Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

December 01, 2008 / Jere Patzer

The year was 1944. World War II was raging, and the prospect of a Merry Christmas for many Americans was bleak.

Hugh Martin, not yet 30 years old, was collaborating on the music for Meet Me in St. Louis, Judy Garland's classic film. Hugh wrote a few bars for a Christmas song but in frustration gave up and threw it in the trash.

Editor's Note

December 01, 2008

Throughout his battle with lymphoma, Jere Patzer, NPUC president, continued to write GLEANER editorials. This is the story he submitted just a few weeks before his death. This is what he wanted to leave with you as we enter the Christmas season of 2008.

Remembering Jere...

December 01, 2008

"A prince in Israel has fallen! He left like he lived. Quietly. Graciously. With gentle dignity. Without demands or harsh words or even a frown, he surrendered himself, a tired gentleman and statesman, into the waiting arms of his Savior. Good-bye, Jere! See you in the morning!" —Lonnie Melashenko, The Voice of Prophecy


Does God really expect me to do what He asks?

December 01, 2008

I think about the dad who had something to give his young son and asked him to hold out his hand. "Why?" asked the little boy with his hands firmly clasped behind his back. The father repeated his request, but the son kept asking "why"—and missed out on the treat his dad wanted to give him.

The Bible says in James 1:17 (NIV) "Every good and perfect gift is from...the Father." But we sometimes worry that He might ask something of us that we are not going to like.

Jesus Wept

December 01, 2008

Perhaps they had spent hours together swapping stories and experiences, carpenter stuff like mortise and tenon joints. Maybe Lazarus was pretty handy with tools too.

Whatever the history, when the Master stood before the tomb, my Bible simply says, "Jesus wept." The Life-giver stood in the presence of death, overcome with great, racking sobs.

Reclaiming the Lord's Day

November 01, 2008 / Jere Patzer

A few days ago someone shared an article with me from the Catholic newsletter, Our Sunday Visitor. The title captured my attention— "Reclaiming the Lord's Day." In it our Catholic brother stated: "There was a time when Sunday was a special day. It was a special day, a day of celebration, a day of rest."

Ask PJ

November 01, 2008

Question: Does God even notice me?

You know it's easy for teenagers to feel like no one notices them. In addition, many feel they go unnoticed by God.

Well, guess what? You're not alone—many of us wonder if God is oblivious to our situation.

Perils of the Piously Peeved

November 01, 2008

Every now and then I catch myself slipping into the role of curmudgeon, muttering about things I dislike:

Supermarket express-line crashers who can't count to 15

Drivers who religiously run red lights

People addicted to long, loud cell phone conversations

Public prayers that extend into sermons

Political pundits who pontifically promise.

Being Extraordinary for God

October 01, 2008 / Jere Patzer

God calls us to be the best we can be—faithful, honest, charitable and kind. But what does "the best" mean today?

Often we measure our success by our work. Yet, being the best to God doesn't mean we have to be rich and famous or wildly successful by the standards of this world. Nor does it mean we have to be rocket scientists, doctors or lawyers (or even ministers). But as the faithful, we are expected to recognize and use the talents He gave us to do our very best.

Ask PJ Does How I Look Reveal Who I Am?

October 01, 2008

There is always more to a person than the clothes they put on, the makeup they might wear or the attitude they carry.

When Israel was in need of a new king, God sent Samuel on a mission to Jesse's house. You can read about it in 1 Samuel 16. He looked at all of Jesse's sons in the house and saw some he thought would make fine kings. However, God said to him, "...the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).