September 26, 2016 - House of Refuge Apostolic Ministries would like to invite everyone to come and celebrate with us our Pastor and Wife Anniversary honoring Apostle W. E. Nash Jr and First Lady Pearlie Nash October 2nd at 3:00pm. Guest speaker will be Pastor Alisha Taylor of Mansfield, LA. Everyone is invited, and lunch will be served. The church is located at 215 Church St. Center, TX. 

September 26, 2016 - Sunday was the 19th Sunday after Pentecost.  This is the last Sunday in September.  If predictions are right, we should have some rain and finally some fall-like temperatures.  I am not ready for winter, but I am so ready for fall or autumn.  I used the Epistle Lesson from 1 Timothy 6 and from the Old Testament, Amos 6.  All the lections (scriptures) deal with our love of money and material things and how throughout history our desire for more has moved us further and further away from God.

In my sermon I once again asked my congregation to look at the Epistle Lesson through the eyes of a first century Jew.  Paul took Jesus’ call for Kingdom living very seriously and also that Jesus had said the Kingdom of God was at hand.  Paul urged Timothy and others to grab onto the Kingdom and never let go.  The Kingdom was not something to be experienced in another life but to be encountered in the here and now. Paul Tillich describes a kingdom life as “a self-giving life that affirms the eternity of life with God.”

Our Sunday school lesson was titled “Everlasting Covenant.”  Our scripture was from Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11, much more upbeat than early chapters of Isaiah.  After some sixty chapters of pretty bleak warnings and terrible events, this Isaiah reminds the people that the God of the Covenant is ready to proclaim release for the captives and give them reasons to celebrate.  Our time together went very quickly and many questions and ideas were discussed.  

This past week was a busy one.  On Tuesday a group of us headed to Holiday Nursing Center for a program of song and stories.  It had been a busy day at Holiday, where they had their annual Pageant.  But we had a good time and appreciate the residents of Holiday inviting us to come each month.  It was great to see Sylvia, who played the piano and sang for the residents.  On Thursday we went to Lakeside Assisted Living.  Ms. Hilda had quite a program prepared. Anna Bardwell, Hannah Menifee, and Josiah Menifee played the violin, mandolin, and piano.  They are all three very talented young people.  Our other volunteers kept things lively with songs and readings.  We had a large crowd and a large number of volunteers.

On Thursday evening was our Charge Conference.  In the Methodist system of doing things, the Charge Conference is a big deal.  I was not raised a Methodist and in the beginning I found Methodist terminology and the Methodist way of doing things strange.  The Charge Conference is a way for churches to reflect on the past year and also to file reports and budgets for 2017.  The new District Superintendent for the East District, Rev. Tony Vincent, gave a devotional and conducted the conference.  Rev. Karen Jones and FUMC Center hosted the Methodist Churches of Shelby County.  

I officiated at the wedding of Valerie Jones and Mark McLaughlin at FUMC Carthage on Saturday night.  It was a very nice wedding, short (the way they wanted it) but meaningful.  Valerie and Mark are two wonderful young people, and we all them a wonderful life together.  

“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!

September 22, 2016 - House of Prayer / Casa de Oración is inviting you to a Noche Mexicana, night of worship with Pastor Gilberto Medina. We will have Mexican food after service. Bring your friends! Free admission. Mark your calendars: Saturday, October 8th, at 6 p.m.

House of Prayer / Casa de Oración te invita a una Noche Mexicana; noche de adoración con el Pastor Gilberto Medina. Tendremos comida mexicana al final del servicio. Trae a tus amigos! Entrada gratis. Marca tu calendario: Sábado 8 de octubre, a las 6 p.m.

September 20, 2016 - "And Joses or Joseph, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet." (Acts 4:36-37)

No one forced Barnabas to sell his possessions and bring the proceeds to the apostles. No one commanded him to do so and others had already done so. He was not the first to step forward in support of the new church. Barnabas was not, however, following someone's example. 

He was not of Palestine, he was a native of Cyprus and free of the prejudice and bigotry manifest in some of the Palestinian Jews.

His giving of his possessions seemed to verify his total surrender to Christ. From that day forth, nothing would hinder his service to the Lord.

