January 1, 2019 - Sunday was the First Sunday after Christmas. A Happy New Year greeting from all your friends at Paxton Methodist. We wish that 2019 will be a year of spiritual growth and health. Sunday morning was cold, and it looks like East Texas is in for more rain. I remember this summer wishing we would get some much-needed rain. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could save this rain until July and August—and maybe some of the cold temperatures too!

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Christmastide continues until next Sunday, when traditionally, January 6 is the Epiphany. In the lectionary this is the year of Luke, who has no wise men in his telling of the Gospel. So I plan to head back to Matthew and pick up the story next Sunday. This Sunday the Gospel sees Mary, Joseph, and almost-teenage Jesus traveling to Jerusalem. This is one of the few glimpses into the life of the young family. Jesus is totally absorbed in all that he hears to the point that the extended family heads home without him!

Fannie had an inspirational Sunday School lesson, perfect for the coming New Year, titled “Modeling God’s Love.” In the scripture reading, Jesus separates the sheep from the goats. Jesus thanks the righteous for feeding him when he was hungry and welcoming him even though he was a stranger. The righteous don’t remember doing all these things; Jesus tells them that acting with kindness toward the least among us is the same as doing it for him.

It was so great to see Lillie, Liz, and Mike at church this morning. They are up at the farm for a few days. I hope that the weather gets better so they can spend some time enjoying being in the country. Sue was pleased to show Lillie pictures of the Joaquin Senior Center on her phone, including one of the plaque commemorating Lillie and husband Buddy’s hard work during their time at the Senior Center.

Last week, our ministry was at Lakeside, but at two days after Christmas, entertainers and entertained were both in short supply. We certainly couldn’t do without a piano player, and Hilda ably fulfilled that role. Fannie read two sweet poems bridging the time between Christmas and the New Year. That’s what we tried to do also with our song choices—some Christmas and some non-Christmas. Gene sang different types of noels, like the calypso version of “Away in a Manger” and Harry Belafonte’s “Mary’s Boy Child.” Sue read How Santa Lost His Job and later did “Jingle Bell Quiz” with the residents. Maggie, as emcee, kept things moving along. And as usual, we were joined by one of the nicest ladies in Shelby County, Margie Dorner. So even with a small group, we had a good time.

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. God’s Speed.

December 31, 2018 - Pastor Marlin Cloudy Sr. and Abundant Love Ministries will host “Watch Night” services, Monday, December 31st, 2018 beginning at 10’oclock pm. 

Everyone is welcome and invited.

Abundant Love Ministries is located at 1426 Shelbyville St. Center, TX 75935

December 31, 2018 - St. John Missionary Baptist Church is hosting a Watch Night Service on Monday, December 31, 2018 at 9pm. Bring in the New Year with Praise and Worship. Come Worship with us as we bring in 2019!

December 31, 2018 - My brother Joe called last night. He has retired from DuPont Chemical and lives in Orange, Texas. He's ten years my junior and since we both have reached (and passed) retirement age, we often discuss our status as senior citizens. He said last night that he felt like he was in the fourth quarter of a football game and the two minute warning had just been announced.

When I told him that means I'm in the second overtime of a tied game and we're about to try an onside kick, he asked me how it made me feel. "Well, I'm not anxious to finish the game," I replied… "but I'm just glad to know our team will win." "Regardless of how many times we fumbled or got penalized, I know we'll win the game. "And how do you know you'll win?," Joe laughed. "My coach told me so," I replied… "and I can take him at His word…"

…"because my Coach's name is Jesus."

December 31, 2018 - As Christians, followers of the Christ and children of the Most High God we all wait. We wait for the coming of the Lord in glory, we wait for the end of this age and the coming of the next, the age of The Kingdom of God on earth.

John the Beloved gives us a look into this time with his words from Revelation and the vision he had of the new heaven and the new earth.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

What a sight to behold, the earth has been flattened, the mountains have slid into the sea and the sea is no more. And now, a new heaven and a new earth are coming down from heaven. A new beginning for all who are true believers, for those who do the will of the Lord in their lives.

As the half brother of Jesus, James says; “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)

To be simply a hearer of God’s word does little, for when one is not in worship of the Lord, he looks away and does not remain in faith but is easily drawn away by the passions and temptations of the world. For those the judgement will be one of disappointment and torment, forever.

