Archives for September 2020

Equipping You in Grace Podcast

In this “Equipping You in Grace” podcast, Dave Jenkins and I discuss some of the best ways to respond to and deal with criticism in ministry.

God is Our Refuge and Strength, a Very Present Help in Trouble

Dear friends.

This is Mary writing for my husband. You may have heard that we both have COVID-19. Joel has it far worse than me. I just have a little cough and I feel fine. His started almost two weeks ago. He had symptoms that we thought were due to a new medication he was taking for foot neuropathy. On Sunday morning, 9/20, he almost fainted in church. We took him to the emergency department, where he did actually faint. It was discovered he had atrial fibrillation, and he tested positive for COVID. He was admitted to the hospital for one day. Thankfully, his heart went back into a normal rhythm all by itself. He is on a blood thinner and will follow up with his cardiologist when he recovers from COVID, Lord willing.

So, he has been healing at home for one week now. It’s a slow process. Little improvements are seen. We are quarantining of course. He is coughing, very tired, and occasionally lightheaded. He sleeps well at night and takes several naps during the day. We are blessed to be able to take 2-3 walks a day. Last week we watched the leaves change in all their splendorous glory in the woods behind our house. We ate more meals on the deck than we have in the past year. Joel’s vitals are good, and his lungs are clear. We are under the care of excellent doctors. Hydration, nutrition, and rest are our part. Healing is God’s part. We are trusting Him.

We want to thank you so much for all the love, prayers, and caring you have showered upon us. Joel is starting to do a tiny bit of work. I ask that you not call him, as talking brings on coughing. We hope you understand that he is not able to answer emails at this time. We covet your prayers for healing and strength. He was very encouraged by the two sermons preached in our church yesterday, Dr. Kuivenhoven on Matthew 11:28-30 “The Magnetism of Christ” (or “Come Here”), and Dr. Barrett on Psalm 46 “Calm Down.” “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

We love the Lord, and we love you all.

The Perils of Pride

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18).

Have you ever grieved or fasted because of pride in your life? The Reformers said much about pride and often warned about it. In this video I explain that pride is a very dangerous sin that can lead to great destruction:

We are truly far off from where we should be.

Family Birthday Celebration for Henry Kamp

Just back from a four-generation, family birthday celebration for my very special, God-fearing father-in-law, Henry Kamp, who turned 88 this week. Here I caught him in a moment of contemplation as he looked out over dozens of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and no doubt was also thinking of all those who could not join us. I think I could read his mind: “Why and how has the Lord blessed me and my family so much when I am so unworthy of His covenant mercies? Who am I, O LORD God? And what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” (2 Sam. 7:18).

A Husband’s Gentleness

In this webinar, Scott Brown and I discuss another chapter of William Gouge’s book, “Building a Godly Home.” This chapter focuses on a husband’s gentleness towards his wife. Husbands need to be humble and tender towards their wives.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7).

Installation Service of Dr. Sacha Walicord

Last night Mary and I had the privilege of attending the installation service of our friend, Dr. Sacha Walicord (back row, far right, with his wife Martina in front of him), as pastor of the United Reformed Church in Walker, Michigan. He came to Walker URC from being a professor at Dort College, Sioux Center, Iowa. Rev. John Vermeer from Doon, Iowa (back row, far left) preached the installation sermon (in front of him is John VanDixhoorn from Iowa, related to Chad VanDixhoorn). John and Stacey VanVoorst (second from left in both rows)—good friends of both the Walicords and us—flew in from South Dakota for the special occasion. (One of our seminary graduates, Rev. Greg Lubbers, gave the personal charge.)

After the service the eight of us enjoyed a few hours of great fellowship in the new home of the Walicords. Pray that God will bless Dr. Walicord’s ministry greatly in the Walker URC flock and beyond.

What to Do if a Child Doesn’t Want to Participate in Family Worship

In this short video, I explain what a father should do if a child doesn’t want to participate in family worship:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

P&R Weekly Author Interview

P&R interviewed me a few weeks ago about the book, “Pastors and Their Critics” that Nick Thompson and I co-wrote. They also asked some questions about writing in general and which writers have inspired me the most:

Confession of Faith Class

My favorite evening each year in church life is when the Confession of Faith class appears before the elders to express their desire to make confession of faith before the church and to tell us how the Lord has been working in their souls. At the same time all the pastors and elders explain how the Lord has converted them as well, so that the young people can be bonded more fully to the eldership.

Last night we had the wonderful privilege of hearing 30 testimonies of God’s work—19 from the young people and 11 from the elders and pastors. God’s sovereign and covenantal grace is so amazing. It was truly a blessed 2.5 hours of time together! Public confession of faith for the 19 students is scheduled for October 4.


Weekly Sermon Quote – September 5, 2020

Weekly sermon quote chosen and posted by staff from Dr. Beeke’s sermon preached on the previous Lord’s Day: