News & Notes

Bulletin for March 3, 2024

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Another Recommended Resource

Rev. Benjamin Glaser is an Associate Reformed Presbyterian1 pastor in South Carolina. Prior to that he was the pastor of the Ellisville Presbyterian Church in Jones County. Each week, he writes a couple of helpful blog posts for his congregation, but he also publishes them more broadly here. I highly recommend you read his material.

Besides being generally helpful, often one of his posts each week is geared toward helping you prepare for Sunday. This would be a great thing to include in your devotional routine each week!


  1. Be sure to check back at last week’s post to see the plague chart. It will help you stay oriented as we work through each plague. I also highly recommend that you read the sermon Scripture ahead of time, especially while we’re working through these larger chunks!

  2. Parents’ Fellowship meets this Sunday at 6PM! We’ll have a meal and a Bible study time.

  3. The Easter Sunrise Service is scheduled for 6:45AM on March 31st.

  4. The Gulf South Presbytery has authorized a commission to officially install our session as elders in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. A special service will be held for that purpose on April 14th at 5PM followed by a fellowship meal.

And, of course, please continue to be in prayer for all of these on our prayer list.

Your friend in Christ,

  1. In case you’re wondering, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) is a conservative Presbyterian denomination. They are mostly concentrated on the East Coast, but we have a few in Mississippi, including Faith Presbyterian in Leakesville. ↩︎

Bulletin for February 25, 2024

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Plagues in Exodus

This week, we’re going to get started working through the ten plagues. The first nine occur in three cycles of three, so I’m planning on preaching on them over three weeks. (The tenth plague is in its own league.) In preparation for that, I wanted to make this chart available to you. There’s a lot to keep track of, so it’s good to have a quick reference to refer back to. As I continue to work through these texts, I may add some more information to it. If you’d like a paper copy, let me know.



  1. Make note of the information concerning Vernal PW’s support of PROMISS.

  2. Another Parents’ Fellowship is scheduled for Sunday, March 3rd at 6 PM. We’ll meet at the church for a fellowship meal and Bible study.

  3. We’re just a few weeks away from Easter! I’ll be keeping an eye on the weather, but we plan on having a sunrise service in the prayer garden at 6:45 AM.

  4. A presbytery commission will be joining us to officially install our elders in the EPC on April 14th at 5pm. I’ve had some discussions with them over the past week, and they’re excited to be joining us!

Your friend in Christ,

Bulletin for February 18, 2024

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Bulletin for February 11, 2024

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On Revelation 20

If you were with us Wednesday night, you’ll know that we chased a rabbit toward the end of Bible study. In particular, there were several questions about the nature of Christ’s millennial kingdom. Some of you asked for additional material on that, so I’ve written up something if you’re interested.

Click here to read more

Why are we not imposing ashes this year?

This year, our Ash Wednesday service will not include the imposition of ashes. As this has been standard over the past few years, I thought it would be wise to give you some of the rationale for this decision.

In the Presbyterian tradition, we hold to the Regulative Principle of Worship. The Westminster Confession of Faith summarizes this principle:

But the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture. (WCF 21.1)

In other words, we may only do in worship that which is prescribed by the Scriptures. There are several reasons for this. Of course, this comes from a desire to be Word-centered, but it also arises out of a desire to guard Christian liberty. It comes down to the question of authority. Does the church have the authority to require something in worship that God does not require in Scripture? The Reformed tradition has unanimously answered in the negative. The church’s duty is to minister the Word of God to his people, not our own opinions or preferences.

But the problem of ashes goes further, because not only is the imposition of ashes not commanded, it is also expressly forbidden by Jesus himself.

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18)

Until very recently, all Protestants held that this passage forbade the imposition of ashes. It was only during the liturgical renewal movement of the 1960s that Protestants began to do this in large numbers.

Protestants have, however, held that the church may call optional days of fasting and feasting. So that is what we are doing this Wednesday. It is an optional day of fasting where we will have a worship service devoted to repentance. We will hear the gospel preached, and we will seek to respond in faith.

In sum, we will be returning to the standard of our Reformed tradition, but, more importantly, we will be returning to greater conformity to the Word of God.

If you want to read more, here’s an article explaining how the imposition of ashes started in the Anglican/Episcopal tradition (they only starting doing it recently too). And of course, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to talk to me.


  1. This week is Souperbowl Sunday, so be sure to invite someone new to church! And don’t forget to bring your soup!

  2. Our Ash Wednesday service is at 6pm. I’ll be posting an order of worship for that service soon, so be on the lookout for that.

Your friend in Christ,

Bulletin for February 4, 2024

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A Psalm for Sunday

This week, we’re introducing a new psalm, and we’ll continue to sing it over the next few weeks. Click here for a PDF version of the full song, and listen to the song below.

Why are we singing Psalms at all?

