October 8, 2021 - The cross on Calvary’s hill was already casting its shadow on Jesus when he told the disciples to “love one another” (John 13:34) and then He said, “by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35)

Sadly, of all the commands Jesus gave, this is more talked about and less obeyed than any of them.   If we mean anything when we profess to have love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, it should show itself in our dealings with them.  

Love is to be the grand characteristic and distinguishing mark of the followers of Jesus. Notice, Jesus does not name gifts or miracles as being the mark of a Christian. He says it is love. A grace within the reach of the poorest, lowliest believer on the face of the earth.

We can have sound doctrinal opinions, we can be completely orthodox in our view of the Gospel and still be wanting in the eyes of Jesus. If we in our daily lives, give way to ill-temper, malice, envy, quarrelling, squabbling, bickering, surliness, passion, snappish language and cross words, we are not exemplifying Jesus in our lives.
It is useless for us to talk about justification and regeneration unless others can see in us practical Christian love as Jesus commands.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” How are we doing with that?

It’s something to think about…..TBP

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

October 5, 2021 - Grace and peace from our friend and brother Jesus. Sunday was the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. These past few days have been on and off rain. We really need the rain, as Shelby County is in a drought situation. That doesn’t seem possible because we had a milder summer with more rain than usual. But during those hot days of summer, it doesn’t take long to dry the soil out. Next week is supposed to be dry and mild. I was always told that when I got old I would talk about the weather a lot—and I sure do!

It was so nice to see Joy and Gene this morning. They have been in Scotland for the two plus weeks and reported to us that they had a great time. While on their trip, they sent us a card with a beautiful castle on the front. Joy and Gene are the church’s world travelers and love to go. The pandemic got in the way of the first plans they made: Even finally being able to go, they had to observe many Covid precautions—including multiple tests—during the trip. A few years ago, all this “new normal” stuff would’ve been unimaginable.

Mrs. Fannie had an excellent lesson for us at Sunday School. Gene read the lesson, from the second chapter of Acts. Peter tells his listeners that they must change their hearts and lives when they became Jesus followers. Our author said that the necessary attitude in becoming a Christian is humility. We got into a spirited discussion about the early followers giving everything they had to the church and using that to meet people’s needs. I will tell you—that and the story of the rich young ruler bother me plenty!

Our Hymn of Praise was “Jesus Loves Me,” which went along with the second part of the Gospel lesson about the children being brought to Jesus. Our Hymn of Joy, “This Is My Father’s World” fit the rest of the scripture. Both are old favorites for Paxton Methodist. Our Closing Hymn, as usual, was the first verse of “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Joe led our singing this morning, which we really appreciate.

I flubbed up our Order of Worship because it never crossed my mind (or my proofreader wife’s) that this was the first Sunday of the month, so…...communion. Yes, we wrote out, proofread, and corrected the bulletin, but the missing part never even registered. Needless to say, we will have communion next Sunday. Sorry, Paxton Church folks!

If you’re wondering, I did remember to prepare a sermon. As I did last Sunday I used all four of the scriptures for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We started of with the first part of Job, where Job isn’t upset that everything was taken away from him: Job’s anger was due to God seeming to turn away from him. Like we humans say, it was the principle of the thing!

The main part of my sermon came from Mark 10, where the Pharisees question Jesus about divorce. A quick look at that section claims that Jesus condemns divorce. But a longer look shows that Jesus never did tell the Pharisees his thoughts about divorce. Instead, Jesus focused on remarriage.

This Wednesday I will take boxed, bagged, and cupped macaroni and cheese and a couple of checks to Community Christian Services. These volunteers provide such needed services to our community, and we really appreciate all they do. During October we will collect peanut butter and jelly. Mac and cheese, PB&J...sounds like a child’s idea of the perfect meal!

We had a letter from First Baptist in Joaquin about the yearly campaign to get Christmas gifts for area kids. Paxton Church will once again contribute to the Christmas Stocking Fund. Some of our members will also write personal checks or “adopt” a child. First Baptist of Joaquin heads up this effort for Community Christian Services and adds a Bible (English or Spanish) and underwear to each gift. This is a major undertaking, but FBC always has things perfectly organized. Even the year Beverly came down with flu, she kept in constant touch by cell phone.

