Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Little Bit About Our 2008 Missions Conference Speaker, Dr. Iain D. Campbell

A native of Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, Iain D. Campbell grew up and was converted in Stornoway Free Church, the largest church in the Free Church of Scotland. From there he studied biblical languages at Glasgow University before training at the Free Church College in Edinburgh.

Iain D.’s first pastorate was on the Isle of Skye, where he served a small, scattered, rural congregation from 1988-1995 before being called to his native island, where he has ministered for the past twelve years. His current congregation is a 200-member church, and serves a population of about 2000 people six miles from the main town of Stornoway.

Iain D. completed doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh, as a result of which he produced a critical biography of George Adam Smith, one of the late nineteenth century Free Church men who was responsible for popularizing critical views of the Bible. This was published under the title Fixing the Indemnity.

Among his other publications are Doctrine of Sin, The Gospel According to Ruth, Heroes and Heretics, On the First Day of the Week , Opening up Exodus, and The Seven Wonders of the World: The Gospel in the Storyline of the Bible.

Iain D. is married to Anne, a teacher of children with severe and complex needs, and they have three children: Iain, Stephen and Emily.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate

I’d be hard pressed to identify an author I trust more on the subject of sanctification than Jerry Bridges. What a gift the Lord has given him for articulating the importance of the gospel of Christ for daily growth in grace. His books have positively impacted the souls of countless believers, and I know many of you can chart your own spiritual growth through books like The Pursuit of Holiness, The Practice of Godliness, Trusting God, and The Discipline of Grace.

His newest release, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, is now available through Navpress, and I want to encourage you to pick up a copy very soon. Bridges believes that conservative Christians have been preoccupied for some time with all the major sins of society but have conveniently looked the other way when it comes to the subtle, “acceptable sins” of their own lives and communities. This book is an attempt at correcting this tendency among Christians by helping us become aware of these "acceptable sins," so we can repent of them and experience God's great mercy and grace that covers ALL our sins.

We’re going through Respectable Sins in discipleship group on Wed. night this quarter, and it is already proving to be a convicting read for us who struggle with the infamous pointing-the finger-at-everyone-else-but-myself tendency!

Here’s a sample from the first section of the book:

“Sin is sin. Even those sins that I call ‘the acceptable sins of the saints’ – those sins that we tolerate in our lives – are serious in God’s eyes. Our religious pride, our critical attitudes, our unkind speech about others, our impatience and anger, even our anxiety (see Philippians 4:6); all of these are serious in the sight of God… Yes, the whole idea of sin may have disappeared from our culture. It may have been softened in many of our churches so as not to make the audience uncomfortable. And sad to say, the concept of sin among many conservative Christians has been essentially redefined to cover only the obviously gross sins of our society. The result, then, is that for many morally upright believers, the awareness of personal sin has effectively disappeared from their consciences. But it has not disappeared from the sight of God. Rather, all sin, both the so-called respectable sins of the saints, which we too often tolerate, and the flagrant sins of society, which we are quick to condemn, are a disregard for the law of God and are reprehensible in His sight. Both deserve the curse of God.” (p.21-22)


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Missionary Spotlight ~ Joey Wright, Mississippi College

Joseph G. Wright, IV (Joey) is the campus minister for Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Mississippi College. Joey has just celebrated his ninth anniversary with his lovely wife, Summer. Both Joey and Summer are from Anderson, South Carolina. Joey attended McCallie high school in Chattanooga, TN and then Mercer University in Macon, GA. After being converted in college through the ministry of RUF, he found himself attending seminary at RTS, Jackson.

Joey began ministering on MC's campus under the oversight of the Mississippi Joint Committee of Campus Work and Bebo Elkin. He worked there for two years part-time as he completed his MDiv. He has just completed his sixth year working full-time on the campus. Joey and Summer have been blessed with two covenant children: Joseph G. Wright V (Grady) who is six, and Owen Nathan Wright who is four.

Prayer Requests:
(1) Robert Murray M'Cheyne once commented that his congregation's greatest need was his own personal holiness. Pray for Joey, that he might delight in Christ more than anything else in the world. Pray specifically that he might grow in, and live in the truth of Psalm 73:25-26 more and more each day.
(2) Pray that Joey might be a faithful husband and father. Pray that he would not neglect his greatest earthly calling. He says it is a constant temptation to put the ministry at MC before his ministry at home. Pray that he might have the wisdom and strength to fight this temptation.
(3) Pray that they would be given favor in the eyes of the new and returning students. Ministry is all about relationships, and God is the author of relationships...He gives and He takes away. Pray that He would grant them opportunities to love these students, to speak to their hearts, and to lead them in righteousness.

They would like to extend their deep gratitude to the First Presbyterian, Jackson church family. Your gracious support and encouragement have been an unspeakable blessing to them. They say thank you, from the depths of their hearts for partnering with them in this ministry!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Governor of the State of Mississippi's Second Inaugural, Worship Service

You are reminded of and invited to:

Preceding the Second Inauguration of HALEY REEVES BARBOUR

The First Presbyterian Church Jackson, Mississippi
The Thirteenth Day of January, Two Thousand Eight
Four O’Clock, P.M.

