Comment Stream

Staci Devries March 4, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Staci Devries March 4, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Staci Devries March 4, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Tim Postuma March 3, 2021

Ah, I see. I haven't used AWS Media Services. It looks pretty technical. My experience is limited to and similar services, where the streaming service comes with its own player that you can embed on any web page.

Rita Ladjansky March 3, 2021

We are using AWS media services to provide an HLS or u3m8 media file. This file url can be viewed directly from most video players. The difficulty I had was finding the proper video player for the web that supported the different internet speeds browsers and OSs.

Ronald VanAuken March 3, 2021

There is an interesting take on the 12 spies. As we know, two Joshua and Caleb, were ready to forge ahead while the other 10 spun the story of giants and recommended not crossing over. IKt is found in the Talmud. As the story goes the spies looked over and saw that the land was, indeed, one of milk and honey. They envisioned the people settling, building homes, planting crops, raising cattle, becoming prosperous and losing their dependence on the Lord. They envisioned them trusting their own strength, their own knowledge, their on wisdom. Fearing this, they instilled fear into the people with their narration. Interesting isn't it, they they were correct in their concern, though wrong in their action. Wealth can easily lead to self-reliance. Not surprisingly when Jesus gave his brief teaching on prayer, it was for daily bread, not for cupboards and refrigerators and freezers full. Some of us are so uncomfortable with this petition that we refuse to see it as it is and want "bread" to mean the "Word of God." But remember that Jesus himself was essentially jobless and homeless. Sobering thought.

Staci Devries March 3, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Cory Van Sloten March 3, 2021

Welcome Paul, grace and peace to you and your family in the ongoing transition. 

Virgil Michael March 2, 2021


Thank you so much Amanda for your insightful and clear analysis of this sad situation. Thanks for asking prayers for the Zacharias' family as well. How devastated they must be!

My wife and I finished one of RZIM's online apologetics course several months before all this broke. We were extremely blessed by all the presenters including Ravi. This news which we have been following for several months now was devastating.

I was also heartbroken to read about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s affairs up to the night before his assassination as sorrowfully revealed by his best friend. Still, I printed his "Letters from a Birmingham Jail" just recently and think it is one of the most powerful letters ever written. But I agree with you, no matter what they have said or written, character does matter. I will quit reading RZ's stuff for a while, but I am going to continue to ponder Dr. King's. Great men, great evil? Or...portrayed themselves as great men, but were evil???  

Not sure what to say...but we can weep.

As you said, O Lord, have mercy. 

Karen Wilk March 2, 2021

For Lent, we're working through the Lord's prayer, phrase by phrase. We've also committed to praying it at least once every day.  And in conjunction with Missional Commons, we're asking some different questions about it: 

How is this a subversive message for now?

What does it look like to live into this in our own communities?

How could you pray this prayer in your neighbourhood?


Doug Vande Griend March 2, 2021

The panelists are quite correct in suggesting people need to "educate themselves."  Toward that end, I've read Robin DiAngelo's "White Fragility" (mentioned in this podcast), Ibram X. Kendi's "How to Be an AntiRacist" and other authors who come from what I would consider to be a "Critical Race Theory" perspective.

But I have also read a couple of books on the subject of race and slavery from Thomas Sowell, a "black" author born in Brooklyn, who is and has long been a senior fellow at Standford University's Hoover Institution, who comes from a different perspective.  Sowell's credentials as a historian (and in other disciplines), both as to the US and the world beyond, is impressive indeed and his record of meticulously documented written works even more so.

Sowell's 2006 book entitled "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" deals quite specifically with the history of race -- both in the US and the world --, as well as the history of slavery -- again both in the US and the world.  I consider his 60 page chapter "The Real History of Slavery" a must read, but really the entire book is.

