Did God Really Say . . .?

Several years ago, a pastor in the West Africa nation of Gabon, drowned as he attempted to walk on water.  Franck Kabele, 35, told his congregation that God had revealed to him that if he had enough faith, God would enable him to walk on water just as Jesus had done.  Pastor Kabele gathered his congregation on the beach indicating to them that he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat. “He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back," one eye-witness claimed. 

What was this man thinking?  Why didn’t he turn back when it became apparent that he was not walking on top of the water? Perhaps he could not swim, or maybe he got a cramp. Whatever the case, I just don’t know.  But I do know one thing: the revelation he claimed was from God was not.  Over the years, God gets “blamed” for a lot of things.  Many have claimed to have received revelations from God in which God has allegedly told them to do some wild and crazy (and often down right bizarre) things.  Why are people so susceptible to this?  Why did Pastor Kabele believe so fervently in his “revelation from God” that he was willing risk his life?  I can’t say for sure. But as I think about this man and how he responded to what he thought was a revelation from God, it makes me look at my own response to what is undoubtedly and without question a revelation from God.  I am speaking of the Bible.  I read it.  But do I believe it?  Do I believe it enough to strive to obey it?  Does my faith in it as God’s revelation motivate me to implement its precepts and principles in to the very fabric of my daily routine?  These are good questions for all of us to consider.  For as the Apostle Paul reminded Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

At Grace Church (where I am privileged to serve), we believe the Bible is God's inspired Word. As such, it is to be read, believed, obeyed and shared. I hope you are striving to do so! Your life will be better (FAR BETTER) for it! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

Friday Coffee with PJ

This morning I am off to Glen Mills, PA (toward Philadelphia) to attend a book launch being sponsored by Westminster Bookstore. The featured new book is written by Kevin DeYoung, a pastor from Michigan (and I don't hold that against him!). It's title is, Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me. So Kevin and three other men will be sharing about the sufficiency of God's Word. 

Last month, when I received an email about this event, I immediately registered for it and invited several others to join me (three did take up the invite!). I believe one reason (of many) that so many Christians do not spend time in God's Word is because they do not really believe the Bible is sufficient to help us navigate through this thing we call "life." The sufficiency of the Word is under attack today . . . if not so much directly, indirectly. All that said, I am very much looking forward to spending time IN THE WORD today! For ... 

Psalm 119:105  "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

2 Timothy 3:15-17  ". . .and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

So shortly, I will be heading off to the all-day workshop. And I trust I will return with a greater confidence in not just the Word of God ... but also the God of the Word! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 


This past Sunday ... which happened to be Easter ... my kids and their kids gathered at "Grammy and Papa's
house" for lunch. Following lunch came the event that all the little ones were waiting for (and I am guessing all of us adults, too!)... the Easter Egg Hunt! Our five year old granddaughter informed us that she and her little sister practiced the day before for the hunt. Sooo at approximately 1:55 pm the hunt began! One by one, from the youngest (2 years old) to the oldest (5 years old) ... the children were released to begin the hunt! And that is just what they did! Even two year old Mollie was all about finding eggs! It was a boatload of fun watching them run all over the yard and laughing and giggling when they found their treasures!

I wish we would all pursue God with such fervor and joy. After all, there is no greater treasure than knowing and enjoying God! The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism reads, "What is the chief end of man?  The answer: "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to ENJOY him forever."  King David understood this and went hard after God. In Psalm 27:4 he writes, "ONE THING have I asked of the Lordthat will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple." 

May David's ONE THING become our one thing as well - seeking after God with a contagious zeal that will help others see that the ONE THING we treasure most is our relationship with the Living God!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

Friday Coffee with PJ

Welcome to a Good Friday edition of Friday Coffee with PJ! 

I really hope today you get a real sense of just how much God loves you! All you have to do is spend some time reflecting on the cross of Christ and you will see just how deep God's love is for us. You see, in spite of who we are . . . rebels with a cause (to do life OUR WAY vs GOD'S WAY) . . . God sent His Son to die for us! Wow! There has NEVER been an act of love that great!  Here are a few quotes on God's love for  us as manifested in the cross. Take some time to think on these ... and then worship the God who loves you so! 

