April 18, 2016  - “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Ps. 1).

Life is, and the quality of each day is largely based on the counsel or advice that we receive. The company we keep affects all aspects of our life. As the Psalmist said, we are blessed when we do not walk in the counsel or the influence of the ungodly.

It is like the wise man wrote, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Pr. 13:20). Wise and foolish people are not determined by their likeability but by their actions. As the psalmist said back in vs. 3 walking in godly counsel will establish our lives. We will be free from unnecessary troubles and drama which could impact our lives for years or even for the rest of our lives. The ungodly have lives that do not prosper and are carried away by the wind and their way will perish.

For this reason we are blessed when we meditate on the ways of the Lord and do not walk in the ways or counsel of the ungodly. Our lives are framed by the people we associate with.

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April 18, 2016 - Sunday was the 4th Sunday of Easter. The Psalter Lesson was Psalm 23, the best known of all psalms among Christians. The Second Lesson for the 4th Sunday of Easter was Revelation 7: 9-17. Both of these scriptures speak of God as a shepherd, who leads us to still waters and restores our soul. John’s Revelation, however, is certainly a wild story full of symbolism that we must really work at to understand. A few years back at Joaquin Methodist we did a Bible Study on Revelation and used the book Breaking the Code by Bruce M. Metzger. Dr. Metzger is considered the foremost scholar on John’s Revelation. What we all learned was that this book is not a kind of doomsayer’s handbook, even though there are over a half million websites that try to turn Revelation into a “be afraid—the world is ending” sort of book. My favorite is the book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. And honest to God—no joke—there was a 1989 second edition!

We had a small group this morning. Fannie as usual had a really good lesson for us at Sunday school. Gene was back this morning—after jumping out of an airplane at 14,000 feet! Joy wasn’t feeling well, and we all hope she is feeling better soon. 

This Tuesday is our Holiday Nursing Center ministry. Volunteers from many churches join us as we visit, sing, and share stories. The program will start at 2:00. This month we are collecting toothbrushes and toothpaste for Community Christian Services. In May, cans of fruit. 

The Joaquin Methodist Church really shone this weekend with its Heritage Fair. The original idea was to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the church with an old-fashioned gathering—but they went way beyond that!

The fellowship hall featured local art of all kinds: paintings, sculpture, books, poems, quilting, needlework, and a slideshow of 7th graders’ models of old Texas buildings. A partial quilt was set up on a frame, and ladies patiently worked their craft on it. Outside on the front lawn stood a storytelling tent where listeners could enjoy such practiced narrators as our Mrs. Fannie.

The majority of the fair was spread out on the church garden. Many of those who had tables, booths, and the like were dressed for the period—around Civil War times. We visited with Daughters and Sons of the Republic, who were displaying dyes, food products, musical instruments, and other relics along with explanations of their uses. In the corner, a re-enactor had set up a tent from the era (and slept in it Friday night); he demonstrated ax-throwing and musket-shooting nearby. A woman was teaching a fascinated group how to make rag dolls and woven products.

Some booths were selling items like painted gourds and canned goods. Two men used a huge roaster to make corn on the cob, and near them was an old-fashioned lemonade stand. The City Christmas Lights committee fried fish, hush puppies, and French fries—which I can testify were delicious. While we waited for that, an ice cream cart set up, cranking it out the traditional way.

A brush arbor in the middle of the garden hosted various singers, musicians, and raconteurs, entertaining everyone within earshot. We saw a beautiful stagecoach and talked to the man who built it—a fellow Shelby County teacher retiree. 

All this was Saturday. On Friday they hosted the Joaquin fourth and seventh graders, who are studying Texas history this year, as well as Logansport junior high students and other attendees. Friday’s visitors saw some of what we did, plus demonstrations such as Dutch oven cooking, live horses, and poetry reading. A big thank you to the Joaquin Methodist folks who put all this together. The entire experience was phenomenal, like delving into a different world.

“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!

