Pastor's Bible Study

Every Wednesday morning during the school year, Dr. Furr teaches adults on a wide variety of topics with discussion – often a book of the Bible or some aspect of the Christian life or doctrine. All you need is a Bible and an inquisitive mind! Occasionally, a particular book is ordered for everyone who wants to purchase a copy. This group meets on Wednesday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Adult Seminar Room across from the Library. Find current topics under Latest News. Please join in.

 

Pastor's Column

 

lent is “jesus time”


 

Jesus Time
Lent is an observance of “time.” Actually, the entire year is a series of “times” to which we keep calling attention. We mark time, not merely as present and future and past, but as significant, or to give perspective to it.

The world we live in is obsessed with itself. That leads it to distort reality—to believe that its present moments are the most important that humanity has ever faced. Think about all the exaggerations we hear from commentators on our times—“this is the greatest achievement…” or “this is the worst corruption…” or that we face crises so great that there is no hope.

All of those things may be, but that is not how the great tradition of Christian faith tends to look at time. Eternity broke into time in the first century A.D. in what surely was one of the most dismal of times from outward appearances—cities full of poverty and  vast numbers of people living under the thumb of the Roman Empire, staggering numbers of them as slaves without hope of a future. The gospel begins from a story of an unarmed man with little more than His teachings and innate authority. The crowds came from everywhere for three years, for they sensed something in Him bigger than his outward appearance, an authority and power to heal and restore lives. It ended on good Friday, but then it didn’t.

Lent is walking along, remembering this wry smile about the way things seem. Just when it appears most desperate, something unexpected comes from God. This is the power of the gospel, causing us to look a bit out of step with the times. So we rejoice in trouble, hope in sorrow, go to work when people insist it’s a waste of time. We invest when fear is everywhere, help others when it’s every selfish person for themselves, love when hate seems to triumph.

It’s a strange story, this one. But it’s better than any story offered in its place. When things seem their worst, we teach each other to look for God to come along. It’s an invitation to hope, not irrationally, but as a matter of trust in our experience and story. Again and again, God acts and we see it. Why would this be different? Continue to live faithfully, do what is right, obey the words He gave us. The best is yet to come. That is the Bible’s final word.

Wednesday Prayer Breakfast March 20
We welcome Dr. Chris Crain, Executive Director of the Birmingham Baptist Association, as our guest speaker at Prayer Breakfast. The Birmingham Association is one of the ways we work together with other Baptists to do ministry together in our city. Come and join us.

Thank You, Betsy Lowery
Amid Dennis Anderson’s retirement celebrations, we also mark a fond farewell to Betsy Lowery from our support staff. I am so appreciative of her commitment to Christ, her hard work to provide this newsletter through the years, handling our website and so many, many other tasks. We are so fortunate to have such a hard-working team, and Betsy has been the support staff member for the Student ministers and for Nancy in Preschool and Children’s ministries. It’s a big job, and she has worked faithfully to carry it out. Betsy is a dedicated and talented individual who has pursued a writing avocation and now is leaving us to devote more time to her writing gifts. We wish her all joy and success in her future, and we remain her friend. Thank you, Betsy!

On Monday, March 25, Brittni Scott will begin work as our new Administrative Assistant. Be sure to join me in welcoming her to our office!

                           Gary

Lent and Wednesday Speaker Series: On the Journey with Jesus: Stories of the Callings That Find Us

In March, we will welcome a special Lenten time of renewal. Lent begins with our communion service this week in which I will bring a brief meditation entitled “True Spirituality: The Journey to an Integrated Life.” We always receive an offering after communion for those in need. This week, all gifts will be directed to tornado relief in Lee County. Our missions committee is working to find ways we can help.  We have a disaster relief fund to which all gifts for help there can be channeled. All gifts go directly to help on the ground.

We then look forward to a series of Wednesday nights called “On the Journey With Jesus: Stories of the Callings That Find Us.” Our speakers share Christian faith but come from a variety of backgrounds and stories to share their faith journeys—how they came to Christian faith, how that has lived out, and the unexpected turns that have taken them to new places in their discipleship. 

Our first speaker is on March 13.  Dr. Danny Potts, “The Faces That Change Us: A Neurologist's Experience With Dementia”
Neurologist Dr. Daniel C. Potts champions life-firming care for those living with Alzheimer’s disease/Dementia and their care partners. He is Founder and President of Cognitive Dynamics Foundation. He channels inspiration and hope gained through caring for his father, Lester, who became an acclaimed watercolor artist in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease. 

