Archives for September 6, 2021

Arrived Home Safely from Iowa/South Dakota

We just arrived home safely from Iowa/South Dakota. Yesterday I preached in Hull, Iowa in the morning on the tragedy of postponed faith (Felix, Acts 24:24-25) and in the evening on building abiding convictions in children from Proverbs 23. It is always nostalgic for me to preach there as the older people there now were mostly part of the younger part of my first pastorate some 40+ years ago in Sioux Center, Iowa. Over the weekend they gave me three humbling encouragements I had not heard before:

(1) One friend, who as far as I know was the first person converted under my ordained ministry, told me that the Lord began working savingly with her on April 9, 1978 (the second Lord’s Day after I was ordained) under a sermon I preached from John 21, “Lovest thou me?” She said that she had nursery duty that evening, but the babies were quiet, so that she could listen well. The Lord converted her listening to a sermon from the nursery!

(2) Another friend told me that a pastoral visit I made in the 1980s was used for his mother’s conversion. He said that as a boy he noticed immediately that her life was changed by God and that she never went back to her old life.

(3) And a third brother, now an elder in the flock, told me that he had a friend in Phoenix who used to listen to my sermons, and under his influence this elder and another friend began to listen as well to the old cassette tapes and eventually both of them moved to churches in our federation—one in Hull, Iowa and the other to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Both of these dear people have been a great blessing to many over the years in their respective churches.

God’s ways are mysterious, amazing, and humbling. For me, humbling stories like these are a minister’s real “wages.” God is so good. Soli Deo gloria!

Returning to the home where we were staying last evening, we passed by some beautiful rapids on the border of Iowa and South Dakota (see picture above). We then had a late dinner at the home of Pete and Linda VanBeek (parents of the bride newly wedded on Friday evening) with about 15 family members (mostly from Michigan—pictures 1 and 2 above), closing out our evening singing a number of beautiful classic hymns. How rich and Christ-centered those hymns are!