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In this video, I share about my efforts to evangelize and promote the Reformed faith in Rhode Island and especially in a multi-ethnic, working class area of Providence (read more here). At the end, I make an appeal for help.

I can be reached at 515-783-5637 or by e-mail at mjives dot refparish at gmail dot com.

Simply put

“When I am preaching, I see Dr. Jonas sitting there, and Oecolampadius, and Melanchthon, and I say to myself, ‘Those learned doctors know enough already; so I need not trouble about them. I shall fire at the poor people in the aisles.’”

-Martin Luther

“February 15th, 1813. — I know not a more serious drawback to mixed society than the exclusion of all conversation about the one thing needful ; and it comes to be a seriousquestion, How are you to get the better of it? Are you to lift your testimony against it? This zeal would prompt; but we are also called to walk in wisdom toward those that are without. There must be a way of introducing the topic, so as to make a useful impression, so as to conciliate prejudice, so as to win, if possible, rather than repel. I confess it is to me a thing beset with many difficulties, and I fear thatan unmanly shame may have some share in it. It is certainly wrong to disguise it from others that you look uponeternity as your uppermost concern. Disguise this, and you add the sanction of your example to their exclusive indulgence in the frivolities of time — you add to the multitude of stumbling-blocks or offenses which lie in the way of others. It is delightful that there is a promise annexed to the prayer for wisdom; and I know not a more delicate subject for the application of wisdom than the one I am now insisting on.”

-Thomas Chalmers, from his private journal

Gospel pleading

“He would bend over the pulpit,” said one of [Thomas Chalmers’] old hearers, “and press us to take the gift, as if he held it that moment in his hand, and would not be satisfied till every one of us had got possession of it. And often when the sermon was over, and the psalm was sung, and he rose to pronounce the blessing, he would break out afresh with some new entreaty, unwilling to let us go until he had made one more effort to persuade us to accept of it.”

When I came to Rhode Island almost fourteen years ago, I inherited a small congregation, mostly of first generation Reformed folk. Because the core of them had become Reformed since in the late 70s and early 80s, and because of the sound, faithful teaching of their minister, the congregation was solid and well-established. When I arrived, I was eager to evangelize and had been swayed by Thomas Chalmers’ (1780-1847) to attempt outreach on the parish principle. But there really was no residential neighborhood to speak of near the church building, and all of our folks traveled at least 15 or more minutes from various points of the state. While it certainly has accommodated our members, it has put me at some disadvantage to implement my parish vision. But there is no paradise this side of glory, so I do not complain. My attitude has been to work with what I’ve been given and trust the Lord to bless in His way and His time.

I began with a district in walking distance of my residence in Cranston, Rhode Island and approximately a 15-20 minute drive north of the church. When we moved to a different rental, I began working in that area. There, I had some greater success in making decent contacts. One lady came to church for a short time; and we rented a hall right in the neighborhood a few times with some small success. Continue Reading »

Go and possess!

A fine quote by Charles Spurgeon. Chalmers could not have said it better! –

“Brethren, let us hunt up destitute localities, and see that no district is left without the means of grace. This applies not only to London, but also to villages, hamlets, and little groups of cottages. Heathenism hides away among the lone places, as well as in the crowded slums of our mammoth cities. May every piece of ground be rained upon by gospel influences!”