Friday, September 28, 2007

Missionary Spotlight ~ Al & Wini Baker - Hartford, Connecticut

Al and Wini Baker moved to Hartford, CT in September, 2003 after serving the Golden Isles Presbyterian Church, St. Simons Island, Georgia for over ten years. Al sensed God’s call to a challenging field, and answered the call of the Southern New England Presbytery to plant a church in West Hartford. Starting with a core group of eight families, Christ Community Presbyterian Church was particularized in June, 2006 and now has sixty families attending. The plans include a multi-site expansion in the spring of 2008 with hopes of planting several more churches in Connecticut in the next several years.

Al and Wini Baker's Prayer Requests:

(1) Please pray for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to convert the lost and to bless the preaching and evangelistic ministry of our church.

(2) Please pray for God’s direction and provision for a new location for our original church, since the building in which we have been meeting for four years will soon be unavailable.

(3) Please pray for God’s direction and blessing on expanding our church planting efforts in Connecticut.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stewardship Thought from Quentin Whitwell

Getting in the habit of taking a portion of our income and placing those funds in an envelope to drop in the offering plate on a regular basis is an important step toward spiritual maturity. This exercise produces a freedom in living for Christ that can feel as if we are “wildly” giving to God money that He can use and we have no control over. What an amazing feeling to give away without any ability to direct that money to our own self-motivated plans. Of course, the funds our church receives are wisely spent by our church elders who fervently pray for the wisdom to distribute those tithes for God’s glory. But, for us as individuals, an even greater conviction on our heart should not be what has happened to the money we have offered but what we have done with everything else we have.

In this passage (I Chronicles 29:11-12) we learn that everything is the Lord’s. Clearly, we realize that no matter how much or how little money we actually place in the offering plate at the Sunday service, God has control and dominion over every single item that we call “ours”. Digging deeper, we learn in verse 14 that all things actually come to us straight from God. Our “things” were sent from Him. Further, in verse 15 we learn more. The blessings of God to us were given to us as “pilgrims” or “temporary residents”. In heaven we will be gifted with eternal prizes as we stand before Him who we served while on earth. At FPC Jackson we all are being given a chance to prove our self worthy of having served Christ with all our heart. We are not to horde up a stash of goods for our own pleasure but to serve God and others in love without regard for the cost. Instead, we should commit our resources to advance God’s kingdom through our gifts, our service and our witness.

As we set our financial priorities, we should always include our tithe to the Lord in our household budget. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and for many folks their financial status tends to vary from year to year. In tough times, tithing is important because we are demonstrating our faith in the Lord that He will continue to provide for us even when our revenues seem lean to us. But good times can be even more difficult in some ways. Is it not true that there are times when our clothing allowance or golf expense account can put us to shame? Serving Christ by asking “How would you have me use my car(s), my home, my clothes, my life and all I have to better serve you, as those things are Yours already, O Lord?” would be a good first question for us all to ponder. We are pilgrims and God has provided us gifts which are really His, and we should let go of them more often. This week, take some time to reflect on the many ways God has used your generosity for the advancement of His kingdom. Give more and watch God bless the gift and the giver in ways we never imagined!

Quentin Whitwell


Monday, September 24, 2007

U.S. District Judge William H. Barbour Jr. to speak at FPC, Jackson

Men, mark your calendars!

On Thursday, October 4, 2007, Judge William H. Barbour Jr. will speak at our monthly Men of the Covenant Luncheon.

Judge Barbour received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University. He received his Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1966 and was selected to the Moot Court Board and Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. Before his appointment as Judge, he was a partner at the law firm of Henry, Barbour and De Cell in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

In 1983, he was given his commission as a United States District Court Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi by Ronald Reagan. He was elevated to Chief Judge in 1989, served in that position through 1996, and took senior status in 2006. Judge Barbour attends the First Presbyterian Church in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Judge Barbour will challenge us to live faithful lives in our particular areas of calling.

Reservations are not required and the cost of lunch is $5.00. We will begin serving lunch 11:30 a.m. and the program will end promptly at 1:00 p.m.

Questions? Contact Allison Gatlin in the discipleship office at 601-973-9128 or


Friday, September 21, 2007

Missionary Spotlight ~ Bruce & Barbara Wannemacher, South Africa

Bruce and Barbara grew up in northern Illinois and met in elementary school. They both became Christians through a campus ministry while in college and married before their senior year. After graduation Bruce attended graduate school, earning a master’s degree. He then served as a U.S. Army officer in the Medical Service Corps.

Desiring to serve in cross-cultural missions after military service, Bruce and Barbara pursued Bible training at Covenant Theological Seminary. They both graduated in 1998; Bruce with an M. Div. degree and Barbara with an M.A. in general theological studies. During their seminary years, God confirmed their desire to serve cross-culturally through short-term missionary opportunities in England, Jordan, and Africa.

Bruce is on staff at the Bible Institute of South Africa in Cape Town, teaching and discipling African students and pastors throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Barbara is actively involved with discipling Bible college women and works off-campus teaching Bible classes at a local primary school.

Bruce and Barbara have two grown children.

