PJ

PJ

Friday, April 29, 2011

Stop the Gossip!

Oh the trouble that this piece of flesh that wags between our jaws can cause! And that is true within a church family! Having been in pastoral ministry for some 30 years now, I have seen many a fire started when people couldn't control their tongues! Here's what God has to say about the tongue:

"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." (James 3:5-6)  

Chuck Swindoll, in his book, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, has this to say about the tongue: "The tongue is capable of prying open more caskets, exposing more skeletons in the closet, and stirring up more choking, scandalous dust than any other tool on earth."  He then goes on to offer the following four suggestions for silencing rumor-mongers: 

1. Identify sources by name. So if someone shares something damaging about another person ask the person for their source.

2. Support the evidence with facts. Don't listen to hearsay. It's usually easy to know when someone is just passing on something they have heard (that is empty of truth).

3. Ask the person, "May I quote you?"  If you ask this, be prepared for the gossip to either turn about 35 different shades of red or begin to backpedal fast!

4. Openly admit, "I don't appreciate hearing this!"  This approach is for the strong of heart and may not be received too well. But as Swindoll points out, "it's a sure way to halt the garbage delivery to your ears!"

So ... if all of us would simply listen more and talk less. And when we do talk, refuse to be part of the gossip superhighway! Instead, follow what God has to say about our speech in Ephesians 4:29.

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Yet another Thursday ... yet another "Thursday A La Carte" offering. Enjoy!

1. Stephen Wiltshire bears the nickname, "the human camera." Here's an incredible video (5:23) that shows the reason behind his nickname.

2.  Tim Challies offers some interesting (and somewhat convicting) insights on Resisting Consumeristic Temptations.  

3. Here's a really solid (and brief) article by Ed Welch on The Secret to Dealing with Fear and Anxiety.

4. Here's a video (3:09) that brings to mind King David's words of Psalm 19:1.  Enjoy!

5. Finally .... here's a Honda commercial that I found fascinating to watch. Must have taken quite a bit of time to set up!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When an Unwelcome Visitor Comes Calling!

Alexis Dunbar of Palmetto, Florida arrived home to find a seven foot alligator in her guest bathroom! The gator entered the home through a doggie door. Apparently it had been eying up Dunbar's two cats for some time. When the alligator grew hungry enough, it followed the cats through the doggie door and into the house. Fortunately for the cats, they were able to stay out of the alligator's reach! The uninvited visitor was eventually removed by a trapper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Ouch! You talk about a downright scary moment. To walk into your house to be greeted by a seven foot hungry alligator? Just one more reason I can think of as to why I would not want to live in Florida!

As I thought about Alexis Dunbar's experience, I realized that her experience is Everyman's and Everywoman's experience. Not that we find alligators in our homes. But all of us, as we go through our routines day in and day out, will eventually encounter a situation or set of circumstances that we did not anticipate or wish for. Yet, life is like that. And when these situations crash into our lives, often knocking us to the ground - we need to reach out for the ONE who will give us the strength and the wisdom to move on. When the apostle Paul was facing unbearable stress he learned to rely on God, "who raises the dead" (see 2 Corinthians 1:8-10). This gave him and his companions the hope (the confident expectation) that God would deliver them and continue to do so!

Friends, Paul's God is the same God we serve today. Just as he delivered Paul and his friends, he will do the same for us. After all, if God can raise the dead, he can surely bring us through whatever!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Every Person Has a Life

Here's a video I posted last week ... but it had a bad link. So I thought I would just embed it for you. It is powerful! Produced by Chick-Fil-A it is a powerful reminder that there is a story behind every face you see. Enjoy!



Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Monday, April 25, 2011

Now Here's A Thought As You Start Your New Work Week!

Last week I ran across this quote from J. I. Packer's book, Knowing God. I shared it with our church staff and thought you all might enjoy it as well. It gives me goosebumps to think of God's love as Packer describes it!


“What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact that underlies it – the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands, I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him because He first knew me and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend . . .
There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery can now disillusion Him about me. “
(J. I. Packer, Knowing God)


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday!

Today is the day Christians around the world commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for us. It is called "Good" Friday because of the good that Jesus accomplished on the cross. Because He died, we can have the hope of eternal life (to find out how, click here). To help you spend some time reflecting on the cross, here is a link to a brief article on the Seven Last Words of Christ  and a link to the article, "What is Good Friday?"

