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Philippines Mission Newsletter - August 2020

3 missionaries Oct 2017

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES

August 2020 Newsletter

Rev. D. Holstege (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) – Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) – Rev. R. Smit (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
PO Box 1173 ACPO, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870, Philippines

Dear Congregations of the PRCA,

Greetings again from the Philippines. It has been quite a while since we’ve sent out a newsletter. The reason for this is twofold. We waited, first of all, because you were able in recent months to read and digest a good amount of information about the mission field and work here in the Philippines through the special May 2020 issue of the Beacon Lights. But in the second place, we waited so that we could give you updated information concerning the upcoming year of seminary instruction, especially as that (along with everything else) continues to be affected by the coronavirus quarantines here.

COVID-19 has, of course, affected us all. Our day to day lives have changed. Perhaps permanently. For us those changes began with quarantines that were put in place on March 14. And although the quarantine levels have changed from time to time, basically we have had to stay at home. We are allowed to travel outside the home for essentials, but otherwise we are for the most part homebound. The latter is especially true for the children, for the rule is that any who are 21 or under, along with any who are 60 or above (thankfully none of us has reached that ripe old age yet) are on 24 hour curfew.

These restrictions certainly provide challenges for the Holstege and Smit families, as well as for all the families in the churches who have children or elderly in them. One of those challenges was that the previous school year had to be completed from home. That kept the families extra busy, especially the missionary wives. Thankfully they (both children and parents) were able to complete the school year well.

As regards schooling, there will again be no face-to-face classes for the first half (at least) of the upcoming school year. So once again the parents will be busy supervising the education of their children. One significant help is that Irene Smit (who was unable to return to the USA this past June) will be assisting Leah Holstege with this. The Holsteges have three young children in school, and supervising their studies takes quite a bit more work than for older students. The plan is for Irene to supervise the twins (Kirsten and Kiley). She hopes to do so by setting up a “classroom” in the guest house at the Kleyn’s residence. Irene is eager to do this and we’re all thankful that the Lord enables us to help each other in these ways.

The most significant effect of the quarantines, however, has been Sunday worship. To date we have had 5 months of Sundays at home. Initially no public gatherings were allowed at all, and so we preached and/or worshiped at home. Then for a while, with a change in our quarantine level (from Enhanced Community Quarantine to General Community Quarantine), the government allowed up to a maximum of 10 persons for religious gatherings. This enabled some of the churches to hold services with a handful of their members, and thus there were a few times that a few of us could preach in a church building. But just today (August 4) the government transitioned us back to a higher level of quarantine (Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine) and thus the limit is now a maximum of 5 people for religious gatherings. Some of the churches may still meet, but for the most part we will be required to continue staying at home on Sundays for a while to come.

All three of us missionaries have regularly preached to a webcam in our studies, or else to our families in our living rooms while being recorded live for one of the churches. I know that many of our colleagues in the PRCA have done the same. That’s far from normal and from how it ought to be. It can be awkward and difficult. The preacher loses and certainly misses the face-to-face contact with the people of God. And we all miss terribly the blessing of corporate worship and of the communion of the saints. But as regards the preaching, we know that God can even use the above-mentioned means for the edification and blessing of His sheep. And we know, too, that He has.

The quarantines have affected various other things, too. The annual delegation visit, which is made up of representatives from Doon PRC and the Foreign Mission Committee and which was planned for this past March, needed to be canceled. The Holsteges planned furlough during the months of June and July needed to be canceled and rescheduled (they have received approval to come instead for a six-month furlough from the middle of December onwards, DV). The regular PRCP Classis meeting on June 12 was limited to a maximum of 10 people, thus many of the delegates (along with the three missionaries) needed to join the meeting via Zoom. The monthly delegation visits that were being made by the PRC in Bulacan to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Albuera, Leyte have stopped for now. And our monthly visits to the churches in Negros Occidental, which visits recently began to include weekend stays in order to preach and teach in three of the churches there, have come to a sudden standstill, which could easily continue for the remainder of 2020.

