February 26, 2019 - The non-believer asks of the believer, “Just what is it that this Jesus that you speak of has done for you that makes you love him and speak of him so?

The apostle Paul explains what it is like as a believer to have the love of the Father and the Christ as he explains to the church at Ephesus. As he gives thanks first to the Heavenly Father and then to the Christ for the many blessings all receive as heirs to the throne of God, our true inheritance.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that he should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in The Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3-6)

Praise and glory to the Father for it is by his grace that we are redeemed of our sinful lives and made whole in him through Christ Jesus which he sent to us to sacrifice, for us, his earthly life that we too might become heirs to the throne of God. But to Christ Jesus also for it is through him that we are lifted from the pit of destruction and into the light of life.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in heaven and things on earth.

What has Christ done for me? He has given me eternal life through the sacrifice of his blood on the cross of Calvary.

Through him, I have been made whole in the Spirit of God, set aside, for God’s pleasure and for his will which he pours out on me as his grace and goodness through Christ Jesus.

By his grace our Lord God brings all believers together, in Christ, as one, alive together with Christ, forever.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:4-10)

Why do I and all believers love Jesus? Because through God’s amazing grace and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we are fellow heirs to the throne of God

So too can you be as well. Salvation is for everyone who will accept the gift of God, given through the blood of Jesus Christ, once and for all… May you know his blessings this day and forever…

February 26, 2019 - Love and peace from our brother, Jesus. Sunday was the 7th Sunday of Epiphany. Next Sunday will end the unusually long season of Epiphany. It will be Transformation Sunday as Jesus and three of his close friends go to the mountaintop. Last Sunday’s gospel included some very hard sayings of our brother Jesus. He tells us we must love those who are our enemies, those who curse us, and those who want to harm us. This certainly goes against our human grain, but in order to experience life abundantly as God wants us to, we must always make the first move of compassion and forgiveness. 

Our Sunday school lesson was the last one for this quarter. The new Sunday school books had a picture of the Garden of Gethsemane on the cover with the garden in full bloom. It reminds us that spring is just a month or two away—and already creeping up on us here in East Texas. Our lesson was based on Psalm 91, called “Living with God’s Loving Assurance.” This poetic psalm tells of camping in the shade of the Almighty, speaking strongly about God’s love and his steadfastness in times of trouble—a very reassuring and comforting idea. 

Last week was our Holiday Nursing Home ministry. Not only was Hilda playing the piano, but in their renovation they turned the piano around—so she was able to face her audience. A’leena, our friend from Focused Care, is the new Activity Director at Holiday, and she spent most of the program singing with the group. Pastor Matt handled the MC job as well as talking about the Ten Commandments— Charleton Heston’s portrayal in comparison to the Bible’s original version. Sallie not only sang “It Is Well with My Soul,” but she also shared the story behind it. Fannie read two Helen Steiner Rice poems. Nora multitasked with a Valentine from Jesus poem, the love commandment song, and an excerpt of “Roses Are Red, My Love.” Sue read some riddles from a book she got at the Center library book sale, which was originally Teacher Nora’s book for her class; she also read two poems from Food Hates You. Finishing up with “Amazing Grace,” Pastor Matt told the story of its author, to which Sallie added a later development in his life. All this and newly renovated decorations on the walls!

On Monday morning the dogs and I went to Community Christian Services to deliver the soap and shampoo we have been collecting in February. Ms. Dianne met me there and opened up, which I really appreciated. Our March donation will be cans of chili. Community Christian Services does such good work for our area, and we are grateful to be a small part of it. 

This Thursday we will head to Lakeside Assisted Living for our February ministry. I got a text from Pastor Robert that Joaquin Methodist will be serving grilled chicken dinners after church next Sunday. The money from the dinners will go toward their scholarship fund. Next Sunday is the first Sunday in March, so Paxton Methodist will celebrate Holy Communion during its 10:00 worship service. 

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.

February 25, 2019 - In 1968 I moved from The First Baptist Church of Mauriceville, Texas to The First Baptist Church of Hemphill, Texas.  Buddy White, a friend from Mauriceville helped me by using a U-Haul rental truck. When we turned off Highway 96 at Pineland, we were pulled over by a Highway Patrolman.  His first words were, “Where do you think you’re going in that truck?” When I told him “Hemphill”, he barked back, “And why are you moving there?” By this time Buddy and I both knew we were being verbally attacked, but didn’t know why. When I heard Buddy breathing heavily, I looked over, his eyes were wide open and his face blood red.  I knew Buddy had a short fuse and figured something was about to blow.

When I told the Trooper where I was going,   he angrily replied, “And what the h--- are you going to do there?”  When I told him I was their new pastor, his whole demeanor changed. “Oh, you’ll love Hemphill. Do you know Harris Minton?  I replied by telling him that Harris was the Deacon Chairman of the church.  “Well, drive safe,” he said as he drove away.

I was a little nervous about Hemphill after meeting the Officer.  But he was right about Hemphill.  They were some of the kindest people I have ever met.  I had many interesting experiences there…and I’ll write some stories about them…..

,,,,in my next book.

February 25, 2019 - Why! One might ask, is there so much dissension, so much despair, so much suffering in the world today? The answer is not easy but it is simple, it is as the prophet Isiah said so long ago and has not changed until today.

