Archives for August 2020

Rev. Michael Riccardi

With Rev. Michael Riccardi, a pastor in John MacArthur’s church in California, who spoke ably and powerfully at our PRTS conference in two addresses this past weekend as our visiting speaker:

Freely and Cheerfully – Part 1:

Freely and Cheerfully – Part 2: 

My wife and I also very much enjoyed time with him over lunch, sharing our conversion experiences, and speaking about the good things of God.

The PRTS Annual Puritan Reformed Conference – Day Three

Last night we had an enjoyable Q&A time at the 2020 Puritan Reformed Conference (it was chaired by Dr. Greg Salazar just to my left in the picture), and also had a blessed time this morning, especially when Dr. Bilkes closed the conference with a moving message on “Law Death, Gospel Life” from Galatians 2:19, bringing us the cream of Ralph Erskine’s rich sermons on this text. (My own message on “The Puritans on the Grace of Law” was mediocre; may God graciously forgive my shortcomings.) Many thanks to all speakers, volunteers, and attendees—and to all of you who have listened through livestream. I hope you were blessed too!

While we were at the seminary conference yesterday, Carol VandenBogerd, whom I have known since childhood (and who has children and grandchildren and a brother and sister-in-law in our church), passed away at the age of 71. She went to be with the Lord at 10:55 a.m. while the family was singing “Rock of Ages” (“While I draw this fleeting breath, When my eyes shall close in death,” etc.) around her bedside in Kalamazoo, Michigan. At 10:59 a.m. we were singing the same hymn at the conference in Grand Rapids. What a blessing when loved ones die in vital union with the Rock of Ages! Please pray with me that God will graciously remember the mourning husband, children and grandchildren, siblings, and other relatives in the upcoming bittersweet days in the tender mercies of our compassionate High Priest.

And now, I return to preparing a sermon for tomorrow evening on a wonderful passage from my series on the Gospel of Mark (the healing of Jairus’s daughter), and to preparing a convocation address for Monday morning as PRTS begins its 26th school year.

Your prayers are coveted.

The PRTS Annual Puritan Reformed Conference – Day Two

Had a great “yesterday” at the PRTS Conference. All the addresses (Barrett, Riccardi, Murray, VanDoodewaard) on various aspects of the law went well, as did the Q&A session with the speakers and the book sales.

One surprise highlight was when Wayne Anderson, who publishes Reformed books in Spanish via his publishing house, Faro de Garcia, presented me with a copy of “La Predicación Reformada”—a translation into Spanish of my book on Reformed experiential preaching published by Crossway (see picture).

The conference concludes this morning with my address on “The Puritans on the Grace of Law” (9:00 a.m.) and Dr. Jerry Bilkes’s address on “Law Death, Gospel Life” (10:45 a.m.). We’d love to have you join us by livestream if you can’t join us in person:

The PRTS Annual Puritan Reformed Conference – Day One

Last night our PRTS Annual Puritan Reformed Conference—at the Heritage Reformed Church, 540 Crescent NE in Grand Rapids—on “The Grace of Law” got off to a great start.

Dr. Stephen Myers spoke clearly and experientially about the convicting power of the law, and Rev. Michael Riccardi (see the picture) powerfully delivered the first of two addresses on obeying God’s law freely and willingly. If you can’t join us in person today for four more addresses commencing at 9:00 a.m. and a question and answer session in the evening, you can livestream at

May God bless you as you join us in person or online.

Don’t Murmur Against God & His Name

After I preached at Immanuel Fellowship Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan last Lord’s Day evening, I was asked to give a 5-minute address on any subject for their Truth Video.

I chose to summarize a few thoughts from the sermon I had preached in our own church in the morning on how our murmuring spirits (think: complaining; grumbling) fly in the face of the Third Commandment because we are implicitly denying the goodness of God’s name and providence. In our days of multiple problems, we too may be prone to imbibe a complaining spirit.

After you listen to this sermon, will you and I ask God to forgive us for our grumbling and pray for grace to truly believe His promise that “all things work together for good to those that love God”?

When We Complain…

The Seven Ministers (and their Wives) of HRC Grand Rapids

With the ordination of Rev. Simon Yin as pastor for our Chinese fellowship group a few weeks ago and the return of Rev. Foppe VanderZwaag to our church as emeritus pastor last week, we now have seven ministers in our church—a record for us! All seven of us and our wives enjoyed a wonderful evening of nostalgic and spiritual fellowship together in our home. Each couple shared a major area of thanksgiving and a major area of need in their lives, and the next minister in the circle then prayed for that couple, after which we enjoyed the delicious refreshments our wives prepared. “How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1).

Plymouth Christian School Graduation

Our Christian high school graduation (Plymouth Christian School in Grand Rapids) finally took place this morning, outside on school property, all in accord with the Michigan governor’s very strict rules. The 30+ graduates sat in a long row on top of a hill (see first picture), their parents on the bottom of hill, other relatives in cars and trucks behind the parents, and those of us involved in having a speaking role in the program sat behind the graduates. Most relatives had to listen on-line. It was all rather surreal, but the team of workers who put it all together did a great job and it actually turned out to be an edifying service.

The second picture is of the valedictorian, Olivia Yin, receiving her diploma. Her father is a graduate of our Puritan Reformed seminary and was recently ordained in our Heritage Reformed church to serve in a full-time position primarily as pastor of the Chinese fellowship group in the church. Please pray with us that the 13 years of education that most of these dear graduates have received in our church-sponsored school would bear much fruit for this life and even more for the better and eternal life to come.

Two New Titles at RHB

Two new RHB titles that I enjoyed editing have just arrived: Paul Washer’s “The Essential Means of Grace” which focuses on the Scriptures, prayer, repentance, and the church, and Sarah Ivill’s “Broken Cisterns: Thirsting for the Creator Instead of the Created.”

Both titles are sorely needed today and are substantive in biblical content. In some ways, they relate to each other, for it is the essential means of grace that the Spirit uses to show us our broken cisterns and to lead us to the Fountain of living waters.

The Essential Means of Grace:
Broken Cisterns:

A Right Mind…