June 29, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. I was a no-show for church on Father’s Day. It is pretty bad when the preacher does not show up on Sunday. I got sick and was sicker on Sunday. I have felt bad all this past week, but my headaches have abated some. Last Sunday was Father’s Day, which was the theme of my sermon. So even though this was the Sunday after Father’s Day, I gave the sermon I had prepared for that special Sunday. Next Sunday will be July 5th and part of that sermon will be a celebration of our nation’s Independence Day.

I usually use one of the scriptures selected for the Common Lectionary, but I went off script and used John 53: 19-23. “Jesus said, ‘I tell you most emphatically that the Son can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son does in like manner. The Father loves the Son and shows him all the things that He himself is doing; and He will show him greater works than these, may marvel.’” We know that the way Jesus understand God was much different from most of the Jews and pagans of his day. He saw God as love and compassion. I think that his earthly father Joseph greatly influenced Jesus and how he viewed others, the world, and the Divine.

We had a thought-provoking Sunday School Lesson with the story of Hosea, Gomer, and their children serving as the scripture lesson. The title of the lesson was “Forever Love,” which certainly describes God. Ms. Fannie has been teaching us in fine rabbinic fashion. The ancient rabbis looked to what those in the story or scripture could learn from what is said. Then the teacher would explore what those who first read Hosea 1: 2-11 could glean from the scripture. And then, and I think most important, what can we take for today from what was written. Fannie wants us to explore that ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern day living and problems.

We are still in the grips of this terrible deadly virus. Just pretending it doesn’t exist and acting as if all is well has led to spikes of the virus, hospitalizations, and death. Texas is one of the 21 states to see staggering increases in Covid 19 cases. Because of the polarized feelings in parts of our country I don’t see any credible response to the Coronavirus any time soon. Our leaders are really between a rock and a hard place with few good options. The Joaquin Senior Center had planned a modified re-opening July 6, but the board has looked at the facts and postponed the re-opening.

We had a visit from our daughter and her wonder dog Stella this week. She has been isolated at home for months, fortunately being able to work from there. The company she works for had started having employees return to the office, but with the massive increase of virus cases has put off the next stage. So our daughter will continue working at home, which greatly relieves her.

Sue and I have pretty much stayed at home and have been mostly quarantined. During this time of isolation, I have read some historical books and have also spent time thinking about my parents and grandparents. Much of my sermon spoke to the influence that my Dad had on my brother and me and the influence my father-in-law had on my wife and her siblings. Both men were from that “greatest generation,” and both had a strong sense of decency and compassion that they passed on to us.

During the month of June, Paxton Methodists have been collecting toilet paper and paper towels for Community Christian Services. Sue and I will deliver the goods and some checks from members to Community Christian Services this week. In July we will be collecting cans of ravioli and spaghetti.

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.” 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 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

June 25, 2020 - The body is made up largely of bones, about 200 of them, classified as to shape. The church is also made up of bones, classified according to use. There are three kinds. First, wishbones. You know this kind. They wish for greater things in the church. They wish for larger attendance. They wish for more souls to be saved. Wishbones? They are languid and they are listless. The only thing they deny themselves is work and effort to make their wishes come true. They are sometimes referred to as “rocking chair” Christians.

Then there are the jawbones. Nothing slow or listless about this kind. They work up and down at great speed. They can criticize. They can gossip. They pick flaws. They tell how it should be done. They tell how it would be done if they were in charge. In their wake, follows dissension and discouragement. Verily, it takes a Samson to handle this class and turn them to some good use.

But the third class is the one we like to think of. They are the backbones. There is work to be done; the backbones do it. There are meetings to attend; the backbones are there. When the Saints assemble in their home congregation, the backbones are there to support their brothers and sisters and have fellowship with the saints. There is giving so the work might be carried on; the backbones are willing to sacrifice. Oh backbones! If we were poets, we would write about you! If we were singers, we would chant your praises! If we were artists, we would paint your lovely likeness! Being merely ordinary humans, we can only love and appreciate you. And we do!

