May 28, 2020 - There are some old "Hymns of the Faith" that we rarely sing anymore. We like the "camp songs" and the "praise songs" and the songs that are newer. One of those old songs, written over a century ago is entitled simply "Our Best."

Here is how the first verse starts out: "Hear ye the Master's call Give me thy best Far be great or small That is his test."

Then, when you get into the refrain, you find these words: "Our talents may be few, These may be small. But unto Him as due Our best, Our all."

Maybe one of the reasons we don't sing songs like these often is that they seem so demanding, so challenging. When God asked the Jews to make a sacrifice to Him, he told them to bring a firstling of the flock without spot or blemish. In fact, every demand made upon the man by God suggests that God not only required the best, but He also must come first.

Can you imagine what a difference it would make if suddenly we gave God the best we have? This week would be a good start.

It's something to think about...tbp

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

May 25, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the Seventh Sunday of Easter. We are at the end of the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost. Traditionally Christians celebrated the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven this past week. We modern people no longer look at the universe as three-tired, but there is no doubt what Luke was talking about when he spoke of the ascension of Jesus. What we often forget is that as the eleven disciples and other Jesus followers were staring into space, two fellows dressed in white wanted to know why they were all standing still and staring into the sky. Pentecost—the birth of the church—was upon them, and these followers of the Christ had work to do—just as we do.

I think the gospels, letters, and other books of the New Testament tell us where our Lord would be during the Covid 19 pandemic. We know that Jesus had an especially strong love for the poor and those that are marginalized by society. Jesus sees today’s minimum wage workers who work, serve, and help others as essential workers. Jesus says people like this are “blessed.” Jesus is with those who are sick and those who grieve. I can also see our savior at food distribution centers giving food to the hungry. We must always remember Jesus’ great commandment: Love one another.

Paxton United Methodist Church will have church services next Sunday—May 31st —The Day of Pentecost. Some of us are still leery about meeting in a group, as Texas is one of the nationwide hot spots for the virus. So if any Paxton Methodists have reservations about attending, we all understand why they feel more comfortable staying home. But with our few numbers and playing it safe, I hope it will be OK. Of course, anyone else who wants to join us is welcome. We are not going to have Sunday School, which puts us in closer proximity to each other.

Needless to say, our nursing home ministries are still suspended and may be for the rest of the year. During the month of May, Paxton Methodist has been collecting cans of fruit; Sue and I will deliver them to Community Christian Services this week. In June we will be collecting toilet paper and paper towels. 

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.

May 21, 2020 - The New Hope Cemetery Committee would like to announce that our homecoming, scheduled for Sunday, June 7 has been cancelled. This decision was made after much discussion and consideration about the safety concerns regarding Covid 19. 

If you have family or loved ones at New Hope Cemetery, we still need your donations to help with the upkeep of the cemetery for the upcoming year. Please send your donations to: Alyson Porter, 1597 FM 2974, Center, TX 75935.

We thank you for your donations and are praying for everyone’s safety!

New Hope Cemetery Committee

"I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is written in my heart." (Psalm 40:8) 

May 21, 2020 - The delight of all who have given their lives to God, to do his will each day, to shine the light of the gospel of Christ Jesus through our lives lived for him. To live as examples of the goodness, love, grace and mercy of our Lord God.

"I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Hebrews 8:10)

An invitation for all people, Jew and Gentile, young and old, male and female, all are called by the Lord to come to him and to be his children. To carry his gospel to all the ends of the earth. To spend eternity with him in heaven.

"I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6)

The duty of all who would follow him, all that would call themselves Christian, followers of the Christ, to carry his gospel, his salvation, to all nations to the ends of the earth.

"He has told you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)

And so what does the Father require of all who would follow him, all who would profess to be Christian?

"And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us." (1 John 3:23-24)

It is by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God that we know and understand all things, it is by his guidance that we are able to navigate our way through this wicked world. 

All through a free gift from God, given as a gift for believing in his Son as Lord.

We should all take heed of the words of the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem when he said to the masses;

"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." (Acts 2:38-39)

"Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified (made clean), and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." (Romans 10:9-10)

"For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him." (Romans 10:11-12) 

Will you delight to do his will each day in your life? 

Only by living in him will you ever know the true joy, the true pleasure of being a child of the Most High God. Call out to him this day, ask him to forgive you of your sins and he is bound by his own word to do so. He is waiting for your call, do it now!

May 20, 2020 - In the Gospel according to John, chapter 10 and verse 10, Jesus says, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly”. However, in order to live the abundant life that Jesus wants us to live, there are certain things we must conquer and one of those is fear.

Fear can have a ravaging effect on our lives and can be one of our greatest adversaries. There is an ancient legend of a man driving one day toward a certain city. He was stopped by an old woman asking for a ride. He took her up beside him and they drove down the road.

As he looked at her he became frightened and asked, “Who are you?”

The old woman replied that she was Cholera. He ordered the old woman to get out and walk. Yet, she persuaded him to take her. She promised not to kill more than five people in the city. She even gave him a special dagger, the only weapon that could kill her and told him that she would meet him in 2 days and he could stab her if she broke her promise. 120 people died in the city of cholera. The enraged man went to look for her, and meeting her raised his dagger to kill her. She stopped him, saying she had kept her agreement, and killed only 5 people. Fear, she said, killed the others.

Oftentimes, This legend is a true parable of life. Disease kills its thousands, fear kills its tens of thousands. Sometimes, the greatest miseries of humanity come from the dread of trouble rather than from the presence of trouble.

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.

“Like a dog going back to the food which he has not been able to keep down is the foolish man doing his foolish acts over again.”
 
May 18, 2020 - After working in the garden and piddling in my gun shop today, I came in to check my email. As I was reading it, I noticed a fly had flown into my half-filled glass of water. He was one of the bad ones, the green ones, the kind that hang around carcasses and filth.
 
My first thought was to let him drown and periodically checked to see if he had. He incessantly buzzed the glass’s periphery and was a real fighter. When he finally quit moving, I felt guilty for letting him die. As a penitent gesture, I lowered a ball point pen down to him and when the seemingly dead fly crawled up on it, I lifted him to safety. After testing his wet wings for a moment, he took flight again and began terrorizing me with erratic bump-and-fly tactics.
 
My son Mark called about that time and as I was telling him about the dive-bombing insect, he landed again in the same glass of water and resumed his “gasping for breath” routine. I opened a window and poured the water and the fly outside to fend for itself.
 
That fly reminds me of people who promise God everything if He will just save them. Then when the danger is over and their wings dry, they fly right back in. They cannot blame God for being back in their predicament. Rescuing us from the water is God’s part. ... but staying out of it is ours.
 

 

May 17, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the Sixth Sunday of Easter. This coming Sunday will be the 7th and last Sunday of Easter.

After two months of isolation, Paxton Methodist is going to open its doors on Pentecost—Sunday, May 31st (not this coming Sunday but the next). In the guidelines from the United Methodist Church, the first thing recommended is that those folks over 60 stay at home. That “over 60” age pretty much makes up our congregation, so if any Paxton Methodist feels uncomfortable, stay home with no feelings of guilt. Covid 19 cases are spiking in East Texas, and I also have concerns. When returning to church, it is recommended that people wear masks and gloves and maintain social distancing—which I certainly plan to do.

We are so small that we will be able to socially distance easily. We will even have extra room, if some other folks would like to join us. We are not going to meet for Sunday School, since that requires close quarters. Our worship service begins at 10:00. We will see how things go and make a week-by-week decision about meeting.

The month of May we have been collecting cans of fruit for Community Christian Services. Sue and I will gather those at the end of the month and see that they get to CCS. In June our donation will be paper towels and toilet paper. Uh oh! Well, we’ll try but won’t necessarily guarantee results. Our nursing home ministries are on hold until further notice: Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are still on lockdown.

A lady Sue and I know in Nacogdoches tested positive several weeks ago for Covid 19; she passed away last week. She was a very sweet lady, and I know her family and dear friends mourn her loss. When Covid 19 hits close to home, it is no longer a political issue—it is very real.

