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Post Category: Tuesday Tidings

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Prayers from the Pit

by Shelby Gorman I am very good at dismissing my thoughts or feelings. You ask me how I am doing and I will usually say, "I'm good," even though every part of my inner being is screaming, "tell someone that you're not!" In those times that I'm not able to say how I feel, I've found that writing it down helps get it out. Then I found that writing it down as a prayer helped...

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Fear

by Gary Dyksterhouse "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Frank Herbert, Dune One of my favorite seri...

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Greenwood Food Pantry

Westminster's Mission of the Month for the month of September is the Greenwood Community Food Pantry. The Food Pantry is a non-profit organization that provides low-income residents with a box of groceries once a month. They also provide emergency boxes for residents who have applied for food stamps but have not yet received them from the government. In July of 2018, 608 ...

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Habits of Grace

by Meagan Howard "The goal in reading the Bible is to see God as so supremely valuable that other things assume their way lower place. Your idolatries fall away, and your obedience becomes driven by what is beautiful." -John Piper Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. The habit of studying the Word of God isn't alw...

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An Open Letter to My Jr. High Girls

by Michelle Hodges I'm supposed to be writing a blog post, but instead, my mind is swirling with thoughts of you. I'm currently wondering how are y'all holding up? You've made it through eight days of school now Are you tired? Has it been difficult or easier than you expected? Do you miss me? (Because I'm REALLY missing y'all!) Do you remember all the things we talked abo...

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Technology and Community

by Lee Coleman The vast array of cultural topics we covered in our "Seven Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind" Sunday school made for some fantastic discussion, but also left a ton of unfollowed rabbit trails that we just couldn't pursue due to time. In particular, the session on our addiction to technology had far too many angles to cover. One resource that I want to commend...

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Holding Things Loosely

by Kim Pillow When Mary Dudley was in kindergarten, I can vividly remember Jan Locke with her glowing smile telling me one day in the Pillow carpool line , "Kim, enjoy it, it flies by so fast!" Jan's daughter was a senior in high school at the time. I pulled off and thought, "Psh, I've got sooo many years left." Now I know what many of you know, as the years go by, they d...

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Sharing Blessings

by Brandi Pillow Deuteronomy 15: 6-8"For theLordyour God will bless you,as he promised you, andyou shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, andyou shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you. If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that theLordyour God is giving you,you shall not harden y...

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Delta Streets 2018

by Watson M. Pillow Before I start, I must confess that all of the facts may not be perfect, and I'm sure I will leave some out, so please forgive me. Delta Streets Academy began six years ago. It has been housed in First Baptist Church for which I will always be thankful for their generosity in doing that. Then a few years ago Michael Joe Cannon of Cannon Motor Company ...

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The Logic of Freedom

by Gene Stansel Today is July 4, 2018, Independence Day! I have my flag out, and I am proud thankful to God that we live in this country at this particular time in history. Jere and I are home today, not celebrating, although we normally do on the 4th. We are resting up following a two-week tour of France with our grandson Joshua. While in France we also had the privilege...

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Prayer > Google

by Mary Grace Conrad I am a compulsive Googler.Whether it's for answering simple questions like, "How long to bake boneless chicken thighs" or a medical question to find out what skin cancer looks like I am quick to whip my phone out and seek answers from Google. It's how we decided on our baby's name, and it's how I learned how to refinish my kitchen table. You can hone...

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The Growth of ABC Ministry

by Watson D. Pillow The mission of the month for July is the African Bible College. The African Bible College, or ABC, was founded in Liberia in 1983 by Dr. John Chinchen and his wife Nell. The couple would go on to expand the ABC into Malawi and Uganda. Dr. Paul Chinchen, who is the son of John and Nell Chinchen, is the current president of ABC and is chancellor of the c...

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Gathering Together

by Sarah Waldrop I recently listened to a Podcast about a woman, Sarah Harmey, who made a goal to have 500 people gather in her home over the course of a year. It wasn't about entertaining or testing out the latest recipes, but truly meeting new people and making them feel loved and included around an 18ft table in her backyard. I'm not going to give away all the details...

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An Update from the Reagans

by Josh Reagan Brothers and sisters, As you all probably know, things have been super busy over the last few weeks, and Kathryn thought it would be good to give ya'll an update on happenings with the Reagan family. So here we go: The Baby- Norah Grace is here! She was born @ 9:40 on June 7th; weighing in at 6.5 lbs. and measuring 20.2 inches long she is the smallest i...

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The Gospel & The #MeToo Movement

by Trey O'Brien As we heard the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and saw his arrest for heinous crimes of sexual assault on numerous women in Hollywood, we were repulsed. When we heard the guilty verdicts from the Bill Cosby jury trial regarding his accusations of felony sexual assault, we were heart broken that "America's Dad" had been found to be a predator and a ra...

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Believing the Lie

by Kathryn Dyksterhouse As I am seeing my nine-year old daughter becoming more aware of the way she looks and how her appearance "matches up" to the societal standard for beauty, I am convinced that vanity, idolatry of appearance, and insecurity (among others) are an epidemic in our culture today. As a result, I have been studying books that speak to teenage girls on topi...

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Bittersweet Goodbye

by Ian Kayser I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, [4] always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, [5] because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. [6] And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:36 (ESV) As most of you kn...

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A Prayer for Your Child

by Anne Marie Owens Rich and I love our Sophie and Jude. And we long for them to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We pray that Christ would capture their affections and that Jesus would give them hearts that want to obey. Yet it's so humbling to pray for them because we know that we are completely dependent on the Spirit to do what no amount of "good parenting" can ...

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Don't Crash Into the Wall

by Michelle Hodges Rest. Be still. Slow down. Take a break. Stop. I'd be willing to bet that most of us are offended when one of those statements is directed at us. Why is that? Why are we so easily upset when someone tells us to stop? In our world full of energy drinks, Siri reminders, and digital to-do lists, "rest" is treated like a bad four-letter word. Rest, physic...

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Our Missionaries in Guadalajara

by Walter Pillow Perhaps our longest-standing missionary has been Kenton Wood, an extremely energetic servant of the Lord ministering under Mission to the World in Mexico. Kenton Wood, son of missionary parents in southern Mexico, trusted Jesus at an early age. He attended Wheaton College and received a B.A. and a commission as an officer in the US Army. He returned to Wh...

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Everyday Mundane

by Meredith Buford From a young age, you dream of what you want to be when you grow up. You hear your parents say, "you can be anything you want to be" and you envision yourself as a doctor, a veterinarian, a teacher, or even a firefighter that swoops in to save everyone from the blazing flames. Each year at our children's school, there is a community helper day, and my f...

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Unruly Sheep Seeks Patient Shepherd

by Brandi Pillow Richard's sermon from a couple of weeks ago has me examining the 23rd Psalm again. Psalm 23 is one of the first passages that many people learn as a memory verse as children, myself included. It is a passage that is referenced on many different occasions and in many different situations. I think that, because of this, it can be easy to lose sight of how w...

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Threefold Cord

by Gary Dyksterhouse 'Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand...

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An Update from South Asia

by B and M in South Asia It's not often that we get to go public. We are working in a country where it is legal (and in a huge city where it is acceptable) to worship one God, go to church and celebrate Easter. Yet, it is not acceptable for foreigners to be training future pastors, planting a church, and investing in people as disciples. Of course, that's exactly what we ...

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Close to the Cross - But Far From Christ

by Joyce Kokaisel A friend gave me No Wonder They Call Him the Savior a book written by Max Lucado over 30 years ago. This message so spoke to me and what I have always believed! The following is a message from that book: Close to the Cross ------ But Far from The Christ There was some dice throwing that went on at the foot of the cross. Imagine the scene. The soldi...

