The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, January 3, 2021, the first Lord's Day of this new year 2021.
- Today we gather as God's covenant people in worship once again. May we render to our great and glorious God the worship that He alone is worthy of. If you are visiting this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and evening). For congregations and locations, visit this page. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night (Psalm 92:1,2).
- Rev. A.Spriensma plans to be installed as Cornerstone PRC's (Dyer, IN) new pastor next week Sunday, Jan.10. Rev. J. Smidstra (First PRC, Holland, MI) will lead the installation service, D.V.
- Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. C.Spronk and Rev. R.Barnhill in Cornerstone PRC; Prof. D.Kuiper and Rev. J.Holstege in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. N.Decker in Kalamazoo PRC; Rev. M.DeVries and J.Marcus in Providence PRC. We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation to help one another in this need.
Let us also remember to pray for the needs of these vacant congregations, including Wingham PRC, which cannot have pulpit supply from the U.S. at this time (pandemic travel restrictions). In fact, in her bulletin again today, the Wingham Consistory informs the congregation that with the new COVID-19 lockdown orders in Ontario, they are suspending services until the congregation can gather again. Let's remember them in prayer with regard to this too.
- For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, 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:
- a special memoral page was made on Old Year's day for all our members who passed away during 2020? Find that here.
- Rev. Dan Holstege (PRC foreign missionary) will give a presentation on the work in the Philippines next Sunday evening, January 10, at 7:45 at Hull PRC (NW Iowa)? All in that area are invited. Word is he is also planning these elsewhere around the denomination - stay alert to the notices!
- the PRCP Seminary in the Philippines will be taking the same Interim course as the PRC Seminary students here in the U.S.? Prof. R. Cammenga's special course on "The Life and Theology of John Calvin" (Jan.4-13) is being recorded once again so that the PRCP students there can view the videos and participate in discussions with Revs. D.Kleyn and R.Smit - each day a day later than here! If you wish to hear these lectures from the last time they were taught, you may go here.
PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:
- Prof. R. Dykstra and his wife Carol finished their two-week-quarantine in Singapore last week and have moved into a condo for the duration of their stay. We pray for him as he serves our sister church there, Covenant ERC.
- Missionary-pastor D. Holstege (the Philippines), along with his family, are residing in West Michigan for their six-month missionary furlough in the U.S. (until June 30, 2021). Today they are in Randolph, where he will also lead one service. From there they will be traveling to Doon, IA, the calling church for the mission labors in the Philippines.
- Rev. J. Marcus continues to stay busy with preaching and teaching assignments as he awaits a call to one of our churches.
- Classis East will next meet on Wednesday, Jan.13, at Grace PRC.
Special PRC Seminary Notices:
- Seminary's two-week Christmas/New year break (Dec.19-Jan.3) has ended and the special Interim course will be taught for the next week and a half (see note below). The second semester is set to begin on Tuesday, Jan.19. Continue to remember the seminary's faculty, students, and staff in your prayers.
- Prof. R. Cammenga will be teaching the special Interim course starting this week (January 4-13). It will once again be on the Life and Theology of John Calvin. Regretfully, the seminary will not be allowing auditors for the course this year. But, if you want to listen to the lectures from the last time they were taught, you may go here.
- Sem. Josiah Tan (senior) completed his internship this past week at First PRC under Rev. C. Griess. He will return for his final semester on Jan.19.
- Prof. R. Dykstra and his wife Carol are currently in Singapore for an extended stay to serve our sister church there (mid-December into May 2021). The other professors will pick up his classes to assist him while he is gone.
- Notice of Licensure: The faculty has licensed student Marcus Wee to speak a word of edification in our churches. Brother Wee is a member of our sister church, Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore. We rejoice at this milestone in the brother’s preparation for the ministry of the gospel. Any scheduling of him to lead worship services will be through the seminary faculty. This also provides us with an opportunity to impress upon our churches and sister churches the great need that we have for students for the ministry. Let us pray the Lord of the harvest to raise up laborers in His vineyard, Matthew 9:37-38. For the faculty, Prof. Ron Cammenga, Rector.
- The Fall issue of the PRTS Journal is being completed and prepared for printing. The hope is for later this month.
- For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.
The December 2020 issue is now available!
- Covenant ERC, Singapore:
- From this week's "Pastoral Voice" in her bulletin: As we all are aware, with the relaxing of more restrictions in Phase 3, the number of worshippers has been increased to 250. Session has submitted a new Safe Management Measure (SMM) to MCCY involving the worshipping of all the members in both services and conducting of the Lord’s Supper. A survey is also being conducted to seek your opinion concerning the best timing for worshipping in the second service. Please do the survey latest by 10 Jan 2021. The authority from MCCY will be coming down to our church to let us walk through with them how the SMM will be implemented to include all the 180 worshippers. Do commit this in your closet prayer that we may obtain the desired approval.
- The December 2020 issue of "Reformed News Asia" was just published (#63). Read that issue here.
- A new issue of Salt Shakers magazine (for young people) is also out - read the December 2020 at this link.