In 2016, he was the recipient of the Martha Myers Role Model Award. He is a man of many talents—singer, lyricist, poet and photographer, and has published seven  books of photographs and poetry. He co-convened the ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s advocacy network and is Editor-in-Chief of Seasons of Caring, the first-ever multi-faith collection of meditations for dementia caregivers.

As we face an era of lengthening lifespans, the issues of aging and dementia present profound challenges to us spiritually. His story of his journey to this issue will inspire us all to believe that God is at work in the final seasons of life as much as in the first ones. Invite a friend and join us for this extraordinary speaker at 6:00 on Wednesday, March 13.

Below is a description of the full, four-part series. Remember, we skip March 27 for spring break and resume on April 3.

 Lenten Renewal Series:   “On the Journey With Jesus”  Four well-known Christians from a variety of backgrounds and stories share their faith journeys—how they came to Christian faith, how that has lived out, and the unexpected turns that have taken them to new places in their discipleship. 

March 13, 2019, Dr. Daniel Potts

March 20, 2019, Kate Campbell

April 3, 2019, Dr. Jenny Dyer

April 10, 2019, Dan Haseltine

This series will be open to the public as well, and you are encouraged to invite friends to come and hear an exciting series of presentations.

March 13: “The Faces That Change Us: A Neurologist’s Experience With Dementia”
Dr. Daniel Potts is a neurologist, author, educator and champion of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and their care partners. Selected by the American Academy of Neurology as the 2008 Donald M. Palatucci Advocate of the Year, he also has been designated an Architect of Change by Maria Shriver. Inspired by his father’s transformation from saw miller to watercolor artist in the throes of dementia through person-centered care and the expressive arts, Dr. Potts seeks to make these therapies more widely available through his foundation, Cognitive Dynamics. Additionally, he is passionate about promoting self-preservation and dignity for all persons with cognitive impairment. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

March 20: “Wonders Along the Way”
Singer/Songwriter Kate Campbell has since put together a considerable body of work. Originally from the Mississippi Delta and the daughter of a Baptist preacher, Kate‘s formative years were spent in the very core of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and the indelible experiences of those years have shaped her heart and her character as well as her songwriting. Her music and songs continue to inspire and excite a growing and engaged audience. A variety of artists have recorded Campbell‘s songs and she has performed widely, including at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival (England), Merlefest, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and on National Public Radio‘s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Live From Mountain Stage. Kate lives in Nashville with her husband, Ira, a minister and chaplain.

***Series breaks with no meeting on March 27, during our spring break.***

April 3: “Ending Hunger: A Redeemed Hope for Feeding the World”
Dr. Jenny Dyer is the Founder of The 2030 Collaborative. As such, she directs the Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Faith-Based Coalition for Global Nutrition with support from the Eleanor Crook Foundation. Dyer teaches Global Health Politics and Policy as a Lecturer in the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt School of Medicine, and she has taught Religion and Global Health at Vanderbilt School of Divinity. Dyer formerly worked with Bono ‘s ONE Campaign, Bono ‘s organization, from 2003-2008 to promote awareness and advocacy for extreme poverty and global AIDS issues. She is an author and frequent contributor in the media. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband, John, and two boys, Rhys and Oliver.

April 10: “Closing the Distance”
Dan Haseltine is the Lead singer/Primary songwriter for the three-time GRAMMY™ winning band Jars of Clay. Dan has written 17 #1 radio singles, received multiple BMI Song of the Year Awards, and National Songwriting Association ‘s highest honors. He is a Producer, Film/Television composer, and Music Supervisor. Dan is the Founder of non-profit organization, Blood:Water, celebrating 15 years of supporting local solutions to the clean water and HIV/AIDS crises in Southern and Eastern Africa. Blood:Water has helped more than 1 million people gain access to clean water, sanitation, hygiene training and community health support. Dan lives in Franklin, TN with his wife, Katie and 2 sons, Noah(18), and Max(15) and two dogs Gracie and Coco. Dan is also a columnist, advocate, and thought leader surrounding the work of extreme poverty reduction, and international development.

We hope you will join us for Lenten Revival on Wednesday nights at 6:00! Please check our supper menu (serving begins at 4:30) and make a reservation.