October 6, 2022 - If you remember reading Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, he had a burning desire to preach the gospel in the Capital city,.  In Acts chapter 27, we find Paul on his way to Rome, yet he is going as a prisoner.  While there, he would have a great success and members of Caesar’s household would be converted.

However, the voyage to Rome was not without incident.   A great storm occurred which threatened to tear the ship in pieces.  The crew struggled to keep the ship afloat.  They lightened the load by throwing everything overboard that was expendable.   They went for days upon days not being able to eat.

Yet, in the midst of it all, Paul stood upon the deck of the ship and told them to be of good cheer.  He did not tell them to be of good cheer because of the seaworthiness of the vessel.  They were not to be of good cheer because of the experience and dedication of the crew.  They were to be of good cheer because the Lord had promised Paul that there would be no loss of life.  Paul said, “Be of good cheer, for I believe God.”

The faith that sustained Paul on that voyage and in that storm can sustain us in the storms of life.  Whatever storm may be blowing through our lives, we can be of good cheer, for “we believe God”.  Like the words of that old familiar song, “Be not dismayed, what-er be tide, God will take care of you”, and He will.

It’s something to think about. . . tbp

Join Us for Worship this coming Lord’s Day Center Church of Christ

October 6, 2022 - The House of Refuge Apostolic Ministries presents the 22 years Pastor and Wife Anniversary honoring Apostle W.E. Nash Jr. and First Lady Pearlie Nash on Sunday, October 9, 2022 at 3:30pm. Everyone Welcome.

The theme is “You’re gonna live to see it happen” and guest speaker is Dr. Bobby Sims, Jr. from The Emerge Church, Hattiesburg, MS.

The House of Refuge Apostolic Ministries is located at 215 Church Street, Center, TX.

October 4, 2022 - Fall Festival at Mount Calvary Full Gospel Church 5527 FM 417 East Shelbyville, TX 75973 on Oct. 22, starts at 5:00pm. Maze Blowup, Ring Toss, Outside Games, Board Games, Cake Walk, Prizes & Candy, 42 Domino Players, Serving Chili & Hot dogs. 

All children must be accompanied by an adult.

October 3, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Our church service began with a Gathering Hymn today: “This is My Song,” sung by Joan Baez. This beautiful hymn is also known as “Finlandia,” the national anthem of Finland. Our Gathering Words were based not on a Psalm this week but from Lamentations 3: 19-26. The poet of Lamentations thinks of his homeland and hopes that the love of God is still with him. Much of Lamentations is poetry of despair, but today it was tinged with a little bit of optimism. We sang two hymns, “My Hope Is Built” and “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord,” one we knew well and one we didn’t. Our first bulletin quote came from motivational speaker Michael Altshuler: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” The second was from John G. Shedd, a philanthropist: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

Two of the bulletin pictures were tied to the Epistle lesson, the main scripture for my sermon, “The One and Only Paul.” It has been quite a while since I preached about Paul. In this letter, he tells us when we free ourselves from earthly things that don’t matter in the long run, we have more time to pursue righteousness, godliness, love, endurance and gentleness. I think most churches consider Paul a saint; many historians and scholars regard him as the founder of Christianity—or at least the co-creator. There is no denying the influence that Paul had on the early Jesus movement or his success in bringing ideas of God and faith in Jesus to many areas in the Roman Empire. Paul’s mission also focused on including Gentiles in the new faith.

We had a really good Sunday School class. Gene read the scriptures that came from James 2 and Exodus 22, both stressing the need of God’s faithful to care for the most vulnerable in our society. The reading from Exodus says we are not to mistreat immigrants, which certainly speaks to us in our fractured country today. James stresses that true faith empowers us to do good works.

I delivered a back seat full of mac-n-cheese brought to Paxton Methodist for Community Christian Services, along with some checks. In October, we’re collecting peanut butter and jelly for CCS. When I delivered the goods, I saw so many friends working hard to get food into the hands of those in need. Mayor Cooper brought out a shopping cart, which made loading and unloading easier. The Children’s Christmas part of CCS is also gearing up: This last week, we delivered two checks for that, one from our church and one from the VFW Auxiliary.

