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Showing posts from March, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

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It's Thursday again ... so here are some offerings for your consideration:

1. Troubles? We all encounter them, sooner or later. Sometimes they are little troubles and sometimes they are overwhelming troubles. Ed Welch of CCEF writes a brief insightful article, What has helped you in your troubles? 

2. Here's a solid article from the Gospel Coalition: To love your neighbor you must know your neighbor. A great read!

3. Those of you who fly with any regularity, know that any fun that used to exist in flying from point A to point B has long disappeared (at least for me!). But here is a heart warming story of a passenger who almost missed his flight ... but did not due to the actions of an unnamed pilot.

4. Here are some fast facts about our Fellowship of Grace Brethren Church's college and seminary (Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary located in Winona Lake, Indiana). Please pray for me and my fellow board of trustee members as we meet today and tomorrow. Thanks!

Today ... It's Off to Winona Lake, Indiana.

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Grace Church at Willow Valley is not an independent church. We are a member (and have been since the church was started back in 1976) in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. The FGBC is not a particularly large fellowship of churches. Compared to some church groups (like the Southern Baptist Convention or the United Methodist Church) we are quite small indeed. There are approximately 350 Grace Brethren churches here in the United States and about 3,000 or so overseas (with the bulk of those being in the Central African Republic). Now I point this out because I believe God has used our fellowship to impact our world far beyond what one would think, given our small numbers. The number one piece of evidence I would point to substantiate this claim would be Grace College and Seminary.

Ever since 1937 (Grace Seminary) and 1948 (Grace College) the two schools have been training Christian men and women to serve God in a variety of vocations (click here for Grace's Story). Over the…

Faith Comes from Hearing, and Hearing from the Word of God!

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The first of my seven resolutions for this year of 2011(see January 7th posting for the complete list) is as follows: I resolve to get to know the Word of God better to better know the God of the Word. The first of two goals that I have set for myself to fulfill this resolution is to memorize a new verse (or verses) each week. To do this, I am using a very helpful iPhone app from Desiring God Ministries: Fighter Verse. It has proven itself in keeping me, for the most part, on track! My second goal to get to know the Scriptures better is to study through the book of Romans. To assist me in this, I am reading James Boice's four volume commentary on the book. Dr. Boice is a former pastor of mine (Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia). During his life, Dr. Boice was an internationally acclaimed Bible scholar and teacher (Amazon lists over fifty of his books that are still in print). His insights into the Scripture are quiet insightful and convicting! In today's reading in Ro…

A Polite Robber and Our Own Walk of Faith

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Last month, a convenience store owner in the Seattle area was held up at gun point. The armed robber got away with about $300 in cash. No one would have paid much attention to the incident .... except for one thing. The robber was very polite in the perpetration of his crime. Here is a brief video that shows just how polite this guy was.


A verse from Proverbs came to my mind when I viewed this video. In it the robber claimed his motivation in committing the crime was to feed his children. Proverbs 30:8-9 reads, "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." 

The polite bandit fell prey to his circumstance of need. Seeing no other alternative, he resorted to stealing to provide for his family. Certainly understandable ... but still wrong. But I want you to focus on the other side of the coin. Most of you who are…

Thursday A La Carte

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It's Thursday again. That means it "A La Carte" time!

1. Here is a great article from Ed Welch (from the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation) titled, The Angry Person: Always the Last to Know.

2. Here is an incredible photo gallery, Japan One Week Later.   Also, here is a video (just over one minute) in which the driver captured his own car being caught in the tsunami.   Let's endeavor to continue to pray for the people of Japan. In addition, here are the two online giving opportunities I mentioned this past Sunday: Grace Brethren International Missions' Japan Earthquake Relief Fund and Biblica's (formerly International Bible Society) Reaching Japan with God's Word fund.


3. Tim Challies writes an interesting article titled, The New Evangelical Virtues. In it he describes three values that many Christians embrace today ... values that actually lead people away from the true gospel. 


