Monday, January 05, 2009

Pastor's Perspective

Happy New Year!

Well, the Lord has seen fit to bless us with another year of life and service together. Let us make the most of it!

We had a good first Lord's Day. We continue in Luke on Sunday mornings. Our Communicants Class has begun. Derek's back in Nehemiah on Sunday evenings (Sarah Kennedy said to me afterwards: "Dad, I really liked Dr. Thomas' sermon - especially the part about camping!"). Read to the end of this post to find out what's starting during the Midweek Bible Study and Prayer Meeting this coming Wednesday Night.

There are a number of things to report on quickly:

2009 MID-SOUTH MEN'S RALLY - Friday, January 30, 2009
It is not too early for you to begin making plans to be present at the Men's Rally. Rick Phillips is our speaker. In addition to being a prolific author, he is also a retired Army Officer, taught leadership at West Point and graduated from the prestigious Wharton School in Philadelphia. Men, invite friends and relations! Who are you going to bring?

Year-End Giving and a Cause for Praise
Well, the dust still hasn't settled yet, and I'll give you more detailed information when I have it, but I can confidently tell you this: the Lord has blessed beyond all expectations. More than a million dollars was given to the church in the last four days of the year. More than 2 million was given in December as a whole. As a result, church giving well-exceeded our spending for 2008. We go into the new year with a surplus. And, our total indebtedness is now under $4 million.

The Lord is so good. He has taken care of us as a congregation through thick and thin in three different centuries. May He get all the praise and all the glory!

Men's Bible Study for 2009 – Starts in February
Nate Shurden, our Minister of Discipleship and Young Adults, is going to be leading a weekly morning Bible study (surveying the Old Testament) which will include teaching, guided discussion, prayer and a light breakfast. The Bible study will meet on Tuesday mornings from 6:30-7:40 a.m. in Miller Hall from February to May. To indicate your desire to participate (or for more information), please contact Shannon Craft, Administrative Assistant of Discipleship, at or call 601-326-9243.

Your "new" Executive Minister
Jeremy Smith is now officially our Executive Minister. His interim title was "Senior Assistant Minister." Bill Hughes, our long-time Executive Minister completed his year as Executive Minister-Emeritus and is now officially retired. Anne and I will take Bill and Mary Ann out to a "farewell" lunch this week, but we are so glad that they will continue their half-century-long fellowship with First Presbyterian Church even in their retirement.

Prayer Meeting – The Gospel Course
We will be covering the material (in an expanded form) from the Gospel Course in our Mid-Week Evening Bible Study and Prayer Meetings from January 7 to March 18, 2009. So, we start this Wednesday night! Spread the word, and come yourself. Billy Joseph is going to begin doing some evangelism-discipleship soon as well. Call him if you are interested, (601) 973 9124 or (601) 906 0459. Here's the schedule:

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism
January 7 - 1. What Is Evangelism?
January 14 - 2. Why Don't We Evangelize?
January 21 - 3. What Is the Gospel?
January 28 - 4. Who Should Evangelize?
February 11 - 5. How Should We Evangelize?
February 25 - 6. What Evangelism Isn't and What Isn't Evangelism
March 4 - 7. What Do We Do After We Evangelize?
March 11 - 8. What's Our Motivation to Evangelize?
March 18 - 9. Who Makes a Christian? and What Does It Look Like When Someone Comes to Christ?

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