Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

Trusting and Not Fearing (A Special Message)

duck on waterFrom the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

This is part of a special message of hope and peace as we live in these unsettling days and weeks, when fear is real and faith grows weak. Below is an excerpt from a radio message of Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown PRC, which he delivered on January 23, 2005 for the Reformed Witness Hour radio program.

Below the excerpt is a link to the entire message - print and audio.

You are encouraged to read and meditate on this Word of God and on these words of exposition and application.

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Trusting and Not Fearing

Psalm 56:3-4

The Scriptures say, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” There is something very touching and profoundly comforting in the simplicity of this statement. God speaks in simple, powerful words. Very plainly, this is the theme of the whole psalm. Repeatedly it comes back: Not fear, but trust! Trust in God. With a true and living faith, depend only upon Him. Cry out to Him. Bring your fears to Him.

That solves it all. Whatever that fear may be for you, whether that is surgery, or your child’s health, or your daughter’s soul, or your son’s married life, or your personal fear—here is the simple, the conquering, the never-failing answer: trust in God.

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word; in God have I put my trust.” There is the answer. Put your trust in God. God here is commanding us to an activity. He works faith in our hearts and He commands that which He works into action. He says, “I have given to you a heavenly grace of trust. Not something that proceeded from your will but something that proceeded from Me. Something that is now implanted in a new heart and in a new will within you. And I call you, by My grace, to be active in that trust.”

 
Read or listen to Rev. Haak’s full message here: https://bit.ly/3ahJmol
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Here is also part of a pastoral letter Rev. C. Haak wrote to his congregation on Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

As measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus increase, so also our anxieties for the future increase.

Today all of us are feeling the direct impact of the governor’s order [in Michigan] to quarantine ourselves for the next few weeks. Our jobs and income are directly threatened and we wonder about the future economy. Just how far will this go? Will our livelihood be lost? Is our hard made personal business going under? Where exactly is all of this heading? How many of our plans for the next months will be lost? The second week of schooling our children at home is proving harder than we thought, will our schools open again? When do we get our old life back?

Our minds become a factory of worries and mass produce questions we can’t answer.

Instead we need to ask ourselves these questions: Are we listening to God? Did we come apart to the secret chamber of prayer today? As we observe how the world is acting are we, who have eyes of faith to see Him on the throne, acting differently? Do we feel the peace of God ruling in our hearts in this very day, even as God promised us? (Phil. 4:6, 7, Col. 3:15, Isaiah 26: 3, 4) Do you believe and experience that His grace is sufficient for you today?  (II Corinthians 12: 7-10)

As in every spiritual battle for the heart, faith must not lie inactive within us. We are called to a spiritual warfare in these days (Ephesians 6:10-18). We wrestle against fear, boredom, anxiety, hopelessness, fatalism, anger, depression, loneliness, and others. If you can’t get up to fight today, call the elders, kneel right now in prayer, read the promises of God. Better yet, “Be still! and know that I am God”, the God who has never failed you in the past and is not going to do so today. Read Psalm 46.

Read more...

Trusting and Not Fearing (A Special Message)

duck on waterFrom the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

This is part of a special message of hope and peace as we live in these unsettling days and weeks, when fear is real and faith grows weak. Below is an excerpt from a radio message of Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown PRC, which he delivered on January 23, 2005. Below the excerpt is a link to the entire message. You are encouraged to read and meditate on this Word of God and on these words of exposition and application.

Trusting and Not Fearing
Psalm 56:3-4

The Scriptures say, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” There is something very touching and profoundly comforting in the simplicity of this statement. God speaks in simple, powerful words. Very plainly, this is the theme of the whole psalm. Repeatedly it comes back: Not fear, but trust! Trust in God. With a true and living faith, depend only upon Him. Cry out to Him. Bring your fears to Him.

That solves it all. Whatever that fear may be for you, whether that is surgery, or your child’s health, or your daughter’s soul, or your son’s married life, or your personal fear—here is the simple, the conquering, the never-failing answer: trust in God.

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word; in God have I put my trust.” There is the answer. Put your trust in God. God here is commanding us to an activity. He works faith in our hearts and He commands that which He works into action. He says, “I have given to you a heavenly grace of trust. Not something that proceeded from your will but something that proceeded from Me. Something that is now implanted in a new heart and in a new will within you. And I call you, by My grace, to be active in that trust.”

 
Read or listen to Rev. Haak’s full message here: https://bit.ly/3ahJmol
Here is also part of a pastoral letter Rev. C. Haak wrote to his congregation on Tuesday:

As measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus increase, so also our anxieties for the future increase.

