Posts

Showing posts from 2017
Image
Friday, December 1st. Yup. Christmas is just 24 days away! And in spite of the somewhat balmy weather we have been enjoying this week, a glance at the long range forecast this morning shows colder weather is just around the corner (I even spotted the "s" word! Ugh! But this should NOT surprise us. Today is the first day of meteorological winter!). So even if you don't enjoy a hot cup of coffee normally, you may want to take up the habit soon just to warm up!  😉  Thanks for joining me today for a couple of thoughts which I hope will help you grow in your faith journey with Jesus Christ. 

1. Wednesday morning brought a startling revelation on NBC's Today Show. Visibly shaken co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb broke the news as the much watched program came on the air. Matt Lauer, a popular co-host on the show for over twenty years had been terminated over night for "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace." The memo from the chairman of NBC also s…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
After enjoying Thanksgiving Day with my family (there were a total of 18 in our home for the celebration!), I am ready for more turkey leftovers (I just love turkey dinners ... even more than steak!). Often my problem is that my wife sends so many leftovers home with the kids that there is often not much left for me! But I made sure that did NOT happen this year! 😉 Thanks for joining me for Friday Coffee with PJ! 

1. I hope that during this Thanksgiving weekend, you spend some quality time thanking God for his many blessings ... and if you failed to do so yesterday, well today is another day! Here are a couple of quotes to inspire you toward a grateful heart! 


"To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater."  (J. I. Packer) 
“It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!”   (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still …

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
As I write these words, I have just finished up my fourth cup of coffee. So I am thinking I will call that cup my last ... maybe! 😃  Thanks for joining me for some random insights into life. 


1. This week I met my son for lunch. Over a breakfast wrap and a cup of decaf coffee (it was after the noon hour!) we talked about life. All in all, a wonderful hour catching up with each other. Afterwards, as I was driving back to the office – it hit me. This little baby boy that I once bounced on my knee causing him to giggle hysterically is all grown up! He has earned two degrees and has parlayed that into a very responsible job at an institution of higher learning. In addition, he has bounced three of his own children on his knee! I could not be more proud! But wow!  Where have the past 36 years gone?  When did my little boy become a man? 
If you are a parent of young children and you just happen to be reading this (which in and of itself would be quite remarkable considering all the time you…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
Please feel free to pour yourself a cup of your favorite joe and join me for some thoughts which I hope will get you thinking about your faith and this world in which we live. 

Speaking of this world in which we live, we must never lose sight of what the Bible has to say about this world. For starters, the Apostle John in his gospel tells us that "God loved the world in such a way that He gave his one and only Son . . ." (John 3:16). The word "world" here refers to the world of people - the image-bearers whom God himself created among whom everyone of us is numbered. Now when we are born into this world, we are born in a state of rebellion. That's right. We are born rebels. We don't want to go God's way, but rather we are determined to go OUR way (Isaiah 53:6). As a result, children need to be taught to do the right thing, yes? If you have any doubts, you have never been a parent or worked in childcare! One of the roles of parents is to teach their child…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
I hope you enjoy your coffee as much as I do mine! My favorite brew, by the way, is San Fransisco Bay Fog Chaser (just noticed on my last Costco run that Costco is now offering San Fransisco Bay's French Roast! Yes! Highly recommend!). Thanks for joining me this morning for a couple of random thoughts that I hope will encourage you in your faith journey with Christ! 

1. When we first moved into our current home back in November of 2000, the previous owner-builders had a couple of flower beds around the house. Nothing big. Certainly far from elaborate. Across the course of the next few years my wife planted new flower beds ... quite a few of them. At first I didn't mind too much. Less grass to cut! But then I realized that every spring brought with it the ritual of the mulch! But, at the end of the day, I enjoyed all the flowering plants my wife had planted and so went with the flow. But as both us us have aged a bit in the past 17 years ... "the flow" is getting harde…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
Friday morning. Cup of coffee. Open Bible. Talk with God. No better way to start a Friday (or any day) than this! Thanks for joining me for a few random thoughts that I hope will help you move forward in your faith walk with Jesus Christ! 

Today I got to thinking about some of the friends God has used in my life to help me along in my faith journey. One of these was a guy named Dave Bobbs. Dave was a classmate of mine in college. We hung out a lot together (especially my first three semesters - after that I hung out a lot with a girl named Sharon Pietrowski). Dave and I played tennis together. We studied together. We talked sports (and girls) together. I stayed in his home in Bristol, PA. He stayed in mine in Lewisberry, PA. Once I began dating Sharon, we did a number of double dates with Dave and his numerous female interests. After graduation, we went our separate ways. He headed off to the Midwest for Seminary, I remained in the Philadelphia area for my schooling. Upon finishing my …

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
It's Friday ... so pour yourself a cup of your favorite java and join me for a few random thoughts ... at least one of which, I hope, will help you along in your journey of faith! 

