February 4, 2020 - Tenaha  First  Baptist  Church  would  like  to invite  everyone  to  our  Revival  2020 - Nothing  but  the  blood!  with  evangelist  Dr. Ronnie  Hill, Sunday  through  Wednesday, February  16 - 19.  Sunday  morning  -  10:30am,  Sunday  night - 6pm,  Monday through  Wednesday  night - 7pm - Hwy 59 S in Tenaha.

February 4, 2020 - God bestowed great wisdom on king Solomon for as a very young man, with the death of his father David, he took responsibility for the rule of Israel.

God asked of Solomon, "Ask what I shall give you." (2 Chronicles 1:7)

Unlike most young men, Solomon did not ask for riches or wealth, he asked only that God give him the wisdom and knowledge to rule his people.

For this unselfish request, God gave to him, "wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like." (2 Chronicles 1:12)

Now Solomon having great wisdom and knowledge granted to him from God understood that the glory of God comes not in physical things but in the spiritual things of our Lord.

He understood that God's Spirit cannot be contained in any building or monument but that he is Omnipresent, being everywhere at once, Omnipotent, being all powerful, and Omniscient, being all knowing.

Solomon, even as he started to build the temple for the Lord in Jerusalem knew it could not contain the Lord our God and he acknowledges this awesome fact.

"The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all Gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?" (2 Chronicles 2:5-6)

With the sacrifice of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross there is no longer a need for a house to make animal sacrifices to the Lord, but we who follow him are being made a spiritual house for him; "you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5)

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1)

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a compliant against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive." (Colossians 3:12-13)

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7)

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17)

"When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)  

I would wish for all people that all should come to repentance and receive redemption from sin, becoming living stones in the spiritual house of the Lord. That all would then know the joy and peace that comes only through our Lord Jesus Christ.

May the Lord our God make his face to shine upon you and may you receive his blessings every day.

February 3, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany and the first Sunday in February. As numbers, Sunday’s date is 02-02-2020! During our worship service we celebrated Holy Communion. In February we will be collecting soap and shampoo for Community Christian Services. In January it was tuna; on Wednesday, I took all that we collected to Christian Services. I saw many friends volunteering at the food bank, and several people helped me unload my truck. On Monday, we will head to Focused Care at 10:00 for our ministry there. It has been typical East Texas winter weather with rain and cool temperatures. I would say that I am ready for spring, but it always seems that spring is missed and we head right into our hot summer weather.

The new theme for the next several Sunday School lessons is about holy places. The scripture that Gene read for the class this morning was Exodus 3: 1-12, the story of Moses and the burning bush. God speaks to Moses and tells him to take off his sandals because he is in a holy place. The Jews of Jesus’ time certainly thought of the Temple as being a sacred site, and we consider our churches the same. Fannie shared with us several wonderful stories of Paxton Methodist and some of the fine folks who touched so many lives. Toward the end of Sunday’s lesson the writer said, “We need the portable holy.” He meant that we can make any place holy by reaching toward God, who is present everywhere—and by being kind, just, and humble.

All the scriptures for the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany deal with the Kingdom and what is required to live in God’s eternal presence right now. Psalm 15 asks who will live in God’s tent, or with God on his holy mountain. The Old Testament Lesson for Sunday includes my favorite Bible verse—Micah 6:8. Micah is really put out with the rich and powerful who take advantage of the poor, feigning ignorance that their actions are the cause of so much pain and suffering. In Micah 6:8, God reminds us all what is required: to be kind, just, and humble. Jesus, when he delivers his Beatitudes sermon on the mount, strikes the same themes we hear from Micah. I included in my message a quote from the great Southern writer, William Faulkner: “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this it would change the earth.”

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.” 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.

January 30, 2020 - Shelby County Outreach Ministries would like to recognize a very special person. Her name is Iva Parker, or, as many have come to know her, Sister Iva.

Sister Iva has a very special ministry and at 97 years young she is such an inspiration. We call it a ministry of love. Sister Iva makes prayer quilts. Each quilt bears a little note that says “this is more than a quilt. If you look closely at every stitch you will see her love for sewing as well as her love for people. In this quilt is an abundance of love. May this Quilt be a covering of God’s love in the lives that it warms.” It also comes with a testimony from Sister Iva that says her greatest passion is living for God. She is a faithful member of Dreka Pentecostal Church in Shelbyville, Texas.

Her favorite Bible verses are Acts 2:38-39: 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Sister Iva states also, if you met her and forgot her, you have only lost a friend. If you met Jesus and forget Him, you have lost everything.