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Baby Conrad

by Mary Grace Conrad O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lor...

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Trials

by Johnny Smith While sitting in the Social Security office recently, waiting for my number to be called, I began to reflect on recent years. This was the trip that many people see as a milestone of life in America when you finally get to cash in on all those payments you made to Uncle Sam during your working lifetime. It's been over a year since the sale of my dental p...

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Bonham/Gutierrez Update

by Michelle Hodges and Nikki Bonham Westminster friends, I'm thrilled to bring you the latest update from the Bonham and Gutierrez families, Cross Collaboration, our Mission of the Month for March! The Lord is working in mighty way in Arequipa, Peru! Nikki Bonham has sent us a ton of information on all of the exciting things happening there right now. So, here's the lates...

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Encouraging Partnership

by T.Mac Howard Unfortunately, every student who attends Delta Streets Academy does not stay at Delta Streets Academy. In early February, we had one student that withdrew from DSA for certain reasons. When this happens, it is always tough to see the student go. But in this instance, it was extremely tough. The young man had been enrolled at DSA since his 7th grade year ba...

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Books I've Read Recently

by Ian Kayser I have read some really great books recently and thought I'd share them with you if you are looking for something to read. "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeown This may be the most helpful book I have read in years. We live in a world that demands more and more in every area of life. Our default setting is to tell ourselves th...

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RUF Update

by Meredith Buford, Brandi Pillow and Lee Coleman Westminster's Mission of the Month for the month of February is Reformed University Fellowship (RUF). We currently support three local RUF Campus Ministries: Delta State University, Mississippi State University, and the University of Mississippi. Read below to learn about these groups and specific ways to be in prayer for ...

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The Daily Bible

by Jere Stansel On the first day of January this year, Gene and I began reading The Daily Bible - In Chronological Order, which happens to be a New International Version with devotional insights. It's paperback, so I feel free to bend it and mark it up as I please. I have read it through twice before, and found it to be a great devotional guide. Certainly, there are many ...

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January Update

by Brad Dickey Hello, friends!I just want to thank you for all of your support and prayers that you provided over the course of 2017. Here is a little recap of how last semester came to a close with RUF at USC. Large Group, Fall 2017 Our campus minister, Alex Watlington, finished up his semester long series on seeing dating, relationships, and marriage through the len...

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Union with Christ: The Way to Know & Enjoy God

by Anne Marie Owens To say I am excited for our women's spring study is an understatement! Apart from the Bible, I have never read a more coherent explanation of the Good News and its application for daily life than in Rankin Wilbourne's book, Union with Christ. But because I can't put into words the message of this book as well as the author does, I decided to just compi...

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Men's Steak Dinner

by John Patridge Please answer yes or no to this week's Westminster test. Are you a man? Do you like to eat free steak with no strings attached? Do you plan to eat dinner Tuesday January 23rdbetween 5:30 and 7:00 pm? Have you ever wondered what those people do every week in the big white building at the east end of Park Avenue? If you answered yes to any of the ...

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Rest

by Sonya Anthes Now that the holidays have passed and we have entered in to a new year, I'm sure many of you have decided on a New Year's resolution. From preparing for Thanksgiving to Christmas, life can seem pretty stressful and hectic and then comes the new year. We take a deep breath of relief and say to ourselves, "This year I am going to ______." And we have every i...

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YoungLives

by Betsy Belk and Meagan Howard More than 20 years ago. Young Life answered God's call to run headfirst into the chaos of teenage motherhood with the hope of Jesus... and YoungLives was born. YoungLives has never wavered from the original version to reach teen moms by entering their world, modeling the unconditional love of Christ, and encouraging them to become the wome...

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Reflections on Ephesians

by Portia Collins Last night, our small group finished up the study of Ephesians. It was certainly an amazing study and I am grateful to have studied with such awesome women. Typically, when I finish studying a book of the Bible or even a simple passage of Scripture, I take a min to pause and reflect on what I've studied. I often ask myself, "What did you learn and how do...

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Christmas Grief

by Mischa McCray Christmas is perhaps the most hyped time of the year. How many holidays get a solid 2 months of "preparation" for one single day? You could have started buying Christmas decorations in Walmart in October! But as we continue to march on towards Christmas, I wanted to take a quick second to remind you that for many people, this is actually the hardest time ...

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But Even If He Doesn't

by Mary Grace Conrad Over the past three years, I've been waiting on, hoping for, and wondering if God will ever give me a baby. I've cried out like David, "How long, O Lord?" (Psalm 13). I've pleaded and sobbed and begged. I've tried to "learn" and "do good" so that God would reward me with a child. I've dug through the bible looking for a promise that God would give me ...

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December 2017 Mission of the Month: Palmer Home for Children

by Gene Stansel On November 6, 2017, Walter and Stevie Pillow and Gene and Jere Stansel visited Palmer Home for Children in Columbus, Mississippi. The folks at Palmer rolled out their "big welcome mat" and gave us the royal treatment as we visited the administration building, Love Cottage, and the Palmer Home School. We ate lunch with the President (Drake Bassett), the ...

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Fire

by Michelle Hodges I have a real fireplace in my new house. One of my very favorite things in this world is a real fire in my own living room. I love everything about them; the sound, the smell, the look of them, EVERYTHING! Chances are, on any night after Thanksgiving, you will find me curled up in a chair with a blanket and my cat, only my Christmas tree for light, and ...

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A Father's Love

by Sonya Anthes 11/16/2017 As I am writing this, it is my daddy's birthday. He has been on my mind a lot here lately, well honestly, he never really leaves my mind. He would have been 56 today, but instead of spending his birthday with me and the rest of his kids, he is spending it in the presence of the Father. So, I know he is having an unimaginably wonderful day. As I...

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What Is the Chief End of Man?

by Corley Moses You know, I admit that lately I have been frustrated and bitter at the sin I see in others. What's troubling is that I have every reason to feel this way. It's been discouraging to me how many people I interact with in business that are dishonest or unjust. You expect little kids to tell a lie or be selfish at times, but grownups? This can wear you out and...

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Fingerprints

Have you ever sat down and actually looked at your fingerprints? Up until a few days ago, I never have and I was interested to learn more about fingerprints since they all seem to be so unique from one person to the next. I did a little bit of research and here are some of the fun facts that I gathered: No two fingerprints have ever been found alike in many billions of ...

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Delight Yourself Also in the Lord

by Hart Kayser "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4) I've read this verse so many times and love the idea that God knows what is in my heart and what it is I want in this life. I really don't think I thought about the desire in my heart other than I wanted to stay in God's will for me and to enjoy my life in...

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How Deep the Father's Love For Us

"The Bible is shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim." Ian shared this quote in Sunday school a few weeks ago and it has been resonating in my mind. I believe it relates not only to study of the Bible, but to almost every aspect of God, and our faith in Him. One area where this is clearly demonstrated is God's love for his peo...

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Humble Roots

by Brady Warren The older I grow, the more I perceive how little I know, and for the Christian, this is an ever deepening revelation because it points us to the truth that our God is the only Source of true wisdom and knowledge. As we drink of the Word of God, we become more cognizant of the little wisdom we possess and the depth of the riches of true wisdom God possesses...

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Operation Christmas Child

Matthew 19:14 "...but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." The leaves are starting to change, the days are getting shorter, the temperatures will hopefully be dropping soon and that can only mean one thing...it's time to start thinking about Christmas! Ok, maybe not Christmas itself yet. We...

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Sex, Self, and the Reformation

by Mischa McCray I've been working with students at French Camp Academy for the past 9 months, and I've had the opportunity to walk with several individual students through some difficult things. One student in particular has been struggling with feelings of same-sex attraction. The staff at FCA work hard to expose their students to a biblical worldview on all matters, so...

