PJ

PJ

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh Summer, Where Did You Go?

When I glanced at my calendar this morning, I had to take a second look to be sure I saw the correct date. Yep. What I thought I saw was correct. Today is the final day of August. September begins in just over 12 hours. Where did the summer go?  It seems like it was just yesterday when I turned the calendar to reveal the month of June. Now ... very soon ... I will be doing the same to reveal September.

I don't know about you, but I happen to love summer. Even the hot, humid days don't get to me. I just love to get outdoors ... be outdoors ... no matter the activity. Now with the onset of September, I realize my "outdoor" time will soon be over. Christmas is now less than four months away.

Even though I am a bit disappointed about how quickly the summer "flew" by, I am not surprised. God tells us in James that we are "like a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:14). Hmm. My life is no more than a puff of steam pouring out of a boiling tea pot. Here one moment, gone the next! This is the picture James 4:14 uses to portray our lives. So true. Life is brief. Life moves quickly. Given this reality about our lives, we must beware of wasting our lives (as so many in culture do, engaging in the popular "game" of trivial pursuit). Instead, we must make the most of our time, giving our utmost for God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 5:15-16)!

So . . . how about YOU? As your life races by, are you making the most of your opportunities, striving to live for the glory of God's name, the advancement of HIS kingdom and the accomplishment of HIS will?

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Memory from a Trip to India

Initially posted on March 8, 2006 after my first trip to India and Children's Fellowship of India

Dr. Gouday


I met many interesting people while in India.  One of which was Dr. Gouday. Every time I would see him, Dr. Gouday would say, “Every day is a good day!”  This grey haired and frail man was, in his prime, the leading leprosy surgeon in central India. Because of his work, he was held in high esteem by his fellow Indians. 

On the last day of the Bible conference at which I was teaching, one of my teammates and I took a seat in the rear of the pavilion. I was surprised to see Dr. Gouday sitting to my left. He looked at me and said, “Every day is a good day!” (I liked the guy’s optimism, but I wondered if he ever had a BAD day). He then went on to tell me that the previous evening at the conference, a woman was bitten by a scorpion. They rushed her to his home where he administered an antidote and she was fine. I asked him if scorpion bites ever proved fatal and he told me “Of course.” Gulp. When my teammate and I heard that, we began watching where we stepped.We did not want to die of a scorpion bite on the far side of the world!

Just as our respect for scorpions grew with Dr. Gouday’s story, so our respect for sin should grow as we read what the Bible has to say about it. Sin is an evil that God hates.And it has a deadly capability to destroy lives. Yet, all too often we dabble with it, toy with it, and bottom line, fail to take it seriously. Friends, beware of sin. Stay as far away from it as possible. Listen to what God tells us.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” (Romans 6:11-12);  “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God..” (2 Corinthians 7:1); “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11). Let’s commit to be on the alert for sin and when we see it coming our way, run the other way! And if we do get bitten by it (and this will only happen if WE choose to allow it!), let’s be quick to repent and confess it to God, knowing that “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Monday, August 29, 2011

Steve Jobs and the Life to Come

Steve Jobs, the man who did the most to forge Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world, announced his resignation from the company last week. After battling pancreatic cancer for several years,  the Apple co-founder has finally acknowledged that he can no longer do the job .... and that the inevitable is fast approaching: death. In the face of this resignation, a number of articles have hit newstands and the web. One of which appears in Esquire and is titled, "Steve Jobs is Dying for Us All."  Michael

Horton, Christian author and blogger (The White Horse Inn Blog) offers some insightful thoughts on the idea of Steve Jobs dying for us all ... 



"Steve Jobs can’t really die for us. In fact, he is, like us all, a prisoner of sin and death. We may have better machines, but we will never emancipate ourselves from sin—and its penalty of death. By affirming death, Jobs proves himself not to be a very orthodox Buddhist. Now, we hope and pray, he will embrace the only solution. This gospel not only saves us from our sins; it saves us from the feverish and ineffectual striving to make something of ourselves, to be something, to become immortal at least in our legacy. Now, we can fulfill our callings—whatever their cultural magnitude—simply out of gratitude to God and love for our neighbors.

It’s not just that our erotic attachment to technology can’t deliver on its transcendent promises, but that even if it could, it wouldn’t really matter. We cannot escape our creaturely finitude—or our sin and death—by our own works or through our own gadgets. It has to come to us from outside, through the creaturely means employed by the Triune God. Cultural progress is great, but “salvation is of the LORD” (Jon 2:9). Death trumps the noblest achievements of our most exceptional neighbors. Even Junod concludes, “We hope and we dream; maybe we even change the world by getting people to hope and dream that the iPhone 5 will come out in September. But we don’t get to choose much of anything, in the end. We succumb.” However, for those who trust in Christ, death does not have the last word. Why? Because God loves this world he created—the real world of real people and real communities and real death and real redemption—more than we do."

Well said, Michael Horton!  

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Lesson from The Family Circus


I don’t know about you, but I love the cartoon family of Bill Keane.  Perhaps it is because his “keane” sense of humor is just as keen as mine! :)   In a one of his "so-true-to-life" cartoons, little Billy and his younger brother are watching squirrels scampering about gathering acorns from the ground.  Billy says to his brother, Look at those squirrels.  They’re real busy and they have nuttin’ to do!”

How many of us are real busy doing “nuttin?”  We scurry from one activity to the next while accomplishing little if anything for God and His Kingdom. I encourage you to take some time out and evaluate your life.  Time is too valuable a resource to waste.  Let’s seize the moment and live it Jesus! Before your time of evaluation pray these words: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). 

Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)!                         

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Welcome to my a la carte offerings for today. My hope is you will find something among these links that will help you in your faith journey with Christ!

1. Tim Challies, quoting much from the writings of A.W. Tozer, writes about our need to regain the church's once lofty view of our majestic God.

2. Whether you teach children in a classroom or your living room, here is a great list containing ten tips for teaching young children about God!