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

It's time for Thursday A La Carte:

1. Here's a video produced by Chick-Fil-A that reminds us that all those nameless people around us? They all have a story. It's easy to forget that, isn't it?

2. Talk about a commercial that required quite a bit of work! Here it is!  

3. The Evangelical church has lost its way when it comes to fearing God (which is tragic considering that the Scriptures teach that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!). Here is a brief article by R.C. Sproul on what it means to fear God.

4. Jesus lives!  For a couple of blog postings on both the internal and external evidence for the resurrection of Christ - check out Justin Taylor's (of the Gospel Coalition) blog.

5. On a lighter note, here's a brief video that reminds us that the "good old days" perhaps weren't so good after all. At least, not when it comes to cell phones!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Irony of Life!

Back on the morning of April 7, 18-year-old Aaron Shawn Hill was driving to school when a pickup truck crossed the center line and slammed head-on into his Honda. Hill was declared dead at the scene. He was the only fatality in the accident. This accident may have been relegated to the back page of the local Welford, SC paper but for one thing. The portion of the highway where the crash occurred was named "Sergeant Shawn F. Hill Memorial Highway" under a resolution passed by the South Carolina General Assembly. Sgt. Hill was killed in Afghanistan in 2008. Sgt. Hill was Aaron Hill's father.

Ouch! I cannot imagine the pain Aaron's mother and family must be going through. To lose a husband and dad in 2008 and now a son and brother just three years later. And to add salt to the wound ... the fatal accident occurred on the highway named in memory of Dad! To say this was ironic would be an understatement!

As I thought some on all of this I was reminded of just how cruel life can be at times. And why is this? It's all due to the reality that we have rebelled against God our Maker. And the result of our rebellion is one very messed up world! A world where these sorts of things happen. Ugly, painful, heart-breaking stuff! This makes me yearn for heaven all the more. For in that place, God will wipe away every tear (see Revelation 21:4). We can look forward to heaven because the One who died to pay the penalty for our rebellion now lives! Because He lives - we too will live! (John 11:25-26). Are you believing in Christ?

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dancing One's Shoes Off in Celebration of Easter!

About 2000 people from Second Baptist Church got together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I love the fact that although most in the group were younger, there were also some older folks involved as well. I also loved what they did with their shoes (appropriate when you consider they titled the number, "Dance your shoes off!") Enjoy the video (about five minutes in length)!



Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Yes! It's Thursday a la carte time again. Here's today's offerings.

1. If you are currently in the midst of raising teens, you might be asking yourself, "How can I get through to them in a way that they will 'get it?'" If this is where you find yourself, you just might want to check out the following article by Ted Tripp, "Communicate with Teens."

2. Interesting interview of Tim Challies by Paula Hendricks of True Woman on issues related to technology, and specifically as they pertain to women. The interview takes about ten minutes. Well worth the time investment.

3. How much should we be giving away to those in need vs. spending on ourselves. Randy Alcorn addresses this tension in a four minute video and does it well!

4. Al Mohler discusses why Islam is so resistant to the Gospel. 

5. On a lighter note, here's a prank two Japanese girls played on a number of unsuspecting people. LOL!


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Memorize Scripture?

Yesterday I posted on the topic of "Why Read the Bible?" Today ... I want to share a bit on the need to memorize Scripture. Ever since becoming a Christian, I have been taught that memorizing Scripture is an extremely profitable practice. Verses such as Psalm 119:11 and Romans 10:17 and the account of Jesus' temptation (Matthew 4:1-11) have been pointed to as evidence that this is so. In addition to the testimony of Scripture itself (on the value of memorizing God's Word) consider the following two testimonials:

Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, wrote, “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization” (Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and Whole Person in Vocatio, Vol. 12, no. 2, Spring, 2001, p. 7).

Chuck Swindoll wrote, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified” (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], p. 61).

