The following is a post from Germany where I am preaching a conference on “Don’t Hold Back: Essentials of the Reformed Faith for Faithful Service in a Pluralistic Setting.”
The Lord has blessed this Presbyterian and Reformed Commission on Chaplaincy conference in the land of Luther. This morning I preached at the morning worship service (which was conducted with Psalm singing only to honor the presence of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America in our Commission, and what a beautiful service it was with these sweet Psalms set to familiar tunes and sung heartily with tears in some of our eyes). Afterwards, we took a walk up on the hills of the Alps, then a gondola ride. The Alps above this typically quant and quiet Bavarian village of Kochel are resplendent with Narnia-like sights of grand conifer and hard wood forests all covered with pure white powder, and set most gloriously by God above a deep, blue glacier lake far below. The weather here remains most frigid and snowing with low visibility. However, the Bavarians’ hospitality with their delight of heaping up apple strudel with vanilla cream and my almost constant, sedentary study and work are conspiring together, I think, to add pounds. Thus I was eager to take this walk in spite of this unwelcoming Central European winter weather!
Here is a photo that reveals something of the weather, if not the dark circles under my eyes. Yes, it has been tiring, in a good way. But Mae and John Michael come tomorrow morning and we shall take some times of R&R with thanksgiving and I am hoping for some rest. When I return home, after time at the seminary, I am to go to preach at Twin Oaks PCA in St. Louis, so the break between the most ambitious schedule behind me and the challenging opportunities ahead is most welcome. Staying at the American military retreat, we are hoping to go to Dachau, Heidelberg (the Catechism was shaped here in this most beautiful city), Worms (“Here I Stand”), Luxembourg (where there is the Patton museum and the American cemetery), Innsbruck, and simply take in the beauty of the Alps in this Bavarian land. Touring for us is as relaxing as sitting on the beach is for others, so we are looking forward to it (once Mae and John Michael sleep off the travel).
I bring the last message tonight on faithful Gospel ministry in a pluralistic setting, and with a prayer meeting afterwards. There has been the announcement of the Institute for Chaplain Ministry and great interest. CH (BG) Doug Lee announced that “this is the first and only Master of Divinity with a chaplain emphasis in any Reformed seminary,” which was a happy announcement for all, and one that I did not ask for (but for which I most appreciative). We are most ambitious to promote this as a vehicle to prepare chaplains to carry on the Gospel ministry in this global war on Islamic Jihadist terrorists.
One thing every American Christian can be thankful for: the faithful preaching of our chaplains here in Europe and their witnessing among the Germans and other Europeans. They are truly missionaries, not only to the military, but to Western Europe. People are being saved, lives transformed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your prayers.
Onward and forward (Philippians 3.13-14)!
Yours in the Lord,