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Showing posts from 2013

Out with the Old . . . in with the New!

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Here we are ... with less than 24 hours remaining in 2013. The new year of 2014 is staring us in the face. As to what it will hold for us, only God knows!  I always find it helpful in my own spiritual journey to take some time in both reflection upon the year that's passing and the new year that lies ahead.

For starters, I take a backward glance. I note the year's ups and downs. I look for God's faithful hand in both. I always discover that God has neither lied to me nor failed in any way in fulfilling his promises. Sure, life does not always go the way I would like. But who am I? I am a finite (read "limited" ... no read "VERY LIMITED") creature. God is the infinite (read "unlimited" or 'unlimitable") Creator. So when HIS providential plan does not unfold as I believe it should, guess what? I need to learn to trust him. He knows far better than I  do as to what is good for me. And I happen to believe that the Bible teaches us that G…

7 Questions: Taking a Look at How You Are Doing with Life!

Here are the PowerPoint slides from Sunday, December 29, 2003. Enjoy!


7 questions for spiritual self checkup dec. 29, 2013 from John Smith
Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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For today's edition, I thought I would dunk some humble pie in my coffee, by sharing a couple of "bonehead" moves I made recently.

1. The first occurred back on December 11th. I was taking a vacation day and we were planning to head to King of Prussia Mall. As we backed out of the garage, I failed to look in the rear view mirror and just backed out as usual. The problem was ... things were not "usual!" Our youngest daughter was at the house and her car was parked in a small angled extension off of our main driveway. I forgot her car was there and clipped her car's right front bumper with my car's left rear bumper. So ... instead of heading to the mall, we took a trip to the body shop. So glad I have car insurance (the total repair bill for the two cars combined came to just under $2K. Oh, well .... we all make mistakes, right? My wife and daughter took it all in stride (which I can't say I did ... at least initially!). Moral of this story --- DON&…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope you have a very merry ... very Christ-honoring ... very relationship enriching Christmas! Here is some Christmas music from Keith and Karen Getty. Enjoy!




Thanks for stopping by . . . and again ... MERRY CHRISTMAS!
pj

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!

I hope you will have a wonderful Christmas celebration!  Here is the acappella group, Pentatonix singing an incredible arrangement of Little Drummer Boy! Enjoy!





 Thanks for stopping by . . . pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Here we are a mere five days away from Christmas 2013. So ... grab a cup of your favorite holiday coffee (or tea) ... and join me for a few random thoughts that are floating around my head (and there are no "visions of sugar plums" dancing around my mind!).

1. Do you realize that there were a lot of people who missed the first Christmas? If I had more time, I would discuss a number of them ... but let me just focus on one: the innkeeper in Bethlehem. Now the nativity account in Luke 2 does not mention an innkeeper, but it does mention an inn. Therefore, there was an innkeeper. Since the Bible says nothing about this individual, we have no idea if he was hostile or sympathetic to the needs of Mary and Joseph. We don't know if the stable they found for shelter was offered by the innkeeper. But the fact that the Bible is silent about any innkeeper, makes me think that he missed that first Christmas. And just why would have have missed it? Simply because he was preoccupied…

A Prayer for Your Thursday

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From the pen of an unnamed Puritan comes a simple yet powerful prayer . . . take a moment and make his prayer yours!

"May I always be among those who not only hear but know you,  who walk with and rejoice in you,  who take you at your word and find life there."  (The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions) 
Have a great day and a great advent season as we celebrate the moment in history that God Himself became one of us!  Wow! 
Thanks for stopping by . . .  pj 

The Great Mystery of Christmas!

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On my recent trip to India, I was struck at how much easier it had grown to be in touch with my wife. On my first trip in 2006, my only way to communicate with her was to go into the nearby village of Naya Akola and use a public phone. This past trip, not only could I talk with her via a cell phone, I could also easily text her from my own smart phone. Technology had come to central India making communication almost instantaneous. Even though home was almost half a world away ... it seemed like it was right next door!