One of my resolutions for this year of 2011 is the following: I resolve to get to know the Word of God better to better know the God of the Word. One of the ways I am going about seeking to fulfill this goal is to memorize Scripture. And for those of you who own an iPhone or iPad (or some other similar device) I would heartily recommend an app that I have found extremely helpful. It is called FighterVerse. Through using this simple app, I have memorized more Scripture in the months of February and March then I have for a long time. I would encourage you to check it out (it only costs $1.99) ... and if you don't have a smartphone, don't let that stop you from setting up some goals for yourself to begin (or get back to) memorizing the Word of God!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why Read the Bible?

As you slowly get back into this week's routine, here's a quote from the pen of A.W. Tozer that struck a chord deep within my heart. Enjoy!

"The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts."

Tozer's words make a lot of sense when you consider that the Bible is the revelation of the person, nature, character, works and will of the God who designed us, made us and even now sustains us. Thank God for his incredible gift of this Book of books to us! 

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Sermon Jam to Start Your Week.

As you begin your work week out in your mission field, here is a sermon jam that I found to be quite challenging. I hope you do too!



Thanks for stopping by!

pj

Friday, April 8, 2011

We Say "God Answers Prayer" but Do We Really Believe It?

One story in the book of Acts (Acts 12) has always fascinated me. The story begins with King Herod on an anti-Christian crusade. He arrested many Christ followers and even had the Apostle James (brother of John) put to death. When he saw that his execution of James pleased the Jews, he ordered the arrest of the Apostle Peter.

As Peter languished in jail, wondering if he was on death row, the church "was earnestly praying to God for him."  Now as I put myself in the sandals of those first century believers who were praying for Peter, I can't help but think I am praying for his release. The fledgling church had just suffered the loss of one of it's pillars (the Apostle James). Another loss of such magnitude would be a difficult blow to take. So ... bottom line ... I am convinced that the church was asking God, pleading with God, to free Peter.

God answered this prayer. In the middle of the night, through the work of an angel, Peter was miraculously set free! After Peter was led out of the prison by his angelic deliverer, it took him a few moments to realize he was not dreaming! When he did, he made a bee line for the home of Mary, the mother of Mark (author of the gospel by his name). He knew he would find Christians there praying for him. When he knocked on the door, a servant girl by the name of Rhoda was so excited to hear his voice, she forgot to let him in! Instead, she ran to tell the others. Their response? "You're out of your mind!" But when Rhoda kept insisting Peter was indeed at the door, they told her, "It must be his angel!"  While this back and forth was going on, Peter was at the door, continuing to knock (I am guessing he wanted to get out of sight before Herod's soldiers came looking for him). Finally, the group heard his knocking and opened the door. When they saw Peter, "they were astonished."

Now, as I think of how this group of believers responded, I want to point a finger at them and say, "Look. Why were you so surprised? Isn't this what you were praying for? Peter's release?"  Granted, the manner of his release was certainly miraculous. But the point is ... God heard their prayers and responded to their prayers! This is what he promises to do!

I wonder. How often do we pray as these early believers prayed ... and when God answers, we are astonished just as they were? Perhaps a better response to answered prayer would be to praise God for the faithfulness to his promises and rejoice in the grace he showers upon us when he does answer! IF we are to be amazed at anything ... let it be that we, as sinful human beings, can have such an intimate relationship with the God who made us and against whom we sinned. Wow! That's something to be astonished about!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday A La Carte


Today is, once again, Thursday (and therefore, a la carte day!). 

1. Here's a prayer about finishing well in the Gospel. A good read ... and a better pray!

2.  If you ever struggle to really believe deep down inside that the God who made and rules the universe loves you, you may just want to read what blogger Bob Glenn has to say in his post, "Do you struggle to believe God loves you?"

3. Someone set me the following link to a remarkable video on the recent Japanese tsunami. I was amazed at how the water kept coming and coming and coming. It brought to my mind the coming wrath of God. One day, when God pours out His wrath upon sinful humanity, people will seek to hide from God's wrath (Revelation 6:15-17) but will not be able to do so. Quite sobering!

4. Here is a look at the our economic problems from Calvin and Hobbes. Laughable, yet though provoking!

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

pj

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Motivation to Pray ... and to Pray MORE!

 I ran across the following "sermon jam" (brings sermons and music together) on prayer. I found it to be be a fascinating view! I trust you will be encouraged, motivated, convicted by it! 



Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just Too Many Mosquitoes!

