Weekly Update from Pastor Phil


It’s good to be back at my “day job,” after a month-long sabbatical. I was so thankful for the sabbatical so that I could get most of my dissertation wrapped up. But I was also very thankful to return to the folks that I love being with each week, the body of Christ at South Woods! It was good to be in the pulpit on Sunday to worship with the body and be encouraged by the conversation.

We have a mission team heading to Central Asia this week, so we will really appreciate you praying for them: Matt, Mike & Amy, Dan & Amy. Part of the group will be going to a new area where we’ve not been before but working with the same unreached people group that we’ve been involved with in Central Asia. They will also be visiting with B & J, two of our members and their kids who serve in that part of the world. We’re excited that they will be able to bring the love of the body to them to encourage them. Our team will also be able to worship with a small group that has a couple of new national believers, that’s the foundation for starting a church in that particular community. That will be an extraordinary experience!

We also have a father and son team, Jason and Will, who will be heading to Central America to work with an unreached people group in Honduras. They will be working with a missionary that has been cultivating that area for the gospel. Their goal is to help with work toward establishing a church among those people. So do keep them in prayer as well.

We had a wonderful time this past weekend at the marriage retreat held in Jackson, TN. Dr. Ray Van Neste, professor at Union University spoke. What an incredible job he did of opening up the biblical teaching on marriage! He read Ephesians 5 and pointed out, “All this is really about Christ and the Church but it’s alright if you make application to marriage,” as Ephesians 5:32 implies. He noted that when the Lord created marriage, He was building the gospel into its warp and woof. So marriage is not a cultural creation that we can toy with and revise, but a divine creation that has the centrality of the gospel at its heart. He added, “If we tinker with marriage we are being heretics.” Consequently, one of the ways that we make the gospel known, Ray explained, is through good marriages that reflect, in a winsome way, the gospel.

Sunday’s sermon returned to Genesis and picked up where we had left off with Abraham, Sarai, and Hagar. I approached this message under four questions that help us to probe some helpful insights on the text. One of those, “Does faith listen to competing voices?” really gets to the heart of much of the impatience and unbelief that creeps into our lives, hindering our relationship to the Lord. I hope that you find this helpful.


Phil N.