June 29, 2021
Teresa and I are enjoying a few days away visiting her family. It’s been 4+ years since she has seen her father. We have traveled to Tennessee to see her sister and family while her father and his family have traveled from Pennsylvania to Tennessee. It’s amazing how time flies and how the miles have kept us all apart.
This pandemic brought about some real changes in our lives and in ourculture. One thing that has bridged the time and distance gap is Zoom. Regular family gatherings on Sunday evenings have really helped this family to bond together in deeper ways than would have happened otherwise. Seeing faces of family members from ages 5 to 51, sharing exciting and mundane details of our lives has been wonderful. Without the pandemic this simply would not have happened. God truly can and is working ALL THINGS together for good!
The bridge to heaven, the blessing that closes the gap between here and heaven is our weekly family gathering at church. The gathering together of God’s children is never optional.
We need to see other’s shining faces, share each other’s joys and sorrows. We need to bond over communion and coffee. We need to worship The Holy and fill the halls with holy laughter. We are family. We are the family of God.We all need to be away sometimes, but there is nothing like coming home to where the heart is. See ya Sunday!
June 22, 2021
This coming Sunday is the final Sunday of our first year with you as your parsonage family. We have truly enjoyed the loving warmth with which you received and continue to share with us. IT’S GOOD TO BE THE PASTOR OF FUMC CENTER.
Methodist clergy are only appointed one year at a time. We never know how long we will be with a congregation. Preachers are expected to be available to move at a moment’s notice. Some preachers don’t put down roots because it’s difficult to be plucked up and relocated. I believe that we should put down roots, deep roots, and that for how ever long the season of us walking together is, we will bloom where we are. Perhaps our time together will produce much fruit in the souls of God’s children for God’s glory. Perhaps we will plant seeds that none of us will see mature. What I do know is this, we unpacked our boxes and our hearts and we are thankful that God has caused our paths to intersect at this time.
Since no one knows what tomorrow will bring, let’s make the most of the time we have together. Making the most of each day is the least we can do, considering the amazing gift of eternal life we have been given through Jesus Christ our Lord. Working together for the glory of God is a high calling and privilege. When we work together in the power of the Holy Spirit, they will truly know we are Christians by our love for each other, our community and the world. See ya soon!Blessings, Pastor Malcolm
June 7, 2021
In the movie “Popeye” with Robin Williams, Olive Oil’s mother tells Popeye, “Be careful, you’ll catch your death of mud!” Everything in the village of “Sweethaven” was muddy and wet and yucky.
Sometimes in life, like with the weather, things get yucky. We get muddy and soggy and sometimes we even get stuck. When we are stuck it seems like things never change. We spin our tires and mud moves but we remain stuck. I once heard a preacher say that being in a rut is like being in a grave with both ends kicked out. Whether you are stuck or in a rut in your life, don’t just sit there. The sun always shines behind the clouds. The clouds are not a permanent covering, the mud isn’t forever, and forward motion is coming.
Things don’t have be desperate or horrible to be stuck or in a rut. But if the scenery never changes and you are not moving forward, you might very well be in that position. I’m talking about your faith life. One method of getting unstuck, just like rocking your car back and forth, is to create motion. This can be done by simply adding an encouraging daily devotional or scripture reading, try checking out your own church’s website for great links.
Another way is to get together with your friends (maybe Sunday school??) to share a prayer and to delve a bit deeper into what we believe. There is a great song taken from Ephesians 1:18, “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord”. Prayer is always the beginning point. A simple prayer for the Lord to help you move forward in your faith life. Remember, God hears and God answers. His love is ever directed to his children’s good. Another thing to remember is that others are traveling with you. They might be depending on your forward motion to help them. The opposite of that is true too, God has given us the gift of The Church to help us all in our spiritual journeys. We are all on this journey together. Whether it rains or shines, we are the Lord’s possession, and nothing can ever change His Love for us in Christ. See ya soon!
April 20, 2021
Pray for our nation and our leaders. Pray that God will give courage to Christian leaders to stand firm in the faith. Pray that they will be encouraged to stand together as Christians and alone if necessary. Pray that God will protect them. These men and women who follow Christ face unimaginable obstacles as they try to serve those who elected them. Many of those who voted for Christians to hold office don’t believe the bible or in living the way that Christ our Lord taught. They vote party rather than character. They vote for power over the weak rather than power to serve and yet they still voted for men and women of faith.
There are many times I’d rather respond to my frustrations with anger rather than with the grace of Christ. I’d rather force my world view and convictions upon others but Christ, who only led by example, allowed people the choice to be right with God and with others. He stood his ground and never compromised yet he still taught us to love those who don’t love us and to love those who frustrate us and to even love those who hate us.
