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Showing posts from January, 2014

Friday Coffee with PJ

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I usually really enjoy my morning cup(s) of coffee! But this week, with early morning temperatures hovering around the zero degree mark ... I have REALLY enjoyed my coffee! I invite you to pour yourself a cup and join me for some thoughts from here and there.

1. Thanks to all of you who prayed for me and my family last week. The memorial service for my sister, held down in Carthage, North Carolina, went very well. I believe my sister's life was celebrated as was the gospel. My wife put it right when she said, "Bev didn't have it easy in life, but she never let go of her faith." So in the midst of our sorrow, we were able to find comfort knowing that my sister's faith in Christ took her, on December 26th, to a place that is better by far than the best that this life has to offer. I hope YOU have the same faith in Christ as your savior. If you have any doubts or questions, please check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Make. In addition to last week's me…

Living Life NOW in Light of THEN

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Yesterday at our weekly staff meeting, we do something we almost always do: share prayer requests. Often these requests are for people with needs within our church family. One woman we prayed for is just six weeks away from her birthday ... and not just any birthday ... but her 100th birthday! Wow!  100 years of living!  Now as I thought of her birthday, I thought of my own approaching birthday (which just happens to fall on the same day as this centenarian)which will be, for me, number 58. So if God allows me to live as long as this woman – I will still have almost half of my life before me!
Now, regardless as to whether I live another 42 years or another 5 – what is most important is that I live those years fully for Jesus Christ.  This life, no matter how brief or how long, is only a prelude to the main event.  Most of us get this all mixed up.  We think of this life as the main event and the next life as a mere add-on.  But in reality, Eternity is what life is all about.  God crea…

A Pro Football Player Who Knows Who He Is!

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I followed Michael Robinson as a college football player. His senior year at quarterback was his best as he led Penn State to a 11-1 record, an Orange Bowl victory over Florida State and a final #3 ranking in the national polls. He was selected as the Big Ten Conference offensive player of the year and was a consensus second team All American. The San Francisco 49ers drafted him in the fourth round of the NFL draft and immediately converted him into a running back. Robinson's dream of playing quarterback in the NFL ended right there. But that did not deter him (as it might have done for some). He gave his new position his all. Eventually the 49ers released him after five seasons. He was then signed by the Seattle Seahawks. This Sunday he will have the opportunity to play in the NFL's elite game ... the Super Bowl. And it is an opportunity he does not take for granted. 
Back in August, Robinson was forced to leave a preseason game against the Broncos (the Seahawks' opponen…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Time to grab that cup of java ... and join me for a few random thoughts.

1. Today is a day my family is gathering in Carthage, North Carolina to reflect on the life of my sister, Beverly. Since she was six years older than me, and being an older SISTER (vs. an older BROTHER), we did not run in the same circles when I was growing up. But that does not mean I have no childhood memories of her. In fact, many of my memories of her can be grouped around one theme: BOYS! Yep. She was quite popular in school, doing all the things that popular girls do (cheerlead, date a lot, talk on the phone ALL THE TIME, etc., etc., etc.). One other memory that stands out in my mind is her playing of the piano. I am not sure who insisted she take piano lessons. But whenever I saw her heading for the piano, I bolted for the door. Needless to say, she did not hang with the piano for long (making me one very happy little brother!). So ... all this to say, I am sad that she is no longer with us. But glad tha…

Time to Make an Appointment?

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If you are anything like me, then the phrase "crazy busy" probably seems to describe your life far too often. Yes? Well for all of us who are "crazy busy," pastor and author Kevin DeYoung has done us all a favor by recently writing a book with the title,  Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem.  He concludes chapter 2 (Here, There and Gone: Three Dangers to Avoid) with the following (You may want to put on a pair of steel toed boots. Kevin just might step on your toes!):

"What does it say about me that I’m frequently overwhelmed? What do I need to learn about myself? What biblical promises am I not believing? What divine commands am I ignoring that I should obey? What self-imposed commands am I obeying that I should ignore? What’s going on in my soul, so that busyness comes out as my chief challenge every year? The presence of extreme busyness in our lives may point to deeper problems— a pervasive people-pleasing, a restless ambiti…

Transported Back in Time!

