Giving back

For The Tribune

Pastor Larry Robbins said trusting God and keeping faith during difficult times is the one of the most important lessons to learn from Good Friday.

“Even when Jesus was going through the trials of this day, He trusted God,” he said.

Many people can apply that message to the struggles they are going through in their everyday lives, he said.

“He did not resurrect Jesus immediately. It was three days later,” Robbins said. “So whatever you’re going through, it may not be resolved today, but wait on God.”

Robbins, a pastor at Seymour Harvest Church, shared that message with more than 160 early risers attending the annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on Friday morning at The Pines Evergreen Room south of Seymour.

Each year, a pastor from a different church is invited to speak at the event.

Robbins said he was honored to be able to share his message during the event.

“I was thankful that I was asked, and you kind of step up to the plate when asked,” he said.

Seeing a diverse amount of denominations come together as one to celebrate was encouraging to Robbins.

“What I enjoy the most is all of the churches coming together and being the body of Christ and not allowing denomination names to separate us, so I really enjoy that coming together,” he said.

Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman said he also enjoys bringing all of the congregations together for the event.

“We had about every church in town represented today, and just seeing the different denominations come together is great,” he said. “Seeing a different preacher that you may not see is great, and that’s what we try to do, have someone different each year. It’s great to hear a different message each year.”

Debbie Hackman of Brownstown has attended the event a number of times and said she also enjoys seeing a variety of congregations represented.

“I love that people of different denominations get together and worship together,” she said. “It feels good, and it’s a great way to start Good Friday.”

Luedeman has continued to organize the event since he was elected in 2007. Former Mayor John Burkhart began organizing it through the city in 1996.

Origins of the event date back to the 1960s when the Seymour Jaycees hosted it as a minister’s breakfast, Burkhart said.

Luedeman said he likes continuing the tradition of the event because of his religious background and his desire to share the message with the community.

“I think it’s a very important message, and this is a really important weekend,” he said. “This is our way of giving back.”

For Robbins, the event was about sharing his message of God being there during difficult times in the same way He was there for Jesus as He suffered on Good Friday.

It’s a message that resonates with many people, he said, adding that keeping that faith often can be difficult when life’s struggles seem too much.

Robbins shared an example of people struggling to pay bills or being stricken with illness for long periods of time often can feel they are alone in their struggles.

“The flesh never wants to go by the way of faith,” he said. “Faith is believing God where there seems to be no way. Think about the battles that Jesus went through.”

Hackman said she liked the message and that it resonated with her, adding that Easter is her favorite religious holiday.

“I think it was an appropriate message on Good Friday because Jesus suffered for us without question,” she said. “We need to have faith that God’s going to be with us in everything we face.”

Robbins said keeping the faith gives those who believe the tools necessary to carry God’s message to everyone else.

He shared a story about his recent mission trip to Kenya and how he was able to help a woman that had lost her way.

“We had an afternoon service to be there and help encourage this small church,” he said.

As he was preaching, he noticed a woman sitting on the floor not looking up. He said no one knew her and that she seemed to be in a very difficult situation. Robbins told the congregation that he looked forward to one day hearing about the woman’s journey of faith.

As he concluded his message for the service, he realized he didn’t want to hear about her journey but see it.

“I knew God would do something,” he said.

That’s when he instructed a woman he traveled with to hug the woman on the floor and begin praying with them. The next day when they returned, the woman was joyfully worshiping and communicating with everyone.

But don’t look for Robbins to take credit for the occurrence.

“That’s God. That wasn’t me,” he said. “I can’t do anything, but I know the Holy Ghost was there.”

That was just another example of God letting people know He is here, Robbins said, which is the message he wanted to stress during the prayer breakfast.

“Good Friday was the big test that Christ went through, and we all go through those tests,” he said. “We go through hard times, but if we believe God is able, He will bring us out to a new day.”