PJ

PJ

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Morning Coffee with PJ: Special Morning Coffee Break Edition

Most weeks, I get this post written actually on Thursday. With this week being Vacation Bible School Week, my regular schedule went out the door (not my work ... just the times I utilized to "git er all done!"). So here I sit at my computer, on my second cup of coffee and already thinking about the third! Thanks for joining me this morning ... If a bit later than usual!

1. Well as I said, this week is our VBS week at church. Since in my ministry I don't get a lot of time working with kids, I always look forward to this week. It's what we call "The Best Week of the Year!" I can't tell you how great it is to see all these kids learning about God, His Word, and how much Jesus loves them (so much, he gave HIS life for them!). I also am thrilled to see the large number of adults and teens who serve. I am amazed at how we are able to pull off a morning VBS! So if you are a parent or grandparent who has faithfully brought your kids, thank you for trusting us with them. And if you are a VBS staffer, thanks for caring enough to give of yourself. It is indeed a tiring week! And if you are someone who has been faithfully praying, please don't stop! Unless the Lord is in this, all our efforts will come up empty (as far as eternity is concerned!) - see Psalm 127:1.

2. Sunday I will be saying goodbye to a new and good friend. For the first time in my 35 years of preaching and teaching the Bible, I have been teaching on Sunday mornings through the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Therefore I have tackled several chapters I have never preached on before. I

must say, handling some of these got me a bit anxious at times! But I have learned a lot in doing so ... and I trust the church family has benefited as well. So Sunday .... when I am done preaching ... I will be able to say ... "That's a wrap!" And I hope it will be a God-honoring, faith-building, commitment solidifying one at that!

3. Some of you might be wondering about my son (I have blogged some earlier posts on him). As you might or might not recall, he underwent a colon resection surgery for his diverticulitis on Friday, May 1st. What was supposed to be a 3-day hospital stay evolved (yes, there is s time when the use of this word is appropriate!) into a 3-week stay. When he was released, he returned home about 39 pounds lighter and with a pic line in his arm. One month later, he is seeing some significant improvement. His pic line was removed this
week and the surgeon gave him the go-ahead to drive. Even though he still has a way to go (the surgeon also told him with what he went through, it may take up to a year before he is the whole way back), he is feeling so much better. Thanks to ALL of you who prayed, brought meals, sent cards and notes! And thanks be to God! Yes ... LIFE IS HARD, BUT GOD IS GOOD!

Well ... gotta run. VBS is about to start! I think I need a vacation! Oh, guess what? I'm vacating next week! If I get a chance, I may still write a brief Friday Coffee with PJ post, so check back next Friday!

And thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Coffee with PJ

Yet another Friday has arrived! Ouch. This summer is going way too fast for my liking! How is it that the weeks during the winter seem to crawl by in comparison? Oh well, I invite you to pour yourself a cup of coffee and join me for a few random thoughts.

1. As I was doing some devotional study in Psalm 7, I ran across the following verse: "God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day" (vs. 7 - NKJV). As I reflected upon that, I wrote this comment in the margin: "Really? God is angry? All we hear about today is that God is love!" Of course, God is angry. He is angry with a world of rebels. And he has every right to be angry. Understanding his anger and wrath make his love and grace even more amazing! Knowing that I love God only because he first loved me (1 John 4:19) is truly an incredible, mind boggling, heart stirring thought! That God would love a rebel like me! Wow! I am grateful. How about you?


2. This past year I have been examined by more doctors than in all the years of the last decade combined. And even though these examinations were sometimes painful, I endured them because I knew they were in my best interest. What doctors do for our bodies, we must also do for our souls. We need to make the time .... from time to time ... to do some self evaluation. If we don't, we will never progress in our spiritual journey as we could! To help you do a self evaluation, here is a list of Ten Questions for a Six Month Spiritual Checkup.  And if you want to go deeper, here is another list of Twelve Questions for a Six Month Spiritual Checkup. I plan to use them to see how I am doing. I encourage you to do the same!


3. The adjacent photo shows my grandson Nolan patiently waiting for a snack shop at a nearby
campground to open so he could get a snack. Hmmm. Reminds me of my post of the other day. In our fast paced world, we must make time to unplug and spend some alone time, WAITING upon God. For it is in waiting upon the Lord that we will gain the courage to meet the demands of each day (Psalm 27:14; Isaiah 40:31). And given the turbulent, ever-changing world in which we live, who among us doesn't need courage?

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When Waiting Is Good!

