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PRC Weekly Congregational, Denominational, and Sister-Church News - July 16, 2017 *(Updated)

Psalms 19 1On this July 16, 2017 Lord's Day we give the following updates on news and information from PRC congregations, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • This morning Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane, WA) announced his DECLINE of the call from First PRC (Holland, MI).
  • On July 2 the congregation of Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) voted to extend a call to Rev. A. Brummel (Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD).
  • The Council of Edgerton PRC announces a trio of Rev. Huizinga (Redlands, CA), Candidate Matthew De Boer, and Candidate Justin Smidstra.
  • The congregation of Southwest PRC (Grandville, MI) calls July 16 from a trio of Rev. Jon Mahtani (Cornerstone PRC- St. John, IN), Candidate Joe Holstege, and Candidate Justin Smidstra. UPDATE: Cand. Justin Smidstra has received this call.
  • The Council of Zion PRC has drawn up a new trio from which to call her first pastor: Revs. B. Huizinga (Hope PRC, Redlands, CA), A. Lanning (Covenant ERC, Singapore), and Candidate J. Holstege.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • The Synod of 2017 called Rev. D. Kuiper to serve in the PRC Seminary as professor of church history and NT studies, in replacement of Prof. R. Dykstra. On July 2 he announced his acceptance of this call. We give thanks to God for providing a man for this position, and pray for him and his family as well as Edgerton PRC as he makes this transition and prepares for his new post (cf. picture below).

DgKuiper 2017

  • The Contact Committee will be sending Prof. R. Dykstra and Rev. J. Engelsma to Australia to visit the Evangelical Presbyterian Churches on behalf of the PRC. They will be taking part in a two-day Reformation Day conference, attending the meetings of the Presbytery of the EPC, and preaching in the EPC. The 2015 Synod of the PRC approved holding a conference with the EPC on the ground that “such face-to-face meeting and discussions with the men of the EPC are excellent ways both to make the corresponding relationship meaningful and to further the relationship.” Prof. and Mrs. Dykstra leave July 18, and will return (after a time in Singapore) August 16.  Rev. and Mrs. Engelsma will leave July 24 and return August 7. All the Lord willing.

  • Synod of 2017 concluded its sessions on June 21, at Hudsonville PRC. Summary reports on each day may be found under the synod section of this website.

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS  - This from Covenant PRC in Ballymena, N. Ireland:

The Stewarts will be in N. America from 17 July to 14 August. The Lord’s Day schedule in the CPRC while Rev. Stewart is away is as follows:
23 July - services led by the elders with DVDs (Pastor preaches in Spokane, WA)
30 July - Rev. McGeown preaches while Rev. Bleyenberg takes services in the LRF (Pastor preaches in Edmonton and Lacombe, Alberta, Canada)
6 August - Rev. Bleyenberg preaches (Pastor preaches in Lynden, Washington)
13 August - Rev. Bleyenberg preaches, with tea after the evening service—Group A on the tea rota (Pastor preaches in Providence and Hudsonville in Michigan)
20 August - Rev. McGeown preaches (Pastor preaches in the LRF)

 

MISSION NEWS:

  • On July 2 Byron Center PRC voted to call Rev. A. Spriensma (her pastor) to serve as home misisonary.
  • The Council of Doon PRC announces a new trio from which to call a missionary to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines: Rev. Allen Brummel (Heritage PRC in Sioux Falls, SD), Rev. Clay Spronk (Faith PRC in Jenison, MI), and Rev. Richard Smit (First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI). Doon plans to vote on July 24.
  • From the Provident Christian Church bulletin for today we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Sem. Matt Kortus will lead both our worship services today. Next Sunday, Lord willing, Rev. Holstege will preach both times. Also, beginning next week, Rev. Holstege plans to start giving brief instruction on the articles of the Church Order (CO). The goal is to prepare PCC for organization as a Protestant Reformed Church. You can find the CO in the back of the Psalter.

    • Rev and Sharon Kleyn and Matt and Sarah Kortus plan to travel to Negros for the pastors classes in Sipalay this Monday-Wednesday. May God grant them a safe and blessed trip.

  • And from the bulletin of the Berean PRC in Antipolo City (where Rev. V. Ibe is pastor) we find these significant announcements:
    • Our pastor, Rev. Holstege and Seminarian Matt Kortus are scheduled to visit the saints in Sitio Karugang, Gabaldon NE on Friday (July 21, 2017). Ptr Ibe will lead the saints there in their study of the Essentials of Reformed doctrine on lesson #12.

    • The outreach work of Bulacan PRC in Albuera Leyte is making good progress, by the grace of God! The saints there were visited by the delegates from Committee #2 of the PRCP on July 7-10, 2017. We heard from Rev. Kleyn that the trip went well as well as the visits and fellowship with the saints there. This visit will further encouraged them in the faith and work towards the institution of a Protestant Reformed church in their midst, if the Lord wills! The congregation is asked to remember them in our prayers!

 The Kleyns' recently posted pictures and descriptions of the recent Classis meeting of the PRCP, as well as of a wedding held in Provident CC. Below are a couple of samples. Find more at the link provided.

