Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Pastor’s Ponderings

December 30, 2018

As I think about Christmas I can’t help but be drawn into the act of renewal for the world that Jesus brought to us. Christmas is at the end of a year, at the end of another age. It is an opportunity for us to think about the year past and really look at how we represented Christ to the world. Does our love for Christ show in our daily actions such as our speech, our face, our reactions to events, our acts of compassion or our outreach to those less fortunate than ourselves. These are all opportunities to fulfill the call of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus left His disciples to change the world and we are the descendants of those disciples so it is our job to change how the world knows who God in Jesus Christ is. Jesus came, Jesus taught, Jesus suffered, Jesus resurrected so that all who believe in Him would be His witness in His Love for the world.

Kind words and loving actions practiced repetitively will become habit and what better habits to have than showing love to the world in all you do.

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and wish everyone a blessed New Year.

Pastor Randy

Lectionary Scriptures for Advent’s fourth Sunday 12-23-18

December 19, 2018

Remember our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.

Candlelight Service Christmas Eve

December 19, 2018

Wesley United Methodist Church will be having its Christmas Eve Candlelight service at 5pm. If you cannot make it in to Wesley please find a church near you to attend. We get so busy this time of year and Christmas Eve Services are a few moments out of the day to refocus on the true meaning of Christmas. God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.

Have a blessed Christmas Season because you believe in the love God has for this world and all of it’s inhabitants.

The picture above is one I took one evening at the church.

Pastor Randy

Wise Men

December 2, 2014

wise men

Do you remember the story of the Three Wise Men who came to visit Jesus. They were led by a shining star that did show them the way to Jesus. They came bearing lavish gifts that would help Mary and Joseph care for and protect the Christ child.

I found myself thinking about the meaning of this story and how we could apply it to our lives today, some two thousand years later. First of all they came on faith. Not on knowledge of the one true God. Nothing says they were even Jewish. God somehow spoke to them and encouraged them and being “Wise Men” they came. Many of us are so wrapped up in our own lives that we give very little time to listening to our God. So the meaning may be that we should really listen to our God through our scriptures, through others and through that small still voice that speaks to us at times.

Another meaning may be that we are to be as generous with our gifts as these Wise Men were. Not just our monetary gifts but also our time and talents. Jesus was almost two years old when the Wise Men came. Their time spent in seeking Him out was extensive, no drive around the corner.

Just one more thought on the meaning, at least in my limited mind. They followed a light. So should we. Jesus Christ is the light that can begin to cure the world. The only problem is our shining/sharing that light. He offers to fill us with His light so that we can shine brightly out into a dark world. It is in our words and actions that we choose to either shine or climb under a basket. We should each and every one be that city on a hill that can be seen for miles.

Let your light shine this Christmas season by being faithful, generous and bold in your witness. That is how we go and make disciples of the whole world.

Have a Merry, very bright Christmas and be a blessing to someone else,

Pastor Randy

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2013

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and I will go ahead and wish you all a Blessed/Happy New Year! This is a great time to gather together with family and friends in a spirit of love, hope, joy and peace. Our Advent Season may draw to an end in Christmas day but how about us celebrating and living in the joy, hope, peace and love that Advent and the coming of the Messiah bring us for a whole year. Not a bad way to live at all is it. Even if you don’t believe as I do it is hard to argue with the tradition of Advent and the practice of loving your neighbor as yourself, carrying peace around in your heart, showing joy and having hope in your future. So once again Merry Christmas and may you be blessed with love, joy, peace and hope throughout the New Year.

Pastor Randy

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to all!!! I truly hope all will find in this Christmas the Joy, Hope, Peace and Love that the four Sunday’s of Advent are all about. The Joy in the anticipation of the Savior for all people coming, bringing us Hope for our future, Peace in our lives because we Love our God and our neighbor.  There is a link below with a video message from the United Methodist Texas Conference Bishop, Janice Riggle-Huie. I hope that all of you will spend a few moments watching this video with her message for this Christmas Season.

Have a blessed Christmas and a blessed New Year in 2013,


One Year Old Today

December 12, 2012

One Year Old

My granddaughter is one pretty girl says a proud Pawpaw. One of the ways I see God’s blessings in this world is through grandchildren. We have a total of four with one on the way. Georgia Ann is the youngest but also the one that lives 4.5 hours away from us. We get to see the others in person a lot and we get to facetime with Georgia a good bit too. Grandchildren really do find a special place in our hearts and we always want them to be safe, healthy and well cared for as they grow up. Ours are going to have that opportunity because their parents as well as Jane and I will make sure that they are well cared for. That is a parents/grandparents job. Evidently it was God’s job as a parent to make sure that His Son was well cared for too. He provided good parents who loved and nurtured the Christ Child Jesus. He provided wealth and safety for His Child also. A good example for us to follow when it is our own children/grandchildren but also a reminder for us to put the welfare of all children as a priority throughout our lives. There are many opportunities to help those who are less fortunate than us. Many children throughout the world who will not get a gift much less have enough to eat.

