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Preachers

 

Beverly Wittler Columnist

  I have three of them right now Ö one main Methodist and two light-duty backups. Found Joel Osteenís television church one Sunday by accident and I like his ever-positive sermons. And then my Newnan son Don told me about watching Andy Stanley when their daughter was too sick to get out and go to their regular church. They now record the show; all assemble at 11 a.m. and listen intently as the younger version of my favorite Dr. Stanley man-of-the cloth gives his lesson of the day. Okay, I record him now too Ö along with Joel Osteen.

  But if at all possible, Iíll be sitting in my regular pew at Mt. Bethel at the appointed time to hear Rev. Charles Jackson lead me through another wonderful Sunday morning. He usually, well always, has some words to say during his sermon that will heal me, calm me, or remind me to be a better Christian. He also does a wonderful job of praying at the altar as those of us in stress or with gratefulness gather beside him. As we first lift up our joys and needs in silence, our perfect pianist softly plays something calming. And then Rev. Jackson begins his wonderful words and the piano softens even more. I am so glad the district superintendent sent us this man of the cloth to help us Methodists through the tough times as we also rejoice in the joys.

  Pastor Jacksonís military background may have something to do with us always getting out on time and yet not leaving out a single important part of the service. Even when weíre having my favorite monthly ritual, communion, weíre walking out the door a minute before noon. Iím not planning on stopping at any of the local buffets, but do like a shot at the ten or less items line at Publix without having to stand behind others who maybe donít have a church or perhaps go to early service. And yes, sometimes I do see customers with MORE than 10 items! I frequently start counting when I notice their cart is fairly full. (I did ask one of the Publix clerks if a bell would go off when I had 11 items and was in a hurry Ö she said it didnít work that way.) And then I remind myself Iím supposed to be a Christian, not judge others. Uh, oh. I also try to turn away when the customer behind me has a very loud phone conversation and not listen to their private words. Should I invite those people to Mt. Bethel? Okay, will do, when they have a moment of silence.

  Grabbed my big salad, some chicken from the deli, and weíre on our way home to enjoy another easy lunch. Soon as we toss our paper plates, itís time to watch Joelís 30 minute service, and then Iíll pull up Andy Stanley in the Ďrecordedí television lane. My third sermon out of the way, time to work the big Sunday AJC crossword puzzles, maybe take a few walks, and as usual Iíll have a warm conversation with my Father in heaven as I stroll and recall the uplifting words and lessons Iíve learned that day.

  I am SO glad I was raised to spend my Sunday morning in the pew, know the words to most of the hymns in our big red book, and have a fairly good working knowledge of my Bible too. I mark favorite verses in the back, note special words I hear during the sermon in the front and on one more page I log outstanding events Ö such as when The Times returned to life via some GREAT local merchants. Hey Ö time to say it again - PTL!

 

  Beverly Wittler has four children, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. She lives in McDonough with her husband.

 

 

 

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