February 10, 2020 - The Pastor and members of Carroll Chapel CME Church in Shelbyville, would like to invite the community to its Annual Black History Program on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 3pm.

The guest speakers will be Annie Bell of Beaumont, TX; Rod Gardner of Center, TX; and Minister Jerry Latham of Center, TX. Everyone is invited.

February 10, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany and the second Sunday in February. My computer has been in the shop this past week getting updates and fine tuning. I feel powerless, even though I don’t use my computer except for word processing and the internet. I have most of my church stuff stored on an external drive, so I’m able to plug it in to my wife’s computer. But that is like driving a borrowed car—it just doesn’t feel right. I am not sure I will get out my weekly article or my weekly email to church folks, but I am trying. It is Saturday morning and I am still working on my sermon. I am not one to wait until the last minute to get things done. That last-minute flurry seems to work for some people, but it drives me crazy—and I already feel a little crazy.

Sometimes the season following the Epiphany is long, and sometimes it is short. The length of this time depends on where Easter falls on the calendar. Counting back from Easter decides when to have Transfiguration Sunday, Ash Wednesday, and Lent. This year Easter is April 12, so Ash Wednesday is February 26, followed by the forty days of Lent. The events during this time become the foundational narrative for the Christian faith. 

We met for Sunday School and Church Services at Ms. Fannie’s house since the propane in the church’s tank was running low. We were in double digits and sure appreciate Fannie opening up her house for our worship. Our Sunday School lesson was titled “Holy Presence,” with the scripture from Exodus 40: 16-38. The lesson reminds us that even though we know that God is always with us, it is still important to have special places and special days to remind us of God’s loving spirit. The author calls those special days “set-apart days.” 

The Gospel lesson for the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany carries on right where last week’s Gospel ends. It is a continuation of Jesus’ manifesto—The Sermon on the Mount. After explaining who was blessed in God’s Kingdom, Jesus tells his audience that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. I imagine that sounded a little strange to those peasants in the Galilee; in the world of Roman domination and even their own Temple authorities, they certainly were not seen as blessed, but as people to be abused and run over. That is still true today as the poor are ignored, vilified, and pushed down even further. 

Last week was the first Monday of February, which is the time for our program at Focused Care Nursing Home. Hilda was in fine form on the piano, adding all kinds of flourishes! I emceed, including sharing a little of last Sunday’s sermon on my favorite Bible verse: Micah 6:8. Fannie read a favorite patriotic poem entitled “God Bless America.” Sue talked about the excitement of seeing Rocky (before there was a Rocky II, III, and so on down the line). She also read The Bus Driver from the Black Lagoon, a children’s picture book. Jo brought a poem she likes, “The Voice of Gold,” since her sister Nora couldn’t attend. Pastor Sarah found an interesting way to tie Great Danes and Dalmations to God: Even though we don’t see God, we know he’s there—just like she knew those dogs existed although she hadn’t actually seen one. And mostly, we had a good time singing old standards with the lively group at Focused Care.

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.” 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 7, 2020 - St. John Missionary Baptist Church of Center with Rev. Winston Kibbles, Pastor, are celebrating African American Heritage with a Black History Program on Sunday, February 16th at 2:30pm. The program is honoring "Basketball Legends" Aretha Swindell as the keynote speaker and Joe Sigler as special guest. For more information, contact Sis. Jacklyn Cartwright at 936-332-8804.

February 6, 2020 - Many ask, "But how do I ask the Lord for salvation, how can I be saved"? This prayer of king David for his own salvation is a great example of how one can should ask for the salvation of the Lord upon oneself.

"To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. Oh my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous."

"Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long."

"Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!" (Psalm 25:1-7)

As Jesus died on the cross for the sin of all mankind, once for all, he stands ready to save all mankind. 