4. Are you in need of a laugh?  Check out this baby's ba…

Does Fear Control You?

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Back on February 3, 2006, Egypt suffered its worst maritime tragedy when over 1000 of 1400 ferry passengers drowned in the waters of the Red Sea. The cause of the boat's sinking? Massive overcrowding and an electrical fire worked together to doom the ferry. Now in the midst of all this human suffering that occurred that day, a very disturbing tale came to light. According to many eye witnesses who survived the sinking, the captain of the ship was one of the first to flee. What ever happened to a captain going down with his ship? Or is that something that happens only in the movies?

I wonder though, if I had been in that captain's place, would I have done what he did? Drowning is not something I would ever want to experience. And the prospect of being sucked down under the surface of the water by a sinking ship would surely strike fear into me! Yes, perhaps enough to cause me to desert my post at the helm!

Fear is powerful. It can turn a dutiful captain into a panicked desert…

What Does It Mean to Love God?

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I find today that many Christians have strange ideas about what it means to love God. This is unfortunate, given that the greatest of all of God's commandments (according to Jesus himself) is to love God (Matthew 22:35-38). So what does it mean to love God? Over sixteen hundred years ago, St. Augustine defined love for God with these words, "I call [love for God] the motion of the soul toward the enjoyment of God for his own sake, and the enjoyment of one's self and of one's neighbor for the sake of God."


Take a few moments and reflect on this insightful definition. Then ask yourself, "Is my soul moving toward the enjoyment of God for his own sake?"  All too often we love the gifts far more than the Giver. And that, my friends is NOT what loving God is all about!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Lending a Helping Hand to the Japanese People

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For any of you who might want to give financially toward the need of the Japanese people (and as you know, the need is huge!) ... here are two options to consider:

Grace Brethren International Missions has established a Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. This fund will be overseen by a partnership of churches and mission agencies who are working together in Japan, including our own missionaries Ralph and Joan Justiniano. To give, or for more information, go to GBIM's web site.




Biblica (formerly known as the International Bible Society) is partnering with Christians in Japan to provide hope to survivors through When Your Whole World Changes, The Survivors, and Beside Still Waters. By giving to this fund, you will be ministering to the spiritual need of the people of Japan.Click here to go to Biblica's web site for more info or to donate.

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Surviving the Rat Race of Life!

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Life can often be a blur, right? There are so many people to see, places to go, things to do EVERYDAY! If we are not careful, we can get sucked down the drain of "busyness!"  With this in mind, consider the following story:


 Long ago when Africa was still relatively unknown to the outside world, a European explorer was taking a group into the African interior.  He had hired a native guide along with a number of other natives to help carry the supplies.  After a mid morning break on the third day of a fast-paced march, the Africans refused to resume their trek.  When the European explorer asked the guide the reason for their refusal, the guide told him, “They just need a little more time to allow their souls to catch up to their bodies.”   Hmm.  I think all of us could learn a lesson from these guys.  Just as Jesus would get away to be alone with his Father (Matthew 14:13; Mark 1:35; Mark 6:31) – we too need to be sure to do the same.  As fast-paced as 21st century American li…

Thursday A La Carte

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1. Here is a collection of some amateur video of Japanese earthquake.Also you might want to check out Carolyn McCulley's blog, Radical Womanhood and her comments on the tsunami and earthquake. Finally, here is a prayer song for Japan with pics of the tsunami and earthquake devastation - Stay strong Japan!

2. Tim Challies writes an interesting article, Facebook Makes Us Miserable. An interesting read.

3. Desiring God Ministries offers up 9 Ways to Know the Gospel of Christ is True.

4. On Tuesday, the funeral of the 7 children killed in a Perry County fire was held. There to protest were about 17 people from the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas. If you recall, the church recently won a Supreme Court decision that gives them the freedom to show up at funerals with their message (i.e. - those who are burying their dead are doing so because God is judging America for it's acceptance of homosexuality). But this group was not the only group that showed up. Knowing they would be t…

Godly Parenting in the Midst of an Increasingly Ungodly World!

