Click for event flyerSeptember 19, 2017 - The East Texas Community Choir will host their 1st Annual Musical on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at St. Paul Baptist Church in Center.

Director Rev. Jeremy Moore will begin the musical at 5:30pm with the following featured soloists and special guests:

  • James Brown, Carthage
  • Christina Leary, Nacogdoches
  • Kim Lumzy, Shreveport
  • Zorana Skinner, Carthage
  • The Thompson Brothers, Center
  • Devante Crutchfield, Shreveport
  • Guest musicians, Josh and The Band.

St. Paul Baptist Church is located at 617 Hopkins Street, Center, Texas 75935.

September 18, 2017 - Sunday was the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time. The Gospel Lesson was Matthew 18: 21-35 and deals with God’s idea of absolute forgiveness.  Jesus calls upon us to forgive others as God forgives. That task sounds impossible but each of us knows of some unbelievable story of forgiveness. St. Thomas Aquinas says that God never commands us to do impossible things—he commands us to do things that would be impossible if not for the grace of God.

PBS had a special on the life of Martin Luther. I was raised a Lutheran and I thought I knew all there was to know about Luther—how wrong I was. Toward the end of his life Luther said that two words provided him the most comfort—“God forgives.” Our Gospel Lesson tells us we must learn to forgive.  I think forgiveness is one of the essentials of the Christian faith.

Our Sunday school lesson focused on the importance of the Sabbath and the need to keep it holy. It is obviously very important to the Jewish community then because it was enshrined as on of the first 10 Commandments. We got into a discussion of blue laws and the importance of carving out time to rest and reflect and to be one with God.

This past week volunteers went to Focus Care better known as Green Acres. Fannie, Minnie, Jo, Nora, and I went to visit and to sing and tell stories. We have started coming on a different day and in the morning hoping that our new day and time would be better for the residents. We only had a small handful of residents that came and though we were few in number we sang many requests and we all had a good time.

During the month of September we are collecting boxes of macaroni and cheese for Community Christian Services. In October we will collect peanut butter and jelly.  Tuesday volunteers will go to Holiday Nursing Center for our program that begins at 2pm. Our Charge Conference is coming up soon and I need to get busy and fill out paperwork. Every Methodist Church small or large fills out streams of paper. When I am working on this I am thankful for the computer and I am reminded of my years as a public school principal and the endless paperwork the state wanted you to generate. In all the years in public school my biggest laugh came when the legislature passed a “paperwork reduction act.” That act generated mounds of paper to show you were in compliance.

“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 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

“I was sick and you looked after me....” Matt. 25:36

September 18, 2017 - My brother John and his wife Shirley have lived many years in the Huxley area on Toledo Bend. They’ve worked hard growing hydroponic tomatoes, baling hay, raising cattle and caring for their rental property.  

During my month in the hospital some years ago, they were especially kind to to Pam and Me. John fished in the rain to catch fish to fry for me. And Shirley, one of the world’s greatest cooks, brought me many of my favorite foods: cornbread, buttermilk, pinto beans, and a cocoanut cake “made from scratch”.

When everything looks grim and everyone’s predicting doom and disaster, Shirley has a favorite saying to lift our spirits: “It aint no big deal”. 

Hobbling into their house a few weeks after getting out of the hospital, I began thanking her and John for what they’d done.  “Thanks for the food, Shirley...I appreciate all the times you all visited me... thanks for helping Pam.... for John’s mowing our grass and picking up Caralee at the airport.... and getting the Sonic slushes...”

She seemed preoccupied as I tearfully poured out my heart. Then, she quietly sighed: “It aint no big deal, Doug”. 

But I knew it was.

The Southern Plainsmen

September 18, 2017 - Annual Yellowpine community homecoming activities are being planned. There will be a community gospel singing at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, September 23. A full day of events is scheduled for Sunday, September 24, beginning with a morning church service highlighted by music from the Southern Plainsmen and the homecoming message by Dr. David C. Digmon of Lumberton. Lunch is served at noon, followed by an afternoon singing at 1:30 p.m. with the Southern Plainsmen.

