Archive by Author

The Presbytery – Our Best Kept Secret?

At Second RP in Indianapolis, we desperately need to update our website. I’ve visited a number of reformed and presbyterian websites as we consider what would be best. Most sites copy others with tabs like “About Us,” “What We Believe,” “Leadership,” “Sermons,” “Schedule,” “Contact Us,” “Bible Studies,” “Ministries”, “Links,” “Calendar,” “Members,” et cetera.

Almost all note and link the connection to the denomination. Yet, strikingly absent are references to the practical and personal benefits of the presbytery.

Mmmm, Smells Great!

Our children often exclaim “It smells like Grandma’s!” when we walk through the door of our home after morning worship with the people of God. The aroma of slow cooked meat, potatoes, and vegetable wafts through the door evokes warm memories and brings a smile to every face. It is amazing to see how, in almost any circumstance, the whiff of great-smelling food transforms attitudes and even behaviors of those hoping to partake of its pleasure.

Random Summer Musings

Last night, I looked at pictures from our family reunion a week ago where we celebrated God’s faithfulness. In addition to the children who are multiplying, I was also struck by the multiplying wrinkles, gray hairs (or vanishing hairs), and other signs of aging.  Now, cells die more quickly than they reproduce – especially for some of us. Pictures like these helpfully remind us of the fallen world in which we live, and teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12). It also reminds us that we have cause to rejoice in the work of renewal that our great God is doing in the hearts of his people, remembering the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:16 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.”

Living Covenant Theology – A Poem

This year, my parents, David and Jerri Faris, celebrate forty years of marriage in the Lord. Though their anniversary is October 22, the only time all of their eight children would together this year was this last week at the Great Lakes-Gulf Presbytery family conference, Covfamikoi. Our parents worship and serve in the Lafayette, Indiana RPC. The eight children, their spouses, and twenty-one grandchildren are spread over seven RP churches, two presbyteries, and in the Sudanese mission, Cush4Christ.

Together, we children hastily composed the following poetic tribute to our parents which was read at the conference talent night. The poem celebrates God’s grace in their marriage, his grace to their descendants, and his grace  in their service in congregations in Lafayette, Bloomington, and Kokomo, Indiana. God’s covenant love has been poured on us richly through our parents, and we are grateful.

RP Hearts and Hands in the Revolution

As recounted last month,  Rev. William Martin, on June 4, 1780, preached to the Covenanters of Rocky Creek, South Carolina, and stirred them up to fight in the revolutionary cause. As we celebrate Independence Day in America, it is good for us to recall what happened in the following days that year. The story continues from Mrs. Green whose first-hand account can be found in William Glasgow’s History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America, followed by a few personal reflections.

From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!

The sun has set on a long, glorious summer Saturday in Indiana. I’m going to bed, and my voice will be silent in praising the name of the Lord. But, Psalm 113:3, quoted above, struck me afresh a few nights ago as I chatted on Skype with a brother I had just met who lives around the world. As we concluded in prayer, he was praising the Lord as the sun was rising, and I was praising the Lord as the sun was setting.

The Lord, by fulfilling his promises to save people from the uttermost parts of the earth, has brought even greater fulfillment to this passage than would be possible merely through one people in one part of the world praising his name from the time they rise to the time they go to bed.  So, I go to bed tonight rejoicing to know that some of you are picking up the chorus of praise, even as I leave off, for now. Praise the Lord!

We Must Fight!

On this date in 1780, Rev. William Martin preached a sermon which moved people to action like few other the history of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America. He called men to arms and women to sacrifice in their own neighborhood.

Peace Disturbed

On Saturday, I posted about the progress of the Revolutionary War as it moved to South Carolina in the spring of 1780. Word of the Battle of Waxhaws spread quickly around the South Carolina countryside in the final days of May, 1780. Most of the Reformed Presbyterians in Rocky Creek had settled the area only eight years earlier. The following first-hand account paints a picture of life in Rocky Creek for the Covenanter families who were hearing reports of war that was close at hand. This report sets the context for our next post, coming on Saturday, June 4.

Waxhaws Anniversary

On May 29, 1780, British Colonel Banastre Tarleton defeated American Colonel Abraham Buford at the Battle of Waxhaws near Lancaster, South Carolina, between Columbia and Charlotte. American losses were heavy with one hundred and thirteen being killed, one hundred and fifty being wounded, and fifty-three being taken captive. Reports of the battle vary, but many American reports painted Tarleton as a savage and merciless butcher. What quickly became known as the Buford Massacre stirred up the countryside and eventually became fodder for the opening conflict in Mel Gibson’s movie The Patriot.

Loving Mercy

This week, I was humbled twice with reminders that the people of God must be about the work of Isaiah 58:6-7 in response to the great grace that the Lord has shown us. In the examples that I saw this week, I was struck with the need not simply to honor the work of those saints of yesteryear but to take up similarly costly work today in service to the King today. Both stories tell of people who personally gave up their lives in some capacity to show mercy to one person at a time. Is there at least one needy person in your life currently to whom you are intentionally showing mercy?