But what about the seminary? The Lord willing, we will begin classes again on August 11. What’s exciting about this is that the Lord has given the PRCP two more students for the ministry – a wonderful answer to prayers. As a result, we will have two students in first year (Ace Flores and Emman Jasojaso – both members of Provident PRC), and one student in second year (Jeremiah Pascual – a member of the PRC in Bulacan). Because the government has placed us on a higher level of quarantine again, we will need to teach the classes online (Skype, YouTube, Zoom). One change we recently needed to make to our schedule was to delay the start of Hebrew Grammar, due to the difficulty of teaching this subject online. The plan is to delay this for just one semester, and to teach Reformed Symbols (Creeds) instead. The three of us are therefore scheduled to teach the following:

  • Rev. Holstege: Hermeneutics and OT History
  • Rev. Kleyn: Reformed Symbols, Homiletics, and Church History (Reformation period)
  • Rev. Smit: Dogmatics (Christology), Greek Reading, and NT Exegesis.

From a human perspective these (and many other things as well) can appear to be detrimental to the cause of Christ’s kingdom and gospel. But we know that is not so, for all things are directed by Him for the sake of His church (2 Cor. 4:15). We, along with the saints here, are comforted by the knowledge that God is sovereign, Jesus Christ is King, and all things are eternally planned and directed for our good.

One other piece of news is that our wives have started a reading club. One of the motivations was the fact that our families do not have the freedom to get together as much as before. So Leah, Tricia and Sharon have been reading through some RFPA books together (5 to 10 pages per day). This gives them opportunity to stay in touch regularly through messages as they chat together about their readings (and, of course, about sundry other things, too). Some of the ladies in the churches have also joined in reading through some of the books.

As indicated above, our families have not been able to get together as much as before. However, whenever the quarantine level allowed for up to 10 people to gather, at least two of our families at a time could have fellowship and/or join each other for Sunday worship from time to time. While we do miss the freedom of visiting, doing things together in the neighborhood, going to Faith Academy for swimming and playground activities, and just being able to be out and about more, we make the most of staying in touch and of seeing each other as much as possible. We thank the Lord for whatever He makes possible.

In light of the ongoing restrictions, and especially because of how significantly they affect our Sundays, we have learned, by the grace of God, to long more earnestly and pray more sincerely for what David often did in his life when he too was in similar circumstances and unable to be in the Lord’s house on the Sabbath. The following prayers often come to mind: “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God” (Psalm 84:1-2). And also Psalm 42:1-2. To these we add the prayer that every saint, by God’s grace, prays now (I trust) with added meaning and fervency: “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!”

We send you our Christian love and also our appreciation for your continued prayers and support for us and our families and for all the saints here. That means more to us than we can express. Be assured, too, that we keep you all in our thoughts and prayers. May God be gracious to our churches, both there and here. And may our Savior return soon to take us to Himself in eternal glory.

In Christian love,

Rev. Daniel Kleyn

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PRC News Highlights for August 16, 2020

Ps122 1The following are special highlights of PRC News for this Sunday, August 16, 2020, the thirty-third Lord's Day of this year.

  • Last Sunday Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) declined the call from Kalamazoo PRC. We continue to keep the needs of this congregation in our prayers. May the Lord soon provide them with an undershepherd of their own.

  • Rev. M. Vanderwal (Wingham ON PRC) has been considering the call to First PRC, Edmonton, AB (received July 26). Today he announced his acceptance of that call.

  • Last Sunday Rev. M. DeBoer (Edgerton PRC) received the call from Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN). May the King of the church guide him in his consideration of this new call.

  • Rev. G. Eriks preached his farewell sermon to the Hudsonville congregation this morning. May the Lord be with him and his family as they bid farewell. Next Sunday morning, August 16, he will be installed as Unity PRC's first pastor, D.V.

  • We continue to remember in prayer the needs of Rev. J. Marcus, who awaits a call to the churches, and of Covenant ERC, our sister church in Singapore, as she awaits both pulpit supply from the PRC and a call for minister-on-loan through Grandville PRC - both on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.
     
  • 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.

  • Did you know... that
    • The 2020 PRC Acts of Synod arrived from the printer this past Thursday and has already been distributed to many congregations? If you haven't received yours yet, be patient - it will arrive soon!
    • as our congregations struggle with church fellowship issues during the pandemic, some are going ahead with their annual church picnics while others are canceling? May the Lord keep us in love of one another during these times of restrictions and remind us of the blessedness of our "communion of saints."
    • as our schools prepare to open their doors again, they face many new challenges and difficult decisions? Yes, you probably do know this. But did you know that this note in Georgetown PRC's bulletin today should be a reminder to all of us in the PRC covenant community? Read it and commit to doing what the last line calls us to do.

