Pastor's Blog

December 2016

Dear Christ Family,

Our theme for Advent is “Prepare”. Prepare means to make (something) ready for use or consideration. Sometimes as we are preparing for whatever it is, it may also mean that we have to spend some time waiting. I recently had to spend some time waiting…waiting to get an oil change done. I actually had gone to the tire and oil change department of a local store to see if an old spare “donut” tire from a precious vehicle would fit on my current vehicle. I found out the hard way that some base model cars don’t come with spare “donut” tires! So while there, I decided to get an oil change which the car needed. Anyway, after about 3 hours later (Okay to be fair, I did some shopping in the other departments in the store as well.) the car was ready. But still, the shopping was a part of the waiting process. I was trying to prepare my vehicle for the road, to get prepared for the journey, to get prepared to see my out-of-town family.

The preparation was tedious, rigorous, frustrating at times as well as moments that were filled with conversation with others and contemplative silent moments while waiting. My car was finally finished and was waiting for me right outside the door. I was fourth in line to check-out. A series of register mishaps took place with each person ahead of me. Ughhh! But joy came when finally it was my turn to check-out. I was finally able to go to my car and continue on with my plans. Praise God!!

During the next few weeks, we will be preparing for the arrival of the Christ child, baby Jesus.

Preparing for worship services, attending Christmas parties, concerts and family gatherings can end up being stressful and frustrating at times just like my experience of waiting and preparing my car for travel. The waiting in store lines and even the great anticipation of Christmas day can leave us with less patience, but let us remember the joy that we will celebrate and behold again on December 25th. I know that the joy of getting my car back can’t even remotely compare with the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus but it did give me a great reminder of what it is like to prepare and wait. However, in the midst of our preparing and waiting this Advent season, let us remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!! Turn to Him and spend some time in His Word this month and in the new month to come and year of January 2017.

Also, please take some time to reach out to others in need, as well as, remembering our sick and shut-ins. May God bless you all and I pray that you will have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Safe and Blessed New Year!!!

Be Encouraged in Jesus!!

Pastor Darlene Robinson

November 2016

Dear Christ Family,

This coming election day on Tuesday, November 8th is slated to be one of the most important elections of our time, especially, in regards to the presidential race. I have heard friends, family, church members, newly met strangers, local commentators and even current and retired national journalist say that they have never seen a presidential race of this kind. I have even heard people say that depending upon which of the two currently leading candidates that may win, they will leave the country. One person also stated that if one or the other candidate wins that they were just going to ask Jesus to come and get them and take them to their heavenly home. Wow!!!

So many of us wear our passions on our sleeves and show it greatly shows in our conduct, in our speech and even in the way we treat each other. My prayer, however the race turns out, is that we would continue to be civil to one another and most importantly, trust God. He is keenly aware of what is taking place in our country. In a few short days, history will be made one way or the other. Yet, I still hear in my spirit, God saying and reminding us to do and learn from Proverbs 3:1-12 which says,

"1 My son, don’t forget my instruction. Let your heart guard my commands,

2 because they will help you live a long time and provide you with well-being.

3 Don’t let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Bind them on your neck; write

Them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will find favor and approval in the

eyes of God and humanity. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on

your own intelligence. 6 Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways

straight. 7 Don’t consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

8 Then your body[a] will be healthy and your bones strengthened. 9 Honor the

Lord with your wealth and with the first of all your crops. 10 Then your barns

Will be filled with plenty, and your vats will burst with wine. 11 Don’t reject the

instruction of the Lord, my son; don’t despise his correction. 12 The Lord loves

those he corrects, just like a father who treats his son with favor."

Please don't stress yourselves on out of this world when the election results are shared. God is still on the throne and will be true to His word whether your candidate gets in or not. They too will need prayer and Jesus to help them run this country. Your job and my job is to pray, pray, pray and keep on praying for our next President and the entire United States of America. "America, America, God shed His grace on thee....from sea to shining sea" and that includes Presidential and other elections as well. Do you really trust God, or do you just say that you trust God?

Focus on the positive. Thank God we do live in a country where we can be free to choose. Focus on all the other positive things happening during the month of

November, especially in our church, i.e...All Saints Sunday, Stewardship Sunday, Veterans Sunday, Christ the King Sunday, Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent. So please read the rest of this newsletter to find out about some of the other positive happenings. May God continue to bless you all and I pray that you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Be Encouraged In Jesus!

