Grace Covenant Church

Grace Covenant Church
2101 East 50th Street, Texarkana, AR

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Advent Season Begins

One of many great hymns of the season.

The First Sunday of Advent Season, November 27, 2011
Sunday School, 9:30am

Worship Service, 10:40am
Being and Doing

Saturday, December 3
Hanging of the Greens
“Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly”
There will be food, children’s activities, and decorating for the adults.
This is a family event. Please do leave unattended children.

Sunday, December 4
The Second Sunday of Advent
Fellowship Meal after the Worship Service
Officers’ Meeting at 1:30
(We will begin setting goals and making plans for the new year.)

Further Announcements for the Month of December

Calendars should be posted, e-mailed, and printed later this week.

Yulefest--TCC choir and local school choirs, including Veritas Academy
Friday, December 2 at the Sullivan Performing Arts Center at 7:30

Veritas Academy Christmas Concert: The Light of the World
First United Methodist Church, Arkansas
Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 6:30

Sunday, December 18
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lessons and Carols--A Christmas Service
No Sunday School that day.

Sunday, December 25
Christmas Day
Worship Service at 10:40
No Sunday School that day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sunday, November 13: Pray for the Persecuted Church

Some instructions for tomorrow:

1.  Make sure you are not being followed.

2. Conceal your Bible carefully, perhaps by having itsewn inside your coat.

3.  Enter the undisclosed place we are gathering at *&^%,  one or two people at a time, so as to not arouse suspicion.

4.  Be careful about any strangers who show up. They may be agents.

5.  Children whose parents have disowned them will be allowed to stay in homes of church members.

6.  If captured and threatened, remember the crown of glory that awaits you.

7.  Any who are able to make contact with members in prison, please do so, and be extra careful.

8.  Know that Brothers and Sisters in Christ in free lands are praying earnestly for all of us.

No, I have not lost my mind, nor am I more paranoid about our government than I should be.  I am simply trying to describe what many of our brothers and sisters in Christ face every day.  Sunday school tomorrow will consist of prayer time being devoted to the persecuted church.  We have a short video about a conversion experience in Iran.  We also have some materials from Voice of the Martyrs.

VOM,, has long been a witness to the free world about the trials and tribulations of believers in Communist, Muslim, and other pagan lands where freedom of worship is not allowed.

Let us all join together in the morning to pray and celebrate Christ's coming victory over all His and our enemies.  If you cannot make it to Sunday school, pray at home and on your way to worship.  Pick up one of the prayer lists to pray  for these Christians.  Give thanks for our freedom and their faithfulness.  Repent of our indifference and unthankfulness. 

Also, note that the Voice of the Martyrs' website offers free copies of Richard Wurmbrand's book Tortured for Christ.  That book was greatly used by God to change my life.  I just need to be reminded of it more often.  Pastor Wurmbrand was a great saint of the last century and his works live on after him.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Out to Pasture

I kept warm at last week's Toga Trot
Just a few personal updates:

Several years back, Jeff Bruce gave me a book titled Pastoral Library by Eugene Peterson.  It was actually four books bound together in one volume.  I read quite a bit from that collection and have always had the feeling that I needed to read from it even more.  

4 books in 1
 About a year ago, George Grant recommended Peterson's book titled Eat This Book.  It is about reading the Bible thoughtfully.  Maybe it is a book we should consider reading in a book study.  Just recently, I picked up Peterson's newest work, which is titled The Pastor: A Memoir. I cannot wait to dig into what looks like a wonderful account of Peterson's trials and triumphs in the ministry.

Peterson is a fascinating writer.  He has the literary skill of C.S. Lewis.  At times, one has to read him with a bit of caution.  His views, parts of his theology, and some of his theological guides are a bit shaky.  For example, he is far more at home with Karl Barth than a Presbyterian ought to be. Still, with the caution lights flashing, he is wonderful to read.  (I don't have his popular paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, but I do hope to find one cheap somewhere to have for reference.)

A pastor's war stories

Since I jumped back into the deep end of the pool in June, I have felt compelled to read books pertaining to ministry.  So, during the early summer, I read Gene Getz's Elders and Leaders:  God's Plan for Leading the Church.  Getz has been a leader in the Fellowship Bible movement, but his books on church life and ministry are read by people of all Christian stripes.
A rich and challenging study

 Then, I re-read John R.W. Stott's Between Two Worlds: The Art of Preaching in the Twentieth Century.  Rev. Stott died last summer after a long life and fruitful ministry of preaching and writing.  I first read this book in 1994.  When I was re-reading it, I realized that I should have been reading it every year or two since I became an elder.  (I would have been a good man if I had been reading Stott every minute of my life, to paraphrase Flannery O'Connor.)  And I hope to pick up and read quite a few more Stott books over the next several years.

Even more relevant for the 21st Century

More recently, I read The Elder and His Work by David Dickson, edited by George K. McFarland and Philip Graham Ryken.  Dickson was a Scottish Presbyterian and his book is a classic on the task of an elder.  Dr. Grant had also recommended that book to me.  I would encourage all men who might even remotely consider the office of elder to read it, and others to read it to help evaluate those of us in the office.  And maybe, we need a book study on this book also.