As we approach the Christmas holiday (only one week and counting!), we must be careful not to lose sight of what the Christmas holiday is all about: that some 2000 years ago, the Living God became a living man in the person of the baby born to Mary in Bethlehem. Think about that (and I guarantee you that no matter how long and how hard you think about the incarnation, you will NEVER get your mind wrapped around it!). The Apostle Paul, in referencing the incarnation of Je…

Nuisance Snow . . . Nuisance Sin?

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Last evening after seeing the weather forecast calling for one or two inches of snow today, I turned to my wife and said, "I feel like I'm back in Pittsburgh!" I spent five winters in the Steel City in the mid to late eighties. Rarely in Pittsburgh did we see the monster east coast sort of storms that dump snow measured in feet vs. inches. Instead, we saw an awful lot of these so called "nuisance" snows. Snowfalls that did not keep you from your regular routine but yet required some sweeping or scraping or sometimes shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. Well ... in just a little over a week, we have seen four nuisance type snows here in Lancaster (a couple were a bit more than a nuisance ... but they still were not big snowstorms). That's why I feel like I am experiencing a typical Pittsburgh winter.

Sometimes I think we look at sin in the same way we look at these recent snowfalls. A nuisance. And just as this morning I took a few minutes and brushed the s…

Returning to God-Centered Praying!

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As you heard me say before, one of my regular devotional books is The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Much has been written and said about the Puritans. Some deserved, much not. But one thing I know about the Puritans - they knew their God!

The other day, as I was praying a prayer in the book, it really struck me that we, as the Church, have become very man-centered in our praying. Our prayers are filled with "me" and "I" ... and often, very little "God." Take a moment and read through this prayer and I think you will get my drift (no pun intended with the snow swirling outside!).


The All-Good
Thou has helped me to see, that whatever good be in honor and rejoicing, how good is He who gives them and can withdraw them; that blessedness does not lie so much in receiving good from You and in You, but in holding forth Your glory and virtue; that it is an amazing thing to see Deity in a creature, speaking, acting, filling, shi…

Back After a Few Days Off . . . with a Special Edition of Friday Coffee with PJ

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The past few days I took some needed time off to get some things done around the house, to spend some time with my wife and to simply get some rest. November sped by (primarily due to my short term mission trip to India, followed by the Thanksgiving holiday less than a week after my return). With vacation days still remaining ... I decided to take a few. I am now ready to move forward (I hope) with a renewed passion and joy in Christ (and a lot less coughing!).  So ... pour your cup of favorite hot brew (which is especially good on a frigid day like this!) and enjoy some random thoughts I want to put before you.

1. During our "staycation" this week, we did some shopping, ran other errands, and took one day trip up to the Hershey area. So we spent a lot of time in the car. During this time, we had the car radio on, listening to so called Christmas music. At one point, when the strains of a familiar carol began to fill the car, I said to my wife, "Well, it only took six …

Carpe Diem ... Seize the Day 2024!

Here is the PowerPoint from Sunday, December 8th's sermon. Life Journals will be available for the next several Sundays.



Carpe diem challenge sunday dec 8, 2014 from John Smith

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Pray for the Church in the Central African Republic!

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The conditions continue to deteriorate in the Central African Republic. Renewed fighting has caused Encompass World Partners to evacuate the remaining missionaries within the capital city of Bangui. Please pray that they can safely leave. In addition, Cami Robbins reports that a long term Central African Rebpublic Bible translator that they have worked with for years (the Robbins serve with Wycliffe) was killed in the recent fighting.

Here is a link to a Times article about the situation. Be sure to watch the video. It will show you just how desperate the situation has grown. Even the UN is evacuating personnel!

Again, I ask you to pray especially for my friend, Augustin Hibaile and his family.

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Sorry for the late posting. I am just finishing up my last (and fourth) cup of coffee for the day. But if you are still drinking ... please pour yourself a fresh cup and join me for a couple of random thoughts.

