Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Missionary Spotlight: Clay & Darlene Quarterman ~ Odessa, Ukraine

In 1993 the Quartermans were called to Ukraine in the former Soviet Union. They were on the ground floor, helping start a denomination of seven new Presbyterian churches and founding the Evangelical Reformed Seminary of Ukraine. Clay is president of the seminary, which in 2003 had grown to 42 students.

Clay earned two degrees at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, receiving his M.Div. in 1977 and his Doctor of Ministry degree in 1986. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wales in 2005. He is ordained as an evangelist and teaching elder. The Quartermans served 14 years on MTW’s Portugal Team, where Clay planted churches, taught at a Bible college, and helped organize a school of missions and a branch of Evangelism Explosion. He is one of the founders of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Portugal.
Clay and Darlene were reared in Christian homes and came to Christ at an early age, having an early interest in missions. They are from Presbyterian churches in Jackson, MS and Hopewell, VA, and met at Belhaven College in Jackson. Their first date was to a missions conference. They married in 1973 and have four children: Matt (27), Nate (25), Tyler (21) and Alex (19).

Please pray for the Lord’s protection over the Quarterman Family.

The ownership of the Odessa church is being questioned in court. Pray as the Actor’s Guild in Odessa files an appeal over the case against the rights of ownership to the church building, a historic Reformed building downtown.

Pray for wisdom and skill in mobilizing and training leaders in Ukraine.

Pray for growing pastors with hearts for missions.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Missionary Spotlight: Larry & Debby Thompson in Hungary

Larry and Debby have been reaching into the hearts of Communist countries for 30 years. Larry is a native of Jackson and attended Mississippi State University where he met his wife, Debby. “We have the all-American romance; football player met cheerleader at chapel during a Campus Crusade for Christ prayer meeting, fell in love, got married, and went to Poland,” Larry said.

After graduating from college, Larry and Debby were married and spent two years in New England. During this time, they were invited to lead a Campus Crusade for Christ team to Communist Poland in 1977. Larry and Debby along with their baby daughter went undercover as students and later as business owners to spread the word of Christ. During this time, Larry was interrogated twice by the Polish KGB for an entire day. The Thompsons spent eight years in Poland. During this time, Larry and Debby were able to use the “Jesus” film to share the Gospel with seven million people and start university ministries in five cities.

The Thompsons moved from Poland to Germany, where Larry served as regional director for the Eastern Bloc which included the countries from Poland to Albania. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1994, the Thompson family moved to Budapest, Hungary, which is the Eastern Europe and Russia Campus Crusade for Christ headquarters.

Larry currently serves as the Director of Affairs for Eastern Europe and Russia, which spans eighteen countries and eleven time zones. They currently have university ministries in over 100 cities on more than 300 campuses. “Since 1990, we have been able to share Christ, using the Jesus film, university ministries, and churches, with 150 million people,” said Larry.

“Debby and I reflect on the hardships over the years, that are many and very real to us, yet we can truly look back and say, 'The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.' (1 Thessalonians 5:24) We praise God for His faithfulness to us for these thirty years. As you face the challenges of living by faith, please be encouraged to trust Him, and you too will look back in thirty years to see His faithfulness.”


Friday, April 13, 2007

Twin Lakes Fellowship 2007

The 2007 edition of the Twin Lakes Fellowship (TLF) was nothing short of extraordinary. I'll have more to say about it later on, but for now, let me say this.

What a blessing it was to have faithful ministers from all over North America and the World, from the PCA, ARP, PCUSA, OPC, RPCNA, Church of Scotland, Free Church of Scotland, and other Presbyterian/Reformed bodies, as well as from Baptist churches, Bible churches, et al. Dr. Dominic Aquila, the current Moderator of the PCA was with us, as was Dr. Guy Richardson, President of RTS-Jackson, Brad Bradley of the Southwest Area Church Planting Network and Dr. Andrew T.B. McGowan, Principal of the Highlands Theological College, Scotland and leader in the World Reformed Fellowship.

Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Peter Jones, founder and executive director of Christian Witness to a Pagan Planet and Scholar in Residence (and former Prof of NT) at Westminster Seminary California, gave a stellar lecture on Christianity and the New Spiritualities. Then we enjoyed an interview with Dr. Phil Ryken, Senior Pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA concerning the forthcoming Literary Study Bible and the Reformed Expository Commentary Series (by P&R). This commentary series is designed to provide a comprehensive exposition of the text that is doctrinal (committed to the Westminster Standards), redemptive-historical (committed to a Christ-centered view of the Old Testament), and practical (committed to applying the text to people today). Co-editors with Phil are Rick Phillips, Iain Duguid and Dan Doriani.