“God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing - or should we say "seeing"? there are no tenses in God - the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath's sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a "host" who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and "take advantage of" Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Four Loves

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.” 
― John R.W. Stott

“And now brothers, I will ask you a terrible question, and God knows I ask it also of myself. Is the truth beyond all truths, beyond the stars, just this: that to live without him is the real death, that to die with him the only life?” 
― Frederick BuechnerThe Magnificent Defeat

“Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.” 
― John PiperDon't Waste Your Life

"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  The Apostle Paul, Romans 5:8

Thanks for stopping by . . . and have a WONDERFUL EASTER CELEBRATION OF OUR RISEN LORD! 


When is Free not Really Free?

This morning, as I do most Thursday mornings, I ate breakfast at a nearby restaurant with a group of guys who gather early to pray. And as usual, we all order the "Two Eggs Breakfast Special." The special includes eggs, toast, homefries and coffee ... all for the bargain price of $2.99 ($3.17 with tax). When the server dropped our individual checks on the table ... since they are all the same price wise, we just take one and pass the rest until everyone has a check. I often don't even look at the check because I know what it is going to be. But this morning I took a quick glance ... and then a longer glance. All I saw was zeros!  Wow! I hit the jackpot! Perhaps I had been selected to receive a free breakfast? Nope. Just a mistake by the server when she rang up this check. Of course, I paid the $3.17 on my way out.

As I thought about that ... I thought about the cost of our salvation. God offers us eternal life as a free gift (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). We don't have to work for it and we could never earn it no matter how hard we might try. It is offered to us FREE of charge! However, there was a price to be paid. And God paid it. So our salvation is indeed free to us but it came at a very high price to God!

Tomorrow is Good Friday, the traditional day we commemorate as the day Jesus Christ was crucified. It is through his shed blood that the price of our salvation was paid ... and it was paid in full. God did this in spite of the fact that we were still living in open rebellion against him. That my friend is an incredible act of love (Romans 5:8)!

Tomorrow set aside some time to open your Bibles and read all four gospel accounts of the crucifixion of Christ. As you do, remind yourself that he did this for YOU! Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

A Perfect Game in the Making?

The other night, the men's ministry at our church sponsored a bowling night at the local bowling alley. Even though I did not bowl (I have a chronic lower back issue that does not agree with bowling ... and I had mulching to do the next day!) ... I went just to hang out with the guys. The vast majority of the men are average bowlers at best. But one really stood out. He began his first game with seven straight strikes. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "Maybe I am about to see a perfect 300" (which would be a game of 12 consecutive strikes). And the way this guy was throwing the ball, it certainly seemed possible! As his eighth ball rolled toward the pins ... it again had "strike" all over it. But ... as the dust settled ... one lone pin remained standing! Ouch! A perfect game was not to be!  He went on to roll a 247 which, by any standards is an outstanding game!

Perfection. Whether it be bowling or some other life endeavor, we would all love to attain it. And one day we will. Paul talks about our spiritual perfection and states unequivocally that one day it will indeed be ours to "enjoy!" In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul writes, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). So as you get discouraged because you often find yourself not where you want to be in your walk of faith . . . just remember that you are a work in process. And you will remain so until God completes his work in you. In the meantime, get busy doing what God wants you to be doing (and if you don't know what that is ... you need to get into HIS WORD and allow the Spirit of God to show you what that is). In addition you need to be praying that God will continue to pour out his grace upon you as you seek HIM! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

Friday Coffee with PJ

Here are today's thoughts to ponder with your favorite beverage. Enjoy! 

1. In 1773, Americans revolted against King George's Tea Tax and the Continental Congress declared coffee the official national beverage. I don't know about you, but I am so thankful for that act of Congress! I sure cannot imagine starting my day with a cup of tea instead of a hot mug of coffee! (As the Folgers ad says so well, "The best part to waking up is Folgers in your cup!" - but in my cup just about any brand of coffee will do!) And I am sure that many other Americans share my sentiments. Consider the following facts: The United States is the world's largest consumer of coffee, importing 16 to 20 million bags annually (2.5 million pounds), representing one-third of all coffee exported. More than half of the United States population consumes coffee. The typical coffee drinker has 3.4 cups of coffee per day. That translates into more than 450,000,000 cups of coffee daily. Now that's a lot of java!!!