3. Ed Welch of CCEF talks about how to talk to God in this brief article.

4. The Freshman 15 - this often refers to the fifteen pounds an incoming college freshman tends to put on during his or her first semester. Jeff Brewer offers his own list of 15 ways incoming freshman can glorify God as they begin their college career. If you know a college freshman ... send them the list. It's good stuff!!

5. On a lighter note .... if you have ever struggled to learn to speak a second language - you will enjoy this clip from actor Steve Martin as the Pink Panther. 


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Want or I Need?

One of the many lessons that we are trying to teach our two year old granddaughter is the difference between wanting something or needing something (good luck, eh?!). Often while in a store, Ella will see something and say, "I need             "(pretzel, ball, ice cream, etc.). So we then respond in an attempt to help her distinguish between wanting and needing. At this point, I am not sure how much she is getting the distinction. But then again, I know many adults who do not understand the difference.

Given this highly consumeristic society in which we live, I am not surprised that people confuse "wants" with "needs." After all, every single commercial we see on television is designed to get us to spend money we don't have to buy something we don't need to impress people we don't like. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must learn to say "No!" to these enticements, and instead learn to be content with what God provides for us (Philippians 4:12-13). God has promised to meet all of our NEEDS (Philippians 4:19) not necessarily all of our wants.

So how are YOU doing with this? Have you learned to be content? Or are you always wanting just a little bit more?

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

FREEEEDOM!

706 years ago today (back in 1305), Scottish leader and national hero, William Wallace, was executed in London. Now the name William Wallace might not mean a lot to you ... but let me give you a hint: Mel Gibson. For it was Mel Gibson's portrayal of Wallace in the film, Braveheart, that introduced this Scotsman to our generation. 


The story of Wallace is a story of an underdog leading a bunch of other underdogs in a fight against a tyrannical and superior oppressor (in this case, the English King Edward I). Although Wallace led the Scots in several stunning victories, he eventually was captured and brutally executed. But his death did not end Scotland's desire to oppose English rule ... and Scotland went on to maintain its independence. 


The closing scene of the film is quite striking ... and sums up the passion of Wallace (at least as portrayed in the movie). As he is being tortured .... and on the doorstep of death .... with perhaps his dying breath -- he summons up his last bits of energy and screams out the word, "FREEEEEEDOM!"  Freedom is what he lived for, fought for and ultimately died for. In this way, Wallace reminds me of another man whose life on this earth was cut short by suffering a violent death. Of course, I am thinking of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to set mankind free. Free from a tyrannical oppressor. Free from a cruel bondage. 


Jesus makes reference to this freedom in the eighth chapter of the gospel of John. There he tells his listeners, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  


How about YOU? Have you experienced this freedom that Jesus talks about here? Or are  you still in bondage to your sin? True freedom comes from embracing the gospel! I hope and pray that if you have not done so ... that you will do so today! Remember ... there are two ways to live - and you have to choose one of them! Only one of these leads to true FREEDOM! 


Thanks for stopping by . . . 


pj

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rain and the Word of God!

Robert Lee, Texas, population 1,171 was chosen in 1891 as the county seat for Coke County because of its plentiful water supply. Ironically, today the town's water supply could hardly be called "plentiful." The town's primary water source, Lake E.V.Spence normally covers some 22 square miles. Today, as the result of a severe drought facing this part of Texas (the worst since the 1950's), the lake looks more like a large mud hole than a lake. People here are praying .... and they are praying above all for rain (and after a month of 100 degree temperatures and less than an inch of rain ... they could use a couple of weeks of rain)!

Given the extreme drought facing this community in the Lone Star state, none of us are surprised to hear that the community of Robert Lee is praying and praying hard for rain. Rain is life-giving. Without an adequate supply, crops wither, soil hardens and life as we know it simply cannon survive (think Sahara Desert). Just as the earth needs rain ... so we as followers of Jesus Christ need "spiritual rain." In Isaiah 55:10-11, God likens His Word to rain:

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. "


Every time you pick up the Bible and read it .... God says that His Word will not return to him empty, but he will use the Scripture in our lives to accomplish his purposes. Hmm. This brings a couple of questions to my mind:

1. How many of us (myself included), when we experience drought-like times in our spiritual lives, suffer these because we are not in the Scriptures on a regular (and by that I mean DAILY) basis?  Failure to read and meditate on the Word of God will short circuit the work God desires to do in our lives.

2. When I do open my Bible and spend time in it, do I keep in mind that what I am reading is not merely the words of human authors, but a divine author? Therefore do I view it as the ultimate authority in my life for what I believe and practice? Do I seek to "hear" God's Word and then put it into practice (see Matthew 7:24-27)?

Please take a moment or two to reflect on these questions ... and then make any necessary changes! "O God, rain on us!"

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Thursday a la carte time ....

1. David P. Murray wrote an excellent book on depression titled, Christians Get Depressed Too. Here is the author discussing depression (3:34).

2. Many want to run the church as a business. But is the church really a business? Here is an interesting take on this question.

3. Do little ones who die go to heaven? This is a question that weighs heavily on any parent who has lost a young child or experienced a miscarriage. Al Mohler offers some solid biblical insight. 


4. And finally .... a "tongue-in-cheek" take on small groups ....

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's About Time!

Recently I was talking to a grandma who shared a really cute story involving her little 4 or 5 year old granddaughter. They had just spend a week at the beach together. As they were packing up to head home, the little granddaughter looked at her grandma and said, "Grandma, when we come down to the beach next year, I am NOT going to have any fun." This statement really surprised the grandmother, as she had seen her granddaughter having a wonderful time! So she look at the little girl and asked, "And why not?" "Becuause," her granddaughter replied, "when I have fun the time goes by too fast!"  I certainly can understand where this little one is coming from! Vacation Standard Time moves at least twice as fast as Routine Standard Time! Agree?

There is coming a time, however, when it will not matter how fast time passes - for we will have an endless amount of it!  Of course, I am talking about heaven. And heaven is something we need to think about from time to time! In fact, it is something that we should be thinking about a lot (see Colossians 3:1-2)! For more on this rather important spiritual practice, check out this article by Donald Whitney, Think Much About Heaven.

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Date with Dad

Sitting on my window sill in my office at church is an array of photos. One of them features me and my oldest daughter when she was about three or four years old (so we are talking some 28 years ago!) The picture means a lot to me (and it's not because it is proof that I one day had hair!). It is special because it was taken on our Emily's first official date with Daddy. Our date night was a trip to the movies to see the Disney animated classic, Pinocchio.  As most of you know, the film is all about a wooden puppet who longs to become a real human boy.  In his journey toward his dream, a huge flaw is revealed.  Pinocchio has a problem telling the truth.  And every time he lies, his nose grows!

As I thought of that, I tried to imagine what our world would be like if that really happened.  I mean, could you imagine if every time we told a lie, our noses would grow?  None of us could probably drive our cars because we would not be able to sit in the driver’s seat to drive our car – our noses would be too long!!!  (Jimmy Durante – move aside!)

We find it so easy to stretch the truth, distort the truth, or downright contradict the truth.  We know it’s wrong (for the most part) so we have developed a lingo that softens the harshness of lying.  We say things like “Oh, I was only fibbing.”  Or, “That was just a white lie.”  But God has a different perspective on lying.  Are you ready for this?  In Proverbs 12:22 we read that “The LORD detests lying lips.”  Hmmm . . . that word “detests” is an awfully strong word.  It means “to feel intense hatred for.”  So God intensely hates lying – no matter what nice little name we might have for it!  What God loves is truth telling!  The second half of Proverbs 12:22 reads, “But he delights in men who are truthful.”  Let’s determine that today . . . and tomorrow . . . and the next day – we will be men and women who tell the truth, both in word and deed!  For when we do this, the God who made us delights in us!  Now there’s a thought for you!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

PS - Much of the content of this posting was taken from a 2007 posting.  I figured if it was worth posting then ... it is surely worth posting again!  Thanks!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Gospel of Power

Charles Spurgeon is known as the prince of preachers for a good reason. This 17th century British pastor has left the largest written record of sermons of any pastor of any time or place. His morning and evening devotional books are still being read at the beginning and close of each day. And many of today's pastors have read his classic, Lectures to My Students (I had to read it for a class in college). 


As you start your work week, I thought I would give you a Spurgeon quote to chew on. 

"The Gospel does not need defending. If Jesus Christ is not alive and cannot fight His own battles, then Christianity is in a bad state. But He is alive and we have only to preach His gospel in all its simplicity, and the power that goes with it will be evidence of its divinity." (See Romans 1:16)

Have a great week ... and thanks for stopping. . . 

pj

Friday, August 12, 2011

Go, Send or Disobey!

If you have the time (about 6 minutes) this video is well worth your time to watch. Far too many of us get far too comfortable and we forget the mandate of Jesus to "make disciples of all the nations." May God forgive us ... and may we become more intentional in doing our part in this great endeavor to get the GOOD NEWS to the peoples of the world!






Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Another Thursday, another a la carte offering .... enjoy!

1. Here is an interesting video (2:20) produced by the Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. The video is simply titled, "Stethoscope." 

2. Another brief video (2:36), "Evolution Refuted."  From the gang at "Answers in Genesis."

3. Kevin DeYoung gives us three powerful life lessons from the lives of two kings of Judah in this brief devotional. 


4. Safety is something we are all about in our society. Almost to a point where I sometimes wonder if we are worshiping at the altar of the Safety God. For a biblical perspective on this issue of safety, check out this brief blog posting by Cornelius Van Kempen.

5. On the lighter side . . . you may have already seen this. I am not quite sure what to think of this pastor's prayer ... just to say I couldn't see myself praying it!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Blast from the Past

Last evening, my wife and I spent some time viewing music video from the 1960's. Sharon knew far more of the words to these songs then I did, but that did not diminish the fun I had in reliving the "oldies!" One of the artists that we listened to was Lesley Gore. Gore (born Lesley Sue Goldstein; May 2, 1946) is an American Singer of the "girl group era". She is perhaps best known for her 1963 pop hit "It's My Party", which she recorded at the age of 16. Following the hit, she became one of the most recognized teen pop singers of the 1960s.


Another of her better known songs is the song, "You Don't Own Me!" She sings the song from the perspective of a girl forbidding her boyfriend from controlling her. As I watched her sing and listened to the words, I could not help but think that the song is something that fallen, sinful, rebellious man could (and in fact, does) sing to the God who made him. Take a moment and watch the video ... I think you will see just what I mean. And keep in mind that since we are "a work in progress," we still have this tendency with us. Which should concern us given the words of Isaiah 57:15: "For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." 






Sound familiar?????????????


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Promise!

When Jesus was teaching his disciples in the upper room the evening before his death (John 14-17), one of the themes of his teaching was the Holy Spirit. Early in his "message," Jesus makes a promise to ask the Father to send to them "the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16-17). Then, toward the end of his teaching he makes this rather astonishing claim, "But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away." How could it be a good thing for the disciples that their Master was leaving them?  Jesus explains in the remainder of the verse, "Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you" (John 16:7). So it was good for the disciples that Jesus left. For if he had not, they would not have received the Spirit. And just why is that of such importance? 

Bruce Ware, in his book, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance answers that question with some great insight:  

"Not only does the Spirit reveal and inspire the word of Christ, and empower the proclamation of the gospel of Christ, and regenerate sinners to behold the beauty of Christ, and lead us to place our hope and faith in Christ, the Spirit also works mightily in us to conform us more and more into the likeness of Christ."

Wow! Given the ministry of the Holy Spirit (as summed up by Ware), we are indeed blessed to be recipients of this promise! Have you thanked the Father and Son lately for sending us the Spirit? 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

pj

Monday, August 8, 2011

How Thirsty Are You?

