Poem Martyred Father Wrote to His Children

John Rogers was the first martyr in Queen Mary’s reign. He was burned at the stake at Smithfield, Feb 14, 1554. I have been really touched by the poem that he wrote to his children shortly before his death and thought today was an appropriate day to share it.

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs says this: “His wife and children, being eleven in number, ten able to go, and one sucking at her breast, met him by the way, as he went towards Smithfield. This sorrowful sight of his own flesh and blood could nothing move him, but that he constantly and cheerfully took his death with wonderful patience, in the defence and quarrel of the Gospel of Christ.”

It’s difficult to read stories like these. Yet, it is also greatly faith-building to read of how the Lord sustained His people in past generations, even through unimaginable circumstances. And it reminds us: ” … since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Here’s the poem he wrote to his children shortly before his death:

GIVE ear, my children, to my word,
Whom God hath dearly bought;
Lay up his laws within your heart,
And print them in your thought.

I leave you here a little book,
For you to look upon,
That you may see your father’s face,
When he is dead and gone,–

Who, for the hope of heavenly things,
While he did here remain,
Gave over all his golden years
To prison and to pain;–

Where I, among my iron bands,
Enclosed in the dark,
Not many days before my death,
Composed for you this work.

And for example to your youth,
To whom I wish all good,
I send you here God’s perfect truth,
And seal it with my blood;–

To on, my heirs of earthly things,
Whom I do leave behind,
That you may read and understand,
And keep it in your mind;–

That as you have been heirs of that
Which once will wear away,
You also may possess that part
Which never will decay.

Keep always God before your eyes,
With all your whole intent,
Commit no sin in any wise,
But keep his commandments.

Abhor that arrant whore of Rome,
And all her blasphemies,
And drink not of her cursed cup;
Obey not her decrees.

Give honor to your mother dear;
Remember well her pain;
And recompense her, in her age,
With the like love again.

Be always ready for her help,
And let her not decay;
Remember well your father all,
Who should have been your stay.

Give of your portion to the poor,
As riches do arise;
Arid from the needy, naked soul,
Turn not away your eyes.

For he who doth not hear the cry
Of those who stand in need,
Will cry himself; and not be heard,
When he does hope to speed.

If God hath given you increase,
And blessed well your store,
Remember you are put in trust,
And should relieve the poor.

Beware of foul and filthy lusts;
Let such things have no place,
Keep clean your vessels in the Lord,
That he may you embrace.

You are the temples of the Lord,
For you are dearly bought,
And they who do defile the same
Will surely come to nought.

Be never proud, by any means,
Build not your house too high;
But always have before your eyes
That you were born to die.

Defraud not him who hired is,
Your labor to sustain;
But pay him still, without delay,
His wages for his pain.

And as you would that other men
Towards you should proceed,
Do you the same to them again,
When they do stand in need.

Impart your portion to the poor
In money and in meat;
And send the feeble, fainting son,
Of that which you do eat.

Ask counsel always of the wise
Give ear unto the end,
And ne’er refuse the sweet rebuke
Of him who is your friend.

Be always thankful to the Lord,
With prayer and with praise,
Begging of him to bless your work,
And to direct your ways.

Seek first, I say, the living God,
And always him adore,
And then be sure that he will bless
Your basket and your store.

And I beseech Almighty God,
To replenish you with grace,
That I may meet you in the heavens,
And see you face to face.

And though the fire my body burn,
Contrary to my kind,
That I cannot enjoy your love,
According to my mind,–

Yet I do hope that when the heavens
Shall vanish like a scroll,
I shall see you in perfect shape
In body and in soul.

And that I may enjoy your love,
And you enjov the land,
I do beseech the living Lord
To hold you in his hand.

Though here my body be adjudged
In flaming fire to fry,
My soul, I trust, will straight ascend
To dwell with God on high.

What though this carcass smart awhile?
What though this life decay?
My soul, I hope, will be with God,
And live with him for aye.

I know I am a sinner born,
From the original,
And that I do deserve to die,
By my forefather’s fall.

But by our Savior’s precious blood,
Which on the cross was spilt,
Who freely offered up his life,
To save our souls from guilt,–

I hope redemption I shall have,
And all who in him trust,
When I shall see him face to face,
And live among the just.

Why, then, hould I fear death’s grim look,
Since Christ for me did die?
For king and Cesar, rich and poor,
The force of death must try.

When I am chained to the stake,
And fagots gird me round,
Then pray the Lord my soul in heaven
May be with glory crowned.

Come, welcome, death, the end of fears,
I am prepared to die;
These earthly flames will send my soul
Up to the Lord on high.

Farewell, my children, to the world,
Where you must yet remain;
The Lord of hosts is your defense
Till we do meet again.