- Covenant PRC, N. Ireland and her Limerick, Ireland mission:
- Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word to the saints in Ballymena as they are allowed at present to worship.
- Rev. Stewart has produced a new newsletter on life and labors in CPRC. You may find that November issue here.
- Be sure to read the latest issue of the "Covenant Reformed News" - December 2020!
- From the Limerick Reformed Fellowship bulletin today (Rev. M. McGeown):
In 2020 we worshipped for a total of 23 Sundays at home. The first COVID 19 lockdown was from 29 March to June 28 (we returned to the hall on 5 July for fourteen Sundays). The second COVID 19 lockdown was from 11 October to 29 November (we returned to the hall on 6 December for three Sundays). The third COVID 19 lockdown began on 26 December and will continue until at least the end of January 2021. We are disappointed that the Irish government has made no allowances for even the smallest of gatherings for public worship. (We are thankful that our brethren in the CPRC Ballymena are allowed to gather). We ask the Lord to move the hearts of the civil government to allow us to gather again, for our one desire is to dwell in His house (Ps. 27:4).
- Rev.McGeown has penned a December 2020 newsletter for his fellow saints. You may find that here.
- PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
- Berean PRC bulletin today: Rev. R.Smit led the services today, as they are allowed to meet in person (up to 50%). Rev. Ibe and Elder Alann Penaverde are scheduled to visit the saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF),Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija today. Rev. Ibe will lead them in the preaching of the Word of God, D.V.
- From Maranatha PRC bulletin today: The government put Metro Manila and nearby provinces under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) up to December 31, 2020. At the moment, we are postponing our corporate gathering on January 3, 2021 and we are moving the date on January 17, 2021 due to the recent news that the Covid-19 patients are increasing in our area. Let us continue to pray that our heavenly Father will bring us back to our normal corporate worship. D.V. In the meantime, Rev. L. Trinidad ministers the word online to the congregation.
Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. J. Flores is bringing the gospel there today, as they meet in person.
- PRCP Seminary News: The seminary will be taking the PRC Seminary's Interim course on John Calvin from Jan.5-14.
- Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC) is delivering the messages on the program at present (Oct.2020 - Jan 2021). Today he brings a special new-year message, "Confidence in Christ's Coming," based on Hebrews 10:35-37.
- Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Have you listened lately?
REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM:
Looking for some good devotional reading in the year to come? Or a gift to bless someone else? Check out this title at the RFPA website, as well as others!
- 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.
- Want to learn 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.
This Week's Thought for Contemplation:
The scriptural truth concerning the will of God is an important doctrine and fundamental truth to us who confess the sovereignty of God. The text speaks of the living, active, sovereignly efficacious will of the living God. That truth has several implications.
In the first place, what God wills shall certainly come to pass. God sovereignly executes His will, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isa. 46:10). No man is able to frustrate the purpose of Almighty God. No man is able to change God’s eternal will. His will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Do you believe and confess that? The confession James sets before us—“If the Lord wills, I shall live and do this or that”—is possible only on the basis of this fundamental truth.
In the second place, God’s will is all-comprehensive. There is not one detail of history that takes place without the will of God. Many years ago I sat in a church where a well-known “Reformed” theologian was the visiting preacher. This man stood in the pulpit—before the face of God—expounding Psalm 2: “I will declare the decree...thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee.” This man had the audacity to stand before God and say, “Some people think God’s decree includes everything, that He even cares for sparrows, for birds. That is nonsense. God decreed one thing, that is Christ.” From there he went on to deny God’s sovereign decree of predestination. Now, Reformed theologian or not, Reformed church or not, the god this man proclaimed was an idol, the god of his own imagination. The God of the Scriptures is sovereign. In revealing the all-comprehensive nature of His will and His tender care over us, Jesus says in Matthew 6:25–26, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”
There is not one minute of detail in history that takes place outside of the will of God. God wills the sicknesses that come to us in this life, including COVID-19, as well as the deeds and final destination of all men and angels and devils. All things come to pass under His direction and according to His sovereign determination. Unless we believe and confess this fundamental truth, we can never say, “If the Lord wills, I shall live and do this or that.”
In the third place, Christ stands at the very center of the whole counsel of God. Everything is for His sake. God’s purpose is to glorify Himself through Christ. And the living will of God becomes very personal at exactly this point, because Christ never stands alone, but always as the Head of His people. All God’s counsel is realized through the salvation of a people in Christ. The infinitely wise, supremely blessed will of Almighty God is your final blessedness in Christ!
When you sit back and contemplate this fundamental truth of the will of God, what a marvelous truth it is!
All that God determines to do is for the sake of His people in Christ. No wonder Scripture records so many speeches and songs extolling the greatness of God’s will! No wonder that the heavens resound with the songs of the angels and saints singing praises to God for all His wondrous works! No wonder that Scripture repeatedly reminds us that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose; that if God be for us, nothing can be against us; and that all things are ours, even as we are Christ’s and Christ is God’s. What a blessed truth this is!
Taken from Rev. S.Key's meditation found in the latest Standard Bearer (Jan.1, 2021) "If the Lord Wills," based on James 4:13-15