      The consistory is thankful for the strong support of our Christian Schools by the families of this congregation.  Our prayer is that we diligently continue to support our schools, not only financially, but also in our conversations with one another.  We understand that our Lord in sending COVID-19 has placed additional trials and struggles which will require additional decisions as they affect our schools. Let us hold before us at all times the great blessing God has bestowed on us in our schools. The Boards, administrators, teachers and staffs are elected and hired by us, the parents and grandparents, to stand in our place and teach the children that God has blessed us with, according to the demands of the covenant.  The decisions that they make in these unique and divisive days are made for the good of the children.  Let us remember our schools, teachers, school boards, and students in our prayers.

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SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore: So far, our church has tried out worshipping in group of 50 for the last few weeks and the experience, as testified by some, had been gooddespite having to follow the strict restrictions of social distancing, not singing, etc. We are able worship God meaningfully as we hummed along in our hearts when we ‘sang’ the psalter numbers, prayed together as a church and attended to the hearing of God’s word. It was certainly good to see some of us eagerly coming to the Lord’s house to worship.
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland: Be sure to read the latest issue of the "Covenant Reformed News" - July 2020!
  • PRC in the Philippines: The Theological School of the PRCP federation began another year and semester of seminary instruction this past Tuesday, August 11.

PRC MISSION NEWS:

  • Special note from Doon PRC's Consistory: Rev. D. Holstege​, one of our missionaries in the Philippines, plans to be on furlough with his family from December of this year into June of next year. They are a family of seven planning to live in West Michigan and in need of a house that they can rent for that time frame. If you can help them in their search, please call or text Jim Holstege at 616-498-0841 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Special PRC Seminary Notices:

  • Due to the current restrictions on indoor gatherings in the state of Michigan, the Theological School Committee has cancelled the 2020 seminary convocation (usually held in early September). Please continue to pray for the Lord’s blessing upon the work of our seminary, especially the labors of the professors and students.
  • For several years,the seminary faculty have permitted auditors to audit some classes. The presence and input of the auditors has been appreciated. With regret, because of COVID restrictions, the faculty is not inviting any auditors this semester.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

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Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!

  • Currently Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home missionary) is delivering the messages, and this month he is focusing on the truth of God's covenant of grace. Today's message is titled "The Unbreakable Covenant" based on Psalm 89:34. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDUCATION, EVANGELISM, and EDIFICATION:

  • Are you desirous 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.

  • And don't forget the great materials at the Reformed Book Outlet in Hudsonville, MI! The store is open again, with temporary limited hours: Tuesday, 10am - 1pm, Wednesday, 1pm - 6pm, and Saturday, 10am - 1pm. As always, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any orders as well!

Thought for contemplation:

Do you have eyes to see and a heart that believes what Jesus says in Luke 10: 2? It is a harvest that is truly great. In Matt. 9:37, we read, “The harvest truly is plenteous.” John 4:35ff makes it more urgent. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labours.”

“The fields are white unto harvest.” This means that it is time! The time is until the Lord Jesus returns. He comes quickly! Let us labor. Let us pray the Lord Jesus, the Lord of the harvest, for men to become preachers and missionaries. Let us also pray that as men, women, and children who love the Lord, we gladly witness for him and his kingdom! Oh, like the fields of corn and wheat, some years are much more plenteous and abundant than other. So also, in the history of missions, there are times when the fruit is more bountiful in one place over another. But the outcome of our sowing and reaping is not what we fix out eyes on. The Lord will give the increase in His own time and way. Ours is to labor for the Master.

From one of this past week's special meditations by Rev. A. Spriensma, PRC home missionary - "Praying for Laborers for the Harvest"

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Praying for Laborers for the Harvest

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Praying for Laborers for the Harvest

Meditation on Luke 10:2

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

As you drive through the countryside, have you taken notice of the fields on the farms? In springtime, we saw the planting, during the summer the growth of the crops, and now the harvesting. How abundant are the crops! The warm sunshine and the timely rains have been given by God, so that the corn, wheat, alfalfa, and soybeans are luxurious! The wheat has been harvested, the hay is getting baled up, and soon the corn and soybeans also will also be harvested. One thinks of the harvest song in Psalm 65.

But in Psalm 65, the spiritual blessings of God are mentioned first. They are more blessed and worthy of God’s praise. We are chosen by God in eternity, redeemed by Jesus Christ’s blood, and indwelt by his Spirit so that we approach and dwell in his courts. And we are indeed satisfied!

