Weekly Update from Pastor Phil


Thanks for your prayers as I was in Greece a couple of weeks ago meeting with some of our workers in that serve in nearby areas. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, amazing discussions, and joyous times of worship. I was privileged to teach on “relationships” through expositions from Ephesians. I left the meetings encouraged in what the Lord is doing in some hard places around the world.

With Mother’s Day ahead on Sunday, we look forward to our Parent/Baby Recognition at the beginning of the 10:15 a.m. service. We’ve been blessed with a bunch of new little guys and gals over the past year, so it will be good to see them, pray for them, and commend them and their parents to the Lord.

I’m really happy that my book, The Mentoring Church: How Pastors and Congregations Cultivate Leaders, is available. I’ve already gotten notes from a few folks that they’ve received it and started reading it. You can order it from Amazon here. We will also have copies in the South Woods Bookstore (should be here this week). I am grateful for a number of people endorsing the book. One of them, Al Mohler, summarized my thesis and then added a good note to read the book: “Bringing up future leaders isn’t just the job of the pastor, but of the whole congregation. This is an urgently needed book in churches today.” I hope that the book will serve congregations in the years ahead as they feel the burden to raise up godly leaders for Christ’s church.

I want to congratulate our own Matt Sliger who will receive his PhD from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on Friday! I’ve watched his diligence in working through books, papers, and dissertation. It has been a joy to see his development and progress along the way. The Lord is gracious in giving us this faithful brother to serve among us at South Woods. We rejoice with him and Julie over a job well done.

We had a great start on Sunday with our 2017 version of How to Interpret the Scriptures. This 15-week study during Sunday School (9:00 a.m.) will look broadly at how to interpret God’s Word but more narrowly in the interpretation of prophetic literature. This will prepare our Sunday School classes for studying Isaiah in the fall. Jim Carnes is leading our teachers in a study of Isaiah while the rest of the classes meet in the auditorium for the interpretation study. We’ll be focusing most of our study on the book of Micah, a contemporary of Isaiah. We’ll do actual digging through the text week-by-week, using study tools to help us in the task, so that it is a hands-on experience. Mitch Kimbrell will join me in helping out the table discussion and work on the text. So join us on Sunday for this study. This week I’ll be teaching through how to approach prophetic literature in our Bible study. We have workbooks that we’ll use each week to help navigate our study.

I found the text that we consider this week to be particularly helpful in considering how Christians persevere in the faith. What does perseverance look like? In part, we see what it looks like by considering what it does not look like with some of the opponents to the gospel that John alludes to in this passage. I hope that you find this study profitable.

Phil N.