Tuesday night, Dr. Doug Kelly (Jordan Professor of Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC) preached a powerful message on forgiveness, and hit us all right between the eyes. Jay Harvey remarked to me afterwards that Dr. Kelly has this amazing way of disguising his own intellect, learning and profundity behind the simplicity and clarity of his sermons. Dr. Kelly's hallmark emphasis on prayer and the importance of unseen, supernatural reality was everywhere evident. Dr. Harry Reeder of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham led the service, and his prayers (in particular) were exceedingly powerful.

On Wednesday morning, The Reverend David Robertson (Senior Minister of St. Peter's Free Church, Dundee, Scotland and Church Planting Consultant to PCA MTW Europe) gave a brilliant address on Robert Murrary M'Cheyne drawing applications from the life and ministry of that famous 19th century Scottish inner city Pastor and using them to inform church planting and ministry today. Later Wednesday morning, the Reverend Brian Habig, PCA church planter, former RUF campus minister and now Pastor of the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina brought a tremendously convicting and challenging word to us to be more intentional in our Gospel witness as pastors, right in our own contexts. This worship service was ably led by the Reverend Kevin Smith, a self-identified "recovering church planter" and currently the Senior Pastor of the Pinelands PCA Church in Miami, Florida.

On Wednesday afternoon, we enjoyed a scintillating conversation with Wy Plummer, Lance Lewis, Kevin Smith, Erwin Ince and Thabiti Anyabwile about Reformed outreach to the African-American community. These dear friends gave us tremendous insights about the most important things for the PCA to do in its witness to African-Americans. Hearing their own testimonies of how they came to Christ, to the doctrines of grace and to the PCA (except for Thabiti -- who said his name meant "token Baptist on the panel" in Swahili!) was hugely inspiring. They also spoke forthrightly and helpfully about obstacles to African-Americans embracing reformed theology and becoming members of PCA churches. Then we enjoyed interviews with Dr. Don Carson Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago and leader in the Gospel Coalition; and Dr. Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC and head of IX Marks Ministries. Don told us about his upcoming book Christ and Culture Revisited (Eerdmans) and about the Gospel Coalition meeting in May. Mark told us about a number of his current and forthcoming writing projects, and kindly answered our questions about how Presbyterians could benefit from the ministry and resources of IX Marks.

Wednesday night, the Reverend Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands preached a powerful message on Ephesians 2. His introduction was riveting, his exposition solid and his final four applications were penetrating. He was ably assisted in the worship service by the Reverend Jay Harvey.

Thursday morning, our dear friend Dr. Derek Thomas, Minister of Teaching at First Presbyterian Church and Professor of Practical and Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary preached a gloriously encouraging message on the Benediction. More on that soon.

The Twin Lakes staff spoiled us all rotten, fed us well and generally waited on us hand and foot. Of course, an annual highlight for me is singing with and hearing the men sing. I'd come just for that!

A friend wrote me today and said: "thanks for another wonderful Twin Lakes Fellowship oasis in the sometimes-desert of solo pastoral ministry. Once again, TLF was a Providentially-appointed blend for me of encouragement, instruction, rebuke, and inspiration. It was a particular treat for me to bring a Ruling Elder with me this year. After the introduction to the TLF on Tuesday afternoon, he turned to me and said, 'I understand you so much better now.' The singing, as always, nearly reduced me to tears several times and the readings from Alexander Whyte have whet my appetite for a new vicarious friend."

What did that introduction say that we longed to see come out of the Twin Lakes Fellowship?

". . . a strong coalition of Bible-saturated, truth-driven, God-entranced, prayer-soaked, aggressively evangelistic, Christ-treasuring and exalting, Spirit-filled, sovereign grace-loving, missions-advancing, hell-robbing, strong-thinking, real-need-exposing, soul-winning, mind-engaging, vagueness-rejecting, wartime-life-style-pursuing, risk-taking, justice-advancing, Scripture-expounding, cross-cherishing, homosexuality-opposing, abortion-denouncing, racism-resisting, heaven-desiring, imputation-of-an-alien righteousness-proclaiming, justification-by-faith-alone-apart-from-doing preaching, error-exposing, complementarian, joyful, humble, loving, courageous, happy pastors working together for the Gospel. (Thanks to John Piper for many of these words and thoughts).