PRCP Classis July 2017 1

Provident wedding 2017

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India Outreach Newsletter - July 2017

GraceFH 2017 
India Outreach Newsletter
July 2017
Dear readers,
 
If you haven't heard already, our friends in India at the Protestant Reformed Church in Vellore and the Grace Foster Home have been dealing with the oppressive Indian government.  They have been forced to jump through several hoops lately to keep the foster home in operation.  Many similar Christian organizations throughout the country are being forced to close their doors by the largely Hindu government.  We ask that you continue to keep our friends in Vellore in your prayers and ask the Lord to continue to sustain them through all of their trials.
 
Dr. Ronald Carey, a member of the PRCV and Christian Medical College, has decided to attend the Protestant Reformed Seminary and is aiming to make the move in the fall of 2018.  This is certainly cause for praise and thanks to the Lord for leading Dr. Carey and his family to this decision.
 
Finally we were thankful to welcome home Liz Van Drunen and Emily Moelker from their 6 month international travels!  3 of those months were spent in Vellore with the Grace Foster Home.  Below is the first of a two-part report from them on their experience and activities with the GFH.
 
As always, you can also follow the Georgetown PRC Facebook page for more photos and updates (Link).  You can also find out more on the Georgetown PRC website (Link).
 
Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen 
India Visit Report, Part 1
            By Emily Moelker and Liz Van Drunen

India Visit Report, Part 1 (by Emily Moelker and Liz Van Drunen)
Stoltedum!  This word means, "Praise the Lord" and is a regular greeting between Indian Christians.  It is often said while holding your palms together while making eye contact with the person you are greeting.  On October 11, 2016 we (Emily Moelker and Liz Van Drunen) flew out of Chicago and into New Delhi, India. Our next flight landed in the Chennai airport.  We were immediately greeted by Paulraj and Kasthuri, their children Jason and Joan and 4 other kids from Grace Foster Home (GFH), who made us feel very welcomed. They had a sign with our names and met us with traditional Indian flower garlands. We hopped in the Qualis (their van) and drove 3 hours west to Vellore, the location of Vellore PRC and Grace Foster Home. GFH is where Paulraj and Kasthuri live, along with their two children and 38 foster children and a small staff.
 

We stayed in Vellore for a total of 3 months. Over this time period we adjusted to a lot of different Indian cultures. Tamil is the main language of Tamil Nadu, the Indian state that Vellore resides in. All the children speak Tamil, and we did our best to pick it up. For 3 months we didn't use silverware, and used only our right hand to eat. We ate lots of different Indian dishes and lots of rice: corn rice, yogurt rice, carrot rice, lemon rice, tomato rice, vegetable rice, and the list could continue. A favorite snack of the children's was chili salt on mangos. We ate dinner at around 9p.m. every night. We were offered coffee or tea probably 4 times a day. We had a "pop party" with a few boys, and after drinking a sip of Fanta, a rare treat, Prabhu said: "My insides, very freshness." We enjoyed teaching them how to make some American dishes, and we loved learning how to make a lot of their Indian dishes. When we were there, they were harvesting peanuts on the land. The kids helped out a lot before and after school with this, and we enjoyed helping out as well. We heard that since then, they have been growing and eating a lot of different produce from their land- that's great news!
 
Wild animals are everywhere in India.  We saw cows lying down in the middle of the road, walking down the sidewalk, pulling sand carts, standing next to us at the bus stop, and eating potatoes right off the vegetable stands. Herds of goats were walked down village streets. Monkeys would hang around in the temples.  Wild dogs and puppies would wander around everywhere.  Pigs feasted on roadside trash piles. One day, a few of the boys killed a bird on campus with a slingshot and then cooked it over a fire and ate it. Another time one of the boys wanted us to pet a baby bat that he had found. We also had a nice collection of lizards, beetles, and other large insects that enjoyed frequenting our room. Pastor Paulraj kept track of and was very proud of how many snakes he rode over with the car.
 

Traffic is crazy. Imagine driving down a street where cows are wandering, stray dogs are sleeping, horns are constantly honking, crops are drying in the middle of traffic lanes, there are zero stoplights, and all the vehicles are bumper to bumper. It is not uncommon to see a family of 4 or 5 on one motorcycle, a young mother often holding an infant on the back of it. Every day we'd see women standing in a line passing along buckets of water to each other, or carrying them on their heads. Fitting 19 people in the Qualis on the way to church or another function became normal to us. Whoever didn't make it in hitch hiked or biked to church, no matter how old they were. It is very common to "catch a lift" with anyone to go anywhere. If we weren't in the car, we'd ride in the 3 wheeled "auto" that Paneer, a senior boy would work on and drive. We'd often fit 7 or 8 people inside, and it would sometimes break down along the way. 

The Indians never wear shoes indoors and rarely wear shoes outside. We got used to going around barefoot most places. Most days we wore traditional Indian clothes: chudis (dresses) with leggings and a scarf. We were there during their "winter", but it was still 80 or 90 degrees F every day. At night, it cooled down to a nice 75 F. When this happened, they would bundle up with ear muffs, bonnets and sweaters. It's hard to imagine them in Michigan's climate! We enjoyed having our families send photos and videos of snow, something they have never seen. One time, a girl was so cold that she skipped dinner because her lips were so chapped - it was 75 degrees! We gave her chapstick and had to explain how to use it because she had never seen it before. Some boys sleep outside, which they prefer. Some girls sleep without mattresses, blankets or pillows, because it's what they are used to doing. We hung our hammocks in our room! The kids loved to hang out in them.
 
