November 27, 2019 - The Children’s Choir of First Baptist Center, 117 Cora, will present the Christmas musical “The Christmas Express” Sunday, December 8 at 10:15am.

The Worship Ministry of First Baptist Center, 117 Cora, will present “First Christmas”, a holiday gift to the community, Sunday, December 15 at 6pm. The production will feature several choirs, a living nativity, and all your favorite Christmas songs.

First Baptist Center, 117 Cora, will host a Community Christmas Eve Candlelight service at 6:00pm on Tuesday, December 24.

November 26, 2019 - On Sunday, December 1 at 10:45am, the gospel music group Trinitas will join First Baptist Church in Timpson in leading the worship service and at 6pm they will perform in concert. 

Spanning more than 30 years of heartfelt, sincere ministry, the members of Trinitas have consistently tried to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a professional, passionate way. Their main goal, which is obvious in every service, is to see the Lord ‘high and lifted up’ (Isaiah 6). It is their firm belief if He is lifted up, His word says, He ‘will draw all men’ to Him.

Trinitas was formed December 2016 by Chanin and Mandy Barker of Shreveport, LA and Keith Copley of Tyler, TX.

Trinitas has seen many lost souls come to know our Lord as their personal Savior. They will be quick to let you know, it’s not by their efforts, but the drawing power of the Holy Spirit. Trinitas’ ministry has expanded within the last few years from concert performance to more intimate ministry opportunities in small groups and homes.

Their latest independent release, “I Will Sing” has blessed hearts nationwide while sharing the hope for life only found in a personal relationship with Jesus.

November 25, 2019 - When I was pastoring a church in Portland, Oregon , a young man walked into our morning service. He was on our membership roll but had not attended in several years. The members gathered around him and joyfully welcomed him back home.

As we left the service that morning, Deacon Gene Stufflebeam stopped to talk with me. “We need to go slow with that returned member,” he said. “He joined our church several years ago and everyone fell in love with him.” Gene went on to say that the man became a Sunday School teacher and added a lot to the church with his enthusiasm and dedication. “He taught his class for two months and then totally disappeared.” “In other words,” Gene said, “He popped in, popped off… and then popped out.”

For a while, the man entertained his fellow members with his wit and enthusiasm. He shouted “Praise the Lord” and “Amen” so loudly while I preached that I had a hard time staying on subject. For several months, he was a model member… attended all the services… and then… as he had done before… he suddenly disappeared.

We were lamenting how sad it was that the man had left again. “Yep,” Gene mused, “Your walk with God is not determined by how loud you holler… or how high you jump.”

“It’s how straight you walk after you come down.”

November 25, 2019 - With a new life with Christ, you need God's instruction manual.

Come one, come all. November 30, 2019 at 6pm at Mt. Mariah Baptist Church of Garrison, Texas, under the leadership of Pastor Arthur Cloudy, will be having a program - The Ten Commandments. There will be 5 speakers from the Shelby County area with a 10 minute increment.

Mt. Mariah Baptist Church is located at 11941 East County Road 3285, Garrison, Texas 75946.

November 24, 2019 - Grace and peace from our brother and savior, Jesus, Amen. What a nice week we had weather wise. I know that I am an old curmudgeon because I don’t like hot weather and I really don’t like cold weather. Instead, it has to be just right. I wonder if there is a place to live where it stays in the 60s and 70s year round? Our daughter will be heading home shortly from her visit to Morocco. Both of our kids and my brother and sister-in-law will be coming to Joaquin to celebrate Thanksgiving. We have been keeping our daughter’s dog Stella since we got back from Madrid: I know Puppy will be ready to get back to her home and her routines.

