Archives for December 2022

New Year’s Services

As we close out this year and begin another, you are welcome to join us in person or via This evening, I hope to preach in our Heritage Reformed church in Grand Rapids at 7:00 p.m. on “How Will You Finish 2022?” and then at 6:00 p.m. on New Year’s Day on “How Will You Begin 2023?” I wish you and yours a blessed new year in Immanuel, God with us! You can join the live stream here:

Prayers for the New Year

We in Grand Rapids had remarkable weather in the last days: a three-day snowstorm with low temperatures that resulted in two feet of lake effect snow (and huge snow piles, photo 1), followed by days of rain with temperatures reaching 50 degrees that quickly swept the snow away, and now finally, a day of no precipitation. How great and diverse our God is! As we walk through the last day of another year, let us stand in amazement at God’s goodness to us despite our ongoing unworthiness of His grace and mercy. Can we ever fathom why God has blessed us so much in and through Christ who has borne our griefs, carried our sorrows, interceded continually, loved fully, tendered us with His chastening hand, tailored our afflictions, and supplied us with coping strength? Why is God so much better to us than we are to Him?As we cross the threshold of 2022 into 2023, let us pray for grace to run the race set before us better, but only through Christ’s strength, making mention of His righteousness, even of His only (Ps. 71:16), expecting all we need from Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday and today and forever.Will you pray with me: Enfold us, Lord Jesus, in Thy shepherding arms; let us hear Thy high priestly beating heart. Pencil upon us the image of Thyself, and ripen us for eternal communion with Thee.

A Beautiful Wedding

Mary and I drove to the area of Flint, Michigan to lead a rehearsal for Luke Henig and Miranda Maynard last evening. This afternoon, I delivered the wedding message on “God’s Recipe for a Happy Marriage,” based on Psalm 37:3-7—a recipe with four ingredients: (1) trust in the Lord, (2) delight in the Lord, (3) commit your way to the Lord, and (4) rest in the Lord for this God-fearing couple (photo 1). Miranda’s father, Rev. Eric Maynard, a good friend of mine, led the couple through the wedding vows. In photo 2, we are with Luke and Miranda and Julie and Eric Maynard. We enjoyed the wedding reception with three generations of the Maynard family, including three sisters who thoroughly enjoyed being flower girls (photo 3). Will you pray with me that Luke and Miranda will have a truly blessed marriage in the fear of God, the grace of Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit?   

A Wonderful Evening with Family

Wonderful evening last night at our children’s home singing meaningful and theologically deep Christmas carols with a few dozen family members—our own children and grandchildren together with several family members from my wife’s side of the family from as far away as North Carolina and Texas—including our pianist niece who, together with her husband, drove their family all the way through last Friday’s intense blizzard to arrive safely here. I wish you all a blessed time with your families, and above all, with the triune God—and a blessed 2023 in Immanuel (Phil. 4:19).  

Three New RHB Releases!

Three new excellent books have arrived from Reformation Heritage Books:

“Preventing Ministry Failure” by James Guthrie and James Durham and edited by Matthew Vogan and Catherine Hyde—an invaluable 100-page treatment on a much-needed subject:

“Holiness and Happiness: The Piety of Isaac Watts”—an edifying read of 34 daily devotional readings by Watts with a great intro on his piety—edited and introduced by Britt Stokes:

“Patrick of Ireland” by Simonetta Carr—another masterfully written and illustrated volume for children 7 to 12 years old in the Carr series of Christian Biographies for Young Readers:

Crossway’s John Owen Project has Begun!

Exciting news! Crossway has just published their first volume of a projected forty-volume set of the complete works of John Owen, including some treatises that have never been published before! Their worthy goal is to “present the entirety of his published works in a carefully edited, modern format to reach a new generation of Bible readers and scholars and inspire them to deeper faith.” The volumes are being edited by able friends: Lee Gatiss and Shawn Wright. The beautiful inaugural volume (“The Holy Spirit—The Helper,” vol. 7, which contains two treatises on the Holy Spirit’s role in illumination and biblical interpretation) sets a high standard for the set, replete with an excellent 70-page introduction by another friend, Andrew Ballitch, who also did a great job of editing the volume itself. Nearly all the volumes of this premier printing of Owen are being edited by friends that I hold in high esteem. (I have been privileged to do the projected 14th volume with the assistance of Ian Turner on Owen’s “Apostasy from the Gospel.” Hopefully, it will be available in a year or two.)