1. Yesterday as I stood in front of my bathroom mirror (to comb my beautiful head of hair ----- well I can dream, can't I?), I head the ticking of a small clock. It struck me that with each tick, one second was here and gone ... never to return. What is true of a second, is also true of a minute, an hour, a day, a week. Time spent ... is gone forever. Because life is so brief and passes so quickly (James 4:14), we need to strive not to waste our time. Let's make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-17)... seeking to live each minute, hour, day for Jesus Christ!

2. The Christmas holiday appears to be coming at me out of nowhere this year. Is that true of you? I am guessing it is due to a couple of things. First, I spent almost half of my November either prepari…

God Thinks Differently!

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This morning, I spent some time meditating on the following familiar verses from Isaiah chapter fifty-five (vv. 8-9):

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your waysand my thoughts than your thoughts."


These two verses are very powerful! They remind us that God's way of thinking is way (and I do mean WAAAAAYYYY above ours)! Of course, this makes all the sense in the world when one considers that God is infinite (without limit) and we are finite (limited). Yet, in spite of what the Scripture so clearly teaches, we in our arrogance are always seeking answers from God, especially when life does not unfold as we think it should! 

As evidence that God's thoughts are not our thoughts nor his ways our ways .... consider the following quote from one of my favorite devotional books, The Valley of Vision. As you read this portion of the opening prayer of t…

Out of the Mouth of Babes!

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Earlier today, I drove two of my grandchildren to my house after their morning preschool was over. During the ride home (all of about 3 minutes), I asked my four year old if she knew which holiday was fast approaching. She replied, "Christmas." I then asked her if she knew why we celebrated Christmas. "It's Jesus' birthday." I then asked, "If it's Jesus' birthday, why do you get presents?" She said, "Because Jesus died." "Because Jesus died?" I asked. "Yes. Jesus died so children could get presents." "Ohhhh," I responded. "Did he die for any other reason?" "Oh yes," she said, "He died for our sins AND so that we could get presents."  Well, she got it half right!

As you give and receive gifts this Christmas season ... keep in mind that we have already been given the greatest gift we could ever hope for: eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). This gift is offered to u…

Black Friday . . . Cyber Monday

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We have just come through what has to be the most hyped shopping extended weekend of the entire year. Every where I looked (newspaper, internet, television, etc.) I was being bombarded with info about sales, sales and more sales. And this year ... the weekend actually got off to an even earlier start with many stores actually opening up Thanksgiving evening.  All this shows just how "consumer-driven" we have become! If you ask me ... I find it all a bit disturbing.

Well ... with that said, I must confess that I did do quite a bit of shopping - I mean, if you can't fight them ... then why not join them? Yes? (I know, some of you are thinking right now, "PJ, you are such a hypocrite!"). Now ... let me say a couple of things in my defense. First off, I did not do any shopping on Thanksgiving Day! In addition, I let my fingers to all the walking as I shopped (i.e. - I did cyber shopping only, not that this is better ... just the way I decided to go). Finally, I di…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Psalm 86:12I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
The Thanksgiving Day holiday is always a good reminder of something that needs to be woven into the very fabric of our day-to-day routine. We need to give thanks to God day in and day out. Why so? Beyond the fact that thanking God is a clear mandate of Scripture ... we must also thank God because EVERY blessing we enjoy in life is from HIS gracious hand (James 1:17). Thanking God should become as natural to us as breathing! I encourage you to get more intentional about giving thanks to God ... not merely on the fourth Thursday of every November . . . but on every day of the year!

Thanks for stopping by . . . pj
By the way . . . I want you ALL to know how much I thank God for YOU! 

A Few Moments with a Friend!

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On the first leg our our journey home from Naya Akola, India, we made a stop at Prakash Institute in the city of Nagpur. In the past few years, Children's Fellowship of India has sent a number of boys to Prakash to learn a trade (Computer Operation, Welding, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Electrician are the four courses of study opened to boys). On all four of my trips to India, I have had the privilege to share God's Word with the male students. It has always been a joy.


