Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Gospel According to Robinson Mountain

This past weekend I made a return visit to the place I call Robinson Mountain.  It is the home of Mark and Sharon Robinson in the Nashville area.  If you follow my blog, you've heard the goodness that makes up a visit to this sea of tranquility and true balm for the soul.  I had been way overdue for a visit (the last one being in July 2011) and Sharon wrote on my Christmas card, "We're very proud you are getting your MBA, you need to schedule a visit."  So the planning began and between our busy lives, we landed on this weekend.

When I've tried to communicate in words what going to Robinson Mountain is for me, I fall way short.  It's refreshment for my soul.  It sharpens me in every way and is physically relaxing.  If our souls had a reset button, mine gets pushed when I visit.  It's almost like having a weekend long massage.  I feel more than blessed for such friendship in my life.

As I made my plans for the visit, I explained to Sharon that there was no need to plan anything major.  My life is going 110 mph and I need to take it to about 20 mph…and we had lots to catch up on the past three years.  The weekend fit my requirements as perfectly as a custom leather glove.

The food is always good at the Robinson B&B and conversation even better.  I left full both with food and soul nourishment.  On Saturday, we spent the most leisurely day I've had in a while.  We had a late breakfast (with Mark's famous blueberry pancakes) and spent a few hours at their favorite local coffee shop that would be a favorite of mine if I lived there.  Then we came home to dinner and the movie Planes, because we all love Pixar.  Sunday always starts with church, and we were going to head home and meet up with our mutual friend, Toby, for lunch.  That's when the gospel went into action.

On the way home, Mark said we'd drop off the movie at Redbox.  That required us to drive past the entrance of their complex and head to Redbox.  Not far after we passed their complex, we were driving behind a car that turned off the road and, Sharon noticed, ran right over the curb down the side of a slope.  She immediately thought the driver had a heart attack or seizure and Mark whipped into the parking lot adjoining the embankment where the car had landed.  We got out and Mark went to the car.  It was an older woman by herself and he eased her out of the car being careful it didn't roll and got her over to our car.  Her name was Barbara and she had turned off thinking that was the entrance to Barnes & Noble, but it wasn't, then she just turned the wrong way and over the curb.  She was obviously rattled and about that time another truck pulled up and advised to call the police.  Barbara was fine and the car seemed ok, but it needed to be towed off properly to avoid any further damage.  While they discussed this, I was talking with Barbara and realized she just had spinal surgery 4 weeks ago, so this was a blessing that she wasn't hurt.  

I could write much more about the remainder of that experience, but the short version goes like this.  The police came and didn't ticket her for reckless driving.  Blessing.  The towing company came and the young tow guy seemed nice, but in the midst of getting her car pulled out, he lost her car key.  From the beginning, she refused to call her husband, which caused Sharon to feel there was something amiss here.  Either she wasn't supposed to be driving, or her husband was controlling or, worse, abusive.  When everyone left the scene, the towing company owner had pulled the car out safely and guaranteed young tow guy, Ben, would be paying to create a new key for her.  Sharon got her contact info so she could follow up later.

So how was this the gospel in action?  Aside from attending to her immediate need, Sharon prayed for her.  Sharon and Mark were wearing their "Serve My Church" t-shirts from the service that day, so that opened conversations about church.  Sharon so smoothly and in a very real way explained to Barbara how she would pray and prayed aloud.  Anytime any of us said anything about God in this situation, she teared up.  I sense she isn't in church and so we were not sure of the state of her soul.  It was 100 degrees that day and we spent a good hour or so waiting, praying and ministering to this woman, that if we hadn't been taking the movie back, we wouldn't have had this opportunity.  

The one thing among a kabillion that I love about the Robinsons is they don't just talk about the gospel, they live it.  Sharon is planning to follow up with Barbara and who knows what this incident will bring to pass.  I always leave Robinson Mountain challenged spiritually.  After this trip, the gospel according to Robinson Mountain is to not only soak it in, but to live it out.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Why You Should Work VBS

My last blog post was on the lessons I learned at VBS, and clearly God is continuing to show me why working VBS brings extra perks.  Let me share an encounter I had last night with one of my preschool crafters...

After our evening service, Leah came over to my row and said "Hi Miss Rose!"  She proceeded to move my purse and hop up next to me to chat.  And here's how that chat went...

Me:  How are you Leah?  Tell me what is going on in your world?  What's new?  
Leah:  Well, hmm, let's see.  We just got back from vacation and I had a Birthday!!!
Me: Oooo, exciting!  How old are you now?
Leah:  I'm FIVE!
Me: Wow!  Five!  That means you'll be starting kindergarten soon!
Leah:  Yes!  And Emma will turn four.  So, she'll go to my VBS class next year and I'll go to the kindergarten class.  What is our theme for VBS next year? 
Me: It's "Journey Off the Map!"
Leah:  Oooo, what does that mean?
Me:  We'll be going a lot of places and learning about Jesus!
Leah:  Oh that sounds fun!  So what will we be making?
Me:  Well, they don't tell us what our crafts will be this early, but I'm sure they'll be great!
Leah: OK!!  See you next July! (and she hops down and off she goes...and I'm sure I'll see her before July.)

Why should you work VBS?  Because moments like this happen and the things a child learns at VBS are indelible.  I had Leah in my class about 20 minutes a day and she can't wait for the crafts at next year's VBS.  What makes this even more monumental?  Leah was adopted.  She came into her family as a foster child and then became forever their daughter.  And so did Emma.  And because of that, they both are learning about Jesus and may someday change the world for the sake of the gospel.  If that doesn't make you want to work VBS, nothing will.