The children are very responsible. They all do their own laundry, often washing their one and only school uniform when they get home from school. They do their laundry by hand outside on the pavement, scrubbing, wringing and hanging their clothes to dry. There is one washing machine on campus and one boy was so impressed by it, he watched the whole cycle in amazement!
 
 
We were in India during cyclone season. A couple of strong cyclones hit Vellore and the kids had to stay home from school. Chennai, a coastal city, gets hit by very strong and damaging winds. On the news we saw trees and cars getting blown over and people walking around the city in deep water. Rain is a blessing though, because most of the time India is a hot and dry place. While we were there, a new well had been dug to help provide adequate water for the girl's dorm. It was quite the process!  It took a large crew 8 hours of work on a machine hammering pipe after pipe 800 feet into the ground. Unfortunately, they didn't find as much water as they were hoping for this time. Access to an abundance of clean water is something we definitely take for granted!

Overnight, the Indian government banned the Indian 500 and 1,000 rupee notes. These two notes accounted for 80% of the Tamil Nadu's currency in circulation. The intention was to get rid of counterfeit money and illegal cash holdings. Unfortunately, the rich people who were guilty of this were forewarned of the switch and had already exchanged. Instead, it hit the poor people the hardest. In the cash dominated society of these small villages, suddenly no one had bills to spend at small businesses and people had a hard time paying for even the simplest necessities. A new 2,000 bill was introduced but no one had change for it right away. The entire time we were in India, there were long lines at every bank and ATM. What a headache! Kasthuri and Paulraj had to spend some time at the bank trying to exchange notes, often only being able to exchange a small amount at a time. We got very quick at mentally calculating the exchange rate from rupees to dollars!
 
 
In India, if you don't pass all of your 10th grade exams, you are unable to continue on to 11th grade. Because of this, three of the boys at Grace Foster Home were unable to attend school until they try retaking their exam again the following year. We taught them weekday mornings and had a lot of fun doing it in the classroom, on the porch, out in the field, or under the tree! After our lessons, we would play card games, write letters, color pictures, go on scooter rides, fix broken things, bike to the shops, take care of the animals, (all while sneakily correcting their English). Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights consisted of English classes for the elementary, middle, and high school students. The children were at different levels of English, some could speak it quite well, while some were learning the very basics. We taught all the kids English songs and really enjoyed listening to their accents while singing "Go Tell it on the Mountain" and "Seek Ye First." We were happy to hear that the kids at Georgetown were able to sing these songs along with them at their Christmas program! At their schools, their English lessons consist of them memorizing pre-written answers to questions and writing them word for word at exam time. When helping the children study, many would be able to recite their English paragraphs flawlessly, but when asked what a word meant, they often had no idea. Seeing what and how they were learning English in schools was frustrating for us. In a country where colleges are 100% English, it's very important for the kids to learn it, to give them a better opportunity when they go for higher study and seek employment. The children are very dedicated to their studies. Kalai, a senior girl who is about to start college, often studied until midnight and then woke up around 4am to continue studying. College students, staff members and villagers would have English class on Saturdays. 
 
In order to get the word out to the villagers, a thousand posters were made to announce the free English lessons. It was fun to see the posters plastered on buildings when we were out and about in different villages. Later we saw a couple posters completely gone or torn apart and we were told that the cows and goats had eaten some of them! On Tuesdays, Pastor Paulraj would teach a group of pastors at the Sola Gratia Bible class who join weekly for a time to study Reformed Theology. We would give them a short English lesson before their class began. We reviewed the books of the Bible, a few Bible verses, the letters of the alphabet, grammar, sentence structure, and the like, with the hope that this will help them in their future study of the Scripture. Throughout our time there, we were able to visit the variety of schools throughout the area that the GFH children attend. Some of their schools are in English while majority of them are in Tamil. The class sizes ranged from 6 to 70 students. Seeing their classrooms, reading their curriculum and meeting their teachers was quite a memorable experience for us. The children walk, bike or catch a lift to get to school.  Because a lot of the bikes were broken, at one point we got a bunch of new tires and supplies and spent a day fixing up all the bikes with some of the boys! We were also able to visit Vorhees College, where 3 of the senior girls attend and are at the top of their class! This is an opportunity they probably wouldn't have had outside of GFH, so they are very thankful for this and are studying very hard.
 
 The thing that struck us most was the confidence the kids developed in their conversation skills and English speaking abilities over the time period that we were in India. Because we only learned a little Tamil, the children really tried hard to communicate in English. We were so proud of their ability to convey what they wanted to say by asking questions and thinking of different words they'd learned. They were very attentive, eager to learn, and worked so hard.  The language barrier never really phased us.  There was always some way to get across what we wanted to say. At the goodbye program that they threw for us at the end of our stay, the children spoke thank you speeches in English, which is something they weren't able to do before. We also heard from Kasthuri that many of the children have since received higher marks in their classes! At devotions, they children would sometimes pray in English, or read and recite Bible verses in English. We were able to find Tamil/English Bibles at a small Bible shop in the city, and now most of the children have these Bibles.  
 