Today all of us are feeling the direct impact of the governor’s order [in Michigan] to quarantine ourselves for the next few weeks. Our jobs and income are directly threatened and we wonder about the future economy. Just how far will this go? Will our livelihood be lost? Is our hard made personal business going under? Where exactly is all of this heading? How many of our plans for the next months will be lost? The second week of schooling our children at home is proving harder than we thought, will our schools open again? When do we get our old life back?

Our minds become a factory of worries and mass produce questions we can’t answer.

Instead we need to ask ourselves these questions: Are we listening to God? Did we come apart to the secret chamber of prayer today? As we observe how the world is acting are we, who have eyes of faith to see Him on the throne, acting differently? Do we feel the peace of God ruling in our hearts in this very day, even as God promised us? (Phil. 4:6, 7, Col. 3:15, Isaiah 26: 3, 4) Do you believe and experience that His grace is sufficient for you today?  (II Corinthians 12: 7-10)

As in every spiritual battle for the heart, faith must not lie inactive within us. We are called to a spiritual warfare in these days (Ephesians 6:10-18). We wrestle against fear, boredom, anxiety, hopelessness, fatalism, anger, depression, loneliness, and others. If you can’t get up to fight today, call the elders, kneel right now in prayer, read the promises of God. Better yet, “Be still! and know that I am God”, the God who has never failed you in the past and is not going to do so today. Read Psalm 46.

Read more...

This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, March 22-28, 2020 (Updated)

psalm 23 1 3Today, March 22, is the twelfth Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

​It’s odd, strange to be home on Sunday morning, separated from one another, gathered as families, alone, or just as a couple. And that feeling is good; it is good that it feels strange, and feels strange to our children and even to our toddlers. We don’t want the strangeness to wear off. God is showing us how great is the blessing we have been given as a congregation in Christ, and how crucial Sunday worship is for our souls. Our feelings are expressed by David in Psalm 42:4.  In the midst of many burdens and catastrophes he said: “I had gone with them that kept the Holy Day”. David’s way was only darker and more lonely when he was deprived of going up to God’s house with his fellow believers.

​But this does not mean we cannot set this day apart as holy to the Lord our God. We will come apart to be with our Risen Lord. God will hear our voices in this day, voices of praise and worship! We will be renewed in this day in the hope that is ours! We will draw near to God! And we will be bound by one Spirit as one body in one Lord and one faith!

​We do this in our own homes. We do this by using the gift of our modern media to hear messages from God’s Word directed to us.... And God will bless us with strength for today and sure hope for tomorrow. ~ Rev. C. Haak in a Sunday morning note to his congregation, Georgetown PRC (Hudsonville, MI)

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • The significant news again this Sunday is the impact of the pandemic coronavirus on the PRC congregations, sister churches, and mission fields. The Lord in His wise providential plan and hand has humbled us and the peoples of this world, that we may realize how frail we are, that we may see how dreadful our sin is that brought such disease and death into the world, but also that we may find anew our total help in God and our only hope of salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. May we by faith submit ourselves to our God, listen to His Word, and find peace and comfort in our Savior.

    Many of our congregations are not holding services today; others are gathering in small numbers because of size limitations set by our earthly rulers. Some members of our sister churches are under quaratine and forbidden to gather; our missionaries in the Philippines are limited in their travels and therefore in their labors. As we honor our local, state, and federal governments and submit to their mandates at this time, may we also reflect on and treasure our indestructible unity in Christ as His body, and join in worship through praise and prayer to glorify our great God and Father. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. (Rev.15:4)

  • Rev. J. Engelsma (Doon PRC) is considering calls from Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN) and Kalamazoo (MI) PRC. He plans to answer both by March 29. May the Lord guide his consideration of these calls.

  • The Consistory of Providence PRC has announced a new trio from which to call their next pastor: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), Rev. M. McGeown (Limerick Mission, Ireland), and Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC). They plan to call from this trio this evening. *Rev. M. McGeown has received this call.

  • The Consistory of First PRC, Edmonton has formed a new trio from which to call a new pastor: Rev J. Engelsma (Doon PRC), Rev. J. Laning (Hull PRC), and Rev. M. Vanderwal (Wingham PRC). The congregational meeting is set for Sunday afternoon, March 29.

  • The Council of Unity PRC formed the following trio from which to call her first pastor: Revs. E.Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), J. Mahtani (Grandville PRC), and C. Spronk (Faith PRC). A congregational meeting is scheduled for April 15.

