December 24, 2018 - The Timpson First United Methodist Church invites everyone to thier annual Chrtismas Eve service at 5PM on December 24. Located at 312 Austin Street, the church is decorated for this special occasion and all are welcome to join in the celebration of Jesus's birth.

December 18, 2018 - Pastor Sherry Harding of the Shelbyville First United Methodist Church would like to invite all to come worship on Sunday, December 23rd for an evening Christmas Service by candlelight. This service begins at 5:00 pm. All are welcome to attend. For other information you may contact Pastor Sherry Harding at 936-288-2382.

December 18, 2018 - Mt. Zion Christmas Musical will be held on Sunday, December 23rd at 3pm. 

Please join us as we celebrate the birth of the Messiah in song and dance. Luke 2:1-20 

Rev. Richard Edwards, pastor. Veronica Berry, Choir President.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

December 18, 2018 - I hear parts of this verse quoted or at least repeated so much that I feel we should clear up its meaning and intended usage.

This is not telling you, as some would suggest, that you can never judge another person that you must have associations with. No, you must indeed judge others intentions toward you and others or you will be taken advantage of daily in this evil world.

God did not put you here to walk around in a stupor letting the world run over you each day, no, he gave you a brain to use to do his work and to protect yourself and your loved ones here on earth from this cruel world and those Jesus called; “of the devil”.

Jesus makes this statement concerning being taken advantage of by those “of the devil”.

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn and attack you.” (Matthew 7:6)

Now, I ask; does that sound like you are not to judge others that you have dealings with? No, quite the contrary, they judge themselves by their words and deeds and by the fruit they bear, good fruit does not grow on bad trees, good fruit grows only on good trees.

Now, what verses 1 and 2 are referring to and must be followed to the letter of the scripture on; is judging the relationship of another human with Almighty God. No matter what you may feel about someone it is not your right to judge if that person is saved or not saved. That is left only to God and to NO ONE on earth.

People always bring judgment on themselves by the way they live their lives, by the way they treat others, by the things they deem important.

For those who are living in the world, living for the material things of this world they're deeds show that if they are saved, they are infants in Christ. They may be saved but have not given completely of themselves and are still living “of the world”. These people will, however, remain saved and hopefully, they will grow in faith and become more mature in their relationship with the Lord.

If you were to judge this person you might very well judge him to be not saved and that would not go well for you with God for as he said; “with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged. You will receive the same judgment as you rendered to another.

Not good…

Instead of judging another's relationship with God instead ask God to give you the answer to whether or not you should associate with that person or not. 

As the scripture says; Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

We are all too quick to use our own understanding in judging others and Solomon cautions us against this in the Proverbs when he says; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

He waits for you to ask him for his will and his wishes for you and if you ask in faith, it will be given and your way will become easier.

So, trust in the Lord and ask him to guide you each day through life, if you do this is faith with trust, it will happen. May the Lord’s blessings be yours this day…

December 17, 2018 - “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God…” Matt. 16:16

I was really surprised when one of my seminary professors suggested that we use an “X” to abbreviate “Christ” when taking notes in his Homiletics class.  “You’ll have a hard time keeping up with my lectures unless you know shorthand or can create your own,” he warned. I learned right away that he gave us good advice.  

I’ve always felt a little guilty using an “X” for “Christ”, especially in a time when Americans are slowly trying to take Christ out of Christmas. A town in Pennsylvania recently forbad the use of red poinsettias in decorating their City Hall for Christmas because “red is a symbol for Christianity.”

But my Greek professor explained the “X” in Xmas to me.  

The Greek symbol “X” stands for two of our English letters (Ch). And the Greek word for “Christ” is the word, “Christos.”  Since the use of “X” was used originally to abbreviate the name “Christos,” it’s more than an English “X” to those who know the meaning in Greek.

So what does all of this prove?  I guess it says that writing “XMAS” might not be as sacrilegious to some as it is to others.  But since most people will never know the way this got started, it’s probably better not to abbreviate it. 

Since He took the time to die for our sins, we could at least take time to write out His Blessed Name.

December 17, 2018 - Sunday was the Third Sunday of Advent.  Christmas is just over a week away, a time of year of renewed hope and joy.  I no longer have that wild-eyed anticipation of presents that I did as a kid, but I sure love to hear the hymns and stories—they never grow old.  Our Christmas service will be next Sunday at our regular time—10:00 AM.  We will not have services on Christmas morning, as many of our folks will be visiting family or hosting get-togethers. 

