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January 1, 2018 - Sunday was New Year’s Eve, a secular holiday, but with, certainly, spiritual overtones. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are still in the season of Christmastide. The coming of a New Year is a good time for a new beginning and a new, brighter attitude. The scripture for my sermon was Ecclesiastes 3:1-13. This is a very popular reading but on first or second or third reading, it can be disturbing. And yet the author says there is a season for everything under the sun. I read about a gentleman who went to a wishing well on New Year’s Day. He had gone last year on New Year’s Eve. He made his wish and threw in some coins. “I wish for a big, fat bank account and a slim body. I sure hope you don’t get these mixed up like you did last year!” I am still into making New Year’s resolutions, but they certainly have changed over the decades.

Our Sunday school lesson focused on the need for unity. We Christians certainly have failed often at uniting to carry out the work of the Christ. Our scripture from Ephesians 4:1-16 stressed the importance of being in agreement and not blown around by trivial things. I guess we need to decide what strikes at the heart of Christianity and then make sure we are united in those things.

Last week our crew went to Lakeside Assisted Living for the monthly program. As is usual in late December, some residents and volunteers were still “Christmasing” and unavailable. But the group was merry anyway. Mrs. Hilda kept the music—Christmas and not—lively, and the emcee duties were handled by Maggie, Pastor Matt, and Sue (triple threat). Pastor Matt shared a devotional on Luke, the meaning of “In the Garden,” and a history of “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” Nora explained the meaning of all parts of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and then led a lively singing of it. Gene sang Christmas songs also, but with different rhythms (like calypso) and tunes. Sue read How Santa Got His Job. Instead of the usual “God Be with You,” the group finished with “Silent Night” and a benediction from Pastor Matt. 

I have been working on “End of the Year Reports” for the district and conference. Unlike in days of old, everything is done online and no longer requires pastors to show up at the district office to be audited. We Methodists tend to be very methodical, and I think that is a good idea. I really appreciate our treasurer, Gene, who pays our bills and takes care of all the financial needs of the church. Gene is always a great help in getting the financial part of the reports completed. After worship, we loaded up the cans of soup to deliver to Community Christian Services next week. January’s donation will be tuna.

We at Paxton United Methodist Church wish everyone a Happy New Year. If you are looking for a place to worship God as part of your New Years resolutions, we certainly would love to have you. We are small but neighborly. 

“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.

December 29, 2017 - Clayton Temple C.O.G.I.C. Timpson Elder Marvin Jackson Sr., Pastor, will have a Watch Night Service Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 10pm.

Speaker for the event will be Pastor Derrick Rhodes, Wallace Chapel Baptist Church of Timpson.

All churches are invited. Elder Marvin Jackson

December 29, 2017 - Strong Truimph Church cordially invites everyone to their 1st annual New Year’s Eve Holy Ghost Musical. Special guests include Chuck and the Guiding Clouds of Huntsville, Texas; voices of Praise of Shreveport, Louisiana; the Heavenly Stars of San Augustine, Texas; and Bright Morning Star Choir of Center, Texas. 

What do most people do on New Year's Eve? Usually they gather with family and friends and prepare to watch the old year out and the new year in.

Some, however, just celebrate at home alone. If you have nowhere to go, or just want to celebrate in a different way, Elder Faye Dell Allen and the members of Strong Triumph Church invite you to join in with them as they celebrate the old year out and the new year in with their 1st annual New Year's Eve Holy Ghost Musical Explosion, to be held December 31, 2017 starting at 9 p.m.

We are anticipating some great, phenomenal musical groups who are preparing to come and lift up the name of the Lord.

For more information, please contact Elder Faye Dell Allen at 936-368-2611/936-572-5810!

December 27, 2017 - As we approach this new year please allow me to speak to you about abiding in the Lord. Let us all be resolute in our determination to abide in the Lord in 2018 and beyond.

All throughout the Bible we read about (abiding). The dictionary says the word (abiding) means; “to have one’s abode, to stay, to continue, to have a relationship”. So, the word means we are to have a relationship in or with whatever we are to abide in.

That helps to answer the question; “do. I really need to study the Bible? I go to church when I have time, isn’t that enough? The Bible is our connection, our link to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teachings of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (1 John 1:9) There, that is pretty clear and plain, if we are to live in the Lord we must study his teaching and we can only do that through regular study of the Bible. Without the teachings of Christ we will fall into the snares of the devil for as the prophet Hosea warns us; “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) Lack of the knowledge contained in God’s Word can cause anyone of us to be drawn into the snares and traps of Satan and we will become children of the devil and not children of the Most High God. John continues to warn us against being lacking in our knowledge of the Word when he says this; “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (1 John 1:7)

John tells us straight away that the world is filled with deceivers, one even being the antichrist. If we do not follow Christ’ teaching through the words recorded in the Bible we will be deceived and lost in sin, forever.

