An Invitation to Join us in Worship

February 28, 2017

Our friends and neighbors here in Sabine County are invited to join

us for an Ash Wednesday Service – Wednesday, March 1.

There will be two services;



6:00 p.m.

Our church is just down from the flashing light stop at 181 Milam Street, Hemphill.


10 ideas for a more meaningful Ash Wednesday

February 28, 2017

A Feature by Joe Iovino* February 9, 2017

Ash Wednesday is an important day in the church calendar.

It marks the beginning of Lent, a season of preparation for the celebration of Easter.

This holy day is not a holiday from work, school, or most other obligations, so if we are not intentional in our observance it is likely to resemble any ordinary Wednesday.

To help us find ways to remember the holy in the midst of our routines—something we should strive for every day—we offer some ideas to consider.

1. Worship

Many congregations offer worship services on Ash Wednesday. In a typical United Methodist service, expect times of prayer, singing, confession and pardon, a sermon, and the imposition of ashes. The somber tone helps us reflect on our own mortality and the need for us to confess our sins.

If your congregation does not offer Ash Wednesday worship, Find-A-Church will help you locate United Methodist churches that do.

2. Serve

On Ash Wednesday, we remember that we are part of the entire human family, making it a great day to serve others. See if you can serve a meal during your lunch hour, or take a personal day to volunteer with a local Habitat for Humanity project.

Your service, however, doesn’t have to be with an organized group. You might instead choose to use your lunch hour to hand out sandwiches and sports drinks to the homeless in your city. You could also mow a neighbor’s lawn, or shovel the snow from their driveway.

3. Give

We encourage you to give to your congregation, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and other organizations that serve others. Your generosity can also be creative.

Leave your server an above-and-beyond tip—maybe a 100% gratuity. Buy the coffee of the person behind you in line. Put money in the instrument case of a street musician. Purchase a paper from the homeless woman on the corner. Find ways to bless others with that which God entrusts you.

4. Abstain/fast

Giving something up for Lent” is a common practice for many Christians. Often, we give up a favorite food or try to kick a bad habit during Lent. Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is when this begins, but don’t confine yourself to food or habits.

Can you abstain from gossip or complaining for Ash Wednesday? What about defensive attitudes, fear, or anxiety? You probably won’t be perfect at this, but being mindful of times when these attitudes begin to take hold of your day can lead you to prayer.

5. Pray your day

Rather than setting aside special time for prayer, pray your day. Pray for the drivers of the vehicles and fellow mass transit passengers with whom you share your commute. Pray as you pass the hospital, police station, and government offices. Lift up the trash collector and the mail carrier. Pray as you write a letter, email, or Facebook post to an old friend. Offer sentence prayers throughout the day thanking God for your coworkers.

6. Make something

Some of us reflect and pray best when our hands our busy, making today a great day to create something. Get back in the workshop and spend time cutting, sanding, and gluing. Sit at a piano and let the music flow. Take out the paints, glue, clay, and other supplies to create a work of art.

As you create, be mindful of our Creator who longs to be in relationship with you.

7. Be still

Others find meaning in stillness. Try a practice like centering prayer by lighting a candle and pausing before the presence of God. Take a yoga class—some churches and spiritual directors offer holy yoga. Enjoy a cup of coffee on your deck. Listen for the crackling wick, the wind, the birds, the voice of God.

8. Clean something

Ash Wednesday is a good day to get a jump on your spring cleaning. Spend an hour with the junk drawer, that cabinet at work, or organizing the files on your hard drive.

As you remove things you no longer need and reorder those you do, be mindful of the ways God “cleans” us. The Bible tells us “As far as east is from west—that’s how far God has removed our sin from us” (Psalm 103:12, CEB). As we get things in order, we remember that Jesus gave his life so that we might be free from our sins and know new life.

9. Burn something

When you finish cleaning, take some of the papers you no longer need to the fireplace, light them, and watch them burn to ashes.

The ashes our pastors smudge on us during Ash Wednesday worship come from the burning of last year’s Palm Sunday palms. They remind us of our mortality and call us to repentance—seeking God’s forgiveness for our sin, both the things we have and have not done.

