August 26, 2019 - Love and peace from our brother, Jesus. Much of our part of East Texas got some needed rain last week. Sue and I were luckier than most, totaling around an inch. The rain cooled things down for awhile, but the sun came out, bringing the heat and humidity! We are supposed to have a more than decent chance of rain and a couple of cool mornings in the coming days. Those cool mornings will be a foretaste of the fall days to come. August sure is zooming by. Most kids had their first full week already, and others are schoolbound now. 

Our Sunday school lesson was the last one of the quarter. The material we use is changing its size and format. I guess we will get used to the change, although print keeps getting smaller, doesn’t it? The lesson continued with the idea of the marriage vows being a way of looking at the covenant between people and the Divine. We had a special guest at Sunday school. Reverend Mike Lauxman is filling in for Pastor Sarah at Tenaha and Timpson and came to our class after services at Tenaha. It was so nice to meet him, and we all enjoyed what he had to add to the lesson. Ms. Carolyn is still in Pennsylvania—having a great time I’m sure, we miss her and what she shares with us at Sunday school.

We had a short business meeting to look at the 2019 church budget, discussing what areas we needed to add. Our Sunday literature and utilities cost more, so we are going to increase the budget there. We are not sure if our building insurance will go up, so we will keep that part of the budget open. We haven’t got any word yet about District or Conference Apportionments. Last year we added two yearly budget items—Children’s Christmas by Community Christian Services and the Joaquin Senior Center. We will propose at Charge Conference to add the Tenaha Youth Center and the Methodist Home as yearly budget items. The “Paxton United Against Waste Facility have had several meetings at Paxton Methodist Church. At their last meeting they took up an offering for the church and we certainly didn’t expect it but appreciate their generosity. 

The Gospel Lesson came from Luke 13: 10-17, dealing with a question of “work” on the Sabbath. Jesus was criticized for healing a woman on the Sabbath, but he quickly took the Synagogue leaders to task. The Luke story was much more than just about working on the Sabbath. Luke’s Gospel really stressed the importance of women in Jesus’ movement and of course the early church. In today’s story Jesus goes out of his way to heal this woman and shows great compassion. I also think that this lesson makes us more careful to separate the wonderful spiritual teachings from the cultural norms and mores of ancient Israel and its world.

All month we have collected children’s socks and underwear for Community Christian Services. I will deliver those and two checks this week to Haslam Baptist. In September we will be collecting mac & cheese. Our Focused Care ministry will be on Labor Day—Monday September 2nd at 10:00. Hope you can join us there. 

Last week, because of the way the month fell, we had programs at both Holiday Nursing Home and Lakeside Assisted Living. Some presenters were at one but not the other; some were at both. I’m going to stir them all together to tell you the goings-on. Hilda was our loyal and spirited piano player. I emceed, keeping the program moving with small anecdotes and lively song choices. Sallie sang a lovely rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” Gene did his favorite hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” and my favorite, “Morning Has Broken.” Nora, after watching the Judy Garland movie of the same name, sang “In the Good Old Summertime.” Fannie read “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and a devotional, both from the same book. Jo shared the moving lyrics of a song called “Follow Me.” Pastor Sarah talked about the importance of sleep (second the motion!). Sue presented There’s a Cow in the Road and a Dr. Seuss story, “The Sneetches.” A special thank-you to Margie, who comes to help us with the congregational singing, and to Maggie, who acts as assistant emcee.

Our worship time is 10:00 AM; we would love to have you come to worship with us. I know how very busy everyone is: Our early meeting time enables you to move on to family get-togethers or jobs afterward. Not to mention naps, which my wife says are best on Sunday afternoon. 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 26, 2019 - When I looked out our "Bird Window" this morning, a war was going on between the adult birds and their young fledglings. Every time the young birds tried to get fed by their Mother, they were violently pecked and chased away… sometimes with loss of a few feathers. At first, I sympathized with the terrified little fledglings, but then I understood that the adults were just saying to them: "You’ve been shown how to feed yourselves, now go do it." Then I started feeling for the adults.

The Apostle Paul taught us to "earn more so we can give more," but that means give to those who CAN’T work... not to those who WON’T work. Lazy people are given a special charge: "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10) Even the birds know that fledglings won’t ever feed themselves as long as you do it for them. Work is good for us and Jesus was a worker: "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." (John 5:17)

So are we teaching our children to serve… or to be served? Maybe we should show our little ones some TOUGH LOVE like the birds do. That’s what we will do…

… if we really love them.