Practical and direct as one would expect from a Scotsman

I wish I could show you before and after pictures from this workout through these 3 books with anticipation of more results from reading Peterson's memoir.  I know I have been helped, but the road to sanctification is uphill. A Sunday sermon can no more feed you for the week than a Sunday meal can.  We all need to be reading from our Bibles and from good Christian books.  And those readings need to be accompanied with prayers, thoughts, and expectations of change in our lives.

In other news, I have four boxes in my office filled with copies of Punic Wars and Culture Wars ready to ship out.  In one case, a copy is going to one of my heroes of the faith in Australia, Dr. Francis Nigel Lee.  Dr. Lee has been a great Christian writer, thinker, and scholar in Reformed circles for decades.  He has asked for a copy, "duly inscribed," to use his words.  A couple of copies are going to a friend in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  His name is Paul David Robinson and he is both a plasterer (sheet rock man) and a Christian philosopher.  (  I sure wish I could get him over here to visit us, do some plastering work on my house, and teach the students at Veritas about Herman Dooyeweerd.  (We would also enjoy his accent.)

Please pray for the on-going distribution of Punic Wars.  I have sold or given away about 5 boxes of the book this year.  I need to distribute 25 more boxes of it (hopefully profiting the giver and the receivers).  And I need to get some current writing projects finished.

Finally, please notice the announcement about a play to be performed soon:  A Christmas Corral.    (   I stole....I mean, I based based the play on Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol.   Our Veritas Humanities class will be performing the play in December.  It is set in the American West of the late 1800s.  (We would appreciate any western wear ot western items we could borrow for use in the play.)

God's blessings. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 2011 Calendar of Events

November 2011
A Month of Thanksgiving Celebration

2Mid-week Meeting:
Meal 5:30
Kids’ Quest
& Adult Lesson
34“Do Hard Things”
At 6:00pm
6 Sunday School:
Alan Woll--
Difficult Discipline of Thanksgiving
Meal 5:30
Kids’ Quest
& Adult Lesson 6:30
*Film on the Persecuted Church
Packing Party for
Operation Christmas Child
Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Sunday School:
Prayer for Christians Throughout the World
Paul, an Apostle of Thanksgiving
1516Mid-week Meeting:
Meal 5:30
Kids’ Quest
& Adult Lesson
[This is the last week for Wednesday night meetings until January.]
“Do Hard Things”
At 6:00pm
20Sunday School:
Alan Woll--Ephesians
Thanksgiving Sermon
C. S. Lewis died on this day in 1963
27Sunday School:
Alan Woll--Ephesians
Thanksgiving and the Beginning of Advent
C.S. Lewis born on this day in 1898

Friday, November 4, 2011

An Update from Pastor San Sanych

San Sanych lives in Rivne, which is in the upper left hand side of the map.

Dear Fathers and Brothers!
Greetings from Ukraine, it’s Alexander A. Orlov-Koshchavka sr. (San Sanych).

Thank You for Your prayers and care. I should apologize for attracting so much attention to such insignificant person as me.

My son wrote letter to brother Bogumil with urgent prayer request because of my visit to Kiev institute of neurosurgery, where doctors explain me my urgent need for brain surgery to cure of arteriovenous malformation and it’s in pre stroke condition.  They require my wife to be present due their procedure of angiogram of my brain (doctor must demonstrate to my wife, after this angiogram, that I’m the same person as I was before it, e. g. I recognize who she is, functions of my brain aren’t damage, etc.).  And they want to have her permission for surgery, which they suppose to do, right after inspection of my brain (or whatever I have inside my skull).

My dear wife was so scared about whole that business (doctor said, that success or failure (death or damage of brain functions) are fifty on fifty), but in the morning she came there (it took 6 hours) and we went together through (I mean my dear was near my bed on the wheels and follow wherever medical workers move me) this procedure. Finally, as result of whole inspections, doctors made conclusion, that I have Cavernous angioma (cavernoma) or Arteriovenous angioma of the brain and they don’t want take a risk to open my skull to fix this problem, because it’s deep inside and it’s not bleeding right now (but it did a little bit in the past). Their advice is to “observe my condition in dynamics (whatever it means)”, I’m sorry for all of these medical terms, but my friend, who is doctor in this institute of neurosurgery and who actually arrange fast and qualified help there (for almost free, from usual very high charge), he translate it in normal language. It’s mean, that during the year I should pay attention to my left hand and feet, if I’ll feel they will grow dumb or numb, or I wouldn’t see left side vision full picture (all these symptoms I had long before and right after car hit me).

I must immediately come to institute of neurosurgery to see neurosurgery doctor, who inspected me. But it may burst out and I’ll see my Lord. Also doctors gave me very wise advise to have a life without stress, I shouldn’t get very emotional, stay away from any arguing, be calm, no coffee, no alcohol, no this, no that, and I asked them how I should live then (Francis Schaeffer copyright) and most important why or for what reason? Doctors didn’t answer. After one year gone and if I survive I must have cat scan of brain and come to institute of neurosurgery any way so they can check it again. Last night I came back home and immediately began my new life, according doctors recommendations, but in less, than half hour I failed, because I’m pastor in Ukraine and people call me for some help and ministry.  

Thank You, dear Fathers and Brothers Let our Lord, the Most High God richly bless You all, at all areas of Your life. 


Your brother in Christ, San Sanych.  
(Alexander A. Orlov-Koshchavka sr.)