Archives for May 2022

Lord’s Day in Ontario

On the Lord’s Day, I had the privilege of preaching for three of our Heritage Reformed Congregations in Ontario with each service having between 200 and 300 attendees. I preached first on Christ as our office-bearer (Luke 22:31-32) in Jordan, Ontario in the morning. After church, I had the privilege of meeting a Spanish brother (photo 1, second from left; my brother John is to the right of him) who wanted me to sign four volumes of my Reformed Systematic Theology in Spanish (I had never seen the last two volumes yet, so that was a pleasant surprise) and a young man named Trevon (photo 1, furthest on right)—a very able basketball player who had a seemingly “bright future” but was suddenly converted by God, gave up his basketball, and is now deep into the Scriptures and the Puritans. Second, I preached on Paul’s identity in the resurrected Christ (1 Cor. 15:10a) in the afternoon in Tillsonburg, Ontario. There I met a friend who told me that he wanted to share with me that back in 1994 a sermon that I preached on John 9:25 (“One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see”) was used for his conversion. How humbling his testimony was—God is so good! There too I was encouraged to meet a very young reader of The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth—our denominational periodical that I have had the privilege of editing for decades (photo 2)! Finally, I preached in the evening on Christ coming again to take His people home (John 14:2-3) in Burgessville, Ontario.

Afterward the Queen and I enjoyed visiting for a few hours with Rev. Ian Macleod, pastor of our Tillsonburg, Ontario flock, on his 40th birthday, at the home my nephew, Jason Beeke, and his dear wife Heather, where we stayed overnight (photo 3: a selfie with Jason and Heather).

Visiting Family In Ontario

I enjoyed my meeting with John Hultink in Ontario on Saturday. Half of our time we spent talking about theology and the other half he gave me a tour of his remarkable business, the Book Depot, which sells millions of remainder books each year—an impressive operation indeed (photo 1).

Saturday evening was family time at my brother’s home in Pelham, Ontario. My brother and sister-in-law, John and Miekie Beeke, who have 13 children, 55 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren, invited their children to drop in to see us anytime they wanted to throughout the evening. It seemed like every 15-20 minutes or so someone else was dropping in (see photo 2 and 3 for just some of them that came by). Here I am in photo 4 with my namesake, Joel Beeke. I can’t put into words how good it felt to see my brother and sister and nephews and nieces after three years of not being able to see them due to Covid. The evening was packed with spiritual conversation, fond memories, and family laughter as nostalgic stories of the past were re-told just like old times. What a blessing a God-fearing family is!

Visit To Ontario

After preaching an Ascension Day message for our church in Grand Rapids on Thursday evening, the Queen and I drove to Ontario for the first time in three years due to Covid. We were relieved to cross the border into Canada without difficulty. After having a delicious noon meal at the home of Henk and Michelle Vrugteveen, I gave the attendees a power point presentation on the seminary, updating them on a number of exciting developments (photo 1). Afterwards, we had a blessed time with one of Henk’s employees named Ben, who shared with us how God wonderfully converted him (photo 2–Ben in center, Henk on right). 

On Friday evening, I participated in a 2.5 hour service of installation in Burgessville, Ontario of Dr. Maarten Kuivenhoven, who is appointed to be assistant professor of theology at Puritan Reformed Seminary. Pastor David VanBrugge led the installation service from Job 8, followed by Dr. Kuivenhoven’s inaugural sermon from Ephesians 4. I brought an address on behalf of the seminary and Dr. David Lipsy spoke on behalf of the local church of Burgessville HRC, which is the calling church for Dr. Kuivenhoven. Afterwards, we had good fellowship with the people and also among the ministers who attended (photo 3–ministers with wives, and several children; photo 4–ministers only). Please pray that God will greatly bless Dr. Kuivenhoven’s work at PRTS to His glory and the welfare and maturation of the students.

We then continued to drive on another nearly two hours to arrive at the home of my dear brother and sister-in-law, John and Miekie Beeke. After three years, it was sooooo good to see them again that we fellowshipped with them until 1:00 a.m. it was truly a full day!

God is Weighty

Lots of people do not understand what it means that God is glorious. The original Hebrew word for the glory of God is a word that means weighty, heavy, and valuable. God is full of majesty and glory and beauty. He is a weighty God. God is supremely to be exalted and praised and glorified in all that we think and say and do.

Our lives are therefore weighty since we are to give an account on judgement day before this weighty God. It is critical that we understand the we live for the glory of God.