Sunday was the last Sunday in the Christian calendar. For almost a century, many Christian churches worldwide have celebrated the last Sunday as Christ the King Sunday. When I first studied the church and its calendar of holy days and celebrations, I thought Christ the King Sunday must be an old celebration—but I was wrong. It was Pope Pius who looked around in 1925 and saw the rise of fascism, the collapse of the world economies, and the continued growth of hatred and prejudice. He thought there had to be time in the Christian calendar to reflect on the Christ—as the mover and shaker that the world needed. He wanted the last Sunday of the Christian year to be a time to contemplate what the world would look like if Christ was indeed central to all our thoughts and actions. 

There is no more powerful description of the Christ than in Paul’s letter to the Followers of the Way in Colossae. His description of the Christ as the very image of the invisible and unfathomable God was a new way to imagine God. A hymn, “Soli Deo Gloria” envisions the Christ as the “Incarnate Love Song.” What a beautiful way to see and understand the Christ! Next Sunday begins the Season of Advent. I usually associate Advent with waiting, but this year I am going to stress that with the coming of this special time, we see the “advent” of God’s Kingdom. Sometimes we have to look pretty hard, but Jesus teaches that the Kingdom is here on earth. 

We finished up this quarter at Sunday school; with the beginning of Advent comes a new Sunday school book titled Promise, a good Advent theme. I am not sure our little class is sold on the new format, but we are somewhat flexible and adaptable, so we will learn to love it. Gene read our scripture from Luke, where we see Paul in Athens—the cultural and religious hub of the empire. Wherever he looks he sees idols and temples to many gods. And yet the one he remarks about has an inscription “To an unknown God.” This, I am sure, was the beginning of many discussions in the city square. 

Our little church has two birthdays this week: Larry Hume and Hilda Diehl. Theresa and Larry also had an anniversary last week. Happy anniversary, Humes!

Mrs. Hilda will be celebrating her 90th birthday for which her friends organized a special party. We also remembered her today with a poem from Mrs. Fannie and gifts from the church. It has been such a joy to have Hilda as part of our small group. She is an inspiration to all, and she sure keeps us going strong.

Last week was our program at Holiday, part of the nursing home circuit Hilda set up years ago. She played piano for us, and I emceed. Sue read What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss, a rollicking tale with a good moral. Fannie introduced and read a Thanksgiving poem called “Thank You, God.” Pastor Sarah talked about change—like Texas weather and relationships—and then read Scriptures showing that God alone does not change. After I shared a couple of memories from our recent trip to Spain, Jo talked about the play she saw in Branson about the Annunciation called Miracle of Christmas, a really touching story. She also chimed in on sister Nora’s chorus of “How Can I Keep from Singing?” Nora “sang a book” too—a picture book version of “Over the River and Through the Woods.” A special thank-you to a special lady who’s been joining us at our programs: Mrs. Margie, one of the world’s nicest people.

During the month of November we are collecting rice and beans for Community Christian Services. In December, during Advent, we will collect cans of soup. On Tuesday several of us will head to Lakeside Village Assisted Living. We will gather at 2:00 on Tuesday instead of Thursday because of Thanksgiving. The Paxton Community Christmas Program and Dinner will be Tuesday, December 17th at 6:00 PM. We hope that you can join us in this festive celebration.

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.

November 21, 2019 - I vividly recall a “ritual” that we kids performed after the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals back in my early years. This activity was passed down to our children but seems to have been lost to the current crop of kids.

I recall my mother announcing to we kids after dinner was over, “Here’s the wish bone. Who wants it?”  Instantly there would be a flurry of activity toward that “Y” shaped bone garnered from the breast of the turkey amid cries of “I want to pull it this year”, or “It’s my turn. You did it last year.”  Eventually, things would be worked down to the two lucky ones who got to make a wish and pull the wish bone until it broke. The holder of the longer piece was the “winner” whose wish would magically come true.

I am sure that the same ritual was played out in millions of homes each year. Thanksgiving is a North American holiday of recent vintage, whereas the breaking of the wishbone comes to us from Europe. It was a tradition dating back thousand of years.