It’s something to think about ... tbp

Center Church of Christ
110 Hurst Street, Center, Texas
www.centerchurchofchrist.com

June 23, 2020 - Mt. Herman Missionary Baptist Church will be in revival beginning Monday night, June 29th through Wednesday night, July 1st. Services will start at 7:00 each evening. Bro. Levi Cohorst will be the evangelist. Bro. R. B. Elumbaugh is the pastor. The church is located at 9181 State Highway 7 West.

June 22, 2020 - The Homecoming for the Old Home Cemetery will be cancelled this year due to the COVID-19. Any donations can be sent to: Linda Wheeler, 1273 CR 3689, Joaquin, Texas 75954.

June 17, 2020 - It would probably come as no surprise to those who know us, that one of the main television channels we watch is the Food Network. In fact, we have several shows that are among our favorites and one of those is “The Pioneer Woman.” The Drummond family owns a large cattle ranch in Oklahoma and part of the show is always devoted to what is taking place on the ranch as well as the recipes Ree Drummond shares with her audience.

Not long ago, there was a segment where they were branding cattle on the ranch. Of course, we all know that the purpose of branding cattle is so that they will bear the mark of the owner.

Well, that started me to thinking… Jesus wants us to carry His brand. Paul said in Galatians 6:17, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Paul possibly was referring to the stripes he received in Philippi, or the emaciation of his body due to hunger. And yet, he might well have been referring to certain things about himself that identify him with the cause of Christ.

Jesus told us that the mark of discipleship was love. Before he went to the cross, he told His disciples in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Just as cattle on the ranch will bear the mark of the owner, when we love each other we will be branded by Jesus, we will carry the mark of Jesus Christ to whom we belong.

It’s something to think about… tbp

Center Church of Christ, 110 Hurst Street, Center, Texas or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com.

June 15, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost. In some Christian traditions, we are entering Ordinary Time. The great religious days and festivals are behind us, and we are enjoying sunshine and warmer temperatures. These last few days have been nice—lower humidity really does make a difference. Today was also Flag Day. This special patriotic day, a symbol of freedom and our national identity, is always June 14. It is a reminder of the courage and determination needed to measure up to the high ideals of the Declaration of Independence.

We are still living with Covid-19. The number of cases is really spiking in Texas: We all need to be careful and follow the guidelines set out by the CDC and the White House. Over the last few weeks, we haven’t heard from the Coronavirus Task Force; the death of George Floyd, along with the protests that followed, have overshadowed the pandemic. But it is still here, and we need to be cautious.

Our new Sunday School material for summer has so far been focused on Old Testament stories. Today’s was the contest between the great Jewish prophet Elijah and the priests of Baal. Mrs. Fannie had a really good lesson for us, making us think about current events and lessons that could be taken from this ancient story. Our author said Elijah was trying to bring about a spiritual restoration for a people who had lost their way. We are told to embrace the reality of a living God in the “now” of life.

I used Matthew 9: 35-36 as the scripture text for my sermon. In these two verses, Matthew tells us that Jesus traveled to the cities and villages of the Galilee and taught in many Synagogues. At each stop he proclaimed the good news of the coming of the Kingdom. The scripture says that Jesus looked upon the crowds and had compassion for them. He knew how oppressed they were. They were troubled and felt directionless. How amazing it must have been for these people to hear Jesus call them blessed and tell them the Kingdom of God was as close as their next breath!

Our ministry to the area nursing homes and assisted living centers is still on hold. We sure hope our friends at these centers remain safe and healthy. During the month of June, Paxton Methodist is collecting toilet paper and paper towels for Community Christian Services. Along with our usual monthly donations of products and individual checks, the church voted to send $300 to CCS, which has had more calls on its services because of the pandemic.

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.” 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 your email address to the Paxton email address, and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.

