November 14, 2022 - Good Morning!  It’s Monday, November 14.

In every church there are elder saints who serve as examples of faithful service.  They are mentors.  They are leaders.  They are a blessing.  Take a moment and remember people like that who have touched your life.

Marian Hooker was one of those people at my church.  And early this morning she went home to glory.  I had the honor to visit her in the hospital last night.  Her family and I sang hymns around her bedside.  She was ready to go.

A life well lived.  A legacy of faithful service.  A blessing.

Meet you back here tomorrow,

Bro. David
dmathis@fbccenter.org

November 10, 2022 - Have you ever walked through a cemetery and taken the time to look, really look at the tombstones there? It is often quite interesting to walk among the old tombstones and see the epitaphs that have been written by men.  

Often, in older cemeteries you will find some very ornate tombstones and monuments. Perhaps it has been erected in honor of a child taken far too soon from his or her parents. It might be a man or woman taken in the springtime of life. Then again, it might be an aged father or mother, respected and honored. You see a name and you find some verse of hope on that tombstone or monument.

Today, you usually find only the name and the dates. You see the year they were born and the year they died and there is a small dash in between. The dash is what we do between the time we are born and the time we die. That’s what is most important.  The   dash, you see, is critical because it is your identity. It is who you are, husband, wife, mom, dad, teacher.  

The dash is your influence, how you touch the lives of others. The dash is your legacy.  It is what you leave behind to future generations.

When your life is over, when the pale horse and his rider cross your threshold, when your love ones erect a monument to you in some cemetery, what will your dash represent?

It’s something to think about. . . TBP

November 9, 2022 - The Shelby Family Life Center will be hosting a fall festival fundraiser on Saturday, November 12th starting at 12 noon. We will have lots of food, games and fun activities.

We will also be hosting a 3 on 3 basketball tournament in our Family Life Center Gym. In person registration is from 11am until 11:30am for $10 per person. Four players per team. Bring a team or join a team.

Come out and join us.

November 7, 2022 - Good Morning!  It’s Monday, November 7.

I grew up in Houston in the 1960’s, so I grew up as a Houston Astros fan.  I was a fan even before they were called the Astros.  The team entered the league in 1962 as the Colt 45’s - a very cool name - but the name was changed in 1965, with the opening of the Astrodome.

In the early days, the team wasn’t very good, and they had to literally give tickets away.  My dad was a minister, and any minister could sit in the outfield bleachers for free.  He and I went to a lot of Astro games.  Last Saturday night a ticket was a prized commodity and cost a pretty penny.  And, at the end of the game, my Astros were crowned World Series champions.

They won it back in 2017, too, but that win was tainted by accusations that the team had cheated. This second championship was a second chance for greatness.  But, after the game, on the Astro's night of triumph, the sportscasters couldn’t help but bring up the cheating scandal once again.

God is a God of second chances, but the Bible reminds us that, when we fall short of God’s best, there are consequences.  Moses was a mighty leader, but he wasn’t allowed to lead his people into the Promised Land.  David was a great King, but the honor of building the Temple was given to his son, Solomon.  The Apostle Peter became a wise father to the Early Church, but his betrayal of Jesus must have haunted his life.

Cautionary tales.  God gives second chances.  But sin has a price.

Meet you back here tomorrow,

Bro. David
dmathis@fbccenter.org

November 3, 2022 - One of the things there is too little of in our world today is praise. People have become so filled with critical ideas and harsh words that a little genuine praise and appreciation is often mistaken for flattery. Yet, every heart yearns for appreciation. All of us want to know that our efforts, however small they might be, are appreciated and noticed.

The Apostle Paul was noted for his compliments, whenever praise was due. Once he wrote to the Thessalonians and said, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thessalonians 1:2-3)  Neither Paul nor the church would have been better off had he withheld his words of praise and commendation.

Our world is filled with wickedness, it is true. But there is also much goodness, patience, sacrifice, loyal work and kindness that needs to receive credit. Solomon said, “Take away the dross from the silver, and there cometh forth a vessel for the refiner.” (Proverbs 25:4)

Look for something to praise in someone you meet this week. If you are sincere in your praise, you will lift a person’s courage and determination every time you open your lips. Remember that someone’s circumstances of life may be molded by your words today.

It’s something to think about. . . TBP

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

November 2, 2022 - First Baptist Church of Center is hostiong a Blood Drive on Thursday, November 3 from 10am until 2:30pm in the fellowship hall.

The church is located at 117 Cora Street, Center, Texas 75935. Click here to schedule an appointment time.

Free Blanket for Donors! Walk-ins welcome!

Be sure to Eat. Drink. Bring I.D.

November 1, 2022 - Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, November 1.

What a difference one little inch makes.

On this day, five centuries ago, the world got its first look at an iconic work of art called “The Creation of Adam”. But the artwork wasn’t hanging on the wall of a gallery - it was 66 feet up on the ceiling of a church - the Sistine Chapel. When a pope dies, cardinals from around the world gather in this worship room to decide on the new one. And when they look heavenward, they see this creation by Michelangelo.

