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New Horizons

March, 2010: Response to the Earthquake in Haiti

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God's Gift of Deacons

Daniel was in church one Sunday morning when government soldiers came in and arrested the whole congregation. They were imprisoned for the crime of worshiping God. It is dangerous for church members to be in prison in that country, but it is even more dangerous for church officers. Yet despite the potential danger, Daniel was ordained a deacon while in prison. He began his ministry of compassion to the needy while in jail. He was a precious gift of God to his persecuted church. Deacons for thousands of years have been God's precious gift to his church.

Do we understand how invaluable deacons are? Let's consider: Read more

The Challenge of Helping Needy People

It's hard to reach out to needy people in our area (Letcher County, Kentucky) without being confronted with certain challenges. Through the years, we've tried to focus on types of assistance that are most consistent with our goals as a church. This is why we decided to focus on young men. We wanted to promote strong leadership in families, churches, and the community.

The million-dollar question is, How do you reach young men? One of the families in our church opened a door for one way to reach them. They raised two of their nephews, Paul and Jeremy, from the time they were little. Sadly, as the boys grew up, so did their sins. Eventually they ended up in jail. Like so many young men in our county, their problems were drug related. This family wanted to help them in a way that would be best for everyone. Read more

God's Help in Disaster

For Joshua, it was a good thing when the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. But I felt more like Noah than Joshua when the foundation wall of our house nearly collapsed. We had just moved to Atlanta, where I was beginning a new pastorate. Almost upon our arrival, the rains began.

After a week of heavy rain, I preached on Sunday, September 20, about God's power at work in our lives. That night, hour after hour, we endured a thunderstorm the likes of which I had never witnessed before. In the morning, we arose to the horrors of a catastrophe. Read more

Surviving the Earthquake in Haiti

Twenty-four hours before the earthquake in Haiti (which occurred on January 12), missionary Ben Hopp and I walked the city streets of Port-au-Prince together. I found it a most exhilarating experience. French and Creole swirled about me. Spirited Haitians crowded the congested city streets selling their goods. And tasty Haitian food enticed us into a local eatery. Fond memories from my university days in France flooded my mind. Indeed, I was counting my blessings. Thank you, Lord!

But I did not take the time to count how many buildings we frequented that day. I would only do that a day later, when we learned of our near miss with a deadly 7.0 earthquake that devastated the city and surrounding countryside of Port-au-Prince. We had entered six buildings. But now, few of them remain standing. I marvel at the mysterious mercy of the Lord. Read more

Bittersweet Truths

I spent nearly a week as a reporter in the quake-ravaged city of Port-au-Prince in the days just after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake claimed as many as 200,000 lives there. That experience reminded me of a bittersweet reality: the ugliest calamities reveal the most beautiful truths of God's Word.

Even as I was reporting the horrible news of nearly 800,000 people left homeless, I thought of the good news of Psalm 91:1—"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty." Read more

The Apostles' Creed, Part 1: I Believe in God

When we say the Apostles' Creed in worship, we are joining with Christians around the world who have said these words for at least 1,500 years. J. I. Packer has called the Apostles' Creed "a power-point declaration of the basics of the Christian message—in other words, of the gospel itself."[1] Packer's statement may seem odd to some. There are people who would argue that the Creed expresses unwarranted certainty. Cornelis Venema observes:

Ours is an age which prizes as a virtue the attitude of open-mindedness or broad-mindedness. We praise the person who is willing to consider a variety of viewpoints, who does not too hastily commit himself to one over the other.… Conversely, we are suspicious of those who are confident about what they believe and confess it to be true.[2]
Read more

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