Saturday, February 28, 2009

Supposing Him to be the Gardener #8: Suffering, difficulties and bereavement final

Continued from my reading. Final post on suffering in Spurgeon's sermon. This is also the final quote from his sermon. I hope you've found these small digestible quotes an encouragement to your life and ministry.

"I sat with my friend and secretary in that garden some fifteen days ago, and we were then in perfect health, rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord. We returned home, and within five days I was smitten with disabling pain; and worse, far worse than that, he was called upon to lose his wife. We said to one another as we sat there reading the word of God and meditating, "How happy we are! Dare we think of being so happy? Must it not speedily end?" I little thought I should have to say for him, "Alas, my brother, thou art brought very low, for the delight of thine eyes is taken from thee." But here is our comfort: the Lord hath done it. The best rose in the garden is gone. Who has taken it? The gardener came this way and gathered it. He planted it and watched over it, and now he has taken it. Is not this most natural? Does anybody weep because of that? No; everybody knows that it is right, and according to the order of nature that he should come and gather the best in the garden. If you are sore troubled by the loss of your beloved, yet dry your grief by supposing him to be the gardener." Kiss the hand that has wrought you such grief? Brethren beloved, remember the next time the Lord comes to your part of the garden, and he may do so within the next week, he will only gather his own flowers, and would you prevent his doing so even if you could?"
Page 23-24, Supposing Him to be the Gardener ( Sermon #1699 )
Previous Spurgeon entries:
Supposing Him to be the Gardener (#1)

Friday, February 27, 2009

So Much to Write About

People tell me that a blog should limit itself to one or two topics. For example, if I want to do book reviews, I shouldn't do loads of theological topics, or talk about the persecuted church or random daily life. While I agree with the idea, it just isn't applicable for me (or I simply choose to ignore it). I will not do book reviews (in English). The blog world has several excellent readers that recommend great God-centered books. 
But just after today, I was reminded, that I would have to handle anywhere between 10-15 blogs if I were to be organized with my topics. I just can't bear that kind of strain. I'm just not THAT organized.
Today at school, I overheard (not engaged) a conversation about sex and all kinds of twisted ideas from the beauty of sex as God intends it. As I drove home, I saw a teenage girl fight with her boyfriends. My initial thought was, drop those jerks they're not for you. But then she gave them the finger and I just mourned for my generation. We are destroying ourselves. We go about not thinking, not wanting to think about the meaning of our life. Sleeping about, destroying the beauty of sexuality and of marriage and exchanging the satisfaction of God for worthless idols.
Then when I got home I glanced through the village paper. There was a schedule for the Family Planning section. On the same line were "contraceptives, abortion (in France they call it volontary interruption of pregnancy), and women's rights". I just wanted to burn the paper in sadness and in anger. If I wrote an article advertising my services to tell them about Jesus, it would be forbidden in our secular society. But to have feminists come and tell you what are the options available to kill your baby, that is welcomed!
Then of course I would also like to tell you about daily life in France and about daily Bible readings. There is also life in a small French church. There is so much to tell you about!

Supposing Him to be the Gardener #7: Suffering, difficulties and bereavement continued

Continued from my reading. Second of three posts on suffering.

"I am persuaded that the Lord hath done nothing amiss to any one of his people; that no child of his can rightly complain that he has been whipped with too much severity; and that no one branch of the vine can truthfully declare that it has been pruned with too sharp an edge. No; what the Lord has done is the best that could have been done, the very thing that you and I, if we could have possessed infinite wisdom and love, would have wished to have done; therefore let us stop each thought of murmuring, and say, "The Lord hath done it," and be glad."
Page 23, Supposing Him to be the Gardener ( Sermon #1699 )
Previous Spurgeon entries:
Supposing Him to be the Gardener (#1)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jesus: Man, Messiah, or More?

Was Jesus really the Son of God and the Messiah the Bible claims, or was He merely human like the rest of us? For the last 10 years, a group of scholars have been studying this very issue. Watch as they put forth their evidence, and then decide for yourself who Jesus really was. The first video is available now.

#73 Getting Caught Off-Guard by Divorce

Jon at Stuff Christians Like wrote a short little note on divorce. It's worth taking the 90 seconds to read it. The post has a more serious tone than most of his. That's probably why I liked it.

How to preach about the recession (Matt Chandler)

I listened to the whole talk on the Desiring God website. The title was something like, "How to pastor the unregenerate sheep". Its well worth your time if you're asking yourself the question. This clip is more of a funny part. 
All I seem to remember from it is the line, "debt is dumb".

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Public Schools: A Tyrannical Intellectual Stagnation?

I just read this and found it worth sharing. French schools are a living-proof of Machen's statement. Why are French Private schools better than the heavily funded Public schools? Read one:
"The only way in which a state-controlled school can be kept even relatively healthy is through the absolutely free possibility of competition by private schools and church schools; if it once becomes monopolistic, it is the most effective engine of tyranny and intellectual stagnation that has yet been devised."
J. Gresham Machen (from Desiring God blog)

French Stereotypes and French Policemen

My mother has a fun story of being an American in northern France. I'm sure she would claim she's never bribed the police force, but I wonder what she calls cookies and coffee. You can read the story on the Kapi Family Blog.

Supposing Him to be the Gardener #6: Suffering, difficulties and bereavement

Continued from my reading. I hesitated before posting this. I know many that are suffering this very instant and I am in no way dismissing them. But still supposing Jesus to be the gardener, can we complain of our sufferings?
"The Lord has been pruning you sharply, cutting off your best boughs, and you seem to be like a thing despised that is constantly tormented with the knife. Yes, but "supposing him to be the gardener," suppose that your loving Lord has wrought it all, that from his own hand all your grief has come, every cut, and every gash, and every slip: does not this alter the case? Hath not the Lord done it? Well, then, if it be so, put your finger to your lip and be quiet, until you are able from your heart to say, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord.""
Page 23, Supposing Him to be the Gardener ( Sermon #1699 )
Previous Spurgeon entries:
Supposing Him to be the Gardener (#1)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Netherlands, Here We Come!

The Logos Hope has left Sweden headed for the Netherlands. Jérémie has news of the time in Sweden as well as details of the voyage to Harlingen. I've got to get him to start putting up photos! For your information, Harlingen will be Port #2 in the Logos Hope history of ports. THAT is pretty cool. I wish I could join them!
Pray that the crew will rapidly gain an understanding of how things work. Jérémie did mention that everything is new for everyone, so it can be interesting at times... Pray also that each young crewmember will be focused on glorifying God in all that they do.
For those among you that had watched the departure video and wondered how Ruben did it, you can check out their blog. Oops, its in French... Well the photo is clear enough! :)

Supposing Him to be the Gardener #5: Regarding succession of leadership

Continued from my reading. Still supposing Jesus to be the gardener, must we worry when key people of our ministries leave? It's a rather long quote, but its worth the read for those who take the time. Remember, read out loud. It's beautiful.

"And then, again, there is that succession in the garden which we can not keep up. Plants will die down, and others must be put into their places or the garden will grow bare, but we know not where to find these fresh flowers. We say, "When yonder good man dies who will succeed him?" That is a question I have heard many a time, till I am rather weary of it. Who is to follow such a man? Let us wait till he is gone and needs following. Why sell the man's coat when he can wear it himself? We are apt to think when this race of good brethren shalt die of it that none will arise worthy to unloose the latchets of their shoes. Well, friend, I could suppose a great many things, but this morning my text is, "Supposing him to be the gardener," and on that supposition I expect that the Lord has other plants in reserve which you have not yet, seen, and these wilt exactly fit into our places when they become empty, and the Lord will keep up the true apostolical succession till the day or his second advent. In every time of darkness and dismay, when the heart sinks and the spirits decline, and we think it is all over with the church of God, let us fall back on this, "Supposing him to be the gardener," and expect to see greater and better things than these. We are at the end of our wits, but he is not at the beginning of his yet: we are nonplussed, but he never will be; therefore let us wait and be tranquil, "supposing him to be the gardener."
Page 21, Supposing Him to be the Gardener ( Sermon #1699 )
Previous Spurgeon entries:
Supposing Him to be the Gardener (#1)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Remarkable Spurgeon: Supposing Him to be the Gardener #4

Continued from my reading. A quote from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon. This one speaks of working without seeing fruit.
"While this relieves us of anxiety it makes labor for Christ very sweet, because if the garden does not seem to repay us for our trouble we say to ourselves, "It is not, my garden after all. 'Supposing him to be the gardener,' I am quite willing to work on a barren piece of rock, or tie up an old withered bough, or dig a worthless sod; for, if it only pleases Jesus, the work is for that one sole reason profitable to the last degree. It is not mine to question the wisdom of my task, but to set about it in the name of my Master and Lord. 'Supposing him to be the gardener,' lifts the ponderous responsibility of it from me, and my work becomes pleasant and delightful."
Page 20, Supposing Him to be the Gardener ( Sermon #1699 )
Previous Spurgeon entries:
Supposing Him to be the Gardener (#1)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thanks for praying for Thessalonians in Feignies

Things went rather well. I'd forgotten that we had our annual meeting (something required by law in France). A rather official thing, but a good time to check pulses and talk about the future. Our church officially has 29 members.
I'm obsolutely dead tired. My sermon preparation was perhaps the worst I've ever had. I was just too tired. I wonder what it would have been without your prayers! :) I think I might reward myself with a Spurgeon sermon… if I can stay awake.

