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New Horizons

August, 2006: The 73rd General Assembly

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The 73rd General Assembly

This year Trinity Christian College, tucked away in the quiet, southwestern suburbs of Chicago, played host to the Seventy-third General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The beauty of the Trinity campus offset the thunderstorms that greeted commissioners and interrupted the travel plans of many. But even as the refrains of the opening hymn rose from Ozinga Chapel, the reminder that God's amazing love ensures our salvation set the appropriate tone for the coming week.

The Rev. James Bosgraf, moderator of last year's assembly, opened the Seventy-third General Assembly on Wednesday evening, June 21, with a message from Philippians 4:1-9. He encouraged us to "speak humbly to friends from a passage that sets for us the right mind-set as we set out to do God's work." That mind-set is one of joy, which is the result of unity in Christ. The fullness of joy that Paul describes is found in the unity of God's children. "God is pleased when he sees his children working in and at unity." What better way is there to start the Assembly? Read more

Communion with the Spirit in Comfort

Not since the great Perry Mason has Hollywood given us a defense attorney who could argue a case single-handedly. Since then television series have featured teams of lawyers from high-flying law firms who prepare and argue cases together for their clients. Putting aside whether or not this reflects reality, wouldn't you want more than one person defending you if your welfare or life depended on it?

Think of the advantages. For one thing, while one attorney argues your case, the other could be sitting at your side, quietly informing you of the significance of everything that transpires during the legal proceeding. He could assure you that the testimony just obtained is momentous, that the judge's ruling strengthens your case, and that evidence submitted bolsters your chances for a favorable ruling. Surely having more than one advocate has its advantages. Yet every Christian already knows this, because Jesus has sent "another counselor," the promised Holy Spirit, to aid us in our communion with God. Read more

What Should We Study Now?

Selecting a book to use for a women's study is often challenging, writes Nancy Hoffman of Redeemer OPC in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. "We do not want fluff. We do want to be challenged, but we want a book that is understandable to us. We want a book that we can relate to as women of God."

To help find materials, a questionnaire was sent to Orthodox Presbyterian pastors, who passed them on to those who lead women's studies in their churches. Some of the most recommended books are listed below. Most are written by Reformed writers, many of whom have other books available. Read more

"If I Were a Rich Man"

Do you remember Tevya's song "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof? Tevya was dreaming what his life would be like if he could escape his existence as a poor milkman. His dreams included a big house, servants, plenty of food for his family, and also time to study the Torah.

For his book Chazown: A Different Way to See Your Life (Multnomah, 2006), Craig Groeschel interviewed some fifty Christians to see what they would do with the rest of their lives if they were wealthy. The responses he received were dismaying, because these Christians, like Tevya, wanted to quit work, buy expensive things, have servants to care for their homes, etc. Groeschel concludes with this telling comment: "Do we really think that God sent His Son so our greatest life goal would be a new boat?" (p. 50). Read more

In Memoriam: Leonard E. Miller

It would not be unusual to hear of a deacon in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who aspired to the office of elder, but less often do we encounter a man who desires to switch office in the opposite direction. Yet, that is exactly what Len Miller wanted to do. The session of his church heard more than once this elder's wish to be allowed to serve as a deacon, and that shows something of the measure of the man. Regularly denying his request, his fellow elders understandably did not want to lose him from the session.

Dr. Leonard E. Miller, beloved husband of Frannie and father of Tom, Bess, Tim, and Jonathan, died of an apparent heart attack while at work on June 7, 2006, at the age of sixty-four. He was a member of Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland, for over thirty-seven years. He served as ruling elder in that congregation for thirty-two years, as clerk of its session for fifteen years, and, most recently, as clerk of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic. Len would have been the first to insist that he served his Savior and Lord imperfectly in these and other capacities, but his colleagues would be equally quick to testify that he served faithfully and well. Read more

Helps for Worship #11: Corporate Confession of Faith (Part 1)

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Deut. 6:4)

The essence of the Bible's word for "confession" is "to say the same thing as." When we confess our sins (e.g., 1 John 1:9), we say the same thing about them as God does. This assumes, of course, that God has told us things that we can confess. Christian faith is agreeing with God about what he says about himself and about us. Read more

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