December 3, 2021 - First Baptist Center, 117 Cora, hosts a Community Holiday Production at 6pm on Sunday, December 12.

The 90 minute program of popular holiday songs and carols is free and will include a 35 voice adult choir, children's choirs, senior choirs, handbells, a visit from Santa Claus, soloists and instrumentalists from around the area, audience sing-a-longs, and a Living Nativity.

FBC is located right across from the historic courthouse.  Come and join us as we share the joy of Christmas and the reason for the season.  More info at 979-533-1575 or dmathis@fbccenter.org.

Funding Snack Program, Food Pantry, and School Supplies

December 2, 2021 – Divine Ministries Outreach, Inc. is conducting a shoe drive fundraiser from today until futher notice to raise funds for our Snack Program, Food Pantry, and School Supplies.

Divine Ministries Outreach, Inc. will earn funds based on the total weight of the pairs of gently worn, used and new shoes collected, as Funds2Orgs will issue a check for the collected shoes. Those dollars will benefit our Snack Program, Food Pantry, and School Supplies. Anyone can help by donating gently worn, used and new shoes at Divine Ministries Outreach, Inc. 518 Shelbyville Street, Center, TX 75935.

All donated shoes will then be redistributed throughout the Funds2Orgs network of micro-enterprise (small business) partners. Funds2Orgs works with micro-entrepreneurs in helping them create, maintain and grow small businesses in developing countries where economic opportunity and jobs are limited. Proceeds from the sales of the shoes collected in shoe drive fundraisers are used to feed, clothe and house their families. One budding entrepreneur in Haiti even earned enough to send to her son to law school.

"We are excited about our shoe drive," said Ms. Lisa Carpenter, Executive Director. "We know that most people have extra shoes in their closets they would like to donate to us. By doing so, we raise money for our Snack Program, Food Pantry, and School Supplies., and we have the chance to help families in developing nations who need economic opportunities. It's a win-win for everyone.”

By donating gently worn, used and new shoes to the Shoes for Intelligence/Divine Movement, the shoes will be given a second chance and make a difference in people’s lives around the world. 

“We are honored to be apart of this shoe Project, and see the outcome of lives been able to have shoes on their feet!”

December 2, 2021 - Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, “Black Friday” is past and “Cyber Monday” is in the history books. We have officially started that season of the year we call the “Christmas Season”. It is a time filled with happiness and joy. There is Santa Claus, Christmas Trees, Hot Chocolate, all kinds of candies and good things to eat. It is also the time of the year when the majority of the religious world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

Jesus came into this world because God loved the world, that includes you and me, enough to send His Son to die to redeem our souls from sin. Because of the coming of Christ to this world, you and I are able to experience genuine love. Not only that, Jesus gives us many other things. He gives us lasting peace and He gives purpose to our lives.

Yet, the great tragedy is that even at this season of the year, the coming of Jesus really does not change people’s lives. You see, when all is said and done, Christmas does not bring a real change to our world. It makes us a little poorer and a little more fatigued but does not really bring a change to people’s lives. The purpose of Jesus coming was to bring a change to our world. He came to bring a change to peoples’ lives. Has Jesus really transformed your life?

It’s something to think about… tbp

Join Us for Worship this coming Lord’s Day at Center Church of Christ or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com.

December 1, 2021 - Hope, peace, love, and joy are the themes, one for each of the four Sundays of Advent. For years I began my sermon with these four words because they sum up what Jesus followers want in their life. It is my hope that each of you found some reason for joy during the time of Thanksgiving. Sue and I had our daughter, my brother, and his wife here in Joaquin for Thanksgiving. Their dogs, Stella and Scally, came with them, and our four dogs had a good time with each other. On Friday most of the humans traveled to Nacogdoches to spend quality time with Sue’s mother, sister, and brother-in-law (and dog): Years of celebrating Thanksgiving together made this group, named The Loose Connections by my mother-in-law, close friends.

During the month of November we have been collecting rice and beans for Community Christian Services. November is almost over, so we look to December, when we will donate cans or boxes of soup. In December, I will start gathering data about the church for the “End-of-Year” reports, a regular part of being a Methodist. I will give Gene, our treasurer, a set of financial questions and he will gather that information. Reports must be turned in before January 12, 2022. That seems so far in the future, but 2022 will be here sooner than we think.

