December 11, 2018 - We live this day in a world filled with violence and hate. 

A world divided by all manner of things, things which do not matter in the end, but things which govern our lives today. Earthly things, worldly attractions that call out to all who will listen; “come here, have fun, do as you please, all is well.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth than what we are being led to believe by the deceivers of this world. 

Deceivers, led by the “prince of the air”, the ruler of this world, the devil, Satan himself. Just as he deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, he works without ceasing today to deceive all who are not grounded in the Word of the Lord God. 

So, what am I to do you might ask!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. But in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Lean upon the Lord for strength to overcome the deceptions of the evil one and his minions. 

So many of us would say; “Oh, that I had winds like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness.” (Psalm 55:6-7)

But to run away and hide is not the answer, no, we have the most powerful force in the universe on our side, the Lord God of heaven, our Heavenly Father, we have only to lean on him for protection and guidance in any battle, in any storm of life.

Cry out to the Lord when in needwh for in him we find our consolation. 

This I know, that God is for me.” (Psalm 56:9)

In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; “I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:10-11) 

The God who created all things, the God so powerful that he simply spoke and the universe came into being. The heavens and the earth were formed by his words, the seas and the fish in them, all the beasts of the land and the birds of the air, spoken into being by our Heavenly Father and Master of the universe.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!” (Psalm 57:2-3)

I will cry out to God for by his holy power he delivers me from all troubles, my soul from death and my feet from falling, allowing me to walk before him in the light of life, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be all over the earth!” (Psalm 57:9-11)

As Joshua spoke to his people when they had entered the promised land and had begun to fall away from the Lord and back into the idol worship of their fathers, may I say to you today!

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River ( the Jordan), or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

Choose the Lord today and he will serve you with his rich blessings and you will live in his house forever…

https://ingodswordcom.wordpress.com/

December 10, 2018 - The Golden Harvest Ministries Club will meet Monday, December 17, 2018 in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church at 11:30 AM. The program will be Installation of Officers for 2019 by outgoing president, Helen Collard, followed by singing of favorite Christmas carols.

Visitors are always welcome to join us for a delicious covered dish luncheon, a good program and time of fellowship.

Submitted by Joe and Linda Anderson

December 10, 2018 - Sunday was the Second Sunday of Advent. Do you remember when early this year we all wanted rain? Well, we certainly have had a wet autumn. On Friday we had more than four inches, and I am sure we got more Saturday. Our daughter was visiting us this weekend, glad to see her little dog after a month apart. We always enjoy seeing Megan, this time getting to hear all about her travels in Asia. Sue and I went to Nacogdoches to meet up with Sue’s brother and sister-in-law who came up from Houston—also Sue’s sister and brother-in-law, their granddaughter, and Sue’s mom. We had a good visit and a nice dinner at Napoli’s, our favorite restaurant in Nacogdoches.

Our Sunday School lesson was titled “Choose To Love and Serve God.” The scripture that Gene read was Joshua 24: 1-3, 13-15, 21-24. In the reading Joshua asks the people who they will serve, saying that for him and his family, they will serve the LORD. Fannie led us in several good discussions: I think we all know that to declare one’s service to God is easier than actually living for God each day. But in fine Methodist tradition, we must try to stay on the road toward Christian Perfection.

We were in double digits this morning! It was so great to see Theresa and Larry. Joe and Hilda brought us our music, Fannie lit the Advent Candles, and Sue did the Advent reading and prayer along with her usual duties as liturgist. We began worship with the “Canticle of Zechariah (Benedictus)” and our affirmation of faith. 

Thursday is going to be a busy day for our little church. Our ministry at Focused Care is at 10AM. The Paxton Christmas Party is that night at 6:00. We got the tables moved after church. The church is decorated and looks so festive. We’re looking forward to an evening of songs, readings, and of course, good food. 

All this month we will be collecting cans of soup for Community Christian Services. Next week Joaquin First Baptist will have its Children’s Christmas, to which our church contributes a small part with donations, an Angel Tree child, and Sue speaking a little Spanish during the actual Giveaway.

