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Showing posts from March, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Here are some random thoughts for you to enjoy with your coffee (or, if you must, tea) ...

1. The unrest that has gripped so much of the world in recent months (think Lybia, Egypt, Syria, Mali and the Central African Republic - just to name a few) has made me thankful for the stability and peace that we enjoy here in the United States. This is something that we cannot or should not take for granted. The Apostle Paul expresses God's will "that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way" (1 Timothy 2:1-2). So let's be sure as we pray, to pray for our President, members of Congress, U.S. Supreme Court justices, Governor and other elected state officials, county and local officials as well. In doing so, we prove obedient to Scripture and will experience God's blessing. 
2. Recently I watched my name sake (2 1/2…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's a la carte offerings. Enjoy!

1. Please pray for the continuing crisis in the Central African Republic. The last thing this impoverished and war weary land needs is another coup. Pray specifically for Dr. Augustine Hibaile and his family, our Hand-in-Hand Orphan School (staff and students) in Bangui, and both Wycliffe and Encompass World Partners missionaries who remain in the country.

2. Al Mohler weighs in (and does so effectively and with great insight) on the whole issue of same sex marriage and the implications legitimizing it may have for the institution that has always been seen as a union between a man and a woman. In addition, Kevin DeYoung describes why arguments for gay marriage are persuasive. 

3. Check out Scotty Smith's blog for some prayers for the various days of Holy Week.

4.  Given that tomorrow is Good Friday, here's an intersting post by Tim Challies on Isaac Watts and his hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. 

5. On a lighter not…

UPDATE FROM DR. HIBAILE

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I just received an update from Dr. Hibaile (see below). Please continue to pray for him, his family and his
country. Pray for peace and pray for the advance of the gospel.




Greetings from home,
Thanks to all of you for your support during this difficult time. My family was out of our home that is located between the South African troops and the rebels.
After 4 days out, we are back home. Our home was protected by the Lord. We continue to ask you to pray that things will totally calm down and the peace will come back.
The electricity is back but it is difficult to get food. Food is very expensive. I don't know about my vehicle that remained at the garage downtown where there was lot of looting.
Rev. Dr. Augustin HIBAILE Executive Directeur of CIDEL + 236 75 05 47

Thanks for your prayers AND thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

A Valuable Reminder from Playing Wiffle Ball!

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Starting back on Monday, January 7th and continuing each Monday evening through March 18th, men of our church gathered to play wiffle ball. I made about four of those nights. Each and every time I played, I found myself limping for several days. Pain from playing wiffle ball? Yep! Pain! And at times it was intense pain! Why? Well ... when you get to playing a game that you played all the time as a kid ... you begin to play like a kid and forget that you are not a kid anymore (are you with me?). As a result, my body was in a recovery mode most of the past two months (I never played games on two consecutive weeks!).

All this reminds me of an important biblical truth.  Galatians 6:7 tells us that we will “reap what we sow.” My "post game" soreness was a result of my "in game" actions.  Friends, this is something we cannot afford to forget.  Every choice we make and every act we perform has consequences.  So let’s strive to sow godly choices and Christ-like acts so th…

Wisdom for Decision Making!

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I spent much of last week in Winona Lake, Indiana. I was there with about twenty other men and women who make up the board of trustees of Grace College and Seminary. For three very long days we met to discuss a number of important issues relative to the ongoing work of both schools. Most important among these, was the naming of a new president. After much discussion and prayer, our decision was made with enthusiastic support from each trustee.

I drove away from these board meetings with a great confidence that God had lead us. That is such a great feeling! How about YOU? Are you looking at some signficant decision that you must make? Not sure which way to go ... what step to take next?  Let me suggest that you get on your knees and ask God for HIS wisdom. Then trust that he will guide you (Proverbs 3:5-6). God is more willing to give us direction than we are to ask HIM for it! But when we do take Proverbs 3:5-6 and put it into practice, we can count on HIM coming through with the wisd…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Well ... hard to believe it's Friday already ... but here are some thoughts for you to enjoy with your coffee (or tea if you must!) . . .