 
During our time in India we were also able to take photos to present the mission in India and promote awareness to the congregations at home. A photo of every family in the Vellore church was taken and printed for their family to keep. These photos will be used for a future church directory. We were also able to get some footage for the upcoming documentary, take updated photos of all the GFH children, and snap some pictures that could be used for their website. (if you'd like to see some photos you can visit http://emilymoelkerphotography .com/2016/10/19/india-grace- foster-home/) It was also a lot of fun to be able to give all the children new pictures of themselves and pictures with us and each other! Emily also thoroughly enjoyed giving Jason keyboard classes, where he first started learning how to read written music! All this time, he's been learning on his own and playing by ear, which is super impressive. We were able to find a piano book of Christian Tamil songs that they sing. It was the first time they'd seen these songs written out to piano music! It has been wonderful to see Jason's confidence grow in his musical abilities! Many children also liked to be involved in art classes, and a couple senior boys were also given guitar lessons, which they picked up quickly. It was so enjoyable to see them learn and improve. We were able to fix up some of their old guitars and purchase them a new guitar as well!
Opportunities for Giving
  
The needs of Paulraj and Kasthuri are endless, however their greatest desire is for your prayers. Please pray for them in their mission to deliver the message of Christ to all who will listen, in a nation where Christianity is despised. Please pray for their safety in sharing this message while surrounded by those who work against them. Please pray for the growth of the Protestant Reformed Church of Vellore and for all those who are members. Please pray for the children of Grace Foster Home, that they may continue to grow in the knowledge of their Savior who loves them.
  
If you have been moved by this ministry, please also consider a financial gift to assist in the day to day needs of Paulraj and Kasthuri, as well as the children of Grace Foster Home.
  
*To make a secure donation through Paypal or with a credit card, click on the Donate  button below... no Paypal account is needed!
 
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or mail your financial gift to:
  
Georgetown PRC/India Mission Outreach
PO Box 253
Hudsonville, MI 49426
  
*Please specify in the comments if you would like your gift to be used in the General Ministry or for the daily needs of Grace Foster Home.

Thank You!!
Georgetown PRC | | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 7146 48th Ave
Hudsonville, MI 49426
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PRC Weekly Congregational and Denominational News - July 9, 2017

Psalms 106 1On this July 9, 2017 Lord's Day we give the following updates on news and information from PRC congregations and mission fields.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane, WA) is considering the call from First PRC (Holland, MI). He plans to answer by July 16.
  • On July 2 the congregation of Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) voted to extend a call to Rev. A. Brummel (Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD).
  • The Council of Edgerton PRC announces a trio of Rev. Huizinga (Redlands, CA), Candidate Matthew De Boer, and Candidate Justin Smidstra.
  • The congregation of Southwest PRC (Grandville, MI) calls July 16 from a trio of Rev. Jon Mahtani (Cornerstone PRC- St. John, IN), Candidate Joe Holstege, and Candidate Justin Smidstra.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • The Synod of 2017 called Rev. D. Kuiper to serve in the PRC Seminary as professor of church history and NT studies, in replacement of Prof. R. Dykstra. On July 2 he announced his acceptance of this call. We give thanks to God for providing a man for this position, and pray for him and his family as well as Edgerton PRC as he makes this transition and prepares for his new post.

DgKuiper 2017

  • The PRC Synod of 2017 concluded its sessions on June 21, at Hudsonville PRC. Summary reports on each day may be found under the synod section of this website.

MISSION NEWS:

  • On July 2 Byron Center PRC voted to call Rev. A. Spriensma (her pastor) to serve as home misisonary.
  • On June 25 Rev. H. Bleyenberg (Providence PRC, Hudsonville, MI) DECLINED the call Doon PRC extended to him to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines.
  • From the Provident Christian Church bulletin for today we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • From Friday (July 7) to Monday (July 10), Rev. Kleyn and Sem. Kortus will accompany a delegation of the PRCP to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Albuera, Leyte. Pray for safety and a blessing on their trip.

 The Kleyns' recently posted pictures and descriptions of the recent Classis meeting of the PRCP, as well as of a wedding held in Provident CC. Below are a couple of samples. Find more at the link provided.

PRCP Classis July 2017 1

Provident wedding 2017

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New Issue of "Salt Shakers" Magazine - June 2017

SS 43 May 2017 Page 1"Covenant Keepers", the youth ministry of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (our sister church), has just released the June 2017 issue of "Salt Shakers" (#43),their youth magazine.

The June 2017 issue of "SS" is once again filled with interesting and profitable articles, and our PRC young people especially are invited and encouraged to make it part of their reading content.

Below you will find a note from the "SS" Committee introducing the contents of this issue and images of the cover and table of contents. The entire issue is also attached here in pdf form.

