Men’s Conference at Hudsonville PRC – Starts tonight!

You are hereby reminded of and encouraged to attend the 2014 Men’s Conference sponsored by Byron Center PRC but held this year at Hudsonville PRC. The conference will be held tonight and tomorrow night, February 27 and 28, at Hudsonville PRC.

GodlyMan-BCPRCConf-2014The theme is “The Godly Man”, based on I Timothy 6:10-11. There will be one speech each night, tonight by Rev.A.Spriensma, pastor of Byron Center PRC, and tomorrow night by Missionary-pastor W.Bruinsma of Pittsburgh, PA. Special sectionals are also planned for each night, with opportunity for small group discussion. And, of course, there will be great singing, fellowship, and refreshments.

Even if you have not yet registered for the conference, come and participate! You may register tonight beginning at 6:45 p.m. The schedule for both nights may be found below.

Young and old, come! Single men, come! Husbands, come! Fathers and sons, come! This is a great opportunity for spiritual growth and godly fellowship.

I plan to have a book table there with a variety of books and pamphlets related to the theme and related men’s matters. Stop by, check out some good books, and say hello. :)

Below is the schedule of events for both Thursday and Friday nights:

6:45     Registration

7:00    Opening prayer, Announcements, Singing

7:20    Speech Thursday by Rev. Spriensma  “The Godly Man’s Contest”
Friday by Rev. Bruinsma  “Called To Fight”

8:00    Sing and Question & Answer

8:15    Refreshments

8:35    Discussion Groups Thursday
Raising Covenant Youth
Communication/Devotions in Marriage

        Discussion Groups Friday
Servant-Leadership in Marriage
Dealing with Family Finances

9:35    Refreshments

Mystery Photo #3 Solved!

Last week Thursday’s mystery photo was fairly well-solved after just a few days, as you will tell from the comments. A few of you responded via email privately, but by the time those who guessed were done, the picture and place were identified. The only thing that needed correcting was the ministers who spoke at this PRYP’s Convention.

MysteryPhoto#3

The picture was of the young people of South Holland (IL) PRC (now Crete, IL PRC), the society which sponsored and hosted the 1978 YP’s Convention, held in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Some of you saw yourselves and therefore were able to identify quite a few of your fellow young people. Having served in SH PRC, I could pick out most of this crowd too – though they sure looked different then than when I first met them in 1989! Prominent in that front row (to the right) was a much younger Rev.David Engelsma (who could mistake that big head of hair?!).

And no, pastor Engelsma was NOT one of the speakers that year. The ministers who spoke were Revs.J.Kortering, H.Veldman, and A.den Hartog.

I made the passing comment in that post that this (1978) was a good year. That “mystery” is that my wife and I did not attend that YP’s Convention because we were married on August 31, 1978 that year, 35 years ago last year. But we had been to many Conventions before that. And though we did not go to again as conventioneers, we did get in on a few more as chaperones. Good memories. May God continue to bless our young people and this wonderful annual event.

Do you know where this year’s convention is? Check it out, here!

More Review Books – More Book Reviewers Needed! Women too!

I have received four new titles for review from Reformation Heritage Books and I would love to give these books away to willing reviewers! All you have to do is write a brief, 1-1.5 page paper (Times Roman, double-spaced) about the book, and the book is yours to keep!

Two of these new titles are especially for women, so I would love to see a couple of gals step forward with a volunteer spirit :)  These two books are:

LifeinJesus-MWinslowGodly people speak long after their deaths, inspiring us and revealing to us lives that are worthy of imitation. Octavius Winslow thus took up the daunting task of writing a memoir of his God-fearing mother, Mary Winslow (1774–1854). He viewed her as a grace-filled example of true spirituality, the antithesis of “religious formalism,” which he called “the bane of the Christian church.” One simple line captures his esteem for her: “How powerful and deathless is the influence of a holy mother!”

Mary Winslow’s letters are a treasure of experimental and practical divinity. Living, vital Christianity is here set before us in undeniable reality, flowing out of the resurrected Christ. We learn, in her words and by her example, how to “deal unceasingly with God as God deals unweariedly with us.”

