The death of Death

Dear friends


It is with great gladness that I announce the passing away of death who was terribly defeated by the Cross of Christ on Good Friday and was stripped of all powers at the moment when our LORD Jesus Christ Rose from the DEAD on Sunday. In lieu of flowers, you could support all missionaries who are spreading the Powerful Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, who did not only conquered death, but has also gave life to all those who put their trust and faith in Him.




You are all invited to attend a celebratory memorial service on Sunday March 31st  where death’s eulogy will be read and his defeater’s name be praised. To prepare your minds and hearts for the service, I invite you to memorize the verse from 1 Cor 15:55-57.




I look forward to seeing you on this very special service


In Christ Alone, 

Pastor Berj

Maundy Thursday

Dear All

Thursday March 28th is Maundy Thursday and we will gather at the church to remember Christ’s suffering and partake in the Lord’s Supper. The service commences at 8:00PM and I encourage you to bring your whole family and friends.


On Sunday March 31st, our Sunday School teachers will be hosting the Easter Breakfast in the Hekemian Hall at 9:30AM. At 10:00AM an egg hunt event is prepared for our children.  This is a wonderful time to fellowship with one another before we gather together at 11:00AM to worship and praise the name of our Resurrected Christ. Again, I encourage you to bring your whole family and attend.


Pastor Berj

ELIAS BOUDINOT (1740-1821) – First President of the American Bible Society

Our monthly Gideon Newark Blitz planning meetings take place at the Santa Isabel Lutheran Church, 908 East Jersey Street, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Interestingly, at 1073 East Jersey Street in Elizabeth (across Routes 1 & 9), stands Boxwood Hall, a New Jersey state historic site and the one-time residence of Elias Boudinot, a Revolutionary War patriot and the first president of the American Bible Society (1816-1821).

Elias Boudinot was born in Philadelphia in 1740, a descendant of French Huguenots (Protestants). He studied law, entered the legal profession, and commenced his practice in Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth), New Jersey. In 1772, he began serving as a member of the board of trustees of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).

With the hostilities with England, the mother country, developing, Mr. Boudinot sided with the Patriot cause. He served as commissary general of prisoners (1776-1779) in the Revolutionary Army. He served several years in the Continental Congress, and as its president (1782-1783) signed the treaty of peace with England in 1783.

In 1789, he was a member of a committee that met President-elect George Washington to escort him on the final leg of his journey to his inauguration in New York City. (Washington stopped for lunch at Boxwood Hall on April 23, 1789, on his way to his inauguration.) Boudinot served three terms in the U.S. Congress (1789-1795), and then became the Director of the Federal Mint in Philadelphia (1795-1805).

Outspoken regarding public issues of his day, he wrote the book The Age of Revelation in response to the religiously unorthodox Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. He argued for the rights of black and American Indian citizens.

He was selected president of the American Bible Society at its founding in 1816. He considered this “the greatest honor” to be conferred on him in his earthly life. He stated:

“I am so convinced that the whole of this business [distributing Bibles in America] is the work of God himself, by his Holy Spirit, that even hoping against hope I am encouraged to press on through good report and evil report, to accomplish his will on earth as it is in heaven. So apparent is the hand of God in this disposing the hearts of so many men, so diversified in their sentiments as to religious matters of minor importance, and uniting them as a band of brothers in this grand object that even infidels are compelled to say, “It is the work of the Lord, and it is wonderful in our eyes!” Having this confidence, let us go on and we shall prosper.”

He also put his money behind his words. He made the American Bible Society a gift of $10,000 to its treasury, and $1,000 toward the erection of a depository, all of which helped put that Society on a sound financial and operational footing. In his will, he even bequeathed $200 so that poor, old people could buy eyeglasses to read the Holy Scriptures! I believe Elias Boudinot is now among that “great cloud of witnesses” mentioned in Hebrews chapter 12, looking on, urging us on, as we go about our work of Bible distribution in the early 21st century, as he and others did in the early 19th century. The fact that we are about to conduct a Bible blitz in New Jersey’s largest city would have made him very happy.

