I just wanted to write a personal note of thanksgiving and blessings to so many of you who have expressed an interest in getting one of the Directions books. Through the years, I have put together a number of small books that have been used and fairly well-received by the churches where I have been pastor and even further exposure across the state. One of the books was a compilation of prayers that I sent to people over the years week by week as we gathered for prayer meeting, but it was a personal note to people who were in the hospital or in need. Those have been used of God to touch people at special times in their lives.
Probably the most widespread and used booklet that I put together was called Steps to the Savior and was designed specifically to help children understand that all-important step of trusting Jesus as their Savior. I personally used it for years and still do and now many others have been available to them. In addition, there have been some books, a compilation of sermons that were well received by the congregations where I have served, but nothing has equaled the interest you have given to the devotional book of 366 days titled Directions, devotions put together in such a beautiful way that it becomes the calendar of your life.
My deep appreciation to each of you who have called and ordered books and for many of you who I have had the opportunity to be in your church or other gatherings and had the opportunity of seeing you and signing a book personally for you. The book began as a journey 21 years ago of writing an article entitled Directions in The Baptist Record each week. Since there are 50 publications of the Record each year, the number added up over the years to beyond 1,000 articles I have written for that purpose. It was my blessing to have the privilege of having that contact with our churches and associations and state body of believers in Mississippi.
Over the years, people kept asking me if I was going to put them together so that they would have a bound copy of Directions. I had never really set out to do that or planned to do that. Each of the weekly articles was designed to be either informational, maybe a promotion of the events or interest at the time, or inspirational, or maybe a word from the Lord and His Word. Sometimes they were intended to be simply pastoral care for the people across our state who may be facing obstacles or issues or heartbreaks or even confusion and to try to encourage them and support them as God would give them light for their path.
As the years passed and more and more articles were written, more and more requests came to put them together and so the effort was begun to try to pick out one for each day that could be used in a devotional book. Hopefully I have chosen some that you felt were the best of the articles or at least stirred the most interest among us. We actually have another 366 totally different from the ones that are published that we have considered putting in a second book of Directions. That is yet to be.
As we put them together, I was hopeful that we could get them published and paid for so that the entire proceeds for each of the books would go toward the Jim Futral Endowed Professorship in Biblical Studies and Preaching at Blue Mountain College. Thankfully and amazingly, that became a reality because of gifts and interest of a number of people. As a result as you buy a book, hopefully, prayerfully, you will be blessed as you walk the pathway of directions day by day, but far beyond that, what you pay for the book or what you give for the cause will all — every penny — go to the next generation of preachers and teachers, missionaries and musicians, who are preparing their lives to serve Jesus in our churches. Neither I nor any of the wonderful people who helped put the book together will receive any compensation at all. It literally is a work of grace and love and will touch lives far beyond any of us.
If you want to get a Directions book possibly for Christmas for a friend or family member, you need to call soon. The books are $25 each. If you need the books shipped to you there is an additional charge for shipping based on the number of books you order.
There are two ways to order the book. You may call Kayce Bragg at Blue Mountain College. Her number is (662) 685-4771, ext. 119. Blue Mountain College can accept cash, check, or credit card. If your church wants to order 20 or more books, Blue Mountain College will see that those are delivered to you. You may also call Maria Teel at the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. Her number is (601) 292-3201. She can accept cash or check.
It is possible to have the books signed. Please let Kayce or Maria know that you want the book signed when you call and we will get that worked out.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jim Futral