Archives for July 2021

Vacation Day Highlights

A few highlights from a great vacation day in Virginia with the Queen!
This morning we had an incredible breakfast—smoked salmon crepes at Lamia’s Crepes. Lamia is a hard-working Algerian woman who worked very fast and yet was very warm (picture #1).

We then traveled north on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (a 17.6 mile bridge over the Chesapeake Bay which dips down into tunnels twice, so that ships can pass through overhead). We enjoyed several hours in Cape Charles, a quaint touristy town, before heading north another hour to Wachapreague, where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at The Island House, overlooking the Barrier Islands of Virginia’s eastern shore (picture #2).

After dinner, we enjoyed watching a dozen Black Skimmers catching small fish while skimming over the water behind the restaurant (picture #3).

On the way back, we enjoyed a stunning sunset together (picture #4). It was a relaxing day, enjoying God’s creation and each other.

Vacation Time with my Queen

Today we flew from Asheville, North Carolina and to Norfolk, Virginia, arriving in our hotel around noon. We spent the rest of the day as vacation time enjoying each other, biking to and along the ocean a fair number of miles, and sharing two delicious meals. What a treasure my Queen is! There’s no one in the world I would rather be with than her. God is so incredibly good.

En Route to Virginia

Yesterday was our final day at the ARP conference in Bonclarken, N.C. In the morning, I delivered my final two messages on family worship: its motivations and objections; and family worship in heaven. I felt helped the most in the last address—what a glorious unending family worship will transpire in glory!

We then had a delightful lunch with Dr. Charles and Bridgett Barrett (son of our OT PRTS prof, Dr. Michael Barrett) and their children (1st picture above). Dr. Charles Barrett gave several addresses to the young people. In the afternoon, I did a QA with Dr. Duguid. We also enjoyed meeting a dear family who have three biological children and have adopted two severely handicapped children with Down syndrome from eastern Europe (2nd picture above). For dinner, we went to the home of some very dear friends, Dr. Scott and Susie Roberts, who live only four miles away from Bonclarken. Fellowship with them is always sweet in the Lord (3rd picture below)!

Afterward we took in Dr. Duguid’s last address of the conference on worship (4th picture below) in which he focused on the glorious book of Revelation. We ended up selling all 16 boxes of books that we brought with us except for a handful of titles. Please pray for God’s blessing on this conference—and on the books, that they will bear much fruit.

Now we are en route to Virginia where I will be preaching on the coming Lord’s Day, D.V., for the Grace Covenant Church in Virginia Beach. We covet your ongoing prayers.

ARP Bonclarken Conference in North Carolina

Yesterday was another good day at the ARP Bonclarken Conference in North Carolina. Dr. Ian Duguid continued his march through Scripture on the marvelous theme of worship, showing how OT worship relates to Christ and NT worship. I spoke on the “how to’s” of family worship. Mary spoke on the mother’s role in family worship.

Here I am (1) with Pastor Andrew Di Iulio, the gracious and kind organizer and MC of the conference, (2) with the parents of our PhD professor at PRTS, Dr. Stephen Myers, who was also present (it was great to meet these dear parents for the first time!), and (3) with Mary, and Hal and Elaine Raw, good friends who accompanied us on our Reformation tour trip down the Rhine a few years ago.

Family Bible Conference in Asheville, NC

On the Lord’s Day I preached on “Our Glorious Trinity” (see one of the sermon quotes below).

On Monday morning, Mary and I left for the Grand Rapids airport to fly to Asheville, North Carolina to speak for the Family Bible Conference organized by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) churches at the Bonclarken Conference Center. Our plane had mechanical problems, so we ended up waiting/working in the Grand Rapids airport for six hours, not arriving at Bonclarken until 9:30 p.m.—thus missing the first evening session. The good news is that I was able to get a good chunk edited of Bart Elshout’s translation of Alexander Comrie’s magisterial volume of about 600 pages on fourteen characteristics of saving faith. It is biblically focused, experientially rich, and practically applied.

