"I remember the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother…" 2 Timothy 1:5

January 30, 2016 - When I conducted a funeral last week in Center, Texas I visited with Brother Ed McCrae who works part time at Mangum Funeral Home. When the name "Sister Richards" came up, I asked if he remembered her. “I sure do," he smiled. "She brought me into this world." Then I recalled that Mother had once told me that my grandmother as a mid-wife and had brought many babies into the world.

Most folks called her Sister Richards but she was "Mama" to all of her grandchildren. She preached from the age of 18 until shortly before her death at 84. We lived a field and two barbed wire fences from her in East Center for several years and we visited Mama often. She would meet us at the door and immediately ask, "Are you children hungry?" She always had food on the table (covered by a table cloth) and some cold biscuits for Uncle Billy Gean to make his onion sandwich when he got home from school.

When Mama and I worked in her garden she'd whisper, "Thank you, Jesus…Thank you, Jesus...” Mother called one day to tell me that Mama was in the Center Hospital seriously ill. When I got to her room, she was in a coma and Mother was kneeling by her bed. I tearfully whispered "Mama, thank you for helping us all these years." "I love you, Mama".

She crossed the Jordan a few days later. I don't know if she heard what I told her that day…but she knows now…and she knows I meant it….

….with all my heart.

January 29, 2016 - Through the pages of the 90-day workbook, A Daily Choice, Overcoming Life-controlling Problems, people from all backgrounds are finding freedom from addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling, codependency issues, eating disorders, sex addictions, violence and criminal behaviors. Daily lessons help you discover root causes of emotional and spiritual road blocks that have kept you trapped in a cycle of confusion, addiction and wrong choices. These practical solutions for healing of the total person have been powerfully demonstrated in the lives of Charles and Sharon Burton since 1971, through their personal victories over alcoholism, abuse, bitterness and a broken marriage.

Their ability to explain the simplicity of God’s life-changing principles can transform your life. You can overcome your failures, regain your self-respect and take control of your future.

To learn more about the program you can check out the web-site at recoverysupport.org

Overcomers Recovery Support Program is an accredited program that is used in many rehab and prison facilities. The program hours can be used for probation, community service and many other avenues requiring certified hours of completion. However, you may not need the program in this way; you may just need some help and understanding with life’s issues. The class is conducted in a confidential manner, in a safe environment and instructed by caring Christian facilitators.

The program will be starting soon at the First Assembly of God Fellowship Hall in Timpson, Texas. Located at 652 Houston Street Timpson, Texas 75975. If interested in signing up for the next class, please call 936-254-2999 and leave a message. Someone will return your call as soon as possible. www.timpsonassembly.org.

January 25, 2016Sunday was the Third Sunday after the Epiphany. The Old Testament Lesson was Nehemiah 8: 1-3, 5-6, 8-10. Ezra brought out a scroll of the Torah and read words of hope to a defeated, beaten, subjected, hungry people. The words of hope were not only welcomed but vitally necessary. When Ezra finished he stepped down from the makeshift pulpit and walked among the people carrying the scroll. The people reached out to touch the Holy Book of Israel and no longer felt as hopeless. No, their multitude of problems still existed but they were once again given hope.

In today’s Gospel Lesson from Luke 4: 14-21 we see Jesus reading from the holy scroll that contained the words of the prophet Isaiah. It too was a hopeful message heard by Jesus’ friends and neighbors. We know that Jesus’ message wasn’t always accepted with joy by his neighbors but on that Sabbath Day so long ago the people were impressed by the young Rabbi’s words.

Our crowd was not great but we had a really good Sunday school Lesson from the Gospel of John. Our lesson was about the first of many signs that pointed to Jesus’ special nature. We see Jesus performing a miracle—a sign as he changes water into wine at the Wedding at Cana. Joe and Hilda worked together to bring us our music. Ms. Lillie has a birthday this week so we sang “Happy Birthday” to her even though she is in Houston. Maybe she felt a warming of the heart. We sure miss Lillie and one Sunday soon we know that Lillie, Liz, and Mike will venture to the wilds of East Texas. We all wondered how Carolyn is dealing with all the snow. She is visiting her sister and other family in Pennsylvania.

