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Help! What Should I Do? (2)

Last week I wrote the first of a handful of posts on the subject of making decisions and seeking to determine the will of God for our lives. In considering this topic, I had in mind especially high school and college graduates who are sailing on unfamiliar waters. But the principles laid out are for the old as well as the young, as we inevitably come to the crossroads and plead, “Help! What should I do?” In that first post, my...

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Help! What Should I Do? (1)

For many, the end of May and the beginning of June means one thing: school is out. The week gone by or the week to come marks the end of the school year and the beginning of three months of bonfires and baseball, swimming and sleepovers. But for some, this time does not signal a season of leisure without any responsibilities. Some have graduated from high school. Others have received a college degree. And now they face difficult, life-altering decisions.And the...

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Hear the parable of the pilgrim. Down the path walks a lonely traveler. He is a pilgrim and stranger in the country through which he sojourns. He is not a citizen there. He was not born there and does not have family there; he does not know the language and is ignorant of the customs. His citizenship lies in a distant city. There he is comfortable. There he has family. There is home. And that is where he is heading. The...

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To: Mom

Dear Mom, With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to let you know how thankful to God we are for you. Our gratitude certainly isn’t limited to this one day, but we don’t mind having a special day to show our appreciation for all you have done and are doing for us. Time would fail us to tell of the many things for which we are thankful. We could go on for quite a while about your love, your...

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I see it from time to time in my children. I will be explaining something to them or relating some story, and they will interrupt, “No, Dad, that’s not what happened. No, Dad, it happened this way.” Sometimes they are right and Dad is wrong, but at other times they are mistaken and I try (gently, I hope) to correct them. But at times they will not budge. With dogged determination they insist that they have it straight. I have a...

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The White Horse Running in Myanmar

It might not make front page headlines, but there have been some interesting developments of late in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Originally a colony of Great Britain, the Southeast Asian country gained its independence in 1948 as a democratic nation. But for the last fifty years or so the country has been in the chokehold of a brutal military dictatorship. Things have changed of late, however. Last November a free election was held, and the National League for Democracy (NLD) party defeated...

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“Pastoral Guidance or Misguided Advice?”

In the February 2016 issue of The Banner, the official magazine of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), there is a preview of an extensive report coming to their Synod this summer. The report addresses the issue of so-called “same-sex marriages” in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Gayla Postma, “Pastoral Guidance for Churches Regarding Same-Sex Marriage,” pp. 14-15). This report is not a change in the official CRC position on homosexuality. That position, adopted in 1973, states that “same-sex...

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Darkness at Calvary

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour” (Matt. 27:45). It was on a Thursday night that the betrayer and his band came to take our Lord. And it was in the wee hours of Friday morning that he was tried and condemned. Led like a lamb to the slaughter, he was nailed to the accursed tree at the third hour—about 9:00am (Mk. 15:25). During the next three hours Calvary echoed with the...

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Philippines Delegation Update #6

Dear all, We are home! After more than 24 hours of travel, we are safely back in Northwest Iowa. The last few days of our trip were a flurry of activity. On Sunday, we had the privilege of worshiping with the saints in Maranatha PRC where Rev. Kleyn ordinarily preaches every other Sunday. Rev. Kleyn led the first service and preached from Lord's Day 8 on "What We Believe Concerning God." I led the second service and preached from Psalm 91:1-2...

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Philippines Delegation Update #4

Dear family,  It's high time I updated you again on what we have been doing. Our Wednesday was bookended by some authentic Filipino experiences. In the morning, we got a taste of Filipino transportation. We caught a trike (basically a motorcycle with a sidecar) to a local wet market. I have my doubts that they envisioned a 6'6'' white male using this means of transportation when it was conceived. My limbs were dangling dangerously in every direction. My weight gave the...

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Philippines Delegation Update #3

Dear family (by blood and by faith), After the excitement of Sunday, Monday was a bit quieter here. The morning was spent preparing for some of our other work later in the week, and the rest of the day was spent in the company of the Kleyns. We tagged along on some errands around town, and then took a drive out of Manila into the countryside. The drive served at least two purposes. For one thing, it provided us the opportunity...

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Philippines Delegation Update #2

Dear family (by blood and by faith),  Today (Sunday) is difficult to put into words. For a while now I've been thinking about how to describe and summarize it, but I'm not sure I can. It was a day of sensory overflow—physically, emotionally, spiritually. Some of the more physical things are easier to describe, although impossible to express. We were on the road by 6:30 this morning, in order to travel the 2 hours to the PRC of Bulacan. The ride...

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Introducing our newest RFPA Blog Writer

We are pleased to announce that we have a new blog writer. Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church (Doon, Iowa) has agreed to assist Rev. Clayton Spronk as a fellow writer for the RFPA blog. Rev. Engelsma is currently in the Philippines as part of a delegation from the Foreign Mission Committee. He has agreed to submit a series of blog posts on his work and activities while he is there, so that as you read you can...

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In Review: The Triple Knowledge. Reviewed by Rev. Joshua Engelsma

The Triple Knowledge series: An Exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism. Herman Hoeksema. 2nd edition. 10 vols. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2015. Cloth. $179.95. Rev. Joshua Engelsma is pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church. I must admit that when I first caught wind that the Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA) was putting out a second edition of Hoeksema’s Triple Knowledge I was a bit skeptical. I already possessed the hefty three-volume set; was it really necessary to replace them? But...

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