Tim PerkinsAugust 18, 2022 - The story is told that one evening, a man lit a taper and began to climb a long, winding stairway. “Where are you going?” inquired the taper. “I am going up higher than a house to show ships the way to the harbor!”

“But no ship in the harbor could ever see my light” said the taper. “It is so very small.” “If your light is small”, the man responded, “keep burning brightly, and leave the rest to me.”

When the man reached the top of the long steps, he came to a great lamp. Then he took the little taper and lit the lamp. Soon the great polished reflectors behind the lamp sent bright beams of light many, many miles out to sea!

The legend of the taper is but a suggestion of how God can use His light in our lives. Our job is to keep His light glowing. The effectiveness is in His hands.

No wonder we have such language from Jesus: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a candle-stick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine among men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-14)

So, how brightly is your light for Jesus shining?

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

August 18, 2022 - New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, Timpson, Texas will have their Annual Homecoming on Sunday, August 21, 2022 at 1pm. The guest speaker will be Rev. Mario Osby, Pastor of the Smith Chapel Baptist Church in Timpson, Texas. Everyone is cordially invited to attend. 

There will be no morning services. We will not have a revival this year.

Sis. Janice Garrett, Program Coordinator
Rev. Rayford Caraway, Pastor

August 16, 2022 - Good Morning! It's Tuesday, August 16.

The Bible is, first and foremost, a book about God - His personality, His purpose, His plan. But, it's also a book about people - people who, because of their relationship with God, changed their world. Some of these people are major Bible characters. You know their names well, because they are often spoken about, preached about, and included in these Daily Devotions. People like Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, Peter, John, and Paul. But then there are the hundreds and hundreds of characters who play a smaller part in The Word. Perhaps they're only mentioned in one story. Perhaps in just one verse. And perhaps we don't even know them by name.

There was a man in 1st Century Jerusalem, a man who played a part in one of the most important moments in history, a man who gave us an inspiring example of faith. And, yet, we don't know his name. In the Bible he is just called "a thief" - the thief who hung on the cross beside Jesus. The crucifixion story is featured, of course, in all four gospels, but each story is unique. Matthew and Mark speak of the "two thieves" and John just says "two others". Luke describes them as "criminals" and is the only gospel writer to include their conversation with Jesus. After one thief hurled insults at Christ, the other said - "Don't you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." (Luke 23:39-42)

This story of this nameless man reminds us of several things. First, challenging circumstances can either bring out the worst in us, or the best. Second, the opportunity to have relationship with God is a never-ending opportunity. And last, if we have a repentant heart, God is faithful to forgive. The Bible doesn't tell us the thief's name, but, perhaps, we'll learn what it is... when we meet him in heaven!

Meet you back here tomorrow,
Bro. David

“I am the Way, the truth and the life…..”

August 15, 2022 - While pastor of the First Baptist Church in Mauriceville, Texas, I made a late evening hunt off the Lemonville Road. I became so engrossed with the hunt that that I wound up trying to find my way back after dark. Three hours of wading through rice laterals and briar patches brought me to Homer Bishop’s house on Highway 96 who drove me home.

On the following Sunday as I was about to preach, Deacon Joe Daily presented me with a brand new wrist compass and showed me how to use it. From that day, I took it with me on every hunt and it never failed to get me home.

Mankind is hopelessly lost in the darkness of sin and all his efforts cannot take him home. So God gave man The Compass, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Man can find a lot of things without The Compass. But he’ll never find a home in heaven…

… without Him.

August 15, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus. School buses are running, and kids are back in school. It is a hot August with temperatures maybe reaching 105 this week. So things are back to normal. Sue and I only got a fraction of an inch of rain this past week, but maybe we will be luckier this coming week—and even that fraction had us celebrating. I had my 70th birthday Friday. That idea seems so strange until I look in the mirror, and an old guy looks back. I had a really nice birthday with all kinds of cool presents and calls from my kids. I can now accurately say that those who attend Paxton Methodist are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. We are a “mature” congregation. We send our wishes for healing to Fred and Keith. I also want to wish my dear friend, Susan Whiddon, a happy upcoming birthday.

During the month of August we are collecting children’s underwear and socks, since the school year is just beginning. Kids ought to have some new clothes. Underclothes are not the most exciting but are comforting and needed. Community Christian Services is such a great help to folks in our part of East Texas. A big thank you to all the volunteers who give their time to keep this ministry humming. The Blessing Box in downtown Joaquin continues to be a help to so many people. When I walk my dogs in the morning and evening, it is very heartening to see how many people stop by with groceries to fill the Blessing Box. Sue also checks the next-door Little Library, adding books as needed.

Our Sunday School lesson was an exceptionally good one. But before we got into our class, we all spoke frankly about the issues that have caused the split in the United Methodist Church. So many times Jesus will quote a law from the Old Testament and then say, “But I say to you…”

Our Sunday School text today was Matthew 5: 9, 38-48, helping us discover that peacemaking happens when we obey Jesus’ law of love. Our writer told us that to be happy or blessed, we must work on living out Christ’s ideas. He said our world desperately needs peacemakers, not peacebreakers. We may be slowed down thinking that showing love toward others can be an opportunity by which they can take advantage of our kindness. But we should do the right thing regardless of the result.

We began our worship Sunday with words based on the Psalter Lesson, Psalm 80. We used the traditional Apostles’ Creed as our affirmation. We sang the Gloria Patri, the Doxology and added the Methodist anthem, “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” by Charles Wesley. Our Hymn of Joy was “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Our quotes in the bulletin came from someone we don’t know and someone very familiar to us. From Nithya Shanti, an Indian educator, we had this philosophy: “When we are interested, we do what is convenient. When we are committed, we do whatever it takes.” On a similar topic, Amelia Earhart said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity.”

I titled my sermon, “Oh My” even before I started writing it because when I read the Gospel I exclaimed, “Oh my!” I really have a hard time with Sunday’s Gospel lesson from Luke 12. Jesus says that he has come to bring fire and to set family members against each other. Some years I take the coward’s way out and select one of the other scripture lessons to preach on. But not this year. Jesus was acting as a prophet when he uttered these harsh words. A prophet in the Jewish tradition isn’t a fortuneteller but someone who speaks of God’s ways and urges people to follow them. Often, those words aren’t soft and comfortable but harsh and unrelenting.

There is no doubt that Jesus’ message, lifting up the poor and marginalized at the expense of the wealthy and the well-connected, was going to bring division. You can’t be a radical like Jesus and not expect push-back. When he seemed to snub the home folks while preaching in Nazareth, his neighbors were ready to throw him off a cliff. Jesus encountered jeers along with cheers as he headed to Jerusalem. And he certainly upset the Powers that Be in the temple and the government. Truth-tellers do that.

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.

A Revived Church is the Only Hope for a Dying World

August 10, 2022 - Bright Morning Star Baptist Church is hosting Homecoming Service at 2:30pm on Sunday, August 14, 2022 with guest speaker Bishop Joseph Hall from Union Spring Baptist Church, Mansfield, Louisiana.

Revival will follow nightly at 7pm from Monday, August 15 through Wednesday, August 17 with Pastor A.L. Horton from Reed Chapel Baptist Church, San Augustine, Texas bringing the message.

Bright Morning Star Baptist Church is located at 623 Martin Luther King Drive, Center, Texas 75935.

Everyone is welcome!
Pastor Anthony Jackson
Reverend Stephen Fields
Reverend Deshmond Jackson

August 8, 2022 - “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”  2 Timothy 3:1

Mother accomplished a near impossible task when she raised her ten children on so little…no car, no telephone… and often no food.  Sometimes our food consisted of only what we could get hunting and fishing. We picked peas on the halves and cotton for 2 cents a pound… but were fortunate enough to have some better-off-than-we-were relatives that kept us in hand-me-down clothes. 

But those hard times were also happy times. My brothers (Bill, John, Joe) and I spent most of our time exploring every patch of woods and every fishing hole within walking distance of our house. Leaving early in the morning, we’d pack our Sledge overall pockets with smooth rocks from the gravel pit, grab our sling shots and go hunting. 

Mother always told us the exact same thing when we left:  “You boys be careful”.   Many times we were gone from daylight until dark while making the rounds down to Weaver’s Pond¸ Dellingers pasture…and sometimes we walked the four mile walk down the railroad tracks to Mill Creek, our favorite paradise.

We roasted crawfish tails and perch and grazed on possum grapes and wild plums to make it through the day. On good days we had watermelon, sugar cane and eggs borrowed from the neighbor’s henhouses. I have often wondered why Mother didn’t worry about our being gone all day. I guess it was because those days weren’t like these days. They were simple days and safe days. We never locked the doors at our house and rarely heard of rape, murder or bawdy house stories. We’d didn’t have drugs, drive-by shootings, gangsta- rap or X Rated movies. Sunday was a special day of rest and prayer and the pledge of allegiance was a part of our daily school activities. The Gideons visited our school every year to hand out New Testaments.

If Mother was raising her boys in our present days, I wonder what she’d say if we told her we’d be gone all day and be home before dark.  Would she tell us go ahead and “just be careful”? 

No… not in these days.

