“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

January 20, 2020 - Jesus said that if we are ashamed of him to others, he will be ashamed of us to the Father.

I am not ashamed of the gospel of our Lord, no, I praise it for it is the power of God manifest, first in Christ Jesus and forever in our Holy Bible.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

First came the Law of Moses, an impossible set of rules and laws that no one could follow save and except the Lord Jesus.

Then came Jesus Christ, the Son of God in human form to save the sinner from himself.

By Jesus’ death and resurrection the Law of Moses is no more, all things now come by grace for all who believe, “from faith for faith.”

Faith, the trust that Jesus had in the Father allowed him to endure the pain and agony of death on the cross, his death giving all who would believe in him, through faith, the power of God in salvation.

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4)

“So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

The printed words of Christ, the Bible brings salvation to all who will believe in him as Lord, delivered both by the Bible and by the preaching of good men who are called to preach the gospel of our Lord to the world.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Step forth in faith brothers, becoming living reflections of the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Become an example, a reflection, that all can see the joy of living in Christ Jesus. It is through our lives that the Lord is seen by the world, it is by our lives that Jesus Christ is judged by those who do not know him. It is our duty as his followers to present him as he is, Lord of all and savior to the world.

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophesy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8)

Step forth today and become a living reflection of our Lord, bringing his joy and peace to the world around you. May his blessings by upon you and his peace be within you…

January 16, 2020 - The Calvary Boys will be in Concert at Providence Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 6:30pm. There will be Refreshments after their performance. We invite all to come and share an evening of Blessings and Gospel music.  

While many of you are just discovering the Calvary Boys Quartet (CBQ) you may be interested to know a little history about the group. In 1970, when the Beatles were at the top of the pop music charts, the Vietnam War was in full swing, Richard Nixon was the president, riots and protests rocked the nation, 8-track tapes were the norm and no one had even dreamed of a VCR much less digital video, a young group of gospel singers, coached and led by their mentor, Waylon Moore, emerged. Singing for churches, homecomings, radio programs and just about anywhere they were asked to, the young group began to develop a following. Encouraged to do so, the group (who were all FFA members at the local high school) entered competitions and won awards - most notably winning both state and regional FFA talent competitions. But they were known then as the Farmers Quartet.
 
Inspired by early success and with lots of encouragement from parents, friends and fans, the group changed their name to the Calvary Boys Quartet and started performing more and larger venues. Aubrey King (d. 2012) and Chip Roberson are original members of the quartet. Their first album ‘Our First - At Last’ was released in 1972. In 1981 Ron Meadows joined the group as the lead singer and in 1983 Bill Smith joined the group as bass.
 
So as you can see, it is no accident that these men, performing together as a group for over 25 years have developed the rich full and mature sound that you enjoy today. But it is more than just the music.
 
Chip, who is also the music minister for his local church, enjoys traveling and feels that since God gave him the talent of singing, he needs to use this God-given talent as his ministry to glorify God. Bill just gets joy out of singing and takes pride in the fact that the hard work pays off - that the great harmony may touch the hearts of the audience. Ron Meadows put it quite well, ‘We enjoy each other’s company and we have something to sing about’.
 
And the beat goes on...... It is inevitable that young men will grow up and want to emulate their fathers. That is particularly wonderful when their fathers are Gospel singers. In 2001 a group comprised of Andrew and Aaron King (sons of Aubrey) and Timothy Roberson (son of Chip), each individually blessed with his own singing talent, launched their group - The Calvary Boys Trio. Led by Andrew, their first concert was in 2001. The group regularly performs on stage with the Calvary Boys and released their own album in 2004. When Andrew left to sing with the nationally acclaimed Dixie Melody Boys, his place was filled by Chip for their on-stage performances.

January 16, 2020 - Take a leafy branch from a tree. Lay it carefully aside and watch. Slowly the color fades, the leaves go limp, they curl up and it is dead.

Take a fish out of the lake. Lay it carefully on the sand and watch. Frantically it twists, and struggles and gradually weakens, moving its gills slower, then quivers and it is dead.

Take a church member. Carefully allow them to be separated from God in Bible Study, worship, fellowship, prayer and active service. Gradually their conscience quivers as they miss the Lord’s Supper. They fret at themselves for being absent as questionable activities begin to occupy their time. Soon, there are so many hypocrites in the church, the church is always asking for money and finally they take a stand against Christian living and they are dead.

When members of the Lord’s church do not attend worship because they sleep late, they forsake the assembly. They sin. When members of the Lord’s church do not attend worship because of inconvenience, they forsake the assembly. They sin. When members of the Lord’s church do not attend worship because it interferes with their pleasure, they forsake the assembly. They sin.

Serious isn’t it?

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

January 15, 2020 - The Golden Harvest Ministries Club will meet Monday, January 20, 2020 in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church at 11:30 AM. We will have a musical program presented by Ann Harmon.

Visitors are always welcome to join us for a delicious covered dish luncheon, an enjoyable program and time of fellowship.

January 15, 2020 - A tale of two women, one old and barren, the other young barely old enough to marry.