  • "The Council of Grandville Protestant Reformed Church has been informed by Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church that they have received a rejection of their last appeal with the Singapore government for an employment pass for Rev. J. Mahtani. This rejection stems from unexpected complications arising from Rev. Mahtani’s prior Singaporean citizenship and that country’s required military service. CERC has now exhausted the appeal process with the Singapore government. In light of this information Grandville PRC announces to the churches that Rev. Mahtani is eligible for a call on April 1, 2020."

  • This week Rev. H. Bleyenberg and his wife Deb left West Michigan for Lacombe, AB, where he has accepted the call to serve Immanuel PRC. However, they were turned back at the Canadian border due to new COVID-19-related border restrictions. They have since returned to West Michigan for the present time. May the Lord soon open the way for them to go to their new church home. Rev. T. Miersma is bringing the word in Lacombe again today.

  • Did you know... that some of our churches and sister churches are holding services even with very small numbers (10 people) so that the rest of the congregation can participate in worship at home and still hear the lively preaching of God's Word? We thank the Lord for the modern technology that allows our members to do so! And we thank the Lord for our elders and pastors who are willing to do this for the benefit of many. May the gospel of Jesus Christ be heard near and far!

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Classis East Report (March 17, 2020 at Hudsonville PRC):

At the request of the Consistories of Faith, Grace, and Hope, the Classical Committee of Classis East called for the convening of a meeting today to consider the request of Rev. David Overway to be released from the ministry according to Article 12 of the Church Order.

Rev. Bruinsma led in opening devotions and declared classis properly constituted. Rev. N. Decker, by rotation, presided as chairman of the meeting. Because Michigan’s Governor signed an executive order banning assemblies of more that 50 people effective at 9:00am on March 17until 5:00pm on April 5, a recommendation was made to adjourn and treat the items on the agenda at the regular meeting of classis on May 13. The motion failed. Instead classis passed a motion to meet in closed session in order to comply with the governor’s order. The Consistory of Wingham decided not to send delegates due to the possibility that they would not be able to return home or that they would be required to be quarantined upon reentry into Canada.

The decision of Classis East in answer to Rev. Overway’s request to be released from the ministry will be announced to the churches by Hope PRC’s Council.

Other actions taken by classis include: a. Approving a subsidy request for $40,000 for Kalamazoo PRC for 2021 to be forwarded to Synod 2020 for its approval. b. Approving a classical appointment schedule for five(!) vacant churches: Cornerstone, Hope, Kalamazoo, Providence, and Unity PRCs. May the Lord send us pastors! c. Approving the work of the Church Visitors in the labors they performed helping the Council of Hope PRC. d. Appointing Rev. R. Van Overloop Moderator for Hope PRC. e. Appointing Rev. C. Spronk to a three-year term as Stated Clerk of Classis East.

Classis adjourned around 2:30pm. May the Lord use these decisions for the good of those who are directly affected, for good of our denomination, and for His glory.

In Christ’s Service, Rev. Clay Spronk Stated Clerk, Classis East

PRC Contact Committee News:

First, our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. Rev. McGeown will likely stay in Limerick for the next six months and will then, the Lord willing, move to the United States. We submit this disappointment to the good Providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.

Second, the Singapore government is placing anyone who visits Singapore under quarantine for two weeks. This will hamper for some time the PRCA's attempts to supply CERCS' pulpit. Remember our brothers and sisters in Singapore in a time when they are without an under-shepherd and now are cut off from our help in many ways. May the Great Shepherd of the sheep care for his flock in these circumstances, as we trust He will.

Third, the government of the Philippines has restricted travel inside the country. This limits the work our missionaries are able to do in areas outside their immediate vicinity. We remain confident that in spite of this"...the word of God is not bound" 2 Timothy 2:9. May that word yet go forth in these uncertain times to the saving and strengthening of His people, and to the glory of His name.

Minister Updates:

  • “This past Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Hope Protestant Reformed Church, of Walker Michigan, with the concurrence of Classis East and the synodical delegates of Classis West, has granted Rev. David Overway’s request to be released from the ministry according to Article 12 of the Church Order. May the blessing of the Lord rest upon the decisions of Classis and may His church rest in Him.”
  • The Council of Grandville Protestant Reformed Church has been informed by Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church that they have received a rejection of their last appeal with the Singapore government for an employment pass for Rev. Mahtani. This rejection stems from unexpected complications arising from Rev. Mahtani’s prior Singaporean citizenship and that country’s required military service. CERC has now exhausted the appeal process with the Singapore government. In light of this information Grandville PRC announces to the churches that Rev. Mahtani is eligible for a call on April 1, 2020.
  • "First Protestant Reformed Church of Edmonton has released their pastor, Rev. John Marcus, under Article 11 of the Church Order with the concurrence of Classis West and the synodical delegates. Rev. Marcus is now available for call within the Protestant Reformed Churches."

