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New Horizons

December, 2010: Joy to the World!

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Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come!

Isaac Watts (1674–1748) is regarded as the father of English hymnody. As a child, he displayed a quick wit and a propensity for verse, a talent that was not always appreciated by his stern father. But Isaac was very earnest about his Christian faith, and he wished to use his gifts to serve the Lord.

As a young man, he openly rebelled against what he called "the cheap doggerel currently in use in the services of public worship," by which he meant the psalters that were then in use. Read more

King Solomon and Temptation

When we think of Solomon, we think of wisdom. After all, the Bible tells us that he was the wisest man who had ever lived (1 Kings 4:29-31). We also think of a king who ruled Israel at the height of her glory. When we think of Solomon, we normally don't think of a man who battled temptation. On closer look, though, we see a man who battled temptations that are common to us all.

After becoming king, Solomon subdued several enemies to usher in an era of peace in Israel. After consolidating his rule, Solomon prayed to the Lord for wisdom when the Lord appeared to him at Gibeon. God gave him wisdom "like the sand that is on the seashore" (1 Kings 4:29). Israel marveled as Solomon judged wisely between the two prostitutes who appeared before him, arguing over an infant. Read more

Boardwalk Chapel in Wildwood, N.J.

The strum of a guitar echoes across the Boardwalk in the summer of 1969. A few teenagers from Covenant OPC in Vineland, New Jersey, who have once again made their weekly trip down to the Chapel on Thursday ("Vineland Night"), are singing "O Sinner Man." Frightened emotions in our hearts and earnest expressions on our faces mingle. A shout comes from among the hundreds that pass by in those few minutes: "You idiots! Sit down and shut up!" That's not the kind of reaction that self-conscious high schoolers want to hear, but we keep on singing:

O Sinner Man, where you gonna run to?
O Sinner Man, where you gonna run to?
O Sinner Man, where you gonna run to on that day?
Read more

Harold Dorman: One Church, 56 Years

I have sometimes teased Harold Dorman about the attention that is lavished around Skowhegan on his birthday each year. The town is festooned with bunting and decorations; parades, speeches, and evening fireworks mark the day.

It was on Independence Day in 1917, the year the United States entered World War I, that Harold Leonard Dorman was born in Hamden, Connecticut. Harold, one of the oldest of eleven children, was afflicted with spinal meningitis when he was five years old. His three-year-old brother died of the disease at that time, and Harold's hearing was permanently impaired. His deafness was a handicap, but his eagerness to learn stimulated him to overcome it at every stage of his education. Read more

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