The People’s Theologian is now the Perfect Theologian

It’s a day of sore hearts and wet eyes for many of us. “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel?” (2 Sam 3:38). Read Justin Taylor’s tribute here.

Watch RC’s face light up as his Highland Hymn is sung. The beautiful words which he composed (see below) were never truer for him than today.

Above the mists of Highland hills
E’en far above the clear blue skies
The end of pain and earthly ills
When we shall see His eyes

Refrain
Lutes will sing
Pipers play 
When we see Him face to face 
On that day

His face now hidden from our sight
Concealed from ev’ry hidden gaze
In hearts made pure from sinful flight
Is the bliss that will amaze

Refrain

We know not yet what we will be
In heaven’s final blessed state
But know we now that we shall see
Our Lord at heaven’s gate

The beatific glory view
That now our souls still long to see
Will make us all at once anew
And like Him forever be

Refrain


Free Study Guide for Refresh

Yesterday I made available a Study Guide for Reset (for men). Here’s a companion Study Guide for Refresh which my wife Shona and I co-wrote for women.

These guides have been designed so that men’s groups can go through Reset and women’s groups can go through Refresh. However, the questions have also been composed in such a way that men and women can discuss the books in mixed groups, with only a few questions here and there (marked with an asterisk) that are significantly different.

It also allows a husband and wife to work through Reset and Refresh together using the Study Guides to compare notes and discuss the differences between men and women’s experiences of stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, etc.

As with yesterday’s Study Guide, there is no copyright on these, so print and photocopy at will!

Study Guide for Refresh.


Double Your PRTS Donation by Dec 31

Here’s a message from my colleague, Chris Hanna, Director of Development and Marketing at PRTS.


Dear PRTS Partner,

The end of 2017 is just about here, and it has been a remarkable year. There has been joy and sorrow, but throughout it all the Lord has reigned from on high. He is still sovereign!

I want to take a moment to once again say thank you. Every time you donate to PRTS you are working alongside us to train students from around the world to serve Christ and His church. You are helping to equip them with a biblical, Reformed, and historic faith.

It is people like you that are making a lasting investment in the lives of our students, their families, and those whom they will serve as pastors and educators for decades to come.

I recently spoke with a student who will shortly be returning with his family to Singapore. There he will again serve the church he left to attend PRTS. He is grateful for his theological education and for the tremendous outpouring of love he and his family experienced while studying at the seminary.

PRTS Family

Maybe you’ve given to the seminary in the past, or considering a first-time donation, and you’re wondering what donation options are available. You can give a one-time gift or become a monthly partner through the seminary website or by calling the Development Office at 616.432.3407. In fact, a gift given by December 31 will be generously matched by loving partners of PRTS. We are hoping to raise $400,000 by year end so as to have a two-month balance for the opening lean months of 2018. Please remember that no gift is too small. Your $50 donation will become a $100 gift to the seminary.

You can also give a gift of appreciated assets. To start this process, please contact the Barnabas Foundation – a PRTS partner – at 888.448.3040 and ask for Cindi Riemersma. If you’re in Canada, please contact our Canadian Development Coordinator, Corney Les, at 604.795.6938 or email him today at cles@shaw.ca.

If you or your spouse is 70 ½ or older, you may consider an IRA Charitable Rollover. As of 2015, the US tax code allows seniors of this age to donate tax-free up to $100,000 in IRA assets. The Charitable IRA Rollover is tax-free and will not be included in your adjusted gross income. Once again, please contact Cindi Riemersma at 888.448.3040 for more information.

By supporting PRTS you will be stewarding your resources in a lasting ministry, a ministry that the apostle Paul instructed Timothy to pass on to others (2 Tim. 2:2). Thank you again for prayerfully considering a matching gift to PRTS before December 31.

In the bonds of our Savior,
Chris Hanna
Director of Development & Marketing


Check out

Check out

The #MeToo Movement Is Destroying Trust Between Men And Women
I don’t agree with everything in this article, and it shouldn’t be used as a weapon against legitimate complaints. But it shows how the devil can use good movements with worthy aims to ultimately destroy one of the building blocks of civil society.

Like a disease, distrust is infecting our most foundational relationship as a people, the building block of a free, civil society—the relationship between men and women.

How Christianity Gave Rise to Modern Science
“There were a number of ways in which Christianity gave rise to modern science, and the idea that a set of naturalistic assumptions is necessary to do science is just historically false.”

