Archives for July 2022

Author Night with Mary Beeke

On Thursday, July 21, at 7:30 pm join Reformation Heritage Books in welcoming Mary Beeke, author of Teach Them to Work. There will be a presentation on the book, Q & A period, coffee fellowship, and book signing.

Learn more here.

Conclusion of Our Trip to Brazil

Yesterday was the capstone of our 3-week trip to Brazil. I preached my two final messages in Franca for Pastor Paulo Junior to a congregation of about 900 on the theme of growing in experiential spiritual intimacy with God (photo 1). We may believe that God was in the midst of us, and are also grateful that tens of thousands of people either listened on line or will do so in the coming weeks.

Paulo Junior normally receives about 150,000 listeners to his sermons within the first few months after he preaches them. Please continue to pray for God’s rich blessing on his preaching and on this congregation. His right-hand assistant, Danilo Santa Terra, and his family, hope to join us in Grand Rapids for a few years in December as he will be undertaking a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree at Puritan Reformed in order to help the ministry in Franca grow the more, also in the potential training of future theological students in Franca. Please pray for God’s blessing on these endeavors.

Today we are driving to Sao Paulo (4.5 hours), and then flying from there to Chicago overnight this evening, and arriving in Grand Rapids by noon tomorrow, D.V. Five conferences are behind us in Brazil (6 addresses by Mary, 25 sermons or lectures by me), together with lots of spiritual fellowship and hundreds of books signed and photographs taken (photos 2 and 3 with children, and photo 4 with the Franca church’s consistory and their wives and their children). The last three weeks have been packed full to overflowing, but we have fond memories of it all—especially the scores of people who have come up to us express from the bottom of their hearts how much our addresses and books have meant and do mean to them. This is so very humbling—what a privilege it is to serve the Lord!

God has been very gracious to us throughout this marathon, providing us divine assistance in speaking, together with very able translators and good health throughout as well as many of you serving as a praying army back home—and some sweet moments together alone as well (photo 5). We truly treasure those prayers. Thank you so much. Soli Deo gloria!

Franca, Brazil and the Offices of Defesa do Evangelho

Mary spoke to the ladies in Franca, Brazil about teaching our children to work (photo 1). Some moms told her that in spite of this not being a common practice in Brazil, they are starting to put into practice what she is promoting in her book (photo 3, with the stock of her book), and experiencing positive results!

We visited the offices of Defesa do Evangelho (Defense of the Gospel) and the Igreja Alianca do Calvario (Church Alliance of Calvary), where Paulo Junior has his office (photo 2), where the networking takes place so sermons can be sent around the world to their 1.74 million subscribers, and where the books are translated and stored.

We have been able to go for a few walks, and we tried the exercise equipment that is in the median of the boulevard outside our hotel before I preach this evening (photo 4). Pray for me for my sermon tonight and for two more sermons tomorrow on the theme of growing in experiencing a close relationship with the Triune God.

Fifth and Final Conference in Brazil

After arriving safely in Franca, Brazil, last night, to do our fifth and final conference in Brazil, we had great fellowship over dinner with the well-known Brazilian pastor, Paulo, Jr., and his assistants Danilo and Cunha and Cunha’s wife, Anelia (photo 1: Paulo, on the left; Danilo, second from the left; Cunha on the right). I hope to preach for Paulo Jr. at 8:00 PM this evening, tomorrow evening, and then twice on the Lord’s Day at Igreja Alianca do Calvario in Franca, on the theme of experiencing intimacy with God. The link to the YouTube channel for their Defesa do Evangelho (Defense of the Gospel) ministry is here, so that you can join us.

Please pray for God’s rich blessing on this conference.En route to coming here yesterday, we took this view from the plane of the city of Belo Horizonte (photo 2) and later on of a beautiful sunset (photo 3).

Free eBook–Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer

The free eBook for this month at Reformation Heritage Books is “Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer” by Brian Najapfour and me.

Learn more here.

A Vacation Day in Brazil

Yesterday was our vacation day in Brazil after speaking 21 times in four conferences in the last two weeks (and Mary five times). I caught up on 100+ emails, and then we drove in three cars with our old and new friends from the conference in Governador Valadares the 6 miles up an incredibly stony, bumpy, steep road to the top of a huge mountain called Ibituruna that overlooks the city of 350,000 people. The scenery overlooking the city is breathtaking–God’s creation is amazing! We arrived just as the sun was setting (photo 1–note the island in the center that has a beautiful 3-mile walking trail around it), and stayed for a while as all the city lights turned on (photo 2). Many people go parasailing off of this ramp in photo 3, not a few of which get seriously injured in one way or another. Before returning to the city to enjoy 2.5 more hours of fellowship over dinner with these lovely Christian friends, we took a group picture just as it was getting dark on top of the mountain (photo 4).

