Comment Stream

Victoria S May 2, 2017

Fantastic idea for those churches that have some suitable land.  People are turning more towards scattering and natural burial.  I'm not sure how many congregations are ready to have these discussions though.  I'm interested to see what others think.

Mark Vande Zande May 2, 2017

Every year, on Mother's Day, we do a Men's/Boy's Walk-up Choir to honor the women in our lives.  Every year, on Father's Day, we do a Woman's/Girls Walk-up Choir to honor the men in our lives.

Terry Woodnorth May 1, 2017

You may want to use references to the 2016 version of the ordination form.

Angelyn Kuiper May 1, 2017

Hi Harry, 

CRC synod spoke on the issue of climate change recently. In 2010, the synod of the CRC instructed that a task force be formed to study and present a Reformed perspective of creation stewardship, including the issue of climate change. In 2012, the Creation Stewardship Task Force presented its findings in the Creation Stewardship Task Force Report (read the summary here). Synod 2012 responded by affirming its findings and adopting its recommendations, thereby becoming one of the first evangelical denominations in the United States to affirm the scientific consensus on climate change, calling it a "moral, religious, and social justice issue," and calling its denominational bodies, congregations, and individual members to private and public action. 

You can read the statement by Synod 2012 here, along with its recommendations to churches.

Harry Boessenkool April 29, 2017

The church as organization has no business getting involved or supporting or not supporting this type of action. Members can make up their own minds whether or not to participate. 

I see nothing in the mandate of the CRCNA to get involved in this either way. Surely those who work in the CRCNA office have other things to do.

Jane Elzinga April 28, 2017

Amen sister!

John Zylstra April 28, 2017

Excellent article, Kurt Monroe.  Very well written.... inspiring.  

John Zylstra April 28, 2017

And the truth is this:  every man is born of a woman.  Any man who degrades women, degrades himself.   Without a man, no woman could be born.  Any woman who degrades men, also degrades herself.  

John Zylstra April 28, 2017

There is no sanctity of life for anyone beyond the womb, who does not survive the womb.  

John Zylstra April 28, 2017

We don't really know why Hillary stayed with Bill.  There is a lot of political opportunism involved, and her whole life has been almost nothing but politics.  We assume she was faithful to Bill, like we assumed he was faithful to her.  And maybe he was;  they just had a more materialistic view of sex.  Maybe.  The real issues are how these things impact the policies of the country.  And certainly there is a trade-off between the immorality of divorce, unfaithfulness, and random sex, and the loss of lives of the unborn, of the military, of terrorism victims.    While the immorality of some marriages is certainly an issue, also at issue is the immorality of condoning homosex, and destroying the real meaning of marriage through legislation.  Also at issue is the persecution of Christians for their beliefs that same sex marriage is wrong.  This too is serious immorality.  I would argue it is of more significance.  If these issues are not addressed, then divorce becomes almost insignificant in comparison. 

Elly Boersma April 27, 2017

One of my favourite interview questions was: What is your philosophy of worship? It's a huge question but can also give huge insight into what will drive a person in their ministry and the choices they make for your church. 

Another one that stood out was "describe a 'mountaintop' experience you have had in leading worship?" (referring to Moses meeting God on the mountain). 

I'm thinking above and beyond the standard - "how do you deal with conflict?" types of questions. 

 

For what not to ask - avoid making someone worship plan on the spot. I've had someone ask before, "what song would you choose for a sermon about holiness?" All you're going to get is the low-hanging fruit because you have a person in a stressful situation and feeling a time crunch of not wanting to make the interviewers wait, plus I think it discounts the creative process and assumes that solid worship planning can happen on the spot. Now, a way to phrase that question that could get a more thoughtful response would be, "what is a song you love that talks about the holiness of God, and what about it speaks to you?"

John Zylstra April 27, 2017

This verse is often used out of context.  Yet it does convey the truth, that we are judged by the same standards we judge others.  So when you judge the actions of others, be careful and ready to repent yourself as well.  

If this verse is taken out of context, then Jesus, the apostle Paul, Peter have all broken this command/advice.  Think especially of Peter's role in judging Annanias and Sapphira, or Paul's action in judging Peter for separating himself from gentiles, or Paul's command for the church to cast out or separate itself from the man who was committing adultery.  In context, judgements should be careful, loving, truthful, and humble, and more about the actions than about someone's heart.  

(Elders)
Laura Meyering April 26, 2017

This is a great question.  Check out the free (for CRCs) digital library here, The Church Staff handbook has great content.  See page 97 for some sample questions and ideas on how to get to know the candidates.  