August 26, 2019 - Pastor Byron Coutee, Jr. and the members of the Blount Chapel Missionary Baptist Church invites everyone to our Family and Friends Day on Sunday, September 1, 2019 at 3:00pm. Guest speaker is Pastor Darrell Cranford of the Wells United Christian Fellowship Church in Wells, Texas. Dinner will be served.

Sis. April N. Moore, Church Clerk

August 23, 2019 - The Pastor and Members of Carroll Chapel CME Church in Shelbyville would like to invite you to their Annual Homecoming and three nights revival. Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 3pm.

Their Guest Speaker for Sunday will be: Elder Archie Thompson of 
Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ of the Todd Spring Community. Shelbyville, TX. 

September 9th. Monday night 7pm. Rev. Lashan Hayter. Pastor of St. Mark CME Church in Shelbyville, TX.

September 10th. Tuesday night at 7pm. Rev. Mario Osby Pastor of Smith Chapel B.C., Timpson TX.

September 11th. Wednesday night at 7pm. Elder Lakendrick Bluford of Carthage TX.

Everyone is invited!

August 22, 2019 – Recently, the Center First United Methodist Church (UMC) presented grant awards totaling $3,250 from their 2019 Dollar-A-Week Campaign to recipients representing community organizations and ongoing Center First UMC ministries. Those receiving grant awards included:

  • $500: F.L. Moffett for their Reading Recovery Program
  • $500: Center Elementary for their Reading Recovery Program
  • $500: Excelsior ISD for a Little Free Library to serve the school and the Akin Community
  • $500: Edi Miller, Center High School Health Science Teacher to purchase an EKG machine
  • $250: Janell Gibson, Elementary Reading Teacher for books for the Dyslexia program
  • $250: Tracy Galindo, Center High School Teacher for classroom presentation materials
  • $250: Ashley Wulf, Center High School to assist with student needs
  • $250: Center First UMC Nursing Home Ministry for gifts for the nursing home residents
  • $250: Center First UMC BINGO Ministry to purchase prizes for the participants

About Center First UMC Dollar-A-Week Campaign
The Center First UMC Dollar-A-Week Campaign began in February 2017 with donations earmarked for awarding grants assisting our community in significant ways and allowing reachable goals for church ministries and organizations. Have a passion for what hurts God’s heart in our community? Want seed money to kick-off a ministry that addresses that need? Know of an area non-profit organization in need? Know of a teacher that has a creative project that exceeds beyond the school budget? Donations are collected throughout the year from $1 dollar bills placed in the church’s offering plate, and then individuals and groups in the church and in our community can apply to receive grants to be used to meet specific needs for their projects. To date, approximately $4,000 has been collected and awarded in grants to community organizations and church ministries. Dollar-A-Week grant submission guidelines and applications are available by contacting Rev. Karen Jones at Center First UMC (936) 598-2707 or visiting www.fumccentertx.org

August 22, 2019 - Jackson Missionary Baptist Church kicks off Awana for 2019-2020. Come join us for a Luau on August 28th.

Meal and registration at 6pm Fellowship Hall. Lots of fun and activities! Be prepared to get wet!

Parents please plan to stay and enjoy meal and festivities as we share our vision and goals for this new year.

Jackson Missionary Baptist Church is located at 11120 Highway 7 E, Joaquin, TX 75954.

August 22, 2019 - Often we feel the church is not what it ought to be. We feel it just doesn’t quite meet “our expectations” In his inaugural address in1961, President John F. Kennedy stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. At the Republican National convention in 1916, Warren G. Harding said, “we must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for the nation.”

The challenge issued by these two presidents suggests a like principle that should guide every Christian toward the church. We need to be less concerned about our “needs” being met, less concerned about “being served”, and more concerned about serving.

Maybe we have been asking the wrong question. Instead of asking “is this a good congregation to be a member of” perhaps we should ask, “am I a good member of the congregation”.

It is not important how many get well cards I receive, but how many cards I sent to others. It is not how much I get out of worship or bible class but how much do I contribute toward making the worship and bible class meaningful for others. It is not how much I am loved, but how much love do I show to others.

A life of service, is a life lived within the will of God. To be pleasing to God, we must be obedient to his will and surrender our stubborn will to His will.

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.

