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Showing posts from May, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Friday's here ... and with the day comes another installment of Friday Coffee with PJ ... I hope you enjoy
these random ramblings as you drink your morning cup of joe!

1. Ever wonder where a cup of coffee got labeled as a cup of joe? If so ... here's your answer! 
2. Here's a question for you: How many phone numbers do you know? If you are like me ... the answer is "not many" (some people don't even know their own phone number). In our digital age, most people rely upon their cell phones for phone numbers. And if we leave our cell phone at home or ... God forbid ... lose it. Well forget calling mom to check up on her or even your spouse to see if you need to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work! Hmm . . . but God is so very different from us, isn't he? Not only does he know every single phone number of every single person on planet earth ... he knows everything else that there is to know. Wow! What a God we serve and worship!

3. Looks like…

Thursday A La Carte

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It's Thursday again ... that means ... A LA CARTE! Enjoy!

1. Here's a gut check on the lies that sin tells us. A MUST read!

2. One of my associates (Alec Millen) sent me a link to this article by Mark Dever, Lead pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church on how to survive a cultural crises. And EXCELLENT read!

3. John MacArthur writes on the "age of accountability" of children. A great read - especially for parents.

4. Chuck Swindoll offers up four antilegalistic strategies. Given the epidemic of legalism that exists within the church ... I encourage you to take just a moment and read what he writes. Good stuff!


Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Ouch, God! That Hurts!

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This past Saturday evening, as my wife were preparing to "chill" ... our son called and asked if we could come over to his house. His one year old daughter had fallen and gashed her forehead and he and his wife had to take her to the ER. So we jumped into our car and raced over to his house so we could watch four year old Ella while they took Molly to the hospital. Once at the ER ... they were quickly escorted to an examination room (it was still early enough on Saturday evening that the waiting room was sparsely populated). When it came time to apply the glue to close the gash, Molly let it be known that she wanted NO PARTS of that! So ... as parents have done countless times with their little ones . . . my son and daughter-in-law had to hold Molly "down" so that the doctor could do his work.

Now ... were my son and his wife being mean to their daughter?Was the doctor evil in his intentions? Of course not! They were doing what they were doing for Molly's good…

Rejoice ... There's an Eternity of Hope Ahead!

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Take a few moments and reflect on these verses from the Apostle Paul's letter to the church at Philippi.

"Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."

Praise God we have such a glorious future (and transformation) awaiting us! 
Thanks for stopping by . . .  pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Ahhh ... Friday again? That means the one day of the week that I work (Sunday - and that's really not the case, I assure you!) will soon be upon us. So here are a few nuggets of thought to enjoy with your beverage of choice (mine really does happen to be coffee!).

1. Last Sunday's police appreciation/memorial service that we conducted here at Grace Church, reminded me again of how blessed we are to have such fine law enforcement personnel caring for us, the citizens of Lancaster County. These men and women who serve in the various local departments along with those who are members of the Pennsylvania State Police are to be commended for the jobs they do. Each day when they walk out the door of their homes, there exists the very real possibility that they may not return when their shift is done. They put their lives on the line day in and day out as they patrol our increasingly violent streets (and compared to other occupations, the pay is not all that great!). SO ... the next…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Ahhh ... Friday again? That means the one day of the week that I work (Sunday) will soon be upon us (that's really not the case, I assure you!). So here are a few nuggets of thought to enjoy with your beverage of choice (mine really does happen to be coffee!).

1. Last Sunday's police appreciation/memorial service that we conducted here at Grace Church, reminded me again of how blessed we are to have such fine law enforcement personnel caring for us, the citizens of Lancaster County. These men and women who serve in the various local departments along with those who are members of the Pennsylvania State Police are to be commended for the jobs they do. Each day when they walk out the door of their homes, there exists the very real possibility that they may not return when their shift is done. They put their lives on the line day in and day out as they patrol our increasingly violent streets (and compared to other occupations, the pay is not all that great!). SO ... the next tim…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings ... enjoy, be challenged and encouraged!

1. In light of the destructive tornado that roared through Oklahoma earlier this week, Al Mohler writes about The Goodness of God and the Reality of Evil. 

2.  Tim Challies disccuses 5 Ways We Grow as Christians. Good stuff!

3. Grandparenting: A Great Road Trip ---- Yep!

4. The case for traditional marriage ... done in a creative way!

5. On a lighter note . . . (you may not want to watch this if you are a panda fan!)

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Please Continue to Pray for the C.A.R.!

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I know I might be sounding like the proverbial broken record, but I do want to ask you to continue to pray for the situation in the Central African Republic. As a result of the recent coup and the subsequent chaos and unrest, a growing humanitarian crisis is brewing (and given the country's insignificance on the world stage, you probably are not hearing about this!). Please take a moment and check out the United Nation's assessment of the situation. Then pause to pray. If I find a way that we can put "feet to our prayers" I will let you know.

Thanks for caring .... thanks for praying!

And thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Here are some thoughts to enjoy with your morning cup of java ... or tea ... or OJ ... or whatever you
beverage of choice might be!

1. This coming Sunday our church will host a service in which we honor law enforcement ... both those who have given their lives in the line of duty and those who are currently serving. This service, now in its 29th year is our church family's way of saying to our law enforcement community here in Lancaster County that we are behind you! We are praying for you! We support you! And we thank our God for you! The service which begins at 10:30 is always very well attended. For more information on the service, please go to our church web site and click on the Police Sunday graphic on the home page.


2.  Sharon and I celebrated the day of our 35th anniversary by driving to Gettysburg. Given that we are big history fans, we knew we would enjoy the day. We were not disappointed. One of the highlights of the day was our time spent in getting this Victorian era …

God At Work in the Midst of a Crisis!

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I hope you have continued to pray for the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic. This week there are some signs* that some stability is returning. However, the situation is far from where it needs to be. As recently as last week I received a travel advisory sent out from the U.S. State Department which warned Americans AGAINST traveling to the C.A.R. So ... please continue to pray for the restoration of peace and the ministry of the gospel as there are many Christians there.

Today, I received an email from Augustine Hibaile (in photo). In this email, he describes an amazing blessing of God in the midst of the upheaval. I encourage you to visit the Friends of CIDEL website and read this story (if need by, scroll down to the MAY 16th posting). Praise God that HE is still at work in that impoverished war torn country!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

* These promising signs include the following:

The Minister of Defense is starting to round up Seleke rebels and sending them to la…

Thursday A La Carte

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This feature is back this week after several weeks "off!"  Even my blog needs a vacation from time to time!

1. When you face conflict in your relationships ... here are some good suggestions on how to fight like a Christian. 

2. Did you ever wonder what a week of groceries looks like in different countries around the world? Check it out here! (take a close look and compare the US pic to those from the other parts of the world!).

3. Here's a solid read on the struggle to trust God with the salvation of our kids. 

4. Ahhh ... heaven will be worth the wait! Check out R.C.Sproul's devotionaly, No More Tears. 

5. Did you ever have a dream that you were convinced had some sort of hidden meaning for your life? Check out these thoughts from Ed Welch on dreams. 

6. On a lighter note . . . (in honor of all you moms out there!)

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Don't Focus on Don'ting ... Focus on Doing!

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I like to read.  I always have.  From my days of Dick and Jane and Dr. Seuss to the present, books (and all sorts of other reading material) and I have been on very friendly terms.  When I read, I am always looking for what I call “a golden nugget.” Today, while reading an article by John Piper – I mined one.  Piper was writing about ten lessons he had learned from his father. 
Here is his Lesson #6: “A Christian is a great doer not a great don’ter.”  Piper went on to write the following about this lesson: “We were fundamentalists – without the attitude.  We had our lists of things.  But that wasn’t the main thing. God was the main thing. And God was worth everything."
I wish every Christian would have the opportunity to read those words.  Far too many of us live out our faith with an emphasis on the “don’ts” and give little thought to the “do’s”.  All of us need to be reminded that as we live this life – God is the main thing.  And, in the words of Piper, He is indeed “worth eve…

How Healthy Am I? (Part 7)

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Well ... I recently received my blood work results back from my doctor. Looks like I am in fairly decent health! I thank God for that! And after going through this self-check up of my spiritual life ... I can see that I have some work to do in some areas! So I have found this exercise to be profitable ... I trust you have as well. Today our final question. And it very well might be the most important on the list!


7. Do I treasure Christ above all?
When I think of treasuring Christ above all – I think of what the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Philippi …
"For to me, to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).
"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippisans 3:7-8). 
Is that true of you?  Is it true of me? St. Augustine

How Healthy Am I? (Part 6)

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We are almost to the final question (which I will post, Lord willing, next week!). I trust you are finding this exercise of self-evaluation to be profitable!

6.  Do I have a heart for the harvest?
Jesus in John 4 said these words to his disciples … "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." (John 4:35)
Jesus tells us to open our eyes and look at the fields for they are ripe and ready to be harvested!  And he was not talking about fields of wheat – but the fields of humanity!  It is so vital that we do so! Why? Because the eternal destinies of people are at stake, that's why! 
There was a small plane with four people on board: the pilot, a genius, a pastor and a boy scout. During the flight one of the engines caught fire and the plane started to go down. Now the problem was there were only three parachutes. The pilot realizing he could not save the plane … grabbed one of t…

How Healthy Am I? (Part 5)

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Today brings us to question #5 of the seven I will be
suggesting that you use to spend some time doing a
self-checkup of your spiritual life.


