Mrs. Van was early as usual. She walked slowly toward an old building. It was old, but the green grass on the sloping lawn all around seemed to garb it with dignity. It stood a little apart from the house around it and the whiteness of its pillars and the color and design of its windows seemed to shout that this was not merely another building, but that this was a church. Its brick walls, standing so stern and erect, seemed to break forth into speech and the heavy brown doors seemed to be eager to tell of the hopes and despondencies, of the pleasures and pains of those to whose touch they had opened.
Mrs. Van entered and when inside it seemed to her as if each one of those straight-backed seats had a story all its own to tell. She sat down in her customary place and waited for the service to begin. And as she waited she thought of the various things that were taking place in the individual lives of those who would soon occupy these empty seats.
Her thoughts went back to that scene at the depot where family and friends had gathered to say their final farewells to one of their number — a young man who was leaving for service. Everyone just stood around and no one seemed to have much to say until the train was about to leave and the young man once more shook the hands of those he was leaving behind. Then there seemed to be so many things they still had to say to each other — but couldn’t! Many good wishes were choked back and remained unspoken. The young man waved to them as he stood on the steps of the train and then found a seat where he could watch them through the window. The train began to move. He tried to smile as he took one last look into their clouded faces — those faces that tried so hard to appear cheerful! A minute later he was lost from sight to his family and friends who nevertheless remained watching until the last of the rumbling train had disappeared.
And as Mrs. Van sat in church, waiting so quietly, it seemed to her that the faint rumbling of the distant train and the sweet tones of the church organ merged together, until the rumbling died out and the strains of music became clearer. And suddenly the whole church seemed filled with the soft music of the Lohengrin Wedding March poured out by the organ. With her mind’s eye she could still see the minister with his Bible in his hands, standing before the platform against a setting of palms. The bridegroom stood near him, watching his bride come slowly and gracefully down the long aisle toward him. And as the young man and the young woman stood side by side, the minister read, “what, therefore, God hath joined together let not man put asunder,” and pronounced them man and wife. And then the guests had gathered around with congratulations and kisses for the young couple who were about to begin life’s journey together!
But, ah! How well Mrs. Van remembered, that while many were gathered here at this occasion of happiness, another family was in the thrall of overwhelming grief. A father and mother were standing at the bedside of their child who only a few weeks before had been playing happily with his toys. Just a short time ago he had asked Daddy to read him a story and now lie lay quiet and disinterested and without any signs of recognition for the anxious, watchful parents. The room was hushed and dim, seemed covered with the deep silence of sorrow. The mother who had cared for him and loved him and who had tucked him into his little bed night after night, now refused to take her eyes off the face of the dying child. Every breath he took they counted to be the last and, yet, they always watched for him to breathe once more. He breathed and gasped — and breathed his last. It was the end. The father leaned over to close those big blue eyes which would never see again. And many a tear was shed over the lifeless little form of the child who had been carried away to the land that knows no sorrow and where no tears are ever shed.
Mrs. Van wiped away a tear that had gathered in her own eye at these sad recollections, but her heart repeated the words of the old familiar hymn, “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.”
It was time for the service to begin. Most of the seats were taken. Old and young were gathered together to worship: elderly men and women with stooped shoulders and gray heads; and little children with eager, happy faces. The families were there of the boys who had left for service. There was the young couple who had just been married and there were the parents who had so recently buried their child. And all those stories of their individual lives seemed to blend together into one perfect whole. All together they stood up and opened their mouths and raised their voices to sing: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” It was the beautiful harmony of the voice of the Church!
*Taken from the March 1943 Issue
The highway stretched out before us!
For a long time I sat gazing out of the car window as we rode along: gazing at the fields still covered with a thin layer of snow, at the trees grouped together on the side of a hill, at the old wood farm houses and the newly painted barns. The thought that filled my mind as we traveled down the highway was that the scene was constantly changing. Telephone pole after telephone pole came into sight and then vanished out of sight. Fields and trees and hills, farmhouses and country roads, appeared and disappeared. A snow fence, a creek partly frozen over, a more prosperous looking country home were brought to my vision and were gone. First the ground was level and then it seemed to grow into a hill which in turn sloped into a valley. I read a billboard alongside the road, “The wages of Sin is Death, but…” and we had passed it.
Never for one moment was the scene the same.
And so it is with life, thought I. Just as the scene along the highway is constantly changing so it is with us. God gives us life, we are young, we are old, and God takes away our life. During that short period, called a lifetime, the scene is never for one moment the same. Our lives are constantly changing. Just as a farmhouse was replaced by a barn or a field along the country road, so our thoughts, sometime peaceful, sometimes troubled, follow one another on the highway of life. One moment we are on the hilltop of hope and buoyancy and the next we are in the valley of despondency and disillusion. And not only that, but constantly we are forced by our surroundings and circumstances to make decisions which mold and make our lives. Sometimes we recognize opportunities and often we allow them to slip quietly by. And when time has taken hold on us and we look back over our course, we see where our judgment has erred, where our perspective was faulty and where our resolutions were vain.
This is the true picture of life. Now we are confronted with the question, “What must we do about it?” We must move along until we reach the end of the highway; our destination. Since we cannot stop, how can we best prepare ourselves to go on; to meet these changes? What means can we employ to best equip ourselves to make the correct decisions, so that we may grow and progress in the right direction?
The wise Preacher tells us: “The excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath it.” And also: “The knowledge of God is the beginning of wisdom.” And then he admonishes: “Consider the work of God, for who can make straight that which God hath made crooked?”
Amongst the various ways of increasing our knowledge of God and considering His work, is the society life of the church. And it is with this means of Grace that we are concerned in this essay. I shall endeavor to make clear what my society means to me and, of course, hope and believe that these benefits are also experienced by many other society members.
In the first place a society is an organized group within the church. And this group is organized with the definite purpose of studying the Word of God. In the particular society of which I am a member, the doctrine of God’s Sovereign Grace as upheld by our churches over against the three points of Common Grace as adopted by the Christian Reformed Churches is the topic of discussion. A subject of this nature necessarily leads one to a better knowledge of God’s Word. Comparing scripture with scripture, reading texts in their contexts and interpreting in the light of God’s Word as a whole surely will result in a better understanding of God’s Grace toward his own, and also will kindle in our hearts a richer love for him, and a deeper desire to serve him.