In addition to preaching, I had the opportunity to briefly reunite with a pastor friend I had made during my last trip to India in August of 2010. Promot might be short of stature but he is long on love for others and for God. He lives and serves in the city of Nagpur. I have met few people who can beat his smile (don't you agree?). 
Promot has not had an easy life. He grew up in an orphanage and, when it was time for him to get married, he was often stymied in his attempt to find a wife. Most wo…

Back from the Far Side of the World!

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Every time I have gone to India (and this was my fourth trip), I come back home both totally drained and fully satisfied! Sounds a bit strange, yes? Allow me to explain.

What drains me most is the travel required to get there: three crowded flights (two of which are over 8 hours in length), two van rides (of about 3 hours each) and a partridge in a pear tree! (Sorry ... got a bit carried away there with the holidays fast approaching!). Add to the planes and vehicles was a bunch of time just waiting around three different airports! If that 30+ hours of continuous travel was not enough, we got do do it all in reverse as we traveled home. I am still trying to get my energy back!  Indeed the travel demands are heavy! But I also find myself drained by the overwhelming need we encounter in India. Spiritual darkness lies like a heavy blanket upon the land. The poverty and its devastating impact upon so many is constantly in one's face. And this leads me to what I find most satisfying abo…

Today is D Day (Departure Day!)

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As I stumbled out of bed this morning it hit me – today is the day we leave for India! At that, thoughts began to flood my mine. Thoughts like: “Goodbye nice comfy bed!” “Now what important, vital-to-life item did I forget to pack?” “I’m really going to miss the Fam!” “Do I really want to go to INDIA?” etc., etc., etc. By the time the fog in my mind cleared and the thoughts began to subside I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror. I looked at my reflection. My reflection looked back at me. Together we smiled – yes the day that had been set for our departure was here! All the praying, all the planning, all the prepping is now complete. It's time to "hit the trail!"

As I think about this trip I am grateful for a number of things. I am grateful for the group from Grace who will be accompanying me (see the prayer list). I am thankful for Philip Dongre. I have met few like him. His passion for Christ and the children of Children’s Fellowship of India is con…

Off to India!

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In just two days, I will be departing for a two week trip to India. Traveling with me will be ten other individuals. We are heading to Naya Akola, India which is located pretty much in the center of the country. Now Naya Akola is not on any Trip Advisor list of places to visit in India. In fact, the village contains not much more than a run down school, a few shops and a handful of huts and houses. But just on the "outskirts" of town sits the campus of Children's Fellowship of India, home to nearly 200 orphaned boys.

Now whenever I travel to India ... it takes only a moment off the plane in Mumbai to realize that I am not in Lancaster County any more! The smells, sounds, sights in India always initially appear WEIRD to my senses – very different from what I am accustomed to smelling, hearing and seeing back home. Some of these sensations are pleasant, many are not. Talk about feeling out of one's comfort zone!

As I was reflecting on this, God reminded me of somethin…

How Long Will YOU Live?

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According to a government statistics, life expectancy in the U.S. now stands at 78.64 years (76 for men; 81 for women).  This is an all time high and is up from 75.4 in 1990.  The government attributes this to advances in medicine combined with a drop in some unhealthy practices like smoking. As I thought about all of this, my mind went to these words of King David, All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). God knows (because he numbered our days!) just how long each one of us will live on this earth. That information is something He is not telling us!  So should we worry and fret that this day might be our last?  Absolutely not!  Our earthly existence is in the hands of a loving and faithful God who ALWAYS does what is right.  We can trust Him with our lives.  What we must be doing is living each day for Him.  After all, each day we live and each breath we take is a precious gift from Him.  Don’t waste a moment but “carpe d…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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The other day when I was out and about, I went through a Starbucks drive thru. Ordered a cup of their boldest brew and boy was that good!  Glad you could stop by and join me for this edition of Friday Coffee with PJ!

