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October 2, 2017 - Sunday was the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time. The Gospel Lesson for this Sunday was another of Jesus’ parables set in a vineyard. In Matthew 21: 23-32, a vineyard owner asks his first son to go and work in the vineyards. The son refuses but then rethinks what he has said and heads to the vineyards. The second son agrees readily to his father’s request but doesn’t show up for work. Jesus turns the tables on his questioners—the priests and the temple elites—asking them a question: “Who did the father’s bidding?” Of course everyone can see that the reluctant son who actually goes and works did his father’s will. Jesus compares the second son who readily agrees but then does nothing to the religious folks who live and work around the Temple.

We had our usual group at Paxton this morning. We added to our prayer list Hilda’s sister, who has been displaced from her home by Hurricane Harvey. We pray for Linda as she contemplates all that needs to be done. Gene reported that the Salvation Army received our $500 donation for hurricane recovery. Our Charge Conference is tomorrow evening at 6:00. During the month of October our church will be collecting peanut butter and jelly for Community Christian Services.

Fannie’s Sunday school lesson come from Genesis 15, about God’s covenant with Abram. A question the author poses for us is whether we have the courage to examine and to trust in the Word of God. One of the questions toward the end of the lesson asks how we can see the Sacred in the ordinary day-to-day of our lives. I believe that is where we will see the Sacred, but we must open our eyes to that possibility.

I was unable to attend last week’s program at Lakeside Assisted Living. As my sister-in-law says, we’re now in the going-to-the-doctor years. But my wife emceed the program and wrote this: Several of our main participators were unable to come to Lakeside this time, but we had a lovely time anyway. Mrs. Hilda was downright festive on the piano, including some songs we don’t usually sing. Gene sang several pieces: “Little Brown Church in the Wild Wood,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Morning Has Broken.” He was in such fine fettle that he serenaded some of the ladies afterward, with the accompaniment of Maggie and Jo. Nora favored us with one of her beautiful a capella songs and a book about planting trees all over the world. Sue read funny poems about pet snakes and rotten brothers and sisters. And what else did we do? Sang and sang, talked and laughed.

“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.

October 1, 2017 - Churches of the Original Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Association will meet for the group's 167th annual session at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, October 7, 2017. The day's event will be hosted by Brookeland Missionary Baptist Church, located at 300 Loop 149 in Brookeland, Texas (Sabine County).

Bro. Mike Hancock, pastor of Zion Hill, will be delivering the annual message. There will be guests from the state association offering reports and information as well as local reports and fellowship. A covered dish lunch will be served.

This association includes a number of churches in Jasper, Newton, and Sabine Counties.

Bro. T. A. Lane, Association Moderator

September 28, 2017 - Johnny Cash sang a song when I was growing up about a boy named Sue. In the song he told of all the bad things that happened to him because of the name he was given and summed it up with "Life ain't easy for a boy named Sue." However toward the end of the song, he realized that he was given that name to make him strong and tough. So, when he reflected back on his life, he was thankful for the name he was given. He also realized that when he had a son he was going to try and make his life easier by naming him, " Bill or George anything but Sue !" Isn't life a lot like that today. Sometimes we are given nicknames or are named after people, that back in the day were popular names for our parents and grandparents but have completely different meanings and representations today.

These days, people give their children family names, names they just randomly make up, biblical names, there is even a trend to name all your children with names that start with the same first letter, but that was not the case in the old days. Names had a specific meaning and purpose. There was a man in the Old testament whose name so affected him it made him seek God to change how he perceived himself. 1 Chron. 4:9 says," Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers and his mother called his name Jabez "because I bore him in pain." How would you like to go through life with a name that your mother gave you because you were painful to give birth to ? I am convinced that he took some teasing as a kid. I'm also sure that my name would not be repeatable if that were the case with what my mother named me. But Jabez took the name given him and instead of complaining or whining about it, he set out to change how he was perceived because of it. If we look at the first part of the verse it tells us, " Jabez was more honorable than his brothers." Why? We see in the next verse. " Jabez called out to the God of Israel." Jabez took a name that was meant to be a reminder of great pain, and turned it into a name that reminds us of how God will change our lives when we live honorably and put our trust in Him to change our circumstances. He is faithful to do just that.

