Friday, March 03, 2006

Day of Prayer Outline

If you would like to see the prayer outline to be used for the Day of Prayer Sunday morning, click the link for DMC Messages on the right.

From the Field

Dear friends,

I am doing well here in Jos, Nigeria at the Rafiki Village. It is a great place that is doing a fastastic job with the kids here. There are 74 orphans and 60 girls in the teenage training program and 9 boys in the new boys training program from kids that live in the area. They are learning so much, are anxious to learn, and are growing in the Lord. At meal time the older kids go around and share what they learned about the Lord and what he is doing in their lives. The school day begins with devotions. These kids live in extremely poor conditions off the campus. Some have lost their parents. The kids come from various tribes, each with their own language. Here at Rafiki they are all forced to speak English, so they learn it very fast.

Today I met a couple of church leaders from the NKST (Christian Reformed Church). They are interested in developing a satellite village through Rafiki. One of these men, who was educated in the USA, was interested in publishing a Nigerian edition of my book on Islam. I had dinner at Joseph Dyaji's home with his wife and children and another pastor who is taking me to Langtang tomorrow morning. I will spend the day in Langtang to help some Presbyterian pastors about their direction.

Bruce McDowell

Oh, Canada!

For you Canadians, there are interesting articles about the PCA's church planting work in Vancouver and Toronto. Go to and click "Grace Vancouver" on the left.

From the 1996 Annual Report

The theme of the second annual Urban Missions Conference was Racial Reconciliation and Community Development. The keynote speaker was Dr. John Perkins, the founder of the Voice of Calvary Church and Urban Family Magazine...

Sojourners held two Divorce Recovery Seminars over four weekends...

Grace Ministry started as a support group in September 1995 and has since grown to become a disability outreach ministry and a training resource for the parishes as they minister to those who are disabled and caregivers...

[Medical Campus Outreach started in 1996.] MCO has sponsored two retreats, city-wide meetings have sprung up, students are growing, the gospel is going forth, and some have come to Christ.

Presbytery Core Value #9

Christ’s body, the Church, is one: This compels us to work in partnership with others of like faith and ministry in order to see our vision become reality.

Our Savior Himself compelled us to do ministry, not alone or in isolation, but in partnership with others of like faith, vision, and ministry when he prayed:
“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23).

Our Presbytery has been given a vision for this region that compels us to work together with others in the body of Christ. None of our congregations can accomplish it alone. None of our churches has been given all of the resources of the Holy Spirit. The various parts of the body of Christ need each other (1 Cor. 12). The body of Christ in the Philadelphia area is rich and diverse. Our vision can be realized only as “the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:16). Partnership within our Presbytery is essential, as are partnerships with other congregations and ministries. Therefore, we want to cultivate communication and cooperation with other parts of the body of Christ and to work in alliances wherever appropriate.

PCRT Begins

Phil is teaching the Pre-PCRT seminar today in Phoenix on the subject "City on a Hill" (the church). I suppose he is using material from his book with that title. Here is the website of the Church of the Redeemer where the conference is being held:

New Members

Last Sunday, the elders received new members into the church. The newest members of our church family are: Jennifer Liddell, Troy & Katie Woolley, Jeremy & Joy Purvis, Jill Rogers, Sarah Spraitzar, David & Maureen White, Jennifer Barnett, Ben & Nicole Black, Nicole Burke, Tom Keim, John & Lori Kempen, Karen Leddy, and Brian Pugh.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Students Becoming Teachers

Recently, the CCA faculty and Ray Withers attended a seminar called "Boys in Crisis" sponsored by PACS (Philadelphia Area Christian Schools) at a school in Germantown. A highlight of the day was meeting up with three former CCA students: Kristine Harper, Jonathan Marshall and Miriam Wright Nesbitt. All three are teaching in Christian elementary schools in the city, and were there, as were the CCA teachers, to learn better how to help the boys and young teens who are so much at risk in the urban culture.

byFaith Notices

These notices are from byFaith newsletter:

2006 Fifty Days of Prayer

Each year Christian Education and Publications (CE&P) and Mission to North America (MNA) sponsor the 50 Days of Prayer for the PCA General Assembly and the ministry of the PCA. TE Mike Ross, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian in Jackson, MS, has written the devotional guide, which draws from James I. Packer’s Theology of Revival to highlight the patterns of God’s reviving work as presented in Scripture. This year’s devotional will guide readers through the promises, pictures, prayers, principles, patterns, problems of and prelude to revival. Each daily devotional also contains prayer requests from the PCA committees and agencies. The 50 days of prayer begins on May 4, the National Day of Prayer and goes through the end of the PCA General Assembly. The devotional entries will be available daily online at during the 50 days. To order the 50 Days of Prayer, click here or call 800-283-1357. The pre-order deadline is March 24; the devotional will be available April 5.