Farewell, my true, my loving wife,
My children, and my friends;
I hope in heaven to see you all,
When all things have their ends.

If you go on to serve the Lord,
As you have now begun,
You shall walk safely all your days,
Until your life, be done.

God grant you so to end your days,
As he shall think it best,
That I may meet you in the heavens,
Where I do hope to rest.

Iowa State Fair Outreach – 2017 Report

Shortly after our Testify Camp last year (witnessing training camp at the Iowa State Fair), we took off for conferences in Mexico and so I never posted a report. Finally, here are a few pictures and reports of what the Lord did last August!

We were super encouraged by the group of young people and adults who attended the camp and helped at the gospel both. There was so much enthusiasm and great fellowship!

Half the time was spent in witnessing training at the camp, and half the time spent putting it into practice at the fair!

After each afternoon/evening of witnessing at the fair, we’d come back to the camp and share stories. These times were a highlight as we got to hear how others were stretched but saw the Lord open doors for gospel conversations. There were some amazing stories, and much rejoicing.

One of the alluring aspects of the Answers in Genesis gospel booth inside the fair is the drone footage from the Ark Encounter on flat screen TVs on both sides of the booth. This attracts much interest and discussion. After answering a few questions about the Ark, we try to transition the conversation to their spiritual beliefs and the need we all have for Jesus — our true Ark of salvation.

Sometimes people will sit down on our folding chairs inside our booth to have lengthier discussions with us.

During our times at the fair, we’d divide into four teams and we always had one team praying in a back hallway. This was also a time to share prayer requests and discuss how things were going. Prayer is a huge aspect of witnessing. If God isn’t working, nothing happens.

The girls on my team <3 Tim Chaffey from Answers in Genesis was one of our speakers. His sessions on apologetics were awesome.

It was exciting to have the opportunity to put into practice that very day at the fair some of the things we learned from the sessions.

Brianna and Abigail, using a Noah’s Ark million dollar bill to begin a gospel conversation with this couple who stopped by the booth.

As you can see, our booth is pretty big (20×20), but it is still definitely not enough space to have our 50-60 campers witnessing inside it all at the same time. So, we came up with a little system…

Dividing into four teams with this schedule helped us greatly in keeping everything organized and operating smoothly.

It amazes us just how many deep, heart-to-heart gospel conversations we are able to get into at the fair, by God’s grace and provision!

Bill was a fantastic part of the booth. The children flocked to him to see his tricks, and then he’d share about Jesus.

The Lord arranged and coordinated a thousand things; I could never list them all. Believers from all around the country found out about the camp in so many different ways. The Lord provided opportunity for countless gospel discussions with unbelievers. We are so blessed to be servants of the Most High God who works intimately in our lives, and in drawing the lost to Himself.

If you are interested in joining us for this year’s fair, see more information and register here. We’re very excited that Bryan Osborne, speaker from Answers in Genesis, will be joining us this year. See a 2 1/2 minute video of Bryan speaking here.

This video I made a year ago, describing out 2016 outreach and advertising our 2017 camp. If you haven’t seen it yet, it will give you a further taste of what this outreach entails:

Answers in Genesis Outreach at the Iowa State Fair from Tomorrow's Forefathers, Inc. on Vimeo.

Upcoming “Strong in the Lord” Conference

We are excited to announce a “Strong in the Lord” Conference in our town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa! The conference will take place on July 10-11 at Cedar Valley Bible Church, and is for girls ages 8-14 and their mothers. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Lord works in lives and would appreciate your prayers. We’d also appreciate help with spreading the word if you have friends who would be interested! More details are on the flyer:

Register here.
Download flyer here.

Note: A “Speak Truth in Your Heart” Conference for older girls will be happening in the same place July 13-14.

Testify Training Camp 2018!

I’m excited to announce our 3rd annual witnessing training camp, scheduled for August 9-13. Last year doubled in size from the first year and it was a super exciting time. There was a mix of young people, middle aged, and older people, and the four days were pretty packed with fellowship, learning together, and doing outreach together. I’m excited to see who God brings this year! Feel free to spread the word to anyone you know who may be interested.

This year Bryan Osborne, speaker from Answers in Genesis will be joining us. He’s an awesome speaker and teaches apologetics in a very understandable way.

Space is limited. Register here.

“Just Men” Conference

It has been a while since my dad has run a “Just Men” conference. He has scheduled one for next month (June 22-24), and we are excited to see how the Lord will use this event. It is for young men starting at age 16, as well as for men of all ages.

Below is information from my dad about his vision for this event. Feel free to share with those you know who may be interested.

Purpose:
The need in our day is for a new generation of young men to rise up who are “just” and whom God can use for His glory and His Kingdom. “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” (I John 2:14b)

Goals:
• Build and strengthen the future leadership of the Body of Christ
• Establish a growing fellowship group of just men who have a working relationship together in the various ministries God gives them
• Strengthen future marriages and families by laying essential Biblical foundations
• Be instrumental as the Lord raises up and sends forth laborers into His harvest
• Encourage and train young men to be disciple makers

Topics that will be explored and reviewed:
• Biblical concepts of the Christian life and of being a just man
• The importance and function of the church, the Body of Christ
• The enemies facing the church, the culture and us as men
• Important issues and battles of our day
• Ministry and leadership

For: Men of all ages (16 years old and up)

Cost: Free

Schedule:
Friday 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Register free here.

Conference will be held at both Cedar Rapids Bible Chapel and Noah’s Archive Christian Bookstore.

Housing in homes is available for out of town attendees.

Evening meals and Sunday lunch will be provided. Saturday lunch will be at Chick-fil-A. Breakfast in homes.

For questions, email or call Harold Mally: harold@tomorrowsforefathers.com
Office phone: 319-377-6728

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man and he will increase in learning” (Proverbs 9:9).

“He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning … ” (2 Samuel 23:3).

Apology

Hi everyone, On my recent blog post of our church’s bike trip, I shared a one minute video of singing in a living room. It was brought to my attention that an extremely inappropriate video came up next on my Vimeo channel. This happened because I was sharing that video from my own personal Vimeo account (not our larger, Tomorrow’s Forefathers account). Because of that, I did not have control over what came up next. I guess I didn’t fully realize the danger of that, or perhaps Vimeo just recently made changes and allows really bad videos to creep in. I have now made all those videos on that account inaccessible, so the blog is now safe. I am very sorry that I wasn’t more careful, and I pray no harm was done. I realized afterward that I could have had my settings in Vimeo adjusted to avoid this.

Upcoming “Speak Truth in Your Heart” Conferences!

We’re excited to announce three upcoming “Speak Truth in Your Heart” conferences!

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (July 13-14)
(A “Strong in the Lord” Conference for ages 8-14 will also be held in Cedar Rapids on July 10-11)

Bellefontaine, Ohio (July 20-21)

Hudson, Wisconson (November 9-10)

We’d appreciate help in spreading the word if you know friends in these areas! Let us know if you’d like us to mail you flyers or send you a promotional email to forward to friends. See our website for more information and to register.

Church Bike Trip!

Last Sunday our church did another church-wide 14-mile bike trip to the Nederhoff’s home where we had a cook out. We typically do this twice a year. We all bring our bikes to church and start riding after church, taking the nearby trail which providentially goes all the way to Nederhoffs!

My dad always assigns one father to lead and another to bring up the rear.

Enjoying fellowship at our destination. My mom is recovered enough from our van accident that she rode the 14 miles too!

Good catch, Ezra!

Big family!

Thankful that Tony Ramsek was with us and shared a devotional on propitiation and expiation from Leviticus 16. Our sins are doubly gone!

Sunday morning I remember thinking about how we just don’t know from day to day what the day will bring forth. It could bring blessings or it could bring unexpected difficulties. Sunday evening I thought, Praise the Lord He gave us yet another undeserved blessed day. He gives us so many gifts we don’t deserve. And actually, since He is taking care of us and in control of everything, every day is a blessed day, no matter what happens.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” Psalm 103:1-2

“Speak Truth in Your Heart” Book, Finished!

We want to say a big thank you to all who shared insightful comments regarding the font color of Sarah’s new book! You all shared so many insightful comments and helpful thoughts! After much deliberation and discussion, we finally decided on … navy! 🙂 We praise God that we finally have the book finished and now available to order!

We were aiming to have it available for the Answers for Women Conference 2018 and we ended up cutting it super close.

Praise God our printer’s location was directly on the way to where the conference was, so we picked up the books from our printer right after they were finished — one day before the conference!

It’s always a great experience to smell the new book for the first time, haha.

Thanks for all who have prayed for us as we’ve been completing this book. We’re so grateful for how the Lord helped us finish, and now pray that He uses it in lives.

Serious Van Wreck

Our whole family almost died last Friday night on a trip home from Chicago. We are amazed to be alive.

The five of us were together, traveling home from a great-aunt’s funeral. We were having a nice family time in the van, laughing at old stories.

The weather had just changed, and had become a mix of rain and snow, but it didn’t seem especially dangerous. But it was more slick than we thought, and while passing a semi we hit ice and began fishtailing.

“Oh no,” I heard. We were losing control.

I peered up from the second bench where I had been lying down, and saw the front of our van hit the side of the semi we had been passing. The impact of hitting that semi sent our van violently into the grassy median, and I saw that we were now headed towards the gleaming lights of oncoming traffic. All of a sudden things felt really out of control (we were rolling, but I didn’t realize it at the time) and I heard the loud noise of the van roof crunching in on top of us. I yelled, “Jesus, protect us!” and tried to prepare myself, thinking I was about to feel a ton of pain, and we all might die.