Here's a bit of trivia for you: Do you know how many mosquitoes there are in the world per person (Keep in mind that there are almost 7 billion people on our planet)? 100?  1000? 10,000?  Nope! There are a whopping 144,000 of these blood-sucking insects for every man, woman and child on earth! That's more than "one-too-many" of these nagging pests!

Now when it comes to the difficulties that we must face in life, mosquitoes, as irritating as they can be at times, they can be managed. But what of those much larger troubles that come our way? How do we handle them? And, if we are going to truly love our neighbor as we love ourselves, how do we help others to endure the tough times?  Much too often, we tend to avoid those who are suffering. Why? Because we just don't know what to say ... or we are afraid of saying the wrong thing. If this is true of you, let me suggest you take a minute or two to read an excellent article by Ed Welch titled, "What not to say to those who are suffering." It's a good read!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Delay of Spring

It's Tuesday, March 29th at 12:48 pm as I write this posting. It's currently 40 degrees outside and forecast to peak in the mid 40's. Typically on this date we should be peaking in the mid 50's. With the exception of a couple of days two weeks ago ... we have been averaging much below normal when it comes to our daily temperatures. And I see snow in the forecast for Friday April 1st (Is this come cruel April Fool's Day joke?). I can't speak for you but I can speak for myself. "Please, Lord, send some weather to match the season!"

Now I must admit that I have grumbled more than once today about the weather. But then I got to thinking about the people in Japan. Especially the several hundred thousand that are still in evacuation centers. Many of these have no realistic hope of ever returning home ... if they even have a home still standing. In light of that kind of suffering, what's a few colder than normal days? Really - NO BIG DEAL! At least I can go home and walk into my nice warm house and sleep tonight in my nice warm bed! 

Friends, thankfulness is something that all of us need to be intentionally cultivating in our lives. It is so easy to focus on what we do not have (warm spring breezes) and lose sight of what we do have (homes, clothing, food, clean water, and most importantly - hope in Jesus Christ!). Psalm 100 stresses the importance of a thankful spirit. Take a moment and reflect on its words. Then take some time and thank God for the many ways he has blessed you!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, April 29, 2011

Stop the Gossip!

Oh the trouble that this piece of flesh that wags between our jaws can cause! And that is true within a church family! Having been in pastoral ministry for some 30 years now, I have seen many a fire started when people couldn't control their tongues! Here's what God has to say about the tongue:

"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." (James 3:5-6)  

Chuck Swindoll, in his book, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, has this to say about the tongue: "The tongue is capable of prying open more caskets, exposing more skeletons in the closet, and stirring up more choking, scandalous dust than any other tool on earth."  He then goes on to offer the following four suggestions for silencing rumor-mongers: 

1. Identify sources by name. So if someone shares something damaging about another person ask the person for their source.

2. Support the evidence with facts. Don't listen to hearsay. It's usually easy to know when someone is just passing on something they have heard (that is empty of truth).

3. Ask the person, "May I quote you?"  If you ask this, be prepared for the gossip to either turn about 35 different shades of red or begin to backpedal fast!

4. Openly admit, "I don't appreciate hearing this!"  This approach is for the strong of heart and may not be received too well. But as Swindoll points out, "it's a sure way to halt the garbage delivery to your ears!"

So ... if all of us would simply listen more and talk less. And when we do talk, refuse to be part of the gossip superhighway! Instead, follow what God has to say about our speech in Ephesians 4:29.

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Yet another Thursday ... yet another "Thursday A La Carte" offering. Enjoy!

1. Stephen Wiltshire bears the nickname, "the human camera." Here's an incredible video (5:23) that shows the reason behind his nickname.

2.  Tim Challies offers some interesting (and somewhat convicting) insights on Resisting Consumeristic Temptations.  

3. Here's a really solid (and brief) article by Ed Welch on The Secret to Dealing with Fear and Anxiety.

4. Here's a video (3:09) that brings to mind King David's words of Psalm 19:1.  Enjoy!

5. Finally .... here's a Honda commercial that I found fascinating to watch. Must have taken quite a bit of time to set up!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When an Unwelcome Visitor Comes Calling!

