Nov 2017

Our annual Finance Campaign is drawing to a close. Thank You for your generosity! A great many Estimate of Giving Cards have been returned. Every single one is critical for the ministry of our church. I especially want to thank Chairperson Dan Vickers and his many dedicated assistants for putting so much time and effort into making Consecration Sunday the fine experience it was.
Again, I want to thank each and every single member and supporter of the First United Methodist Church of Mineola for all that they do and have done. Our church’s many ministries continue, and prosperously grow, because every year our church members prayerfully take the time to pray, pledge, and donate a certain amount of their income. Together, this becomes our budget. Together, we do a LOT in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Faithful giving leads to transformed living.
Most pledge cards have been returned. Thank You! Have you returned yours? Together, let’s pray that this coming year will be a wonderful year in which we are strongly led by the Holy Spirit of God.

Oct 2017

As a Methodist pastor I have had many other friends who are also pastors. Two I would like to speak about this morning are Reverend Charles Allen and Reverend Mark Young.
Mark is a Mineolan, having married a wonderful lady (Sherri) from Mineola many years ago and then finally retiring here a few years ago. They now live very near the Funeral Home on 37 on what Mark likes to call a “hobby farm”. I know he now feeds chickens, horses, cattle, etc.
But I especially know that he is a fine Methodist pastor. Currently, in retirement, Mark serves part-time as the pastor of Canton-Wallace Methodist Church. Before that he served 40 years pastoring churches in Houston and East Texas. Additionally he served as the District Superintendent of the Beaumont District for 5 years and as the Director of Spiritual Care and Values Integration at the Houston Methodist Hospital at Willowbrook. His dad was a Methodist pastor and so is his daughter.
I’m proud to say that he has been a friend of mine since 1980.
The other Methodist pastor on my mind this day is now in Heaven. His name is Charles Allen. Charles Allen wrote over 50 books, received more souls into membership than any other Methodist pastor in history, and is a legend in the Houston area. I’m proud to say that he, too, was a friend.
He could do a great many things exceptionally well, but he could especially preach with power, eloquence, and conviction. From experience I just know exactly what he would do if he were here on this Consecration Sunday. When he preached about finances his favorite theme was, “You can’t out-give God!” Then he would proceed to prove it. Then, after worship and lunch, he’d come to my home, demand we watch the Cowboys on TV, and sleep through the whole game.
Charles was right; you can’t out-give God.
Mark will prove that to us today. We’ll want to see more of Mark in the future.

Oct 2017

One of my favorite questions for a church to ask itself is: If this church didn’t exist…would it make any difference to this world or community?
The answer here at Mineola is this; it would make a HUGE difference to a HUGE number of people.
Did You Know that Every Year Your Church…
-Hosts two weekly Gospel worship services that joyously reach out in the Spirit of Christ
-Hosts Vacation Bible School for the children of this church and city
-Hosts Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. Our troops are GREAT!
-Hosts a HIS KIDS ministry for children on Wednesdays, teaching Biblical Christianity
-Hosts several weekly adult Bible Studies in Sunday School, members’ homes, and elsewhere
-Serves our community through participation and leadership in various community events
-Serves our community through great-in-deed United Methodist Youth programs
-Serves our community through hosting CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). This saves
and protects children and their families
-Serves our community through United Methodist Men’s ministries
-Serves our community through United Methodist Women’s Ministries
-Serves our community through beautiful Bell Choir Ministry
-Serves the Senior Adult community through numerous ministries, opportunities, and events
-Strongly participates in the Emmaus and Kairos Communities, hosting reunion groups and
helping men and women to connect (and reconnect) to God in new and beautiful ways
-Envisions and Creates new ideas in ministry. Some of the more successful ones we created are
Grace Community Healthcare, Kindness Cottage and Chair Yoga. Others we strongly assist
and maintain include Caring and Sharing, Bread of Life, and more
-Hosts Numerous Community Groups that serve to make Mineola a better, safer, place to live
-Envisions, considers, debates, and prays about new ideas and ministries. We seek to be The Church, saving and nourishing souls through the Power of God’s Holy Spirit. Additionally, we seek to be The Church by reaching out to others in need through the Love and Power of Jesus Christ
-Hosts Many Other Ministries that lift up the Life, Message, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ,
the Son of God
EVERY DAY the First United Methodist Church of Mineola makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE in this community, this world…and in each one of our lives.
This coming Sunday is Consecration Sunday. We will all worship together in the Praise Court at 10:50. Dr, Mark Young will be preaching. Afterwards both of our congregations will have a Celebration Luncheon together (also in the Praise Court) with a tasty, catered, free meal.
I certainly hope each of us is prayerfully deciding about their financial commitment for the coming year. Please be generous; we need You to keep making a difference in this community.

