Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, August 2-8, 2020

Isaiah 55 6Today, August 2, is the thirty-first Lord's Day of 2020; we may report the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

Let us continue to bring to our Father's throne of grace the special needs of our churches, sister churches, and mission fields during these trying times of COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. And while in our Father's presence, may we find peace and hope in His abiding love for us in Jesus Christ, and His will to do us only good - even everlasting good.

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

This house that God builds is a spiritual dwelling place in the hearts of God’s people. The temple that Solomon built was a type of the church. What does the psalmist say about it? He says, “For the Lord hath chosen Zion.” That, my friend, is sovereign election! He has chosen for himself a people. What music in the ears of afflicted David! Zion is chosen by God, and therefore God desired it for His habitation. This is his rest for ever. Here God is pleased to dwell for He says, I have desired it. Does God dwell in your heart?

~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "An Habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob" one of his special meditations from this past week

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Hope Redlands Outdoor service July 2020
Hope PRC of Redlands, CA meeting outside for her services - this photo gives you more of the "big picture."

  • Did you know... that
    • Our Hope PRC in Redlands, CA moved her services outside after the most recent lockdown order in that state,  making use of the porches of the PR Christian Schools? And they were able to do it with the whole congregation and still maintain social distancing! We rejoice in this fulfillment of their earnest desire to worship the Lord together.
    • Unity PRC's Sunday School did something special today? Here's the report from her bulletin: Sunday School will meet today until 12:00. We will remain in the sanctuary and Rev. Bill Langerak will give a presentation from his recent trip to South Korea. The congregation is invited tojoin us for this presentation, starting about 20 minutes after the morning service.
    • Two of our professors are doing regular Heidelberg Catechism preaching for vacant congregations? Prof. R. Dykstra is doing so at Kalamazoo PRC and Prof. B. Gritters at Providence PRC (Hudsonville,  MI). This is not uncommon in the West Michigan area, and it is a blessed experience for both parties.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

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PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary is now enjoying its summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements (trip to Mexico, PRYP's Convention, etc.), but there are other activities that may still be held. Our professors are staying busy preaching in the churches this summer, in West Michigan and beyond. Continue to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they continue their labors this summer.

  • The seminary is currently open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. The library and bookstore are also open for use. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.

  • The Fall 2020 semester schedule and calendar has been approved by the Theological School Commitee and posted on the seminary's website. The first semester will begin, D.V. the week of August 24. At this point we are planning to have onsite, in-person classes.

  • Seminarian Josiah Tan (5th-year senior) began his internship last month (July 1 - Dec.31) in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess. He is busy preaching and being exposed to other practical aspects of the ministry in that congregation. May the Lord will use this part of his training to further prepare him for the ministry of the Word in our sister church in Singapore.

  • The PRC Synod 2020 approved the entrance of Luke Bomers (Hope PRC, Walker, MI) and Arend Haveman (Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI) into the seminary this Fall. Both are finishing their pre-sem studies this summer. Pray for them as they prepare to take up their studies for the ministry in a few months.

  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is currently available in digital (pdf and epub) form. We are currently working on getting the print edition produced. When that is ready, we will be mailing these out. There are good articles on nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterians, Calvin's view of the reward of grace, a plea for biblical languages, and two book review articles besides other book reviews. Check it out on the seminary's journal page!

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SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today (and recently):
    • ...We are glad to be in church to hear the word of God in the assembly of the people of God and to see the beauty of God. God is beautiful because He is gracious. His undeserving favour and His unchanging love to us, sinners, saved us. He gathered us as a company of the redeemed, joined together as one body of Christ, into His church. The church of Jesus Christ is the work God. So we come to the church to worship and to see this amazing grace of God. Pray that God will work in us, a heart of passion and desire towards worship, despite the current COVID-19 situation.
    • Due to the Phase 2 restrictions on travels and employment pass approval, Grandville PRC, our MOL calling church, has concurred with Session’s suggestion to suspend the calling of MOL for the time being. 
    • The June 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #60 - was published and posted this past week. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • She resumed services in July and Rev. A. Stewart continues to lead the services; the CPRC is livestreaming them for those unable to attend.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - June 2020!
    • Read the new June 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, Bulacan PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Berean PRC:

Rev. R. Smit will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on Facebook Live.
Rev. Ibe and Deacon Junno are scheduled to visit our brethren and sisters in the Lord in Gabaldon Nueva Ecija today (August 02) and Rev. Ibe will be preaching for them.