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Deep Idols

by Johnny Smith Earlier​ ​this​ ​year,​ ​I​ ​and​ ​group​ ​of​ ​men,​ ​led​ ​by​ ​our​ ​assistant​ ​pastor​ ​Ian,​ ​spent​ ​several weeks​ ​in​ ​a​ ​group​ ​meeting​ ​that​ ​Ian​ ​named​ ​the​ ​"Man​ ​Cave."​ ​​ ​Our​ ​study​ ​was​ ​based​ ​on​ ​...

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"Don't Compare Your Hustle To Their Highlight Reel"

by Sarah Waldrop I heard this quote recently and it has really resonated with me: "Don't compare your hustle to their highlight reel." We hate to admit it, but social media and the internet are a huge part of our lives. Some of us probably spend a little more time than we would like to admit scrolling through and liking photos and posts from people we don't even know (I'...

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Purpose-Filled Journey

by Stacey Hall Late this summer, a few women in the church have embarked on a path for purpose by participating in a study by Anna Nash as a follow up to the WPC women's spring conference. Anna, the founder of the nonprofit organization Beacon People, focuses her ministry of encouraging people to live a more purposeful, meaningful life. More specifically, she encourages f...

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Lean Not

by Anne Marie Owens College was over a decade ago, yet I can still picture the scene. I was standing in the upstairs hall of our student union building and my RUF pastor said, "Annie, trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight." I couldn't believe his response! I had com...

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Recycling

Dear Westminster, When I first moved to Greenwood in 2009, I was surprised to learn that the city did not recycle. Growing in up California, there never was a time in my life where our community did not have weekly curbside recycling pickup. The same was true at my mother's house in rural Arizona and at my university in rural New York. By the time I moved to Greenwood, re...

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Encouraging Story of the Day

by Mary Grace Conrad If you have ever listened to K-LOVE Radio, you have probably heard someone call in to give the "encouraging story of the day." It's an opportunity for people to share how God has worked in their liveswhether it be through a song, a prayer, or by someone coming into their lives at just the right time. So today I want to share how God used a friend to e...

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Blog Post on Race, the Gospel, and the Moment

by Lee Coleman As many of us watched the disturbing events surrounding the protests and ensuingviolence from Virginia this past weekend, we were horrified by the extreme behavior we witnessed. In this brief blog post by Tim Keller from The Gospel Coalition, he reminds us of our own sinful temptation to take the cause of nationalism, racism, orsuperiority, and the outright...

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Back Scratches and Nail Biting

by Ian Kayser It all started a few years ago while giving my daughter Ruby a back scratch. She wanted to know why my back scratches weren't as good as Harper's back scratches. I told her that its because I bite my nails and Harper doesn't. Ruby asked me to stop biting my nails so I could give her a better back scratch. I said I would try. Then the next back scratch would ...

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Woman to Woman

by Joyce Kokaisel Galatians 6:10 (Amp) James 1:5 (Amp) "Happy indeed is a devoted woman; She is bound to her God securely. She stands firm and is fed from the fountain of faith. She walks in heavenly light and wisdom, accompanied by her Father's revelations. She presents herself and all she cherishes humbly before her God She speaks what is true with courage ...

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Empty Nesting from a Dad’s Point of View

by Jim McNeer Ephesians 6:2-4 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The last couple of years have been strange at our house. Kim and I have now sent...

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Bored With the Lord?

by Trey O'Brien I read Isaiah 6:1-8earlier today. You know. Isaiah has a vision of the Lord sitting on His throne. Clearly Isaiah was't bored with God, right? May I ask the last time you had an Isaiah moment? Can you remember? Me neither.Actually, I've had many moments in which I felt the nearness of the Lord. However, if I'm honest, there have been many more moments in...

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Where Are You Leaving Your Fingerprints?

by Brandi Pillow Mark 12:31 "The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." I have never felt called to the mission field, at least not in the "traditional" sense. I never imagined living in a foreign country, or felt the pull to serve in an inner city somewhere. Once I became a teacher, I saw the cl...

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The Little Things

One thing that I have really noticed lately is that I have been so focused on always looking at the big picture without taking any time to "stop and smell the roses" as some might say. My eyes were opened to this while at work a few weeks back and has really made me think about it ever since. We were prepping for a big visit from some people out of our corporate office so ...

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Reformed Theological Seminary

Westminster supports a variety of missions, both local and abroad. Each month, we feature one of these as our "Mission of the Month" in order for our members to become more familiar with that particular mission's work for the Gospel. Our June "Mission of the Month" is Reformed Theological Seminary. RTS is near and dear to the heart of Westminster as it is the alma mater o...

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The Pleaser

by Johnny Smith I recently attended a 3 day team building exercise for our office that greatly facilitated the transition of my practice to its new owner. On the first day we took a short quiz that revealed our personal styles at work and then we shared our results with the group. My style was revealed as a "Pleaser-Analytic" and we all agreed that this rings true for me....

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Go Tell It On the Mountain

by T.Mac Howard "Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere, go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is Lord!" It has been a long time since I have thought about that song, but after the last two Sunday school classes on WPC's mission and evangelism, I realized I rarely "tell it on the mountain" about the HOPE I have in Jesus Christ. Some could call...

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The Heart of a Worrier

by Jere Stansel I am a worrier. I come by it naturally. My mother was and my sister is, too. I always thought if we were asked to join the Worrier's Society, one of us would be president. When I worry, about big or little things, that's when I draw comfort from the Psalms. I love the Psalms, and I think the reason is because the Psalms give a calming reassurance of God's ...

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Finding Contentment

by Mischa McCray Have you ever been around a person who seems to find something to complain about regardless of the situation? They could be at the highest rated restaurant in town, but there's a problem with the service or the food. There always seems to be an issue with their house, or their job, or their family, or maybe all of them. No matter their circumstances, they...

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The Gift of Not Being Needed

by Sonya Anthes There are roughly about 7 billion people in the world and not a single one is even remotely close to being you. The Lord created you and gave you a purpose. You might say, "I don't know what my purpose is." or "My gifts are not as important as his." or "I wish I could be more like her." The fact is, you are not supposed to be like her or him. You are exac...

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The Evil Stepstool

What is your stepstool? My two year old daughter, Mamie, has fallen in love with a simple stepstool that we have at our house. There is nothing fancy about this stool. It is your basic, one-step, folding stool, most likely from Wal-Mart. I am pretty sure I bought this thing for Tracy for her birthday a few years ago. She has to use it in the kitchen in order to reach anyth...

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Be Prepared

by Meredith Allen Like a good boy scout, I like to be prepared. "Prepared for what?" you might ask. I would answer, "Prepared for your future." How do we prepare for the future when we can't know the future? As Christians, we can and do know the future, at least concerning the most important thing. Eternal life is the ultimate reward that God has prepared for his family. ...

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Eric Metaxas

by Brady Warren Over the winter, Jeff and I discovered the podcast The Eric Metaxas Show and we have both gained an appreciation of the show, quizzing each other many days over what was thought of the daily interviews. He produces two, fifty minute shows each day that are syndicated in 120 cities across the nation. For those of you not familiar with Eric Metaxas, he has a...

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Greetings from the Morrises

by Austin and Alicia Morris Greetings Westminster family! We would like to share some thoughts and give you a quick update about our life in France. I (Alicia) have been reading The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller, a book I started before Austin and I got married (that was 3 years ago, *face palm*). I recently started the chapter that delves into gender role...