“Let your lights shine before men….” Matt. 5:16

Doug FincherApril 18, 2016 - Jaime cooks at the Waffle House in Norcross, Georgia.  His cooking prowess, mild manner, combat boots, jeans and large earring kept Pam and me entertained long after we finished eating. As stressed-out waitresses barked their orders, Jaime calmly flipped omelets while arranging chicken strips and burgers on the crowded grille. Thanking the waitresses for each order, he intermittently washed dishes and answered the phone. 

As we left, I asked the cashier if he was the owner. “Oh, no,” she replied. “He’s just the cook…his name is Jaime Mitchell…he’s my boyfriend.”  “He’s pretty good”, I remarked. “Yeah”, she replied. “He don’t know how good he is….…he’s the ‘humblest’ man in the world.” 

Although the Bread of Life is on our church menus, many don’t ask for Him.

Maybe we should take some tips from Jaime Mitchell.

April 16, 2016 - Bell Chapel Baptist Church Youth Revival will be April 18th, 19th and 20th at 7:00 pm. The Evanglist for the week will be Charles Tutt from Nacogdoches, TX. The pastor of Bell Chapel is Timothy Teel who would like to invite everyone to attend. 

April 14, 2016 - Pastor Byron Coutee Jr. and Blount Chapel Baptist Church in Center, TX would like to invite the public to our Annual Choir Day on May 1, 2016 at 3:00PM. Please come out and help us lift the name of Jesus in songs and praise dancing. We ask each choir and group to render an A&B selection. All praise teams to render an A selection. We would like to thank you in advance and pray that God continues to bless you. Guest Speaker Brandon Owen Sr. from Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Center, TX. Please feel free to call on us, the distance is the same. For more information please contact Choir President, Sis. Carolyn Hinson at 936-591-2497. 

April 14, 2016 - Elder LaKendrick Bluford & Triumph Church San Augustine invites everyone to our PACK the PEW Program on Sunday April 17, 2016 at 3pm. Guest Speaker will be Pastor Dwight Gatlin from St. Peter Church of God in Christ, Logansport, La.

April 13, 2016 - The Gates Chapel Baptist Church will celebrate its 2016 Usher Program on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 2:30pm. The special guest speaker will be Bishop Roosevelt Swindle of Triumph First Pentecostal Church of Shelbyville. Everyone is invited to attend says Pastor Frankie Cooper.

April 7, 2016 - "Truly, these times of ignorance, God overlooked, but now commands all men, everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31) NKJV

These are the words of warning with which Paul addressed the men of Greece. The Greeks had over 100 god's and idols and Paul was having trouble relating the Lord God to them until he saw a statue to the "unknown god", Paul used this statue to relate the Lord God to the Greeks.

This they understood and some began to repent and accept the "new God" as their own. This speech was held in the city of Athens at a place called the Areopagus and was the beginning of Paul's successes with the Gentile world. Before this speech when Paul revealed the "unknown god" the Greeks had called him a babbler and had mocked him and his "god".

Paul declared this new, unknown god to be the True God and Creator of all things, telling them that the Lord God made all nations of earth from one blood. God only handmade two people, Adam and Eve, all others since have come from the union of that first couple.

We see the evil in this world today and wonder if God truly has commanded all men to repent of their sins and accept the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior. Yes He has, but, God cannot dismiss nor ignore sin. He simply cannot tolerate it from his creations.

God is long suffering and patient for He wishes for all to be saved, He is quick to forgive us of sins, but He never, ever dismisses us of the consequences of our sins. We may or may not understand when or how we paid for a specific sin, but we will.

Some will not pay until the end of this age at the White Throne Judgment when they must walk into that lake of burning sulphur into eternal torment. Included in these are the ones who consider themselves to be above the laws of God, they are often "their own man" but will fall the hardest without repentance.

God raised Jesus from the dead just to prove His deity to the world, that people would know the awesome power of the Lord God by the resurrection.

The time for repentance is now, no person knows when God will call an end to this age, but we do know that each day we get one day closer to judgment.