Beloved Readers,

The Salt Shakers Committee is pleased to publish Issue 43 of Salt Shakers! We apologise that this issue comes behind schedule. We are thankful to all our writers for their excellent contributions!
This issue contains the following articles:
Lest We Forget (III) - Aaron Lim
Scripture's Covenant Youth (VI): Moses - Prof. Herman Hanko
Are Unbelievers in God's Image? (I) - Rev. Angus Stewart
Dare to Stand: Bold Against Asherah - Stephen Regnerus
Space: The World Beyond Earth - Elisa Chew
Media Piracy: A Dire Temptation of Our Day - Dn. Cornelius Boon
Interview With Rev. Emmanuel Singh (II) - Salt Shakers Committee
Our Earthly Labours - Samuel Wee
Tolerate Thy Neighbour As Thyself? - Pastor Andrew Lanning
The Good Steward - Ivan Chew
Christian Denominations (II): Division in the Old Testament Church - Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma
 
We pray you may be edified by the articles in this issue - and urge you to remember to pass the salt!
Pro Rege,
Chua Lee Yang, on behalf of the Salt Shakers Committee
SS 43 May 2017 Page 2
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PRC Weekly Congregational, Denominational, and Sister-Church News - July 2, 2017 *(Updated)

Calvin justif 1On this July 2, 2017 Lord's Day we give the following updates on news and information from PRC congregations and mission fields, as well as denominational activities:

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane, WA) is considering the call from First PRC (Holland, MI). He plans to answer by July 16.
  • On June 25 Rev. N. Decker (Trinity PRC) DECLINED the calls from Southwest PRC and from Zion PRC (Hudsonville/Jenison, MI).
  • The consistory of Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) has formed a new trio consisting of Revs. Allen Brummel (Heritage, Sioux Falls), Eric Guichelaar (Randolph), and Nathan Langerak (Crete, Illinois). *Update: The congregation voted on July 2 to extend a call to Rev. A. Brummel.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • The Synod of 2017 called Rev. D. Kuiper to serve in the PRC Seminary as professor of church history and NT studies, in replacement of Prof. R. Dykstra. Today he announced his acceptance of this call. We give thanks to God for providing a man for this position, and pray for him and his family as well as Edgerton PRC as he makes this transition and prepares for his new post.
  • The PRC Synod of 2017 concluded its sessions on June 21, at Hudsonville PRC. Summary reports on each day may be found under the synod section of this website.

MISSION NEWS:

  • Byron Center PRC Council has made a new trio for home missionary. The trio consists of Revs. S. Key (Loveland, CO), R. Kleyn (Spokane, WA) and A. Spriensma (Byron Center).  *Update: The congregation voted on July 2 to call Rev. A. Spriensma.
  • On June 25 Rev. H. Bleyenberg (Providence PRC, Hudsonville, MI) DECLINED the call Doon PRC extended to him to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines.
  • From the Provident Christian Church bulletin for today we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Today is the beginning of two full worship services at PCC! Let us rejoice and thank God for this evidence of Him building the Church at PCC! We welcome you all and pray that you will be refreshed as we worship the Father today in spirit and in truth.

    • Rev. Holstege will preach for us twice today. Rev. Kleyn will be in Bulacan with Sem. Matt Kortus and his wife Sarah.

    • The 7M pastors classes will be held this Tuesday, July 4, at 9:30 am here at PCC, Lord willing.

    • From Friday (July 7) to Monday (July 10), Rev. Kleyn and Sem. Kortus will accompany a delegation of the PRCP to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Albuera, Leyte. Pray for safety and a blessing on their trip.

 The Kleyns' posted some pictures and descriptions of the recent visit of Rev. H. Bleyenberg and his wife, while he was considering the call to be a missionary to the Philippines. Below are a couple of samples. Find more at the link provided.

Bleyenbergs 2017 1Rev. Bleyenberg spoke for PCC's Wednesday night class (usually led by Rev. Holstege on the Canons of Dordt) on "How To Study the Bible."

Bleyenbergs Ibes 2017 2
At the Ibes to say hi.

Mrs. Stephanie Lanning (wife of Rev. A. Lanning, pastor of Covenant ERC in Singapore - blog is "Stories from Singapore") has added to her posts on the recent church camp there.  We include a couple of those pictures here.

 CERC Camp 2017 1

CERC camp 2017 2

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Reformed News Asia - June 2017

Issue 41 - June 2017
Pamphlets
We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
FEATURED Pamphlet!
RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN MARRIAGE
By Rev Wilbur Bruinsma

"Conflict in marriage is inevitable.  It is so because in marriage two sinners are bound together by God.  None of us is free of sin.  And sin is what gives rise to conflict in marriage.  There are disagreements that arise between a husband and a wife.  In fact, it is a wonder that God, almost miraculously, takes two incompatible sinners and makes them one flesh, and then, by His grace, causes them to live together in that peace and that joy which is necessary for marriage."

In a two-part series aired over the Reformed Witness Hour radio broadcast, Rev Bruinsma talks about one of the main causes of conflict in marriage - pride - as well as practices that should be found in every marriage: giving, communication, reading the Word of God together and repentance.

Read to find out more!

Click hereto view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

All pamphlets are free. CERC reserves some discretion regarding large orders and/or orders from those outside Singapore.
 
Featured Book
For local orders (S'pore), please contact Ms Daisy Lim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For international orders, click here.
Less Than The Least
by Cornelius Hanko

From the RFPA website:

"Son of Dutch immigrants to America, Rev. Hanko served six pastorates in five states, most notably in First Protestant Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1948–1964), along with Rev. Herman Hoeksema and Rev. Hubert De Wolf. Rev. Hanko poignantly describes the grief caused in the PRC by De Wolf’s heresy and schism (1953).

More than this, Less Than the Least follows Rev. Hanko from his childhood, school days, and seminary training, all the way to his retirement (1977) and beyond.