Last Thursday, we had called Church meeting. We have approved a budget for 2023 as well as the Trustees and Finance Committee reports. Sue brought Subway sandwiches and cookies, chips, grapes, and water; we ate during discussion and also took food home. The business of this meeting concerned the issue of disaffiliation. Many churches around the United States and other countries have left the United Methodist Church to create a new denomination called the Global Methodist Church. We at Paxton are still in the discernment phase—looking for guidance from above, from other churches who are further along in the process, and from each other. One important issue to all those present was the legacy of Paxton Methodist Church, whether it remains United or becomes Global.

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.

October 3, 2022 - Bro. David's under the weather today, so we're reprinting a devotional that originally went out in April of 2021...

Today's devotion is all about 3:16. There are 49 "3:16" verses in the Bible. Why aren't there 66 - one for every Bible book? Well, some books, like Psalms, have a 3rd chapter with less than 16 verses, and other books, like Jude, don't have a 3rd chapter at all.

Here are a few notable "3:16s"...

  • Matthew - When Jesus had been baptized, as He came up from the water, suddenly the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and alighted on Him.
  • I Corinthians - Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
  • Colossians - Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.
  • 2 Timothy - All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
  • I John - We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.

Having shared these random, single verses today, I must admit that I prefer to study God's Word "in context." Looking at each verse in the context of the verses that come before and after, in the context of the entire book - its writer, it's intended readers, the time and history and culture of its writing.

But, then again, there are some verses that seem to... stand alone.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Meet you back here tomorrow,
Bro. David

Remember His death...” I Cor. 11:26

Darryl WorleyOctober 3, 2022 - Even though I’m not a big Country music fan, some of these songs really touch my heart. (I still choke up when I hear “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “Unchained Melody”). Alan Jackson has a great new song out, but I am afraid he won’t be able to perform it in many circles because the words “I believe in Jesus and I talk to God” will turn a lot of our “politically correct” brothers off.

And Darryl Worley’s “Have you Forgotten,” written after his trip with the USO to Afghanistan, helped raise the level of patriotism in our country. He really gets us to thinking when he says, “Don’t tell me not to worry about Bin Laden... have you forgotten?”

Most of us will always remember 9-11, but some seem to have already forgotten. But that shouldn’t be so surprising.

Many have forgotten A.D. 33, too.

September 29, 2022 - Have you ever been in a Bible Class, one where you are asked to quote a scripture, and someone invariably quotes John 11:35. “Jesus Wept”? They laugh, others laugh because they have been so clever as to quote the shortest verse in the Bible.

Yet, have we ever stopped to ponder the depths of that beautiful passage? That passage shows the humanity of my Lord. It shows His compassion. It is because of that the writer of Hebrews would say of Jesus, “he was in all points tempted like as we are” (KJV). I like the way “The Message” puts that passage, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but sin.”

Because Jesus became flesh and lived as we live, He has experienced all the highs and lows of life that you and I do, and He understands when our hearts are heavy and sorrowful.

You see, there is another short verse in the First letter Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica. In chapter 5 and verse 16 we read, “Rejoice evermore.” Have you ever thought about the relationship between those two verses of only two words?

Because Jesus wept, we can rejoice evermore. Because Jesus lived as a man and bore our sorrows and carried our grief, we can rejoice evermore in Heaven when this life is over. Had Jesus not wept, Paul could have never written “Rejoice evermore.”

It’s something to think about... tbp

Join Us for Worship this coming Lord’s Day at Center Church of Christ or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com

September 26, 2022 - Short Community Homecoming and Singing on October 9, 2022. Potluck dinner at 12 noon with Open Mic Singing at 1:30pm. Come enjoy good food and fellowship. For more information contact Sherry Harding 936-288-2382 or Kenny Harris 936-427-7913.