Last evening I had to make an unplanned run to the grocery store. We were on the verge of running out of milk and I could not allow that to happen. Since it was rather late, I figured the store would not be crowded and this could be a quick errand. Yes and no! Yes, the store was not busy. But since there were not many shoppers in the store, there was also not many registers open either. So ... I picked what I thought would be a quick moving line ... oops, wrong one. So I moved over to another. While standing and waiting I glanced over at the line I was previously in . . . and you probably guessed it. If I had stayed put I would have been on my way out the door! 

I don't like lines. And I would guess neither do you. We all can tend to be very impatient.  Our culture is a culture that is focused on tasks.  We like to get things done.  Think about it.  What is Nike’s slogan?  “Just Do It!”  Most of us would rather be doing than waiting.  And that can have a negative impact on our walk with God.  The Scripture is filled with passages that talk about WAITING UPON GOD (see Psalm 130:6; Isaiah 40:31).  Waiting on God is not an optional spiritual activity.  It is necessary for us if we are going to grow in our relationship with Him.  I encourage you (and I am speaking to myself, too!) to SLOW DOWN and learn to WAIT UPON GOD.  It is one wait you don’t want to lose out on!  

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Friday Coffee with PJ - Special Weekend Edition

Well ... since you are reading this on the weekend vs. on Friday means one thing ... I sort of ran out of week. That happens from time to time. And with me missing a day in the office (yesterday), that really got me behind the proverbial 8 ball! But ... go ahead and pour your favorite brew of coffee (or as hot as its been, perhaps iced coffee or iced tea would be a better choice!) and join me for a few random thoughts.

1. Once again evil has raised its ugly head in beautiful Lancaster County. While most of us were sleeping in the early hours of Thursday ... Leeton Thomas allegedly broke into a residence in the tranquil southern part of the county and, with a knife, murdered a mother and her teenage daughter and critically injured another. The suspect was out on bail for charges of alleged sexual abuse of one of the murder victims. You can probably figure out his motive. During the press conference yesterday morning, D.A. Craig Stedman made reference to the possibility of seeking the death penalty in this case. In his opinion, certain capital cases are of such hideous nature, that the only just punishment is death. He also spoke about having to go to testify in Harrisburg on Thursday of this past week in defense of the death penalty. In news reports concerning the hearing on the state's death penalty, one woman present outside the capitol, protesting the death penalty, was quoted as saying the death penalty is "immoral." Of course, that statement begs the question as to "whose morality?" According to Genesis 9:6, if a man unlawfully sheds the life blood of another man, than his life blood should be shed. The reason God gives for this mandate is: to murder a human being is to strike down an image bearer of God. Now this command of God, of course, has to be understood in the context of the rest of the teaching of Scripture. Not all the taking of human life is "unlawful" according to God. We read in Romans 13:1-4 that governing authorities do not "bear the sword in vain." This is an obvious reference to capital punishment. And in some crimes, the only just punishment is death. In addition, some times the only way to stop evil and the loss of life is to take life (i.e. - WW 2 and the need to stop the evil atrocities of Nazi Germany). It saddens me that someone can (as Leeton Thomas did), in cold blood, murder another human being(s). I can only imagine how God, the Creator of Life feels about it!

2.  On a lighter note .... with the much anticipated (at least by some!) release of the movie, Jurassic World, some people might be wondering what ever happened to the dinosaurs. How and when did they become extinct? To help answer this, the folks at thegoodbook.com have come up with an interesting infographic, From fossils to films: How do dinosaurs fit with the Bible?  And for your information, I hold to the young creationism view.

3. Finally, in light of the darkness of our world (now that sounded a bit like an oxymoron!), keep in mind these words of the Lord Jesus: "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-17)

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Coffee with PJ

It's FRIDAY!!!!!  That means ... coffee .. and a few random thoughts for you to "chew on" (after dunking in your coffee, of course!).

1. Is it just me and my perspective on things or is our society becoming increasingly in a "rush to judgment" mode? It sure seems to me that "presumed innocent until proven guilty" has been replaced by "presumed guilty until proven innocent." As a result, often people's hard earned reputations are tarnished by what turn out to be unfounded accusations. This is rather unfortunate, given the importance of a "good name" (Proverbs 22:1). All this to say that we must be even more diligent about becoming men and women whose walk matches our talk. Not perfectly, of course. But with consistency.