Alexis Dunbar of Palmetto, Florida arrived home to find a seven foot alligator in her guest bathroom! The gator entered the home through a doggie door. Apparently it had been eying up Dunbar's two cats for some time. When the alligator grew hungry enough, it followed the cats through the doggie door and into the house. Fortunately for the cats, they were able to stay out of the alligator's reach! The uninvited visitor was eventually removed by a trapper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Ouch! You talk about a downright scary moment. To walk into your house to be greeted by a seven foot hungry alligator? Just one more reason I can think of as to why I would not want to live in Florida!

As I thought about Alexis Dunbar's experience, I realized that her experience is Everyman's and Everywoman's experience. Not that we find alligators in our homes. But all of us, as we go through our routines day in and day out, will eventually encounter a situation or set of circumstances that we did not anticipate or wish for. Yet, life is like that. And when these situations crash into our lives, often knocking us to the ground - we need to reach out for the ONE who will give us the strength and the wisdom to move on. When the apostle Paul was facing unbearable stress he learned to rely on God, "who raises the dead" (see 2 Corinthians 1:8-10). This gave him and his companions the hope (the confident expectation) that God would deliver them and continue to do so!

Friends, Paul's God is the same God we serve today. Just as he delivered Paul and his friends, he will do the same for us. After all, if God can raise the dead, he can surely bring us through whatever!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Every Person Has a Life

Here's a video I posted last week ... but it had a bad link. So I thought I would just embed it for you. It is powerful! Produced by Chick-Fil-A it is a powerful reminder that there is a story behind every face you see. Enjoy!



Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Monday, April 25, 2011

Now Here's A Thought As You Start Your New Work Week!

Last week I ran across this quote from J. I. Packer's book, Knowing God. I shared it with our church staff and thought you all might enjoy it as well. It gives me goosebumps to think of God's love as Packer describes it!


“What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact that underlies it – the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands, I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him because He first knew me and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend . . .
There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery can now disillusion Him about me. “
(J. I. Packer, Knowing God)


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday!

Today is the day Christians around the world commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for us. It is called "Good" Friday because of the good that Jesus accomplished on the cross. Because He died, we can have the hope of eternal life (to find out how, click here). To help you spend some time reflecting on the cross, here is a link to a brief article on the Seven Last Words of Christ  and a link to the article, "What is Good Friday?"

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

It's time for Thursday A La Carte:

1. Here's a video produced by Chick-Fil-A that reminds us that all those nameless people around us? They all have a story. It's easy to forget that, isn't it?

2. Talk about a commercial that required quite a bit of work! Here it is!  

3. The Evangelical church has lost its way when it comes to fearing God (which is tragic considering that the Scriptures teach that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!). Here is a brief article by R.C. Sproul on what it means to fear God.

4. Jesus lives!  For a couple of blog postings on both the internal and external evidence for the resurrection of Christ - check out Justin Taylor's (of the Gospel Coalition) blog.

5. On a lighter note, here's a brief video that reminds us that the "good old days" perhaps weren't so good after all. At least, not when it comes to cell phones!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Irony of Life!

Back on the morning of April 7, 18-year-old Aaron Shawn Hill was driving to school when a pickup truck crossed the center line and slammed head-on into his Honda. Hill was declared dead at the scene. He was the only fatality in the accident. This accident may have been relegated to the back page of the local Welford, SC paper but for one thing. The portion of the highway where the crash occurred was named "Sergeant Shawn F. Hill Memorial Highway" under a resolution passed by the South Carolina General Assembly. Sgt. Hill was killed in Afghanistan in 2008. Sgt. Hill was Aaron Hill's father.

Ouch! I cannot imagine the pain Aaron's mother and family must be going through. To lose a husband and dad in 2008 and now a son and brother just three years later. And to add salt to the wound ... the fatal accident occurred on the highway named in memory of Dad! To say this was ironic would be an understatement!

As I thought some on all of this I was reminded of just how cruel life can be at times. And why is this? It's all due to the reality that we have rebelled against God our Maker. And the result of our rebellion is one very messed up world! A world where these sorts of things happen. Ugly, painful, heart-breaking stuff! This makes me yearn for heaven all the more. For in that place, God will wipe away every tear (see Revelation 21:4). We can look forward to heaven because the One who died to pay the penalty for our rebellion now lives! Because He lives - we too will live! (John 11:25-26). Are you believing in Christ?

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dancing One's Shoes Off in Celebration of Easter!

