Thursday, September 24, 2009

And the next weekend..

Now we're getting in to some very touchy things. No long trips. No hotel stays. No shopping. Just some more very new and very special pastoral duties to perform.

You see the previous weekend I went to Dallas to visit a very special member of our church and his family. Well unfortunately that church member passed just a few days later. This was a giant of a man in our church and in the church in general. He was a business leader, a philanthropist, a tireless worker in our church up until he drove himself to Dallas. He sang in the choir, took care of money, has done just about anything you could do in the church. A patriarch.

Here's little ole me..just did my first funeral on a 16 hours notice. Now I was being asked to do another just a week later.

I got a lot of input from the family. They were a joy to visit with. I got input from my friends and former co pastors. I did visitation at the funeral home Friday night...then I spent a little time at the Lufkin Panther game.... then I went home, stayed up till about 1:00 a.m. and put together what I hoped would be a message that would honor this man and a message that would please his family and friends.

I was never really very nervous. I had so many of YOU praying for me. I also had a great man to speak about. A rich and full life and a joyous family that shared their love with me.

No doubt. Many people in the church were not sure just how well this green, part-time pastor would do. I did have that other funeral you know...but I didn't write the message for that. That one I was blessed to use the message of my co-pastor..who was suffering from double pneumonia.

So I got up Saturday, went through it a few times. Went up to the church to visit family at their brunch, came back home, put on my not so seldom worn suit and headed back to church.

It was a wonderful service. The singing was great. He loved to sing so I know that would have pleased him. I did what I was supposed to do and then we had a brief reception after.

From the feedback of those there I think I did ok. Something more happened there though. And this may be more inside me than anything that was thought by everyone else in church. I actually felt like I WAS their pastor now. I felt like I had served in an important pastoral role to someone much older than me and that part of the church community now saw me a little differently.. that was probably more my own perception than anything else. But even if it was a nice feeling.

Home and some rest... Up and to church the next morning. It's 8:45 and our guest pastor has not arrived. We had some announcements that morning..and they went a little long.. and I was ok with that. We also started just a few minutes late..that was on purpose. We still didn't have a pastor once I had done communion and so it was time for a message. I had been rolling ideas around in my head all morning in case our guest pastor didn't arrive.

I read the scripture..

Matthew 9

Jesus Heals a Paralytic
1Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."

3At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!"

4Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." 7And the man got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

I said a short prayer...and fortunately we didn't have much time left..but I gave a short message.. and nothing that I had planned (in the last 40 minutes) came out of my mouth.. my message went to a place about the discussion of "which is easier" I've always wondered which is easier but hadn't thought it through. Now the Holy Spirit was walking me through. You see I had always thought it would be so easy to say "your sins are forgiven". I know I couldn't tell someone who couldn't walk to get up and walk... and make it happen. But I could always tell someone their their sins are forgiven. Then I started thinking about our modern technology and how we can heal so many things now that so many years ago would have killed us. We have computers and machines and advanced knowledge way beyond those days. We can heal people and make them walk but we are still fragile, imperfect, human beings. What is easier for us to do? Is it easier to heal a man or to forgive a man? So we are called to forgive. but it is difficult isn't it? It's also healthy for us.. for the others as well as ourselves. I said some other stuff but the part that truly enlightened me was that I finally learned what Jesus was meaning about it was easier to heal than to forgive sins... to for give those who sin against us.

Our guest pastor showed up in time for late church. We had a great service. A few hours later I gave the message and led music for the youth that evening. was another busy but blessed weekend.

What's next weekend? Maybe I'll let you know.. after... got to go to bed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wow..what a weekend.. started with the fact that we now have one full time pastor on staff... then..
A long time member of our church had a heart attack and had surgery and got very sick.
Another long time member of our church passed away.
Another church family member was having surgery.

I talked the situation over with Kathy..our only full time pastor and we thought it might be a good idea for me to go to Dallas and pay a visit to our church family member that had the heart issues. Kathy was handling a funeral and going to visit our member having surgery.. First I was going to make a day of up there and back...Since Donna was out of town and all I have is a hot, un-air conditioned pick-up truck I thought..hmm might be fun to go with my son and then we could take that new nissan cube.. with a/c. I also checked in with my daughter to see if she might like to have a lunch or brunch with me/us but she was busy going to Tyler and couldn't make it.. oh well..

Spoke to Austin but he had to work Saturday afternoon. I decided to get a hotel Friday night to make the trip less hard and we could bum around together a little along with making the visit to our church friend.

He made arrangements to get off work Saturday night and he thought he'd be through around 6:30 Friday and we could leave then.. sounds like a nice relaxing Saturday with my son..

