Where did Advent come from?

Posted by Stephen Witmer on December 11th, 2018

Have you wondered about the history of Advent celebrations? Here’s an answer from Ryan Reeves.

PCF Recommends (November 2018 edition)

Posted by Stephen Witmer on November 29th, 2018

Every so often, I like to recommend a range of excellent Christian resources that I think you’ll benefit from. With Christmas coming and Christmas lists being formulated, this seems like a great time to encourage you to grow as a Christian through these books. Order them online on Amazon or Christian Book Distributors. Many are available as audio books if you receive and process information better through listening!

Come Let Us Adore Him, Paul David Tripp

I like everything Paul Tripp writes. These devotional readings will help you focus on Christ throughout Advent 2018.

Desiring God, John Piper

This is a very important, very helpful, hugely joy-producing book.

Holiness, J.C. Ryle

This is a classic by the nineteenth-century Anglican bishop J.C. Ryle. It will help you to long for and pursue personal holiness.

Transgender, Vaughan Roberts

This is a short, clear, compassionate, biblical book helping Christians think wisely about sex and gender.

Gender: A Conversation Guide for Parents and Pastors, Brian Seagraves and Hunter Levine

A short book that provides wisdom for parents seeking to shepherd their children (from preschool to high school) through conversations about gender and identity.

Explore Notes, from The Good Book Company

Why not commit now to reading the Bible each morning of 2019? Getting a subscription to Explore Notes will help you do that. You’ll be led through portions of Scripture with helpful questions to guide you.

XTB, from The Good Book Company

Bible notes for helping children ages 7-11: eXplore The Bible (XTB). Our children use these Bible-reading notes and have benefited from them.

How to Read the Bible Book by Book, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart

I’ve recommended this one before and find myself regularly encouraging people to use it (a couple times in just that last several days). It’s a reader’s guide to every book of the Bible, helping you to see how each book fits together and providing a summary of each main section. Really, really helpful!

Small Town Summit in Dexter, Maine

Posted by Stephen Witmer on November 18th, 2018

Wow, what an amazing day Saturday, November 17 was!

One day after a snowstorm, 85+ pastors, lay leaders, and Christian workers gathered at the First Baptist Church of Dexter, Maine for our Small Town Summit to sing together, eat together, worship Christ together, and consider together how the gospel of Jesus Christ distinctively shapes ministry in small places. New friendships and gospel partnerships began, and some who hadn’t seen each other for many years had the opportunity to re-connect. Our main sessions focused on the gospel shape of small-place ministry, preaching in small places, and fighting for joy in small places. In breakout sessions, we learned about family worship in small places, cultivating the life of the mind in small places, transitioning pastoral leadership successfully in small places, cultivating a Word-filled women’s ministry in small places, and revitalizing churches in small places.

This was our third Summit. We’ve now gathered leaders in the small places of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. In each case, we’ve been amazed and encouraged by the skilled, godly, passionate, humble Christian laypeople and pastors who are pouring out their lives for the glory of Christ in places many people overlook. Yesterday we met several bi-vocational pastors who are reaching their communities both inside and outside the church walls. We met a man wrestling with whether to remain in marketplace ministry or to enter church-based ministry. We met church planters, intentional interim pastors, women seeking to cultivate women’s ministries that will reach and resource those around them with the Bible, and many, many others. Some pastors at the Summit had been in ministry for 30+ years, some for 10 months. As we reflect upon how God is using these faithful, fruitful men and women, our hope is strong. God is on the move in Maine and beyond.

It gave us joy to partner at our Dexter Summit with The Gospel Coalition New England (the TGCNE Director, Paul Buckley, spent the day with us) and the Gospel Alliance of Maine, and we were well-fed and well-served by the wonderful people of the First Baptist Church of Dexter.

Please pray for the small places of Maine, that they will see and embrace the life-changing glory of God in Christ.

Guest blog by Ed Marino

Posted by Stephen Witmer on October 24th, 2018

It’s a pleasure to include here a guest blog by our church accountant (and former business administrator) Ed Marino, recommending several helpful resources.

Ed Marino

When I was homeschooling, I discovered a great weekly news publication for children called God’s World. The articles were age appropriate, informative, and - very importantly - written from a biblical perspective. Later I found that the organization that published God’s World also published an adult news magazine called World Magazine. I’ve been a subscriber for over 20 years, and I have found the content to be very helpful in maintaining a biblical perspective on world events, culture, and other matters. Unlike many news outlets, World is very upfront that it is biased, and its bias is the word of God. While its outlook tends to be conservative, it favors neither political party, and it reports honestly (sometimes painfully honestly) on Christian matters. Most of the time I agree with viewpoints I read in World, but even when I don’t, I feel that the editors are committed to the truth, and for them the ultimate truth is the Word of God.

Over the past 5 or so years, World has been joining the digital age. It now publishes the magazine electronically, and it also has a very good web site. You don’t need to subscribe to World to access the website and, as far as I can tell, you have access to the same content as subscribers. (A plug: World is a non-profit, funded by subscriptions and donations. It has some sponsors—similar to public TV and radio—but there are no intrusive ads or pop-ups.) Lately I’ve been enjoying The World and Everything In It, which is a 30 minute daily podcast of news and commentary. Think of it as NPR from a Christian perspective. The podcast can be streamed from the website, or downloaded from iTunes.