Friday, October 28, 2005

Reformation Sunday

Sunday night will feature our annual Reformation Hymn Festival. All the choirs will be involved - Tenth Choir, Tenth Men's Choir, and Schola Cantorum Choirs. The Westminster Brass will play. Hymns include "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," "Blessing, Honor, Glory and Power" (my favorite), "God, Our Lord, a King Remaining" (printed in the program), "Our Father Bless'd, to Us Bestows" (by Derek Thomas and Paul Jones).

Be sure to be seated before 6:15 when the choirs will sing.

TenthWomen Tonight

Tonight (7:00 pm) is the second talk in the TenthWomen's Friday Night Teaching Series on "Relationship Robbers." Suzanne Leahy will speak on "Expectant Love." Check the church website for full details.

Missions Rally

The system is installed and tested for piping in phone calls from Japan and South Africa for the Missions Rally on November 5. Please get the word out about this event. You can check the church website for details. We are hoping to fill the sanctuary. The full choir from Korean United Church will provide special music.

Apse Progress

I was wrong about the scaffolding being down this week. I don't know where that is, but I can tell you that you will see progress on repainting the apse above the pulpit. It is meticulous work, as you can imagine. Two painters have been working on it.

It also looks like 17th Street may be getting paved.

Brought Us Peace

Peace with God is what the passion of Christ brought us. Last winter when the movie "The Passion of the Christ" came out, two members of Faith Presbyterian Church in Gainesville (my previous church) worked with me to develop a website for outreach to movie attenders. Kendra Skeene designed the site and Don Nilsson wrote the historical and apologetical sections. We advertized on the movie screen of the local theatre showing the movie. The Session of Faith Church has given me permission to put the site back up. Check it out at

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I recently received the following email. I show it to you as an example of the fraudalent emails that may come to you. Note the second sentence intended to alarm me; then the supposed warnings given to make me feel this is legitimate, the goal being for me to click the site given. Think through this. Why would my bank not have contacted me? I went to what I knew was the Amazon website and found warnings and examples of this very email. I hope, by the way, that when you receive forwarded emails revealing incredible stories, that you will not forward them without determining their legitimacy. One site I use to check out stories is

Greetings from Amazon Payments. Your bank has contacted us regarding some attempts of charges from your credit card via the Amazon system. We have reasons to believe that you changed your registration information or that someone else has unauthorized access to your Amazon account Due to recent activity, including possible unauthorized listings placed on your account, we will require a second confirmation of your identity with us in order to allow us to investigate this matter further. Your account is not suspended, but if in 48 hours after you receive this message your account is not confirmed we reserve the right to suspend your Amazon registration. If you received this notice and you are not the authorized account holder, please be aware that it is in violation of Amazon policy to represent oneself as another Amazon user. Such action may also be in violation of local, national, and/or international law. Amazon is committed to assist law enforcement with any inquires related to attempts to misappropriate personal information with the intent to commit fraud or theft. Information will be provided at the request of law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

To confirm your identity with us click here: After responding to the message, we ask that you allow at least 72 hours for the case to be investigated. Emailing us before that time will result in delays. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you and we would like to thank you for your cooperation as we review this matter.

Thank you for your interest in selling at Customer Service

Wilma and Rick

Rick Phillips' community has been hit hard by Hurricane Wilma. 95% of the community is still without power (Rick is one of the fortunate ones). The church was somewhat damaged, but not in any long-term way.

Testing 1,2,3...

At this very moment I am being broadcasted in the church sanctuary as I sit in my study talking over the telephone. We are testing for the call-ins from our missionaries Michael Oh and Michael Cassidy. It will be 8:00 am for Michael Oh and 3:00 a.m. for Michael Cassidy. So hopefully Michael Cassidy will be awake.

Accommodations Request

(Note: This request was answered the same day.)