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If you are a Christian who happens to also be a parent, my next statement will surely resonate with you. It's not easy being a Christian parent in today's world (I bet some of your are nodding your heads right now!). God has given us Christ followers who have children a HUGE joy and responsibility: raising them for HIM!

I can recall as a young parent telling someone how cool it was to be able to be disciple making (and thus fulfilling the Great Commission) in my own home! And after raising three kids I will say there were many "cool" times. But there were also many trying and demanding times. Times that I was not expecting nor prepared for.  But I am guessing this is every parent's experience!

For those of you who are serious about bringing up your children to follow Jesus - I suggest you check out the following blog posting, "Pray like you can't save your kids and Parent like you can."  I think you will find it most encouraging ... and encouragemen…

Living in a World Gone Mad!

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The images I have seen of the devastation that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami left behind have been very disturbing. These images silently describe  a degree of  loss (of both life and property) that is hard to imagine. Japan will be years recovering from this disaster.

As I spent a few minutes this morning reflecting on all of this, I was reminded at how small Mantruly is. Yes, we have come far technologically speaking. We can  now give early warnings about coming tsunamis (and Japan's ability to do so probably saved countless lives as people were able to scurry to higher ground before the tsunami roared ashore). We can explain what happened ... and make educated guesses about what the ground might do next. But one thing we cannot do is stop these destructive forces of the natural realm. It matters not whether we are talking about earthquakes and tsunamis, hurricanes or tornadoes, volcanoes or floods. Man stands powerless before the horrific destructive powers of a created r…

A Quote to Start Your Work Week

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Here is some wisdom for you as you start your work week. Said by a woman who suffered the loss of her own husband early in her married life. He (Jim) was murdered by a band of Acau Indians in Ecuador.


"Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands"   - Elisabeth Elliot 
Well said, Elizabeth! Let's together apply this wisdom to the stresses of our lives this week! 
Thanks for stopping by . . .  pj

A Prayer for Japan

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Father in heaven, you are the absolute Sovereign over the shaking of the earth, the rising of the sea, and the raging of the waves. We tremble at your power and bow before your unsearchable judgments and inscrutable ways. We cover our faces and kiss your omnipotent hand. We fall helpless to the floor in prayer and feel how fragile the very ground is beneath our knees.O God, we humble ourselves under your holy majesty and repent. In a moment—in the twinkling of an eye—we too could be swept away. We are not more deserving of firm ground than our fellowmen in Japan. We too are flesh. We have bodies and homes and cars and family and precious places. We know that if we were treated according to our sins, who could stand? All of it would be gone in a moment. So in this dark hour we turn against our sins, not against you.And we cry for mercy for Japan. Mercy, Father. Not for what they or we deserve. But mercy.Have you not encouraged us in this? Have we not heard a hundred times …

Thursday A La Carte

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Here's my a la carte offerings for this week. Given my busy week ... the list today is on the shorter side. Enjoy!

1. Here is an interesting perspective by Tim Challies on the curse of email. 

2. Mark Driscoll of Mars Church in Seattle gives some convicting insights into American idols (and I am not referring to the television program of that name!). The video is brief ... just 2 minutes and worth a view!

3. Here is quick read about our faith in an affluent culture ... but warning: read at your own risk for it may pierce your heart!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Out of Retirment ... Sort of!

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Back in February of 1986, I taught the first of what would prove to be many Walk Thru the OT or NT seminars (I am guessing about 250 or so across the years). Three years ago I made the decision to step away from teaching the OT/NT Walk Thru Seminars. Last April I got a call from WTB asking me if I would consider going back to Delaware Country Christian School this March to teach a NT Walk. Initially I said "No." But with some coaxing ... I gave in. I had already taught four seminars at the school, beginning in 1996 and teaching every third year after that. So this year would be seminar #5 at the school.