You can order volume 7 now at a great price from RHB here:…/the-holy-spirit-the-helper…
Enjoy the spiritual feast that this volume contains—one can’t do much better for edifying reading than drinking from the well of John Owen on the Holy Spirit!

The Word of God Became Flesh

Yesterday, Michigan’s constitution formally began enacting Proposal 3 which was voted through on November 8 and allows for abortion until birth, together with numerous other evils. The tragedy is unspeakable, but the gospel is also unspeakable! Tomorrow we commemorate the birth of the King-child who gave His life to save sinners. The irony is stark. As someone has said, “The gift of new life is simultaneously being celebrated and destroyed.”

What clearer proof is there that human beings are created in the image of God than the miracle of the incarnation of Christ? Samuel Rutherford said, “My salvation is my Lord’s second greatest miracle; the first is His incarnation.”

May God have mercy upon our nation (and our souls), so that we would not altogether self-destruct. Pray that He would send a greater awakening to the church and the nation—and to our own families and souls, than the original Great Awakening of the 18th century. Every blessing in Christ Jesus to you and your family as we commemorate the Incarnation tomorrow. May we experience the wonder of such truths as these:

The Word of God became flesh;
The Son of God became Man;
The Lord of all became a servant;
The Righteous One who knew no sin was made sin;
The Creator came into the world;
The Eternal One tasted death;
The Risen One now lives in redeemed people;
The Seated One is coming again!

Two Special Evenings: RHB and GCA

Two special evenings: we had a special year-end dinner and gift exchange with most of our 30 Reformation Heritage Books (RHB) employees and a few of their children (photo 1) at the RHB store (photo 2) and a special evening of Christ-centered singing and instrumental music put on by our church’s Christian school students last night (Grace Christian Academy [GCA], K-12, 200 students; photo 3). Both evenings were wonderful and both ministries have been greatly blessed this year. RHB had its greatest number of books sold ever. SDG!

28 Sermons on Ruth by Ludwig Lavater

I am excited to announce that RHB has released the Reformer Ludwig Lavater’s (1527-1586) 28 sermons on the book of Ruth for the very first time in English. Jonathan Gibson provides a helpful biographical introduction, Michael Hunter’s translation is excellent, and the book is packed with 250 pages of edifying and helpful insights. It would make an excellent daily devotional for 2023!

Blessed Lord’s Day in Alberta

We had a blessed Lord’s Day in Alberta yesterday. In the morning, Mary and I attended Shiloh Free Reformed Church in Picture Butte, Alberta, where our newly ordained son-in-law, Isaac Epp, gave his first full sermon as the pastor of this church (photo 1). He preached well to the 200+ attendees from Genesis 3:15 on its threefold promise of a war, a seed, and a victory. After the church service was over, several dozen children from the congregation (photo 2) sang songs and recited Scripture related to the birth of Immanuel. I snuck a quick picture of Isaac and Lydia, and their son Abraham, enjoying the singing of the children (photo 3).

We had a blessed time over a delicious soup/sandwich noon meal at the home of Henk and Sue Van Rhee and their daughter Allisa. Henk is the chairman of the consistory, where our son-in-law is now the pastor. Isaac’s parents and one of his brothers and his family joined us.

At 4:30 p.m., I preached for about 400 people at Trinity United Reformed Church in Lethbridge, Alberta for our good friend, Rev. John VanEyk, on Jacob’s contagious blessings through the advent of Messiah by means of his Peniel experience in Genesis 32. (We had also spent a delightful evening visiting with Pastor John and his wife Lucy earlier in the week.)

After church, we had a wonderful dinner and fellowship at our children’s home together with Isaac Epp’s parents, and one of his brothers and his family. Here we are in photo 4, with Lydia and Isaac and our grandson, and Eileen and Gerald Epp. Both sets of parents are very grateful for God’s mercies shown to us throughout this weekend and are humbled by Isaac’s ordination. Please pray that his ministry may be very fruitful and also pray for our daughter, Lydia, for a safe delivery of another baby in a few weeks, D.V.!

After a beautiful drive up to the Calgary, Alberta airport this morning (photo 5), we are now winging our way home to Grand Rapids, having completed our last preaching trip for the year. Thank God with us for bringing us safely through 25+ conferences this year (115 days gone from home), which entailed a few hundred sermons and lectures on the road in various countries and continents. We are now more than ready to spend some quiet holidays at home for a few weeks. Every blessing to you and your family in Immanuel and for 2023, D.V.