Archive for August, 2022

Since our last post sharing Fatima’s housing problems, we had quite the roller-coaster trying to help her find a place to land. We found one seemingly ideal opportunity, but it fell through. My son, Gabriel, and a friend of his helped her move out of her old place on the day of her eviction, with nowhere definite for her to go. Her things went into one of our elder’s garages for the time being. The clock ticked.

A few generous options were offered from folks after I sent this appeal to pastor friends in Rhode Island, but both of those had serious downsides. Eventually, some veterans in our congregation opened their home for her to stay and have been helping her also with getting a better job. She is qualified to practice phlebotomy, but for several reasons has been stuck in a dead-end, low-paying security job. We’ve seen her in church and hope to see her even more. Please continue to pray for her, as this family blesses her with hands-on love in Jesus’ name.

Then, I had another seminary intern for a short, intensive mission weekend. Mr. Daniel Navarro, a Presbyterian student from Mexico City, Mexico, and a student at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary came along side me in my ‘territorial vineyard.’

We had a number of good visits with folks in the S. Providence parish. One of them was “Mahim,” a Muslim from Somalia. A rather polite, friendly fellow, though he tells me he’s a rather devout attender of the mosque. I’ve actually visited with him a couple of times before in recent years, while on my rounds. He’s a Computer Science student at URI, which immediately gave me a point of connection, given my son Gabriel’s studies. From my notes, I see that my last two little ‘Gospel homilies’ with Mahim involved Joseph as a type of Christ, saving his brothers through their cruel betrayal, followed the next year by our Lord’s words about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. This time around, after a little friendly exchange, I shared about Daniel’s upcoming message that weekend from Genesis 2 on the Bible’s teaching on marriage. I told him how much our culture has degraded this holy institution, from God’s original “one flesh” design.


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“This arrangement ought, as far as possible, to be commonly observed, that every one, content with his own limits, may not encroach on another’s province. Nor is this a human invention. It is an ordinance of God. For we read that Paul and Barnabas appointed presbyters over each of the churches of Lystra, Antioch, and Iconium (Acts 14:23); and Paul himself enjoins Titus to ordain presbyters in every town (Titus 1:5). In like manner, he mentions the bishops of the Philippians, and Archippus, the bishop of the Colossians (Phil 1:1; Col 4:17). And in the Acts we have his celebrated address to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus (Acts 20:28). Let every one, then, who undertakes the government and care of one church, know that he is bound by this law of divine vocation, not that he is astricted to the soil (as lawyers speak), that is, enslaved, and, as it were, fixed, as to be unable to move a foot if public utility so require, and the thing is done duly and in order; but he who has been called to one place ought not to think of removing, nor seek to be set free when he deems it for his own advantage. Again, if it is expedient for any one to be transferred to another place, he ought not to attempt it of his own private motive, but to wait for public authority.”

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. II, pp. 321

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