First Presbyterian Church

302 Summit Street | Winona, Miss. | 662.283.2487


Faithfully Giving to the Kingdom of God

Posted by Ryan on November 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM

We are in the midst of the "Holiday Season." We’ve said goodbye to Halloween, Reformation Day, and Guy Fawkes Day; Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Years Day will be here before you know it.

Thanksgiving Day falls right in the middle of the Holiday Season. Quite often today Thanksgiving has become the perfunctory day that stands in the way of “Black Friday” when we all rush out to Mal*Wart to get last year’s model big screen TV for $199 and a bunch of other stuff. It seems like it is almost a parable for the decay and decline of American culture that “Black Friday” consumption as taken precedence over Thanksgiving reflection and gratitude to God. Many Christians have lamented the change in what has become acceptable and decry it as yet another sign that American is no longer a “Christian nation.” I like to turn such complaints and judgments about the culture around. Before condemning the culture, we ought to look at our own lives and examine to see whether we are committing the same sins of consumption and ingratitude.

Christians complain that the modern American lives only for himself; he spends his money on himself and what he wants and does not respond in gratitude and generosity to God for the many gifts that God has given. Well let me ask you: are you responding in gratitude and generosity to God for the many gifts that God has given to you? Does your giving to the work of the Kingdom here at First Presbyterian Church reflect a deep and profound gratitude to God for His sending His Son to save you from your sins and bring you into God’s own family?

Under the Old Covenant, the Hebrews were commanded to bring in a tenth (a tithe) of all their produce to the Levites for the support of the ministry of the Church. Now under the New Covenant there are no Levites and no tithe, however God’s people are no less required to give to His Kingdom. In fact, if under the Old Covenant (when the people were less spiritual and knew Christ only in shadows) the people gave 10%, how much more should we be giving now, we who have tasted the fullness of Christ?

Paul reflects on how knowing Christ profoundly impacts our giving to the work of the Church, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (II Cor. 8:9).

Paul doesn’t lay out a percentage for people to give, rather he appeals to us to consider what Christ gave for us, and respond accordingly. If you know Christ’s grace, your priorities should look like Christ’s priorities: Not holding on to and getting stuff, but freely giving that others may come to know the salvation of Christ as well. Take time to examine your own giving to the ministry at FPCW and spending habits generally and consider whether you are being a faithful steward over what God has given you.

It’s one thing to want to give a big sum to the church if you have extra or when you die and have no use for “your” money, but it’s quite another to give regularly, faithfully, and sacrificially now. Faithful giving to the local church, faithful stewardship reveals a heart that has not been captured by the things of this world, but is hidden with Christ.

Secularism Starts at Home

Posted by Ryan on September 6, 2013 at 10:45 AM

   The world around us is changing very quickly. One of the things we often hear is people concerned because of how “secular” this country has become due to the efforts of the “ACLU” and other such organizations. Evangelicals frequently lament the removal of the Ten Commandments or Bible teaching or prayer from public schools and other government spaces. And while perhaps one might blame the ACLU for the decline in civil religion in this nation, I would like to suggest a cause that hits much closer to home. Should it surprise us that the nation we live in is becoming so secular when the lives of church-goers are nearly as “God-free” as their atheist neighbors?

   We can’t blame secularists for the removal of the Ten Commandments from public when so many Christians do not even try to live their own lives by them. It is one thing to want them displayed, another to obey them. We can’t simply blame other groups for the end of prayer in public schools when - for many Christians - the only time they pray is perhaps before a meal or when they see the “blue lights” in the rearview mirror. We can’t blame atheists for the end of Bible readings in public schools when so many Christians scarcely open their own Bibles through the week.

   If we desire to see God glorified by and in this country, it begins in our own homes, with us and the way that we live out this life. Before blaming others for the decline of civil religion in this land, consider your own spiritual disciplines. Are you reading God’s word every day? The Bible says that the man of God meditates on God’s word “day and night” (Psa. 1). If you are married, are you having family worship everyday? Are you coming before the Father regularly in prayer? God is the only One who is truly ready and able to help His children.

   Christ died so that the saints of God may enjoy these privileges, these tokens of heaven. Do not mourn be-cause the nation has become secularized; mourn because Christians have become secularized. Pray with me that God would pour out His Spirit such that we in His church would be models of godliness and the pursuit of godliness to our communities.