Oct 2017

Sunday, October 29 will be Consecration Sunday. We will have a fantastic guest preacher as well as a wonderful (free) catered luncheon for all who attend. We will have only one service that day. It will take place in the Ministry Center, beginning at 10:50. The guest pastor, Dr. Mark Young, is a retired Methodist pastor who lives far, far away…almost 4 miles from Mineola. You will thoroughly enjoy Him. He’s been my friend for over 35 years and is a friendly, dedicated, Christian man. He was a District Superintendent for 5 years. His theme will be: Faithful Living Leads to Transformed Living.
At the heart of every church finance campaign is a key question: What percentage of your income is God calling you to give? The Bible repeatedly advocates a tithe (1/10). That word, “tithe”, is a word of love and devotion to those who practice it. Without tithers, the bills for operating a church just wouldn’t get paid. To others that little word is intimidating. It is my hope that anyone who is not tithing will at least try to take a substantial step towards that goal.
The Blessings of the tithe are both subtle and obvious. Obviously, it forces a person to plan ahead and to budget. Anyone who seeks financial peace must plan and budget as a first step. Moreover, there is a mystical, deeply spiritual aspect; it compels us to more fully rely upon God.
The Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34) If you seriously commit to the Biblical principal of tithing, you will most likely commit more strongly to the Lord’s other precepts and principles. You’ll draw closer to God?
Why do Christians give? They feel deep gratitude toward God, they see giving as one component of their relationship with God, they feel privileged to serve, they like to help other people, and they feel that God is asking for an appropriate percentage of their income. Others donate because they want to help their church or out of duty. And there are many other reasons as well.
In coming days, to empower our church’s ministries we will be asked to fill out an Estimate of Giving Card. Whatever you pledge, let the Lord lead you in your decision. No matter what you pledge, come celebrate on October 29, Consecration Sunday! I hope everyone who reads this article will be resolved to come worship God as one great church family on that special day.
Our church does so much! It helps so Many! Our impact on Mineola is HUGE. Next week in this space I will attempt to specifically list our many ministries, but we started the Kindness Cottage. We started Grace Community Healthcare. Have you been to Emmaus? We host Caring and Sharing. We minister to far more children, youth, adults, and senior adults than are totaled by our membership. Most importantly for over 100 years our church has reached out in the Spirit of Jesus Christ with the Gospel Message, pointing the way to eternal salvation through Him.
We Really Do What a Church Should Do! We do so by Loving God, Sharing Faith, and Serving Neighbors.
Please pray for your wonderful church. This year’s finance campaign, ending with Consecration Sunday on October 29, is very important for our future.

Oct 2017

Our church is historic and beautiful. However, parts of it have run down a little bit; we need to have some work days to spruce it up. Two special work days will take place on two consecutive Saturdays, October 14 and October 21. We will begin at 9:00 a.m.
The projects we hope to accomplish are listed below. Each will have a work team to accomplish their task:
Power Wash the Austin Stone on the Sanctuary and Educational Buildings
Trim the Landscaping
Paint the Entry Steps at the Sanctuary
Do Necessary Door and Trim Painting at the Sanctuary and Educational Buildings
Spruce Up and Renovate the Narthex at both Worship Facilities
Upgrade Visitor and Handicapped Parking Signs
Paint the Ministry Center Parking Lot Lights and Replace Bulbs as Necessary
Repaint the Parking Lot stripes, bumpers, and curbs (Youth Have This Task)
Volunteers are needed! (Especially ones with Power Washers) If you would like to volunteer to be on one of the work teams please contact Work Day Coordinator John Epps through his email at lowell.epps@yahoo.com or call him at 830-444-1400. If you could lend support to the work teams by providing water, cookies, energy treats, etc. that would be appreciated.
Mineola is growing. We can grow too, but for us to grow we should have newcomers who see our facilities as sharp and attractive. A church with inspiring facilities and signage is much more likely to have first-time visitors than one whose outward appearance isn’t up to par. And first-time visitors are absolutely necessary to grow and sustain a church.
Having facilities that encourage new visitors is sometimes called “Architectural Evangelism”. It has been a part of Christianity for over 1000 years; let’s all do our part to share the Gospel and “make disciples of all the nations.”
I hope to see you at the Work Days!

Oct 2017

During my lifetime my mother wrote me many letters of advice and direction. Sadly (and very regretfully) I threw away or lost many of those letters. Then suddenly one day she died and her letters became priceless to me forever. Here is one she wrote me in 1982 when I was on internship. She had a Lot of Love and a Lot of Good Ideas. What are Your thoughts?
Dear Paul,
The following are things that I (as a church member) would expect of my minister and intern.
1. Write and deliver real good sermons.
2. Greet people after church and before Sunday school.
3. Teach a Sunday school class or visit different ones each Sunday, or be a guest speaker at
different ones.
4. Phone members who haven’t been there for 3 straight Sundays and tell that you miss them.
5. Phone or visit the old people who can’t come anymore.
6. Visit those in Old Folks homes.
7. Visit the sick.
8. Visit the hospital.
9. Visit new mothers.
10. Visit all college kids home for the summer and get a Bible Study going with some social activity
afterwards like going out for pizza, etc.
11. Go to all board meetings.
12. Have active Jr. High and Senior High groups.
13. Take the kids bowling, skating, shows, dancing, bunco party, pizza party, game night – with card
games, etc. Make money with cake sales, car washes, etc. to do something for someone in need.
14. Visit all new people who visit!
15. Visit all new members!
16. Have new visitors over for coffee, Coke, bought cookies with an old member couple so they can
feel that they might make a personal friendship.
Hope you are well and happy.

Sep 2017

Dear Church Family,
Today’s sermon may not be especially good in style, eloquence or enthusiasm, but the main message is about the best message one can ever hear:
To quote the Bible, “Pray without ceasing.”
I believe in prayer. It is the best way to draw strength from Heaven. –Josephine Baker
If you pray only when you’re in trouble, you’re in trouble.
Prayer Changes Everything.
Prayer is for sinners as well as saints.
God answers prayers and God Blesses Prayers and God Blesses Prayers.
On a similar topic, please especially be in prayer for two upcoming Emmaus Walks. On October 5-8 a men’s walk will take place. On the next weekend, October 12-15 a women’s walk will be taking place.
Emmaus is an almost indescribable experience. If you ever wish to attend a walk, please immediately let me know. For me, in 1994, it was a VERY memorable and significant faith experience. If you haven’t been…PRAY about it. YOU will be Blessed!

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