Front March 2020 1

PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary is entering its tenth week of the second semester. The class schedule and calendar may be found on the seminary's website. The students have finished their mid-terms exams and soon the second round of practice preaching will be here. Remember to pray for the faculty, students, and staff as they busy themselves in the work of this new semester.

  • This past week the seminary hosted four young men from Covenant CHS in Grand Rapids who show interest in pursuing the ministry. They joined faculty and students for devotions, sat down with Profs. B. Huizinga and D. Kuiper to talk about the call to the ministry, visited Prof. R. Dykstra's church history class, and enjoyed lunch with us. We are thankful for this opportunity and pray that it encourages others to do the same.
  • Sem. Josiah Tan and his wife and children returned to Singapore recently due to the declining health of his mother. Pray for him and his family during this difficult time.

  • The faculty and students will be holding a meeting of the Student Club this Thursday, March 26, beginning at 7:00 PM, at Prof. R. Dykstra’s house.  They plan to discuss the first entry in the book, The Rock Whence We are Hewn.  The contribution is divided into five chapters and is the transcription and translation of a speech by Rev. H. Danhof entitled “The Idea of the Covenant of Grace.” (This year is the centennial of the publication of that speech.)

  • Are you in need of some good Reformed books to read, Bible study materials or seminary publications to use? Come and visit the seminary's bookstore! We have a variety of Bibles, commentaries, and good books - used and new - for our members and friends. And you may also make use of our library - here's the link to our online catalog if you wish to search for something to read or use.

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 30th. 

  • Need for Ministers: Synod 2019 took a decision to place the urgent need for seminary students before our churches. Please remember in your prayers to petition the Lord of the harvest for pastors, and please encourage young men, whom you observe to have the gifts, to consider the ministry. If you wish to listen to a couple of sermons by our professors that address this need, listen to "The (Suffering) Minister's Steadfast Confession" and "The Beautiful Feet of the Gospel Preacher."

ephesians 4 3 2

Let us remember to pray for our fellow saints throughout the world!

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be mentioned:
    • Concerning pulpit supply from the PRC, our sister church had this update in today's bulletin: This past Wednesday, our Government has announced more measures in an effort to try to contain the spread of COVID-19 by restricting travelling abroad and for those entering / returning to Singapore. One of which is the “Stay Home Notice (SHN)” for all short-term visitors entering Singapore. This would mean that the PRCA’s ministers scheduled to provide pulpit supply would not be able to come into Singapore, unless they serve a 14 days SHN upon arrival. Session felt that we should not subject our ministers to this notice. Therefore, Rev Marcus’s trip is cancelled. Rev Mahtani can wait for a little longer before deciding whether to cancel his trip should the SHN be not lifted.
    • *The February 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia - was posted recently and may be found on this page. 
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. Stewart led Covenant's services today.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
    • Join Reformed believers from around the world at the 2020 British Reformed Fellowship family conference at Castlewellan Castle in Northern Ireland from Saturday, July 11 to Saturday, July 18.  Our speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning, will lecture on "Union with Christ".  For information see the website http://brfconference.weebly.com or contact Briana Prins at 616-214-2779;  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Rooms are filling quickly, so complete your booking form today!
    • Read the new February 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!

  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, PRC in Bulacan, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. R. Smit, our missionary will lead us in both Worship Services. D.V. You may join us in our Worship Services via Facebook: Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church. This is in compliance to the declaration of our President to have a self-quarantine (total lock-down) that is to stay at home to avoid contamination of that virus with other person. This will take affect in the wholeIsland of the Philippines from March 15 to April 12, 2020.

~ Provident PRC: (From the elders): All our church activities are still postponed in light of the imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine until further notice. Our Lord's Day Worship Services in our church sanctuary are still postponed but we will observe the sabbath in our households through family worship. To support and ensure this, we will be sending video links of Zion PRC with full worship services, so that we may participate and experience the whole worship services in our homes in the morning and the evening by the grace of God. We will be sending two (2) video links, the first video link for First Worship Service in the morning and the second video link for the Second Worship Service in the evening.

~ The most recent mission newsletter (January 2020) was published and distributed in February.

~ 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.

Jesus paid it all 1

What is your response to the Son of God who died on the cross for sinners? Do you revile Him or revere Him? Read this resource to learn more.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • The Reformed Book Outlet will be closed through April 4 for the safety of our volunteers. If you need to place an order or have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will not be answering the phone. Thank you.