1. Five years ago last week, a small team began working on a prototype that has evolved into what we know today as "Twitter." And just how much has Twitter grown since its inception? Well, during the past month, Twitter has seen 460,000 new accounts established PER DAY! Even the new Pope got into tweeting with his first tweet, "HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM"" which means, "We have Pope Francis."  I have an account and do tweet some (setfreebytruth is my Twitter name). I also use Twitter as a source of news information and faith inspiration. If you are not twittering ... I would encourage you to do so. It is one way to "stay in touch." 

2. On the other hand, social media is no substitute for personal, face-to-face contact. Yet, with all the facebooking, tweeting, texting, emailing going on in our digital ag…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings . . .

1. Not that we need a reminder ... but if you do here is a creative photo gallery of the onward march of time! Made me think of James 4:13-15.


2. Checking one's cell phone before getting out of bed? Almost half of young women do so ... but it might surprise you that pastor and author John Piper does so ... here's why! 


3. If you need some guidance on how to be praying for your children ... here is an interesting list of Seven Things to Pray for your Children. 


4. I just love Scotty Smith's prayers ... here is a Prayer for a Jesus-Centered, Dependent, Saturated Prayer Life. 


5. On a lighter note . . . (when I watched this my first response was, "Really?") 


Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Off to Indiana!

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I will be hitting the road to head to Winona Lake, Indiana today. The next three days will involve lengthy Grace College and Seminary board meetings. I count it a privilege to sit on the board, representing our church and helping our Fellowship of Church's schools. I must admit that I often feel  out of my element in some of our discussions. Please pray for me (and all the men and women on the board who come from as far away as Germany). Ask God to give us HIS insight and wisdom as we seek to help guide the schools toward the fulfilling of their mission, which is as follows:


Grace College is an evangelical Christian community of higher educationwhich applies biblical values in strengthening character, sharpening competence, and preparing for service. Grace Theological Seminary is a learning community dedicated to teaching, training, and transforming the whole person for local church and global ministry. At Grace, the students, administration, faculty, and staff aim together to make…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Well ... it's Friday again. Thanks for joining me for your morning (or noon or evening) cup of Joe. Here are some random reflections for you to chew on as you sip your coffee ... enjoy!

1.  Yesterday was National Pi Day. That's NOT a typo ... it was National Pi (not pie) day. Pi, of course, is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159. USA Today ran an article that offered up five ways to celebrate the day (click here to see if still available). So if you missed the celebration ... perhaps you could celebrate a belated Pi Day! I for one would just as soon leave my geometry back in my high school geometry class where I had the good fortune to first meet Pi. Next March 14th (3.14) ... I think I will celebrate National Pi Day by eating a slice of some good old fashioned apple PIE. That's the kind of pie I enjoy! 

2. I read an interesting news article on coffee ... did you know that over 400…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings . . .

1. Here's a compelling read .... David Murry on the most disobeyed commandment in the church today.

2. Feel rushed? Harried? Overwhelmed by the rapid pace of life? Here's a read for you: Life's Too Short to Be in a Hurry! 

3. From Ligonier Ministries ... a brief but great read on Looking through the Mirror (at life) ...

4. Ed Welch talks about Hearing What Is Important (vs. just listening . . . )

5. On a lighter note . . . 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

I've Got Smoke in My Eyes!

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It seems like the eyes of the world are on a little smoke stack located on a rooftop in Vatican City. In fact, there are many web sites (like this one from NBC News) on which you can watch a live feed of a web cam focused solely on the chimney. Of course, this is not just any smoke stack. Indeed, for the Roman Catholic faithful, it is  one-of-a-kind. For sooner or later, white smoke will billow out of it indicating that a new Pope of the Roman Catholic Church has been selected.

This morning, my office manager mentioned to me the world's fascination with this watching for the smoke. She went on to say she wished we Christians were just as fascinated with our watching for the return of Christ. Hmm. I think she's got something there. Consider what the Apostle Paul had to say about the second coming of Jesus Christ:

"Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to …

On Knowing God

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How well we know God is of the utmost importance (as the words of Sinclair Ferguson quoted below make so clear). Given this, I am quite concerned at the ignorance of God that exists among numbers of Christians today. Many worship a caricature of God that is far removed from the reality of God as revealed in Scripture. 

SOOO .... how well do YOU know God? And what are you doing to get to know Him better?









Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Thanks for joining me for some more random thoughts to chew on while you drink your morning "Joe!".

1. It was a lot of fun watching the weather forecasting community attempt to cover up their total miss on this past Wednesday's forecast. Projected snow accumulations for our area ranged from 4 to 10 inches. Some even mentioned the possibility of a foot of the white stuff. But at the end of the day ... my front yard was no different in color than at the start of the day. I will say ... shoveling my driveway was never easier!  This missed forecast is just a reminder that in spite of all of our technology and knowledge ... we are still limited human beings. We can make some educated projections about the future (and really, the weather guys are usually right, at least in the short term forecasting department), but there is only ONE who is able to predict the future -- and HE is God! I am so glad that when I read the Scripture that talks of the future, I do not have to worry…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings ... enjoy!

1. It's great to see a real life situation where a teen shows he has "caught" the values of his parents. His is a heart warming story that brought tears to my eyes . .. 

2. Here's an interesting NASA video about the asteroid that exploded over Russia. A fascinating watch!

3. I could not agree more with David Murray as he discusses what he believes to be life's most essential skill. 

4. Ouch! This very brief read got me. I encourage you to take the 90 seconds it might take for you to read this ... but be ready to be slammed! Six Types of Selfishness will speak to you - IF you are teachable! :)

5. On a lighter note ... an older clip but one that had me laughing! 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

The Gift of the Scriptures!

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Psalm 119 is one of my favorite psalms ... in fact, it is one of my favorite chapters in all of the Bible. Why so? Because it expresses to us in no uncertain terms (and in amazing language) the significance and value of God's Word. Sam Storms, in his wonderful devotional book, More Precious Than Gold: 50 Daily Meditations on the Psalms, gives this summary of this wonderful psalm: 





Well said, Sam!  Concerning God's Word ... there are three prayers to pray from the psalm which would benefit us greatly.

- "Incline my heart toward your Word!" (Psalm 119:36)
- "Open my eyes to your Word!" (Psalm 119:18)
- "Order my steps by your Word!" (Psalm 119:133)

Be sure to take some time today (and everyday!) to dig into the valuable gift of God's Word. And as you do ask God to incline your toward His Word, open your eyes to its truth and order your life according to what you read (HEAR it ... and then PUT IT INTO PRACTICE!).

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj


What Time Is It?

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Since I am considering a return trip to India later this year, I got to reflecting on my past trips there. As I did, I thought about some of the cultural differences between the United States and India. One of the greatest is the view of time here vs. there. Here, time is cherished as a very valuable commodity ("time is money"). Therefore, Americans can become very impatient waiting in long lines or irritated by a "chatty" cashier. Americans also value punctuality. Nothing is more bothersome to many then when a work colleague is late for a meeting or when a concert doesn't get going "on time!".

In India it is very different. Time is not nearly as valued as relationships. Punctuality is measured by hours ...not minutes. I learned this on my very first trip. We were preparing for a dedication of a new health clinic. The stated start time was 4:00 PM. The actual start time was approximately 5:30. And was anyone upset by that? Of course  - us five Americ…

Got Faith?

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The Bible is clear that faith is an important element of the Christian life. Our faith journey begins with faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and continues in faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). In fact, without faith we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6). So to state that faith is important is in reality an understatement (perhaps better said, "faith is  indispensable"). Without faith - we are doomed!

SO ... with that preface, here's a quote from Chuck Colson which I ran across this morning. I found it to be quite thought provoking. Hope you do, too!




Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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This morning ... some more random topics to "dunk" in your morning coffee . . .

1. Isn't it easy to practice "Monday morning quarterbacking?" Far too often I find myself being critical of someone else and how they do things or handle certain situations. Lately, when I catch myself doing this, I remind myself that I am not walking in their shoes and therefore must be careful in making judgment calls that very well may be far from the truth. After all, I do not know all that particular person is facing in his or her life at that moment. When Jesus warns us in Matthew 7:1, "Judge not, lest you be judged," I think this sort of scenario was one that he probably had in mind (among others).

2. I don't really follow college basketball. But I did notice that Penn State beat Michigan on Wednesday night. In fact, it was the prominent story on both ESPN's and CBSSPORTSLINE's college basketball websites yesterday morning. Why so newsworthy? Thus far t…