~ Maranatha PRC:  

 Rev. L. Trinidad, our pastor, will lead us in both Worship Services live stream via Facebook: Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church, at 9:00 a.m and 11: a.m., Lord willing.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Kleyn will preach both times today. The worship services will take place again in the house of Elder Bien and will be live streamed on the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page and on YouTube. Rev. D. Holstege will teach Lesson 17 in the Essentials catechism class today on Zoom at 1:30.

~ PRCP Seminary news: The Theological School of our PRCP federation plans to begin another year and semester of seminary instruction on Tuesday, August 11. Our seminary students this year are Bro. Jeremias Pascual, Bro. Emmanuel Jasojaso, and Bro. Ace Flores. Our instructors are Revs. D. Holstege, D. Kleyn, and R. Smit. Our seminary faces once again the challenges of instruction during the ongoing restrictions of the coronavirus quarantine. In light of the quarantine in the NCR region, if some members of the PRCP wish to visit in person the classes of Hermeneutics (Rev. Holstege), Church History (Rev. Kleyn), or Reformed Dogmatics (Rev. Smit), then they should contact the individual instructors in advance for details about visiting, especially since in-classroom visits may not be possible in some weeks. Please remember the students and instructors in their work during your family and personal prayers.

~ 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.

fellowship dinner SNegros Oct 2019
Fellowship dinner in S.Negros, October 2019

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors

  • We 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 been writing short meditations for the PRC website and is now speaking for the Reformed Witess Hour radio program for four months (June - Sept.).

Limerick (Ireland) Reformed Fellowship News:

  • Rev. M. McGeown is still leading the services on the mission until he is allowed to enter the U.S. (see next note). They have also just recently restarted live services after the UK lockdown that began in March.
  • He has accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens (see his most recent newsletter).
  • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was just published - July 2020. You may find that here.

Philippine Missions:

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19  restrictions on their travels and labors. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and to be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • 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 continue to experience tight restrictions and limited functions.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: After a commotion from the community because Rev. Singh had started worship services with the maximum number allowed (15) and people didn't think they should meet at all, Rev Singh decided to shift the worship service to his home to calm the situation. We thank God for the saints in Kolkata in their fervent desire for worship despite the opposition they faced from the local community. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Mat 5:11). Pray that God will sustain the saints to be steadfast in the faith and that they be strong in the Lord. Pray for Rev Singh that God will use His faithful preaching of the Word to bring comfort and encouragement to the saints in Kolkata.

Myanmar:

  • Let us also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters here too need our prayers and encouragement as they suffer under coronavirus quarantines and economic hardships. Rev. Titus continues to minister the Word to his flock through the means of social media and modern technology.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

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

  • At present 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 "I Am Your God (or, God's Everlasting Covenant)" based on Genesis 17:7. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, 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!
  • 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? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.
  • The Reformed Book Outlet  is open again, with temporary limited hours. We will be open on Tuesday, 10am - 1pm, Wednesday, 1pm - 6pm, and Saturday, 10am - 1pm. Please follow the guidelines that will be posted on the door when visiting the store. 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!
    The Reformed Book Outlet’s 3rd annual summer reading challenge is beginning on June 15 and will go through August 22 this year! This challenge is for adults and children, and there are prizes for completing the challenge. Visit our store or Facebook page for more details. You can sign up and pick up a packet at the store during business hours, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up and we will send you a packet!

 
Yg Calvinists

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • The Young Calvinists will be holding a Virtual Young People's Gathering via zoom on August 8 from 11am-5pm. As a small replacement for Convention, this will feature a lecture on heaven by Prof. B. Gritters, online mixer games, discussion groups and more! There will also be an outdoor Singspiration (young people only) on Sunday, August 9 at 8pm. To help us safely prepare, please RSVP for one or both events by July 20 at the following link: https://tinyurl.com/young-calvinists-virtual. Follow our blog (youngcalvinists.org), Facebook, or Instagram, for upcoming details!