All who confess that he is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, will be saved.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

"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." (Romans 10:9)

Many will say, " Oh, it can't be that easy to be saved!" Oh, but yes it is, it is not hard one must first humble oneself, accept that Jesus is Lord of all and ask him, "Jesus, save me!", this he will do.

The hard part is living the life of the saved, separating oneself from the passions and temptations of the devil and his world snd those who scoff at all who would follow the Lord.

"Condemnation is ready for scoffers, and beating for the backs of fools." (Proverbs 19:29)

"Fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm." (Proverbs 19:23)

Oh yes, the saved will have trials and tribulations while on earth, but, for all who persevere the prize waits in heaven, eternal life with Christ Jesus, forever at home with the Lord!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil." (Proverbs 3:5-7)

"Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies." (Psalm 25:8-10)

Yes, he leads all who ask of him and teaches them his ways, for those who persevere through the trials and tribulations of the world are all pardoned of all sin, forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

"For your name's sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great." (Psalm 25:11)

Call upon him today and he will answer you and you will know forever the joy and peace that comes in the Lord, you will then be more than his follower, you will be his friend, forever.

"The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant." (Psalm 25:14)

Jesus says to all people for he shows no partiality, he loves without conditions all who accept him as Lord.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

Will you answer that knock at your heart strings today, will you accept Jesus as your Lord and let him in to your heart that you will know him as your friend, forever? Answer the call today...

February 6, 2020 - I read a quote not long ago that said, “If a congregation wants a better preacher, it can get one by praying for the one it has.” I thought to myself, how true that is not just for preachers, but for everyone. Often we complain about our families, friends, coworkers and neighbors, but of course nothing comes of that but more discontent. We try to change others and invariably fail. We must stop trying to change others by our power and allow the power of prayer to make the difference.

If there are problems of any kind between you and someone else, there is nothing that will work as well as your sincere and heartfelt prayers to the Father in Heaven. Did not James say, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”?

Do you think the situation is hopeless, the relationship doomed? Pray anyway. Do you think the person you are having trouble with is so stubborn, blind, unreasonable or prideful that it’s no use to pray because you feel that not even the Lord can do anything with them? Pray anyway. Give the Lord a chance to show you His power to change people.

We are always going to have problems of some kind with something or somebody in our lives. With the help of God, those problems do not need to overwhelm us nor crush us beneath their burden. Try prayer. Prayer changes things!

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 or online at www.centerchurchofchrist.com.

February 4, 2020 - Tenaha  First  Baptist  Church  would  like  to invite  everyone  to  our  Revival  2020 - Nothing  but  the  blood!  with  evangelist  Dr. Ronnie  Hill, Sunday  through  Wednesday, February  16 - 19.  Sunday  morning  -  10:30am,  Sunday  night - 6pm,  Monday through  Wednesday  night - 7pm - Hwy 59 S in Tenaha.

February 4, 2020 - God bestowed great wisdom on king Solomon for as a very young man, with the death of his father David, he took responsibility for the rule of Israel.

God asked of Solomon, "Ask what I shall give you." (2 Chronicles 1:7)

Unlike most young men, Solomon did not ask for riches or wealth, he asked only that God give him the wisdom and knowledge to rule his people.

For this unselfish request, God gave to him, "wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like." (2 Chronicles 1:12)

Now Solomon having great wisdom and knowledge granted to him from God understood that the glory of God comes not in physical things but in the spiritual things of our Lord.

He understood that God's Spirit cannot be contained in any building or monument but that he is Omnipresent, being everywhere at once, Omnipotent, being all powerful, and Omniscient, being all knowing.

Solomon, even as he started to build the temple for the Lord in Jerusalem knew it could not contain the Lord our God and he acknowledges this awesome fact.

"The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all Gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?" (2 Chronicles 2:5-6)

With the sacrifice of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross there is no longer a need for a house to make animal sacrifices to the Lord, but we who follow him are being made a spiritual house for him; "you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5)

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1)

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a compliant against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive." (Colossians 3:12-13)

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7)

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17)

"When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)  

I would wish for all people that all should come to repentance and receive redemption from sin, becoming living stones in the spiritual house of the Lord. That all would then know the joy and peace that comes only through our Lord Jesus Christ.

