Archives for August 2013

Update on Trichelle Beeke

Here is another update on my niece, following up on a prayer request I posted earlier.

Greetings again,

Today we met with our surgeon to hear the pathology report from Trichelle’s mastectomy.

Unfortunately, the report was that the breast was full of cancer and the margins of the surgery were not cancer-free.  This means that some cancer may be remaining in that area, but for now the decision is not to do any more surgery at this time. For the short term, chemotherapy will start mid-September, and for the long term, these new results probably will mean more radiation and possibly more surgery than was planned.

Thanks again for praying,

Dave and Trichelle Beeke

Puritan Reformed Conference

In this post, Chris Hanna summarizes the exciting conference sponsored by PRTS last week.


Last week was the fifth Puritan Reformed Conference and about 500 people from around the world turned out for it.

Dr. David Murray opened the conference on Thursday night with a stirring message from God’s Word on Living Positively: Cultivating Faith in a Negative Culture.  Dr. Michael Barrett followed with a powerful message on Living Out Our Faith from Colossians 3:1-17.

Everyone returned Friday morning to the Prince Conference Center with expectations of being blessed under the preached Word. The Lord used Dr. Ian Hamilton’s opening message to wonderfully remind us that Christians are living by the means of God’s grace and that it is He who bends the cosmos to beautify His children.

Dr. Joel Beeke presented a historical-theological overview of 17th century Puritan William Gouge entitled, Living in the Family: Thoughts from William Gouge.  Christians living in the 21st century would do well to reexamine Gouge’s profitable instruction on marriage and raising children in a Christ-centered home.

After the lunch break on Friday, Rev. Brian Croft wisely and tenderly led us through Proverbs 5, in his address on Living Morally in a Sexually Immoral World.

This year’s breakout sessions included insightful and practical addresses from Rev. Croft on Living through Sickness and Death, Dr. William VanDoodewaard on Living the Christian Life in the Workplace, Rev. John Tweeddale on Living on Things Above: John Owen on Spiritual Mindedness, and Rev. Brian Najapfour on Living Evangelistically.

Dr. Hamilton gave the day’s final address on Living by the Spirit’s Sanctifying Ministry. This warm, rich, experiential message lifted hearts and minds in contemplation of the glorious work of the Holy Spirit in shaping the people of God after the image of Jesus Christ.

Saturday morning started off with the annual prayer meeting. This year’s gathering was led by Cornelius Van Kempen.

Rev. John Tweeddale brought the opening address and offered us practical lessons from the book of Judges in his helpful and convicting message on Living Hopefully in Hard Times: Slouching toward Canaan.

Dr. Gerald Bilkes in his closing address, Living in the Furnace of Affliction, masterfully pointed out that what we experience by way of suffering in this life is not to be considered strange, but necessary for the removal of the dross of this earthly life, for our loving heavenly Father desires to see in us the reflection of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Both audio and video recordings of most of the addresses can be found on the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary’s page of

A special thanks goes to Steven Lee and his team at Sermon Audio for live streaming this year’s conference and for posting the recording online.

Several ministries participated in the conference. In addition to Sermon Audio, exhibitors included The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Credo Books, Jubilee Women’s Ensemble, Practical Shepherding, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Reformation Heritage Books, Sermon Audio, Trinitarian Bible Society, and 20Schemes.

Reformation Heritage Books sold over $12,000 worth of Reformed, experiential, Christian literature. Banner of Truth Publishing and 20Schemes Ministry both addressed seminary students in a special breakout session. And, once again, the Jubilee Women’s Ensemble blessed everyone with a season of special music on Friday evening.

Update on Trichelle

On July 26 I posted a prayer request for my niece and her husband. Here is another update from them.

Trichelle continues to heal from her surgery Tuesday.  We are thankful that she is healing quickly.  She even went the following day for a MUGA scan where they scanned her heart for monitoring purposes during chemotherapy.