Because God has chosen for Himself a people in Jesus Christ, that people must be gathered from the nations. God does that through the preaching of the Word. Ministers bring the Word of God to their congregations each Sabbath day. Missionaries are sent out by the churches as were the apostle Paul and Barnabas, and later, Paul and Silas, and Barnabas and John Mark. As Jesus had prayed in John 17: 18, “As thou hast has sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”

Do you have eyes to see and a heart that believes what Jesus says in Luke 10: 2? It is a harvest that is truly great. In Matt. 9:37, we read, “The harvest truly is plenteous.” John 4:35ff makes it more urgent. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labours.”

“The fields are white unto harvest.” This means that it is time! The time is until the Lord Jesus returns. He comes quickly! Let us labor. Let us pray the Lord Jesus, the Lord of the harvest, for men to become preachers and missionaries. Let us also pray that as men, women, and children who love the Lord, we gladly witness for him and his kingdom! Oh, like the fields of corn and wheat, some years are much more plenteous and abundant than other. So also, in the history of missions, there are times when the fruit is more bountiful in one place over another. But the outcome of our sowing and reaping is not what we fix out eyes on. The Lord will give the increase in His own time and way. Ours is to labor for the Master.

Why do missions? Let me give five reasons:

1. Because God our Father is a glorious God whose fame must be spread abroad.

2. Because Jesus Christ has sent his church into the world, and we must be obedient.

3. Because we love our neighbors, and desire that they too may know and believe in Christ.

4. In love for the church, we desire to see those outside the church brought in. The church is greatly enriched by the zeal and joy of new believers. Otherwise the church will languish as it turns inward.

5. Jesus Christ has promised to come quickly. But He will not come until every elect saint has been born and has been saved. So let us labor! The field is great and abundant, white unto harvest.

Far and near the fields are teeming with the waves of ripened grain; Far and near their gold is gleaming o’er the sunny slope and plain. Lord of harvest, send forth reapers! Hear us Lord, to Thee we cry. Send them now the sheaves to gather, ere the harvest time pass by.”

Send them forth with morn’s first beaming, send them in the noontides glare; when the sun’s last rays are gleaming, bid them gather everywhere. Lord of harvest, send forth reapers! Hear us, Lord, to Thee we cry; Send them now the sheaves to gather, ere the harvest time pass by.”  ~ B. O. Clemm, 19th century

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn to setting sun, Let us talk of all his wondrous love and care; Then when all of life is over and our work on earth is done and the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.”  ~ James Black

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A Single Eye

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

A Single Eye

Meditation on Matthew 6:22

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

What is your aim in life? On what have you set your eyes? Are you focused?

David’s son Absalom had his eye on his father’s kingdom. With that focus he plotted, planned, and curried the people’s favor. But later, in Jerusalem, he listened to the counsel of Ahithophel and then the advice of Hushai. Ahithophel suggested that Absalom send some men after his father David and strike him while he was tired and on the run. Hushai told Absalom to wait until a large army was gathered that Absalom himself could lead against his father. Absalom chose the advice of Hushai.

Certainly Absalom’s eye was on success! He wanted the kingdom of his father. But his eye was also focused on being seen as the leader of a mighty force, perhaps as great a leader as his father had been in his younger years. Pride was before his eyes. What pleases our sinful nature the most is often what seems best to us. Because Absalom was vain, he chose Hushai’s advice to his own destruction. In a worldly sense, Absalom did not have a single eye. Rather he had an evil eye. “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Spiritually, you and I must have a single eye. “The eye,” says John Calvin, “is the torch or lamp of the body. If the hands and feet and mind are improperly directed, blame the eye.” The Greek word for ‘single’ means simple, uncomplicated, without speck, sound, and not double. This same word is at times applied to the heart (see Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22). A single heart is sincere, has integrity and uprightness, and unmixed with ulterior or selfish motives.

What is to be our single eye? What is our life to be focused on? For those who are God’s children, washed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and indwelt with His Spirit, there can only be one focus: to promote the glory of God! We have in life one aim, one focus, one goal, and one eye.

But in the service of God, you are and will be grievously tempted to be distracted by the private feelings and interests of our old sinful nature. When these desires assert themselves, you will be tempted to lose the clear, simple, and single line of duty to do God’s will. You wish to do God’s will, but at the same time you are unwilling to sacrifice the sinful desires of the flesh. Other desires cloud your sight like cataracts. You do not have a clear sight of the right path.

Oh, the struggle that we have with the old sinful nature! We are called to crucify the old man. You are called to choose the cross. No one can combine two opposite goals: glorifying God and satisfying the yearnings of the flesh. Matthew 6:24 tells us, “No man can serve two masters.”

