Saturday, June 04, 2005

Picnic Report

News from the church picnic: The weather turned out pleasant. No rain in the afternoon, a nice breeze and cloud cover. Pat Canavan pitched seven innings of 100 hit ball. He pitched for both teams, though the pitches seemed to be faster and often inside the plate for my team. I got knocked out in the fifth inning diving for line drive at third and knocking out a glass lens. Seeing through one lens just doesn't work when playing defense. Aaron Snethen set the record for falling in both fielding and base running. Josh Ryken took a sharp bounced ball in the face and still continued playing. Phil "Mr. June" Beauford started a little slow, only to crush what would have been a homerun if there had been a fence and he had been not so slow. One last tip. If choosing teams for volleyball, you can't go wrong with Kathy Smith or Sara Peterman.

We had a good turnout considering the day began with rain. Mass quantities of soft pretzels and Tasty Cakes were consumed, as were sodas and water. Pat skipped out a couple hours early - 28th wedding anniversary. Hey, where else would you want to spend your anniversary?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Truck Parking

Where can I park a 15 foot moving truck for a week? Friday night (10th) through the following Thursday (16th)? Let me know if you've got an answer (

See You at the Picnic

Don't forget the church picnic tomorrow! Check earlier posting for details.

Tenth Mascot Name

If schools can have nicknames, about churches? What should Tenth have?

The Preaching B's?
The Pulpiteers?
The Fighting Pews?

Children at the Table

The last paragraph of the bulletin text regarding the Lord's Supper reads: "Sometimes parents ask if their children can partake. Often parents are able to judge their children's fitness to join with others in the Lord's Supper. But we ask parents to bring their children to an elder to be asked about their faith and their understanding of what the communion service means so they might regard the Lord's Supper seriously and partake with understanding."

This last paragraph reflects an effort to balance two concerns. Communion is regarded as a sacrament for members of the church body, and, indeed, the chapter for joining the church is entitled, "The Admission of Persons to Sealing Ordinances." Thus, ordinarily children ought to wait to receive communion until they are ready to become communicant members of the church. Having said this, we recognize that children may make a credible profession of saving faith in Christ at an early age. Many of us parents attest to our children making such a profession years before they became communicant members. We waited for them to grow older before they took the communicants class, because of the need to mature mentally to grasp the further concepts of theology and church doctrine. Should, then, they be denied a sacrament meant to build the faith of believers? As a parent, I still would have them wait in order to preserve (in my mind) the significance of the Supper as an ordinance of full responsible membership. And yet, another parent, for conscience sake, may believe that the sacrament ought not to be withheld from his/her child who has faith in Christ. Thus, to preserve conscience without violating our own doctrine, we permit parents presenting their children to elders to ascertain their faith and permit them to the table. If you, as a parent, have such a concern, then present your child to your parish elder.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


From Readers' Digest:

A word to all high school sports teams: Skill is overrated. Stagger your opponent with a confounding team nickname, just like these schools.

Danville Little Johns (Arkansas)
Dunn High School Earwigs (Los Olivos, CA)
Yuba City Honkers (CA)
Fisher Bunnies (Illinois)
Freeport Pretzels (Illinois)
Mt. Clemens Battling Bathers (Michigan)
Watersmeet Nimrods (Michigan)
Tillamook Cheesemakers (Oregon)
Explorations Academy Screaming Penquins (Washington)
Cardozo Clerks (Washington, D.C.)

Readers Digest overlooked my school: the Kingstree Boll Weevils!

The Preacher Man

So you don't miss, hear is a comment posted regarding Bruce McDowell:

Meredith said...
Did you say that Bruce spoke *27* times??? That is an unbelievably intense and exhausting schedule! Teaching the Word is even more intense that other things, because of what the Holy Spirit does through it -- especially through Bruce. I remember being on a bus a few years ago in Turkey with a team from Tenth. It was very early in the morning and as I dozed off in the back of the bus, I heard Bruce ask our two translators what they were studying at university. When I woke up about 15 minutes later, I heard him saying, '...and that's why Jesus had to die for our sins.' Sure wish I'd been awake to hear how he got to that in such short time! We are still in touch with those two translators and pray that the seed Bruce sowed will soon bear fruit.

I'm very glad you published part of his report to Colombia and I hope our congregation prays regularly for his strength and ministry. Bruce is one of the most gifted evangelists around!

