Thursday, May 29, 2008

Those Final Few Points

I seem to have 'caught' one trait from my time at FPCJ - announcing a proposed seven final points with five minutes to go. I got through four, and a couple of you asked if I would make the other three available. Here is the complete list of seven.

I was trying to demonstrate that in the very activity of prayer, God is at work in changing us. To that end, I had seven ways in which God changes us through prayer. Here is the complete list:
1. Prayer grows our faith.
2. Prayer reinforces right attitudes (it's harder to be discontent when you have vibrant prayers of thanksgiving)
3. Prayer is inherently humbling (praying for the things we seem to be able to provide for ourselves [i.e. our daily bread] is a good reminder that we are not self-sufficient)
4. Prayer grows our love for others (try to remain at odds with someone and yet pray down God's blessings upon them)
5. Prayer edifies others who hear and see you praying. Some of the best times of my week are the Wednesday prayer meeting, the prayer time at staff meeting, and other times when we are corporately engaged in the business of prayer. Such times do my soul immense good.
6. Prayer is a natural sin retardant (it is hard to cling to a pet sin when you are in the business of confessing it over and over again).
7. Prayer grows our love for God, for time spent with God is at least the equal of any other blessing we receive through prayer.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Missionary Spotlight ~ Craig and Lisa Sheppard, Bulgaria

Craig and Lisa Sheppard have been serving the Lord with Mission to the World in Sofia, Bulgaria since 1996, where Craig serves as a church planter, seminary instructor, publisher, and founding board member for the Sofia Christian Academy. As the MTW Regional Director for Eastern Europe, Craig is also tasked with overseeing the ministries of more than 65 missionaries in five countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ukraine), as well as developing new church planting works in other Eastern European countries (such as Russia, Greece, Latvia, Croatia, and Belarus).

Craig is from Wichita, Kansas and Lisa is from St. Louis, Missouri. They served together in university ministry for four years before Craig attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. There he earned a Master of Divinity degree in Missions, and a Master of Theology degree in Theology. While in seminary, Craig served on the staff of the First Presbyterian Church as the Director of College Ministry. He is ordained in the Heartland Presbytery of the PCA. They have four sons and a daughter (Jared, 16; Nathan, 14; Luke, 11; Andrew, 8; and Abigail, 6).

Please pray for the Sheppard family.


Friday, May 02, 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!