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) was a Puritan theologian, pastor, and devout Calvinist and was the most significant American churchman of the 18th century. Said to be one of America's greatest preachers, he was a leading figure in the (first) Great Awakening (source: Theopedia; An Encyclopedia of Biblical Christianity).

I have had the opportunity to read a small portion of the writings that Edwards has left behind - and his words have always made me think. As you start your work week, here is one of those quotes. I hope it gets you thinking, too!

"So holy desire, exercised in longings, hungerings, and thirstings after God and holiness, is often mentioned in Scripture as an important part of true religion." (Jonathan Edwards)

So ... the question for all of us is ... "How hungry ... how thirsty am I for God and the things of God?"  If the answer is "Not much," then there is something wrong. Either there is some undealt-with sin in our life, or we do not really have true faith.  Either case can be solved by coming to God through Christ and finding the forgiveness that only HE can offer.

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Friday, August 5, 2011

Prayer Help!

In one of the better (I think!) books on prayer to be published in the last five years, co-authors J.I Packer and Carol Nystrom launch their book, Praying: Finding Our Way from Duty to Delight, with the following words:

"At the opening of this book, we invite our readers to pause a moment to ask yourselves honestly how you got on in prayer this week or first thing this morning. Our guess is that most of our readers are like us; we want to get things right, but we are more than a little embarrassed to admit how far-reaching are the problems we have in praying. We all need to pray, and we know it. We are told to pray, and we do not argue against doing so. In our  hearts we all want to pray, for we find in ourselves what we can only call an instinct to go to God for help and protection and comfort and encouragement, much as young children go to their parents for these things. Nor do any of us doubt that we are impoverished in all sorts of ways when we don't pray. So we keep on trying to pray, and we constantly look around for resources that will help us to pray better. It was this need that became the trigger and launch pad for this book on praying - and praying better" (emphasis is author's)

Wow! These two looked into my life and nailed me to the wall. They described me almost perfectly (and my guess to some degree or another, they described you, too!). 

This coming Sunday at Grace, we are beginning a four Sunday morning look at what I believe to be the most powerful passage in all of Scripture on prayer. It is the passage in which Jesus teaches his disciples HOW to pray. We know it as "The Lord's Prayer." So if you are available I hope you can join us for this upcoming and, I pray, life-changing mini-series on prayer (and you will be able to catch the audio on the Deeper 11 blog). 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

pj

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Yep! Thursday means "a la carte" day!  Enjoy!

1. There's been a lot of huff over Campus Crusade for Christ's name change to Cru. Even Glen Beck waded into the discussion by denouncing the ministry for removing Christ from its name. John Piper brings some sanity to the conversation with these helpful thoughts.

2. Just having been on vacation, I got a laugh with this comic about "vacation relaxation."

3. Marriage? Is it all about you being happy? Or you being holy?  Hmm. Check it out HERE.

4. Are you scared of sin? If not, perhaps you should be! Check out this brief but excellent article by Ed Welch.

5. Finally, on a light note, check out the skill of these little one's on skates!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Saying Goodbye to a Heavy Weight of the Faith

After several months of deteriorating health, Anglican pastor and giant of the Faith, John Stott, died last Wednesday at his home in Surrey, England. Stott was a prolific author (writer of the classic, Basic Christianity which has sold over 2.5 million copies) and has been a regular speaker at conferences and universities around the world. Evangelist Billy Graham has been a long time friend of Stott. A spokesman for Graham issued this statement: "The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisors. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to Heaven."  For more information on this influential man, check out this site on Christianity Today.

In remembrance of John Stott (whose writings have had a major impact on my own walk with Christ), here is something he once wrote that we all need to hear: "The thing I know will give me the deepest joy - namely, to be alone and unhurried in the presence of God, aware of His presence, my heart open to worship Him - is often the thing I least want to do."  (Now in glory, John Stott is doing this in ways that we can only envy!)

Thanks John Stott! My life is so busy at times ... that I really needed that reminder!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Post from the Past

In the press of work that always awaits me once back in the office after a week away, I have not yet had time to write my first blog posting of the week. So I thought I would "resurrect" a posting from a couple of years ago. Enjoy!

Concerning Tuxedos . . . (first posted on November, 2008). 

From my recent wedding experiences in marrying off our daughters (not to mention my son's wedding in July of 2006), I learned a number of things about tuxes. First, they are expensive to rent (even with the discount I received as “father of the bride!”). In addition, they are quite warm. No matter the season (in my case it was summer and early fall) – tuxes have a way of maintaining body heat. Also I learned that they have a way of making a person look rather sharp (at least that’s what a lot of people told me – so either they were just trying to be nice, or they felt sorry for me – knowing I probably spent a lot on its rental – or they were being honest. I’ll opt for the latter!). All in all I’d have to say that my experiences with tuxedos (the first in some 28 years) – were far better than I had expected.

In our “dress-down” increasingly “casual” society, weddings are still one of those few times where people, for the most part, still “dress up.” I like that. I think it’s a good thing. When I scan the guests at weddings, I enjoy seeing people in their fine attire. There is coming a wedding banquet for followers of Jesus Christ. It will take place at some undisclosed date in the future. The Bible refers to it as the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” It is discussed in Revelation chapter 19. In verses 7 and 8 we read, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)"
Did you catch what was said about what we will be wearing to this tremendous celebration? We will be wearing fine linen – and this fine linen stands for our “righteous acts!” So I rented the tux I wore for my son’s wedding, but for THE SON’S wedding, I will be wearing attire that I make by myself for myself. And I am making it right NOW – in this life. Gulp! And this is true for every follower of Christ. So the question for me – and for YOU is this: How will we be dressed at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? Rags? Scruffy tee shirt and ratty jeans? Or will we be in attire more fitting for a wedding celebration? It’s all up to YOU (and me!). Living for Jesus will weave for us attire appropriate for that occasion. So by God’s grace – let’s go live for HIM and get ready for the wedding to come!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh Summer, Where Did You Go?

