August 1, 2016 - Sunday was the 11th Sunday after Pentecost.  The Gospel Lesson for this Sunday was the Matthew version of the Lord’s Prayer.  For over fifteen hundred years the church fathers have established a three-year outline of the scriptures to be used on each Sunday.  There is usually a reading from the Old Testament, a reading from the Psalms, a reading from one of the New Testament letters, and a reading from one of the Gospels.  I saw in the paper that Dr Welborn, my mentor when I began to explore the ministry, is coming to Center Methodist to help them celebrate their 150 years of service and ministry.  He was such a great help and teacher.  He urged me to preach the lectionary as I started out in ministry to make sure all areas of the two testaments and all the major themes were covered.  I have been a lectionary preacher for eighteen years, but from time to time I do wander off the reservation.

Our Sunday school lesson from Romans 6 dealt with one of the defining mysteries of our faith:  As “Hymn of Promise” says, “In our death, a resurrection.”  Paul speaks of the joys of eternal life.  I think we sometimes fail to realize that “eternity” for a Christian doesn’t come at death but at the moment we “put on Christ.”  We can experience the joys of the Kingdom right now—in our up-and- down human living.  We all appreciate Fannie’s work preparing our lesson—all the extras she adds make our time really uplifting. 

My sermon last week and again this Sunday focused on the Lord’s Prayer.  This prayer is found in the Matthew and Luke gospels, taught by Rabbi Jesus in two different settings.  Also, the prayer differs somewhat in each version.  A meaningful prayer life has been a stumbling block in my spiritual life; I so admire those who pray with such ease and confidence.  William McGill said, “The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us but that we will finally hear Him.”  So I pray with confusion but also hope. 

I want to wish Mike McCoy a happy birthday.  We always enjoy when Mike, Liz, and Lillie head up to East Texas to worship with us.  So Mike, if you heard a slightly off-key angelic choir singing “Happy Birthday,” it was your friends at Paxton!  Our attendance this year has been up, and this was the first Sunday in quite awhile we were not in double digits.  That doesn’t sound all that great to most, but we get excited when we are in those magic double numbers!

This past Thursday volunteers met at Lakeside Assisted Living at 2:00 for our monthly ministry.  My loyal wife went and reported back that everyone had a great time.  Joyce Hughes and her family performed along with so many of the regulars who so faithfully serve.  It’s nice that Maggie and Gene were feeling good enough to attend—especially since Maggie got drafted into the emcee job.  I am hobbling on a broken foot and feeling sorry for myself.  The doctors and I are hoping that my broken bone will heal by itself if I stay off it, keeping it wrapped and propped up.  I will go back in three weeks to see if I will require surgery. 

Monday, August 1st will be our ministry at Green Acres.  We will meet at 2:00.  During the month of August we will collect children’s socks and underwear from Community Christian Services.  Next Sunday we will celebrate Holy Communion. 
             
“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!

August 1, 2016 - Most of The New Testament was originally written in Greek since  Greek was the World Language at that time.....


 
In the mid-sixties I was visiting a church member in The Orange, Texas Memorial Hospital when I overheard Dr. Allen talking with another patient in the room.  The patient was moaning "Paneo", "Paneo" and when I recognized he was speaking Greek, I offered to interpret for the doctor. "He is saying 'Pain, pain'…", I said.  "He is saying he hurts".

The patient (Nicolas Achaikos) was a crew member on the Greek grain ship "Kanaris" that was anchored at the Orange City docks.  Since The Greek Orthodox Church is Greece 's dominant church, I asked him, "Soi baptizo en te ekklesia?" (Have you been baptized in the church). "Nomos, Nomos", he quickly replied…. (Meaning he was named at his christening.) I agreed to go to his ship and ask the First Mate to let him fly home early.

As I entered the ship the crew had just finished dinner and after I introduced myself, they set a large platter on the table in front of me and handed me a butcher knife. As I was wondering what to do with it, they placed an apple on the platter.  I cut it in half and as I ate it, the curious crew watched my every move.

When I delivered Nicolas' request to the First Mate he stuttered partly in English and partly Greek, "Estin…estin.."(he is…he is).. and as he pointed to his head, he said, "Crazzie, Crazzie!". He said the boy was playing sick so they'd fly him home early.  He also said  if I was willing to work,  he'd let me  sail to  Athens with them on The Kanaris  and return  to Orange in a couple of months.

The next Sunday, I told the deacons about my Kanaris experience and asked if I could take a couple of months off to visit Athens .   While the other men laughed, Chairman Joe Pineda boomed out, "Preacher, you are 'Crazzie!... Crazzie'!"

I remember the details of The Kanaris incident very well, but have forgotten most of my Greek.  After all, fifty years is a long time to remember something …..

…especially Greek.

July 29, 2016 - Blount Chapel Baptist Church of Center will be hosting Revival Services on August 3rd to August 5th at 7:30pm nightly. Everyone is invited!

Guest speakers are:

  • Wednesday - Pastor Bruce Yarborough
  • Thursday - Pastor Marion Osby, Smith Chapel Church, Timpson, Texas
  • Friday - Pastor Bryan Owens, Sr., Pleasant Grove BC, Center, Texas

Homecoming service will be Sunday, August 7th at 12noon. Welcome home message by Pastor Byron Coutee, Jr.

July 29, 2016 - Beginning August 7th McMahan Chapel will hold its afternoon Worship Service at 1:30pm.  For as long as anyone can remember, we have met for Worship Services at 2pm.  For the past couple of years we have offered a lunch in the Event Center on 1st and 3rd Sundays at 12:30. And now it just makes sense to move the service up in hopes that those that fellowship with us at lunch will stay to Worship.

On July 3rd we welcomed Rev. Martin Doran as our new pastor.  Most everyone knows Rev. Doran because he has been the pastor at the 1st United Methodist Church in San Augustine for the past 2 years.  If you have not heard him preach, we invite you to worship with us.  Join us for fellowship and lunch at 12:30.  Again, 1st and 3rd Sundays.  

McMahan Chapel is approximately 10 miles East of San Augustine on Highway 21, turn south onto Spur 35 and travel 2 miles.  From Milam, stay on Highway 21 traveling west for 10 miles, again turning south onto Spur 35.  

First United Methodist Church Welcomes Dr. Wesley Welborn
Sesquicentennial Celebration: 150 Years to Celebrate, 150 Ways to Serve

Center, Texas – July 27, 2016 – Commemorating their year-long sesquicentennial anniversary milestone “150 Years to Celebrate, 150 Ways to Serve,” the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Center welcomes Dr. Wesley Welborn on Sunday, July 31 at a combined worship service beginning at 10:15 a.m. Sunday School begins at 9:15 a.m. and a covered dish luncheon will be held immediately following the worship service.
 
Dr. Wesley Welborn is a Texan, born in Corpus Christi and graduated from Victoria High School. After graduation, he attended McMahon School of Stenotype in Houston.  From there, Wesley was appointed Official Court Reporter of the 145th Judicial District Court in Nacogdoches. There he met Becky Lock at the Stephen F. Austin State University Wesley Foundation.  

They married in Elkhart in 1970.  In 1971, Wesley had a powerful experience of God’s grace and love in Christ Jesus.  He prayerfully asked for and received the call to dedicate his life to preaching and teaching about that love and grace. Wesley was appointed pastor of the Smith Chapel Circuit in Mineola on February 1, 1972 and served ten appointments, including FUMC Center, Texas from 1994 to 2000.

In addition to Wesley’s pastoral responsibilities at FUMC Center, he found ways to actively minister to the community through his involvement as a member of the Center Noon Lions Club, the Ministerial Alliance, the Mallory Franks Foundation, and his weekly radio devotionals. After over 44 years of service, he retired at annual conference this year, but will continue to serve the Conference as an Intentional Interim Minister.  Wesley and Becky are currently living in Elkhart and have two children and four grandchildren.

Additional information regarding FUMC’s 150th anniversary celebration plans for October 2016 will be announced as details become available or by contacting Rev. Karen Jones at FUMC (936) 598-2707.

July 27, 2016 - Wesley Welborn will preach at the 10:15 am combined service on Sunday, July 31st. Dr. Welborn was pastor of the church from 1993-1999. In addition to Dr. Welborn’s pastoral responsibilities he was also very active in the community and found ways to minister to the community through his involvement as a member of the Center Noon Lions Club, The Ministerial Alliance, The Mallory Franks Foundation, and his weekly radio devotionals.

He along with other former FUMC Pastors will be guest preachers as part of our 150th Anniversary.

Following the service, a covered dish luncheon will be held in the fellowship hall including a celebration of our 100th Anniversary.

Please join us for church to welcome back our beloved former pastor Dr. Wesley Welborn.