She generously donates these quilts to Shelby County Outreach Ministries so they can be used as Prayer quilts. They are reserved for those who find themselves in desperate need of prayer.

Sister Iva and we hope that each person that receives one of these precious quilts feels the love and warmth of our Heavenly Father wrapping His arms around them. The Lord loves a cheerful giver and Sister Iva is just that. She gives her time, her love, her labor, and her heart in the work she does and expects nothing from it. Her reward is knowing that her efforts will be a blessing to someone in need.

All of us at Shelby County Outreach Ministries wants her to know just how special she is to our Ministry and to the people who receive one of her quilts.

We love your quilts, but more importantly, we love you, Sister Iva. Thank you for all you do to help others.

January 30, 2020 - Joaquin First Baptist presents the Ronnie Warren Ministries this Sunday evening, February 2 at 6pm. There is free admission. Everyone is invited to come for a night of praise and worship.

January 30, 2020 - Mt. Zion C.M.E. is hosting their Women's Conference on Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 9am till 12noon. Registration fee is $10.

The theme is 'The Fruit of the Spirit' with the following speakers:

  • Ms. Jacklyn Moton ~ Love
  • Missionary Brenda Carrillo ~ Joy
  • Minister Yolanda Neal ~ Peace
  • Ms. Joyce Jackson ~ Patience
  • Mrs. Feleshia Thompson ~ Kindness
  • Ms. Christine Patton ~ Goodness
  • Ms. Brenda Allen ~ Faithfulness
  • Mrs. Jennifer Ingram ~ Gentleness
  • Ms. Ruby Johnson ~ Self-Control
  • Mrs. Pearlie Nash ~ Tying it all together!

Leaders for the conference are Rev. Richard Edwards ~ Pastor, Sis. Rose Patton ~ Conference Chairperson, Sis. Tracie Garrett, Sis. Sandra Latham, and 1st Lady Sharron Edwards.

Mt. Zion C.M.E. Church is located at 921 MLK Drive, Center, Texas 75935.

January 30, 2020 - There was a little boy whose mother made him sit down, and he said, "I may be sitting down, but I am standing up inside." How many of us are like that? We hide our inner rebellion underneath external religion and go about pretending to do the will of our Heavenly Father.

Did you know that God classifies the sin of stubbornness with that of idolatry? Samuel told King Saul after his rebellion against God, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." (I Samuel 15:23) We are warned against this sin in Psalms 32:9, "Be ye not as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near thee."

Stubbornness is responsible for many of the heartaches and headaches that folks have today. It has broken more hearts, divided more churches, and wrecked more lives than perhaps any other sin. It is no wonder God classifies it with idolatry, for it is the worship of self.

Don't let stubbornness keep you from serving the Lord. Don't let stubbornness keep you from Bible Study and Worship. We will be looking for you on the Lord's Day!

It’s something to think about… tbp

Join us for worship this coming Lord’s day at the Center Church of Christ, 110 Hurst Street, Center, Texas or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com.

January 28, 2020 - First Assembly of God in Timpson is hosting a Movie Night on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 6pm. Showing will be the movie “Overcomer” and it is free to the public.

First Assembly of God is located at 652 Houston Street, Timpson, Texas. Please contact Thomas Langley at 936-572-4693 for more information.

January 27, 2020 - When my Lumberton friend Allie Sheffield said as she grew up, she crossed their creek on a foot log, I immediately remembered the one that I crossed when I was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Mauriceville, Texas. When I arrived at the church parsonage, a deacon came by to help me move in. He walked up, held a thumb up and said, “My name is ‘Thamar Dickerson’, and I hear you like to hunt squirrels.” Thamar and I became best friends and I’ve never forgot this man…or his name.

Thamar showed me “The-S-Curve Woods” on Highway 96, and his favorite woods, “The Foot Log Woods” on The Lemonville Road. The Foot Log Woods could only hunted by walking an old foot log across a rice canal. When Thamar took me there, his dog “Yeller” whizzed ahead of us and sailed across the log to the other bank. “Don’t you try that, Preacher,” Thamar warned. ”You can’t cross like Yeller just did…. and besides, half way down this slick log is a 'Coon and Possum' outhouse.” I couldn’t believe how beautiful the woods were on the other side…the huge white oaks, tall pines, the large grove of holly trees….and it was obvious that the squirrels enjoyed their quiet environment, too.

