November 27, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. We at Paxton Methodist hope everyone had a joyful Thanksgiving. Reports from the pews show that Thanksgiving was a good time with plenty of food, football, and fun. As a church, we began the season of Advent, which sees another year go by on the Christian calendar and we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Christ child. Because the preacher is about a week behind, we also celebrated Christ the King Sunday. Now begins our time to worship the hope and promise coming that blessed morning.

Our Sunday school lessons came from Romans and continued the theme of inclusion and tolerance, building a future together. We are finishing up with this current study and got our new Sunday School literature a few weeks ago. I always enjoy the differing perspectives given by the various writers. This week Paul’s advice was to stop judging others and never to put a stumbling block in the way of others reaching toward Christ and God.

Our Gathering Hymn, “Lord of the Dance,” is usually an Easter song, but in five verses it does a really good job of telling the Good News of Jesus. Our Gathering Words also reminded us that with the dawn comes light and the promise of God’s presence. The bulletin quote this week came from John F. Kennedy: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” The affirmation was The Apostles’ Creed, followed by Sue reading about this first Hope-themed Sunday of Advent. There were three scriptures—from the Old Testament, an Epistle, and Luke’s Gospel. We sang the Christmas hymn, “O Come All Ye Faithful.” We lifted up many friends and their families during prayer since even in times of hope and promise, we sometimes experience sadness. Our hearts go out to our dear friend Carolyn and her family.

After three years on pandemic pause, Paxton Methodists decided to renew our Paxton Community Christmas get-together this year. The program will begin at 6:00 PM on Thursday, December 15. After songs and a couple of readings, a light catered meal will follow, You don’t need to bring a thing! Come join us.

Monday I took the sacks of beans and rice, along with a couple of checks, to Community Christian Services. They were hard at work getting things ready for Wednesday. These volunteers proceed quietly under the radar, so they don’t always get the thanks they deserve. But really—thank you, thank you, thank you! In December we will collect cans or boxes of soup. Hot soup sounds pretty good for lunch or dinner on cold days. Darkness falls sooner every day, and my body feelsh ready for bed earlier and earlier. But as long as I have a good book to read, then I am OK.

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 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 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.

November 28, 2022 - Good Morning! It’s Monday, November 28.

On this day in 1895, in Chicago, the very first American automobile race took place. There were six cars entered, but only two were able to finish. The others had to be towed away - by horses. The winner was a young man named Frank Duryea, who had, just a month before, started the first American car company. Never heard of Duryea cars? Well, just a few years later his company closed down, because of competition from a guy named Henry Ford. But on this day, 127 years ago, Frank Duryea had the fastest car in the world. His average race speed? Five miles an hour.

Five miles an hour! That’ll get you run off the road in Shelby County, Texas! But you have to start somewhere. This Christmas season, my church is starting a new community event that we hope and pray will become a holiday tradition. It’s called “Journey to Bethlehem”. It will be an immersive, interactive walk through the little town where Jesus was born. Along the way, our guests will encounter a shepherd’s petting zoo, an eight-foot-tall talking angel, the innkeeper, the Magi, and the stable. And at the end of their "journey" they will meet a man standing beside an empty cross. A man, our pastor, who will remind them of "the reason for the season". 

If you're one of our local readers, we invite you to join us for Journey to Bethlehem. This new Christmas event is coming Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11, with guided trips beginning at 6pm and continuing every 15 minutes through 7:45pm. The journey will take about 45 minutes and includes holiday snacks and live music. It is free, a gift to our community.

To reserve tickets call First Baptist, Center at 936.598.5605 or me at 979.533.0575. Hope to see you in Bethlehem this holiday season!

Meet you back here tomorrow,

Bro. David

November 25, 2022 - I don’t want to alarm anyone, but there are only 31 days until Christmas Day. That means there is a lot of shopping left to be done. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years Day have become a frantic, anxiety filled dash through the holidays. It all happens so fast that we hardly remember any of it. Slow down and take a breath.

Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica in I Thessalonians 5:18 and said, “In everything give thanks”. To be fair, the circumstances of our lives are not always the best. Yet, still we are to look for something for which to be thankful. Guess what, there is always something positive for which we can be grateful. It reminds me of a story I read about a woman shoveling her driveway after a snowstorm. She paused to wave hello to a neighbor passing by. He asked her why her husband wasn’t out there helping her with the chore. She explained that they had drawn straws to see which one would go out and shovel and which one would have to stay inside to take care of the children. The neighbor told her, “Sorry about your bad luck”. She replied, “Don’t be sorry, I won.”

Sometimes giving thanks seems to be a tall order. You see, all of us have problems that often tend to overwhelm us. However, before you get too stressed about how close it is to Christmas, take a moment and count your blessings. We must learn how to count our blessings and not our troubles. In everything give thanks.

It’s something to think about... tbp

Join Us for Worship this coming Lord’s Day at Center Church of Christ or online at

November 23, 2022 - You can take a trip to Bethlehem this Christmas and you don’t even have to leave Shelby County! First Baptist Center is recreating that “little town” in the green spaces beside their buildings. Waiting for you and your family are the shepherds (and their sheep), an 8-foot tall talking angel, the innkeeper, the magi, Mary and Joseph, and a man at the cross.

After your outside journey, you’re invited inside for hot chocolate, Santa, holiday photos, a Victorian Christmas village, and live holiday music. It’s all free. Groups of 25-50 will be leaving for Bethlehem every 15 minutes starting at 6pm thru 7:45pm on Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11.

You can reserve free tickets by calling the church office at 936.598.5605 or David Mathis at 979.533.1575. Tickets can also be picked up at the church, 117 Cora, Monday - Friday, 8-5.

Come to Bethlehem!

More info at

November 22, 2022 - Bright Morning Star Baptist Church presents a Thanksgiving Day Community Dinner on Thursday, November 24, 2022 from 10am until 1pm. Everyone is invited.

If you know any needing a meal delivered (within city limits) facility approval, please call 936-332-2789 or 936-590-5392 and leave message or text by Wednesday, November 23 at noon.

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

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4

November 21, 2022 - Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. This is my first article and newsletter in a couple of weeks. I had surgery on both hands a few weeks ago and am healing up nicely. I am still restricted on the weight I can pick up and on not overworking my hands. I have entrusted dog walking duties to Sue, and she has faithfully taken Gunter and Sam for morning walks on these cold autumn mornings. These last few mornings feel like January in East Texas, not November.

All of us at Paxton Methodist Church wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. What an important day to remember all our blessings! Of course it is a reminder that Christmas will be here soon: We need to get decorations and trees put up and finish (or start) Christmas shopping. 2023 promises to be a New Year for Paxton Methodist Church. You may have noticed that our church sign on the highway in front of the church reads “Paxton Methodist Church.” The word “United” has been dropped. Paxton Methodist is joining a new denomination, The Global Methodist Church, starting January 1st and will also be getting a new minister. The one certain thing we humans can depend on is change.

During November Paxton Methodists are collecting rice and beans for Community Christian Services. Some of our members are sponsoring a particular young person as part of the angel tree project—or donating money to help. It seems that in this time of thanksgiving and the promise of new birth and new hope, people are even more generous with their time and resources. I read that if we allowed ourselves to meet God everywhere, each day would become a Christmas Day.

We began our worship service listening to the hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” We at Paxton were very joyful this morning as Sue and Fred braved the really cold weather and came to join us. They are a very sweet couple and we were all so happy to see them after a long recovery.

Our Gathering Words came from Psalm 100, urging us to greet the Lord with gladness. The affirmation of faith was the Apostles’ Creed. The next hymn was the beautiful Thanksgiving song, “We Gather Together.” The congregation wasn’t completely familiar with it, but it is my wife’s favorite hymn. Our final song Sunday was “This Is My Father’s World,” the facing page to my favorite hymn, “Morning Has Broken.” My message was all Thanksgiving. It was to remind us that gratitude must lead us to thankfulness. We all certainly have things to be thankful for, even though they may slip our minds during this busy time of the year.