Our nation is angry and fragmented. Blessed are the peacemakers. Let’s begin finding the “Shalom” peace of Christ within us and then make that same peace a reality in the world around us. Popeye got it right indeed, you are what you are! And as we read in 1 John, WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD; FIRST, LAST AND FOREVER and this is because HE (JESUS) FIRST LOVED US WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS.
We simply cannot throw rocks, but we can show love and bring peace with us. We can be exactly what the world needs but first we must lay down our lives and respond like Christ. It’s not always easy but the way of the cross wasn’t easy either. Still, the best news of all is that God is with us and we are not alone! See ya soon.
April 5, 2021
When I was a child, I vividly remember a postcard that made it to the honored location of the refrigerator door. The card had a picture of a rather haggard looking family driving across west Texas. The windows were down and the station wagon was packed full. The caption read, “The sun has riz and the sun has set, and here we is in Texas yet!”
Last Sunday we had a simply marvelous resurrection celebration. It felt like church, it looked like church, and indeed it was church. It’s been a long time since church felt and looked like it should. Faithful followers in the pews and voices rising to the heavens made my heart glad. We even had our regular Facebook congregation with us too. It was great!
Christ is Risen. Christ is risen indeed! The Son has riz and never will set and here we is, waiting yet. Please forgive my poor sense of poetry but also please, enter into the meaning of what I’m trying to say. The Lord delays his return as King and like the disciples of old, we wait out our days. Days of doing our best as we are led by the very spirit of God. Days where we can invite others to the “Join the Joy” of Easter all year through. This isn’t supposed to be an arduous journey mile after mile but rather, a joyous journey in the brilliance of resurrection. Like the hymn says, “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.” See ya soon!
March 29, 2021
It’s been 8 months since Teresa and I arrived in Center. We give thanks to God for this congregation and the friends we have made. This past Sunday, Palm Sunday, we were blessed by the children shouting their hosannas and waving their palms. They had a great time on their parade so we could film the video. It was a wonderful way to begin the service. Most times the highlight of a service is anything the children do but we were doubly blessed as our fantastic choir assembled en masse. So many voices singing praises to God was truly inspiring. Like I said, I’ve been pastor for 8 months and this was my first time to see our “real” choir. Well done choir and a special thanks to those who have been sharing music with us throughout Covid-19.
And then, there was the Easter Egg Hunt. So many children, so many families and other adults, it was just awesome. There must have been a zillion colorful Easter eggs, all stuffed with candy. The kids loved it! The hot dogs were awesome. The weather was perfect and the inflatables were extremely well used. It was simply the best! Thanks to Faythe and all who volunteered for this great event. Another special thanks to those who donated and to those who filled boxes with food so that other families could enjoy a feast with Easter Joy. My friends, we need to invite everyone to, “JOIN THE JOY.”
Blessings for a meaningful Holy Week as we prepare for a joyous Easter Celebration this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Join us in person or online but JOIN US and invite others too! See ya soon,
March 22, 2021
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the day we remember Jesus’ triumphant entry into the heart of Israel, Jerusalem. Along the journey, down the into the valley and then up the ascent into the city towards the great temple located on the massive temple mount, Jesus moved resolutely forward.
The Temple featured prominently in the life of Jesus. Here he was presented as a baby. Here, as a 12-year-old, he was found among the teachers after the annual Passover pilgrimage. Here Jesus prayed and taught. Here he overturned money-changers’ tables and foretold the destruction of the Temple: “Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down” (Mark 13:2 and it happened in 70 AD). And here the earliest Jewish-Christians met, as faith in the resurrected Jesus spread.
It was a triumphant entry, fit for a King. Jerusalem was also the political seat of power for Israel. Under Roman occupation and led by the High Priest whose loyalty was first to Rome, was the seat of civil and criminal authority. From here would come the deep betrayal of Jesus. From here would come the hatred that would violently oppose God’s perfect will. From this great site a great deadly deed would be done. How could they do such a thing? How could we do such a thing as to not be faithful to the Word of God and to His Son, Jesus? How could we? At 6 pm Holy Thursday evening (April 1st), we will check our pride at the door, humbling ourselves before Jesus and one another, as we remember that Jesus died for their sins and for ours. Please join us for this very special service beginning at 6:00 PM.
March 15, 2021
Friends, we are approaching Holy Week. Lent, the season of reflection on our need for a savior, is coming to an end. Palm Sunday, March 28th, reminds us that the King of Kings, riding into Jerusalem like a victorious king, would soon do the most loving and humble thing that he could do. Jesus would voluntarily lay aside his life for the salvation of people like us. To the uneducated, the twists and turns of triumphal entry, passionate teachings, betrayal by a close friend, false accusations, failure to defend himself, summary judgment and execution of Jesus, it looks like all that he had sown into the world came unwound and ended poorly. For the faithful this is merely the God of Creation working all things together for our good and HIS glory.
