today as I start my work week (I usually take Monday off), I offer you a few questions to ponder.

1. If Americans are growing more spiritual, why is our culture becoming less moral? A recent report from the Princeton Religion Research Center was labeled with the headline, "Religion is Gaining Ground, but Morality is Losing Ground." The report showed that even though our society has seen an increase recently in church attendance and Bible reading there is, at the same time, a marked decline in morality (a quick look at a newspaper or an Internet news site will confirm this reality of a declining morality!). So what is the answer to this question? Philip Ryken, in his book, Written in Stone: The Ten Commandments and Today's Moral Crisis, offers this assesment:

"How can people be more interested in God and at the same time less willing to do what he says? The only explanation is that people do not know the God of the Bible, because if they did, they would recognize the…

Think on This!

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A desperate farmer once went to see his rabbi. “Rabbi,” the farmer began, “I need help!” “What is the problem?” the Rabbi asked. Quickly the farmer explained how he was going crazy in his small house with all the commotion and noise. After all, he had a talkative wife, three rowdy boys and a baby girl who cried non-stop! The Rabbi thought for a moment and then asked the harried farmer if he had a chicken. “Of course,” the farmer responded. “I have a whole flock of chickens.” “Well, then,” said the Rabbi, “Go bring one of the chickens in the house.” So the perplexed farmer went home and did as the Rabbi suggested.

Early the next morning, the farmer was pounding on the Rabbi’s door. “Rabbi, I did what you suggested. Now things are worse than before!” After stroking his beard, the Rabbi then told the farmer to go home and bring his goat in the house. Since the Rabbi was a man of great wisdom, the farmer went home and brought his goat in the house.

Just after sunup the next day, …

Vuvuzela Madness!

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I have watched enough world cup soccer games that I have become deaf to the steady drone of the vuvuzela horns in the background. This does not mean that I would relish the experience of a fan sitting behind me, tooting his vuvuzela all through a baseball game. So I am hoping vuvuzelas remain on the far side of the Atlantic!

Yesterday I ran across the following You Tube video involving vuvzelas. As I watched and listened to this video, I both laughed and cringed. This is what happens when one takes an object and attempts to do something with it ... something that the object was really never designed to do. Sometimes Christians are like this. We take on ministries for which God had not shaped us (and the truth that God does shape us for specific ministries and tasks can be seen in Ephesians 2:10). So ... after you view the video (and laugh or cry) ... ask yourself, how has God shaped me? And how should I be using my God-given shape to serve Christ, His Church and the world?



Thanks for …

A Tale that IS Stranger than Fiction!

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Most people in the small rural community of Wyalusing in upstate Pennsylvania thought Jean Stevens, a 91 year old widow lived alone in her small, rundown house. True if you would only count the living bodies in the house. Recently someone tipped off state police that Jean had two dead family members still "living" with her. That's right. Jean by her own admission finds death "hard to take." So shortly after her husband was buried in the local cemetery in 1999, she had his embalmed body exhumed and placed on a couch in a detached garage. Then when her twin sister died last October, she had her body exhumed. She kept her twin sister's body in a spare room off the bedroom. Until police arrived and removed the body, Jean did her best to keep the remains of both her husband and twin sister, giving both bodies her best tender loving care. When questioned as to why she did it, she expressed her fear that after death ... there is nothing. In addition t…

Eyeing a Toddler ... and God's Watch Care of Us!

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This past Saturday (July 3rd), my siblings (half of them, that is) and our families got together for a family picnic at a park on the west side of York, PA. Since two of our children and their spouses were unable to make it, we offered to take their kids. So we packed up our car with our food contributions for lunch and then stopped by our son's and daughter's houses to pick up Ella and Nathan (Ella is 14 months old, Nathan is 10 years old).

Shortly after arriving at the park, Nathan took off to play with a bunch of my nephews, several who are about his same age. For the rest of our time there, Nathan was doing something or other with the guys. Not so with Ella. She required constant supervision. Of course, given just how cute she is (as are most 14 month old toddlers) - we had plenty of help. But I will admit, Grandma and Papa John were a bit tired when we arrived home late that afternoon.

As I thought back on our day this morning, it hit me that our watching of Ella is somewh…

Happy Fourth of July!

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Today as we celebrate the Fourth of July, we celebrate the birth of our nation. Two-hundred and thirty four years ago today, our Founding Fathers adopted a document that declared the independence of the thirteen American colonies from England. It took another seven years before the colonies were actually free. As you celebrate our American freedom today, don't forget to celebrate the greater freedom you enjoy as a believer in Christ. As Jesus said, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36). Jesus Christ sets us free from sin - it's penalty and its power over us. We are now free to become the people God always intended for us to be. Now that's freedom!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tongue Tied?

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All too often when Christians are talking with unbelievers (whether they are neighbors, co-workers, classmates or family members), they find themselves tongue tied when thinking about speaking up for Christ (been there, done that!). Often it is simply a case of not knowing how to get the conversation steered in a spiritual direction. Donald Whitney has put together a list of ten questions believers in Christ can use to open up spiritual chats. You can find his helpful article, "Ten Questions to Ask to Turn a Conversation toward the Gospel" at http://www.biblicalspirituality.org/gospelq.html. Certainly a list worth committing to memory so you have them at your disposal as you talk with those who need to hear the gospel!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

It is Nice to Be Wanted!

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Earlier today my wife, Sharon called me. She wanted to tell me that when our 14 month old granddaughter, Ella, got up from her nap - the first thing she "said" was "Pa ... Pa ..." I must admit, that brought a warm feeling to my heart. It sure is nice to be wanted!

God wants us. He invites us into His presence to enjoy Him. But far too often we are too busy (or so we think) to carve out time from our busy and often downright hectic schedules in order to spend some quiet time in His presence. As a result, our relationship with God suffers. And when that relationship suffers - all others will as well. Friends, (and I am really talking to myself on this!!!) we need to get more intentional about spending some quiet time in the presence of our God. The first and greatest commandment from our God (and therefore our first and greatest priority in life) is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (see Mark 12:28-30). One way we deepen our love for God is t…