Weekly Update from Pastor Phil

Greetings! We’re enjoying a beautiful day in Memphis after a rainy weekend. The birds are stirring, so spring must be near!

We have a mission team on the ground in Central Asia this week, so I will appreciate you praying for them. So far, I’ve gotten some great reports on their visit with a family out of our church serving in the region. They were able to gather with the beginnings of a congregation in a Central Asian city! The comment that one of our men made struck me. He said that as he listened to the native speaker teach the gospel to the new believers and some unbelievers, that he could not get it out of his head, “This guy went to prison for the good news.” He indicated that despite not understanding the language he was mesmerized by this incredible opportunity. Part of the team has crossed into a region new to us with the same people group, so I look forward to hearing from them about the people they are meeting and the opportunities that the Lord is giving them.

We got started with monthly pastoral internship meetings on Sunday with a discussion on J. D. Payne’s book Discovering Church Planting. The discussion was fruitful and always enjoyable with our guys. If you have an interest in the subject of church planting and would like to join us, I’ll be happy to send you the schedule and assignments.

Lord willing, I plan to send my completed dissertation tomorrow to my theological mentor John Hammett. When he gives me the green light, I’ll send four more copies to the PhD office at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, so that the final phase of my doctoral work will head to the finish line. After the readers take a good look at the dissertation, I will offer an oral defense before my committee in Wake Forest. That should be sometime around mid-April. Once I pass that round and make any final changes, then I will send the final copies of the dissertation to the SEBTS library and wait for graduation in May. What a journey! I’m still amazed by the incredible support of the South Woods congregation throughout the entire doctoral study! They have prayed, supported, encouraged, and prayed some more all along the way. Every week, someone is asking about the research or writing or editing. I’m grateful to dedicate this dissertation to the members at South Woods!

We have a Good Friday service coming up on March 29th. If you’re in the area, please join us at 7:00 p.m. for worship as we reflect on the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Abraham had to learn to live on the Word of God, just like we do. His struggle with applying God’s promises to daily life encourage us that the Lord sustains us in the journey of faith. This particular study in Genesis focuses on assurance and perseverance. I hope that you find it helpful.

Phil N.