Amanda Benckhuysen March 2, 2021

Kelly,  thanks for these comments.  I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in being willing to share the story about Jimmy Swaggart.  And I would agree with both your comments.  Our propensity to celebritize and idolize prominent preachers, teachers, and evangelists is deeply problematic and fosters cultures which lack accountability, transparency, and attentiveness to the way power is being used or abused.  And second, that there are many unsung heroes that are faithfully doing the work of the Lord who also deserve our support, encouragement, and prayers.  

Thank you for your helpful comments!

Daryl DeKlerk March 1, 2021

So beautifully and wonderfully done.  Thank-you!  We'll use this in our church, and for our opening devotions at Classis BC South East on March 2, 2021 :-) 

posted in : Video: Psalm 139
Tim Postuma March 1, 2021

Hi Rita. What streaming service are you using? It should be possible to embed their player into one of your website pages.

Kelly Sibthorpe March 1, 2021

Amanda, thanks for posting this. Allow me to reflect a little.

I was a young, newly ordained Pentecostal Minister with the PAOC (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) and in the midst of planting a new church when the news of (for those of you who may remember) Jimmy Swaggart's downfall broke. It was the late 80's at the time. Jimmy Swaggart was one of the leaders of the Evangelical movement at its height. I had visited Swaggart's "Worldwide Ministry Centre" in Baton Rouge, Louisiana just 4 month prior to his collapse. One of my seminary professor's had been invited to teach Church History at Swaggart's seminary in Baton Rouge and during my visit there we enjoyed a marvelous meeting. I recall my former Professor saying, "I'm so excited to be working in this seminary, the heartbeat of world missions". Swaggart's seminary was the choice of Evangelicals on their "way up" in status as preachers. He was an icon of conservative Christianity at the time and was voted one of America's greatest orators by Time magazine. Myself and many of my Pentecostal ministry colleagues had built a pedestal so high for Swaggart! When I had to face my congregation the Sunday following the breaking of the scandal, I was devastated. In reality and after much prayer and reflection, I realized that this gigantic personality had insidiously risen in my own mind above the humility and beauty of my Saviour Jesus Christ. An idol in the form of a man and his ministry had taken up residence in my heart. I then made a vow, because of the hurt and misery suffered to never place any leader or personality on a pedestal ever again. That promise has served me well and has allowed me to focus on Christ himself. Of course, we do recognize those gifted as the doctors and researchers among us who lead us by the Spirit through their published works and research, but never should we elevate them to personality cult status.

Another lesson learned was that the hundreds of thousands of "ordinary", ordained pastors, evangelists, missionaries and volunteers who serve Christ faithfully day in and day out in different denominations, without recognition are the unsung heroes of the faith. Ordinary, faithful servants laboring for the Kingdom and God's glory who will hear the words, "well done good and faithful servant". Let us of course mourn the downfall of yet another "Big Name" and through it learn to support, pray for and encourage the unsung leaders of the faith. Yes, some of the ordinary leaders do and will fall, leaving messes to clean up. Let us though remember it is but a small minority of all the workers in the church that deceive the flock while the majority are faithful and true to their calling, never needing undue recognition for their work, save support, love and encouragement from their congregations.

Rita Ladjansky March 1, 2021

What has been successful is pre-recorded Sunday school messages at my church. It has been so successful that we may not go back to the old way of doing things. Many families have gotten involved and have taken off with adding their personal flavour/props/family members to add to the already predetermined weekly message that is following a curriculum. A recent message used a green screen:

I think the success of it is: many families have gotten involved, each has made effort and added their "flavour", and our Sunday School leader is willing to edit. It's a learning process. It can be funny at times.

Richard Bodini March 1, 2021

For example, there is another article on the Network about a resident who I had the privilege of leading a service for a few weeks ago. She was an incredible woman.

Richard Bodini March 1, 2021

It is Rick. But an incredible privilege and blessing to those who have and will serve.