Willie MacKenzie from Christian Focus Publishers in Scotland, UK will be visiting Philadelphia to attend a book convention. He is need of housing from Friday, November 18-Monday, November 21. He will be departing on Tuesday, November 22. Mr. MacKenzie visited Tenth about three years ago and plans to worship with us again during his stay in Philadelphia. Local hotels and B&Bs are either booked or very expensive. Please contact Pat Russell at or at 215-735-7688, ext. 243 if you can help. Thank you!

More from the Past

I thought I was supposed to be the wise Clark, but in 1971 the church hired A. Clark Wiser as Assistant Minister to work among college students and young adults. (Note: The church later had two Wise sisters, but, alas, Nancy became Hala and Kimberly was carried away by the Wynne.)

The Wiser Clark reported the following for 1972:

The Open Door, formally known as the Free University, is an organization of young people, aging from 17-25, devoted to the growth of our life in Christ....All meetings, whether Friday evenings at 7:30 or Sunday immediately following the evening worship service, are held at the home of our advisors, Rev. and Mrs. A. Clark Wiser.

There is also a report of the Campus and Career committee:

At year end the traditional format and structure of the Campus and Career group was abandoned for a new structure focusing on "The Joyful Sound," the coffee-house type of ministry that now takes place at Tenth Church each Sunday night. This program is accompanied by a weekly social on Saturday nights and by a series of mid-week Bible studies that many attend. A new service group called "The Life Line" is available to others for help and counseling.

Long Distance Sound

We are checking out the sound system today to provide call-ins at the Missions Rally from Michael Oh in Japan and Michael Cassidy in South Africa. You will hear from your missionaries live from the field (though a bit sleepy their time).

Grace Delivered

Tim and JoAnne Beauchamp, new member candidates in Parish Two, announce a new baby girl (fourth child), delivered at midnight last night in Abington Hospital. Her name is Grace Elizabeth. May her name express God's saving grace in her life.

Philip and Paul

Phil desires your prayers for several speaking engagements beginning tonight. He speaks at Barnes & Noble tonight (see earlier post) at Rittenhouse Square. This weekend he speaks at the Princeton Regional Conference on ReEformed Theology (see PRCRT post), and then preaches at Faith Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Elmer, NJ.

Paul Jones requests prayer as as he lectures, meets with faculty, and leads a hymn festival November 3-4 at Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, Illinois.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ryken at Barnes and Noble

Ryken's Bible Handbook. Phil will be at Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square at 7:00 pm this Thursday to give a brief presentation of the book and then have a question and answer time. Copies will be available for purchase and signing. Invite a neighbor. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce them to your pastor and other church members. Buy them a book and have Phil sign it for them. What book to give than a handbook that helps them read the Bible. Tell Phil I sent you.

New Organ

Phil dropped off (he's cleaning his study) a stack of annual reports. They are interesting to go through and I'll post selections periodically. This posting is from the 1970 report:

The summer months also saw delivery of the new Allen Organ now played each Sunday by Dr. Robert Elmore and his assistant, Mr. Joel Krott. The first of several special music programs took place in the fall, with over 1,000 persons coming to hear Dr. Elmore's dedicatory recital on the new organ.


One assignment I've been given is to develop a process of encouraging good stewardship, or, to put it plainly, to encourage you to give more money! Here is what I'm working on. (Melynda Feeney has been very helpful with this.) First, we've set a target. Divide the Tenth givers into three categories: tithers, would be tithers, and not motivated. The would-be-tithers (WBTs) will be the initial target group. These people would tithe if informed (about the budgets), educated (about tithing), and assisted (with practical help for budgeting and giving).

I have yet to make a presentation to the Session, so cannot go into much more details, but I did receive approval for an initial action. When you receiving your mailing of the three budgets soon, they will be presented in a compact version that allows you to see clearly the broad categories of how the funds are dispursed. The complete version will still be available in the church lobbies as before, as well as provided at the congregational forum and meeting.

The thought is that the average church member will more easily comprehend the budgets with less detail, (such as the 340 lines of details received last year). By seeing the big picture, so to speak, you can more easily spot trends and priorities. (This, by the way, is one step in reaching the WBTs who will more likely look at this presentation of the budget, while still providing the details that others desire.)