2. Here's an old Jewish parable with a lesson that has helped me many times ...

A Jewish farmer lived in a one room house with his wife and five children. One evening he was particularly tired (his donkey had come up lame and so he had to pull his cart back from the village). As he was trying to rest after supper, the kids were being especially rowdy. Frustrated, the farmer left his house and went to see the Rabbi. "Rabbi," he moaned, "I am so tired and all I want to do is to close my eyes and take a little nap. But the kids are so loud ... it is impossible!" "Hmm," responded the Rabbi. "Here is what you must do. Those three chickens you have ... go home and bring them in the house." Well, the farmer looked at the Rabbi with disbelief. But, since he was THE Rabbi, and since the Rabbi knew best, he went home and gathered up the chickens and brought them into the house. The next day, just as the sun was coming up, the farmer was back at the Rabbi's. "Oh Rabbi .... all I want is a little peace and quiet. Now not only do I have the kids laughing and screaming ... but the chickens are constantly clucking and flapping their wings. What can I do?" "Hmm," responded the Rabbi. "Go home...and that goat you have ... bring it into the house." The farmer scratched his head, almost began to argue ... but stopped ... as THE Rabbi had much more wisdom than he did. So he went home and brought in the goat, which almost immediately began to chew on anything within reach. Before the sun went down that day, the farmer was back at the Rabbi's house. "Rabbi, I have done what you have told me to do. I have brought in the chickens. I have brought in the goat. And there is still no peace and quiet in my home!" "Hmm," the Rabbi responded. "Now go home and bring your donkey into the house." At this point, the farmer opened his mouth to begin to object. But with one finger to his lips, the Rabbi stopped even a word from escaping the farmer's lips. After all, THE Rabbi was always right. So the farmer shuffled back home and reluctantly brought in the donkey, which wanted to stay outside and let everyone in the house know with its constant braying! The next day, as the sun was just beginning to brighten the eastern horizon, the farmer was back pounding on the Rabbi's door. "Rabbi, I just can't take this anymore!" the farmer shouted. "Hmm," responded the Rabbi. "Now go home, and remove from your house the donkey, goat and chickens." "But Rabbi ...." And that is as far as the farmer got as the Rabbi once again silenced him with a look. So, the farmer once again shuffled home and removed the animals as he was told to do. Early the next morning he returned to see the Rabbi. "Oh Rabbi!" he exclaimed. "You are such a man of wisdom. Yesterday was such a day of peace and tranquility in my home. How can I ever thank you?" And the wise Rabbi, simply smiled.

The moral of this story ... it could always be worst. Therefore, learn to be content with what God, in his providence has given you (Philippians 4:11).

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Morning Coffee with PJ: Special Morning Coffee Break Edition

Most weeks, I get this post written actually on Thursday. With this week being Vacation Bible School Week, my regular schedule went out the door (not my work ... just the times I utilized to "git er all done!"). So here I sit at my computer, on my second cup of coffee and already thinking about the third! Thanks for joining me this morning ... If a bit later than usual!

1. Well as I said, this week is our VBS week at church. Since in my ministry I don't get a lot of time working with kids, I always look forward to this week. It's what we call "The Best Week of the Year!" I can't tell you how great it is to see all these kids learning about God, His Word, and how much Jesus loves them (so much, he gave HIS life for them!). I also am thrilled to see the large number of adults and teens who serve. I am amazed at how we are able to pull off a morning VBS! So if you are a parent or grandparent who has faithfully brought your kids, thank you for trusting us with them. And if you are a VBS staffer, thanks for caring enough to give of yourself. It is indeed a tiring week! And if you are someone who has been faithfully praying, please don't stop! Unless the Lord is in this, all our efforts will come up empty (as far as eternity is concerned!) - see Psalm 127:1.

2. Sunday I will be saying goodbye to a new and good friend. For the first time in my 35 years of preaching and teaching the Bible, I have been teaching on Sunday mornings through the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Therefore I have tackled several chapters I have never preached on before. I

must say, handling some of these got me a bit anxious at times! But I have learned a lot in doing so ... and I trust the church family has benefited as well. So Sunday .... when I am done preaching ... I will be able to say ... "That's a wrap!" And I hope it will be a God-honoring, faith-building, commitment solidifying one at that!

3. Some of you might be wondering about my son (I have blogged some earlier posts on him). As you might or might not recall, he underwent a colon resection surgery for his diverticulitis on Friday, May 1st. What was supposed to be a 3-day hospital stay evolved (yes, there is s time when the use of this word is appropriate!) into a 3-week stay. When he was released, he returned home about 39 pounds lighter and with a pic line in his arm. One month later, he is seeing some significant improvement. His pic line was removed this
week and the surgeon gave him the go-ahead to drive. Even though he still has a way to go (the surgeon also told him with what he went through, it may take up to a year before he is the whole way back), he is feeling so much better. Thanks to ALL of you who prayed, brought meals, sent cards and notes! And thanks be to God! Yes ... LIFE IS HARD, BUT GOD IS GOOD!

