A son’s moving tribute to his Pastor Father

As many of you know, Pastor Martin Holdt went home to be with the Lord last week after a sudden and short illness. Pastor Holdt was a much-loved and highly-respected Reformed Baptist pastor in South Africa. His son, Jonathan, is also a pastor in South Africa, and I’ve got to know him through his ThM studies at Puritan Reformed Seminary. He penned this beautiful tribute to his father which he gave me permission to share.

I would like to briefly mention 3 areas of my father’s life that stand out:

Firstly, I think of his preaching ministry
As a child even in my unconverted state I believed that my father was the greatest preacher ever. I clearly remember the passion and fervour with which he preached. He loved Christ. He loved the Word of God. He loved the church of our Lord Jesus.

If I were to describe my father in a simple biblical phrase it would be with the words “man of God.” Like Moses, like Elijah he was a man of God. Those of you who knew him will remember him as a man of godly conviction and persuasion. He stood firm on the reformation principal of “Sola Scriptura” – The Word of God alone. He did not make decisions in his ministry as to what was popular in evangelical circles; he did not pander to human applause; his pastoral leadership and decision making was based upon the principle “What does the Word of God say?” When he preached one had no doubts that his goal was to preach the uncompromised truth of the Word. He had a fear of God which superseded any fear of man which enabled him to remain firmly committed to the truth when others in the ministry would compromise to popular appeal. He would no doubt want me to appeal to those of you who are ministers of the gospel here today to be faithful to the Word rather than seeking worldly fame and applause.

Secondly, I think of my father’s prayer life
I do not doubt that my dad was in the words spoken to Daniel “a man greatly beloved” of the Lord. He walked with God. He communed with God. He spent hours in prayer interceding for the cause of Christ. In his prayer book he would write the names of his family members, his friends and each member of his congregation.  He would pray each day for each of these names, rising early in the morning hour and spending time with God in prayer. I remember what an impact my dad’s prayers had on me prior to my conversion. Leaving for work at about 6:30am in the morning I can still recall my father’s fervent prayers as I walked past his study window each day. What an impression it made upon me. He was indeed an Elijah when it came to prayer. What a blessing his prayers were to so many indeed even to this country.

One friend sent a message after the home-going of my father “A mighty warrior has left our ranks.”  What a call this is for us to take up the challenge to be fervent in prayer; to step into the gap that my father has left and resolve to become prayer warriors; mighty intercessors for the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. May a double portion the Spirit of Elijah that clothed my father fall upon us who are called to labour in the gospel that we might become fervent prayer warriors for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, I think of my father’s example
One of the greatest gifts my father has left us is his godly example. He is an example of faithfulness – faithfulness to his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ; faithful to the Word of God; faithful to his marriage vows…faithful in pastoring and preaching the Word; Faithful!  Before I began my ministry he said to me “There are 3 things you must pray against every day – Pride, covetousness, and sexual immorality” I have never forgotten that and daily make that my cry too. His example of faithfulness is what we are all called to emulate in these last days. What an example he has left us in a life of holiness.  The other wonderful example he left was in the area of his sacrificial love and generosity. He would impoverish himself in order to bless others. I know that not only have his immediate children benefited from his rich generosity toward us but so many others have as well. When my father became aware of needs, he did not hesitate to give. If you ever hesitated to receive the gift he wanted to give he would say “Don’t rob me of my blessing. It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

If anything my father’s life is a testimony of God’s faithfulness to him. My father would not want us to paint a picture of a perfect man. Before my father died when I visited him in hospital we were talking about the grace of God. He quoted John Newton’s words to me who was beginning to lose his memory “Two things I remember: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour.” My dad’s hope was firmly placed upon the Lord Jesus for grace and mercy. He knew his sins had been forgiven and that heaven was his destiny. He could lift his hands on his hospital bed when the elders of Constantia Park Baptist came to pray and say “O, what amazing peace!” God was there for him in his greatest hour of need. As he lay on his death bed, he was upheld by the grace of God. There was not one word of complaint. He spoke of how blessed he was. The grace of God shone through him even in his last days.