"And we want to see them leading strong evangelical churches who, while they hold as faithfully and biblically as they know how to certain doctrinal distinctives not shared by all other biblical evangelical churches, band together for the Gospel on a basis that is robustly doctrinal, historic, orthodox, reformational, world-opposing-while-at-the-same-time-world-serving, Bible-preaching, Scriptural-theology-inculcating, real-conversion-prizing, deep biblical evangelism-practicing, New Testament church-membership-and-leadership-implementing, church-discipline-applying, healthy and growing Disciple-making, – all for the display of God’s glory in the churches.

"May the Lord raise up such a ministerial fraternity – not on the basis of doctrinal minimalism but rather on the basis of shared conviction of the truth and Gospel forbearance in the areas where we differ; not to the detriment of our convictions regarding our distinctives in faith and practice in the local churches and families of churches we serve, but to their enhancement. And may the Lord raise up churches that are truly a witness to grace in this passing age, a display of the glory and power of God’s saving grace, outposts of heaven, suburbs of eternity. For the church is God’s strategy, and there is no plan B.


David & Stacy: Serving the Lord in Sweden

David grew up in Skelleftea, Sweden. He came to know the Lord after a semester of high school in the States. The dry spiritual climate in Sweden led him to return back to the states and he received a BA in Christian philosophy from Belhaven College in Jackson, MS. David attended Reformed Theological Seminary. While in the U.S., David and several Swedish students met to pray for Sweden. During this time, David began to seek God’s will for him to be a pastor. He is currently a local Swedish pastor in his home country, where less than 4 % of the population attends church.

Stacy was raised in Atlanta, GA. After being saved at a young age, she has grown continually in the Lord. Stacy has always been actively involved in the church and started contemplating world missions as a result of numerous short mission trips, as well as one year trip to Moscow, Russia. David and Stacy were married in May of 1998.

David and Stacy have been a part of the first Reformed church planting movement in Sweden. The Evangelical-Reformed Church in Sweden is now a recognized denomination. Moreover, the team’s vision includes the publication of Reformed literature, campus ministry, sports ministry, and children’s ministry.

David and Stacy have two children Miriam Hannah Elizabeth (5) and Samuel (1).

Please be in prayer for David as he has committed to be in Stockholm once a month to teach at the “Westminster Fellowship”; a group of reformed believers without a local Reformed congregation. Pray also for the change of schedule for the family.

Please pray for young Samuel Bergmark as he may be developing asthma.

Please pray for Samuel as doctors examine his head. One side of Samuel’s head has a slight bulge that has not corrected itself as the doctors thought it would.

Please pray for David as he has moved his office to a more central location and wants to make the best out of the new situation. He hopes for more opportunities to minister to his church members and others in the neighborhood in which the church is located.

They want to thank you, FPCJ, for your faithfulness to them in your prayers and for supporting a sister church.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Danny Wuerffel to Speak at MOC Luncheon

“Men, Mercy, and Missions”
Thursday, May 3, 2007
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Mark your calendars! We are looking forward to having Mr. Danny Wuerffel, the Executive Director of Desire Street Ministry and former NFL player, speak at our upcoming Men of the Covenant Luncheon. A native of Pensacola, Florida, Danny led his high school football team to the state championship and went on to play college football at the University of Florida. In addition to winning the Heisman trophy in 1996, Danny led the Gators to four SEC championships and a National title. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1997 and later joined the NFL’s European league. In February of 2004, Danny retired from professional football to work with Desire Street Ministries, a faith-based program in one of America’s toughest and poorest neighborhoods. As Executive Director of Desire Street, he is presently leading the ministry through a time of transition in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Reservations are not required and the cost of lunch is $5.00 If you have any questions, please contact Allison Gatlin in the Discipleship office at 601-973-9128 or


Sunday, April 08, 2007

One Hundred Seventieth Anniversary

170 years ago today, the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson was organized on a Saturday afternoon, April 8, 1837 by the Reverend Peter Donan (a student of Charles Hodge and Samuel Miller at Princeton Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. The shepherd and flock consisted of Reverend Donan and four people: Mrs. Margaret E. Mayson, Mrs. Susan Patton, and John Robb and his wife, Marion. The organizational meeting was held in "the Old State House," Mississippi’s first capitol, a small two-story structure on the northeast corner of E. Capitol and N. President Streets.