Notable Quotables

Along with around 300 others including our interns Bill and Jason, I attended the Banner of Truth Conference at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, last week. The Banner has been publishing Puritan literature for over fifty years now, and offers this conference to minsters, elders and theological students to refresh them, which it did for me. I thought I would offer several of the quote-worthy insights I heard last week that stimulated my heart and mind. Some are from saints of long ago that perhaps I had heard before and rejoiced in their remembrance; others were fresh words from the ministers who spoke at the conference. They are in no particular order.

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I long for love (for Christ) without any coldness.~~~Like a calvary officer keeps his blade clean, so God uses a holy minister as a sword.It is not great talents God blesses, but likeness to Jesus.A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of the Lord.Robert Murray McCheyne

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Be killing sin or it will be killing you.John Owen

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A spark starts an entire combustion engine and puts it into motion.Cannot the Spirit of God, sought in prayer, spark great life in us?Craig Troxel

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If you need a […]


Fish in a Bowl

Goldie and Boldie were goldfish who lived in a fishbowl. They were happy there – for a while anyway – as their bowl was a nice little place for them to dwell. The blue, white and purple gravel at the bottom was kept bright and clean. They loved darting in and out of the sunken ship that lay on its side in the colored gravel, spending their days pretending they were hiding from sharks in the gaping hole on its side or discovering treasures that lay long hidden. The constant stream of bubbles rising from the boat to the surface above tickled their tummies as they swam through them. Chasing one another round the bowl, gobbling up the regular feedings of the rainbow-colored food that appeared on the surface each day, and floating quietly side-by-side when darkness fell on their world filled their fishbowl days with gladness.

As time went on, as time will do, Goldie began to notice something different about Boldie. Where once he had been eager to have swim races or play fish games all day long, Boldie spent more and more time staring out of the bowl. Though Goldie would […]


Biblical Education

On Friday, May 16th, Sycamore Covenant Academy (SCA) held its annual Silent Auction & Fundraising Banquet. Over eighty students, parents, grandparents and friends gathered for a delicious dinner prepared by mothers and served by the students. The evening was punctuated with the fun of making bids on products and services donated by local businesses and even some of the students. We enjoyed the beautiful harmonized singing throughout the night of those who had trained in Mrs. Swinehart’s Vocal Skills Class. To remind each other of our vision in our children’s education, I gave the following address.

As I speak for a few minutes tonight on the subject I was asked to address, that of Biblical Education, please understand what I mean. By Biblical Education we are not referring to studying the Bible, such as taking classes about the Bible like Bill VanDoodwaard’s New Testament class has done. Rather, we mean pursing the education of our children as God would encourage us to do so in His Word.

In that light, I want to show you a cover picture of home school catalog that will both highlight a precious truth and illustrate a dilemma I face […]


Choosing Our Etymology?

Etymology is the study of a word’s development over time. More technically it is defined by Merriam-Webster to be “the history of a linguistic form (as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another.” Knowing the influences on a word help us understand its meaning.

Now words can have nuances and in the case of words with multiple meanings must always be defined in their context. For example, our word “bank” has merging etymologies in English, one from Scandinavia meaning the edge of a river and another from French meaning where we place our money. Thus saying “I sat by the bank” can be ambiguous and needs to be interpreted by the context. However, most words have a fairly universal consistency in meaning.

For instance, during this campaign year consider the word “elect.” Where did we get that word? Well, it comes to us out of the Middle English from the Latin word electus, a past participle of the verb eligere which means “to select from, to choose.” Based on the root of […]


And One Came Back!

Like the ever-changing weather of Indiana, these past few weeks surrounding Hope for Eternity have been filled with sun and storm, stillness and strong winds. How so?

The intense days of getting ready for Hope for Eternity were filled with vigorous inviting, detailed organizing, and passionate praying.
During April 23-27, we sat spellbound by the faithful preaching of the word as we viewed the thunderstorm and tornado that is God’s fiery wrath and the sun and rainbow of heaven.
We quietly thanked the Lord and welcomed the more than 100 visitors we had during the outreach, then spent time before and afterwards praying and also engaging some in intense follow-up discussions.
In the days that have followed further discussions and invitations to a new Bible class and church have ensued.