Angelyn Kuiper April 26, 2017

Thanks, everyone, for sharing. Love hearing the personal reasons behind why you're marching. Also, Rick, the "Polar Bears Matter" line is awesome!

Kristen VanderBerg April 25, 2017

Thanks Kathy.  I've fixed that error.  Sorry for the mistake.

Kathy Smith April 25, 2017

Just to clarify your records, Maple Ridge CRC is in Classis BCNW.

Peter Davis April 25, 2017

Be careful who you march with. The website for this event shows disrespect for the president of the United States and suggests that he is out to harm the people of America. As Christians who are taught to respect our leaders, the president of the United States should not be addressed as “Trump”.

The average temperature of the earth’s surface has always been slowly changing. The reasons for this are immensely complex, and I believe still not well understood. One example of sources of confusion is in applying the term “greenhouse effect” to one of the causes of global warming. Greenhouses become warmer inside primarily by preventing convection; our atmosphere can become warmer when, primarily infrared light is impeded as it radiates into space. Do man’s activities such as creating carbon dioxide, water vapour, heat, and dust, to name a few, affect the average temperature of the earth? Probably, but to what extent?

If you want to march for Jobs, Justice, and Climate, then would you also please march to protest the persecution and murder of the Assyrians, Copts, and other of our brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Middle East? Are you also marching to protect the unborn? Whichever march you go on please carpool or take a bus to minimize your contribution to man-made emissions.

Peter Davis

Ron VanderRoest April 25, 2017

Kathy

I am a choir member at Second CRC in Kalamazoo MI and we would be interested in your music.

let me know how we could best pick it up

Thanks

Ron VanderRoest

ronald.j.vanderroest@zoetis.com

posted in : Free Choir Music
John Zylstra April 24, 2017

An interesting passage in Romans 6:14... " for sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law but under grace."   So If you are under grace, through faith in Christ Jesus, you will follow Jesus.  Jesus has said, as recorded in the gospels, a lesson that there will be some or many who will come to the gate and claim they preached and healed and performed miracles in Jesus name, and yet God will say that he never knew them.  How could that be?  Did they not follow?  

What were they following?  an idea in their head?  or the real Son of God?  Were they trying to fit the category, or was the spirit truly working in their hearts?   Was their following a matter of duty and performance, or was it a matter of love?

Jesus said to follow, you had to give everything you have.  Money, time, effort, purpose, direction, desire.  Or maybe be prepared to give everything you have?  To do so willingly and not reluctantly?  

Maybe it is to demonstrate the grace that Christ gave to us.  To forgive as he forgave, and because He forgave our much larger debt. 

But the answer is not the same for everyone;  it is a matter of the heart.  

And God knows the ways of the heart, while we see only the outward things. 

Michael Wagenman April 23, 2017

 

Thank you for your thoughts on Acts! These are some of the very questions I wanted to address in my book, "Together for the World: The Book of Acts." Thanks for keeping the conversation going on a book that's what we need these days as we learn to re-evangelize our culture. 

Bruce Dykstra April 22, 2017

Jeff so did I. What year and in what?

Blessings.

Doug Vande Griend April 21, 2017

I have been pretty critical of quite a number of Do Justice articles in the past but this is a good one.  It focuses on how each of us should regard and treat our neighbors, and avoids taking a position on what the government should do in terms of setting or enforcing immigration laws.

Denise Posie April 21, 2017

I am inspired by this article. It conveys what I know to be true and my experience in leadership. The metaphors of "a journey" and "marathon" are right on.  Listening and making room for people who have different perspectives, cultures and experiences are critical in Christian leadership.

When I read articles in the CRCNA on leadership, I try to see myself , an African American woman who did not grow up in the CRCNA, and others like me in what is being said. This article is transparent and relational. 

I especially like, "As a white male; I need to keep before me the need (if I am going to be a good leader) to seek out the voices of others who will bring wisdom and insights that I would miss—if I am not deliberate to listen and learn from them. If we really see value in a chorus of witnesses, we need to be willing to seek those voices out to be part of that choir. For me, this mean that I must seek the counsel of women, Canadians, African Americans, Brazilians, Chinese, Koreans, Latinos/Latinas and the list goes on.  (I have a lot to learn.)"

A key question is really, "What do we value?"

Thank you. Have a blessed time as you continue the Reformation Tour.

Staci Devries April 21, 2017

Beautiful prayer. Thanks for sharing. 