  • PRYP Convention News (good news from Georgetown PRC!): 2021 Young People’s Convention: Our Steering Committee has signed a new contract with Lake Williamson Christian Center for next year.  ...We have reserved the second week in August, arriving on Monday August 9 and departing on Friday August 13, 2021.  There will be no other groups at Lake Williamson on the second week and we would have the camp to ourselves (similar to this year). May the Lord preserve our enthusiasm and bless our plans for our Young People’s growth.

  • The latest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the retreat is closed! For further updates, please visit our Facebook page Colorado Young Adults Retreat 2020. 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'.

  • Save the date for a Singles’ Conference! Lord willing, we will have another short conference for Protestant Reformed Singles (geared towards those ages 25+) on September 25-27 in Grand Rapids, MI.  Rev. Jonathan Mahtani and Rev. Stephan Regnerus have agreed to speak.  To register, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find us on Facebook.  Registration forms are due by September 7.
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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for August 2020

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First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI and the Reformed Witness Hour Committee announce the messages scheduled for August 2020 on the RWH radio/Internet program.

This month Rev. Aud Spriensma, home missionary of the PRC (stationed in West Michigan) continues his four-month service for the RWH. For the month of August he continues his series on God's Covenant of Grace (if you missed the start of these in July, you may find them on the RWH website!). Be sure to tune in (or listen online anytime!) for these important messages. The schedule for this month is laid out below and also attached in pdf form.

ASpriensma RWH 2020

August 2, 2020 - God's Everlasting Covenant, Genesis 17:7

August 9, 2020 - The Throne and Kingdom Established Forever, 2 Samuel 7:12-14

August 16, 2020 - The Unbreakable Covenant, Psalm 89:3

August 23, 2020 - Walking with God, Amos 3:3

August 30, 2020 - A New Covenant with Israel, Jeremiah 31:31

You are encouraged to listen to these important messages and to let others know about them too. Help spread the word about the Reformed Witness Hour, now in its 79th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign, particular, efficacious grace!

DID YOU KNOW? Our weekly broadcast is available as a podcast on Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and most other podcast apps. Subscribe today by searching for “Reformed Witness Hour”.

Visit our website for the latest podcast and for other news and information!

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.

And don't forget our Spanish programs on YouTube!

RWH Facebook image

Use the attached flyer (pdf) to spread the news of these important gospel messages!

PO Box 1230, Grand Rapids MI, 49501 | reformedwitnesshour.org | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you wish to be added to the mailing list to receive the printed booklet of the messages each month, send an email to Judi Doezema at doezema at prca.org.

Read more...

An Habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob

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

An Habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob

Meditation on Psalm 132: 4,5 13,14     

I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob...For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.

What a beautiful psalm this was for God’s people as they travelled up to the temple to worship. May it be so also for us. The Israelites knew that David desired to build the temple. He desired to build the house for God to dwell in. God came to Nathan the prophet, saying that David was not to build that house. God said that He Himself will build a house for David!

The desire of David was a good desire. God had given David rest from his enemies, and David was now living in a beautiful palace. But the ark of God had no abiding place. It was resting in a tent that David had put up for it in Jerusalem. The ark of the covenant had been in Philistia. When the wicked sons of Eli had tried to force God to go out in battle for them, the Philistines had captured the ark and put it in the houses of their gods. Do you remember how the idol god, Dagon fell down into pieces before the ark? The Philistines endured various plagues, and were only too eager to get rid of the ark. They put the ark on a cart with milk cows and sent it back to Israel. There it rested in Kirjah-jearim (the city of the woods). David finally was successful in bringing the ark to Jerusalem, placed in a tent. But the glory of the Lord never settled upon that tent. The Shekinah of glory had come upon Moses’ tent, the Tabernacle. Later the glory of God came upon Solomon’s temple. But there was no heavenly glory on David’s tent.

David desired a glorious house to be built for Israel’s glorious God. But he was a man of war, his hands full of  blood. God would build the house. He would use David’s seed. Solomon, David’s son will build the temple. But Solomon could only put up a physical building. It was a beautiful building, but a building that could be torn down, as it was later by the Babylonians. God’s people needed to look for the Son of David who would build a temple not made with hands. The temple destroyed  would in three days be raised up. This was the temple of His body. The house of David would come to a dismal stump, the stump of Jesse. But from a lowly maiden, Mary, came ‘The Seed of David’. The Lord Jesus, the ‘Son of God’ and the ‘Son of Man’ would raise up the house of David. This is the church of the Lord Jesus.

