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Friday Coffee with PJ

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It's yet again Friday morning. So I invite you to join me over a cupof your favorite java for a few random thoughts. Thoughts which, I hope, will bring some enlightenment to your mind and strength to your faith! 
1. We can learn a lot about history (and the people of history) through letters written in their particular time. So what were Christians like in the 2nd century? Here is an excerpt from a letter written by an unknown letter writer ... sent to an individual named Diognetus. In the letter, the writer describes how these early Christians lived out their faith in their culture: 
"Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language, or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. . . . With regard to dress, food, and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.
And yet there is someth…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Friday already? Ouch! How can it be? This week seems a lot shorter than usual! Oh ... that's right ... I was away in Cleveland for the first three days of this week attending the 2017 Basics Conference for pastors. So ... given the fact that I am trying to jam a full week of work into two days ... I will be very brief today. So pour yourself a cup of your favorite java and join me for a couple of random thoughts. 

I just LOVE the reality that so many of the PA Turnpike rest stops have a Starbucks! Yes! I enjoyed two cups on the way to the Basics Conference and one cup on the way back. Now I realize that many people (I am guessing the majority) don't simply order a straight up cup of coffee at Starbucks. But that is the ONLY thing I order. I like coffee undefiled (OK ... I admit I put a "dash" of creamer or milk in ... but that's it!). Now do I look down my coffee mug at those who prefer to have their Starbucks coffee in some other way? Of course I don't (unles…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Friday morning again! So pour yourself a cup of your favorite Joe as I share with you a few random thoughts that I hope will get you thinking about your faith in Christ. 

1. Prayer. It is something all of us do. It is something all of us would like to do better! The Bible tells us we are to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But have you wondered how in the world we are supposed to do so? Much of our days are spent on the job or in the classroom. Not to mention the hours we spend sleeping (which for so many of us is probably NOT enough). So what does God expect of us?  Donald Whitney who as written so many excellent books on the spiritual disciplines (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Simply Your Spiritual Life: Spiritual Disciplines for the Overwhelmed, and Praying the Bible) answers this question for us! Check out what he has to say here!


2. This week I finished teaching a course on Apocalyptic Literature in the Accelerated Undergraduate Degree progra…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Wow! What happened last Friday? I guess I got blitzed by Easter week ... then smothered by another busier than usual post-Easter week. This perfect combination caused me to not even realize I had missed writing this post until Saturday morning! But, don't worry - I did manage to get my cup(s) of coffee in! So my apologies and thanks for showing up today! So pour yourself a cup of coffee and read on my friends! 

1. This year we bit the proverbial bullet and hired a landscaping service to do our mulching for us. With Sharon still struggling with a lot of pain in her leg and knee and with my busy schedule we thought that was the best route to go. And wow! The day I came home to fully edged and mulched flower beds, I plopped into my lazy-boy and let loose a ssssiiiigggghhhh of relief. Oh did that feel good (now I haven't received the bill yet - when I do, that feeling might not be so positive!). There are many things in life we can pay others to do for us. Sometimes we do so becaus…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Pour yourself a cup of your favorite java and join me for a few thoughts that I hope will encourage you to grab a hold of the day and live it for Christ!

1. Today being Good Friday, I want to begin by expressing my desire for you to experience in a special way God's love for you in Christ His Son. The Apostle Paul reminds us that God demonstrated his love for us in that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). I hope as you spend time today reflecting on the sacrifice of Christ on your behalf, that you will be powerfully reminded of just how much he loves you! And if you are in the Lancaster area, please join us from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm for our Good Friday Evening Service, during which we will focus on the Seven Sayings of the Cross. 

2. Two Fridays ago I confessed to a speeding ticket which I received (and justly so) on my drive back from Virginia. Last Friday I mentioned that I had received 5 letters from different attorneys offering to represent me …

Friday Coffee with PJ

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So glad to have you join me for another edition of Friday Coffee with PJ. I hope you enjoy both your coffee and few random thoughts I have to share with you that I trust will strengthen your faith and warm your heart! 

