Pastor's Perspective February 12, 2014

Pastor's Perspective by Ralph Kelley on Feb 13, 2014

Though being without a Senior Minister is not ideal, one of the blessings we have had lately is the presence of some very fine men filling the pulpit for us here at First Presbyterian Jackson. I have been thankful and blessed by every sermon here in 2014. This coming week is no exception. We are delighted to welcome The Reverend Paul Levy to our pulpit starting Wednesday night February, 12. Paul will be preaching at our midweek prayer meeting. Then on Sunday, February 16, Paul will be preaching for us morning and evening. You may recall Paul was at First Presbyterian in November 2012 and preached our Sunday evening service, and his message was warmly received. Here is a little about Paul from the website of International Presbyterian Church: Paul is a Welshman who has been at the International Presbyterian Church since 2003. He was born and raised in Swansea and spent four years in Cardiff working in a variety of uninteresting jobs. He went to London in 1999 to study on the Cornhill Training Course which teaches people to handle the Bible. Paul then worked at a church in South London before being invited to come to IPC as Pastor. Paul was brought up in a Christian home and became a Christian in his teens. In 2000, he married Claire, and they have two children, Noah and Ellie. He enjoys watching Welsh rugby and reading good books. Paul also writes for the Reformation 21 blog.
Begin checking the church website in the coming week, as we hope to have a Paul Levy podcast posted sometime the week of February 16. It is sure to be interesting, thought provoking, and if I know Paul, even a bit humorous.
I first met Paul in November of 2006 when he was speaking at a church in Georgia that my family and I attended. Paul closed the service with several prayer requests, one being that he needed to find an American pastor to fill the pulpit for him for three Sundays the next summer while he and his wife Claire were on holiday. Before he finished his sentence, my wife, Wendy, was elbowing me and letting me know she thought I was the one to go. Sure enough, it worked out and Wendy, Scott, Jonathan, and I went to England for three weeks that summer. It was a wonderful blessing for my family to worship in a different culture during that time. We learned to love the people of the United Kingdom and have had an ongoing ministry with the people there ever since.
As I hope, you are well aware by now our Mission Conference is right upon us. It will start Sunday, February 23 and run through Sunday, March 2.  You can see all the details about the conference on the front page of this First Epistle. I want to encourage you and your family to fully participate in the upcoming Mission Conference. It is important that you attend not so we will have large crowds, but because there is nothing more important than the glory of God. That ultimately is the purpose of missions—to bring worshipers to our Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul writes in II Corinthians 4:13-15,  13 “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” What Paul is saying here, especially in verse 15, is the more grace God gives us, the more we can share the good news of the gospel with others; the more we share with others the more glory God receives.  More and more grace, more and more people, more and more glory for God!
Semper Reformada (always reforming)
Ralph Kelley