PJ

PJ

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday. Coffee. A few random thoughts. Welcome, my friends, to Friday Coffee with PJ! Oh ... and by the way, here is another article - this time from Consumer Reports - on the benefits of drinking coffee! 

1. What should one of our chief aims as we attend church on Sunday mornings? Obviously the worship of our AWESOME God is at the top of the list (or at least should be). But let me suggest to you another VIP (Very Important Purpose) you should be striving to do every Sunday you walk through the doors of your church facility: ENCOURAGEMENT! And I am not talking about yours ... I am referring to YOU encouraging OTHERS! The New Testament makes it clear that we all need to be on a mission to encourage our brothers and sisters in the faith when we "come together!" Consider: 

Hebrews 3:13  "But exhort (encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."

Hebrews 10:24-25  "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

So as you head out the door to attend services at your local church on Sunday, do so ON MISSION to encourage those you encounter. And the funny thing about encouraging others? As you do so, you will be encouraged in the process! 

2. Earlier this week, I drove my 5 year old grandson, Nolan, to our house from preschool ... a whopping distance of about 1/4 mile! In that short time we were in the van together, somehow we got on the topic of how his dad works out. I asked Nolan if he ever worked out ... and he replied, "I don't lift weights, I only do cardio!"  Ha! Even this little guy is picking up how important it is to keep our hearts in shape! Well, not only do we need to pursue things in life that will promote good heart health ... we must be just as concerned (if not more so) with the condition of our spiritual heart! In the Old Testament book of wisdom, we are urged, "above all else, guard
your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Now there are many steps we can take to do this. For starters, saturating our heart and mind with God's Word will do this. Knowing and living the Scriptures will go a long way toward guarding our hearts (Psalm 119:9-11)! In addition, prayer flavored with praise and thanksgiving will also do the same (Philippians 4:4-7). Knowing how vital this latter step is, we are launching an emphasis this coming Sunday at our church that will lead us as a church family into a deeper practice of both praise and thanksgiving. The Thirty Days of Praise and Thanksgiving initiative will be worth every minute put into it. God is worthy to be praised (Psalm 18:3) and we must thank him in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As we do, we will guard our hearts against such things as pride, bitterness, covetousness, anger and more! 

3. My wife's journey continues. Now that her femur has healed, she is scheduled for a knee replacement revision on Friday, December 16th. The surgery will also involve the removal of the plate and screws used to repair her broken femur. This gives us plenty of time to get "stuff" done prior to the surgery. Your prayers are much appreciated. 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Coffee with PJ

Once again it's Friday! So pour yourself a cup of your favorite coffee and join me for a few random thoughts. 

1. I have been serving on the Board of Trustees of Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary for about ten years. As a board member, I receive via email each Friday a copy of Equip, the weekly communique that is distributed on campus for students, staff and faculty. In a recent issue of Equip, I read the following about coffee. I found it to be very interesting: 


The 2016 Grace College Organic Chemistry I students under the guidance of Chad Snyder, recently analyzed coffee samples donated from several of faculty and staff. Although not all coffee samples were able to be analyzed it was discovered that some coffees possessed higher caffeine levels than others. This is not surprising nor is it new information, however, the CHM 2620 (Organic Chemistry I) students found trends in caffeine levels that were region or country dependent. Coffee beans analyzed from Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania presented higher levels of caffeine in their beans. Coffee beans from Costa Rica, Tanzania and Guatemala manifested lower levels of caffeine.

Sooooo .... If you really need a caffeine boost, before ordering your coffee, make sure it is made from coffee beans grown in Africa! 

2. Yesterday I had my 10 week post op appointment with the surgeon who performed my ulnar osteotomy (shortening of the ulna bone - the smaller of the two bones in the forearm) and wrist repair. For the first three weeks following the surgery, my arm and wrist were wrapped in a cast. Then I was fitted for a custom made brace. The brace has been pretty much my constant companion ... until yesterday morning! My doctor made my day by telling me I no longer needed to wear it! Yes. For the first time in two months I felt free! And it felt GOOD! 

Freedom is something we all cherish, especially as Americans. But there is a greater freedom than the liberty we enjoy as citizens of our country. Jesus talked about it as recorded in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John. He put it this way, 


“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free . . . So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:31-32, 36).

The freedom Jesus is referencing here is freedom from sin ... it's penalty, it's bondage, and ultimately, it's presence. Have you ever experienced this freedom? If you have any doubts or questions ... or would like to explore this more ... I invite you to check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face.

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj


Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Coffee with PJ

Today follows 15 days that have revolved around the death of my mother-in-law, Bessie Pietrowski. Yesterday, we laid her body to rest in the Brigadier General William Doyle Memorial Veterans Cemetery located in New Jersey (my wife's dad was a WW II veteran of North Africa, Sicily and Italy). So for those of you who prayed ... thanks! And please continue to pray for my wife as she processes her emotions upon the passing of her mom.

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Coffee with PJ

Seeing that today is Friday ... I invite you to pour a cup of your favorite Joe and join me for a couple of random (but I hope) fruitful thoughts. 