August 20, 2019 - The Todd Spring Baptist Church, Hwy 147 Shelbyville, Texas, where the pastor is Wilbert Simmons, Jr., will not have its annual homecoming services on Sunday, August 25, 2019.

August 20, 2019 - Love and peace from our brother, Jesus. Kids are back in school in Joaquin. That and all the heat advisories show us that we are in the “dog days of summer.” I really don’t know where that saying came from, but I do know that my four-legged friends, Gunter and Sam, don’t like the heat any more than I do. I really appreciate air conditioning and never complain about my electric bill. I have been watering every day, trying to keep my perennial plants, flowers, and fruit trees alive. This Sunday morning I have read my Sunday school lesson and am getting ready to head to the metropolitan area of Paxton. 

My sermon scripture was once again the Old Testament Lesson for this Sunday, deep in Ordinary Time. It comes from the First Isaiah—Isaiah 5: 1-7. What begins as a love poem ends up with exasperation and disappointment. Jesus taught us how to live in God’s vineyard—God’s Kingdom—beginning with a desire to love God with all we have and also to love our fellow humans. It is about being compassionate and welcoming even to those who appear different from us. 

Our Sunday school lesson continued from the Book of Ruth. In this story Naomi is determined to secure a life for her beloved daughter-in-law Ruth as well as herself. She sets her eye on Boaz and before we know it, he is smitten; now the two women have a much more secure future. The daring of Naomi and Ruth’s plan is obvious—Ruth must make the first move, which is unheard of in that culture. She is a foreigner and a servant/worker. She doesn’t come from any place of strength, and yet Naomi and Ruth prevail. 

During the month of August we are collecting children’s socks and underwear for Community Christian Services. Early on, Gayle and Joaquin Christian Services set up a Sunday in August before the start of school to collect socks and underwear. She called it “Undie Sunday,” part of her effort to get new clothes and school supplies for students in our area. Monthly collections of nonperishable foods and paper products grew out of this one donation. This month Paxton Methodist also voted to send a church check to CCS.

Because of the way the dates fall this month, we will be visiting both Holiday Nursing Center and Lakeside Assisted Living next week. We have monthly programs in three area nursing homes: People from many communities and many churches come to sing, visit, and share stories. It is certainly a feel-good time and something we thank Mrs. Hilda for beginning.

After church at Joaquin Methodist on Sunday, there was a celebration for Frances and Charles Freeman’s sixtieth wedding anniversary. Imagine 60 years together! Many folks from hither and yon gathered to congratulate the happy couple. Ann Ortigo, the pastor’s wife from Joaquin Methodist, made a lovely, delicious three-tiered cake to mark the occasion and many people brought potluck dishes to share.

Our worship time is 10:00 AM; we would love to have you come to worship with us. I know how very busy everyone is: Our early meeting time enables you to move on to family get-togethers or jobs afterward. Not to mention naps, which my wife says are best on Sunday afternoon. 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 19, 2019 - It is our faith as followers of the Most High God and his Son Jesus Christ that gives us power to withstand and overcome the world around us.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith.” (1 John 5:4) 

Only by faith are we saved and only by faith can we overcome the world. 

Once one is born of God, he is no longer controlled by his fleshly desires nor overly bothered by the temptations of the world. 

He is then controlled by the Holy Spirit and cannot be defeated by the world’s hostility toward him, nor compelled by the world to turn from Christ.

Jesus said this about true born-again Christians those who not only profess to be his followers but those who also obey his will and do his will every day. However, for many who are, Christian-in-name-only, but do not obey and follow his daily will this is not true.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30) 

Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:5) Not one!!!

It is exactly as Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) 

Why is it that one must believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God to be saved, and obey him as Lord to be able to enter the Kingdom of God?

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” (1 John 5:1-2) 

Jesus narrowed down the commandments when asked by a lawyer about which is the greatest of the commandments, of which, the Jews had over six hundred.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40) 

To the Jews this was tremendous for they had no written Bible as we have today, they had only the scrolls of what was to become the Old Testament, five of which were the scrolls of Moses which we know today as the books of the Law and the balance of the books of the Old Testament which we now call the Prophets. So this told the Jews that their whole belief system was based upon love for the Father God and love for one another. 

By the strength of our faith in Jesus Christ we know that if we follow him and obey him that we will be given all that we need on earth and our eternity will be secure in heaven.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we will have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:13-15) 

This is the faith that empowers, our faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God…

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