Rising Hits

Sunday's Tenth Press article has had an impact on the "hits" to this blogsite. I had 142 visits on Monday and 140 on Tuesday, a good 40-hit daily increase.

Session and Diaconate Meetings

The Session and Diaconate met last night. The two boards meet the fourth Tuesday of the month. We meet together in Fellowship Hall at 6:30; have devotions, prayer, and announcements. Then the Session moves into Fellowship Hall east to conduct serious business while the Diaconate sounds like they are having a party. I had to quiet them down one time. Anyhow, here is some of the Session business conducted:

- approved officer nominees from the Nominating Committee
- approved proposals for the three church budgets (General, Missions, Building)

You will be receiving in a couple of weeks a mailing with the nominees and budget proposals. Mark on your calendars now December 2 for the congregational meeting to elect officers and vote on the budgets.

- heard report from the Strategic Planning Committee
- heard report from the Trustees who give a monthly update on the church's financial status
- heard reports from the pastoral staff
- heard reports from the church commissions: Church Planting, Family Life, Growth and Maturity, and Missions
- heard reports from the parish elders

There were other reports and pastoral matters to discuss. The meeting went long for us, a little past 10:00. Usually we are done before 9:30. Let me encourage you now, to hold up the Session and Diaconate each fourth Tuesday. We are well aware of the high responsibility given to us by Christ in our shepherding and service to the church. Thankfully, God has given to both boards a spirit of unity and, I would say, humility that allows us to work together for the good of the church.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Announcement from TIF

Tenth International Fellowship (TIF) is organizing a trip this Saturday, October 29th to Hawk Mountain in Kempton, PA (about 2 hours from Center City; beginning from church at 8:30 am and hoping to return by 5:15 pm). At present, there are about 20 people signed up (13 of whom are new non-Christian friends) and additional drivers are needed. If you would like to use this opportunity to meet new friends and are able to be a driver, please write to the TIF intern Christopher Seah at for more details.

Last Week's Concert

The following is one of similar reports regarding last week's concert:

Last night was another of those witnessing without words experiences for me. While the spoken words were wonderful, sensitive, and most appropriate, the music said it all. I had two atheist friends with me, one of whom hadn't been in many (if any) Christian churches ever before. Tenth wowed her. The whole thing - from the architecture to the people AND, most especially, last night's program. Why, she kept asking, would these artists play for this church for no fee (i.e., no entry fee for us)? She had a lot of trouble getting past the no fee - free - concert. She attends many concerts in Philadelphia and is a season ticket holder to the orchestra. She recognized Richard Harlow right away before the concert. When she saw you and David enter and heard you play, I could sense a mini-miracle going on between our Lord and her. Phil's sensitive prayer about giving him thanks for his people making beautiful music was, I felt, most geared to her ears and heart. Couldn't have been better. Wonder how things like this happen? Coincidence? Random happenings, as my other atheistic friend might offer as an explanation. He sat between two other Tenth members, both of whom made him feel special. This was his third concert at Tenth and his third visit to any church in perhaps 25 years. To you, all the members of Tenth who made such a glorious night possible, David, Richard, and Rachel, thank you.

Need Place to Stay

(Note: This request has been answered.)

A seminary couple is looking for a free (or inexpensive) place to stay in Philadelphia for November 18-22 while they attend the Society of Biblical Literature Conference in downtown Philadelphia. A place in Center City would be ideal, but any place within walking distance of a regional rail station would be good also. If anyone is interested in helping out, they can contact Jessie Bible at

LWW Poster

Phil just called me down to his study to see the poster Ruth Hoover has designed for the LWW (Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe) evening. Cool! You will see the bulletin insert version on Sunday. I've been very pleased with Ruth's work. She also did the Missions Conference brochure.