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

September 30, 2021 - James would write these very poignant words in Jam s 4:14, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away" The most dangerous word in human speech os "tomorrow". In fact, if you want to really make God [laugh, teN what you are going to do tomorrow.

Often, we jokingly say, "never do today what you can put off until tomorrow". While, with many things in this life, that is an attitude that we can get by with, in our dealings with God and the eternal destiny of our soul, it can be tragic.

Governor Felix heard Paul preach in Acts chapter 24. Paul reasoned with Felix of righteousness when he was unrighteous, with temperance when Felix was intemperate and of judgment to come when Felix sat in judgment of others. When the sermon came to a close, it had such an impact on Felix that we are told that FeHx trembled. However, he sent Paul away and said he would call for Nm in a more convenient season. He wanted to put off serving God until tomorrow. Tomorrow never came for Felix.

There are numerous examples in the scriptures of those who waited until "tomorrow" and it was a tragedy for them. The foolish virgins in Matthew 25, the rich farmer of Luke 12 and those in the parable of the Great Supper recorded in Luke chapter 14.

The great word in the Bible is today. Today is when we must be serving God. Are we? 
 
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 29, 2021 - The United Methodist Church of Joaquin is selling beautiful mums! There are 6 different colors and prices are: 1 for $8, 3 for $20, 8 for $50, or 17 for $100. The church also has square bales of hay for sale for $10 per bale while supplies last. Local delivery is available. Pickup is available at the church located at 105 Faulkville Road, Joaquin, Texas 75954. For more information, call the church at 936-269-3661 or the pastor, Robert Ortigo at 903-407-3570.

September 28, 2021 - Grace and peace from our friend and brother Jesus. Sunday was the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We had our usual small crowd with folks out of town—and some out of the country having a really fun time! Hope to see everyone soon. The weather has been pleasant with cool mornings; the afternoons, even though warm, have featured really low humidity. Dog walks and working in the yard have been downright delightful. The days are definitely getting shorter, though, so we know winter is coming.

I talked with two of my favorite people last week. Lillie called me, and we got all caught up with her doings and ours at church. Lillie is such a lovely, gracious, and kind lady: We certainly miss her since she moved to Houston. Speaking of lovely people, Hilda and I had a really good time talking and laughing on a recent phone visit. She sure misses Shelby County, all her friends, and Paxton Church, but she is adjusting well to her new digs in Beaumont. At church, Larry mentioned that he called Hilda also. We certainly miss Hilda and all she did for the church—most importantly, to inspire us with her gentle ways.

Our Sunday School lesson had a really long scripture that served as the basis for the lesson. The author said the purpose was to discover the privileges and responsibilities of being part of God’s household. John Wesley, speaking about Christian Perfection, sounded a lot like St. Paul here. Paul said we are to pursue seriously our goal to be perfected. He also reminded us not to dwell too long on the past, instead reaching out for all that is in front of us. The author told us that when Paul says “Christ is our peace,” the word for peace means a state of completeness and wholeness. This week’s bulletin quote from H. Jackson Brown, Jr., carried on the same theme: “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.”

Sue got our worship started with our Gathering Words, based on Psalm124. We also said together A Modern Affirmation, which states that when we fall short we are to try again. The Gospel, Mark 9:38-41, reinforced the idea that Jesus felt those doing good are not to be condemned or stopped. The disciples had become irritated by another exorcist casting out demons in Jesus’ name, but Jesus pointed out that righteous action should be praised.

I began my sermon by talking about the Old Testament lesson, which was all about Esther. One oddity of this book is that the word God is never used—but we certainly know that God’s hand was moving in the events surrounding Esther. The Epistle lesson once again came from James; in very pastoral words, he urged those who were hurting to pray and those who were joyous to sing. We did both at our service.

