PJ

PJ

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 year old grandson John), not want to share a toy he was enjoying with one of his cousins. His mom talked to him about this. What she said to him got me thinking. She said something along this line, "Jack, are you going to put things above people?" She then went on to explain to him in "twoyearoldeese" that people are more important than the things we want to hold onto (in this case a toy), and that we need to learn to share our things in order to show that the one we are sharing with is more important to us than whatever the "thing" might be that has our attention. There's wisdom in that for us adults. I wonder how many of  us sacrifice relationships in order to attain things. Listen, my friends, the things of this world will one day be gone, but the souls of people are eternal. So let's get our priorities straight - people before things; relationships before stuff. 

3. Today is GOOD FRIDAY. But did you ever wonder why the day that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Creator of the world, Lord of lords and King of kings was crucified is referred to as "good?" Although the happenings of that day were quite wicked, evil and dark . . . the outcome could not be brighter! For on that day, God's Son faced God's wrath so that we would not have to (Romans 5:8; 6:23; 1 Peter 3:18). In laying down his life for us (and there is no greater act of love than that - John 15:13), Jesus attained for us what we could have never attained on our own - a relationship with the one true and living God. So on this Good Friday, please take some time to reflect on the awesome sacrifice of Jesus for us! And worship the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and in so doing, opens for us the gates of heaven (John 14:1-3)!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

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 note . . .  (the NCAA March Madness fans will especially enjoy this - and you gotta love those short shorts of yesteryear!).

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

UPDATE FROM DR. HIBAILE

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!

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 that we can reap consequences that will glorify our God and advance His kingdom!

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wisdom for Decision Making!

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 wisdom we need.

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 age, I really believe we are losing out on how to develop and maintain rich personal relationships. Tim Challies wrote a book work reading titled, The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion that is worth a serious read! The trailer for the book does a great job pointing out the dangers of digital communication (in a humorous way). So ... the next time you are at home with your family and are tempted to check your email ... DON'T. Instead, enjoy some "face time" (the REAL "Face Time!") with those you love. You (and they) will be better for it! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . and thanks for your prayers this week as we wrap up our Grace Board meetings later today. 

pj 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Off to Indiana!

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 education which 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 Christ preeminent in all things. Students learn this by living, studying, working, worshiping and achieving academic success with other young people who share similar Christian ideals in a setting where the community lifestyle fosters devotion to serious academic inquiry, wholesome recreation and relaxation, and mature spiritual growth.
Thanks for your prayers ... and thanks for stopping by . . . pj

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 million cups of coffee are consumed each day in the U.S.? And why is it so popular? It is because caffeine is one of its key ingredients. According to Dr. Roland Griffiths (professor, departments of psychiatry, behavioral science and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine) caffeine is "the most widely used mood-altering drug" in the world. And according to research it only takes about 20 milligrams of caffeine to begin to experience its effects ... and you can get that much in just a few sips! SOOO ... all that to say ... go ahead and enjoy your coffee (I enjoy mine). But like anything in life ... moderation is always a good path to travel (and if you want to read a decent article on the pros and cons of coffee consumption, click here). All of us must seek to be good stewards of the body God has given us. After all, we only get one! 

3. Next week I head out to Winona Lake, Indiana, the home of our fellowship of church's college and seminary. It is always exciting to see some of the innovative initiatives that the schools are engaging in ... always trying to make a solid Christian education affordable and achievable for an increasing number of students. I always walk away encouraged but plumb worn out after three days of Board meetings. Sure would appreciate your prayers! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

PS - Even though I will be away next week, I did prepare a few postings ... so be sure to stop back! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I've Got Smoke in My Eyes!

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 all who have loved his appearing"         (2 Timothy 4:8).

I wonder how many of us "have loved his appearing?"  Or do we get so "caught up" in this life that we give little thought to the next?  Oh that we all were fixed on Christ's return! What a life-changer that would be!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

PS - Thanks, Lisa ... for the idea for this post!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On Knowing God

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, March 8, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 that it may or may not happen. If God says it will ... it will. No doubt about it! 

2. This morning I sighted the first robins in our neighborhood. The past few years, I always spotted the first robins in February. Not sure why it wasn't until March 7th this year. But ... I am not complaining. That is a sure sign that spring is not far away! And I am all for spring! Bring on the warmer weather!  Amen and Amen!

3. Even though the turbulence in the Central African Republic has settled down, the issues that led rebels to nearly topple the current government are far from resolved. Please pray for my friend, Agustine Hibaile and his family. Pray for safety. But most of all, pray for open doors of ministry for Augustine as he seeks to bring the light of Jesus Christ into the highest levels of government (click here for more info on his ministry, the Center International for the Development of Ethical Leaders ... a.k.a. CIDEL).

4. Next week is another milestone for me. I will hit my 57th birthday. My wife asked me how I felt about that. Hmm . . . well, there's the sore heel of my right foot, the chronic pain in my neck, the off and on stiffness of my fingers - and I am sure I am just getting started with all that goes along with the aging process. I recently read one nationally known pastor say that he thought old age was a gift from God. For the older we get ... the less firm our grip becomes on THIS life and we are much more prone to look forward to the NEXT! Hmm .... I think he's onto something there!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Gift of the Scriptures!