1. The destruction and devastation that hurricane Matthew is leaving in its path is downright heartbreaking. For the people of Haiti who have suffered loss of life ... and for the survivors the loss of what little they had ... is heartbreaking. I am sure in coming days, opportunities will arise to give toward relieving their suffering. Please consider doing so. Every gift, no matter how small, when put together with other gifts, will go a long way toward helping these people who have to put their lives back together after having them ripped apart. Our world-wide Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches has set up a storm relief fund through Encompass World Partners' Crisis Response Network to help assist in the relief effort in Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida.  


2. Death. It is something we will all one day face (unless, of course, Jesus Christ returns beforehand!). Yet death is something we rarely think about. Death is something we as a society have done our best to "sanitize." So instead of saying "My Uncle Tom died," we say, "My Uncle Tom passed away."  Now I am not against using euphemisms for death. It does soften the reality being expressed (and even the Apostle Paul used an euphemism when referring to the deaths of believers when in 1 Thessalonians chapter four he referred to those who had died as being "asleep"  - 1 Thessalonians 4:13). But try as we might to push the thought of death to the margins of our minds, the day will come when the vast majority of us will have to watch a loved one die. And that is never easy. Certainly when the eternal destination of that loved one is clear due to their firm and solid testimony of faith in the Savior Jesus Christ - there is a "sweetness" in that moment. And why not? What a thought to know one's loved one with their final breath will leave behind all the trials, pain and sorrow of living in a broken world, only to "awaken" in a place where "every tear will be wiped away" (Revelation 21:4-5)! Calling this to mind will already begin the process of healing our breaking hearts. Yet that sweetness is tempered by the bitterness of the moment. Watching a life fade away, knowing that a dreaded separation is about to occur, is not an easy experience. 

These past few days my wife and I and our family have sat by the bedside of my mother-in-law whose death is rapidly approaching. As she is losing her grip on the barest of threads tying her to this life, it is a huge comfort knowing we are not alone. Yes, we have the staff of the Mennonite Home to help. And yes, there is the presence of the Hospice and Community Care staff. But there is also the presence of our God. And as he works through others and through his Spirit, our souls have been comforted, our faith strengthened, and our breaking hearts are even now beginning to mend ... if only a little bit! :)

My friends, as these past few days have reminded us, death will come calling for us all. When he does, will you be ready to leave this life and enter the next? If you have any questions or doubts, please take a moment and check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face. 

Thanks for stopping by ... and thanks for your prayers! 

pj

P.S. My mother-in-law passed away on Saturday (October 8th) at 3:00 am. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday. Coffee. A few random thoughts. Welcome, my friends, to Friday Coffee with PJ! Oh ... and by the way, here is another article - this time from Consumer Reports - on the benefits of drinking coffee! 

1. What should one of our chief aims as we attend church on Sunday mornings? Obviously the worship of our AWESOME God is at the top of the list (or at least should be). But let me suggest to you another VIP (Very Important Purpose) you should be striving to do every Sunday you walk through the doors of your church facility: ENCOURAGEMENT! And I am not talking about yours ... I am referring to YOU encouraging OTHERS! The New Testament makes it clear that we all need to be on a mission to encourage our brothers and sisters in the faith when we "come together!" Consider: 

Hebrews 3:13  "But exhort (encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."

Hebrews 10:24-25  "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

So as you head out the door to attend services at your local church on Sunday, do so ON MISSION to encourage those you encounter. And the funny thing about encouraging others? As you do so, you will be encouraged in the process! 

2. Earlier this week, I drove my 5 year old grandson, Nolan, to our house from preschool ... a whopping distance of about 1/4 mile! In that short time we were in the van together, somehow we got on the topic of how his dad works out. I asked Nolan if he ever worked out ... and he replied, "I don't lift weights, I only do cardio!"  Ha! Even this little guy is picking up how important it is to keep our hearts in shape! Well, not only do we need to pursue things in life that will promote good heart health ... we must be just as concerned (if not more so) with the condition of our spiritual heart! In the Old Testament book of wisdom, we are urged, "above all else, guard
your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Now there are many steps we can take to do this. For starters, saturating our heart and mind with God's Word will do this. Knowing and living the Scriptures will go a long way toward guarding our hearts (Psalm 119:9-11)! In addition, prayer flavored with praise and thanksgiving will also do the same (Philippians 4:4-7). Knowing how vital this latter step is, we are launching an emphasis this coming Sunday at our church that will lead us as a church family into a deeper practice of both praise and thanksgiving. The Thirty Days of Praise and Thanksgiving initiative will be worth every minute put into it. God is worthy to be praised (Psalm 18:3) and we must thank him in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As we do, we will guard our hearts against such things as pride, bitterness, covetousness, anger and more! 

3. My wife's journey continues. Now that her femur has healed, she is scheduled for a knee replacement revision on Friday, December 16th. The surgery will also involve the removal of the plate and screws used to repair her broken femur. This gives us plenty of time to get "stuff" done prior to the surgery. Your prayers are much appreciated. 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Coffee with PJ

Once again it's Friday! So pour yourself a cup of your favorite coffee and join me for a few random thoughts. 