In the second place we may look at a society as a social function. By this I mean that it is the communion of the saints over against our constant contacts with the world. At the office in which I am employed, my fellow-workers are unbelievers, that is, unbelievers who reveal themselves as haters of God. They take pleasure in ridiculing and reviling God and his church. This always makes me conscious of the difference between them and myself. It reminds me of the peculiarity of my position in this world, and makes me feel alone and out of place while in their company. It is for that reason that I seek the fellowship and companionship of the Lovers of God, the gathering together of God’s people where God is praised instead of ridiculed, honored instead of reviled and worshipped instead of mocked.
Also, a society is an organization which helps one to develop Christian leadership, responsibility and a spirit of cooperation. Everyone has the privilege to contribute her part towards the discussion. Not only does she have the privilege but it is expected of each one who has a constructive opinion that she give it so that the discussion may follow along proper lines, and may be beneficial to all present. Then too, in the after-recess programs, opportunity is given to use the gifts of music and speech with which God blesses his people.
In order to have a successful meeting, cooperation amongst the members is necessary. I am, of course, willing to concede that often the members of a society do not cooperate, that many are not conscious of the necessary feeling of responsibility and that often the opportunity at leadership is thrown back into the hands of the president, and that therefore, to many, the meeting is of little value. Nevertheless, we can then trace this failure back to the individuals, in other words, to ourselves. I know how it is with myself. If I listen intently to what others are saying, ask questions when I do not understand, and perhaps contribute an opinion or remark to the discussion, take an active part in committee work, I feel that I have done my best, that I have derived some benefit from the meeting, and my conclusion will then be that, for me, the meeting was well worth while and therefore a success. But when I merely sit back in my chair, with my mind preoccupied with a million other things, the discussion will be most disinteresting and as far as I am concerned, the evening a total failure.
However, as soon as we realize that this failure lies with us, and we strive to correct this faulty attitude, we will find that our society does, indeed teach us that we should cooperate and work along with those who are of the same convictions as we, so that we together may be blessed. That it also makes us feel that we are individually responsible for the things which are said and done at the meetings and that in this way we will become capable to lead in prayer and to intelligently and believingly take an active part in discussing the things of God’s Kingdom.
We are swiftly moving down the highway of life. We cannot combat time, we cannot shut our eyes to the inevitable changes, we cannot evade the destination. Let us face the facts! Let us take advantage of the privileges presented by our societies and use this means of living nearer to God and growing in his Grace.
The highway of life stretches out before us; and the command? “Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.”
Originally Published in:
Vol. 30 No. 10 February 1971
Bulletins have been coming into the News Department with remarkable regularity, and that at a time when most ministers are vacationing. Perhaps the way in which many of them are vacationing has something to do with it. Since several of our churches have vacancies in the pulpit at present, it seems that every minister preaches somewhere every Sunday. Even at that, Southwest had its first reading service July 19, and both S.W. and Hope switched their evening service to the afternoon on alternate Sundays so that one minister could serve both churches at least for one service.
Then there is this matter of classical appointments which, with a little rearranging here and there, can be fused with a vacation. Rev. Schipper spent his vacation preaching in Redlands while Rev. Van Baren filled S.W.’s pulpit. Rev. Woudenberg, Rev. Vos, and Rev. Lanting had a triangular “pulpit exchange” set-up. It kept them from going too far from home, but I guess Rev. Vos didn’t mind. He didn’t plan to go anywhere anyway. You know what he did? He painted all the rooms in his house – walls, ceilings, windows, doors, baseboards! He claims he had a lovely vaction. Rev. Lubbers, our missionary, spend his vacation traveling through the West, performing wedding ceremonies in the Dakotas and lecturing about Christian Day Schools in Colorado. Rev. H. Hoeksema has been swimming and sunning at Lake Michigan but has also been preaching at First Church twice a Sunday for several weeks. Rev. C. Hando hopes to be back in the pulpit at First Church Sunday, August 30.
Along with South Holland’s bulletins came a very interesting report to the membership of the South Holland and Oaklawn Churches regarding the Church extension work they are carrying on. To achieve their goal (“to disseminate distinctive Protestant Reformed views, based on the Word of God and the Reformed Confessions, among those in this area outside the scope of our churches, particularly among those of Reformed persuasion”) they began by sending out some fifty copies of each issue of The Standard Bearer. They selected fifty names from a mailing list of some two thousand and sent them twelve sample issues, later increasing this to one hundred names. They also prepared a small circular containing a brief description of some fourteen pamphlets which were published by the Sunday School Association of First Church. They again compiled a mailing list of five hundred names and sent them these circulars offering them the opportunity to obtain any or all of these pamphlets without charge. The response was gratifying and at their last meeting the committee was instructed to send out another five hundred of the same. Besides this it is the intention of the committee to send this pamphlet circular to all the ministers in the Christian Reformed Church.
There is more to the report, about the work and response received. I was really quite thrilled when I read it. In these last days, when evangelization is so popular but the Gospel truth is not, is this not an excellent means for the church of Jesus Christ to preach the Word!
And here is another way in which you can let your light shine and take an active part in mission endeavor. You can do it by letting your voice be heard. Literally, that is. The Radio Committee of First Church, producers of The Reformed Witness Hour, feels the need of a radio choir which will furnish the musical portions of the radio programs. Here are their reasons: 1. The Mission Committee plans to add more stations to their radio endeavors. 2. Some of our congregations have expressed their desire to sponsor a radio program of their own. First Church has been asked to assist them and give advice in this work. This will require additional musical numbers. 3. The soloists and other musical groups who have for the past few years furnished musical numbers have cooperated willingly and wonderfully, but the committee is reluctant to request these people to sacrifice more of their time when they know that many of our young people can and are willing and capable to take their part in the spreading of the truth of God’s Word by utilizing their musical talents.
It is their desire to organize a Radio Choir on a denominational level. We sincerely hope you are interested. Plan to join now while you are waiting and watching for further details regarding the formation of the Prot. Ref. Radio Choir.
September 4 – Installation as Professor of Theology in our Seminary of Rev. H. C. Heoksema, Rev. G. Vos will preside and Rev. H. Hoeksema will preach the sermon. This is the first time in the history of our churches that a professor has been installed. Everyone is invited to come to First Church for the important occasion.