We had our regulars at Sunday School; once again our author took a scripture that we have often heard but used it in a way most of us hadn’t thought of. In the scripture Moses’ father-in-law tells Moses he can’t do it all and must delegate, allowing others to help him out. He tells Moses to find men who are honest and trustworthy. We often are reluctant to trust others, figuring they wouldn’t do as good a job as we would—or that it is simply easier just to do it ourselves.

After living under the threat of pandemic for a couple of years, Paxton Methodists decided to renew our Paxton Community Christmas get-to-together this year. The program will begin at 6:00 PM on Thursday, December 15. After songs and a couple of readings, a light meal will follow, mostly catered rather than potluck. Come join us.

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 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.

Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these my brothers, little ones, you did it to me….” Matt. 25:35

November 21, 2022 - Deacon Jones was the most consistent and dependable deacon in my West Texas pastorate. He never missed a service, he served on the Finance and Usher’s Committees and never missed a meeting. His dress, home, automobile and lawn were immaculately neat. He was Chairman of the Deacons and was known for his prayers of thanks.

But none of us dared to be seen in public with him. His intimidation of waitresses, nurses, bankers and grocery clerks was well-documented in our town. After blessing the food one day, he shouted at the waitress, “You brought me cold coffee! Get out of my sight and don’t let me see your face again!” And his unconscionable mistreatment of his hospital nurses was an embarrassment to us… and to God.

I’m sure Deacon Jones was taught to say “thank you” while growing up. But saying and praying “thank you” is meaningless hypocrisy when we have no consideration for our fellow man. God, who sees in the darkness and the light, is not fooled by our unsubstantiated prayers of thanks.

“Thanks-giving” means nothing if we’re not “thanks-living.”

November 21, 2022 - Good Morning! It’s Monday, November 21.

Did you go to church yesterday? If you did, then I can guess what the theme of the service was - thankfulness! Our new interim pastor, Tim Watson, preached a sermon called “Thanksgiving in Three Tenses.” He reminded us that Jesus Christ has been faithful in the past. He’s faithful in the present. And He will be faithful in the future. It reminded me of Hebrews 13:8 - “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Last night our church was part of a Community Thanksgiving Service. A big crowd, with all kinds of people, all kinds of faiths, met for an hour of praise, preaching, prayer... and pies! A pie fellowship followed an inspiring service. It was all about the church with a capital “C." It was all about giving thanks for the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, a gift given to us all. It reminded me of Ephesians 3:20-21.

"To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."

I'm thankful today for His grace and for His church!

Meet you back here tomorrow,
Bro. David

November 14, 2022 - On Sunday, November 20, at 6pm, there will be a Community Thanksgiving Service at Center’s First Methodist Church, 211 Porter. It will be a celebration of fellowship featuring praise music led by several area church groups, and inspiring thoughts from several area pastors. A homemade pie reception will follow the service. Every member of our community is warmly invited. Contact David Mathis at 979.533.1575 for more information.

Beware of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a way of financial gain.” I Tim. 6:5

November 14, 2022 - After writing a recent article about my preacher-Grandmother, I received an email today from a San Augustine friend, Agnes Sparks. “Your Grandmother lived in a time when most folks thought more about the place they were heading in the "after-life" than we do today.” And she’s right… many do preach as if this life is all we have.

…And if you send them your money, you’ll receive wealth and prosperity. “It’s God's will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty.” ‘It's God's will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt,” says a prominent prosperity preacher. “It's God's will for you to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life.” By following the Lord, he says people recognize him everywhere and he doesn’t have to pay traffic tickets, (gets by with breaking the law) gets the best parking spot in parking lots, a first class seat on crowded airplanes with no boarding pass, and priority seating at restaurants.

I wonder why this recipe didn’t work for the church in Jesus’ day. Early Christians suffered unspeakable persecution (the Apostle Paul was beheaded in a Roman prison with no material possessions.)

If the prosperity preachers are right, why don’t they take their message to the starving of the world who really need prosperity?

Maybe it’s because the preachers couldn’t prosper there, either.