This delightful book comes complete with photos and appendices."
 
Audio Recordings
Here are the 4th and 5th sermons of Rev Lanning's new series on Galatians:

4) Justified By The Faith Of Jesus Christ
5) The Charge Of Antinomianism

Also, click here to access the 4 speeches from our recent church camp.
 
Upcoming Events!
 
Save these dates!

1) 9 Aug 17 - Fellowship Outing

2) 1 Sep 17 - Family Seminar

More details coming soon!
 
Past Events...
 
CERC Church Camp (12-15 Jun)
June's always an exciting month for CERC, with school holidays for the children and many church activities. It's also the time of the year for our annual church camp, one of the highlights of our organic church life.

This year, we returned to one of our favourite camp locations - Awana Genting! Situated up in the mountains of Malaysia, the cooler environment was a respite from the sweltering heat of Singapore. It was also a relief for the 7 Americans that had joined us from PRCA (see if you can spot them!). Given its location, the camp theme - Zion founded on the mountains - was an apt one, and the related speeches and discussions were nourishing for our souls.
GROUP PHOTO! We had quite a turnout this camp, with just over 110 campers.
Our camp speaker, Rev Andy Lanning
One of the 10 discussion groups
Ice-Breakers! Do you know your group members??
Brave souls preparing to embark on an exhilarating, physically-challenging, leech-infested, FUN hike.
Intense game of Captain's Ball during our free time.
The beautiful view from one of the hotel rooms.
 
CK/CKS June Retreat (24-26 Jun)
Another highlight in June (for the young people) is the Covenant Keepers' retreat. Held at Changi Cottage over 3 days, it was a nice way for the youths to spend time together in fellowship and studying God's word. The theme this year was "The God of Zion's Youth".
Group Photo, with first-time chairman, Joseph Teo posing in front.
In a game of Mental Sums, Rachel Buiter (who happens to be going to school for Math), loses to her brother Brian and gets splashed in the face.
The unconventional game of crab soccer. The game eventually ended when the ball got punctured by thorns. How deflating.
Rev Lanning was unable to speak for us in person as he was attending the PRCA Synod. So we watched recorded speeches that he had prepared and sent us instead.
 
7 Young Americans!
More (young) visitors to add to the list! This past month, we welcomed and hosted 7 young Americans from the PRCA: From Hope (Redlands): Brian and Rachel Buiter, Bruce and Emily Feenstra; from Crete: Lydia Smits and Cobie Lenting; from Hope (Walker): Monica Koole.

We had a whale of a time taking them around Singapore, letting them try our foods (including the un-disputably delicious Durian), fellowshipping in church and at the camp/retreat, and simply getting to know one another.
Atop the look-out tower at Pulau Ubin
Volleyball showdown! USA vs. SG - guess who won??
Traveling the Singaporean way - MRT (train system)
Trying out some local delights - dim sum
Farewell Sunday - as usual, our visitors were given a very warm farewell.  During the entertainment segment, they were made to answer questions about Singapore and CERC. For each wrong answer, they all had the privilege of savouring a local dish (:
Psalm 119:63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
 
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

Lord’s Day services on Sunday at 930 am & 2 pm • 11 Jalan Mesin, #04-00, Standard Industrial Building, Singapore 368813 • Pastor: Rev Andy Lanning  • www.cerc.org.sg 
 
 
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Covenant Reformed News - June 2017

Covenant Reformed News

June 2017  •  Volume XVI, Issue 14


Our Identity in Christ (3)

Men and women truly know and rejoice in their identity as human beings, and as male and female, only in Jesus Christ! We entered our new, spiritual life through the new birth. We had a first, physical birth and we were born again with a spiritual birth. Our first birth was here below; our second birth was from above. For most of us, our first birth took place in a hospital; our second birth was from heaven.

This second birth enables us to understand our earthly identity as human beings and gives us a spiritual and heavenly identity as Christians. Through our new birth, we are children of God in the Son of God, not spiritual orphans. God is our Father, “Our Father which art in heaven,” as the address of the Lord’s Prayer puts it. To Him we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).

As those with a new life through a new birth, we are new men and new women in Christ. As II Corinthians 5:17 puts it, “old things are passed away.” These include the old, sinful ideas of identity—pagan ideas, secular ideas, the vain traditions handed on to us by the world (cf. I Pet. 1:18).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17). This is our new identity and new life in the Lord Jesus.

It is an amazing thing that we find our real identity through our identification with Jesus Christ! What is the believer’s justification? What is the righteousness of God that He imputes and reckons to my account? It is not any righteousness that I have wrought but the righteousness of another, even Jesus Christ.

What is my sanctification? Not any holiness or goodness that I have worked up of myself. It is the holiness of Jesus Christ Himself wrought in me by His Holy Spirit. “Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20). I died in the first Adam; I live through the last Adam!

So what has happened to each and every believer? Just what Jesus said! We find our true selves by denying ourselves and losing our lives for His sake (Matt. 16:24-25); we find our true identity by losing our old, sinful identity.