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Last week as I was in my car heading somewhere ... can't remember where but it really does not matter ... I was listening to KYW news radio out of Philadelphia. I admit it is a habit of mine. A habit I picked up as freshmen attending Philadelphia College of Bible. At the time the school was located in center city, Philadelphia (in fact, for a several years the tag line of the school was "Philadelphia is our campus"). It was and I loved it. So I got in the habit of listening every day to get the latest Philadelphia news, WEATHER and sports (I got so into listening to KYW that when Sharon and I honeymooned on the beach in North Carolina, I was thrilled to discover that I could pick up KYW at night ... even from that distance ... and if you don't believe me, you can ask my wife!). I know that might make me a bit odd, but what is odd for one person is perfectly normal for another!  :)

Now back to my story. Last week on KYW I heard the news that Comcast was going to bui…

So ... You Hate Waiting?

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J.I. Packer is one of my favorite theologian-authors. His writing is extremely practical and to the point. Unlike other theologs whose writings are like a swamp of molasses, I find Packer's to be more like a mountain stream full of clean refreshing water. Often that is just what my soul needs!

I was introduced to J.I. when I was a freshman in college. I bought and then devoured his classic book, Knowing God(if you have not read it ... you should!). Packer introduced me, as a young Christian, to the God I was just getting to know. Below is one of his many insights into the nature and ways of God that fill every page of his book. Take a few moments this weekend to chew on what he writes. You will be better for it!

"Wait on the Lord" is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us m…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Grab your cup of Joe and join me for a few random thoughts that I hope will encourage you in some way.

1. The other morning I took a ministry friend out to breakfast. We had a great time talking about life and ministry as we enjoyed our breakfast fare (and for me that always includes a few cups of coffee!). When it came time to pay the bill, I reached for my wallet only to discover that I had not brought it with me! As visions of washing dishes began to haunt me (I worked in a restaurant, washing dishes, my senior year in high school), my friend offered to pay. Seeing me reluctant to accept his offer (after all, I told him it was "my treat"), the cashier, who was waiting patiently, told me that I could pay the next time I was in (now I must let you know that this is the restaurant which I frequent at least twice, if not more, times each week. She knew me ... and I knew her). With a sigh of relief, I accepted her offer (and did settle the account the very next morning!). Mor…

Obstacles or Opportunities?

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When my wife and I are on  a road trip, we will often encounter unexpected delays. These may be caused by construction, a disabled vehicle, weather, or, worst case, an accident. Sometimes these delays add a few minutes to our travel. Sometimes far more. And if you have done any amount of travel by car, you know exactly what I am talking about. 
These experiences remind me of life.  As we journey through this world, we often encounter obstacles.  Many of these, like the delays I mentioned above, are both unexpected and unwelcome. Our first reaction is to gripe and complain.  We don’t like obstacles.  We hate to be inconvenienced in any way!  But the Bible has a different “take” on obstacles. We see this in a story from the Old Testament (Numbers 13-14).  When Moses was leading the people of Israel to the Promised Land, he sent twelve spies to spy out the land.  When they came back they gave two reports: a majority and a minority report (politics were alive and well way back then!).  T…

Putting Feet to Your Prayers for the C.A.R.!

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As the crisis continues to deepen in the Central African Republic, three groups affiliated with the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches have joined together to provide vitally needed aid to this violence-wracked, impoverished country. If you would like to give, please click here. On behalf of the many believers in the C.A.R. THANK YOU!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Pour your favorite brew and join me for some random thoughts that just happen to be rambling through my
mind.

1. People in our society look for any and every way to avoid taking responsibility. This should not surprise us, for in Genesis 3:8-13 we see both Adam and Eve, when confronted by God, trying to pass the blame for their actions. But a recent article in the Washington Post really "takes the cake!" You might want to take a moment and read how the diagnosis of "affluenza" was used to help a teenage boy avoid jail time after he caused the death of four while he was driving drunk. Hmm. Makes one wonder what could possibly top that?