A party shows up at the FUMC CLC that they thought had cancelled their party.. but I guess they didn' he had to stay late.. I went to FCC and moved some things around to make room for Jinx to play on Sunday morning.. I then went to FUMC to help my son move things around so he could leave..

and I didn't plan on this part...but that whole moving red padded chairs around in the gym became an amazing spiritual flashback moment for me that night... hundreds of times I moved those chairs around to set up for Upward Basketball on Saturday morning (we didn't have bleachers) and move them around again to set up for church (Center Court Service) in that same gym. A long time ago I said that gym smelled like Jesus...still does smell like Jesus to me!!

Anyway..the unplanned working late got us out of Lufkin around 9:30 and it was raining. Not fun to drive in. We stopped a couple of times to eat and to wake up etc.. of course I'm doing some twitter/fb posts along the way and my daughter calls me to see if we can have breakfast together Saturday morning since we're coming up Friday night. OK...

I finally get in bed around 2 a.m...

I'm up around 6:30 to try and find out if I had decent service at the Ex and to see if I need to be on a conf call.. and I'm groggy and not moving too fast but we finally get going and pick Hannah up around 10 and have a brunch..well really just an early lunch.. then we drop her off for a meeting she has to go to at 11 and we head back to Dallas...FYI.. DFW does not fully impart how far apart the D and the FW are.. especially in rain and slow traffic.

We go and have a great visit with our church family at Baylor... we then decide that we need to find puma shoes.. we drive around Dallas for a while and finally get to the Galleria... we eat there and the Genghis Grill and it was great. One bowl filled us up.. I know it's just a dollar more for the all you can eat but we had all we could eat.. we hang around go to a couple of stores and it looks like the puma shopping is going to be a zero.. I mean we were leaving the mall and I decided to google puma's and the finish line (which we had never heard of) has them.. we go find it and Austin gets these.

We finally head out of Dallas for L-town and drive in more rain. By the way the cube drives great..rides pretty nice and handled the crappy weather very well. We roll in to Lufkin about 9 and I find out our only full time pastor...Pastor Kathy...has the flu.. Sunday morning was not an issue..really except now I was going to have to get up earlier.. but I now had a funeral to do too. My first one ever..

Up early Sunday..wishing I was still in bed... church was great in both services. I went home and read over some notes.. put on my seldom worn suit and performed my first funeral.. it was a blessing to be there and I was glad I got to be a part of that family's celebration of life.

Then home..sat still for a few minutes then went and did music for the youth.. got done around 8:00 p.m....

and you ever get so tiered and keyed up you can't go to sleep? I was up past midnight.

Ugh!!!! and when that alarm went off this morning I did NOT want to get out of bed...I drug my self out.. a little late and got to the Ex around 7.

I am looking so forward to a quiet restful evening tonight...maybe even a nap when I get home. It was a great weekend.. no doubt about it... but hope I don't have any more like it in a while. I do need a day off now and then.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hello again everyone..

My name is Artie Anderson.. I'm 49 years old..I work for a fortune 100 transportation company and I'm also an associate pastor at First Christian Church in Lufkin Tx and I lead contemporary worship..

Ok, so I've been gone a while. Life has been a little stressful..crazy..depressing at times...joyful at times but this has been one of the most eventful seasons in my life over the last few months and I didn't have the time, energy or desire to blog. Facebook and twitter are my outlets most of the time but I would still like to keep this avenue open for communications that are a little more involved..

I don't want to make this too long.. and Lord knows I can but I'd like to recap the last few months.

Hannah graduated

I had to fire someone that I hired over 10 years ago and cared a great deal about

I was very anxious about my own work situation because of what had gone on with my employee

A friend of mine had that female surgery and experienced some very bad very sick..

My wife had that female surgery... I was of course very anxious about what was going on with her because of what had happened to my friend. (She is doing very well by the way)

I found out that 2 of my closest friends and confidants were going to leave my church and become pastors in other churches

I had to take my baby girl to TCU to start her college career

We had a big send off ceremony for my two friends/co-pastors/

I'm a guy that is not afraid to cry..I find it healthy and cleansing for me...I'm also a big baby and can't help it.

It's strange...I've been very guarded during this time... not on purpose.. I just haven't been weepy.. that's weird for me. Hope I'm not getting old and crusty..

I haven't been very good about my eating during this time..too much stress. Donna is making me get back now.

Fortunately I haven't gained back too much.. a visit to my Dr. let me find out that I was still lighter than when I started this a while back.

I won't be as rigid as before but I've got to get back on the program. I have things I want to do and enjoy doing.

This isn't a blog about dieting but food is a part of all that we do. I hope I don't let it control me.

I'll share more about more as time goes on..

Going shopping for a birthday gift for my son... it won't be too big.. he did get this because of the cash for clunkers program.

Peace folks..