1. Last week, one of my associate pastors suffered a heart attack. On Monday of this week he underwent surgery. As a result of him being in the hospital (and a couple of other folks from our church family), I have been drinking a lot of Pete's Coffee, which is served in the Skylight Cafe on the hospital's second floor. It is by far the best tasting coffee to be had anywhere in the hospital! Usually they have several kinds of coffee available. I have tried several. Each has a distinctive taste. Each can be savored for those very differences. Reminds me of people. We are all unique, distinct in a lot of different ways. And God calls us to "savor" one another no matter how different we may be from one another. The greatest command given to us by God, according to Jesus himself, is to love …

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
As I write this blog post, I am on my fourth (and final) cup of coffee (and it's only 8:19 am!). Time to quit. As you have heard, every good thing must come to an end ... and so for my coffee drinking ... for today that is! Thanks for joining me for today's edition of Friday Coffee with PJ! 


1. Unless you have been totally "zoned out" of what's been going on in the world, you know that the Boy Scouts have been in the news of late (with their decision to allow girls into their ranks ... something, by the way, the Girl Scouts organization is not too happy about). As a former cub scout and boy scout I am saddened by this news. Not because I don't think much of girls or I don't think girls should have the same opportunities as boys, but because this is simply one more step further into the gender confusion of our day. God makes it clear in the opening chapter of the Bible that when he designed and created humanity in his image, he created us "male and fem…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
Thanks for joining me once again. My apologies for being a bit late with the post as I am at Grace College & Semonary board meetings in Winona Lake, Indiana).

Twenty-eight years ago last month (September 1, 1989 to be exact) I began my pastoral ministry here at Grace. Much has changed since then. My kids have grown older (all married and all have blessed us with grandkids ... eight to be exact). I have grown balder (bald is beautiful, right?!). Sharon, my wife has grown lovelier. And Grace Church has grown, too. Grace is larger (in numbers, facilities, and ministries) and, I trust, more Christ-like (although we are nowhere close to being where we need to be!).

Am I glad that God in His providence led me here twenty-eight years ago? Absolutely! As I have said before, at this present time in my life, there is no other place I would rather be serving my God than right where I am. I work alongside a great staff and a godly group of elders. And I love the people of Grace. They are fam…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
Friday morning is here again!  And today happens to be National Coffee Day! So pour yourself a cup of the wonderful juice from the good old coffee bean and enjoy (and have better health to boot)!  You might also want to check out this link to National Coffee Day for some special savings from your favorite place to pick up a cup of Joe!

1. Today is the final day of the Lampeter Fair. For the past 25 years or so, our church has hosted a "baby comfort station." Just what is that? It's a clean, comfortable place for moms and dads to change their babies. Finding such a place to do so can prove challenging, especially given the changing weather conditions at the fair (from wet and muddy to dry and dusty). We also provide a private place for nursing mothers to feed their little ones. Across the years, many parents have expressed their thanks for our comfort station (especially those who realize they left their diaper bag at home!). Why do we do this? Because we are a group of pe…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
It's Friday morning (again? really?). And it's the FOURTH Friday morning of September! Ouch! Where is September going? Just another reminder that our life is brief and passes quickly. So ... over our cup of coffee, let's agree NOT TO WASTE IT! 

1. Speaking of the passing of time, this afternoon at 4:02 the fall season officially begins. Today's forecast is calling for a high temperature in the mid-eighties ... hardly a fall forecast. Now we all realize this summer-like weather won't last forever. Soon the crisp temperatures of a more typical fall day will be upon us (which will be "shortly" followed by weather forecasts with the dreaded "S" word being bandied about ... but enough of that for now!). As for me, as long as this late summer weather lasts, I am going to enjoy it! 

Just as climatic seasons come and go .... the true is same of the seasons of life. Some of you might be in one of your earlier seasons of life ... seasons marked by preparati…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
A good Friday morning to one and all! For most of you, Friday morning brings the knowledge that in just a few short hours you will be done working (at least on the job) until next Monday! But alas, for me ... it means my most tiring day of work is just around the corner! Yep. It's Friday, but Sunday's coming! Please pour yourself a cup of coffee (and for the health benefits of java, click the link in last Friday's post), and join me for a few random thoughts. 

1. I am sure you have seen video and photos of the devastation left behind by the 100+mph winds of Hurricane Irma. Trees toppled. Huge RV's flipped over. Construction cranes mangled. Homes totally blown off their foundations. It is heartbreaking. Authorities estimate a quarter of the houses are gone in the hard hit Florida Keys. Ouch! Now ... why did some houses survive the storm's fury while others did not? I am sure there are probably a number of reasons for this ... one of which would be the quality of cons…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
Good morning! Can you believe September is already 24% done??!!!  The rapid passing of the time should remind us that this life will soon be over. So, are you ready for the next chapter of human life? If you have any questions, please check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face. And as you read on, feel free to pour yourself a cup (or more!) of coffee. Your health could depend upon it!

1. I am now in my second week back from being gone on a nine week sabbatical. I am glad to be "back in the saddle again" - I was greeted by that song blaring through the church sound system as I opened up our second service this past Sunday! :)  I love my job. I love my church family. I love the staff and elders who I am privileged to work alongside of! And I love all of YOU who take time to read my meanderings! Thanks!