With Understanding

The third paragraph of the bulletin text on the Lord's Supper reads: "The Bible also teaches that we are to take part in the Lord's Supper with understanding, not superstitiously (1 Corinthians 11:29). And we are to do it honestly, searching our hearts to see if we have freely confessed known sin and are seeking true fellowship with God (v. 28). If you have been clinging to sin, you must confess and forsake it."

The table is to be "fenced" not only from unbelievers, but from Christians who abuse the Supper with sinful attitudes. The Corinthians sinned by using the Supper to actually humiliate their poorer brothers and sisters. The Supper became a means to distinguish between the rich and the poor. We abuse the Supper if we partake while harboring resentment against others or through proud spirits. We abuse the Supper if we treat it with indifference, not discerning the body of Christ.

The last sentence about clinging to sin, speaks of a heart attitude that refuses to deal with sin. We all sin, and there is never a time that we are free of sin. But it is one thing to struggle with sin and another to consciously embrace it. The Lord's Supper is for sinners; it is a reminder to us sinners that Christ has paid the price for our sins and that he even now intercedes for us. It is Christ's invitation to us sinners to feed upon him, to take heart that he is still here for us. It is God's message to us that the sacrifice of Christ alone is what has made atonement for our sins. We don't come to the table when we have rid ourselves of sin; we come in order to gain blessing and strength and faith to carry on in our efforts to walk in the ways pleasing to God.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Saturday Picnic

Come to the only church-wide picnic this Saturday, June 4. It will be held at the Garrett-Williamson Estate near Newtown Square, beginning at noon and running til 7:00 p.m. You bring your picnic lunch/supper. Drinks and dessert are provided. It is a lot of fun. Usually there is softball, volleyball, basketball, and swimming going on. If like the past, there will be kids' activities later in the day. And best of all, you don't have to play any game, but just sit around in the shade and have pleasant conversation. For directions call Nancy Hala at the church: 215.735.7688. If you have not registered (so we will know how many to prepare for), call Nancy as well as of today! If after Wednesday, call quickly!

Fencing the Table

The second paragraph of Sunday's text regarding The Lord's Supper reads: "Trusting Christ is not just an individual matter, however. It also involves a public confession of Christ leading to membership in his church. If you are not a member of an evangelical church, we welcome you in Christ's name but request that you communicate your faith in Christ to one of the leaders of the church before partaking. We can arrange such an opportunity if you desire it."

The PCA's Book of Church Order requires that participants either be members of an evangelical church or approved by the Session. Our Session entrusts the approval to be carried out by any member of Session. Why the screening process, which is known as "fencing the table"? The sacrament is an ordinance instituted by Christ for the benefit of his people. The very elements and enactment signify the spiritual communion of Christ with his people. Unlike the preaching of God's Word and of the Gospel which is to go out freely to everyone, the invitation to receive the sacrament representing Christ's body is limited to his people. We, of course, cannot know people's hearts, but the elders of the church are responsible before God to make a proper invitation with the outward means given us.

In light of this "fencing," please feel free to contact me or any other elder/minister in the church if you desire to receive the sacrament this coming Sunday and are neither a member of this church nor of another evangelical church.

Back from the Field

(The following is an excerpt from Bruce McDowell's report of his recent trip to Colombia. I'll get Jonathan to report as well for the Olsen family.)

While Jonathan and family were in Bogota and Santa Marta, I traveled to teach in Medellin, Cucuta, Barranquilla, and Santa Marta. I think I spoke about 27 times, including translating a devotional for presbytery and preaching by Jonathan from English to Spanish.

When I arrived in Medellin I gave a Bible study for a MINTS group at the home of my host Ruben, a lay pastor-engineer, with a group of professionals. Then Friday night and Sat. morning I taught a course on a theology of missions at a Baptist Church to which about 60 came on Fri. and 50 on Sat. morning.

In Cucuta I was hosted by a Christian Missionary and Alliance pastor and family. I preached in the church on Sunday morning and taught my course in the afternoon to about 20 and Monday morning (10) at the downtown mother church.

On Monday evening and Tuesday evening I taught in Barranquilla. A good size group of about 50-60 came. I was able to bring tools for their workshop, as well as for the workshop at the Providence Children's Home in Santa Marta. I also brought with me 100 copies of Roger Greenway's book, "Vayan y Hagan Discipulos!" which were sold in each of the cities.

On Wednesday I went to Santa Marta and we met as a presbytery. Three candidates from Bogota and two from the coast were interviewed and had a sermon evaluated. On Friday we spent the day at the beach together and then the gold museum in Santa Marta. The next meeting will be in Bogota, probably in January. Then there will be 11 people to be examined!