The Gospel Lesson was about John preaching in the desert; the words of Isaiah are used to proclaim that the way of the Lord should be made ready. The Epistle Lesson was Philippians 3: 9-11, where you just feel the love Paul has for these people. This was the first Jesus community that Paul founded in Europe. 

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.

Randy & Sue Smith
Paxton Methodist Church

December 7, 2018 - Bright Morning Star Baptist Church announces the installation service of their new Pastor Anthony Q. Jackson Sunday, December 30, 2018 2:30pm.

Pastor H.F. Johnson and the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church of San Augustine, Texas will be the special guests.

December 5, 2018 - Members and Pastor of Carroll Chapel CME Church in Shelbyville, would like to invite you to their Annual Harvest Time Program on Sunday, December 16 at 3pm. Our keynote speaker will be Rev. Richard Edwards of the Mount Zion CME Church in Center, Tx. Everyone is invited.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

December 4, 2018 - For one searching for salvation this verse may be confusing as those searching have not yet found and so understanding has not yet come to those who still seek.

The gift of life is given through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of calvary. By his death Jesus took the sin of all mankind and cast them into the deepest sea, fulfilling the Father’s requirement for forgiveness and salvation.

As we accept Jesus as Lord we too are released from the penalties of sin, as Jesus, we too are then dead to the world but forever alive in Christ, forever in service to the One who died for all, that all might receive the gift of life eternal.

But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive (sin), so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code (Mosaic Law).” (Romans 7:6)

For one to die without salvation the penalties for denying Christ as Lord is to die what is called the :second death”, or the death of one’s spirit. Physical death comes to all people but death of the spirit only comes to those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Sovereign Lord and Master.

All those are condemned to an eternity of darkness, separated from God, being tortured and tormented forever. All the while realizing that all they had to do to prevent this second death was to accept Jesus as their Lord.

There is therefore 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)

For by Christ’ death and resurrection; death, hell, and the grave has been defeated. Christ has overcome the world, the devil and all his deceptions and all who follow Jesus, by his power, also overcome the same.

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)

For all who have accepted Jesus as Lord and have received salvation from the penalties of sin are no longer living in the world but in the Spirit of Light which is the Lord Jesus Christ. No longer controlled by fleshly passions but led by the Spirit of God so that we understand the prophecies of the Book of Life, God’s Word.

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 30:18)

Without spiritual knowledge one cannot determine what is good or what is evil and will be led by the devil into the pit of destruction that is known as hell.

But, for those who are led by the Spirit of God their steps are illuminated by the glory of God that they can walk and not stumble as their paths are made straight and level by the Lord.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

No man can know how majestic the kingdom of God is, how beautiful or how wonderful our lives spent in heaven with Christ will be.

We can only look forward to it and patiently wait for that glorious day when he will call each of his own home to be with him forever. May you find his blessings and gain understanding into his salvation…

December 3, 2018 - “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways….” James 1:8  

When I decided to get a B.A. instead of a B.S. at ETBU, I knew I would have to take a course in some foreign language. And since Greek was the World language when Jesus was born and since our New Testament was originally written in Greek, I decided Greek would be my foreign language choice.

On the first morning of Dr. Roark’s class, we were given some free advice. “Young men,“ he began, “If you plan to miss any of my classes, don’t bother coming back.”  “A third of you will either flunk out or drop out of this class and it will probably be “διαιρώντας το μυαλόo” that caused it.”  “Those Greek words are translated as “worry” in English but they mean literally “to divide the mind.” “And you can’t pass this course unless you come to every class with an “undivided mind.”

I immediately thought of my “divided mind´ through High School.  As teachers like Mr. Wyatt was trying to explain Algebra, I day-dreamed about going down to perch fish or swim at Weaver’s pond as soon as school let out. Consequently, my “divided mind” made me barely pass Algebra even though I had great fun after school.

Because of my determination to learn Greek from Dr. Roark, I began challenging Tony Evans and Jimmy Millikan for first place in the class. On the second year, I asked Dr. Roark who did best on the last test. I had a 99 and Tony and Jimmy both had 96’s. I later learned that they both became Seminary Professors. In 1947…at 14 years of age… I gave my life to Christ.  It was unconditional surrender.  And I will always be fine…

……….if I serve Him with an “undivided mind”.

