Kevin DeYoung at Harbor Church / Canceled for 2015

kev deyoung harbor

Kevin DeYoung was scheduled to preach at Harbor Church in Holland on June 28.  However, due to work load, he has canceled for this year.  But we hope that maybe next summer (2016) he’ll be able to make it to Holland and Harbor.

Pray that Kevin would have a profitable summer.

Kevin posted this on his Gospel Coalition blog yesterday:

Before I applied for the PhD program at the University of Leicester two years ago, my elders graciously agreed in principle to give me three consecutive summer sabbaticals to work on my dissertation. The first summer off was last year, which makes this the second. I have an elders meeting this Thursday and I’ll preach one more time on June 14, but other than that I will be free of regular pastoral responsibilities. It is a great gift. Taking time to do research and writing is good for my energy, good for my health, good for my longevity in ministry, and, I dare say, good for the church too. 

Last summer I allowed a number of extra responsibilities to crowd my sabbatical schedule. So this year my elders are forcing me to do as little a possible, except to spend time with my family, spend time with the Lord, and spend time in the 18th century. To that end they’ve made me cancel a number of speaking engagements and other events I had agreed to over the next three months. My sincere apologies if you were affected by these cancellations. I’m grateful that these men are looking out for me.

May the Lord bless Kevin’s summer, and maybe give him the green light to speak at Harbor Church next year, DV.

We are now planning on having Eric Butterbaugh preach for us at Harbor Church on that same date — June 28, in the PM service.  Eric is an elder at Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.  Del Ray Baptist is a church plant/rebuild of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC.  Two of Eric’s co-pastors are Garrett Kell and Shai Linne.  Come on along and visit us at Harbor.

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One Light-Post Perched Fool for Christ


Saturday morning, I ran the River Bank Run 5 kilometer race in Grand Rapids, MI.  When I finished, sweating and holding courtesy samples of nutrition bars, yogurt, and muscle milk, I passed by the starting line of the 25 kilometer (15.5 miles) big race.  Thousands of wide eyed runners were packing the Monroe Ave. runway anticipating the starting gun.

The air was festive.  Fellow athletes were glad handing and backslapping encouragement to each other.  But there, on the corner of Michigan and Monroe, standing tall on the pedestal of a lightpost, was perched a young man like the others dressed in a gym shorts, a t-shirt, and running shoes.  But instead of warming up, he was speaking up.  He was respectfully, kindly, loudly and clearly reciting verses from the bible like:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn 3:36).

“It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb 9:27).

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

This man exhilarated me far more than my race had.  He was a fool for Christ, but arguably the most sensible of us all.

He was planting strategic seeds in the fertile minds of thousands of souls who would be running a mind-bending race that would stir up thoughts amidst heartbreak hills of exhaustion, despair, weakness, fainting, and feelings of mortality.  I’ve run that big race many times and often found my drained mind almost hallucinating on strange and spiritual and near-death themes.  The Spirit plows up hearts when people are near their wit’s end.

“They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wit’s end” (Ps 107:27).

Who knows how many runners at their wit’s end climbing a heart-breaking Butterworth St. hill during mile 12, or passing through John Ball Park during mile 13, couldn’t get out of their minds the fool on the corner lightpost and the gospel truths of Jesus and eternity he’d planted?

“For as seed to the sower. . . So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Maybe the last day will tell that River Bank Run day was actually salvation day for one or more.  Since the value of one soul is worth more than the price of all the material world (Matt 16:26), why aren’t more of us lightpost perched fools for Christ?

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The Hermeneutics of the Emergent Church


by Dr. Bob Gonzales

Pastor Mark Chanski serves as a professor of biblical studies for Reformed Baptist Seminary and teaches the seminary’s course on hermeneutics (i.e., the science of interpretation). In the spring of 2014, Mark gave a special lecture on the Hermeneutics of the Emergent Church (see below). Chanski demonstrates how earlier neo-orthodox and existential ideas that predominated the academia in the early and mid-twentieth century gave rise to post-modern thought, which in turn found its way into the church. Uncertainty, doubt, and even skepticism are now praised and serve as the interpretive lens through which the Bible is interpreted. Chanski not only exposes but critiques this unbiblical hermeneutic, contrasting it with the hermeneutic of Jesus and the apostles, which is predicated on certainty, faith, and conviction in the veracity and authority of God’s Word.