The first lesson for Sunday comes from Acts 17. Paul is speaking on Mars Hill in Athens, the spiritual, philosophical, and educational hub for the Western World. The Greek and Roman world was pagan, but they were fascinated by the Jewish idea of just one creator God. Paul’s belief that a Jewish peasant executed by the state was the human personification of the “unknown god” was going to be a hard sell. Paul, however, wasn’t known for shying away from a challenge.

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.” Normally Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. But during the Pandemic our usually “open doors” are closed. 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.

May 15, 2020 - Bishop Scott J. Jones announced recently that the Rev. Karen Jones has been appointed as District Superintendent for the North District of the Texas Annual Conference beginning July 1, 2020.
 
Dr. Mark Young, a retired United Methodist pastor and former District Superintendent, serves as the Interim District Superintendent for the North District and will complete his appointment on June 30, 2020.
 

Rev. Karen Jones has faithfully served First United Methodist Church, Center for the last five years. In addition to Center First, Karen has also served appointments at Liberty Springs, Geneva, McMahan Chapel and Hemphill. During college she also served as the youth director at Gilmer First UMC. Jones currently serves on the Core Leadership Team and the Strategic Mapping Team.
 
“I am grateful for the many ways Karen has served our Conference in vital leadership positions over the years and we are pleased to have her on our cabinet,” said Bishop Scott J. Jones.
 
Dr. Jesse M. Brannen who had been named as the District Superintendent for the North District received a new appointment at Williams Memorial United Methodist Church in Texarkana, Texas beginning July 1, 2020.

The North District operates out of two offices, located in Longview and Texarkana Texas. The district is made up of vibrant, growing congregations which are changing lives and reshaping futures for Jesus Christ. Our mission is to equip those congregations to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world to the glory of God.
 
Texarkana Office
4008 Moores Lane
Texarkana, TX 75503
(903) 794-6231
http://www.northdistrictumc.org
 
Longview Office
1101 Pine Tree Rd.
Longview, Texas 75604
(903) 758-7003
http://www.northdistrictumc.org
 

May 14, 2020 - We are pleased to announce that this coming Lord’s Day, May 17, 2020, that the Center Church Of Christ will be meeting in only one Worship Assembly at 10:45 a.m.  While many religious groups completely cancelled their “in person” Worship services during the past several weeks, we continued to have “in person” services, having multiple services with a limit of 10 in those services.

However, we are only having one service this Sunday at our regular time of 10:45.  We will be practicing social distancing as we have been doing throughout the past eight weeks and following all CDC guidelines to the best of our ability.  We want to worship the God of Heaven and at the same time keep those coming to worship as safe as we possibly can.

We would invite you to join us for Worship this coming Lord’s Day at the Center Church of Christ at 10:45.  We would ask that you arrive a few minutes early so that we might help seat you and so that we do not have a “log jam” situation at the doors.

We love you, the Lord who died for you loves you, and we hope to see you in Worship this coming Lord’s Day.

Sunday Morning Worship Services resume this Sunday at 10:15am!
Worship with in the Sanctuary or online.

May 14, 2020 - What a thrill it is to officially announce that we are re-opening our doors for worship this Sunday at 10:15am. We will not have Sunday school. Children will attend worship with parents with social distancing requirements. No childcare will be provided. We are encouraging all to wear face masks to protect those around us and practice social distancing by keeping a minimum of 6 feet distance between each other.

If you or someone you love is in a high-risk category, we encourage you to stay home and continue to worship online with us.

  • We will maintain social distancing between family groups.
  • There will be no form of children activities or nursery provided. Parents will be asked to keep their children with them.
  • We will use offering boxes located at the back and front of the auditorium.
  • Please feel free to wear a mask and/or gloves you bring from home.
  • We are asking those over 65 to consider watching from home. We will respect your decision, whatever it is.
  • Please respect others and do not attend if you are not feeling well, have a fever or underlying health issues. We want this to be a safe place for all.

One final word. The service will continue to be broadcast on our Facebook live page and website. So please do whatever is safe and comfortable for you and yours. We will respect your choice. We look forward to seeing those of you who choose to come and worship with us this Sunday!

We invite you to join us at the following links and stations.

All other activities are postponed.

Further updates will be by Facebook, Email, Text, and at www.fbccenter.org. First Baptist Church is committed to helping people of Shelby County develop a relationship with Jesus Christ!

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