You’ve seen the image - the hand of God reaching out to the hand of Adam with the spark of life. But the hands aren’t touching. From 66 feet below it’s difficult to see, but there’s a gap between the two hands. They are separated by the smallest measure of distance. They are separated by one inch.  And in that inch Michelangelo reminds us that God is Other, that He is above all others . . . and that we’re not Him.

What a difference one little inch makes.

Meet you back here tomorrow,

Bro. David
dmathis@fbccenter.org

“Your Father knows your needs…” Matt. 6:8

October 31, 2022 - While hitch-hiking home from seminary in 1955, a kind motorist gave me a ride from Springfield, Mo. to Mena, Arkansas. I was hungry and looked forward to a meal at Mother’s when I got home. As I “thumbed” for another ride, an elderly man approached me from a nearby house.

Smiling and patting me on the back, he said, “Son, the Lord has sent this to you,” and he handed me a silver dollar. After thanking him… and the Lord… I ordered a 35 cent hot dog at a nearby café. 

I’ve often wondered about that elderly man. How could he have possibly known I was broke? But I don’t guess he really had to know…

…as long as God did.

October 31, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. We finally got some much-needed rain, but it will take a lot more to break this drought. This will be my last article and weekly newsletter for a while because I am having hand surgery next week. I don’t know what restrictions my doctor will give me, but I know I won’t be typing for awhile. And like that old joke, if I knew how to play the piano, I wouldn’t be able to do that either!

Last Monday evening, we had our annual Church Conference. Our District Superintendent, Dr. White, presided over the meeting. The first item was whether Paxton would leave the United Methodist Church. The vote was unanimous, with two abstentions, to split from the UMC and join the Global Methodist denomination. After the vote was certified, Dr. White left to go to two more church conferences. Because he wouldn’t have time to eat, Sue made him a snack package: sweet, salty, crunchy, and bottled water.

All the necessary paperwork to leave the United Methodist Church was filed—by email and snail mail—at the conference office in Houston. The church has also applied to the Global Methodist Church to become part of this new Methodist denomination. Starting on January 1, 2023, Paxton United Methodist Church will be known simply as Paxton Methodist Church. The Global Methodist Church is beginning the process of finding a new Global Methodist pastor for Paxton come the new year. I will continue to serve at least until January. The idea of leaving Paxton is a very hard decision, but it is time to completely retire.

The scripture for our Sunday School lesson was Ezekiel 47: 21-23. The writer continued with the theme that we Christians are to seek and show compassion for those with the least in our world. Today the scripture and our writer tackled the hot button issue of immigration. As with any group of people, there were various thoughts on this issue around our Sunday School table. We did agree that we must begin by treating all we meet with kindness. We also decided that there was way too much hate spewed on cable TV and that the rhetoric and vitriol had to be dialed back. And it was time that our elected senators and representatives to come up with a comprehensive immigration policy.
In our worship service we celebrated All Saints Sunday. For eighteen hundred years, Christian churches have celebrated November 1st as all Saints Day. Of course, All Hallows Eve comes the day before, AKA Halloween. The name “Christian” kind of stuck to the Jesus followers as the way most people in the empire referred to this new sect; eventually Jesus followers began to call themselves Christians. But the second most-used name was “Saints,” the term St. Paul used for Jesus followers.
For someone to be identified as a saint in the Catholic Church, they must meet certain criteria. But the Methodist view is more like Paul’s understanding of the word. Tradition tells us that on All Hallows Day, we remember those who have died in the past year. But we also honor the saints in our lives, as well as the saints of our church—those who have influenced us greatly.
Our church service began with a Gathering Hymn—“When the Saints Go Marching In,” a jazzy version by none other than Louie Armstrong. Sue led us in our Gathering Words, based on Psalm 149 and our affirmation of faith, the traditional Apostles’ Creed. Our second song was was “Joy to the World,” too beautiful a hymn to be sung only at Christmas time. And finally, we sang the old favorite “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” St. Augustine provided our first bulletin quote: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” The second came from Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

During October, Paxton Methodists collected peanut butter and jelly for Community Christian Services; after church, we loaded up my truck with sacks to deliver next week. In November, we will collect bags, boxes, and cans of beans and rice. This month we will also be getting information for “adopting” a child from the Children’s Christmas part of CCS. Remember that a Blessing Box is located next to the Community Center in downtown Joaquin, and right next to the Blessing Box is a mini library. So you can drop off some canned goods and get a book to read!

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

October 28, 2022 - We know that 365 days a year belong to God, including October 31st. So rather than celebrate a worldly Holiday, let’s show kids how to celebrate the name of Jesus at “Hallelujah Night 2022.” This is something that we do for our community and church kiddos to have a fun and safe place to go and celebrate what God has done for us…

There will be kids Praise & Worship starting at 6:00, followed by Laser Tag, Obstacle Courses, Train Ride, Free Pizza, Free Candy, Free Snow Cones. Everyone is welcome. Please share for the whole community to come and enjoy some good Christian Fellowship.

Monday, October 31st, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Center Christian Fellowship
2471 US Highway 96 North
Center, TX 75936

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