March 29, 2018 - Easter "Speggtacular" sponsored by Jackson Baptist Church is set for 11:30am on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Joaquin City Park. Enjoy hot dogs, popcorn, egg hunt, and Easter Blessing!

March 27, 2018 - Jesus came to give his life for others, that all might have eternal life in him.

He gave up his life willingly for no man nor men could have nailed him to that cross if he had not allowed it to happen.

Before he left ascending back to heaven he gave us many things, one of which is this commandment which he called “my commandment”, giving it utmost importance to all who would follow him.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) 

And so Christians all over the world would testify, I love others, my brothers and sisters as Jesus loved me. 

Oh really, Jesus gave his life for you, that is the level of love that he loves us with. Not with words but with actions, a life given that others might have eternal life in him.

Jesus tells us that he comes, not like a thief to steal but to give life that others may live life and live it abundantly.

As he says; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) 

Jesus came that all might have the abundant life of the saved. That all who believe in him and accept him as Lord would know the abundant joy of living in his light, in the light of the world.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) 

Jesus, the good shepherd laid down his earthly life that all might be able to receive the abundance of life in him.

Are you giving of yourself as the Lord Jesus has taught us that we are to give if we are to follow his command, to love one another as he loves us?

When others wrong you or ridicule you or treat you with disdain, do you pray for them or do you harbor ill will toward them as they do to you? 

While that is the worldly way; “to do unto others as they have done to you”, it is not the Christian way, the way we are to follow if we are truly followers of Jesus Christ.

The Christian way is; “to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The polar opposite from the worldly way, which says to get even, to repay with the same evil that was brought upon you.

As followers of Jesus we are to; “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” (Romans 12:17) 

All Christians are to be toward one another as Paul instructed the Corinthians.

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be not divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement.” (1 Corinthians 1:10) 

Instructions for the church, that all be of one mind for all are members of one body, the body of Christ on earth.

Peter gives us much the same message of unity when he says; “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9) 

As Jesus told us, it is by our love for one another that we will be known by the world as his own. It is by our love shown for others that Jesus is known by the world, for if we profess Christ, then we must also project Christ with our lives.

For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11) 

And so, I appeal to you brothers and sisters in Christ, turn from evil and do good today, reflect the image of the Christ by the life you live each day. Truly love one another as our Lord Jesus Christ loves us…

May all know the peace and joy that only comes through knowing the Lord Jesus and walking in his light each day…

March 26, 2018 - Sunday was Palm Sunday.  Fannie wrote this note that she would like to get out to everyone who came all these years to the Sunrise Easter Service at the Watson home.

“The Dock and Fannie Watson family and Paxton United Methodist Church wish to express their appreciation for those who have attended and participated in the Easter Sunrise Services held in Paxton for the past 30 years.  We will not be able to host the event this year.  We wish for you a Happy Easter Season as you worship in another Sunrise Service, continuing to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord by letting His light shine through us each day.”

Of course, we who worshipped at the Watsons’ Sunrise Easter Service year after year owe their family a debt of gratitude too.  They always put together an inspiring program—and then fed us a delicious breakfast.  It was a joyous fellowship.

I used the John Gospel and the scriptures dealing with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  The John Gospel is the only one that mentions palm branches as Jesus entered to cries of “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!”  The palm branches that we used in our worship this morning came from Sunshine Flowers, as did the Easter lilies decorating the altar.  Roy and Judy have been so kind to provide palms for at least the last fifteen years.  Our processional hymn was #261, Lord of the Dance. That long-ago Palm Sunday had two processions.  There was Jesus’ triumphant entry and, on the other side of Jerusalem, the Imperial procession headed by Pontius Pilate.  These were two different parades and two different ways of seeing the world.  We had peace and justice vs. greed and hate, a battle that continues to this day.

Our Sunday school lesson came from 2 Chronicles 7: The purpose of the lesson was to seek God and turn from those things that are not God-inspired.  At the heart of the lesson for the Israelites and us is what it means to choose to follow God rather to follow what seems to be, at the moment, more pleasing to us.

After two months of lying low, hoping to avoid giving or getting illness at our usual nursing home programs, we are now back in business.  Because of the way the dates fell in March, we had programs at both Holiday Nursing Home and Lakeside Assisted Living last week.  Most of our participants were able to be at one or both—Hilda, Minnie, Fannie, Nora, Maggie, Gene, Ollie, Margie, Sue and me.  We sang, listened to music, told stories, read, and enjoyed each others’ company.  It was good to see old friends after an absence.

“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.

Randy & Sue Smith
Paxton Methodist Church

March 26, 2018 - "He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name."   Psalms 111:9  

J.W. and I were students at ETBC in Marshall, Texas back in the fifties. We had several things in common:  We were both ministerial students, drove '55 Fords, were both English majors and were both student pastors. 

One Sunday he invited me to visit with him at his church in Weaver, Texas, (a small town in northeast Texas.) The building resembled many of the country churches of that time…a small sanctuary with two Sunday School rooms. As he walked me through the building, I called out, '"J", what is the seating capacity of the building?" He immediately grabbed me by the arm, pulled me to the side and whispered, "Doug, don't call me "J." "Call me "Rev. Baker"…"I want the people to respect me here." And since members were now arriving, I choked down my rebuttal for the time being.

As we drove home, I asked if he knew that Billy Graham never liked being called "Reverend." "'When Reverend" appears in the Bible," I said…" it is referring to God…not man".  "People respect us by what we are", I insisted..  

