"As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming toward her..." (C S Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Letter to my church on 12/14/12


Dear FBC family and others,

Today is a day of great tragedy. It is hard to imagine the evil that exists in our world, so close by us here, that someone would take the lives of 26 people in an elementary school, most of whom were young children as young as 5 years of age. More details are still left to be communicated.

It is a deep and horrible reminder of the depths of human depravity. Children are the closest thing to innocence in this life. Jesus loved and welcomed children, and even used them as the model of faith for all of us. That anyone could even think of such evil is hard to comprehend.

“Where was God?” many will surely ask. That answer is easy, though hard to understand. God was there with those precious sweet victims whose lives were snatched from them so early. He was there in the school. He was there as they passed on from this temporary and mortal life. Why did he allow this? That is too far beyond me. He doesn’t give us all the answers now in this fallen world, but he does offer us His Holy Presence. God was there, and God is still there with the parents and the grieving loved ones. God is here with all of us who feel heavy hearts for our world right now. We know he will bring all the sins of this world to justice, either on the cross or in final judgment, but right now let us remember he offers His comforting presence to those who look to Him. God knows what we are going through, especially the parents. God knows personally what it is like to lose a Child.

No doubt we will hug our kids and grandkids a little tighter tonight (I know I will), and no doubt our optimism about this world will grow a little dimmer. But remember, God is “in the business” of revivals. Pray for our country. Pray the light of the gospel would enlighten us again. Pray for the parents and the grieving loved ones. Pray they will find rest in the everlasting arms of Jesus.

Jesus even asked us to pray for our enemies. The shooter has passed and is facing his Maker. But pray for his family. Pray for those who have such disturbed souls that such evil thoughts are even now preying on their minds. Pray they would find new life and grace in Jesus Christ.

God is still good, the celebration of Christmas still coming, the tomb is still empty. Let such tragedy draw us closer to our God, and put our hope in that great day when sin and suffering will be no more (make no mistake, it is coming!). Let’s join with the prophet Jeremiah who could still say when facing great national tragedy in his day,

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Sincerely,

Pastor Rick

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leadership: a Definition

There is much talk about leadership out there, and many different ways to define it.  The best definition I've heard is one of the simplest:

Leadership is influence.

If you are not influencing anyone, regardless of what position or title you hold, you are not leading them.  If you are influencing others, like it or not, you are leading. The level of your influence upon others, and what you are changing them towards, determines the effectiveness of your leadership.  You may use that influence for good or evil, but either way you are leading.

This is true in the church, this is true in your home, and this is true in your business.  Use your leadership wisely and to God's glory.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Why I Love John Owen


"I think truly, that no man preaches that sermon well to others, that doth not first preach it to his own heart.  He who doth not feed on, and digest, and thrive by what he prepares for his people, he may give them poison as far as he knows; for, unless he finds the power of it in his own heart, he cannot have any ground of confidence, that it will have power in the hearts of others." (John Owen, "The Duty of a Pastor").


D L Moody on Christianity vs. Freemasonry


"I do not see how any Christian, most of all a Christian minister, can go into these secret lodges with unbelievers.  They say they can have more influence for good, but I say that they can have more influence for good by staying out of them, and then reproving their evil deeds.  Abraham had more influence for good in Sodom than Lot had.  If twenty-five Christians go into a secret lodge with fifty who are not Christians, the fifty can vote anything they please, and the twenty-five will be partakers of their sins.  They are unequally yoked with unbelievers.  ‘But, Mr. Moody,’ some say, ‘If you talk that way you will drive all the members of secret societies out of your meetings and out of your churches.’  But what if I do?  Better men will take their places.  Give them the truth anyway, and if they would rather leave their churches than their lodges, the sooner they get out of their churches the better. I would rather have ten members who are separated from the world than a thousand such members!  Come out from the lodge. Better one with God than a thousand without Him!  We must walk with God, and if only one or two go with us, it is all right.  Do not let down the standard to suit men who love their secret lodges or have some darling sin they will not give up!" (D. L Moody)