  • Are you looking for good Reformed literature and a solid Reformed and biblical magazine? Visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association's website (www.rfpa.org), where you will find information on books in all major Christian categories, as well as on the bi-monthly periodical, the Standard Bearer.

  • 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.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Llisten 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) is delivering a series on prayer, with today's message titled "The Prayer of the Christian Soldier" based on Luke 11:4. 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!

 young peoples convention header 2020

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • 2020 PRYP's Convention News! Registration for the 2020 Young People’s Convention opened on Monday, March 16!
  • Young Men's Conference - Young men of High School and College age, please plan to attend the GPRC Young Men’s Conference, with the theme of "Run, Fight, Lead!", on Saturday morning, April 25, from 8 am-12:00 pm, at Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church. Breakfast is included! Don’t wait, register today!  For more details and to register please visit georgetownprc.org/runfightlead

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 30th. 

  • The Western Young People's Retreat, hosted by the Lynden and Spokane Young Peoples, will be held July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in N. Idaho.  This is a retreat for Young People ages 13-18 (going into 9th-12th grade).  More information and registration will be available in March. Contact Rev. Kleyn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

Myanmar map 2

Don't forget the saints in Myanmar and the mission labors there!

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors:

  • 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.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown led the services today.
    • (From the PRC Contact Commitee) Our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. Rev. McGeown will likely stay in Limerick for the next six months and will then, the Lord willing, move to the United States. We submit this disappointment to the good providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.
    • The last mission newsletter from the Limerick Reformed Fellowship - the December 2019 edition - may be found here.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija.
  • Provident PRC News: The trip of our two missionaries Rev. D. Kleyn and Rev. R. Smit to Canturay Church and Inayawan Church, Sipalay, Negros Occ. to preach and teach to the two congregations is cancelled due to the Community Quarantine from March 15 to April 12, 2020. Let us remember to pray for their missionary work.
  • The newest Philippines mission newsletter has been published and posted! The January 2020 issue may be read here.
  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful and encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. In the CERC's bulletin was this notice about the work there: On the mission field, our Kolkata fellowship is also affected by the virus situation and the Indian Government has ordered a curfew from 7am to 9 pm on this Sunday to tackle coronavirus in India. The worship service in Kolkata on this Sunday will be cancelled.

Myanmar:

  • We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar; for his latest report, visit this page.
Read more...

This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, March 15-21, 2020

Psalm 46 1 2Today, March 15, is the eleventh Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

When Martin Luther was dealing with the Black Death plague, he wrote these wise words that can help inform the way we approach things happening in our world at this time.

...I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it.

I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.

If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others.

If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.

Luther's Works (Volume 43 p.13-32), the letter "Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague"

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • The significant news today is the impact of COVID-19 on the PRC congregations and sister churches. The Lord in His wise sovereignty has not only ordained and directed this virus, but He has also ordained and directed the governments of this world to restrict our worship and church activities for a time. Some of our congregations are not holding services at all today; others are gathering in split groups because of size limitations on gatherings. Some of the members of our sister churches are under quaratine and forbidden to gather; our missionaries in the Philippines are limited in their travels and therefore in their labors. All this, we believe, is ordained and directed by our Lord for the good of His people. In Christ, we still have fellowship with our covenant God and with one another, though separated in worship and functions. Our God has still given us means to read and hear His Word (in print and online). And no matter where we are and how limited we are, we all have access in prayer to His throne of grace. May we trust in Him, look to Him, and abide in quiet peace with Him. And may we pray for one another, as well as for our neighbors who may be without Christ, without hope, and without God in this world. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (Psalm 46:10,11).

  • On March 1, Rev. J. Engelsma (Doon PRC) received the call to Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN). He plans to answer by March 29. May the Lord guide his consideration of this call and the one mentioned next.

  • On March 1, the congregation of Kalamazoo PRC voted to call Rev. J. Engelsma (Doon PRC). He plans to answer this call too by March 29.

  • The Consistory of Providence PRC has announced a new trio from which to call their next pastor: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), Rev. M. McGeown (Limerick Mission, Ireland), and Rev. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC).  They plan to call from this trio March 22.

  • This week Rev. H. Bleyenberg and his wife Deb plan to leave Hudsonville, MI and begin their trip to Lacombe, AB, where he has accepted the call to serve Immanuel PRC. They hope to arrive on March 25. Rev. T. Miersma is bringing the word in Lacombe today and next week.

  • Let us continue to pray for Rev. J. Marcus and his family and the flock of First PRC in Edmonton, AB. With the approval of Classis West at their March meeting (see last week's news report) Rev. Marcus was released from the ministry in First PRC under Article 11 of the Church Order and is eligible for a call from another PRC. He is also available to preach in the churches and has been busy doing so. Consistories needing pulpit supply are encouraged to contact him.