This Thursday will be our ministry to Lakeside Assisted Living. Hilda said we had a good number of volunteers at Holiday last Tuesday. She thought that Pastor Matt was going to be able to join the volunteers. This month is almost over. We have been collecting cans of tuna this month but in February we will be collecting rice and dried beans for Community Christian Services.

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 9:15 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!

January 28, 2016 Center, Texas – The First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Center will begin our year-long celebration "150 Years to Celebrate, 150 Years to Serve" recognizing our sesquicentennial anniversary milestone on Sunday, January 31, 2016 with Rev. Keefe Cropper, a former pastor with FUMC, delivering the sermon.

Sunday School begins at 9:15 a.m. with a combined worship service at 10:15 a.m. followed by a covered dish luncheon at 11:45 a.m. One of the most important ways we serve our church is through our attendance, so we are hoping to have 150 or more in attendance with us on Sunday! Please invite friends and family to worship with us and enjoy a delicious meal following the service. In addition, our anniversary celebration will continue Sunday evening for our 5th Sunday Singing beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Light snacks will be provided.

Additional information regarding FUMC’s anniversary celebration throughout the year will be forthcoming as it becomes available. If you have any questions regarding the anniversary celebration, please contact Rev. Karen Jones at the church office at (936) 598-2707.

1 Peter 4:10-11 New International Version (NIV)

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

January 28, 2016 - House of Refuge Apostolic Ministries would like to invite everyone to their 14 year Church Anniversary Sunday February 7th at 3:00pm. House of Refuge Apostolic Ministries is located at 215 Church St. Center, TX 75935 with Apostle W.E. Nash Jr. as Pastor. We will have a guest speaker, Pastor Karen Christopher of Pine Flat C.M.E. Church in Nacogdoches, TX. Everyone is invited and lunch will be served!

January 26, 2016 - Mt. Zion C.M.E. Church will be having a 5th Sunday Missionary Program on January 31st at 3:00pm. Special guest would be Dr. Kelvin Lynch of Growing Valley Baptist Church of Longview, TX. Mt. Zion is located at 921 MLK Drive Center, TX, and would like to invite all of Shelby County to attend.

 

January 25, 2016 - Friendship Missionary Baptist in Tenaha, Bobo, Texas is celebrating their church anniversary on February 14, 2016 at 2:30pm. Pastor bringing the message is Carlos Johnson from Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Timpson, Texas.

Pastor Jeremy Moore invites everyone to attend.

Doug Fincher"Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.” Lamentations 5:21

January 25, 2016 - This 1939 picture of my brother, Bill (Travis William) was taken when he was 8 years old….and I was 6. He is armed with our weapon of choice, a sling shot with a “2- stock” cut from a forked tree branch, a flap from the tongue of a leather shoe and rubber bands cut from a genuine rubber pre WWII inner-tube. Mother took the picture with her Kodak 620 camera in a time that few pictures were taken because folks were still trying to survive The Depression. We lived near the Elementary School in Mr. Manor’s rent house in Center, Texas. Buttermilk biscuits cooked in our wood stove with syrup and fresh cow butter made our breakfasts something we looked forward to every morning.

We were too young to realize that a world war was brewing but Mother explained it to us one day after a soldier had burst into our outhouse while Bill was in it. When he fled to the house with his overalls half-up, Mother assured him that it was a practice battle between the Army Reds and Blues and that they weren’t shooting real bullets. “They’re practicing how to fight Hitler”, she said.

