Heading Home

On Friday we had a day for catching up and meeting with a few friends in Scotland. Today we flew from Edinburgh to Dublin (see the view from the plane). Then we were grateful to be able to make it to Chicago despite the winter storm warning. I enjoyed editing 2 books on the way home, one on the American Puritans and the other on unjust anger, written by a Puritan. Unfortunately our flight to Grand Rapids was canceled, so we rented a car and we are driving home right now.

God is Good

I felt helped in delivering the last two of five messages at the Crieff conference in Scotland yesterday. God is good. We also enjoyed having a meal with Sam and Carolyn Poon, and their two children (see picture). A graduate of our seminary, Sam is completing a PhD here in Scotland, and hopes to return to Singapore this year to minister there. Last night we had dinner and an evening of fellowship with some dear friends who have a like passion for sound Reformed literature. The Lord willing, we are hoping to focus on increasing our RHB publications of Scottish Reformed and Covenanter classics in coming years, which will include the major project of “The Complete Works of Samuel Rutherford” in 12 volumes of close to 1000 pages per volume, and several books by James Durham and others. Pray that God will bless these efforts for a reformation and revival in these dark and needy days in Scotland where the gospel once flourished so abundantly. Please pray too for our safe return home tomorrow from Scotland via Chicago to Grand Rapids—despite the winter storm warnings for Chicago—so that I can install one of our former theological students, Rev. Brian Najapfour, on Lord’s Day morning at Eastmanville URC, and preach to our own dear flock in the evening. How we need the Lord every hour and every day!

Crieff Conference

We arrived safely in Crieff, Scotland this morning at 11:00 a.m. This afternoon I gave my first sermon at the Crieff Conference, on “Wrestling for Inward Holiness” (Rom. 7:22-25), to about 150 ministers and some of their wives. I have four more addresses to give tomorrow and Thursday, D.V. Pray, please, for a rich, reviving work of the Spirit.

Afterward, Mary and I had some delightful fellowship over dinner with friends of many years—William and Carrine MacKenzie (brother MacKenzie is the president of Christian Focus books).

Why Should We Sing Psalms?

Today I received a translation of my little book, “Why Should We Sing Psalms?” in the Urdu language for Christians in Pakistan. The brother who translated it is keen to see more Christian churches in Pakistan include the singing of psalms in their worship services.

On Our Way to Scotland

My Queen wanted to take this picture of me in the garage coming home from the seminary, getting packed for us going to Scotland this afternoon to preach five times at the Crieff Conference for ministers and elders. Your prayers are coveted.

Nick & Maria

Saturday afternoon the Queen and I drove two hours to Livonia, Michigan to attend the wedding of Nick and Maria, two sweet godly Christian friends who are members of an OPC church there. Nick is of Hispanic descent and Maria is of Jordanian descent. A kinder couple one could scarcely ever meet. After the wedding, which was very edifying, they graciously asked me to open with prayer at their reception. I got to know them when Nick wrote me almost a year ago now and said that he and Maria would be attending Sproul’s Ligonier Conference and would I be willing, after I spoke at the conference, to come down from the pulpit to meet them with one of my marriage books in hand, and would I write these words on the title page: “Will you marry me?” Well, that’s what happened, and when she read these words, he dropped down on one knee, and right there he proposed to her in front of us with hundreds of people in the background! It was great. And would you believe that part of their honeymoon will now be attending the G3 conference (Jan. 16-18), where I hope to be speaking, so that I will meet them again there, D.V. God’s ways are above our ways! Pray that God will bless them with a long, God-honoring, Christ-exalting, Word-based, fruitful marriage.

New Year’s Haircut

Getting a first haircut this afternoon from a young man in our church, Daniel, who has opened a barber shop in his parents’ basement. Had a great time talking with him about real things and smaller things! And my wife likes it. For those two reasons, I’ll be back, Daniel!

Paul, Grace, and Calvin

We were honored to have some Chinese friends—Paul and Grace and their son Calvin—for lunch and fellowship at our home, after having not seen them for many years. Paul has been a pastor, theological teacher, and writer for many years, and a leading Chinese thinker in Reformed theology, specializing in apologetics. He and his family were members of our church for some years prior to moving east to pastor a Chinese church eleven years ago. It was great to be with them again. Pray that God will continue to bless and guide them, and use them abundantly for His glory.  

Family Time

After preaching on God’s immutability yesterday morning to our dear flock (Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!), we had five hours of wonderful family time at our son Calvin and Laura’s new home. Here is part of our family in front of the pond in their back yard, after riding on a quad (which scared up a large Great Horned Owl which flew directly in front of us—what a wing span they have!) and hiking through some of their 31 acres of land (which Calvin loves because of all the deer on the property). What a blessing family is! Mary and I are so humbled by God’s covenantal goodness and grace to us. Every blessing to you and your family in the 2020s in Jesus Christ through our faithful, unchangeable, covenant-keeping God, the great I AM.

Wishing You a Blessed New Year!

It is a good custom to wish each other a happy new year. Too often, however, what we mean by “Happy New Year” is: I hope that you stay healthy, that everything goes well for you, and that you have lots of prosperity this year in everything that you do. The Reformers and Puritans got it quite a bit better. They often wished each other a blessed new year (“blessed”=internal happiness regardless of circumstances), by which they meant something like this: I hope that everything that comes your way by the hand of Providence this year may be sanctified to you in and through Christ, so that you may be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity, and have a firm trust in our faithful God and Father for the unknown future (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 28), believing that all things work together for good to them that love Him (Rom. 8:28). So, I wish you and your family a blessed new year! I wish you in 2020 the experience of Samuel Rutherford who could say, “Every day we may see some new thing in Christ. His love has neither brim nor bottom. In our fluctuations of feeling, it is well to remember that Jesus admits no change in His affections; your heart is not the compass Jesus saileth by.”