1. Last week I owned up to being stopped by a county sheriff on our way back home from Williamsburg, VA. Why was I stopped? I was exceeding the speed limit! And if you read my post of last Friday, you will know that I have already paid the fine. This week I received several letters (five and counting!) from lawyers who practice in that area of Virginia. They all offer to represent me in court in an attempt to have the fine reduced or dismissed - all at the bargain price of $350 (a couple have come in at a lower price in an attempt to gain my business)! Of course, I am not going to be contacting any of them. For starters, their fee is much more than the cost of the fine. But more importantly, I am guilty as charged. So why fight it? The honest thing is to pay the fine and…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join me for a couple of brief thoughts (just returned yesterday from a week's vacation!). 

1. We left last Thursday morning and drove to Ocean City, MD. On the way, we stopped in the Bethany Beach area and scoped out the house we will be renting for our family beach vacation this upcoming summer (an outside look had to suffice as the owner was not available to let us in). From Bethany Beach we continued to Ocean City where we spent the next day and a half before moving on to our ultimate destination of Williamsburg, VA. The day we arrived in Ocean City, the temperature never got out of the thirties. It was down right cold (and with the wind whipping off the ocean, it felt even colder). But talk about a temperature change! When we stepped out of the car in Williamsburg on Saturday, the temperature was a balmy 75 degrees. Both Sunday and Monday had highs approaching 80 degrees! I was so warm I drove to the local Kmart to buy a pair of sho…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Thanks for joining me for yet another edition of Friday Coffee with PJ. You know the routine. Enjoy a random thought or two with your morning coffee. 

1. One of the most fascinating passages of Scripture (and quite frankly, there are scores of them!) is the following: 

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,6 and that by means of these…

Friday Morning with PJ

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Friday morning? Friday Coffee with PJ! Thanks for joining me today over a cup of coffee to read a few random (and I hope, thought provoking and faith strengthening thoughts). 

1. This past Tuesday saw one of the largest March snow falls on record for these parts. Here in Willow Street (just south of the city of Lancaster, PA), the snow turned to sleet for several hours. This kept the snow accumulation down. So instead of the foot and a half of snow which areas just to our north and west received, less than a foot of snow (9 inches maybe) covered my driveway (except for the foot and a half deep snow drift just outside my garage door). Now for me this change from heavy snow to heavy sleet was a good thing. When I was a kid, I loooooooooved snow! But now, as an adult who is responsible to remove it from my driveway and make calls as to whether or not to go ahead with Sunday services when inclement winter weather strikes ... a snowless winter sounds quite appealing! Interesting how as the …

Friday Coffee with PJ

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It's a snowy Friday today .... which makes for a great day to sit and enjoy a hot cup of rich and robust coffee. And between you and me, this is my favorite kind of snow storm: the snow is only sticking to the trees, rooftops and grass! Yahoo! Bring it on!  - although from what I have been reading on the meteorological cybersphere, next Tuesday I might be singing a different tune (like SNOW, SNOW, GO AWAY, COME BACK ANOTHER YEAR!). Well, whatever the case may be, go ahead and pour yourself a cup of coffee and join me for a few brief random thoughts. 

1. These will be brief because I just realized (at 8:10 this morning) that I had failed to write this post. My failure to do so stems from a failure to check my todoist app which helps me to organize my tasks. And since I didn't consult it at all yesterday (me bad, very bad!) I totally forgot to write my weekly post. The old adage, "out of sight, out of mind" proved true in this case! But it also proves true in many other…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Today is the first Friday in March and that means many things: winter is over (meteorological spring begins March 1st!), our church sanctuary renovation is about halfway done, and March Madness (NCAA basketball tournament is just around the corner!). And today being a Friday means ... Coffee with PJ. So pour yourself a cup of coffee and join me for a few random thoughts. 

1. I hope you enjoyed February's weather. It was the warmest on record for our area. We are also on pace for the least "snowiest" winter on record! All that to say ... this winter has been downright delightful! But not all would agree. There are a number of snow "enthusiasts" around us who love a good old fashioned blizzard (or two) each winter! I was once numbered among those people ... but no more! The older I get, the less I like snow (although I admit there is a beauty of seeing the trees and ground covered with a LIGHT blanket of snow!). The word on the meteorological street is that winter…