Well ... gotta run. VBS is about to start! I think I need a vacation! Oh, guess what? I'm vacating next week! If I get a chance, I may still write a brief Friday Coffee with PJ post, so check back next Friday!

And thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Coffee with PJ

Yet another Friday has arrived! Ouch. This summer is going way too fast for my liking! How is it that the weeks during the winter seem to crawl by in comparison? Oh well, I invite you to pour yourself a cup of coffee and join me for a few random thoughts.

1. As I was doing some devotional study in Psalm 7, I ran across the following verse: "God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day" (vs. 7 - NKJV). As I reflected upon that, I wrote this comment in the margin: "Really? God is angry? All we hear about today is that God is love!" Of course, God is angry. He is angry with a world of rebels. And he has every right to be angry. Understanding his anger and wrath make his love and grace even more amazing! Knowing that I love God only because he first loved me (1 John 4:19) is truly an incredible, mind boggling, heart stirring thought! That God would love a rebel like me! Wow! I am grateful. How about you?


2. This past year I have been examined by more doctors than in all the years of the last decade combined. And even though these examinations were sometimes painful, I endured them because I knew they were in my best interest. What doctors do for our bodies, we must also do for our souls. We need to make the time .... from time to time ... to do some self evaluation. If we don't, we will never progress in our spiritual journey as we could! To help you do a self evaluation, here is a list of Ten Questions for a Six Month Spiritual Checkup.  And if you want to go deeper, here is another list of Twelve Questions for a Six Month Spiritual Checkup. I plan to use them to see how I am doing. I encourage you to do the same!


3. The adjacent photo shows my grandson Nolan patiently waiting for a snack shop at a nearby
campground to open so he could get a snack. Hmmm. Reminds me of my post of the other day. In our fast paced world, we must make time to unplug and spend some alone time, WAITING upon God. For it is in waiting upon the Lord that we will gain the courage to meet the demands of each day (Psalm 27:14; Isaiah 40:31). And given the turbulent, ever-changing world in which we live, who among us doesn't need courage?

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When Waiting Is Good!

Last evening I had to make an unplanned run to the grocery store. We were on the verge of running out of milk and I could not allow that to happen. Since it was rather late, I figured the store would not be crowded and this could be a quick errand. Yes and no! Yes, the store was not busy. But since there were not many shoppers in the store, there was also not many registers open either. So ... I picked what I thought would be a quick moving line ... oops, wrong one. So I moved over to another. While standing and waiting I glanced over at the line I was previously in . . . and you probably guessed it. If I had stayed put I would have been on my way out the door! 

I don't like lines. And I would guess neither do you. We all can tend to be very impatient.  Our culture is a culture that is focused on tasks.  We like to get things done.  Think about it.  What is Nike’s slogan?  “Just Do It!”  Most of us would rather be doing than waiting.  And that can have a negative impact on our walk with God.  The Scripture is filled with passages that talk about WAITING UPON GOD (see Psalm 130:6; Isaiah 40:31).  Waiting on God is not an optional spiritual activity.  It is necessary for us if we are going to grow in our relationship with Him.  I encourage you (and I am speaking to myself, too!) to SLOW DOWN and learn to WAIT UPON GOD.  It is one wait you don’t want to lose out on!  

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Friday Coffee with PJ - Special Weekend Edition

Well ... since you are reading this on the weekend vs. on Friday means one thing ... I sort of ran out of week. That happens from time to time. And with me missing a day in the office (yesterday), that really got me behind the proverbial 8 ball! But ... go ahead and pour your favorite brew of coffee (or as hot as its been, perhaps iced coffee or iced tea would be a better choice!) and join me for a few random thoughts.

1. Once again evil has raised its ugly head in beautiful Lancaster County. While most of us were sleeping in the early hours of Thursday ... Leeton Thomas allegedly broke into a residence in the tranquil southern part of the county and, with a knife, murdered a mother and her teenage daughter and critically injured another. The suspect was out on bail for charges of alleged sexual abuse of one of the murder victims. You can probably figure out his motive. During the press conference yesterday morning, D.A. Craig Stedman made reference to the possibility of seeking the death penalty in this case. In his opinion, certain capital cases are of such hideous nature, that the only just punishment is death. He also spoke about having to go to testify in Harrisburg on Thursday of this past week in defense of the death penalty. In news reports concerning the hearing on the state's death penalty, one woman present outside the capitol, protesting the death penalty, was quoted as saying the death penalty is "immoral." Of course, that statement begs the question as to "whose morality?" According to Genesis 9:6, if a man unlawfully sheds the life blood of another man, than his life blood should be shed. The reason God gives for this mandate is: to murder a human being is to strike down an image bearer of God. Now this command of God, of course, has to be understood in the context of the rest of the teaching of Scripture. Not all the taking of human life is "unlawful" according to God. We read in Romans 13:1-4 that governing authorities do not "bear the sword in vain." This is an obvious reference to capital punishment. And in some crimes, the only just punishment is death. In addition, some times the only way to stop evil and the loss of life is to take life (i.e. - WW 2 and the need to stop the evil atrocities of Nazi Germany). It saddens me that someone can (as Leeton Thomas did), in cold blood, murder another human being(s). I can only imagine how God, the Creator of Life feels about it!