September 26, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Our church service began with a Gathering Hymn today: “Morning Has Broken,” sung by Cat Stevens. This beautiful hymn is often used in the spring around Easter, but we enjoyed it just as much in the newly cooler fall. Our Gathering Words were based on Psalm 91, with the poet wondering who will live in the shadow of the Most High. The tormented picture on the front of the bulletin I assumed was Lazarus from the Gospel story, living in hunger and poverty. As I was going up front to preach, I realized it was Dives, the rich man in Shoal. Both men’s distress was needless—Lazarus because Dives could have helped him, and Dives because his riches only benefited himself.

To offset the agony expressed in the cover picture, we chose quotes from humorists. First, Groucho Marx said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.” The inside statement was from James Thurber: “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” As my wife says, the affirmation was “the same old Apostles’ Creed,” which we answer by singing the Gloria Patri. The Gospel lesson was about a miserable Lazarus at the gate of the rich man’s house. The rich man had everything—but didn’t share; in death, he suffered while Lazarus was comforted. We sang “Softly and Tenderly” another beautiful hymn, had prayer, and then held a business meeting.

We approved a Budget for 2023, also okaying the Trustees and the Financial reports. I then gave the congregation an update on the church’s movements toward disaffiliation. If you can stream on your TV, on You Tube you can see story after story about the split in the Methodist Church. This week a nurse made a home visit for our insurance company’s annual assessment. In our back-and-forth conversation, I told her I was a Methodist minister and explained the troubles Methodists are currently having. She laughed and said, “You know, you Methodists aren’t as good at fussing and arguing as the Baptists.” Sorry, Baptists, but I think she is right!

The business meeting went so long we decided to meet Thursday at 4:00 to continue our path of discernment. Sue is bringing Subway sandwiches, chips, cookies, and bottled water since 4:00 is almost dinner time for us “more mature” folks. I sure want to thank Larry for his calm counsel during this period. Our church is lucky to have such a rational, reasonable advisor in our group.

We had a really good Sunday School class. All of us were on time, present, and accounted for. We often get off topic, but the words from our text, Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 said, “Look here. Today I’ve set before you life and what’s good, versus death and what’s wrong.” It goes on to say that the best way to understand begins with obedience to God. We are told that after forty years of walking, Moses felt that he saw clearly the best path forward. Maybe Moses can make an appearance at Paxton on Thursday!

Today was the last Sunday of the month, so we gathered up the mac-n-cheese brought in September for Community Christian Services. I’ll deliver it this week. In October, we’re collecting peanut butter and jelly for CCS. When we first chose different monthly items at Joaquin Methodist, October was peanut butter month. A member of the congregation objected, saying you couldn’t have the PB without the J. So we adjusted—PB and J it is. CCS Christmas for Kids is also approaching; Gene had our church’s check ready for them, and Joy brought one from the VFW Auxiliary. We’ll deliver those tomorrow.

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.

September 26, 2022 - Good Morning. It’s Monday, September 26. 

Our focus this morning is on a song by the Contemporary Christian band, Casting Crowns. A song with an inspiring story behind it. A song that speaks in a unique way to our world today. A song called “Praise You in This Storm”.

On Valentine’s Day, 2004, the members of Casting Crowns met a little girl who had cancer. Her name was Erin Browning. It’s not unusual for celebrities - actors, musicians, athletes - to meet with children in hospitals, giving them hope and encouragement in the midst of their challenging experience. But Erin made an unusually strong impression on the band, and they stayed in touch with her and her family.

Erin died on November 1. The way that she and her parents faced the storm of cancer inspired the band’s leader Mark Hall and producer Bernie Herms to write this song. It quickly went to #1 on the charts and was voted Song of the Year in 2005. Fifteen years later, the world faced the storm of the pandemic. Christian singer Natalie Grant, the wife of Bernie Herms, re-recorded the song. Here are her words - “This song became new to me in 2017 when I walked through the storm of cancer. Now, as the world finds itself in a storm, it speaks once again”. 

Let it speak to you today.

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I cried
You hold in Your hands
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Meet you back here tomorrow,

Bro. David