This house that God builds is a spiritual dwelling place in the hearts of God’s people. The temple that Solomon built was a type of the church. What does the psalmist say about it? He says, “For the Lord hath chosen Zion.” That, my friend, is sovereign election! He has chosen for himself a people. What music in the ears of afflicted David! Zion is chosen by God, and therefore God desired it for His habitation. This is his rest for ever. Here God is pleased to dwell for He says, I have desired it. Does God dwell in your heart?

David’s resolution to establish a place for God’s holy presence teaches us that the one great purpose of God’s King is to build God’s temple. Nothing is more important to the kingdom of God than the worship of God. God’s presence with His people is their joy and God’s glory.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem Ephratah (the field of woods). He would have no house to call His own. He would create it. By His atonement, suffering, death, and resurrection, the temple destroyed is the temple raised up in three days. Jesus declared, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Jesus gathers and builds His church by His Spirit and Word. What a house for God!

As we go up to God’s house this coming Sunday, may we rejoice!  The Lord hath chosen Zion. We are His church by sovereign election and grace. The Lord Jesus desires His church for His habitation. He is pleased to dwell in our hearts and be worshipped by us. Jesus Christ rested from His work, having defeated sin, Satan, and death. He arose from the dead.

May we enjoy our Sabbath; we rest from our labors. We rest  in the accomplished work of our Savior. God’s worshippers no longer gather around one physical location. We worship Christ in the Holy Spirit regardless where they meet for public worship, for we are the temple of God.  That is wonderful to hear in this time with government restrictions because of Covid-19. The Samaritan woman asked Jesus if the correct place of worship was in Samaria or Jerusalem? Jesus answered, that yes, it was Jerusalem. But the day was coming when that no longer mattered. What mattered was that one worship in Spirit and in truth.

Christ dwells in the hearts and lives of His people! Let us pray on this coming Lord’s Day, “Thy kingdom come.” May it be that Christ’s kingdom comes more and more in my own heart. May it be that Christ’s kingdom comes as Christ continues to gather more and more of His people.

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This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, July 26 - August 1, 2020 *(Updated)

Jeremiah 29 11Today, July 26, is the thirtieth Lord's Day of 2020; we may report the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

Let us continue to bring to our Father's throne of grace the special needs of our churches, sister churches, and mission fields during these trying times of COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. And while there, may we find peace and hope in our Father's abiding love for us in Jesus Christ, and His will to do us only good - even everlasting good.

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. ...In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. ....No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. Isaiah 54:10,14,17

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

This portrait shows the child of God, simply trusting in the Lord, no matter the noise or troubles, calamities or circumstances around him. This was David’s situation. Oh, the calm times when David contemplated and sang songs to his God while he cared for his sheep. When a bear or lion came to snatch up one of his little lambs, or as he stood before the giant Goliath, he had a perfect trust in his God. What a nice picture of the full blown believer in the face of painful and trying circumstances. Does this picture tug at your heart? Do you say, “This is how I want to live and die?” Or do you find yourself often fretful moody, upset, frustrated, or even grumpy too often? May God give us grace that we may be able to say, “My soul is even as a weaned child.” May you have a calm, resigned, peaceful frame of mind, walking in faith and trust in Jehovah’s safe-keeping.

~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "Portrait of a Weaned Child," one of his special meditations from this past week

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  • 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.

  • From the bulletin of Immanuel PRC comes this good news: "Their 2-week quarantine having expired, Rev. Bleyenberg is therefore able to preach for us behind the pulpit, and will do so for both services going forward. Live-streaming will be available, and the Council requests that you worship with us by way of live-streaming for the service in which your family will be at home.  We give thanks to God for providing the Word to go forth physically from our new pastor in God’s house! Next Sunday Rev. Bleyenberg will be installed as minister of Immanuel PRC. Rev. Miersma will preach the installation in the morning, and Rev. Bleyenberg will preach his inaugural sermon in the afternoon. Because Immanuel PRC is too small to hold the entire congregation (taking into account social distancing), the consistory has arranged for these two worship services to be held at the local SDA Church -6910 - University Drive.  The consistory calls the entire congregation to come and worship. The service times will be the same: 10am and 4:30pm."