2.  On a lighter note .... with the much anticipated (at least by some!) release of the movie, Jurassic World, some people might be wondering what ever happened to the dinosaurs. How and when did they become extinct? To help answer this, the folks at thegoodbook.com have come up with an interesting infographic, From fossils to films: How do dinosaurs fit with the Bible?  And for your information, I hold to the young creationism view.

3. Finally, in light of the darkness of our world (now that sounded a bit like an oxymoron!), keep in mind these words of the Lord Jesus: "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-17)

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Coffee with PJ

It's FRIDAY!!!!!  That means ... coffee .. and a few random thoughts for you to "chew on" (after dunking in your coffee, of course!).

1. Is it just me and my perspective on things or is our society becoming increasingly in a "rush to judgment" mode? It sure seems to me that "presumed innocent until proven guilty" has been replaced by "presumed guilty until proven innocent." As a result, often people's hard earned reputations are tarnished by what turn out to be unfounded accusations. This is rather unfortunate, given the importance of a "good name" (Proverbs 22:1). All this to say that we must be even more diligent about becoming men and women whose walk matches our talk. Not perfectly, of course. But with consistency.

2. Here's an old Jewish parable with a lesson that has helped me many times ...

A Jewish farmer lived in a one room house with his wife and five children. One evening he was particularly tired (his donkey had come up lame and so he had to pull his cart back from the village). As he was trying to rest after supper, the kids were being especially rowdy. Frustrated, the farmer left his house and went to see the Rabbi. "Rabbi," he moaned, "I am so tired and all I want to do is to close my eyes and take a little nap. But the kids are so loud ... it is impossible!" "Hmm," responded the Rabbi. "Here is what you must do. Those three chickens you have ... go home and bring them in the house." Well, the farmer looked at the Rabbi with disbelief. But, since he was THE Rabbi, and since the Rabbi knew best, he went home and gathered up the chickens and brought them into the house. The next day, just as the sun was coming up, the farmer was back at the Rabbi's. "Oh Rabbi .... all I want is a little peace and quiet. Now not only do I have the kids laughing and screaming ... but the chickens are constantly clucking and flapping their wings. What can I do?" "Hmm," responded the Rabbi. "Go home...and that goat you have ... bring it into the house." The farmer scratched his head, almost began to argue ... but stopped ... as THE Rabbi had much more wisdom than he did. So he went home and brought in the goat, which almost immediately began to chew on anything within reach. Before the sun went down that day, the farmer was back at the Rabbi's house. "Rabbi, I have done what you have told me to do. I have brought in the chickens. I have brought in the goat. And there is still no peace and quiet in my home!" "Hmm," the Rabbi responded. "Now go home and bring your donkey into the house." At this point, the farmer opened his mouth to begin to object. But with one finger to his lips, the Rabbi stopped even a word from escaping the farmer's lips. After all, THE Rabbi was always right. So the farmer shuffled back home and reluctantly brought in the donkey, which wanted to stay outside and let everyone in the house know with its constant braying! The next day, as the sun was just beginning to brighten the eastern horizon, the farmer was back pounding on the Rabbi's door. "Rabbi, I just can't take this anymore!" the farmer shouted. "Hmm," responded the Rabbi. "Now go home, and remove from your house the donkey, goat and chickens." "But Rabbi ...." And that is as far as the farmer got as the Rabbi once again silenced him with a look. So, the farmer once again shuffled home and removed the animals as he was told to do. Early the next morning he returned to see the Rabbi. "Oh Rabbi!" he exclaimed. "You are such a man of wisdom. Yesterday was such a day of peace and tranquility in my home. How can I ever thank you?" And the wise Rabbi, simply smiled.

The moral of this story ... it could always be worst. Therefore, learn to be content with what God, in his providence has given you (Philippians 4:11).

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.