Below you will find special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this third Sunday of our Lord's year 2022, January 16. At the beginning of this new year, we praise the Lord for the hope we have in Him and the promise that He will guide us and provide for us. May our worship today rise up to our faithful God as a sweet-smelling sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. ~ Psalm 37:34-37
If you are new to this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and afternoon/evening). For congregations, locations and times, visit this page.
- Last Sunday (Jan.9) Heritage PRC (Sioux Falls, SD) called Rev. Ryan Barnhill (Peace PRC, Dyer, IN).
- The Council of Doon PRC announces a new trio: Revs. J. Holstege (Zion PRC), D. Kleyn (missionary to the Philippines), and M. Kortus (Hope PRC-Redlands, CA). The congregation will vote after the evening service today. *UPDATE: Rev. Kortus has received this call.
- Hudsonville PRC's Council chose a new trio of Rev. R. Barnhill (Peace PRC, Dyer, IN), Rev. Kortus (Hope PRC-Redlands) and Rev. Laning (Hull PRC). We will hold our congregational meeting tonight after the evening service. *UPDATE: Rev. Barnhill has received this call.
- Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. R. Hanko in Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA); Rev. S. Key (2nd week) in Doon (IA) PRC; Rev. M. DeBoer (2nd week) in First PRC, Edmonton, AB; Prof. B. Gritters and Sem. M. Koerner in Grace PRC; Prof. C. Griess and Rev. D. Noorman in Hudsonville PRC. We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation and the privilege to be able to help one another in this need.
- For those whose in-person public worship may still be limited, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.
- Did you know that....
- Byron Center PRC's sermons reached all 50 States and every continent but Antartica last year? Her Evangelism Committee reported this in recent bulletins: Our SermonAudio account had 41,261 total plays this year . We reached all 50 states and all the continents except Antarctica. Our sermons were listened to in many countries from Peru to Kazakhstan to Zambia to Fiji. SermonAudio is great tool for evangelism and spreading the gospel throughout the world.
- Crete PRC young people invited the retirees from the congregation to a sing-along after church tonight? A light lunch was also provided. What a wonderful way for generations to fellowship together!
Providence PRC, host of the meeting of Classis East last week (see brief report below)
PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:
- PRC Contact Committee: Prof. B. Gritters and Mr. S. Miedema concluded their church visitation work with Covenant PRC in Ballymena, N.Ireland this past week and returned home Friday. May the Lord bless their labors for the mutual benefit of CPRC and the PRC.
- Classis East met this past Wednesday, Jan.12, at Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. The following is a brief summary of the decisions:
Since Rev. R. Kleyn could not attend due to Covid-19, Rev. Langerak chaired the meeting. During its deliberations Classis did not approve of two overtures; received and recommitted recommendations from a study committee regarding the work of the Stated Clerk with regard to the distribution of the agenda of Classis East; adopted a schedule for Classical Appointments for Grace and Hudsonville PRCs; approved subsidy requests from several congregations and forwarded them to Synod 2022 for approval; elected men for Synod (primi ministers: Revs. Decker, Dykstra, Eriks, Kleyn, and Langerak; primi elders: Mike Gritters, Jim Lanting, Sid Miedema, John VanBaren, and Dan Van Uffelen) and to serve on other committees on behalf of classis and synod (Synodical Deputies from the East, Classical Committee, and Church Visitors). Classis also gave approval to a consistory to increase discipline for two members of their congregation. Classis accepted the invitation of First PRC of Holland to host its next meeting on May 11, 2022. We pray that God will use the decisions of Classis East for the good of our churches and for the glory of His name.
PRC Seminary Notices:
- The 2022 Interim course was completed this past week, with Prof. R. Dykstra having taught "The History and Principles of Christian Education."
- This past week Prof. C.Griess took a special intensified course related to his ThM studies at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. Prof. B. Huizinga submitted his revised thesis topic to Calvin Theological Seminary this past week.
- The seminary is open daily (8-5), including the library and bookstore, for our members and friends. The staff is available to assist with any other needs you may have as well. Feel free to call in advance for help with any questions.
- The Fall 2021 issue of the PRT Journal is at the printer and should be ready by the end of this month. The digital editions (pdf and ePub) are now available on the seminary's website. If you want to be added to our mailing list (either print or digital), contact Sharon, the seminary secretary.
- For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.
Missionary-pastor E. Singh, CERC's foreign missionary in Kolkata (see update below)
- Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
- Pastor J. Tan is serving the CERC faithfully from week to week. Part of his note to the congregation today: "Dearest CERC family, we have much work to do by God’s grace. Let us stand together for the truth unashamedly. By nature, we would not dare to be courageous to speak of Christ to unbelievers. By nature, we rather excuse ourselves from standing for the truth. But may the glorious gospel of Christ compel us, so we say, woe to us, woe to us, if we do not sacrifice and witness to those near and far of the sovereign grace of God."
- A new issue of "Reformed News Asia" is available - December 2021 - #65. Be sure to check it out for the latest news from our sister!