MTW and Ridge Haven Sponsor Conference on Seniors in Missions

Over 50 and wondering how God can use your seasoned gifts and life experience? The Prime Time Missions Conference will be April 24-28, 2006, sponsored by Mission to the World and Ridge Haven Conference Center, will help you explore the answer to that question. Speakers include TE Paul Kooistra, Coordinator of MTW, and TE Dan Iverson, MTW missionary in Japan. There will also be many seminars that will help you learn how you can be part of the growing movement of older adults who are making significant contributions to God's Kingdom. For information or to register, call 800-270-9932 or click here.

PCA Creation Study Review

In an essay, Creation Study Redux, RE Ray Williams recalls the diversity-of-views position adopted by the 2000 PCA General Assembly regarding the duration of the creation-day in Genesis 1. The adopted position is analyzed in light of today’s Intelligent Design/Evolution debate and makes some suggestions regarding possible future action. To read the essay, click here.

From the 1995 Annual Report

In June the congregation voted to extend a call to Dr. Philip Ryken to serve as an Associate Minister. Dr. Ryken began his teaching of God's Word in September with a series from Ruth and later continued his expositional teaching from Philippians. With Dr. Ryken's ministry, the format of the evening service changed slightly to include a "Window on the World" segment to focus on significant social, cultural, and political issues in our world...

At the December meeting of the congregation, approval was given to proceed with air conditioning the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall.

Presbytery Core Value #8

Ministry in the city of Philadelphia is a missional priority.

We have been called to minister in the Philadelphia area. It is impossible to minister effectively in our area without giving attention to the unique needs, opportunities, and challenges of the city itself. Too often the evangelical church has run away from the needs of our cities, seeing them only as centers of crime, poverty, and corruption. But the city of Philadelphia is our primary mission field, and we believe that the Lord Jesus has a redemptive plan for it. We long to see the city of Philadelphia (and its surrounding area) reflect the beauty of the New Jerusalem, the holy city of God. We rejoice in the rich history, diversity, and complexity of the city—and the unique opportunities for the Gospel that it represents. We rejoice that the world has come to us with so many cultures represented here. We long to be used by the Lord to have a lasting impact on the city and its many cultures.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Day of Prayer

The quarterly Day of Prayer is this Sunday. Please attend, especially if you already attend SS. All classes join together in their respective hours to uphold the church (both local and universal) in prayer. I'll post info later as to who is leading the sessions.

From the 1994 Annual Report

We were able to retire the church's entire mortgage (over $100,000 at the beginning of the year), while paying for major roof truss repairs, reroofing over the sanctuary and setting aside enough funds to complete the preservation of the stained glass windows and exterior painting...

Other significant events of City Light included two "Concert-on-the-Steps." These featured music performed by City Lighters on the front steps of Tenth. The concerts were held on Wednesday evenings as part of Philadelpia's "Make it a Night' project. Our goal was outreach to the community surrounding Tenth....

The most exciting development this year has been the start of an international worship service called Tenth International Fellowship. It developed out of the internationals Sunday school class being taught by Bruce McDowell and a Bible study being taught by Tom Keenan...

Presbytery Core Value #7

Church planting is of first importance to saturate Philadelphia with the Gospel.

To reach new people you need new churches. The New Testament shows the expansion of the Church primarily through the starting of new churches. Individuals are changed by the Gospel, and then they go to others with that good news. As new people are reached in new places, new churches spring up. When the church in Jerusalem was scattered by the great persecution following Stephen's martyrdom, "those who had been scattered preached the Word wherever they went" (Acts 8:4). Paul later devoted his ministry to planting new churches wherever there were groups of people who had not heard the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. He said, "It has always been my ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation" (Rom. 15:20). To the church in Corinth he opened his heart when he wrote, "Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you" (2 Cor. 10:15,16). We believe this pattern still holds today. It must shape our ministry priorities for reaching Philadelphia.

Would You Let This Guy Sell You a Car?

