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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

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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, …

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“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…