2. Last Saturday I attended a wedding of the daughter of close friends. I was struck with how "grown up" she and her siblings all looked, decked out in their wedding attire. I can recall them all as little children running around the hallways of church! Ouch! Where is time going? One of my goals for 2014 is to spend time me…

Crisis in Central African Republic Continues to Deepen!

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Please take a moment to read up on the deepening crisis in the Central African Republic. Then take another moment (and two and three and . . .) to pray for peace in that impoverished, war-torn land. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for the ministry of the gospel. Pray for my friend, Augustin Hibaile and his family. They need us to stand by them in this way!

And by the way ... if you watch the video of the eight year old sharing her tragic story, you just might want to have a box of tissues at hand!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Give Me More!

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As I have reflected on my sister Bev's life (she passed away the day after Christmas), my mind traveled back to her days in high school. Bev was six years older than me, so when she was in high school I was still in elementary school. 

The year was 1966 (or there abouts!).  I was seated in the auditorium of JohnHarrisHigh School attending the high school performance of Oliver Twist.  Now as an energetic ten year old who love to play football and ride a bike – I was not too happy about sitting in a high school auditorium for some stupid old musical – especially on a sunny Saturday afternoon!  But I was there because one of my older sisters bribed me to go along with her (her boyfriend had one of the lead roles – I believe he played the Artful Dodger).  Now for some reason I just can’t explain, this one line by Oliver stands out in my mind” “Please, Sir, I want some more.”  Maybe it’s because as a ten year old boy, I was always asking for more at supper (and breakfast and lunch and s…

The Grim Reaper is Reaping Away!

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Over the course of the past couple of weeks, it seems like every time I turn around I receive news that the Grim Reaper has struck. I answer my smartphone or read my email only to be told of another death. Among them? Two seniors from our church family; one of our missionary's father; a good friend and former boss' dad; the college student who lived with us for four plus years - her grandfather; and the one that hurt me the most, my own sister. And to have these deaths occur around the holidays, makes a bitter pill even tougher to swallow.

Some of these deaths were anticipated. Others, however, were not. But in either case, when death comes knocking, it is always a bittersweet moment. Bitter because it hurts to be separated from the one you love. To think you will never embrace your loved one (this side of heaven) or hear his or her voice on the phone is tough to handle. Saying "goodbye" is a bitter experience. But for those of us who have embraced the gospel of Jes…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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I trust you had a great time over the holidays in your gatherings with family and friends. Here are today's thoughts and enjoy your favorite cup of Joe!

1. Over the course of the past two weeks or so, I have received a number of death notifications (two yesterday). The most difficult and personal was the call from my niece telling me that my sister had unexpectedly passed away the day after Christmas. All these messages of death got me thinking about this part of the package we call life. We were not designed by God to deal with death. In fact, death was not part of the package of life until sin entered our world (Romans 5:12). Since we were never intended by our Creator to have to deal with death ... when it comes ... it hurts. And it hurts real bad! Thankfully, for those of us who have embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have as our constant companion the Comforter (i.e. Holy Spirit - John 14:16). As our helper, he comes alongside of us and offers to us the strength and enc…

BLESSED NEW YEAR 2014!

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Toward the end of his great letter to the church at Rome, Paul offers up this benediction (blessing) upon thechurch: "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you" (Romans 16:21). From The Valley of Vision comes this portion of a prayer for the New Year. I offer it up to you to pray for yourself as we begin our journey through 2014. 
O Father,  Give me Your grace to sanctify me,     Your comforts to cheer,     Your wisdom to teach,     Your right hand to guide,     Your counsel to instruct,     Your law to judge,     Your presence to stabalize, 
May Your fear be my awe,     Your triumphs my joy. 
Amen. 
Thanks for stopping by . . .  pj