For more info, see this previous post

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A powerful account from Church History

According to St. Basil, the early church father, under the persecutions of the emperor Licinius, there were forty Roman soldiers who became Christians.  They were commanded to renounce Christ.  They refused and were condemned by the prefect to be exposed naked upon a frozen pond near Sebaste on a bitterly cold night in hopes that they would reject Christ.  Nearby a hot bath was set up so that if they simply reject Christ, they could get warm and survive.  The men supposedly chanted, “Here die 40 men for Christ.  Here die 40 men for Christ.”

One of the guards set to keep watch over the soldiers watched in astonishment as these men were willing to give it all in order to be faithful to Christ.  Their unity, their faithfulness, their bond together, must have seemed like nothing he had ever seen in this world.  Among the 40 soldiers, one yielded and went to the warm baths.  The soldiers began to chant instead, “Here die 39 men for Christ."  The guard who watched threw off his clothes and walked out to the 39 soldiers.  He began to chant with them again “Here die 40 men for Christ.  Here die 40 men Christ.”  By the following day every one of them was dead.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Poem I wrote for my church for Maundy Thursday


A deep sorrow could be felt in the Upper Room
Silent and unspoken it spoke of His doom

Jesus lifted the bread off the table and gave it a tear
Around to the disciples he passed it to share

“This is my body, it is broken for you"
By His death He is able to make all things new.

Then he took the cup and said with a stare,
“This cup is for you,” and he passed it with care.

“It is the sign of a new covenant by my blood shed,”
He drank it with us as he lowered his head

With a sense of wonder and awe we all left the table
Off to Gethsemane, urging, “Pray while you’re able”

Not long after he would be betrayed by a kiss
A devising of Judas straight from the abyss

They chained him and beat him and took him by night
We disciples panicked and ran in a cowardly flight

Soon they took him before the Council in an unjust court
The verdict was pre-determined and the trial was short

“Off to the Romans,” to make them do the dirt
Spoke up Caiaphas the priest with his torn apart shirt

At first Pilate wondered whether this man justly should die
After all he knew the Council had hatched some big lie

But he was convinced by a conniving word by the Jews
“If you allow this King to live, Caesar will hear of the news”

And off went Jesus up to the place where he would hang
The wooden beams would shake with each hammer bang

His first words were spoken while they lifted him high
“Father, forgive them they know not,” his merciful cry

Two criminals beside him both lashed out with hate
Then one was deeply convicted as he considered his fate

“I am here for my crimes, as painful the terror
But this man has done no wrong; he is without error”

He looked over to Jesus and asked with a grave plea
“Jesus when you get to your throne, remember me?”

Jesus next words are without equal in mercy and grace,
“I tell you today in paradise we shall meet face to face”

He breathed his last and his head hung without movement
Taken down by the soldiers and to Joseph’s entombment

We all hid for three days so we would not the same fate bear,
It was the women who were visited by Him and told not to fear

Soon we met Him ourselves straight from that old tomb
He broke through death, and man’s ultimate doom

Believe in the Lord Jesus and trust in The Savior
Trust not in yourselves or your own good behavior

After this comes the Holy Spirit whom Jesus would send
Keeping us focused and faithful as we await the glorious end.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Looking for an admin assistant

FYI, we're looking for a full-time, "Pastoral Administrative Assistant" at FBC Haverhill.  If you are interested, check out the job description: HERE and send me a resume at rick@fbchaverhill.org

UPDATE: We are happy to welcome Kina Forman to FBC!  Check out a bio of her HERE

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Single Sermon that Changed my Life

"Let Your Passion be Single" by John Piper



To hear it, click HERE

I got it as a free tape when I was in seminary.  I listened to it, and at first was stunned and turned off until I mulled it over again and again.  Now I realize it is the single most important sermon I have ever heard.