September 15 – The Steering Committee invites all men and women interested in the high school movement to come to a meeting which should result in the organization of a society for this purpose. Rev. C. Hando will speak on the necessity and feasibility of having our own high school. The meeting will be held in Southwest Church. COME if you are convinced. COME if you aren’t – and become convinced!
Garry Gras and Steven Holstege, Jr. both from Hudsonville Church, arrived safely at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 6 August-September 1959
Hudsonville Church had a congregational meeting June 15 to decide on remodeling the auditorium and the basement. Apparently more seating space is needed in the church proper. Also they are considering the purchase of a new organ.
Speaking of organs, the Southeast Mr. and Mrs. Society recently sponsored the Male Chorus in a very fine program, with the intention of swelling their fund for a new organ for the future Southeast Church building. The program was held at First Church after the Sunday evening service and drew a record crowd.
Sometime ago Rev. H. Veldman lectured in South Holland on the subject: Preservation and Perseverance. Rev. Vanden Berg reports in his bulletin that copies of that lecture are available to all interested parties (for one dime). Just write the Reverend.
Regarding Convention Patrons for the 1959 Young People’s Convention, Rev. Vanden Berg has sent us the following final report:
Church Patrons Contributions
Hope 9% 25%
Holland 14% 43%
Creston 31% 100%
Grand Haven 33% 50%
First (Grand Rapids) 19% 52%
Southeast 10% 22%
Southwest 10% 30%
Oak Lawn 69% 331%
South Holland 23% 86%
Randolph 8% 50%
Hull 5% 11%
Doon 13% 22%
Pella 33% 167%
Edgerton 5% 11%
Loveland 89% 206%
Redlands 4% 19%
Hudsonville, Kalamazoo and Lynden 0%
All the above figures are based on the standard of $1.00 per family.
Total number of patrons-104.
Total amount of contributions-$307.00.
I have received very few bulletins these past weeks. This may be due to you ministers going on vacations or being away from your churches for Synod or classical appointments. It may be due to the fact that I did not write this column for the previous issue and you didn’t know where to send them. Or it may be because you felt your bulletins just didn’t have any news on them. I’d say, just send them anyway. Even if they aren’t so newsy, they are still interesting to a “recuperating” news editor.
The months of May and June mark the end of Society life in our churches. Each society banquets or picnics and therewith completes its activities until the new season in the fall. Some people have expressed a justifiable regret that this is so. If however, it gives us time to do the things for which we claim to have no time during the winter months – time to think, for instance – it may not be so bad.
May and June are also the months when students everywhere close their textbooks and tuck away their briefcases. Graduation at any level – 9th grade, high school, or college – is an important day in the student’s life.
This year Hope Prot. Ref. School graduated its smallest class in ten years, just 4 girls and 2 boys: Lenore Engelsma, Margo Harbin, Barbara Hossink, Phyliss Kempuis, Edward Langerak, and Clarence Kuiper. These graduates picked their text and motto from I Peter 5:7, “The Lord will take care of you.” Rev. H. Hanko delivered the address and brought out beautifully what it means to cast one’s burdens upon the Lord.
Adams Prot. Ref. School graduated 12 students this year: Ireene Buitenbos, Charles Bulet, Judith Bylsma, Albert Flokstra, Janeanne Heys, Judith Meulenberg, Marilyn Ondersma, Peter Passchier, Bette Pastoor, Kenneth Teitsma, Daniel Veldman, Gordon Vink, and Donald Kruisenga. “Seek ye the Lord,” was the theme they chose for their program. Rev. R. Veldman was their speaker. The program also included several numbers by the band.
These students will go from our own schools to a variety of high schools – Holland Chr., Muskegon Chr., Unity Chr., Grand Rapids Chr., and perhaps South Chr. Wherever they go they should let their influence be felt. They have been well trained and should be bold contenders for the faith.
The following students from our churches are ’59 graduates from G. R. Chr. High: Mary Beth Engelsma, Marie Engelsma, Elaine Bult, Louise Looienga, David Ondersma, Kaye Ondersma, Mary Pastoor, Kenneth Schipper, Gerard Teitsma, and Bruce Vriesinga.
From Unity Chr. High: John Kalsbeek, Kathryn Huizenga, Gerald Kuiper, Betty Kooienga, and Merle Veenstra.
From South Chr. High: Gerald Miedema and Elaine Holstege.
No doubt there are many other grade school and high school graduates from our churches in other areas and I would gladly report who they are if I only had the information. I’m wondering about our school in Edgerton. Maybe someone can give us an account of its graduation program for our next issue!
We hope that someday all our graduates in the Grand Rapids, Hudsonville and Hope areas will be graduating from one high school – our own! A steering committee has been organized to begin a society for this purpose. The committee, with Mr. J. Sward as president, has had several meetings and may have something definite to propose in the near future.
We also have a number of graduates in Calvin College’s Class of ’59: Agatha Lubbers, Ruth Dykstra, Audrey Klaver, and Jean Dykstra – all teachers.
And speaking of teachers – a few of them ought to be having conscience trouble right about now and all during the coming year. How can a Prot. Ref. teacher accept a position in a non-Prot. Ref. school knowing that our own schools are in NEED of teachers? Acknowledging that they have received their talents from God and confessing that they seek the Kingdom of God first, it seems that it would naturally follow that they would be filled with the desire to serve where they are most needed and where they can best promote that phase of kingdom work nearest at hand and closest to our hearts!
In Loveland a school society has been organized. Board members were chose. A constitution was adopted. A finance committee and program committee were organized. They are moving ahead in faith!
The Board of the Association for Protestant Reformed Education in the South Holland-Oaklawn area announces that a drive for funds will be conducted in June. The society’s decision to make this drive was taken with a view to getting a school in operation by September of 1960! They realize this can be done only by a thoroughly united effort.
We extend our congratulations:
To Mr. and Mrs. J. Schaap of First Church was celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary May 13.
To Rev. and Mrs. H. Hoeksema, who together with First Church congregation, celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. Congratulations were extended by each organization in the church from the Sunday School to the Radio Committee. The Male Chorus sang a new number composed especially for the occasion, by its director Roland Petersen.
We wish to remember Rev. C. Hanko who underwent a stomach operation at Blodgett Hospital this month. He will probably be spending much of the summer regaining his strength so that, if that is God’s will, he may again take up his work in First Church in the fall. Throughout his years in the ministry, Rev. Hanko has been in the hospital several times as a patient, and hundreds of times as a visitor. Think of the suffering and sorrow a minister must witness, of the words of comfort he must bestow. Rev. Hanko is rich in experience and understanding in dealing with the sick.
