Thankful for this development.  What an answer to prayer!

News from World Witness Today the ACLJ announced that Turkish authorities have agreed to allow Pastor Andrew Brunson to leave prison and return to his home in Turkey. For this we give God thanks and praise. ACLJ Chief Counsel, Jay Sekulow, believes this to be a critical first step in securing Andrew’s ultimate release and…

via Brunson Placed on House Arrest — ARP News

Becalmed

Becalmed

For a boat, powered by the wind, to be becalmed is unnerving.  Without wind your timeline, your power, and your direction is at a standstill.  All is uncertainty and vulnerability.   Not matter how great a sailor’s skill at catching and directing the power of the wind, if there is no wind to catch, his skill will get him nowhere.

For pastors and church planters, summertime often feels like the becalming doldrums – especially in a small congregation.  Families are coming and going and continuity of everything is in short supply.   Yet it is not the wind of circumstance or continuity that fills the sails of our churches and moves them along.   Jesus talked about the power of the wind in John 3 to describe the power of the Holy Spirit.  Peter would later write, in speaking of God’s Word, that “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” ( 2 Peter 1:21)   The word “carried along” is a nautical term that pictures full sails moving a boat swiftly through the sea.

The becalming we should fear is not the doldrums of the crazy summer, but the doldrums of spiritless ministry.   For if we earnestly pray for and desire the sail filling wind of the Holy Spirit then the advancement of Christ’s Church will not be becalmed by mere chaos of summer schedules or any other worldly circumstance.  Pray boldly.  Pray not for wind, but for The Wind.  And then hang on.

Please join us at River City Reformed Church in Little Rock as we pray for the following:

  • Thanksgiving for the continued support of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Little Rock for their gracious hospitality in allowing us to use space for our weekly worship gatherings.
  • Thanksgiving that we will begin the process this coming Lord’s Day, July 1, of receiving communicant and non-communicant members.
  • Thanksgiving for the faithful, ongoing support of ONA and the Mississippi Valley Presbytery.
  • For the Lord’s blessing and direction for two of our families that will be moving to different parts of the country this fall to pursue new vocational opportunities.
  • For the Lord to bring new families into our fellowship this summer.
  • For the provision of A/V equipment, including portable speakers and microphones
  • For the Lord to deepen our connections to Little Rock to allow us to reach unbelievers, disbelievers and the disconnected with the hope of the gospel and the community of Christ’s Church.
  • For the growth of hospitality within our core group as we practice the “art of neighboring.”

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

River City Reformed will not meet this Lord’s Day, December 24, so our families can spend time with their extended families.  But if you are up for a Christmas Eve adventure, our sister church in Pottsville invites you to attend its annual Lessons and Carols service, this Lord’s Day at 7:00 pm.  Click here for directions to the Pottsville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church near Russellville.

Update on Lessons and Carols

Update on Lessons and Carols

Regrettably, we have had to cancel River City Reformed’s Lessons and Carols service, planned for December 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm, due to illness.  We will miss sharing with you this special service which traces the story of redemption through the reading of scripture and the singing of the theologically rich songs of the season, but hope to see you soon at one of our Lord’s Day gatherings.   Please continue to follow us here for upcoming events.

 

Post Tenebras Lux

Post Tenebras Lux

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.   2 Cor. 4:6

Despite the appearance of brightness and joy cast by the lights of the season adorning every tree and structure, this time of the year can be very dark for many.  Grief, loneliness and spiritual emptiness are often magnified as the outward expectation of joy places artificial demands on us to put on a good face.  For many, the season of light is the darkest time of the year.  Perhaps your soul resonates with words of the Psalmist who cried ‘“Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night.”  But recall the rest of the verse, “even the darkness is not dark to you, [O Lord];  the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.’ Psalm 139:11-12

Sinclair Ferguson, commenting on the conception of Christ in the womb of the virgin Mary, noted, “God does His best work in the dark.”  He created the world out of nothing in the dark. He finished the work of redemption on the cross in the dark. And he prepared the body of the Lord Jesus Christ in the darkness of the womb of the virgin.  Though things seem dark, the Lord is at work.  He is not absent. Though our eyes cannot see all that he is preparing for us in the dark, he will reveal it in due time and we will see hope, shining out of darkness.   Post Tenebras Lux, “after darkness, light,”  — this great Reformation motto is also the power of the gospel operating in our lives.  For,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.   John 1:1-4

River City Reformed Church in Little Rock is a confessionally Reformed Church committed to reaching Little Rock with the light of the Gospel through authentic community, faithful teaching and preaching, biblical worship and meaningful ministry.   Here is how you can pray for us as we continue this work.

