Saturday, August 27, 2005

Funny Thing About That Document

I learned one important lesson watching Aaron Messner with his son Micah. If Aaron offers to hold the football for you to kick, do not - I repeat - do not take him up on his offer even if he provides a document of testimonial. If you see Nathan, ask him about the caterpillar.

New Tenth Champion

My first ping-pong match was with Aaron Messner. He proved to be a capable player, though could not keep up in the end. Next came Aaron Snethen, who has talent but not the veteran experience needed to keep up with an old pro. I warmed up with two wins against him. Then came Bruce "The Slammer" McDowell, replete in his new Four Spiritual Laws, multi-colored shirt. He managed to test me, even holding the lead for most of the game; nevertheless, he also went down. I rested after that. Bruce, meanwhile, took on Phil and beat him twice. With greater confidence, he took me on again, only to find I had now warmed up and was even more formidable. I warmed up again with Aaron Snethen, then took on Phil. It proved to be the most competitive of all the matches, close the whole way until we arrived at a 20-20 tie. Who would blink first? Blink, Phil did. Thus, I finished the day 7-0. The old man has still got game.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Picnic Time

The staff is getting ready now for our picnic with the Halas in New Jersey. I've issued my challenge to Phil in ping-pong. He didn't quite have his self-confident attitude, I must say.

Communicating to Communicants

Thought you might find this of interest. It is the lineup for the fall Communicants class that will meet Sundays at 5:00.

Sep 11..Introduction to the Class...Phil Ryken
Sep 25..Becoming a Christian........Pat Canavan
Oct 2...What is a Presbyterian?.....George McFarland
Oct 9...History of Tenth Church.....George McFarland
Oct 16..History of the Reformation..Aaron Messner
Oct 23..TULIP- the 5 points.........Jonathan Olsen
Oct 30..Serving & Spiritual Gifts...Cora Hogue
Nov 6...Sacraments/Public Worship...Carroll Wynne
Nov 13..Private Worship.............Jonathan Olsen
Nov 20..Evangelism & Missions.......Bruce McDowell
Nov 27..Vows and their Implications.Pat Canavan
Dec 11..Interview with Elders.......Session

Hurricane Rick

Just posted by Rick on the Reformation 21 blogsite. A hurricane passed over his house in south Florida last night.

Hurricane for Worship
posted by Rick Phillips

One of my more favorite psalms is Psalm 29. The reason is the outstanding sermon on it preached by James Boice sometime in the early 90's, which grabbed my attention at the time and has not been forgotten. It responds to a storm roaring over Lebanon by praising the God who rules over such natural marvels. "The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox" (Ps. 29:3-5).

Last night we had the most severe band of a category 1 hurricane pass right over our house, sounding like a freight train and causing all our palm trees to skip like a calf indeed. It was not very dangerous, but it was still pretty exciting. We had a wonderful Bible time with our children talking about the attributes of God revealed in the storm and upon which we were relying on for our protection. We concluded by singing Psalm 121 together. It filled me with joy to be a Christian -- to see the glory of God in creation and to have the constant comfort of a mighty, loving God. "The Lord will keep you from all evil,he will keep your life" (Ps. 121:7). Praise the Lord.

As the Hobbit World Turns

Bilbo saved the dwarves from the giant spiders, but Thorin has been captured by the woods elves of whom the reader is now giving their history. (I am still listening to The Hobbit in my commutes.


Attended a meeting at KUC (Korean United Church). This is a sister PCA church, whose choir will be singing at our Missions Rally, November 5. The church is located on 12th and Cheltenham. The congregation numbers about 1,500 and conducts five services each Sunday (including an English service). Their minister is Jae Sung Kim who was installed just this past March. He will also give greetings at the Rally and present their congregational prayer practices (not for the weak of spirit!).

