Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

Building with Sword and Trowel

THE REFORMED WITNESS HOUR

Message title: Building with Sword and Trowel, Nehemiah 4
Broadcast date: August 1, 2021 (No. 4100)
Radio speaker: Rev. Carl Haak

Dear radio friends,

 

         In the last weeks we have been following Nehemiah, the man who returned to Jerusalem to build the walls of the city of God.  With Nehemiah, we have seen that we too, as believers, are called in the same work.

        What are the walls of Zion?  They refer to everything that the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh would want to be torn down in the Christian life.  Building the walls of Zion refers to the gathering, defending, and preserving of the church of Jesus Christ by the preaching of God’s Word.  Building the walls of Zion refers to a faithful life with respect to the truth of God, a life of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, a life of fellowship with the saints.  The walls of Zion are godly marriages and godly families that flow from those marriages.  The walls of Zion are the personal lives of holiness to be built up in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

        Now, no sooner had Nehemiah begun to build the walls of Jerusalem in earnest and to show that he had not come to talk but to work, than also his problems began in earnest—opposition that dwarfed all of the trials that he had experienced to that point.  There was opposition that was outside the ranks, and there was discouragement within the ranks of the Jews.  That is always the case.  In the words of the apostle Paul (II Cor. 7:5), “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.”  The true work of the building of the walls of Zion must now, according to God’s own purpose, face great adversity.  The purpose of God is, first of all, to drive us to Him for our strength.  His purpose is, secondly, to increase our dependence upon the living God.  And, thirdly, it is to make us more sensitive to the needs of each other.

        Nehemiah is now faced, in chapter 4, with great opposition to the work of the building of the walls.  But we will note that Nehemiah did not bemoan it, he did not curse it, he did not become pessimistic.  But he showed the grace of perseverance. He showed the grace of strength and Christian love.  We read in the chapter, “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night” (v. 9).  “I set them behind the walls with sword and spear.  I rose up and said to the people, ‘Be not afraid. Remember, the Lord is with us.’”

        Nehemiah is an example to us upon whom the ends of the world are come today, as we, too, are engaged in that same work and face the same adversity and opposition.  He is an example of faith.  He is an example of God-given, God-centered, and God-dependent faith.  Nehemiah continued in the work because of God’s grace working in him mightily.  His was a faith that knew how to use the tools God gave him.  He placed in one hand of the men of Israel a weapon of war, a sword to defend, and in the other hand a builder’s tool, a trowel to build.  He built with sword and trowel.

        Chapter 3, which we looked at last week, gave a beautiful picture of God’s people whose hearts were in the work, of how they went about to build the walls of Jerusalem in unity, with sacrifice, and in a display of great zeal.  Waves of enthusiasm pulsed among them—the singing of the Psalms, and the smile of satisfaction in God’s blessing.

        But now chapter 4 brings us back to reality.  There are moments of enthusiasm and excitement in the work of the Lord—for example, in the beginning of a new Christian school, the establishment of a new congregation, the first child born in a marriage, a honeymoon.  But in chapter 4 we have the reality that in the work of the Lord we must expect to be bombarded with trouble, adversity, and opposition.

        The trouble came, first of all, from outside, in the form of mockery, in the form of threat, and in the form of plots devised by those who were the enemies of what Nehemiah was doing because they hated Nehemiah’s God.  We are told of Sanballat and Tobiah.  These two men, we remember from chapter 2:10, were grieved when Nehemiah came.  They were grieved exceedingly that there came a man to seek the welfare of the Jews.  The two men laughed when the Jews decided to heed Nehemiah’s call to begin the rebuilding of the walls.

        Sanballat means “sin gives life.”  He was a profane man.  He was a governor in the area.  And Tobiah was an Ammonite and was a false prophet.  These two enemies tried three things to defeat the building of the walls.

        First, they tried cruel mockery.  If you read verses 1-3, you will find that when these two men heard that the walls were going up, they began to say, first to themselves, “What do these feeble Jews?  Will they fortify themselves?  Will they sacrifice?”  Then they began to mock. Tobiah said this:  “Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall” (v. 3).  They began with cruel mockery.  They derided the purpose of these feeble Jews, of building the walls of Zion for the glory of God.  They mocked them.  They lampooned their enthusiasm.  They magnified the problems that they would experience.  Words are powerful.  Words can hurt.  The words of Tobiah and Sanballat were filled with sarcasm and bitterness.  They said that even if a fox (which is known for its being light-footed and balanced), even if a fox would daintily walk upon the stone wall that they are building, that stone wall would fall down.

        The second thing they did was try to bully Nehemiah and the people.  As the work continued to progress and walls were joined together, the enemies held counsel of war from all the areas surrounding Jerusalem.  They marshaled their forces before Jerusalem, thinking that their presence, a show of force, would be enough to drive the people off the walls and cause them to give it up.

        Then they tried to scare them with intimidation.  We read of that in verses 11ff.  Each morning the workers who had gone home to the surrounding villages would return to the work on the wall. The enemies said, “We will sneak in among them as they enter into Jerusalem.  We will pretend to be workers.  We will sneak in among them and slay them.  We will try the Trojan-horse approach.”

        So the tactics were: scorn, bullying, and threats.  Please take note.  The prosperity of the true church of Jesus Christ is a great grief, an irritation to the world.  It angers the forces of sin.  When you make progress in sanctification in your own life, repenting and forsaking sin, this provokes the devil.  Faithfulness in marriage and not living together before marriage but living pure and chaste—this angers the world, this incenses the forces of darkness, so that they become dedicated to destroying you in that way of holiness.

        But note: all opposition to you must not turn you from your duty.  The ridicule that you receive for your walk of life, the looks of scorn, and the jokes heaped upon you—these must not drive you from your Christian duty.

        But the adversity that Nehemiah experienced was not only from the outside.  He was faced with discouragement within the ranks that was even more threatening to the work.  The people of Judah came to Nehemiah to tell him of the difficult working conditions and that they were tired and that the dangers to which they and their families were being exposed were great.  We read, “And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall” (v. 10).  Their strength is decayed.  They were teetering, tired, so tired they could hardly stand straight anymore.  They were staggering.  A couple of weeks tussling with boulders up the cliff had drained their strength.  They had begun the work but now it was very plain that what was involved was a great effort and it promised only more in the future.  The demands had increased.

        Secondly, they were exposed to a danger in their families.  We read, “And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came [that is, their adversaries], they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you” (v. 12).  That is, the men who lived in those outlying villages were repeatedly being threatened that in their absence their families would be attacked.  Or, when they came home exhausted from the work, they would be ambushed.

        Picture Sanballat placing his thugs, his bullies, on the street corners as a man went early to work. “Hey, buddy.  Going to work on those walls, huh?  Wife and children home alone, are they? You’re going to come back tonight tired.  You had better watch your back.”

        The difficulties, the discouragements, the fears, and the weariness of the people of God were very real.  They constituted as great a threat to the work as the opposition from the outside.  In fact, a greater threat.  It is easier to begin the work of the Lord in the church, in a Christian marriage, in a Christian family with little children, than it is to continue it.  Pessimism and hopelessness and despair and inward cynicism (I can’t, it’s too costly, the threats are too great) are great enemies.  Pessimism is a greater enemy than atheism. Unbelief is a threat to us.  Despair and hopelessness sap our strength. And pessimism distorts reality.  The people were beginning to say, “We are not able to build the walls.”  That was not true.  Philippians 4:13:  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

        What did Nehemiah do?  Three things.

        First, he prayed, and he had the people pray (vv. 4, 5).  “Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: and cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.”  So immediate, so spiritually engrained is prayer in Nehemiah that here he does not even announce it.  He just breaks right out into prayer.  He stands with the builders and he hears Sanballat and Tobiah and all of their ridicule.  And he does not respond in a verbal battle.  He does not say, “Oh yah?  Well, you listen here!”  He does not begin to spar with them.  He does not begin to mix it up with them.  This was not his weapon.

        And these are not our weapons.  We do not battle scorn with scorn, ridicule with ridicule, cut-down with cut-down, jeering with jeering.  Those are not our weapons.  The weapons of the church are not the refurbished weapons of the world. You may not use those weapons as you go about your work, wherever you are—in the church, in marriage, in the family.  You may not use the weapons of the world.  Use the weapons of God.