He will be sorely missed. We will cherish every memory of him. We will remember his godly example. We will strive to emulate that in some way. But above all we will praise the God of grace who saved him; the Lord Jesus who came into this world to bear his sin on calvary; who rose from the dead that he too might one day rise forth from his grave; who went into heaven to prepare a place for him; and who welcomed him there with the words “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

On my mother’s grave stone my father had the words engraved “Forever with the Lord!” We can too echo those words now for him.

Martin Holdt has in the words of the apostle Paul has fought the good fight, run the race, and kept the faith. He has been welcomed into his eternal home in the presence of Christ forever.

The challenge to us is to follow his example even as he followed Christ Jesus his Saviour  – to remain faithful to the Word of God; to be uncompromising as far as God’s truth is concerned and to walk with God as he did; to become men and women of God so that we too might be welcomed into glory with the words “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Lastly – to Elsabe – we as children have grown to love you and appreciate you and we will be there for you in the days ahead. But most importantly we know that Christ will be there for you who said “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”

Check out

A free Theological Magazine everyone should know about
I agree with Justin, this is a great resource.  Periodical editors, behold the future!

Unfinished business
Unclutterer gives us six tips on how to prevent life degenerating into a mess – and how to get out of it.

The day I became a fiscal conservative
“It’s the day I discovered that economics is not just about math; it’s about motivation. Debits, credits, ledgers, and spreadsheets matter, but so do determination and leadership. Sound, moral economic policy must take the foibles and folly of a fallen human nature into account, and must have human dignity—an understanding that we are all made in the image of God—as its goal.”

Kindle Books
Aaron Armstrong and Tim Challies. Amazing prices, but remember: Multiple $1.99 books + 1-click ordering = Budget buster.

iPad App Lets Kids Publish Physical Books
This is incredible. Kids can write and illustrate a book on an iPad and then have it printed in hardback for $9.95! Might try it myself.

Speed Finger-Painter
Talk about made in the image of God!

O sin that will not let me go?

Mashable, the social media news blog, recently highlighted how social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, etc, make it extremely difficult to leave their services and make a clean break. Easy to get into, but not so easy to get out of.

As I was reading through the various strategies and tricks these companies use to make us stay, I couldn’t help but hear echoes of the same arguments that sin (and sin’s agents) often uses when we try to extricate ourselves from its grip.

1. “You don’t know what you’re missing.”
If you don’t use Twitter for a few weeks you’ll get an email saying, “We’ve missed you!” It then lists everything you’re missing!!

2. “What did I do wrong?”
You can’t leave Facebook without filling out a questionnaire which effectively makes you feel incredibly guilty about your decision. O yes, and it also lists specific friends who “will miss you.”

3. “I can change.”
MySpace tries to bargain with you, offering new ways to make you happy.

4. “I hope we can still be friends.”
Although Tumblr shows intending leavers a graphic of an anguished robot, it remains friendly and tells you that if you ever want to start things up again, just contact the network and someone will be glad to talk with you.

5. “Think about what you’re giving up.”
Google+ lists everything you’re giving up: Circles, +1s, etc., and warns you that leaving cannot be reversed. So don’t expect a reconciliation!

6. “Let’s work on this.”
LinkedIn says, “Give me another chance and let us help you get more out of your LinkedIn experience.”

7. You’re breaking my heart!”
The artist’s social media service, DeviantART actually has a demon mascot that cries devil-sized tears when you try to delete your account.

8. “Remember all the good times we had.” 
Youtube  reminds you that all videos, comments and your username will be deleted forever. FOREVER!

9. “You’re nothing without me.”
Klout suggests that without its help your really amount to nothing much more than a hill of beans.

10. “I’m not listening/Error message”
Orkut, popular in India and Brazil, simply doesn’t let you go. If you try to delete your account, you get an error message!

If you’re hearing sin’s bargaining, threatening, enticing, manipulating, promising, bullying voice today, remember, “If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed!”