It is a great privilege to have Easter and over 2000 years of faithful followers passing on the Good News of Savior that doesn’t lose and a Heavenly Father that never gives up. During Holy Week, on Holy Thursday, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper and have a Hand Washing Service. It is my hope that this special service will speak to your spirit and increase our joy as we celebrate the magnificence of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. Please join us as you are able and comfortable in doing so.
March 8, 2021
This coming Sunday (March 14) is the big switch to Daylight Saving Time (Spring Forward). It’s not such a big deal; when November 7th rolls around you get your hour back. Yippee! It turns out that each and every day will still only have 24 hours and that number never changes. But what if …?
What if suddenly you have longer days, more hours? What if suddenly you found that each week you had 7 extra hours spread out evenly over the days? Could you, would you, choose to sleep more? Would you cook more? Would you play more? Would you watch TV more? Would you shop more? Would you work more? What would you do with those extra hours? There are occasions when it might be nice to add an hour or two to a day that is very special; a day where you are having a great time with those you love. There are those quiet days where one more hour with a loved would become a precious memory to never again be repeated.
God’s infinite wisdom determined the length of days, as well as the number of our days. God’s creative self, designed what would be best for us. God is good like that! Creation exists so that God’s love can be lavished on his children and so that His love in us can be returned in the same manner. We don’t need extra hours to discover God’s love and grace. We don’t need extra hours to live faithful lives. We don’t even need extra hours to be better people. All we need to do is make the most of each hour of each day. Don’t let the sun set on your anger, make things right. Don’t pass by on the other side of the road, cross over and give a helping hand. Don’t forgo the gathering of the saints, (in person or online) because your very presence makes a difference in our church family. Friends, we are called to be good stewards of God’s time given to us. The days may drag by, but the years fly by. By walking close to our Lord, you will not waste even one precious minute of the minutes you are given. I hope to see you soon.
February 10, 2021
Are you up for a challenge? Are you ready to be different? Do you want to see a difference in your life and in the culture of our community and nation? You are pre-equipped for such a time as this. You have the skills needed. You have been guided to this place where, “The rubber meets the road” in your life and the evidence of your loyalty to Jesus becomes visible to all.
Here’s the challenge and here is what you can do. Are you ready? Can you read further and then ignore this opportunity? Can you turn back, turn away and un-know what you already know? It is possible to know the right thing to do and then to not do it. It is certainly easier to turn away and not get involved; after all, can’t someone else rise to the challenge? Sure, they can, but this is a universal challenge or call for all followers of Jesus.
Here’s the challenge, command, call; “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5)
God loves everyone and everyone is made in the image of God. Redemption and restoration are for everyone because our Heavenly Father “so love the world.” Let us always pray for those, who reveal by word and deed, that they are far from God. Don’t evaluate by your opinions but by the way the bible describes the people of God. Pray the “lost sheep” will be found and rescued. Pray that they will find the same mercy and grace that each of us has found.
On the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus issued this amazing call to action for all who would follow him. As we see the world around us, I know that we can fulfil this call to pray. To use our words and to make sure that we see others through the eyes of Christ. To see those who are far from God as sheep without a shepherd. Our prayers are more than words. Our prayers also need to have and hands and feet, our hands and feet. If you have hands and feet, then you can pray with both words and actions. These prayers change us, the world around us and reveal the Kingdom of God on earth. Pray on! I hope to see you soon.
February 1, 2021
Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us never tire of doing good.” Sounds good right? I mean why would we grow tired of doing the right thing or tired of being like Jesus? Why would we grow tired of making a real difference in the lives of others? The answer? We grow tired of being Christlike for several reasons.
1. We forget whom we serve. Anyone can be nice and do good but only a Christian believes that Jesus is in both the gift and giver and that even “a cup of cool water” in Jesus’ name makes all the difference. Remember, what we do is because of what we have in Jesus and that good works flow from grace given, not from gestures attempting to gain favor or grace from God.
2. We serve in our own strength. We forget that we are part of the body of Christ. Our gifts and talents complement each other so that together we are bigger, better, and stronger. This is the beauty of the uniqueness of each of us. No one person fully represents the Kingdom of God even though we each represent the Kingdom. The secular world calls it teamwork. Christians understand that we live in a covenant relationship with each other. This covenant of God is made in us through Christ’s offering for us. Check the attitude at the door. If it’s all about you then it’s not about Christ.
3. Lastly, we get tired because we fail to see our lives through the eyes of God. When we pause and reflect on our lives and try to see ourselves as God sees us, we see His amazing love “working all things together for good.” We see our weaknesses and His grace. We see our strengths and His grace. We see our sin and His grace. We see our SALVATION and His grace. When we consider how God sees us, we can hear the words of Jesus saying, “Take my yoke upon you for my burden is easy… find rest in me.” Like “footprints in the sand,” being yoked with Jesus lightens the load.