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and God, your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.” (Isaiah 59:1-3)

Many would say, “God has deserted me and I am now in pain and suffering for God has turned his back upon me. It’s all God’s fault that I suffer so.

But, NO, God has not turned his back on you, no, he waits patiently for you to return to him for you have turned your back on him, not he on you.

Evil and oppression have overtaken the world and all who dwell in it will suffer until or unless, they turn back to God in repentance and humility.

Our scriptures say we have been defiled with our iniquities. So what does this word, iniquity, mean, what have we done?

Iniquity: To be evil, causing gross injustice and wicked and sinful acts.
Synonyms for the word are; corruption, debauchery, depravity, immorality, sin, vice, do you get the picture now.

Everything you see in life every day is what we have done for we, as a people, have turned our backs on God and gone the way of the world, of the devil.

And what does the Lord say about our situation?

For I, the Lord do not change.” (Malachi 3:6) “Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord.” (Malachi 3:7)

The ball is in our court, people of the earth. We can sit in our iniquities and suffer the loneliness of being apart from the Lord, or, we can turn from our wickedness and return to him and know, forever, the pleasures of living and walking with the Lord each day.

Jesus Christ, our Lord gives us insight into the way of the world and the way to him and eternal bliss with him when he said, “For what will it profit a man of he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” (Matt. 16:26-28)

The clear and simple explanation of what is going to happen when the Father decides the time is right and the end of this age has come.

No amount of worldly possessions can help the one who has forfeited his soul for the world and its fleeting pleasures.

All will be repaid according to what he has done on earth. Where do you stand today? What would be your payment if Christ was to come now, today? That is the question each of us must answer for ourselves.

What must we do to come to the Lord? The old prophet Micah tells us we must; “love justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God each day.”

Do you deal justly with all people? Do you show mercy to those in need? Do you follow God’s will each day or do you do your own will or the will of the world around you?
All questions we must all answer for ourselves. May the grace of God be upon all…

February 22, 2019 - Smyrna Baptist Church in Huxley invites you to a Women's Seminar on Saturday, March 2nd from 9am to 4pm and lunch is provided.

Speaker is Kim Crabill who wrote 'Burdens to Blessings' and Amy Blackwell. Come join us for a wonderful day of worship and blessings with other women. Any questions please contact Amy Blackwell at 903-721-0291.

February 22, 2019 - (Flier) - House of Refuge Apostolic Ministries presents "Founder's Day," honoring Apostle W.E. Nash, Jr.

Guest speaker Apostle Rodney Beard, New Birth Reconciliation Ministries, Moss Point, Mississippi.

Theme: Walking In My Promise, Her. 29:11.

Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 3:30pm House of Refuge Apostolic Ministries, 215 Church Street, Center, Texas 75935 - Apostle W.E. Nash Jr. - Pastor.

February 22, 2019 (Event Flyer) - The Joyseeker’s Conference will be held on February 23, 2019 at the First Baptist Church, 117 Cora Street, Center, Texas 75935. National Speaker Jill Donovan will be the speaker. You are invited to join us for a wonderful weekend of fellowship and a time to enjoy learning more about yourself.

Early registration due January 26, 2019 for the early fee of $25. After January 31st, registration is $30.

In 2004, Jill Donovan’s guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show ignited a change within her heart that would have a ripple effect on thousands of lives.

Jill left the legal profession when she followed her heart and discovered her true passion.

The Kindness Effect, a book full of real life stories exemplifying what can happen when you discover your gifts and become intentional about using them tells the story of Jill’s heart change and passionate pursuit of her purpose. For Jill, Rustic Cuff creator, it is not about the bracelet. It’s about the connection that is made between two people. It has been said that one of her favorite things to do is inspire a giving heart in others.

Jill is a sought-after motivational speaker who encourages women to pursue their passions and purpose in life. 

For more information see the brochure or call the First Baptist Church Office at (936) 598-5605.

February 21, 2019 - Mt. Zion CME Church celebrates with a Black History Program to be held on Sunday, February 24th at 3pm. Special guests are Brenda Wimberly and Jonathan Fountain of Shreveport, LA, Alex Cloudy, Jalen Hubbard, Jeremy Small, Christy Byndom, and others. Please join us as the psalmist ministers old Negro Spirituals and hear poems and great young speakers. Rev. Richard Edwards, Pastor. Myrtis McClelland, Program Chairperson.

February 21, 2019 - Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church cordially invites you to their Black History Program on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at 10am.

Speakers are Ms. Amie Preston, Ms. Amanda Ashton, and Ms. SeKourtney Ratcliff.

February 20, 2019 - Mount Calvary Full Gospel Church is hosting a Gospel Singing on Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 6pm till 10pm. All musicians and vocalists invited. Bring a friend and enjoy some good gospel music!

Musicians setup time is 5:30pm (Gospel Music Only). There will be food and refreshments after singing. The Gospel Singing will be held every last Saturday of the month.

Mount Calvary Full Gospel Church is located at 417 East, Shelbyville, Texas 75973. For more information call 903-678-1447 or 936-591-8500. All are welcome.

Church service schedule:

  • Sunday Morning Class 10:00 am
  • Sunday Morning Worship 11:00 am
  • Sunday Children's Church and Youth Church 11:00 am
  • Sunday Evening Bible Study 6:00 pm
  • Wednesday Night Bible Study 6:30 pm