December 2, 2019 - Several local talents are scheduled to present live music entertainment during the Christmas Festival on Saturday, December 7th in downtown Joaquin. Beginning at 10:30 to kick off the festivities Mark Lawrence is inviting everyone to join in singing Christmas Carols an old fashioned Sing A Long to get everyone in a festive mood! Mark Lawrence is an accomplished vocalist and musician. Most know him as Coach Lawrence.

At 11am Sherry Lee (Morris) with Family and Friends will present a mixture of secular and Gospel Christmas Favorites. Sherry Lee (Morris) has performed many years traveling the U.S. and producing shows. She is a graduate of Joaquin. Rest of the group (Cox-Lambert Family) and friends are also graduates of Joaquin.

At 12:00 noon Trey Wilson performs. Trey Wilson is graduate of Joaquin and has performed in Branson as well as many other places.

These are accomplished musicians, composers and vocalists. Come on out and support these Joaquin Alumni who are joining us for this day of festivities. This is just part of the activities planned for the day. Hope to see you there!

December 2, 2019 - Pastor Jeremy Moore and the Friendship Missionary Church would like to invite everyone to their annual youth day program on Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 3pm with Rev. Treyland J Richmond and under the direction of Pastor Richmond of the New Light Baptist Church from Shreveport, Louisiana. Everyone is welcome.

December 2, 2019 - Grace and peace from our brother and savior, Jesus, Amen. We have begun a New Year on the ancient Christian calendar. This is the year of Matthew, so most of the lessons will come from Matthew’s Gospel in 2020. That sounds so weird—2020! It seems like just yesterday we were worried about all the computers shutting down as we entered a new century! Well, that obviously didn’t happen, as most all of us carry a powerful computer in our hands—the smart phone.

Texas weather brought us some warm temperatures and high humidity along with strong winds. I have used the leaf blower several times to no avail. When I got up this morning (Thursday) one of the big national news stories was SFA men’s basketball team beating #1 Duke. Go, Lumberjacks! I went by Community Christian Services this past Tuesday to drop off beans and rice for their food bank. Rev. Jody was busy at work; it’s always nice to visit with him. During the month of December Paxton Methodist members will collect cans of soup for CCS. 

I hope everyone had a really nice Thanksgiving. Our kids and my brother and sister-in-law came to our house for Thanksgiving. Jacob brought Audrey—we really enjoyed having her visit and getting to know her. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, chocolate pies, and other traditional foods, but also a fair number of vegan dishes for our son. We all ate more than our fill: The only downer was the Cowboy game. They looked really weak. Friday our company headed home, including our grand-dog Stella, who has been with us while our daughter was in Morocco. 

We started a new unit in Sunday school simply titled “Hope.” Gene read our scripture lesson from Genesis 12: 1-9, where God asks Abram to leave everything and go to a land that would be given to him. Ms. Fannie had a great lesson, and we shared memories about moves in our life times. Our author stressed hope and trust, which are definitely strong Advent themes. Life would certainly seem futile without hope.

On this first Sunday of the month we celebrated Holy Communion. Fannie is our faithful communion steward who prepares the bread and juice. She also had such pretty candles set out for our Advent reading. Caroline gave Sue a series of prayers to read during the lighting of the Advent candles. The poinsettias, artistically rendered by Roy at Sunshine, looked beautiful at the altar. Fannie had the bulletin ready for the Paxton Community Christmas Program on December 17. We always enjoy hosting so many of our friends and neighbors. Last year, it was cold and rainy for our program, but I hope for better this year. 

The First Sunday of Advent is like starting to circle back to Bethlehem, revisiting that first Christmas with all its accompanying stories. I read in preparing my sermon that Christmas is a season of childhood, while Advent is a season for adults to grow spiritually. I am trying to read very carefully the words from Matthew about the coming of the Kingdom and the coming of Christ. Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote, “Earth is crammed with heaven…” That statement is so true, but we often are oblivious to Kingdom moments that happen all around us. 

This week we would normally be going to Focused Care, but both our piano players are out of pocket, so we rescheduled. November’s day for Lakeside would have been Thanksgiving—that too was rescheduled, to last Tuesday instead. As usual, I emceed, speaking about Advent, and sharing anecdotes between songs. Minnie was our trusty pianist, leaving Hilda free to sing with the group. I honored both of them, plus our faithful Margie, during the program. Ollie read a poem called “The Night Before Jesus Returned,” in the style of Clement Moore. Sue followed with a book that did the same, titled The Night Before Thanksgiving. Gene did non-traditional versions of “Jingle Bells” and “Away in a Manger.” Good to have him and Maggie with us again. Nora “sang a book,” an illustrated “Over the River and Through the Woods.” She also dedicated to the audience her stirring song, “Thank You for Giving to the Lord.”

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.

November 21, 2019 - Come join us at the Senior Nutrition Site on Thursday, November 28th from 11am – 1pm for our annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner! It will be a great time of fellowship and food. Turkey’s, hams, and all the usual Thanksgiving dishes will be available. If you are interested in putting in a to-go order to be picked up, or if you would like to volunteer, please call Mrs. Dee at 936-598-7768. All orders must be turned in by November 25th.

November 27, 2019 - Dr. Luke records a story for us in Luke 17 that occurred one day when Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and was passing through Samaria and Galilee. Jesus was approached by ten lepers, miserable creatures afflicted with a horrific disease. They cried out to Jesus for mercy and He told them to go and show themselves to the priests. While they were on their way, they were cleansed. We are told that only one of the ten returned to Jesus to say “thank you”. Jesus asked the question, “were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God save this stranger”.

How much like those nine lepers are we? This is the season of the year that we refer to as the “Thanksgiving Season”. November 28th has been set aside on our calendar as “Thanksgiving Day”.

Yet, do we really take the time to show our gratitude to God for all that He has done for us or has “Thanksgiving Day” simply become a day when we gorge ourselves with copious amounts of food and watch football and spend time with family enjoying a day off from work? Let’s show our gratitude to God for what He has done for us, not just on one day a year, but let’s express our gratitude daily both in word and in deed.

One way of showing our gratitude to God is to meet Him at His House regularly for Worship. Will you be doing that this coming Lord’s Day?

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.

 

November 26, 2019 - On Sunday, December 1 at 10:45am, the gospel music group Trinitas will join First Baptist Church in Timpson in leading the worship service and at 6pm they will perform in concert. 

Spanning more than 30 years of heartfelt, sincere ministry, the members of Trinitas have consistently tried to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a professional, passionate way. Their main goal, which is obvious in every service, is to see the Lord ‘high and lifted up’ (Isaiah 6). It is their firm belief if He is lifted up, His word says, He ‘will draw all men’ to Him.

Trinitas was formed December 2016 by Chanin and Mandy Barker of Shreveport, LA and Keith Copley of Tyler, TX.

Trinitas has seen many lost souls come to know our Lord as their personal Savior. They will be quick to let you know, it’s not by their efforts, but the drawing power of the Holy Spirit. Trinitas’ ministry has expanded within the last few years from concert performance to more intimate ministry opportunities in small groups and homes.

Their latest independent release, “I Will Sing” has blessed hearts nationwide while sharing the hope for life only found in a personal relationship with Jesus.

November 25, 2019 - When I was pastoring a church in Portland, Oregon , a young man walked into our morning service. He was on our membership roll but had not attended in several years. The members gathered around him and joyfully welcomed him back home.

As we left the service that morning, Deacon Gene Stufflebeam stopped to talk with me. “We need to go slow with that returned member,” he said. “He joined our church several years ago and everyone fell in love with him.” Gene went on to say that the man became a Sunday School teacher and added a lot to the church with his enthusiasm and dedication. “He taught his class for two months and then totally disappeared.” “In other words,” Gene said, “He popped in, popped off… and then popped out.”

For a while, the man entertained his fellow members with his wit and enthusiasm. He shouted “Praise the Lord” and “Amen” so loudly while I preached that I had a hard time staying on subject. For several months, he was a model member… attended all the services… and then… as he had done before… he suddenly disappeared.

We were lamenting how sad it was that the man had left again. “Yep,” Gene mused, “Your walk with God is not determined by how loud you holler… or how high you jump.”

“It’s how straight you walk after you come down.”

November 25, 2019 - With a new life with Christ, you need God's instruction manual.

Come one, come all. November 30, 2019 at 6pm at Mt. Mariah Baptist Church of Garrison, Texas, under the leadership of Pastor Arthur Cloudy, will be having a program - The Ten Commandments. There will be 5 speakers from the Shelby County area with a 10 minute increment.

Mt. Mariah Baptist Church is located at 11941 East County Road 3285, Garrison, Texas 75946.

November 24, 2019 - Grace and peace from our brother and savior, Jesus, Amen. What a nice week we had weather wise. I know that I am an old curmudgeon because I don’t like hot weather and I really don’t like cold weather. Instead, it has to be just right. I wonder if there is a place to live where it stays in the 60s and 70s year round? Our daughter will be heading home shortly from her visit to Morocco. Both of our kids and my brother and sister-in-law will be coming to Joaquin to celebrate Thanksgiving. We have been keeping our daughter’s dog Stella since we got back from Madrid: I know Puppy will be ready to get back to her home and her routines.

Sunday was the last Sunday in the Christian calendar. For almost a century, many Christian churches worldwide have celebrated the last Sunday as Christ the King Sunday. When I first studied the church and its calendar of holy days and celebrations, I thought Christ the King Sunday must be an old celebration—but I was wrong. It was Pope Pius who looked around in 1925 and saw the rise of fascism, the collapse of the world economies, and the continued growth of hatred and prejudice. He thought there had to be time in the Christian calendar to reflect on the Christ—as the mover and shaker that the world needed. He wanted the last Sunday of the Christian year to be a time to contemplate what the world would look like if Christ was indeed central to all our thoughts and actions. 

There is no more powerful description of the Christ than in Paul’s letter to the Followers of the Way in Colossae. His description of the Christ as the very image of the invisible and unfathomable God was a new way to imagine God. A hymn, “Soli Deo Gloria” envisions the Christ as the “Incarnate Love Song.” What a beautiful way to see and understand the Christ! Next Sunday begins the Season of Advent. I usually associate Advent with waiting, but this year I am going to stress that with the coming of this special time, we see the “advent” of God’s Kingdom. Sometimes we have to look pretty hard, but Jesus teaches that the Kingdom is here on earth. 

We finished up this quarter at Sunday school; with the beginning of Advent comes a new Sunday school book titled Promise, a good Advent theme. I am not sure our little class is sold on the new format, but we are somewhat flexible and adaptable, so we will learn to love it. Gene read our scripture from Luke, where we see Paul in Athens—the cultural and religious hub of the empire. Wherever he looks he sees idols and temples to many gods. And yet the one he remarks about has an inscription “To an unknown God.” This, I am sure, was the beginning of many discussions in the city square. 

Our little church has two birthdays this week: Larry Hume and Hilda Diehl. Theresa and Larry also had an anniversary last week. Happy anniversary, Humes!

Mrs. Hilda will be celebrating her 90th birthday for which her friends organized a special party. We also remembered her today with a poem from Mrs. Fannie and gifts from the church. It has been such a joy to have Hilda as part of our small group. She is an inspiration to all, and she sure keeps us going strong.