The ashes you’ll generate in the fireplace are not the same, but can serve as a similar reminder that your sins are forgiven. As the smoke rises up the chimney, know your prayers and life in Christ are rising to God as well.

10. Forgive and seek forgiveness

As we pray for God’s grace, we should also seek forgiveness from those we have wronged. Ash Wednesday is a great time to go to those you have hurt.


February 27, 2017

Words can’t contain the wonderful work I saw God do over the course of my nine-day trip to Burundi. I will do my best to describe circumstances and events of the trip, but I am certain my words will fall short in giving God the glory He deserves for His work.

tylerbriggsTyler is top left

Tyler is the middle son of Milton and Liz Briggs and grandson of Barbara Briggs.

What did I learn?

That God had more for the Americans to learn than the Burundians. I am fully convinced that this trip was turning point in the lives of each person on our team. The lessons learned will propel each of us into a more intimate relationship with the Father and more fully devoted life of ministry than ever before.

That God loves me more than I could ever imagine – Being immersed in this ministry setting for five days was incredible. I experienced God’s love for me through each person that I encountered, through my team, through the ALARM staff, through the Burundian men with I could only communicate with non-verbally or through a translator, through worship in the Kurudni language I could not understand, through the Holy Spirit’s testimony in my heart, and through quiet moments with the Father in the morning and evening. Metaphorically it was a week-long bear hug from God!

Prayer makes difference – There has never been a five day period in my life where I have prayed more. I prayed before my feet hit the floor, prayed in private each morning as I met with father, prayed throughout the day as I made specific petitions to the Father to provide wisdom, courage, and boldness, and prayed with thanksgiving for hours at the end of each day celebration the wonderful work of God among us.

That everything we taught in Burundi, applies in America – I pray that the teachings of God’s truth impacted the Burundians, but I pray that they impacted me and the team more. The call to faithfulness that we made to the Burundians is the same call we must live out in Fort Worth, Texas. We need not travel around the world to teach and practice these things; we have a much greater and daily opportunity to do so in America.

Faithful Discipleship

February 14, 2017
vci logo

 Please join us on Saturday, February 25 for a workshop that will help us take our church communications from “good to great.”

presented by April Canik, Communications Consultant (and Assistant Communication Director for the Texas Annual Conference)

Saturday, February 25 from 9:30 – 3:00

First UMC Hemphill


Effective communication makes people feel valued

and provides connection to meaningful experiences and relationships.

Being a valued member in a community of believers inspires people

to share the same love and caring with others. This is what John Wesley

called a response to God’s transforming grace in our lives.

RSVP to Donna @ 787- 2183

You are blessed to be a blessing. What does that mean?

By virtue of our baptism by water and the Spirit,

God calls all Christians to faithful discipleship, to grow to maturity in faith

(see Ephesians 4).




Our entry

February 13, 2017

doorsPhase one of the refurbishing of the entry to our sanctuary

Our Trustees recently approved a clean-up of the front doors.

Phase 1 of that is completed as the gray paint was removed and the window inserts were cleaned up.

The next phase will include further sanding and light stain and weatherproofing.

The Big Reveal!

February 13, 2017



Many thanks to Doug Oliver for repairing our church bell.

Church Bell calls us to Worship

February 9, 2017


Our church bell has been repaired! With your little eye, can you spy who’s inside working on the bell?

Stay tuned for the “big reveal” . . .


Window to the Soul

February 9, 2017

A proposal was made to the Church Council Monday, January 23, 2017, to replace the windows in the sanctuary in a two-step project. The Council voted to allow a fund raising campaign spearheaded by Corinna Oliver. However, step-one of the project will not begin until all the funds are raised for that step; we will then proceed with step two fundraising.


Corinna has asked that we ALL be in prayerful consideration of how WE can be a part of this project. Remember, that donations should not interfere with normal tithing. A bulletin board has been created that explains the plan process, steps of the plan, estimated costs for each step and examples of the materials to be used.


There’s an old saying in American culture: “The eyes are a window to the soul.” Jesus spoke about this when He taught on how our eyes reflect spiritual light within our souls. It is our prayer that if the new windows become part of our sanctuary our worship of God will be enhanced.

 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Matthew 6:22