It’s time to breathe deep, relax, and know that we have strength for the day. For this day is all that we have. Tomorrow may or may not come but we have the here and now. Enjoy the moment, envision God working all the edges of your life into the fabric of His grand design for His pleasure and delight. Stay focused on Jesus and be as faithful as you can. See the humble gift of yourself as a part of what God is doing both in you and through you. Bind yourself to Jesus and not the world, for the world is a burden too heavy to carry. And never forget the Joy of God’s salvation in YOU ANDIN OTHERS!!!
For God so loved the world, all THE PEOPLE, even YOU, that He sent His Son…. that we might have life, not fatigue, in and through Him! I hope to see you soon.
January 25, 2021
“Let there be light.” What a wonderful and powerful sentence. Where should there be light? Everywhere? Why not? If God, at creation, did not limit light why should we? But wait! God separated the light from the darkness. Sure, He did. God is very organized and methodical. Some would even say, dependable.
The separation of light for day and night purposes allowed for the rest of creation to move forward so that living things would have active and rest cycles. So that there might be stars for cycles and seasons. This separation for day and night is very beneficial for us and all of creation. Observing the moon and stars we know automatically that there is still light, even in the darkest of nights. Jesus is called the Light of the World despite God creating light as the first act of creation. Jesus is the visible glory of God. In the book of Revelation, John tells us that the heaven which awaits us is lit not by sun, moon, or stars, but rather it is lit by the very glory of God. If the Lord dwells in our hearts, then His glory lights up our lives. If we shine because we are lit up by God, wherever we find ourselves we find that the light of God is already shining and lighting our path forward. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet” Psalm 119:105.
Is it any wonder then, that we who walk in the light have a great fellowship with each other? We share the common source of light, the presence of God in each of us. Like the children’s song teaches, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!” When we live for the Lord we can say, “We’re all in our places with bright shiny faces!” I know that saying is out of context but, none the less, are you in your place with the Lord and are your face and life shining from within? If not, why not? See ya soon!
January 18, 2021
“Thy Word is a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105
I’ve always thought of the Word of God as something that shows me where to walk as I journey through life and it is. Hebrews 4:12 says: “The word of God is living and active.” Isaiah 55:11 says that God’s word is purposeful and will accomplish our Heavenly Father’s will and purpose. God’s Word is God’s self-revelation, showing us the very heart, character and nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There’s a country and western song whose lyrics say, “There might be some dust on the cover….” and then the rationale that the singer still believes. He may or might not believe. Perhaps the illusion of believing is just that, an illusion. In this illusion there are words but no passion, interest but no devotion, optimism without commitment, options not essentials.
What do you believe? In biblical times as well as our own, the Word of God is our north star. It leads us and guides us. It shows us the way. It is a THE LIGHT in the darkness. It is not optional. It deserves our devotion, passion, and commitment. It places us in a reality that is eminently faithful, hopeful and mysterious to those who do know the One who inspires it.
There are those who are faithful to its message. These are the ones who survive exile, persecution, and social trends. These faithful followers face uncertain futures with prayer and trust. Many faithful become martyrs. Martyrs become inspiration and role models for others. The Light of God cannot be extinguished except by our choosing to dwell in darkness. The Light shines to show us where to walk and where not to walk. The Light of The Word becomes our constant companion as we journey through joys and sorrows, over hills and through valleys as well as through uncertain times. Faithful followers walk in the light. Jesus said, “…whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.”
Regardless of where others are going, WHERE ARE YOU GOING? In uncertain and troubled times those who know where they are going provide stability, confidence and hope. They can lead others because they can clearly see where they are going. Others can then come to the Light too. Together, we will walk into the days before us, confident in the one who leads us in His glorious Light.
I hope to see you soon.
January 11, 2021
According to the online Urban Dictionary, the top definition of “Snow Day“ is “a Gift from God.” Other definitions of “Snow Day” include: an unexpected break, an unexpected escape from it all, a day to relax, not a day to catch up on work. Snow Days are rare in our part of Texas and that makes them even more special. The beauty of the snow is equally matched by joy of so many appreciating this rare occurrence. This week, many young people were amazed as they saw deep snow for the first time. Others remembered “deep snow” experiences from past years or other places and their hearts were warmed as if sitting by a fireplace. Snow days are indeed a gift from God! Thank you, Lord. Amen.
I am also overjoyed and grateful for the financial faithfulness of our members. 2020 was a difficult year. We applied for and received a government PPP loan for $46,500.00 which has been forgiven so that it cost the church nothing. Without the PPP our church would have had to make some extremely difficult choices. Because of your faithfulness and the faithfulness of others, we are beginning 2021 with hopeful optimism and our financial feet on solid ground. Giving is always to the Lord but it is given in and through our beloved church home. I’m praying for an end to the Covid virus and for the health of our congregation. Even though six months have passed since I arrived in Center, I’m still not sure what a normal life for this congregation looks like. What I do know is that we will continue to strive to be the church that we are called to be in Jesus Christ. I hope to see you soon!
