Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Jake pondering Katrina

Just managed to get on-line! Providences such as these should drive us all to our knees in prayer in thankfulness for deliverences, in concern for those who are still in harm's way, in submission to a God who overrules all things.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina Hits Jackson Hard

Folks, call Brister, Billy or me, if we can help you or any other member of the congregation. Water and power is out for many of our members and some are saying that we'll not get power until the weekend or later (I've even heard the date September 10th! Yikes). I'm able to blog, only because of iGo and T-Mobile. Wednesday night activities are cancelled for this week, along with all other activities through Friday - because the church has no light, power or water. Stay tuned for announcements pertaining to Sunday services.

Meanwhile, pray for the folks in New Orleans and on the Coast - what a disaster they've incurred. And help one another as best you can.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Many thanks for your comments about the sermon yesyerday morning. "Great is thy faithfulness" is such a glorious text, but what a context!

I'm stuck in Jackson! Was meant to be heading for RTS Charlotte today to teach a course in Systematics (for Doug Kelly who is on sabbatical), but Katrina decided otherwise. Of course, this all part of the sovereign purposes of almighty God. And where is Ligon? Stuck in Atlanta, I fear.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sunday Morning Text

This coming Sunday morning (Ligon is away at Independent Presbyterian in Savannah, GA), my text is going to be Lamentations 3:22-23, "Great is thy faithfulness." As you begin to read Lamentations 3, you will be struck by the desolation of the language--is there a lower point in the Bible? Perhaps, but not much lower. And then in the middle of this darkness, a bright light, a glow that shines and shines and says: things may be terrible where you are, but God is on his throne and he has not forgotten his promise and covenant.

Well, that's the plan. Now, I need to do some study and get it ready for baking.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Bible Belt - 2005

My friend and fellow elder Richard Ridgway just sent me these fascinating stats from George Barna (For the full report visit George Barna's website at or go directly to
< >.

Richard culled the following highlights:

"the market with the highest percentage of evangelicals is Little Rock, Arkansas, where better than one out of every five adults (22%) met the survey criteria...."

"...metropolitan area [with} the greatest number of evangelical adults [is] Los Angeles."

"the area with the greatest number of evangelicals is California...nearly two million..."

"The state with the highest percentage of adults who are evangelical is Alabama (at 13%, nearly double the national average)."

"...the market with the largest percentage of its adults classified as born again – by a large margin – is Jackson, Mississippi, where 83% of adults meet the criteria."

"There are ten markets in which at least six out of every ten adults are born again – and each of them is located in the South."

"One of the measures developed by George Barna for the Faith By Market report estimates how Christian-oriented a market’s population is, based upon a combination of faith factors. The top market was Jackson, Mississippi, whose indexed score was 46% higher than the national norm. Close behind were Little Rock and Birmingham. Barna noted that in relation to this composite rating, the 16 highest-rated markets were all located in the South."

"...the state whose population generated the highest Christian-orientation score was Alabama."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


My friend Barbara Wellborn alerted me to this the other day. I think a lot of folks in our church will appreciate the moral support offered here. This link will get you to a couple of articles (and a book recommendation) by Rebecca Hagelin. She is the Vice President of Communications and Marketing at The Heritage Foundation, has served as Vice President of Communications for, is the author of numerous articles published nationally, the veteran of hundreds of radio, television, newspaper and magazine interviews, including numerous appearances on CNN, Fox News and national network news programs, has taught public relations classes around the country and served as a media coach for various public policy organization leaders and members, businesses, and civic and government officials -- but most importantly, she is the Mom of a teenage daughter. And she is completely exasperated by the challenge of helping her daughter find appropriately clothing. I know that Anne is already finding this hard for our eight year old daughter! Read it Moms - and hang in there!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

J. I. Packer and John Bunyan

"For two centuries Pilgrim's Progress was the best-read book, after the Bible, in all Christendom, but sadly it is not so today. When I ask my classes of young and youngish evangelicals, as I often do, who has read Pilgrim's Progress, not a quarter of the hands go up. Yet our rapport with fantasy writing, plus our lack of grip on the searching, humbling, edifying truths about spiritual life that the Puritans understood so well, surely mean that the time is ripe for us to dust off Pilgrim's Progress and start reading it again. Certainly, it would be great gain for modern Christians if Bunyan's masterpiece came back into its own in our day. Have you yourself, I wonder, read it yet?"

J. I. Packer The Devoted Life (IVP, 2004), 198-199.

Well, have you?

Convocation at RTS today

I'm dressed up like a penguin for convocation at RTS today. This is by way of a test to see if this works.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Away in Philly Today

I'm in Philadelphia for the Board meeting of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals today. Be back tomorrow night, DV. By the way, do take a look at and for excellent edifying content.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Early Sunday Morning in Jackson MS


Sunday Morning's Sermon Text

Tomorrow we will be summarizing some of Paul's lessons for prayer, after our seven week (so far) study of this great passage:

Ephesians 1:3-14

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us.

In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Why Theology is Important

We live in an anti-theological age, partly because our generation has lost its esteem for truth of any kind (and perhaps especially for theological truth). But Christians believe that theology is important, or at least they should.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "theology" (which just means the study of God)? What is your attitude toward theology? J.I. Packer calls the "study of the nature and character of God . . . the most practical project anyone can engage in." But today, even Christians have a hard time believing that. Personally, I love theology (the study of God), but I know that many do not. So maybe we should think about this a little together.

Packer says: "Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives. . . . [W]e are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul." (Knowing God, 15).

Welcome to the First Pres Jackson Blog

I have been thinking that we needed a blog for FPCJ for some time now, and I hope to use it to update the congregation (and other friends) on the life, times and ministry of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson. Stay tuned for more!