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


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Time Is It?

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 Americans who were present!

So when it comes to the use of time. Who's right? Americans or Indians? The answer? Both! One view is not better than the other, although I believe we Americans could learn something from our Indian friends (and I will leave it to Indians to say whether or not they could learn something from us Americans!). Sometimes I find myself wishing that we could be a bit more relaxed when it comes to our schedules. I think the Indians (and other cultures which are similar) are on to something here. Relationships are important ... and they are more important than the tick of the clock and the date on the calendar.

So what am I suggesting? Throw away your planning calendar and ditch your watch? Of course not! To do so would place you in a lot of hot water with a lot of people (after all, we live in the United States, not India!). But what I do suggest is that we all make relationships (and the cultivation of them) a priority. Build them into your schedules. Life is about far more than getting done the most you can accomplish in a 24 hour period. Take some of your valuable time and spend it with someone you love! Your live will be richer for it!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Got Faith?

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, March 1, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 this season, State had lost 14 consecutive Big Ten Conference games. With the season almost over, it was looking more and more like PSU would finish the season without a single win within the conference. And so after the team knocked off Michigan on Wednesday ... it is no wonder that the fans stormed onto the floor in a wild post-game celebration. Now what made this such big news is that Michigan came in to State College with a 23-4 season record. They were also ranked as the fourth best college team in the entire nation. Many were projecting them to be a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Wednesday night's loss may very well change that! This was indeed a situation of David slaying Goliath! No one gave the Nittany Lions a chance to win the game. Yet they did! This reminds me of the reality that all of us face certain "Goliaths" in our lives. And all of us, with God's help, can slay them as well (Philippians 4:13)! So press on in faith - no matter how huge the obstacles are that may lay in your path!

3. Today I turned the calendar. It is now March 1st, which is the first day of meterological spring. However, the forecast into next week looks nothing like spring! But, I will not despair because I knows the weather will finally at some point catch up with the season - and that's good news, because I just love spring time! Why? After the long, cold, dark months of winter, I so enjoy feeling the warm sunshine and gentle breezes of spring. I also delight in watching all of nature come back to life. It reminds me of THE holiday of spring: Easter. Easter, of course, is the holiday on which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Brutally executed. Laid in a tomb. But now ALIVE! And because he lives, we too will live (John 11:25-26). So as you watch nature come back to life across the course of the next number of weeks, allow that to remind you of the greatest return to life ever recorded in human history - and rejoice that we serve, love, worship a LIVING Savior!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 year old grandson John), not want to share a toy he was enjoying with one of his cousins. His mom talked to him about this. What she said to him got me thinking. She said something along this line, "Jack, are you going to put things above people?" She then went on to explain to him in "twoyearoldeese" that people are more important than the things we want to hold onto (in this case a toy), and that we need to learn to share our things in order to show that the one we are sharing with is more important to us than whatever the "thing" might be that has our attention. There's wisdom in that for us adults. I wonder how many of  us sacrifice relationships in order to attain things. Listen, my friends, the things of this world will one day be gone, but the souls of people are eternal. So let's get our priorities straight - people before things; relationships before stuff. 

3. Today is GOOD FRIDAY. But did you ever wonder why the day that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Creator of the world, Lord of lords and King of kings was crucified is referred to as "good?" Although the happenings of that day were quite wicked, evil and dark . . . the outcome could not be brighter! For on that day, God's Son faced God's wrath so that we would not have to (Romans 5:8; 6:23; 1 Peter 3:18). In laying down his life for us (and there is no greater act of love than that - John 15:13), Jesus attained for us what we could have never attained on our own - a relationship with the one true and living God. So on this Good Friday, please take some time to reflect on the awesome sacrifice of Jesus for us! And worship the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and in so doing, opens for us the gates of heaven (John 14:1-3)!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

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 note . . .  (the NCAA March Madness fans will especially enjoy this - and you gotta love those short shorts of yesteryear!).

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

UPDATE FROM DR. HIBAILE

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!

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 that we can reap consequences that will glorify our God and advance His kingdom!

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wisdom for Decision Making!

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 wisdom we need.

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 age, I really believe we are losing out on how to develop and maintain rich personal relationships. Tim Challies wrote a book work reading titled, The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion that is worth a serious read! The trailer for the book does a great job pointing out the dangers of digital communication (in a humorous way). So ... the next time you are at home with your family and are tempted to check your email ... DON'T. Instead, enjoy some "face time" (the REAL "Face Time!") with those you love. You (and they) will be better for it! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . and thanks for your prayers this week as we wrap up our Grace Board meetings later today. 

pj 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Off to Indiana!

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 education which 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 Christ preeminent in all things. Students learn this by living, studying, working, worshiping and achieving academic success with other young people who share similar Christian ideals in a setting where the community lifestyle fosters devotion to serious academic inquiry, wholesome recreation and relaxation, and mature spiritual growth.
Thanks for your prayers ... and thanks for stopping by . . . pj

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 million cups of coffee are consumed each day in the U.S.? And why is it so popular? It is because caffeine is one of its key ingredients. According to Dr. Roland Griffiths (professor, departments of psychiatry, behavioral science and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine) caffeine is "the most widely used mood-altering drug" in the world. And according to research it only takes about 20 milligrams of caffeine to begin to experience its effects ... and you can get that much in just a few sips! SOOO ... all that to say ... go ahead and enjoy your coffee (I enjoy mine). But like anything in life ... moderation is always a good path to travel (and if you want to read a decent article on the pros and cons of coffee consumption, click here). All of us must seek to be good stewards of the body God has given us. After all, we only get one! 

3. Next week I head out to Winona Lake, Indiana, the home of our fellowship of church's college and seminary. It is always exciting to see some of the innovative initiatives that the schools are engaging in ... always trying to make a solid Christian education affordable and achievable for an increasing number of students. I always walk away encouraged but plumb worn out after three days of Board meetings. Sure would appreciate your prayers! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

PS - Even though I will be away next week, I did prepare a few postings ... so be sure to stop back! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I've Got Smoke in My Eyes!

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 all who have loved his appearing"         (2 Timothy 4:8).

I wonder how many of us "have loved his appearing?"  Or do we get so "caught up" in this life that we give little thought to the next?  Oh that we all were fixed on Christ's return! What a life-changer that would be!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

PS - Thanks, Lisa ... for the idea for this post!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On Knowing God

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, March 8, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 that it may or may not happen. If God says it will ... it will. No doubt about it! 

2. This morning I sighted the first robins in our neighborhood. The past few years, I always spotted the first robins in February. Not sure why it wasn't until March 7th this year. But ... I am not complaining. That is a sure sign that spring is not far away! And I am all for spring! Bring on the warmer weather!  Amen and Amen!

3. Even though the turbulence in the Central African Republic has settled down, the issues that led rebels to nearly topple the current government are far from resolved. Please pray for my friend, Agustine Hibaile and his family. Pray for safety. But most of all, pray for open doors of ministry for Augustine as he seeks to bring the light of Jesus Christ into the highest levels of government (click here for more info on his ministry, the Center International for the Development of Ethical Leaders ... a.k.a. CIDEL).

4. Next week is another milestone for me. I will hit my 57th birthday. My wife asked me how I felt about that. Hmm . . . well, there's the sore heel of my right foot, the chronic pain in my neck, the off and on stiffness of my fingers - and I am sure I am just getting started with all that goes along with the aging process. I recently read one nationally known pastor say that he thought old age was a gift from God. For the older we get ... the less firm our grip becomes on THIS life and we are much more prone to look forward to the NEXT! Hmm .... I think he's onto something there!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Gift of the Scriptures!


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


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Time Is It?

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 Americans who were present!

So when it comes to the use of time. Who's right? Americans or Indians? The answer? Both! One view is not better than the other, although I believe we Americans could learn something from our Indian friends (and I will leave it to Indians to say whether or not they could learn something from us Americans!). Sometimes I find myself wishing that we could be a bit more relaxed when it comes to our schedules. I think the Indians (and other cultures which are similar) are on to something here. Relationships are important ... and they are more important than the tick of the clock and the date on the calendar.

So what am I suggesting? Throw away your planning calendar and ditch your watch? Of course not! To do so would place you in a lot of hot water with a lot of people (after all, we live in the United States, not India!). But what I do suggest is that we all make relationships (and the cultivation of them) a priority. Build them into your schedules. Life is about far more than getting done the most you can accomplish in a 24 hour period. Take some of your valuable time and spend it with someone you love! Your live will be richer for it!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Got Faith?

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, March 1, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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 this season, State had lost 14 consecutive Big Ten Conference games. With the season almost over, it was looking more and more like PSU would finish the season without a single win within the conference. And so after the team knocked off Michigan on Wednesday ... it is no wonder that the fans stormed onto the floor in a wild post-game celebration. Now what made this such big news is that Michigan came in to State College with a 23-4 season record. They were also ranked as the fourth best college team in the entire nation. Many were projecting them to be a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Wednesday night's loss may very well change that! This was indeed a situation of David slaying Goliath! No one gave the Nittany Lions a chance to win the game. Yet they did! This reminds me of the reality that all of us face certain "Goliaths" in our lives. And all of us, with God's help, can slay them as well (Philippians 4:13)! So press on in faith - no matter how huge the obstacles are that may lay in your path!

3. Today I turned the calendar. It is now March 1st, which is the first day of meterological spring. However, the forecast into next week looks nothing like spring! But, I will not despair because I knows the weather will finally at some point catch up with the season - and that's good news, because I just love spring time! Why? After the long, cold, dark months of winter, I so enjoy feeling the warm sunshine and gentle breezes of spring. I also delight in watching all of nature come back to life. It reminds me of THE holiday of spring: Easter. Easter, of course, is the holiday on which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Brutally executed. Laid in a tomb. But now ALIVE! And because he lives, we too will live (John 11:25-26). So as you watch nature come back to life across the course of the next number of weeks, allow that to remind you of the greatest return to life ever recorded in human history - and rejoice that we serve, love, worship a LIVING Savior!

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.