Pastor Darlene

October 2016

Dear Christ Family,

Are you excited yet? Well if not, It's time to get excited! We are starting a new church year and God is truly moving by His Spirit and the best is yet to come! Do you believe it? I hope you do because we need to all be on one accord and get on the same page as to what God is able to do and wants to do here in and outside of this place. Philippians 2:2 from the Amplified Version of the Bible says: "Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention. "

We need to be on one accord so that we can focus on our mission, vision and goals. You will soon be given copies of what our mission, vision and goals are for the church. Our overall mission is to make disciples for Jesus Christ. The North Coast District of the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, of which we are included, is focusing on the theme of Evangelism. A 5-week online course focusing on the topic of "Evangelism for Non-Evangelists" will begin on Oct. 6. Please call the office or me for more information and to take part in this series.

A few of us recently, went to a workshop that was designed to give us suggestions and ideas on how to reach new people. We left there with several possible plans of action. You will hear about these plans in the coming weeks and months. We also are blessed with a coach who will be available to us mostly by Zoom telephone conferencing and emails for the next 12 months. Also, on behalf of the Committee on Lay Leadership we say thank you to all who said yes to serving Jesus through your leadership and participation on a committee. We also say thank you to those of you who have served and/or continue to serve in any aspect of the life of our congregation.

As the season changes from summer to fall, let us be reminded that change is a part of life. Change occurs in our church as well as our lives. We must remember just as God is in the midst of seasonal changes, so God is with us through changes in the church and in our personal lives. So the question is...Do you really trust God or do you just say that you trust God? Change can be difficult, painful and unwanted. Yet, sometimes change can be good and transforming for the better. Let's really trust God for the changes that we have to go through in order to support our current members/attendees and to reach new people for Jesus here at church. Let's also trust God to help us through the changes we have to encounter in our personal lives as well. "For nothing will be impossible with God." Luke 1:37

Be Encouraged in Jesus!

Pastor Darlene Robinson

September 2016

Well, I don't know about you but it seems like another summer has flown by EXTREMELY fast!  We have "sweated it out" over these past summer weeks since Christ UMC and Simpson UMC do not have air conditioning. So in some ways it is good that we will soon be moving into the fall season where the cooler weather will prevail.  So see you later summer until next year, Lord willing!  We say hello to September and look forward with great anticipation our return to ministries that have taken a break over the summer. 

I recently bought at a very deep, deep discounted price an electronic device called a TrackR Bravo.  The TrackR Bravo is a round device a little bigger and thicker than a quarter.  It is designed to help you find misplaced or lost items that are attached or connected to the TrackR Bravo.  For example, if you put it on your key chain you can locate misplaced or lost keys with an app that has been put on your phone.  You can find a misplaced or lost phone for the most part by pressing a little button on the TrackR Bravo on your key chain.  Once you press the button, your phone will ring and therefore the idea is that you will hear it ringing and consequently your phone will be found.

Overall, it works okay and I don't want to give it a bad report since I only really know how to work it a little bit.  However, there are a few downsides that I have found.  One is that the battery in the TrackR Bravo could die and since there is no power, you can't find your phone.  Another downside is that you can't find your phone or keys if they are misplaced, lost or stolen together (unless there is a way to track it on a computer and I haven't investigated that yet). Well, you know, God is like a TrackR Bravo but only much better and without the downsides.  He knows exactly where we are in life physically, mentally and spiritually.  He locates the lost and extends his love to the lost by "wooing" them as John Wesley so aptly put it, to come to Him.  He also uses all of us, as Christians, to help reach out to the lost and hurting.

We can reach out to the lost by sharing our testimonies and our faith by telling them about Jesus, as well as, doing the best we can to lend a helping hand.  Jesus is the best TrackR Bravo of all but He also needs us to be His hands and feet in this world.  Romans 10:14-17 from the Message bible reads like this, "But how can people call for help, if they don't know who to trust?  And how can they know who to trust, if they haven't heard of the One who can be trusted?  And how can they hear, if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?"

We have been called and sent for such a time as this.  As we move forward together let us remember our mandate in every aspect of everything we do here at the church and in our lives.  Our mandate is from Matthew 28:18-20, which says this, "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  So let's do our very best to go, make, help mature and baptize disciples for Jesus Christ!  We are sent into the world filled with the fire of God! 

Be Encouraged in Jesus!!

