Welcome!

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Welcome to First Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg, Tennessee, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church USA.   As a congregation, we sense a call from God to make "Welcome!" more than a polite church-ish word.  It is meant to be a way of life for us as disciples of Jesus, as in the words, "Welcome one another, the way Christ has welcomed you.

Presbyterian?  

Many people have heard the word, "Presbyterian" in the list of the names of churches.  But there is a good chance large numbers of people could not spell it, much less say what it means.

To be "presbyterian" in the most direct sense means that our churches are led by a group of elders composed of both seminary-educated ministers and a larger number of local church members elected by the congregation.   Our churches come from the Reformed Tradition of "the priesthood of all believers," which means that God may call anyone to leadership in the church, so we try to acknowledge that by how we share leadership bringing together as many skills and backgrounds as we can.

In a deeper sense, to be "Presbyterian" means that we rely completely on the righteousness given to us by God in Jesus as a free and completely undeserved gift.  This transforming experience changes how we look at God, at ourselves, at the world and at every person in it.   Presbyterians (at our sanest) believe that salvation comes "by Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone."  In other words, God alone is the judge of humanity, and God has chosen to seek the salvation of everyone and not our condemnation. 
 

"Go and Learn...Mercy"

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"Why does your Teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?" the religious leaders asked Jesus' disciples.   When Jesus heard this, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a doctor, but those who are sick.  God and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'   I have come to not the righteous but sinners."   --The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 9, verses 11-13.  

For many people, just to mention, "God" or "church" brings up a set of feelings tied to worthiness and goodness.  And it is true that God is holy, but God has a big surprise for us all.  And that is found in all the ways that God reaches out to us with this:  Mercy.

For reasons that only God has chosen to be the holy God who shows mercy.  In fact, for God, to be holy is to be merciful.

Obviously, if God had wanted to judge the world and all of us based strictly on our degree of holiness and worthiness, God could quickly and easily condemn and reject every single one of us.  it would just be a question of how and when God would do it.

But the God of all holiness has chosen mercy as the basis of God's dealings with us, and it is in how merciful we become to one another that we know if we are growing in God's ways and in genuine holiness.  That's because for us to show genuine mercy is often hard, asking us to replace our wills with God's will, calling on us to do some very hard work in our own hearts, which frankly are often ready to judge others harshly and wish to avoid them.

Jesus offers forgiveness as the start of a relationship with God, not a reward for earning one.  We know we are on the right road in following Jesus when we know without question that we need God's mercy and we are learning how to resist our own feelings of selfishness and superiority and to show mercy to others.   We show mercy not because anyone deserves it, but because we all need it.    Thank God, God is the holy God who delights not in sacrifice but in mercy!

Who Belongs?

In some groups and some churches, you know you belong because there is a precise list of beliefs that everyone is required to believe.   There is an undeniable power in that approach of uniformity, but there is also a great fear of any kind of change.

Change for the sake of novelty is of no value, but as disciples of Jesus, we are always "learners."  (That's what the word, "disciple" means.)   So, we must always be prepared to make changes as individuals and as congregations when we realize we have limited God, failed to treat others as we should or put our own prejudices and preferences in the place of God's  call and purposes. 

While most Presbyterians probably share many beliefs in common, we are charged to remember that the basis of our belonging together is not anchored in exact agreement on a list of doctrines and beliefs. In fact, one of the foundations of the Presbyterian tradition is that "only God is lord of the conscience."  We must each live out the convictions we have as Christians and respect one another's faith in Christ, even when it differs from each other's.   To put it in the classic terms of the Reformed tradition, we belong to Christ and to each other "by Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone." 

What unites us as a church--and we would say, as Christians around the world--is not anything about us or our ability to understand and explain every Christian belief, but rather our trust that God has united us through the grace of Jesus Christ and our reliance on him alone as the basis of all our hope and lives.  This grants us the freedom to examine our beliefs and our practices as fearlessly as we can and making changes to respond to what we sense God is showing us in our lives as Christians. 

The good news is that Christ alone is lord of the church and not any of us.  So, we trust that anyone who puts their trust in Jesus Christ will be led by God's Spirit into all that we will need to know and do in order to accomplish, not our wills, but God's. 

Welcome!

First Presbyterian Church of Lewisburg invites you to join us.

Sunday Services:
10:00 AM- Sunday School (for all ages)
11:00 AM- Worship
5:00-6:30 PM PYF (ages 3-18)

Wednesday Services:
6:00 PM Adult Bible Study
               (church library)
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NaCoMe Fall Youth Retreat

Contact Us for Info or to Ask Questions