The believer also knows that he or she is not perfect— far from it! “Simul justus et peccator,” as Martin Luther famously put it, that is, “At the same time just and sinner.” The child of God is just or righteous with the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ which is received by faith alone. But also and at the same time, he is a sinner. In me is not only the new man in Jesus Christ but also the old man or indwelling sin. Though the flesh is dethroned and not dominant, it still lusts for sin and against the spirit (Gal. 5:17). There is a battle within us and this too is part of our identity while here in this life. Yet it is the new man that is “me” in the deepest sense (cf. Rom. 7:14-25) for it is dominant and everlasting, whereas my old man will die with my physical death.

This is your identity, child of God. You are a loved person—loved by God. You were loved by Him before you were converted, before you were born and even before the foundation of the world, for you were beloved in Jesus Christ in God’s eternal decree of election!

You are a redeemed person. Jesus Christ bought you back from sin and death and hell by paying the ransom price for you by His blood on the cross! “This is my only comfort in life and death,” says the child of God, according to the opening words of the Heidelberg Catechism, “That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with His precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil.”

We are in a gracious covenant with the Triune God in Jesus Christ. The Ruler of the cosmos, who inhabits eternity, dwells in the high and holy place with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isa. 57:15). My Maker reveals Himself to me in His beautiful creation all around me, in His infallible Word and in the cross of Jesus Christ.

How else does being in Jesus Christ determine our identity? In Christ, we have “got a life,” abundant life (John 10:10), not a life in the slavery of sin. In Christ, we have purpose: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, A. 1), whereas most people drift through life not knowing what they are supposed to be doing or why they are here.

We have dignity because we are prophets, priests and kings in Jesus Christ, and not mutated protoplasm. This affects our life and work! We are rich for all things are ours, serving our salvation (I Cor. 3:21). We are not spiritual paupers!

We know the difference between right and wrong (ethics) and for us it is not being redefined every few years by new civil laws, opinion polls, the PC elite or the false church. God’s moral law (unlike ungodly man’s law) is written in stone and in our hearts, according to the promise of the new covenant (Jer. 31:33; II Cor. 3:3)!
We know what to do with our bodies. Our bodies are for the Lord and not for fornication (I Cor. 6:13). Our bodily members are to be used as “instruments of righteousness,” not as instruments of uncleanness and iniquity (Rom. 6:13, 19).

In short, in Jesus Christ, we have become truly human, better men and women, those who image God our Creator and Christ our Redeemer. After all, we have been stamped not with 666, the number of the beast, but with the seal of the Spirit!   Rev. Stewart

 

The More-Loving-Than-God Argument (3)


In my last two articles, I began a series addressing a reader’s concerns over the heresies of common grace and the gracious or well-meant offer of the gospel (the notions that God loves absolutely everybody and passionately desires to save those He has eternally decreed not to save). With this News, I continue my answers to his questions. 

Question 2. “Jesus told us to love our neighbour as He loves them. If He loves just a few, how come He asks us to love everyone? Does He not want us to be like Him? If Jesus loves only a few, and yet we aspire to love and have concern for everyone, are we not making ourselves more loving than He is?”

This question is very much like the first one (which we covered in the last issue of the News) and has the same errors. It assumes ideas that are unscriptural and untrue.  

The assertion that Jesus loves His neighbours who are all men is a purely human invention that is found nowhere in Scripture. I beg of the objector that he read such passages as John 17:9 and John 13:1. In fact, I know of a minister who used this very argument and so fell into the heresy of Nestorianism, the error that teaches that Jesus has two persons, a human and a divine. This view was condemned by the church early in its history at the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). The argument here goes like this: Jesus, in His human nature, loved His neighbour; His neighbour included all men head for head. Therefore, Jesus loved all men in His human nature, while in His divine nature He loved only the elect. That is heresy.

We are in the world and do not know who are God’s elect and who are not. God and Christ know. They love the elect. We are witnesses who are called to love our neighbour. That means that we seek the salvation of all those whom we know and meet in life. God wills that the reprobate hear the gospel, as well as the elect. He uses our witness through the preaching and personal witnessing to save His elect. He also uses our preaching and witness to bring the wickedness of the reprobate to a full manifestation  so that God may be justified in His punishment of those who reject His truth.

What is so hard to understand about that? It is biblical and glorifies God.

The defenders of common grace may not, as they do, argue from our love for all men to a universal love of God. We do not and cannot love all men. In any case, we must not manufacture a god who is like us (Ps. 50:21).

Question 3. “Paul in Romans 9:1-3 and 10:1 reveals that he has an ardent, earnest desire and longing for all his kinsman (head for head) to be saved. Yet you deny that God Himself desires all to be saved. Does not that make you more loving than God?”

At last, we have some texts with which to deal! It is the only appeal to Scripture in all the six questions. It is a relief, for it brings us back to God’s Word, instead of engaging each other in the arena of man’s philosophizing.

Yet I find the argument puzzling. Yes, Paul expressed his desire that all Israel be saved. Moses did something of the same thing when he prayed to God that He would spare Israel after their sin of worshipping the golden calf at Sinai. Moses loved God’s church so much that he was willing to go to hell for them (Ex. 32:32).

Has the defender of common grace never pleaded with God to spare someone whom he loved? His wife dying of cancer? his son who has fled home and lives a godless life?  Have not godly parents, while watching their little child writhe in pain, wished that they could suffer in the place of their child? 

