Kevin is President of the Young People’s Federation Board and is a member of Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Michigan.

A new season of Young People’s Societies has begun in the Protestant Reformed churches. The Federation Board, the young peoples’ leaders, and the young people alike look forward to another year of spiritual fellowship and growth. One is sure to know the young people and the leaders, but one might not be so sure what the Federation Board itself is and what it does. This article will explain the content and the purpose of the Federation Board, and it will give a brief background of its new members.

The Federation Board is a group of young people, young adults, and adult advisors that works on behalf of the Protestant Reformed Young People’s Societies. The new members are first nominated by the existing Board members, and then elected by the young people. The Board conducts a meeting at Faith Protestant Reformed Church on the first Sunday of each month to carry out this work. The meetings are well attended by the Board members, and each member works diligently in his or her position to exercise the duty to which he or she has been elected.

One of the main purposes of the Federation Board is to coordinate interaction among the Protestant Reformed Church’s Young People’s Societies. We sponsor activities and other events intended to promote development and growth of the young people. Mass meetings, singspirations, fundraisers, and conventions serve the purpose of developing unity among the societies.

A second work of the Federation Board is to be involved with the publication of the Beacon Lights. The Beacon Lights provides edifying material for the young people to read, so it is necessary for Christian writers—both young and old—to devote some of their time to write for the covenant youth of our churches. This year the Federation Board is striving to work more closely with the Beacon Lights staff, and we ask that you contribute any thoughts or articles you may have.

As the ruling body of the Young People’s Societies, the Federation Board seeks to accurately convey the Protestant Reformed position with regard to the Christian life. Our young people must walk together in unity and show—both in character and in speech—that they belong to the body of Christ. We pray that the world may see that the Protestant Reformed young people walk a different kind of life because of their love for God and His church.

The Federation Board consists of a president, treasurer, and secretary, with an assistant for each position. There is also a librarian, youth coordinator, and two spiritual advisors.

On behalf of the present Federation Board, we thank the following board members who retired this year: Trevor Kalsbeek (President), Brad Pastoor (Treasurer), Audra Bol (Secretary), Jeanine Boeve (Librarian), and Rev. Terpstra (Spiritual Advisor). Thanks again for your diligent and faithful work.

The new members of the Federation Board were elected at the delegate meeting at the last convention in Loveland, Colorado.

Matthew Overway, Vice-President, is son of Brent and Wilma Overway. He is a member of First Protestant Reformed Church of Holland and is presently pursuing a career in nursing at Grand Valley State University. He hopes his time on the Federation Board will help him learn to be an effective member of a governing body so that he can, by the grace of God, one day perform the duties to which he may be called in service for the church.

Jeff Van Uffelen, Vice-Treasurer, is son of John and Linda Van Uffelen. He is a member of First Protestant Reformed Church of Holland and is pursuing a degree in mathematics at Grand Valley State University. He also works in the machine area at Koops Inc. He would like to see the Federation Board establish valuable leadership and make careful decisions. He also wants the Fed. Board to become a catalyst to our youth’s zealous uncovering of Scripture’s profound secrets, realizing that growth comes from personal study of biblical truths.

Sara Huizinga, Vice-Secretary, is daughter of James and Barbara Huizinga. She is a member of Hope Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids. After spending one year at Grand Valley State University, she is looking for full time work. She would like to see the Federation Board more involved with the young people, provide a good example to them, and show them the work that takes place.

Sarah Koole, Librarian, is daughter of James and Gladys Koole. She is a member of Hope Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids and is pursuing an elementary education degree at Calvin College. She wants to see the Federation Board guide the young people of our denomination closer to God, so that all they do may give glory to God alone.

Rev. Ron Van Overloop, Spiritual Advisor, has been pastor at Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church since 1994.

For a complete list of all the current members, one can look on the inside front cover of the Beacon Lights.

The Federation Board welcomes the new members and asks for your prayers and for God’s blessing upon this new year of work.

Kevin is a member of Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Michigan. He wrote this essay for Senior Writing at Covenant Christian High School.

Every day we are faced with this question: Do we simply obey those in authority, or must we submit to them? Whether this be with respect to parents or the government, there is a clear distinction between obedience and submission. The world does not often see this difference, but we, as Christians, should be able to recognize it. There is much more to our calling to our superiors than simple obedience.

To obey is to perform that which those in authority have commanded. The act of obedience does not necessarily include respect. Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson said, “My duty is to obey orders.” He recognized that no matter what his opinion, he had no choice but to carry out the command. The generals who gave the mandates were in control, and although he did not always agree with or respect them, Jackson could only consent.

Submission is to willingly place oneself under those in authority with an attitude of honor and respect. It is to recognize that God created every relationship between those in authority and those under it. Romans 13:2 plainly states that, “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” The power referred to here is the authority that God established at the beginning of time. We must be motivated to pay tribute and respect to that authority because they are “God’s ministers” (Romans 13:6). God’s purpose in creating government was to provide order and protection for His people.

Submission is not simply an act of obedience. Even if someone followed every law crafted by the authorities, he would not necessarily be submitting to it. In order for there to be submission, an attitude of love, honor, and respect must accompany obedience.

We can clearly recognize the emphasis on submission over obedience by examining our relationships to our parents and the government.