I spent this morning at the school teaching ... and head back for another two hour slot tomorrow afternoon. After teaching for three hours today, I now know why I gave it up. I might have the passion to continue doing so ... but my "get up and go" energy has sort of "got up and gone!"  And seeing that I hit the double fives later this week - I know why!

Al…

Think on This!

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"We weren't meant to be somebody--we were meant to know Somebody."- (John Piper)

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

See  John 17:3; Jeremiah 9:23-24).

Thank God He Never Sleeps OTJ (on the job)!

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Back in the days when I attended college, a student with a little bit of financial aid a a lot of hard work could pretty much pay for his education. So during my four years of college, I usually had two jobs ... one on campus and one off. My on campus job remained the same all four years. I worked on the college security force. During my first two years I worked the graveyard shift (i.e. from 1:30 to 5:30 AM). Every hour I was required to tour the building, which took approximately 20 minutes. This was a good thing as it gave me about 40 minutes each hour to sit and study or read. However, I must admit that there were some nights that more dozing went on than actual studying! Fighting to stay awake at times took all the effort I could muster up ... which wasn't much some nights!

Just as I was hired by the college to "watch over" the campus while most everyone else was asleep, so God promises to watch over us! For example, in Psalm 145:20 we are told that "The LORD …

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are some a la carte offerings for you. Enjoy!

1. The Word of God tells us that we are not to "provoke our children to anger" (see Ephesians 6:4). Here is a list of ways of how we as parents do just that.

2. I like coffee (Java Joe!). So I tend to drink a lot of it. Recently I got to thinking, "Is this really good for me to be drinking all this coffee?" So I went on line and found this article promoting the benefits of a cup or two of java! Now I can enjoy my three cups a day guilt-free!

3. How can we answer anyone who asks us, "How do you know there is a God?"  Here is a three minute video clip of Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias answering this question during an interview with the late Dr. James Kennedy. 

4. Finally, here's a video clip concerning Richard Dawkins (one of the world's most vocal atheists) and Ray Comfort (of The Way of the Master) and the whole evolution vs. creation debate. Well worth watching!

Thanks for stopping by . .…

Bogus Faith

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Just this past Saturday, East Lampeter Police arrested Nikole C. Koreck, 24, of Langhorne, and Jules Cesar, 31, of Brooklyn, N.Y. The pair were charged with passing counterfeit $100 bills at a number of stores at Tanger Outlet. Allegedly they would pay for an item costing a few dollars with the bogus bills with the intent of receiving a large amount of change in return. The two were caught when a store clerk contacted police when she noticed the bill was a phony after the two had left the store. Police quickly located the two who were arrested and sent to Lancaster County Prison.

How did they almost get away with this scheme (police say they hit at least 16 stores)? Apparently the bills were good enough to pass the initial ink test that cashiers use. And often, when cashiers get really busy, if it passes that initial test, they move on. I am guessing that these individuals only went through long checkout lines. So the phony money they were passing along was good ... but not good enoug…

The Waste of a Good Chocolate Cream Pie?

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For those of you who know me well, you would know that given the choice between a slice of cake or a piece of pie, I would choose the pie nine times out of ten. I enjoy pie so much ... that when my birthday rolls around each year, my wife never asks me about a birthday cake ... she asks me what kind of birthday pie I would like. About the only two kinds of pie that I have met and have not thoroughly enjoyed are rhubarb and shoo-fly.

This past Saturday we conducted our annual auction to benefit our Student Ministries trip to Momentum (a large annual youth conference to be held this coming July on the campus of University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown campus). The day was a huge success. I was very much enjoying the day .... talking with people, bidding on a few items (toys for grandkids and yard help from one of the teens). We had just passed into the lunch hour and baked goods were being offered for bid. Someone suggested that a lemon pie that was being auctioned be sold with the intent o…