        Nehemiah prayed, and his prayer centered in God:  “For they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.”  Now, get that!  You would expect that something they were saying would hurt him.  One of the arrows that they had shot at him would lodge in his soul.  But, to Nehemiah, it was not about his leadership, not about his work, not about his ability as a bricklayer, or his motives.  But it was about God.  He does not try to defend himself.  He sees that the insults are directed at God Himself.  He prayed that God would take care of His own name.  And he had the people pray that way.  He said, “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God.”

        How full of significance.  How pregnant with truth for us.  How rich is the application.  You cannot build the walls of Zion in your own life, you cannot labor in the church, you cannot labor in behalf of the kingdom of God, without prayer.  You cannot shield yourself from the darts of sarcasm and the threats of this world, without prayer.  What is your first response?  To return in suit?  To pick up the weapons of the flesh?  To use what is at the disposal of the flesh—your tongue and further sharp words?

        Nehemiah viewed all of these things as foolishness.  But he went in prayer to the present God.  He believed that the issue ultimately was God and that God would and must maintain His honor.

        The second thing that Nehemiah did was that he took action.  He did not panic.  He looked around, he surveyed, he assessed the situation.  He took time to evaluate.  Prayer led to action.  Prayer made him decisive.  I think one of the most memorable statements in the book of Nehemiah is the one found in chapter 4:9:  “Nevertheless [and this is in the context of the slander thrown against his work] we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night.”  We prayed, then I set a watch. Prayer led to prudent, decisive, courageous action.  He did not pray and waffle.  He did not pray and then, at the end of his prayer, throw up his hands in confusion.  He did the next prudent step decisively. In the conviction and in the calmness of his Lord, he put men out to stand watch, so they would be alerted if there was any threat of physical danger.  He did not pray and bemoan.  He did not pray and send out a scouting party to see how many men Sanballat had.  But he prayed…and he set a watch.  Putting his trust in God, he arranged for a defense of the weak spots of the wall.  He gave to families swords and spears.  He announced to the enemy that their threats would meet with resistance.

        And he thought of the people with compassion.  He said to them, “Be not ye afraid of them:  remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren….”  He made changes in the work schedule to alleviate bone-weariness by organizing work into parties – those who would bear burdens and others who would be builders.  Then he had every man strap a sword on, put a trumpeter by himself, and told the people, “When you hear the trumpet, you gather to me and we will fight.”

        Beloved, Nehemiah did his duty.  How often does opposition, weariness, adversity, and fear cause us to freeze in indecision or to drop our hands and say, “Go ahead then.  Roll over me. I give up.”  We have so much more than Nehemiah.  We have the full Scriptures—the crucified Lord, and Jesus’ promise: “I will build my church.”  Do we wait for problems to go away before we will work? Do we expect we can do good only if there are no negatives in marriage?  Do you say, “Well, I’m not going to.  It’s just too hard…until she….”  Is that what you say?  In the church:  “Why should I until they….”  No, Nehemiah prayed, and then took action.

        And in the third place, Nehemiah equipped them with sword and trowel.  Everyone had a sword.  We read, “They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.”  Those who did not need both hands for working, who were harnessed to a sled pulling, they had their sword ready.  The rest, equipped by Nehemiah with a trowel, had their sword strapped to their side.

        Both sword and trowel were needed.  The sword of the Word of God—to defend us from the temptations of the world, the sins of our flesh, the heresies, the waves of despair infiltrating our heart. Beat them back by the sword of the Word of God.  Through the preaching, through catechism, through the creeds, through Christian discipline, keep the church free from ungodliness.  Maintain your life of holiness.

        And a trowel.  That is a brick-layer’s tool.  It is short and wide to carry the mud, to smooth out the mortar, to lay each brick evenly and carefully.  A trowel to build up in the Word of God, to encourage, to make our life firm, to give peace, hope, and strength of soul. 

        This is an important point.  Do not confuse these two.  A sword is not a good tool for laying bricks, and a trowel is not a good weapon for defending a breach.  I have seen the sword used wrongly in building the walls of the church and in marriage.  When there are issues and questions and weaknesses among the people of God—areas where there is the need of growth and maturity and understanding—one may say, “I have my position, and it’s the only position.  This is the only way to do it.” Then instead of the trowel, the careful, patient use of the Word and the patient placing of each brick of truth into place, I hear the sliding of the sword out of the scabbard and the readiness to fly in and start hacking fellow believers with the truth.  They use the truth as an ax to smash the other person’s head.  How awkward it would be if you had to lay brick with a sword.

        I’ve also seen the trowel used in place of the sword.  I’ve seen that questions arise in the church over whether the Bible is inspired, whether creation is true, whether the fourth commandment is enforced, whether justification is by faith or by faith and works, whether homosexuality is just another lifestyle.  And as the enemies of heresy and ungodliness approach and a breach is made in the wall, men wield a trowel in response, and churches say, “Well, I suppose we should make a study of this.”  The enemy has entered into the city to slay the truth, and the church comes out against them with a trowel.

        Builders on the walls of Zion need to know when to use the sword and when to use the trowel.

        Nehemiah continued in the work of the building of the walls.  In verses 23 and 24 of chapter 4 we learn that he was ready to fight if attacked by Sanballat.  He was ready to go on laboring in the face of much discouragement.  He had the commuters (those who would otherwise go home each night) lodge instead within Jerusalem.  And he himself did not take off his clothes for weeks except for washing.  He practiced constant vigilance, readiness.  He continued in the work.

        Do we? Does adversity drive you from the working on the wall?  Does weariness or fear drain your heart of the impetus to go on?  Are you committed to stay at the work of God?  In your personal call to holiness, do you say:  “Oh, my sin is too great.  I can’t overcome it.  Don’t be naïve, preacher, I can’t be delivered.”  Do you talk like Sanballat before the call of Jesus Christ who says, “Repent!  Follow Me!  Deny yourself!”  Do you say, “What can I, a feeble Christian do?  How in the world can I revive the stones that are fallen down in my life?  I can’t put this back together.”  You say, “I’ve yelled all my life at my kids. I’m not going to be able to change.”  Do you say, “I just don’t get along with that person, and it’s never going to be any different”?  In your marriage, do you say:  “It’s just too hard to pick up the pieces anymore”?  Are you weary of the burden and say, “We can’t build the wall.  The cost is too great”?

        May God raise up Nehemiah-like faith, Nehemiah-like love, Nehemiah-like strength and prayer and action.  May God put a sword in your hand and a trowel in your other hand.  And then may God raise up in us the kind of knowledge of God that Nehemiah had—the knowledge of a God who is present, a God who hears, a God who will maintain the honor of His name, a God who in mercy will use His servants for His good, a God before whom the enemy is puny (a bunch of loud-mouths), a God who is committed to us.

        Our God shall fight for us.  So we labored in the work and the wall was built.

        Let us pray.

        Father, we thank Thee for Thy Word.  And we pray that Thou would apply it unto our hearts today.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for August 22, 2021

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, August 22, the thirty-fourth Lord's Day of this year 2021.

Psa19 14Today on this new Lord's Day, as redeemed and renewed members of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we gather publicly in worship to bring our praise and thanks to our triune God for all His gifts, especially the gift of salvation full and free through His Son. By the Holy Spirit's work in our hearts and minds may we give our glorious God the honor due His name. May this confession of the psalmist be ours:

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. ...Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. ~ Psalm 19:9-11

  • If you are new to this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and afternoon/evening). For congregations, locations and times, visit this page.
     
  • Today Rev. R. Kleyn accepted the call to First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) and declined the call to Hudsonville PRC. We rejoice with First PRC even as we too experience the disappoinment of Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA, where Rev. Kleyn has labored since 2009) and Hudsonville PRC. May the Lord give grace to Rev. Kleyn and his family and to these congregations as they rest in God's will and prepare for this change of life and labor.

  • Last Sunday Rev. R. Barnhill (Peace PRC, Dyer, IN) received the call from Doon PRC.

  • Rev. M.DeBoer (Edgerton MN PRC) is considering the call from Kalamazoo (MI) PRC. He plans to answer by Sept.5.

  • Rev. M.McGeown and his wife Larisa arrived safely from the UK to the U.S. this past Tuesday. They are settling into Providence PRC's parsonage and west Michigan life, and are thankful and excited to be in their new church home. Plans are for him to be installed on Sunday, Sept.5. He is leading their evening service today. We rejoice in God's goodness in opening the way for them to finally come to Providence.

  • Rev. J. Smidstra's time serving the CERC in Singapore has come to an end and he has his wife will return this week. Here's the note in First PRC's (Holland, MI) bulletin: Our pastor’s work in Singapore came to a close today with the installation of Rev. Tan as a minister of the gospel in the congregation there. The Smidstras plan to arrive home tomorrow. We are thankful that they were able to be used by the Lord in Singapore and are now eagerly looking forward to their return.
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. J.Laning in Doon (IA) PRC; Rev. C.Griess and Prof. B.Huizinga in First PRC-Holland; Rev. D.Holstege and Sem. M.Wee in Grace PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga (both services) in Hudsonville PRC;  Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. C.Griess in Kalamazoo PRC; Rev. B.Gritters and Rev. M.McGeown in Providence PRC. Let us thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation and the privilege to be able to help one another in this need.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

  • Did you know that...
    • there's a new Protestant Reformed Christian school starting up this year (and this week!)? Here's the special notice in Heritage PRC's bulletin today: The Lord willing, Sioux Falls Protestant Reformed Christian School will begin the 2021-2022 school year on Tuesday, August 24. Everyone is invited to attend our convocation exercises at 1 pm at the Heritage Protestant Reformed Church. Rev. Brummel will be the speaker with an open house of the school, fellowship, and refreshments to follow!
    • the men's chorus, the Hope Heralds, has been able to have a full season of singing this year after an empty season last year (due to the pandemic)? They are again allowed to sing at area nursing homes and retirement villages, sometimes outside and sometimes in an empty chapel broadcast to residents by internal AV, but are grateful to be able to minister to God's elderly saints in this way once again. They have two large end-of-year concerts planned in the Grand Rapids area - Sept.12 in Trinity PRC and Sept.17 in First PRC. Watch for the livestream of these events!

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • Although the furlough of Rev. D. Holstege and his family came to an end on June 30, they are not able to enter the Philippines right now due to an immigration problem related to COVID restrictions. The council of Doon PRC and the FMC have approved a plan which has the Holsteges staying in the States for a few more months and seeking to return to the mission field, if the Lord wills, no later than December 10. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:6).
  • PRC Synod 2021: The delegates and advisors met from June 9-17. For the daily reports on synod's work and decisions, visit this page. The printed PRC Acts of Synod 2021 and Yearbook are due to delivered early this week.
  • Synod 2021 instructed the Stated Clerk to include in his letter to the churches a notice of the urgent need for seminary students (Art. 73). The urgency arises from the number of vacant churches, the need for our denomination to fulfill the calling of home missions, the age of some of our older ministers, and the next potential graduate from our seminary is two years away. Let us remember this need for men to proclaim the good news of forgiveness in Jesus Christ in our public and private prayers. Also, consistories should always be ready to encourage any young man in your congregation who has some of the gifts for the ministry.
  • Revs. D. Lee and J. Marcus (both now living in West Michigan) are eligible for calls in the PRC and her sister churches. Let us remember them in prayer as they await new charges.

sem lgfront Sept 2020

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • This Tuesday, August 24, the seminary begins its first semester of the new school year (2021-22). The semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website.
  • Profs. D. Kuiper and B. Huizinga will be teaching new courses as they gradually take over the work of the men they are replacing (Prof. R. Dykstra and Prof. R. Cammenga, respectively). Prof. R. Dykstra will be teaching his final courses this year, while also serving as Byron Center PRC's new pastor. Rev. C.Griess (to be installed as professor in a few weeks) has already started taking his Th.M. classes through Puritan Reformed Seminary in Grand Rapids. Continue to pray for the seminary in all her needs, especially as we begin this new term.
  • There is one new incoming student this year, Aaron Van Dyke (Faith PRC). Senior Marcus Wee (Covenant ERC, Singapore) is doing his internship this summer and fall under Rev. C.Spronk at Faith PRC. Sem. Isaac Peters (EPC of Australia) is in the final year of his special three-year program.
  • The seminary faculty invite interested persons to audit three classes this semester: Christology (Prof. Cammenga; Tuesday and Thursday, 11:10 AM), New Testament History (Prof. Cammenga; Wednesday and Friday, 7:50 AM); and Reformation era church history (Prof. Kuiper; Wednesday and Friday, 11:10 AM). Classes begin on August 24 and 25. A limited number of auditors are welcome, so long as stricter COVID restrictions are not imposed. Call Sharon at 531-1490 to indicate your interest.
  • Don't forget that the seminary library and bookstore are open daily (M-F, 8-5) for any of your book and Bible needs. The staff is available to assist with any needs you may have.
  • On Wednesday, September 15, a special worship service for the installation of Rev. C. Griess as professor of theology in the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary will be held in Southwest PRC at 7 p.m. Prof. B. Gritters will lead the service. Seminary convocation will also be included with a time of fellowship afterwards. The link to the live-streaming of the service can be found at southwestprc.org.
  • Coming this Fall! Seminary Conference:  What is preaching?  What does it mean to preach the gospel?  How does one preach the commands of Scripture?  What is application in preaching?  Make plans now to hear four speeches by the seminary professors, under the conference theme "The Lord Gave the Word: Preaching the Gospel."  The conference will be hosted by Trinity PRC, on the late afternoon and evening of October 28 and 29.  More details will follow.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

JHTan Grad cake
PRTS graduate Josiah Tan at hus graduation program. See the good news on his acceptance of the call from Covenant ERC in Singapore below.

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • We rejoice in the wonderful news from our sister in the Far East that Cand. Josiah Tan accepted her call last Sunday and was ordained into the gospel ministry by Rev. J. Smidstra this morning. This is the special notice she had in her bulletin today: 22 August 2021. Not just another day in 2021. Ordinary for many perhaps, but for CERC, a momentous day. Certainly, a very special and unforgettable day for our new pastor Josiah Tan. In His perfect time and according to His perfect will, our faithful covenant God has provided us with another under-shepherd today. This day the Lord of the harvest sends forth another servant-shepherd, called and equipped by none other than the Chief Shepherd Himself, to proclaim the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ in and from our midst. While Josiah and his wife Hui Qi are no stranger to us, nevertheless we want to welcome him and his family warmly into our fellowship as our pastor. As Rev Josiah Tan moves in and out among us, may the Lord build up the bonds of love and friendship between us as shepherd and sheep. As we rejoice in the Lord’s provision for our congregation, may He also renew our zeal to bear witness of His grace in saving us from all our sins and be faithful in the work of His kingdom according to the place He has given each one of us in this body.
    • The CERC also had a special note of thanks to the Smidstras: While we welcome Rev Tan, we also bid farewell to Rev Smidstra and his wife Kelly. We thank God for
      bringing them to us in His providence, that we may experience the reality of the catholicity of the church even while yet on this earth. We are especially thankful for Rev Smidstra’s ministry over the past 3 months preaching and teaching in our midst. We pray we have been a blessing to them as much as the Lord have blessed us abundantly through them.
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A.Stewart and his wife have returned home after vacationing in the U.S. for a few weeks.
    • Be sure to check out the last edition of "Covenant Reformed News" (June 2021). Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. V.Ibe will lead us in the preaching of the Word today via live streaming, D.V. ...In line with the restriction (MECQ) imposed by the National government in NCR from Aug. 21 to 31, 2021, we are not still able to meet and worship God in our church building, today and thus, the preaching of God’s Word will be live-streamed on our Facebook page.
      ...The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us in hearing the preaching of the Word of God via live streaming on our face book page today, D.V.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Due to the ongoing COVID quarantines, we are unable to meet in person today. The elders have selected two recorded worship services from the PRCA. Both were originally conducted in the Lynden PRC and the links are provided above. May God be pleased to nourish our souls through His gospel and
      by the powerful work of the Spirit of Christ.
    • A new PRC missions newsletter is available - July 2021. Read it at the link provided!
    • PRCP Seminary Instruction: A new semester of seminary instruction began recently on August 10 for our seminary student, Bro. Ace Flores. However, because of ECQ in Metro Manila from August 21-30, and possibly longer, the original plan for this semester has been reorganized into two parts by Committee 1. In the first part of the semester from August 10 to October 1, Bro. Ace is taking two courses with Rev. Holstege via Zoom, and fulfilling some take-home assignments and review work with Rev. Kleyn and Rev. Smit. Then, in the second part of the semester from October 12 until December 3, Bro. Ace will continue his two courses with Rev.
      Holstege via Zoom and will also receive three courses from Rev. Kleyn and Rev. Smit in-person at the seminary library in Antipolo. Although the plan for this semester has been disrupted and revised, may the Lord bless the instruction that we can still give to Bro. Ace in the next several months for his preparation to serve in the ministry of the Word and Sacraments in the PRCP, if the Lord so wills. Please remember our student and instructors in fervent prayer before the Lord for His indispensable blessing upon them.