The relationship between parents and children is fundamental to our understanding of submission. God commanded us to not only obey our parents, but also to honor and love them. Deuteronomy 5:16 says, “Honor thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.” The command to obey parents is implied in the Fifth Commandment. If we really honor and love our parents, we will strive to obey and submit to them.

The necessity of order in the home is imperative. Without order, chaos would reign and almost nothing could be accomplished as planned. For there to be order, there must be obedience, love, and honor between both parents and children.

Children must obey their parents willingly. Those who obey their parents but really don’t want to are not submitting. It is simple to obey, but difficult to submit. When a parent tells a child to go to his room because he was naughty, the child would obey if he went to his room. However, he would not submit if he slammed the door so hard that picture frames rattled off the walls. This is not the attitude of love and honor that is required of children. The child would submit if he calmly descended the stairs, quietly closed the door, and reverently evaluated his actions before God.

Order within the state is also imperative. To have order in the state, the citizens must willingly consent to the laws of the government and respect it in everything it does. This obedience and respect represents our submission to the government. However, we must not submit to the authority only because we are afraid of the consequences if we fail to submit. Again Romans 13 explains, this time in verse six: “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.” We must submit to the government because our conscience, created by God, tells us to be submissive to its authority.

Our compliance to the government is characterized by our willingness to pay taxes regardless of the cause for which the money is being collected. “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom” (Romans 13:7). Paul tells us here to give to the government because it is due them. Nothing we possess is ours, and we need to support the authority that God placed over us.

The solitary reason that can justify our disobedience to authority is if it commands and requires us to do something contrary to Scripture. Then, even though we must disobey, we must do so with respect and honor because God ordained the authority. When Peter and the other apostles were directly commanded not to preach in Christ’s name, they replied, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). The apostles disobeyed the authority, but still submitted to it by going to prison wi1lingly and by not instigating rebellion.

Next time we ponder the question of obedience or submission, we should know the answer immediately. God requires submission of us, and He will give us the strength to carry out that calling. Submission is not simply an outward act; it is a matter of the heart. We must submit not only in obedience, but also in love, honor, and respect to our parents and the government.

Tom Wilson was the most excited he had ever been. It was his sixteenth birthday! Even though his family was quite poor, Tom was still happy because a few days ago he and his dad had bought a cheap car for him. Tom was a good kid, and he had every intention of paying his dad back with the money he earned from his new job at the paint shop. His birthday was the day before the start of the second semester, so Tom was relieved that he didn’t have to catch a ride with his friend Billy, who had to come out of his way every day to pick Tom up. That night Tom called Billy.

“Billy, I don’t need rides anymore because I just got my license and I got a car. I will pay you back tomorrow for what I already owed you.”

“OK, see ya’ tomorrow,” said Billy. Tom had practiced driving with his parents for almost a year so he was quite comfortable with himself driving. His parents also were not worried.

The following morning, Tom ate a quick breakfast, and after he was on the road for a few minutes by himself for the first time, the butterflies in his stomach disappeared. When he got to school, he parked his car in his parking space, locked the doors, and walked up to a group of guys who were standing on the sidewalk in front of school.

“What kind of car is that?” asked Pete sarcastically. Tom bit his tongue in anguish.

“Where did you buy that, the junk yard?” asked another boy.

Tears welled up in Tom’s eyes, and he quickly turned around, not wanting to be called a baby by his “friends.” The bell rang, to Tom’s relief, and he hurried inside as fast as he could. Grabbing his books, he hurried to his first hour class and sat down, putting his forehead in his hands. Tom felt horrible all that day. When his day of miseries at school was over, Tom drove home, parked his car in the driveway, and went inside. Not even saying “Hi” to his mom, Tom went down stairs and slammed his door. It seems like everyone hates me just because we’re poor. How can I help it that Dad can’t hold a steady job because of his disease? No matter how hard we work, there’s never enough money. It’s just not fair! This incident brought back bad memories of third grade. Tom had just gotten new jeans from a neighbor in place of his old pair. When he got to school, everyone had mocked him about his jeans just like they had mocked him about his car today. And once he started thinking, Tom could remember all kinds of times when he had been the object of cruel mocking. He slammed his fist into his pillow.

Mrs. Wilson wondered where Tom had disappeared to so quickly. He usually had one thing on his mind to do after school and that was to raid the cupboards for something to eat. About fifteen minutes later, she went down to Tom’s room. Tom was laying on his bed crying, and his pillow was wet.

“Tom, what happened?” Mrs. Wilson asked worriedly.

“Pete and another boy were mocking me about my car,” stuttered Tom.

“It’s all right, just because some other people don’t like your car, doesn’t mean it’s bad,” reassured Mom.

“I know but it’s more than that. They don’t like my car, but they mock me. Why do I have to take all this ridicule?”

“Just remember what it says in Matthew 27:29. ‘And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocking him, saying, Hail King of the Jews.’ The soldiers hated and mocked Jesus just like some of the kids at school mocked you. And Jesus did not even say a word,” said Mom.

“Thank you Mom,” said Tom, “and tomorrow when I go to school I will just ignore them if they mock me or say anything mean. It doesn’t make things easy, but it helps knowing that Christ went through the same things.” Tom felt much better when he started on his homework that night because he still had Mom’s comforting words in his mind and heart. They were God’s comforting words. ❖

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading