December 2022
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In this month's newsletter you will find:

  • Christmas Services
  • TFI Christmas Gift Program
  • Christmas Party
  • Historical-cultural Context
Don't miss any of the information enclosed!

From the Pastor's Study

Hello Saints,

Over the past few months, we have been exploring how we are to properly read and study the Word of God. So far we have covered the topics of preunderstanding and presuppositions. This month I want to briefly discuss context—specifically the historical-cultural context. If we are to come to a valid interpretation of any passage of Scripture, that interpretation must be consistent with the historical-cultural context of that particular text. A vast majority of error stems from ignoring the historical-cultural context of the passage in question. All sorts of funky ideas and false doctrines have originated from someone ignoring, either intentionally or accidentally, the original historical-cultural context of a passage.

So where do we begin? The most obvious place to begin is with the author and his audience. We must find out what we can about who the author was and to whom he was writing. We need to know what the original author was trying to convey to the original audience. Until we can figure that out, we cannot move forward. It is not okay to yank a text out of first-century Palestine and drop into 21st-century America without any idea of what the original author intended to convey, and then apply that text directly to our lives. Sometimes it does work that way, but there is no way to be certain without first doing the work of learning the original historical-cultural context.

Once again I turn your attention to the outstanding work of Duvall and Hays, Grasping God’s Word. Here is a list of questions that you can use to help you learn and understand the historical-cultural context of a passage of Scripture:

1. Who is the author?
2. What was his background? 
3. When did he write?
4. What was the nature of his ministry?
5. What kind of a relationship did he have with the audience?
6. What were their circumstances?
7. How was their relationship to God?
8. What kind of a relationship did they have with each other?
9. What was happening at the time the book was written?
10. Are there any other historical-cultural factors that might shed light on the book?1

In order to answer these questions, you will need a few tools such as commentaries, Bible atlas, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, etc. Many of the tools can be found online for free. Others you will need to purchase. At the very least, you should have a reliable study Bible such as Dr. John MacArthur’s or the ESV Study Bible. Having a study Bible will take you a long way in understudying the historical-cultural context of a passage.

As you dig into the Word of God, I urge you to make every effort to read it and understand it correctly using a proper hermeneutic so that you will not unintentionally be led astray. The depth of the Word of God cannot be mined out in a lifetime of study…but we can sure try!

Forever In His Grip,
Pr. Shon

1Duvall, Scott J, Hays, Daniel J. Grasping God’s Word 2nd Edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1 2005), 107.
Christmas Service Times
Saturday, December 24 -- 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 25 -- 10:00 a.m.
Biblical Resources

Trustworthy Teachers, Preachers, and Authors


Herman Bavinck
Name:  Herman Bavinck

Birth-Death:  December 13, 1854 – July 29, 1921
Spouse:  Johanna A. Schippers


Nationality:  Dutch

Bavinck was a brilliant scholar, yet a humble man with deep feelings and a tender heart. He had an impressive knowledge of modern philosophical and religious trends as well as of the history of ideas, both Christian and non-Christian.  In the Netherlands in his own day, Bavinck was a household name. The finest Dutch theological mind of his generation, Bavinck was also a notable public figure at a time of tremendous social upheaval—leaving his mark on the fields of politics, education, women’s rights, and journalism. Across the country, streets and schools were named after him. Beyond this, Bavinck was notable as a person of international standing. On a trip to the United States in 1908, for example, he was hosted at the White House by Theodore Roosevelt. Such honors say a lot. He continues to be one of the few 19th-century Reformed theologians whose works are still studied and discussed. He is known for his deep love for the Lord, His Word, and His church.

  • Kampen Theological Seminary
  • Leiden University

Occupations/Professional Experience: 
  • Preacher, Christelijke Gereformeerde church (Christian Reformed) in Franeker, Netherlands (1880-1801) 
  • Professor of Dogmatics, Professor of Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology, Professor of Ethics, and Professor of Philosophy; Kampen Theological Seminary, Groningen, Netherlands (1881-1902)
  • Editor of de Bazuin (1900-?)
  • Professor of Theology, Free University, Amsterdam, Netherlands (1902-?)
  • Named to the Senate of the Netherlands Parliaments in 1911
  • Lecturer
  • Researcher
  • Author

Awards:  On April 26, 1906, he was inducted as a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in recognition of his great scholarly work.

Books:  A few of Bavinck's books are listed below.  

  • Reformed Dogmatics (the English translation was released in four volumes between 2003-2008 and has sold over 90,000 copies)
  • Our Reasonable Faith
  • The Certainty of Faith
Deadline for the January 2023 newsletter is December 27th.  Email information to Jodi Hansen at


Sundays, 10:00 a.m.
At The Real Tree Church, we are a family of believers who hold a very high view of God and Scripture. Worship with us as we give praise and worship through both hymns and contemporary music and receive strong, expository, biblical preaching.
Click here to watch online.
Praying Hands


Prayer Concerns

It is our privilege to pray for each other.  If you have a need for prayer, please tear-off the sheet in the Sunday bulletin and put it in the offering plate, speak with Pastor Shon, or email:

If your need is immediate, please contact:
Pastor Shon at 651-428-0439.
Check the Sunday bulletin and the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall for all of the Bible studies and activities going on!  Don't miss any of the opportunities available to get to know both God and your fellow churchgoers better.  Feel free to jump into any of the Bible studies at any time!  
Power of Prayer
Follow Steve Olson on his CaringBridge website:
Christmas Party
On Friday, December 16th,
Adults 18+ are invited to attend a potluck Christmas Party at church.

Information is posted on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall.  You can also talk with either Steve or Kate Thompson.

Mission Opportunities: See Nathan Prissel for more information
Christmas Gift Program
A mission we are supporting is TFI Christmas Gift Program which gives gifts to foster children here in Dakota County. Go grab a gift tag from the Christmas tree bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall and help bring a smile to a foster child this Christmas! 
Have questions? 
Talk with Becky McIntyre.


Christmas Season Trivia

1. How many angels spoke to the shepherds?
2. What is the most recorded Christmas song?
3. Who was the prophet that foretold a virgin shall give birth to a son called Immanuel?
4. What does the word “noel” mean in its original language?
5. Stars, needle, plate, dendrite, column, lacy, and capped column are the six main types of what? 
6. Who was the Roman Emperor at the time of Jesus' birth?
7. What country is the Poinsettia, with its red and green foliage, native to?
8. What old Christmas tradition signals to people passing by that the residents of the house are Christian?
9. Worldwide, the most popular time to go to church on Christmas is when?
10. How many scrabble points for the word Christmas?


1.  One
2.  Silent Night
3.  Isaiah
4.  “Nöel” means “birthday” or “relating to birth” in French. 
5.  Snowflakes
6.  Caesar Agustus
7.  Mexico. It derives its English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US minister to Mexico.  He introduced the plant to the US in 1825.
8.  Putting candles in a window
9.  Midnight
10.  Six
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25975 Galaxie Avenue
Farmington, MN  55024



Sunday Worship:  10:00 a.m.


Pastor Shon McIntyre
Preaching Pastor

Pastor Vern Swedin
Executive Pastor


To reach both pastors:


John Burger
Aaron Daws
Mark Hansen
Nathan Prissel
Erik Rhode




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