When I glanced at my calendar this morning, I had to take a second look to be sure I saw the correct date. Yep. What I thought I saw was correct. Today is the final day of August. September begins in just over 12 hours. Where did the summer go?  It seems like it was just yesterday when I turned the calendar to reveal the month of June. Now ... very soon ... I will be doing the same to reveal September.

I don't know about you, but I happen to love summer. Even the hot, humid days don't get to me. I just love to get outdoors ... be outdoors ... no matter the activity. Now with the onset of September, I realize my "outdoor" time will soon be over. Christmas is now less than four months away.

Even though I am a bit disappointed about how quickly the summer "flew" by, I am not surprised. God tells us in James that we are "like a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:14). Hmm. My life is no more than a puff of steam pouring out of a boiling tea pot. Here one moment, gone the next! This is the picture James 4:14 uses to portray our lives. So true. Life is brief. Life moves quickly. Given this reality about our lives, we must beware of wasting our lives (as so many in culture do, engaging in the popular "game" of trivial pursuit). Instead, we must make the most of our time, giving our utmost for God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 5:15-16)!

So . . . how about YOU? As your life races by, are you making the most of your opportunities, striving to live for the glory of God's name, the advancement of HIS kingdom and the accomplishment of HIS will?

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Memory from a Trip to India

Initially posted on March 8, 2006 after my first trip to India and Children's Fellowship of India

Dr. Gouday


I met many interesting people while in India.  One of which was Dr. Gouday. Every time I would see him, Dr. Gouday would say, “Every day is a good day!”  This grey haired and frail man was, in his prime, the leading leprosy surgeon in central India. Because of his work, he was held in high esteem by his fellow Indians. 

On the last day of the Bible conference at which I was teaching, one of my teammates and I took a seat in the rear of the pavilion. I was surprised to see Dr. Gouday sitting to my left. He looked at me and said, “Every day is a good day!” (I liked the guy’s optimism, but I wondered if he ever had a BAD day). He then went on to tell me that the previous evening at the conference, a woman was bitten by a scorpion. They rushed her to his home where he administered an antidote and she was fine. I asked him if scorpion bites ever proved fatal and he told me “Of course.” Gulp. When my teammate and I heard that, we began watching where we stepped.We did not want to die of a scorpion bite on the far side of the world!

Just as our respect for scorpions grew with Dr. Gouday’s story, so our respect for sin should grow as we read what the Bible has to say about it. Sin is an evil that God hates.And it has a deadly capability to destroy lives. Yet, all too often we dabble with it, toy with it, and bottom line, fail to take it seriously. Friends, beware of sin. Stay as far away from it as possible. Listen to what God tells us.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” (Romans 6:11-12);  “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God..” (2 Corinthians 7:1); “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11). Let’s commit to be on the alert for sin and when we see it coming our way, run the other way! And if we do get bitten by it (and this will only happen if WE choose to allow it!), let’s be quick to repent and confess it to God, knowing that “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Monday, August 29, 2011

Steve Jobs and the Life to Come

Steve Jobs, the man who did the most to forge Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world, announced his resignation from the company last week. After battling pancreatic cancer for several years,  the Apple co-founder has finally acknowledged that he can no longer do the job .... and that the inevitable is fast approaching: death. In the face of this resignation, a number of articles have hit newstands and the web. One of which appears in Esquire and is titled, "Steve Jobs is Dying for Us All."  Michael

Horton, Christian author and blogger (The White Horse Inn Blog) offers some insightful thoughts on the idea of Steve Jobs dying for us all ... 



"Steve Jobs can’t really die for us. In fact, he is, like us all, a prisoner of sin and death. We may have better machines, but we will never emancipate ourselves from sin—and its penalty of death. By affirming death, Jobs proves himself not to be a very orthodox Buddhist. Now, we hope and pray, he will embrace the only solution. This gospel not only saves us from our sins; it saves us from the feverish and ineffectual striving to make something of ourselves, to be something, to become immortal at least in our legacy. Now, we can fulfill our callings—whatever their cultural magnitude—simply out of gratitude to God and love for our neighbors.

It’s not just that our erotic attachment to technology can’t deliver on its transcendent promises, but that even if it could, it wouldn’t really matter. We cannot escape our creaturely finitude—or our sin and death—by our own works or through our own gadgets. It has to come to us from outside, through the creaturely means employed by the Triune God. Cultural progress is great, but “salvation is of the LORD” (Jon 2:9). Death trumps the noblest achievements of our most exceptional neighbors. Even Junod concludes, “We hope and we dream; maybe we even change the world by getting people to hope and dream that the iPhone 5 will come out in September. But we don’t get to choose much of anything, in the end. We succumb.” However, for those who trust in Christ, death does not have the last word. Why? Because God loves this world he created—the real world of real people and real communities and real death and real redemption—more than we do."

Well said, Michael Horton!  

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Lesson from The Family Circus


I don’t know about you, but I love the cartoon family of Bill Keane.  Perhaps it is because his “keane” sense of humor is just as keen as mine! :)   In a one of his "so-true-to-life" cartoons, little Billy and his younger brother are watching squirrels scampering about gathering acorns from the ground.  Billy says to his brother, Look at those squirrels.  They’re real busy and they have nuttin’ to do!”

How many of us are real busy doing “nuttin?”  We scurry from one activity to the next while accomplishing little if anything for God and His Kingdom. I encourage you to take some time out and evaluate your life.  Time is too valuable a resource to waste.  Let’s seize the moment and live it Jesus! Before your time of evaluation pray these words: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). 

Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)!                         

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Welcome to my a la carte offerings for today. My hope is you will find something among these links that will help you in your faith journey with Christ!

1. Tim Challies, quoting much from the writings of A.W. Tozer, writes about our need to regain the church's once lofty view of our majestic God.

2. Whether you teach children in a classroom or your living room, here is a great list containing ten tips for teaching young children about God!