I haven't seen J.W. since we graduated from ETBC in the summer of '58. I heard he married a girl named Patricia that he called "the world's sweetest girl".  

J. W. Baker was a good man and I have no doubt that he was respected wherever he went…..
…..Even by those who called him "J."

March 22, 2018 - (Flyer) - Come out for an afternoon of fun and games in the parking lot and field behind the church. The event will be held at First United Methodist Church of Center on Sunday, March 25, 2018 from 1pm - 3pm.

There will be a fuzzy bunny jump, floating ducks, horse shoes, cotton candy, popcorn, egg toss, photo booth, pool noodle ring toss, bouncy horse race, bouncy house, ball roll, yard bowling, and much more fun.

March 21, 2018 - The Allen Family Singers will be live in concert Sunday, March 25, at 6pm. They will be at First Baptist Church of Center at 117 Cora Street.

Admission is free.

March 21, 2018 - We all know of the apostle Paul, how he had been the worst of the worst when it came to persecuting Christians or anyone who was even suspected of following the Lord Jesus in his new Way.

Paul was handpicked to sit at the feet of Gamaliel the high priest of the Jews, to train under him for the future. He was well known the Hebrew of the hebrews, a leader-in-waiting for Judaism. And yet, he became the leader of the Way, the apostle of apostles after meeting Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, while on his way to arrest and persecute more Christians.

Paul, maybe more than any other apostle understood the magnitude of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross and in his preaching he used utmost care not to overshadow, in any way, the power of the cross of Christ.

That is what I want to talk about with you today, the magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice and that all must be careful not to dilute that sacrifice with the message they preach today.

In all that Paul did, he tried hardest to unify the church by bringing a uniform message of Jesus Christ and him crucified for the sins of all people. He speaks to the Corinthians in his first letter to them about that importance when he writes.

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement.” (1 Corinthians 1:10) 

Paul goes on to explain that it has been brought to his attention that there has been quarreling among them about who had baptized whom. Whether it was Paul or maybe Apollos or even Crispus or Cephus. This silly argument brought Paul to then say; "I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.” (1 Corinthians 1:14-15) 

Paul then gives great emphasis to this when he says; “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1 Corinthians 1:17)

Wow, what a statement, what a testimony for the power of the sacrifice of Christ which culminated in the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. 

As Paul goes on in the letter he makes this observation that Jesus Christ is the wisdom and the power of God on earth.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) 

For those who are being held from the penalty of sin by the power of Jesus’ sacrifice for the sins of all people, the power of the cross is the power of God and must not be diluted in any way.

This is why Paul says; “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” (1 Corinthians 1:22-23)

Paul goes even farther to impress the importance of the cross when he says; “And I when I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:5)

For all who do believe; no one has seen or can imagine what God is preparing.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) 

Have you shown your love for God by accepting him as Lord, if not, would you do so today. 

Would you show your love by asking him to save you, to lift you out of the pit of destruction, by hereby dedicating your life, body and soul to him, forever more.

May his blessings find you this day.

March 20, 2018 - Mark your calendar for the Mt. Zion C.M.E. Men's Day Program on Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 3p.m. Special guest speaker is Rev. James Redwine, pastor of Wesley Chapel C.M.E. Church, Henderson, TX. Bro. C. W. Garrett is the Chairperson and Rev. Elgena Weaver is the Pastor.

March 20, 2018 - The Shelbyville First United Methodist Church will have an Easter Sunrise service on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. Worship service will begin at 6:30am. After worship, we will have brunch and all are invited to attend.

March 20, 2018 - When I was just a little boy I lived with my grandmother. Everyday we would walk up the road to my great-grandmothers house. I so enjoyed walking with "Ma." We would discuss life and she would answer any question I asked (and I asked a lot of them.) One day I asked her, "Why do people talk about being saved so much at church? What do we need to be saved from?" She looked at me and with a smile and said "sin." I didn't quite understand but I acknowledged her and went on.

Once I became a pastor and I listened to people talk about being saved, I realized that most people, even older Christians don't completely understand what they are saved from when they accept Christ. We can all use our Sunday school answer and say, "sin." So what is sin? The translated word for sin from the original Hebrew text means to "miss the mark." We miss the mark established by God for righteousness. Well, how do I know I have sinned? The Apostle Paul says in Romans 3:23: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." So none of us are free from guilt. Is there anyone, other than Jesus who didn't sin? Well, no, but there have been people who claim they are better than others even to the point of saying their sins aren't as bad as others. John in his first letter says, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." So we can safely say that everyone needs saving.

Lets look at it in regards to sin, what we are "saved from." First, Jesus' death saved us from the penalty of sin. What is the penalty of sin? Romans 6:23 states "the wages of sin is death." This may not be a physical death but spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God. Jesus was the gift of God to the world so that through Him we could spend eternity in the presence of God and not separated from Him. Romans 6:23 goes on to say, "but the gift of God is eternal life."

Second, we are saved from the power of sin. When you become a Christian, God gives you power over the sin in your life. You are no longer bound by the chains that sin has on you. Romans 8:31 says "if God is for us, who can stand against us?" Because of the love that God had for us by sending His son Jesus you can overcome anything that is thrown at you.

Third, we are saved from the presence of sin. Revelation 21:3-4 says, "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God." God has prepared a place for all who accept His free gift of grace through faith to live with Him in a place where, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." You see, God loves you so much that He has went to great lengths to give you a way to be saved from the things that are hurting you.

Jesus died on the cross for you! Only He can save you. Trust Him and He will set you free from the penalty, power and presence of sin in your life.

I'm just sayin,
Mike Belgard

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