A queen, an educator, a missionary, a pastor’s wife. Some of them single, some married, some widowed, some mothers. All of them, like women today, knew the joys and heartaches of life. But the bond that drew this generation of women together—and connects them to women today—was their heart for God and devotion to Christ. In this year’s worth of devotions, you will find spiritual insights from godly women of the past who, like us, struggled with sin, loneliness, and disappointments yet rejoiced in God’s love, mercy, grace, and providential blessings. Join them in the various seasons of their hearts and find timeless encouragement and wisdom from one generation of women to another.

Authors include Ruth Bryan, Anne Dutton, Isabella Graham, Elizabeth Julia Hasell, Frances Ridley Havergal, Sarah Hawkes, Susan Huntington, Harriet Newell, Katherine Parr, Susannah Spurgeon, Anne Steele, and Mary Winslow.

Then I also have two others of broader scope and interest:

BuildingGodlyHome-2For years, William Gouge’s Domestical Duties has stood as the foremost Puritan treatment of Christian family life. Yet due to its size and antiquated expression, it has become almost unknown among current generations of believers. To help revive the usefulness of this classic book, Scott Brown and Joel R. Beeke divided Gouge’s work into three manageable volumes, updated the language to modern standards, and have given it the title Building a Godly Home.

In the second volume, A Holy Vision for a Happy Marriage, we find detailed counsel about the most important relationship in the family—husband and wife. Gouge carefully addresses what a fit marriage is and the proper way to enter into one. He then discusses the mutual duties married couples share in order for marriage to survive and thrive, as well as the duties specific to men and women respectively. Not only does he give detailed treatment of how these responsibilities are best expressed and too often hindered, but he also provides ample biblical motivation to set us on the right course. Christian husbands and wives will find much encouragement in this book.

How does God bring His Word into our lives? The answer is: by the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit the Word was revealed and written. By the Spirit the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. By the Spirit the Word roots itself in the hearts of sinners and produces fruit. Calvin recognized long ago that the Holy Spirit is the bond of union between believers and Christ. Jonathan Edwards said that the Spirit is the sum of all Christ bought for His people with His precious blood. How precious then is the Spirit, and how important to know Him and His ways! In this book, a team of pastor-theologians uncover the rich biblical teachings about the work of the Holy Spirit. How was the Spirit involved in the human life of Jesus Christ? What is a spiritual person? How does the Spirit open the mind of sinners to trust in Christ? What does it mean to serve God in the power of the Spirit? How does the Spirit’s sovereign work relate to our responsibility in evangelism? These questions and more are addressed in this book.

If any of these titles are of interest to you, let me know either by comment here, or by email. I will find a way to get it to you asap! If you want more information, visit the links provided here. Thanks!

Word Wednesday: “Man and Wife”

DictionaryofWordOriginsIt has been nearly a month since we did our Wednesday word feature, which means it is time to get back to it! Today’s entry is from the Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris (Harper & Row, 1962) and concerns the familiar wedding phrase “man and wife”. I found this to be quite interesting, and I think you will as well.

During a wedding ceremony the pastor says, ‘I now pronounce you man and wife.’ Why doesn’t he say ‘husband and wife’ or ‘man and woman?’ Why does he split the ‘go-togethers.’ contrary to our customary way of speaking?

That’s an intriguing question and one which has really only one answer: tradition. Since the earliest days of spoken English, certainly since the Norman Conquest, the phrase used in the marriage ceremony has been man and wife. The word man then meant, among other things, ‘husband’ – a meaning which the Oxford Dictionary says it still has in Scotland, although it is obsolete elsewhere. The word husband, in turn, was used to mean a man who tilled the soil or one who managed matters well, a sense we still have in ‘He husbanded his resources.’

So here is a case of two words whose meanings have changed and broadened over a span of nine centuries. But, just as the institution of marriage is the unshakable foundation of civilized society (Isn’t it good to hear this stated?! -cjt), so the forms and traditions surrounding it are virtually unchangeable – and the language used in plighting the troth remains the same as that used when William the Conqueror fought Harold at Hastings (pp.226-27).