- Update on Kolkata mission work: "The Session has some updates from our dear Missionary and Pastor Singh. By God’s grace, our dear Missionary has been faithfully holding regular worship services at 5:00 pm on Sunday. Because of the distance, many have to travel just to enter into the rest of the preaching of the word, many saints come and stay at Pastor’s Singh’s place on Saturday night. On Saturday nights and Sunday mornings at 10 AM, Pastor Singh leads a bible study on the doctrine of salvation. On the 25th of December, CERC Kolkata had a Christmas gospel meeting. 30 newcomers were brought by God’s providence to hear the gospel of sovereign grace. There was diligent follow up with those who attended. Tracts distribution in marketplaces and metro stations have begun. Witnessing to others of Christ by individual members of the church was done together with a distribution of 10,000 Gospel tracts. On 26th December, [two persons] were baptized at CERC Kolkata. Let us join our brothers and sisters in thanksgiving to God in this significant event. ...Please continue in prayers for our Foreign Mission Committee as they labour diligently in providing support to our Missionary Pastor Singh. Pray that the COVID situation will not hinder, but be used by God for the spread of the gospel. Pray for many members who are the only Christians in their homes, pray for faithfulness to the precious reformed faith."
- Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
- Rev. A.Stewart continues to minister the Word faithfully to the saints in Ballymena.
- Sign up for the 2022 British Reformed Fellowship family conference at Castlewellan Castle in Northern Ireland from Saturday, July 9, to Saturday, July 16. The speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Prof. Brian Huizinga will lecture on "Union With Christ." For information see the website (http://brfconference.weebly.com).
- Be sure to check out the lastest edition of "Covenant Reformed News" - December 2021. Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles by Revs. A. Stewart and R. Hanko.
- PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
- A new Philippines Newsletter is available (visit the foreign missions page and see the download at the top of the right-hand column). Rev. R. Smit has penned a report on various aspects of the life and labors of our missionaries there, including this encouraging news about resuming work in SNO: "Our work in southern Negros Occidental [SNO] has been on hold because of travel restrictions. This situation is beginning to change with the government recently allowing fully vaccinated travelers to SNO. Of course, there is a list of rules that travellers must follow in order to visit, but at least the door is opening again for a resuming of our mission labors in SNO in 2022, D.V."
- Berean PRC bulletin: "Rev. Ibe will lead us in our worship services today via live stream. The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us in our worship services today via live streaming at our Facebook page."
- Provident PRC bulletin: "Rev. Smit will preach and lead our worship services today. A livestream of our services will be provided at the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page. Our Bible Study every Wednesday at 7:30 pm led by Rev. Smit on the book of Acts will meet this coming Wednesday, January 19, the Lord willing."
- The PRCP seminary "classes [2nd Semester] will resume this week beginning on Tuesday (January 18) at our Seminary Library in Beverly Hills, Antipolo. The classes will be conducted face-to-face, the Lord willing. We pray for God’s continued blessings upon the labors of our faithful instructors [Revs Smit and Kleyn] and upon Bro. Ace Flores as well."
- Currently, Rev. W.Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC, Pennsylvania) is the featured speaker, with focus on a series on Hebrews 11. Today's message is based on Hebrews 11:23 and titled "The Faith of Moses' Parents."
REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM
This month's RFPA special! Check it out in more detail here.
- The Reformed Book Outlet (downtown Hudsonville, MI) is open four days a week and features Reformed publications, good Christian music, and other practical items (cards, etc.) Come visit the store Tuesday - Friday from 10am-5pm, or Saturday from 10am - 1pm!
- For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including church history and Bible study materials - visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.
- Are you interested in learning more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.
- Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.
This Week's Thought for Contemplation
When we addressed last time the subject of speaking the truth, we considered that one form of lying is slander. We defined slander along these lines: speaking a lie or an unproven, malicious statement about another person that injures his reputation. Slander is sin against the ninth commandment.
Here we want to consider a sister-sin to slander: gossip or backbiting. If slander is saying what is not true about a person, gossip or backbiting is when we say some unflattering truth about him. Usually we say these things to others when the brother or sister’s back is turned, and the effect is that we also needlessly injure his or her reputation.
The sin of backbiting is all too common among us. When we get together with others, we love to talk about other people’s lives and their faults and flaws. We love to dish the latest dirt that we have heard, no matter that it unnecessarily ruins the reputations of others. How we hate the thought of others talking about us while our backs are turned, but how we love to do the same to others!
Maintaining confidentiality seems to be going the way of the dodo. To maintain confidentiality means that we are aware of some private matter or some failure of another person but we keep it in strict confidence and do not blab about it to those who have no business knowing. But, more often than we would probably be willing to admit, we do not keep the circle of people who know something as small as possible but are guilty of extending it further.
What is more, we are skilled at minimizing this sin. We might try to cover it up by sounding quite pious: “I don’t mean to gossip, but I just thought you should know about what’s going on in this person’s life.” Or we might flatter the person we are telling: “I wouldn’t tell anyone else this, but I know you can keep it a secret.” Stripping away these cover attempts, the naked truth is that we are being wickedly nosy and gossipy.
Although we are tempted to minimize this sin in our lives, what we need to have impressed upon us is that this is no minor, insignificant sin. There are many New Testament passages that warn against this sin (for example, Rom. 1:29; II Cor. 12:20; I Tim. 5:13). There are also repeated warnings in the book of Proverbs concerning the sin of “tale-bearing.” For instance, Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (cf. also Prov. 11:13; 20:19; 26:20).
The Heidelberg Catechism summarizes the teaching of God’s Word on this matter in Lord’s Day 43 when it says “that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer,” and then warns “that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit as the proper works of the devil, unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God.”
Is that how we think about the sin of backbiting? As a proper work of the devil? As a sin so heinous that, continuing in it, one would bring down upon himself the heavy wrath of God?
~ Rev. Josh Engelsma in the January 15, 2022 Standard Bearer