God gave us the gift of a Savior and He gave us the example of how big a blessing children can be if they are raised in a good and wholesome environment. It is our job as parents, grandparents and most of all as Christians to provide for all of God’s children a safe, happy, wholesome place to grow up and be able to carry on the message of God’s love for this world.

If you are not providing a positive example for a child today, perhaps today is the day you look deep into your heart to help make a change in some childs life. Whether it is a gift or just some time. Let a child know that they are cared for and loved because “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.

Pastor Randy

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

December 27, 2011

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Christmas is over, or is it? The sun is setting on this year, isn’t it?  Jesus Christ came to save us all not just for the one day of the year we celebrate His birth but everyday of our lives. So why do we act like this is the most important day of the year?  Why do we go to so many extremes to buy, cook, invite, shop, eat, wrap, decorate, party and stress our lives away?  Good question you say!  Well I say it is a good question.  One each of us as individuals need to answer based on our own reasons for how we waste away the opportunity to truly worship our Lord and Savior.  Now I am not saying we should not enjoy the season and give to our family and friends, but what I do want to say is we focus on the wrong things while we are working our way through this season.  Our focus with everything we do should be on the salvation, forgiveness and promise of eternity with our God.  Our focus should be on His love poured on us and His teachings that show us the good and right way.

Spending time with family and friends showing the love you have for them is the good and right thing.  Sharing all that God has given you with them is a really good thing too.

What I really want to say today is that we should treat Jesus just like He is a beloved member of our family.  We should spend time with Him, we should hear Him talk to us, we should share our hopes and dreams with Him and live our lives as if He were shopping, eating, buying, decorating, cooking, partying and inviting right along with us.  Perhaps we would spend at least some of the treasure we have on things He would have us do and on people He would have us be with.  Kind of puts a different spin on it doesn’t it. Wouldn’t it change the way we do all the holiday things we do?  Yes, I believe so too!  A New Year is coming and could be a new way of living it if we will just think about what we do each and every day.

Have a blessed and very Happy New Year,


Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings 12/20/11

December 20, 2011


Well it definitely is not a manger, she wasn’t born in a stable, no hay just warm blankets, no shepherds just nurses, no wise men but Aunts, Uncles, Nanna and Pawpaw, and we sure do love her a lot. Jeremy and Tracie may not have been Mary and Joseph but I don’t think you will find parents who love their child any more.

This Christmas is a more special one for the Branch/Parzen family. As most of you know we have a new granddaughter. All Christmas days should be special to us all because we do believe in His birth, His life and His sacrifice. His deity is proven to us in His resurrection and ascension. Holding a newborn is a reminder of our responsibility as Christians. We are responsible for those little ones. Mary and Joseph were responsible for Jesus and God led them through the dangers that surrounded them.

Do you listen to your God to help you raise your little ones. Many of us have failed to follow Jesus as well as we should have in raising our children. If you feel that way, you need to realize that first and foremost God forgives you. Secondly, it is never too late to start being the person Christ calls you to be. Kindness and unconditional love go a long way to the witness that Christ wants us to have. Christmas is all about kindness and unconditional love so go out and love your family, friends and even a stranger or two. That is the gift that Christ would have you give.

Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year,


Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

December 14, 2011

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We went to Austin for the birth of our new granddaughter Georgia Ann.  She’s named after Jane’s mother.  The slide show is just a very few of the many pictures taken on phones and cameras.  Baby and parents are at home now and getting settled in with the newest member of the household.  I guess we all know who will be ruling the roost for a while.  She is a beautiful little girl with a head full of dark hair.  Tracie had that same kind of hair but we also hear that Jeremy had a head full too.

Monday I experienced some beginnings and endings.  Tracie called Monday morning and said she was being admitted to the hospital and should have the baby early afternoon.  The baby was born at 3:52pm.  That was the beginnings and the endings were the funeral for Chuck Swiderski at noon.  Chuck was a member of Wesley United Methodist Church here in Orange and it was my honor to preside over the funeral.  The day was a reminder that we experience life and death everyday and we must prepare ourselves for all that life throws at us.  While Georgia has her life ahead of her as a new beginning we see that Chuck lived his life in a way that left his children and grandchildren missing him with the ending of his life.  As Christians we believe that Chuck has experienced a new beginning, a rebirth into a new body and a new life with our God and Jesus Christ our Savior.  Our lives can be rewarding and so can our deaths.  We just need to pay attention to the teachings of Jesus Christ and live our lives the best we can today, each and every day.  Chuck did and he received his reward.

Tracie and Jeremy received a reward Monday as an expression of their love for each other.  Georgia will continue to be a blessing to us all and we will do our best to raise her knowing God and knowing Jesus Christ.  Baptism is in the works for this little girl, maybe even on Christmas day.  Hope you all can be there.

God’s peace  and blessings to all with prayers for a Merry Christmas all around,