About 2000 people from Second Baptist Church got together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I love the fact that although most in the group were younger, there were also some older folks involved as well. I also loved what they did with their shoes (appropriate when you consider they titled the number, "Dance your shoes off!") Enjoy the video (about five minutes in length)!



Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Yes! It's Thursday a la carte time again. Here's today's offerings.

1. If you are currently in the midst of raising teens, you might be asking yourself, "How can I get through to them in a way that they will 'get it?'" If this is where you find yourself, you just might want to check out the following article by Ted Tripp, "Communicate with Teens."

2. Interesting interview of Tim Challies by Paula Hendricks of True Woman on issues related to technology, and specifically as they pertain to women. The interview takes about ten minutes. Well worth the time investment.

3. How much should we be giving away to those in need vs. spending on ourselves. Randy Alcorn addresses this tension in a four minute video and does it well!

4. Al Mohler discusses why Islam is so resistant to the Gospel. 

5. On a lighter note, here's a prank two Japanese girls played on a number of unsuspecting people. LOL!


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Memorize Scripture?

Yesterday I posted on the topic of "Why Read the Bible?" Today ... I want to share a bit on the need to memorize Scripture. Ever since becoming a Christian, I have been taught that memorizing Scripture is an extremely profitable practice. Verses such as Psalm 119:11 and Romans 10:17 and the account of Jesus' temptation (Matthew 4:1-11) have been pointed to as evidence that this is so. In addition to the testimony of Scripture itself (on the value of memorizing God's Word) consider the following two testimonials:

Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, wrote, “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization” (Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and Whole Person in Vocatio, Vol. 12, no. 2, Spring, 2001, p. 7).

Chuck Swindoll wrote, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified” (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], p. 61).

One of my resolutions for this year of 2011 is the following: I resolve to get to know the Word of God better to better know the God of the Word. One of the ways I am going about seeking to fulfill this goal is to memorize Scripture. And for those of you who own an iPhone or iPad (or some other similar device) I would heartily recommend an app that I have found extremely helpful. It is called FighterVerse. Through using this simple app, I have memorized more Scripture in the months of February and March then I have for a long time. I would encourage you to check it out (it only costs $1.99) ... and if you don't have a smartphone, don't let that stop you from setting up some goals for yourself to begin (or get back to) memorizing the Word of God!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why Read the Bible?

As you slowly get back into this week's routine, here's a quote from the pen of A.W. Tozer that struck a chord deep within my heart. Enjoy!

"The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts."

Tozer's words make a lot of sense when you consider that the Bible is the revelation of the person, nature, character, works and will of the God who designed us, made us and even now sustains us. Thank God for his incredible gift of this Book of books to us! 

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Sermon Jam to Start Your Week.

As you begin your work week out in your mission field, here is a sermon jam that I found to be quite challenging. I hope you do too!



Thanks for stopping by!

pj

Friday, April 8, 2011

We Say "God Answers Prayer" but Do We Really Believe It?

One story in the book of Acts (Acts 12) has always fascinated me. The story begins with King Herod on an anti-Christian crusade. He arrested many Christ followers and even had the Apostle James (brother of John) put to death. When he saw that his execution of James pleased the Jews, he ordered the arrest of the Apostle Peter.

As Peter languished in jail, wondering if he was on death row, the church "was earnestly praying to God for him."  Now as I put myself in the sandals of those first century believers who were praying for Peter, I can't help but think I am praying for his release. The fledgling church had just suffered the loss of one of it's pillars (the Apostle James). Another loss of such magnitude would be a difficult blow to take. So ... bottom line ... I am convinced that the church was asking God, pleading with God, to free Peter.

God answered this prayer. In the middle of the night, through the work of an angel, Peter was miraculously set free! After Peter was led out of the prison by his angelic deliverer, it took him a few moments to realize he was not dreaming! When he did, he made a bee line for the home of Mary, the mother of Mark (author of the gospel by his name). He knew he would find Christians there praying for him. When he knocked on the door, a servant girl by the name of Rhoda was so excited to hear his voice, she forgot to let him in! Instead, she ran to tell the others. Their response? "You're out of your mind!" But when Rhoda kept insisting Peter was indeed at the door, they told her, "It must be his angel!"  While this back and forth was going on, Peter was at the door, continuing to knock (I am guessing he wanted to get out of sight before Herod's soldiers came looking for him). Finally, the group heard his knocking and opened the door. When they saw Peter, "they were astonished."

