God's sovereignty over evil

Posted by Stephen Witmer on February 10th, 2019

We saw in Sunday’s sermon on Isaiah 10 that the nation of Assyria is ‘sent’ by God to bring judgment upon His sinful people. Assyria is a rod in His hand. But also, at the very same time, Assyria is acting in selfish, sinful pride — and God declares that He will punish Assyria for their sin. God is sovereign and humans are responsible. Assyria fulfills God’s decretive will, his sovereign, hidden will. And they simultaneous disobey his preceptive will, his revealed, moral will. I mentioned that there are many instances in Scripture of this distinction between God’s sovereign will and his moral will. One such instance is Genesis 50. In this video, John Piper walks us through Genesis 50.16-21. Check it out. I think you’ll find it really helpful.

Please read this article

Posted by Stephen Witmer on February 1st, 2019

We recently observed national Sanctity of Human Life Sunday at Pepperell Christian Fellowship. We do this every year, because it’s very important that we continue to remember and affirm the sacredness of human life at both ends of the age spectrum and everywhere in between. You can listen to ten years’ worth of PCF sermons on the sanctity of human life by clicking here.

Far too many of us are numb to the horrors of abortion. We need to be reminded and awakened. We need important articles like this one by John Ensor. Please read this article, ‘The Reproductive Health Act of Horror: The Lies Behind Abortion without Limits’, and ask God how he wants to use you for the cause of life.

Parents, obey God by requiring obedience

Posted by Stephen Witmer on January 24th, 2019

Here’s my latest post at Desiring God — an encouragement for parents to obey God by requiring obedience from their kids. Click here to read.

Please join us on March 18 for our Small Town Summit at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Posted by Stephen Witmer on January 16th, 2019

Over the past couple years I’ve helped to launch and lead Small Town Summits, which partners with The Gospel Coalition New England to serve small-town/rural churches, pastors, and laypeople throughout New England. On March 18, we’re hosting a New England-wide Summit at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with speakers Rick Lints, Donnie Griggs, and Brad Roth. We’ll develop a vision for what it means to be faithful and fruitful in small places. I’m praying this Summit will be encouraging for people throughout New England and beyond, and I’d love to have some of our PCF folks attend!!

Below is an invitation letter I recently wrote. You’ll see a link for more information and registration for the Summit. Please join us on March 18!

I’m writing to let you know about our upcoming Small Town Summit at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary on Monday, March 18, 2019. Our previous Summits have been regionally-based, targeted to specific New England states. This gathering is different: it’s for all New England small-town/rural pastors, laypeople, and ministry leaders. If you serve in a small place, we’d love to have you with us. We’re excited to be partnering with The Gospel Coalition New England, Small Town Jesus, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary for this gathering.

If you’ve been to one of our previous Small Town Summits in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine, please join us for this all-New England event, which will build on those Summits and develop them further. If you’ve not yet been part of a Small Town Summit, this is a great first Summit in which to participate. Over the course of one day, we’ll build a theological vision for small-place ministry. Our plenary speakers are a dream team: Brad Roth (a Mennonite pastor in Kansas and author of the award-winning God’s Country), Donnie Griggs (a small-town pastor in North Carolina and author of the popular Small Town Jesus) and Rick Lints (Professor of Theology and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Gordon-Conwell). In building his theological vision for urban ministry, Tim Keller has drawn on Rick Lints’ work. We’ll seek to do the same as we together build a theological vision for rural and small-town ministry.

We’ve got a tremendous group of breakout presenters from around New England, including Gloria Grell, Ben Ruhl, David Pinckney, Jim Harrell, Alasdair Groves, Jason McConnell, and Ian and Marci Shearer. Each will lead sessions on topics relevant to small-place ministry, including cultivating healthy marriages in small places, church planting in small places, church revitalization in small places, and much more.

In addition to plenary and breakout sessions, we’ll enjoy eating, singing, and praying together.

We’re praying that this gathering will bear rich gospel fruit throughout New England for years to come. We’d love you to come be part of it. Register now and please help us spread the word!

For more information, or to register, visit our website here.

I hope to see you on Monday, March 18,

Stephen Witmer
(Small Town Summits leadership team)

Does shame keep you away?

Posted by Stephen Witmer on January 12th, 2019

Here’s a piece I wrote for Desiring God, for all those who struggle with shame and the fear that Jesus and his church won’t accept them. If that’s you, please read this. If it’s not, please read it anyway — so you can encourage and help those who are struggling. Click here for the article.