Regarding our Servicemen
Case Lubbers, who was inducted into the army in February and is stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., was home on furlough in May. He was able to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with the Creston congregation the Sunday he was home.
John Bult, First Church, also had a short furlough this past month. He returned to Omaha, Neb., where he will probably be stationed for another year.
Mrs. John Huizinga Jr. has returned from Germany. Her husband expects to come home next month. She is nee Virginia Griffioen.
Recent Contributions Gratefully Acknowledged
Sinspiration – Creston Protestant Ref. Church $44.50
Hope Choral Society 49.61
Mr. Edward Ophoff 2.00
Mr. Homer G. Kuiper 2.00
South West Protestant Reformed Church 21.50
Randolph Protestant Reformed Church 5.91
Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church 39.45
Mr. Fred Aalpoel 2.00
Mr. Sieger Heys 1.00
Sinspiration – Hudsonville Protestant Ref. Church 42.51
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 5 June-July 1959
Our regular news writer, Miss Alice Reitsma, is unable to perform her duties this month, as she is in Butterworth Hospital under observation.
Lynden – Rev. Robert C. Harbach is considering a call received from our Redlands congregation
Holland – The Young People’s Society has recently had a couple of interesting topics: Ron Elzinga talked on “Stock-Car Racing” and Tommy Elzinga gave an essay on “Communism and Democracy.”
Both Southeast and Loveland Young People’s Societies canvassed their congregations for donations to the convention fund. Loveland’s young people also conducted a subscription drive for Beacon Lights.
Loveland – A Christian School Society was organized and a committee appointed to draw up a constitution and gather data pertinent to the organization of such a school We are all certainly happy with them in this venture and pray that the Lord will grant grace and courage to these brethren as they strive to have their children instructed in His fear.
Each spring and fall in the Grand Rapids area we find the similar societies in each congregation banding together for Mass Meetings. “How pleasant and how good it is, when brethren in the Lord in one another’s joy delight, and dwell in sweet accord.” This spring we find the following gatherings:
On April 10th at Creston Church our young people joined in a Mass Meeting commemorating the 450th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. Rev. George Lubbers spoke on the theme: “Our legacy from Calvin – have we done justice to it?”
The league meeting for our Mr. and Mrs. Societies is scheduled for April 30th at First Church. Rev. George Lanting has been asked to speak on the topic, “Is it possible to be too busy in church work?”
The Eastern men’s League was held March 30th at our Hudsonville church. Student J. Kortering spoke on “preaching to the Spirits in Prison.”
Rev. G. Vanden Berg addressed the Ladies’ League on April 16th at First Church. His topic was “How to Teach Our Children to Pray.”
Again for most of us another society season has passed. After a refreshing summer or rest and relaxation, may we be ready to begin our fall season with renewed zeal.
Congratulations! Mr. and Mrs. Don Hoekstra of Hull are the parents of a new baby boy.
A Get-Together-Nite, featuring a band concert, basketball game, and a tumbling exhibition was held April 17th at Sylvan School Gym. The event was co-sponsored by organizations from both Hope and Adams St. Schools.
Oak Lawn’s bulletin says “Remember and tell abroad the program that the Male Chorus of First Church is to render in Illiana on the first day of May at 8:00 p.m.
Congratulations! Mr. and Mrs. H. Helmholdt celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on March 22nd. They are members of our Southeast congregation.
The Hope Choral Society gave our Beacon Lights budget a boost with the collection taken at their Easter program which was given in Hope Church on April 5th.
The third Sunday in each month is Singspiration Day in the Grand Rapids area. However, from other bulletins we glean the fact that there are also Singspirations held in their churches. Hull used this method to raise money for their society expenses in connection with the coming convention and their society’s Federation dues.
At a recent congregational meeting the congregation at Creston unanimously voted to sponsor and support a radio program in the South. Although a lot of work has yet to be done before the broadcasting can begin, the first step has been taken.
Watch Beacon Lights for more details on our churches latest radio endeavor.
RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGED
Mr. Walter Wybenga $2.00
Hope Prot. Ref. Ladies’ Aid 33.33
Mr. John Faber 2.00
Sinspiration – SouthWest 34.99
Hull Prot. Ref. Church 15.55
Mr. Ted Miedema 2.00
Mr. Henry J. Holstege 1.00
Mr. Henry A. Schut 2.00
Mr. Henry Bys, Jr. 2.00
Mrs. J. Nyenhuis 3.00
Rev. & Mrs. George Lubbers 10.00
Hope Prot. Ref. Church 33.54
Prot. Ref. Men’s League 10.00
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 4 May 1959
Loveland- “what rich graces for ONE Day!” is a remark on the Loveland bulletin. It continues: “Certainly the whole day, this Sabbath, reminds us of blessed Calvary! This morning we attend the table of Communion; this evening the applicatory word will picture the Savior instituting His supper with all its blessed implications.”
I think this is an excellent way of stating that the evening service on communion Sunday is as enriching spiritually as the morning service.
We are eager to see what the results of the March 23 meeting for all those interested in a Christian Day School will be for Loveland. There is no Christian School at all in the locality at present, and there are no other churches in the area to help promote this cause.
Adams School presented a very interesting Easter program in First Church March 19. The message was forcibly brought to the minds of listeners, and God’s people were once more assured that the wanderings in this wilderness of sin will surely lead us home, to the heavenly Canaan.
First Church, Grand Rapids – On the Sunday before the Lord’s Supper was celebrated, Mr. and Mrs. F. Dykstra, Mr. R. Schipper, Donald Pastoor, Daniel Meulenberg, Arthur Bult, Jr., and Kenneth Vink made public confession of their faith during the evening service.
A change was made in the worship service of First Church. All collections taken during the services are now taken without congregational singing. The purpose is to recognize the sanctity of both the offertory and the congregational singing. During the collection the organist plays a hymn or psalter tune and everyone has the privilege of singing it softly to himself, if he so desires.
Lynden – Our Lynden Church celebrated Prayer Day on March 4 instead of March 11 because on that date their pastor was in Redlands. Rev. Harbach was with the Redlands congregation March 8 and 15, and then he attended Classis in South Holland on the 19th.
