June 24, 2019 - Love and peace from our brother Jesus. Sunday was the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost. We now enter the long period on the Christian calendar called Ordinary Time. I have read many explanations for this term: The explanation I like best is that Pentecost is the last High Holy Day until fall. Until the last century, most workers were tillers of the soil, and their world was busy with ordinary tasks. Thomas Aquinas believed that the ordinary was infused with the Divine, but we are often too busy to notice.

When Sue and I returned from Missouri a couple of weeks ago, we thought we must have made a wrong turn. The temperature was in the low eighties and the humidity was really low. But this past week we were reminded that we were indeed back in Texas. The weather people said that the heat index for several days last week was over 100!

We sure missed Fannie and Carolyn at Sunday school. Our lesson today came from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. The title of the lesson was “Hearts United in Love.” The author of today’s lesson stressed that Christianity is not an individual affair. It is about community, lifting each other up when we are down. It is about working together to bring hope to others. 

Before today’s sermon we had a short business meeting. We are working on updating our church phone directory, which isn’t really complicated since we are so few in number. But the directory hasn’t been updated in almost ten years, and things do change. Joe proposed sending Christian Community Services a check from our church, which everyone was in favor of. 

The Epistle Lesson for Sunday came from the first chapter of Galatians. Paul was writing to not just one city or one Jesus Community but to a whole region of believers. Other missionaries had been to this region and cast some doubt on Paul’s understanding. We know that in the early church, one of the first areas of disagreement was whether believers should embrace Judaism as part of their conversion to the Jesus faith. Paul reassured the new converts that it was faith in Jesus, not the law, that was central. Today we also have folks that tell us faith should be about embracing hatred of those who look different and to embrace prosperity as the way to God. When we are confused, we need to remember how Christ loved. If we can model that love in how we treat “the other,” we will be on the right track.

Last week was our monthly program at Holiday Nursing Center. We were joined by a nice group of residents, A’leena the Activity Director, and Diane Smith, one of the directors of Community Christian Services. Minnie played piano for our congregational singing, freeing Hilda to be part of that group. I emceed, sharing some things from our recent trip to Missouri. Sue read Gerald McBoingBoing at the beginning and a Robert Louis Stevenson poem at the end. Nora sang her book, Sunshine on My Shoulder. Fannie read selections from Helen Steiner Rice. And we all made a joyful noise!

This week we head to Lakeside Assisted Living for our monthly ministry. During the month of June we have been collecting toilet paper and paper towels at church to take to Community Christian Services. Next month we will collect cans of spaghetti and ravioli. 

Our worship time is 10:00 AM and we would love to have you come and worship with us. I know how every busy everyone is and our early meet time enables one to get on with family get-togethers or jobs later on. 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.

June 24, 2019 - Mt. Zion C.M.E. Church is hosting a 5th Sunday Missionary Program on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 3pm. The theme is 'Hear, See, and Speak No Evil!'

"He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;" Isaiah 33:15

Guest speakers are Sis. Debra Eaden of Triumph Church in Center; Sis. Christina Leary of The Nation in Nacogdoches; and Sis. Veronica Berry of Mt. Zion in Center. Sis. Joyce Johnson is President; Sis. Sandra Latham is Vice President; Rev. Richard Edwards is Pastor; Rt. Rev. Lawrence L. Reddick, III is Presiding Bishop; and Rev. Milton Proctor is Presiding Elder.

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

June 19, 2019 - If you talk to my wife or daughter-in-law, they will tell you I am one of the best drivers around at missing a turn. Sometimes, we all do that, and when we do, we can back up. We can put the car in reverse. When you think about it, often one of the best ways to correct an error is to back up.

In addition to mechanical reverses, there are also physical or material reverses. If someone finds themselves in the wrong job or profession, they back up and find another one. When we make a purchase, there is the right to return it for an exchange or refund. There are “idiot turns” on the freeway for folks like me without a GPS.

