Visalia, California

Yesterday, we had a full day of visiting friends in the Visalia, California area. We began with a visit to the “coffee shed” of a dairy farmer at 9:00 a.m. when, every morning except the Lord’s Day, family members and friends—most of whom are dairy farmers—gather at their parents’ farm for coffee. After coffee, a son-in-law gave us a tour of the family farm, which included impressive Friesian horses (picture #1) and old carriages (picture #2). We then had an enjoyable visit with the parents, who are 93 and 94 years old respectively; the father nostalgically explained to us how he was instrumental in getting Friesian horses from Europe, which opened the way for these special horses to be shipped to eighty countries all around the world.

Next we had great fellowship over lunch with our hosts both of whom live busy lives on their dairy farm and serve the church in a variety of capacities. This brother is chairman of his consistory and also serves on a number of committees for various ministries in the community. They had much practical wisdom to share with us and we felt enriched by our conversation. From there, we had a pleasant, interesting visit with a new friend who is an engineer in a company that he co-owns which works to create technology related to dairy sustainability.

We then enjoyed a delicious steak dinner with two couples we knew from the past. One brother is involved with a fascinating ministry that reaches political leaders around the world with the gospel and is also involved in various agriculture ventures. He showed us some old, beautiful vehicles, and let Mary and me sit in one of them—an old Duesenberg (picture #3). The other brother, a retired hoof trimmer, and his wife serve as high school youth leaders. The four hours of great fellowship we had with these dear couples just flew by.

Mormon Rocks

Yesterday, we enjoyed our 4.5 hour travel/fellowship with John (who is a great driver) and Ena Bushnell — from the young adult camp we left behind in Forest Falls, California — through the mountains and desert to Visalia, California. Perhaps the most scenic area was the Mormon Rocks (see picture) in the Mojave Desert, near Phelan, California.

We will be visiting several friends here in the Visalia area for a few days before flying home on Thursday, D.V. Please continue to pray for our dear brother and sister, Pastor Joel and Heidi Weaver of Trinity URC in Visalia, who both have quite serious cases of COVID—especially Joel who is in the hospital with COVID pneumonia.

Books that Point Children to Christ

Mary and I are grateful for Tim Challies’s recent post on our four new co-authored young children’s books. Will you pray with us that God will bless these books to the genuine, Spirit-worked conversion of many young children?

Forest Home Camp

Having left Forest Home camp near Forest Falls, California after breakfast this morning, we are now on our way to Visalia, California, to visit several friends over the next few days. Our three back-to-back conferences are now history.

We left behind a great group of young adults (picture #1) whom we really enjoyed ministering to with five messages, two interviews, and numerous conversations individually and at mealtimes in recent days. We said many goodbyes to the camp attendees this morning—including these three Westminster California theological students (picture #2).

On Saturday, we also took a scenic hike in the woods near the mountains (picture #3) to Trout Pond, where the reflection of trees in the water was stunningly peaceful and beautiful (picture #4).

Woodpeckers abounded everywhere; they have drilled tens of thousands of holes in trees everywhere (picture #5). Hundreds of the holes were filled with acorns. God’s handiwork in His creatures and in nature is amazing.

Forest Home, California

We are having a wonderful, beautiful day at a young adults camp in Forest Home, California. I am delivering five messages here on union with Christ, church unity, and holiness, and meeting with many friends, both new and old. We just had a wonderful meal with this couple, Peter and Jennifer, who are fairly new converts but are growing in grace and hungry to learn. Peter was remarkably converted in prison and is now running a successful business and seeking to be a man of God for his wife and family. We also have just received a message that Pastor Joel Weaver is still in the hospital and not doing too well, so we are gathering for a prayer meeting right now for him. Please pray earnestly for his full recovery.

Spanish Conference in California

Thursday night we arrived safely in Burbank, California from Nashville to begin the second of our three back-to-back conferences—this one being a Spanish conference for 2,200 pastors and lay people at Grace Community Church pastored by Dr. John MacArthur. After we arrived, three young men Jhonathon, Alex, and Miguel took us out for a late dinner (picture #1). Their conversion stories were fascinating. Jhonathon was converted to Christianity from being a Jehovah’s Witness.

David Woollin joined us very late that evening flying in from Europe. He brought with him the very first copy of “A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life” by Mark Jones and me in Spanish, which will be officially released from the publishers (Poiema and RHB) in three or four weeks. Our prayer is that this will open up the teaching of the Puritans for Spanish-speaking Latin America more than anything else has done to date. The next day, the Spanish-speaking attendees at the conference could order it already. In picture #2, I am holding copies of the new book with a Poiema employee at their table in the bookstore. You can order it here:

https://poiema.co/products/una-teologia-puritana?variant=4098202507692

Yesterday afternoon I spoke in English at the Spanish conference on “The Puritans on Christ’s Compassionate Heart and Intercession in Heaven” while being simultaneously translated into Spanish by Jonathan Tucker (picture #3), who did a great job, but it was challenging to speak when the translator was speaking at the same time.