Pastor Darlene Robinson

August 2016

July/August 2016

Dear Christ Family,

The Lake Erie Monsters Ice Hockey team are the 2016 Calder Cup Champions! The
Cleveland Cavaliers are the 2016 NBA World Champions!!!!! At the time of this writing the
Cleveland WINdians are in first place and we are still ..216...ALL...IN...dians!!!!

Prayerfully, they  will win the World Series this year and be champions as well. We are hopeful that the Browns  will also win the SUPERBOWL this coming year with the new coach, staff and players. The city  of Cleveland is currently in the process of getting ready for the Republican National  Convention to be held in a few weeks. So many awesome and wonderful things are happening  within the city. We are thankful! Yet, we also know that all things are not well within the city  so we must keep Cleveland and those who are hurting here in the city in our prayers.

I was amazed about how many possible sermon and devotional titles that there were to
come up with regarding the Cavaliers’ victory. On the last Sunday in June we preached about,  "Believeland" and related it to the story of Joshua and Caleb in the book of Numbers from the  Old Testament. They made it to the promised land because of their belief in the report of the  Lord! If you missed the sermon check it out on YOUTUBE!

As we enter into these summer months, let's continue to live in our "Believeland" which
as Christians is the Kingdom of God. In the Kingdom of God we believe that God will be with  us through thick and thin, through the up and down turns of the stock market because of the  BREXIT or any other causes. Let's pray and believe God for the great blessings that will come  out of our Vacation Bible School, Grief Support Ministry, Zumba Health Ministry, Boy Scouts,  Sunday Morning Worship and all other ministries within the church. Let us pray that these  alternative entry points in to our church will help eventually lead others to join us in our  Sunday morning worship. Remember making and being in relationship with others is one of  the great keys to making disciples for Jesus Christ and church growth! Let's work harder at  getting to know one another better, as well as, our guests and even neighbors near the  church.

Somethings that we had planned are on hold for now until we are able to get back with
them and we DO plan to get back to those ideas, especially, our Christ Care Team. As we begin  another year in ministry, we continue to move forward by faith and trust that with God on our  side the best is yet to come! Also, please feel free to join us Sunday, August 28 after church  for a picnic with Simpson UMC at the Metroparks Brookside Reservation (More information to  come and see newsletter for directions).

Pastor Darlene Robinson

June 2016

May/June 2016

Where have you seen God at work in your life or the life of others? These questions have been asked at a few of our meetings. The responses have been wonderful! We have started asking these questions either at the beginning or at the end of some of our meetings as a way of sharing what are called "God Sightings!". "God Sightings" are designed to share brief testimonies as to the goodness of our God.

Life is filled with so many heart-breaking and agonizing things and events that keep us discouraged and feeling defeated. Therefore, we need to be reminded about the goodness and compassion of our Lord and Savior. We can be reminded about these attributes of God by sharing with one another those things and happenings where we have seen his blessings occur. Some "God Sightings" have included seeing His love, mercy, grace and provision in action.

We encourage you to take some time today to see where God is at work in your life or in the life of others. I am sure that this will encourage your souls and help you journey on in this world with strengthened hearts. It is my hope and prayer that not only will we grow spiritually as individuals but as a church. This is the beginning of learning how to share your testimony or faith story with others. In order for us to help make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, we must learn how to share our faith with others. It is through this process that others may be touched by your story and eventually want to follow Jesus Christ as well.

I know that this can be an uncomfortable thought for some in terms of sharing your faith story but please don't worry or fear. This is something that you can or will, hopefully, learn at some point in time. So for now, let's just concentrate on "God Sightings!". So where have you seen God working in your life of the life of others? I know that I have seen Him working here at our church in so many ways and in your lives. Although, some things don't necessarily turn out the way we want, even in those situations God is there, usually working behind the scenes in some shape, form or fashion. Look for Him. He is and/or will be there.

Spring has sprung and Summer will be here soon or hopefully soon! If you have lived in Cleveland and surrounding areas you know what I mean. So be encouraged. We still have a lot more ministries and activities that are in place and are scheduled to happen in the month of May, June and July. Your help is greatly needed! Thanks for all you do and/or give to support the ministries of this church and the church worldwide.

Be Encouraged In Jesus!
Pastor Darlene

April 2016

April 2016

Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!
What a wonderful, blessed and exciting year we have had so far. I want to publicly say
thank you to all who have worked so hard and diligently to serve the Lord in the capacity in which you have been called. Thanks to all who helped to make Easter Sunday so awesome, as well as all the other ministry events leading up to it. All praises to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for being present among us.

One of the special days during the month of April is the Festival of God's Creation
Sunday. It is listed on our church calendar for April 24th. The purpose of this special day is to celebrate God's gift of creation and to commit to stewardship of the environment. I was recently reminded of just how special we are as created human beings of God. I found out that there is a test that can be given to check the back of our eyes. An eye technician told me that basically the back of the eye (or whatever part that they scan for behind the eye) is (or almost is) as unique as our fingerprints.

I began thinking about how awesome that is. God then reminded me of this scripture
from Psalm 139:14 which states from the GOD'S WORD® Translation, "I will give thanks to You because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this." I hope that you will find these words encouraging as you journey through life. Sometimes the negative aspects of life can really make us feel not so good about ourselves or others. But God is reminding us today that we are special, unique, amazing and miraculous human beings that He loves so much! Please don't let the negative way you feel or the negative way others may feel about you or what you have negatively been called or are called win out. Just remember what Psalm 139:14 says. You need to recite and meditate on it every day until you believe it!
Let's also be reminded that our Creator also expects us to share Jesus with others.

Evangelism is the key to making disciples for Jesus Christ. This is the mission that our North Coast District is focusing on and it should be ours as well. So please do your best to share Jesus with others and also intentionally invite them to church and bring them if need be as well. Happy Spring to you all!!!

Be Encouraged In Jesus!!
Pastor Darlene Robinson

February 2016

February 2016

Dear Christ Family,

“God is moving by His Spirit, and the best is yet to come!” In the midst of all the bad news in the world we have to focus on The Good News and good news. The Good News of course is the Word of God which is filled with hope and encouragement. The Good News is about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, His resurrection and what it means for our lives. Therefore, we are looking forward to our Ash Wednesday service as we begin the season of Lent. Lent begins our annual journey to the cross and Easter celebration. Ash Wednesday is February 10, 2016 and service is at 7:30 p.m.

Many in the Christian community are looking forward to the new movie entitled, “Risen” coming out February 19th in movie theaters. The description says to come to the movie to “Witness the manhunt that changed the course of human history”. Someone also said that , “Risen” is a movie that you can bring someone to who's not a follower of Jesus. It has the potential to impact one's life in a very, very significant spiritual way.” I haven't seen it yet so I can't endorse it fully but the trailer makes it look intriguing and fascinating! I hope it proves to be. (See more of the movie description somewhere in this newsletter.)

Now speaking of the other good news, we are also so excited because we are about to embark upon 4 new ministries. They are the sharing of God sightings, name tag ministry, the ministry of Shepherding and a new small group that will center around grief support. In our book that we have all be encouraged to read, Get Their Name: Grow Your Church

By Building Relationships, it reminds us that if we are to make disciples for Jesus Christ, we need to get comfortable sharing our own faith stories and journeys in order to share them with others. One way to learn how to do this is to start by just sharing very briefly times where you have had a God moment or have seen a God sighting. We are encouraging all of our chairpersons to not only begin each meeting with prayer but also by asking who may want to share a God moment or God sighting in their lives or the lives of others. If you need a copy of the book, Get Their Name: Grow Your Church By Building Relationships, they are available in the church office for $10.00.

The Sunday morning worship name tag ministry is important and necessary in helping us to get to know each other better, especially, newer people as well as visitors or guests. Shepherding is a ministry that will prayerfully help us to keep up with all of our members and worship attendee/ers, as well as, visitors/guests. We also believe that the new small group ministry of grief support will help those families who have lost loved ones whether in the past long ago or even more recent as in last year or this month. If any of these new ministries spark an interest within you, please feel free to join in and ask where might you be helpful in serving in any of these or other ministry work areas. Help is always needed! In fact, every member or regular worship attendee/er should at least be serving in some capacity to help make disciples for Jesus Christ. Looking for somewhere to serve here in the church or in the community? Call the office and let us know!

There are lots of other great things happening here at Christ so be encouraged and spread The Good News about Jesus and spread the good news of how God is showing up and showing out here at Christ UMC with the development of new ministries, as well as, the continuing celebration of those ministries already in place and those that have been for years (such as Sunday School, Choir, Boy Scouts, etc...). Happy Valentine's Day to you all! Looking forward to the "Love Me Love Me Not" fellowship and meal on February 14 and the Spring Fling Irish Dancers fellowship and meal on February 21st both after morning worship. See newsletter and bulletins for more information.

Be Encouraged In Jesus,
Pastor Darlene Robinson

January 2016

Christ Family,

Recently while listening to the news, I heard someone say the world is worse now than
ever before because of the almost seemingly worldwide threats and attacks. Well, maybe or maybe not. I guess it just depends upon your perspective or view point. I do know however or whatever the world is now, we all need to depend upon Jesus for his help, guidance and protection.

As Christmas 2015 and the New Year 2016 approaches, we find that the news headlines
are filled with many events that can cause fear in our hearts. The prevailing headlines have to do with race relations, injustice, bombings, shootings, refugees and some political figures doing their best to tarnish the character of each other instead of dealing with how they will take care of the real issues of life. There are of course other terrible headlines that are listed or talked about. We, however, want to be reminded that in this day and age we have a Lord and Savior that we can still call on for help and assistance.

Jesus can break through the darkness of this world and our lives! We must pray! Pray
now! Pray before and after listening to and/or reading or watching the news. Don’t just say, “Oh, how sad and oh, well, that’s just the way it goes.” We must come against such evil and all evil through our prayers, not only for our safety but also for our leaders to make the right and/or best decisions possible in terms of defending our country and the world. Pray that those who do evil will come to know Jesus as their personal Savior! Pray that Jesus will give them a “Damascus Road” experience just like Saul whose name was eventually changed and afterwards became the Apostle Paul (Acts 9). Pray that Jesus will come to them in dreams and visions and reveal Himself to them so they will come to know Him and become His disciples.

I’m reminded of a song that goes something like this, “If everybody had Jesus, what a
wonderful world this would be.” Jesus is the answer for the world, yesterday, today and
forever! Jesus is also the answer to and for whatever you are going through. Let Jesus bring the Light of His Love to your world and the world of others not only this Christmas but in 2016 as well! Keep praying also for our church as well as all of our sick and shut-ins. Keep Christ in Christmas! Remember Jesus is the Reason for the Season! With Jesus, Things Will Be Keen in 2016! (Couldn’t help myself…LOL). Happy New Year!

Be Encouraged in Jesus!!
Pastor Darlene Robinson

November 2015

November 2015

Dear Christ UMC,

As I have been out and about in the stores shopping, I have seen in recent years the push for earlier and earlier Christmas shopping. I know at one store during the month of September, Christmas items were already on display. I even think they had the Christmas displays on the TV home shopping stations in September as well, maybe even in August or July! There is nothing necessarily wrong with preparing well in advance, I just think that because of it, Thanksgiving seems to get overlooked. It seems to me that our world goes from Halloween (or the 4th of July) straight to Christmas. The thought seems to be, “and oh by the way, then there is Thanksgiving,” if mentioned at all. So as people of God, let us do everything we can to promote this wonderful day in which our nation has set aside to give thanks to God for all of His abundant blessings given to us!

One way of giving thanks to God is to make sure that we are the best stewards that we can be in terms of all the blessings we have been given personally and in our church life. This includes being good stewards of our time, talents, treasures, gifts and service. This also means making sure that we are sharing our faith with others and telling them about how good God has been to us. This also means that we use our time, talents, treasure and resources for building relationships with others and especially new people. This also means that we evangelize and do all we can to tell them about Jesus and lead people to Him.

We evangelize so that we can make and mature disciples for Him for the transformation of the world. For some the word “evangelize” has negative connotations because of various reasons but we need to get past that and learn to embrace that word again. It is one of the keys to not only making disciples for Jesus but also for growing our churches as well. If we are not growing, the question for each of us is, "When was the last time you witnessed and told someone about Jesus?" Other questions are as follows: "When was the last time you invited someone to church?" "When was the last time you went to pick up the person(s) you invited and brought them yourself to church?" We will be sharing more information about these things later.

I hope you all come out each Sunday of course but especially our Stewardship Thanks-Giving NOW! Sunday on November the 15th. We also look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving Sunday which is November 22nd with Juan Ramirez and the congregation of First Hispanic UMC during our 11:00 a.m. service, with a meal to follow. Don’t forget about our Charge Conference this year at the Cleveland Convention Center on Saturday, November 7th from 9:30 to 11:30. All are invited!!!!! In addition to the business we have to do, there will be a special national guest speaker to talk to us about church growth and putting plans in place, etc…. May God bless you all and I hope that you have a great Thanksgiving! Please remember to call, visit or send a card to our shut-ins (See the church office manager for a list). Peace!

Be Encouraged In Jesus!!
Pastor Darlene