Now, as I think of how this group of believers responded, I want to point a finger at them and say, "Look. Why were you so surprised? Isn't this what you were praying for? Peter's release?"  Granted, the manner of his release was certainly miraculous. But the point is ... God heard their prayers and responded to their prayers! This is what he promises to do!

I wonder. How often do we pray as these early believers prayed ... and when God answers, we are astonished just as they were? Perhaps a better response to answered prayer would be to praise God for the faithfulness to his promises and rejoice in the grace he showers upon us when he does answer! IF we are to be amazed at anything ... let it be that we, as sinful human beings, can have such an intimate relationship with the God who made us and against whom we sinned. Wow! That's something to be astonished about!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday A La Carte


Today is, once again, Thursday (and therefore, a la carte day!). 

1. Here's a prayer about finishing well in the Gospel. A good read ... and a better pray!

2.  If you ever struggle to really believe deep down inside that the God who made and rules the universe loves you, you may just want to read what blogger Bob Glenn has to say in his post, "Do you struggle to believe God loves you?"

3. Someone set me the following link to a remarkable video on the recent Japanese tsunami. I was amazed at how the water kept coming and coming and coming. It brought to my mind the coming wrath of God. One day, when God pours out His wrath upon sinful humanity, people will seek to hide from God's wrath (Revelation 6:15-17) but will not be able to do so. Quite sobering!

4. Here is a look at the our economic problems from Calvin and Hobbes. Laughable, yet though provoking!

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

pj

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Motivation to Pray ... and to Pray MORE!

 I ran across the following "sermon jam" (brings sermons and music together) on prayer. I found it to be be a fascinating view! I trust you will be encouraged, motivated, convicted by it! 



Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just Too Many Mosquitoes!

Here's a bit of trivia for you: Do you know how many mosquitoes there are in the world per person (Keep in mind that there are almost 7 billion people on our planet)? 100?  1000? 10,000?  Nope! There are a whopping 144,000 of these blood-sucking insects for every man, woman and child on earth! That's more than "one-too-many" of these nagging pests!

Now when it comes to the difficulties that we must face in life, mosquitoes, as irritating as they can be at times, they can be managed. But what of those much larger troubles that come our way? How do we handle them? And, if we are going to truly love our neighbor as we love ourselves, how do we help others to endure the tough times?  Much too often, we tend to avoid those who are suffering. Why? Because we just don't know what to say ... or we are afraid of saying the wrong thing. If this is true of you, let me suggest you take a minute or two to read an excellent article by Ed Welch titled, "What not to say to those who are suffering." It's a good read!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Delay of Spring

It's Tuesday, March 29th at 12:48 pm as I write this posting. It's currently 40 degrees outside and forecast to peak in the mid 40's. Typically on this date we should be peaking in the mid 50's. With the exception of a couple of days two weeks ago ... we have been averaging much below normal when it comes to our daily temperatures. And I see snow in the forecast for Friday April 1st (Is this come cruel April Fool's Day joke?). I can't speak for you but I can speak for myself. "Please, Lord, send some weather to match the season!"

Now I must admit that I have grumbled more than once today about the weather. But then I got to thinking about the people in Japan. Especially the several hundred thousand that are still in evacuation centers. Many of these have no realistic hope of ever returning home ... if they even have a home still standing. In light of that kind of suffering, what's a few colder than normal days? Really - NO BIG DEAL! At least I can go home and walk into my nice warm house and sleep tonight in my nice warm bed! 

Friends, thankfulness is something that all of us need to be intentionally cultivating in our lives. It is so easy to focus on what we do not have (warm spring breezes) and lose sight of what we do have (homes, clothing, food, clean water, and most importantly - hope in Jesus Christ!). Psalm 100 stresses the importance of a thankful spirit. Take a moment and reflect on its words. Then take some time and thank God for the many ways he has blessed you!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Are You Preparing for Eternity?

Our journey on earth is but a breath ... a heart beat when compared to the expanse of Eternity. We all must remember that how we live live in the here and now will impact our experience in the then and there.

Thoughts on how biblical truth impacts all of life.