News from Paxton United Methodist Church, Aug. 7

August 7, 2017 - Sunday was the 9th Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel lesson is one of the most beloved stories in the New Testament, in which we see Jesus feeding the multitude with only five loaves and two fish. But my focus was on what brought Jesus to where he hoped he would find peace and quiet. As the Gospel lesson from Matthew begins, Jesus has just learned that his beloved friend and mentor John the Baptizer has been executed. Jesus, filled with grief and despair, heads off into the wilderness or desert for undisturbed contemplation.  But Jesus, a celebrity in the Galilee, is soon discovered by crowds in his hiding place.  Rather than sending them away, Jesus uses the time for teaching.

Most of my sermon came from the Old Testament lesson about the greatest wrestling match in the Bible. Jacob the deceiver is returning home. But on the night before his return, Jacob wrestles with someone. The text from Genesis says it is a man. The prophet Hosea calls the wrestler an angel of God. Some believe it is Esau or even God himself.  Others see a metaphor for Jacob wrestling with himself as he must deal with dark deeds from his past. Whoever it is, Jacob leaves the match with pain but also a blessing.

I went to worship service at Tenaha Methodist this morning. Pastor Matt gave a great message with many good Methodist themes. Ms. Hilda was playing the piano. What a special person she is! As soon as she finished there, she headed to Paxton Methodist to play for us. Ms. Fannie’s lesson was from Acts, titled “Called to Witness.” All this quarter we have studied various Old Testament prophets answering the call from God.

We had a short business meeting: The church voted to give $500 to the Tenaha backpack program and $500 to the Spanish language church that shared our building for many years. Our treasurer Gene also presented a financial report. Every Sunday in August is “Undie Sunday,” when we collect new children’s underwear and socks for Community Christian Services. Our ministry to Green Acres—Focus Care—has a new time and day. This Thursday, the second Thursday of the month, we will meet at 10:15am. Our other nursing center ministries’ times remain the same.

“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 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 and Sue Smith Paxton Methodist Church