Pastor Harbach spoke in the Christian High library to the Mothers’ Club on the topic: “Understanding and Teaching the Five Points of Calvinism to our Children”.
Randolph – It seems that Randolph has a special collection each Sunday for some worthwhile cause. On March 8 the special collection was for the Protestant Reformed School Society in Randolph, I presume.
Oaklawn – Rev. Vanden Berg has received and is considering the call extended to him by the congregation of Redlands.
Rev. H. Hoeksema lectures in Oaklawn on March 17, on the subject: “The Virgin Birth and the Natures of Christ.” This lecture was sponsored by the Men’s Society. Some weeks before this, the Men’s Society met with South Holland’s Society and discussed the subject: “Evolution, Science, and the Bible, and the Age of the Earth”. This discussion was introduced by Rev. H. C. Hoeksema.
Oaklawn Society has been enjoting after recess programs consisting of a discussion on current events and an essay on :”The Christian philosophy of life.”
They also report the following regarding CONVENTION PATRONS.
Churches % In Patrons
First, Grand Rapids 14%
Grand Haven 25%
South Holland 19%
% In Contributions No. of Patrons
Churches not listed, have, as of March 14, not contributed. The total number of patrons is 60, and the total received in money is $176. The above figures are based on $1.00 per family as the standard. Thus, if a church had 16 families then $16.00 would be 100% in contributions. (If you discover a mathematical flaw in the above computations, don’t blame me. The Einstein who compiled the figures lives in Oaklawn.)
Holland Y.P.’s Society enjoyed a paper by Glen Windemuller on “Religious Beliefs of Youth”.
WE EXTEND OUR CONGRATULATIONS
to Mrs. F. Faber of First Church who celebrated her 87th birthday March 19. Mrs. Faber is in good health and attends church regularly.
to Mrs. J. Rottschafer, also of First Church, who celebrated her 93rd birthday February 19. Mrs. Rottschafer celebrated by going out for dinner with her children and grandchildren.
to Mr. and Mrs. Edw. Bylsma who celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary March 4. They express their gratitude to God who has spared them for each other these many years. They are members of First Church.
to Rev. and Mrs. A. Mulder, Kalamazoo, who have their third son, and
to Rev. and Mrs. H. Hanko, Hope who have their fourth son.
to Mr. and Mrs. John Triezenberg, Jr. who were joined in marriage March 6. They are from our church in Kalamazoo. The wedding took place in Falmouth, Mich. Mrs. Triezenberg is the former Janice Buning.
to Mr. Gerrit Bergsma who celebrated his 85th birthday March 11. He still lives alone and considers himself “too Young” for the Holland Home. He reads and enjoys the Beacon Lights and attends First Church twice each Sunday.
to Rev. H. Hoeksema who celebrated his 73rd birthday March 13. Rev. Hoeksema has been pastor of the First Church flock for over 35 of those 73 years. His sermons have always been thorough expositions of the Word of God which could be taken in by both heart and mind. Now in his declining years, as he himself comes closer to heaven, each sermon seems to bring heaven a little closer to us.
WE HAVE TO TELL ABOUT OUR SERVICEMEN
PFC. Robert Haak, who has spent the last two years in the army, was welcomed back to his church home at Oaklawn. The congregation is planning a special program and social evening to welcome him home formally on April 10.
Pvt. Sid Stellinga was discharged from the armed services this past month. He was welcomed back into the congrgtation at Doon.
John Blankespoor, also from Doon, returned the 9th of March from his basic training in Texas. He is now in the Air National Guard and must report two days each month until 1962, at the Sioux Falls Air Base.
RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGED
Sinspiration – Hope Prot. Ref. Church $31.15
Hope. Prot. Ref. Church 42.87
Mr. Gerrit Bergsma 2.00
Mr. John Knoper 2.00
Mr. Ed. Kooienga 7.00
Mr. Ryven P. Ezinga 2.00
Mr. John Velthouse 2.00
Miss D. Frens 1.00
Mrs. William Kooienga 2.00
Mr. Gerrit H. Stadt 2.00
Mr. Peter B. Reitsma 2.00
Miss Jean Dertien 2.00
Mrs. Marie Jonker 2.00
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 3 April 1959
This is an Up-To-The-Minute report from Oaklawn regarding Convention Patrons.
Churches No. of Patrons
Grand Haven 1
First, G.R. 15
South Holland 7
That makes 43 patrons and totals $135.00. Last year’s convention booklet listed 95 patrons! So we have a long way to go! Send your name and your church and your contribution to: Convention Fund, 9402 S. 53rd Court, Oaklawn, Illinois.
South Holland Y. P. had a combined meeting with Oaklawn during the past month. With Rev. Hoeksema as chairman, they studied Acts 20. After recess they enjoyed vocal duets, an essay, and a Bible quiz.
They also had a singspiration in South Holland, February 8, with special vocal and instrumental numbers. A collection was taken for the Oaklawn convention fund amounting to $29.07.
Randolph Y.P. are studying the Book of Acts, chapter 14. Combined meetings for them are an impossibility. Their after-recess programs consist of the study of Our Protestant Reformed Churches in America. Bernard Huizenga is president of the society since Rev. Emanuel’s recent resignation.
Loveland’s Y. P. formed a society recently. They chose Wm. Huber to be president; Ileen Griess, Vice-President; Ruth Kuiper, Secretary; and Joe Griess, Treasurer. Rev. Kuiper will lead the Bible discussion from the Book of Acts.
Creston Y. P. met with First Senior Society this past month. After recess a paper was given on the subject: “Was Jephthah’s Vow Rash?”
They also enjoyed a toboggan party at Echo Valley with the Kalamazoo Society.
Edgerton – Mr. J. Van Nieuwenhuizen, one of the oldest members of the church, and the oldest elder in the consistory, became ill about three months ago, and since that time has submitted to major surgery twice. He is now feeling fine and is able to attend church Sunday mornings.
Hope – Sunday, January 25, John Kalsbeek, Gerald Kuiper, Harry Langerak, Wayne Lanning, and Merle Veenstra made confession of their faith in Christ as their Savior. Wayne is a freshman at Calvin College this year. The others all attend Unity High.
Southeast – Rev. and Mrs. R. Veldman were on hand Wednesday evening, Feb. 4, to welcome all those of their congregation who wished to see the new parsonage.