Today we had a meeting with our oncologist. Our oncologist was surprised at how quickly Trichelle is healing from surgery. The tentative treatment plan is to give a few weeks’ time for Trichelle to heal from her surgery and then begin chemo treatments. Chemo treatments are penciled in to begin the week of September 16.

These plans are subject to the pathology report.  We meet our surgeon this coming Wednesday to discuss the results of the mastectomy and we are praying for cancer-free margins.

We are thankful for many who are praying for Trichelle.

We are also thankful for the excellent medical care we have had so far on this journey. Looking back at the recent past, Trichelle has had two surgeries, many mammograms and ultrasounds, a bone scan, a liver scan, lung scan, heart scan, and many other miscellaneous meetings and appointments. The care, concern, and professionalism of all the medical people has been amazing. When I ended up in surgery the day before Trichelle, the hospital staff seemed to go out of their way to ensure the two of us had a private “double occupancy suite” during our five-day hospital stay.  In hindsight (although I admit to being frustrated at the time), it was a special time to be together, bed-by-bed, hobbling around with our matching IV poles.

Thanks again for your prayers, cards, meals, visits, babysitting, and general care shown to us.

Dave & Trichelle

Reforming Families Conference

My wife, Mary, shares about a conference we recently attended.

Rev. Geoff Banister and Ryan Elliott

Rev. Geoff Banister and Ryan Elliott

Verity Institute was the venue for the Reforming Families Conference, sponsored by the Free Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, whose pastor is Rev. Geoff Banister. Elder Ryan Elliott was the workhorse behind the conference. It was attended by about 130 folks from far and near, including some large and beautiful families. The fascinating things these families seem to have in common are:

  • Variety—in age, in color (by adoption), personality
  • Dedication to the family—they help each other, they are involved in the same work and activities.
  • Purity—of course they are sinners, but their parents try to protect their children from the evils of the world, while at the same time they prepare them for life in society. The kids still bicker but the parents intervene in a loving and teaching way.
  • Counter-cultural—One family was sharing how they get primarily negative responses when they are out in society because they have so many young children. It can be discouraging but they feel blessed to receive the gift of children from God.

It was great to make many new God-fearing friends.

The theme for the conference was “Life in the Family of God,” and the speakers and topics were: Dr. David Murray on “Adopted Sons & Heirs,” “Loving Our Bridegroom & Beloved,” and “Using Technology Effectively in the Family”; Rev. Brad Baugham on “Recognizing Our God-glorifying Gender Roles” and “Understanding Headship and Submission”; Rev. David McClelland on “Getting Along” and “Preventing Authority Abuse and Conflict”; Rev. Geoff Banister on “Families Reforming in the Power of Gratitude”; and my husband on “Training Your Family for Godly Living,” “Covenantal Foundations for Parenting,” “Bringing Children to Christ,” and “Practical Steps for Child Rearing.”

The themes that stood out were:

  • The relationship of Christ and the Church is a beautiful model for our families and our church families. If Christ is submissive to the Father, why would we ever resist being submissive to those in headship roles? Most of us have relationships where we are called to submit and others where we exercise headship.
  • Church leadership, especially in times of conflict, must be like a shepherd, loving yet strong, fully dedicated, and humble.
  • Children of God, young and old, have inestimable privileges, including adoption, love, and covenantal grace. Christian families are to live out of those privileges, loving one another in Christ, modeling their families after scriptural guidelines.
Esther Beeke and her volunteer helper, 8-year-old Hannah

Esther Beeke and her volunteer helper, 8-year-old Hannah

All of the messages are posted on

Our daughter, Esther, was with us and managed the book table. Most families bought a good pile of books.

Now, this week we look forward to our own annual Puritan Reformed Conference (August 22–24) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on “The Beauty and Glory of Christian Living.” It is not too late to register and join us! (Walk-ins are also accepted if there is room.)

Update on Trichelle Beeke

On July 26 I posted a prayer request for my niece and her husband. Here is another update from them.

Dear Church Family and Friends,

On Saturday we had an important meeting with our surgeon. The results were mixed. Here is an update.