Eventually our family grew to five boys and five girls, but in the late thirties, it was just Bill and me. We caught “mud cats” under the Iron Bridge on Arcadia Road and weren’t afraid to swim with water moccasins because we were told they couldn’t bite us in the water. Our sling shots and overalls filled with rocks were all we needed for a day of fun in the woods along the banks of Sandy Creek.

Bill crossed The Jordan ten years ago and I was left with so many good memories of him and our way of life back then. It’s hard to imagine that few people ever locked their cars or homes and no one talked about rape, drugs, same sex marriages, abortion or Muslim terrorists. And even though those were hard times, we had a sense of safety and security.

I love my country and miss the days we were honorable and strong….

…and pray that we’ll see those days again.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” - 2 Timothy 2:15

Doug FincherJanuary 18, 2016 - My friend Claude Lucas grows watermelons in the Sand Hills near Center, Texas. He grew almost a hundred acres this year at The One Gallus Ranch.(once owned by San Augustine Pharmacist, Harold Lee) Each box of his melons is stamped “What-A- Melon” and what melons they are! I got directions to the ranch from his wife Bonnie…take 711 from San Augustine, turn right on 1017, go two miles and turn left on 1011…

When I’d gotten about a mile from the ranch, I met an elderly man on the road and asked for further directions. “You’re almost there”, he said. “Just hang to the right and whatever you do, “stay with the woods”. (I was to stay on the road with the woods to my right.) As I drove away, he shouted back at me again, “Remember now… stay with the woods!”

I ignored all the roads that intersected mine and faithfully “stayed with the woods”. Finally, I entered a beautiful gate on a hilltop that led me into a breath-taking mixture of winding roads, pastures of grazing cattle and endless fields of watermelons. An old barn surrounded by a wood fence and large cedar trees revealed where an old home place had been. Claude and his workers were busily boxing and loading watermelons into the trailer of an eighteen wheeler.

Mother wrote “Stay with the Word” in every letter she sent me while I was in college and seminary and I’d been better off if I had always followed her advice. There are a lot of attractive roads along life’s journey, but we’ll wind up on the wrong one…

….if we don’t “stay with the Word.” 

Sunday was the Third Sunday after the Epiphany.  The Old Testament Lesson was Nehemiah 8: 1-3, 5-6, 8-10.  Ezra brought out a scroll of the Torah and read words of hope to a defeated, beaten, subjected, hungry people.  The words of hope were not only welcomed but vitally necessary.  When Ezra finished he stepped down from the makeshift pulpit and walked among the people carrying the scroll.  The people reached out to touch the Holy Book of Israel and no longer felt as hopeless.  No, their multitude of problems still existed but they were once again given hope.

In today’s Gospel Lesson from Luke 4: 14-21 we see Jesus reading from the holy scroll that contained the words of the prophet Isaiah.  It too was a hopeful message heard by Jesus’ friends and neighbors.  We know that Jesus’ message wasn’t always accepted with joy by his neighbors but on that Sabbath Day so long ago the people were impressed by the young Rabbi’s words.

Our crowd was not great but we had a really good Sunday school Lesson from the Gospel of John.  Our lesson was about the first of many signs that pointed to Jesus’ special nature.  We see Jesus performing a miracle—a sign as he changes water into wine at the Wedding at Cana.  Joe and Hilda worked together to bring us our music.  Ms. Lillie has a birthday this week so we sang “Happy Birthday” to her even though she is in Houston.  Maybe she felt a warming of the heart.  We sure miss Lillie and one Sunday soon we know that Lillie, Liz, and Mike will venture to the wilds of East Texas.  We all wondered how Carolyn is dealing with all the snow.  She is visiting her sister and other family in Pennsylvania.

This Thursday will be our ministry to Lakeside Assisted Living.  Hilda said we had a good number of volunteers at Holiday last Tuesday.  She thought that Pastor Matt was going to be able to join the volunteers.  This month is almost over.  We have been collecting cans of tuna this month but in February we will be collecting rice and dried beans for Community Christian Services.

“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 9:15 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!

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