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Easter Sunday Temple Model

by Lee Coleman After the closing benediction this past Easter Sunday, I stood up, turned around, and confirmed what my ears had already told me during the closing song: the church was packed. There was hardly an empty seat to be found in the sanctuary. The main floor was overflowing, as was the balcony. As conversations spread and the volume in the room grew, I couldn't h...

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I Will Be Grace

by Michelle Hodges "People become what they believe to be true about themselves." Anna Nash began Friday of the women's retreat swinging for the fence. No easing us into her topic, no gentle introduction. When she began to speak, I became hooked. I entered this retreat weekend feeling extremely disconnected and lost. Since January, I've really been struggling with my ide...

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I See Your True Colors

by Anne Marie Owens This past weekend our daughter, Sophie, asked for sushi and a movie. And our son, Jude, was just happy to be with Sophie. So I grabbed some Tokyo Express then took them to rent a Redbox. They (Sophie) chose the movie Trolls. It looked like a colorful cartoon with a fun soundtrack, so I got it. And all was good that night until Sophie told me she was to...

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The Lonely Christian

by Gary Dyksterhouse "He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone." Dietrich Bonhoeffer I recently reread Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book Life Together while researching the biblical grounds for Christian Community. I was so struck by the bluntness of this quote that I have had a difficult time shaking it from my mind. From the moment we are born into this world we fea...

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The Single Word That Set Me Free

by Kim McNeer Several Januarys ago, Jim and I chaperoned a trip of high school and college students to the Passion268 conference in Atlanta, Georgia. If you are not familiar with Passion conferences or Louie Giglio, I have copied from the website the mission statement below and the link: "Rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8, Passion exists to glorify God by uniting...

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Peace of Mind

You know that little bar at the bottom of the screen when you're watching ESPN? (FYI it's called a crawler) Not that I'm a regular ESPN viewer or anything, but with a husband who loves sports, I've noticed the bar a time or two. I think it's crazy that people can watch the game on the screen, yet still manage to absorb the latest information and alerts coming through the c...

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Will and Colene Norton

by Will Norton, Jr. One afternoon in late 1947 when I was almost six years old, I walked under the orange trees behind our house at the Tandala mission and approached the back door. Mother and Dad were standing together watching a small Congolese man who wore only a pair of shorts. He had scars all over his back and was acting out a story while he told it. He fell on the...

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Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayer?

by Hart Kayser My niece called me in January and told me that a speech/language clinician had just resigned and the Houston Independent School District needed a replacement ASAP. The description of the job sounded wonderful. I was given an interview the following week and the employment process began. It took two weeks to complete the process and the only thing I needed t...

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I Serve Because I Love Jesus

by Baylor Pillow "I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus." This quote from Mother Teresa has been on my mind alot recently. As some of you may know, I am involved in the after school community service p...

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From Awe to Generosity

What are you in "Awe" of? What makes you stand in amazement or wonder? What or who draws your greatest admiration? Lately in Sunday School, we have been trying to answer these questions. One of our goals is to hopefully lead us to be a generous people. The primary goal is to see our need for Jesus in every facet of our lives, and to be able to find contentment and rest in ...

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An Unexpected Blessing!

by Kim Pillow As I sat patiently waiting on the event to begin, a woman came and sat beside me on the front row commenting that her husband would be coming shortly after their son's basketball game ended. It was obvious this woman had the same excitement as I did to hear our speaker. We had both arrived a couple of hours early to claim our coveted front row seats. While w...

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The Unspeakable Gift

by Gene Stansel On Christmas Eve, we attended a special candlelight service at a church in Philadelphia, PA, which was founded by the Reverend Jack Miller, a Presbyterian minister who taught practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary and who also founded World Harvest Missions. Although Rev. Miller died several years ago, his warm evangelical spirit pervaded t...

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Hope for Bad Christians (Like Me)

by Joseph Gorman Do you feel like you have fallen short this week, or today, or even in the past five minutes? If you are like me, the sin in your life makes it seem like God is so far away. How could the perfect and holy God love people who yell at their kids, or steal from work, or don't read the Bible every day, or are addicted to porn, or lie to their parents, or goss...

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Newton's Third Law

by Elizabeth O'Brien I absolutely despised Physics, but boy do I love Newton's 3rd law. It sure makes sense. "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." I implement this rule (either wittingly or unwittingly) into pretty much all of life. You don't wash your hands -you get sick. You eat more food - you gain weight. You sin - you go to Hell. Ahh... so...

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Men and the Church

by Ian Kayser It's been said that men are essential for a church that is committed to building the church. There are stats that say that if you win a child with the gospel, you have a 25% chance of reaching the family. If you win a wife with the gospel there is a is 29% the rest of the family will show up at church. But if you win a man to Christ, you have a 95% chance of...

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2017: To Those Who Wait

by Mary Grace Conrad It's that time of year again. The holiday season is over. A new year is beginning. People are making resolutions to do this or that to get a fresh start. Whether it's eating healthier, exercising more, saving money, or getting organized all we really want is to have better control of our lives and of our happiness. Each January we think, "How can I m...

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Do You Have a Story to Tell?

by Kathryn Dyksterhouse If you know me well, you know that I am a planner and an organizer. I don't know what I would do without my calendar. Every year in December, I look ahead to next year's calendar and make some plans for church communications. My first order of business is to ask members and friends of Westminster if they would be willing to write a blog post in the...

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Why Christmas Matters

by Lee Coleman Bundle up, Westminster it's cold out there! With the temperatures dropping and the Delta finally starting to feel like Christmas, I wanted to forward a couple of helpful links. Tim Keller, with his trademark brand of clarity and intellectuality, gives a brief reminder of the importance of the Christmas incarnation in this article for Relevant Magazine. If ...

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Holidays, French Style

by Austin and Alicia Morris Greetings WPC family fron France! This edition will be about what it is like to celebrate the holidays in Normandy. I will always remember our first Thanksgiving here last year as the most multi-cultural we will likely ever have. I celebrated this all-American holiday speaking more French than English. Our dinner table included three French p...

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This Blood's For You

by Brady Warren Years ago, when I was a twenty-something year-old working woman, a friend of mine who was a student at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson shared a Christmas experience she recalled while attending a public liberal arts college. Many of you will remember in college dorm rooms, girls decorate their doors to celebrate different seasons, holidays, and va...

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2016 Advent Devotional

by Richard Owens Advent, from the Latin word adventus, means "coming." During Advent Season, we have the opportunity to anticipate and celebrate the fact that our hero has come. It doesn't take much to see how the world around us prepares for the coming of the retail holiday as we begin to see advertisements and Christmas decorations in stores. In our busy world, it's e...

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What Did You Expect?

by Anne Marie Owens "Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." -Alexander Pope. Sounds like a fun guy to be friends with, right? Expect nothing, seriously? While I do think that's stellar parenting advice;), I'm not sure it makes a good life mantra. Either Alex P was deeply depressed or deeply insightful. So let's consider for a moment what e...

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The Rest of the Story

by Amy Coleman This is a continuation of Lee and Amy Coleman's adoption story. Click the following to read the earlier posts: Parts 1 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. THE STORY An Aside For 2 solid years our Claire had been asking us to adopt. Before that she would ask me to "PLEASE" have her a baby brother or sister, but after meeting her adopted niece her focus changed. N...

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Beat the Olive Trees

If there are two words that I am trying to achieve day after day, they are productive and efficient. Mercy! In healthcare, that is what is ingrained in order to achieve maximum profit. As a mom, occupational therapist, cook, wife, and chauffeur, that is how I get everything done in a day. So, when I came across this verse in Deuteronomy, it just didn't sit well with me: "W...

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This World Is Not Our Home

by Gary Dyksterhouse John 17:14-16I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Hebrews 12:14-15Strive for peace with everyone, and for the peace...