  • On July 12 Rev. G. Eriks accepted the call to Unity PRC (Byron Center, MI). According to Unity's July 19 bulletin, Rev. Eriks will preach his farewell sermon to the Hudsonville congregation on Sunday, August 16 and his installation will be the following week, August 23, during the morning service.

  • On July 19 the Council of First PRC, Edmontion announced a new trio: Rev. J. Engelsma (Doon PRC), Rev. M. VanderWal (Wingham PRC), and Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). The congregation will vote, D.V. after the afternoon service today. Rev. M. Vanderwal has received this call. Rev. T. Miersma is leading the services there again today. 

Hope Redlands Outdoor worship 3
Hope PRC of Redlands, CA meeting outside for her services

  • Did you know... that
    • Our Hope PRC in Redlands, CA moved her services outside on her lawn (and that of the school) after the most recent lockdown order in that state? And they were able to do it with the whole congregation and still maintain social distancing! How wonderful under the circumstances!
    • Rev. J. Mahtani and his family did move into Hope's parsonage this past week, according to Hope PRC's bulletin this week? We trust they are settling in well to their new place and finding good neighbors in that locale.
    • Senior Sem. Josiah Tan is leading both services in First PRC today? In the first service he delivering his first sermon as part of his internship requirements, while in the evening he is filling the pulpit for Rev. C. Griess who has a classical appointment to Unity PRC.
    • Prof. David Engelsma has made a two-hour podcast with the Presbyterian theologian, Dr. Sonny Hernandez, critiquing the doctrine of common grace?  Anyone who is interested in listening to the podcast can access it through Dr. Hernandez website at reformingamericaministries.com and click on the link for the podcast (from Trinity PRC's bulletin today).

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

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PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary is now enjoying its summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements (trip to Mexico, PRYP's Convention, etc.), but there are other activities that may still be held. Continue to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they continue their labors this summer.

  • Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted in Michigan, the seminary is open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. The library and bookstore are also open for use. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.

  • The Fall 2020 semester schedule and calendar has been approved by the Theological School Commitee and posted on the seminary's website. The first semester will begin, D.V. the week of August 24. At this point we are planning to have onsite and in-person classes.

  • Seminarian Josiah Tan began his internship this month (July 1 - Dec.31) in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess. Pray that the Lord will use this part of his training to further prepare him for the ministry of the Word in our sister church in Singapore.

  • The PRC Synod 2020 approved the entrance of Luke Bomers (Hope PRC, Walker, MI) and Arend Haveman (Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI) into the seminary this Fall. Both are finishing their pre-sem studies this summer. Pray for them as they prepare to take up their studies for the ministry in a few months.

  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is currently available in digital (pdf and epub) form. We are currently working on getting the print edition produced. When that is ready, we will be mailing these out. There are good articles on nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterians, Calvin's view of the reward of grace, a plea for biblical languages, and two book review articles besides other book reviews. Check it out on the seminary's journal page!

CPRC NI building
Covenant PRC in Ballymena, N. Ireland

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today (and recently):
    • The COVID 19 pandemic had limited us in many areas of the life of the church. For a few months, we are not able to congregate together to worship the Lord. We can only stay in our homes with our family or as individuals, worship through live-streaming. Though we are thankful we can still worship through live-streaming, yet it is far from the blessedness where the church comes together to worship the Lord. Since March, due to Government’s COVID-19 restrictions, we have missed the partaking of the Lord’s Supper (which is one of the means of grace the Lord gave to His church) for 2 consecutive occasions. We are also limited in the communion of saints when we cannot congregate in church or in meetings or Bible study. Beloved, the Lord uses this occasion to try us and to search our hearts if we are like the Psalmist when he cannot go to the temple of God to worship Him because he was held captive in Babylon. He confessed that his chief joy is Jerusalem which is the church of God in the Old Testament Is this also our confession? May the Lord grant us that grace to love and care for His church in which also reflect our love for God in our lives.
    • Due to the Phase 2 restrictions on travels and employment pass approval, Grandville PRC, our MOL calling church, has concurred with Session’s suggestion to suspend the calling of MOL for the time being. 
    • The June 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #60 - was published and posted this past week. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • She resumed services earlier this month for the first time since the lockdown in the UK in March. Rev. A. Stewart continues to lead the services and the CPRC is livestreaming them for those unable to attend.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - June 2020!
    • Read the new June 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, 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 Facebook Live. As to date, beloved, we are still under GCQ (general community quarantine). We pray earnestly to God that in soonest possible time, He may be pleased to lift us up from this crisis so that our regular corporate public worship services are restored, the Lord willing.