RWH Logo 2019
Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

haak small

  • For the months of July, August, and September Rev. C.Haak (Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI) is the featured speaker, with focus on his series on the book of Nehemiah. Today's message is based on Nehemiah 7 and titled "Putting Things in Order."
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Are you are regular listener? If not, why not start today!
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM

Sb new cover 2017 1

Are you reading the Standard Bearer this summer? Each issue is packed with edifying articles for adult readers. If you are not yet a subscriber, why not become one this week!  For a glimpse of one article in the August 2021 issue ("But" by Rev. W. Langerak), visit this link.

  • Want to learn more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

  • For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including church history and Bible study materials - visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.

  • The Reformed Book Outlet is open and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (10-5), and Saturday (10-1).

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

The Reformed faith holds to the great truth of the “covenant of grace.” We briefly state our own convictions concerning Scripture’s teaching in this regard.

The covenant of grace must be understood in light of the Trinity. The Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) eternally communes within Himself perfectly. It is a communion which beggars human description and goes beyond human understanding. Yet that truth of covenant communion with Himself is the basis of the covenant of grace. The Triune God eternally determined to reveal outside of Himself the glory of communion as it exists within Himself. He determined to show in the highest possible way a communion with an elect people chosen eternally in Christ,

A proper understanding of this work of God ties together the various wonderful truths of Scripture. The word of God shows that this covenant is “unilateral,” that is, established not between two parties, but by God Himself directly (Gen. 15:17-18). It is an unbreakable covenant in that when God establishes it with His people, it continues to all eternity (Gen. 17:7). This covenant is not some sort of arrangement whereby God gets His people to heaven, but it is the end or goal which God has in mind (Gen. 17:7). It is the covenant which God is pleased to establish in the line of generations (Gen. 17:7). It has been truly said, “He gathers His seed from our seed.” Not all born of believing parents are part of that covenant (Rom. 9:13). But the spiritual seed are saved (Rom. 9:7). God does bring in others from heathendom—but then incorporates also their spiritual seed into the body of Christ (Acts 16:27-33).

Taken from Rev. R.Hanko's pamphlet "What Is the Reformed Faith?"

Read more...

PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for August 15, 2021 *(Updated)

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, August 15, the thirty-third Lord's Day of this year 2021.

Psalms 18 2Today on this new Lord's Day, as redeemed and renewed members of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we gather publicly in worship to bring our praise and thanks to our triune God for all His gifts, especially the gift of salvation full and free through His Son. Through the work of our Lord's Spirit in our hearts and minds may we give our glorious God the honor due His name. May these words of the psalmist be ours:

The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. ~ Psalm 18:46-49

  • If you are new to this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and afternoon/evening). For congregations, locations and times, visit this page.

  • Rev. J. Engelsma was installed this morning in Crete PRC, with Prof. D.Engelsma leading the service. This evening Rev. Engelsma was preaching his inaugural sermon as Crete's new pastor. We pray that the Lord may give him a faithful and fruitful ministry in that congregation.
     
  • Doon PRC will vote today (after her evening service) for a new pastor from this trio: Revs. R. Barnhill (Peace PRC – Dyer, IN), C. Spronk (Faith PRC – Jenison, MI), and E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC). *UPDATE: Rev. Barnhill has received this call.

  • Rev. M.DeBoer (Edgerton MN PRC) is considering the call from Kalamazoo (MI) PRC.

  • Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane WA) is considering calls from First PRC, Grand Rapids MI and Hudsonville (MI) PRC. He plans to answer both calls by August 22.

  • Rev. E. Guichelaar and his family (Randolph PRC) are currently in Wingham to visit family and to minister to the church there.

  • Update on Rev. M.McGeown from Providence PRC's bulletin today: With thanksgiving to God we report to you that the U.S. embassy has issued Rev McGeown's visa. The visa was delivered by a courier on Friday. We plan to fly into Chicago on Tuesday. [Aug.17] We look forward to being in your midst soon. "The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad" (Ps. 126:3). ~ Rev. Martyn and Larisa McGeown
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. J.Laning in Doon (IA) PRC; Rev. C.Griess and Prof. D.Kuiper in First PRC-Holland; Rev. D.Holstege and Rev. A.Stewart in Grace PRC; Rev. J.Marcus and Rev. C.Griess in Hudsonville PRC;  Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. W.Langerak  in Kalamazoo PRC; Rev. M.DeVries and Rev. A.Stewart in Providence PRC. Let us thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation and the privilege to be able to help one another in this need.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • Although the furlough of Rev. D. Holstege and his family came to an end on June 30, they are not able to enter the Philippines right now due to an immigration problem related to COVID restrictions. The council of Doon PRC and the FMC have approved a plan which has the Holsteges staying in the States for a few more months and seeking to return to the mission field, if the Lord wills, no later than December 10. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:6).
  • PRC Synod 2021: The delegates and advisors met from June 9-17. For the daily reports on synod's work and decisions, visit this page. The printed PRC Acts of Synod 2021 and Yearbook has been sent to the printer and should be available this week.
  • Synod 2021 instructed the Stated Clerk to include in his letter to the churches a notice of the urgent need for seminary students (Art. 73). The urgency arises from the number of vacant churches, the need for our denomination to fulfill the calling of home missions, the age of some of our older ministers, and the next potential graduate from our seminary is two years away. Let us remember this need for men to proclaim the good news of forgiveness in Jesus Christ in our public and private prayers. Also, consistories should always be ready to encourage any young man in your congregation who has some of the gifts for the ministry.
  • Revs. D. Lee and J. Marcus (both now living in West Michigan) are eligible for calls in the PRC and her sister churches. Let us remember them in prayer as they await new charges.

sign Sept 2020

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • The seminary is about to finish her summer break, with only one week remaining before the start of the next semester (Aug.23/24). The semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website. Continue to pray for the seminary in all her needs, especially as we prepare for the new term.
  • The seminary faculty invite interested persons to audit three classes this semester: Christology (Prof. Cammenga; Tuesday and Thursday, 11:10 AM), New Testament History (Prof. Cammenga; Wednesday and Friday, 7:50 AM); and Reformation era church history (Prof. Kuiper; Wednesday and Friday, 11:10 AM). Classes begin on August 24 and 25. A limited number of auditors are welcome, so long as stricter COVID restrictions are not imposed. Call Sharon at 531-1490 to indicate your interest.
  • The seminary, including the library and bookstore, are open daily during the summer months, except for holidays (M-F, 8-5). The staff is present to assist with any needs you may have.
  • On Wednesday, September 15, a special worship service for the installation of Rev. C. Griess as professor of theology in the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary will be held in Southwest PRC at 7 p.m. Prof. B. Gritters will lead the service. Seminary convocation will also be included with a time of fellowship afterwards. The link to the live-streaming of the service can be found at southwestprc.org.
  • Coming this Fall! Seminary Conference:  What is preaching?  What does it mean to preach the gospel?  How does one preach the commands of Scripture?  What is application in preaching?  Make plans now to hear four speeches by the seminary professors, under the conference theme "The Lord Gave the Word: Preaching the Gospel."  The conference will be hosted by Trinity PRC, on the late afternoon and evening of October 28 and 29.  More details will follow.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

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PRTS graduate Josiah Tan at this past year's PRC synod. See the good news on his call from Covenant ERC in Singapore below.

