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February 13, 2018 - The congregation at St. John's Episcopal Church is hosting the Annual Pancake Supper on Tuesday, February 13th from 5pm to 7pm at the Parish Hall behind the church on Highway 96 South.

They will be serving pancakes, sausage and other delicious treats. Everyone is invited to attend and enjoy!

Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) comes from the old English custom of using up the fattening ingredients in the house before Lent, so that the people were ready to fast during Lent. The fattening ingredients that most people had in those days were eggs and milk. They added flour, and enjoyed their pancakes.

February 11, 2018 -  Sunday was Transfiguration Sunday. This is the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent. Ash Wednesday is early this year, falling on Valentine’s Day. Lent is the forty days before Easter when we study the last weeks of Jesus’ life, preparing our hearts and souls for Easter. Easter this year is April 1st –April Fool’s Day. Strange year! 

I used the Old Testament lesson for Transfiguration Sunday from 2 Kings 2: 1-12. In this scripture story, the greatest of the Hebrew prophets, Elijah, is nearing the end of his life. He is on a quest to the Jordan; his student and successor, Elisha, refuses to stay behind. Elisha received from his mentor Elijah his teacher’s coat and also asked for a double of Elijah’s spirit. Christians see Jesus as their mentor as well as their savior. We are to model our living on how Jesus lived and interacted with others. Our efforts to follow in Jesus’ footsteps must be genuine: We must be willing to keep trying until we get it right a lot more often than not.

Fannie had a great Sunday School lesson from James 3: 1-12. This part of James deals with our inability to bridle our tongues. So often we speak without thinking, which of course causes problems. James was speaking to a small Jesus community that couldn’t afford to ignore or discount the feelings of other members. The early Jesus communities had many enemies—from the religious leaders to the Roman Empire. Churches then and today must be prophetic voices calling for unity and respect for all people. 

There will be a memorial service for Nancy Thompson this Saturday at 2:00 PM at Paxton Methodist. Nancy is the daughter of Lillie Townsend and sister of Liz McCoy. Lillie, Liz, and Liz’s husband Mike always come to Paxton Methodist when they are at the East Texas farm. There will be a meal for the family afterwards at the home of Fannie Watson.

“Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is paxtonumc@yahoo.com. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. Godspeed.

February 11, 2018 - "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19 

"Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

I visited my VA doctor in Houston last week for my annual check-up. We always enjoy hearing about his church, friends and hunting experiences while he gives me my report. During this visit I asked if he liked being a doctor. "It's my calling", he said. "Then I guess you'll be here till the cows come home, won't you?" "Not really," he answered. "I'll be retiring a soon as I can." "I’m tired of begging people to take their medications."

According to statistics, up to half of all patients don’t take their medications as prescribed by doctors or refuse to give up the bad habits that caused their problem to begin with. 

The French martyr Joan of Arc once said she'd rather die than do something she knew to be a sin. On the other hand, millions of people had rather die than to give up their sin. If our "bent-on-destruction" lifestyle brings us to an early grave, it might be that God had nothing to do with it.

It could be that it’s because we refused His medicine.

February 6, 2018 - The St. John Missionary Baptist Church of Tenaha Texas will be hosting a night of Praise on Saturday, February 10th 2018 at 7pm. 

We welcome all of our friends to come and enjoy the anointed voices of the Chariots of Fire of Shreveport, Louisianna.

 

February 6, 2018 - The first of the prophets or preachers to proclaim a baptism for repentance for the forgiveness of sin was John, the son of Zechariah.

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2)

Soon after Jesus began his ministry the king took John prisoner, eventually beheading him. Jesus moved back to the area of Galilee when he heard that John had been arrested for he understood the fate that John was soon to face, from that time Jesus began to preach the same message that John had preached.

“From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) 

After the death of Jesus on the cross the message preached by the apostles and deacons of the new church of the Way changed into a more direct message of the sacrifice of Jesus’ life on the cross.

In those early days of the church the apostles at times preached for many hours and did not do the baptizing, that was left for the deacons and disciples who were with the apostles. Paul speaks of this and of the manner of the message that he brought to the churches of Asia Minor.