2013 Mackinac Bridge Walk … and a Memorable Anniversary!

The 3 R's Blog:

35 years ago today my beautiful bride and I were united in marriage on a hot August night in Hope PRC, Walker, MI. Early Saturday morning, after spending our first night in our castle in the trailer park in Wyoming (I was a poor Calvin College student), we headed up to the Mackinac Bridge area, where we spent a romantic honeymoon weekend, visiting the island and other places. On Sunday we worshiped in the only CRC in the UP – in the little town of Rudyard – where we were introduced as newlyweds before a packed holiday weekend crowd (a tad embarrassing for us!). On that Labor Day Monday, we walked the bridge with 5,000 other people. And when our $135 was used up, we came home. It was a memorable start to our lives together. Happy anniversary, honey, and thank you for all your love and loving memories. May Christ continue to be the glue that holds us together, as He has been for 35 years. CJT

Originally posted on Michigan in Pictures:

FULL

FULL, photo by ddt_uul

The annual Labor Day Bridge walk across the Mackinac Bridge takes place this Monday (September 2, 2013). UpNorthLive reports that you can turn your Labor Day bridge walk into a one of a kind experience with a trip to the top of the Mighty Mac!

More than 40,000 people are expected to participate in the 56th Annual Labor Day Bridge Walk which will take on Monday, Sept. 2.

For the second year in a row, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Mackinac Bridge Authority are asking the public to share their Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk experiences on social media with photos and videos. One person sharing their memories will be chosen at random to receive a once-in-a-lifetime tour to the top of the Mackinac Bridge.

Through Monday, Sept. 9, you can post your memories of walking the bridge, either this year or…

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Published in: on August 31, 2013 at 7:36 AM  Leave a Comment  

Book Alert! “The Mother of the Reformation” – E.Kroker

Mrs. Reformation « THE CHRISTIAN PUNDIT.

MotherofReformation-KrokerThere’s a newly published biography on Katherine Luther out (Martin’s wife), and it looks to be a fine one. “The Christian Pundit” had a post on it yesterday and since we are on Reformation subjects today, I thought I would let you know about it. The “CP” had a detailed description and review of it, so I will simply refer you to that. Below is the beginning of the post; read all of it at the link above.

If it is possible to binge on biographies, that is what a friend of mine spent the summer doing. Books on Luther, from The Barber Who Wanted to Pray to Bainton’s classic Here I Stand, she ploughed her way through volume after volume. There were also a couple books on Katharine Luther, Martin’s wife, that she read and passed along. Mother of the Reformation: The Amazing Life and Story of Katharine Luther is a keeper. If you are married to a pastor, professor, missionary, or extrovert, it would make an especially relevant read.

Originally published in German in 1906, Ernst Kroker’s work was republished this year (Concordia). Mark E. DeGarmeaux’s translation is easy to read but still retains an early 20th century flavour. Katharine is known because of her famous Reformer husband and she lives in his shadow in our minds. Kroker’s biography brings her into the light. There is a lot about Luther in the book—how can you write about only one spouse in a remarkable marriage?—but Katie is the emphasis.

Unearthing much about Katie’s childhood and adolescence, Kroker outlines what we know about her early years, doing a good job of giving a sense of what it must have been like, despite scant sources. Katharine’s early entrance into convent life and her faithful service there, her eventual conversion, escape, marriage, motherhood and widowhood are all there within a rich context. One of Kroker’s strengths is his ability to put this woman not on a pedestal for us to inspect and venerate but in her own world for us to watch and learn from.

“A Life of Faith and Forgiveness” – Burk Parsons

A Life of Faith and Forgiveness by Burk Parsons | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-June2013Since the new month of June is here, it is time once again to introduce the new issue of Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries’ Reformed devotional magazine. Yesterday I opened up my own issue and began reading the opening articles devoted to the theme “Faith and Repentance”. Editor Burk Parsons introduced the theme with the above-linked article, from which I also quote below.

