Today, May 17, is the twentieth Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.
We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who have begun and can begin worshiping publicly again, though it be with tight restrictions yet (smaller numbers, social distancing, masking, etc.). Some in Michigan are beginning for the first time today, while in other parts (Indiana, Iowa, and Loveland, CO, for example) some are continuing with varying numbers of the congregation.
As most of our congregations and fellow believers (including our sister churches in the UK, the Philippines, and Singapore) continue to experience the temporary loss of this freedom, we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to be content in His way until these restrictions are removed. And may we together - from church sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit continue to worship our faithful Father, from whom we can never be separated.
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, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. (Psalm 92:1-4)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Job did not know why God had so afflicted him. You and I should not ask, “Why are these troubles coming to me? Why does God allow or cause it?” Know this, child of God; affliction is for our profit. By it, God is testing us. He is also weaning us from this life and all it has to offer, to the world which is to come. He is saying to us, “Look to me.” We are taught to live as those who desire to see God’s face. When is the last time that you have included in your prayers the petition, “Come Lord Jesus, yea, come quickly”?
I know my Redeemer lives. Therefore, I shall see God! This statement shows the indestructible nature of true, saving faith. In the midst of circumstances that Job did not understand, he nevertheless fell back on the most basic truth of the gospel: his redeemer lives! Redemption brings to mind the glorious truth that the Christian is owned by God, purchased with his own blood, declared righteous with the righteousness that God freely gives to him by grace alone through faith. Can you say, “I know that my Redeemer lives”? ~ Rev. A. Spriensma, "Confidence in the Midst of Calamities"
- For those who may still be limited to house worship, these PRCs are live-streaming services today (whether full or partial). You are encouraged to worship with one of these congregations: Byron Center PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM (EST); Calvary PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM CDT; Crete PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM CDT; Doon PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM; Faith PRC at 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM (EST); First PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); First PRC-Holland at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM; Georgetown PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Grace PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM EST; Hope PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Hope PRC-Redlands, CA at 10 AM and 5 PM (PST); Hudsonville PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM EST; Hull PRC at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM; Loveland PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM MST; Lynden PRC at 10:00 AM PST; Pittsburgh PRC at 9:30 and 5 PM EST; Southeast PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM EST; Southwest PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 (EST); Trinity PRC at 9:30 and 5:00 (EST); Zion PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST). There are also many audio sermons that you can access on this website for your further use.
- Today Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN) voted to extend a call to Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). May the Lord grant him the plain knowledge of His will as he considers this new call.
- On May 3 Rev. J. Mahtani accepted the call to Hope PRC-GR. Lord willing, he will be installed on Sunday June 7, with Rev. C. Haak leading the service.
- Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) is considering the call to First PRC of Edmonton, AB (received May 3). We pray for clear guidance from the Lord as he considers this call.
- From Kalamazoo PRC's bulletin: The Consistory has formed a trio consisting of Revs. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC), S. Key (Loveland PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). A congregational vote will be held on Monday evening, May 18, at 7:00 p.m., the Lord willing. *UPDATE: Rev. C. Haak received this call.
- The Council of Grandville PRC has formed a new trio for minister on loan to Singapore: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). At present the congregation is not able to gather for a congregational meeting to vote; when restrictions are lifted, she will.
- Rev. John Marcus and his family plan to leave Edmonton this week Wednesday (May 20) to live in West Michigan, as he awaits a call within the PRC. May the Lord grant traveling mercies and soon provide a new call to serve in the churches.
- Did you know... that
- Ascension Day services will also be held this week Thursday, May 21, in the PRC - some "in-house" and some online? Is the truth of Christ's glorification to heaven important to you? Does it have bearing on your faith and life? Then attend a service or watch a service this Thursday! The Lord Christ will be present to receive your praise.
- Rev. R. Smit (missionary to the Philippines) has a birthday today? Thanks to the bulletin of sister church Maranatha PRC today, we know that. They added these words, to which we give our hearty Amen: "...and let’s pray for him and his family. Are we remembering to pray for ALL of our missionaries and their wives and families during these difficult times?
- our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, is writing short meditations for the PRC website - just for these present times and circumstances? Two more were posted this past week (cf. above). Be sure to look them up and read them for your spiritual profit!
PRC Seminary News:
- The seminary completed its second semester this past week, with students finishing their exams on Friday. We thank the Lord for enabling us to carry on and complete the semester with long-distance teaching and learning. Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as we continue our labors this spring and summer.
- Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, seminary is open only for essential operations at this time (hopefully only through May). The staff can try to assist you with any needs, however. Call or email the seminary with your important needs.
- Sem. Josiah Tan and his family remain in Singapore for the time being (his mother passed away there on April 11 after a long battle with cancer). He resumed and completed his classes and exams online and is assisting in 'speaking a word of edification' for his congregation (Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church). He plans to stay until mid-June, when he will return to the States to begin his seminary internship in First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) on July 1, D.V.
- The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available - in digital (pdf) form only at present (ePub coming soon!). Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced.
- Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
- Often, we are like the psalmist asking “How long...?” as we await for God’s deliverance from our waiting, be it our spiritual or physical struggles, body aches, sicknesses, unhappiness, waiting for the MOL and even in this coronavirus pandemic. How much longer do we have to wait before getting back to church life again, etc… The answer is WAIT! Wait on the Lord and continue to be patient. For the Lord’s timings are not ours to predict or determine, for all things will surely come to an end. Instead, be like the psalmist and ask God to hear us: “3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God:” (Psalm 13:3). We pray that God will sustain us and that we will trust in His mercy for our heart shall rejoice in His salvation.
- The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted last week. You may find it on this page.
- Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC, the following may be noted:
- Rev. A. stewart continues to lead the services via live-stream.
- Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
- Read the new May 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!
Sadly, given the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (in God's sovereign decree), the British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference has been rescheduled to (basically) the same week next year. Thus the BRF Conference will not be taking place in 2020. Instead, it is rescheduled to 10-17 July, 2021. Same venue: Castlewellan Castle (http://castlewellancastle.org/). Same theme: Union With Christ. Same speakers: Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning (USA), with John Perkins (England) giving the special lecture. For more on the BRF, see https://www.britishreformed.org/
- Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, Bulacan PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
- Congregational and Denominational News:
~ Berean PRC: Rev. V. Ibe will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on our Facebook page. Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via Facebook live, the Lord willing.
~ PRC of Bulacan: The members of the congregation continue to worship at home. Rev. J. Flores is doing a short devotional each night via Zoom.
~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. L. Trinidad will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Metro Manila is now under the Modified Enhancement Community Quarantine (MECQ) up to May 31, 2020. Please STAY AT HOME. In this crisis, let us pray for our children who are studying via on-line and those parents who can now return to their own work according to the rules.
~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Holstege will lead us in worship this morning at 9:30 on YouTube. The elders have sent a link to a worship service of Zion PRC and a sermon by Rev. Joe Holstege for our evening worship Next Sunday, Lord willing, Rev. D. Kleyn will provide messages for us in the morning and evening on YouTube.
~ PRCP Seminary: Classes are continuing long distance at this time.
~The Classis’ meeting of the PRCP will be held on June 12, 2020, that is next month; however, the consistory of each churches is asked to cancel the meeting and will be rescheduled on the available dates either July or August of this year.
~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.
- The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.
Due to printing restrictions related to COVID-19, the RFPA is temporarily unable to print and distribute hard copies of the Standard Bearer. Once these restrictions have been lifted (and that is soon, it is reported), the RFPA will print and mail out all postponed issues of the magazine. In the meantime, these issues will be available for free online as they are produced. You can find the newest issues, May 1 (a special issue on death and dying) and May 15, at this link on the home page.
- Would you like to learn more about the PRC and her doctrines and practices? Are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.
- Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. These too can be used for family or personal devotions, as well as for personal comfort and peace in seasons of fear and distress.
- Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
- Continuing this month, Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) has some special messages based on the end of Hebrews 10. Today's message is based on Hebrews 10:24 and titled "Considering and Provoking One Another." Listen to the broadcast on the station near you or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.
- From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:
~ The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL. Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.
~ A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!
ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:
- PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.
From the Beacon Lights staff: Due to our printer not being able to print the magazine right now because of COVID-19, we have decided to put the May issue of Beacon Lights on our website, free of charge, for anyone who wishes to read the month’s issue. Visit us at beaconlights.org to read the issue, which will be published on May 1!
- Colorado Retreat: Registration will open next week Monday, May 25! Post-high young adults are welcome to join us August 3-6 for a young adults retreat in the Rocky Mountains. Space will be limited. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'. A link to register will be available next week.
- A new issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the March 2020 issue here.
PRC MISSION NEWS:
- Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
- Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
- But, he has begun writing short meditations for the PRC website. You may find those here.
- Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days ofCOVID-19 quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.
- Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world are experiencing severe restrictions too.
- Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This note was in CERC's bulletin today:
We are thankful to receive report from Rev. Singh that diaconate help from us has reached them. They were able to get food supplies to those in need, though still under lockdown and supplies are still limited. God’s word continued to be streamed over the YouTube and Facebook to God’s people over the past weeks. Mission work continues to grow in Kolkata through the use of social media. May God continue to strengthen Rev Singh and CERC Kolkata in their work.
- We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Hope had this update from him in her bulletin last week:
On May 2 the Myanmar committee was again able to meet remotely by video with Rev. Titus. He reports that he and the Hope PRCM congregation are staying healthy. The shutdown orders are still in place and enforced by army checkpoints. This affects the working men and the formal training of Htay Nine. As of May 2, there were about 150 reported cases of Covid-19 in the Yangon area. About 70 of them were linked to a Pentecostal church, whose pastor before had proclaimed to his congregation that it was revealed to him that the Lord would not permit him or his congregation to contract the virus. This caused a bit of a disturbance among the community and an occasion to mock the Christian faith in general. Rev. Titus has publically responded in defense of the Reformed faith regarding the Spirit of truth as revealed in his scripture alone. He continues his translating work, as you will soon read in his upcoming letter. The Hope PRCM congregation is able to meet for worship in a limited capacity. We are grateful to the Lord and for Rev. Titus for his dedication to magnify the name of the Lord Jesus Christ through his preaching, translating, training, pastoral work, and other evangelistic activities. We ask that you keep Rev. Titus and the saints in Myanmar in your prayers.