When Paul tried to join the other apostles in Jerusalem, it was Barnabas who stepped forward and took Pauls stead with the others, eventually getting approval and acceptance for Paul from the others.

When persecutions scattered many members of the church in Jerusalem, some went to Antioch and so many began to be saved there that Barnabas was called upon to go there. This shows the confidence the other apostles had in him and his obedience in going tells even more of his good example.

We see here that Barnabas was an accomplished soul winner. "For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord." (Acts 11:24)

Barnabas was presented with an opportunity in Antioch that many pastors long for; the opportunity to build a strong church and to enjoy a long and successful pastorate there. Barnabas, however, had no motive other than to teach the gospel and realized that he needed help in Antioch, he went in search of Paul and brought him back, together, they worked there for a year, teaching the gospel. during this time, they were the first of Jesus' disciples to be called Christians.

Paul and Barnabas were the first missionaries to be sent out by the Holy Spirit and the church at  Jerusalem. "As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "now separate to Me, Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus." (Acts 13:2-4) 

After a time they returned to Jerusalem and while they were there the word came down by council affirming that salvation is by grace through faith without the deeds of the law. (Acts 15:1-12)

Barnabas truly sat a good example by his service to the Lord... We need such people as Barnabas today, people with generous hands, minds and hearts, who are willing to set a good example for others to follow... May God bless and keep you each day...

September 19, 2016 - Sunday was the 18th Sunday after Pentecost.  The Old Testament Lesson came from Jeremiah 8: 18-9:1 and it is a mournful passage.  Jeremiah speaks of God’s heart being broken.  The idea of God hurting has been debated from the time of the early church fathers and mothers.  In my own theology I can certainly understand God feeling pain and sadness at the terrible stewards of creation we sometimes are.  The passage ends with the question, “Is there no balm in Gilead?  Is there no physician?”    

The Epistle Lesson was 1 Timothy 2: 1-7.  The letter writer calls upon fellow Jesus followers to pray for their rulers.  I am not sure that everyone was receptive to the idea of praying for Caesar.  I am not sure we latter-day Christians are any more willing to pray for our leaders.  Are Clinton supporters praying for Mr. Trump, and Trump followers praying for Secretary Clinton?  Somehow, I doubt it!

This week is a busy one for Paxton Methodist.  On Tuesday we go to Holiday Nursing Home for our monthly ministry.  Mrs. Hilda works hard to organize these programs, and we really appreciate her devotion.  Thursday is the monthly gathering at Lakeside Assisted Living, full of songs, stories, and fellowship.  Our programs start at 2PM, and all are welcome to join us.  On Thursday we also have our yearly Charge Conference—a Methodist organizational thing.  Not only will we be turning in our yearly reports, but Paxton will also be presenting its method of assuring the continuation of our scholarship program. 

This month we are collecting macaroni and cheese for Community Christian Services.  Gene came into church with his arms full of mac-n-cheese boxes—he and Joy are always faithful contributors to our monthly donation.  Gene is also celebrating another birthday this week: Happy birthday and many more to come!  A shot clinic will be held at the Joaquin Senior Center this week on Friday, September 23: Flu, pneumonia, hepatitis, and T-dap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) shots will be offered from 9:30 until noon.  All are welcome.  Paxton Methodist has been a long-time supporter of the Gideons, and this year we will have a Gideon speaker on Sunday, October 9th.

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!

September 19, 2016 - “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”   Psalms 107:2 

“Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.” Malachi 3:16  

In 2008 Pam and I took a three week vacation to the Pacific Northwest. I once lived in Oregon and had for many years wanted to visit there again.  On our way up, we visited Yellowstone, spent several days along the Snake River, and a few days in Oregon and Washington.   On our way home we drove down the Highway 5 along the beautiful Oregon /California Pacific Coast line. 

It didn’t take long to us to see the difference between the Northwest and our home in the Bible-Belt.  (Only 25% Washington and Oregon’s population belong to a church…of any kind.)  And instead of the Christian decal of the fish on automobiles, we saw a large number of symbols promoting atheism. When we saw the fish sticker on a car one day, we followed it into a parking lot only to find that the fish had feet and the anti- God symbol “Darwin” inscribed on it.

