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


extravagant love and generous gifts

august 14, 2018


We have received two estate gifts in recent days from longtime beloved members. We had already received one gift from the estate of Lynn Taylor and recently received a second, larger one that was earmarked for missions. Last week in business meeting, the church voted to accept the recommendation of the Missions Committee to designate $50,000 to repair and maintain our hospitality house. The remainder of this bequest has been placed in the Church Endowment Fund, to generate income year after year for the missions endeavors of our church.

From our church minutes of July 2002, the Missions Committee recommended that the church study the ministry possibilities and opportunities that the house be used as a temporary residence for missionaries who had returned to the states on furlough. After the study, in October 2002, the Building and Grounds Committee and Missions Committee recommended that the house be used as a hospitality ministry of the church to provide temporary residence to missionaries on furlough, ministers in transition or studying at Samford or Beeson, and others who needed temporary housing. And that a separate committee, the Hospitality House Committee, be established to oversee the use of the house.

That house is right next to our property, the sixth house from the corner of Shades Crest Road and Beaumont Drive. We acquired it in 1998 through the generosity of a church member who is no longer living. It was our second time to own it, as it was the original parsonage, which we sold off and had to pay more, of course, to get it back!

Through this property we have served missionaries, sabbatical pastors from Kenya and England, Passport Interns, our own staff short-term (Terre Johnson, Andy and Emily Farmer, the McBrayers), our own members and families in short-term crises and transitions, Jess and Sara Nix when they were newly married graduate students, Hurricane Katrina refugees for a year after the storm, our own interns, and Beeson seminarians. Over these twenty years, this house has loved a lot of people.

It has been maintained by volunteers over these twenty years. Like any house, it has required upgrades and maintenance. Now is a good time to reflect together on the impact of this asset on lives and as an expression of our mission—often without much knowledge by the congregation. But a glance at all those names says a lot. Close to 100 people worldwide have come and stayed with us through the ministry of this house. Thanks be to God for this generous gift that will continue to offer welcome and respite for those who carry the message of Christ to the world! Legacy gifts enable our ministries to live on long after we do!

We also received a very generous gift from the estate of Barbara Messer Ebadi. Barbara was a part of the family of Judy Pittman and her mother, Edith Wood. Barbara was faithfully here all through the years of her life, and, like Lynn, was unobtrusively present. Many of you might not have known Barbara, but her faithfulness and spirit were very invested in this congregation. After her passing, this generous gift came to us and has been placed into the General Reserve Fund.

My wife Vickie once commented to me that generosity may be the most important character trait in another person. When I thought about it, I agreed with her. The happiest people I know give freely and joyfully for the good of others. They do this in their parenting, their friendships, their time, their means and their love. The opposite is also true—the most miserable souls I have ever known are those who “never have enough” and live life by never trusting others, never giving and always trying to come out “over” everybody else. They end up alone. Blessed are the generous, for their happiness lives on long after them!