3. Ed Welch of CCEF talks about how to talk to God in this brief article.

4. The Freshman 15 - this often refers to the fifteen pounds an incoming college freshman tends to put on during his or her first semester. Jeff Brewer offers his own list of 15 ways incoming freshman can glorify God as they begin their college career. If you know a college freshman ... send them the list. It's good stuff!!

5. On a lighter note .... if you have ever struggled to learn to speak a second language - you will enjoy this clip from actor Steve Martin as the Pink Panther. 


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Want or I Need?

One of the many lessons that we are trying to teach our two year old granddaughter is the difference between wanting something or needing something (good luck, eh?!). Often while in a store, Ella will see something and say, "I need             "(pretzel, ball, ice cream, etc.). So we then respond in an attempt to help her distinguish between wanting and needing. At this point, I am not sure how much she is getting the distinction. But then again, I know many adults who do not understand the difference.

Given this highly consumeristic society in which we live, I am not surprised that people confuse "wants" with "needs." After all, every single commercial we see on television is designed to get us to spend money we don't have to buy something we don't need to impress people we don't like. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must learn to say "No!" to these enticements, and instead learn to be content with what God provides for us (Philippians 4:12-13). God has promised to meet all of our NEEDS (Philippians 4:19) not necessarily all of our wants.

So how are YOU doing with this? Have you learned to be content? Or are you always wanting just a little bit more?

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

FREEEEDOM!

706 years ago today (back in 1305), Scottish leader and national hero, William Wallace, was executed in London. Now the name William Wallace might not mean a lot to you ... but let me give you a hint: Mel Gibson. For it was Mel Gibson's portrayal of Wallace in the film, Braveheart, that introduced this Scotsman to our generation. 


The story of Wallace is a story of an underdog leading a bunch of other underdogs in a fight against a tyrannical and superior oppressor (in this case, the English King Edward I). Although Wallace led the Scots in several stunning victories, he eventually was captured and brutally executed. But his death did not end Scotland's desire to oppose English rule ... and Scotland went on to maintain its independence. 


The closing scene of the film is quite striking ... and sums up the passion of Wallace (at least as portrayed in the movie). As he is being tortured .... and on the doorstep of death .... with perhaps his dying breath -- he summons up his last bits of energy and screams out the word, "FREEEEEEDOM!"  Freedom is what he lived for, fought for and ultimately died for. In this way, Wallace reminds me of another man whose life on this earth was cut short by suffering a violent death. Of course, I am thinking of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to set mankind free. Free from a tyrannical oppressor. Free from a cruel bondage. 


Jesus makes reference to this freedom in the eighth chapter of the gospel of John. There he tells his listeners, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  


How about YOU? Have you experienced this freedom that Jesus talks about here? Or are  you still in bondage to your sin? True freedom comes from embracing the gospel! I hope and pray that if you have not done so ... that you will do so today! Remember ... there are two ways to live - and you have to choose one of them! Only one of these leads to true FREEDOM! 


Thanks for stopping by . . . 


pj

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rain and the Word of God!

Robert Lee, Texas, population 1,171 was chosen in 1891 as the county seat for Coke County because of its plentiful water supply. Ironically, today the town's water supply could hardly be called "plentiful." The town's primary water source, Lake E.V.Spence normally covers some 22 square miles. Today, as the result of a severe drought facing this part of Texas (the worst since the 1950's), the lake looks more like a large mud hole than a lake. People here are praying .... and they are praying above all for rain (and after a month of 100 degree temperatures and less than an inch of rain ... they could use a couple of weeks of rain)!

Given the extreme drought facing this community in the Lone Star state, none of us are surprised to hear that the community of Robert Lee is praying and praying hard for rain. Rain is life-giving. Without an adequate supply, crops wither, soil hardens and life as we know it simply cannon survive (think Sahara Desert). Just as the earth needs rain ... so we as followers of Jesus Christ need "spiritual rain." In Isaiah 55:10-11, God likens His Word to rain:

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. "


Every time you pick up the Bible and read it .... God says that His Word will not return to him empty, but he will use the Scripture in our lives to accomplish his purposes. Hmm. This brings a couple of questions to my mind:

1. How many of us (myself included), when we experience drought-like times in our spiritual lives, suffer these because we are not in the Scriptures on a regular (and by that I mean DAILY) basis?  Failure to read and meditate on the Word of God will short circuit the work God desires to do in our lives.

2. When I do open my Bible and spend time in it, do I keep in mind that what I am reading is not merely the words of human authors, but a divine author? Therefore do I view it as the ultimate authority in my life for what I believe and practice? Do I seek to "hear" God's Word and then put it into practice (see Matthew 7:24-27)?

Please take a moment or two to reflect on these questions ... and then make any necessary changes! "O God, rain on us!"

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Thursday a la carte time ....

1. David P. Murray wrote an excellent book on depression titled, Christians Get Depressed Too. Here is the author discussing depression (3:34).

2. Many want to run the church as a business. But is the church really a business? Here is an interesting take on this question.

3. Do little ones who die go to heaven? This is a question that weighs heavily on any parent who has lost a young child or experienced a miscarriage. Al Mohler offers some solid biblical insight. 


4. And finally .... a "tongue-in-cheek" take on small groups ....

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's About Time!

Recently I was talking to a grandma who shared a really cute story involving her little 4 or 5 year old granddaughter. They had just spend a week at the beach together. As they were packing up to head home, the little granddaughter looked at her grandma and said, "Grandma, when we come down to the beach next year, I am NOT going to have any fun." This statement really surprised the grandmother, as she had seen her granddaughter having a wonderful time! So she look at the little girl and asked, "And why not?" "Becuause," her granddaughter replied, "when I have fun the time goes by too fast!"  I certainly can understand where this little one is coming from! Vacation Standard Time moves at least twice as fast as Routine Standard Time! Agree?

