You Asked For It!


Since Epiphany is the season of Jesus’ teaching, the following topics will be addressed during January and February during Epiphany:

How do I handle:

  • January 8Anxiety?
  • January 15Conflict?
  • January 22Marriage & Family?
  • January 29Taxes?
  • February 5Sunday Work?
  • February 12Immigrants?
  • February 19Integrity […]

The Prodigal God: Find Your Place at God’s Table

The Prodigal Son is one of the most famous stories that Jesus ever told. Tim Keller, the C.S. Lewis of our generation, says that it is really God who is prodigal, not in the sense of running away, but in the sense extending extravagant grace.

Using Keller’s book, The Prodigal God: Find Your Place at […]

Donate Blood 06-07-2015

NBRC is participating with St. Bernard to donate blood for the Blood Bank. The next collection will be on June 7th at St. Bernard Parish Center between 8:30am to 1:30pm.

Watch this brief interview in which Kip Bateman talks to Pastor Todd Buurstra regarding blood donation.

Suggested reading

This is from my namesake and friend, Todd Hiestand. Todd doubles as a church planter and business man in Feasterville, PA. I think his insight into our mission is right on.

Peace and joy,
Todd Buurstra, D. Min., Pastor of Worship and Witness

Proof of the Existence of God…

I didn’t sleep that well Tuesday night. Foolishly I went to bed mad that our leaders did not seem to be able to get along and work things out. Like you, I was mad that people are inconvenienced, or government workers are paid without working, and that we were playing with the dynamite of default. […]

Trayvon and Todd

I really don’t have much to say in our national conversation about race after the George Zimmerman trial, and I think that’s good. You see, I can’t get it. I can’t possibly understand the racial reaction.

I grew up in a white school, in a white suburb when Grand Rapids, like Detroit and Newark, were being […]

DOMA and the Church

Perhaps you have watched the news about the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (giving federal benefits to gay marriages in states that allow them) and seen a man in a collar decrying our descent into Sodom and Gomorrah. Or maybe you have read an article that explains the biblical position as […]

From the Paster – December

Pastor Todd BuurstraIn November, our denominational magazine, The Church Herald, ran a fascinating blurb entitled, “Attending Church Can Help Teen School Grades.” This article explained research from the University of Iowa that evidenced two main effects of teen churchgoing:

  1. higher than average grades […]

From the Paster – September

Pastor Todd BuurstraGod is growing our mission! As of September 15, 2008 North Branch will close on the Lawrence House. $360,000+ has been raised towards the $450,000 purchase of the house. And from January 1, 2009 the mission of this house begins!

Lawrence HouseOr should I say, “begins again?” Right about 50 years ago the church briefly owned this house. It was not the parsonage, but it was purchased along with the field that became our parking lot. Along about the time that I was born, the church subdivided the land and sold this house on 3.3 acres to the Lawrence family to finance the parking lot. God had already destined that this place house a vibrant ministry to our community.

Fast forward to 2005 and 2006 when the church tried to purchase this without a capital campaign. The Ten Year Facility Planning Committee, chaired by Bob Kiser, looked at buying it with state COAH money; we looked at a ministry that could help us pay it off; but it was not to be. Seeing this as God’s stop sign, the long-range planning committee disbanded.

Then last fall I got a call to come to the diner for breakfast. There sat a group of people from our congregation that had raised, at that time, about $350,000 towards the purchase. Quickly we reassembled the Ten Year Facility group. This time, without a large mortgage overhead, God lead us quickly to a ministry born right here in North Branch. […]

From the Paster – July

Pastor Todd BuurstraPastor Todd BuurstraHappy Sabbatical to you all!

As most of you know I’ll be away for the first part of a sabbatical stretched over the next two summers. For the next month my family and I will spend some time in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands visiting around the area from where Grandpa Buurstra immigrated 100 years ago. The picture here is from the train station that he may have boarded in Sint Anna Parochie (outside of Leeuwarden) to travel to America in 1907. He left at 18 because the Dutch military required him to join the cavalry and he was deathly afraid of horses. Oh well. When in the Leeuwarden area we will be staying with the Rev. Sita Hofstra whom many of you met when she came and stayed with us in the latter half of May. After being blessed by our hospitality (the “our” is meant to include the hospitality that you extended her), Sita promised to call all of the Buurstras in the Leeuwarden phone book to ask if they think they have long, lost relatives in the States. Oh well???

When we return I’ll spend a few weeks sharing what I’ve learned on sabbatical in sermons. Though we plan on visiting exciting places like Amsterdam, the windmills, Madurodam, the Frisian islands, Ann Frank’s house and concentration camp, etc., I think that my best learnings will be in the area of family roots around the farm country of Leeuwarden. Who knows what God has in store?