Activities will be held on the campus of Yellowpine-Macedonia Baptist Church, located at the intersection of Highway 87 South and FM 2343 in Sabine County's Yellowpine community. For information, contact T.A. Lane at 409-382-8765 or 409-584-1144.

September 14, 2017 - We see these days much discussion of just what is marriage. Who should marriage be between? Is it correct for two men or two women to marry within their own sex?

Is marriage to be only for a single man and a single woman?

Just what is the correct and right marriage. The only answer I can give to that question is the answer to be found in God’s Holy Word. There are those who say that does not count, that the Bible is a book of fairy tales and should not be considered to be the inspired words of our Lord God.

To those I would quote the words of God delivered by the apostle Paul in which he said; “All scripture is breathed out of God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

I ask you now, if the Bible is a book of fairy tales how could it then be all these things described by Paul. If the Bible is as Paul describes and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking one’s faults, for correcting one’s mistakes and for training others in righteous living, how then are we to use it each day and for whom.

“That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

The Bible then is the single source, our single need, for our education in righteousness, giving each the necessary tools to do the Lord’s will and work each day.

So I can determine from these scriptures that, yes, the Bible is the place we should turn for the answers to the question of marriage.

One answer to this question concerns one complete book, eight chapters of the Bible dedicated solely to marriage, the marriage between, one man and one woman, the book known as “The Song of Solomon”.

In this book the author spends the entire book extolling the virtues of the marriage of a single man and a single woman as the right and correct marriage. Even comparing that marriage to the marriage of the one Lord and the one church body, the body of Christ.

Farther proof of God’s intent for marriage comes in the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28)

Now that is pretty plain to me, God made both man and woman in his image, meaning they have a spirit, a soul that will live forever, for even though the body dies the spirit endures forever.

God’s first instruction to man and woman was to be fruitful, to multiply and fill the earth with people. Now I ask you, how can a marriage of two men or two women follow this first command for God to mankind?

If God didn’t care then why is this his first instruction to mankind, to multiply and fill the earth?

If God didn’t care then why did he instruct Solomon to write a complete book of the Bible on this very subject, the marriage of a man and a woman?

God tells us through Paul that the Bible is all we need to study to live the life he has set before us, so I ask again why do we not heed the written, inspired words of God in all our daily living?

God’s Word will not follow the wishes of mankind, it does not change as the world changes, it is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and I suggest to all that you begin each day reading the Bible if you are to know the truth and are not to be deceived by those either ignorant of God’s Word of those who promote the wishes of the devil.

May God’s Word surround you as a wall of protection against the evils of this world…

September 13, 2017 - I love watching a well trained dog work. I am always amazed how these animals can learn such self-control. I had a Labrador Retriever once that was exceptional at the art of self control. He loved fetching things and would go get anything that you would throw for him, bring it back to you, and set it at your feet. But what was really amazing was that I could make him stay at my side until I told him to retrieve. I would tell him to stay, then throw a stick into the lake and he would not move. His eyes fixed on where the stick had landed. You could see the anticipation building on his face using every bit of strength he had to keep himself from just breaking loose and going after the stick. He was the picture of self-control. He knew that he would get the prize if he resisted the urge to move until the master gave the command. That's what self control is: The ability to restrain our own selfish passions and appetites even though our flesh is telling us to indulge.

Self-control is the last fruit of the Spirit or character trait of a Spirit filled believer. If someone is filled with the Spirit they will practice self-control. When we allow the Spirit to help us control our actions, emotions, words, thoughts only then can we live in peace with others and ourselves.

When Jesus said, "But whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also," I believe that He was talking about practicing self-control. If you are in a confrontation and you get angry, you lose control of that situation. You will inevitably say or do something that you will regret. That's how Peter can say in 2 Peter 1:5-6 "But also for this very reason add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self control perseverance, to perseverance godliness," then in verse 8 he adds "For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

It's hard to practice self-control in a world that is pulling us to act on our emotions and desires. The good news is that you are not alone in this fight to stay in control. The Holy Spirit will give you the power to maintain self-control.

