Archives for December 2019

Wishing You a Blessed New Year!

It is a good custom to wish each other a happy new year. Too often, however, what we mean by “Happy New Year” is: I hope that you stay healthy, that everything goes well for you, and that you have lots of prosperity this year in everything that you do. The Reformers and Puritans got it quite a bit better. They often wished each other a blessed new year (“blessed”=internal happiness regardless of circumstances), by which they meant something like this: I hope that everything that comes your way by the hand of Providence this year may be sanctified to you in and through Christ, so that you may be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity, and have a firm trust in our faithful God and Father for the unknown future (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 28), believing that all things work together for good to them that love Him (Rom. 8:28). So, I wish you and your family a blessed new year! I wish you in 2020 the experience of Samuel Rutherford who could say, “Every day we may see some new thing in Christ. His love has neither brim nor bottom. In our fluctuations of feeling, it is well to remember that Jesus admits no change in His affections; your heart is not the compass Jesus saileth by.”

PRTS Alumnus Joel Weaver Called to Trinity URC

PRTS alumnus, Joel Weaver, recently accepted a call as minister of the Word and sacraments to Trinity URC in Visalia, California. Joel will continue to serve alongside Rev. Adrian Dieleman. Join us in thanking God for this blessed opportunity for Joel and his family to be used of the Lord to minister to the Trinity URC congregation.

God With Us

After preaching this morning and then enjoying some hours of family fellowship, the coziness of having a grandchild fall to sleep on your shoulder is a happy conclusion. I wish all of you every blessing in Immanuel (“God with us”), together with your family, today and on into a new decade. May He grant us to experience in Spirit and truth, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21) coupled with, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John).

Singing Psalms and Christmas Hymns with Family

Last night we had a wonderful time as a family singing psalms and Christmas hymns with four generations. It was great to have Mary’s sister, Linda, and her husband, Pete, with us from Iowa. (Pete is not too fond of his picture being taken—especially not close-ups, but I got him on this one!) What a gracious covenant-keeping God we have!

Aaron and Madelyn Kamp

Today I officiated the wedding of a nephew (Aaron Kamp, who is serving in the Navy) and his fiancée (Madelyn [Maddy] Engelsma, who is a RN)—a lovely couple indeed. What a joy to see them united as one! Pray for Maddy especially that she will adjust well as she leaves home and a large family behind to be with her husband Aaron who is stationed in California.

Christmas Program

Last night, we were privileged to attend our Christian school’s Christmas program. About 250 children sang psalms and hymns and many of them provided Christ-centered music for about 700 parents, grandparents, and friends. It was truly a beautiful, God-glorifying evening.

Laughing at the Days to Come

In “Laughing at the Days to Come” (a title taken from Proverbs), Tessa Thompson shares a poignant story of her own physical suffering and her journey to not only understand God’s hand at work in it, but to face the future with sanctified submission and sweet joy. In this video, she explains why she chose to write this book, and how she came to learn how to exercise sanctified laughter in relation to the difficult days to come. This is a very well-written profound book of experiential depth, and by the Spirit’s grace, will prove to be very helpful to anyone undergoing afflictions.

Now on sale at Reformation Heritage Books:

Surprise Visitors!

A bunch of young people from our church crashed my study to sing some Christ-centered carols to me. What a joy they are!

New Titles at RHB!

I am excited to report that Reformation Heritage Books had its best day ever in terms of book publishing: six new RHB titles arrived in one day! I feel like a kid in a candy shop! They include a masterful sermonic treatment of “Philippians” by David Strain, senior minister at First Pres in Jackson, Mississippi; a fascinating biography, “A Word in Season: The Life and Ministry of Rev. Arie Elshout” (this dear pastor was used greatly in my life as my pastor when I first came to know Christ 52 years ago); and four of the most outstanding Puritan classics: “The World Conquered by the Faithful Christian” by Richard Alleine; “The Art of Divine Contentment” by Thomas Watson; “The Evil of Evils” by Jeremiah Burroughs; and “Solitude Improved by Divine Meditation” by Nathanael Ranew. Order these spiritual gems for yourself and for year-end gifts for your friends. We’ll get them out the same day! And pray that God will bless these treasures to many thousands around the world.

Charles Hodge’s Exegetical Lectures on the Book of Hebrews

A few years ago, Dr. William VanDoodewaard was doing some research at the Princeton Seminary Archives and Library when he discovered a series of handwritten manuscripts by Charles Hodge which turned out to be notes for a commentary on the book of Hebrews which had never been published before. A number of sermons were also discovered. Dr. VanDoodewaard worked with The Banner of Truth to bring together these two collections into one volume, Charles Hodge’s Exegetical Lectures and Sermons on Hebrews. It is now available for purchase at the following link: