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Thursday, September 4, 2016

As I write these words, I am preparing to meet with a fellow U.M. pastor whose heart's greatest desire is to see others come to know Christ. He is a church planter--specifically a Hispanic church planter--who has identified a group of unchurched Hispanic folks in our area. Our conference and district leaders have asked if our church would be willing to provide space for an upcoming 'fiesta' event this fall. During the fiesta, Pastor Marco Ballesteros hopes to develop friendships with these families. Once friendship and trust has been established, his plan is to see if any desire to become involved in a Bible study or even starting a new church from the ground up. Our Trustees have already indicated their support of this endeavor. In addition, D.S. Todd Love has identified some outside funds which can be used to help with the start-up & which will cover any additional utility costs FUMC may incur as a portion of our old educational building is used to house this ministry.

It's always an exciting thing when God begins to open new doors for us to walk through. We don't always know where those doors lead, but we'll never find out unless we're willing to step through them. Many years ago, someone had an idea, a vision, that eventually became First United Methodist Church. I suspect it started out fairly small and grew over time, but one thing is certain: a group of people stepped out in faith to see where God was leading. Like you, I don't know what will come of this Hispanic faith step. What I DO know is that God has a way of taking small things and growing them into great things, and lives--ours and others--are often radically changed in the process!

 

 

Jim Robinson

 


 

 

 

Thursday, August 24, 2016

There are several instances in the New Testament where Jesus called His disciples to get away from all their busyness and ministry tasks. He seemed to know when they had too many plates spinning and needed to relax. After the six days of creation, God rested from all His work and enjoyed a Sabbath rest. That idea of stepping away from one’s labors and resting was later included in the Judaic law. The twin legacies of taking retreats and observing Sabbath are ours, and in the midst of these busy days, we would do well to claim them.
What does one do while ceasing from his or her labors? I’m not sure that what one does to relax is as important as one’s commitment to be fully engaged in it. The concept of mindfulness acknowledges that we are often too busy with too many things, so the antidote is to instead focus on one thing. Mindfulness is being aware of the many things clamoring for our attention, yet choosing to live in the moment and concentrate on the beauty of the present.
This mindset is embodied by the two-handled cups often found in monasteries and convents. The premise is this: If I am drinking a cup of coffee, that is what I am doing completely and to the exclusion of all other things. In fact, I diminish my enjoyment of that cup of coffee if I am distracted by other pursuits and tasks while I drink it. When both my hands are engaged in grasping the cup, they are unable to be used for other tasks. My mind is to be singularly engaged only in that present moment. Gopi Krishnaswamy said it this way: “…the mind has become so dysfunctional that when you are driving, you are making an office presentation in your head, when you are cooking at home, you are having a meeting with your boss over the phone, when you are eating you are on Facebook or watching TV. We have become such multitasking monsters that people think this is the way to be without realizing that this is a disease.”
Are you too busy? Do you need a respite from all your labor? Chances are you do. So let me encourage you to pursue mindfulness. Make time to ‘drop the shovel and cell phone’ so you can retreat from the chaos or observe a Sabbath rest. Whether it’s a nap in the hammock, a round of golf, a ride in the country, or a walk in the park—find what brings you rest and relaxation. The activity itself is not nearly as crucial as the determination to do it with every ounce and fiber of your being.

Jim Robinson

 


 

 

Thursday August 4

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that the front door of a home is usually reserved for formal guests, acquaintances, and strangers, while the back door is often the place where family and close friends enter. There are obviously exceptions to this, but generally speaking, the folks that really matter know they can use the back door. Having been a part of FUMC for some seven weeks now, I’ve observed that the same principle holds true here, and truthfully, I couldn’t be prouder!
With our new addition, the ‘front door’ of our church has never looked better. As I write this, a crew is here working to properly align and seal the two wooden sanctuary doors that face Green Street. Those, along with the glass doors that open into our lobby and greeting area, are the entrances that most Sunday morning guests tend to use. However, our ‘back door’ (the back entrance to the old educational building that faces Broadway) is often where we welcome the neediest among us. As such, our back door ministries become the place where Christ’s love is made apparent and tangibly real to people who might never think to enter through one of our front doors. The food pantry gathers and stores much-needed food items that are distributed each month. Two Alcoholics Anonymous groups meet each week there. The Cinderella’s Closet ministry collects formal gowns for young ladies throughout the year and then opens up the ‘showroom’ each spring for prom season. Once every three months a truck arrives at the back door from Kentucky Mountain Mission to pick up gently used and discarded items that can be better used in the Appalachian area of the state--we use that area to gather, bundle, and stage those items until the truck arrives. There has even been interest expressed by our conference and district in providing a space back there to plant a U.M. outreach to Hispanic families in the area.
As you can see, the back door is an important and much-used entryway into our church. Perhaps some of the individuals and families touched by those mercy ministries will find their way into church membership here; perhaps not. Either way, I’m so grateful our church has a back door where we can welcome all those who knock and hope to find love and acceptance here.

-Jim Robinson

 

 

 


 

 

 

Thursday July 21

The earliest job I remember having was working in my grandfather's tobacco patch, pulling suckers (new plant shoots) and worms off the plants. While I never wanted to be a farmer, I grew up in that setting every summer, eventually doing just about every job associated with raising a tobacco crop. In high school, I briefly worked in a hospital maintenance department and an auto body shop before going to work sacking groceries at the local Houchens market. I've also worked in four factory settings and the fast food industry, along with a summer spent milling wheat and corn. While I've done many jobs over the years, I can honestly tell you that none of them--none--have been as difficult as the job of being a parent! I don't say that because it has been a physically demanding job, although it’s had its moments. I don't say that because it was financially draining, though at times it has been. I say that because of the inevitable heartbreak involved in the task--there is SO MUCH hanging in the balance as we raise our children, and the mistakes we and they make along the way can be exhausting! I've had occasion over the years to consider how difficult a job my parents had bringing up me and my brother. While it surely taxed them physically and fiscally, what I believe made it so hard was when we let them down, disappointed and embarrassed them, brought dishonor to the family name. We're fortunate to still have both Mom and Dad, and I think they would tell you today that it was worth it, that all the heartbreak and failures were part of the process of growing us to maturity. If this has been how we've felt as earthly parents, how much more has God experienced it as our Heavenly Father? If my mom and dad were impatient with how long it took to see any measurable maturity in my life, how much longer has the Lord waited for me to grow into my potential? If I have been displeased with some of the choices my kids make, how much more frustrated must God be at the poor decisions I make? Hard work, indeed! While the first and perhaps greatest sin of all is pride--wanting to take the place of God--I find it helpful at times to put myself in the Lord's place and try to imagine how He sees us. I'm quite aware of how many Maalox moments I must have caused
Him, and yet He forgives unconditionally. That being the case, can I do any differently with my own children? Or, for that matter, any of His?

-Jim Robinson

 


 

 

Thursday July 7

 

I thought it might be helpful to introduce myself and my family and tell you a little bit about ourselves. We arrived in town with a full moving truck late on the Tuesday afternoon after Father’s Day and have been working pretty steadily ever since to unpack boxes. I am from Russellville in nearby Logan County, a graduate of Western Kentucky University (1984) and Southern Seminary in Louisville (1992). I am in my 24th year of vocational ministry, having served at Memorial UMC in Elizabethtown as associate pastor (1993-1997), then as pastor at the Irvington/Webster Circuit (1997-2000), Buechel (2000-2008), and Brandenburg (2008-2016).I was brought up in the United Methodist Temple in Russellville and am a product of many boyhood summers spent at Camp Loucon.

My wife Kim is from South Union (Shakertown) and is a graduate of Franklin-Simpson High School (1985) and WKU (1988). Her degree is in elementary education, and she has taught at Christian Academy of Louisville and St. Mark UMC Pre-School, as well having been a substitute teacher in the Jefferson and Meade County school systems. Our oldest child, Josh, is 24 and lives in Louisville and works at Dynacraft. Our middle child, Jacob, is 21 and is a senior at University of Louisville, where he is a Nursing major and part of the ROTC program. Our youngest, Grace, is 19 and a sophomore Dance major and Occupational Therapy minor at Ohio State University in Columbus.
I cannot fully express my gratitude at being sent among you to serve as your pastor. We have felt nothing but welcome and warm wishes here from the first moment we arrived, and the wonderful meals that were delivered every afternoon were so appreciated…and so good! Bro. Doug also worked really hard to make the transition an easy one, for which I’m also thankful. With two Sundays now under my belt, I look forward to our years together, serving God and this community as the body of Christ.

Jim Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 August 2016 09:23