OK, I'm not married, it's still funny!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Remarkable Spurgeon Sermons to be continued

Spurgeon quotes have ceased all of a sudden (last week). This will be remedied as soon as this weekend is over. I've finished reading the first sermon, "Supposing Him to be the gardener" and found it good. Have several more passages I want you to read. The best thing of course is just to read the whole sermon. You can find it on the previous Spurgeon posts of my blog.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Please Pray for Me as I Prepare the Sermon This Sunday

I've been assigned 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 as sermon text for Sunday 22nd of February. I remember reading the passage a few months ago, as we were dividing up the letter into six passages. As I read, I knew who should preach that text. I found it rich, wonderful and so full of questions that needed answers.

I was hoping my father would be assigned the few first verses of chapter four. Instead, here I am preparing to preach on a topic I'm hesitant to speak on, sanctification/holiness.

Please pray for me. Ask God to give me humility, wisdom and strength to preach to glorify God. Pray also that I would have much love for the flock of Feignies (the church I attend). Thank you.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Logos Hope Sailing Already On Video!

Fresh from the studios, here is a Logos Hope video showing the ship sailing. The leaders give a few words and there are some good shots of the departure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What I Miss Most of the Woman Known to Most as Sophie Kapitaniuk

To you she was Sophie. To me she was 'Mamy'. 3 months have now gone by since she has gone to be with Jesus. The pain has lessened (as it should), but I still think of her often. Here are a few things I'll miss of my grandmother.
  • Her prayer. Daily she prayed. On Sundays, at church she would pray "Lord bless your servant," as the preacher stood. During the week I would drop by and ask her to pray for specific things. I don't know what will be the consequence of her prayers. I also cannot say what will now be the consequences of the lack of prayer, in our family, in our church and in our city.
  • Her excitement. Though she was 75 years-old, she was easily glad when she heard stories of people taking risks for Jesus. She loved missions because she loved Jesus.
  • Her listening ear. I know many women (and men) tend to become talkers as they age. They go on tangents and you just have to bear with them. Not so with Mamy. She really listened. She loved to offer advice, but she always listened. I miss being able to talk to her. I miss reading the Bible to her.
  • Her presence. At the birth of my youngest cousin I cried at the realization that she would never know our grandmother. When, God willing, I have children, I will not be able to show them to Mamy. She loved children, and few things made her happier than holding babies.
3 months have come and gone. I still think of Mamy daily. I'm simply glad that her suffering is over and that she is happy now. Her love was God and to himself has gathered her. She is in heaven because she trusted Jesus as her saviour.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Evolution & Religion: They're Closely Related

This graph speaks volumes and I thought you should see it for yourselves. It's the outcome of a study by the Pew Research Center.  The numbers concern US population only. France would be pitiful. I have no illusions as to the thought Christians here put into these matters. French Christians are American Jews...

Source: Justin Taylor

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Think My Wife's a Calvinist Video

You've probably seen this. But I watched this video for the first time and had a good laugh.

Supposing Him to be the Gardener (#3)

Continued from my reading. A quote from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon.
"Supposing him to be the gardener," there is another duty, and that is, let each one of us yield himself up entirely to him. A plant does not know how it ought to be treated; it knows not when it should be watered or when it should be kept dry: a fruit-tree is no judge of when it needs to be pruned, or digged, or dunged. The wit and wisdom of the garden lieth not in the flowers and shrubs, but in the gardener. Now, then, if you and I are here to-day with any self-will and carnal judgment about us, let us seek to lay it all aside that we may be absolutely at our Lord's disposal. […] 
Depend upon it, happiness lives next door to the spirit of complete acquiescence in the will of God, and it will be easy to exercise that perfect acquiescence when we suppose the Lord Jesus to be the gardener. If the Lord hath done it; what has a saint to say? Oh thou afflicted one, the Lord hath done it: wouldest thou have it otherwise? Nay, art thou not thankful that it is even so, because so is the will of him in whose hand thy life is, and whose are all thy ways? The duty of submission is very plain, "supposing him to be the gardener."