Yet, our greatest need is for spiritual reverses. It was the great preacher of another era, Marshall Keeble who said, “The biggest problem with people is that they just don’t want to back up.” However, the Bible tells us there are two roads of life. There is the broad way or the narrow way. The right way or the wrong way. The way of life or the way of death. Sometimes we need to back up so we can get on the right road.

When the Bible speaks of reverse, the word used is repent. It means a change of conduct to back up and go the right way. This is often the greatest need in our lives. Repentance, putting yourself in reverse, backing up, is the hardest work of man. It is the most difficult thing a proud man or woman is called on to do. However, if we are willing to repent, our God is the God of the second chance.

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. www.centerchurchofchrist.com

June 19, 2019 - The story is told of a zoo that was noted for their great collection of different animals. One day the gorilla died, and to keep up the appearance of a full range of animals, the zookeeper hired a man to wear a gorilla suit and fill in for the dead animal. It was his first day on the job, and the man didn’t know how to act like a gorilla very well. As he tried to move convincingly, he got too close to the wall of the enclosure and tripped and fell into the lion exhibit. He began to scream, convinced his life was over… until the lion spoke to him: “Be quiet, or you’re going to get us both fired!”

Sometimes things and people aren't on the inside what they appear to be, or say they are on the outside. We like to call those people hypocrites. I have noticed over the years if you ask people why they don't come to church anymore, the answer is almost always the same; "I don't want to go up there with all those hypocrites."

Paul has got some pretty harsh words for the Jews in Rome who were considering themselves just a little better than the Gentile Christians because they were born into the promise of being Gods chosen people. They thought that this gave them a special pass from God. But Paul teaches that the in the New Testament church the state of your heart not the genealogy of your family or what rituals you performed is what gets you to heaven. Romans 2:17- 29 (ESV), "But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth — you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Let's look at three key things Paul points out to us in this passage.

If you are a Christian you should be doing the work of a Christian. That means sharing the Gospel, helping the helpless, taking care of widows and orphans, serving others, teaching the word, learning the word. Being a doer of the word not just a hearer of the word. James 1:23-25 says "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."

Practice what you preach. If you talk the talk you've got to walk the walk. We can't just go around sharing the Gospel with people and continue to live like the devil. I have seen people who act "holy" in church but when they get in public or private they lie, cheat, steal, disrespect, back bite, are hate filled, unforgiving, and just generally mean. Luke 6: 39-40, "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." We know trees by the fruit they bear. The same is true for people.

God does not give out participation trophies. He wants you to be all in! He wants you to love Him with all your heart. Not just half way. Deut. 6:4-5, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." He wants all of you for the right reason. 1 Cor. 13: 1-3, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing." God wants more than an outward demonstration of religion He wants a whole hearted, sold out, "I'm in it to win it" attitude. It makes Him sick when he sees half hearted christians. Revelation 3:15-16," “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. "Don't worry about what others think just do what you feel God has called you to do with all your heart.” Teddy Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts. ...The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly... who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." 

Remember Jesus made a statement about people who call themselves religious who didn't practice what they preached when he said to the Pharisees that they needed to be clean, not only on the outside, but on the inside also to be totally clean. We have to remember that its not your outward appearance and what we do in public, but the condition of your heart and how you show love and forgiveness to people that matters most to God.
 I'm Just Sayin,
 Mike Belgard

June 19, 2019 - Mt Zion CME Church will celebrate the 143rd Church Anniversary on Sunday, June 23rd at 3pm. Special guests will be Rev. David Avant and the New St. Matthew Baptist Church of Nacogdoches, TX. Myrtis McClelland, Chairperson. Rev. Richard Edwards, Pastor.

June 18, 2019 - Darrell Rhodes, believed to be the oldest living member of Mt. Olive Church, will present a history of it and the community to Timpson Area Genealogy and Heritage Society on June 19, at 2PM. The community is invited to reminisce with us about his church and the wonderful families who have been a part of the Silas community throughout is existence.

