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Pastor's Perspective January 10, 2014

Pastor's Perspective by Ralph Kelley on Jan 8, 2014

One thing Ligon has impressed on us as he has prepared us for his leaving is that we at First Presbyterian Church have always been and will always be Word centered people.  So, with that in mind, I thought I would take this opportunity to let you know what the teaching schedule looks like for the upcoming weeks.

We got our new year off to a great start this past Lord’s Day morning with Dr. Guy Water’s fine sermon. This coming Sunday morning David Felker will be preaching for us as we head to the Lord’s Table. Then, on the 19th we will celebrate the sacrament of Baptism (led by David Strain) and our own and much beloved Dr. Jim Baird has graciously accepted an invitation to preach for us. We will wrap up morning worship in January with David Strain preaching.

The Lord’s Day Evenings in January will be special times for us to be sure. This past Sunday we were encouraged with Seth Starkey’s installation service as he is now the RUF minister at Belhaven. We welcome Seth and his wife Laura Lee as they transition from Greenville SC to Jackson. We look forward to seeing them around First Presbyterian. 

The Sunday evening of the 19th Dr. Sean Lucas will be with us to preach his sermon “Blessed Zion.”  As you know Sean’s book on the first 175 years of FPC Jackson came out last month. Sean agreed a couple of years ago to come and preach for us once the book is released.  We are delighted to welcome Sean into our pulpit for the evening.

The month will conclude with David Strain starting a new evening series for us on the book of Zechariah. If you were around to hear David preach through the book of Esther you are aware David is a master of preaching Christ from the Old Testament and you will not want to miss any of this series.

We also have a new series Scandalous Grace: Jesus’ meals with sinners for our Wednesday night prayer meetings. David Strain recently wrote to the ministers describing the series:

 “Many of the most important teaching moments in the ministry of Jesus happen around meals of various kinds, and we will be working through them as a way to overview the person and work of Christ and the radical impact he makes on the people with whom he associates.

In the cultural context of Jesus' time and place, few things were marked with deeper significance than table fellowship: it expressed intimate connection and served as a badge, identifying one’s place in society. Who you ate with said a great deal about you, hence the controversies around Jesus' scandalous approach to table fellowship.

For the gospel writers, as for Jesus himself, these meals with Christ become a nexus in which the needs of the sinner, the disenfranchised and the outcast were addressed while at the same time the blindness and self-righteousness of the legalist was exposed. They therefore provide us with an invaluable teaching tool by which to minister grace to the weary and broken hearted while calling out the self-reliant and apathetic.

 In short, the various occasions in which we find Jesus sharing food with others- from the wedding feast at Cana at the beginning of his earthly ministry to the wedding supper of the Lamb at the end of the age- offer a rich vein of gospel truth with which to pastor God’s people as we move into this time of transition in our church’s life.” 

David will preach the first two sermons in the series; then, we will rotate through some of the staff for the rest of series. I hope you will plan on joining us on Wednesday nights.

I am looking forward to this coming Lord’s Day. We will be having a reception starting at 4:00 in Miller Hall to honor the Duncans. The celebration will culminate with our evening service where Ligon will preach a “farewell” sermon. You don’t want to miss it.

Semper Reformanda, (always reforming)

Ralph

Executive Minister