How we need to look to the Captain of our salvation. In the Garden, he cried out, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” We look at the grace of God at work in the Apostle Paul’s life when he was on the Damascus road. Paul cried out, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” We see the singleness of eye, the utter disregard for personal interests in the Apostle Paul’s entire devotion to the service of his Master. In I Cor. 9:27, Paul says, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.”

May we pray for a single eye for the glory of our God, and a single eye that we follow in Jesus’ footsteps. The Light of the Word of God must be held before our eyes, filling them with light. Pray for that single eye. Pray for that eye that you may see clearly. Our focus must be on our great covenant God and His marvelous love manifested towards us in Jesus Christ. Is it yours? When God fills our eye, all else fades in comparison A single eye: is it yours! “None of us liveth to himself; for whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord unto Thee, Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love, At the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee; Take my voice and let me sing Always, only, for my King, Always, only, for my King. Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages for Thee; Take my silver and my gold - Not a mite would I withhold, Not a mite would I withhold. Take my love- my God, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store: Take myself - and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee, Ever, only, all for Thee.”  ~ H. A. Cesar Malan, 1787-1864

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PRC News Highlights for August 9, 2020 *(Updated)

Colossians 3 12The following are special highlights of PRC News for this Sunday, August 9, 2020, the thirty-second Lord's Day of this year.

  •  Last Sunday Rev. H. Bleyenberg was installed as minister of Immanuel PRC. We rejoice with that congregation in God's bringing to them their new pastor after many months of waiting. May the Lord give him a faithful and fruitful ministry in that place.

  • Today Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) declined the call from Kalamazoo PRC. We continue to keep the needs of this congregation in our prayers. May the Lord soon provide them with an undershepherd of their own.

  • Rev. M. Vanderwal (Wingham ON PRC) is considering the call to First PRC, Edmonton, AB (received July 26). He plans to answer by next Sunday, August 16.

  • Cornerstone PRC has announced the following trio: Rev. M. De Boer (Edgerton PRC); Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC); and Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC). *UPDATE: Rev. M. DeBoer has received this call.

  • Rev. G. Eriks will preach his farewell sermon to the Hudsonville congregation on Sunday, August 16 and will be installed as Unity PRC's first pastor the following week, August 23, during the morning service.

  • We continue to remember in prayer the needs of Rev. J. Marcus, who awaits a call to the churches, and of Covenant ERC, our sister church in Singapore, as she awaits both pulpit supply from the PRC and a call for minister-on-loan through Grandville PRC - both on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.
     
  • 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.

  • Did you know... that
    • our First PRC in Edmonton is considering several options for church building expansion? This was from her Council in today's bulletin:

      The New Building Committee is presenting THREE options for the congregation to review and consider.  Handouts will be available downstairs in your mailboxOption 1 is the expansion and renovation of our existing building.  Option 2 is the Spring Lake church, at a reduced price.  Option 3 is the purchase of a bare parcel of land for new construction of a church and parsonage.  All of this information is being presented for your consideration only at this time.  An Open House has been scheduled at the Spring Lake church for Saturday, August 15, from 1:00-3:00 PM.  This will be followed by a Congregational Meeting at OUR church at 4:00 PM.  There will be a further Congregational Meeting on Friday, August 21 at 7:30 PM for voting as needed, allowing time for all congregants to consider these options prayerfully.

    • our active emeritus ministers are keeping busy with preaching assignments in the U.S. this summer? Revs. A.denHartog, M. DeVries, R. Hanko, K. Koole, T. Miersma, and J. Slopsema have been filling pulpits from Lynden WA to Dyer IN of late. With minister vacations, classical appointments, and vacant congregations, these men are in demand, and we are grateful for their ability and willingness to travel to those churches in need.

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Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!

  • Currently Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home missionary) is delivering the messages and this month he is focusing on the truth of God's covenant of grace. Today's message is titled "The Kingdom of David's Seed Established Forever" based on 2 Samuel 7:12-14 Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

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Thought for contemplation:

Are not the servants of the LORD, which serve at night, God’s people as they leave the worship services and go back to their homes and their workweek? Whether it is cleaning the house or feeding the family, or working in the factory or field or office, perhaps our work seems so menial and insignificant. But God has called you to that service. Do it now with all the passion and devotion of serving the LORD. Bless the LORD in all of your labors, even if no one else sees or notices your work!