Tenth Concert Series

Am looking at the new Tenth Concert Series lineup:
Oct 19 String Recital Extraordinaire
Oct 30 Reformation Hymn Festival
Nov 11 Boice Benefit Concert
Dec 24 Christmas Eve Candlelight & Carols
Feb 17 Vocal Recital: Love Songs & Scenes
Apr 14 Good Friday Choral Concert (from Handel's Messiah)
May 21 Choral Service: Music of Mozart

The brochure will be coming out soon that gives the details. Meanwhile, make note in your calendars.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

25 Years Old

Read this is the latest Alpha Pregancy newsletter:

Twenty-five years ago, a Steering Committee, composed of members of Tenth Presbyterian Church in the heart of Philadelphia, was gaining momentum in its quest to start a crisis pregnancy center in the city...

The Center will be holding special events beginning in the spring. If you want to get their newsletter, call 215.735.6028 or email: They need volunteers and financial support. Their building is near the church on 1601 Lombard Street.

Meetings Day

Today has turned into Meetings Day - five meetings in three locations going into the evening. Keeps me active!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Party and a Challenge

The offices will be closed Friday afternoon. The Halas have invited the staff to an afternoon party at their neighborhood YMCA pool. I heard that table tennis will be offered and plan to find out how good Phil is. I'm told he is the staff champion. We'll see if that title holds up.

Return from the Field

Just got the news that Lin Brown is returning on furlough in September. She can be our replacement for Susan Lucasse who recently left.

Dental Survival

The dental visit is over and I was duly reprimanded for my hygiene practices. The only time I was nervous was when Tchaikovsky's Overture of 1812 was being played while he worked among my gums.

In Fear and Trepidation

Tough day today. I go to the dentist!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Art Blog

Saw that Phil recommended this website of Makoto Fujimura, a New York artist who also happens to be an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA):

Newsweek Spirituality

You may want to check out this article and others on Newsweek online.

Staff and Food

The staff took Dot Boersma out for lunch today to Devon on Rittenhouse Square - 15 altogether. Phil and Rick Phillips dropped in from their Alliance board meeting. I do recommend the crabcakes.

Websites and Brochures

Already a stimulating morning. Dot came in to show me the new website for the church, which we hope to have up in the next month. It has an inviting layout and you will find it more user-friendly and informative. Then Ruth Hoover called to discuss the Missions Conference brochure. She sent drafts through email. The brochure is COOL! You will see a departure from the here-are-the-facts materials we've sent in the past, and greater focus on the theme and goals of the conference.

Library Site

Ginger and I had a pleasant evening with the Garvers in their home last night. We discovered Joel's gift for cooking. He could give Collier Kirkland a little competition which is the highest complement I can give to a husband who cooks.

Part of our discussion was about the church library, which they with the Duggans manage. How to increase usage of the library? If you have ideas, let them know. You can put them in the "Comments" section, as they are faithful readers of this site. Or go to their library site:

Monday, August 22, 2005

Why I Really Returned to Tenth

Discovered on a Google search. This ranks with my discovery of a David M. Clark in Philadelphia with the same birthdate who has a criminal record. (Thus my having to be fingerprinted when I took the job of principal at CCA.)

Supreme Court of Arkansas

Opinion delivered September 16, 1999

Per Curiam.

On recommendation of the Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, we hereby accept the surrender of the license of David Marion Clark, of Batesville, Arkansas, to practice law in the State of Arkansas. Mr. Clark's name shall be removed from the registry of licensed attorneys and he is permanently barred from engaging in the unlicensed practice of law in this state.

The Other Tenth "B"

If you haven't read the Tenth Press article on Dot Boersma, be sure to do so. It is posted on this past Sunday's bulletin on the church website. The staff is taking her out for lunch tomorrow.

Tenth Reading

Completed Dr. Koop's biography Koop and Paul Tripp's book Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, bringing my first series of Tenth authors to a close: Quixote by Bryan Glass, Icarus in the Boardroom, by David Skeel, Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul, by Guy Waters, and Muslims and Christians at the Table by Bruce McDowell (and Anees Zaka). Will take a break for awhile (Yes, I've read Barnhouse, Boice, Ryken, and Phillips.) and turn to some books I've been asked to read.