But when we stopped at a Colorado Motel on the way home, a man wearing a large wooden cross checked us in. “He’s obviously a Christian”, I whispered to Pam.  As the clerk filled out his paper work, I asked him, “Are you a Christian?”…and never looking up, he almost inaudibly mumbled under his breath one word…. “Yeah”.  Since he never said anything else, it was obvious he didn’t want to talk about Jesus.

When we got to our room, I told Pam that if the man had said “No” instead of “Yeah”, it would have meant about the same thing.  This I know for sure:  The world will never be won to Jesus if we are just cross wearers instead of cross bearers….

And if all we can say about Jesus is…..
“Yeah”.

September 19, 2016 - You are cordially invited to attend the 183rd anniversary celebration of McMahan's Chapel on Saturday, October 8, 2016 beginning at 10:30am. Church at 10:30 and lunch afterwards.

For further information call 936-275-5542 or 936-275-2640

Southern Plainsmen Quartet

September 16, 2016 - Annual Yellowpine homecoming services are being planned for September 24-25. There will be a gospel singing at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, September 24, with local participation. The homecoming service will begin at 10:00 a.m. Sunday, September 25. This service will be highlighted by special music from the Southern Plainsmen Quartet and the message by Bro. T.A. Lane. "Dinner on the ground" will be served at noon, followed by more singing with the Southern Plainsmen at 1:30 p.m. Activities will be held at the campus of Yellowpine-Macedonia Baptist Church, located at the intersection of Highway 87 South and FM 2343 in Sabine County's Yellowpine community. For information, contact Bro. Lane at 409-584-1144 or 409-382-8765.

September 15, 2016 - We the members at Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ Hwy 87 South, Shelbyville, TX would like to invite everyone to come on Saturday September 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm to our Musician's Appreciation.  Please bring your choir or praise team and help us celebrate some talented young men of God.  Thanks and God Bless!!!  For information please contact Feleshia Thompson (936) 590-1834.

September 14, 2016 - There once was an old farmer who was walking along a turn row going home after a long days work in the fields. As he walks he hears a voice from the ground saying, "Hey, pick me up." As he looked around he didn't see anyone around so he began his walk again. Once again he heard, "Hey, please pick me up." As he looked down at a mud hole that he was walking past, he noticed a small frog looking up at him. The frog spoke up and said, "Please pick me up. I am a frog now but if you pick me up and kiss me I will turn into a beautiful woman who will give you anything you desire."

The old farmer looked with astonishment at the frog because he could not believe what he had just heard. He picked the frog up, looked at it this way and that. Then without saying a word he put the frog in his shirt pocket. As he began to walk along the turn row, the frog pushed it's head out of his pocket and said to the farmer, "Aren't you going to kiss me? I will give you anything that you want." The old farmer looked down at the frog and said, "Naw, at my age think I would rather have a talking frog."

You see the farmer had learned over the years to be satisfied with what he had. We sometimes think we always have to have more, or the new and improved version of everything. We just can't be satisfied with what we have and realize that we are blessed already.

When we learn to be content with what God has blessed us with we can live happier, less stressful, joy filled lives. Paul the apostle wrote to the church at Phillipi while he was in prison. He said, "For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:11-13) To live content lives, Paul is saying, that whether we are rich or poor, hungry or well fed, whether we have the nicest boat, biggest house, or live in a shack, our joy and our strength comes from Christ and Him alone.

So ask yourself these questions. Is there anything going on in your life that God can't fix? Is there anything that you don't have right now that you just can't live without? Is there something or someone in your life that seems to control your happiness. If you answered no to these questions, then you have probably learned to be content with what God has given you and you trust Him to sustain you. If you answered yes, then you need to realize that the God who created everything in the universe is waiting for you to put your total trust in Him. He wants you to rely on His strength. Remember what Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all theses things will be added to you." (Matt. 6:33)

God promises to give you all that you need and just like that old farmer you can be happy and content with just a talking frog. Trust Him, Believe Him, turn your life over to Him and His strength will take care of all your needs.

I'm just Sayin
Mike Belgard

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