Are you ready, do you know Jesus as Lord, maybe a better question is; "does Jesus know you?"

Jesus says that many will come to Him on that judgment day proclaiming to have been saved, claiming to have worked long and hard for the Lord, but Jesus will say to them; "I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." (Matt. 7:23) NKJV

Again; I ask, does Jesus know you, have you truly given your life to Him? Time grows short!!!

Please feel welcome to join us on Wednesday evenings at 6:00PM for Bible Study at Spring Hill Baptist Church, for more info call, 936-615-1427. May God bless...

April 11, 2016 - Sunday was the 3rd Sunday of Easter, with our Gospel Lesson once again coming from John.   Most students of the Bible believe that this last chapter of John was added much later than the rest of the Gospel.  Problems of the early Jesus movement were often answered in the early writings of Jesus’ followers, including the Gospels found in the New Testament.  In today’s story the miraculous and the ordinary meet.  Peter and some of his fellow Jesus followers return to the familiar region of the Galilee.  They really don’t know what to do, so they turn to what many of them know best—fishing.  All fishermen know that sometimes you return to shore with little to show for your effort, which is what happens to the disciples.  A stranger on the shore suggests that they cast their nets on the other side of the boat; miraculously, the nets fill with fish.  Peter figures out who the miracle-worker is and jumps out of the boat.   He swims to the resurrected Christ, who is fixing them an ordinary breakfast. 
We have had a week of beautiful days.  Everything is flowering and turning green.  We see resurrection all through nature, and I hope you take some time to really enjoy it.  While working—playing—in my garden, I keep thinking about how hot it is going to be in a few months.  That is so typical: to have so much beauty all around but letting my mind wander to unpleasant things. 
We had a small crowd this morning.  It was great to see Joe back; he and Hilda selected hymns that we all enjoyed—very spirited.  Our Sunday school lesson was really thought-provoking.  The lesson was based on Luke 7: 36-50.  Jesus was invited to a Pharisee’s home and a woman who was shunned by the community crashed the party.  We are only told she was looked upon as a reject, so we can just fill in the blank.  Jesus does the unexpected by welcoming her and allowing her to wash his feet.  This made the good folks at dinner begin to wonder what kind of rabbi Jesus was that he seemed so accepting of this woman.  Needless to say, the lesson and the words of the author of the Sunday school literature sparked much interest.
Sunday afternoon Sue and I went to Nacogdoches to see Sue’s brother and his wife, who are celebrating their first wedding anniversary.  They had driven up from Houston for the afternoon to visit Dixie, Sue’s mom.  Sue’s sister and brother-in-law met us and we all went out for a late lunch.  It was like a little family reunion.  This Monday morning it was raining.  There was a dry-ish pause, so I took my four-legged friends for a walk in the park.  I have three 50 gallon barrels to collect rain water from the roof, but all three were empty.  So I am looking forward to some collectible rain. 
The rain gives me time to finish my weekly email and article about Paxton Methodist.  I really appreciate the local newspaper and online news printing the articles—one of the many special things about living in a small town. 
“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!

April 10, 2016 - Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church would like to invite everyone to attend their 77th Annual Homecoming on Sunday, April 24, 2016 celebrating 177 years of continuous service.

This years homecoming services are being dedicated in memory of Mrs. Edith Owens Swan. Everyone is invited to come and pay tribute to this very special lady and the way she impacted and inspired anyone who knew her during her nearly 101 years of fellowship and the surrounding communities.

Service begins at 10:30am with lunch to follow in the fellowship hall. Bro. J.C. Lewis will be bring the morning message. An afternoon singing begins at 1:30pm. 

Fellowship MBC is located just off Farm Market road 139 and 2787 on County Road 3569 in Joaquin, Texas. The church was established in 1839. Fellowship is the oldest Baptist Church in Shelby County and the oldest living Baptist Church in Texas in association with the American Baptist Association. 

Come and hear God's word and enjoy the fellowship.