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Arrival in Bali, Indonesia

Mary and I left Grand Rapids at Monday noon and arrived in Bali, Indonesia mid-afternoon on Wednesday after four flights–including a 15.5 hour flight from California to Singapore. (In Bali, we are 11 hours ahead of Michigan time.) Everything went well except that our checked luggage didn’t arrive–perhaps it will be located tomorrow. More importantly, we had an opportunity to evangelize two people sitting next to us: a friendly pilot from London, England who is an agnostic and a young lady who lives in America but was returning to Thailand to visit her family. We are sending both of them some of our Christian books and Mary was able to give a Bible in her luggage to the woman who was raised as a nominal Buddhist in Thailand. She received it very warmly and reverently after telling Mary that she had never had a Bible in her life. She will start her reading with the Gospel of John.

This evening we had dinner with the president of the seminary (Benyamin Intan) from Jakarta, Indonesia where I hope to teach next week, together with an elder from his denomination, their wives, and another friend. We ate right on the sandy beach of the Pacific Ocean served by a restaurant that is famous for grilled fish (photo #1). Typical of Asians, they order several dishes and pass them around. Our favorites were red snapper, large shrimp, and lobster. While eating, four men came to our table with guitars and asked us what we wanted them to sing. We said, “Amazing Grace” and quite remarkably, they sang it well from memorization even though our guests said they were probably Hindus (photo #2).

Afterward we returned to our suite in the Westin Hotel, where the recent G20 meeting of leaders of twenty nations took place, so there is a large red sign at the entrance to the hotel to commemorate this (photo #3). Tomorrow our guests hope to take us hiking in the mountains of Bali to help us continue to get over our jet lag, and then on Friday we hope to fly back to Singapore where my speaking itinerary begins.

Boarding the Plane for Indonesia

The Queen and I are just boarding the plane in Grand Rapids for flights to Indonesia. In the next 2.5 weeks I am scheduled to teach and preach for 30 hours in Indonesia, Singapore, and South Korea. Your prayers are coveted.

How Can I Cultivate Private Prayer?

Prayer is a crucial part of the Christian life and deserves our careful attention and cultivation. Praying is as natural to true Christians as breathing is to a living child. When God’s people pray, they breathe forth the living motions of their faith, repentance, submission, obedience, hope, and love. However, just as a child needs to grow, so believers in Christ need to grow in their praying. Indeed, a child’s breathing can be dangerously hindered by illness, and at times the prayer life of a believer can be constricted and enervated by spiritual diseases. Therefore, we do well to examine ourselves and emulate the disciples, who said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Felicity Houghton writes, “Prayer is the way by which Christians express and develop the relationship that God Himself has chosen to make with them as their Father through Jesus Christ…. As often as I pray, I still find I need to be taught how to pray.”

Learn more about “How Can I Cultivate Private Prayer” here.

The Kindness of our Great and Gracious God

I recently received the picture from a mother who wrote:

Tonight while putting sheets on the bed for our 14-year-old son I noticed his notebook atop Vol. I of Reformed Systematic Theology by Beeke and Smalley which he packed for the trip. Opening it I saw the notes he’s taking. A few days ago he asked me for the next volumes. Oh this is the kindness of our great and gracious God to turn our son’s heart to these matters! We continue to pray for the ongoing, sustained, persevering work of the Holy Spirit in all our children—heat and light! Soli Deo Gloria!

Weekly Sermon Quote––July 31, 2022

From last Lord’s Day Sermon on Matthew 6:10, titled “Praying for God’s Kingdom to Come”.

Find the entire sermon here.

Final Volume of our Reformed Systematic Theology

Today Paul Smalley and I sent in the final volume of our Reformed Systematic Theology (volume 4, covering the doctrine of the church and the doctrine of the last things in some eleven hundred pages) to our editor at Crossway for publication next year, D.V.

We wish to humbly thank the Lord for enabling us to complete this eight-year project and ask for prayer that God will bless it to hundreds of thousands of readers in English and in a variety of other languages into which it is presently being translated and published. Soli Deo gloria!

An Appointment You Will Keep

Make haste, sinner, for your life’s sake. The thread of your life is not yet cut, but it is growing increasingly thin and brittle. The Lord still calls to you, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” (Ezek. 33:11).

The door of grace is still open. The throne of Christ is not yet shut. Will you hear His voice before it is too late? “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Ps. 2:12).

All those who have lived without God on earth shall be without God in hell. How terrible it shall be to experience with the rich man in Luke 16, “In hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments…. And he cried…I am tormented in this flame.”

Dear friend, I desire to warn you with love. You and I cannot escape death. It is an appointment we will keep—regardless. Are you prepared to die?

From “An Appointment You Will Keep”.

Theology for Ministry

P&R has released one of the greatest festschrifts (a collection of writings published in honor of a scholar) I’ve ever read. Fittingly it is in honor of Sinclair Ferguson. Edited by William Edwards, John Ferguson, and Chad VanDixhoorn, Theology for Ministry: How Doctrine Affects Pastoral Life and Practice, has 26 contributors such as Bob Letham, Doug Kelly, Ian Hamilton, David McWilliams, Phil Ryken, Ligon Duncan, Cornel Venema, David Strain, Bob Godfrey, Chad VanDixhoorn, Michael Horton, etc. I was privileged to write chapter 17: “Assurance of Faith: Pastoral Wisdom for Struggling Christians.” I pay my tribute to Sinclair in my first footnote as follows:

“I am honored to write in this volume for Sinclair Ferguson, who has been one of my best friends and mentors for the last four decades. From the days I sat under his superlative teaching and moving prayers as a PhD student at Westminster Seminary, to the numerous talks we’ve had in sharing each other’s conversion and spiritual experiences as well as on a variety of theological subjects, to the many favors he has done for me until today in writing sterling forewords and endorsements for my books, I owe him an incalculable debt. Sinclair, thanks so much for your multifaceted friendship: it is one of my most treasured gifts on earth, and I pray that it will be an eternal friendship around the Lamb’s throne!”

Learn more here.

A Life-Changing Trip–A Biblical Journey in Israel & Jordan

We would love to have you accompany us on this life-changing trip. Of all the tours I’ve done over the years, Israel is always the #1 on my list, and this time we have assembled, by God’s grace, the best team ever.

God helping us, this should be an absolutely outstanding and unforgettable trip.

Click here for details.

Byang Kato by Simonetta Carr

Simonetta Carr has done it again. Reformation Heritage Books is grateful to release her 20th title in her “Christian Biographies for Young Readers” (ages 7-12), this one being on Byang Kato, who was born and converted in Nigeria, and later became the father of the evangelical movement in Africa through his preaching, teaching, and writing.

This is a great evangelism/missions title, showing how God can use one individual in a mighty way to move thousands in a right and balanced direction despite encountering heavy criticism and intense pressure. Simonetta deftly shows how Rev. Kato avoided both identifying Western culture with Christianity and mixing the gospel with African traditional religions. This book is beautifully illustrated for children, but can be enjoyed by teenagers and adults as well.

Learn more here.