Choosing Wise Counselors

I see that on the Reformation 21 website yet more articles about the New Perspectives on Paul movement. I don't expect to read them, having already read Guy Waters' book and other articles. But the subject recalls for me my own approach to this and many other theological issues that come up, such as theonomy, the charismatic movement, the emerging movement, the Catholic-Protestant movement, etc.

We are to think for ourselves, of course, but one decision I've made that helps me in sorting how the issues that keep popping is knowing whom I will look to for wise counsel. Depending upon the matter, I will consider foremost what men like Phil Ryken, Sinclair Ferguson, Bryan Chappell, Ligon Duncan, J.I. Packer, John Piper have to say. Jim Boice, of course, was my first go-to person. I may differ with their conclusions (and they may differ with one another), but, again, they set the pace. To sort out every issue by reading all the materials by everyone with a viewpoint, granting every viewpoint the same weight, is, quite frankly, too difficult for my mental capacity.

But it goes further than limited thinking ability. It finally is a matter of trust. I trust the men I've mentioned (and others) because over time through their teaching and character, they have proven themselves to be trustworthy handlers of God's truth. They stand in the tradition of sound biblical teaching. Thus, all the more, when I am confronted with a new teaching, I look to them for guidance.

Elders in Prayer

Most of Tuesday night's Session meeting will be taken up in prayer for the church. The Session always prays in its meetings, but we designate August as the meeting time devoted to prayer.

Elders and Presbytery

I am hosting a meeting this Thursday night of elders and elder-prospects to dicuss the new city-wide presbytery. The purpose is to bring along ruling elders in the planning process so as to enhance their involvement. Most presbyteries are dominated by Teaching Elders who attend in larger numbers. Hopefully we can begin with a better balance.

From Jude

20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

Though there are four actions they are told to do, three of those actions support one, which is “to keep.” This is the fifth and last time the Greek term for keep is used. What are they to keep themselves in? The love of God. What was the very first adjective Jude used to describe them in verse 1? Beloved in God. This is their identity; being in the love of God is what defines them. (See complete sermon in "DMC Messages."


The posting of Metaphors and Similes somehow generated this comment:

"Can you give us some information on excommunication in the Presbyterian church? What is the process? How is it enforced, ie can someone who has been excommunicated from one church in the PCA (techincally the PCA itself) continue to worship at another church or is there a method of communicating these things from church to church?"

Below are exerpts from our Book of Church Order on the subject. Regarding enforcement, PCA churches are to respect the action of one another. One Session is not bound to the actions of another, but it is rare for a person under discipline to be able to transfer membership without the church being left giving consent.

27-5. Scriptural law is the basis of all discipline because it is the revelation of God’s Holy will. Proper disciplinary principles are set forth in the Scriptures and must be followed. They are:
a. Instruction in the Word;
b. Individual’s responsibility to admonish one another (Matt 18:15, Gal 6:1);
c. If the admonition is rejected, then the calling of one or more witnesses (Mt 18:16);
d. If rejection persists, then the Church must act through her court unto admonition, suspension, excommunication and deposition.

36-6. Excommunication is to be administered according to one or other of the two modes laid down for indefinite suspension, or to be inflicted in public as the court may decide. In administering this censure the moderator of the Session shall make a statement of the several steps which have been taken with respect to the offending brother, and of the decision to cut him off from the communion of the church. He shall then show from Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 the authority of the church to cast out unworthy members, and shall explain the nature, use and consequences of this censure. He shall then administer the censure in the words following:

Whereas, _________________________, a member of this church has been by sufficient proof convicted of the sin of _______________________, and after much admonition and prayer, obstinately refuses to hear the Church, and has manifested no evidence of repentance: Therefore, in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, we, the Session of ________________________ church do pronounce him to be excluded from the Sacraments, and cut off from the fellowship of the Church.

Prayer shall then be made that by God’s blessing this solemn action of the court may issue in the repentance and restoration of the offender, and in the establishment of all true believers.