Rev. Ibe and Deacon Junno are scheduled to visit our brethren and sisters in the Lord in Gabaldon Nueva Ecija on Sunday (August 02), the Lord willing.

~ Maranatha PRC:  

 Rev. R. Smit will lead us in both Worship Services live stream via Facebook: Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church, at 9:00 a.m and 11: a.m., Lord willing. (*Our City of Valenzuela has authorized the churches to conduct their worship services on a limited number of 10 persons per service.)

We are in the 5th month that is from March to July, 2020 of being under the General Enhancement Quarantine in Metro Manila and still there are areas under the lock down rules with a close supervision of the authorities. There are equivalent penalty fees and/orcertain number of days of being in prison if caught with out any reasonable explanations.Let us therefore continue to pray to our Almighty God to bring us, the saints back to our normal gatherings in the sanctuary of the Lord.

~ Provident PRC:  

Rev. Holstege will teach the Heidelberg Catechism on Zoom at 9:00 this morning for BLCC and preach both times for PPRC, since he was not able to travel to Guiguinto yet....

Rev. Holstege will preach both times today. The worship services will take place again in the house of Elder Bien and will be live streamed on the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page and on YouTube.

~ 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.

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PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors

  • We 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 been writing short meditations for the PRC website and is now speaking for the Reformed Witess Hour radio program (for four months, June - Sept.).

Limerick (Ireland) Reformed Fellowship News:

  • Rev. M. McGeown is still leading the services on the mission until he is allowed to enter the U.S. (see next note). They have also just recently restarted live services after the UK lockdown that began in March.
  • He has accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens (see his most recent newsletter).
  • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was just published - July 2020. You may find that here.

Philippine Missions:

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19  restrictions on their travels and labors. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and to be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • 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 continue to experience tight restrictions and limited functions.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: Continue to remember our brothers and sisters in CERC Kolkata Fellowship. As you are aware that the COVID-19 situation in India is getting worse, pray that the Lord will keep our brothers and sisters safe in Kolkata. Pray for our Missionary Pastor as he cares for the saints in Kolkata.

Myanmar:

  • Let us also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters here too need our prayers and encouragement as they suffer under coronavirus quarantines and economic hardships. Rev. Titus continues to minister the Word to his flock through the means of social media and modern technology.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

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

  • At present 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 "A Smoking Furnace and a Burning Lamp" based on Genesis 15:. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, 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!
  • 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? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.
  • The Reformed Book Outlet  is open again, with temporary limited hours. We will be open on Tuesday, 10am - 1pm, Wednesday, 1pm - 6pm, and Saturday, 10am - 1pm. Please follow the guidelines that will be posted on the door when visiting the store. 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!
    The Reformed Book Outlet’s 3rd annual summer reading challenge is beginning on June 15 and will go through August 22 this year! This challenge is for adults and children, and there are prizes for completing the challenge. Visit our store or Facebook page for more details. You can sign up and pick up a packet at the store during business hours, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up and we will send you a packet!

 
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ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • The Young Calvinists will be holding a Virtual Young People's Gathering via zoom on August 8 from 11am-5pm. As a small replacement for Convention, this will feature a lecture on Heaven by Prof. Gritters, online mixer games, discussion groups and more! There will also be an outdoor Singspiration (young people only) on Sunday, August 9 at 8pm. To help us safely prepare, please RSVP for one or both events by July 20 at the following link: https://tinyurl.com/young-calvinists-virtual. Follow our blog (youngcalvinists.org), Facebook, or Instagram, for upcoming details!