God showed Moses and Paul that His will was not to save everyone. Moses learned this when God declared, “[I] will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (33:19). Paul wrote that, in spite of his personal desires, God does not save all Israel; He desires to save (and, therefore, saves) the true Israel of election (Rom. 9:6-8). God does not desire to save reprobate Jews or Gentiles: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (13); “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [or wants to] have mercy, and whom he will [or wants to] he hardeneth” (18); “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing [or wanting or desiring] to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction ...” (21-22).

And so the believer, in his anguish, prays, “Thy will be done,” and seeks the higher purpose in life’s sorrows: the glory of Almighty God.

I might add that neither Moses nor Paul had to go to hell because of their sin or the sin of the church, for Christ suffered for all His church so that, by the power of His particular and efficacious atonement, all the elect are saved from the hell we deserve.

Question 4. “You aspire to treat everyone with kindness (i.e., love them) and share the gospel with them (i.e., you want them to be saved) and yet God only loves a few. Are you making yourself more loving than God?”

It is true that the elect are, according to Isaiah, a hut in a garden of cucumbers, a besieged city and a very small remnant (Isa. 1:8-9). Isaiah was describing the church on earth which, at the time he prophesied, was limited to Israel, an Israel that had become mostly apostate. But the true church for which Christ died is described as being greater in number than the stars in the heavens and the sand at the seashore (e.g., Gen. 22:17). That number cannot be described as “a few,” although it is probably true that the number of the whole church is less than the number of all the reprobate.

Eternally, God chose to reveal and glorify Himself through Jesus Christ and the salvation of the elect in Him (Eph. 1:3-14). Eternally, He determined that the reprobate would serve the purpose of saving the elect (Rom. 9:12)—as the chaff serves the purpose of bringing forth the wheat or as the scaffolding serves the erection of the building itself.

Yet the gospel is preached to elect and reprobate alike, because in the gospel the ungodly also are called to repentance. God’s judgment upon them is just for they have refused His command to repent and believe in Christ. They are damned for their unbelief, according to God’s eternal purpose: “them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (I Pet. 2:8). The reprobate were appointed to destruction in the way of their unbelief. Prof. Hanko

 
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • www.youtube.com/cprcni • www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
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South Wales Lecture
Thursday, 6 July, 2017
 7:15 PM

Speaker: Rev. M. McGeown

Subject: Humility

Humility, meekness, lowliness: these are distinct Christian qualities. Why are Christians, and especially Reformed Christians, humble? How do humble believers behave with respect to God, other members of the church and even unbelievers? What do the Reformed confessions teach about humility? What behaviour is consistent with, or inconsistent with, humility?
 
NEW VENUE:
Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

www.cprc.co.uk
www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm
www.limerickreformed.com
 

Reformation Resources

The 16th Century Reformation of the Church
edited by David Engelsma
(200 pp. Softback)
Twenty-five articles on the Protestant Reformation dealing with its central characters and doctrines.
Stirring stuff!
£7.70

Always Reforming
edited by David Engelsma
(318 pp. Softback)
This superb book traces the continuing reformation in the Netherlands in the 17th and 19th centuries and in the Protestant Reformed Churches in North America in the 20th century.
£9.90 

Portraits of Faithful Saints
Herman Hanko
(450 pp. Hardback)
Inspiring and instructive biographies of over 50 saints from the 1st to the 20th century, including Augustine, Patrick, Alcuin, Bernard of Clairvaux, Beza, de Brès, Tyndale, Ames and Gresham Machen.
£24.20

The Reformed Faith
of John Calvin

David Engelsma
(472 pp. Hardback)
An excellent summary of Calvin’sInstitutes, including explanation, analysis and application for today of this great Reformer’s much-needed teaching.
£19.80

Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
on-line, by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Celebrating
500 Years
of the Reformation

----
Reformation
Conference

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
11 AM -  “Martin Luther: Theologian of the Glory of God”
1 PM - “Justification in Paul
and in James”
(lunch served between the two lectures)

Friday, 27 October, 2017, 7:30 PM 
“Martin Luther: Man of Conviction”

Friday, 3 November, 2017, 7:30 PM 
“Calvin’s Doctrine of the Covenant”

Speaker
 Prof. David J. Engelsma 

emeritus Professor of Dogmatics at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, USA

Venue
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence St., Ballymena, N. Ireland BT43 5DR

Prof. Engelsma is also to preach at both CPRC services,
11 AM & 6 PM, on Lord’s Days22 & 29 October and
5 November

Watch www.cprc.co.uk or contact us at (028) 25 891851 
for more details closer to the event 

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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for July 2017

First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI and the Reformed Witness Hour Committee announce the messages scheduled for July 2017 on the RWH radio program.

Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI continues his four-month service for the RWH program, as he continues a series on marriage this month.

You are encouraged to listen to these important messages and to let others know about them too. Help spread the word about the Reformed Witness Hour, now in its 76th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign, particular, efficacious grace!

Below are the messages scheduled for this month, also in flyer form (attached in pdf).

July 2, 2017 - Husband, Love Your Wives, Eph.5:25-27

July 9, 2017 - Husbands, Love with Purpose, Eph.5:27

July 16, 2017 - The Husband is the Head of His Wife, Eph.5:23

July 23, 2017 - To Provide and Protect, Eph.5:23

July 30, 2017 - A Wife's Submission to Her Husband, Eph.5:22-24

RWH Flyer July 2017 Page 1

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