Scott Roberts April 20, 2017

Here is a prayer I will use this week for our Friendship Sunday

Drew DeVries April 20, 2017

Eric Westra - good friend

Marnie Lohnes Spence April 19, 2017

We have lost two children....both adults,  and both with families

Jeff Brower April 19, 2017

Gordon is where I got a DMin but they have a lot of offerings. I would check out their Shoemaker Center or talk with Steve Macchia who works at the Pierce Center for Disciple Building.

Bruce Dykstra April 19, 2017

Jeff thanks for the suggestion. What did you participate in? Any brown bag offerings? Have you interacted much with the Ockenga Institute? Thanks.

Bruce

Staci Devries April 19, 2017

Thank you so much for sharing, John. The book sounds interesting and insightful. 

Staci Devries April 19, 2017

Just reading this. My heart breaks for this searing loss. Thank you for sharing. I am deeply encouraged by your testimony. Prayers until you see her again. 

John L Hoekwater April 19, 2017

Each year during Holy Week - usually on Good Friday - I read through the book "We Call This Friday Good" - by the late Dr. Howard Hageman.  Hageman, who served as a pastor in the Reformed Church of America and served as president of New Brunswick seminary - writes about each of the 7 words Jesus speaks from the cross.  His writing helps connect me anew with the humanity of Jesus.  Each year, as Holy Week draws near, I find myself eager to again listen and experience anew the deep love of Jesus.

 

Carol Sybenga April 18, 2017

My sister Jeanet....

 

 

Karen Kosters April 18, 2017

Gladys (Boven) Tacoma - my mom

Staci Devries April 18, 2017

Powerful. Thank you for sharing Patiliai. 

Staci Devries April 18, 2017

Love this! "While Easter is deeply personal, it is also universal" is a statement that really resonates with me. Thanks for sharing. 

Bonnie Nicholas April 17, 2017

Safe Church would like to post this update from Futures without Violence about teens taking the lead! 

Young survivors of sexual assault and harassment, as well as their parents, are not backing down. They are taking on Congress and their local school districts - and winning. Take for instance this week’s news article about a group of teenagers in Oregon who forced their school district to change how it handles sexual violence.

Anyone can be an activist for change, and this week is a perfect time to join in the fight. Through the end of this week, Congress is in recess, which means your Congressional Representatives and Senators are back in their home offices. Let’s make sure our Members of Congress know how critical it is to fund and enforce programs and services that address sexual assault and harassment in K-12 schools across the country.

We encourage you to call or visit to express your support for items such as: Continued funding and support for the federal Office of Civil Rights and Title IX enforcement; Funding for consent education and prevention programs in middle and high schools; and Support services for victims and survivors of sexual assault and cyber harassment.

Let's follow the lead of these teens. I'm praying for the day when the Church will take the lead in the fight to end abuse.

Randy Singleton April 12, 2017

Everyone enjoy their "Feast of First Fruits"  (Some call Easter) Service!

Feast of First Fruits = Third Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread = 16th of Nisan, 5777 
This day ends at sunset on 13Apr 2017 (sunset = 7:32 PM ET)

Why is that important?

Jn 19:31

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.

The day before the Sabbath was commonly called the "preparation day" because chores were done on that day to avoid working on God' day of rest. Clearly, we see from Jn 19:31 that Christ was crucified and His body placed in the tomb immediately preceding the Sabbath.

The question to consider is "which Sabbath"?

Most people assume John was speaking of the regular weekly Sabbath day observed from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. From John' clear statement here, most people assume Jesus died and was buried on Friday-- thus the traditional belief that Jesus was crucified and died on "Good Friday."

But is that true?

Most people have no idea that the Bible speaks of TWO KINDS of Sabbath days-- the normal weekly Sabbath on the seventh day of the week. (Friday Sunset to Saturday Sunset. Not Sunday. Sunday is the first day of the week), and seven ANNUAL Sabbath days, listed in Lev 23 and mentioned in various other passages. These annual Sabbath days could fall on ANY day of the week. Once we understand this we see that "Good Friday -- Easter Sunday" never happened that way!

Notice again in Jn 19:31 that the Sabbath Day is referred to as a "high day". That term was used to differentiate a weekly Sabbath from an annual Sabbath.

So what was this "high day" that immediately followed Jesus' hurried entombment?

Mt 26:19 - 20, Mk 14:16 - 17, Lk 22:13 - 15 tells us the evening before Jesus was condemned and crucified, He kept the Passover. This means that He was crucified on the Passover day. Lev 23, which lists God' festivals, tells us that on the day after the Passover, another festival, known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins. ( Lev 23:5 - 6). This day is the first of God' annual Sabbaths. 

