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Showing posts from April, 2015

Timothy Keller on The Power of Prayer

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Every once in a while I come across a book that upon finishing it I think, "this is sure to be a classic." Timothy Keller's recent book, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God,is one such book. Here is an extended quote that really grabbed me. I hope it grabs you, too!

"The power of our prayers, then, lies not primarily in our effort and striving, or in any technique, but rather in our knowledge of God. You may respond, “But God spoke audible words to Job out of a storm. I wish God spoke to me like that.” The answer is— we have something better, an incalculably clearer expression of God’s character. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son . . . the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb 1: 1– 3). Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1: 1– 14) because no more comprehensive, personal, and beautiful communication of God…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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C.S. Lewis once wrote, "You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." Now who am I to correct a C.S. Lewis quote? His words will be quoted long after my name is forgotten! But I feel he falls short here. I think he would have been far more eloquent and sophisticated and wise if he had said, "You can't get a cup of COFFEE big enough or a book long enough to suit me."  With that said, go ahead and pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join me for a couple of random thoughts.

1. The other day my wife asked me if our trip to Aruba and back seemed like a dream. I admitted that it did. Hard to believe we were there, enjoying the warm breezes caressing our faces and the white sands tickling our toes (not to mention the water's various shades of turquoise and blues too beautiful to describe with mere words). But even more hard to believe is the generosity of our church family to send us there (and back!). Generosity. That'…

Please Continue to Pray for the Central African Republic!

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Although the C.A.R. is no longer being mentioned by the U.S. news media (not that it ever was all that much!), this does not mean that all is well in this war torn African nation in the heart of the African continent. Here is a recent update from someone who was recently in that country.

"Currently in the country there are armed robberies in areas where the rule of law does not apply, mounting arrears of salaries and student grants, mortuaries overflowing with dead bodies--all these ingredients are there for explosive, social upheaval. The precariousness  of every day existence is leading to promiscuity. Pray that GOD’s grace will abound during these times of uncertainty in the Central African Republic."
Thanks for praying ... and thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

PS - If you want to pray for a leader in the Central African Republic who is striving to make a difference, please check out the Friends of CIDEL website. 

Friday Coffee with PJ

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It's Friday ... so grab a cup of coffee and join me for a couple of random thoughts.

1. This morning I walked into Darrenkamps Market, a grocery store that sits adjacent to our church. The place was mobbed. At first I was quite puzzled. Darrenkamps does a solid business, but the only time I usually see it as packed is the day before a holiday or a snow storm! Then I recalled that Darrenkamps was holding their Spring Food Festival. As their flyer for the event proclaimed, "Over 30 stations for sampling a wide variety of products including Darrenkamp's signature items. Come hungry, we will have plenty of great food samples."  Certainly a great marketing move by the store. If you offer something for nothing, people will come! In reality, these food samples are not "free." Someone is picking up the cost of the food. And so it is with the gospel. The gospel offers us something that is indeed FREE to us: the forgiveness of sin and a restored relationship with th…

Back from "chill'n" on vacation!

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A trip that had first been scheduled for last October, finally became a reality for my wife and me last week. One week ago today, we boarded Southwest airlines flight 1840 at Baltimore Washington International Airport. Our destination? Aruba! Our church, in celebration of my 25 years of ministry, gave us the very generous gift of a vacation in Aruba (and the fact that they gave us round-trip tickets was a real encouraging sign they wanted us back!). Now the reason we were unable to go last October was due to the arm surgery I underwent in September. Although we were quite disappointed at the time, we sure enjoyed Aruba's bright sunshine and warm tropical breezes all the more after the long frigid winter we endured here in the mid-Atlantic. It was indeed an experience worth waiting for! So thank you, Grace Church family and friends for your gift. It means more to us than we can express with mere words.

I learned a number of interesting things about Aruba while there. The weather d…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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It's Friday ... and I am on vacation this week. So ... just a brief thought for you to dunk in your favorite cup of Joe.

It has sure been refreshing seeing the daffodils bloom and hearing the birds greeting each day with a concert of song. After a lllooonnnngggg cold winter, there's nothing like the warm breezes of spring! It took some time getting here, but we all knew that it finally would arrive. How so? Because spring always follows winter. It is something we can count on. Something else we can also count on is God and his faithfulness to his promises. This is a reality we must remind ourselves of constantly. Life is hard. And sometimes it's harder than other times. When we are in the midst of life's "hardness" ... it is all too easy to give way to fear, anxiety ... and even worse. It's at these times especially that we must cling to the promises of God. Doing so has a way of driving the worry from our hearts and minds. But you must KNOW the promise…

"Monkeying around" with Our Past!

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Over the past decade, researchers (from such well known and respected academic  institutions as MIT and Harvard) have completed some extensive DNA analysis of humans and chimpanzees.  According to the Associated Press, as a result of their research, these researchers have concluded “that humans and chimpanzees first split up about 10 million years ago. Then, after evolving in different directions for about 4 million years, they got back together for a brief fling that produced a third, hybrid population.” Concerning this research and its conclusion, Harvard professor of anthropology, Daniel Lieberman writes, “It's a totally cool and extremely clever analysis.”  I have a much different evaluation of their work.  How about this? “It’s a totally laughable and extremely foolish analysis.”

But this sort of thing should not surprise us.  Humanity has been trying to write God out of our history and our origins for a long time.  God (in Romans 1) tells us that humanity has been striving…

Friday Coffee with PJ (Good Friday Edition)

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It's that time of the week to pour yourself a cup of your favorite coffee and join me for a few random thoughts.

1. Some recently asked me, "If Good Friday is the day we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus, why is it called good?" Now that is a very "good" question. So let me offer up a very good answer. And the answer comes from a very solid website called gotquestions.org. I highly recommend this particular website if you have any questions about the Bible or theology. Here is got questions.org's answer to this question:

"Why is Good Friday referred to as “good”? What the Jewish authorities and Romans did to Jesus was definitely not good (see Matthew chapters 26-27). However, the results of Christ’s death are very good! Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” First Peter 3:18tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God…