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Some Thoughts on Ordination

by Ian Kayser Last month I had the privilege of finishing my ordination trials. This means that next month (November 6) I will be ordained as a pastor in the PCA. I am super excited about this because it is a huge honor for me. Along with that, I am coming to terms with the responsibility. The process took me a little more than a year. To give you an idea of what ordinat...

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Walks With Wilson

I'm a cat person. Always have been and always will be. I really just love animals in general and choose to "adopt-not-shop". I headed home for Christmas a few years ago, a recent victim of company-wide layoffs from my first job, when my sweet Mom encouraged me to adopt a cat to have in my apartment. I'm not always a fan of her free advice, but this I could get on board wit...

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The Story (Part 5)

by Amy Coleman This is a continuation of Lee and Amy Coleman's adoption story. Click the following to read the earlier posts: Parts 1 2, Part 3, Part 4. THE STORY, pt. 5: A Picture That Moved Mountains Adoption is an interesting thing. One part that I found myself very conflicted over was the waiting children pages on the internet. I wasn't aware of how the "waiting ch...

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Bad Christians

by John Patridge I recently saw a movie entitled Bad Moms. The main character, Amy Mitchell, is a mother of two with a fulltime job and a lazy husband. Amy is over-worked, overwhelmed and tired of being perfect. She attends every PTA meeting and every sporting event all while trying to get her children to eat healthy. Most of the things Amy does, she does to impress other...

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Overwhelming Emotions

Today in my Algebra 1 class, I got so frustrated with a student who is a habitual behavior problem in my class. Every day I have to tell this student to stop talking to his friends, to start doing his work, and to stop turning around (he sits in the front of the class). It's the turning around that really gets me. I'll just stop teaching and stare at him, waiting for him t...

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Singing

As we said Sunday, when we open our mouths to sing and give God praise, we are never alone. It doesn't matter if we are in a worship service, at home doing laundry, or driving in our car, when we sing to God, we never sing a solo. We always sing a duet because Jesus is singing with us! Hebrews calls us to respond to the greatness of God's saving power in our lives by conti...

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Be a Bird

"He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Psalm 91:4 NIV We often speak about our lives in terms of seasons, and much as the summer is shifting into fall, my life is in a "season" of change as well. When I was younger, I was not a fan of change. I didn't like the idea of things being ...

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The Story (Part 4)

by Amy Coleman This is a continuation of Lee and Amy Coleman's adoption story. Click the following to read the earlier posts: Parts 1 2, Part 3. THE STORY, pt. 4: The Process We want one, yep, just one. Baby. One. Ok, maybe two if said baby has a very young older sibling. But mostly just one. And did I mention baby? One? That is where our thought processes immediately ...

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Morrises Abroad

Hello Westminster family! We appreciate the chance to update y'all on our life abroad through the blog posts. Since schools start much later in France, we are just now preparing to begin teaching again. Alicia will continue working as an English language assistant in two middle schools and leading small group English immersion classes at a language center for kids. Austin...

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Bragging Rights?

I'm a Huguenot. My maiden name is Gibert, pronounced "jĭ-bear" in French, and my direct Huguenot ancestry can be traced back for ten generations of male Giberts to one Pierre Gibert, ESQ. His son, Rev. Jean Louis Gibert, miraculously escaped a death sentence in France because, as a Protestant minister, he baptized a child. The time was the Reformation. Rev. Gibert later f...

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Do I Really Have to Pray for Politicians I Oppose?

With this year being a Presidential election year, we all must admit that we are constantly barraged by political sound bites, constant mudslinging from all sides and promises from all candidates that hope and change is coming and America will be great again. We very often respond with rolling our eyes and then continuing about our day. After all, what can really be done o...

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Allison and Neil Pillow's Testimony

Click here to listen. From Allison: Where does God have me today? BROKEN, Dependent on HIM, I pray right where He wants me. So this is my storyGod's story through me. I struggled with where to begin and realized I had to go back to the very beginning to see where the Lord actually has me TODAY. This is no doubt an abbreviated version of my reflections! I was baptized i...

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The Story (Part 3)

This is a continuation of Lee and Amy Coleman's adoption story. To read the first parts of their story, click here. THE STORY, pt. 3 The Turning Point I am not good at being quiet. I'm not good at being still. I am a doer, a talker, a mover and shaker. Not a rester. Lee used to call me "Daughter of Thunder" after James and John in the Bible being called "Sons of Thunder....

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The Confession Suppression

1 John 1:8-10 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." Numbers 5:6-7 "Say to the Israelites: 'When a man or woman...

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Humility Equals Sanity

It used to scare me to pray for humility. I imagined God would answer that prayer by, well, humiliating me! And all I could think of were the creative ways God might choose to do that. So in my wisdom :), I decided it was best to bypass prayers for humility. Despite Scripture's clear warning that pride goes before the fall, I decided that the best way to avoid "falling" wa...

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Hope

Similar to many of you, I've been thinking about the shootings that have occurred the past week in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas. You can't look at Facebook or Twitter without coming across someone's opinions about these shootings, as there seems to be a variety of stances that people have about them. People are outraged at the injustices that have happened, and with ...

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Custom Made

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is he served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.Acts 17:24-25 God has put all parts of our life in order. He has our whole life in His hands. We do not have to t...

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The Story

HAVE YOU EVER JUST KNOWN Have you ever really just known? I mean truly known? Not the "I think", or "I feel like", but the "I know beyond a shadow of a doubt" kind of known? That was us. We just knew! There aren't many times in my life that I can say I truly knew that God was asking me to do something. I have had plenty of "I think God wants me to" and "I feel like God ...

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Providence Abroad

Hello to all of our wonderful family back in Greenwood. Quick update from abroad in France, we (Alicia and Austin) are staying for another year here in Rouen, France, until the summer of 2017. We are currently enjoying our temperate summer where the temperature might reach the 80s, and the foggy, greyness of Normandy is hanging around to the month of June. Nevertheless, we...

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Heart for Education

Almost by accident, my husband Derek and I have become career educators. As a result, we talk about education A LOT in our home What is a good education, who is getting a good education and who isn't, and how can we improve the educational system? These questions have taken on a new urgency now that we are asking ourselves a far more personal question: Where we will educ...

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We Are the Church

I had the privilege of being at Westminster's Building dedication in May of 1991. I was 19 years old. I can still remember the freshly laid sod, new gravel in the side parking lot and trailers still out front from the last minute preparations. To have a church building had been a pressing goal since Westminster was founded seven years earlier in 1984. A lot of blood, sweat...

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Daniel of the Year

Last November, WORLD Magazine chose their "Daniel of the Year." Since 1998, World has given an award annually under this banner. Having a different emphasis than Time's Person of the Year, the Daniels are selected based on exhibiting bravery in defense of God's authority. This year, WORLD selected the collective group of Christians martyred on a beach in Libya by ISIS as...

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The Lies of Anxiety and Peace from God

I will never forget my first day of school going to kindergarten. I specifically remember being nervous about school. I didn't know what to expect and there was so much uncertainty. What would the day look like? Who would be there? Would I know anyone? Would the teacher be nice? What if I didn't like it? What if I did the wrong thing and everyone made fun of me? What if I ...

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Lilias Trotter

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24 Lilias Trotter is a woman whose life exemplified this verse. Born in Victorian England, in the year 1853 in London, she joined a family of privilege, being the first child born from the second marriage of her father, Alexander Trot...

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Eating With Jesus

There is something special that happens when we sit down to enjoy meals together. You've heard the saying: "A family that prays together stays together." Predominantly, where do families pray together? Yep...at mealtime. Often, the best discussions we have all week in our home are at the dinner table (evening meal for those of you who insist on calling it supper). :) We e...