Well, let me suggest something else to add to your morning wake up routine (and I am talking to both coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers). Strive to start each day with some quiet time with God. Read the Word. Think about what it says. Pray about what it says. Commit your day to Him. I am not suggesting you set your alarm for 4 AM and spend two hours on your knees. But start by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier and spend that 15 minutes with God. He will be pleased, you will be encouraged and your day will get the kind of start it needs! There's no better part of starting your day than to read God's Word and pray!
"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14).

2. Being sick is no fun as you well know! Recently I have been nagged with a lingering cold. It didn't render me "down for the count," but it sure was annoying. It feels good to be feeling better today. Good health is one of God's many blessings in life which we so often take for granted. And when do we most appreciate good health? When we are sick! Yes? Gratitude is one of those things in life that we must really get intentional about. God does not owe us good health. In fact, the only thing God owes us is judgment. Yet ... in his mercy he withholds judgment ... and in his grace he gives us his blessing. And this mercy and grace of God can be ours because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. This coming Sunday morning at Grace (9:00 and 10:30) we will be continuing our journey through the reMARKable Gospel of Mark with "The Tragic Triumph of the Cross." I invite you (if you live in the Lancaster area) to come join us as we celebrate the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

Friday Coffee with PJ

Coffee. Friday. Morning. Now that's a great combination! So if you agree ... grab a cup and join me for some random Friday morning thoughts (and even if you don't enjoy coffee, I still invite you to join me!).

1. I just read that last month (March) was some 6+ degrees below normal. That makes March of 2014 the coldest March in Lancaster since March of 1960! Wow! That is COLD! I wonder what the global warming proponents are saying (I would guess they are saying this extreme cold is the result of the climate change being brought about by global warming! Oh ... I don't have to guess ... check out this article that points out that the White House had done just that!) In my mind, belief in global warming ranks right up there with belief in naturalistic evolution to explain the origin and development of life. Both are driven more by personal agendas rather than the evidence!

2. From the writings of J.I. Packer, one of my favorite theologians, comes these insights concerning sin. Insights that all of us will be better for if we hear ... I mean really HEAR ... what he is saying!

"Because of God's majesty as sovereign ruler of the universe, sin (lawlessness, missing the moral mark, failing to practice righteousness with all one's heart and soul) is a major matter. Secular Western culture, which has deliberately atrophied the sense of God's majesty, finds this hard to believe, but it is so. Some sins are intrinsically greater and intrinsically worse than others - but there can be no small sins against a great God." 

3. Here is a cute grandchild story I thought I would pass on to you. The story is about Jack (really named JOHN!) who is 3 1/2 and Nolan, who is almost 3. My daughter Kate sent this to me via a text the other night.

Jack was so disappointed when I told him that Nolan was not coming over this evening. He decided he wanted to carry Nolan's picture around with him everywhere and talk to him all evening and show him what he was playing with. This was the condition of Nolan's picture by the end of the night. I think it's safe to say that Jack is missing playing with his cousins three days a week.

Hmm ... this reminds me of how we should be living our lives with the Spirit of God as our constant companion. Including God (in the person of his Spirit) in all of life's routine is what Paul meant when he urges us to "walk in step with the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). Let's follow my grandson's example. As he included his cousin in his activities ... let us include God! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

Please Continue to Pray for the Central African Republic!

Although somewhat improved, the situation in the Central African Republic is still in a desperate way. Here is a brief note from two missionaries previously supported by Grace Church. Eddie and Linda Mensinger served in the C.A.R. for many years, Eddie teaching in various Bible institutes and seminaries and Linda involved in discipling women. They recently "retired" from their full time missionary work ... but they still travel occasionally to Africa for ministry. 

Continue to pray for CAR. People continue to be killed and places continue to be pillaged. Pray for our Bible Institutes at Bata and Mbaiki. The Seminary is trying to have classes at the Mission compound in Bangui. Pray for safety for our professors and students along with the many pastors and true Christians in the country who need and want peace to come again to their country. Pray too for the Military and the government leaders to have wisdom to do the right thing and be instruments in returning peace to CAR.

Yours in His Service,
Eddie and Linda Mensinger

Thanks for praying .... and for stopping by . . . 

Friday Coffee with PJ

My apologies for missing the past several Fridays. I was off last week, and the previous couple of weeks I got caught up in the Thanksgivi...