The teaching time in Santa Marta all day Thursday was better organized this time with a rented air-conditioned large room that was filled with about 70 people. A musician also led in some singing. Lunch was provided for everyone.

Friday morning I went to the Providence Children's Home and met with the
architect. We looked at the work being done and the plans. The
adjoining lot was purchased and they were building a wall around that part. It will be used for a workshop for teaching the children trade skills. Friday evening we met with about 15 of the kids from ages 12-16 who are among the more committed to the home. Most of them will move into the home in July. I heard from them about what the home means to them, about how they are growing in knowing God there, and it a place of protection, learning, and growth for them.

From the Field

This came in yesterday from Tenth missionary Jon Perry.

Dear friends,

We're in recovery mode at present with plenty to pray for.

1. Several months ago, we were asked to consider moving to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, to begin an international student ministry, as well as mentoring younger staff. In early May we visited the Navigator Metro ministry in Raleigh/Durham. We spent time with staff there and visited Lia, a Cornell Alumna working in the area. We've not made a decision, but also see it is an opportunity to evaluate our ministry here in the Northeast and to make sure we are where the Lord wants us to be. Please pray for wisdom.

2. Relationships with our "cousins" at Cornell are very encouraging. Several have recently told us how much they value our being here. Apparently, our help during the time of the tsunami was a significant breakthrough. Several are completing their Ph.D. dissertations and will leave within a year. Please pray for meaningful interactions with them over the Word.

3. Yesterday, we hosted a year-end picnic for many of our international students and American friends. Our guests included Indonesians, Burmese and Japanese. One was a mother of the Cornell student who started "Aceh Relief". She survived the tsunami and saved everyone in her household though many of their family died. Just in case you missed it the first time, I'm including the web site where you can find more up to date information about this rescue effort that began right in Ithaca! You can google it at

Thank you for your faithful prayers!

In Christ,
Jon & Mary

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Lord's Supper Sunday

We will celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's Supper next Sunday morning. For the remaining four days of the week, I will post a paragraph from the bulletin text which introduces the sacrament and comment on it. Here is the first one.

"The Lord's Supper is a sacrament instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ as a means of grace for all who trust him as Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). It is not a Presbyterian supper; it is the Lord's Supper. Therefore, we invite all who are truly trusting Christ and are in fellowship with him to join in this sacrament."

As a "means of grace" the Lord's Supper is an "ordinary" means through which the Holy Spirit ministers the benefits of Christ's redemption to his people. As we receive the sacrament by faith, the Spirit nourishes us spiritually, strengthening our faith. Think of the Supper as a spiritual banquet to which you have been invited by Christ to share in, and to take great delight in, the grace of his redemption. For the finest of fare is being offered - his very body.

The Fall of Lord Vader

That is the title of Phil's Window on the World next Sunday night. May the Holy Spirit be with him as he sheds biblical light on the subject. Carroll kicks off the summer line-up of evening preachers with a message on Psalm 1: "Nutrition for Life."

Building Dedication

The following is from Greg Hobaugh, a PCA minister currently serving at Chinese Christian Church and Center.

Dear Friends:

With thanksgiving to God, the Chinese Christian Church and Center requests the honor of your presence at the dedication of our new building at 1101 Vine Streets (at the intersection of 11th and Vine Streets) on June 5, 2005, 2:00 pm. Reception to follow immediately after the service. Discounted parking is available across the street (southeast corner of 10th and Vine, just tell the attendant you are attending services at CCCC).

Greg Hobaugh
Chinese Christian Church and Center
225 N. 10th Street, Philadelphia, 19107
(215) 627-2360 ext 16

Monday, May 30, 2005

William Penn's Prayer for Philadelphia

I read this prayer on a plague attached to City Hall:

"And Thou Philadelphia the virgin settlement of this province named before thou wert born, what care, what service, what travail have there been to bring thee forth and preserve thee from such as would abuse and defile thee. O that thou mayest be kept from the evil that would overwhelm thee, that faithful to the God of thy mercies in the life of righteousness, thou mayest be preserved to the end. My soul prays to God for thee that thou mayest stand in the day of trial, that thye children may be blest of the Lord and thy people saved by His power."

Though your first reaction may be that Penn's prayer failed, do not forget that on the corner of 17th and Spruce Streets, as well as many other locations throughout the city, many native born and adopted children of Philadelphia have been blest and saved. Just as in Scripture there is always a redeemed remnant, so there continues to be to this day since Penn's prayer. Evil may exist, but it does not overwhelm. God remains faithful to the people he has called.