Romans 13:1, 4 For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God . . . he is God's servant for your good.


A Note from Rob Hill and St. Paul PCA

So many of you remember (fondly) Rob Hill, from his time with us as a CE intern, that i thought that I'd pass along this letter from him to Presbytery. As you know, he has been the Pastor of St. Paul PCA since he left us, and is doing an outstanding job.


The Lord has been gracious to us at St. Paul and has seemed to answer our prayers regarding the sale of our facility in South Jackson. We currently have a contract on the facility and hope to close in another month or so. There don't appear to be any obstacles to this sale going through.

Please pray for us as a congregation regarding a number of matters:

-- That we would find a temporary meeting place in Clinton while we build our new facility on Pinehaven Rd.
-- That our congregation would experience peace, unity, and spiritual growth during this time of great transition.
-- That we would be zealous in our attempts to minister to our new community.
-- That the Lord would grant the funds needed to build the new facility.

We have been in a state of almost constant transition during the last four years at St. Paul: the church split, the receiving of Mt. Salus, the closing of the school, and now a move.

Please remember to pray for us. Ps. 89:1 "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known your fatihfulness to all generations."

In Christ's love,

Rob Hill

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Missionary Spotlight ~ J.R. & Eliza Foster, Virginia

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Edward “J.R.” Foster, Jr. was raised in New Jersey, moving south in 1989 to attend Clemson University. It was during his sophomore year at Clemson that J.R. came to a saving knowledge of the Gospel. Immediately, he involved himself in Clemson’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, later becoming active in Reformed University Fellowship under campus minister, David Sinclair. While at Clemson, J.R. earned both a B. A. in English and a M. Ed. in Higher Education.

After working for a year in development, J.R. began sensing his call to the ministry. Shortly thereafter, he entered Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC, graduating in 1999 with a M. Div. Since seminary graduation, J.R. was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America and served as the RUF campus minister at Florida State University for five years. In Spring 2004, J.R. accepted a call to begin a new RUF work at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, where he and his family currently reside. He is married to the former Eliza Legare Pender of Columbia, SC, whom he met while they were both students at Clemson. J.R. and Eliza are also the parents of two sons, Ethan (8) and Blake (5), and a daughter, Abbey (3).


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Missionary Spotlight ~ Ruth Dinkins, Brazil

Ruth Dinkins was reared on the mission field of Brazil. Although she grew up in a strong Christian home, she did not consciously embrace Jesus as Lord of her life until 18 years of age. She earned her associate’s degree from Montreat Anderson Junior College and her bachelor’s degree from Pembroke State University in Pembroke, North Carolina. She returned home to Brazil in 1980 and was a teacher of Christian education at the Edward Lane Bible Institute from 1982-1987.

After earning her master’s of Christian education degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi in May of 1991, she accepted the position of Director of Children’s Ministries at Christ Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During her years of ministry there, Ruth invested much energy in making missions an integral part of the Christian education curriculum. She also served on the missions committee and participated in various youth and adult mission trips to Brazil and Mexico.

In 1997, Ruth was invited to return to Brazil to serve as director of the Christian Education Department of the Edward Lane Bible Institute in Patrocinio, Minas Gerais. Besides teaching classes, she also administrates and coordinates all the students’ field/ practical work.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

On Reading Through the WHOLE Bible

Yesterday’s blog post from King’s Meadow Study Center reminded me how often Christians set out reading through the Bible at the beginning of the year, only to find themselves mysteriously losing steam by the end of February, first of March. This “losing steam” often happens around the time Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy become a regular part of the daily intake. Curious, isn't it?

Now, I don’t have to convince you that enormous spiritual benefits await those who make their way through the Scriptures in a year. After all, the Scripture is God’s very Word; it is one of God's chief ways of revealing Himself and communing with His people. Nevertheless, fewer and fewer Christians enjoy this immense benefit it seems. In fact, I meet Christians almost every week that have never read through the entirety of Scripture and are not making any plans to do so… Is this true of you I wonder?

It’s not too late to make the commitment, to choose to open God’s Word everyday in 2008 and prayerfully consider how God’s Word might teach, reprove, correct, and train you for righteousness, so that you--yes, you!-- might be competent and equipped for every good work.

Still not sure? Ask a friend to join you on the journey. Difficult tasks need the accountablity and encouragement of others. It's why God gives us the Church. Plus, reading the Scripture with friends provides opportunities for gospel fellowship, to share with one another all that the Lord is teaching you.

So, what are you waiting for? Start today!

"I know not a better rule of reading the Scripture than to read through from beginning to end, and when we have finished it once, to begin it again. We shall meet with many passages which we can make little improvement [i.e. of which we might glean little benefit], but not so many in the second reading as in the first, and fewer in the third than in the second—provided we pray to him who has the keys to open our understandings, and to anoint our eyes with his spiritual ointment.”

—John Newton (“On Reading the Bible”)