Page 18, Supposing Him to be the Gardener ( Sermon #1699 )

Supposing Him to be the Gardener (#1)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Supposing Him to be the Gardener (#2)

"Supposing him to be the gardener."
John 20:15
“Let your imaginations run along with mine while I say that "supposing him to be the gardener" should be A SPUR TO MANY DUTIES.
    One of the duties of a Christian is joy. That is a blessed religion which among its precepts commands men to be happy. When joy becomes a duty, who would wish to neglect it?”
Page 17, Supposing Him to be the Gardener ( Sermon #1699 )
Supposing Him to be the Gardener (#1)

DIY Blank Bible. You Don't know What is a Blank Bible?

For those of you who wouldn't know, Jonathan Edward's Bible is famous, not just a little, but big-time famous. He cut up his Bible and between every page of it, he inserted a blank page, after which he bound it back together to form a massive, Edwards Study Bible.
This blog gives us a how to for our own Study Bibles. If anyone is interested, you ought to check it out.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

50 Remarkable Spurgeon Sermons (#1)

I've found this first sermon to be most helpful (and beautiful). So here are a few excerpts from it. Remember to read it out-loud, it is the best way to understand the richness of the text.
"Supposing him to be the gardener."
John 20:15
The wonder is that ever you and I should have been placed among the plants of the Lord. Why are we allowed to grow in the garden of his grace? Why me Lord? Why me? How is it that we have been kept there and borne with in our barrenness, when he might long ago have said, "Cut it down: why cumbereth it the ground?"[…]
I know not how it is that we have been spared, except upon this ground—"supposing him to be the gardener"; for Jesus is all gentleness and grace, so slow with his knife, so tardy with his axe, so hopeful if we do but show a bud or two, or, perchance, yield a little sour berry—so hopeful, I say, that these may be hopeful prognostics of something better by-and-by. Infinite patience! Immeasurable longsuffering! where are ye to be found save in the breast of the Well-beloved? Surely the hoe has spared many of us simply and only because he who is meek and lowly in heart is the gardener.”
Page 16, Supposing Him to be the Gardener ( Sermon #1699 )

Jérémie is Getting Settled in and the Logos Hope Will Sail Soon!

Go read the post on my brother Jérémie's blog. He's just joined with his Preship (PST on his blog) and is settling to life onboard. 
He doesn't mention what his job is, so I will. He's been assigned to the Engine Room and from the conversation I overheard, he's already come to believe its the best department onboard (he's probably right, for the while, as the deck department isn't a pleasant place to work when its freezing outside. But things will change when they hit the tropics!).

The God Who Is There (by DA Carson)

In an essay entitled “Do Christians Have a Worldview?” Graham Cole begins with the following lines as his opening paragraph:
He took the blade. It was bright silver. He loved the way it glistened. It felt good in his hand. He cut deep into her chest again and again. He showed no emotion, no recognition of her humanity. She lay motionless, her life gone. He made no attempt to cover the body. Later that night over a beer he openly talked to a stranger in the bar about what he had done. The stranger felt ill.
What does the paragraph mean? If the words refer to a serial killer boasting about his latest savage triumph, the sentences are pretty ghastly, and the man in the bar should call the police. On the other hand, if the words refer to a forensic pathologist who talks about his autopsy of a particularly interesting corpse, there is no criminality (though there may be a lack of professionalism in talking like this to a stranger). How you interpret the quoted lines depends entirely on the context...

Read the rest of the article. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Great Spurgeon Quotes Later Today!

Having read the first Remarkable Spurgeon sermon, I just can't keep it for myself. I'll be posting the best quotes without commenting on them. If you think I should comment, I can... 
Remember to read them out loud. Spurgeon MUST be read out loud to get the beauty (and often the meaning!).
First quote: later today. As I've said before, have a great weekend and please be praying for me. Thanks!

La Ferme des Kapi

You've got to check out the photo of the snowmen on our family blog. It doesn't snow here like we'd like it to. But my brothers and sisters seem to have no problem doing the best with what God gives…

50 Remarkable Sermons by Charles H. Spurgeon

While attending a gathering in Switzerland, I visited their second hand book section. I found it rather interesting, although it contained no French books worth reading. Instead, I found old books from authors that have gone to be with Jesus, many years ago.
In the end, I only bought one book (because I'd come by train), but I think it is a rare find, a treasure. A collection of 50 Remarkable Sermons by Charles Spurgeon, printed in 1908. I bought a hundred year-old book of Spurgeon for just over a dollar! I love second-hand books!
As I glanced through the book, I found a wonderful sermon. I'd been longing to read it again, ever since a friend onboard the Doulos read it out loud to me in his Irish accent. The title of the sermon is: High Doctrine and Broad Doctrine (sermon #1762 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle). It is a gem of Bible exposition. To hear the scriptures preached with such force and beauty was a memorable occasion. You'd have to read it for yourself, but until you find the book, you can read the Bible and be amazed for yourself.
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me ; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37 (KJV as quoted in High Doctrine and Broad Doctrine)
A good weekend to all. Enjoy the extra free time to read your Bibles and be with God!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shockwave 2009, Will You Be There?