July 26, 2016 - The Youth Event is coming Saturday, July 30th, 2016 at 10am at the Lily of the Valley COGIC featuring The Lily of the Valley Sunshine Band & Purity Class, Mount Zion CME Puppet Ministry, Youth Choirs, Solos, Inspirational Speakers, and much more. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proberbs 22:6

Registration - Bring can goods or non perishable items. *All can goods will be donated to Shelby County Outreach*

Bible Drill - Make sure to bring your Bibles

Interested in participating - contact Sister Jennifer Ingram, Sister Debbie Tanner, Sister Brianna Suell by July 23.

Lily of the Valley COGIC is located at 620 Greer Street Center, TX 75935. Elder Cleon D. Williams is the Pastor.

For more information contact: Jennifer Ingram (936)598-5004, Debbie Tanner (936)462-9604, Brianna Suell (936)572-0036

July 25, 2016 - Sunday was the 10th Sunday after Pentecost.  The Gospel Lesson for this Sunday was Luke 11: 1-13.  After Jesus had gone to a quiet place to pray, his disciples wanted Jesus to teach them to pray.  The prayer Jesus teaches them is what we call the Lord’s Prayer.  It is a very simple prayer that has become part of most Christian churches’ worship services.  The request for the Lord to teach them to pray may seem an odd one.  All of them had been taught as children how to pray the Shema, which was to be prayed three times a day.  They certainly were taught the various prayers for the many high holy days of the Jewish faith.  It was how Jesus prayed that intrigued the disciples, and they wanted to be able to have that connection to the Divine that Jesus obviously had.  My sermon next week will be on the same Gospel Lesson and will look at the various petitions in the prayer and how the Luke Gospel’s Lord’s Prayer differs from the Matthew Gospel version.

Our Sunday school lesson continued Paul’s letter to the Romans.  This letter was certainly thought to be crucial to Protestant reformers like Martin Luther and later John Wesley.  In the first verse of Chapter 5, Paul says it is by Jesus’ trust in God that we are made one with God.  Through Jesus’ faith, we have peace with God.  Our lesson focused in on the word “hope” and how important hope is in one’s faith story.  Troubles are real—sometimes too real and overwhelming.  But the answer to trouble is hope.  Joe selected hymns from the Cokesbury Hymnal.  The first one I didn’t really know but it was a wonderful, musical song; we sang all five verses sounded pretty good!  We always appreciate Hilda coming to worship with us at Paxton after having played the piano at Tenaha Methodist’s worship service—I guess we owe her overtime! 

Last week several volunteers went to Holiday Nursing Center for songs, stories, and fellowship.  It really seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves.  Sue read a Dr. Seuss story and Nora sang a patriotic song, a song about peace, and then her own version of “Take Me Home, Country Road.”  Pastor Matt shared with the group about his plans for the coming week which includes a family get- together in Austin.  One could tell that he was really looking forward to this special family time and also a break from all his studies.  This coming Thursday we will head to Lakeside Assisted Living Center for our monthly ministry.  Our program will begin at 2:00.  We certainly missed Sylvia at Holiday and hope she is feeling better soon.
             
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!

July 25, 2016 - Gates Chapel Baptist Church of Shelbyville will host Homecoming services Sunday, August 7th at 3 pm. Rev Curtis Archie of the East Liberty Baptist Church will bring the message. 

Also, Revival services Monday thru Friday August 8 - 12 at 7:30 nightly. Rev. Timothy Teel of the Bell Chapel Baptist Church of San Augustine, TX will be the evangelist. Everyone is invited to attend says Pastor Frankie Cooper. 

July 25, 2016 - "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:2
 
A young preacher going to his first pastorate met with the Deacon Chairman to discuss his Pastoral duties.  "You can't preach on tithing," the deacon began…"cause we don't believe in it."…"and you can't preach on lying or stealing because there's s lot of thieves and liars in the church". "And don't preach on gossip or drinking…well you get the point."  The bewildered young preacher gasped, "Then what can I preach on?"  "Preach on the Jews!" he answered.  "There aint one within a hundred miles of here!"

That story is funny… and sad.  When a deacon once told me not to preach on abortion, I asked him why.  "Because someone in the congregation might have had one ", he bellowed.  I told him that I always preached God's forgiveness for any and all sins and that it's no harder for God to forgive a person for an abortion than to forgive them for stealing s pencil.  Aborting a baby can be forgiven like any other sin.

The answer to the young preacher's question is an easy one.  Preach the Word…all of it… always with love…even when it makes some folks unhappy.  A new convert will be so happy to have his sins forgiven that he'll thank the preacher for preaching the truth.

As Billy Sunday used to say, "If you skin your congregation…but do it with love…. they'll go to the tannery with you to get the hide."

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