Small Church Ministry Webinar

Most of the churches in America are small. Most churches are not pastored by celebrities. Rather they are regular men who work hard at preaching and even supporting themselves on the side. They love the church and are giving their lives for her.

In this webinar, I join Scott Brown, Director of the NCFIC, as we consider the joys and difficulties of life in a small church. This discussion centers on encouragement for the small church pastor and church members.

https://bit.ly/2OLWBES

Ordination of Rev. Simon Yin

Yesterday was very special for our church—we ordained a new pastor, Rev. Simon Yin, largely to oversee the Chinese Fellowship Group among us as well as to assist Dr. Kuivenhoven in some of his pastoral work. The ordination service was preached in the morning service on 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, “Broken Pots Declare the glory of God,” by Dr. Mark Kelderman who has come alongside Simon in mentoring him and providing guidance for several years. In the evening, Rev. Yin preached his inaugural sermon on John 3:30, “He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease.” Three of us were then assigned to speak some personal words to Rev. Yin and his family. Both services were a great blessing.

Rev. Yin studied at PRTS for several years, earning a MDiv degree a few years ago, and is presently on the cusp of completing a ThM degree. For some years he has been overseeing the Chinese Group and for the last year has served as a ruling elder in our church. He is a dear brother—a Nathanael without guile—with a special wife and children (see first picture). So we now have three ministers in our church (see second picture), in addition to Dr. Kelderman working part-time in taking over some of our counseling cases. We are excited to see what the Lord will now do with the Chinese Fellowship Group; pray that it will grow, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

The Timmer Children

My nephew, Steve Timmer (front and center), who married Lydia Engelsma on Wednesday (see my post on Thursday), is the youngest of nine children. Their mother (my special younger sister Joanne) always wanted ten children. When Steve was born as #9, the doctor told my sister she could not have any more children. She went home and cried! But then a few years later, their dozens of grandchildren began to be born. God has truly blessed this family. Here is a picture of all nine children taken directly after the wedding. Pray that God will continue to bless this family abundantly—including the parents who became empty-nesters this week after 40 years of having children in their home!

In Memoriam: J. I. Packer (1926-2020)

The renowned author of Knowing God, Dr. J. I. Packer, went to be with His Savior and Lord today at the age of 93. Justin Taylor from Crossway wrote this very fitting and moving mini-bio blog post about his remarkable life: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/j-i-packer-1926-2020/  

Here is my response to Justin:

I was moved reading your mini-bio of J.I. Packer. It is really outstanding. I’d like to share two little special tidbits about Packer. First, years ago, I spent some time with Packer at Calvin College (I had phoned and corresponded with him a fair bit and we always talked and wrote about the Puritans). During that fellowship at Calvin College, he told me that he had one major desire yet for his writing career—and that was to do a major Systematic Theology (ST) with a spiritual/experiential emphasis. He felt that that could bind the godly together, he said. I told him that I had a similar dream, and we agreed that day that we would talk through the details of co-authoring a 3 or 4 volume ST. I even promised him that if the Lord were to take him home before we could complete it, that I would take anything he had written on the sections not completed, and be sure to finish it the best I could. And then, shortly after that, the ECT debacle transpired and those dreams were dashed.

But now, you, Justin Taylor and Crossway, have been the instruments God has chosen to fulfill my dream after all through Reformed Systematic Theology, coauthored with Paul Smalley! God’s ways are above our ways, and His thoughts above ours. I truly feel indebted to you, brother, and am thrilled with your team’s able work.

By the way, Paul Smalley and I have just completed volume 3 of RST. About 75% of it is already in Greg Bailey’s able hands. The last section is being edited by our own editor at the moment, but we will have that to Greg by August 15 as promised. Two weeks from now, we hope to begin volume 4—the finale—on church and the last things.

The second tidbit on Packer was when I called him to ask if he would kindly endorse volume 1 of our projected 10-volume set, The Works of William Perkins, which I had sent to him in typeset form by snail mail because he had no computer. He was so thrilled that we were doing this and that he was being asked to endorse it, that he told me, “You just made my week,” and wished me Godspeed. He then said, in his memorable tone, these impeccable words which I quickly scribbled down, “And this is what I would like to say in the endorsement: ‘On the broad shoulders of William Perkins, epoch-making pioneer, stood the entire school of seventeenth-century Puritan pastors and divines, yet the Puritan reprint industry has steadily bypassed him. Now, however, he begins to reappear, admirably edited, and at last this yawning gap is being filled.’ But never mind, friend, I shall send you these words tomorrow.” We chatted a few more minutes, but all I remember him saying was, “I do wonder if I shall see the completion of your work on Perkins.” I know he couldn’t read anymore near the end, but volume 10 was published just a few months ago!