Please be in prayer for Bruce and Barbara as they apply for permanent residency in South Africa.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Hymns of the Faith

This past Sunday morning our new radio program aired for the first time. Hymns of the Faith explores the devotional treasures of the ages found in our hymnal. Christianity is a singing faith, because the Lord has put a song in our hearts. So we live and die singing. On Hymns of the Faith we talk about, listen to and learn from these great songs.

The program airs every Sunday morning on WJNT 1180 AM at 9:00 a.m. and runs for an half hour. Of course, it is also available worldwide via the internet, 24/7, at or you can purchase or check out a CD from the The Presbyterian Bookstore or the Learning Resource Center, here at the church. Want to hear the great hymns of the church, learn more about who wrote them and composed them, and explore the meaning of their beautiful and beloved poetry? Then join us for Hymns of the Faith.

By the way, a number of you have said that you’ve heard the new ads for the program on the radio! I’m sure that is a relief to those who are tired of hearing the almost ten-year-old ads for First Things! Our first four hymns are airing on Hymns of the Faith in the following order: 1. 9-16-07, "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty." 2. 9-23-07, "If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee." 3. 9-30-07, "Now Thank We All Our God." 4. 10-07-07, "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past."

This coming Lord’s Day, then, we’ll be looking at the moving words and music of the great hymn, "If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee." It is a glorious and realistic and emphatically Christian and spiritual meditation on God’s providence. It is also worth memorizing.

The Cyber Hymnal™ (a resource you really should bookmark on your web-browser favorites – at says: "It was composed in 1641 with the heading ‘A Song of Comfort. God will care for and help everyone in His own time,’ under the text Psalm 55:22. The author was robbed by highwaymen near Magdeburg as a student and left destitute with no prospect of earning a living. At last he unexpectedly received an appointment as tutor in the family of a judge, ‘which, he says, . . . greatly rejoiced me, and on that very day I composed to the honor of my beloved Lord [this] hymn.’"

In this hymn, we profess our confidence in God’s goodness and guidance, even in the midst of trial. As noted above, the author wrote it after being robbed of almost all his possessions (except a prayer book) and enduring extended unemployment, so when you sing it, you are singing with a fellow Christian who personally understands about destitution and hard circumstances. How encouraging a thought that is. We are never alone in our hardships, and even when we come with great burdens and fears to church, we can sing in a fellowship of suffering, with brothers and sisters from over the ages, who personally understand what we are going through. Isn’t God kind to us?

Here’s a taste of the first stanza (original English tranlastion in bold), and my (inelegant and unpoetic, but simple and clear) translation of it follows after the * in each line. The song is written in the form of a testimonial (like so many of the Psalms), but is utterly God-centered.

If thou but suffer God to guide thee
*If you will only trust God to guide you
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
*and hope in Him in every circumstance
He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee,
*He’ll give you strength no matter what happens
And bear thee through the evil days.
*And he’ll carry you through bad times
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love
*The person who trusts in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that naught can move.
*Builds on a the one Rock that no one can move.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Missionary Spotlight ~ Jon & Tracy Eide, Ukraine

Early in their marriage, Jon and Tracy felt God’s call on their lives to serve Him overseas. Jon graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and went on to seminary at Biblical Theological Seminary in suburban Philadelphia, where he received a Master’s of Divinity degree. He is ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America as a pastor/missionary. Tracy graduated from Albright College in Reading, PA with a B.S. in nursing, and worked as a critical care nurse in Philadelphia.

After spending three years with a Mission to the World church-planting team in Nikolaev, Ukraine, they returned to the U.S. where they helped start a new church among the large Russian community of Philadelphia. God has led them back to serve in Ukraine, this time in the capital city of Kiev where Jon will be mentoring Ukrainian pastors in church planting. In addition to caring for their children, Tracy hopes to continue work in children’s ministry and women’s discipleship.

Ukraine is a land of overwhelming spiritual and physical needs that only the gospel can truly meet. The Eide's desire is to be a part of God’s work there.

Jon and Tracy have two children, Alison and Natalie and are in the process of adopting a little Ukrainian boy. Please pray for them during this time.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Brief History of First Presbyterian Church (1)

The First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Mississippi (1837), is one hundred seventy years old this year, and celebrating the completion of the fourth house of worship in its history. As such, this gives us the opportunity to learn a little about God's providence over the course of our history and to reflect on some of the lessons we can learn from our past "for the living of these days."

Presbyterianism came to Mississippi long before Mississippi became a State (on December 10, 1817). One immediately thinks of, for instance, the old Salem [now Pine Ridge (PCA)] Church in Natchez that dates from 1807 - the oldest extant Presbyterian Church in the State. Within twenty years of the first Presbyterian missionaries in the territory, the Synod of Kentucky constituted the original Presbytery of Mississippi on March 6, 1816.

But there were Presbyterians and Presbyterian churches here even earlier. For instance, the Presbyterians of the New York Missionary Society (of the Presbyterian Synod of New York) had sent missionaries to work among the Choctaw Indians while Mississippi was just barely a territory (established April 7, 1798), in 1799. In 1801, the Synod of North Carolina sent three missionaries who came by way of Nashville, and down the Old Natchez Trace. They established Presbyterianism in the Natchez area (the Bethel [1804], Salem and First Natchez [1817] churches all resulted from their ministry).