There is coming a time, however, when it will not matter how fast time passes - for we will have an endless amount of it!  Of course, I am talking about heaven. And heaven is something we need to think about from time to time! In fact, it is something that we should be thinking about a lot (see Colossians 3:1-2)! For more on this rather important spiritual practice, check out this article by Donald Whitney, Think Much About Heaven.

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Date with Dad

Sitting on my window sill in my office at church is an array of photos. One of them features me and my oldest daughter when she was about three or four years old (so we are talking some 28 years ago!) The picture means a lot to me (and it's not because it is proof that I one day had hair!). It is special because it was taken on our Emily's first official date with Daddy. Our date night was a trip to the movies to see the Disney animated classic, Pinocchio.  As most of you know, the film is all about a wooden puppet who longs to become a real human boy.  In his journey toward his dream, a huge flaw is revealed.  Pinocchio has a problem telling the truth.  And every time he lies, his nose grows!

As I thought of that, I tried to imagine what our world would be like if that really happened.  I mean, could you imagine if every time we told a lie, our noses would grow?  None of us could probably drive our cars because we would not be able to sit in the driver’s seat to drive our car – our noses would be too long!!!  (Jimmy Durante – move aside!)

We find it so easy to stretch the truth, distort the truth, or downright contradict the truth.  We know it’s wrong (for the most part) so we have developed a lingo that softens the harshness of lying.  We say things like “Oh, I was only fibbing.”  Or, “That was just a white lie.”  But God has a different perspective on lying.  Are you ready for this?  In Proverbs 12:22 we read that “The LORD detests lying lips.”  Hmmm . . . that word “detests” is an awfully strong word.  It means “to feel intense hatred for.”  So God intensely hates lying – no matter what nice little name we might have for it!  What God loves is truth telling!  The second half of Proverbs 12:22 reads, “But he delights in men who are truthful.”  Let’s determine that today . . . and tomorrow . . . and the next day – we will be men and women who tell the truth, both in word and deed!  For when we do this, the God who made us delights in us!  Now there’s a thought for you!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

PS - Much of the content of this posting was taken from a 2007 posting.  I figured if it was worth posting then ... it is surely worth posting again!  Thanks!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Gospel of Power

Charles Spurgeon is known as the prince of preachers for a good reason. This 17th century British pastor has left the largest written record of sermons of any pastor of any time or place. His morning and evening devotional books are still being read at the beginning and close of each day. And many of today's pastors have read his classic, Lectures to My Students (I had to read it for a class in college). 


As you start your work week, I thought I would give you a Spurgeon quote to chew on. 

"The Gospel does not need defending. If Jesus Christ is not alive and cannot fight His own battles, then Christianity is in a bad state. But He is alive and we have only to preach His gospel in all its simplicity, and the power that goes with it will be evidence of its divinity." (See Romans 1:16)

Have a great week ... and thanks for stopping. . . 

pj

Friday, August 12, 2011

Go, Send or Disobey!

If you have the time (about 6 minutes) this video is well worth your time to watch. Far too many of us get far too comfortable and we forget the mandate of Jesus to "make disciples of all the nations." May God forgive us ... and may we become more intentional in doing our part in this great endeavor to get the GOOD NEWS to the peoples of the world!






Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Another Thursday, another a la carte offering .... enjoy!

1. Here is an interesting video (2:20) produced by the Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. The video is simply titled, "Stethoscope." 

2. Another brief video (2:36), "Evolution Refuted."  From the gang at "Answers in Genesis."

3. Kevin DeYoung gives us three powerful life lessons from the lives of two kings of Judah in this brief devotional. 


4. Safety is something we are all about in our society. Almost to a point where I sometimes wonder if we are worshiping at the altar of the Safety God. For a biblical perspective on this issue of safety, check out this brief blog posting by Cornelius Van Kempen.

5. On the lighter side . . . you may have already seen this. I am not quite sure what to think of this pastor's prayer ... just to say I couldn't see myself praying it!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Blast from the Past

Last evening, my wife and I spent some time viewing music video from the 1960's. Sharon knew far more of the words to these songs then I did, but that did not diminish the fun I had in reliving the "oldies!" One of the artists that we listened to was Lesley Gore. Gore (born Lesley Sue Goldstein; May 2, 1946) is an American Singer of the "girl group era". She is perhaps best known for her 1963 pop hit "It's My Party", which she recorded at the age of 16. Following the hit, she became one of the most recognized teen pop singers of the 1960s.


Another of her better known songs is the song, "You Don't Own Me!" She sings the song from the perspective of a girl forbidding her boyfriend from controlling her. As I watched her sing and listened to the words, I could not help but think that the song is something that fallen, sinful, rebellious man could (and in fact, does) sing to the God who made him. Take a moment and watch the video ... I think you will see just what I mean. And keep in mind that since we are "a work in progress," we still have this tendency with us. Which should concern us given the words of Isaiah 57:15: "For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." 






Sound familiar?????????????


Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Promise!

When Jesus was teaching his disciples in the upper room the evening before his death (John 14-17), one of the themes of his teaching was the Holy Spirit. Early in his "message," Jesus makes a promise to ask the Father to send to them "the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16-17). Then, toward the end of his teaching he makes this rather astonishing claim, "But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away." How could it be a good thing for the disciples that their Master was leaving them?  Jesus explains in the remainder of the verse, "Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you" (John 16:7). So it was good for the disciples that Jesus left. For if he had not, they would not have received the Spirit. And just why is that of such importance? 

Bruce Ware, in his book, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance answers that question with some great insight:  

"Not only does the Spirit reveal and inspire the word of Christ, and empower the proclamation of the gospel of Christ, and regenerate sinners to behold the beauty of Christ, and lead us to place our hope and faith in Christ, the Spirit also works mightily in us to conform us more and more into the likeness of Christ."

Wow! Given the ministry of the Holy Spirit (as summed up by Ware), we are indeed blessed to be recipients of this promise! Have you thanked the Father and Son lately for sending us the Spirit? 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

pj

Monday, August 8, 2011

How Thirsty Are You?