Today we’re taking two flights to get to Sao Paulo, and then driving four hours from there to reach Franca, the location of our fifth and last conference which begins tomorrow. About 1000 are expected to attend, with tens of thousands listening online. Please pray for God’s benediction as I preach four sermons there, D.V., on the theme of “Experiencing Intimacy with God.”

Final Conference in Governador Valadares

On Tuesday, we had another work-catch-up day here in Governador Valadares, Brazil. Late afternoon, Mary spoke to a group of women on “Humility: Our Duty and its Beauty.” Then ministers, elders, and members of local Presbyterian churches gathered for a second evening commemorating the 59th anniversary of the regional Presbyterian Synod at which I preached on “How to Promote Holiness in the Family through Family Worship.” Next to preaching itself, family worship is the most powerful practice that will enrich a church, all with the Holy Spirit’s blessing.

The conferences in this locality are over, and we had a little time to relax. I shot hoops for a few minutes with Abraham, Tiago, Mary, and Ana Julia (photo 1)–and I didn’t miss any of them! It’s a consolation that at 69 years, I haven’t totally lost my touch! I also tried out a homemade go-cart at the Eler home, made by Leo, the father who is a school supervisor, for him and his daughters to go flying down mountain roads on (photo 2).

Brazilians are experts at fellowship and food. Tonight was no different. Laurime Eler is a biology teacher and a baker, and we enjoyed an excellent meal (photo 3). We were joined by the parents of PRTS grad Felipe Boechat.

A sweet and cute little elderly lady gifted Mary with a bag of cookies (photo 4). A restored vintage VW van caught Mary’s eye, so she jumped in with a bunch of children (photos 5 and 6).

Job Openings at Reformation Heritage Books

Reformation Heritage Books is recruiting across many key areas. Would you consider investing your skills and talents into our ministry? Click this link to find out what roles are available.

59th anniversary of the Rio Doce Presbyterian Synod

Yesterday we were able to catch up on some work in our hotel in Governador Valadales, Brazil. In the evening I had the privilege of preaching to a gathering of the Rio Doce (Doce River) Presbyterian Synod, to commemorate their 59th anniversary. I spoke on Job 22:21, stressing the need for ministers to grow in holiness through the use of the spiritual disciplines. The presidents of all the individual Presbyteries, and a few other ministers, sat on the pulpit platform behind me, with our friend Tiago serving as my translator (photo 1). A number of other ministers and elders and lay people were in attendance.

A group of friends and family of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary student Israel and Larissa Quaresma greeted us. Their brother-in-law is Ewerton Tokashiki (photo 2, 4th from the right), who has been translating significant works of John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli into Portuguese.

By 10:00 p.m. we returned to the Pires home for another two hours of wonderful fellowship and a special Brazilian fish soup called Moqueca. We celebrated their oldest daughter, Ana Louisa’s 20th birthday (photo 3, with her mother clapping beside her; Brazilians are very warm and expressive, so they all clap robustly when they sing “Happy Birthday”). She is studying to be a doctor and is engaged to Abraham, a seminary student who is interning in the church, and has also been serving frequently as our chauffeur. They make a lovely, God-fearing couple, and hope to be married in 108 days from now! As usual in Brazil, we made it back to our motel room shortly after midnight, grateful to God for another wonderful day of worship and spiritual fellowship.

The R.C. Sproul Signature Classics

I had the privilege of dedicating the first volume of my co-authored “Reformed Systematic Theology” to R. C. Sproul with these words: “In memory of R. C. Sproul (1939-2017), friend and mentor, dedicated worker and prolific author for God’s kingdom, gifted teacher and theologian: he, like Abel, being dead, yet speaks (Heb. 11:4).” Because he was such a very clear biblical and theological thinker whose addresses and writings have brought tens of thousands into a Reformed understanding of biblical truth, I am thrilled that Ligonier Ministries has just brought eleven of Dr. Sproul’s best known works into print in a beautiful 6-volume set titled, “The R. C. Sproul Signature Classics.” Even if you already have some of these titles, you will want to own your own set of this very beautiful, highly readable, well laid out set of classic books by this master theologian and lucid thinker. You can buy them now at a very special price from Reformation Heritage Books.

Learn more here.