All this month our church has been collecting cans of soup for Community Christian Services.  Our church also gave a donation to First Baptist Church Joaquin to help provide Christmas gifts for young folks whose families need a helping hand this year.  Some members took a name from the Angel Tree to buy gifts for a child or gave an additional money donation. 

The scripture for our Sunday School lesson was Psalm 103.  The title was “Love and Worship God.”  The poet says that God’s mercy and compassion is so great that it overcomes our shortcomings.  He also points out that human life is like when a wildflower blooms: It is here, the wind blows, and it is gone.  But the poet reminds us that the LORD’s faithful love is forever! 

The Old Testament Lesson (Zephaniah 3: 14-17) and the Epistle Lesson (Philippians 4: 4-7) both urge us to be people ready and willing to rejoice even in uncertain, troubling times.  Why should we always be ready to rejoice?  God is forever in our midst! 

This past week several of us ventured to Focused Care for our monthly ministry.  We sang many Christmas songs, and then the residents had a special surprise.  Kindergarteners from Center came caroling!  Pastor Matt spoke about the Magi, and Ms. Fannie read her 2018 Christmas poem.  Fannie is the Poet Laureate of Paxton!  We struggled a little bit with some of the lesser known songs, but I think everyone had a good time.  And, of course, it helps that Hilda knows all the tunes and can lead us through!

Thursday night was rainy and foggy.  It was not a good night to go to a Christmas party.  But that is what we did.  Our Paxton Christmas party was very well attended, by both members and guests.  We had a wonderful program of songs, stories, and even a quiz!  We had plenty to eat and nice people to visit with.  We certainly have some good cooks at Paxton Methodist. 

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 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.

Randy & Sue Smith
Paxton Methodist Church

December 14, 2018 – A longtime Christmas tradition continues at the First United Methodist Church (UMC) of Center as the church’s Chancel Choir presents its annual Christmas Cantata. Rev. Karen Jones extends the invitation for everyone to attend the cantata on Sunday, December 16 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Center First UMC located at 211 Porter Street.

The First UMC Chancel Choir will perform this year’s cantata titled “Sing a Song of Christmas” written by composers Michael Barrett and Joseph M. Martin offering traditional carols in a jubilant mix and musical variety ranging from galloping gospels, to contemporary ballads and joyful carols to tender manger lullabies. Under the direction of Chris Watlington, First UMC Music Director, the cantata will include the church hand bells ensemble and local musicians accompanied by a video developed by Watlington with the assistance of church members sharing the Christmas story. 

December 14, 2018 - Huxley Helping Hands, a local mission group from the Huxley community is holding a food pantry for the residents of Shelby County. It will be held the third Saturday of December 2018. Proof of residencey and identification will be required. Only (1) box per household will be given.

Date: December 15, 2018
Time: Sign-in starts at 9am until food is gone
Location: Hillcrest Baptist Church, 901 Southview Circle, Center, Texas 

December 14, 2018 - Short United Methodist Church is hosting a candlelight service on December 16, 2018 at 5pm. Come join us for an evening of singing and fellowship. We would love to have you and your family.

December 11, 2018 - Everyone is invited to attend Sacred Sounds of the Season Tuesday, December 11 at 6:00 p.m. in the Center First United Methodist Church sanctuary. Choirs and individuals from across Shelby county will perform musical offerings that celebrate birth of Christ in this holy Christmas season.

Prelude, Songs of the Season -- Jim Green
Welcome and Prayer -- Mary Lynn Tinkle
Nativity Scene -- FUMC Children
Christmas Story -- Jack Callen Watlington
Away In A Manger, UMH Page 217 (Red Hymnal) -- Congregation
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel -- Zac Payne
I Need Jesus -- Stellar Walker and Chris Watlington
Mary’s Song -- Keaton Watlington
Christmas Hallelujah -- Becky Parfait, Terri Lacher, Bob Lacher, and Chris Watlington
Rise Up Shepherd -- David Mathis
Mary Did You Know -- Charity Tinner
I Quietly Turn To You -- Ellie Walker
Silent Night -- Mt. Zion Gospel Choir
O Holy Night -- Jim Green
We Need A Silent Night In Here -- FUMC Choir
Postlude, The Messiah Medley -- Jim Green