A man, Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth of the daughters of Aaron, were growing old without child as Elizabeth had been barren all of her life. 

As Zechariah served in the temple, an angel of the Lord came to him, an angel called Gabriel, telling him that his wife would conceive and have a son and that he would call his name John.

Being old and without child Zechariah asked for more proof of how he would know this to be true.

"And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and bring you this good news." (Luke 1:19)

Elizabeth did indeed conceive but kept herself hidden from view from the people of the town.

"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgins name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you." (Luke 1:26-28)

As one might expect, Mary was shocked at the sight of this angel and at his words to her and so Gabriel said the her.

"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:30-33)

Gabriel then told Mary that Elizabeth was six months pregnant with a son, even this one that had been barren.

"For nothing will be impossible with God. And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her." (Luke 1:37-38)

No hesitation from Mary, only trust in the Lord God and her willingness to serve him, how it should be for all people, yes, you and I too.
Now Mary went quickly to the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

"And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:41-43)
 
And so we see the first meeting of Jesus and John the Baptist, the next time they meet it will be thirty plus years later for the baptism of Jesus Christ by John in the River Jordan.

Both John and Elizabeth knew at the sound of Mary's voice that the Lord had entered their presence, that is the power of the Holy Spirit as he works in the lives of ordinary people put into extraordinary circumstances, it still happens today to those who welcome him and receive his blessings.

Will you accept him today as your Lord, if you will cry out to him for salvation he will save you and you will know the joy and peace that only comes in living for the Lord.

May his blessings fill you this day and forever...

January 13, 2020 - Grace and peace from our brother, Jesus, Amen. It seems like a year since I wrote my weekly article from Paxton United Methodist Church. I have spent the past two weeks either sick or getting over being sick. For two out of the last three years, I came down with the flu. This seems very unfair to me since I always get my flu shot. Finally feeling a bit better from the effects of the flu, I developed a sinus infection that kept me feeling bad. So I didn’t write an article last week and will try to get caught up.

Our group visited Lakeside Assisted Living on New Year’s Eve and Focused Care last week (more on those below). During the month of January the folks at Paxton Methodist will be collecting cans of tuna for Community Christian Services. I still have December’s cans of soup in my truck that I will try to get delivered this week. I have four doctors’ appointments this week, so I am starting off the New Year taking care of things I need to do—and like my sister-in-law says, “these are the going-to-the-doctor years.”

We had a really good Sunday School lesson that focused on the friendship between Ruth and Naomi, one of the great love stories in the Bible. Ruth and Naomi forged a covenant between each other, not just out of necessity but out of a deep sense of caring. It was great to have our entire Sunday School back this week. Gene and Joy had company last weekend, and I missed because of illness. 

The big football game today is between Larry’s Chiefs and Gene’s Texans. I hope it is a good game that both enjoy watching even though there will be only one winner. Joy and Gene are heading to Tyler later, as Joy will have a procedure to get more blood flowing to her feet. Fannie asked that Joe Knight’s name be added to the prayer list. Theresa is up and about, and her knee seems to be getting better (although not broken doesn’t necessarily mean not hurting).

The twelve days of Christmas have ended, and the Season of the Epiphany has begun. Traditionally Christians celebrate the three magi coming to Bethlehem as the beginning of this special season. This past Sunday we also celebrated an epiphany in the baptism of Jesus. When we say we have had an epiphany, we think of God’s in-breaking into our living. The baptism of Jesus is a retelling of the Christmas story and is a reminder that God is always ready to enter into our lives—to pitch his tent among us. 

I missed the last two nursing home programs because of illness, hoping not to spread it around. At Lakeside on New Year’s Eve, Sue did the emcee job, including sharing some of my previous Sunday’s sermon. Minnie played piano, and swelling the singing ranks were Jo, Hilda, Gene, Maggie, Margie, Peaches, and Stellar. Fannie also talked about the twelve days of Christmas, tying it to some old family photos she’d shown to Christmas visitors, and read a poem about brightening the corner where you are. Nora introduced and sang a lesser-known carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Sue told the story of how “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” became such a beloved song, thanks to Montgomery Ward and Gene Autry, and the group followed by singing it.

At Focused Care on January 6, Pastor Sarah tried out the emcee post with great success. She began with personal New Year’s resolutions with matching Scripture from her new “super giant print” Bible! This time Hilda was the accompanist, and Margie and Jo were again on hand to lend their voices to the congregational singing. Sue read from a new kids’ poetry book: “My Secret Karate” and “Purple Pox.” Fannie spoke of beginning the new year with a good attitude, reading the poem she had at Lakeside. Nora shared a picture book from the Little House on the Prairie tales, Dance at Grandpa’s, and also sang “How Great Our God Is.” Between group songs and individual presentations, Sarah used anecdotes to enhance the meaning; her benediction closed the program.

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.

Are you ready for the coming of the Lord?

January 13, 2020 - If he comes this morning will you welcome him or will you try to hide from him knowing that you are not prepared to stand before him in judgement?

Those are hard questions that each must ask of himself for the day is coming when the Lord will come and call his own to him, will you be in that group, or, will you be left in the much larger group to face the Great Tribulation?

“Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.” (Psalm 6:4)

Make that plea this day that the Lord will lift you up in glory; “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:27)

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:36-39)

Eating and drinking and marrying as if nothing were about to happen, that is the way it is going to happen on the great day of the coming of the Lord. Will you be ready?

“Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:40-42)

There will be panic and confusion like the world has never seen when the great day of the coming of the Lord happens. To be left and find that many of one’s friends and relatives have simply disappeared will be the most dramatic happening those who are left will have ever seen.

There will be airplanes where the saved have been lifted from their seats, some even the pilots, those who do not know the Lord left to crash on their own. The same for people riding in cars and trucks and trains; the saved lifted and the remaining left to crash on their own.

Confusion and panic like the world has never seen.

And in the midst of all of that confusion; one will rise claiming to be the savior, the one who can save all. And men will gravitate to him and celebrate him even calling him lord, not knowing that he is indeed the antichrist, the deliverer of their most gruesome suffering and pain to come.

Are you ready for the coming of the Son of Man today? If he is to come today will you be lifted to him in the clouds and transported to heaven? Or, will you be left to crash of your own accord?

This decision is yours today. You can choose to remain in the lost state that we are all born in, or, you can choose to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master, choose to turn from your wicked ways, to repent of your sins and be accepted into the family of our Lord.

That day is coming, no one knows the day or the hour, but it is coming, will you be ready?

“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44)

Jesus is knocking on your heart’s door this morning, will you open that door and let him in?

"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)

I pray that you do before it is too late. May his holy blessings be upon you this day and forever...

January 13, 2020 - The Pastor and Members of Carroll Chapel C.M.E. Church in Shelbyville would like to invite you to our Annual Men and Women Day Program on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 3pm.

The guest speaker will be Elder Archie Thompson of The Church and Kingdom of God in Christ, of the Todd Spring Community in Shelbyville, TX.

Everyone is invited.

January 7, 2020 - The gospel is said to be foolishness to those who do not believe; but the power of God to all who do believe and accept Jesus Christ as Lord.

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18)

For to those fortunate ones who know the way, and the truth, and the life, which is Jesus Christ, the future is clear and bright as we wait patiently for the day when we will be forever joined with our Lord.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

It is only through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, his precious blood shed out on the cross of Calvary, his life given as payment for all sin, that we who believe and are saved receive redemption from our sinful lives and become one with Christ Jesus.

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." (Romans 1:6)

"Therefore, since we have been justified (made clean) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2)

"For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:5-11)

"For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace." (Romans 6:14)

True believers are no longer slaves to sin, but dead to sin and now slaves to righteousness. No longer wishing to live in the sinful world but to live in Christ, in his righteousness, in his truth and his joy.

"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16)

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets (The Old Testament) bear witness to it - the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation (a gaining of God's favor) by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:21-26)

For anyone who will accept the free gift of salvation delivered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, through the grace of God. 

Will you humble yourself and receive this free gift of eternal life with Christ today, for the day presses ever closer when the time for repentance will have passed and all that will be left is eternal pain and suffering for all who choose to deny the Christ as Lord.

Accept his free gift today and know forever the joy and peace that is to come...

January 6, 2020 - In the 70’s Lumberton, Texas  was the fastest growing town in the State. Along with other businesses, they built three new churches, two funeral homes and I built my “Doug’s Gun Clinic” on Highway 96. Later, the City of Lumberton made plans to build a water tower two blocks from my shop and employed an Arkansas Construction Company to build it.  
   
A few weeks after construction began, my shop door exploded open one morning and a scared, bloody, black Security Guard threw his arms around me saying, “Please, Sir---Please Sir---Will you save me? They’re trying to kill me!” His blood-covered face and clothes confirmed his story. I had heard that the Local Union had shut the Tower work down and that Lumberton had hired a Security guard to watch the Tower site.
    
As the young man sat down, a vehicle wheeled up in front of the shop. I grabbed my Colt Python .357 Magnum from under the counter and opened the door. One of the two men in a pickup shouted out, “Did you see a N----- running down this way?”  Pointing my Python toward the driver, I replied, “Do you want to die?!” The men hurriedly spun from the driveway and raced back towards Beaumont.

Since a State Trooper office was nearby, I told the young man I was leaving to get him. “When I leave, lock the door and don’t open it for anyone except me”, I said. The Trooper was writing out a report as I entered his office. When I told him what happened, he hardly looked up and mumbled, “I’ll be there later.” And when he finally got there, he looked over at the trembling boy sitting in the chair… humility written all over his blood-covered face …and gruffly barked, “Come on!” ---as if the black boy was the criminal. When they walked out the door, I was left with a sense---not of relief---but of sadness.
   
Occasionally Pam and I drive through Lumberton on our way to photograph birds around High Island. And there it is: My old Gun Shop…the Water Tower…and all the memories I had there….almost 45 years ago. I never even learned that young man’s name…and I often wonder what ever happened to him.

My son Mark recently asked me, “Dad, do you know what you would have done if those men had tried to take him?” “Yes, I know…and those men knew, too”, I replied. “And if it happened…I‘d do it again.”

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