Lynden – The Reformed Witness Hour, is heard in Lynden at 1:00 p.m. Sunday afternoons over KPUG. The church at Lynden has been notified that KPUG is considering the possible removal of all religious programs from their weekly roster. Reason? The public shows little or no interest in religious broadcasts. Rev. Harbach foresees that the next step will be removal of the Sunday programs. Interested Christians in that area were urged to inform the radio station by letter that they do desire religious radio broadcasting.
Hope School – P.T.A. met this past month and a very interesting meeting it was. Pictures taken by Miss A. Borduin during her recent travels in the Far East were shown by her.
Also, the achievement tests taken recently by pupils in grades three through nine were discussed by the teachers for the benefit of the parents. Each parent was given a chart showing where his child stands in the various basic skills in relation to the rest of the class and also in relation to the national standard.
Adams School – Mothers’ Club met Thursday, February 5. S. Beiboer showed pictures on Colorado. The Mothers’ Club is also planning a Smorgasbord February 26 for the benefit of the school.
Redlands – Our hearts go out to you as you continue to call a minister. We know how isolated you are and how great your need. We pray that the Lord will send you a good shepherd to lead your flock.
Rev. G Van Baren from Doon has filled the Redland’s pulpit for three Sundays and Rev. Kuiper has also recently left his new charge in Loveland to fill a classical appointment here.
Hull- Rev. J. Heys recently preached an afternoon sermon on the topic: “Sleepers, Wake Up!” I wonder if he brought out any connection between sleeping, with your eyes closed, and sleeping as referred to in Ephesians. (This has nothing to do with Hull, but why do so many people sleep in church! Unless it is a spiritual sleep, it is easily remedied. No-Doz are available at any drug store.)
Rev. Heys has been drilling his catechumens. They have been having reviews and written tests.
Sorry about the small, pocket-size Psalters you had on order! Hope School bought up the entire supply. If you need only a few, however, we’ll be glad to help you out.
Kalamazaoo – In the evening service, January 25, Harold and Frank Triezenberg made public profession of their faith. Rev. Mulder chose a fitting test: “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory.” Ps. 73
I wish to compliment the editor on calling the readers’ attention in last month’s issue of B.L. to corruptions that creep in by means of songs. Sensitivity to the error in songs is extremely important just because, as he pointed out, it comes in so unnoticed.
It might make our editor feel better to know that at Hope School we have sung “Joy to the World” REVISED for many years, and come next Christmas we will be glad to pass our Reformed version of this old carol on to anyone interested, uncopywrited.
WE HAVE THIS TO TELL ABOUT OUR SERVICEMEN
South Holland has two servicemen, Bernard Zandstra stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and John Haak with an overseas address.
Dale Mensch, Hope Church, is back in the States, stationed at Great Lakes. He was sent back, however, because of illness. After being in the hospital in Germany for four weeks he was transferred to the army hospital in Chicago.
Randolph also has two servicemen, P.F.C. Donald De Vries and P.F.C. James De Vries. Both are stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. They will be discharged in the latter part of March.
Pvt. Ben P Hendriks, S.E. Church, is stationed in California. He is in the Army for a six month period.
Homer Teitsma, also from S.E. Church, enlisted for four years in the Navy. He has served approximately one year.
John Brands, Edgerton, was discharged from the Army in January after serving two years.
Jim Lanning is back in Grand Rapids with his wife and baby after nearly four years in the Marines. He is now attending Calvin College.
Most Church bulleting reveal that someone in the congregation is expected to write the servicemen each week. This is a fine practice. It is up to us to keep the boys in touch with church life at home. Your letter may serve as: “a word spoken in due season, how good is it.” Prov. 15:23. Summing it up – Hope has 4 servicemen, Hudsonville – 2, First G.R. – 2, Doon – 2, Oaklawn -1, South Holland -2, Randolph -2, South East -2. How about sending a snapshot of your servicemen with your next batch of bulletins? Don’t forget now, because I’m banking on it. Write his name on the back of the picture.
WE EXTEND OUR CONGRATULATION
to Mrs. H. Doctor, Southeast Church, who celebrated her 88th birthday.
to Mrs. L. VandenBerge, First Church, who celebrated her 80th birthday.
to Jeanne Verhey and Jake Jabaay of Rock Rapids, Iowa who were married in January. They attend our Church in Edgerton.
LET’S PIN A ROSE
on Miss Betty Vanden Engel who has been confined to her home for a few weeks with a broken ankle. She is a member of Creston Church.
on Miss Gertrude Van Putten, Miss Jo Van Harn, and Mr. Neil Jonker who have been confined to Pine Rest Hospital for many years. They are all members of First Church.
on Ruth Moelker who returned home from the hospital without surgery and apparently in better health. It is hoped that the cause of her ill health has been found. She is a member of Southeast Church.
on Rev. G. M. Ophoff who is gaining in strength and is looking forward to spring when he will be better able to walk out-of-doors and enjoy the sunshine.
Recent Contributions Gratefully Acknowledged
Mr. Hollis D. Heemstra $2.00
Redlands Prot. Ref. Church 24.86
Randolph Prot Ref. Church 9.90
Hudsonville Prot Ref. Church 49.80
Hull Prot. Ref. Church 16.75
Doon Prot. Ref. Church 11.50
Doon Prot. Ref. Church Singspiration 13.60
Beacon Lights’ financial reports continue to read like the batting average of a third string substitute on a Little League Baseball team. (Last reported figure $145 to take care of an approximate $180 printing bill.) But this fails to bother us, because it seems that just when we are about to be engulfed into the maelstrom of insolvency, a donation arrives by mail to put us back in the black for a few more days.
The hard fact of the publishing business is, that subscription fees cover only a small part of the expenses incurred in the printing and distribution of a publication. For example: since August some 66% of our bills have been paid for with funds received from society collections, Sinspiration collections, and gifts from congregations and individuals. Subscription fees accounted for the remainder.
Were it not for the generosity of these organizations and individuals, most of whom also contribute to our support as subscribers, we would soon cease to publish Beacon Lights.