You can view Mark Chanski’s lecture here:

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Mistaking Green Jacket Treasure for Trash


2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth spoke with Tom Rinaldi about his autistic, special needs sister Ellie: “She provides humility to our family. She allows us to see the big picture of things — to not stress too much if I made birdie or par on that hole. In reality, I’m lucky to be there. I’m lucky to have this opportunity.”


I remember years back reading of a man writing an essay on the most influential person in his life — his mentally retarded, invalid brother, who taught him the grace of humility and gave him perspective for life.  Wiping away drool and cleaning bedpans built character and taught invaluable lessons.

It sounds like Jordan sat at the feet of Ellie.  Undoubtedly, Ellie was used of the Lord as an essential ingredient in Jordan’s dauntless psychological makeup.  Profoundly, no Ellie for the Spieths, no green jacket for Jordan.

Tragic how many in our pro-choice culture would assess Ellie’s projected quality of life as unacceptable and worthy of pre-birth termination.  Our prenatal screening tests have become selective genocide against the disabled.

How poor we are when we mistaken God’s precious gifts for garbage, and His treasure for trash.

It would be like finding Jordan’s green jacket on the Goodwill rack, or worse yet, in a clinic dumpster.

Jordan’s interview with Tom Rinaldi:

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Where Was Jesus on Holy Saturday? Preaching in Hell?


Silence marked Saturday.

What was Jesus doing?

John Piper writes:

The Apostles’ Creed says, “[He] was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead.” There are many meanings given to this phrase. I simply want to ponder the traditional interpretation that Christ went to the place of the dead to preach the gospel to Old Testament saints that he might set them free for the full experience of heaven. This is the view of the Catholic Catechism and many Protestants as well. I don’t think this is what the New Testament teaches.

The view is based mainly on . . . passages in 1 Peter.

Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (19) in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, (20) because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. (1 Peter 3:18-20) . . . 

I take these words to mean that Christ, through the voice of Noah, went and preached to that generation, whose spirits are now “in prison,” that is, in hell. In other words, Peter does not say that Christ preached to them while they were in prison. He says he preached to them once, during the days of Noah, and now they are in prison. . . . 

I would say, therefore, that there is no textual basis in the New Testament for claiming that between Good Friday and Easter Christ was preaching to souls imprisoned in hell or Hades. There is textual basis for saying that he would be with the repentant thief in Paradise “today” (Luke 23:43), and one does not get the impression that he means a defective place from which the thief must then be delivered by more preaching.

For these and other reasons, it seems best to me to omit from the Apostles Creed the clause, “he descended into hell,” rather than giving it other meanings that are more defensible, the way Calvin does.

You can read John Piper’s entire article here:

Below links to an excellent 4 minute video adding further insight to Jesus Holy Saturday activity.  It’s worth the listen.

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Good Friday?! Really?!

good friday

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed (1 Peter 2:14).

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him (Isaiah 53:4-6).

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What does Maundy Thursday Mean?


Maundy (from Latin mandatum or possibly mendicare), or Washing of the Feet, is described in John 13:1–17 with Jesus performing this act.  Specifically, in verses 13:14–17, He instructs them:

14 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

As such, many denominations literally observe the washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week.  The word Maundy is thought to chiefly be derived from the Latin word mandatum for “command” or “mandate.”  The “Maundy” in “Maundy Thursday” refers to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another.

Tony Reinke writes in his article The Creator on His Knees:

Jesus knelt down to wash the disciples’ feet, a model of love for the disciples. . .