Our Hymn of Praise was the simple but moving “Near to the Heart of God.” Later came our Hymn of Joy, “Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling.” Joe was on hand to lead us in both. We’re using CDs now, so are limited to what we have available in that set. Our Closing Hymn is always the first verse of “Have Thine Own Way, Lord,” which we know well enough to do a cappella.

We collected macaroni and cheese all last month and will collect peanut butter and jelly in October. I will take checks and the food stuffs collected to Community Christian Services next week. We had a letter from First Baptist in Joaquin about the yearly campaign to get Christmas gifts for area kids. Paxton Church always contributes as a church, and several members either write personal checks or “adopt” a child by purchasing shirt, pants, shoes, and a gift. First Baptist adds a Bible and underwear to each.

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

September 23, 2021 - St. John Missionary Baptist Church Center, Texas, Rev. Winston L. Kibbles Sr. – Pastor

Celebrating Their "132 Years" Sunday, October 17, 2021, at 10:30am.

1889-2021
Theme: “Prayer Still Works! James 5:16

You are welcome to worship with them.

September 23, 2021 - 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 Center Church of Christ or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com.

September 21, 2021 - The McWilliams-Rather Cemetery Association will meet on Saturday, September 25th at 4 pm. The meeting will be held at Todd Spring Baptist Church in Shelbyville. All are welcome to attend.

 

September 21, 2021 - The Bright Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church is pleased to announce and invite you to join us as we ordain two candidates to the office of deacon.

The ordination service for Bro. Johnny Ellington and Bro. Jarvis Johnson will be held at 11 a.m Sunday, September 26 at Bright Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church.

Everyone is invited to join us in this joyous occasion.

Rev. Anthony Jackson, Pastor

September 20, 2021 - Grace and peace from our friend and brother Jesus. Sunday morning came in quiet and peaceful after our busy week. Sue and I went to Dallas to stay at our daughter’s house. Meg works remotely and was involved with zoom calls most of the afternoon—but was able to take off Thursday and Friday. Our son Jacob came for dinner Wednesday evening; we had a nice visit and updates on his family in Denton. During the day Thursday, Meg and I went plant and home shopping, our favorite. My brother and sister-in-law came over later for dinner, visit, and birthday presents. The next morning I met my brother for a leisurely breakfast, while Sue and Megan went downtown for the Van Gogh exhibit. All this might sound low-key to some, but it was high adventure to the Joaquin Smiths!

Sunday was the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Autumn makes an appearance this coming week with the promise of cooler days. The dogs and I are looking forward to crisp (but not too cold) mornings for our walks. With the coming of autumn, we know we have turned a page on the Christian calendar: In just a few months Advent will begin with the stories to get us ready for the coming of the Christ Child.

It was so nice to have Fred and Sue with us once again all the way from Louisiana! We have really enjoyed getting to know them during the pandemic. Joe is back to his old job of leading the singing, although from CDs now. “Amazing Grace” was easy enough—yeah, we know it pretty well, but also the accompanist played at a good pace for us old folks. Not necessarily so with “Blessed Assurance,” our second hymn. All those triplets, plus a lively pianist really made us hustle!

Our Sunday School lesson, based on Galatians 2: 11-21, left all of us puzzled, not sure we liked the stories or illustrations. The scripture dealt with the split between Jewish and Gentile followers in the early Jesus communities. Peter and Paul are at loggerheads over how much of a role Jewish traditions, culture, and religion will play in the new faith groups, where more and more of the converts had previously been pagans and not Jews. Paul reaffirms what Jesus said: The greatest commandment is to love God and love one’s neighbor. Paul and Peter could agree on that—I think.

The main scripture for my sermon was once again from James—James 3: 5-6, 13, 17-18. James is not a theologian like Paul but is able to outline clear-cut ways to act in order to truly follow Jesus. In the reading, James warns about the damage we can do with our words. He says a good and righteous life can be seen by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

All during the month of September we are collecting macaroni and cheese for Community Christian Services. In October, which is coming up quickly, we will donate peanut butter and jelly. As “point man” for the Christmas part of Christian Services, Sue got a text last week asking for confirmation of our church’s usual involvement. That early notice might’ve taken some aback, but my wife has been busily working on our family Christmas since August!

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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