This hand to mouth existence has not been without its compensation, however, for it has made this publication a work of faith. In the past, the staff of Beacon Lights has often met together, during one of these ‘lean’ periods, to plan, in a business-like way, the financial future of the paper. Immediately, we would be hit squarely in the face, as it were, by the sheer frustration of planning and conniving to raise funds would suddenly become just so much foolishness. We have been shown time and again that God works in many diverse ways to accomplish His purpose. It has actually been a blessing to your editor and to the staff of Beacon Lights that we are not “blessed” with copious funds for I firmly believe that our faith has been strengthened through this most material aspect of this Kingdom work.
We pass this little side-light on to you in an effort to share the experience and also to assure you that your gifts and collections ARE very much appreciated and ARE very vital to the continuance of this publication.
Picture, if you will, our finance manager, faced with a printing invoice that totals more than the entire assets of the publication, as she eagerly opens each envelope addressed to Beacon Lights that has arrived at her home during the day. Each donation brings the “balance on hand” closer to that much-sought goal – the break-even point! In good Dutch tradition, each envelope is closely examined more than once to be sure it is absolutely empty.
Do we look forward to receiving donations? Do we appreciate them once we receive them? Wouldn’t you?
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 2 March 1959
Experience and understanding comes with years. Therefore, we love and honor and respect the older generation.
Mr. Peter Kooistra of 1st Church, celebrated his 94th birthday on Christmas. Think of it! Almost a century lf living.
Mr. W. Kooienga, member of our churches since 1924 and now a member of S. E., passed away Jan. 17 at the age of 82 years.
Mrs. J. A. Schut, mother and grandmother of many members in our churches passed away Jan. 16 while at Bradenton, Florida. She is a member of Hudsonville Church.
“An aged Christian with the snow of time on his head may remind us that those points of earth are whitest that are nearest heaven.” E. H. Chapin
NEWS FLASHES WERE RECEIVED FROM:
Oaklawn – The parsonage in Oak Lawn seems to be a good place to get together. The Convention Planning Group meets there, the deacons hold their monthly meetings there, the consistory meets there, and who knows what else!
Rev. H. Hoeksema will lecture March 17 on the subject: “The Virgin Birth and the Human Nature of Christ.” This is sponsored by the Men’s Society.
Several changes have been made in the worship service. Praise God from whom all blessing flow is now being sung at the beginning of the service, and individual communion cups will be used in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Holland – Something new has been added – a large pulpit Bible has been made available through the generosity of Mr. Henry Vander Kolk.
The Ladies’ Aid is working on a project to repair the Psalters of the church.
A monthly offering is taken for their Transportation Association. To keep their school bus running all the way from Holland through Byron Center to Hope School each day demands much care and time and money. But Holland considers it a very “worth-while cause.”
Lynden, Wash. – The Adult Bible Class is studying the Book of Genesis and is at present considering the Prot. Ref. View of the Covenant in ch. 9. The notes on their studies are sent to parties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and N. Carolina, to eight individuals in all. The notes are well received.
S. E. Church – Ruth Moelker is down with a serious thyroid condition. According to Jan. 11 bulletin she expected to enter the hospital the coming week. We hope that the next issue of B. L.’s will be able to bear a favorable report on her condition.
Rev. R. Veldman and family have moved into their new home at 1543 Cambridge, S.E.
Doon – “Is an evil thought as bad as an evil deed?” That’s the question to be discussed by the Doon Men’s Society after recess.
Edgerton – Lots have been purchased on which they plan to build a church. All the sister congregations are helping them financially.
THIS IS WHAT GOES ON AT YOUNG PEOPLE’S SOCIETIES:
Holland, Creston, Hudsonvile, Hope, Oaklawn all are following the outlines on Acts in their society Bible discussions. Done is studying Genesis. Kalamazoo is studying Romans.
Kalamazoo holds its meetings at the parsonage. They recently enjoyed a toboggan party at Echo Valley.
Creston Y. P. were host to the 1st Jr.’s and will return a visit to 1st Sr. during this month. Creston Society has eight members. They were pleased to have Rev. Lubbers at their service Sunday evening, Jan. 4.
Oaklawn Y. P. sponsored a supper, Jan. 10. Where? I don’t know. The bulletin didn’t say. (Not at the parsonage, was it?)
Oaklawn and S. Holland hold combined meetings once in two months.
For an after recess discussion, 1st Sr. Y. P. tackled the topic: “Lucky numbers, Right or Wrong?” They met with Hope on Sunday, Jan. 18.
YOUR FEDERATION BOARD
will have a meeting Jan. 31. They are working on a constitution for Beacon Lights. By means of this constitution they hope to define more clearly the duties and titles of those connected with the publication of Beacon Lights. They promise to publish the results of their meeting.
WE HAVE THIS TO TELL ABOUT OUR SERVICEMEN
Pvt. John M. Huizing, from Hope Church is in Germany with his wife. He hopes to be discharged in October.
Pvt. Ira Veenstra, also from Hope, is in the army and serving in Germany. His time will also by in by June of this Year.
Pvt. Jason Redder, from Hudsonville, is stationed in Kentucky. He lives with his wife away from the camp.
Pvt. Sid Stellinga, from Doon has almost completed his service in the army. He is also stationed in Germany.
John H. Blankenspoor, Doon is stationed in Texas at the present time.
P.F.C. Robert Haak is a member of Oaklawn. Bob will have served his two years about the first of March. He is stationed in Germany at present but expects to come back to the States soon.
Summing it up – Hope has 4 servicemen at present, Hudsonville, has 2, First has 2, Doon has 2, Oaklawn has 1, Redlands has 1. Are there any more? Do all our Servicemen receive Beacon Lights? If not, please notify the Editor.
ONE MORE THING
The Hose Committee at Oaklawn reports that to date – 19 patrons have contributed $51.00 – towards the support of the 1959 Y. P.’s Convention. Watch the figures grow as we report them each month! But don’t only watch! Do something about it!! Didn’t you get one of those little green slips in church Sunday? Oh, you got one but you don’t know where it is! Doesn’t matter – here’s the address:
9402 S. 53rd Court
Oak Lawn, Illinois
Just send what you like and then watch next month’s report go skyrocketing.
P.S. It cost 54 cents in postage to get this news from there to here. Rev. Heys came all the way from Hull to bring his bulletins personally. He claims he had to come this way anyway.
Originally Published in:
Vo. 19 No. 1 February 1959
Are you ever curious to know how special days originate? I am. I looked up the origin of this one. It seems to have had its beginning in England or amongst the Yugoslavs who, for many years, have set aside a Sunday for honoring mothers.