We were disappointed to hear that the Lumpectomy did not have cancer-free margins, so another surgery (mastectomy) is booked for Tuesday, August 20. The lymph nodes were removed and 9 of the 17 were cancerous, which is not an encouraging sign.

The bone, liver, and lung scans do not show any ‘hotspots’ which was very encouraging to hear. Our surgeon cautioned us to ensure that we understood that the cancer is on the move through the body, but it has not established enough in those areas to be detected. We regard this as an answer to prayer, as we were both concerned about the results of those scans.

So for now, we are both healing from our surgeries and preparing for Trichelle’s next surgery Tuesday.

Thanks so much for all the love and concern shown to us, especially for your prayers on our behalf.

Dave & Trichelle Beeke

Update on Trichelle and Dave Beeke

On July 26 I posted a prayer request for my niece and her husband. Here is an update.

Trichelle was discharged from the hospital on Sunday. The surgeon had to remove all of her lymph nodes on one side. We now wait for the lab analysis of the marginal tissue and Trichelle’s healing from surgery. If there is no trace of cancer in the marginal tissue, Trichelle will begin chemo treatments as soon as her body is recovered enough. If cancer is found in the marginal tissue, then she will likely require more surgery before chemo can begin. Trichelle was encouraged by Sunday evening’s sermon from Psalms 42 & 43, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why are thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

Dave was released from the hospital Monday. He is slowly regaining strength. He will continue his antibiotics by medicine instead of intravenous now.

Both Dave and Trichelle are now in their own home recuperating. Both Moms are helping out. Different families are taking turns caring for the children. Friends are now signed up weeks in advance to help with meal preparation. Trichelle is already starting the recommended healthy exercise and diet program. Dave is eating and walking more.

We trust that the Lord will provide the grace needed day by day.

Thank you so much for all the love and concern shown and for all the prayers.


Jim & Ruth

Ground Breaking for PRTS Addition

PRTS Expansion20130801_Ground Breaking0174

The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses. And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; and to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.

—Exodus 35:29–33

I give you a warm welcome to the groundbreaking of the building expansion to Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. As you can see, the contractors have already done a lot of work in preparing the site for the future parking lot. We are very excited about seeing our building grow in square footage by 90% and want to take this time to remember God’s grace.

The text which I have chosen for this occasion, Exodus 35, pertains to the building of the tabernacle, the sacred tent where the Lord dwelt with Israel in holiness, grace, and worship. The tabernacle was a construction project requiring the skills of workers in metal, wood, and textiles. It was a beautiful and useful place for the priests to work. However, the tabernacle served a far greater purpose than pleasing the eye and sheltering the body.

God’s purpose in redeeming a people out of Egypt was that He would dwell with them and they would know He is the Lord (Ex. 29:46). This was a type of His great purpose in redeeming His church out of Satan’s dominion by the blood of Jesus Christ: that they would know Him and He would dwell with them. In union with Christ, the church is our tabernacle, not a building but a living temple built with living stones of people from all over the world. And this is the purpose of our seminary. We do not believe in holy buildings, but we gratefully use buildings to build up the holy church of Jesus Christ.

This Scripture teaches us three truths about how God builds His dwelling place. All three are of great encouragement to us as we break ground for the addition on our seminary building. We may summarize them with the three key words we use to describe our seminary: heart, head, and hands.

Heart: God’s redeemed people give willingly to God’s work.

Exodus 35:29a says, “The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing.” God had made known the materials that they would need to build the tabernacle: gold, silver, copper alloy, beautiful textiles, various kinds of leather, acacia wood, and other items (Ex. 25:1–9). It would not be cheap, but would require over 2,000 lbs. of gold and 7,500 lbs. of silver (Ex. 38:24–25). But not only did the people give, but they gave with a “willing” heart. They wanted to give.