December 3, 2018 - Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent. The church really looked festive this morning.  Joy and Gene bought a new Christmas tree full of lights. Joy, Gene, and Carolyn decorated the tree. Ms. Fannie bought poinsettias and placed them along the communion rail. Sue and I noticed the manger scene in front of the church when we drove back from Nacogdoches. It is really starting to feel like Christmas! 

We started the winter quarter in our Sunday School lessons. Last quarter the author provided more questions than answers, which probably is a good thing. I always like to find the page of the new lesson book with the picture and biography of the writer. This one is a retired minister and a writer.  The first lesson, “Love and Devotion,” featured Deuteronomy 6: 1-9. Included in the scripture is the Shema, a prayer to be said several times a day: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength.” The author reminded us that Jesus said this was the most important commandment and added that the way to love God is to love our fellow human beings.

We have begun a new liturgical year in Christianity. Our focus is preparing ourselves so that we can live Kingdom lives. We are fast approaching the birth of John and then, of course, the birth of Jesus.  The scripture from Luke sounded pretty scary. It is apocalyptic literature that speaks of the end of an age and the dawning of a new one. Our hope is that this new time will be one of peace and justice, with the ways of the Christ paramount in our lives. 

With the Church Conference and Charge Conference complete, my attention looks back on 2018. In fine Methodist tradition, End-of-Year Reports detail what the local church has done in the past year.  Much of the report deals with finances, and I have the able assistance of our church treasurer Gene, who keeps very good records. Later this month, I will have my yearly meeting with our District Superintendent, Dr White, in Lufkin. Since I was not raised in the Methodist Church, all these reports and meetings were new to me. But in my 20th year as a Methodist minister, I am finally catching on! Larry has been doing research in old Shreveport Times and found an article from 1910 about a Quarterly Conference that was held in Tenaha. I guess I need to stop my complaining about yearly reports!

Last week was our program at Lakeside Assisted Living, postponed because of Thanksgiving. We had many participants—ones who live there and ones we brought. Mrs. Hilda played the piano for all the congregational singing, about half of which was from the Christmas section. I stepped in as emcee, and Pastor Matt did the “preacher parts.” Sallie, Stellar, and Gene all sang specials. Nora still hasn’t “found” her (singing) voice, so she read a patriotic essay her niece had written. Fannie told us about the writing and performing of “God Bless America,” followed by Gene leading us in the actual song.  Sue read “Everything I Know About Christmas I Learned from a Little Golden Book.” As usual, it was lovely to have Margie join us; we missed Jo, whose fracture is giving her trouble.

During the month of December we will collect cans of soup for Community Christian Services. Paxton Methodist sent money to First Baptist Joaquin to buy Christmas gifts for young folks in the community, and Sue and I adopted an Angel Tree child. The Paxton Christmas Party is Thursday, December 13th at 6pm: program first, followed by a potluck meal. We hope to see you there!

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 9:30am and Worship begins at 10am. 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.

Randy & Sue Smith
Paxton Methodist Church

December 3, 2018 - This Christmas as we celebrate the miraculous gift of Jesus, may we share with others the joy that knowing him brings!

Strong Triumph Church, under the leadership of Elder Faye Dell Allen, cordially invites everyone to join in with us as we celebrate the reason for the season and share His love with our family and friends in our annual Christmas celebration.

The celebration will take place Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 7pm. Speaker for this spectacular celebration will be newly elected shepherd, Rev. Charles McCowin of Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ of Houston, Texas.

We invite all choirs, soloists, and praise dancers to join in the celebration. For more information, please call Elder Faye Dell Allen at 936-368-2611 or 936-572-5810. 

November 30, 2018 - "First Christmas" – a First Baptist Center holiday production – is coming Saturday, December 8 at 6pm and Sunday, December 9 at 6pm. It’s a gift from the First Baptist Family to our community!

Both performances are free and will feature adult, senior adult, and children’s choirs; soloists; costumed living nativity; sing-a-longs; drama and comedy; candlelight carols; bells; and much more. Come and join us as we share the fun, the joy, and the message of Christmas!

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