Jean in Florida

My daughter Jean emailed me this morning noting that the recorded temperature in Gainesville, FL was 42 degrees compared to our 48 degrees. She has also reminded me that I expressed happy birthday wishes on Sarah's birthday on my blog but neglected to do so on her birthday which was September 10.

Happy Birthday, Jean!

Desire Street is the website of Desire Street Ministries. This is the PCA ministry in New Orleans that we will be taking up the Thanksgiving Offering for.

A Bed and a Crib

We have a good condition Sealy, full-size mattress/box springs that we need to get rid of due to space constraints. It's free. It is good for those who like their mattress with a medium to soft firmness.

We are in need of a good condition crib for a modest price. Easiest way to contact us is David and Tracy Smith

All Nations

The Retiring Offering for this Sunday will go to All Nations Church, a PCA church plant led by Bagudekia Alobeyo. Reverend Alobeyo is from the Congo and his congregation is primarily made up of African immigrants. For complete information about him, the church, and their goal, go to and click "Love Gift for All Nations" on the left column. By the way, note the website for Metro Philadelphia Church Planting Partnership. This is the ministry of Bruce Finn who is serving the presbyteries in the Philadelphia region as Director for Church Planting.

Will the Real Derek Thomas Stand Up

I thought I would provide information on Derek Thomas, our guest preacher this coming Sunday for morning and evening. So I did a search on the internet of his name. Here is what I came up with:

1) Assistant basketball coach at UNLV
2) Directed the classic movie "Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women"
3) Missionary to Lithuania
4) Minister of Teaching at First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS

We will presume that the Derek Thomas of #4 is our speaker. Here then is some bio on him.

Originally from Wales, Derek Thomas is the John E. Richards Professor of Practical Theology as well as Dean of Chapel at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi. After pastoring for 17 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dr. Thomas returned to the USA in 1996 where, in addition to his work at the seminary, he serves as the Minister of Teaching at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson.

Selection of books written and edited:
God Delivers: Isaiah Simply Explained
The Storm Breaks: Job Simply Explained
Give Praise to God (ed. with Ryken and Duncan)
Revelation (Let's Study series)
Making the Most of Your Devotional Life
Calvin's Teaching on Job: Proclaiming the Incomprehensible God

Dr. Thomas will preach in the morning on "Falling in Love with Scripture" (2 Timothy 3:10-17) and in the evening on "Soli Deo Gloria: The Heartbeat of the Reformation" (Romans 11:33-36).

Monday, October 24, 2005


ETS stands for Evangelical Theological Society. Its annual meeting is being held at Valley Forge this year, November 16-18. Dr. Leland Ryken belongs to the society and will be attending, which is why we have him for the Narnia presentation. To check out the organization, click here.

Hurricanes and Football

As Rick Phillips ponders hurricanes and God, Phil Ryken ponders touch football and God. Click Reformation 21 on the side and check them out.

Mozart and Teenagers

Sinfonia Sacra, our new teenage orchestra, played publicly for the first time last night for Soli Deo Gloria. They played Mozart's Church Sonata in C Major, KU 178, Allegro. Beautifully done!

New Intern

If you attended worship last night, you noticed a new face on the platform. That was one of our new interns, Robert Polen. Robert is attending Westminster. He is from Phoenix, Arizona (a different side of town from Aaron). He attended Vanderbilt University who lost to my alma mater South Carolina in last Saturday's football game! (The only thing his school has over mine is academics.) Robert's assignments this year is to review and help fine-tune our membership class. We also have him assisting the Strategic Planning Committee, helping with research and writing. He lives in Upper Darby.

Ryken, Ryken, and Glass

That is the lineup for the presentation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, November 17, 7:00 p.m. at the church. Phil Ryken will give a few remarks about his family experience of reading the Narnia Chronicles; Leland Ryken will give teaching on interpreting the book; and Bryan Glass will do dramatic reading. Look for more information to come.

A Hymn to God the Father

Here is the complete John Donne poem that Phil quoted from in yesterday's sermon.


WILT Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And having done that, Thou hast done;
I fear no more.