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There were the “Welcome” flags on display along Main Street. There was the small group discussion that concerned itself with the topic “Smoking.” There were the winding trails through Newton Hills State Park. There was the night of the banquet, and there was the ever-present black and white sign on which was printed “Soli Deo Gloria.” These are only a few of the many scenes, incidents, and activities which will always be among the memories of the twenty-seventh annual Protestant Reformed Young Peoples’ Convention.

In the afternoon of August 15, about seventy-five excited young people from the Grand Rapids area left their homes and headed for South Holland. Upon arriving, we were met by the South Holland young people and at 5:00 calmed down enough to eat supper in the church basement. From here we left by bus for the train depot in Chicago. By 7:00 we and our luggage had managed to board the train and began the slow long ride to Hull. Our chaperone diligently counted and recounted noses to make certain that none were left behind. And for the next thirteen hours there was almost no sleep but only ride, ride, ride between thirty-five stops. When one weary conventioneer was asked at 2:00 in the morning “What are your reactions to the convention thus far?,” he could only reply “When, when do we get there?” One other half-sleeping person remarked “I think tonight is the longest night in the world.” At one time all were rudely awakened by cries of “We’re crossing the Mississippi!” At 5:00 we stopped for a snack in Dodge City and at 8:00 we stumbled and tumbled off the train into Le Mars, about twenty-five miles from Hull. We were finally off the train but it made little difference by this time because for most the world continued to sway and move for the next several hours. From Le Mars we were herded to the Hull church for lodging and registration. At this time we received our first impressions of Hull. Mainly the city seemed composed of cornfields, soybeans, pig smell, Brummels and Hoekstras. The rest of the day was free and most of us settled down to catch up on lost sleep. Some, however, took this opportunity to put on display their talent for horseback riding. Things were going well until one exceptionally fine rider missed a turn, broad-jumped a ditch and then almost caught himself up in Mrs. Van Maanen’s clothes lines. But we survived, sore bottoms and all. That night many of us toured the big town of Hull and some even discovered where the neighboring metropolis of Doon was located. Meanwhile at the church, registration was held for those conventioneers who arrived later. Friday morning most of us managed to drag our weary bones to the 9:00 business meeting. Almost never before has business been taken care of so quickly and efficiently to the relief of many. Several routine decisions were made and new officers were elected. They were, Vice-President: Randy Meyer, Vice-Secretary: Sue Swart, Treasurer: Tim Heemstra, and advisor: Rev. Kortering. At noon lunch was served and at 1:00 about fifty faithful reassembled in the church auditorium for a Bible quiz. We were quizzed on quotations, parables, and were asked questions. One of us even had the audacity to give Ben Franklin credit for one of Solomon’s proverbs. That evening Rev. Vanden Berg addressed us at the Mass Meeting on The Idea of “Soli Deo Gloria.” He pointed out the fact that all things must be to God’s glory, only to God’s glory and nothing may detract from it. Afterwards we were served refreshments, played games, and became acquainted. All were asked to observe a 12:30 curfew for the convention but some of us didn’t always make it. “After all,” one complained, “how can you be home by 12:30 when you have to go halfway across the state to bring someone home.” Strangers noted that it was easy to get lost, since in Iowa things have progressed to the point where street names are outdated and all directions are given in a “two miles north and three miles east from Perkins Corner” fashion.

Six o’clock Saturday morning almost half of the crowd met at church and began the day by touring two farms. After this the greased pig contest was held. The poor pig ran for his life but when big Tim Heemstra came bearing down, he just didn’t have a chance. The girls then had the opportunity to participate in an ungreased chicken contest. After this we were free until dinner and most of us went swimming, one swearing blue jeans and sneakers. After dinner we journeyed to Newton Hills State Park in South Dakota. We spent the afternoon hiking, playing volleyball, football, and softball. After a delicious broasted chicken supper Mr. Dale Kuiper spoke to us on The Basis of “Soli Deo Gloria.” He emphasized the necessity of a strong faith because if our lives are going to be lived to God’s glory, then we must be able to resist the continual temptations of the devil.

Sunday also found us with a busy schedule. Church services were held at 9:30 and at 1:30. That evening at 7:30 a singspiration was held at the Community Hall. This too was centered around God’s glory.