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30 Packets of Ketchup

I just recently took a marketing class that discussed the importance of having a title that would grab the reader's attention, because a large percentage of readers go on to the next article if the title seems boring. For some reason, this title kept popping into my head and I just decided to stick with it. Anyway, let's get on to something that actually makes a little bit...

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Eulogy for Pappy

Good afternoon, my name is Harold Louis Coleman III. I am named after my Dad and after my Granddad, Pappy. Growing up, either by listening to Pappy's stories or just watching him, I learned a lot. He taught me several things that I would like to share with you. First, anytime I got ready to go somewhere, whether with high school friends, off to LSU or to start a new baseb...

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Jesus Knows Me, This I Love

God's Word tells us to cast our anxieties on Him because He cares for us. His care doesn't make our lives pain-free. Rather, His care gets us ready for eternity! He vouches to use all things, the good and the bad, to make us like Jesus. How awesome is that?! On a good day (even an "ok" day) I pumped about God's promises! Just give me more of Him and less of me, please! But...

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Trickle Down Economics

With all of the presidential talk going on, it reminds me of one of the phrases that I heard as a child. Trickle Down Economics (Reganomics) was the approach to economics that had as its foundation the tactic of lowering corporate taxes and regulations. In turn, the corporations would be more profitable and therefore able to expand their work force and increase wages as th...

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Decisions, Decisions

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. - Proverbs 16:9 This scripture has proven itself true in Shelby's and my life many times, even though we've only been married for three short years. The difference between the outcome of decisions we make on our own compared to decisions we make when seeking the Lord is remarkable. The first big decision...

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Joy in Weakness

As many of you know, Kathryn and I recently hosted a wonderful Christian family that we used to know in Atlanta. They are living in South Asia and making an impact for the Gospel through their work and their lives. In order to be certain that I am not exposing any security risks, I am not going to mention their names in a searchable blog such as this one, but I did want to...

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Bonjour from France

Hello to Greenwood and Westminster family! We feel privileged to write this blog and tell you about our experiences from the land of fine wine and cheese. We're really enjoying our time here, as Austin is learning French quickly and Alicia's enjoying her time in the French schools. Wish there were enough space to tell you about all of the things that have happened to us h...

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Do Not Worry

Delta Streets just finished up basketball in February, and while playing in the state tournament, I had the opportunity to talk to a particular family involved with Mt. Salus Christian Academy in Clinton, MS. As we talked, the father began to tell me about how being a part of the school as a board member has pushed his faith like never before. He has eight children, and he...

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Checklists, Hosea, and You

Are you a check-list person? I once heard Mike Greenberg (of Mike and Mike on ESPN radio in the morning) talk about the obsessive to-do list that he keeps in his journal. Not only does he go through the trouble to create little boxes next to his tasks to check off once completed, he said he actually writes things down on his list that he has already completed just so that ...

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Happy and You Know It

I think the third song I ever learned in church (after "Jesus Loves Me" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children) was "If You're Happy and You Know It." If you never clapped, stomped and shouted your way through this one as a kid during Sunday school or Vacation Bible School, here's the general gist: If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! (clap, clap)If you're happ...

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Star Wars and "The Hero's Journey"

Block buster films, such as the latest Star Wars saga, Star Wars; The Force Awakens, have produced a unique influence on our culture by transporting an entire generation of movie goers into unknown worlds with larger-than-life heroes and strange creatures with weird names. Star Wars; The Force Awakens, the seventh in the Star War series, smashed all box office records in i...

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J C Ryle

During Christmas break, I took advantage of one of Westminster Theological Seminary's online bookstore cyberdeal'sJ.C. Ryle's Daily Readings: From all Four Gospels. It is a daily devotional with a morning and evening selection for each day of the year from the Anglican bishop who lived from 1816-1900. I had discovered this years ago and had a copy in paperback that had fa...

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Who Christ Is

Philippians 2:6 affirms the deity of Christ, who "existed in the form of God" but who also "did not regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped." Jesus did not selfishly hold on to His status as God; He gave it up for our sakes. His deity was never compromised - He did not cease being God - but He chose to leave Heaven because of His love for us. Paul tells us we sho...

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The Heart of Motherhood

It's hard to describe motherhood, but if I could use one word could describe it, I think that word would be "transforming." Being a mom is all about ushering along transformations, both big and small. On a daily basis, we help waking children go from pjs to play clothes, turn hungry children into well-fed children, comfort upset children into calmed children, and the list ...

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Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go

As the old year ends and a new year begins, I have been evaluating what we are doing with the Rooted Ministry at Westminster. When Brad Mercer asked me to work as Children's Ministry Coordinator, there were about 20 children who were involved in all children's activities. Y'all, we now have that many on most Wednesday nights. Walker Coleman was in the first group that met ...

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Particular Repentance

As an occupational therapist (OT), it's my job to gather information through an evaluation and then use that information to treat the patient. When I began occupational therapy school, I definitely would not have told you that doing an evaluation was why I wanted to be an OT. Of course not! Rather, what I wanted to do was to be working with the patient and seeing them impr...

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While I'm Waiting

Westminster Presbyterian Church has some of the cutest babies and children in the city of Greenwood. When I see Eli at church, I have to fight the urge to squeeze his little baby cheeks. Hearing Cole sing louder than everyone around him in the congregation is the sweetest sound. Cora practically sprints away from me because she knows I'm going to get my hands on her precio...

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A New Year

As we embark on a new year, changes will occur. Some changes are by choice and others come naturally. Many of us willingly make New Year's resolutions to do something that will improve us or our circumstances for the next year. However, if you are like me, sticking to these new ideas past January is an accomplishment. How many times have I set out with determination to re...

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The Mission of the Church

For those of you know me, you know I love sports and I've always been a big football fan. Just to set the record straight, I love the Dallas Cowboys and I love Notre Dame. It's been a rough 20 years for me. In football, just like every other sport, there is a winner and a loser. All you have to do is score more touchdowns than the other team. It's a simple game. The team ...

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An Unplugged Christmas 2015 Preview

After months of diligent practice, our Rooted Kids' Ministry put on a spectacular Christmas Program. View a preview of the program below, and click here for the entire video (divided into four parts). Many thanks to Angela Hammons, Ellen Hey, and all of the parents as well! ...

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If You Ain't First, You're Last

I love to win. That should be evident to anyone that knows me very well. I want to win so badly that it is a severe area of weakness in my life. My younger brother even claims that when we were young, I used to sneak Monopoly cash and RISK cannons into my arsenal to secure my inevitable board game victory. I cannot comment upon such ancient past, but it is safe to say that...

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Exciting Reasons for the Season!

Christmas just excites me! I can hardly wait until Thanksgiving is over to bring out the Christmas decor! And "elf on the shelf" is basically the best idea ever! Plus, sometimes I feel like gift wrapping could be my year round hobby! Because bows are just so fun, right?! Haha! Or, should I say "HoHo?" :) Okay, so if you know me at all, you probably know that none of that ...

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FUMBLE!!

When I was in high school, there was an interesting character at most of our football games. I don't know who he was and, as far as I know, he had no ties to anyone there. Nevertheless, he would walk up and down the sidelines yelling "FUMBLE", and the funny thing is that he said it all the time. It did not seem to matter if we were on offense or defense. I can't explain wh...

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Being Thankful

I figured since it was Thanksgiving that it would be appropriate to write a blog post about being thankful. One thing that I've realized over the past week has been how the attitudes of those around me affect my own, particularly with thankfulness. I've found that when I surround myself with those who are grateful for the things that they have, I become more aware of how m...