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) was a Puritan theologian, pastor, and devout Calvinist and was the most significant American churchman of the 18th century. Said to be one of America's greatest preachers, he was a leading figure in the (first) Great Awakening (source: Theopedia; An Encyclopedia of Biblical Christianity).

I have had the opportunity to read a small portion of the writings that Edwards has left behind - and his words have always made me think. As you start your work week, here is one of those quotes. I hope it gets you thinking, too!

"So holy desire, exercised in longings, hungerings, and thirstings after God and holiness, is often mentioned in Scripture as an important part of true religion." (Jonathan Edwards)

So ... the question for all of us is ... "How hungry ... how thirsty am I for God and the things of God?"  If the answer is "Not much," then there is something wrong. Either there is some undealt-with sin in our life, or we do not really have true faith.  Either case can be solved by coming to God through Christ and finding the forgiveness that only HE can offer.

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Friday, August 5, 2011

Prayer Help!

In one of the better (I think!) books on prayer to be published in the last five years, co-authors J.I Packer and Carol Nystrom launch their book, Praying: Finding Our Way from Duty to Delight, with the following words:

"At the opening of this book, we invite our readers to pause a moment to ask yourselves honestly how you got on in prayer this week or first thing this morning. Our guess is that most of our readers are like us; we want to get things right, but we are more than a little embarrassed to admit how far-reaching are the problems we have in praying. We all need to pray, and we know it. We are told to pray, and we do not argue against doing so. In our  hearts we all want to pray, for we find in ourselves what we can only call an instinct to go to God for help and protection and comfort and encouragement, much as young children go to their parents for these things. Nor do any of us doubt that we are impoverished in all sorts of ways when we don't pray. So we keep on trying to pray, and we constantly look around for resources that will help us to pray better. It was this need that became the trigger and launch pad for this book on praying - and praying better" (emphasis is author's)

Wow! These two looked into my life and nailed me to the wall. They described me almost perfectly (and my guess to some degree or another, they described you, too!). 

This coming Sunday at Grace, we are beginning a four Sunday morning look at what I believe to be the most powerful passage in all of Scripture on prayer. It is the passage in which Jesus teaches his disciples HOW to pray. We know it as "The Lord's Prayer." So if you are available I hope you can join us for this upcoming and, I pray, life-changing mini-series on prayer (and you will be able to catch the audio on the Deeper 11 blog). 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

pj

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday A La Carte

Yep! Thursday means "a la carte" day!  Enjoy!

1. There's been a lot of huff over Campus Crusade for Christ's name change to Cru. Even Glen Beck waded into the discussion by denouncing the ministry for removing Christ from its name. John Piper brings some sanity to the conversation with these helpful thoughts.

2. Just having been on vacation, I got a laugh with this comic about "vacation relaxation."

3. Marriage? Is it all about you being happy? Or you being holy?  Hmm. Check it out HERE.

4. Are you scared of sin? If not, perhaps you should be! Check out this brief but excellent article by Ed Welch.

5. Finally, on a light note, check out the skill of these little one's on skates!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Saying Goodbye to a Heavy Weight of the Faith

After several months of deteriorating health, Anglican pastor and giant of the Faith, John Stott, died last Wednesday at his home in Surrey, England. Stott was a prolific author (writer of the classic, Basic Christianity which has sold over 2.5 million copies) and has been a regular speaker at conferences and universities around the world. Evangelist Billy Graham has been a long time friend of Stott. A spokesman for Graham issued this statement: "The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisors. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to Heaven."  For more information on this influential man, check out this site on Christianity Today.

In remembrance of John Stott (whose writings have had a major impact on my own walk with Christ), here is something he once wrote that we all need to hear: "The thing I know will give me the deepest joy - namely, to be alone and unhurried in the presence of God, aware of His presence, my heart open to worship Him - is often the thing I least want to do."  (Now in glory, John Stott is doing this in ways that we can only envy!)

Thanks John Stott! My life is so busy at times ... that I really needed that reminder!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Post from the Past

In the press of work that always awaits me once back in the office after a week away, I have not yet had time to write my first blog posting of the week. So I thought I would "resurrect" a posting from a couple of years ago. Enjoy!

Concerning Tuxedos . . . (first posted on November, 2008). 

From my recent wedding experiences in marrying off our daughters (not to mention my son's wedding in July of 2006), I learned a number of things about tuxes. First, they are expensive to rent (even with the discount I received as “father of the bride!”). In addition, they are quite warm. No matter the season (in my case it was summer and early fall) – tuxes have a way of maintaining body heat. Also I learned that they have a way of making a person look rather sharp (at least that’s what a lot of people told me – so either they were just trying to be nice, or they felt sorry for me – knowing I probably spent a lot on its rental – or they were being honest. I’ll opt for the latter!). All in all I’d have to say that my experiences with tuxedos (the first in some 28 years) – were far better than I had expected.

In our “dress-down” increasingly “casual” society, weddings are still one of those few times where people, for the most part, still “dress up.” I like that. I think it’s a good thing. When I scan the guests at weddings, I enjoy seeing people in their fine attire. There is coming a wedding banquet for followers of Jesus Christ. It will take place at some undisclosed date in the future. The Bible refers to it as the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” It is discussed in Revelation chapter 19. In verses 7 and 8 we read, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)"
Did you catch what was said about what we will be wearing to this tremendous celebration? We will be wearing fine linen – and this fine linen stands for our “righteous acts!” So I rented the tux I wore for my son’s wedding, but for THE SON’S wedding, I will be wearing attire that I make by myself for myself. And I am making it right NOW – in this life. Gulp! And this is true for every follower of Christ. So the question for me – and for YOU is this: How will we be dressed at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? Rags? Scruffy tee shirt and ratty jeans? Or will we be in attire more fitting for a wedding celebration? It’s all up to YOU (and me!). Living for Jesus will weave for us attire appropriate for that occasion. So by God’s grace – let’s go live for HIM and get ready for the wedding to come!

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.