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The Old West Dies

Where the big sky touches the low green hills like a painter’s finished canvas,
And the dark-starred firmament canopies the crisp cool nighttime hours,
The rivers flow and the gentle wind blows on the fields made out of hay.
Nature rests as the horses play and the bison and bulls graze grass.

Then comes the crowds and the city lights and the Old West dies away,
The big gold arches and the tourist shops and the canvas washed away,
The natives wear suits and the great elks flee as the motels multiply.
A new day dawns, for better or for worse, and it’s here to stay for a while.

On the busy streets the jovial crowds drink at the newly minted bars,
Only a few will ask or consider at all what was lost and gone away.
The day is passed and the clock has ticked and the memory starts to fade,
And only a few will ask or consider at all what was lost and gone away.

Recent posts

Thomas Halyburton

I came across Scottish Presbyterian Thomas Halyburton in my study of the puritans. John Duncan called him a “minor John Owen.” Halyburton said on his deathbed:

“I bless the Lord that when I stood trembling under the terrors of God’s law, He seasonably saved me from despair by some discovery of the blessed way of salvation for self-destroyed sinners through a slain Savior; even such a discovery as made me resolve to part with all that I might have the field, Christ the treasure hid in it, and pearl of price. There is nothing I dread so much as a mistake in this matter. It is Christ only that will answer me and my case, and without Him I am undone; on Him—the efficacy of His sufferings, the power of His resurrection, and of His whole mediation, as revealed in the Gospel—do I build all my hope.”

The picture Is The Westminster Assembly by John Rogers Herbert.

Christmas Listening

Like the first Christmas story, Christmas today is permeated with hurt, even as it is brimming with happiness. It’s filled with weeping while also being saturated with rejoicing.
It’s the hap-happiest time of the year! Christmas ‘tis the season to be jolly. We cheerfully wish one another a Merry Christmas and sing together Joy to the World. Every Hallmark movie, Christmas special and Santa song reminds us of this. Many understandably look forward to this time all year round!
Yet, at the same time, all things considered, it is also the most difficult time of the year. For many, the Christmas season is filled with loneliness, depression and even grief. It is literally the darkest time of the year. The shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere falls on one of four days:December 20, 21, 22 or 23. Because of this, the Christmas season is the time of year when Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) begins to take effect.
It is the deadliest time of the year. Christopher Ingraham in The Wa…

“How to Find a Church” Endorsements

Listed alphabetically:


“Rick Harrington's book How to Find a Church is an excellent and informative read. The titles of each chapter clearly outline the steps a person would take in understanding the value of church, and in finding the proper one for themselves. Various scenarios are openly discussed in both truth and humor, highlighting the complexity of the human soul's search for belonging.”
Pastor Rick Amendola, New Life Christian Assembly of God.
"In a winsome, concise and uncanny way, Pastor Rick Harrington takes the confusion, anxiety, and weirdness out of finding a church family.I encourage those that have given up looking for a faith community or those actively seeking a faith community to read How to Find a Church to assist them in their journey to the relational joys of life together in Christ's Church."
The Reverend Canon Brian Bethke, the Anglican Diocese in New England.
“Choosing a local church can be one of the most formative decisions a person makes. H…

Lilly Grant News Release

NEWS RELEASE FOR RECIPIENTS OF GRANTS IN THE 2019 NATIONAL CLERGY RENEWAL PROGRAM
First Baptist Church of Haverhill has received a grant of $49,980.00 to enable its minister, Pastor Rick Harrington, to participate in the 2019 National Clergy Renewal Program. First Baptist Church of Haverhill is one of 150 congregations across the United States selected to participate in this competitive grant program, which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Established by the Endowment in 2000, the program’s grants allow Christian congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from their ministerial duties and responsibilities.  Ministers whose congregations are awarded the grants use their time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering ministers a carefully considered respite that may include travel, study, rest, …

A Day in the Life of a Pastor

Andy and Paula had reached their fundraising goal. Their passion for front-line global missions was contagious and had caused an excitement for reaching the nations to infect the whole church. The date was set, the plane tickets for their family of five were purchased, and travel plans were setting like concrete. Years of preparation were coming to fruition. A Commission Service and Reception were planned for Saturday, their oldest son’s baptism was planned for Sunday, and this family of five would fly out of Logan Airport on Monday to the mission field. Then half them came down with influenza.
            I received a call from another member, James, who struggled with alcoholism for as long as I’ve known him. His faith was genuine but raw. I had baptized him just a few years prior. He would go stretches dry and sober, but would inevitably fall off the wagon. Since learning he was slowly dying of prostate cancer, his drinking accelerated. As much as I sought to hold him ac…

Remember Miss Bates from Mere Christianity

C. S. Lewis imagines two people: one Miss Bates, a naturally cranky unkind woman who becomes a Christian and the other Dick Firkin, a naturally friendly kind person who has not yet become a Christian.
“Christian Miss Bates may have an unkinder tongue than unbelieving Dick Firkin. That, by itself, does not tell us whether Christianity works. The question is what Jane’s tongue would be like if she were not a Christian and what Dick’s would be like if he became one. Miss Bates and Dick, as a result of natural causes and early upbringing, have certain temperaments: Christianity professes to put both temperaments under new management if they will allow it to do so. What you have a right to ask is whether that management, if allowed to take over, improves the concern. Everyone knows that what is being managed in Dick Firkin’s case is much ‘nicer’ than what is being managed in Miss Bates’. That is not the point. To judge the management of a factory, you must consider not only the output but…