The next day, I heard the fax machine running, which we had not used for a few years, I think. I went over to see what was going on. Here was the exact endorsement word for word that Dr. Packer told me he was going to write! Vintage Packer, it was typed on an old-fashioned typewriter, with three white-outs, and only these words were added: “Profound thanks to the publisher and heartfelt praise to God have become due.”

Now, Dr. Packer is in that land of Beulah with his Lord where he no longer has to battle with sin and infirmity but where his Savior is all-in-all. The author of Knowing God knows God far better than he ever has in this life. Happy day, when this mortality puts on immortality, and this corruption, incorruption.

Experiential Preaching: Hopefully Engaging Hearts & Heads

This is a podcast I did with Rob Ginter on “Experiential Preaching: Hopefully Engaging Hearts & Heads” on his podcast “Go Verse by Verse.” https://bit.ly/3jgZfQQ

You Could Have It All

When it rains, its pours! Another great, new RHB book just arrived: Geoff Thomas’s outstanding evangelistic book, “You Could Have It All.” This is one of the best evangelistic books I have ever read and probably the best one we have ever published. I hope we sell hundreds of thousands.

You should buy this in groups of ten, and hand them out to the unsaved wherever you meet them. Keep a pile of them in your car, at your home, and in your office—and hand them out with a loving encouragement to read it wherever you can. Who can tell what God will do with this book? Pray with us that He will use it for the conversion of many.

Single copy: https://bit.ly/3fDUW03
Ten copies (50% off retail): https://bit.ly/3fD66Cc

Jacob and Tamara Matze

I just said goodbye to Jacob and Tamara Matze and their precious four children, including their newborn, Eliana, who hopes to be baptized on the coming Lord’s Day, before they return to the Netherlands on Tuesday.

Jacob came to us at Puritan Reformed Seminary five years ago with “borderline” English skills and has done remarkably well in his studies, ably completing his MDiv and ThM degrees, and is now seeking ordination and a congregation in the PKN denomination in the Netherlands. He has also been blessed with a very big heart for the glory of God, the salvation of the lost, and the maturation of the saints. It gives us great satisfaction and is so humbling to train men like this and see them return to their homeland qualified to proclaim the riches of Jesus Christ and eager to pastor needy and unworthy sinners.

Please pray that this young man (and his family) will both be blessed and be a blessing to others for a lifetime of faithful ministry, if our Lord tarries.

Christian Biographies for Young Readers – John Bunyan

We are excited to announce that RHB received another new title this afternoon in our popular “Christian Biographies for Young Readers” (Ages 7-12) by Simonetta Carr—this one being on John Bunyan. It is a gem—edifying, well-written, and beautifully illustrated. You will definitely want to read this aloud to your children and grandchildren—and you will be surprised at how much you too learn about Bunyan! Order yours here: https://bit.ly/CarrOnBunyan

Wedding of Steve Timmer and Lydia Engelsma

Yesterday we had our third wedding in the last few weeks: Steve Timmer (my nephew) and Lydia Engelsma (daughter of our PRTS Board Chairman) too the sacred oath of marriage together. They are a promising, God-fearing couple, well suited for each other. Dr. Kuivenhoven spoke well on how the character of God should impact marriage from the last three verses of Psalm 33 and I had the privilege to give a short talk at the reception on “Ten Commandments for a Good Marriage.” Please pray for this dear couple that they will put God first, each other second, and themselves third in living out the principles of an Ephesians 5 marriage.

God’s Covenant Mercies

On Friday and Saturday, we had some wonderful family time. Here I am doing some amateurish canoeing with grandchildren and a nephew on a little pond. Then, on the Lord’s Day, I had the privilege of baptizing five children in our church family, including this precious grandson. God’s covenant mercies become more precious to me the older I grow. Do you ever feel like God is simply too good for you, such that you can scarcely take it in?