June 14, 2022 - Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, June 14.

In the 1700’s, Francis Hopkinson was a judge, author, musician, composer, member of the Continental Congress, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. And on June 14, 1777, his design was accepted for the flag of the United States. And you always thought it was Betsy Ross who did that!

Hopkinson’s flag looked pretty much like our present one, except for the number of stars (thirteen). I think the American flag is the most beautiful flag in the world and I fly five on my property. Today is Flag Day, so be sure to fly yours, too!

In Bible times, armies marched into battle behind flags, standards, banners. Many scriptures mention this. One memorable one is in Exodus 17. Moses has just won a great battle and builds an altar in thanks to God. He names it Jehovah-Nissi. Early Bibles translated this as “the Lord My Refuge” or “the Lord My Exaltation”. But most modern translations, like my favorite, the New International Version, use a different term.

The Lord My Banner!

Meet you back here tomorrow,
Bro. David
dmathis@fbccenter.org

June 13, 2022 - The Wimberly Cemetery Homecoming will be held on Sunday, June 19 at noon. Everyone is encouraged to come, enjoy our beautiful cemetery, and fellowship with friends and family over lunch.

If anyone would like to donate to the cemetery fund, that would be greatly appreciated either at the homecoming or by mail. Hope to see you there!

Donations may be mailed to:
Wimberly Cemetery
c/o Wanda O’Rear
11466 FM 2694
Shelbyville, TX 75973

June 13, 2022 - The Called Out Church is celebrating their 21st Annual Homecoming on Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 2pm. Come and enjoy a blessed day of fellowship, music, and refreshments. Special guests will be The Stanleys. The Called Out Church is located at 270 US 96 North, Center, Texas 75935. For more information, contact Chasity Cooper 936-590-2832.

June 13, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother and our teacher, Jesus. Amen. Oh my goodness, it has turned H.O.T. in a hurry! If you didn’t know you lived in Texas, you are fixin’ to get an up-close and personal lesson. Our beautiful East Texas is still in a drought, and it doesn’t seem that we will get relief any time soon. I have a few vegetables in containers and raised beds, but they are suffering even though I water them every day. That old sun can be so brutal. A related but more hopeful tale: I was given a pumpkin at the end of last year and put it in the corner of the raised bed where I grow strawberries. The vines of that pumpkin not only have taken over the strawberry bed but also the raised beds next to it. I have a few plum trees and an apple tree that have fruit on them. My orange tree has three oranges growing. The tree has taken a hit from pesky bugs, but the small green oranges are hanging on. I also have a tree with a few limes on it.

Sue and I are going to see a couple of plays at the Texas Shakespeare Festival in Kilgore. We have gone every year for about 20 years until the pandemic hit. In 2020 the Festival was called off, and last year we just didn’t feel comfortable sitting in a crowded theater. But this year, we’re baaaack! We are going to see The Music Man, one of our favorites, and Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. I used the song, “Trouble in River City” from The Music Man as the theme of my sermon, in my cowardly stepping around the idea of the Trinity.

Sunday morning was Trinity Sunday. It is the one high holy day on the Christian calendar that doesn’t celebrate an event in the life of Jesus or the early church; instead, it celebrates a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church—The Triune God. I am not a brave person, so I pretty much ignored the idea of the Trinity and instead gave a short history lesson on the Council of Nicea: Its task, conferred by Emperor Constantine, was to formulate one way for Christians to understand God the Creator, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Council had little success, and the puzzling creed is still confusing today.

Our scripture for Sunday School was pretty deep. In 1 Corinthians 2: 10-16, we see the appearance of Lady Wisdom, who was also present our Gathering Words at the beginning of Worship. Wisdom was right there when God created the heavens and the earth. Paul tells the Corinthians that it is the Spirit that searches everything and everywhere, including the depth of God—and this Spirit is available to us. During Sunday School we joined in a lively debate on the pending split in the United Methodist Church. Some churches are leaving and forming the Global Methodist Church. Paxton Methodists are awaiting more information from the District and Conference.

The Gathering Words this morning were based on Proverbs 8, dealing with the call from Lady Wisdom. Our Affirmation of Faith was the statement that the Church fathers agreed to back in 325 CE, The Nicene Creed. In the Lutheran Church this creed is said almost every Sunday, but for Methodists, the usual affirmation is the Apostles’ Creed. We began our singing with “Holy, Holy, Holy,” very appropriate for Trinity Sunday. The second hymn was Fanny Crosby’s “To God Be the Glory,” which also speaks of the nature of God.

Our bulletin quotes were both chosen with an eye to the triune God. From Anne Lamott: “I didn’t need to understand the unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.” Vera Nazarian, another American writer, described it this way: “Love is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure: acceptance, understanding, appreciation.”

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.

June 9, 2022 - I can remember as a small boy, often hearing people close their prayers with the phrase, “In Christ’s name and for his sake we pray”. What are we saying with that expression? We are asking God to look upon the face of his son and to deal with us on the merit of our suffering substitute. However, this is only one side of the equation. God wants us to look upon the face of his son and for Christ’s sake suffer, serve and glorify the father.

If you remember, for the sake of 10 righteous souls, God was willing to spare Sodom. David showed Mephibosheth kindness for the sake of Jonathan (II Samuel 9:7). God did not take the kingdom from Solomon during his lifetime for the sake of David his father (I Kings 11:12). Moreover, the Bible instructs us to do certain things for “Christ’s sake”.

For “Christ’s Sake” we are to forgive. “Forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). God has forgiven us for Christ’s sake and therefore for His sake we should forgive one another. To be sure, it is imperative that we forgive one another if we are to be forgiven. Our own forgiveness is pre-conditioned on this in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:14-15 and in the model prayer (Matthew 6:12). If you recall, Peter went on to say we should follow in the steps of Jesus. It is so Christ like to have compassion. What are we willing to do “for Christ’s sake”?

It’s something to think about. . . TBP

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

June 7, 2022 - Good Morning! It’s Tuesday, June 7.

We survived our first day of Vacation Bible School! Actually, it was a good day - lots of kids, lots of excitement, and God blessed. To Him be the glory.

One of the differences between today’s VBS and the VBS in the old days is crafts.  Now, boys and girls work on crafts together, crafts that are connected to the week’s theme. But I remember when boys, led by the men of the church, would do woodworking projects.  The girls would make some sort of froufrou decorative object - we boys paid no attention. Our attention was on the serious business of building shoeshine kits and paper towel dispensers and other important items made out of wood. Manly work. Serious business indeed!

The theme scripture for this year's VBS is Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, prepared ahead of time for us to do". We are His creation and He made us for a purpose. God's work. Serious business indeed!

Meet you back here tomorrow,
Bro. David
dmathis@fbccenter.org

June 6, 2022 - Lydia Missionary Baptist Church of Huxley, Texas is hosting Revival June 12-16 at 7pm nightly Monday through Thursday with Pastor Caleb Silvertooth.

Lydia MBC is located at 14998 Fm 139, Shelbyville, Texas 75973. For more information, call 936-368-2462.

June 6, 2022 - Good Morning! It’s Monday, June 6.

Today is opening day for Vacation Bible School at my church. It’s going to be busy! It’s going to be blessed! And of all the VBS activities, perhaps the one that’s the biggest blessing... is scripture memorization. I have no doubt that some of the verses that are firmly implanted in my brain were ones that I learned, as a child, at Vacation Bible School. 

Is scripture memorization part of your spiritual journey? It should be. It’s a blessing for the soul and for the mind. A spiritual work-out. Mental calisthenics. And like any exercise regimen, you need to start slowly. First, pick a verse that you’re fairly familiar with. And then Read, Write, Repeat. 

Read it through several times. Be sure to pick a translation that you're comfortable reading. Then write it down. Now you’re using a slightly different part of your brain and that’s good reinforcement. Write it in a journal. Write it on post-it-notes and put them on your bathroom mirror or on your refrigerator. Speak the verse out loud. Listen to the verse. Websites like Bible Gateway have audio features. Use a variety of tools. And then repeat, repeat, repeat.

Every day, in our modern culture, we're bombarded with information. Much of it is frivolous and trivial. Some of it is negative and harmful. Why not spend a little time memorizing His Word? Time well spent!

Proverbs 3:3. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

Meet you back here tomorrow,
Bro. David
dmathis@fbccenter.org

June 6, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother and our teacher, Jesus. Amen. We were in double digits at Paxton Methodist—something to celebrate at our little church. Sunday was the Day of Pentecost, a high holy day in both the Christian and Jewish faiths. Pentecost occurs around the beginning of summer and schools letting out. I know it is not officially summer, but it is already feeling that way. I am watering my raised garden beds every day. We were promised some rain last week, but that never materialized.

I took the cans of fruit and a couple of checks to Community Christian Services last Wednesday. I got to visit with old friends as we were unloading the back seat. CCS has plans for expansion, and it looks like construction has begun. What a vital service they provide for the area! This month Paxton Methodist is collecting paper towels and toilet paper for CCS. In downtown Joaquin next to the Community Center are the Little Library and the Blessing Box. Both have been very busy, including garden produce in the Blessing Box annex. The need for nonperishable food items is greater than ever, so if you want to get a book maybe you could also add some cans to the Blessing Box.

Our Sunday School literature started a new quarter and used the same scripture that we had for the Day of Pentecost worship. It isn’t very often that our Sunday School lesson and my sermon share the same Bible verses, but today they did. Our new author emphasized the importance of the Spirit in preparing us to minister to our little part of the planet. The power of God’s Spirit enables us to live in the hope that things will be right with the world. I wouldn’t presume to tell God what to do, but I wish the Spirit would spur us into action to help bring God’s Kingdom to the Earth.

Our hymns today were “Onward, Christian Soldiers” and “Standing on the Promises,” both of which contain such calls to action. The title of my sermon was “New Day, New Way,” a reference to Pentecost, as the official beginning of the Christian Church. Next to Christmas and Easter, it is the most celebrated holy day on the Christian calendar. On the Jewish calendar, it is Shavuot, or Festival of Weeks. Originally it was an agricultural celebration, when people would bring their first crops to God. Later this holy day celebrated God giving the Torah to the people. Our bulletin quote, also about Pentecost, came from Pastor William Sloane Coffin: “Christians have no business thinking that the good life consists mainly in not doing bad things...Pentecost makes it clear that nothing is so fatal to Christianity as indifference.”

Being the first Sunday of the month, we celebrated Holy Communion. In my sermon I quoted John Shay who said we are to be a community that hollers out, “Gather the folks, tell the stories, break the bread!” Today at Paxton Methodist we broke the bread, but we didn’t do much hollering. We’re not much like the old-timey “Shoutin’ Methodists.”

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.

June 2, 2022 - The New Prospect Cemetery Association will hold its annual Homecoming event on Sunday, June 12th, at the church on FM 1645 near Timpson. Lunch will be served outdoors at noon and everyone is invited as we honor the lives of those buried in the cemetery. Please bring covered food, old family photos and genealogy records and join us for fellowship and financial support of the cemetery.

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