I also read R.C. Sproul’s article “The Basis of a Christian Marriage“, written under his usual rubric “Right Now Counts Forever” – an excellent article stressing the importance of having a wedding ceremony that honors the seriousness of the marriage covenant. And I read the first main feature article on the theme, “What Faith is and Is Not” by Dr.Guy Richard. This morning I began the daily devotions on the next OT prophet – Habakkuk. After browsing the other content of this issue of Tabletalk, I believe it will be another edifying month of readings and devotions.

I have included here links to the articles I have read and reference here. Below is part of the introduction which Parsons has for this issue. To read the rest of this and to browse other articles in this issue, visit the Ligonier link above.

…While many Christians are familiar with the history surrounding Luther’s 95 theses, most are unaware of their contents. Largely, they address the abuses of the papacy, especially the grandiose abuses of the papacy’s cohorts, pertaining to the supposed power and efficacy of indulgences. Luther’s first thesis is penetrating. It reads, “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent,’ He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

The amazing thing about Luther’s statement is it teaches that repentance is not simply a one-time action, but is that which is to characterize the entirety of a believer’s life. Repentance takes place not only when a sinner is converted to Christ but every day of a believer’s life in Christ. For that is what the Lord’s Prayer teaches us in the fifth petition: “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are taught by our Lord to ask forgiveness for all past sins that the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance and even the multitude of sins that we fail to remember.

The Word of God teaches us that God requires faith and repentance to be justified. Faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin—we cannot express true faith without genuine repentance. We cannot trust Christ without turning away from our trust in ourselves.

“Together in Suffering” – R.C. Sproul Jr.

Together in Suffering by R.C. Sproul Jr. | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

R.C.Sproul, Jr.’s article under the rubric “Seek Ye First” in this month’s Tabletalk is also a must read. It is a deeply personal and touching article as Sproul relates the believer’s union with Christ (the theme of this issue) to the recent losses of his wife (cancer) and daughter (disabled). His moving description of how being “in Christ” means both that He is with us in our suffering and that we are with Him in comfort and victory will bring you to tears.

There may be some things he says he that startle us – things that we may even disagree with – but his point is to demonstrate just how close our union with Christ is and what it means for His people who suffer.

Here is a few quotes from it. Read all of it at the Ligonier link above.

As strategy after strategy failed and as each new step in her fight against cancer came with longer and longer odds, I wanted nothing more than to give my dear wife hope, a reason to believe that she could get better, that as bad as it all was, we could together get through it. We, naturally, spoke quite a bit about Jesus. I reminded her that Jesus reigns, that He does all His holy will. I reminded her that Jesus had suffered greatly, only to be exalted to the right hand of the Father. I reminded her that Jesus loved her with an everlasting, immutable, and unstoppable love. He was the answer to my weakness.

But there was still a weakness in my understanding. There was one promise I longed to make to her, one beautiful thought that I thought would warm and comfort her. One thing I had purposed in my heart as this journey began, however—I would not tell her a lie. I knew that if she could not trust me to tell her the truth, that even the truths I told her could offer no comfort. So while I told her Jesus had suffered even greater hardship, I would not tell her that He had trod her exact path, that He had experienced exactly the hardship she was going through. That is exactly where I went wrong.

It is a good and glorious thing to remember what our union with Christ means in terms of our justification. That our sin is imputed to Him and His righteousness imputed to us is no legal fiction, as Rome accuses, precisely because of the reality of our union with Him. He really was guilty because He really was one with us. We really are innocent because we really are one with Him.

It is a good and glorious thing to remember what our union with Christ means in terms of our glorification. His work did not merely acquire for us a verdict of not guilty. Rather, because we are in union with Him, we are joint heirs with Him. The glory that is His in His resurrection is ours. The glory that is His in His ascension is ours. We are even now, because we are in union with Him, seated with Him in the heavenly places. We are kings and queens even now because we are one with Him—the One who reigns over all.

There is, however, more still. Remember that Jesus, when He met Saul on the road to Damascus, did not ask, “Why are you persecuting My bride?” but “Why are you persecuting Me?” He, in union with us, so identifies with us, that what we suffer, He suffers. Because we are one flesh, what one half suffers the other does as well.