  • For the Lord to bring additional families and individuals who share our vision of planting a Reformed Church committed to ordinary means evangelism, confessionally Reformed worship and family-integrated ministry, worship and discipleship.
  • For our ”Lessons and Carols” service planned for December 17, 2017 – that through this service the Lord would edify our current group and expand connections to our community.
  • For spiritual impact among the unbelievers, disbelievers, and disconnected believers in Little Rock as our families exercise their spiritual gifts in their various spheres of influence.
  • For wisdom and discernment regarding the timeline for transition from our Lord’s Day Gatherings to Lord’s Day Worship.
  • Thanksgiving for several new families and individuals who have connected with our group during November.
  • Thanksgiving for the Mississippi Valley Presbytery’s approval of River City Reformed Church as a mission congregation effective January 2018 and for its ongoing financial and prayer support.
  • Thanksgiving  for the ONA Board’s conditional approval of our church plant proposal.
  • Thanksgiving for the continued generosity of St. Andrews Anglican Church, Little Rock to let us use their facilities for our gatherings for the foreseeable future and for their prayer support for the work.

Integration Crisis

Integration Crisis

The month of September marked the 60th anniversary of the 1957 integration crisis at Central High School in Little Rock.   The courageous action of the Little Rock Nine to  enter Central High in September 1957 sparked a nationwide crisis.  Arkansas Governor, Orval Faubus, in defiance of a federal court order, called out the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the Nine from entering the school. In response, President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the National Guard, sending in units of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to escort the Nine into Central High on September 25, 1957.

Though this courageous action of the Little Rock Nine promised to herald a new era of desegregation and racial reconciliation, sixty years later we find Little Rock and, indeed, America more racially and socially divided than ever.  Much more is required than the might of the 101st Airborne Division and the courage of the Little Rock Nine to break down the walls of hostility in our culture.   Nothing short of divine intervention is sufficient.   But the good news — the gospel — is that God has intervened to reconcile men to Himself and one another through Jesus Christ and has given the Church the ministry of reconciliation.

…remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.   Ephesians 2:12-16

River City Reformed Church in Little Rock is a confessionally Reformed Church committed to bringing reconciliation to Little Rock by the hope of the Gospel through authentic community, faithful teaching and preaching, biblical worship and meaningful ministry.   Here is how you can pray for us as we begin this work.

  • For the Lord to bring new families and individuals interested in our vision of planting a Reformed Church committed to ordinary means evangelism, confessionally Reformed worship and family-integrated ministry, worship and discipleship.
  • For the expansion and growth of our Thursday morning, Men’s Bible Study, Lessons from Nehemiah, which we pray will be effective in discipleship and outreach to men in our city.
  • For wisdom and discernment regarding the process and timeline for  transition from Bible Study to Worship in our Lord’s Day gatherings.
  • Pray for our families as they exercise their spiritual gifts to engage those in their sphere of influence who are unbelievers, disbelievers or disconnected believers.
  • For increased influence in the city of Little Rock for River City Reformed, both “on the ground” and in social media. 
  • Thanksgiving for the commitment of the Mississippi Valley Presbytery for its careful and attentive prayer and financial support for River City Reformed and Pastor Wheeler.

Uneclipsed

Uneclipsed

Our family traveled to the “path of totality” on August 21 to view the eclipse.  Despite many hardships in getting there, it was well worth the trip.  The dramatic veiling of the sun and the incredible witness to the order and beauty God has woven into creation was a sight to behold.  The words of David in Psalm 19:1 are beyond apt, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.”  Yet, many gazed up at this manifestation of God’s glory and saw nothing of Him.  For this reason the Lord has called us to share the gospel and to plant new churches.

Even more amazing than the eclipse, however, is that the Lord causes the sun to shine, “uneclipsed,” day after day and year after year, to provide light and life.  Through this we are reminded that He is unchanging and faithful to all He has promised.  His glory and his promised gifts, though sometimes unseen, are never eclipsed.  For,

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

One of these promised gifts is that the Lord will build His Church.  Pray with us in the following ways as we seek to see this promise unfold through River City Reformed Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.

  • Thanksgiving for answers to specific prayer in the lives of our core group members regarding job opportunities, health and healing, and direction.
  • Thanksgiving for new families who joined us during August and are interested in our vision of planting a Reformed Church committed to ordinary means evangelism, confessionally Reformed worship and family-integrated ministry, worship and discipleship.
  • For Pastor Wheeler’s father-in-law as he continues difficult rehabilitation at home following a serious car accident and stroke.
  • For the continued growth of our Men’s Bible Study, Lessons from Nehemiah, which we pray will be effective in discipleship and outreach to men in our city.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment as we begin to plan the transition from Bible Study to Worship in our Lord’s Day gatherings.
  • Pray for our families as they exercise their spiritual gifts to engage those in their sphere of influence who are unbelievers, disbelievers or disconnected believers.