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Memphis pastor, church distribute devotional booklet as gift to community

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BP)–For a long time Ray Fullilove, pastor of Poplar Avenue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., has enjoyed writing, but pastoral duties kept him from devoting much time to it other than columns for his church newsletter and occasional other avenues.

He has written Sunday School commentaries in the past for the Baptist and Reflector.

Fullilove, however, received encouragement from his long-time mentor, Gerald Martin, a former pastor of Poplar Avenue who is now deceased, to do more with his writing talents. The Memphis pastor also was encouraged to write more by fellow Shelby Baptist Association pastor and friend Adrian Rogers of Bellevue Baptist Church.

Finally, Fullilove sat down and began to develop a booklet of Christmas devotionals that could be used between Dec. 1-Dec. 25. The booklet is entitled Christmas: God’s Moment With You and Me.

In short order, with the help of church member Jenny Reddick, who served as his editor, Fullilove wrote the devotionals.

“I have been wanting to do something like this for years,” he said.

Fullilove sent a proof copy of the devotionals to Rogers who gave him an “A-plus” for his efforts. “That gave me the confidence to keep going,” Fullilove said.

Publishing the booklet was no easy task, however.

His congregation at Poplar Avenue was very supportive of his efforts, but finances at the small inner city Memphis church is limited, Fullilove noted.

Church members joined their pastor in praying about how to fund the booklet which they wanted to distribute as a gift to their community.

Shortly after the congregation began to pray, God answered those prayers in a mighty way, Fullilove shared.

Last year a member of the church died and the church was notified she had left Poplar Avenue $5,000 in her will, the exact amount needed to print the devotional booklet, Fullilove said.

“God has blessed us in a positive way,” Fullilove said, noting God “opened doors to get His Word out in a different way.”

The church printed 1,500 originally and has had to order a second printing of 500 copies, he said.

Poplar Avenue gave a copy of the booklet to every home in the community, the pastor said. He also distributed it at a local health spa where he works out regularly and at the Union Mission in Memphis where it was distributed to those attending the special Thanksgiving meal held there.

The book has a definite evangelistic theme.

In the preface, Fullilove wrote:

“There are many seasons in the year. One season always stands out – the season of Christmas. There is a different atmosphere, a different spirit, and a different song in the air.

“The reality of Christmas can be anticipated with possibilities for each of us, a positive attitude within us, and a blessing for everyone. This is Christmas, the moment which proclaims a word of hope and the wonder of God’s miracle. It’s time to begin again. …

“Christmas is God’s moment for you and me. May these devotions help us prepare for the greatest moment in history – God’s moment for you and me. May we let this moment become our moment with God in Jesus Christ.

“This is Christmas – Christ Jesus in our heart. My prayer is that this devotional may inspire us to do this one thing – to make room for Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.”

Seeds are being planted, Fullilove said.

“I will leave the results up to the Lord.”

    About the Author

  • Lonnie Wilkey

    Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist and Reflector (baptistandreflector.org), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

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