Rita Ladjansky March 1, 2021

My church has switched entirely to chairs. I had put out a call for free pews to any CRC church (I think through the Network, but not sure) and also emailed the local churches of all denominations. A local church wanted the pew cushions, but not our solid oak pews, which we gave to them.
We ended up offering the pews to the church body and many were taken this way. Some were even cut to a requested size. Remaining pews were picked up to be used for making stairs in someone's home. 

Amen! Lamenting with you "the great tragedy of crushed spirits and broken lives, and praying for a healing and newness that only the Spirit of God can bring." Thank you for posting this important piece, Amanda.

Jim Vanderzwaag February 26, 2021

The excuse of "but he did so much good" is certainly a feeble one but well used. Brings to mind the excusing of the actions of a recent American president just because he professed to be supportive of Christianity.

Staci Devries February 26, 2021

This is truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing! 

Staci Devries February 26, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Staci Devries February 26, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Joel Van Dyke February 25, 2021

Por supuesto John, Mándame un correo a: [email protected] y te mando algo en Español. 

Johanna De Jonge February 25, 2021


Amen! This story fills me with joy. Where do I sign up?

Blessings to you and yours from Visalia, CA.


Christine Dekker February 25, 2021

This gives me hope! What a wonderful story of the way God gifts us all differently and uniquely, and how those gifts can be used for His church. We are a body that needs all different parts to function. This story is a good reminder that we all play a part.
I hope you get to sing safely together soon!

John Lindhout February 25, 2021

Hi Joel, 

Love the article and especially this observation: " It soon became clear that on many occasions he and his church had offended the community by wrongly judging and condemning them while engrossed in the activity of their self-absorbed programming." We see it happening a lot in local churches and this statement can also serve as some self reflection for all supply driven initiatives. 

Do you happen to have this article in Spanish?


John Lindhout, Managua, GZB.

Staci Devries February 24, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Vibrant Congregations February 24, 2021

Barna along with Stadia Church Planting has produced a study and suggestions on how to help churches become Phygital (Physical + Digital). The idea is that it is not simply about putting worship services on YouTube, but how do we do evangelism (some churches are seeing great success here) and discipleship online. Most congregations in the U.S. are taking first steps in all of this, but it is an amazing opportunity that is before us.

If anyone would like to explore this more you can connect with Vibrant Congregations. We are in the first stages of learning and looking into the future of Phygital. 

Glenn Countryman February 24, 2021

St. John's Search Committee appreciates the opportunity to post this job opening.

Staci Devries February 24, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Staci Devries February 24, 2021

Interesting topic. Looking forward to the discussion. 

Darlene Silversmith February 24, 2021

I remember Reggie posting his reaction to this survey on Facebook. I agree with his opinion. I’m glad that diversity even came up but not where it ranks overall. 

Staci Devries February 24, 2021

These are such good ideas! Thanks so much Sandy!

Sandy Swartzentruber February 24, 2021

P.S. I just found a sticker version of Q&A 1 that would be a fun add to your basket!


Sandy Swartzentruber February 24, 2021

Hi Staci! 

In addition to chocolate (obviously!), you could add a prayer journal, a fun pen, and a bookmark with an encouraging verse on it. I also love this graphic treatment of Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1--you could create your own version of that using your computer rather than hand-done calligraphy. Making a 5x7 postcard-size version of that would be so cool, and you could purchase inexpensive frames for them if you like.....

John Frank February 23, 2021

I recently discovered (2017) an NIV super giant print Bible in 17 point font and (2021) an ESV super giant print Bible in 17 point font. The ESV weighs 5.4 pounds. and is $36 on amazon, $31 plus shipping on The type of font not only its size matters too. Fonts may have the same size, but one type or style will be larger than another. Since so many Christian brick and mortar bookstores are no more, I have not been able to  look at both the NIV and the ESV Super Giant print Bibles and try reading them side by side. For myself, the NIV print was too small. The ESV even with the same 17 point font may be easier to read if the font type or style is larger, but they do not tell the font style so I do not know yet and have not compared them. Just a hint, do not get it monogrammed if you think you might need to return it. Please let me know if you find other truly large print (18 point font or larger) Bibles. I am still looking for The Amplified, The Message, and the American Standard Version (ASV).
Dr. John Jay Frank

posted in : Large Print Bibles
Jill Feikema February 23, 2021

Asalaam Maalekum!