June 18, 2019 - Mt. Herman Missionary Baptist Church will be having revival services June 24th through June 28th at 7:00 each evening. The evangelist will be Brother Bobby Warr. Pastor is Brother R.B. Elumbaugh. The church is located at 9181 State Highway 7 West.

June 18, 2019 - Pleasant Grove MBC will be hosting their Revival this year from June 24th thru June 28th, which is the last week of the month. There will be two evangelists bringing the messages that week: Brother Don Weatherly and Brother Billy Windham. Service begins at 7:00 pm each night and on Friday, we will have some finger foods and refreshments after service. So come, bring family and friends to join us on this blessed occasion. We welcome your song special! Come as you are and leave Revived!

Pleasant Grove MBC is located between Center and Timpson. If traveling from Center, take 87N and go past Mt. Gillion Church. Turn left on FM 1470 and the church is 1 mile down on the right. Address is 1440 FM 1470, Timpson, Texas 75975

For more information, contact Bro. Josh Crawford at 936-572-5303.

June 17, 2019 - Love and peace from our brother Jesus. Sunday was Trinity Sunday as well as Fathers Day. Sue and I were in Missouri last Sunday, which was The Day of Pentecost. So I decided to preach on Fathers Day and Pentecost. We had a great trip to Louisiana, Missouri. Louisiana is a quaint little town right on the Mississippi north of St. Louis. Sue’s aunt Patsy died and I conducted the graveside memorial service. We stopped and saw some of our favorite cousins on the way up and visited the picturesque towns of Hardy, AR, and Hermann, MO. It was only in Hermann that we had to detour around flood waters. Parts of Louisiana, MO, were flooded, including my mother-in-law’s farm—which was under about three feet of water. 

Last Sunday, Larry spoke at church. He has covered for me the last several times Sue and I have been out of town. He is quite the historian and has done extensive research of Tenaha and Shelby County. Bill O’Neil, who was the state historian for quite a while, came to hear Larry speak. The only bad thing about all this is that I never get to hear him speak. One Sunday when I was gone but Sue wasn’t, she told me how much she enjoyed Larry’s talk about Leon Hale, the longtime Houston columnist.

We had a good visit, but it was nice to get back home. We missed our four-legged buddies—Gunter and Sam—who were at All God’s Creatures, their home away from home. Our friend Teresa watered my garden while I was gone and kept everything looking so nice. I have been picking tomatoes and bell peppers and will have some zucchini soon—not to mention the sunflowers that are taller than I am. 

Our Sunday school lesson was from Hebrews 9: 11-22, about blood sacrifices that had been part of the spiritual life of the Jewish people. Paul says that all changed and a new covenant based on the Christ gives us hope and promise. 

I used a scripture that is often used for Pentecost and one usually for Trinity Sunday. Trinity Sunday is the only holy day dedicated to a theological concept rather than an event (like Easter or Christmas). We say that God is mysterious, and trying to understand the idea of the Trinity proves that point. We recited the ancient Nicene Creed which was the fourth century church’s attempt to explain God who is Father, Son, and Spirit. 

Fatherhood like Motherhood is all about the circle of life. I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” definition of fatherhood. I don’t even think you have to be a dad to be a father to someone. Fatherhood is about one’s soul. The late columnist Erma Bombeck suggested that fatherhood may have nothing to do with biological function, but is more a generic term. Father, she wrote, is a term for people who enrich other people’s lives, who make a difference in the lives they touch, and who would be sorely missed had they never been.

All during the month of June, Paxton Methodist will be collecting paper towels and toilet paper for Community Christian Services. On Tuesday we head to Holiday Nursing Center for our monthly program there. 

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.

June 17, 2019 - Bright Morning Star Baptist Church (623 MLK Drive; Center, TX), in alliance with Minister Rillia Thomas, is hosting a Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, June 22 at 10 am for the women in our community and surrounding areas. The theme for this prestigious event:  “Restoration and Realignment.” Please make plans to come out and enjoy this special time. Pastor - Anthony Jackson.