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Thankfulness

Austin and Alicia Morris are members of Westminster who are spending a year in Rouen, France (near France's northern coast). Alicia is teaching and Austin, who did not speak French prior to their move, is taking classes. Click here to follow their French adventures on their personal blog. This week, I (Alicia) have been teaching my French students about Thanksgiving, sinc...

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New Artist Spotlight: Arrows & Anchors

In case you missed the October newsletter, we posted an interview with Arrows Anchors. The full interview is below: We recently caught up with Reid Kelly and Amy Coleman as they were traveling to Nashville to lead worship at "A Call to Holiness" Youth Rally. Read about how they stepped into the world of songwriting and what we can look forward to in the future. When wou...

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A New Rhythm

Having just returned in July from living in Alaska for three years, these past months have been filled with many "first-time-post-Alaska" experiences. This past Sunday was my First Daylight Saving Time Since Alaska, and I can tell you it was quite different now that I have a fresh perspective on just how dark it is or isn't here in Greenwood. My first fall in Fairbanks,...

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The Weight of Glory

I wish that I could truthfully say that everything I've ever read by C.S. Lewis has been fully comprehended by this layman. But I can truthfully say, along with countless others over the past decades, that Lewis has been an instrument in my life to awaken dull imaginations and a desire to pursue joy in Christ more fully and energetically. "The Weight of Glory" is one such ...

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Good and Pleasant ... Like Mountain Dew

Psalm 133 "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore." I've always had a thing fo...

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Joy in Your Worst Nightmare

My son, Langdon, celebrated his fifth birthday yesterday. Every year around this time, I find myself not only reflecting on the life of my own son, but also on the life of a son that I never had a chance to meet. Just over two years ago, the son of a college friend of mine died in his sleep. Cam was only about a month older than Langdon. This is what most parents would im...

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30 Years in the Making

Have you ever had something happen to you or an event occur in your life that made you think, "God has been preparing me for this"? Sometimes we have things happen to us that we cannot mentally or physically be prepared for but somehow we manage to get through it. Those of you that know me know that seven months ago my life was changed forever - my wife gave birth to our f...

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Encouragement for Weary Parents

Is your hair on fire? I think ours is at the O'Brien house. Has the beginning of the school year created a pace of madness unknown to even action director James Cameron himself? Has the chaos bled over into your bedtime routine with your children? May I suggestthis article for two simple bedtime prayers for weary parents? At the end of the day, no matter what has happene...

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Vishal Mangalwadi The Book That Made Your World

A friend recently gave me a copy of Vishal Mangalwadi's book The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization. The author does an excellent job in explaining, from an Indian viewpoint, how the Bible created liberty in the West. The following product description (which I found on the internet) provides a good overview of the book. "Whet...

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Marriage: Barely Skimming the Surface

My name is Murry Adams, and I grew up in Greenwood as a past member of the Westminster community, where I also became a believer. I am 24 and currently in my second year of medical school at Virginia Tech (VCOM). This summer, I got married to Louise Lamb who was one of my good friends from college. We started dating during our first year out of college when we both lived i...

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Priorities

As many of you know, I originally moved to the Delta in 2009 as a part of the Teach for America program. Being a socially-conscious, recent college grad, I wanted to help young people who hadn't been given the same opportunities as I had. Having gone to a Christian school and college, TFA was my first venture into the secular world of education. While I was enthused by the...

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God is Faithful

God is faithful at all times and in all things. A Christian's richest moments are when we see his faithfulness clearly and explicitly, and our loneliest ones when we don't, and feel apart and abandoned. I cannot imagine the depth of sorrow Adam and Eve experienced upon their exile from the Garden of Eden. At one moment, in perfect fellowship with the Almighty, and in anoth...

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Westminster Welcomes Ian Kayser

Ian KayserDirector of Family Ministries During our Vision Lunch two weeks ago, Lee introduced Ian Kayser as Westminster's new Director of Family Ministries. The Session is very excited about Ian joining us! Historically, Westminster's pastoral leadership has consisted of a Senior Pastor and a Youth and Families Pastor. However, throughout this past year, the Session caref...

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Honoring God

To honor the omnipotent, omnipresent, creator, Holy GOD is truly a high calling. I ponder how any person could truly honor GOD.Is it a process or a method? Is it heart motivated? How do you honor GOD? This is a serious undertaking.Being steeped in the WORD would be a good start. The WORD is how GOD speaks to us. Then there is prayer which is how we speak with GOD. Is that ...

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An Unplugged Christmas

As temperatures are soaring near and above 100 degrees, it's difficult to imagine that the Christmas season is just around the corner. Yet the time has come once again for the Children's Ministries team to begin preparations for this year's Christmas program. In this year's program, "An Unplugged Christmas," you can expect to see some real "acting" and hear some debut sol...

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Reflections

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. When my husband and I moved to Fairbanks, Alaska three years ago, we felt strongly that God had plans for us in the far north we just couldn't know what those plans would be. When we drove away from Greenwood in June of 2012 we didn't know where we would be living once we got to Alaska, I didn't ...

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Do You Ever Doubt??

Recently, I was given the opportunity to give my testimony of faith in Christ to our Sunday School class. The very task of summing up how God has been so gracious to me over forty-five years was overwhelming, especially staying within the boundary of thirty minutes. Preparing for this class spurred me to pull out some old notes, books, prayer journals, and studies that I h...

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Alaska Trip

As some of you may know, Derek Hinckley and I recently drove all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Greenwood. We left Fairbanks on June 29th and drove until July 3rd, stopping pretty much only for gas, food, bathroom breaks, and sleep. On the way, we traveled through Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Mis...

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Needs, Weeds, and Seeds

Riding around on the farm this year seems to be a never ending journey of discovering new weeds growing in the fields. Although weeds are nothing new in farming, there is a resurgence lately of uncontrollable weeds that hasn't been seen in years. Despite the latest technology in science and or mechanical engineering, the unwanted plants seem to find a way to survive. In my...

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Wisdom

Lately, there seems to be a theme to what the Lord is surrounding me withthe topic of wisdom. From Lysa Terkherst's The Best Yes, Vacation Bible School's theme of wisdom, Jeff is reading Proverbs to our girls each night at bedtime, and, last but not least, a book, Pursuing the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming. The unifying verse of the book is "Teach us to number our days ...

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More Students Off To School

They are going away to school. They are our young people, the youth of Westminster Presbyterian Church. But, they are not the same ones we have already said "good-bye" to. Those were our three graduating seniors, Mary Dudley Pillow, Madeleine Coleman, and Sara Butler Makamson, who will be entering college this fall. Now, two other young people in the church are going away...

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My Story

Yesterday, we began the new Sunday school quarter, in which each of the Elders will be presenting their testimony. Sharing each other's personal story of faith is a great way of sharing the Good News: Jesus saves, and this is how he saved me. With Father's Day, many of you had to leave after worship and didn't get to stay. So here's my story, and I hope it's an encourageme...

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Father's Day 2015

Dr. Norton is dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. He is also a friend of Westminster and the uncle of Kathryn Dyksterhouse. You can learn more about Dr. Norton here. His father's bio can be found on the RTS Charlotte website here. On this Father's Day I have countless memories of my father and his influence on my life. La...

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Here Comes 70

It's bearing down on me. will be here in a couple more months. August 19th, 2015 I'll be 70 years old. I was born just 10 days after the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. One of the very first of the baby boomers. All my life I have been pretty upbeat, never really worried about getting old, always felt pretty good, even when I got to be 60, still felt p...