Why is this important? Did you notice how many times in this psalm the LORD is mentioned? Five times! It is His covenant name that is mentioned, even though that is not readily apparent in the psalm.(Sadly, the KJV authors followed the Jews by replacing the name Jehovah with the word LORD in all capital letters.) He is the great “I AM”. He is faithful even when we are not. He is the creator. He is the one who blesses His people “out of Zion.” He pours out His blessings upon his church through our Lord Jesus Christ! He is worthy of your and my wholehearted devotion, love, and willing service.

From one of this past week's special meditations by Rev. A. Spriensma, PRC home missionary ("The Call to Servants of the Lord to Bless the Lord")

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The Call to Servants of the Lord to Bless the Lord

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

The Call to Servants of the Lord to Bless the Lord

Meditation on Psalm 134 

Behold, Bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up you r hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.

This is the last Song of Ascent, and the shortest. What progress has been made as these psalms were put together. At the beginning of these psalms, God’s people were far from the temple, seeing it from afar. But with joy, they kept on going till they were finally at the door of the temple. Entering the temple, they joined in unified worship. “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in were they called to do? These temple servants were the Levites. They were the assistants to the priests. They worked in the temple unity.” Now it was time to go back home. In Psalm 134, there was a call to the temple servants, who serve at night, to bless the LORD.

Who are these servants, and what was their work? They were gate keepers, guards at the door, singers, janitors cleaning and preparing the temple for the next day’s activities. Theirs was a hard and menial work, working day and night. They would lodge at the temple so that the temple would be ready for the morning services. They “stand” , we read, being ready in their place of service.

They were called to “Bless the Lord.” The word means “to speak well of”. We do not give something to God. The word means to praise the LORD joyfully and willingly. In verse 2, they were told to “lift up your hands in the sanctuary.” In their work in the temple, as they prepare for the sacrifices, and clean the floors of the blood, they were to give themselves wholeheartedly in devotion of God. At night, the crowds and pilgrims are gone, but the activity of the temple was busy. How would these servants carry out their menial jobs? Would they half-heartedly clean the floor, or sleepily guard the doors, or slowly get the materials for the next day ready? No! Even though no one would observe them at their work, they were called to do their work with whole-hearted devotion and love to God!

The literal temple in Jerusalem is no more. What does this psalm say to you and me? Who are these servants, and how are they serving God still today in the night? Are they not the ministers of God’s Word? Yes, you hear them on Sunday as they proclaim the gospel. But as you leave the worship services, do you encourage and pray for your minister as he carries out his work during the week? A lot of the work is done out of your sight. It might seem rather menial: teach catechism, lead societies, lead consistory and council meetings, visit the sick and aged, spend long hours in the study immersed in God’s Word and preparing sermons. It is hard work. How is it done? Is it with the same zeal and devotion as the preaching of God’s Word on Sunday when everyone is watching and listening? “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the LORD.” Oh minister, be devoted to your God and his worship in all of your tasks!

Are not the servants of the LORD, which serve at night, God’s people as they leave the worship services and go back to their homes and their workweek? Whether it is cleaning the house or feeding the family, or working in the factory or field or office, perhaps our work seems so menial and insignificant. But God has called you to that service. Do it now with all the passion and devotion of serving the LORD. Bless the LORD in all of your labors, even if no one else sees or notices your work!

Why is this important? Did you notice how many times in this psalm the LORD is mentioned? Five times! It is His covenant name that is mentioned, even though that is not readily apparent in the psalm.(Sadly, the KJV authors followed the Jews by replacing the name Jehovah with the word LORD in all capital letters.) He is the great “I AM”. He is faithful even when we are not. He is the creator. He is the one who blesses His people “out of Zion.” He pours out His blessings upon his church through our Lord Jesus Christ! He is worthy of your and my wholehearted devotion, love, and willing service.

How we need to ask God for forgiveness when in our everyday work, we carry it out in a careless or detached way. Maybe at times we are even resentful that we have these callings. How often we can waste away our time. We are called to “lift up your hands in the sanctuary.” May we not just go through the motions without passion, or neglect opportunities to serve the Lord with gladness in our everyday occupations. Live consciously before the Lord, and speak well of Him. Whether worshipping in God’s house on Sunday or doing the rather menial tasks of the weekdays, do it for the Lord in loving, willing, and eager devotion! “Bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.”

Ye saints, your joy proclaim and glory in the Name, Of God above; And when the daylight dies, ere sleep shall close your eyes, Let praise to God arise for all his love.”  ~ Felice Giardini

 

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