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

Our God is good to us. We are very thankful to God that after almost 4 years of patient waiting, earnest prayers and countless petitions, we are finally able to extend a call to the ‘son of our congregation’ to serve as our resident minister! Isn’t that amazing? Praise be to God, who answers our prayers and supplies our needs! Do pray earnestly for the will of the Lord to be done as Brother Josiah considers prayerfully the call of the King of His church to serve in CERC. Brother Josiah has been given 6 weeks to respond to the call. If he responds earlier, before Rev Smidstra leaves for the States, we may be able to have the ordination service on the 22 Aug, Lord willing. After the ordination service, Brother Josiah will preach his inaugural sermon in the afternoon service.

  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A.Stewart and his wife are currently vacationing in the U.S. They are on holiday until August 17, but we also know he will be kept very busy during this time. Rev. McGeown has been preaching in his absence.
    • Be sure to check out the latest edition of "Covenant Reformed News" (June 2021). Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles.
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. V.Ibe will lead us in the preaching of the Word today via live streaming, D.V. ...In line with the restrictions (ECQ) imposed by the National government in NCR from Aug. 6 to 20, 2021, we are not able to meet and worship God in our church building, today....
      And thus, the preaching of God’s Word will be live streamed on our face book page. ...The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us in hearing the preaching of the Word of God via live streaming on our face book page today, D.V.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. R.Smit will be leading us in worship today, the Lord willing. Due to our return to the highest quarantine level (Enhanced Community Quarantine), the services will be live streamed today and next Sunday. The live streaming will be available on the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page.
    • A new PRC missions newsletter is available - July 2021. Read it at the link provided!
    • PRCP Seminary Instruction: A new semester of seminary instruction began recently on August 10 for our seminary student, Bro. Ace Flores. However, because of ECQ in Metro Manila from August 6 to 20, and possibly longer, the original plan for this semester has been reorganized into two parts by Committee 1. In the first part of the semester from August 10 to October 1, Bro. Ace is taking two courses with Rev. Holstege via Zoom, and fulfilling some take-home assignments and review work with Rev. Kleyn and Rev. Smit. Then, in the second part of the semester from October 12 until December 3, Bro. Ace will continue his two courses with Rev.
      Holstege via Zoom and will also receive three courses from Rev. Kleyn and Rev. Smit in-person at the seminary library in Antipolo. Although the plan for this semester has been disrupted and revised, may the Lord bless the instruction that we can still give to Bro. Ace in the next several months for his preparation to serve in the ministry of the Word and Sacraments in the PRCP, if the Lord so wills. Please remember our student and instructors in fervent prayer before the Lord for His indispensable blessing upon them.

RWH Logo 2019
Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

haak small

  • For the months of July, August, and September Rev. C.Haak (Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI) is the featured speaker, with focus on his series on the book of Nehemiah. Today's message is based on Nehemiah 6 and titled "O God, Strengthen My Hands."
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Are you are regular listener? If not, why not start today!
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

--------------------------------------------------------------------

REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM

Sb new cover 2017 1

Are you reading the Standard Bearer this summer? Each issue is packed with edifying articles for adult readers. If you are not yet a subscriber, why not this week the week you become one!

  • Want to learn more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

  • For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including church history and Bible study materials - visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.

  • The Reformed Book Outlet is open and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (10-5), and Saturday (10-1).
    • The RBO is running their annual Summer Reading Challenge for both kids and adults, from June 22-August 21. Stop by the store to pick up a sheet to fill out and return for a prize! Just a reminder that our hours are now Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10-5 and Saturday 10-1.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

The knowledge of the sovereign God is derived not through man’s searching, but by the revelation of God Himself. The Reformed faith holds to the inerrancy of Holy Scripture, to its infallibility and inspiration. It is the “God-breathed” Word (II Tim. 3:16) spoken by Christ (John 1) so that we might know and understand that which God would reveal of Himself. Without that Word we could have no certain knowledge. With it, we have reliable and sure testimony concerning God and concerning His Son Jesus Christ, and Christ’s work in redeeming and delivering His church.                                                        

Taken from Rev. R.Hanko's pamphlet "What Is the Reformed Faith?"

Read more...

PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for August 8, 2021

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, August 8, the thirty-second Lord's Day of this year 2021.

Psalms 17 8Today on this new Lord's Day, as redeemed and renewed members of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we gather publicly in worship to bring our praise and thanks to our triune God for all His gifts, especially the gift of salvation full and free through His Son. Through the work of our Lord's Spirit may we give our glorious God the honor due His name. May these words of the psalmist be ours:

I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about. ~ Psalm 17:6-9

  • If you are new to this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and afternoon/evening). For congregations, locations and times, visit this page.

  • This evening Rev. C.Griess preaches his farewell sermon at First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI). Having accepted the call to serve as professor of Practical Theology in the PRC Seminary, he will be installed, Lord willing, on Sept.15 in a special service at Southwest PRC. Tomorrow, already, he begins his classes for his ThM degree. May the Lord give him grace for the new duties that he will assume, and to his wife and family as they make this transition.

  • Last Sunday Rev. M.DeBoer (Edgerton MN PRC) received the call from Kalamazoo (MI) PRC.

  • Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane WA) is considering calls from First PRC, Grand Rapids MI and Hudsonville (MI) PRC. He plans to answer both calls by August 22.

  • Rev. J. Engelsma and his family moved to Crete, IL this past week. Plans are for him to be installed in Crete PRC next Sunday, August 15, with Prof. D.Engelsma leading the service. 

  • The Council of Doon PRC has formed a trio of Revs. R. Barnhill (Peace PRC – Dyer, IN), C. Spronk (Faith PRC – Jenison, MI), and E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC). The congregational meeting is scheduled for August 15 after the evening worship service.

  • Rev. E. Guichelaar and his family (Randolph PRC) are currently in Wingham to visit family and to minister to the church there.

  • Update on Rev. M.McGeown from Providence PRC's bulletin today: McGeown Status: Although Rev. McGeown's medical examination for the purpose of immigration to the USA was on 13 July, over three weeks ago, the visa for Rev. McGeown has still not arrived. The McGeowns do not know when it might come, but they did receive confirmation that the results of the medical were sent to the U.S. embassy on July 29. We continue to pray for patience in the confidence that God's will is always good. "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life" (Prov. 13:12).
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. R. Barnhill in Crete PRC (IL);  Rev. D.Holstege in Doon (IA) PRC; Prof. D.Kuiper and Prof. B.Gritters in First PRC-Holland; Rev. D.Lee and Prof. D.Kuiper in Grace PRC; Rev. J.Marcus and Rev. G.Eriks in Hudsonville PRC;  Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. J.Holstege in Kalamazoo PRC; Prof. B.Gritters and Rev. A.Spriensma in Providence PRC. Let us thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation and the privilege to be able to help one another in this need.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

Eccles12 1 yp 2

  • Did you know that there are three "mini-conventions" being held this week for our PR young people? Due to the fact that the PRYP Federation Board and Georgetown PRC had to cancel the annual full PRYP's Convention this year (because of lingering pandemic concerns/restrictions), several churches banded together to plan smaller, regional conventions/retreats. Here are the notices concerning them. And concerning all of them we say, "How wonderful that these can be held! May the Lord richly bless our young people and all involved in this week of spiritual fellowship and growth in their Savior." Shall we remember to pray for them?
    • The Midwest YP Retreat is this week Monday through Wednesday at Inspiration Hills. We are looking forward to welcoming the young people for a few days of fun and fellowship! Registration will take place on Monday at 9 AM at Trinity Christian High School. A pre-retreat singspiration will take place this evening, August 8, at Hull PRC at 7:45 PM making use of our theme: “Walking Worthy” based on Ephesians 4:1-3. For those unable to attend, the singspiration will be livestreamed from the Hull PRC website.
    • (Providence PRC bulletin) Tomorrow morning, many of our young people, as well as young people from our Unity, Hudsonville, and Holland churches, will be leaving for a retreat at Eagle Rock, in Tennessee. The theme of the retreat is “Contending for the Faith.” They plan to return Friday evening. Let us remember these young people and their chaperones in our prayers this week.
    •  (Byron Center PRC bulletin): This week, the Lord willing, sixteen of our youth and several chaperones from the congregation will attend a mini-convention, Monday-Friday, at a camp in Indiana called Quaker Haven Camp. They will join about a hundred others from Covenant of Grace (Spokane), Pittsburgh, Zion, Lynden, Southeast, First (GR), and Grandville. Revs. W.Bruinsma, J. Holstege, and R. Kleyn will each give a speech on a biblical character, and a series of devotions on the theme “Let no man despise thy youth” will be led by our pastor [Prof. R.Dykstra].