2. With the hurricane season ramping up, we are reminded of just how vulnerable we are as human beings. It has been many years since the Caribbean and the United States ha…

Friday Coffee with PJ (Special Thursday Morning Edition)

Image
On Tuesday of this week I returned to the office after enjoying a nine week sabbatical. When I arrived home after work that day my wife asked me how it felt being back. I told her it felt like I had never been gone! When she asked me to elaborate I simply told her that being back in my office, working alongside the great staff at Grace Church, it just had the feel of "being home!" So all that to say, I am very glad to be "back in the saddle again!" 

Since my return I have been asked by many, "How was your sabbatical?"  As many of you might be wondering the same, here's my response. 

1. Rest. I got a boatload of rest. Mental. Physical. Emotional. Lots of time to just kick back and enjoy the moment. It was quite different going to bed at night and not having to set the alarm for an early morning meeting! Different and delightful! And it sure was fun getting back to doing some fishing (something I have enjoyed since childhood). 

2. Renew. I made an intentio…

Friday Coffee with PJ (Special Monday Edition)

Image
Just a quick note to let you all know that I am on sabbatical leave until the end of August. Will be back (God willing - James 4:13-15) on Friday, September 1st with my next edition of Friday Coffee with PJ. Have a blessed summer as you walk with the King!

But as I go .... knowing how quickly this sabbatical will fly by, I leave you with these thoughts on life.


Living NOW in light of THEN!


Several years ago, when my son was working as an intern with theLancaster New Era(now LNP), one of his first interviews was with a woman who was about to celebrate her 100th birthday. A couple of years ago, our church said “good-bye” not to just one centenarian, but two! Wow! One hundred years of living!  As I reflected on these women (yes, they were all women) and their long lives, I thought of my own age. At age 61, I have less than 39 years to join the centenarian club (Hmmm. Not sure I want to join that club!).
Regardless as to whether I live another 39 years or another 39 months – what is most impo…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
It's Friday morning again! Yes! So pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy a few random thoughts that I hope will help you in your walk of faith with Christ! 

1. At the end of May, I finished up a one year reading plan I was using on YouVersion Bible app. Last June I had selected their Project 345 plan. It is designed to take you through the New Testament in a year's time by reading one chapter of the NT each weekday (weekends are used for catch up). It's name is derived from the time it takes for the average reader to read one chapter of the NT. I found the plan to be very manageable and found much profit. Many days I took more than 3:45 just to reflect and pray about what I had just read. If you are looking for a Bible reading plan (and a way to keep on the plan) I highly recommend using the YouVersion app (available on both IOS and Android) and the 3:45 plan! 

As the first of June was fast approaching, it hit me that I needed another plan. Hmm. I hadn't read Proverbs …

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
Don't know about you ... but no matter the temp outside, I still enjoy my morning coffee. Even on Tuesday when the high temperature for the day reached a balmy 95 degrees (almost 20 degrees higher than today's forecast high) I started my day with a cup of Joe! Now I will admit that on hot, hazy, humid days, if I opt for coffee in the afternoon, you can count on it being iced coffee (which I quite enjoy ... almost as much as I enjoy a frosty cup of iced tea)! But enough of my rambling. Here are a couple of thoughts which I hope will encourage you in your faith walk with Jesus! 

 Some of you might know (from my Facebook post) that on Monday of this week, my wife and I took our 5 year old granddaughter to Lake Tobias (as a celebration of her fifth birthday). She wanted her older sister (who is 8) to come along. So the four of us piled in the van around 8:30 in the morning, hoping to arrive when the park opened (we wanted to beat the heat). Well, we did well in timing our arrival, …

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
Thanks for joining me today! Pour yourself a cup of your favorite JOE as I share a couple of brief thoughts (as Sunday is coming ... and since it is "the only day of the week which I work" :) .... I must get moving on my message for Sunday morning!) 

1. I apologize for being a bit late this morning. I was out of the office yesterday and did not write this post (as Thursday is usually the day I do so). One task I did get done yesterday was to pick up my lawn mower which was at the shop for repairs. A couple of weeks ago, I ran over something in the ground as I was mowing. This chipped my blade and also bent the blade. Now with a brand new blade, I am ready to once again tackle the ever growing grass that makes up my lawn. Now ... I did try to cut the grass with my damaged-blade lawn mower ... but it just was not cutting right. I made some adjustments in hopes that it would start cutting the way it was designed to cut - but to no avail!   I needed another blade. So it is with o…

Friday Coffee with PJ

Image
Another Friday. Another edition of "Friday Coffee with PJ." Thanks so much for joining me again ... I hope I have something to say that is a worthwhile investment of your precious time!  

Last Friday afternoon we received a phone call in the church office that set in motion a very hectic series of events. The caller who worked for a bank (not ours) told our office manager that she suspected there was fraudulent activity happening with checks being drawn on our church's checking account. As soon as that phone conversation ended, we called our bank and ... to make a long story short ... the caller was right! Someone (or someones) from outside of our church had printed up fake checks with all of our info on them and proceeded to deposit them in their accounts (about a dozen checks were involved totally over $30,000). Gulp! Immediately, our bank froze our account which stopped the bleeding! And fortunately, we will not be out those funds ... in fact, as of yesterday, the majo…