For the sandal-wearing disciples, washing feet was a common cultural practice. It was proper hospitality to offer your guests a basin of water for their feet. But guests were usually expected to wash their own feet. Washing the dirt off someone else’s feet was a task reserved for only the lowest ranking Gentile servants, and Jewish slaves were often exempted from this duty. In a household without slaves, everyone washed his or her own feet.

Yet Jesus willingly dropped to his knees in the position of this extra-lowly slave to wash the disciples’ feet. The disciples were immediately shocked, and it seems, embarrassed by this act of humility. But their surprise should be no surprise to us. “There is no instance in either Jewish or Greco-Roman sources of a superior washing the feet of an inferior.”2 And this was the Creator of the universe on his knees washing the dirt from the callused feet of his followers!

When Simon Peter refused to have his feet washed, Jesus said, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand” (John 13:7). Whatever the meaning of the foot washing, it was not immediately evident to the disciples. The washing provided an example of love towards one another (John 13:12–17), but it also forecasted something. . . .

When we look again at Jesus’ humble act of foot washing, we see why the disciples were unable to immediately grasp the significance of the act. Jesus lowered himself into the position of a lowly slave, he served like a slave, he washed the disciples’ feet like a lowest-of-the-low slave, because ultimately he was preparing to die the dehumanizing death of a slave. In essence this is the connection made in Philippians 2:5–8.

As he washed out dirt from between the disciples’ toes, Jesus performed a parable of the cross. The disciples could not see the the symbolic anticipation, not here, not now. The full explanation for why Jesus washed their feet would only become clear after the substitutionary atonement of the Savior on Good Friday. Then they would look back and understand the act of deep humility in the cross that brought us a once-for-all, head-to-toe, cleansing from our sin.

On Maundy Thursday Jesus dropped to his knees.  He now calls us to go low in foot-washing like service to, and to be crushed for, one another.

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Fifty Shades of Grey or Black and White?


Fifty Shades of Grey, the novel, has become one of the best selling books of all time, surpassing the 100 million mark a year ago in February of 2014.

Now the movie has come.  Kevin DeYoung comments on the proper Christian response:

There is nothing gray about whether a follower of Christ should see 50 Shades of Grey. This is a black and white issue. Don’t go. Don’t watch it. Don’t read it. Don’t rent it. . . . 

And no, I haven’t seen the movie. I haven’t watched the trailer either. I haven’t read a single page from the book. Reading about the premise from Wikipedia and the IMDb for two minutes convinced me I didn’t need to know any more. Sex is a wonderful gift from God, but like all God’s gifts it can be opened in the wrong context and repackaged in ugly wrapping.  Violence against women is not acceptable just because she’s open to the suggestion, and sex is not open to all permutations, even in an adult relationship. Mutual consent does not a moral philosophy make.

Sex is a private matter to be shared in the privacy and sanctity of the marriage bed (Heb. 13:4). Sex, as God designed it, is not meant for actors who pretend (or not) that they are making “love.” The act of conjugal union is what married couples do behind closed doors, not what disciples of Jesus Christ pay money to watch on a screen the size of your house. . .

As I’ve said before, we have to take a hard look at what we put in front of our eyes as men and women seated in the heavenly places (Col. 3:1-2). If 50 Shades is a problem, by what standard do we give ourselves a pass on the rest of the sensuality we freely consume? . . .

Some movies do not deserve sophisticated analysis. They deserve sober repudiation. If the church cannot extend grace to sexual sinners, we’ve lost the heart of the gospel. And if we cannot tell people to stay away from 50 Shades of Grey, we’ve lost our minds.

You can read Kevin’s entire article here:

Dana Gresh adds a True Woman perspective:

I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

I wasn’t planning to announce this, but I can’t help myself. I told my husband, Bob, that I didn’t really want to get involved. But then, I found out my girlfriend’s seventy-year-old mom has her name on a long waiting list at the library to borrow Fifty Shades of Grey. And then my mom told me that a relative I love and respect for her strong faith had already devoured the book. She regretfully “can’t get the images out of her head.” So, here I am. In an attempt to keep the images out of yours, I’d like to explain to you why I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey. . . .

