On December 27-30 I will be speaking at the iDisciple Online Conference, a large online conference in the Philippines. This year’s conference is on “The Majesty & Ministry of the Church.”
My first address will be on “The Nature and Necessity of Reforming the Local Church” and my last plenary address will be on “The Utopian Marriage of Christ and His Joyful Bride in Heaven” (Rev. 19:6-9). I will also be speaking about my life and ministry during a Zoom discussion on November 5 at 10PM (Manila PST / 9AM EST).
Last Saturday (Oct. 9), we thought about Paul sailing the Aegean, as we approached Turkey on our yacht. We sailed to the town of Pythagoreio on the island of Samos, birthplace of the ancient philosopher Pythagoras. I gave lectures on the churches of Philadelphia and Thyatira. We had time to relax and walk around the waterfront. Later we sailed for the mainland of Turkey (see beautiful sunset, picture #1), docking in the port city of Kusadasi.
Our excellent guide, Andy, is a short, spunky Greek woman (picture #2), who shares her vast knowledge of biblical, cultural, and archeological history with us in a very interesting way. We learn a great deal from her. She is also excellent at caring for the details, which are numerous because of COVID restrictions.
On the Lord’s Day, we held services on the boat. I preached on the churches of Ephesus and Smyrna from Revelation 2, and Pastor David Woollin preached on Colossians 1:23, on our need for building a firm foundation in Christ. It was a restful, worshipful day with sweet fellowship.
My apologies for not posting updates for the last week. Leading the PRTS tour in Greece and Turkey trip has kept us very busy.Last Friday, October 8, we viewed the Panathenaic Stadium, built in 1896 entirely of marble, in Athens, Greece. It was the site of the first Olympic Games of the modern era. Here we took our first group picture (#1 above).
Next we headed to the nearby port city of Piraeus, where Paul landed when he came to Athens on his second missionary journey. We boarded the beautiful sailing yacht, the MS Panorama, our home for the next week (picture #2 above). We were introduced to the captain and the crew and given safety instructions, including how to properly wear the life jackets (David Woollin snuck a quick picture of us, #3 below).
Seas were calm as we headed out to the Aegean Sea, but by dinner time, the waves were quite tumultuous. We had to grab the railings wherever we walked, and our plates and cups slid on our tables. Then our stomachs started to roll with the waves. One by one, people left the dining room to lie down in their rooms. We were reaching for our Dramamine. More than half the people felt sick or were sick; even some of the crew were affected. A number of us thought, “What did I get myself into? A week of this will be unbearable!” Thankfully, it calmed down a bit around midnight. Most of us slept well. Devotions in the morning included Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Happily, this was our only time of encountering rough sea water on the trip—the rest of the trip was absolutely wonderful!
This morning our PRTS tour group flew from Thessaloniki to Athens. Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece with a population of 4+ million souls.
We first went up to the Acropolis which towers over the city (photo #1) and contains the famous Parthenon, the Erechtheion with its Porch of Maidens (photo #2) and the Temple of Athena Nike, all from the fifth century B.C. We then went to the Areopagus (Mars Hill) where Paul gave his famous Christ-centered address to Athenian city leaders (photo #3 of Mars Hill in the foreground, with the people listening to him in the Agora off to the right).
It was a moving and humbling experience to stand at this very impressive place with the idol-worshipping Acropolis in the background. You can almost feel Paul’s urgency in preaching the gospel to these needy people who were so accustomed to serving their unknown gods. From the top of this hill, we looked down on the Agora, where the people listened to Paul and which was also the political and economic center of the ancient city.
Rev. Casey Freswick and I had the privilege of giving short addresses at these places to buttress our guide’s informative comments. May God help us to assert and defend gospel truth in our needy day as Paul did in his own day.
At the moment, our tour group in Greece is in the airport in Thessaloniki heading for Athens, Greece. I would like to request your earnest prayer for Rev. Kenneth Hutton, a Graduate from Puritan Reformed seminary and a young Free Reformed pastor in Mitchell, Ontario, and Douglas Bond, a well-known author for young people with whom I am presently coauthoring a title, “Modern Heroes.” Both brothers are seriously ill in the hospital with COVID.