Shockwave 2009 is from March 6 to March 8. Young Christians from around the world will gather to pray for the persecuted Christians around the world. Join us to pray that God would glorify himself through his children.

A Tribute to My Grandmother Sophie Kapitaniuk

The following post is a shortened version of the tribute I wrote to Mamy the week she died:

November 11, 2008

’Mamy’, as we called her, has gone to be with Jesus and is most happy now. Mamy was a pillar and model to me. Her influence upon my life is incalculable because she was a woman of prayer with great faith in God.

Though 75 years-old, she laughed like a child. God and the Bible were her greatest sources of happiness. When I dedicated my life to missions, she was perhaps the most excited of my whole family. In my grandparent's view, missions and the pastoral ministry were the highest callings and they wished to see the world engulfed in worship of Jesus.

The Bible was a daily source of comfort and strength. She savoured and meditated upon God's word each day. Because her sight was so diminished, she had to be read to. I often wonder why God would take away the sight of a woman who so loved the Bible, while most of us, though seeing, do not treasure the Bible as we ought.

By her death, Mamy leaves a void in my life. She was a friend, a prayer-partner, a counselor and my grandmother. Though short in stature, she is high in my esteem. Her treasure was Jesus, and therefore, in heaven was her heart. She lived out Psalm 71:

    "Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come." Psalm 71:18

Though dead, her life will continue to speak. Death was gain to her, so her life was well lived. If there is one thing she would want for each of us, is that we not waste our momentary earthly lives. 'The best is to come,' she told me recently and now that time has come for her.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shall I Sell My Virginity on Ebay?

Ok, that was just a rhetorical question. The title is just a spoof. It came to mind after I described the situation I was experiencing in school.
There are nine of us in my class. That would be me and eight young women. For those who know me, I don't mind that in the least! :-)
But having no other guy around does make it a bit awkward at times. Yesterday (a Thursday tradition), we had lunch together and the conversation did not head where I would have hoped. Instead, from breasts, bras and lingerie, they spoke of sex, erectile dysfunction and life in the bedroom.
I was there the whole time, either engaged in side conversations or the center of attention as the girls have found it fun to taunt and tease me for my lack of experience and my complete virginity (and views on marriage)...
Although they try to make it clear that virginity isn't cool, their efforts seem to prove the contrary...

"Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love."
The book of Proverbs chapter 5 verse 19

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jiffy Lou #101 from the Rebelution Blog

The Rebelution blog has a whole bunch of Homeschooler comic strips. You might enjoy them. Click on the comic strip to enlarge.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jérémie K has his photo on the OM Ships website!

You can go read the first article written about the new recruits and see both Jérémie and Betsy in the photo!

Who is Jérémie K?

For those of you who have asked me, "who is Jérémie?" I thought I should explain as I'll be keeping tabs on him over the next two years. Jérémie K is my little brother. He's just joined OM onboard their new ship, the Logos Hope.
I guess he liked what he heard from my three years onboard the Doulos, but didn't want to join the same ship as his big brother! :-)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jérémie has arrived onboard the Logos Hope and there's video!

I don't have the video. It wasn't easy to embed it here, so you can go see it on Jérémie's blog and on the Logos Hope website of course.
The 39 new recruits walked onboard the Logos Hope to a warm welcome. You can pray that they rapidly integrate the community. It isn't an easy transition for either parties. The welcomers have just said goodbye to many good friends (having completed their 2-year commitment) and the welcomed are entering a strange new world.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Life-A Powerful Ad

A Few Photos From My Italian Weekend

As you probably know, I flew to Italy last weekend to visit friends from the Doulos. We spent three years together onboard and had a great time meeting up, talking, laughing and encouraging one another. If you want to have a look at the photos, you can just go see the Facebook album.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

John Calvin? Who's that?

2009 is the 500th birthday of John Calvin. What's cool is that he's a French dude and we're still talking about him 500 years later. Cooler still is the fact that he was a Christian and coolest of all is that this guy wrote amazing Christ-centered books of theology, in French. It takes a Frenchman to understand how cool that last statement was.
So on my To Read list for 2009 is a landmark book, The Institutes of Christian Religion. I hear so much about Calvin and by my protestant roots deeply indebted to the work of the man, but I realize I don't know him yet. I intend to remedy that before the year is over.
If you want to know more about a dead guy that is still famous (500 years later), you can start here.