  • Rev. R. Kleyn is bringing the Word in First PRC in Edmonton again today. From her bulletin we also learn this: "There will be a presentation, by Rev. Kleyn, of the work being done in Mexico following the afternoon service, along with coffee and baked goods."
  • After exhausting the appeal process for Rev. Jon Mahtani’s employment pass application, Covenant ERC in Singapore has requested that Grandville PRC re-initiate the calling process for minister-on-loan (cf. her bulletin note below). May the Lord turn this setback into good for our sister church and for Rev. Mahtani and his family.

  • The visit of the delegation to the Philippines that was scheduled this month on behalf of Doon PRC and the Foreign Mission Committee has been postponed due to travel concerns. The FMC hopes that the visit can be made later this year.

  • Did you know... that in 1918 there was a very serious worldwide influenza epidemic (named the "Spanish flu", it came in two phases - Spring and Fall - and claimed an estimated 50 million lives - one fifth of the world's population). In the "Centennial History of the Fourteenth Street CRC" in Holland Michigan, the following is recorded. "During a flu epidemic, the church was closed for three Sundays by order of the governor of the State of Michigan, Gov. Albert E. Sleeper. Rev. Hoeksema distributed mimeographed copies of his sermons to the congregation during this time. The consistory also had to cancel its meeting of October 31."

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Classis East Notice: There will be a special meeting of Classis East this week Tuesday, March 17  in Hudsonville PRC to give its advice on a decision of Hope PRC to release their pastor from the ministry under Article 12 of the Church Order. May the Lord give the delegates wisdom as they treat this matter.

March 2019 front 1

PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary is entering its ninth week of the second semester. The class schedule and calendar may be found on the seminary's website. The students will be having some mid-terms exams again this week, now that the halfway point of the semester has been reached. Remember to pray for the faculty, students, and staff as they busy themselves in the work of this new semester.

  • Sem. Josiah Tan and his wife and children returned to Singapore this past week due to the declining health of his mother. Pray for him and his family during this difficult time.

  • The faculty and students will be holding a meeting of the Student Club on Thursday, March 26, beginning at 7:00 PM, at Prof. R. Dykstra’s house.  They plan to discuss the first entry in the book, The Rock Whence We are Hewn.  The contribution is divided into five chapters and is the transcription and translation of a speech by Rev. H. Danhof entitled “The Idea of the Covenant of Grace.” (This year is the centennial of the publication of that speech.)

  • Are you in need of some good Reformed books to read, Bible study materials or seminary publications to use? Come and visit the seminary's bookstore! We have a variety of Bibles, commentaries, and good books - used and new - for our members and friends. And you may also make use of our library - here's the link to our online catalog if you wish to search for something to read or use.

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 30th. 

  • Need for Ministers: Synod 2019 took a decision to place the urgent need for seminary students before our churches. Please remember in your prayers to petition the Lord of the harvest for pastors, and please encourage young men, whom you observe to have the gifts, to consider the ministry. If you wish to listen to a couple of sermons by our professors that address this need, listen to "The (Suffering) Minister's Steadfast Confession" and "The Beautiful Feet of the Gospel Preacher."

PRCP Classis Feb 2020

Classis Meeting of the PRCP, held on Tuesday February 25 in the building of the Provident PRC (the Philippines)

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be mentioned:
    • Prof. R. Dykstra and his wife Carol returned home this past week after serving the CERC from March 1-8. According to her bulletin today, this is the pulpit supply in the months ahead: 15 & 22 March – Reading Sermons by CERC Elders 29 March & 5 April – by Rev. Jon Marcus; 12,19 & 26 April and 3 May – by Rev. J. Mahtani?
    • Concerning Rev. J. Mahtani's application to serve in CERC, our sister church had this update in today's bulletin: This past Thursday our lawyer has informed that CMPB was unable to support Rev Mahtani’s EP application after reconsidering Rev Mahtani’s circumstances carefully. With this latest rejection of the EP application, we have exhausted the appeal process with CMPB. Therefore, we submit to the Lord’s will, which will is always good for us. Session has informed Rev Mahtani, Grandville PRC and Contact Committee of the unsuccessful outcome of Rev Mahtani’s EP and has requested Contact Committee to re-initiate the calling process of the MOL.
    • *The February 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia - was posted recently and may be found on this page. 
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. Stewart led Covenant's services today.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
    • Join Reformed believers from around the world at the 2020 British Reformed Fellowship family conference at Castlewellan Castle in Northern Ireland from Saturday, July 11 to Saturday, July 18.  Our speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning, will lecture on "Union with Christ".  For information see the website http://brfconference.weebly.com or contact Briana Prins at 616-214-2779;  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Rooms are filling quickly, so complete your booking form today!
    • Read the new February 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!