You may have noticed that we’ve been doing this a little bit more, so this is a good question, especially since most evangelicals are out of the habit. Well, on a more practical level, psalm-singing is required by both the Westminster Confession of Faith which we subscribe to and the EPC Book of Worship we submit to. But there are many other reasons we ought to sing psalms as well. Here’s a few from Terry Johnson, pastor at Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, GA.

  1. Psalm singing is biblical. The songs we wish to sing are the canonical psalms, given by the Holy Spirit to be sung. Moreover, we are commanded to sing psalms and are given examples of the New Testament churches singing them.
  1. Psalm singing is historical. It was the practice of the early church (as attested by the church fathers), of the medieval monastic orders, of the Reformers, and of virtually all Protestants until the middle of the nineteenth century.
  1. Psalm singing is beneficial. Because the psalms are Scripture, they partake of all the inherent spiritual virtues of Scriptures to convert sinners and sanctify saints.
  1. Psalm singing is satisfying. Its theological, christological, and experiential richness provides God’s people with the language with which to understand and express the vicissitudes of life. Nothing touches the hearts of God’s people like the psalms, particularly sung.
  1. Psalm singing is unique. The act of singing (not merely reciting as poetry) the whole Psalter (not merely hymns or even psalm fragments), given the divinely balanced content of the Psalter as a whole, has a unique capacity to shape and mold a biblical piety. A distinctive contribution to the health and vitality of the body of Christ is made by the singing of the psalms.


  1. For those of you who are interested, I’ve typed up some brief notes from presbytery and placed them in the vestibule. Be sure to grab a copy on your way into the church. As church members, we want to keep you updated on what’s going on, but this is also a great opportunity to pray for other churches in our presbytery.

  2. Parents’ Fellowship is this Sunday! Madeleine is preparing food for us, and the children will have activities as well. Be sure to join us and bring a friend!

  3. This Wednesday night, the children will be having pancakes and sausage for Valentine’s Day.

  4. Next Sunday, February 11th, is Souperbowl Sunday. Bring your favorite soup to share after worship on that day.

  5. We’ll be having an Ash Wednesday service at 6pm on February 14th.

Your friend in Christ,

Bulletin for January 28, 2024

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This week, Rev. Bob Bradley will be joining us for worship. His sermon is “Asleep at the Wheel” from Romans 13:8-14. Be sure to welcome him and thank him Sunday as he comes to serve us Word and Sacrament. And don’t forget to be prayerfully preparing for communion!

In addition, keep in mind our upcoming events:

  1. Parents’ Fellowship is February 4th at 5pm. We’ll have food and a Bible study, and kids will have something to do as well. Let me know if you plan on joining so we can get a rough count for food.

  2. Soup-erbowl Sunday is the next week, February 11th, after worship. Bring enough soup for your family plus some.

  3. Our Ash Wednesday service is February 14th at 6pm.

Finally, please be in prayer for our Gulf South Presbytery as they meet in Monroe this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Especially be in prayer for our hosts Covenant Monroe, those who are preparing to be examined for ordination, and the various officers of the presbytery.

Your friend in Christ,

Bulletin for January 21, 2024

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  1. On Sunday evening January 28th, we’ll be having a time of teaching and fellowship for parents. I’m still in the process of working out details, so be on the lookout for more information!

  2. Communion will be served during worship on January 28th.

  3. Soup-erbowl Sunday is February 11th. Bring enough food for your family plus a little extra.

  4. Ash Wednesday is February 14th.

I hope everyone has been safe and warm the past few days. If you have any needs, feel free to reach out to me!

Your friend in Christ,

Bulletin for January 14, 2024

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Pray for Missions

If you’re looking for a way to personally support missions, here’s a great opportunity.

Many (or really, most) of our EPC missionaries are in very dangerous places, so World Outreach cannot publicly post prayer requests. What they’ve done instead is put together a prayer network. If you join the prayer network, you’ll get access to the list of missionaries in our denomination as well as specific prayer requests that they have. I consistently hear from our missionaries that their two greatest needs are funding and prayer, so this is an opportunity to meet one of those needs and build up the Church around the world.

Click here to sign up.


We’ve got several things coming up in the next few weeks!

  1. Communion will be served on January 28th. Please be preparing spiritually. The reason for this date is that I’ll be at Presbytery in Monroa, LA, on Friday and Saturday, so please be in prayer for that meeting as well.

  2. Souper-bowl Sunday is February 11th. We’ll have lunch immediately following worship. Please bring enough of your favorite soup to feed your family plus a little extra.

  3. We’ll have a special Ash Wednesday service on February 14th at 6pm.

Your friend in Christ,

Bulletin for January 7, 2024

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Reviewing Bible Translations

Recently, I’ve received some questions about Bible translation, and since I gave some recommendations for Bible reading last week, I thought it’d be a good idea to go ahead and lay this out for your reference. So below are some thoughts on the top five bestselling translations.