This morning I gave the first of my four messages on family worship to about 250 at the ARP Family Bible Conference. This session dealt with how family worship is biblically and theologically grounded. Tomorrow I am to speak on how to do family worship, and then on Thursday my topics are: how to stay motivated to do family worship, and family worship in heaven.
Book sales are going well so far, and we are making a number of new friends from near and far. Here we are with a couple who are very close friends with Dr. Michael and Sandra Barrett—and she graciously volunteered to help us at our book table. We had lunch with a family working in Spain, spent time with another family who translated the whole Bible with a team of helpers over a period of twenty years in Chad into the native language spoken there and who just returned from spending a few years of doing mission work in France. And we also enjoyed time with Rosaria Butterfield’s husband (a RPCNA pastor) and children, whom we had never met before. Looking forward to hearing Ian Duguid speak this evening on the wonderful theme of worship.

Please pray for God’s continued blessing on this conference.

Navrat na Trat: Like na Duchovny Upadok

I am excited and grateful to receive my first book in the Slovak language today, “Navrat na Trat: Like na Duchovny Upadok” (in English it is, “Getting Back in the Race: The Cure for Backsliding”). Pray for God’s blessing on it please.

Department of Public Safety Employee Recognition Ceremony

Last evening I was invited to give the closing prayer to an Employee Recognition Ceremony put on by the Wyoming, Michigan Department of Public Safety for several hundred people on behalf of police officers and firefighters for the work they accomplished in 2020. (This special evening was postponed until now due to Covid.) Scores of police officers and scores of firefighters received recognition in front of their peers and their families and friends for various cases of heroic service—many of which saved lives. The detail of each heroic case was described in a moving way. The loudest standing ovation was given to a group of officers who came to the aid of the Grand Rapids police officers in the downtown summer riots of last year. It is remarkable what the police endured at the risk of their own health and life.

An elder in our church, Tim Pols (see picture below), who is second in command in the Wyoming police force (one of two captains just under the chief of police), served as a kind of “master of ceremonies” on behalf of the police for this special evening. He did an excellent job. Mary and I both thought how great it would be if all Americans could share in an evening like this. Of this I am sure: appreciation for our police and our firefighters would rise dramatically!

Let us pray regularly for those responsible for public safety, and thank God for their steadfast resolve and professionalism in working for our communities so that we may “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:2) and that society might not slide into anarchy.

How Christ Fulfilled the Law

In this video, I explain that through Christ’s obedience to God, He does the two things that sinners need to have done for them if they are to be saved. By His passive obedience, His sufferings make satisfaction to God’s justice for our sins. By His active obedience to the law, loving God above all and His neighbors as Himself, Christ has merited for us the right to eternal life. This double obedience is imputed to us and our sins are imputed to Christ when we believe on Him alone for salvation.

Ye Must be Born Again

My dad only had an 8th-grade education but was a gifted and clear teacher. He was my family worship teacher at home and my main catechism class teacher for most of my growing-up years at church. Last Lord’s Day I gave the illustration of how he would write on the chalk board, “Ye must be born again,” underlining the word “must” three times, and then bringing it home to our consciences with tears in his eyes. Shortly before I was converted at age 14, I recall (to my shame) challenging him on his strong emphasis on “must.” I argued that if I was not elected by God to salvation, the word “must” didn’t really apply to me because I would not be saved no matter what. I’ll never forget his response. He just looked at me with a twinge of pity in his eyes and said, “Son, if the Lord begins to work in you savingly, you will understand this word ‘must’ for salvation will become a ‘holy must’ to you.” Months later, the Lord did begin to work in my soul and I discovered he was right: salvation quickly became a “holy must” for me. In my own soul, I came to the intersection or crossroads of “holy necessity” and “holy impossibility”; I had to be saved and I couldn’t be saved. Happily, God revealed His Son to my needy soul in due time as my complete salvation. What joy unspeakable is ours when salvation’s “holy must” becomes “holy reality” by God’s amazing grace in Christ!

Dedication of the new Reformation Heritage Books Building

Enjoy a 2-minute video of the dedication to God’s glory of the new Reformation Heritage Books building (44,000 square feet) last Friday evening. Come and visit us either in person at 3070 29th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI or via as enabled. And please pray that God will continue to bless this ministry greatly for the glory of His name, the maturation of His people, and the salvation of the lost.