5.  Am I standing firm in the Truth?
It is absolutely crucial that we as followers of Jesus Christ stand firm on the truth of His Word.  For it is the Word that God will use as His primary tool to conform us into the image of his Son. In John 17 where we find the prayer Jesus offered to His Father the night before His crucifixion. He was asking on behalf of his disciples and all those who would eventually believe in Christ "through their word" (which would include us!).  
"Sanctifythem by the truth; your word is truth" (John 17:17).
It is through the Word of God … the Bible … that God will sanctify us (set us apart from our sin and this world to Himself!). This is why we must stand FIRM in the truth of God’s WORD! And in order to stand firm in it – we must know it!
QUESTIONS: Can you say that you know God’s Word better today than…

How Healthy Am I? (Part 4)

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I hope you are tracking with me as together we do a self-check on just how we are doing in our spiritual walk. Today is question #4 of seven questions I am offering up to you to help you in this process. Far too often people fail to take the time to put life on pause and do a time of evaluation. Failure to do so is one reason for the struggle so many Christians experience in their Christian walk. So ... without any further comment from me ... here is question #4:


4. Do I talk more than I listen?
Most of us like to talk … and we like to listen – especially if we are listening to ourselves! But what does God have to say about the use of this piece of flesh that wags between our jaws? 
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)
A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.(Proverb…

Yet Another Rob Bell Book that Sorely Misses the Mark!

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I usually don't do what I am about to do ... and that is reprint on my blog what someone else has already blogged. However, in this case, I thought what this individual had to say about a new book by Rob Bell that just came out in March needs a wide hearing. Rob Bell is the controversial "Christian" author who caused a ruckus with his previous book, Love Wins.  In that book, Bell questions the very existence of hell and lands on a position that smacks of universalism (i.e. - Everyone in the end is saved). If you want to examine what Bell wrote in Love Wins, check out the review posted by Tim Challies.

Rob Bell in his attempts to make biblical Christianity more palatable to our "postmodern" world is continuing down the path that in effect, is taking a faith that will save some .... and turning it into a faith that will save none! Please take a few moments to read on!


What We Talk About When We Talk About GodARTICLE BY MICHAEL KRUGER  MAY 2013 Rob Bell, What We T…

How Healthy Am I? (part 3)

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As we continue to take a hard look at where we are in our spiritual journey ... here is question #3 of the seven I promised.


3. Do I complain more than I give thanks?
Again and again the Bible we are admonished to GIVE THANKS! Consider: 
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."  (Psalm 100:4)
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
These are just two examples of many!  Now why does the Bible over and over again remind us to do this?  Because God knows how prone we are to take things for ………… “granted” 
This attitude of entitlement permeates our society. As a result we sometimes (perhaps better said, "often?") get to feeling that we are entitled to God’s blessings! That He owes us!  OH MY FRIENDS – beware of this deadly attitude! All that we enjoy from God’s hand is as a result of HIS GRACE – giving to us what we in now way deserve!

How Healthy Am I? (part 2)

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Today as we continue to evaluate where we are in our spiritual journey ... another question to ask yourself:


2. Do I suffer from myopia (near-sightedness), living only for the present with no regard for eternity?
We live in a culture that is very NOW oriented!  Whenever we want something, we want it NOW!  Delayed gratification is something of the past! And because of this – people get buried in personal indebtedness! 
However, we who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ must look beyond today … to a bigger and better TOMORROW that is called eternity! The Bible is full of reminders of just how brief our earthly life is – here are two powerful images:
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14).
You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning—though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered(Psalm 90:5-6).
So our lives are lik…

Am I Healthy?

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Last week I did something that I do every spring: visit my doctor for my annual physical exam. I am glad to say that everything checked out ... at least for another year!

But just as we need to take stock of our physical health, we should also from time to time evaluate how we are doing spiritually. In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul told Timothy to watch his "life and doctrine closely." The Apostle Paul understood the need to keep a close eye on one's spiritual walk with God, as did the Greek philosopher Socrates, who once stated that "the unexamined life is not worth living." So to help you do a self examine on how you are progressing in your spiritual walk, I am going to offer you a series of questions across the course of the next week or so. I will limit myself to one question each post as to not overwhelm you AND to encourage you to give some time to each one of these questions. Today, question #1.

1. Am I more concerned about attaining happiness or holiness?


I bel…

Slowing Down in the Fast Lane of Life!

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This is my first blog posting in almost a week.  For those of you who may have been looking for one sooner, I apologize.  I really meant to write one sooner, but . . . the press of other “things” kept me busy elsewhere. 
You all know what this is like – wishing for a few extra hours in your day or even a few extra days in your week.  Sometimes it just seems like there’s WAY too much to do and WAY too little time in which to get it all done!  Oh the tyranny of the urgent!
This reminds me of a story I once heard.  Long ago when Africa was still relatively unknown to the outside world, a European explorer was taking a group into the African interior.  He had hired a native guide along with a number of other natives to help carry the supplies.  After a mid morning break on the third day of a fast-paced march, the Africans refused to resume their trek.  When the European explorer asked the guide the reason for their refusal, the guide told him, “They just need a little more time to allow…