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • Although the furlough of Rev. D. Holstege and his family came to an end on June 30, they are not able to enter the Philippines right now due to an immigration problem related to COVID restrictions. The council of Doon PRC and the FMC have approved a plan which has the Holsteges staying in the States for a few more months and seeking to return to the mission field, if the Lord wills, no later than December 10. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:6).
  • PRC Synod 2021: The delegates and advisors met from June 9-17. For the daily reports on synod's work and decisions, visit this page. The printed PRC Acts of Synod 2021 and Yearbook has been sent to the printer and should be available sometime this summer.
  • Synod 2021 instructed the Stated Clerk to include in his letter to the churches a notice of the urgent need for seminary students (Art. 73). The urgency arises from the number of vacant churches, the need for our denomination to fulfill the calling of home missions, the age of some of our older ministers, and the next potential graduate from our seminary is two years away. Let us remember this need for men to proclaim the good news of forgiveness in Jesus Christ in our public and private prayers. Also, consistories should always be ready to encourage any young man in your congregation who has some of the gifts for the ministry.
  • Revs. D. Lee and J. Marcus (both now living in West Michigan) are eligible for calls in the PRC and her sister churches. Let us remember them in prayer as they await new charges.

sem front aug 2021 2

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • Presently, the seminary is in her summer break, but only two weeks remain before the start of the next semester (Aug.23). The semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website. Continue to pray for the seminary in all her needs, especially as we prepare for the new term.
  • The seminary, including the library and bookstore, are open daily during the summer months, except for holidays (M-F, 8-5). The staff is present to assist with any needs you may have.
  • In June the PRC Synod extended a call to Rev. C.Griess (pastor of First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI) to serve as professor in the PRC Seminary, replacing Prof. B. Gritters in the area of Practical Theology and NT Studies. On July 11 he announced his acceptance of that call. Plans are underway for his change of labor and residence. His classes will begin already on August 9. His installation as professor will take place at the seminary's Convocation on September 15 at Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI). We thank the Lord for His leading and pray for Rev. Griess, his wife, and family as they will face these changes in the months ahead.
  • Coming this Fall! Seminary Conference:  What is preaching?  What does it mean to preach the gospel?  How does one preach the commands of Scripture?  What is application in preaching?  Make plans now to hear four speeches by the seminary professors, under the conference theme "The Lord Gave the Word: Preaching the Gospel."  The conference will be hosted by Trinity PRC, on the late afternoon and evening of October 28 and 29.  More details will follow.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

DKleyn livestream 2020 1
Rev. D.Kleyn leading a livestream worship service last year. Today he did the same, as the PRCP are under strict quarantine again (see note below).

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • From the "Pastoral Voice" in her bulletin today:
      It has been three years and almost eight months to be exact, that our congregation has been without a minister of the Word of our own. Come tomorrow afternoon, we will meet to vote to extend a call to candidate Josiah Tan to be our own minister, DV. 9 Aug is not just the country’s National Day, but it is also a day of significance in the history of CERC. May we covet your prayers that God be pleased give us a minister of His choosing soon.
    • Do also remember our brethren in Kolkata. Pray that God will sustain His people amidst the covid pandemic and direct Rev Singh to carry out His work in that land.
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland and her Limerick, Ireland mission:
    • Rev. A.Stewart and his wife are currently vacationaing in the U.S. They are on holiday until August 17, but we also know he will be kept very busy during this time.
    • Be sure to check out the latest edition of "Covenant Reformed News" (June 2021). Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles.
    • Limerick Reformed Fellowship: On July 4 the final services were held for the saints there, led by Rev. A. Stewart. Rev. M.McGeown is making final preparations to come to the U.S. the beginning of August, D.V.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. Kleyn will lead us in the preaching of the Word today via live streaming, D.V. ...In line with the restrictions (ECQ) imposed by the National government in NCR from Aug. 6 to 20, 2021, we are not able to meet and worship God in our church building, today and next Sunday (Aug. 8 and 15).
      And thus, the preaching of God’s Word will be live streamed on our face book page. ...The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us in hearing the preaching of the Word of God via live streaming on our face book page today, D.V.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. V. Ibe will be leading us in worship today, the Lord willing. Due to our return to the highest quarantine level (Enhanced Community Quarantine), the services will be live streamed today and next Sunday. The live streaming will be available on the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page.
    • A new PRC missions newsletter is available - July 2021. Read it at the link provided!

RWH Logo 2019
Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

haak small

  • For the months of July, August, and September Rev. C.Haak (Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI) is the featured speaker, with focus on his series on the book of Nehemiah. Today's message is based on Nehemiah 5 and titled "Ought Ye not to Walk in the Fear of God?"
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Are you are regular listener? If not, why not start today!
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM

Ignited by word mag 2021

Ignited by the Word is a new quarterly children’s magazine from the RFPA. Standard Bearer subscribers are receiving the first two issues at no charge. Others who sign up for Ignited by the Word will also receive these issues for free. To learn more, visit ignitedbytheword.org.

  • Want to learn more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

  • For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including church history and Bible study materials - visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.

  • The Reformed Book Outlet is open and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (10-5), and Saturday (10-1).
    • The RBO is running their annual Summer Reading Challenge for both kids and adults, from June 22-August 21. Stop by the store to pick up a sheet to fill out and return for a prize! Just a reminder that our hours are now Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10-5 and Saturday 10-1.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

First and foremost, the Reformed faith emphasises the sovereignty of God. Does this distinguish it from others who likewise teach the sovereignty of God? Yes, it does. We are convinced that the Reformed faith maintains the truth of God’s sovereignty consistently. All Christians surely would agree that God is sovereign. He rules over all. Yet repeatedly one encounters doctrines and practices which contradict the truth of God’s sovereignty. In order to satisfy human reasoning, there have been those who insist on the “free will” of all men to accept or reject the Christ as they will. There are those who present a Christ who knocks at the sinner’s heart’s door, pleading for admittance (misquoting Rev. 3:20). There are those who teach that the final number of the elect of God is determined not by God from eternity, but by the activities of man. There are those who teach that God loves all people—yet that finally He casts some into hell. Others would teach that because of the love of God for all, He can cast none into hell.

The Reformed faith consistently maintains the sovereignty of God. He has created in six literal days (Gen. 1), and continues to sustain all of His universe. He directs and controls also all moral, rational creatures. He has from eternity determined to save some (the elect) through the blood of the Lamb (Eph. 1:4) and determined that others would be cast into hell in the way of their sins (Rom. 9:22). Never does God relinquish any aspect of His rule in any sense. All of the doctrines of the church of Christ must conform to that. The church may not “adjust” the sovereignty of God to accommodate man’s idea of what is just and right. Rather, man’s confession must conform to the great truth of God’s sovereignty.
                                                                              

Taken from Rev. R.Hanko's pamphlet "What Is the Reformed Faith?"

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PRC Missions in the Philippines - July 2021 Newsletter

3 missionaries 2020

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
JULY 2021 NEWSLETTER 

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

Dear Congregations and Members of the PRCA. 

We send warm greetings to you all as we give this  update of our work and life among our fellow believers here in the Philippines. 

Many changes have taken place in recent months,  as will be explained below. However, one thing  which has basically remained the same is that we  continue to live under significant restrictions due to  covid. A few months ago our restrictions even increased for a while, and at this point we are not  yet back to the quarantine level we had prior to that  increase. Current restrictions require that we wear  both face masks and face shields when out in public.  