December 28, 2020
The new year is here! Only a few days until we bid a fond farewell to the year that was and welcome the year to be. 2020 date planners were pretty much a useless item as were vacation plans, family reunions and regular church activities. AND YET, 2020 gave us the wonderful gift of time. Time to idle down and time to take stock of what’s really important. Time to enjoy what we had and time to pray for those who were suffering. Time to rejoice in the beauty of what’s right around us and time to get creative right where we were. 2020 also brought us “bad news fatigue.” Those who capitalize on bad news had a tremendous year of sharing their un-redeemed Scrooge character with all of us. May the good Lord have mercy on all of us and those who dwell in darkness when the light of Christ has so brilliantly shone into world and into our very souls. We bask in that light. We carry that light within us. We radiate that light through us into the darkness that has yet to comprehend the amazing and redeeming grace that God has released in Jesus. I’m looking forward to more light and less darkness in 2021. I will try to let more light shine through me because I will do my best to spend more time basking in the marvelous, soul changing light of Christ.
Let’s join together in a meaningful beginning to the new opportunities before us. Let’s commit to growing our own faith and to making the world a better and happier place because we are shining so brightly with the love and grace of God Almighty through Jesus Christ the redeemer within us. This commitment is not an intellectual idea. It is to choose how we will live in a world that loves the darkness. They love the darkness because they don’t know The Light. In the easy times and difficult times of the coming year, let’s all remember that God is with us and we are never alone. Brilliant!!
See ya soon,
December 14, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I pray you are expiring the joy of Advent but like most of this year, this is a highly unusual Advent season. It’s been difficult for many people. We are not celebrating with our traditional parties and gatherings. We are not shopping as usual and we are worried about many things in our nation and
world. We need a star. We need some light…. WHOA! WAIT! STOP!!!
We have a star, we have the Light of the World and we have the gifts of God’s grace, love and His very presence in our lives. Think about it, we are asking for gifts that have already been given. Perhaps we can look at things differently by examining all the things around us in the Light of Christ. Then, we can see the world around us differently. We can see clearly what truly matters and that which is only decoration. We can begin to see how, just maybe, the Lord can use us to encourage and bless others. WE ARE ALIVE FOR A TIME SUCH AS THIS!!
SHINE because many around us need the light and love that we can share.
See ya soon, maybe at “Come and Go Communion” this Sunday evening (5:30-6:30) or at Christmas Eve Candlelight on the Square (6:00PM), or maybe online or in person. You are blessed to be a blessing, so bless!
November 3, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Do I wait until after the election is over to write a newsletter article? This is the question on my mind and heart. Undoubtedly there will be winners and losers. The system is designed for this very purpose. So, I guess the better question is, “How will we respond to election results?”
First, I suggest we do what we are called to do. Pray for those in authority. Pray for their well-being and pray that their decisions will be divinely inspired to bring peace to the nation and justice for all.
Secondly, we have been given a responsibility by virtue of our citizenship to work together for the good of everyone. Do your part to influence those in power to be servant leaders on behalf of all people.
Lastly, make sure that your personal life is one which reflects the biblical mandate shared by the apostle Paul to the Christians in Ephesus. “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” See ya soon.
October 19, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Each family or member of our church was mailed a pledge card to help us plan for the coming year. We need to plan for next year because this year’s plans went out the window in March. Everything is different and nothing is the same: EXCEPT the Lord. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Why would the author of Hebrews tell us that Jesus is unchanging? I believe that there are at least two substantive reasons for this. The first is that the relationship between God the Father and Jesus the Son is established in the unchanging nature of God as referenced in the old Testament through Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change.” The very nature of the being of God is steadfastness.
The second reason the author of Hebrews tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” is because everything else in our world is constantly changing. We need a North Star. We need solid ground. We need the knowledge that we are safe and secure in the arms of the one who created us. We need to feel the security of His touch and the comfort of His voice. We need what God is offering. The world around us needs what God is offering.
On a superficial level it’s easy to ignore the Lord. At a deeper level, when we are alone with ourselves, we feel the need for God’s presence. Our mission is to help others find what God is offering in the undying love of Jesus, that they too might share in the joy of Jesus both now and forever. Financial faithfulness is one way in which we all participate in our mission. Please prayerfully consider your response to help us, as a church, to carry out our mission. You are invited to bring your response card with you to church this Sunday or to bring it by the office. You may also mail in your card.
Giving is deeply personal for all of us but our mission is not private-rather it is very public. It is our faith community working together at its finest. See ya soon!
September 29, 2020
The term “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” is found in Nehemiah 8:10. It’s after the children of Israel returned to Jerusalem from exile. They were listening to the law being read, were overcome with condemnation, and were weeping, yet this statement of joy was pronounced over the people of God.
Feeling tired, worn out, run down, fed up, anxious? Remember that Psalm 136 tell us plainly that the love of God is an everlasting love. The people were weeping because they realized that they were “living far from God” even though they had returned to Jerusalem from exile. As they heard the word of God read to them, their hearts were broken because they realized the depth their need for God in their lives. Any time (every time) we turn to the Lord our God; He is gracious to us, forgives us our sins and cleanses us from our unrighteousness. (John 1:9) What he cleanses, He can fill. What he fills, He can use!
Whenever we turn to God for answers; declaring our need for His grace and help, He breathes his peace into every part of our lives, and this gives him great joy. His joy then becomes our strength as we trust him more and more. Indeed, “The joy of the Lord IS OUR STRENGTH!” I hope to see you in church this Sunday at 10:00 AM for our combined worship service and all church luncheon following worship.
If Covid keeps you away, please keep us in your prayers, even as you are in ours. Please be mindful of others and make sure you are healthy if you are out and about. If you have any doubts about your heath, please avoid being around others until you are sure you are well! If you are in an at-risk group, please keep yourself safe!
September 23, 2020
I once heard that you should always check under the sofa cushions for small change. It turns out that small change IS often found under sofa cushions. There was a time in my life when small change made all the difference. This was true as a youth and even more important in those lean college years. Small change actually made a BIG difference. I also know that if I make small changes that affect my spirit and my faith that my spirit and my faith will make a BIG difference in my life and to those around me.
Rather than failing at reading your bible every day, why not succeed in reading it today. Break that Bible’s binding and flip the pages; click until you’ve arrived. Find that devotional and let it speak to your soul. Succeed once, then succeed again. Little successes lead to bigger things. It seems that bigger things are always comprised of smaller things.
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 In other words, we are moving from glory to glory… ever increasing in our love of God and in our faith in God. We are moving forward in our transformation as Christians who represent well the Savior of the World in the world today! See ya soon!
September 7, 2020
I pray you had a relaxing Labor Day doing whatever it is you most wanted to do. (Pretty much like every other day.) I like the movies where the “Sensei,” teacher, instructs the student to choose wisely. Making choices about what we do, is something we do constantly. Choosing wisely about what we do is a bit more difficult. But choosing wisely is a trait that is revealed as a good thing in the bible.
Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Perhaps the most wisdom we can show in our living is that we are faithful in all our choices. Faithful to the Lord and faithful to each other. Loving of God and loving of each other. Supportive of God and supportive of each other…. and the list goes on. Choose wisely my friends. See ya soon!
August 24, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Are you blessed? If so, how? Why are you blessed? I believe that we are all blessed by in God in countless ways, beginning with what we Methodists call “Prevenient Grace.” This is God’s grace preceding in our lives even before we are aware that it is God’s grace bestowing blessings upon us. This grace is very much like the aroma of bread baking in the oven or popcorn popping and filling the air with its wonderful delicious fragrance. God’s grace leads us toward him.
As we recognize God in our lives, we begin to recognize that we are blessed. Blessings are not the good times or the bad times. They are not our things or the things we don’t have. Our blessing is in knowing that God is with us and we are not alone. God is within us in the storm and in the calm. He is with us in our abundance and in our scarcity. He is with us in our family and in our relationships. He is with us as we walk on our faith journeys, together. Let’s all make the effort to see the best in and around us as a blessing from God among us. Friends, with storms and fires, Covid, confusion, and the chaotic world we live in, we are not alone, God is with us! … He IS with us and the best IS yet to be because we are indeed a blessed people! See ya soon.
August 17, 2020
Dear Church Family,
What a great day. Today is not great because of the weather or the people or the events of the day, or even the blessings we’ve already encountered. Today is great because it is a gift given to us by our Father in heaven. This great gift will unwrap minute by minute and hour by hour.
This day and in the coming days, some of us will need to receive lots and lots of love because of unimaginable grief. There are days when sorrows threaten to overwhelm us. The greatness in days like these, comes from the love and grace of God being expressed in countless ways to those who are in desperate need of experiencing the depth of God’s compassion.
On days like these, those of us who are blessed with an abundance of “not suffering” need to arrange our affairs to be living answers to others’ heartfelt prayers; prayers which are being poured out in an hour of need. God’s provisions will always exceed our needs. God has prepared each of us in advance so that the prayers of others can be answered sooner rather than later.
If the Lord places someone in your path or in your heart, and you can see a need that you can meet, do not hesitate or delay in responding. It is for times like these that God has invested so deeply in our lives. It is when we respond to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit, doing the right thing, at the right time, with the right motive that God receives a magnificent return on the investment which he has poured into each of our lives. Love and Grace have been invested – glory to God will be the return. May your life bring glory to God each and every day. See ya soon!