The question that I have been asked often this week, and indeed drove all the way from Michigan on Saturday night so I could see myself, was “How many visitors who attended Hope for Eternity came back the following week to church?”

The answer is the title of this blog. One began our new Bible class on the main message of the Bible.

You may think this attempt to be brutally honest, especially before […]


From the Mouths and Pens of Youth

One more reminder of the schedule for Hope for Eternity, which will be held in the sanctuary of Sycamore Reformed Presbyterian Church.

7:00 P.M. Wednesday, April 23 Hell: Thinking the Unthinkable7:00 P.M. Thursday, April 24 Hell: Biblical Basics7:00 P.M. Friday, April 25 Hell: Everlasting Destruction

10:30 A.M. Sunday, April 27 Heaven: In the Presence of the Lamb

6:00 P.M. Sunday, April 27 Heaven: Being Made Like Him

And in case you need some encouragement, how about these invitations from some young people in our congregation?

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Listen to this radio ad.It will air three times a day this week on WWKI.

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Read an editorial published this weekin […]


Heart Ache

Not that I consider my life very dramatic, but last week did have its fill of heart-stopping and heart-wrenching moments:

An IRS audit for my mother’s 2006 taxes saying I owed over $25,000 was sent to me. Whoa! Fortunately, a CPA check over the records revealed they had only counted the gains but not the losses on her investments. Never had I felt so relieved in writing a tax check for “only” $500 after the corrections were made and then hearing the CPA tell me the 2007 return was fine.
I have stood by the bedside several times of Bill Scott, a member of our church and the first fruits of our Rescue Mission ministry, as his health had diminished to the point he was placed on a ventilator last Wednesday. As he had requested not to be placed longterm on life support, the doctors weaned him from the ventilator this weekend and we prepared for the worse. Yet for the second time in a month the Lord has revived him from the brink of death. He even said last night that “the Lord has resurrected me from the dead.” A visit today found him once again […]


Advertising the Gospel

I have been to the conferences that tell you how to market the church, and have seen the efforts by churches in the community to do so. However, beyond informational uses such as a Yellow Page ad, sign in the front, or a webpage, we have not made advertising a big effort of ours during the history of our congregation. I am uneasy with promoting the church, as the marketing efforts that are commonly used by churches appear to practice the oneupmanship that is contrary to our Lord’s injunction to be humble and not seek the chief seat. As the Cambridge Declaration states, “In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions and what it offers, than does the Word of God.” But with just over two weeks remaining before our Hope for Eternity Outreach on April 23-27 will be held, as you can see below we are pulling out all the stops in advertising to get the word out. Let me tell you […]


Help in the Pit

Many thanks to you who have prayed for the situation regarding my mother and sent messages. Though she remains in the deep pit of her depression, God’s sustaining graces have been evident to me.

At the risk of blogging too often or too much about this experience, I thought I might offer some key resources the Lord has helped me with through this time. Never did I imagine a few years ago I would spend so much time in psychiatric hospitals or be confronted with decisions about medications and ECT. Yet apparently these decisions are before more and more Americans.

According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, adult use of antidepressants almost tripled between the periods of 1988-1994 and 1999-2000, with ten percent of women 18 and older and four percent of men taking them. Americans spend 86 billion dollars annually on antidepressants alone. So it is likely you know someone who is taking common antidepressants such as Prozac or Lexapro, or antipsychotics such as Zyprexa. I am aware of several people who have even had their family doctor, during fairly routine appointments, offer to write a prescription for antidepressants after making some […]


Love Never Fails

Tending to the situation regarding my mother has kept me from several extracurriculars the past three weeks, of which blogging is one. However, yesterday I was able to bring her back to her assisted living home. Thank you to all who have prayed and/or written, as it has encouraged me. Though my mom remains much the same, she promised not to run away again so we hope that will be the case. A blog is brewing on lessons the Lord is teaching me from this, but I don’t have time to pull it together now.

Instead, how about a few nuggets of some of the encouragements and even laughs God has sent our way even in the midst of struggle?

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We are entering into the active phase now of our Hope for Eternity Outreach that will be held the last week of April. Our featured newsletter on the theme of “Heaven & Hell” is at the printers, and we’ll be distributing it in neighborhoods over the next few weeks and sending people to it at our website. As you can see in the pictures, two billboards have gone up already that seek to use common […]