In time, the Foot Log Woods became my favorite woods and on rainy days the hum of the distant Texla Sawmill and their 12:00 whistle always told me time and direction. On certain days, I hid in the holly grove and watched the birds and squirrels feed on holly berries. Little did they know as they hunted food, I was too, slipping up the canal bank and watching the exotic Wood Ducks eat floating pin oak acorns so invigorated me that I seemed to forget that I was there to hunt squirrels. And when two Red Foxes walked past, me one morning, I started taking my camera when I hunted The Foot Log Woods.

I had a terrible case of flu in 1965 while I lived in Mauriceville. When Deacon Delbert McWhirter came by and asked how I was, I said “I can see people walking all over the wall.” “Then I’ll see you later," he laughed as he hurriedly left the room. Two days later, I stumbled my way to the car coughing, sneezing but determined to hunt The Foot Log Woods. When I got half way across the Foot Log, I suddenly slipped and landed waist deep into the frigid cold water. Clawing and scratching my way to the bank, I shivered my way home, put on dry clothes, and went to bed. I couldn’t believe how I woke up the next morning…no fever…. no coughing ….and all my flu nymphets were gone!

That all happened almost 55 years ago and if I walked into the Mauriceville First Baptist Church today, I wouldn’t recognize many of the people. Their present Pastor was born when I was their Pastor in the sixties and all fourteen Deacons have now crossed The Jordan. .

Yesterday, (1/15/2020) as Pam and I drove down the Lemonville Road, I asked her to pull over. Since we were parked within fifty yards of The Foot Log Woods, I began telling her my experiences there and about 30 minutes later, I suddenly remembered that we were on our way to photograph birds on the Gulf Coast.

The years have gone but I won’t forget the kindness of the people at Mauriceville. I spent six wonderful years there.

They were six of the best years of my life.

January 27, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany. The Gospel lesson moves from John back to Matthew. The Matthew and John Gospels are so very different—written at two very different times to two very different peoples. My sermon began with a new covenant that the prophet Jeremiah said would not be written in stone or on parchment or a scroll. Instead, God would write this new covenant directly on the human heart and mind. In Jeremiah 31:31-33, we see that God forgives and goes even further. With the covenant written in our souls, God says that he will no longer see our sins. This sounds so strange to us. In today’s Gospel lesson, much is happening: John the Baptizer has been arrested, Jesus has moved to Capernaum, and he calls Andrew, Peter, James, and John to follow him. In my sermon I tried to speak to the meaning of discipleship for these four and also for us, thousands of years later.

The first month of the New Year is about up. We have been collecting cans of tuna for Community Christian Services in January; in February we will collect soap and shampoo. Ms. Lillie has a birthday today, and we hope it is a nice day for her.  Part of being a Methodist is the connection between us here and Methodists worldwide. Each year we pledge to pay our share of our district and conference expenses. This allows us the opportunity to be part of all the wonderful outreaches of our worldwide church. We support hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, research facilities, and in general bring the good news to everyone.

Our Sunday School lesson was the last in a series about covenants. The scripture was from Jeremiah 31-37, where God says that he will make a new covenant and place it on the hearts and minds of people. We Christians believe that Jesus embodies this covenant, living out the reality of loving God and neighbor—the heart of the law and the covenant.

Because of the way January’s dates fell, two of our programs were last week—on Tuesday, Holiday Nursing Center, and on Thursday, Lakeside Assisted Living. Due to weather and/or illness, some of our regulars were unable to attend, but those who were there brought a good program. I emceed both, sharing anecdotes at we went along. One was from a Jay Leno “Man on the Street” interview testing Biblical knowledge; a woman, when asked what Biblical character was swallowed by a big fish, replied confidently, “Pinnochio.” Our pianists took turns—Minnie at Holiday and Hilda at Lakeside—we feel lucky to have such talent among us. Pastor Sarah talked of furnishing her new house and making changes, including those that come with being a Christian; later, she continued the theme of change, pointing out that, although scripture doesn’t change, we see it with new eyes as we mature. Sue read Yertle the Turtle at Holiday, Rosie Revere Engineer and “Purple Pox” at Lakeside. Nora shared “Dance at Grandpa’s,” a picture book from The Little House in the Big Woods and also sang “How Great Is Our God.”  Fannie spoke about some of the community projects her classes had done and then read Helen Steiner Rice’s “In Times Like These.” Jo and Margie joined in to help with the greeting and singing.

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.” 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.

Randy & Sue Smith/Paxton United Methodist Church