When speaking to the church at Corinth about some arguments within the church about baptism he said; “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1 Corinthians 1:17) Paul is saying that he is to preach, to tell the news of grace, given by Christ that forgiveness of sin can be given to all who repent, asking for forgiveness, believing in Jesus and confessing that belief to all. 

That he is not to speak with great or eloquent words but with plain speak so that nothing covers the magnitude of the gift of salvation given by Christ through his death on the cross. He is saying one must be careful to keep the message plain and simple evidencing the sacrifice of Christ that all can understand. He says to preach in this manner as; “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:17) The words being preached must not overpower the words of sacrifice and salvation for that is the true message of the gospel.

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and wisdom of God.”(1 Corinthians 1:21-24) 

Salvation comes not by wisdom nor signs but by faith alone. For that is the grace of God, that salvation was paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ.

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 2:1)

“And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5) 

The plain spoken word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ who died for your sins as well as mine and the only way to heaven. May you hear and accept the words of the gospel and may you be forever saved from the penalty of sin...

February 5, 2018 - Sunday was the 5th Sunday after Epiphany. Last Friday Sue and I went to the Ram Café for breakfast: We saw Roy, Slow, Charlie, and Doug. When I got back home I bundled up and took the three dogs to the park. Abner, Gunter, and Stella always have a great time. Abner and I have walked in the park almost every morning for eleven years. Abner has inoperable cancer and has really slowed down. But if he sees a squirrel, that squirrel better watch out!  Friday morning it was breezy and there was a chill in the air. I was happy to get back home.

Our Sunday school was really good. The reading from James reminded us that “faith without works is dead.”  Martin Luther hated this book of the New Testament and said “it is a book of straw. ”Even though I was raised Lutheran, James is one of my favorite books.  This being the first Sunday of the month, we celebrated Holy Communion. This month we will be collecting soap and shampoo for Community Christian Services. Because of all the flu and sickness, we have called off our ministry to Focused Care of Center this week. We are going to wait and see how things are later in the month before we decide about Holiday and Lakeside. 

The scripture for my sermon came from Second Isaiah. Isaiah has 66 chapters and is really three books in one. The first 39 chapters are full of judgment and predictions of disaster. Chapters 40-55 contain consolation and hope for people who once again have found themselves exiles in a foreign country. This part of Isaiah is called The Book of Consolation of Judah. The last third of Isaiah was written for the exiles after they were allowed to return.

We had some good news to share today. Carolyn was back from Tyler with a better report on Guy Ross, who is now awaiting surgery next week. His granddaughter has been released from the hospital. And Fannie told us about granddaughter Carly’s wedding to Derek Cockrell. 

We are fast approaching Lent—faster this year than last. In fact, this year Ash Wednesday is on Valentine’s Day. Easter will be on April Fools Day. If I am ever elected pope I am going to pick a Sunday for Easter and give up the formula the ancient church fathers used—too complicated. I am not expecting to be elected, so I guess I will just go along with the same old, same old. The Eastern Orthodox Church uses a different formula for figuring out Easter and so even Christians don’t celebrate together.    

“Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is paxtonumc@yahoo.com. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. Godspeed.

Randy & Sue Smith
Paxton Methodist Church

February 2, 2018 - One of the key ways that people survive in combat situations is learning to depend on your buddies. You work together as a team to accomplish everything. Nothing is an individual effort. You learn to value those who are always faithful to stick with you when in the midst of a battle.

There is nothing more comforting than having someone you can depend on. That's why we develop relationships, whether its marriage, friendship, employer-employee, we all seek faithfulness. Knowing that there is someone who has your best interest in mind, looking out for you, helps you tackle life's obstacles a little easier. Knowing someone "has your back" gives you comfort to move forward.

God tells us in His word that He is faithful to keep His promises to us no matter what. I tell people in my church that if they can ever become convinced that," God is who he says He is and always does what He says He is going to do," that life would be much easier for them. Knowing that God is faithful should give you comfort. Lamentations 3:22-24 says "Through the Lords mercies we are not consumed, because His compassion's fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion "says my soul, Therefore I hope in Him!" When we realize that God is faithful in all He promises, we can have confidence in all we set out to do.