John goes even farther, telling us we can lose what we have worked so hard to gain. “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.” (1 John 1:8) Here he is speaking directly to those who have accepted Christ as Lord.

The Bible refers to our deeds as chaff, some of gold and silver, some of grass or straw and that when we stand before the Lord in judgment the chaff will be graded, the good, the gold and silver kept but the bad, the grass and straw burned up and cast away.

John the Baptist gives us this caution; “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12)

This is why we must study the Bible and do God’s will each day, that we will be found to be the “good wheat” and not simply chaff from the threshing floor.

So, I beg you today. If you are not studying your Bible every day, please, start today. Give yourself time in every 24 hour period to simply sit and pray and study God’s Word. Through study you will find your relationship with our Lord strengthened and enhanced. In time, you will find that if for some reason, you miss that time one day you will long to get back and get together with the Lord, missing his presence that day.

May the Lord richly bless you with His Word each day.

December 27, 2017 - Pastor Marlin Cloudy Sr. and Abundant Love Ministries will host “Watch Night” services, Sunday, December 31st, 2017, beginning at 9pm. Regular Sunday Services are planned, with Sunday School at 10:30am and noonday service at 12-noon.

You are welcome and invited, to fellowship and join us for any of our scheduled services. Abundant Love Ministries is located at 1426 Shelbyville St. Center, TX 75935

December 26, 2017 - Sunday was Christmas Eve, and our Gospel reading was Luke 2:1-20, part of the birth story. The reading sounded a little different because it was from the Jewish New Testament that uses Jewish names (Yosef and Miriam, for instance) and place names. But the story of the babe of Bethlehem is one that resonates with everyone, whether they are Christian or not. The idea of God coming into creation as a helpless, vulnerable baby is an idea seldom seen in other religions. 

We had a very informal Sunday school lesson as we looked at the many questions today’s lesson raised. We were so happy to have Susan, Laura, and Harriet worshiping with us this morning.  Joe and Hilda teamed up on some of our favorite Christmas carols. At the end of the service, Joe announced that Fannie had agreed to finish us out differently from our usual “Have Thine Own Way.” She read a “biography” of Jesus, with so much to ponder from the points it made. We were in double digits this morning despite some absences, and we were so pleased!

This past Tuesday volunteers went to Holiday Nursing Home for songs, stories, and fellowship. Most of the songs were Christmas carols, given the proximity of the holiday. Mrs. Hilda did a good job with the music, even lesser-known ones. Employees and visitors walking by were humming or outright singing along with us. Nora used a picture book to sing “Up on the Housetop” and “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas,” and her sister Jo sang an impromptu “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” Fannie read the “biography” of Jesus, almost poetic in its message. Sue read ‘How Santa Got His Job’ and later, a joke about Dr. Geezer and Mr. Young. This Thursday we’ll head to Lakeside Assisted Living. All month we have been collecting cans of soup for Community Christian Services. In January we will collect cans of tuna. 

Sue reported on Community Christian Services giving of Christmas gifts to families last Wednesday, as she was helping translate for those who spoke only Spanish. She said everything was so well organized and things went well, even though Beverly was at home with flu and Lynn was still in school.  Watching parents and grandparents walk out with clothing, shoes, toys, Bibles, and other items for their families made it a real feel-good day!

Your friends and neighbors at Paxton Methodist wish each of you a Merry Christmas! 

“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.

December 22, 2017 - Have you ever wanted to give a gift to someone who was very special to you? It becomes difficult to find just the right item. So you start researching the needs and the desires of the person so you can get them the perfect gift. The perfect gift is that thing that they not only want but that they really need. Something that when they see it they will be amazed at the amount of thoughtfulness and love that has gone into making it perfect for them. You want it to not only show how much you love them, but that their best interest is of utmost importance to you. 

So the day comes when you give them the gift. You are more excited than they are to have it opened. The anticipation builds as they rip off the paper. You hold your breath as they open the box. Then, when they see it you notice that their face changes from excitement to that "oh that's nice" look, and your heart begins to sink. They tell you how thoughtful they think you are, but you can tell that it just wasn't what they really wanted. It was what you know they needed, but not what they wanted.

When God sent His son Jesus to the world as the perfect gift to mankind, there were many who could not accept that Jesus could possibly be the Savior of the world. After all, to those in the world who had not been looking for the messiah, he was just the son of a carpenter. They refused to see Him for who He actually was. The Son of God. 

The religious scholars of the day thought the gift they needed from God was a strong military leader to free them from the bondage of the Romans. But God knew that the gift had to free them from something that was more long term than their current circumstances. They needed a more "eternal" solution to their problem. So He sent his Son as a gift to the world so that whoever would believe in Him would not die but have eternal life. It was the perfect gift for mankind. 