1. I heard a report on my car radio the other day about the practice known as "wardrobing." If you are not familiar with this, wardrobing involves purchasing an article of clothing (usually on the more expensive side), wearing it once (without removing the tags) and then returning it to the store for a refund. When I heard this, I asked myself, "Do people really do this?" Yep. And probably more than you would think (retailers estimate that this practice of wardrobing cost the industry almost 9 billion dollars last year!). But in the minds of many wardrobing sure beats laying out the money for a fancy outfit that you will probably only wear once! Some retailers are now fighting back by placing gaudy tags on the more expensive garments. And if you try t…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings. I hope you find something that will help you in your journey of grace!

1. John Piper encourages parents to require obedience of the children. Excellent stuff!

2. Tim Challies shares 18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing with My Kids AND 18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing with My Wife. If you are a parent or a husband ... or both, you need to read what he has to say!

3. Did you ever wonder how God views people? Mike Emlet from CCEF answers this question in this brief video clip. 

4. As we stand on the threshold of the month of November, here is a brief devotional from Alistair Begg on the Importance of Thanksgiving. 

5. On a lighter note . . . 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Busy Doing Nothing?

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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 much more keen than mine! In one of my favorite Family Circus 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 for 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!),

Pastor John

On Being Relevant

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I hear and read a lot these days about the need for the church (and Christians) to be “culturally relevant.”  The dictionary defines the word “relevant” as “having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand.” In effect, to be culturally relevant is to have a bearing on or a connection with our culture.  This means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  Many, I am afraid, in the pursuit of cultural relevancy have emphasized the wrong things and lost sight of the main thing.  (Are you with me?) 
My approach to the Christian life is the K.I.S.S. approach (Keep It Simple Smitty). So as I consider the need to be culturally relevant (and it is a need – no one will give us a hearing if we walk around acting and looking like Yoda from Star Wars!), I believe it boils down to the main thing. If we pursue this main thing – we will ALWAYS be “culturally relevant.” So just what is this “Main Thing?”  We find it in Matthew 22. Jesus was asked to identify the greatest comma…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Due to being away the first three days of this week at our fellowship of churches, East Focus Retreat (held in Ocean City, MD - click on link for photos of which I am in a couple), I have no random thoughts to share with you this week. In fact my only thought is that I have to get a sermon ready ... because it's Friday and Sunday's coming! But ... here is a quote for you from Pastor Tim Hodge of Grace Family Church in New Holland, PA.  "Chew" on this as you begin later today to enjoy a (I trust) well-deserved weekend break from your job!

"While happiness is desirable, holiness is essential. There will be times when you feel like Elijah in the desert seated under the broom tree lamenting of your lonely stance. Know that in the times when you feel at your worst, God is working at his best" (Tim Hodge).
Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Life Boringly Ordinary?

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In the first chapter of his book, Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches, author James Hamilton writes these compelling words:

"We have been lulled to sleep by the ordinariness of our lives. Our senses have been dulled by the humdrum of one day after another. We need to see God as he is. We need to be convinced that Jesus is reigning as the risen King. We need to have him speak to the situation in our churches. We need to know that God is right now on his throne, in control in Heaven, worshiped by myriads upon myriads of the heavenly host. We need to see the way that God will pulverize wickedness, obliterate those who oppose him, and set up his kingdom. The Book of Revelation has exactly what we need."
If you find yourself being "lulled to sleep by the ordinariness of your life," then you need to pick up your Bible, open to Revelation, the Bible's final book. In this book of tomorrow, you will find much hope for today. And if you really want to dig deepe…

Talk that Drains!