Monday at 8:00 was the pancake breakfast at Rock Valley Park. Because there was no business meeting, we were free to roam until about 11:00 at which time discussion groups were held. Again about fifty faithful attended and voiced their opinions on the assigned topics. Dinner was then served and afterwards a debate was held on “Juvenile Delinquency” and its relationship to parents’ responsibility. At 2:00 the East- West ball game was held with victory going to the East this year. At 5:45 everyone posed prettily for the convention picture. At first it appeared as though everyone might not be able to fit on, but we all sat tight and things went well. The banquet was held at the Holland House near Sioux Center. The theme was “Launched in Service, Anchored in God.” After the meal, Rev. Decker addressed us on The Expression of “Soli Deo Gloria.” He again reminded us of the opposition we meet when we strive to live to God’s glory and challenged us to express “Soli Deo Gloria” in our entire lives, in all that we do. After a brief intermission we watched the film “The Five Major Religions of the World.” The new officers were then introduced and it was announced that the twenty-eighth annual convention would be held at the First Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In conclusion we sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” and thus the 1967 convention came to its end.

While attending Unity Christian High School in Hudsonville, Mich., Miss Lubbers won first prize for writing this essay in a contest sponsored by the National Union of Christian Schools. Judy is presently a freshman at Calvin College.

 

The challenge of Christian teaching, I wondered, what this vague but impressive phrase could mean and to what did it refer. My thoughts slowly drifted back into the past.

I remembered the face of a classmate, filled with defeat and despair. Her teacher had concluded a conference with her with the ego-shattering words, “If that’s the way you feel, then I don’t want you in my class anymore.

And I remembered another face, one shining with confidence and reassurance. This classmate had been given a pat on the back by the teacher and had been told, “You sure did a good job Friday night. Perhaps it didn’t get much special attention, but I really appreciated it.”

After I had thought of these two separate incidents, I understood the challenge of Christian teaching. 1 realized that those two remarks made, by two different teachers would never be forgotten. 1 also realized that each teacher has the opportunity to contribute something meaningful to the life of each student.

Teachers lay the foundations for tomorrow’s generation. Their words and actions today shape the character and personality of tomorrow’s society. They have the challenge to establish attitudes in the student with which he can meet the problems he will have to face. They have the challenge to develop a Christian character with which the student can meet the demands of the world. Each teacher helps a student develop mentally, physically, socially, anti spiritually.

A student is very much like a bud on a young plant. It has, locked within itself, the potential to slowly open up and become a beautiful blossom. But before this can happen, the plant must be given enough water and the proper amount of sunshine. If, however, the plant is not given enough of these elements necessary for life, the bud will cither die or never become fully developed. But until this bud blossoms forth, no one can tell just what color or kind of flower will emerge.

Each student has been blessed with some special talent or ability which also has the potential to fully develop. It is the duty of each teacher to discover this talent and provide the proper instruction for his development. He must guide the student toward ideals and achievement. When a student is deprived of that which is necessary, his abilities will never be brought out or will remain half-hidden for life.

Students must receive from their education knowledge which will make them able to gain a living and satisfactorily meet life. They must be taught the correct attitudes toward self, others, and the world.

But above all, they must be taught that there are higher goals to strive for other than good marks or social prestige. The final purpose of Christian education is to guide and direct students so that they will learn to appreciate the duties and responsibilities of a Christian. Teachers must instruct students so that they will be prepared for a life which is lived to the glory of God.

This is the challenge of Christian teaching. With the present shortage of teachers, this challenge becomes continually greater. It speaks so loudly that it cannot and must not be ignored. It speaks so loudly that no one can fail to hear it. Today there are many hundreds of children and teenagers who want someone to teach them, someone who understands and cares. What greater challenge is there?

 

The skies above are dark and gray;
It had been a dreary day;
Coming would be a dark night,
No moon or stars to give their light.

Slowly the rain begins to fall;
It seems a shower will be all,
But then the winds begin to rise.
Blowing clouds across the skies.

A flash of lightning cuts the sky;
A clap of thunder rumbles by,
But for long it does not last;
Very soon the storm is past.

Up above the skies are clear;
The moon and stars begin to appear,
The winds are calmed; only a breeze
Whispers quietly through the trees.

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 […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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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 […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

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 […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

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 […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

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 […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

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 […]

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