  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, PRC in Bulacan, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. L. Trinidad, our Pastor will lead us in both Worship Services.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. Holstege will lead both of our worship services today. Also, this note is found in her bulletin today: The trip of our two missionaries Rev. D. Kleyn and Rev. R. Smit to Canturay Church and Inayawan Church, Sipalay, Negros Occ. to preach and teach to the two congregations is cancelled due to the Community Quarantine from March 15to April 12, 2020. Let us remember to pray for their missionary work.

~ The most recent mission newsletter (January 2020) was published and distributed this Fall.

~ 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.

Jesus paid it all 1

Who was this Jesus who was crucified for sinners? If He was a King, why did He die so shamefully? Read this resource to learn more.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • The Reformed Book Outlet will be closed through April 4 for the safety of our volunteers. If you need to place an order or have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will not be answering the phone. Thank you.

  • Are you looking for good Reformed literature and a solid Reformed and biblical magazine? Visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association's website (www.rfpa.org), where you will find information on books in all major Christian categories, as well as on the bi-monthly periodical, the Standard Bearer.

  • 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.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Remember to 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 of the Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA is delivering a series on prayer, with today's message titled "Forgive Us Our Debts" based on Luke 11:4. 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 by simply 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!

 young peoples convention header 2020

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

Refd Free Church Canturay 2020

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Rev. D. Kleyn taught a class here in the Reformed Churchin Canturay where Pastor Ariel Labrador is the minister

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors:

  • 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.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown led the services today.
    • The last mission newsletter from the Limerick Reformed Fellowship - the December 2019 edition - may be found here.

Philippine Missions:

  • Update: The visit of the delegation to the Philippines March 12-25 on behalf of Doon PRC and the Foreign Mission Committee has been postponed due to travel concerns. The FMC hopes that the visit can be made later this year.
  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija.
  • Provident PRC News: The trip of our two missionaries Rev. D. Kleyn and Rev. R. Smit to Canturay Church and Inayawan Church, Sipalay, Negros Occ. to preach and teach to the two congregations is cancelled due to the Community Quarantine from March 15to April 12, 2020. Let us remember to pray for their missionary work.
  • The newest Philippines mission newsletter has been published and posted! The January 2020 issue may be read here.
  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful and encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us also hold up in prayer our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh.

Myanmar:

  • We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar; for his latest report, visit this page.
Read more...

Who Is Jesus? (9) The True Vine

WHO IS JESUS?

(9) THE TRUE VINE

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman…I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15: 1, 5

Home missionary, Pastor Audred Spriensma

 

 HIS CONNECTION WITH US

It is delightful during the summer or fall to walk through a vineyard. The leaves are green, and huge clusters of grapes are hanging on the branches. Can you visualize this figure? And of course, afterwards you get to taste the good wine that is produced by these vines.

This figure was a common one to see in the land of Israel. And in Scripture, Israel as a nation is referred to as a vine planted by God (Psalm 80:8-11). When Jesus calls himself the vine, he is drawing a beautiful picture of himself with his church. Jesus is one plant with his people. Jesus is the vine, and his people are the branches. There is an intimate connection. We are united to Jesus by faith.

Jesus could make this comparison because God created the world in such a way that it could point to spiritual truths. So the physical vine is a picture of Jesus and his church. Israel in the Old Testament was a picture (type) of Christ. Jesus now says, “I am the true vine.” The other vines were symbols, but Christ is the perfect fulfilment. Israel as a nation failed to produce good fruit. Jesus came to be the perfect, essential, enduring vine of which the others were only a faint reflection.

JESUS IS THE TRUE VINE

The vine with its roots planted in the soil is the source of life for the branches and the fruit that is produced. Jesus is the source of all life for his church. He gives strength to the church and causes her to be productive to his glory. Jesus grants to his church all the blessings of salvation.

As with the physical vine, the branches have nothing if they are cut off from the vine. They have to be connected. How are they connected? There is a farmer, a vine-dresser. John 15:1 refers to the husbandman. It is he that plants the vine. It is he who cares for the vine. He prunes the vine branches, and grafts other branches into the vine. The branches draw their life from the vine.