Let me help you see how this applies to you today. 
1) You can pray with confidence knowing that He hears you and is working to bring your prayers to completion in a way that's best for you.

2) Because God "has your back" you can conquer temptations and evil. He is stronger than anything that can come against you.

3) You can Live without fear. Knowing God is faithful should give you courage. There is a quote that says, "courage is nothing more than fear that has said its prayers." Knowing that God is on your side can bring peace in the midst of storms.

God is a faithful friend and father. He is always looking out for those who love Him. He has always been there for me and wants to be there for you too. Trust Him. Start a relationship with Him. He is always faithful.

I'm just Sayin,
Mike Belgard

January 30, 2018 - The end times as described in the book of Revelation tells of seven bowls of wrath fashioned by God and given to seven angels to pour out on the earth and it’s inhabitants.

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.” (Revelation 15:1) 

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” (Revelation 16:1) 

As the angels pour out their individual bowls of wrath the people know it is coming from the Lord but they still refuse to obey or submit to his wishes. 

So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshipped its image.” (Revelation 16:2)

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living things died that was in the sea.” (Revelation 16:3)

The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.” (Revelation 16:4)

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.” (Revelation 16:9) 

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.” (Revelation 16:10-11)

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings of the east.” (Revelation 16:12)

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying; “It is done!” (Revelation 16:17)

And there were flashes of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.” (Revelation 16:18-21) 

Notice, no matter how severe the plagues got, the people just would not repent or give God the praise and glory that he is due. 

Instead they continued in their own selfish ways cursing God for their troubles, while all troubles were directly related to their own sins.

I pray when this time comes to pass, and it will when God decides the time is right, I pray that you will not be subjected to this misery, that you will have accepted the gift of eternal life with the Lord and will be resting peacefully in the Lord.

May the blessings of our Lord be upon you this day...

January 30, 2018 - Appreciation service honoring Brenda Carrillo Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 3pm Bennett chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Possum Trot, Bishop WC Martin Pastor. 

Special guest will be Abundant Love Ministries Pastor Marlin Cloudy

Everyone is invited to worship.

January 29, 2018 - Sunday was the 4th Sunday after Epiphany. I have not preached the last two Sundays.  After spending a week in the hospital I got to come home just in time to watch the beautiful snow falling.  After a few days of feeling better, I was diagnosed with the flu. Sue got the same diagnosis, and we have both been quarantined quietly at home. Finally I have started to improve, but still am weak. 

For the scripture basis of my sermon I used the Epistle Lesson for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany—1 Corinthians 8:1-13. As is often the case, Paul is putting out fires, trying to resolve disagreements among the Jesus folks in Corinth. We look back at this early church disagreement and are puzzled at why there was such a fuss. And yet, today the Jesus Church is as splintered and divided as it has ever been. We really need to remember John Wesley’s words about the essentials of faith and charity toward others.

It was so great to be back at Paxton this morning. It seemed as if I had an extended absence. I sure missed everyone and am planning a healthier February. We ended up skipping all three of our January programs at nursing homes and assisted living, due to illness—we’re hoping to improve that record also.  All this month church members have brought cans of tuna to donate to Community Christian Services. In February we will be collecting soap and shampoo. I would like to wish happy birthday to all who had birthdays in January.  Happy birthday to Bill, Jake, Stephen Joe, Liz, and Lillie. 

Sue and I came to church this morning to find Ms. Fannie with a good Sunday school lesson going. The scripture lesson was Daniel 10:10-19. From the little we heard, this lesson stressed how important it is to continue—not quit or turn back—plug forward!  It was great to see everyone this morning. Gene made me a couple of CDs of Brother Dave Gardner. Bro. Dave is a comedian from the 50-60s; to listen to him is a flash from my childhood. 

We were all saddened to hear of the death of Liz’s sister/Lillie’s daughter, Nancy. Liz, Lillie, and Mike will head back to Tennessee for her memorial service. Carolyn called after church to report that her grandson, Guy Ross Barton, is in ICU in Tyler after a wreck. We’ll keep all these people in our prayers.

“Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is paxtonumc@yahoo.com. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. Godspeed.

Randy & Sue Smith
Paxton Methodist Church

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