May the Lord our God make his face to shine upon you and may you receive his blessings every day.

February 3, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany and the first Sunday in February. As numbers, Sunday’s date is 02-02-2020! During our worship service we celebrated Holy Communion. In February we will be collecting soap and shampoo for Community Christian Services. In January it was tuna; on Wednesday, I took all that we collected to Christian Services. I saw many friends volunteering at the food bank, and several people helped me unload my truck. On Monday, we will head to Focused Care at 10:00 for our ministry there. It has been typical East Texas winter weather with rain and cool temperatures. I would say that I am ready for spring, but it always seems that spring is missed and we head right into our hot summer weather.

The new theme for the next several Sunday School lessons is about holy places. The scripture that Gene read for the class this morning was Exodus 3: 1-12, the story of Moses and the burning bush. God speaks to Moses and tells him to take off his sandals because he is in a holy place. The Jews of Jesus’ time certainly thought of the Temple as being a sacred site, and we consider our churches the same. Fannie shared with us several wonderful stories of Paxton Methodist and some of the fine folks who touched so many lives. Toward the end of Sunday’s lesson the writer said, “We need the portable holy.” He meant that we can make any place holy by reaching toward God, who is present everywhere—and by being kind, just, and humble.

All the scriptures for the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany deal with the Kingdom and what is required to live in God’s eternal presence right now. Psalm 15 asks who will live in God’s tent, or with God on his holy mountain. The Old Testament Lesson for Sunday includes my favorite Bible verse—Micah 6:8. Micah is really put out with the rich and powerful who take advantage of the poor, feigning ignorance that their actions are the cause of so much pain and suffering. In Micah 6:8, God reminds us all what is required: to be kind, just, and humble. Jesus, when he delivers his Beatitudes sermon on the mount, strikes the same themes we hear from Micah. I included in my message a quote from the great Southern writer, William Faulkner: “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this it would change the earth.”

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.” 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.

January 30, 2020 - Shelby County Outreach Ministries would like to recognize a very special person. Her name is Iva Parker, or, as many have come to know her, Sister Iva.

Sister Iva has a very special ministry and at 97 years young she is such an inspiration. We call it a ministry of love. Sister Iva makes prayer quilts. Each quilt bears a little note that says “this is more than a quilt. If you look closely at every stitch you will see her love for sewing as well as her love for people. In this quilt is an abundance of love. May this Quilt be a covering of God’s love in the lives that it warms.” It also comes with a testimony from Sister Iva that says her greatest passion is living for God. She is a faithful member of Dreka Pentecostal Church in Shelbyville, Texas.

Her favorite Bible verses are Acts 2:38-39: 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Sister Iva states also, if you met her and forgot her, you have only lost a friend. If you met Jesus and forget Him, you have lost everything.

She generously donates these quilts to Shelby County Outreach Ministries so they can be used as Prayer quilts. They are reserved for those who find themselves in desperate need of prayer.

Sister Iva and we hope that each person that receives one of these precious quilts feels the love and warmth of our Heavenly Father wrapping His arms around them. The Lord loves a cheerful giver and Sister Iva is just that. She gives her time, her love, her labor, and her heart in the work she does and expects nothing from it. Her reward is knowing that her efforts will be a blessing to someone in need.

All of us at Shelby County Outreach Ministries wants her to know just how special she is to our Ministry and to the people who receive one of her quilts.

We love your quilts, but more importantly, we love you, Sister Iva. Thank you for all you do to help others.

January 30, 2020 - Joaquin First Baptist presents the Ronnie Warren Ministries this Sunday evening, February 2 at 6pm. There is free admission. Everyone is invited to come for a night of praise and worship.