In the U.S. the day received national recognition as recently as 1914. However, long before this, Julia Ward Howe, author of “Civil War Days,” suggested the observance of a Mother’s Day “as a day dedicated to peace,” and in the early 1900’s Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia urged the annual observance of Mother’s Day to honor “the best mother that ever lived – your mother.” It was she who selected the second Sunday in May for this purpose.
The day is celebrated by many churches with special Mother’s Day sermons and with fitting musical selections. By our church the day passes unnoticed. But mothers do not!
The calling of the Church is to preach the Gospel. And in the history of the Gospel, mothers have their own unique place. The Bible gives us such an interesting variation in mothers. And each one serves God’s purpose in her own peculiar way, furthering the coming of Christ.
When the tabernacle was built as a picture of God dwelling with His people, the mothers in Israel shared in this blessed work. “And all the women that were wisehearted did spin with their hands. And all the women whose hearts stirred them up in wisdom, spun goats’ hair.”
When, because of sin, things were so dark in the history of God’s people that “the highways were unoccupied and travelers walked through byways,” there arose a mother in Israel, Deborah, who judged Israel with courage and wisdom, and brought deliverance. In her song of victory she cries: “So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord.”
A lonely woman rose from the untasted sacrificial feast to which she had sat down and went to kneel before the sanctuary to cast her burden upon the Lord. Hannah vows her vow as an afflicted handmaid of the Lord, and she keeps her vow as a mother in Israel dedicating her son wholly to the Lord to whom he belonged.
Another type is the “wise woman” who cried to Joab, David’s captain, because she claimed he was “seeking to destroy a city and a mother in Israel.” When Joab tells her all he wants is Sheba who is in the city, she goes to all the people “in her wisdom” and they cut off the head of this Sheba and throw it to Joab over the city wall. So the city is saved. I wonder if that is where Julia Howe got the notion of a Mother’s Day observance as a day dedicated to peace! I doubt it, but it’s not such a bad idea.
And then there was that mother in Israel who marveled at the things spoken of her son, who pondered them in her heart, and whose own soul was later pierced with a sword for she was the mother of a son who was also her Lord.
These were wonderful women, these mothers in Israel. They were wonderful because they were wise-hearted. And they were wise-hearted because they were interested in just one thing – the coming of their Lord.
Learning the twenty-six letters of the alphabet is one of the first accomplishments of a child at school. But learning to place these letters in their proper places so that they form words which convey ideas, is the work of a lifetime. To learn to formulate ideas and then to give expression to them by means of the spoken and written word is education itself.
We Christian teachers have a specific calling in this respect. The children we teach are Covenant children who must be equipped to discharge their covenant obligations and responsibilities. They are all destined to be leaders, some in a greater capacity than others, but all must someday take their places in home and church, leading in prayer, leading in Scripture reading, in discussing the Word of God, and in making the truth known to others.
For this reason it is important that the children in our schools be trained to give expression to their thoughts in a very clear and distinct fashion. The truths which we as churches confess must of necessity be stated in such a way that no room is left for any misinterpretation. It is so important when dealing with spiritual things that just the right word is chosen to give the right impression and to convey the right meaning. The truth must be stated concisely. Words are powerful because they are the wings of thought.
Therefore, one of the goals of Prot. Ref. education should be that the child may learn to express his ideas clearly both on paper and orally. First of all, he should learn to formulate his ideas clearly on paper. And then, he should be taught to express them audibly, distinctly, and without embarrassment.
How can the teacher work toward realizing this goal?
In the first place, a separate period in the curriculum for the teaching of the mechanics of oral and written composition and for giving practice in developing this art of self-expression is essential. Children must be made to see how variety in sentence structure, and how punctuation and proper grammar add to the interest and clarity of their compositions. They must be given much opportunity to develop their vocabulary so that the most illustrative word can be selected. They must be taught to be exact in their observations. They must learn to describe by comparison. They must learn to report facts accurately. For oral expression they must learn to enunciate clearly, to pronounce words correctly. They must learn to control the tone and pitch of their voices, using proper inflections and emphasis. They must learn to “think ahead” while they are on their feet.
Unless a definite time is set aside for teaching just these things, the danger is that they will not be taught at all. And unless we teach the basic speech and writing mechanics we have no reasonable right to expect favorable results.
In the second place, however, we all know that clarity in speaking and writing rests finally on the foundation of clear thinking. To develop clear thinking on the part of the pupils is every teacher’s business in every subject of the curriculum. Certainly practice in developing oral and written self-expression should not be limited to any special period. On the grade school level it can and should be correlated with almost every subject. All it takes is an awareness of this particular goal on the part of the teacher. Many history, civics, and geography lessons lend themselves excellently to oral or written reports. Children love to feel responsible for a paragraph or a page of the text and to tell the rest of the class what “their” part of the lesson is all about. The diet can be varied by encouraging the pupils to debate “slavery in the territories” instead of just questioning them on the subject. Most children are eager to join a round table discussion on almost any problem within their comprehension. In Bible memory work, the speaking choir is an excellent means of vocal expression for the timid and self-conscious pupils. They can lose themselves in the group while at the same time they receive valuable training in enunciation, inflection, timing, and emphasis.
In our daily oral recitations or on written tests, how often do we teachers insist on a concise communication on the part of our pupils? Too often we are only interested in knowing whether the pupil knows the answer and not whether he can express or explain the matter. Often their thinking is so vague that they cannot give clear explanations. It is our duty to force them to think clearly so that they can state their views with logical precision. If we do this we will be helping the pupil develop his thinking capacity as well as his ability to give expression to his thoughts.
The well-rounded Christian must be able to communicate his ideas so that God’s name is glorified and God’s people are strengthened in the truth. It is by means of the spoken and written word that we confess in both the church and the world that we belong to Christ who is the WORD of God.
The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]
As we examined the first eleven chapters of Genesis last month, we took note of the fact that the book of Genesis is theological, meaning it helps us to grow in our knowledge of God. In addition, we noted that the book of Genesis is historical, meaning that the events chronicled in it are the […]
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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]
This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]
Although it’s been a couple of months since we’ve been immersed in news coming from Japan about the 2020/2021 Olympic games, it’s still worth considering how these events are understood in the modern worldview of our country. The “Top Story of the Day” on Monday, August 9 (at least according to my newsfeed), was how […]
One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]
At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]
The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]