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Recycling at Westminster

Hi Westminster family! I am really excited about Westminster starting a recycling program! It is a fantastic way to teach your children to be good stewards of God's land. I applaud Westminster for taking the challenge of switching up habits, which we all know is tough to do! There are two bins outside the by the carport - one is just for bottles and cans and the other is...

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Teenagers and Their First Smartphones

Have a teenager who's unboxing a smartphone for the first time? Nervous? You should be! Read this helpful article by Tim Challies to get you through this traumatic experience. Then "pray without ceasing!"...

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Greetings from Alaska, Part 2

This is a follow-up to Elizabeth Hinckley's earlier blog post about life in Alaska. You can find Part 1 here. So how does one live in a home without running water? When we first moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, my husband Derek and I lived in just such a home (called a "dry cabin" by locals) for over a year. Here's how we solved the big problems of The Sink, The Shower, and Th...

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Lessons Learned from Scarlet Fever

Mark 7:31-37 tells a brief account of Jesus healing a deaf and mute man near the Sea of Galilee. Many times in the past I have read right through this story, and not given it a second thought. In the end, it is Jesus healing another person, yada yada yada. Often, God chooses to reveal dead lessons to me with life experiences, and this teaching moment was no different. Abo...

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The Calm of Justification

Dear Friends, Elizabeth and I attended the RUF Reunion in Starkville two weekends ago and were greatly encouraged by the fellowship and worship along with many of our old friends. Many of you know Brian Habig (Sr Pastor at Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC and former RUF campus minister at MSU) who preached at Grace Presbyterian Starkville on Sunday morning. ...

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Valuable in Christ’s Eyes

I had the privilege last week of leading our Wednesday night discussion of Brian Sorgenfrei's sermon Investigating Jesus' Pursuit (Jesus' attitude towards the lost). The sermon was based on the three parables found in Luke 15. For lack of space I will not print the chapter but I encourage you to prayerfully read it. The three parables actually go together as they are pres...

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The Soundtrack to Your Faith

Hillsong brings their music and the Gospel to theaters across the world As a high-school English teacher, I spend a lot of time reading and scoring student essays. It's the price I pay to have summers off. This task gets old rather quickly. Reading what a high school student thinks about Poe's use of symbolism in "The Masque of the Red Death" can only hold your interest f...

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How Music Taught Me To Worship

Music has always been a constant presence in my life. My earliest memories are singing in the car with my Mama, or sitting with Daddy going through his records. I loved and absorbed everything I heard. Around the time I learned to read, which was about the age of five, I could stand in the chairs at the old hospital building and follow along with the hymnal. Memorization ...

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Depression

Depression is a very common battle that people face through their lives. Often times we try to find a reason for depression. For example, we see someone experience a loss of a loved one and correlate their depression to that loss. While depression can be onset by a loss or some other circumstance, there are other times when depression seems to hit someone out of nowhere. B...

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God's Promises Are In Your Reach

This article made an impression on me. How often do we fall short in trusting GOD?...

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Greetings from Alaska!

Let me begin by clarifying: I am not from Alaska. I grew up and attended college in the suburbs of Chicago. Upon graduation I moved south to Greenwood, Mississippi, and after getting married there, my husband and I moved north again to the far north, the Last Frontier: Fairbanks, Alaska. Like the vast majority of my peers, I grew up in a home with running water. Secure i...

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Why Learn the Catechism?

Why learn The Catechism? A child asked me this question as I explained what we would be doing on Wednesday night. Kathryn asked me to write for the blog and she suggested the catechism as my topic. My first thought was, "Well this is what we do." It is tradition. All "good" Presbyterians learn catechism. But is tradition the reason we do what we do? Why do we tea...

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Embracing Technology

Though I am not very proficient at all types of social media, I have a basic understanding of how each of the most popular forms is used to communicate. As a parent of two teenagers, I have been somewhat forced to learn. Tweets, posts, snapchat stories, pins, blogs, and other seemingly strange words have worked their way into our vernacular. It seems that only kids and the...

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A Book Review: LAYING DOWN THE RAILS by Sonya Shafer

Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousands Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are says this of the Charlotte Mason Handbook Laying Down the Rails by Sonya Shafer: "Worth every penny and more." "Needful, necessary stuff." "I return again and again to this book, all underlined and dog-eared."It's February 24th, and many of us who haven't attained perfection in the keeping...

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Spirit of Humility

Lately there has been much talk about the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives. We just recently finished a Sunday School series on the Holy Spirit, and we have seen the Spirit all through our sermon series on Romans 8. These lessons made me think of a passage in 1 Corinthians 2 that addresses our need of the Spirit. Starting in verse 6 and continuing to the end of the ch...

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The Unexpected Power of Encouragement

In the popular lyrics of contemporary Christian artist Toby Mac's hit song "Speak Life", he says: "Speak life to the deadest darkest night. Speak life when the sun won't shine and you don't know why. Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted; watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope and you speak LIFE." The women and friends of Westminster had the opportunity to lis...

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Jesus Heals the Paralytic Three Times!

Luke 5:17-26 My wife often tells me that I am not the best communicator. I don't believe her, but she claims that there have been times in our marriage when she has attempted to relay a message to me, and for some reason I have either failed to absorb the content, or have conveniently chosen to forget. With this in mind, I would like to share with you a topic that the LOR...

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Family Worship: A Call to the Men of WPC

I started writing this as a challenge to the men of WPC, but the more I wrote, the more God convicted me of my failure in this area. So men, this is written as much for me as it is for anyone. "Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church." - Jonathan Edwards Dads, have you ever considered your family as a "little church" with you as the preacher/elder/d...

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Book Review: A Quest For More, by Paul David Tripp

The Agape Class (yeah, yeah, the old folks) recently finished a study of the book by Paul David Tripp called A Quest For More. I told the class that this book was not the usual Sunday school affair. Many classes tend to gravitate toward easier material something that will facilitate discussion. And discussion tends to make for a good class as it helps people engage with t...

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Book Review - The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts, by Joe Rigney

Many of us have read John Piper's Desiring God and been exposed to his unusual yet enlightening term, "Christian hedonism," the theory that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, when our pleasure and joy is found most fully in our pursuit of God. While the term is not found in the Bible, the principle certainly is, and few would argue that an unb...

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Unbroken

Juvenile Delinquent. Track Star. Olympian. Soldier. Prisoner of War. Christian. Instrument of Forgiveness. The life of Louis Zamperini reads like an action-thriller. The page-turning biography, Unbroken, depicts an up and down and up story that has fascinated millions of people across the globe and led to the upcoming movie release (of the same name as the book), which is...

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Can't Anyone Teach Me To Pray?

This is something that I read last week on the Catalyst Conference website. It is an excerpt from Tim Keller's book Prayer. WHEN FLANNERY O'CONNOR, THE FAMOUS SOUTHERN WRITER, WAS TWENTY-ONE YEARS OLD AND STUDYING WRITING IN IOWA, SHE SOUGHT TO DEEPEN HER PRAYER LIFE. SHE HAD TO. In 1946 she began keeping a handwritten prayer journal. In it she describes her struggles to...

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The Power of God's Names

God's names are a gift to us showing us who He is and how He loves us. These three are just a sample of the many names of God and how they are used in the Bible. His names are a great way to reflect on our God.JEHOVAH ELOHIM TSABAMeaning: LORD God of Hosts.From Psalm 59:5You, O Lord (Jehovah) God (Elohim) of hosts (Tsaba), the God of Israel, Awake to punish all the nations...

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Prepare Him Room

Because of my involvement with the music ministry at Westminster, I am frequently asked the question, "What music are you listening to right now?". I can tell you that most times that is a very difficult question to answer. I am constantly perusing websites and YouTube videos searching through a plethora of music. Ask me what I am listening to today and the answer is easy....

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