Check out

The story of the Bible in one sentence
It’s a long one, admittedly!

A “simple” color eschatology chart
Well, about as simple as these things get.

You have to choose
“To say yes to life, sometimes you have to say no to work. To spend time with your friends and your family, those people who make life meaningful, you have to stop. You have to put down your computer, turn off your social networks, silence your cell phone, and enter in to a reality that is not virtual but present. Real. Tangible in a way that you can taste and touch and see.”

Simple steps for Family Worship
First of a four part series.

Why Lewis Loved the Law
Kevin DeYoung had me back down a muddy memory lane with this “cross-country” post.

The Gospel in Gambia
You can read more about the Gambia Partnership here.

Check out

Does your writing preaching lack the conviction it deserves? 
Is your preaching peppered with, “I was thinking about…” “Here are my thoughts on…” “In my opinion…” “The way I see it…” “I think…” If so, you are fatally undermining your message and you need to apply Ben Reed’s counsel for writers to your preaching.

Old Pastors
“Some of the most beautiful people I know are old pastors. They’re not pretty, certainly, but they are beautiful….”

A Ten Commandments Prayer
Paul Tautges provides a searching prayer that should aid self-counseling. There’s so much in this, it might be a good idea to print it out and pray one “commandment” a day.

How to evaluate a new counseling technique
Some really helpful, balanced advice from Phil Monroe on how to assess different counseling methodologies (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

Tips for confronting a fellow church member
Ten guidelines from Jonathan Leeman.

11 Countries in 1 minute
3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage…

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

You’ve read the book, now be in the film!

A young mother. A middle-aged pastor. A high school student. An elderly retiree. What do all these people have in common? They’re all Christians. They all struggle with depression. They all have stories to tell.

At HeadHeartHand Media, we’re convinced that depression in the church is an issue that demands our attention, and in light of the warm reception Christians Get Depressed Too has received, we’re excited to be developing a video curriculum on that very topic!

While the book provides the reader with a short, systematic and easily digestible introduction to subject, we believe that film has incredible potential to give this problem a human face, and thus to motivate and enable us to take steps toward better understanding and response to depression.

A person’s understanding of depression cannot remain theoretical for long. All of us encounter the reality of depression on an almost daily basis. For many believers, that reality is their life. It’s our hope that this curriculum will equip churches to understand and minister to depressed Christians with greater compassion, greater understanding, and greater effect.

Do you have a story of your own?

We’ve already witnessed God’s grace in the lives of several Christians who’ve suffered with depression and can’t wait to share their stories and the lessons they’ve learned. But we need more! And that’s why we’re writing this. We’re hoping we’ll be able to connect with many different believers scattered far and wide who’ve also witnessed God’s gracious care for his sheep. If you or someone you know has suffered with depression in the past, or is still battling with it today, we’d love to hear from you. This is clearly a sensitive subject, and not one most of us would be eager to share in front of a camera; but if you believe that your story could be used for the good of Christ’s church and others suffering with depression, we ask that you’d prayerfully consider contacting us.

At the heart of this curriculum are stories from the trenches. Not stories of super-Christians who could do it all, but stories of ordinary Christians who were brought face to face with their own physical, mental and spiritual weakness. Stories of Christians, who, though they had to walk though this dark valley of depression, have found and continue to find hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His provision for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.

It’s our prayer that the church will be eager to walk with these believers, hear their stories from their own lips, and absorb the lessons they, their families, and their churches have learned as they journeyed together toward the light. We are confident that God will use this to transform congregations of Christians all throughout the world into gatherings of believers who will tenderly shepherd the hurting sheep among them.

To aid in drawing general lessons, practical helps and a way forward, the curriculum will also include interviews and analysis from several experts in the field: Christian pastors and various counselors who have years of experience to draw on and share with viewers. We believe that this combination of narrative and teaching will be a great introduction for any congregation or small group.

So, if you have a story to tell please contact us at info@headhearthand.org

The HeadHeartHand team,
David Murray
David Faasse
Dirk Naves