June 11, 2020 - First Baptist Church of Center, 117 Cora, will re-open its Sunday School to the public on Sunday, June 14, 9:00am. Classes for all ages will be offered with special attention to social distancing and safety. Open worship service begins at 10:15. Sunday School and Worship will continue to be broadcast on SuddenLink cable channel 2, FM radio 100.5, fbccenter.org, and on our Face Book page. For more information, call 936-598-5605.

June 11, 2020 - A businessman was sitting at his desk. All around him were bills, letters and other evidence that he was totally absorbed in the details of his business.

The minister of the church entered, anxious to discuss the man’s soul. The business man said, “Oh, you must excuse me brother, I am too busy to take time for that today.” Politely, the minister asked, “When shall I call on you again?” The man said, “I don’t know and I can’t tell you. I am just too busy right now. I have a lot to attend to.”

With a sad and heavy heart, the minister excused himself and the businessman returned to his paperwork.

A few days later, a disagreeable stranger stepped into the businessman’s office and laid a cold hand on his shoulder. “Come, you must go home with me” the visitor demanded. The businessman laid down his pen, closed his desk and left. He had no choice. A cold chill settled on him as images of so many things left unfinished flashed before his eyes. The name of the visitor was death.

We may think we are so busy we don’t have time to obey the Lord and live His kind of life. However, we will someday not be too busy to die.

Find the time to serve the Lord today!

It’s something to think about…..tbp

Come and join us for worship at Center Church of Christ, 110 Hurst Street, Center, Texas or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com.

June 9, 2020 - The annual Waterman Cemetery Homecoming will be Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 12 noon. Please come out and help support the upkeep of the cemetery. If you can not attend, please send donations in care of Jackie Fountain, 654 CR 1548 Center, TX 75935.

Gueinn Clark, President
Waterman Cemetery Association

June 8, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Sunday was Trinity Sunday, the day on the Christian calendar set aside to celebrate the doctrine of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The idea of the Trinity is certainly mysterious and is really beyond my comprehension. As our affirmation in our worship service we used the Nicene Creed, one of the oldest creeds.

If you forgot that you lived in Texas, the temperatures this week were a good reminder. Of course, it will get hotter as we enter the summer season. I have been watering every day, trying to get it done in the morning before it gets too hot. I can’t believe it is June. Because of this pandemic and its shelter-in-place, I still think it is March or April. We missed Joe at Sunday School and worship. His grandson was driving in from New Mexico, and I know they will have a great visit.

We once again had “in-house” church. This week, we added Sunday School. For both we practiced social distancing, and most people wore masks. There are 22 states where Covid 19 is expanding—Texas one of the unlucky ones. We still need to be careful and listen to the scientists and medical experts.

Our new Sunday School book is titled Community—Summer 2020. The more I read and understand the faith of Jesus, the more I realize the importance of community. The first lesson was called “Living as God’s People.” The text, Deuteronomy 8: 1-10, spoke about the Israelites’ forty-year trek through the wilderness. Ms. Fannie tied this ancient story to our times now. The author reminded us that God wants us to know eternal and enduring love; further, God will always love us and draw us toward him.

This certainly has been a sad and difficult time for our nation. I am reminded of that line in “America the Beautiful”: “America! America! God mend thine every flaw.” We have a long way to go to become a more just and compassionate nation. We need to remember that regardless of differences, we are all children of God.

For my sermon I read several theologians who had differing takes on the Trinity. Garrison Keillor said this about love on his show, A Prairie Home Companion: “We should not think that we have figured out love, because it is not a problem; it’s a mystery and always will be.” You could substitute the Trinity for love, and the statement would still be true.

In the month of June, Paxton Methodist will collect toilet paper and paper towels. Just a few months ago this project would have been impossible! I delivered cans of fruit and some cash donations to Community Christian Services last Wednesday. It was great to see John Paul, Jay, Debbie, and all the other hard workers of CCS. They certainly are well organized and efficient, adapting to fit pandemic guidelines.

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.” 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 your email address to the Paxton email address, and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.

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