Where did the people get all this gold and silver to build the tabernacle? They were slaves in Egypt. Slaves do not own wealth. But when God redeemed them out of slavery, He caused the Egyptians to give them silver and gold (Ex. 11:2; 12:35–36). Redemption made them rich, and they were eager to give for the glory of their Redeemer. How much more does the experience of Christians lead them to give generously to the work of the Lord?

This is the first encouragement to us as we break ground on our construction of an addition to the seminary: God’s redeemed people give willingly. Out of their experience of saving grace, they delight to give their resources to the Lord. We have already seen such remarkable generosity. Isn’t it amazing that of the $3.1 million needed, that we have already received gifts and pledges for nearly $2.5 million? Why would people do that? They understand that our seminary’s mission is to build God’s holy dwelling place in every nation. The redeemed people of God are delighted to give so that the glory of the Lord will fill the earth. I want to thank every one of you who has given your support to this project both in prayers and financial gifts. Your prayerful generosity reflects that the redemption of Christ gives people a willing and giving heart.

Head: God’s Word gives the blueprints for God’s work.

Exodus 35:29b says that Israel gave willingly “for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.” This is a great drumbeat that pulses through the last chapters of Exodus, that they built the tabernacle “as the LORD commanded Moses” (39:5, 7, 21, 26, etc.). God is holy, and His dwelling place must be constructed according to His Word, neither adding nor subtracting.

God did not tell us how to build our seminary addition. We had to find a skilled architect to do that for us, and we thank God for him. But God has told us how to build His church. The Reformed and Puritan vision for the church stands upon the great principle of sola Scriptura. Scripture alone is God’s authoritative revelation of what we should believe, how we obey Him, and how we worship. Our school is committed to the vision of Scripture alone. I thank God for the board and trustees of the seminary, who are profoundly committed to making this seminary a truly Puritan and Reformed institution.

This is the second encouragement for us as we begin this construction project. Like Ezra, we and our students have set ourselves to fill our heads with the Word of God, to obey it, and to teach it in the church—and therefore we expect for the good hand of God to be with us (Ezra 7:9–10). This is not about our merit, for our best works are riddled with sin. It is about God’s commitment to glorify Himself in His church through Christ (Eph. 3:21). Whenever people saved by grace seek to build God’s church according to God’s way, then they can confidently rely upon power of the Lord to strongly support them (2 Chron. 16:9).

God’s Word gives the blueprints for God’s work. Having spoken of the heart and the head, I now come to the third encouragement from our Scripture text.

Hand: God’s Spirit gives practical skills to accomplish God’s work.

Exodus 35:30–33 tells us that God not only gave the motivation and blueprint for the tabernacle, but he called a man named Bezaleel to oversee its construction. Verse 31 says, “And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” This man was gifted by the Holy Spirit, but not to be a preacher. The Holy Spirit filled him with skill to work with his hands as a builder and a craftsman.

If we confine the Holy Spirit to works like teaching the Bible, then we dishonor Him and forget that the Spirit of God created the whole world, including us (Gen. 1:2; Job 33:4). All life comes from the Spirit (Ps. 104:30). All skill, all wisdom, and all ability comes from the Spirit. That includes the ability to build beautiful and useful things with earth, wood, metal, and stone.

It is a great encouragement to us to know as the worker’s hand steers the excavator or guides the saw, the Lord’s hand is directing the worker. You contractors and construction workers, we want you know that we pray for you. May God’s Spirit give you safety and skill so that this project is truly a blessing to us all and useful for the kingdom of God. And may you have joy in your labors, the joy of knowing that the Spirit of God is supporting you.

Isn’t God good? He gives the head, heart, and hands we need to serve Him! Let us pray that the results of this head-heart-hands ministry may be fulfilled in the hallways and classrooms of this projected building, such that hundreds of cities and villages on every continent of this globe may be its beneficiary. To that end, let us continue to pray and dream our great vision that every city on the earth would one day—and could it be soon—have at least one Reformed, experiential preacher who may herald forth the full and free gospel of Jesus Christ to lost and saved sinners to the glory of God alone.

PRTS Ground Breaking Ceremony from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.