God Has a Heart for the Vulnerable. Do You?
Paul Martin, the father of a special needs child, writes at Tim Challies’ blog:

Disability makes us ask a lot of questions though. Did God make a mistake when He sewed together the little girl with Patau Syndrome? Did He miss a stitch? The short answer is no. God has His own purposes in mind when He created our friends with disabilities. For instance, “Then the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?’” (Exodus 4:11). These are God’s words to the disabled Moses, the man with some form of speech impediment, but they hold true for us all. God did not make a mistake when He made the disabled. He did not momentarily lose focus or find His power eclipsed by some interfering evil force. At no point does the Bible teach that the disabled lack or lost the image of God.

One Man Faithfully Loving His Wife Through Early Onset Dementia
“Six years ago, a neurologist gave Debbie Echternach, then age 56, a diagnosis no one wants to hear: “Your brain has atrophied. You have early onset dementia.” Since that time, her husband Jay, a good friend and an EPM board member, has written eloquently about their experience. Each time he sends an update about Debbie, I’ve deeply appreciated his heartfelt insights, and faithful love for his precious wife.”

Three Ways The Devil Uses Social Media
“If the Apostles walked among us today, they would warn the church of the following spiritual dangers faced posed by social media”

The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Christian Therapist
I came across this article while researching the work of the Holy Spirit in counseling. I’m linking to it to show how, contrary to some caricatures, Christian counselors outside the biblical counseling movement also rely on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in their practice.

New Books

Here’s the RHB catalog for the new year.

Kindle Books

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.

All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism by James E. Dolezal $4.99. A book making a lot of waves right now.

Extraordinary Lives: The Art and Craft of American Biography by William Zinsser $1.99. Not a Christian book but six eminent biographers pull back the curtain to explain the pleasures and problems of their craft of reconstructing other people’s lives.


Free Study Guide for Reset

I’ve been encouraged to hear of many groups of men, including pastors and their elders, working together through Reset: Living a Grace-paced Life in a Burnout Culture. In response to feedback, I’m  pleased to make available a free Study Guide (pdf) to accompany the book.

The Study Guide  has been designed to help individual readers apply the book to their own lives and assist the process of moving from theory to practice.

It has also been written to enable couples to work through Reset (for men) and Refresh (for women) in tandem. Tomorrow, I’ll be publishing a separate Study Guide for Refresh that reflects the differences between the male and female experience of stress, anxiety, burnout, depression, etc. However, both the books and the Study Guides have been written to help couples work through them together. The handful of Study guide questions that are slightly different for Reset and Refresh are marked by an asterisk (*).

The Study Guides for both Reset and Refresh have also been composed to facilitate group discussion of the material. Again, this could be done in separate men’s and women’s groups or together.

I hope the timing of the Study Guide, coinciding with the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one, will encourage many to “reset” their lives and make 2018 more grace-paced than race-paced.

There is no copyright on the Study Guide, so print and photocopy as many as you need.

Study Guide for Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture.


Check out

Blogs

The Biggest Hindrance to a Leader’s Growth
Agreed: “The biggest hindrance to a leader’s development is not intelligence or work ethic. It is a lack of self-awareness.”

How to Read Jonathan Edwards
“The first point to get clear in our minds is not how to read Jonathan Edwards but why. And here is why. He turns our postcard views of Christ and the beauty of authentic Christian living into an experience of the real thing. What we had only smelled we now see. What we heard others call magnificent and considered overstatement we now see as magnificent and recognize as understatement.”

Best Books of 2017
Kevin DeYoung’s list
The Gospel Coalition list
Russell Moore’s list
Aaron Armstrong’s list

Your 50s Will Probably Be the Most Unhappy Time of Your Life
As a 51-year-old I don’t agree with this. However, as it may reflect the general culture, it’s useful info for preachers.

According a new analysis of life satisfaction from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which encompasses seven massive surveys and 1.3 million randomly sampled people from 51 countries, rock bottom is somewhere around the early 50s for most folks. On the other hand, people report being pretty happy in their early 20s and their 60s once retirement kicks in.

Introducing Hope Barlanark
This gives me great hope for my motherland, and especially for one of the most depressed and deprived areas of it.

Kindle Books

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.

Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves $2.99.

Men of God by various authors $2.99.