The Gospel and the Gender Wars – Russell Moore

The Gospel and the Gender Wars by Russell Moore | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

The last article which appears in this month’s Tabletalk and the last one which I happened to read is written by Russell D. Moore of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. It contains a solid defense of the Bible’s teaching on the differences between the genders, as created by God – not to the demise of marriage but to its preservation. In a world that tries to blend the genders or obliterate them, we have a clear calling to maintain God’s pattern for man and woman in marriage. Through our differences displayed in a godly marriage we proclaim the gospel of Christ to our fallen and broken world.

You will find the complete but brief article at the Ligonier link above. Below are a few paragraphs to show you its value:

In fact, the mystery of the gospel explains to us why it is that Adam wasn’t designed to subdivide like an amoeba, why he needed someone like him and yet different from him, why he was to join himself to her in an organic union. It’s because the head/body union of a man and a woman is itself an illustration— one that points to something older and more beautiful: the union of Christ and His church in the gospel.

A man, then, is to lead his family. But this is not some sort of tyranny. A man’s leadership is modeled after Christ’s leadership of His church. He leads by discerning the best interests of his family and pouring himself out for them. This headship is self-sacrificial. A wife submits to her husband’s leadership not as a cowering supplicant but in the way the church submits to Christ. Jesus says of His church, in its original twelve foundation stones, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

When we call husbands to lead their families, and when we call wives to respect such leadership (which, like every form of leadership, has biblical limits), we are not speaking of a business model or a corporate flow chart. We’re speaking instead of an organic unity. The more a husband and wife are sanctified together in the Word, the more they—like your nervous system and body—move and operate smoothly, effortlessly, holistically. They are one flesh. It’s about cooperation through complementarity.

…The church continually works to reclaim a biblical concept of the family. We call men to prepare themselves to be other-directed husbands. We call on women to find their beauty not in cultural stereotypes of a woman’s value but in God’s delight (1 Peter 3:1–6). Such will look increasingly and, oddly, peaceful to a culture conditioned to gender wars. But in the end, it’s not about being better men and women. It’s about a clear proclamation of the mystery of Christ and His church. They’re not in tension with one another, in competition with one another, mistrusting one another. They’re head and body—one flesh.

Seminary Library Books on Marriage and the Family

Continuing on a Seminary Library theme today, I thought it would be good to introduce you to another area of books that are of value to a broader audience, including our officebearers and church members. That is the area of marriage and family life. As you might expect, our Seminary library has a strong section of resources in this area (for counseling purposes too). Because our own PRC doctrine of the covenant has powerful implications and applications for marriage (along with divorce and remarriage) and the family, we have many writings from our own professors and pastors on these subjects in the library (E.g., David Engelsma’s Marriage, the Mystery of Christ and the Church and Better to Marry: Sex and Marriage in I Corinthians 6&7).

But there are also many other good titles on these subjects from various Reformed and Evangelical authors, and we have built up this section of our library with these books as well (E.g., Covenant Marriage: Staying Together for Life by Fred Lowery; Strengthening Your Marriage and Your Family, God’s Way by Wayne Mack; Solving Marriage Problems by Jay Adams; Divorce and Remarriage: Biblical Principles & Pastoral Practice by Andrew Cornes).

These books vary from more doctrinal titles (Biblical theology on and history of marriage and family) to more practical titles (rescuing and strengthening your marriage and family), but all are profitable for the Reformed Christian. Some of these titles would be good for those couples anticipating marriage (spiritual planning and preparation) and for newlyweds. Others would be profitable for the “seasoned” couple, who nevertheless want to grow closer together and deeper in the love of Christ. We even have a few fine titles for young people who are dating or preparing to date (Richard & Sharon Phillips’ Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating). I invite you to stop by and browse these sections of our library, both for study of these subjects and for spiritual growth in your own marriage and family life.

And, by the way, Prof.R. Cammenga and myself have been stocking up on a variety of books (new and used) in the Seminary bookstore. Great selection at great discounts – we know we have a book for you! Put us on your “to do” list this summer! The AC is on! That makes this a “cool” summer activity in more ways than one :)

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