Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 5 June, 2016

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind ...” (Rom. 12:2)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Thy Will Be Done!  [download]  [youtube]
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 49

I. What We Are Praying
II. How This Fits With Other Biblical Teaching
Psalms: 122:1-9; 145:1-8; 119:105-112; 103:17-22

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Complete in Christ (4)
Beware of Philosophy!  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2
Text: Colossians 2:8

I. The Meaning
II. The Reasons
III. The Danger
Psalms: 84:4-11; 145:9-15; 49:7-13; 119:97-104

For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact Stephen Murray
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart or the elders

CPRC Website: • Live Webcast:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quotes to Consider

R. L. Dabney: “The Colossian Christians were enticed to leave this prophet [i.e., Christ] for a shadowy philosophic theory of their day. This was a mixture of Oriental, Rabbinical and Greek mysticism, which peopled heaven with a visionary hierarchy of semi-divine beings, referred the Messiah to their class, and taught men to expect their salvation from their intercession, combined with Jewish asceticisms and will-worship. Thus we are taught, both by uninspired, but authentic history, and by intimations of the holy apostle in the Epistle itself. This fanciful scheme was supported by the ‘traditions of men’; that is to say, by the inculcation of favorite masters of this vain philosophy; and by ‘the rudiments of the world,’ by this world’s first principles, instead of Christ’s declarations. But the apostle solemnly reminded them that this philosophy was vain and deceitful; and moreover, that the price of preferring it to the Christian system was the loss of the soul. Thus, the real aim of the seducer was to despoil the soul of its salvation, and to make it a captive to falsehood and corruption” (Discussions of Robert Lewis Dabney, vol. 3, p. 153).

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

We welcome Henry & Barb DeVries from Randolph PRC to our worship services this week and next week. We also welcome back Timothy Spence from university.

The May issue of the Covenant Reformed News is available on the back table.

Philip Hall’s term as deacon ends in August. Church Order 22 advises that members be given “an opportunity to direct attention to suitable persons,” so if you have anyone you believe should be nominated for this office, please speak with Rev. Stewart or an elder.

The Tuesday Bible study meets at 11 AM to discuss the eating of blood in connection with the OT food laws.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. R. Kleyn is entitled “Hell: Everlasting Punishment” (Matt. 25:41, 46).

There will be tea after the evening service next Sunday. Tea rota: Group C.

Have you booked yet for the BRF Conference (16-23 July)? All bookings and full payments are due by 15 June. Extra booking forms are on the back table. If you are unsure how much you owe, please check with Kristin.

Offerings: General Fund: £604.70. Donations: £100 (pamphlets).

New translations: 1 Spanish, 1 Indonesian and 2 Hungarian.

PRC news: Professors Cammenga and Gritters are in Namibia and South Africa until 7 June. They will be lecturing in South Africa for old contacts. New developments in the Namibian churches visited in 2010 have prompted these churches to ask for another visit. Please pray that the Lord prospers these efforts in the promotion of the Reformed faith.


Brian D. Dykstra


Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

A few weeks ago, the fourth and fifth graders went on a field trip to the Howard Christensen Nature Center. Much of our time was spent in the cold outdoors. Two things are still mysteries to me about such field trips. One is how students can survive so well and appear so comfortable in such cold while wearing no hat at all, and the other is how teachers and brave room mothers manage to move at all while wearing every article of winter apparel they own. Frigid white snow, heartless gray skies and brown tree trunks dominated the colour scheme. Perhaps that is why the green lichen clinging to various tree trunks caught my attention.

Lichen are interesting organisms. Around Michigan, lichen are those crusty gray or green organisms that live on trees and rocks. They come in other colours too such as orange, yellow and red. They can grow as a crusty layer but sometimes they are more leaf-like or feathery.

Do you remember learning long ago that living things are divided into the plant and animal kingdoms? Lichen are one reason why scientists no longer limit their classification system to those two kingdoms. Lichen are placed in a kingdom of their own because they are not true plants. They are a unique combination of algae and fungi. The algae is able to make food from sunlight but it cannot obtain water and minerals on its own. The fungi is not able to make its own food, but it can collect water and minerals. The fungi also provides structure and protection for the algae. The algae and fungi have a symbiotic relationship in that they are mutually beneficial. Lichen cannot survive without each of these components.

Lichen have many different uses. They are called a pioneer species because they are among the first living things to appear in an area in which a devastating event has taken place, such as the Mount St. Helens eruption. They help in the formation of soil and are also a food source. Large animals, such as caribou, eat lichen during the winter months. For many years, people used lichen for dyes.

As interesting as this little lesson about lichen might have been (and if it wasn’t, I found a fully illustrated 800-page textbook about lichen on the internet which might spark your interest), the challenge for a Christian science teacher is found in the verse above. The creation bears witness of its creator. What can lichen really teach us?

I once heard a radio broadcast about lichen produced by the Creation Research Institute which had some suggestions. One was that lichen can teach about marriage in that husband and wife need each other to fulfil the roles given to them. Another suggestion was lichen teaches us how we need all the members of the body of Christ. We are bound together and need each other just as the algae and fungi need each other in the complex structure of lichen. One cannot do without the other.

Yet how far can a Christian science teacher go with such lessons before stretching things too far? What hidden things of God can be seen in creation? Should we limit ourselves to saying that creation bears witness that there is a Creator and that He is almighty? Calvin helps in his commentary when he states, “We conceive that there is a Deity; and then we conclude, that whoever he may be, he ought to be worshipped: but our reason here fails, because it cannot ascertain who or what sort of being God is.” We need God to reveal Himself through Scripture for that knowledge. We need God-given discretion to use the spectacles of Scripture as we study His creation. Yet when we start in faith with the truth of Scripture, there are spiritual lessons which can be learned in creation. As Belgic Confession 2 states, the creation “is before our eyes as a most elegant book wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God.” Even lowly lichen has something to teach.