Jonathan McCarthy got chosen for jury duty. I didn't get chosen (and I don't have a ponytail!).

Beam Me, Scotty

So, Bill offers to send Steve an email address. I look up to tell Steve, Bill doesn't need to do that because the address is on the paper directory he has. But he and Bill are pointing these little boxes at each other and Bill is beaming the address to him. I was the only guy without a palm pilot at the CT meeting, but at least I was the only one with a blog! Brian, are you reading this with your raspberry?

CT Meeting

I'm dashing off to a 7:30 am meeting with the presbytery Coordinating Team to debrief over the first presbytery meeting. The team includes Frank Moser (Stated Clerk), Ron Ferner (Treasurer), and team chairs John Julien (Church Planting), Steve Huber (Church Health), Bill Krispin (Leadership Development), and Steve Smallman (Shepherding).

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Core Value #6 (Of Philadelphia Presbytery)

We are committed to the nurturing of healthy, growing, and reproducing churches.

By its very nature, Jesus’ Church is a vital, spiritual organism. It is the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27); it is the temple God is building, with Christ himself as the cornerstone, where He lives by his Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22). As one expression of Jesus’ Church we as a presbytery long to know that vitality ourselves and, in turn, to nurture such vitality in all of our congregations until “we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). A spiritually healthy church will also be a growing church, with the Lord adding to their number those whom he is saving. They will also pray and work for the nurture of their own children, conversion of unbelievers, and the planting of healthy new congregations.

CCA Open House

CCA will be hosting an open house this Friday, March 3 from 4:30-7:30. All are encouraged to attend.

SHS Article

Click here to read the Tenth Press article I had written in preparation for the spiritual health survey in early February.

Funeral Reminder

A reminder that the funeral for Lance Lewis' mother is Thursday, March 2. The viewing is from 9 until 10:30 a.m. with the service following at 10:30. It will be at Holy Temple Church of God in Christ located at 60th and Callowhill Sts. in West Philly. For those who wish to visit the family or send cards, Lance's sister's address is (Dawn Lewis Robinson) 6042 Columbia Ave., Phila PA 19151.

Phoenix Phil

Phil takes off this afternoon (with Lisa) to Phoenix for the first of the PCRTS. He plans to be back for Sunday services. Pray for safety traveling, fruit in preaching, and blessing on his and Lisa's time together as they celebrate her birthday.

Spiritual Health Survey

This Sunday we will administer the spiritual health survey. I will preach on the subject of "True Spiritual Health" from 1 John 5:1-5. I recommend you read the whole epistle for preparation. The survey should take 15-20 minutes; you may take longer if necessary. The nursery folks will be prepared to stay a little longer.

The survey will be posted on the church website after Sunday if you would like your own copy or take it another time. The surveys will be sent to an outside source to count and collate. Thus, no one at Tenth will be examining individual surveys. Anonymity is assured. We will not be able to include surveys taken after Sunday in the count and collation, but because of the mass number taking them, the dozen or so added later would not affect the overall information we would receive. Even so, we encourage you to take the survey for your own benefit. This is a good tool for self-evaluation. You may want to use the survey for discussion in your small groups or another Christian friend. You are encouraged to go to your elders and pastors with the results.

We look to the survey to help the elders get some kind of idea of how our people are benefiting from the church, but also what are areas where the care and instruction we are giving is not meeting the needs of our people.

Monday, February 27, 2006

PCRT Request

Hi Marion:

Please post this on your blog:

PCRT is in urgent need of volunteers for the bookstore, information table, and hospitality. Those who volunteer for 3 hours receive a full set of PCRT CDs and free overflow registration. Please contact Pat Russell at x243 or


Evangelical Shifts

Ed Mutzer sent me this article in The Inquirer. Click here to read.

Keller and the Times

Check out this article on Tim Keller in the New York Times.

From the Field

Bruce sent this report in yesterday:

Things are going well on our trip to Ghana and Liberia. The Rafiki Village in Accra is a beautiful place with very well cared for children. They have a couple of sets of triplets and a few pairs of twins. They just got a pair of twins that were 5 days old after the mother bled to death in child birth. Presently they have 59 children, with more coming.