When we humble ourselves and call out to God he changes our circumstances and our name. Here's what he said; "Oh that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my territories, that your hand would be with me and that you would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain. So God granted Him what he requested." The world may try to give you a name like, poor, oppressed, depressed, ugly, fat, skinny, mean, unworthy, unloved, diseased, or dumb, these are all lies. The devil wins when he can make us believe this about ourselves.

No matter what the world has labeled you as, or what people might think of you, when you call out to God and seek Him He gives you a new name. His names for you are: Honored, Chosen, Blessed, Loved, Liberated, Healed, Holy, Righteous, Royal Priesthood, Saints, Sons, Daughters and Friends. You see, in His eyes you are all these things. He only sees you with the eyes of a loving caring Father who is waiting to here His child call His name. He's waiting. Let God change your life and your name.

September 27, 2017 - You are invited. The Friendship Missionary Baptist would like to invite you to come join us as we celebrate our annual Family and Friends Day program 8th of October 2017.

The Pastor, Joseph Hall Jr. of the Union Springs Baptist Church Mansfield, Louisiana will be bringing the message.

The program will start at 3pm. Looking forward to seeing you.

September 27, 2017 - Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest.” (Isaiah 66:1)

Since the time of King David men have striven to build a house for the Lord when clearly, by his own words, we are not capable nor fit to build anything for the Lord to reside in. The Lord God resides in heaven, not in a building built with human hands. The church is not the fancy building with the tall steeple on top, the church is the group of ordinary people who gather together in it each week and worship the Lord together.

So often it seems humans measure their own faith by the size of their “church house”, and not by the number of lost souls their church has saved recently. 

So often it seems success in the church is measured by how large the donation is each week, not by how many in need were helped by the church that week. 

Too often our worldly view clouds our heavenly view and our vision becomes distorted, sometimes to the point that we can no longer see the truth of the gospel of our Lord. Sometimes our vision becomes so distorted that we no longer wish to hear the true gospel but instead “another gospel, the gospel of well-living”. But the apostle Paul tells us; “there is no other gospel but the gospel of Christ crucified.”

How may I ask can we be so conceited to think that we are building a better house for the Lord when we can’t even see, won’t even hear the gospel of our Lord.

“Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: Your brothers who hate you and cast you out for my name’s sake have said. “Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy;” but it is they who shall be put to shame.” (Isaiah 66:5)

I pray for those who will not answer the call of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts for the days will be very hard for those.

“I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring their fears upon them, because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my eyes and choose that in which I did not delight.” (Isaiah 66:4)

Turn America, turn from your wicked ways, humble yourself, repent of your sins, pray for the Lord to forgive you and heal your land.
God is so kind and gracious to us, he gave us only Ten Commandments to follow as we fear him and do his will.

I wonder this morning just how many “Christians” even know them. Maybe we should all go to the 5th chapter of Deuteronomy, begin in the 7th verse and study through the 21st verse until we actually know and understand the Ten Commandments of God. Maybe then we would have better, more fruitful church services with more lost souls brought to Christ.

Maybe we need to re-visit the instructions given by Moses to the Israelites concerning the Ten Commandments of God.

"The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

Only you can answer these questions for your life. Am I doing as the Lord wishes in my life? Am I raising my children as the Lord wishes? Am I worshiping as the Lord wishes? Am I seeing the fruits of a Spirit-filled life in my life?

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

Men will give account of every careless word they have spoken….” Matt. 12:36

September 25, 2017 - When we arrived home after Sunday morning’s church service, I was really shocked by a call from my daughter in New York. “Dad, what did you mean by your call this morning?” she asked. When I said I hadn’t called her, she began telling me about the sermon I’d just preached. “And you all sang Hymn No. 124 for the Invitation.” “I heard it all”.

I felt the hair on my head move a little when I realized she’d actually heard our morning service. Then Pam asked, “Where’s our cell phone?” “In my coat pocket…why?” “Well, you must have leaned against the speed dial while you were preaching and called Caralee.” “Boy, I’m glad it was a sermon she heard instead of something else”, I sighed. “What if the whole world could hear everything we say?” Pam added. “A lot of us would be in hot water, wouldn’t we?”

But even though she reprogrammed the phone, we’re still not out of the woods. We’ll always have to be careful about what we say and think.

God’s line is always open!

September 25, 2017 - The wisest man who ever lived, king Solomon of Israel, lived a long life, a life filled with every reward known to man. Anything he desired was immediately available to him, both from God and from the people he served as king.

As he grew older and neared the end of his time here on earth he began to reflect upon what he had learned in all the years with all his wisdom.

The book of Ecclesiastes is the reflections of this old man.

He recounts how futile the effort or the vanity of chasing after what we consider to be the “good” things of life. Things such as; wisdom, work, pleasure, and wealth. These things are satisfying for a time, but death is certain to end this satisfaction. Solomon, although he struggled from time to time had learned that the person who lives in fear of the power of God will enjoy God’s good gifts.

As God had given Solomon the wisdom that he had asked for he applied his heart to seek out by this wisdom all that is done under heaven.

His deduction from this lifetime of study and searching; “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

So Solomon realizes that nothing worldly is worthy of trying the achieve or acquire, that only the things of God matter in the end.

In reference to the daily work that people do in the living of life on planet earth he says this.

“What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-11) Solomon sees the futility of trying to know and understand all that God has done. He finally truly understands what God intends for man as he lives out life on earth. As he goes on to explain more of man’s duty toward God he says; I perceived that there is nothing better for them (for man) than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; and that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil - this is God’s gift to man.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)

So there we have it according to Solomon, we are to do good as long as we live, to be joyful in life. That we are to enjoy our good deeds, to be joyful workers for the Lord each day, to do the job God has given each of us with a smile on our face and a smile in our heart that the joy we have will convict those whom we meet each day.

Solomon understands the futility of man’s striving for fame and wealth. That man and beast have the same breath, that man has no physical living advantage of the beasts, for all is vanity. That man and beast will die the same physical death, ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

From this he deducts that; “So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)

Again reaffirming that we are to live our lives simply, serving God with the talents God has given each of us, being joyful every day that we have the honor and privilege of serving the Most High God, for when our time is done, how are we to know what will happen to our worldly possessions, who will remember us as time passes us by. Worrying about nothing of this world, but enjoying our lives each day, serving God by living joyful lives of service to him. May the rich blessings of our Lord be yours…

September 22, 2017 - She is more precious than rubies; and all things thou canst desire are not to be compared to her (Proverbs 3:15).

The Diamond in the Rough Women's Conference will be held 9:30am-1pm Saturday, October 7, 2017 at St. John Missionary Baptist Church located at 2308 C.R. 2050 Center, Tx 75935.

Speakers will include Phillis Hancock Chavis, Evangelist; Sharon K. Horton, Evangelist; and Sis. Feleshia Thompson.

Admission is free, lunch will be served.

September 22, 2017 - O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up.” (Psalm 139:1-2)

“Though I walk through the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.” (Psalm 138:7)

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7)

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (psalm 139:14)

These verses from God’s Word are from the songs of king David and tell a wonderful story of life. A story of the creation of each person on earth, formed in the womb by our eternal Heavenly Father who knows all, see all, and is all.

The power of God being incomprehensible for man, we see his creations and we marvel at many, but we cannot understand how it could have been done.

But, that is the mystery of faith, believing in what we cannot see, but knowing in our hearts that it is true and knowing that one day we will see what we cannot see today.

For those who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord we understand, through faith, that many of the mysteries of life are not meant to be understood, that is the mystery of faith.

Yet we do understand from the scriptures that God is everywhere, that He watches over his own, that he knows our every move, our every thought, even before we think it. How we cannot know, but that he can, we do know.

If we have faith we know that wherever we walk, God is there protecting us through the Holy Spirit.

That we cannot escape his sight, no matter how we try to hide our sins, he sees all, and we are filled with praise for him and his greatness and majesty. And we know that once we have accepted his offer of salvation from the penalty on sin we are truly blessed for eternity.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

Born in a weakened state by the sin of Adam, spiritually dead in the sins of the world but lifted from the pit of death into the light of the Lord by the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)

Let us be thankful as we walk through this foreign world, knowing that our home is not here but in heaven with our Lord.

Let us give thanks that because of the sacrifice of Jesus that we have become heirs of the kingdom of God. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

Blessed and hallowed be the name of our Lord… May his grace and mercy fall upon you this day and may his blessings be yours for ever…

September 20, 2017 - The McWilliams/ Rather Cemetery Association will meet on Saturday, September 23rd at 4:00pm. The meeting will be held at Todd Springs Baptist Church, Shelbyville. All are invited to attend.

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