  • PRYP Convention News (good news from Georgetown PRC!): 2021 Young People’s Convention: Our Steering Committee has signed a new contract with Lake Williamson Christian Center for next year.  ...We have reserved the second week in August, arriving on Monday August 9 and departing on Friday August 13, 2021.  There will be no other groups at Lake Williamson on the second week and we would have the camp to ourselves (similar to this year). May the Lord preserve our enthusiasm and bless our plans for our Young People’s growth.

  • The latest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the retreat is closed! For further updates, please visit our Facebook page Colorado Young Adults Retreat 2020. 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'.

  • Save the date for a Singles’ Conference! Lord willing, we will have another short conference for Protestant Reformed Singles (geared towards those ages 25+) on September 25-27 in Grand Rapids, MI.  Rev. Jonathan Mahtani and Rev. Stephan Regnerus have agreed to speak.  To register, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find us on Facebook.  Registration forms are due by September 7.
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Portrait of a Weaned Child

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

Portrait of a Weaned Child

Meditation on Psalm 131

LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.

Travelers going up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem came in contentment and trust. What beautiful words, “My soul is even as a weaned child.” In this psalm, David paints the picture of a little child. This is not a fussy or crying infant needing or rooting to suckle, hungry or perhaps wet and uncomfortable. No, this little child has been weaned, no longer being suckled at his mother’s breast. Here is a child of two or three years of age that is resting on mothers lap with his head upon her breast. He is just happy and content as a clam to be near his mother, to be held by her, enjoying her love.

This portrait shows the child of God, simply trusting in the Lord, no matter the noise or troubles, calamities or circumstances around him. This was David’s situation. Oh, the calm times when David contemplated and sang songs to his God while he cared for his sheep. When a bear or lion came to snatch up one of his little lambs, or as he stood before the giant Goliath, he had a perfect trust in his God. What a nice picture of the full blown believer in the face of painful and trying circumstances. Does this picture tug at your heart? Do you say, “This is how I want to live and die?” Or do you find yourself often fretful moody, upset, frustrated, or even grumpy too often? May God give us grace that we may be able to say, “My soul is even as a weaned child.” May you have a calm, resigned, peaceful frame of mind, walking in faith and trust in Jehovah’s safe-keeping.

Oh, the weaning process for David was not easy. He was hunted by Saul who wanted to kill him. He had to hide all alone in the wilderness. He even resorted to living among the his enemies, the Philistines. He had multiple troubles with his children, even having to flee for his life from Absalom., The weaning of the little child is a process. The little child does not know why he cannot suckle anymore. He might even be upset that mother is not doing that anymore. Things have changed. The weaning was not to hurt the child, but to help him on life’s journey. So also peace and calm of the soul does not just happen. There is a process to go through in order to sit and be content in our Father’s arms.

Pride must be subdued and driven away. David writes, “My heart is not haughty.” We are all proud by nature. But we have nothing to be proud of before God. The proud heart gives way to lofty eyes. We look down at others in a condescending way. We think ourselves so much better. We think that we do not deserve God’s chastening hand or the trials that He gives to us. David confessed that he, by God’s grace, has given up his proud heart and lofty eyes. He will not depend upon himself anymore in his difficulties and sin. He will give himself to trust in his Lord and in the Lord’s mercy and love.

We too must confess our sin and wretchedness. We need to humble ourselves before God. We are so undeserving of all that He gives. We must look to our covenant God for our salvation and trust Him in His leading us in our life. We do not need to understand everything that happens in our lives. We want to shout at times, “Why Lord? Why are these things happening to me? We are tempted to question His providence in our lives and in the world around us. David confesses, “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” If David has learned this living in the Old Testament, how much more should this be true of you and me who live in the New Dispensation. We have God’s Word. We know God’s great love in the giving of His only begotten Son for our salvation. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). How beautifully it is put in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” I need this in the trying times and circumstances in my life, when I am tempted to fuss, grumble, be fretful, or grumpy. Instead of being angry and asking, “Why LORD?” I will contently state that my Father in heaven knows best. Do I trust Him? This is the way of rest and peace. This is the way to live and die. “My soul is even as a weaned child…Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.” Am I a portrait of the weaned child to those who know and see me?

Be still my soul – the Lord is on thy side! Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; Leave to thy God to order and provide –In every change He faithful will remain. Be still, my soul -- thy best, thy heavenly Friend thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.  ~ Jean Sibelius 1865-1957

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