Our Sunday School lesson focused on the promise that things would get better, found in Isaiah 25 and 55. Isaiah is speaking to the well-to-do and those in charge of Temple Worship. He considered the idea of idolatry more than just worshiping a false god; it also included ignoring God’s calls to justice and compassion. Both the Old and New Testaments describe God’s Kingdom as a time and place of plenty to eat, all people treated with dignity, and compassionate care of neighbors.

I used today’s Gospel lesson for the 1st Sunday of Advent, Luke 21: 25-36. During these Sundays leading to Christmas, we are to ponder what it means to be a Jesus follower, trying to reorder our lives more faithfully to the ways of the Christ. Every major religion I know of requires some sort of personal and spiritual transformation as one moves along life’s path. Advent is the Christian’s time to think and plan how to accomplish such things in the coming year. The title of my sermon was “Dark Enough?” I called it that based on the ancient Persians, who said it had to be really dark in order to study the stars, a pursuit they loved. Darkness comes before the dawn, and Advent reminds us that Jesus ushered in God’s Realm; we are to be about bringing God’s ways to everyone we meet.

Our songs Sunday centered on hope and joy. “Victory in Jesus” certainly fits the joyful category and also brings us hope for the future. Post-Thanksgiving Advent is a good time for singing Christmas carols—today was my favorite one, “Joy to the World.” Our bulletin quote expressed hope as well: “Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” The author of these promising words? None other than Stephen King!

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, and Open Minds.” 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 your email address to the Paxton email address, and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.

November 30, 2021 - Tickets are "sold out" for the Comedy and Carols at the Rio Theatre. Tickets were limited and were given as requested. We regret to announce all tickets have been distributed and no tickets will be available at the box office the night of the event.


November 22, 2021 - Comedy and Carols is an opportunity to bring our community together for a FUN night of laughter and fellowship.

Through energy and laughter, Noah Cleveland and Travis Krimm will engage with everyone in the audience, but most importantly they will also point them to Christ. So don’t miss this phenomenal blend of joy, worship, and laughter that is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.

The event will take place at the Rio Movie Theatre in Center, TX on December 1st.

Tickets are FREE but seating is limited.

To reserve your tickets email theteam@smyrnacommunitychurch.com or call 936.332.0052.

Tim PerkinsNovember 25, 2021 - It's the season for Thanksgiving, and to be sure, we have much to be thankful for. Most of us will never be rich in the way that the world measures riches and yet all of us may be rich toward God. The riches of the world are subject to loss, taxation and the fluctuation of the markets. The riches of God cannot be stolen, taxed or devalued. They can however be shared.

To many folks, there is only one kind of wealth. Houses, stocks, securities and money in the bank. Their happiness rises or falls with the stock markets. To these people everything has a monetary value. Often, only bitter experience is able to teach them that some things in life are more valuable than money.

The carpenter of Nazareth lived and died as one of the poorest men on the earth, yet he taught the true sense of values when he proclaimed, "A man's life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesseth" (Luke 12:15) He came to enrich human life, to teach the value, not of man's accumulations but of his soul. Faith, hope, love, these attributes of the soul, Jesus made them of inestimable value.

We must not let things which are part of the passing scene, stocks, houses, securities and money in the bank cloud our vision to the finer spiritual securities in Jesus Christ. Yes, at this season of the year we say, "Thank you Lord!"

It’s something to think about… tbp

Join Us for Worship this coming Lord’s Day at Center Church of Christ or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com

“We give thanks unto thee, O LORD, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalms 18:49

November 22, 2021 - This coming Thursday our nation will pause to remember a special day set aside to give thanks to God for His bountiful blessings we all experience every day in our land. Yet, year by year, such a day of thanksgiving is all but lost to most Americans. In its place, we celebrate unworthy things such as Halloween and a secularized Christmas that is centered on greed, avarice, and idolatry of the worst kind.

The first Thanksgiving, was a time to remember God's sovereignty over life and His love expressed for them. Contrary to teachings these days, these Puritans or "Separatists" were not dangerous revolutionists or fanatics; rather they were plain honest citizens - farmers, merchants, and professional men.

