Friday Coffee with PJ

Sorry I missed last Friday ... not only was it a holiday, but I was out of town enjoying a bit of vacation time with my wife. But for today ... go ahead and pour that favorite cup of coffee and join me for a couple of random thoughts.

1. Yesterday afternoon, I stood before a grieving family as they said their earthly "goodbyes" to a wife, mother and grandmother. It was a bitter-sweet moment. Bitter to know that there would be this time of separation from their loved one. Sweet in the realization that she was, at that very moment, in the very presence of Christ. The apostle Paul captured the "bitter-sweet" reality of Christian's who are struck by grief when death comes calling. In his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul expressed his desire that his readers not grieve as "those who have no hope." He does not deny the reality of grief (and there are no shortcuts to ease the pain of the grieving process). Yet, our grief as believers in Christ can and should be tempered by the hope we have ... that of an ultimate reunion with those who have gone before (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Thank God for the hope we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ! 

2. Donald Trump is making a lot of waves. And he is receiving a lot of attention (if you say something often enough and loud enough and politically incorrect enough ... you will be heard! And of course, it does not hurt that Trump is one of the richest men in America). According to latest polls, Trump is right up among the leaders in the race for the Republican nomination for president. Now, my purpose in bringing this up is not political in nature (I hope!). Rather, I mention Trump to simply ask a couple of questions: What does Trump's current success in the race for the White House say about our society and the values we embrace? And what does it say about the importance of a person's character? Hmmm .... now before you (and I) start pointing fingers ... we probably need to take a long hard look in the mirror and check out the person we see staring back at us (Matthew 7:1-5). We (and those around us) will definitely be better for doing so! 

Gulp! I'm being watched!
3. Last week on our vacation, we visited some civil war sites. My wife and I talked about how awful a period of time that was in the history of our nation. Brother fighting against brother, father against son, friend against friend. I am grateful that our country is not now in the midst of such conflict. But conflict on a smaller scale is something that we all deal with. Starting this Sunday at Grace, we are launching out on a study of a number of the "one anothers" of the New Testament. God wants us (and every local church) to become a family of believers in Christ who love one another, honor one another, serve one another, submit to one another . . .  and on and on it goes. Only as we get our focus off of ourselves will we be able to "one another" one another and become the church God wants us to become! I hope you can join us this Sunday .... 9:00 and/or 10:30. And would you please pray with me that Grace Church will be a different church as we expose ourselves to the living and active Word of God! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

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