  1. New International Version (NIV)

I believe all of my childhood Bibles were NIV, so this is a translation I’ve used a lot. It is a “dynamic equivalent,” which means the translators were working at the level of phrases and thoughts rather than words. However, very often, the NIV is actually pretty close to word-for-word. The big problem with the NIV is that the 2011 edition (the only edition available today) takes gender neutrality too far. This is not a problem if you have the 1984 edition. I don’t have space to go into detail on that, but this video covers the issues pretty well.

I cannot recommend the NIV (2011). If you like how the NIV reads, but can’t find a 1984 edition, check out the New English Translation (NET).

  1. English Standard Version (ESV)

This is my translation of choice. It’s what I teach and preach from, and it’s what I use personally. It’s also by far the most common translation in Reformed and Presbyterian circles. You’ll find it in the pews of most conservative Presbyterian churches in the US as well as on the desks of most conservative Presbyterian seminary professors. It is very highly regarded in broader evangelical circles as well.

It is a very literal translation in the King James line of Bibles. That means it attempts to preserve some of the style and language of the King James. For example, if you compare Psalm 23 in the ESV and KJV, you’ll find that there are lots of similarities. It also normally reflects the Hebrew and Greek texts with a high level of accuracy. I often have quibbles with some of its translation choices, but it is very consistent in its translation choices. The NIV, for example, can be very word-for-word in some places, but very loose in others. The ESV stays at about the same level throughout, so you always know what you’re getting.

The one quibble that many people have with the ESV is that there’s a clear bent toward complementarianism (male headship in the home and church). That doesn’t bother me so much because I happen to agree with their interpretations, but it’s good to know that they have that tendency. Whenever you’re dealing with men and women passages, I always recommend comparing the ESV to the KJV because the KJV was done in a context where gender wasn’t hot button issue.

If can only have one Bible, get an ESV.

  1. New Living Translation (NLT)

The NLT is a very good “easy reading” Bible. On this list, it’s the loosest translation, on the far end of dynamic equivalence. A lot of translations in the range of the NLT don’t come from trustworthy sources, but the NLT is an exception here. The team that worked on this translation are highly qualified and respected. I would just be sure to have a more literal translation (such as the ESV) if you’re doing deeper Bible study. But for children or more relaxed reading, the NLT is great. If you don’t want to use two Bibles, but you still want something a little easier to read, I’ll recommend again the NET.

If you want an easy reading Bible, the NLT is a good choice, but make sure you pair it with something more literal.

  1. Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The CSB is a revision of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). The Holman name might tip you off to the fact that this is a Southern Baptist translation. (In fact, we used to joke that HCSB stood for Hard-Core Southern Baptist.) The CSB dropped the Holman name in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience, but it’s also a major revision from the old HCSB. In general, I thought the HCSB was a very good translation, but the CSB is, in my opinion, a significant downgrade. The stated goal of the translation committee was to get a maximum balance between readability and accuracy, but the result is a Bible that’s not very good at either. In the end you’d probably be better served by an ESV or an NET.

I do not recommend the CSB, but you’ll be fine if that’s what you want to use.

  1. King James Version (KJV)

I love the KJV. I consistently find it to be the most accurate translation of the Hebrew and Greek. Add to that it’s impressive historical pedigree, and you’ve got a great Bible translation. But there’s one glaring problem: it’s 400 years old. The language is archaic. There are lots of words that you’ll have to look up to understand, and there will be many words that you think you understand but don’t because their meaning has changed. Now, the vast majority of the time, that’s not a barrier to understanding, especially if you’ve grown up with the KJV. The easy solution is to get one of these modern Bibles and compare, not unlike how you’d handle the NLT.

Every home should have a KJV, but it probably shouldn’t be the only Bible in the home.


God willing, we will be back to our full schedule for Wednesday night next week! Hopefully, everyone who is still sick will be feeling better, but continue to pray that our church would be guarded from further illness.

Your friend in Christ,

Bulletin for December 31, 2023

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A Bible Plan for the New Year

It’s almost the new year, so that means people will start thinking about New Year’s resolutions, and, of course, Bible reading plans!

This year, I’ll be doing the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible reading plan. It’s four chapters per day, but M’Cheyne originally intended for two chapters to be read privately and two to be read in family worship. That makes the plan very flexible. Here are some options for reading it:

  1. As M’Cheyne intended, two chapters privately and two chapter in your family.
  2. Read four chapters privately.
  3. Read two chapters privately, extending the plan over two years.
  4. Break the plan into two years, but read one chapter privately and another in your family.

Any of these options work, and of course, there are any number of plans available online. Do whatever works best for you and your family, but make sure you do something!

My only other piece of advice is this: don’t catch up. If you get behind, just pick up with whatever day you’re on. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday; it matters that you read today.

Here are some links to get you started:

Also, if you search M’Cheyne on your favorite Bible app, you’ll probably be able to find it. My favorite website with everything in one place is here.


If you haven’t already heard, we will not be having communion tomorrow. Rev. Bradley is sick will not be able to join us. We will reschedule a communion service in the near future.

Your friend in Christ,