The Mayflower Compact 1621 was one of the earliest plans for self-government by European Christians in America. But notice the basis of it. It stated that their purpose for government and their living in this new land was, "Having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith." How far we have strayed from this historic and Biblical truth! Today we are told lies and deceived by godless men who want to change the laws by which we live. The "politically correct" teaching today is that our government must be separated not only from religion, but from the God of that religion as well. Nothing is further from our American historic truth! This nation was indeed founded by Christians, for Christians and with the intent to have land free from the control of any "state church,” or any established religious sect, but not from the basic philosophy of the Christian world view for life and living.

George Washington in his "Inaugural Address" in 1789, at the foundation of this nation said,” The smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained."

And at the turn of the century even our Supreme Court stated, "Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian."

May this Thursday as we gather together with families to enjoy a full and overflowing meal - may we remember to bow our heads and hearts and thank God for His abundant blessings on our families and on our land.

We are what we are because of Him.

November 19, 2021 - Peter was writing about Jesus when he penned these words in I Peter 2:21, “Leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” Those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus should examine our lives and see how we are doing at following in the steps of Jesus.

Those footsteps of Jesus led him to the waters of baptism, the wilderness of temptation, the house of worship and the fields of Service. They led him to the mountain of prayer, the garden of despair, the cross of suffering, the valley of death and ultimately to the throne of God.

When we are faced with temptation, do we come forth victorious as Jesus did or do we yield to that temptation? When we are presented with opportunities of service to our fellowman do we consider it an honor to be of service? The briefest biography of Jesus says “he went about doing good.” Can that be said of us?

Jesus went to sinners to save them, to the sick to heal them and to the lost to rescue them.  When he went to the mountain of prayer, he spent time there all alone with God and came back from prayer stronger.

When we follow in the steps of Jesus, they will ultimately lead us also to the throne of God, to live eternally in Heaven. Are you following in His steps? If not, right now would be a good time to start.

It’s something to think about… tbp

Join Us for Worship this coming Lord’s Day at Center Church of Christ or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com

November 15, 2021 - 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 decide Greek would be my foreign language choice.

So 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…

… as long as I serve Him with an “undivided mind.”

November 15, 2021 - Grace and peace from our friend and brother Jesus. Sunday was the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. Next Sunday, Christ the King or The Reign of Christ Sunday, is the last on the Christian calendar. After that, we begin the first six weeks of the new liturgical year with Advent, literally meaning “important arrival,” as we await the birth of Christ on Christmas.

We have had some cool mornings, but for the most part our afternoons have been above average, temperature-wise. I am going to pick lemons and limes next week and then move my citrus trees inside the greenhouse. I keep putting it off as if I can magically slow down winter’s progress by ignoring the calendar.

Our Sunday School lesson focused on such a long scripture that if we read it all, we wouldn’t have had time to discuss the lesson. The heart of it was the importance of a shared common meal and a shared common humanity. I am pretty sure I have never studied these verses from 1 Samuel 25: 2-39. Nabal has made a mess of his relationship with David, the powerful pretender to the throne. The conflict is all due to hospitality not shown. The hero of this story is Nabal’s wife Abigail, who rides out to meet David and his soldiers—showing proper respect and explaining what a fool her husband is. David accepts her words, and peace is maintained.

The Old Testament lesson came from chapters 3 and 4 of Ruth. My sermon was called Dubious Beginnings II, as I tied in last week’s Old Testament lesson to today’s. Along with that, I puzzled through why the writers and editors of the Jewish Testament decided to keep the more questionable stories alongside their sacred accounts.

We honored Fanny J. Crosby today by singing two of her most popular hymns, “To God Be the Glory” and “Rescue the Perishing.” Even not considering her blindness, Ms. Crosby was an amazing talent. We want to wish happy November birthdays to Larry and Hilda, both later this month. Also, Theresa and Larry celebrate their anniversary tomorrow. Happy anniversary!

We are collecting rice and beans all month to donate to Community Christian Services. For the Kids’ Christmas part of CCS, we sent church and personal checks; in addition, last week Sue and I got outfits, shoes, and gifts for the two kids we “adopted.” My wife has been concerned about supply chain disruptions and is almost finished with all our Christmas shopping—just in case.

I mailed off the required reports and budget to the District Office. Our Church Conference with the District Superintendent is Saturday at 2:00. Sue put together some pandemic-safe pre-packaged snacks and bottled water. We always enjoy the time we have with Dr. White, but we also know how busy he is holding conferences for every church in the East District—and maybe hungry or thirsty besides!

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, and Open Minds.” 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 your email address to the Paxton email address, and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.

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