August 7, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus. When Gunter, Sam, and I went to the park for our walk Saturday, I saw many wet spots and felt the unfamiliar dampness of the grass. I think it must’ve rained just a little bit. I kept hoping we would get some real rain, but no luck. At least we’ve lost the triple digits: You know it is really hot when the temperature not quite reaching a hundred seems like a good thing. I imagine we still have a month or a month-and-a-half of super hot weather.

Monday, the kids of Joaquin ISD and Timpson ISD head back to school; other Shelby County schools will open soon, and Logansport is already at it. We at Paxton Methodist wish all the kids and school staffs a productive, safe school year. I can’t imagine what football practice is like in this heat—I saw on the news that one Shreveport team is practicing in the dark of morning. Good idea….but yawn!

All last month, Paxton Methodist has been collecting spaghetti and ravioli for Community Christian Services. I had a couple of checks and a back seat full of cans when I delivered to CCS. It is always a rewarding trip, not only to take the donated cans and checks, but also to see all the volunteers helping their neighbors. During the month of August we will be collecting children’s underwear and socks since August is the beginning of a new school year. School clothes and school supplies are in demand as the need is great.

Sunday School focused on God’s desire for “Shalom” (his peace). Gene read today’s scripture from 1 Chronicles 22: 6-10, 17-19, where we see God telling David that he had too much blood on his hands to build a temple to the Lord. Our author points out that some people think violence is the only way to achieve certain goals—even peace! He goes on to point out that although Yahweh is the most common name used for the God of Israel, throughout scripture other titles are also used, such as the One who heals, delivers, provides, and is ever-present among his people.

Our worship service always begins with Gathering Words, usually based on that Sunday’s Psalter Lesson. This week, the Affirmation of Faith was The Apostles’ Creed. The Gospel lesson was Luke 12: 32-40, with Jesus telling his followers not to let fear defeat them. One bulletin quote came from Katia Krafft, a volcanologist, who said (fittingly, considering her occupation), “Curiosity is stronger than fear.” Soren Kierkegaard, Danish theologian and philosopher, provided the other quote: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Both our hymns were favorites, heartening and comforting: “Softly and Tenderly” and “Open My Eyes, That I May See.”

In my sermon, I continued the lesson about fear. People should remember that it is God’s pleasure to have us all live in his kingdom—now and for eternity. Jesus also urges us to be always vigilant and ready to experience God’s in-breaking into our everyday living. Fear in and of itself isn’t a bad thing; however, when we allow panic to overtake our better judgment, it becomes destructive. And yes, there are events that cause alarm. I used as examples three incidents that happened in our world just in the last week. We might want to bury our heads in the sand like the legendary ostrich, but we can’t allow fear to overwhelm us.

This being the first Sunday of August, we celebrated the Service of Communion and Remembrance. We used a communion liturgy that begins with a quote from the Medieval mystic, Teresa of Avila. Like our earlier hymn, “Open My Eyes,” she reminds us that we are Jesus’ eyes, ears, feet, and hands. It is our joyful duty to carry out his work in our present-day world.

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.

August 5, 2022 - Quite often, we don't feel like the church is what it ought to be. We just feel like the church doesn't quite measure up to its potential. In his inaugural address, January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy made the now famous statement, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Warren G Harding said something similar at the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1916. He said, "we must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for the nation."

The challenge issued by these two presidents suggests a like principle which should guide the attitude of every Christian toward the church. We need to be less concerned about being served and more concerned about serving.

Perhaps we should ask not whether this is a good congregation to be a member of but am I a good member of the congregation. We should not ask how much am I loved, but rather how much love do I show to others.

It is not important how many get well cards I receive, but how many cards did I send to others. I must not ask who visited me but who have I taken the time to visit. The question is not whether I was remembered in prayer but did I faithfully remember others in my prayers. It is not how much did I get out of worship or bible class, but how much do I contribute toward making the worship and bible class meaningful for others. Ask not what the church can do for you, ask what you can do for the church.

It’s Something to think about…TBP

Join Us for Worship this coming Lord's Day 
Center Church of Christ, 110 hurst Street, Center, Texas or on line at www.centerchurchofchrist.com

August 4, 2022 - Harmonia Baptist Church will hold its Homecoming on Sunday, August 7, 2022, at 3pm.

Food will be served.

“Recapturing, Recovering, Releasing and Reviving.”

“Homecoming - will it still feel like home to me? When I see your loving faces? When I close my eyes and breathe deeply in those familiar places?”

Speaker will be Rev. Bryan Gates, Pastor, Nacogdoches,  TX.

Harmonia Baptist Church is located at 2547 CR 210 Old Post Oak Rd. Nacogdoches, TX. 75965