In addition, leisure travel is forbidden, and anyone under 18 or above 65 years is required to stay at  home (except for things that are “essential”). 

However, in spite of the restrictions we are able once again to go to Faith Academy (the school the  missionaries use for their children) for recreational  activities. We do need to sign up ahead of time, and we are limited to a maximum of five activities per week. But the swimming, basketball, tennis,  and playground activities provide a nice break for us all, especially now that the Smit children are out of school for the year (their last day was May 28). 

Another positive is that the restrictions for religious gatherings have slowly loosened (from 10 persons,  to 30% of the building’s capacity, to 50% of the building’s capacity). As a result, we are once again able to worship in church every Sunday with a good number of our fellow saints. In fact, a few weeks  ago my wife Sharon, in a letter to our families,  mentioned how significant this was when she wrote:  

“We both got choked up in church this morning. I sat down, looked around and there were all kinds  of children there! There must have been 18-20 of  them. This was the first time there were so many  since the lockdowns began more than a year ago (in March 2020). It was beautiful to see them all. And the attendance was the highest we have seen  it yet, at 65 or so. Almost all the chairs were  full. That, along with a couple good sermons and  good fellowship, made it a lovely Lord’s Day.” 

Due to covid, one aspect of our work which we’ve been unable to carry out in the past year and a half  is our monthly visit to the pastors and churches in  Negros Occidental. Even now the restrictions for  domestic travel in the Philippines make it very  difficult for us to get to Negros Island yet (among  other things, two weeks of quarantine is required  on either end). We did consider providing online  instruction to the pastors there, but due to their  poor internet connections, this wasn’t feasible. We  have, however, kept in touch with them, and they  and their congregations are doing well. We also  regularly send them a supply of magazines:  Standard Bearer, Beacon Lights, etc. The pastors  and their members very much appreciate receiving  this literature. 

What has kept us missionaries especially busy in the  past months has been the work of providing  seminary instruction for the three seminary  students of the PRCP. Unfortunately, because of  covid the classes needed to be conducted online again (using Zoom). Rev. Smit taught NT Exegesis,  Greek Reading, and Dogmatics (Soteriology), Rev.  Holstege taught Hermeneutics (from the USA,  where he is currently on furlough), and I taught  Hebrew Grammar, Homiletics, and Church History.  The semester (including the final exams) ended on  May 21. The break is welcome. It also enables us  to prepare for the next school year, which is  scheduled to begin on August 10, the Lord willing.  Sad to say, the PRCP now has only one student left  in the seminary program (more about that on the  next page).

And speaking of Rev. Holstege and his  family being on furlough, although their furlough  has now ended, due to covid restrictions they are as yet unable to return to the Philippines as they had hoped and planned (they were scheduled to  arrive back here on July 1). It is all rather complicated, but to put it in simple terms, in order  for the Holstege family to return to the Philippines they will need and are trying to obtain a tourist visa,  but as of now the Philippine government is not yet  issuing one to them. Things are therefore rather  uncertain for the Holsteges at this time, specifically as to when they will be able to return here. As a  result, the furloughs of the other missionary families were canceled for this year, since our churches consider it necessary and important to have at least  two missionaries and their families on the field at  any given time, if at all possible. 

One more significant item remains for this newsletter, and it grieves me to report it. I refer to the fact that a split has taken place in the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines. This  happened when the PRC in Bulacan suddenly announced (on May 16) that they were withdrawing  their membership from the denomination. It is evident from one of the reasons the PRC in Bulacan gave for their withdrawal that this separation is  related to the schism that has taken place in the  PRCA. For reasons which remain in many ways a mystery to us, especially because there was no  doctrinal controversy taking place in the PRCP itself, the church in Bulacan has now departed, has associated itself with those who have separated  from the PRCA (namely, the RPC), and has even  taken as its new name the First Reformed Protestant Church in Bulacan. 

This split has hit the PRCP and all of us here hard. It troubles us greatly that they have separated from a faithful denomination here (the PRCP), and that thereby they have also broken ties with two faithful sister churches (the PRCA and the CERC in  Singapore). What is baffling is that they have done  all this without having or presenting valid reasons  for doing so. What adds to the sorrow is that they  have also taken with them the mission field of the  PRCP (the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in  Albuera, Leyte), as well as two of the PRCP’s  seminary students (which explains why we will only  have one student this coming school year). In light  of the fact that Maranatha PRC disbanded this past March (due to a lack of men to serve as office bearers, along with the retirement of Rev. Leovy Trinidad who is now 77), the denomination has gone from four churches to two in the span of a few months. God’s ways are often mysterious and  difficult. His thoughts and ways are certainly higher  than ours. And while we may at times be somewhat  discouraged and disappointed, yet we know and  believe that Jehovah’s work is always perfect. By  His grace, we strive to submit ourselves humbly to  His will and to His fatherly chastisement, confident  that His cause and His Name will always triumph. 

In relation to the above, the PRCP Classis (at its regular meeting on June 12) received a “Withdrawal  of Membership” letter from the church in Bulacan.  Classis approved a letter of response in which they  called Bulacan to reconsider what they have done  and to return to the fellowship of the PRCP. It  seems unlikely that this will happen, but we know the Lord is able to accomplish it, if that is His will. 

As a result of the split, the June 12 Classis also  made some necessary changes to the makeup of its  standing committees. Classis decided to reduce the  number of committees from four to two, and to  divide all the work between these two. By the way,  each of the two missionaries currently on the field serves as an advisor on one of these standing  committees. The Classis also decided to have the  missionaries take turns, along with Rev. Ibe (the  only remaining active pastor in the PRCP), to chair the Classis meetings. The missionaries will also be  carrying out Church Visitation for the PRCP. 

In light of all these events, we ask you to remember  us and also the two remaining churches here (the  Berean PRC and Provident PRC) in your prayers.  We are thankful for these two congregations and  for their continued love of the Reformed faith as  confessed in our churches. Please pray that they  may remain united in that truth and committed to  stand together for the cause of Christ’s gospel and  kingdom here in the Philippines. Be assured, too,  of our continued prayers for the PRCA. 

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not  consumed, because his compassions fail not. They  are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness”  (Lamentations 3:22-23). 

In Christian love, 

Rev. Daniel Kleyn

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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for August 1, 2021 *(Updated)

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, August 1, the thirty-first Lord's Day of this year 2021.

Psalms 16 11Today on this new Lord's Day, as redeemed and renewed members of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we gather publicly in worship to bring our praise and thanks to our triune God for all His gifts, especially the gift of salvation full and free through His Son. Through the work of our Lord's Spirit may we give our glorious God the honor due His name. May these words of the psalmist be ours:

Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. ...Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. ~ Psalm 16:1-3,11

  • If you are new to this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and afternoon/evening). For congregations, locations and times, visit this page.

  • This past Tuesday (July 27) Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane WA) received the call from First PRC, Grand Rapids MI. He is also considering the call from Hudsonville PRC. He plans to answer both calls by August 22. We pray for him as he considers these calls, that the Lord may make His will plain to him.

  • Rev. J. Engelsma plans to preach his farewell in Doon PRC in the second service today. He and his family plan to move to Crete, IL this week and plans are for him to be installed in Crete PRC on August 15, with Prof. D.Engelsma leading the service. A farewell program for the Engelsma family is planned for tonight following the evening service. A lunch and time of fellowship will follow in the church basement.

  • From Kalamazoo PRC: The consistory presents to the congregation a trio of ministers consisting of Rev. Carl Haak, Georgetown PRC; Rev. Matt DeBoer, Edgerton, MN; and Rev. Dennis Lee, formerly of Bethel PRC, Roselle, IL. Lord willing, a special congregational meeting is planned for Sunday, August 1, following the evening service, to vote to extend a call to one of these men.  *UPDATE: Rev. M.DeBoer has received this call.

