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December 2005 New Horizons

OPC Disaster Response

 

Contents

The OPC's Response to Disaster

Bringing Relief to Slidell, Louisiana

A Cup of Cold Water

Christ's Humiliation

Helps for Worship #3: The Principles of Public Worship (Part 2)

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The OPC's Response to Disaster

It smelled like Christmas with all the fallen pines. Yet it also smelled like decay. The streets were full of cars, even though many stores were closed for repairs. Blue tarps marked the roofs. Nearly every local citizen stopped and said, "Thank you so much for helping us." That is part of what the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) disaster response teams experienced in and around Picayune, Mississippi, as OP volunteers reached out to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Katrina's eye passed just to the west of Picayune, flattening thousands of trees and damaging many of the homes in the town of about 10,000 people, twenty miles from the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. In Picayune, most buildings showed damage-some minor, some devastating. The number of downed trees rivaled the number still standing. One building largely unaffected by the storm was First Presbyterian Church, where volunteers from the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the OPC bunked on the floors of Sunday school rooms and showered ... Read more

Bringing Relief to Slidell, Louisiana

After watching the round-the-clock television coverage of Hurricane Katrina from the comfort of my den, I wondered what a small group of sixteen Christians journeying south from western Michigan could possibly do to make much of an impact on such a vast, devastated area. We had an unlikely band of helpers: two retired men, three teenagers, five men from a homeless shelter, a college professor, a father and son, a pastor, and me—the one who brought the men from the homeless shelter. I needed to remind myself, "God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong" (1 Cor. 1:27). After twenty-two hours on the road, we pulled into a public park adjacent to First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Picayune, Mississippi, at 4:30 a.m. In our caravan of four vehicles, we were hauling a large trailer donated by a Christian in Indianapolis, a Bobcat purchased by some Christians in Michigan, a pop-up trailer, and a large luggage trailer. A few hours of sleep later, we were driving to Slidell, Louisiana, ... Read more

A Cup of Cold Water

When Phil Hodson heard that a potentially disastrous hurricane was aiming toward the Gulf Coast six hours south of his Texas home, he e-mailed Orthodox Presbyterian and Presbyterian Church in America pastors in four states, offering to shelter displaced people. Licensed by the OPC to serve as pulpit supply for the mission work in Longview, Texas, Phil also e-mailed his congregation of thirty, asking if any would be willing to host strangers in their homes for as long as needed. And he contacted camps to see if any might serve as shelters. Little did Phil know what impact those e-mails would have on his congregation or on those whom they would help. Jack Sawyer, pastor of Pineville OPC in Pineville, Louisiana, and his congregation of sixty also learned about the gift of giving to hurricane victims. After receiving hundreds of calls and lots of money and supplies from across the country, Jack and his church funneled nearly $100,000 toward hurricane relief. These churches spearheaded relief efforts ... Read more

Christ's Humiliation

You're the last kid picked, the one they call "four eyes" or "stupid." When you come up to bat, everyone whispers that you'll strike out-and you do. Humiliated, you sit back down on the bench and wish you could disappear. Sometimes the words and experiences of life can sting like alcohol on a raw wound. Humiliation comes when others mock you, make fun of you, point out real or supposed flaws in how you look, who your parents were, where you were born, or how much money you have or don't have. Humiliation comes to almost everyone at some time in life, and it always hurts. Here is a startling thought: Jesus Christ was humiliated because he was born a human being! Part of what brought humiliation to the Son of God was becoming a part of mankind. Jesus Christ faced humiliation because, being God, he took to himself "a true body, and a reasonable soul" (Shorter Catechism, Q. 22). This aspect of Christ's humiliation is spelled out in Question 27 of the Shorter Catechism, and it helps us look at the birth ... Read more

Helps for Worship #3: The Principles of Public Worship (Part 2)

6. Public worship must be performed in spirit and in truth. Externalism and hypocrisy stand condemned. The forms of public worship have value only when they serve to express the inner reverence of the worshiper and his sincere devotion to the true and living God. And only those whose hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit are capable of such reverence and devotion. 7. The Lord Jesus Christ has prescribed no fixed forms for public worship but, in the interest of life and power in worship, has given his church a large measure of liberty in this matter. It may not be forgotten, however, that there is true liberty only where the rules of God's Word are observed and the Spirit of the Lord is, that all things must be done decently and in order, and that God's people should serve him with reverence and in the beauty of holiness. From its beginning to its end a service of public worship should be characterized by that simplicity which is an evidence of sincerity and by that beauty and dignity which are a ... Read more

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