Archives for September 4, 2012

Ministering and Ministers


Phil Huisjen, 99, reading his Bible

This morning I visited our oldest male member, Phil Huisjen, who is beginning his 100th year this week. His mind is still sharp, especially when he converses of spiritual matters. He spends most of his time in his room, reading his extra large print Bible through a strong magnifying glass, all propped up on a light Styrofoam contraption that he can straddle his Bible across the top of. What a dear brother this senior is! I have been visiting him for twenty-five years, and cherish every one of those visits. Over the years, I have seen him grow spiritually, so that he now relishes salvation in Christ’s righteousness alone. When I told him I was going to read Psalm 71, he said, “Oh, I love that psalm—that’s the psalm where David keeps talking about Christ’s righteousness rather than his own.”

This dear brother speaks with a depth of spiritual conviction seldom encountered in our day. His yearnings for more faith and his hatred of his own unbelief are so profound and intense that I always leave these visits feeling I was pastored more than I pastored. Oh, for more vital, experiential Christianity in our own hearts today!




URC Ministerial Fellowship

This noon I had the privilege of addressing the first gathering of a new ministerial fellowship which hopes to meet quarterly. Presently, it consists mostly of United Reformed Church ministers but plans are underway to throw the net a bit wider to include ministers and seminaries of conservative Reformed persuasion. I was asked to address the subject of “Coping with Criticism in the Ministry.”  I gave them ten points: Consider criticism inevitable; consider the source, consider timing and prayer; consider yourself; consider the content; consider Scripture; consider Christ; consider biblical saints; consider love; consider long-term vision.

I’m hoping to expand this address this fall into a 100-page paperback, which Day One hopes to publish in the spring. I believe there is a great need for a helpful book from the Reformed perspective on this vital subject. Despite the fact that more than 80% of ministers in America today state that coping with criticism is the greatest burden they face in the ministry, materials on this subject are scarce. If you know of any good sources on coping with criticism, let me know please.


A God-fearing Father (II)

This series of blogs shares my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993).

On Wednesday, three days after my father died, we needed fresh strength to conduct the funeral. Early that morning our dear mother was given grace to surrender our father into the Lord’s hands. How strengthening it was to hear her say on a good foundation just before my ascending the pulpit, “I can no longer wish him back!” The funeral message was based on Revelation 7:15, “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” Our major theme was “The Redeemed before the Throne of God.” We considered three thoughts: (1) who are before the throne of God—they who had come out of great tribulation, especially soul tribulation (Rev. 7:14); (2) why they are before the throne of God—”therefore,” that is, because out of sovereign grace their robes are washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb (v. 14); (3) what they experience before the throne of God—the Lamb in the midst of the throne and an eternal serving of Him in the heavenly temple (v. 15b; also vv. 16–17).

At the graveside, my two brothers led the committal service. Elder James Beeke (from Chilliwack) spoke on Psalm 103:13, “Like as a father pitieth His children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.” Elder John R. Beeke (from St. Catharines) spoke some concluding words, thanked the friends for their support, and closed with prayer. The Lord gave help in the midst of sorrow.

As far as our dear father himself is concerned, he could not have asked for a better death. He died, as an elder said to me, “while in harness,” yes, while engaged in doing what was the love of his heart and his very life—the Lord’s cause and service. As a brother deacon in Kalamazoo said, “In his last prayer on earth he asked for a crumb, and received a crown.” He is above all strife.