  • Rev. E. Guichelaar and his family (Randolph PRC) are currently in Wingham to visit family and to minister to the church there.
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. R. Barnhill in Crete PRC (IL);  Prof. D.Kuiper and Prof. B.Huizinga in First PRC-Holland; Rev. M.DeVries and Rev. D.Lee in Grace PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. N.Decker in Hudsonville PRC;  Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. C.Haak in Kalamazoo PRC; Rev. W.Langerak (livestream) and Rev. J.Mahtani in Providence PRC. Let us thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation and the privilege to be able to help one another in this need.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

  • Did you know that...
    • Due to pulpit supply shortage in Classis East Rev. N.Decker is preaching three times today? Besides leading his own services at Grandville (MI) PRC - including an early afternoon one at 3:30 p.m. - he is leading the evening service at Hudsonville PRC (classical supply).
    • The Young Calvinists is hosting a singspiration at Zion PRC for all young people and young adults on Sunday, August 8 at 8 p.m? It will be a great evening of singing, and we hope to fill the sanctuary, so please bring all your friends! Looking forward to seeing everyone there! [If they want to fill the sanctuary, and there's room, do you think they will let some "old Calvinists" in?]

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • PRC Synod 2021: The delegates and advisors met from June 9-17. For the daily reports on synod's work and decisions, visit this page. The printed PRC Acts of Synod 2021 and Yearbook has been sent to the printer and should be available sometime this summer.
  • Synod 2021 instructed the Stated Clerk to include in his letter to the churches a notice of the urgent need for seminary students (Art. 73). The urgency arises from the number of vacant churches, the need for our denomination to fulfill the calling of home missions, the age of some of our older ministers, and the next potential graduate from our seminary is two years away. Let us remember this need for men to proclaim the good news of forgiveness in Jesus Christ in our public and private prayers. Also, consistories should always be ready to encourage any young man in your congregation who has some of the gifts for the ministry
  • Revs. D. Lee and J. Marcus (both now living in West Michigan) are eligible for calls in the PRC and her sister churches. Let us remember them in prayer as they await new charges.

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PRC Seminary Notices:

  • Presently, the seminary is in her summer break, but only three weeks remain before the start of the next semester (Aug.23). The semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website. 
  • Continue to pray for the seminary in all her needs. The faculty keeps busy with preparation for the next term as well as with other activities, and many of the students return to their summer jobs. There are always maintenance projects to be completed, including office changes and renovations this year (to learn why, remember Prof. R. Dykstra's change of labor and now Rev. C. Griess').
  • The seminary, including the library and bookstore, are open daily during the summer months, except for holidays (M-F, 8-5). The staff is present to assist with any needs you may have.
  • In June the PRC Synod extended a call to Rev. C.Griess (pastor of First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI) to serve as professor in the PRC Seminary, replacing Prof. B. Gritters in the area of Practical Theology and NT Studies. On July 11 he announced his acceptance of that call. Plans are underway for his change of labor and residence. His installation as professor will take place at the seminary's Convocation in September. We thank the Lord for His leading and pray for Rev. Griess, his wife, and family as they will face these changes in the months ahead.
  • Coming this Fall! Seminary Conference:  What is preaching?  What does it mean to preach the gospel?  How does one preach the commands of Scripture?  What is application in preaching?  Make plans now to hear four speeches by the seminary professors, under the conference theme "The Lord Gave the Word: Preaching the Gospel."  The conference will be hosted by Trinity PRC, on the late afternoon and evening of October 28 and 29.  More details will follow.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

Matthew 28 19 20

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • From the "Pastoral Voice" in her bulletin today:
      Today is a great day of rejoicing as the church baptizes 3 infants. Jehovah has given these infants to our believing parents in CERC, and in faith, these parents have brought their children for baptism. May we rejoice that the Lord has included them in the covenant of grace.

      FSM Fellowship Event: Dear CERC, in light of the recent changes in COVID-19 regulations, the outing on 7 Aug is cancelled and will be replaced with a prayer meeting and online church Zoom games.
      [A reminder that our sister churches are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Let us pray for them with regard to this matter also.]

  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland and her Limerick, Ireland mission:
    • Rev. A.Stewart and his wife arrived in the U.S. this past week. They are on holiday until August 17, but we also know he will be kept very busy during this time.
    • Be sure to check out the latest edition of "Covenant Reformed News" (June 2021). Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles.
    • Limerick Reformed Fellowship: On July 4 the final services were held for the saints there, led by Rev. A. Stewart. Rev. M.McGeown is making final preparations to come to the U.S. the beginning of August, D.V.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. R.Smit will lead us in our worship services today, D.V. FYI, live streaming of our worship services will be available on Berean PRC Facebook page. ...Rev Ibe and Elder Umali are scheduled to visit the saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija on Saturday (July 31, 2021). Rev. Ibe will lead them in their worship service on Sunday (Aug. 1) and in their study of Ephesian 2:11ff., D. V.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. D. Kleyn will lead our worship services and preach for us today, the Lord willing. The live streaming of our services will be available on the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page.

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

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  • For the months of July, August, and September Rev. C.Haak (Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI) will be the featured speaker, with focus on his series on the book of Nehemiah. Today's message is based on Nehemiah 4 and titled "Building with Sword and Trowel."
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Are you are regular listener? If not, why not start today!
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM

Ignited by word mag 2021

Ignited by the Word is a new quarterly children’s magazine from the RFPA. Standard Bearer subscribers are receiving the first two issues at no charge. Others who sign up for Ignited by the Word will also receive these issues for free. To learn more, visit ignitedbytheword.org.

  • Want to learn more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

  • For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including church history and Bible study materials - visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.

  • The Reformed Book Outlet is open and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (10-5), and Saturday (10-1).
    • The RBO is running their annual Summer Reading Challenge for both kids and adults, from June 22-August 21. Stop by the store to pick up a sheet to fill out and return for a prize! Just a reminder that our hours are now Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10-5 and Saturday 10-1.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

Red symbolizes sin that flows from our flesh like blood. Red especially represents the hateful, murderous passions that often result in spilling of blood. Red is the color of profane Esau (Gen. 25:25) and the pottage for which he traded his birthright (Gen. 25:30). Red is the color of passions stirred up by wine when it is red, sparkles in the cup, and goes down smoothly (Prov. 23:31). Red is the unstoppable warhorse that gallops throughout history with its rider who takes peace from the earth so men kill each another (Rev. 6:4). Because he represents the hatred of Satan, that murderer from the beginning, the Antichrist, is pictured as a great red dragon (Rev. 12:3). Red is also a picture of God’s wrath against sin. In the hand of the Lord there is a cup of red wine that He pours out, and the wicked shall drink its dregs (Ps. 75:8). Soon He comes from Bozrah with red garments stained with blood from treading the winepress in His fury (Is. 63:3).  

God not only created red with light but made it the first color of the spectrum. This gives red surprising visibility, so that it is used to stain, mark, and set things apart, as when Rahab’s house was designated for salvation by a scarlet thread (Josh. 2:18). It also teaches that we first see Christ the Light as red, being redeemed and made nigh by His blood (Eph. 2:13). We might find it shocking today, but in the Old Testament God prominently decorated His church with red. The entire ceiling of the tabernacle was dyed bright red, and scarlet was prominently woven into all the fabrics—walls, veil, door, and ephod—a picture that the red stain of sin is removed and fellowship with God is enjoyed only by violent shedding of Christ’s blood under His fiery wrath (Ex. 26:14Ex. 28:1ff.). God has so done. As symbolized by an Old Testament ceremony, God took His red heifer outside the camp, slew Him, and sprinkled His blood on the church of His covenant (Num. 19). Therefore, though your sins be as scarlet, they are white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they are as wool (Is. 1:18).  

…Red. For those redeemed and given boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Christ, red is a lovely, beautiful color.                                                                                 

Taken from Rev. W. Langerak's word study article on the color red.

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Reformed Witness Hour News - August 2021

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August 2021

August 1

Building with Sword and Trowel

Nehemiah 4
Rev. C. Haak

August 8

Ought Ye Not to Walk in the Fear of God

Nehemiah 5
Rev. C. Haak

August 15

O God, Strengthen My Hands

Nehemiah 6
Rev. C. Haak

August 22

Putting Things in Order

Nehemiah 7
Rev. C. Haak

August 29

The Power of the Pulpit

Nehemiah 8
Rev. C. Haak

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This month, we continue revisiting Rev. Carl Haak’s Nehemiah series. Rev. Haak is the pastor of Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Michigan.

 

 

 

 

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