Books With Good Spiritual Food

Selling books with good spiritual food between my addresses when I am at a conference is one of my favorite things to do in life and ministry. I just love seeing people walk away with an armful of books, and pray that God will greatly bless them through reading the treasures of the past and the present.

In my lifetime, thousands of people have told me how sound books (and often titles from Reformation Heritage Books!) have helped them immeasurably in their spiritual journey. A friend sent this picture that he took of me engaged in explaining a book to a couple last Saturday at a conference of 1200 people in North Carolina. For thousands of soul-edifying titles, see Reformation Heritage Books.

Weekly Sermon Quote–May 22, 2022

This quotation has been selected by staff from my sermon last Lord’s Day morning on “Adultery Forbidden!”  Find the link to the sermon here.

Two 1-Minute Stories for Children

There was a godly 19th century minister named Robert Murray M’Cheyne who said that when you go to pray, you should always pray as if Jesus was standing right next to you. Because He is. He is always right there.

There was once a dying man who was an atheist and his little grandchild came to visit him. This little girl, who could barely read, loved the Lord and feared God. The grandfather had a sign above His bed that said “God is Nowhere” and he wanted to convince the little girl that there was no God. He pointed to the sign and said, “Can you read that sign above my head?” The little girl looked up and slowly read aloud, “God is now here.” When the man heard that, the Holy Spirit used it to convert him in that moment.

If you really understood that God is now here, your whole life would change. Once you realize that God is everywhere and your life changes, God’s omnipresence becomes very precious to you because you never have to go anywhere alone.

Visit With Dr. Jacob Gopalswamy

It was a joy for me to visit with Dr. Jacob Gopalswamy, president of the Calvin Seminary in India. I last visited with him eleven years ago, shortly after this seminary was organized. Today it has 164 students and scores of alumni that include the planting of 42 churches. Pray for God’s prospering grace.

Reformed Preaching In Spanish

I am humbled and grateful that my “Reformed Preaching: Preaching God’s Word from the Heart of the Preacher to the Hearts of His People” published by Crossway just arrived from them in Spanish: “La Predicacion Reformada: Proclamando la Palabra de Dios, del corazon del predicador al corazon de su iglesia” (Faro de Gracia). Many thanks to Victor Manuel Velasco for an excellent translation.

Take a moment please to pray for God’s blessing on this book especially to Spanish-speaking pastors around the world.

Church and Family Conference and Trip Home

This past Friday and Saturday, we participated in the Church and Family Conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina (the dining hall—photo 1). The theme was “Knowing God,” and my assigned topic was “Mary’s Experiential Knowledge of God.” I described how the mother of Jesus obeyed and submitted to God’s sovereign will, and how she experienced His justice and love. Our good friend Rev. Tom Ascol spoke on “The Knowledge of God in the Life of Jonah” (photo 2). Other speakers who examined biblical characters in terms of various attributes of God included Scott Aniol, Scott Brown, Josh Buice, Jeffrey Johnson, Carlton McLeod, John Snyder, Sam Waldron, etc. I also was interviewed for an hour by Scott Brown’s team on next year’s topic, “Glorifying and Enjoying God” (May 4-6, 2023).

The 1,200 attendees of this conference were good book buyers, as usual. A family shared with Mary that they have been discussing her recent book Teach Them to Work (photo 3). She asked the children, “Are you enjoying working around the house?” They shyly smiled. She added, “At least most of the time?” They nodded yes. It is a humbling sense of reward and gratitude when we hear back that our writings have benefited souls—for everyday life, but especially for spiritual life. SDG!

We had another adventure returning home. Our first flight from Asheville to Charlotte was cancelled due to thunderstorms. So we hastily called back one of the drivers for the conference, and he transported us, Elisha Walker (a RHB worker), and Kevin and Bambi Moore the two hours to Charlotte. (Kevin is a pastor in Texas who also spoke at the conference; he and his wife have 11 children [photo 4].) After more delays and mechanical problems, we were relieved and happy to return to our home-sweet-home Saturday evening in time to prepare a bit more for preaching on the Lord’s Day morning to our own flock—it was so good to be back with our family and church family. Then I preached in the Kalamazoo Reformed Church in the evening, after which we had a great visit with one of my nieces and her family after church, and arrived home shortly after midnight this morning.

Thanks so much for praying us through our 2-week itinerary of four back-to-back conferences in No. Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, and North Carolina. Now for mounds of catch-up work, including more than half a thousand unanswered emails… but at least our lives are back to normal!