All you have to do is turn your life over to Him and start receiving the fruit that He has for you. All the fruit of the Spirit can be yours. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. They are all there for you to have and share with others.

I'm just sayin
Mike Belgard

Take heed to thyself…” (I Tim. 4:16)

September 12, 2017 - Lawrence and Lucille Mitchell of Vinton, La. invited me for lunch almost every Sunday of the six years that I was their pastor. They were the “canners” of the community and Lawrence built Lucille special shelves for their canned food.

One Sunday morning they arrived at church with noticeably somber faces. When I asked what was wrong, Lawrence exploded, "Those canning shelves crashed last night and all the jars are broken!"

“What do you think God is telling you?” I asked. “Quit feeding the preacher?”… “Stop canning?”

Sheepishly grinning, he mumbled, “No, He told me the nails I used to build those shelves were too short.”

We can’t blame God for self-inflicted calamities. If we carefully examine our fallen shelves, we might find that neither God nor our fellow man is responsible for their collapse.

Maybe our nails were too short.

September 11, 2017 - Sunday was the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. The Old Testament Lesson from Exodus Chapter 12 combined a story of death and destruction with a story of hope and liberation. Needless to say, I prefer the hope and liberation story. The last of the plagues has God killing every Egyptian first-born—human and animal. The birth of the Passover story is the hope and liberation part. The Jews are to be ready to leave and to paint their doorframes with lamb’s blood. This narrative becomes the glue that holds the Jewish people together for generations as they are exiled, seeing their homeland destroyed time and time again. This shared memory among the Jews is also a shared memory for us. The Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples, our Communion, is a Passover meal.

There certainly has been devastation and the threat of more damage as I am writing my article. I came across a hymn, “The Storm Came to Honduras,” that had been written after a terrible flood there. It definitely speaks to those who have suffered unbelievable flooding from Harvey:

     O God, that great flood has stunned us one and all
     Our neighbors reel in anguish while homes and cities fall.
     O God of wind and water who made the sea and sky
     Amid such destruction, we mournfully ask “Why?”

Our Sunday school lesson also dealt with covenant practices, coming from Genesis 17. We are to be a covenant people who are bonded to God and to each other. Our faith is not an individual pursuit but is a community endeavor held together by covenant. Fannie did a great job dealing with a difficult topic. We discussed our Charge Conference (it’s a Methodist thing) and Fannie agreed to do our report to our District Superintendent. I am going to start filling out the reports so we can get signatures, everything filled out in triplicate, and enter all the information at the Conference Office via the Internet. What would John Wesley think? I actually think Wesley would be fascinated!

Joe and Hilda selected some of our old favorite hymns to sing and though we are small in number we could really belt them out! Joe’s 90th birthday is this week, so we sang him “Happy Birthday.” Thursday we go to Focused Care (also known as Green Acres) for our monthly ministry. The program will begin at 10:15. In the month of September we are collecting macaroni and cheese for Community Christian Services. Gene, our treasurer, sent $500 to the Salvation Army for Hurricane Harvey Relief. We have also given two scholarships to two wonderful young people.

“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. Godspeed.

August 28, 2017 - Abundant Love Ministries will celebrate our Family & Friends Day, on Sept 10, 2017, at 3pm. Bishop W.C. Martin, Bennett Chapel Missionary Baptist Church is our guest speaker.  

Our regular noon day service at 12pm will be cancelled. The planned day will include Sunday School at 10:30am, and Family & Friends Day Service at 3pm.

The public is welcome and invited. Abundant Love Ministries is located at 1426 Shelbyville St., Center, TX.


September 8, 2017 - Smith Chapel Baptist Church will be honoring their musician Saturday, September 9 at 7pm.

All groups, choir and soloist are invited to come out and help up lift up the name of Jesus. Our honorees are Octavia Lampkins, Demarious and Jasmine Osby.