You can read Dana’s entire article here:

Joe Carter’s blog adds even more commentary:

Fifty Shades is also the latest blockbuster series to celebrate the attraction of young women to older, abusive predators. In an earlier era of fantasy stories, the goal of a hero was to protect a woman from evil by slaying the dragon. In many of today’s fantasy stories, the hero is the dragon, whose mission is to seduce a woman by his evil. . . . 

You can read Joe’s entire article here:

Marshall Segal blog “Sin is a Needle, not a Toy” critiques 50 shades:

As John Piper has said, “We are sinful not because we’re victims of darkness, but because we’re lovers of darkness.” One way to oppose God’s saving work in your life is to cultivate a love for darkness. If you find sin entertaining or enjoy that which suggests sin is good and pleasing, you will find yourself — either subtly and secretly or boldly and publically — loving darkness. And a love for darkness cannot and will not live in the light (John 3:20).

You can read Marshall’s entire article here:

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Does Science Argue For or Against God?

The latest Praeger University class installment features Eric Metaxas leveling a flurry of devastating arguments against the notion that science disproves the existence of God.

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the sky is declaring the work of His hands.  Day to day they pour forth speech.  Night to night they reveal knowledge” (Ps 19:1-2).

Well worth the 5 plus minute stimulating video view:


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Don’t Drown in The River of Multi-Tasking

Frustrated office work at his desk

Kevan Lee pulls us back onto the solid ground of focusing our attention, in his article How Single Tasking Boosts Your Productivity.

“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty” (Proverbs 28:19)

Kevan writes:

How many browser tabs do you have open right now?

While writing this post, I had 18 tabs open. I’d like to say they were all for research, although I’m pretty sure one or two slipped down a YouTube wormhole.

Does this sound familiar?

It seems like my multi-tab madness is right in line with the status quo. We all love to have multiple tabs open at once, adding more and more as we find new articles to click and sites to visit. Pretty soon, it’s likely we’ve forgotten what we were online for in the first place.

You might say browser tabs are the new litmus test for multitasking.

The more tabs you have open, the more multitasking work you’re doing, and the less likely you are to be as productive as possible. The same goes for anything else that might distract you from your main objective. Working on multiple items at once is a recipe for inefficiency. Fortunately, there are some fun new ways to experiment with the idea of single-tasking—both in your browser and beyond.


Researchers tested 300 Michigan State students on their ability to persevere through interruptions while taking a computer test. The interruptions came in the form of pop-ups that required the students to enter a code. In one case, the interruption lasted a little more than four seconds. In another, the interruption was 2.8 seconds.

With a 2.8-second interruption, the students made double the errors when they returned to the test. With the 4.4-second interruption, the error rate quadrupled.

Experiments like these confirm the mountain of scientific research that points to multitasking as being bad news for productivity, accuracy, and efficiency. . . .

And yet, despite the evidence that doing more than one thing at a time just doesn’t work, we continue to fall victim to doing more and focusing less.

These stats from Statistic Brain paint a picture of just how difficult it is for us to pay attention anymore.

  • Average attention span: 8 seconds
  • A goldfish’s average attention span: 9 seconds
  • Average number of times per hour an office worker checks their inbox: 30 . . .

Single-tasking is one task at a time, zero distractions.

And yes, it is easier said than done. So here are some fun ideas on how to put a little single-tasking into your workday. . . .

1. Try the Pomodoro Technique. Focus on a single task for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. The times can be adjusted based on your ideal workflows. The idea is to focus as long as your brain will allow, then to rest up with a bit of a lull before starting again.

2. Silence your phone. Or turn it off. Or forget it at home.

3. Close your email.

4. Make a to-do list.

5. Turn off notifications from phone apps and web apps.

6. Watch this entire 3-minute video.

If nothing more, it’ll be a good exercise on focus and patience.

dare u

You can read Kevan Lee’s entire article here:

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