A bird’s wishbone is technically known as the furcula (meaning “little fork” in Latin). It is formed by the fusion of two clavicles, and is important to flight because of its elasticity, and the tendons that attach to it. We humans have a similar bone known as “collarbones”. The question before us is - where did the custom of making a wish and then snapping the bone originate, and how did it get to America?

Research reveals that the custom came to us from the English, who got it from the Romans, who got it from the Etruscans, an ancient Italian civilization. As far as historians and archaeologists can discover, the Etruscans were really into their fowls, especially chickens. In fact, many believed that the birds were oracles and could predict the future. They exploited the chickens’ supposed gifts by turning them into walking Ouija boards with a bizarre ritual known as “rooster divination”.

They would draw a circle on the ground and divide it into wedges representing the letters of the Etruscan alphabet. Bits of food were scattered on each wedge and a chicken was placed in the center of the circle. As the bird snacked, scribes would note the sequence of letters that it pecked at, and the local priests would use the resulting messages to divine the future and answer the city’s most pressing questions.

When a chicken was killed, the furcula was laid out in the sun to dry so that it could be preserved, and the people would still have access to the oracle’s power even after its demise. People would pick up the bone, stroke it, and make wishes on it, hence the modern name of “wishbone”.

As the Romans crossed paths with the Etruscans, they adopted some of their customs, including alectryomancy and making wishes on the furcula. According to tradition, the Romans went from merely petting the bones to breaking them because of supply and demand. There weren’t enough bones to go around for everyone to wish on, so two people would wish on the same bone and then break it to see who got the larger piece and their wish.

As the Romans traipsed around Europe, they left their cultural mark in many different places, including the British Isles. People living in England at the time adopted the wishbone custom, and it eventually came to the New World with English settlers, who began using the turkeys’ wishbone as well as the chicken’s.

Pilgrims who immigrated to the United States are believed to have brought the tradition with them.  Once discovering that the wild turkeys populating their new home possessed wishbones just like the fowl from home, the wishbone tradition became a part of the Thanksgiving celebration. Let us hope that the modern generation will not let it die completely. It has come a long way and deserves to entertain children of today’s generation as it has so many others.

November 21, 2019 - A preacher one time was asked if a certain man and his wife belonged to the church where he preached. His reply was, “No, they do not belong to the church here. They are members, but they do not belong to the church.”

It’s like this,” the preacher explained. “neither their time, their affection, their energy, their money, nor their influence belong to the church.”

Does that make you wonder what kind of membership these people had in the church? The preacher said, “they came to us, and we received them in good faith, and we thought they were looking for spiritual fellowship and service. Sadly, their attendance has been so infrequent they have no sense of belonging to the church family and the church has not been a spiritual home to them. Truthfully, there is not an ounce of this man and his wife that belongs to the church. All they have ever added to the church is a name on the roll.”

The sad truth is, the rolls of local churches are loaded with names that are “members only”. This is their only indication of love for Christ. Yet, Bible love is active and not passive. Jesus expressed His love by dying for us.  Will we show our love by living for Him?

Do you belong to the church? Where will you be this coming Lord’s Day?
  
It’s something to think about…..TBP

Join us for worship this coming Lord’s day at the Center Church of Christ. 110 Hurst Street Center, Texas www.centerchurchofchrist.com

November 20, 2019 - First Baptist Center, 117 Cora, will host a Community Thanksgiving Celebration service Sunday, November 24, 6pm. All churches are warmly invited! There will be food and fellowship following the service.

November 18, 2019 - Grace and peace from our brother and savior, Jesus, Amen. Sue and I got back home from Madrid, Spain, last Thursday. We had a really nice time with our daughter as we stayed in the old part of Madrid. Sue and I don’t get around as well as we used to, but our daughter was very patient—and finally decided we’d taxi or Uber everywhere. The worst part of traveling overseas was the long—ten hour—flight. It was nice getting home even though it sure was cold when we landed in Texas. It was cold in Madrid, but neither rain nor cold kept people out of the plazas. The city would come alive around 10:00 PM, with our apartment right in the heart of it all. And, by the way, around 9PM is the usual dinner hour!