Last week was our program at Holiday, part of the nursing home circuit Hilda set up years ago. She played piano for us, and I emceed. Sue read What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss, a rollicking tale with a good moral. Fannie introduced and read a Thanksgiving poem called “Thank You, God.” Pastor Sarah talked about change—like Texas weather and relationships—and then read Scriptures showing that God alone does not change. After I shared a couple of memories from our recent trip to Spain, Jo talked about the play she saw in Branson about the Annunciation called Miracle of Christmas, a really touching story. She also chimed in on sister Nora’s chorus of “How Can I Keep from Singing?” Nora “sang a book” too—a picture book version of “Over the River and Through the Woods.” A special thank-you to a special lady who’s been joining us at our programs: Mrs. Margie, one of the world’s nicest people.

During the month of November we are collecting rice and beans for Community Christian Services. In December, during Advent, we will collect cans of soup. On Tuesday several of us will head to Lakeside Village Assisted Living. We will gather at 2:00 on Tuesday instead of Thursday because of Thanksgiving. The Paxton Community Christmas Program and Dinner will be Tuesday, December 17th at 6:00 PM. We hope that you can join us in this festive celebration.

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.

November 21, 2019 - I vividly recall a “ritual” that we kids performed after the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals back in my early years. This activity was passed down to our children but seems to have been lost to the current crop of kids.

I recall my mother announcing to we kids after dinner was over, “Here’s the wish bone. Who wants it?”  Instantly there would be a flurry of activity toward that “Y” shaped bone garnered from the breast of the turkey amid cries of “I want to pull it this year”, or “It’s my turn. You did it last year.”  Eventually, things would be worked down to the two lucky ones who got to make a wish and pull the wish bone until it broke. The holder of the longer piece was the “winner” whose wish would magically come true.

I am sure that the same ritual was played out in millions of homes each year. Thanksgiving is a North American holiday of recent vintage, whereas the breaking of the wishbone comes to us from Europe. It was a tradition dating back thousand of years.

A bird’s wishbone is technically known as the furcula (meaning “little fork” in Latin). It is formed by the fusion of two clavicles, and is important to flight because of its elasticity, and the tendons that attach to it. We humans have a similar bone known as “collarbones”. The question before us is - where did the custom of making a wish and then snapping the bone originate, and how did it get to America?

Research reveals that the custom came to us from the English, who got it from the Romans, who got it from the Etruscans, an ancient Italian civilization. As far as historians and archaeologists can discover, the Etruscans were really into their fowls, especially chickens. In fact, many believed that the birds were oracles and could predict the future. They exploited the chickens’ supposed gifts by turning them into walking Ouija boards with a bizarre ritual known as “rooster divination”.

They would draw a circle on the ground and divide it into wedges representing the letters of the Etruscan alphabet. Bits of food were scattered on each wedge and a chicken was placed in the center of the circle. As the bird snacked, scribes would note the sequence of letters that it pecked at, and the local priests would use the resulting messages to divine the future and answer the city’s most pressing questions.

When a chicken was killed, the furcula was laid out in the sun to dry so that it could be preserved, and the people would still have access to the oracle’s power even after its demise. People would pick up the bone, stroke it, and make wishes on it, hence the modern name of “wishbone”.

As the Romans crossed paths with the Etruscans, they adopted some of their customs, including alectryomancy and making wishes on the furcula. According to tradition, the Romans went from merely petting the bones to breaking them because of supply and demand. There weren’t enough bones to go around for everyone to wish on, so two people would wish on the same bone and then break it to see who got the larger piece and their wish.

As the Romans traipsed around Europe, they left their cultural mark in many different places, including the British Isles. People living in England at the time adopted the wishbone custom, and it eventually came to the New World with English settlers, who began using the turkeys’ wishbone as well as the chicken’s.

Pilgrims who immigrated to the United States are believed to have brought the tradition with them.  Once discovering that the wild turkeys populating their new home possessed wishbones just like the fowl from home, the wishbone tradition became a part of the Thanksgiving celebration. Let us hope that the modern generation will not let it die completely. It has come a long way and deserves to entertain children of today’s generation as it has so many others.

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