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres. Being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:25)

It is not enough to just believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, for the devil and his demons believe and tremble in his presence, no, one must also obey the Lord Jesus Christ if one is to be saved of the penalties of one’s sin. One must be a doer of the Word of God, living the Word of God each day of one’s life on earth.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)

And the city has no need for sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Rev. 21:23)

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.” (Rev. 22:1-2)

“Let the evildoer still do evil, the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” (Rev. 22:11)

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” (Rev. 22:12) Where will he find you when he comes???

December 31, 2018 - The Timpson Ministerial Alliance will have “Watch Night” services, Monday, December 31st, 2018 beginning at 10 pm. Services will be held at Clayton Temple COGIC located on 241 Blue Bell Street in Timpson, Texas. Pastor Carlos Johnson will be our Guest Speaker.

Everyone is welcome and invited.

December 27, 2018 - Mt Zion CME 5th Sunday Missionary Program this Sunday, December the 30th at 3pm. Guest speakers will be First Lady Pearlie Nash of House Of Refuge Ministries and First Lady Lillie Price-Standley of East Liberty Baptist Church.

Rev. Richard Edwards, pastor. Joyce Johnson, Missionary President.

The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” Psalms 34:15 

December 24, 2018 - Monday was our day to go to Lufkin… to Ralph and Kakoos… to Sam’s… and to Wal-Mart. I waited in the car as Pam ran into Wal-Mart “for a few things.” Just as she walked away, an elderly man wheeled up in a motorized shopping buggy. He got out and laid a purple blanket into his empty cart. As he walked away, a bald headed man came up and pointed to the blanket. I couldn’t hear what they were saying but it was obvious that the elderly man was saying “it’s not mine” or that he didn’t want it. Then both men walked away and left the blanket behind.

A few minutes later, two women walked by and froze dead still when they spied the blanket in the cart. Looking all around to see if they were being watched, they simultaneously lunged for the blanket. After a considerable amount of clawing and scratching, the larger woman claimed the prize. Hugging it to her, she quickly smelled it and disgustingly threw it back into the buggy. Then both women casually walked into the store as if nothing had happened. 

When Pam saw me laughing, I told her the whole story. “I was sitting a few feet from them and they never saw me,” I laughed. “I wonder what people would think if they thought someone was always watching them,” Pam responded. “Someone is,” I replied. “But that’s not all bad.” “The One watching us…

… is watching over us, too.”

December 24, 2018 - There is an age-old question; How shall I come before the Lord, what am I to do to be saved, and how do I then live the Christian life that Jesus Christ requires of me, to assist in spreading the gospel?

A young man once came before the prophet, Micah, with this question; “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?” (Micah 6:6)

To his question, how do I seek salvation from the Lord? The old prophet then answered.

He has told you, O man, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

And so the old prophet answered his question telling him that one does not need to bring offerings or sacrifices before the Lord when seeking salvation. No, one only needs to live the life of righteousness by doing justly toward all people. By showing mercy to those less fortunate than oneself, and by humbling oneself before God. Committing ones life and actions to serving the Lords will and not his own or the wishes of the world. Jesus had not yet been born on earth and so he is looking only to the Father for salvation.

King Solomon gives us even a roadmap into living the Christian life in his book of Proverbs as he says;

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your ear to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” (Proverbs 2:1-8)

King Solomon is telling all that if; we are faithful and true to the Lord our God, and follow his commands in our lives, listening to the Holy Spirit as he guides us through life. If we call out in prayer for wisdom and understanding that we may better serve him each day. If we truly seek to do his will and not our own each day, then he will give us understanding that we can know his will and his wishes for us every day of our lives on earth. The apostle John follows this up with these words of wisdom for all who do accept Jesus as Lord;

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15)

As we know from the scriptures, that is all one must do to saved; “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)

And that is the commission that all Christians have been given, to live a life of service, reflecting the goodness, love, grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus to all that we meet each day. For by our lives Jesus is known to the world. May you accept him as Lord and live the life of a disciple helping to spread the gospel every day.

December 24, 2018 - St. John’s Episcopal Church family invites the community to worship with us on Christmas Eve at 4:00pm

Our Christmas Eve Service, like all of our services, is open, inviting and welcome to all.

St. John’s Episcopal Church is located on 1063 Southview Circle.

May the timeless message of Christmas fill your heart and home with joy now and throughout the coming year.