Paxton Methodist welcomed a Gideon speaker, John Dulin, last Sunday while I was gone. He gave an update on the work of Gideon International, and everyone said he was a particularly good speaker. Paxton Methodist also remembered the veterans who have served our nation. 

Sunday morning our Sunday School lesson focused on the need to remember that only God can impart life. We sometimes get so wrapped up in material things and the comfort they give us that we forget it is only in God that we will find life. In him, we find the strength to get through bad times. Our author quoted Proverbs: “Fools find no pleasure in understanding.” Also from Proverbs was this reminder: “Wise are those who restrain their talking; people with understanding are coolheaded.” 

As we gathered yesterday morning we heard from Mr. Fielder’s granddaughter and awarded her another scholarship. We also discussed some dates for the Paxton Community Christmas Party. Since this is the beginning of the really busy holiday season, dates are filling up fast. We decided to go home, look at our calendars, and discuss a date next Sunday. We also received a thank-you card from the Joaquin Children’s Christmas Fund for our contribution to this wonderful program. On Tuesday, we travel to Holiday for our monthly program. During November, we will be collecting rice and beans for Community Christian Services. Larry and Theresa will celebrate their anniversary this week: We wish them years and years of continued happiness!

My sermon was based on the words of the minor prophet, Haggai. Haggai is referred to as a minor prophet not because his speech or impact was minor but because his words were brief—only two chapters. My focus was on Haggai’s call for reestablishing sacred space—a new temple for the people to come worship and bond with each other, their ancient faith, and God. We modern people may not realize it, but we too need sacred space—special time. This sacred sanctuary doesn’t have to be in a church; it really has more to do with carving out time to experience the Divine—the wonder—the more! 

Because I was not here to write about our previous nursing home program, I am including it here: 

We had a nice group at Focused Care on Monday, November 4—both presenters and “customers.” Before the program started, Theresa distributed holiday door hangers she had bought (an excellent idea for nursing home residents). Minnie kept us going with her piano accompaniment, and Margie and Hilda swelled the ranks of presenters. I was the emcee, sharing anecdotes between songs and pronouncing the benediction at the end. With deference to Veterans Day, Fannie read “I Am the Nation,” a piece from Ann Landers; afterward, she shared a Thanksgiving acrostic poem. Pastor Sarah talked about her own lack of preparedness (running low on gas) compared to God the Planner, and also discussed All Saints Day. Sue performed Dr. Seuss’ Gertrude McFuzz. Nora “sang a book,” a children’s version of “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Then, with the help of her sister Jo, she did a touching “How Can I Keep from Singing Your Praise?” Altogether a lively, fulfilling program.

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.

November 14, 2019 - "Ready or not, here I come" was the way we announced to our companions we were coming to hunt for them when we played "hide and seek" as children. Well, as far as the Holidays are concerned, "ready or not, here they come."

I was thinking the other day about the holidays of my youth (yes, it's been a while!) and going to my grandparents home for Thanksgiving. Though we never went over the river and through the woods in a sleaigh, we did over the years make some rather long trips in the Oldsmobile!

I can still in my memory see my grandmother standing, outlined by the light behind her coming from the house  as she would stand on the porch as we got out of the car. I can smell the pumpkin and cherry pie and the fragrance of roast turkey that had just come from the oven in preparation for tomorrow's feast.

There is also something I remember. I remember the sadness in her eyes when somtimes part of the family was not able to be present for the family gathering. That made me wonder about something. If grandmother was so saddened when part of her family was absent from the family table, how does the Lord feel on His day when part of His family is absent from His table?

Where will you be this coming Lord's Day?

It's something to think about ... TBP

Join us for worship this coming Lord's day at the Center Church of Christ. 110 Hurst Street, Center, Texas. www.centerchurchofchrist.com

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