August 14, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Breaking News: Covid Continues.
Somewhere between running around with our arms waving in the air like we are on fire and a person who so is simpleminded and imperceptive as to care nothing at all, is the great multitude of most of us. We did what “they” said, and here we are months and months later, planning for this thing to go on well into the foreseeable future. YUCK. We didn’t do what they said and here we are months and months later, planning for this thing to go on well into the foreseeable future. YUCK. I don’t believe that “THEY” have the solution. So, what’s the solution?
As the church, we ducked down, covered up and waited. Now is the time to admit that we are no longer panicked and that after a lengthy time of doing precautionary little, it is time for us to rise up and say, “Here I am Lord, use me.” Let’s not say use me if it’s safe or not safe, but rather say “Lord, USE ME”. Lord USE ME, I’ll be safe. I’ll do the right things. I’ll do the expected things and the things asked of me. I’ll consider others as I consider myself and I will use, apply and share my life and faith as YOU GUIDE ME.
Friends, I’m asking you, “What are you doing to encourage and lead OTHERS to the Shalom (Peace) that Jesus offers? I truly believe this is our time to lead in our community. As Christians, our expertise is in faith. Let’s let others lead in their areas of expertise. Let the doctors be doctors and let us be faithful in faith. Let us lead others to faith in the never-failing love and grace of God in Christ Jesus. Like the song says, “Lead on O King Eternal, the day of march has come!” See ya soon!
August 2, 2020
It’s only August, but it seems that summer is almost at an end. School starts in a few weeks and there appears to be a mad rush for more summer outings as well as getting ready for back-to-school. The store shelves are already stocked with fall merchandise and other than the sweltering heat, you would think that fall is only days away.
FUMC is partnering with several other local churches to create a B2SB (Back to School Bash) for Jr. and Sr. High youth. This will take place on Sunday, August 16th at 4pm. Faythe and Chris are working together to make this an amazing event. Faythe has arranged for a speaker from Houston to come, share and help our kids in their faith journeys. Lots of food, games and fun will round out the event. Thank you both!!!
I think it’s marvelous for churches to work together. I love it when we show the world that being a Christian is more than being the member of a certain church. Our church is special, but so are other churches. I’m glad that God has called you, me and all of us toFUMC Center. Together we will love God and share the love. Together we will see God advance His “Kingdom on Earth!”
Together, it’s such a great word. Integrated, unified and joined together in grace are the people of God. We are living in times bursting with opportunity to both show and share our faith. Thank God for the interesting times and the journey forward. See ya soon!
July 28, 2020
Last Sunday, we ended our worship time by singing “Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine.” What a wonderful thought. It’s wonderful because our faith is a possession. Our faith is a gift from God and because it is a gift from God it is a good gift that brings only good with it.
Our gift includes The Giver himself. As Fanny Crosby says in the lyrics, “O what a foretaste of glory divine!” Our faith is supposed to be so much more than a crutch to use when we are limping. The gift of our faith is to provide the very presence of the God in our daily living. Of course, having faith in the grace of God requires us to live out our faith. This means living intentionally. We choose to be “those people.” The ones who know that rainbows are gifts after the storms. The ones who see the good in others. The ones who forgive as we have been forgiven. And of course, we are ones who go counterculture in that we don’t simply get all we can for us. We give as we have received. We give not for good feelings or in the hopes that by giving we will get back. We simply give because God has first given to us. We simply respond because we are created in the very image of the giver of life, the giver of faith! You can’t so much give away your faith as you can share it. So, share it generously!
Please join us at church as we worship here on Sunday or worship with us online (https://www.facebook.com/FUMCCenterTexas/), but please join us here or there. This way we can truly be one in faith, one in hope and one in love.
Holy Communion: This Sunday, August 2nd, we will be having communion. For those who are able to attend in-person worship, we will pass out individual juice cups with wafer included. We hope you can join us at the 8:30 or 11:00 am in-person worship service. For those who are unable to be at the in-person worship, please come by the church office and pick up your cup and wafer and wait until you attend the 11:00 am live service to take your elements. For those who are unable to pick up your elements, we can bring them to you. Call the church at (936) 598-2707 if you have questions. The communion offering will go to the Pastor’s Care Fund.
See ya soon!
July 21, 2020
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
The grace of God is an awesome gift. It’s actually amazing, this grace thing. Grace is a gift, a good gift, a free gift. We can’t earn it and we can’t buy it. God, in his exalted wonderfulness, saw fit to renew his mercy and love within us by applying his grace into our lives through his son Jesus!
In last Sunday’s message, I mentioned that having received such a gift, our natural response is to feel we must respond by doing something. How we act, think and speak is how we respond. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
We can’t engender more love or grace from God (because his grace and love are infinite), but we can surely live for him and proclaim his glory among the nations, beginning right here, right where we are! If we are going to brag about anything in our lives, let’s brag about the joy of Jesus and the grace of God. See ya soon.