P.S. He would have made a good Gideon!
By the way, you can take a tour of Boxwood Hall. The guide, Ms. Katherine Craig, gives an excellent presentation, including, if you wish, samples of Mr. Boudinot’s strong religious sentiments. Phone (908) 282-7617.

Was it God’s will?


The mass murders of the school children and administrators in Newtown, Connecticut, shocked and saddened our nation. How could this have happened if God is in control of things? Did it happen because of God’s will?

The Christian position is that God is not the author of evil. Yet, He allows tragic events to take place in human life.  How do you explain this from a Christian point of view?

R.C. Sproul, the respected Reformed Protestant theologian, points out in one of his lecture series (“Dealing with Difficult Problems”) that the term “God’s will” has a number of distinctive aspects, such as:
1. God’s decretive will—His sovereign decree, which is unchangeable, such as “Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).
2. God’s preceptive will—The laws which God has ordained for men, but we are not compelled to follow, such as “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
3. God’s passive will—This describes cases in which God allows some things, both good and evil, to take place, such as what happened at Newtown.
When our first parents disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin (and accompanying death) entered into human existence (Romans 5:12). Life was brought under a moral curse (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 8:20-22). Tragedies such as that at Newtown are the fruits of that curse because men and women, acting out of their inbred sinful nature and acting out of the will of God, are capable of such horrendous acts.

God’s purpose is redemptive: to redeem men and women from the curse of sin. (That is why Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to live, die, and be raised from the dead—Romans 5:18-19.) God is sovereign: He is in total, ultimate control of all things. His purpose is to weave all these events—good, bad, and horrific—into His purposes to restore His creation and to call out a redeemed people who one day will live in a new heaven and earth where righteousness dwells and the curse of death has been erased (II Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-4). Our purpose in life as redeemed Christians is to live in accord with God’s will and promote God’s good plans and purposes so as to minimize as much as possible tragedies such as what took place at Newtown and to bring comfort to those who have to live with the consequences of such awful sorrow.

Look at the life of the Old Testament patriarch Joseph. As a young lad he was victimized by the hatred of his brothers; he was then victimized by Potiphar’s wife with her adulterous intentions; he was later victimized (in a sense) by the forgetfulness of Pharaoh’s chief butler. Yet God lifted him out of his confinement to be second in command of Egypt, a position in which he was able to bring deliverance to the people of Egypt and to his father’s family. Years later, he saw God’s purposes through all his trials. Addressing his brothers, he told them, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

When tragedies or unexpected events do occur, what should be our response? We should recognize that God is in control; we should thank Him for that assurance; we should seek to find out how we can respond in such a way that honors God. (Hey, that is not easy to do!)

Sometime around 1813, at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), a prankster cut out the middle of the chapel Bible, leaving the margin intact. For the entertainment of the college president and the student body at chapel service, he filled the hole in the Bible with playing cards. The college students were horrified at this desecration. Reacting in a contrite way, they formed a Bible society to replace the chapel Bible. They wrote at once to the Rev. John Owen, secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, to tell him of their action. (The American Bible Society had not yet been formed.) In mid-December 1813, Rev. Owen wrote back, and compared the College of New Jersey’s Bible Society to those in Cambridge and Oxford. He said that even in the existing state of unpleasantness (the United States and Great Britain were then at war with each other—the War of 1812) he did not believe that either government would object to the donation of £50 his organization was sending. [Charles I. Foster, An Errand of Mercy: The Evangelical United Front, 1790-1837 (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1960), pages 105-106.]

God allowed the tragedy at Newtown to take place. Why? We may never know fully. However, we should be seeking His guidance, His comfort, His insight, at this time. We should be giving His comfort to those who now need it. Maybe He has something to teach us from this.