1. I have been serving on the Board of Trustees of Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary for about ten years. As a board member, I receive via email each Friday a copy of Equip, the weekly communique that is distributed on campus for students, staff and faculty. In a recent issue of Equip, I read the following about coffee. I found it to be very interesting: 


The 2016 Grace College Organic Chemistry I students under the guidance of Chad Snyder, recently analyzed coffee samples donated from several of faculty and staff. Although not all coffee samples were able to be analyzed it was discovered that some coffees possessed higher caffeine levels than others. This is not surprising nor is it new information, however, the CHM 2620 (Organic Chemistry I) students found trends in caffeine levels that were region or country dependent. Coffee beans analyzed from Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania presented higher levels of caffeine in their beans. Coffee beans from Costa Rica, Tanzania and Guatemala manifested lower levels of caffeine.

Sooooo .... If you really need a caffeine boost, before ordering your coffee, make sure it is made from coffee beans grown in Africa! 

2. Yesterday I had my 10 week post op appointment with the surgeon who performed my ulnar osteotomy (shortening of the ulna bone - the smaller of the two bones in the forearm) and wrist repair. For the first three weeks following the surgery, my arm and wrist were wrapped in a cast. Then I was fitted for a custom made brace. The brace has been pretty much my constant companion ... until yesterday morning! My doctor made my day by telling me I no longer needed to wear it! Yes. For the first time in two months I felt free! And it felt GOOD! 

Freedom is something we all cherish, especially as Americans. But there is a greater freedom than the liberty we enjoy as citizens of our country. Jesus talked about it as recorded in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John. He put it this way, 


“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free . . . So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:31-32, 36).

The freedom Jesus is referencing here is freedom from sin ... it's penalty, it's bondage, and ultimately, it's presence. Have you ever experienced this freedom? If you have any doubts or questions ... or would like to explore this more ... I invite you to check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face.

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj


Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Coffee with PJ

Today follows 15 days that have revolved around the death of my mother-in-law, Bessie Pietrowski. Yesterday, we laid her body to rest in the Brigadier General William Doyle Memorial Veterans Cemetery located in New Jersey (my wife's dad was a WW II veteran of North Africa, Sicily and Italy). So for those of you who prayed ... thanks! And please continue to pray for my wife as she processes her emotions upon the passing of her mom.

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Coffee with PJ

Seeing that today is Friday ... I invite you to pour a cup of your favorite Joe and join me for a couple of random (but I hope) fruitful thoughts. 

1. The destruction and devastation that hurricane Matthew is leaving in its path is downright heartbreaking. For the people of Haiti who have suffered loss of life ... and for the survivors the loss of what little they had ... is heartbreaking. I am sure in coming days, opportunities will arise to give toward relieving their suffering. Please consider doing so. Every gift, no matter how small, when put together with other gifts, will go a long way toward helping these people who have to put their lives back together after having them ripped apart. Our world-wide Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches has set up a storm relief fund through Encompass World Partners' Crisis Response Network to help assist in the relief effort in Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida.  


2. Death. It is something we will all one day face (unless, of course, Jesus Christ returns beforehand!). Yet death is something we rarely think about. Death is something we as a society have done our best to "sanitize." So instead of saying "My Uncle Tom died," we say, "My Uncle Tom passed away."  Now I am not against using euphemisms for death. It does soften the reality being expressed (and even the Apostle Paul used an euphemism when referring to the deaths of believers when in 1 Thessalonians chapter four he referred to those who had died as being "asleep"  - 1 Thessalonians 4:13). But try as we might to push the thought of death to the margins of our minds, the day will come when the vast majority of us will have to watch a loved one die. And that is never easy. Certainly when the eternal destination of that loved one is clear due to their firm and solid testimony of faith in the Savior Jesus Christ - there is a "sweetness" in that moment. And why not? What a thought to know one's loved one with their final breath will leave behind all the trials, pain and sorrow of living in a broken world, only to "awaken" in a place where "every tear will be wiped away" (Revelation 21:4-5)! Calling this to mind will already begin the process of healing our breaking hearts. Yet that sweetness is tempered by the bitterness of the moment. Watching a life fade away, knowing that a dreaded separation is about to occur, is not an easy experience. 

These past few days my wife and I and our family have sat by the bedside of my mother-in-law whose death is rapidly approaching. As she is losing her grip on the barest of threads tying her to this life, it is a huge comfort knowing we are not alone. Yes, we have the staff of the Mennonite Home to help. And yes, there is the presence of the Hospice and Community Care staff. But there is also the presence of our God. And as he works through others and through his Spirit, our souls have been comforted, our faith strengthened, and our breaking hearts are even now beginning to mend ... if only a little bit! :)

My friends, as these past few days have reminded us, death will come calling for us all. When he does, will you be ready to leave this life and enter the next? If you have any questions or doubts, please take a moment and check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face. 

Thanks for stopping by ... and thanks for your prayers! 

pj

P.S. My mother-in-law passed away on Saturday (October 8th) at 3:00 am. 

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.