In general, Presbyterianism in Mississippi has spread eastward and north out of the southwestern corner of the old territory, from what is now Adams County. Meanwhile, back in the east-central region of the State, the early influence of Presbyterians from North and South Carolina can be seen in the name of the Carolina Presbyterian Church (1841) in Neshoba County.

Presbyterian churches existed in Edwards and Clinton before Jackson. In 1826, the Bethesda Presbyterian Church was founded in Edwards, and the old Mount Salus Church was established in Clinton, prior to the organization of First Church in Jackson. The Bethesda Church is the oldest church in the Mississippi Valley Presbytery (PCA).

The congregation of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson began its history on a Saturday afternoon, April 8, 1837, by the Rev. Peter Donan and four persons: 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 East Capitol and North President Streets.

The organizing pastor (what today we would call a "church planter") was Peter Donan. Donan studied at Princeton Seminary under Charles Hodge and Samuel Miller, continued as the church's pastor for four years. There were no elders for two years, no deacons for six years, and no meeting house for nearly nine years. In the first two years of its existence, the church had but three new members.

Several things are interesting about the timing of the church's founding and the facts of its humble beginnings. Let me elaborate on a few.

First, the church was established just scant months before the Old School-New School division in the Presbyterian Church. Interestingly, Mississippi's representatives to the 1837 General Assembly sided with the New School party. Now there's a story to tell sometime!

Second, the church's organizing pastor, Peter Donan, studied under leading Old School theologian Charles Hodge of Princeton Seminary, who trained over 2000 student during his long and distinguished teaching career (from 1822-1878). However, Donan eventually left Presbyterianism for a sect! Yet another tale to share.

Third, the slow growth in the beginnings of First Presbyterian Church needs to be considered in light of her long-term impact. Starting with four members, growing by only two members in its first two years (Jackson probably had only about 1000 citizens then), 170 years later First Church is home to about 3100 members, is the largest Presbyterian congregation in the state, one of the largest Presbyterian churches in the United States, a flagship congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which is itself the largest conservative Presbyterian denomination in the English-speaking world. Furthermore, God has chosen to use ministers, elders and members of First Church to play a significant role in establishing the PCA, Reformed Theological Seminary (a leading theological training center for evangelical ministry with campuses in Jackson; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Orlando, Florida), and Reformed University Ministries (a nationwide collegiate campus fellowship), as well as significantly supporting Belhaven College, French Camp, Palmer Home, Chamberlain-Hunt Academy and more.

"Do not despise the day of small things," is surely one of the messages we can learn from the modest beginnings of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Upcoming Events and Important Information

The Casavant pipe organ will be used for the first time in Sunday morning worship services on Sunday, September 2, 2007. For the next two weeks, Bill Wymond will open our services at the organ and Connie Wadsworth will conclude the services using some of her favorite postludes.
Sunday evening, September 2, at 5:15 p.m., Bill Wymond will give an introductory demonstration of the organ and an explanation of its many voices. This should be of interest to everyone (adults and youth, musicians and non-musicians).

You are invited to Hutton Chapel, following the evening worship service, September 2, to hear a report by Steve Edwards on the Internationals Class.

The Fall Inquirers Class will begin Sunday morning, September 2 at 9:30 a.m. in room M130 (next to the Learning Resource Center) and run for the fall Sunday school quarter. This class is for members and visitors who want to know more about our church and its ministries, our denomination, Presbyterian doctrine and beliefs, church history, and church government. To sign up for the class or for more information contact Shannon Craft at 601-326-9243.

Join us next Sunday, September 9, for our Back to College Lunch! We will meet in the Youth House building after the 11:00 a.m. service. We hope you can join us!

First Presbyterian Church invites you to this year’s churchwide picnic at Twin Lakes, Monday, September 3. Tours of the grounds and facilities will be given throughout the day, and activities start at 2:00 p.m. There is no need to bring food. At 5:00 p.m., a barbeque meal will be served.

On Wednesday, September 5, following the fellowship supper in Miller Hall from 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m., we will again be meeting in the sanctuary for our Midweek Bible Study and Prayer Meetings at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 6, 11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Mr. Frank Reich, Former NFL player and former President of RTS-Charlotte
Men, mark your calendars for our first Men of the Covenant Luncheon in our continuing series “Men, Mercy, and Missions.” We are looking forward to having Frank Reich kick off our September luncheon. Frank is best known for making two of the greatest comebacks in football history. During his football career, Frank played for the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, and the Detroit Lions, and is best known for making two of the greatest comebacks in football history. However, he has learned that both victory and defeat provide an opportunity for growth in grace in Jesus Christ. Until recently, he was President of RTS, Charlotte. He and his wife Linda have three daughters and reside in Charlotte, North Carolina. Reservations are not required, and the cost of lunch is $5.00. The luncheon will be held in Miller Hall. If you have any questions, please contact Allison Gatlin, Discipleship Ministry Assistant, at 601-973-9128 or