After I spoke, Mary and I had a good but brief visit with Paul Washer who was also speaking at the conference. A young couple, Thaddeus and Rachelle, then graciously drove us three hours to Forest Home, California to a conference camp (for 18-35 year olds) organized by the Vasilia, California United Reformed Church pastored by Joel Weaver, a PRTS alumnus. (Please pray for this dear brother as he is presently in the hospital with COVID and pneumonia.)

When we arrived near the camp, three coyotes ran in front of our car, and we could hear their cries in the darkness when we stepped out of the car in the camp’s parking lot. We arrived five minutes before I had to give my first of five addresses on “Union with Christ and Christian Unity.” After my address we were taken to our beautiful cabin, only to witness that in the next door cabin some camp employees were cleaning up the interior after chasing out of the cabin a mother bear with her cubs! And then, upon settling in, we heard that there had been a 4.3-magnitude earthquake in the Los Angeles area at 8:00 p.m. (about two hours after we drove through that area). Never a dull moment in California!

Weekly Sermon Quote – September 12, 2021

https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=9921054443161

Please Pray for Joyce Griffiths

Though still quite weak, our friend, Joyce Griffiths, is feeling a bit better and is on her way to the airport right now in Mexico City, accompanied by another friend, Gloria. Please pray earnestly that in the next 13 hours they will travel safely to Grand Rapids, that the transfer in Atlanta will go smoothly, and that Joyce will have a peaceful heart, trusting in God and in friends who care for her (Is. 26:3).

Nashville Conference

Yesterday, we had delightful meetings in God’s kind providence with several new friends at our RHB book table in Nashville. One of those meetings was with Dr. and Mrs. Rafael Manguel pictured below. Dr. Manguel has been a well-respected medical doctor for decades and he and his wife have been very involved in a charismatic church for many years until recently when their eyes were opened to a biblical, Reformed view of understanding the Scriptures. They are now attending a Spanish-speaking church in Texas being pastored by one of our recent PRTS graduates, Pastor Eduarto Martorano, and are growing in the faith by leaps and bounds under this young man’s ministry. Their excitement and joy to find spiritual liberty in Christ Jesus through Reformed truth was tangible and filled us with excitement and joy as well. It was a joy too to see them walk away with solid Puritan books as well as our Puritan Documentary that will certainly grow them the more. Isn’t God and His grace so amazing as He transforms lives by His Word, His Son, His Spirit, and His truth?

This afternoon, Mary and I will be flying from Nashville to Burbank, California where I hope to speak tomorrow at John MacArthur’s Spanish conference on “The Puritans on Christ’s Beautiful Heart and Intercession in Heaven.” Your prayers are treasured as usual.

We also spent some time with Daniel Henderson who runs a French publishing ministry called Publications Chrétiennes based in Trois-Rivières, Québec. He is working on publishing many confessional Reformed books, especially Puritan titles. The work is slow as the demand is small. But he is working hard to create the demand. Please pray for this brother and his worthy work. A few weeks ago, he just released in French one of my good friend Dr. Michael Barrett’s excellent titles:

Sing Conference in Nashville, TN

Mary and I have been in Nashville the last few days, where I was asked to preach on “Why We Need to Listen to the Puritans on Christ-centered Worship” for the Sing Conference (picture #1). I felt helped in doing so and was encouraged by the response. We, together with Ian Thompson, spent most of our time at our Reformation Heritage Books book table selling a variety of books to hundreds of people ranging from children’s titles as well as books for lay people and academic titles of Reformed experiential persuasion.

Mary and I wrote four new children’s books (ages 4-7) that arrived just in time for this conference. They are on faith, hope, and love to both God and other people. The goal is to show very young children the basics of salvation. We were delighted that our artist for these four books (Cassie) happened to be at the conference as well (picture #2 where the three of us are holding up the new children’s books)! You can order these four books at the links below. Pray that God will bless these efforts and books to many.

The conference was attended by 6,000 people with another 40,000 listening online. Highlights of the conference for us was a humbling interview with Joni Erickson Tada who spoke movingly about suffering for Christ’s sake, and then sang, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” (picture #3); a moving address by our friend, Dr. Conrad Mbewe; and the singing of some of the great classic, Christ-centered hymns. Mary and I were especially touched by the singing of “Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” We also enjoyed spending time with Ligon Duncan (picture #4), Ray and Kathy Pennings, and several other friends, and it was good to speak to some of the book publishers present about future book titles.

I Need to Trust in God – Vol. 1: https://www.heritagebooks.org/products/i-need-to-trust-in-god-god-and-me-series-volume-1-beeke.html

I Need to Hope in God – Vol. 2: https://www.heritagebooks.org/products/i-need-to-hope-in-god-god-and-me-series-volume-2-beeke.html

I Need to Love God – Vol. 3: https://www.heritagebooks.org/products/i-need-to-love-god-god-and-me-series-volume-3-beeke.html

I Need to Love Other People – Vol. 4: https://www.heritagebooks.org/products/i-need-to-love-other-people-god-and-me-series-volume-4-beeke.html