July 14, 2020
My first few weeks in Center and at first UMC Center have been wonderful. Teresa and I are already beginning to feel at home. We might not be able to give a tour of the area, but we can certainly sing the praises of all the people we have met since we arrived.
Summertime is definitely here, it is hot, hot, hot! The A/Cs are running for all they are worth and being outside for too long is surely taking your life into your own hands. If heat killed the Coronavirus, it would have long been gone. But apparently, it does not kill the virus. So, be careful of both.
Do you remember when Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah,” meaning that Jesus was sent to set people free.
Jesus didn’t end slavery, but he set those enslaved free. He didn’t end poverty, but he set the poor free. He didn’t end illness, but he set the sick free. He didn’t end a lot of things or situations, but he changed the condition of things for everyone. How did he do this? By changing the hearts of all who came to him. Sure, many received physical or emotional healing and to be sure, many that were hungry were fed a meal, but his mission was to set people free. He freed the heart. He showed a better way. He brought “heart” to the religion and life to the ritual. Jesus cared about the heart.
Anyone can be religious, especially Methodists. It’s in our name. If we do the same thing the same way twice it becomes a tradition or ritual, or at the very least, “The way we’ve always done it.” We must be careful about our faith and religion. The heart of matter matters most to the heart of God.
What do you need to be freed from in order to be free in Christ? Jesus cares about your heart. Where or what does your heart need healing from? John’s gospel tells us that Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (John 8) When he said this, he was telling the people that they will have a forever place as a child of God when they listen and follow him. My prayer is that we always allow the Lord to free us from those things that bind us. When we are free from . . . We are free to . . . to love, show mercy, share grace and to lead others to well spring of joy that it is the Kingdom of Heaven.
See ya soon.
July 7, 2020
Dear New Church Family
Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the gracious hospitality you have shown to Teresa and me as we have joined with you in your amazing, joy, grace and loved filled journey with Jesus. We are truly grateful for the many ways in which you have demonstrated your support as we have arrived. You have “Pounded” on us, Meal Trained us, and offered countless kind words. We are humbled and give thanks to God for your expressions of love. Your deeds of kindness speak deeply of love of Jesus.
As I assume the role of pastor at Center FUMC, I do so knowing that many have gone before me. Please keep Pastor Karen and all your former pastors in your prayers, even as you pray for me and Teresa. The best way for us to get to know your names is for you to continue to tell us your names…. (for the foreseeable future.) Last evening, as I lay down to go to sleep, I started trying recall the names of those we have met in the last week or so. I can associate about 25 names and faces are already. Please continue to tell us your names. Of course, the best way for us to remember names is for us to share events and activities together.
This coming Sunday we will be looking at the beautiful words from Psalm 119:105-112. Many years ago, Amy Grant had a very popular song from this song, “Thy Word is a Lamp unto my Feet.” In a crazy world it’s nice to have a north star. The Word of God is constant and amazing as we see God reveal himself to all who will receive him. Join us Sunday as we celebrate in worship. If you’re not comfortable joining with us in-house, be sure and join with us online at 11:00 AM.
June 25, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I’ve always advised youth who are graduating high school and moving off to go to school, to look for the “Cross and Flame.” Those people in those churches are family. If you need friends, go there. If you need a church home while away from home, go there. If you need help, go there. I would tell them to tell the people that they meet, where they are from and that they are part of the Methodist family.
I’m originally from Rosenberg Texas, grew up attending First United Methodist Church of Rosenberg and graduated from Lamar CISD High School. I continued my education at the University of Texas at Arlington as a business management major. After the closing of our family business, I returned to school and received my BSW in preparation for ministry. After receiving my degree, I enrolled at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky where I earned my Master of Divinity Degree.
I began in ministry as a short-term missionary in Kobe, Japan. After Japan, I began local ministry as a youth director and as a Local Pastor in Arlington, Texas. After graduating seminary, and returning to the Texas Annual Conference, I was ordained a Deacon in 1993 and as an Elder in full connection in 1995. One of my many ministry highlights include serving as the founding president of Habitat for Humanity in Orange, Texas, and building a neighborhood of 30 homes. I was involved with clown ministry for many years as a clown named, “Whoso Ever.”
Teresa and I recently celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. Teresa is an educational professional with over 30 years of combined experience in administration and in the classroom. She is a native of Roseto, a tiny Italian town near the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and is still adjusting to the “Methodist” way of doing things. Together, we have four children and two grandchildren. Whew, enough about us. We’ll get to know each other better soon enough.
Teresa and I are giving thanks to God for what has been, what is and for what is yet to come! We look forward to meeting you soon.
Pastor Malcolm Monroe