We got to our hotel here in Monrovia about 2 1/2 hours ago and had dinner in the hotel restaurant where we ate a couple of times last year when our team was here. We arrived a few hours late to Monrovia because our plane was late coming from Lagos, Nigeria. I rode alone with the driver taking all of our luggage. PTL, I was able to lead him to the Lord. He is from the Var tribe, an unreached Muslim tribe that no one is reaching, according to the Unreached, Unengaged People Groups list from the group Finishing the Task. His parents died in the war, and he said he had been wanting to become a Christian, but did not have anyone to explain to him how. I was able tell him about a church and pastor I know not far from where he lives. Pray for Thomas, named after a friend of his father, even though his parents were Muslim. Pray his wife too will believe.

Tomorrow we will go to a ground breaking ceremony for the new Rafiki Village they are going to be building. A Rafiki staff couple are here who made arrangements for us. They used to work in Zambia. Tuesday we will be visiting the orphan homes that we have been supporting.

New Church Plant

Tuck Bartholomew and Phil Ryken will present information regarding a new PCA church plant in University City tonight, February 27, at 7:30 pm at JD and Alice Atkins residence, 427 S. 43rd Street, Philadelphia (NE Corner of Osage and 43rd).

(Note: This is not a work of Tenth, but of the presbytery. Tonight's meeting is to provide opportunity for Tenth members living in the area to know about the new work.)

WGM Fire

This message concerning WGM was sent to me:

Whosoever Gospel Mission suffered a fire this weekend. The fire was in the sorting/production area, the area full of all their donations, and because of the water damage and then the broken windows in the shelter, that area is also a mess. Because they have been under the grandfather clause which allowed them to not have to install additional fire exits, and now those exits no longer exist, the shelter is closed. They currently are covered under their insurance, but that $ amount will obviously increase, including the time it would take to fix what is broken. The homeless men are temporarily in another shelter in southwest Philly somewhere, but the WSE still needs prayer. Yesterday was also their grand opening for their new thrift location on Rising Sun Ave.

Pray for the mission and its director, Bob Emberger, as they regroup.

From the 1990 Annual Report

Impact continued to emphasize cross-cultural communication in early 1990, Body Life Skills in late 1990, and prayer throughout the year...

The Single Parent Family Ministry seeks to provide emotional and spiritual support to Tenth Church's single parents (and others) in their unique circumstances. SPFM's steering committee is made up, predominantly, of single parents. We are serving our Lord Jesus as "wounded healers" in his name. Having been healed by Christ, we are able to assist in the healing of others...

Over the past four years, the drawing together of women members at Tenth Church has been developing new expression. The purpose of this arising ministry is to bring women of varied ages, wide-spread communities, and diverse ministries to greater unity in Christ personally, with each other, and in extension, to the world...

Our new Organist and Director of Music is Robert J. Carwithen who comes to Tenth after some 30 years of distinguished service to other churches in the Philadelphia area. Mr. Carwithen assumed his duties on November 1...

Presbytery Core Value 5

The heart of our King also compels us to engage our communities in deeds of mercy and love, of justice and truth.

God's heart moves Him relentlessly to implement His holy agenda through His redeemed people, the Church. Isaiah tells us that when justice is driven back, when righteousness stands at a distance, when truth stumbles in the streets, when honesty cannot enter, when truth is nowhere to be found, when whoever shuns evil becomes a prey,... when the Lord sees this and there is no one among His people to intervene, He is displeased and appalled (see Isa. 59:14-16).

Jesus also made it clear in his ministry that the Kingdom was to be lived out as well as taught. He not only preached the gospel of forgiveness and reconciliation, but he demonstrated it in acts of healing, compassion for the hungry and poor, and passion for justice. This is Jesus’ agenda for his Church; we are to continue, in the power of the Spirit, what “Jesus began to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1). “Christ’s love compels us, and he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

Therefore, putting feet on our faith, we seek to bring the power of the Gospel—through word, deed, and community—to our neighborhoods and communities in social healing, racial reconcili­ation, justice, and cultural renewal, by God’s power. We are called to be salt and light in our culture through our work, Christian ministries, and all of our relationships. Ministries of word and deed need to complement each other, because “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Parking Tickets

For some unknown reason parking tickets were issued to cars legally parked yesterday (i.e. in designated spots for Tenth with a placard showing on the dashboard). If this happened to you, fax or mail a copy to Dot who will contact the parking authority on your behalf. Our fax number is 215.735.3960.

Boice Presentation

If you would like to read the talk I gave yesterday about Dr. Boice, I've posted it on my blogsite "DMC Messages." The link is on the right column.