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Sometimes what I read in the newspaper makes me laugh – or cry – or both.  Other times I find myself grimacing, as when I read the following: "Some psychological experts say folks who whine and complain all the time can suck the energy and health out of those around them." Come now.  Do we really need psychological experts to tell us that?  All of us know people whose native tongue is whine-ish or gripe-eese.  Spend enough time around these people and when you walk away you feel like you’ve been run over by a bus (or at the very least a large SUV!). So when we see these people coming our way, we usually do our best to duck out of their way! But I think we can learn a valuable lesson from the whiners and gripers in our lives.
When we  talk, we must watch the tone and content of our words.  Negative talk (griping, complaining, sarcasm, etc.) will tend to discourage and dishearten those who hear (ala the bus or large SUV).  On the other hand, positive talk (kind, thankful, enco…

God Always Gets It Right!

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Thomas Watson was the chairman of IBM from 1920’s into the 1950’s.  He grew IBM into an international giant.  At the time of his death in 1956 he was one of the richest men in the world and was called the world’s greatest salesman.  Here is a quote from this very successful business man:
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Did he get it right? Sorry, Tom ... but you blew that assessment! But God – on the other hand – always gets it right!  And in the Bible he reveals to us all that we need to know about him … about ourselves  .. about life – both here on earth and for all eternity!
Sometime this week, pull out your Bible and read through Psalm 119:1-175. It will give you a fresh perspective on just how valuable the Bible really is! 
Thanks for stopping by . . .  pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Friday means ..... COFFEE!!!! Well, at least for me. Of course, any day is coffee day for me! :) Here are
some random thoughts for you to "chew on!"

1. With all the talk of the government shutdown and the debt ceiling (and I hope, since I am writing this on Wednesday that these things will be settled by the time this post goes "live!"), I am grateful for two things. First, that heaven will never "shut down!" Our God, who is on his throne is still ruling from that throne and will always do so. If you need a good reminder of this, take some time and read through the book of Revelation. Circle each time the word "throne" appears. You will be encouraged, I am sure! Secondly, I thank God that there is no debt ceiling on what Christ's sacrifice will pay in regard to the debt of our sin. Every single sin we have ever or will ever commit has been totally paid for! Praise God for his AMAZING grace!

2. The situation in the Central African Republic con…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's a la carte menu items. "Eat hearty!"

1. For those of us who like to complain about our lives ... perhaps we need to take a look at this brief video and read the accompanying article. 

2. We spend so much time communicating ... either in person, over the phone, via email or texting. So, what does the Bible have to say about how we communicate? Check out the answer to that question here!

3. Kevin DeYoung with, A Friend of Sinners and Not a Friend of Sin. A good read!


4. Ed Welsh weights in on the Secret to Dealing with Fear and Anxiety. 

5. I like what Kathleen Nielson has to say about grandparenting in her article, Grandparenting: A Great Road Trip. 

6. And on a lighter note (especially for you Hobbit fans out there!) . . .

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

No Unanswered Calls in Heaven!

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The other day, my wife Sharon and I ran some errands together. After pulling into the shopping center's parking lot, I headed to the pharmacy to fill a prescription and she to the grocery store. Since I was just planning to drop my prescription off and pick it up the next day, I told her I would quickly catch up with her in the supermarket. But that changed when the pharmacy tech told me that they could have my prescription filled in just ten minutes or so. Deciding I would rather wait than make a trip back the next day, I reached for my cell phone to call my wife. All I was able to get was her voice mail. "She didn't bring her cell phone!" was the thought that ran through my mind ... and sure enough ... that's exactly what happened. All this reminded me of another account (true story!) of an unanswered cell phone.

One spring, a family was driving to Florida. They decided to drive through the night. Mom took a cat nap early on while Dad drove. When it came her tu…

What? More Change?

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Change is a constant in our lives. Our bodies change (of which I am reminded every time I engage in a physical activity - my body screams at me "I am NOT as young as I once was!"). Our families change. Our work situations change. Our friendships change. Our neighborhoods change. Our world changes. But as I was reminded in my devotional time this morning, God NEVER changes (Hebrews 13:8; Malachi 3:6). He is THE only constant that is always present in our lives. He is THE only non-negotiable.