However, after a few seconds, we were stopped by the side of the road, and I didn’t feel the pain I had been anticipating.

“I’m okay!” I said, surprised.
“I’m okay,” my dad responded.
“I’m okay,” Sarah echoed.
“I’m in pain,” my mom said. Just hearing her voice was a relief, but she was holding her stomach and her shirt was getting bloody. She was not able to answer questions very well or identify the location of the pain.

Stephen was already on the phone with 911.

I looked around to get my bearings. We had been going west, but now we were on the far side of the east-bound lanes of the interstate.

Here’s what had happened: We had rolled over the cable separation barrier and landed right side up in oncoming traffic. When Stephen (the driver) refocused his eyes on the road after that roll, he saw the oncoming traffic about to hit us and he thought we were all going to die. However, the momentum kept us moving and we skidded across both lanes of traffic. Once Stephen saw we were on the shoulder, he stepped on the brake. He was shocked that we survived.

Back to my mom. She seemed a little faint and couldn’t answer questions very well, but she indicated the pain was subsiding. She was taken to the ER and later I learned that the blood was actually just from a cut on her hand. There was an initial fear of internal bleeding, but the CT scan showed her internal organs were okay. She does have a fractured shoulder, though, and bruised internal organs. The hospital kept her overnight but she is now at home recovering.

In the above picture you can see our red cooler in the median. Apparently it flew out while we rolled, along with other things. Almost all the van windows shattered and even our big harp was part way out the window. We do not have an explanation for how my mom, Sarah, and I (who were not wearing seat belts) did not also fly out the window, except for the Lord’s protecting hand. My mom was right next to the cooler, and she was even leaning against the window when we rolled.

Mom and Dad were very happy to be reunited, and we were all relieved Mom wasn’t worse. It is an unbearable thought to consider all the things that could have (and realistically speaking, should have) happened.

The hospital chaplain told us, “I’ve been working here for five years, and you are the first trauma accident where all the people have lived to tell about it.”

I questioned her, confused. I mean, we all know many survive car accidents. She explained that she only gets called for the serious accidents. And in situations like ours, we were the first family in five years that all survived.

As you can imagine, we were all pretty emotionally shaken. I remember sitting with Stephen in the waiting room, waiting to hear how Mom was.
“Did you think we were going to die?” I asked him.
“Yeah. I thought we were going to die,” he said, his eyes welling up with tears.
The next few days were filled with emotion for all of us. Two days later, my dad was preaching the sermon at church and took the first 15 minutes of his sermon to tell of our accident. It was hard for him to get through it.

Through all the grateful tears, we also have an increased compassion for those that do experience great loss in these kinds of accidents.

Here’s where the accident took place. We were coming from the other way. You can see the cable barrier and broken posts. That’s where we rolled.

Praise God the van structure held up well enough during the roll that the roof didn’t crunch in further.

Sarah’s neck was very sore, and the next day at the junk yard and Detective Stephen discovered a clue as to why her neck hurt so much.

She must have hit her head on the ceiling of the van as we rolled. This is a chunk of Sarah’s hair caught in the van ceiling! Thankfully, the soreness in her neck is already subsiding.

Now our harp…. it didn’t do so well!

As we took off the harp cover, this is what we found. We’re grateful it was insured, but even if it wasn’t, it hardly feels like it matters. We’re alive.

On Sunday afternoon I sat down at our kitchen table with my Bible. It fell open to Psalm 116. I looked down at the verses and read these words: “For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 116:8-9). The whole chapter was amazingly appropriate. (Amazing how no matter the disaster, there’s a Psalm that will fit. 🙂 )

Stephen showing my mom pictures of the van the next day in the hospital

Right after the accident when I realized my family was alive, I felt such thankfulness to God that it was hard to express. It was this feeling of, “What could I ever do for You, Lord, to thank you for this?!”

Yet, that Friday night rescue wasn’t the biggest deliverance that the Lord had accomplished for me. The much bigger gift was when He died on the cross to rescue me and my family not just from earthly death, but from eternal death in Hell.

“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all” – Isaac Watts

The Lord has provided for us in countless ways: A young couple who saw the accident happening (from the oncoming traffic side) stopped immediately and were a comfort to us – they also had their families praying for us. A friend, Craig Rollinger, who lived nearby came immediately to give Stephen a ride from the hospital to retrieve the harp from the towing yard. Our church family showered us with love and met all our needs.

We have yet one more reason to owe our lives to Jesus. And we are reminded that He is able to easily rescue from any danger until He says it’s time to come Home.