May the peace of Christ be with you today!


Keith Knight February 23, 2021

Chaplaincy and spiritual care has become an integral part of the marketplace -- where people work. Increasingly, a wide range of businesses, industry and organizations are hiring chaplains or engaging the services such as Marketplace Chaplains (in the US) and Marketplace Care Canada where employees receive one-on-one spiritual and  emotional care. Help is usually just a text message away.

During this COVID season -- however long it lasts -- employees are dealing with a wide range of issues such as suicidal thoughts, loss of employment, crushing debt. Employers, recognizing the need to be stewards of their employees, are increasingly providing marketplace care teams as a valuable benefit to their employees.

While the denomination has traditionally viewed chaplaincy in specific areas such as the armed forces, prisons or hospitals, there is considerable merit in engaging the services of these other Christian organizations. The Kingdom of God is most certainly in the marketplace.

Samuel Sutter February 23, 2021

This is a really helpful resource and ideas for pastors.  THANK YOU JODI!

Staci Devries February 23, 2021

Hi Steve! Looks like this link is no longer working. Any chance you'd be willing to update? Or send me an email at [email protected] and I'd be happy to update. Thanks for considering! 

John L Hoekwater February 22, 2021

Thanks Rudy.  
Pray you and your family are well and that you may be passing through Chicago for a visit soon.

David Lindner February 22, 2021

Thank you, Rudy. You bring up many good points, one being the gravity of the sin of racism and our refusal to acknowledge it.  Racism has been called our country's "original sin" because much of North American Christianity was complicit in perpetrating the Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, American exceptionalism, genocide, slavery, and Jim Crow. 

The Church is still divided and too often silent not only about our past racism, but also the brutalizing inequities that continue to this day.  The Bible clearly teaches that each person is created in God's image and given equal agency to care for the earth and love each other.  Racism damages all people's understanding of our God-given identities- People of color are wounded daily by overt and disguised messages saying, "You are worth less than...", while white people receive the insidiously ruinous message, "You are worth more than...".  

I believe that those messages, reinforced for generations, have traumatized all of us in ways that make racism a uniquely difficult sin to face, especially for white people.  This generational trauma may be why we white folks often react to talk of racism with desperation to escape any hint of the label "racist", even when we publicly confess that we are "sinners." This hyper-individualized defensiveness goes hand in hand with our blindness to entrenched systemic inequity that benefits us.   I have been humbled by the many People of color whose persistent and vulnerable truth-telling stories have been gradually eroding my heart of stone that was taught to protest, "But that happened long ago....I didn't own any...We have laws now....Now it's reversed!...I worked hard....Racism is ignorance and hate, I'm woke and I love everyone.....I don't see color....I have friends..."  

All those protestations can be summed up by the Luke 18:9-14 story of the one who prays, "God thank you that I am not like other people, like this sinner (racist) here."  The other dude simply says, "God have mercy on me, a sinner (racist)."  Jesus says he is the one justified by God.    

God have mercy on me, in the mess of my sin, my racism..our country's sin, our country's racism, our church's sin, our church's racism. Thank you Jesus- death has been swallowed up in victory. The gospel invites us to follow Jesus and join God's work of "Shalom-ing"- renewing all things, including the Imago Dei in each of us, and the healing of all relationships and systems.  Thanks be to God.


Rick Vanderwal February 22, 2021

very unique and interesting ministry opportunity!!


Staci Devries February 22, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Staci Devries February 22, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening! 

Staci Devries February 22, 2021

Thank you for sharing this opening!