Jesus’ Father in heaven gave Jesus to be the life for his people. We depend upon Jesus for our spiritual life, vitality, nutrition and salvation. We depend upon Jesus, just as the branch depends upon the vine for everything. Without Jesus Christ, we are nothing. In Christ we receive grace, forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life.

How is Jesus this life providing vine? The answer is first found in the “I am” statement. Jesus is the true vine, the source of life, strength, and salvation to his church because he is God. God is the source of all that we need.

Secondly, Jesus is this vine because God planted his son, Jesus, here in our world. He came in the likeness of men, our sinful flesh as a lowly vine. He bore our sin and guilt and death. But by his resurrection, he gives life to us, making us living branches.

Thirdly, there is, in the figure of the vine, wonderful fruit. Jesus stresses this in our passage. Jesus is the One who causes the branches to bear fruit. How disappointing it would be if we walked through a vineyard and there was absolutely no fruit, or only sickly fruit. Six times Jesus mentions bearing fruit or not bearing fruit. Everything depends upon the branches being connected to the vine. Everything depends upon our being connected to Jesus. Jesus is the only power that enables his people to produce fruit. That was why Jesus said in verse 3: “now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” Jesus cleanses us and enables us to bring forth good fruit.

Of ourselves, all that we can produce is sin and evil. The only reason that you and I are able to bear any fruit that is pleasing to God is because we are connected to Jesus. He is the source, our strength, and our life. All our strength to do good is in Jesus.

THE FRUIT THAT IS PRODUCED

What is that fruit? Fruit-bearing is mentioned six times in John 11:1-8. It is very important! The fruit is the fruit of faith. It is a live, active faith. It is not merely saying, “I am a Christian,” or “I belong to a church.” It is not just a matter of words. Oh, it is words. It is confessing Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God publicly, boldly, without shame. But faith is also a life lived for Jesus. It is a life lived in obedience to his Word and commandments. It is a godly life of clean speech, pure action, and love for God and our neighbors.

Our life will stand out sharply over against the lives of other people in the world who live for themselves, for sin, and for the devil. We will imitate the life and person of Jesus. No fault could be found in him. His word was truth. Oh, the fruit Jesus produces in us is a holy life. It is daily sorrow for our sins and turning away from them. We call that “conversion”. It is putting away anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth and not lying to one another (Col. 3:9, 10). Instead of these, we put on kindness, gentleness, humility, meekness, forgiving one another, and love (Col. 3:12-14).

How important is this fruit? What does God the vinedresser do? Jesus says that every branch that does not bear fruit, God takes away. These are hypocrites in the church who pretend to be Christians. They are branches in that they belong to the church. They might confess Jesus with their mouth, but produce no fruit. Because they bear no fruit, the Father cuts them off. They have no connection to Jesus. This was the case with one of Jesus’ disciples. He was part of the group that followed Jesus. But he was a thief and betrayed Jesus. He was cast out!

But even true believers who are in Christ need the pruning of the Vinedresser. They are real Christians who love Jesus and live a holy life. But because we are still sinful, so weak, even our best works are tainted with sin. So the Father works on us and cuts out the actions that flow from our sinfulness. He purges our hearts and lives so that we will be more holy and obedient. God prunes us with his Word, the preaching of the gospel. He prunes us sometimes with afflictions, trouble, pain, and sickness. This is not pleasant, but painful. It is as necessary as the surgeon’s knife that cuts out a diseased part of the body. What an important work of God in our lives, making us more productive.

THE NECESSITY OF ABIDING IN JESUS

Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me (John 15:4).” Jesus is speaking here to his disciples, saved men. They were in Christ. Jesus is saying to them and to us, “Remain in me. Don’t sever yourself from me. Look to me and depend upon me.

Why does Jesus say this? A true branch cannot be severed from Jesus the vine. If not, why is there this warning? The answer is that by our experience we cut ourselves off from Jesus. It is easy to think that once we are saved, we can make it on our own without Jesus. We think that we are strong and can be fruitful without staying in close fellowship with Christ. How do we do this? We stop praying and reading God’s Word. We do not go to worship services to hear the preaching of the Word. We cannot produce good works without staying or abiding in Jesus. So Jesus calls us to abide in him.

What is involved in abiding in Jesus? Jesus makes a wonderful promise in vs. 5, “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit…” Jesus abides always with us! But how do we abide in him? In vs. 7 Jesus says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you…” It is by the power of his Word that we are saved and it is by the power of that Word that we abide in him and he is us. Do you keep up with your devotions and Bible study? Do you faithfully attend a good church where the preaching of the gospel is emphasized? Let Christ’s Word abide in you that he may abide in you. Then we will be branches, not scrawny branches, but vibrant branches with much fruit!

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