So as we travel on this journey we call life, immersed in a sea of never-ending change, pause . . . and pause often ... to remind yourself that the God who loved you enough to die for you ... is ALWAYS by your side. His eye is ever watching (Proverbs 25:3) ... his hand is always gripping (Psalm 139:10) - YOU! And that, my friend, will NEVER change!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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After missing my weekly coffee with you last week, I am more than ready to share some random type thoughts with any of you with time to stop and listen.

1. So many of us struggle with our prayer lives. By that I mean that most of us, if really honest, would have to admit we don't pray nearly enough. I admit that's definitely true of my life. And there are many reasons for this lack of prayer: life's busy routines, the distraction of the world, the influence of our enemy who certainly does not want to see God's people on their knees before God . . . . and the list could go on and on and on. So to help me "pray better and pray more," I am always looking for any helpful tool which will help me do so. One such resource is a book by Ken Boa titled, Handbook to Prayer: Praying the Scripture Back to God. This handbook has helped me to become more consistent ... AND ... more God-centered in my praying. I highly recommend any of Boa's books on prayer. It's rea…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings ...

1. Tim Challies offers up some advice on growing a Porn Free Family. 

2. Do you feel like you make a mess of a lot of stuff? Paul Tripp reminds us of one thing that we could never destroy. 

3. One of my favorite theological "mentors" R.C. Sproul writes, "If It Be Your Will" A great (and needed) read!

4. A great reminder that we can ill afford to stop praying ... even when it seems like we are merely talking to the ceiling!

5.  Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Church in Manhattan ... offers up comments about the church and homoxexuality. Well worth your time!

6. And on a lighter note . . . 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

The House that Mickey Built

"It all started with a mouse." Words spoken by the founder of the Disney empire, Walt Disney (hear for your self in this brief video clip):




Looking at all that Disney has become, it is hard to believe that Walt's early ventures included bankruptcy and failure. But thanks to this mouse named Mickey, Walt's last name has become magical to kids of all ages.

Last week, my wife and I spent a week at Disney World along with our oldest daughter and family. Prior to this visit, my experience at Disney had been a four hour visit to the Magic Kingdom while on chorale tour during spring break of my freshman year (when the Magic Kingdom WAS Disney World!). We also spent a full day at Magic Kingdom in the early 1990's with our children. So spending all that time at Disney was a real eye opener ... and a boat-load of fun!
The sheer size of the place astounded me! Did you know that Disney World covers over 30,000 acres? And did you know that Disney World employs over 60,00…

God Is at Work in Israel!

For the past fifteen years or so, I have served on the board of Hebrew Christian Fellowship.  During that time, I have often been amazed at how God is at work in that predominantly Jewish land. I have posted below a brief devotional by a friend of mine, David Salinger. David, a messianic Jew, is on the staff of Israel College of the Bible located in Netanya, Israel. I encourage you to take the four minutes required to view the video. It will be time well spent!




Thanks for stopping by . .
 pj

Out of Office

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I will not be posting this week as I am out of the office enjoying some time away with my wife. "See" you again next week!

But before I sign off ... here is a quote for you to ponder this week:


"Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society's own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender"  (A. W. Tozer, 1897-1963).

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Grab your favorite morning, afternoon or evening beverage of choice and join me for a couple of random
thoughts.

1. Whenever something bad happens in our lives, the Enemy is always quick to whisper in our ear something along the line of "So, God loves you does he? Come on . . . if God REALLY loved you, then would he have allowed this to happen to you?" From the dawn of human history, this has been one of Satan's strategy . . . to get us to doubt God's goodness (see Genesis 3:1-5). But when Satan comes whispering his vicious accusation against our God, we must respond with God's Word (just as Jesus did when tempted by Satan - Matthew 4:1-10). Over and over again the Bible tells us that God is good and faithful (Psalm 107:1; Psalm 36:5; Lamentations 3:22-25). So even when life grows so dark it is tough to see any light, we must, by faith believe that God is near and He has us in HIS hand (Psalm 139:9-11). And there is no better hands to be in than HIS!

2. Jerry Bri…