Archives for September 18, 2012

Ministry in Ireland (I)

On Friday, September 7, I did e-mail catch-up work for ten hours while sitting in the Newark airport, waiting for a flight to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The overnight flight was uneventful, though a bit tense since the flight was to land at 9:00 a.m. and I was scheduled to speak a half hour drive from the airport at 10:15 a.m. Rev. Paul Thompson, my itinerary guide, felt badly that he read my ticket wrongly. He thought I was landing on Friday morning, so he scheduled me to speak three times on Saturday morning. Only a few days before the conference did I realize the error, but , after discussing what I would have to cancel to come earlier, as well as the sky-high price for changing an overseas ticket the last moment, we decided to commit the trip prayerfully to the Lord, and surrender to His providence.

When we landed in Belfast, I ran to the head of the line and was the second person from the plane to pass through customs. Everything went incredibly smoothly (my suitcase was the third item of hundreds off of the plane), and my driver drove as fast as possible. Kind providence brought me to the Mount Merrion Free Presbyterian Church at 10:00, so I had 15 minutes to freshen up before speaking.  Despite having only an hour or two of sleep on the plane that night, the Lord strengthened me to deliver three addresses in a row on the theme of living coram Deo—living in the presence of God.

Rev. Andrew and Joan Woolsey

I then spent some time with my dear friends, Rev. Andrew and Joan Woolsey, whom I have known for about a dozen years. Presently, we are about ready to send brother Woolsey’s outstanding dissertation on the development of covenant theology to the printer. After having supper with the Woolseys, we went to a buffet reception at the Lisburn Free Presbyterian (FP) Church, to which about 75 ministers and their wives and a several other FP people had been personally invited to meet me. I was asked to speak briefly about the seminary and various ministries of our churches, and then open up the meeting for a Question and Answer session. It was great to finally meet Rev. John Greer, whose ministry many of us have profited from. A few days ago he was elected to serve as Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church of No. Ireland—a conservative, largely Reformed denomination of about 65 churches that stresses salvation by the blood of Christ and separation from the world.

Dr. John Greer and Me

A God-fearing Father (IX)

This post is the last in a series of blogs sharing my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993). In this part of the series I have been sharing lessons learned from his example.

(8) The brevity of life and the certainty of judgment. Our father often prayed: “Lord, prepare us for eternity, for our lives are like a brittle thread which can be cut at any moment.”

Our father’s death plunged us into sorrow, yet “the memory of the just is blessed” (Prov. 10:7a). It is our prayer that our father’s sudden death may serve to the glory of God, stimulating holy jealousy in the hearts of His people, causing the unsaved to pause and consider the solemn realities of eternity, and serving to the cause of peace and unity of our denomination which he loved with all his heart. Oh, that our father, like Samson, might have been given to be more fruitful in his death than in his life!

Finally, do not cast away the solemn warning in our father’s death. Remember the well-known saying of J. C. Ryle, “The saddest road to hell is that which runs under the pulpit, past the Bible, and through the midst of warnings and invitations.”

In the day of judgment, Revelation 22:11 will be fulfilled, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Then there will be no unbelievers, but then it will be too late to seek the Lord. The market of free grace will be closed.

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. . . . Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:42-44).