Still to this day there are people who refuse to accept the gift that God has so freely given us. Some believe that they don't need that kind of gift. They think they deserve something more. Well if we get what we deserve we would not have a chance. Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We all have sinned. no one is perfect. So Paul goes on to say in Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death." So if we were to get what we deserve from God it would mean eternal separation from Him or death. But God in his wonderful love for us gave us the perfect gift in Jesus Christ through His grace. That's how Paul can write in the second half of Romans 6:23 "but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." The gift is free. It was paid for with the blood of Jesus.

The wonderful thing about a gift, is that it's free. But you do have to accept it for it to become yours. You must receive it , take possession of it, make it your own. So what are you waiting for? God has been waiting for you to take the gift. Are you willing to step out in faith and let Him change your life? Start the New Year out right and accept the free gift of God. It will make this year and the rest of your life much more prosperous and secure.

I'm Just Sayin,
Mike Belgard

December 20, 2017 - When God made the first two people, Adam and Eve, he placed them in the Garden of Eden with only one rule. 

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying; “you may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) 

Now we know that Adam and Eve did indeed eat from the tree, committing the very first sin on earth. As punishment for this original sin God drove them from the garden, never to return.

God spoke to Adam telling him; “cursed is the ground because of you, in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

From this one man’s sin, all men were judged guilty and are born into the world with the sin nature. All must be saved from their own selves by a savior, just as all men are guilty due to the sin of one man, also are all men found not guilty by the sacrifice of one man, the man, Jesus Christ.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The words of the Lord Jesus Christ when asked by the Pharisees why he had healed a man.

When Jesus was preparing the apostles for his death and resurrection he told them that he was going away to prepare a place for them where they could be with him also. Thomas, always doubting, told the Lord that they could not know the way, Jesus answered him saying; “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

So by one man’s sin all men are judged guilty and sentenced to spiritual death from birth, so also by one man’s sacrifice are all men judged free from guilt and are able to receive eternal life. 

The apostle Peter said this about the Lord Jesus; “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) 

We see by the words of Jesus himself and by his apostles that in order to be saved one must first call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and upon him alone. Peter testifies again on the day of Pentecost when he says in his sermon.

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) 

Jesus made all men this promise before he ascended back to the Heavenly Father.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper (The Holy Spirit), to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor hears him. You know him, for he dwells in you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17) 

Have you asked him today for salvation? Have you accepted the Lord Jesus as your sole Lord and Master? If not the time is right now for you to accept him and start walking in the light of the world. May the light shine upon you from this day forth...

December 18, 2017 - Bring in the new year praising God with the Northwest Gospel Singing Association: The Mighty Ambassadors; The Smith Brothers; The Chariots of Fire.

The event will be in Possum Trot 9pm Sunday, December 31, 2017 at Bennett Chapel Church, Bishop W.C. Martin - Pastor, 674 CR 2582 Shelbyville, Texas 75973.

December 18, 2017 - Sunday was the Third Sunday of Advent. This is often called Mary’s Sunday, as we celebrate the angel coming to Mary with the unbelievable news. The Advent candle we light is the one that stands for rejoicing.  We rejoice with Mary. We remember Paul tells us that no matter our circumstances, we are to rejoice.  Next Sunday we will have our Christmas Eve service at our regular worship time—10:00 AM. Paxton Methodist will not have services Christmas morning. Center FUMC will have a communion service at 5:00 and a candlelight service at 6:00 on Christmas Eve.

Our Sunday school lesson spoke about having a faith that perseveres. The scripture came from Acts 14, showing Paul quite determined to persevere regardless of the opposition he faced. Our author spoke of faith and the need to find the right balance in our spiritual living—good advice.

We were in double digits this morning which was cause to celebrate. For Sue and me, having our daughter Megan as one of those was even better! We really appreciate Joe and Hilda for our music, joyful Christmas songs. And on this special day of Advent Joy, we sang “Happy Birthday” to another joy—Joy Hutto, whose birthday was Sunday.

Our worship this morning began with us reading responsively The Magnificat or The Canticle of Mary.  This reading is a retooling of Hannah’s Song in the Old Testament. Whichever you read, you can feel the wonder and joy these woman are feeling. In my sermon I stressed the importance of Advent and the need to prepare for the coming of Christ into the world.

This past week volunteers went to Focused Care—Green Acres.  Pastor Matt is between semesters and has been able to join the volunteers at the various nursing homes. This Tuesday at 10:00 will be our ministry at Holiday Nursing Center, a different time because they have something else scheduled for our usual slot. The holiday season is a busy one everywhere! All this month we have been collecting cans of soup for Community Christian Services, and our church is pleased to help with the CCS mission for Children’s Christmas this next week. 

“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.

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