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Good News

By Sally Ann Smith. Photo by Scott Medina.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10, NIV).

What a delight that Christ’s charge to serve one another is made possible by the gifts He has given each follower. The mission field isn’t necessarily a specific place but wherever believers are faithfully living out the Good News of His love. It is that Good News that refills dry cups with hope and joy, and spreading it can be as simple as passing it on to neighbors.

Shirley Westbury

Shirley Westbury

First Baptist member Shirley Westbury helps uplift her community through e-mailing and delivering positive writings that she collects from church to her neighbors at 5100 Monument Avenue. First Things First, Appointment With God, other devotionals, and her personal writings help light the world of those around her. “I have special little small bags I buy to put things on neighbors’ doors. People tell me how much they enjoy them. The FBC devotionals are especially appreciated by those I send them to,” Shirley recounts. Imagine the refreshment of going for the morning newspaper, often filled with dismal reports—and finding encouraging words and stories of what God’s love is doing instead. Or, opening up the morning’s e-mail and starting the day off with an uplifting devotional. The act is very simple, but the impact is powerful. “To share with others is a way to ‘reach out and touch someone’ – and words are powerful and comforting,” says Shirley.

Not only is the content of these messages and special deliveries inspiring, but the act of someone taking the time to notice and care brings encouragement. “It’s a kindness to share, a way to stay in touch, and a way to show the love you have in your own heart for those whose lives touch your own,” Shirley notes. And as love tends to multiply when given, Shirley has been blessed in return. “Most share back,” she says. “Folks share their poetry and writings with me also.”

As Shirley urges, “I think any time you share with your neighbors in the community, it opens their eyes to what is going on at FBC and who the people are there, and maybe convinces them that they would like to be a part of such a wonderful church also. And if they are a part of another church community or religion, it still is a way to share God’s love. As Ralph Starling says, ‘Love – that is what it is all about!’”

This brings a wonderful challenge to each FBC member. How can Christ’s Good News be shared where each one has been planted and with the tools and gifts each has been given?


Sally Ann SmithSally Ann teaches 8th grade English at St. Catherine’s School. She serves on the Ministry Consultation Committee for Hanna Zhu, contributes devotionals to Appointment with God, and is an active member of the young couples class with her husband, Clint. Sally Ann and Clint reside in the Near West End and are proud new parents to daughter, Bellamy.

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