This is the "high day" of which John wrote on Jn 19:31.

Passover began at sundown and ended the following day at sundown when this annual Sabbath began. 

So this is the correct order of events:

Nisan 13 (Tuesday ends at 6 pm sunset. Nisan 14, Wednesday begins at 6 pm sunset and ends just before sunset the next day.)

1. Jesus kept the Passover with His disciples and then arrested later that night.

2. After daybreak, the next day, He was questioned before Pontius Pilate, crucified, then hurriedly entombed just before the next sunset when the "high day", the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.

Jesus gives up His spirit approximately the 9th hour which is 3 pm. So Nisan 14 begins at sunset right after Jesus is placed in the sepulcher. 

Computer programs have demonstrated that Nisan 14, 31 A.D. was a Wednesday, not a Friday.

Nisan 14 ends at 6 pm sunset on Thursday. Nisan 15, the "high day", of the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins at 6 pm sunset on Thursday and ends just before sunset on the next day.)

Jesus has now been "in the Earth" for 24 hours. (One day and one night.)

Nisan 15, the "high day" ends at sunset and the weekly Sabbath, Nisan 16 begin at 6 pm Friday and ends just before sunset the next day.

Jesus has now been "in the Earth" for 48 hours. (Two days and Two nights).

Nisan 16 ends at 6 pm Saturday and Nisan 17, "First Fruits", which is the third day of the 7-day feast of Unleavened Bread that begins at 6 pm Sat and ends at sunset the next day.

At sunset, in the last few minutes of Nisan 16, God, the Father resurrects God, the Son from death! Because it was not possible that death could hold him. He has been "in the Earth" for three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17, Acts 2:24) 

1 Wed evening - Thu evening (24 hours)
2 Thu evening - Fri evening (24 hours)
3. Fri evening - Sat evening (24 hours)

So, in conclusion when we understand the difference between God' weekly Sabbaths and His annual Sabbaths any confusion about the days of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection go away.

1 Cor 15:20 -23 

20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam, all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

So our Lord and Saviour is alive! Risen from the dead and given all honor and all power that can be given. Literally on the day that celebrates the reality that Jesus is the firstfruits of God' Elect!

Patiliai Leqa April 12, 2017

We crowned him King but the crown was of thorns, he mounted a throne, but it was an unadorned cross, yes it was for my sins that he endured all...

Mark Stephenson April 12, 2017

When our daughter Nicole, who has multiple disabilities, still lived with my wife and me, I would sing this blessing to her each evening using Michael Card's Barocha. After I finished, since she cannot use words, she would usually touch my face gently. So thinking about what your wrote about the Lord's name being put on you and Edward, Nicole's touch was her way to put the blessing (and the Lord's name) back on me. Thanks for making these blessed memories even better!

Mark Stephenson April 12, 2017

Beautiful! Thanks John for this message which is especially appropriate for this holy week. 

Laura Meyering April 12, 2017

Thanks for sharing.  Growing up my parents were big Johnny Cash fans.  I think I'll use this as our devotional at Easter this year.  

Kristen VanderBerg April 11, 2017

I love the historic hymns that we sing during Holy Week.  One of my favourites is, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" written in 1707. That means that Christians have been singing it at Easter for 310 years!  While Easter is deeply personal (Christ died for me) it is also universal.  I love feeling connected to the church of all times and places during this week.

Eric Kas April 11, 2017

Thanks for sharing Monica. :)

So good to hear about ways others, like Lantern Coffee Bar, are creating safe, encouraging and meaningful spaces. This is definitely something that we as the church body can learn from both in other third spaces we are a part of - as well as in our spaces of dedicated worship. 

posted in : You Are Safe Here
Bonnie Nicholas April 11, 2017

This is a great article - thanks Monica. Simple things can mean so much. I love the idea of partnering with a local ribbon campaign, what a simple way to raise awareness and show support! 

posted in : You Are Safe Here
Staci Devries April 11, 2017

One of my favorite songs is How Deep the Father's Love for Us by Stuart Townsend. Every time I listen to this song (and especially during Holy Week) I am struck by the line "It was my sin that held Him there..."

During Holy Week I take some time to reflect on the weight of my sin. Looking at my sin really brings me face to face with the magnitude of Jesus' sacrifice. A grace I could never earn. Following this I am filled with a deep gratitude and hope. Praise God for making ALL things new! 

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