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Having grown up in large churches in Memphis, Tennessee, Kimball and I were about to embark on a most wonderful journey. It was June of 1967. He was appointed to serve as a student lay pastor of two rural churches in Kentucky. My goodness, we had never even been in a country church. Yet, it was exciting to think he could really serve as a pastor while going to college, and that our young family of six would be a parsonage family. We loaded our station wagon with four children (7, 5, 19 months, and 3 weeks), hitched on a U-Haul trailer and headed for our first appointment and parsonage in Water Valley, KY.
With Kimball going to school full-time, serving our churches full-time, visiting, preparing sermons and being a daddy, I sometimes found myself overwhelmed with a sense of insecurity that I could not do all that I expected of myself. I’d throw up a prayer ever now and then, but I was busy… I thought I didn’t have time to be still and pray, and just as important, listen.
One day after a hard morning with two crying, sick babies, I began to cry. My 7-year-old son came to my rescue. “Why are you crying, Mama, what’s the matter?” I hugged him and said, “Son, I’m tired, and I just need a place to call my own when my spirits are down.” He wiped my tears with his shirt tail, gave me a hug and disappeared. I thought he had gone to play with his little brother, but he had another idea. After awhile he came back to me, “Mama, I found you a place you can call your own. Come see!” He took me by the hand to the large closet in my bedroom. He had taken most everything from the floor and piled them on our bed. He couldn’t reach the hanging clothes so he just grabbed the bottom of them and scooted them from the center of the closet. He had put a little table and a chair from his table and chairs set, in the center of the closet. He put a Bible, paper, pencil, and flashlight on the table for my use. When his Daddy got home from school he asked him to help him make a sign for my prayer closet. When I was in there, I was to hang it on the doorknob…”DON’T BOTHER MAMA…SHE IS IN THE PRAYER CLOSET!”
I loved that little prayer closet and I used it. I used it a lot! I smile when I remember the day when our 3-year-old, Kathy, came down the hall from her nap, yelling, “Where’s my mama?” “Shhh, she is in the prayer closet,” her brothers told her as they took her back to their room to play. I finished my prayers refreshed and renewed to be a mama, a minister’s wife, and ME once again. I learned from my thoughtful 7-year-old the importance of finding a place to call my own when feeling overwhelmed with the noise of the world around me. I did not know how to be still. I did not realize how much I was missing in my life. My ‘still be still’ times saved my sanity, but also refreshed me for living a life with meaning and purpose. I didn’t have a name for those quiet times like I do today, but I do know I am who I am because of my times in prayer. I believe in its power, especially when praying with heart and soul for others, as well as myself.
In these days of Lent, I hope you will find a place to call your own, and have some ‘still be still’ times to find hope for the living of these days.
As we journey together,
I love my wife in a romantic way. I love my children in a fatherly way. I love you in a humbled servant way. God called me to be a servant evangelist and you have sustained me in this Calling. You have prayed for me. You have supported me financially. You have believed in me and shared that belief with others by inviting me to your churches.
Yes, God started it all, reaching out to me and taking me by the hand. But with the other hand, I began to feel your hands and knew that I was not alone. Now for thirty-six years you have walked and served with me giving me confidence, courage and a renewed commitment to keep on keeping on.
I am deeply honored to call you friends and fellow servants of the Lord. I wish for you and your family a Blessed and Merry Christmas. I love you all more than you can imagine.
This is the title song of my newest CD. In the song, I sing about “a restlessness to be.” We think of restlessness mostly as a feeling of the young, but age is not a true factor. This restlessness comes from wanting to move from a dissatisfaction of the old, with a hungering to try something new.
Restlessness can be a good thing, a creative thing, and a positive change. Holy Spirit restlessness is completely different from ambitious restlessness ~ one drives us inward and the other drives us outward. Holy Spirit restlessness moves us outside of ourselves, as the song says, “crying out ~ send me.”
I am certainly not young, but I still feel a restlessness that gives me an edge, an eagerness and exciting energy to change smoldering embers into burning flames. I would be privileged to come to your church with God’s message.
“Don’t burn out. Keep yourselves fueled and aflame” – Romans 12:11 (The Message)
Two-thousand years ago, Christmas came humbly in a stable. The light of a magnificent star showed the way to the place where the Christ Child lay. There were gifts to welcome the babe. What gifts, you ask?
The donkey brought the young mother-to-be to the place her child would be born, the lamb warmed the newborn with its woolly coat, the angels kept watch day and night, the shepherds welcomed Emmanuel, the wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But the real gift of Christmas is the Babe himself. He isn’t a gift to a particular people, but a gift to be shared with all the world. This incredible gift has no price tag, but it does have a cost.
If we truly have the spirit of Christmas…if we are to fully feel the love and compassion of Christ’s coming, we must bow like the shepherds. We must come humbly and gently to the stable. We must identify with the poor, the homeless and marginal people of our world. We must feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the imprisoned. We must share the simple, yet profound power of Christ’s love by the way we live our faith and invite others to faith.
May Christmas be a time to reignite your desire to be a faithful followers of the Christ Child. That is when you will know and feel the message of Christmas.
God bless you and your family in this season of hope and love. Merry Christmas!
Kimball and Pam
It was to be a cold Christmas high in the mountains of Mt. Baldy. The children wished for snow. The fathers wished for more wood for the fireplaces and potbellies. The mothers wished for their shopping to be completed before the first snowstorm of the season.
It was a time of excitement and busyness. Everyone seemed caught up in the wrappings and trappings of Christmas. The ‘I wanna’s and I gotta haves’ included everything from the largest tree, to the most presents, the best decorated house, the prettiest Christmas clothes…and the list went on. Can you imagine at this wonderful time of the year that people were so busy, busy, busy, getting, getting, getting that they were actually saying they wanted Christmas to hurry and be over so they could get back to their regular pace of life?
But there was one place in the tiny mountain village where the air was filled with quiet beauty and anticipation. There was no hustling and bustling, just great expectation of what was to come. It was the small Village Church that stood next to the creek and just at the entrance to Bear Canyon.
She beckoned the children, their friends and parents to come, but everyone was too busy. Her fireplace burned giving warmth but nobody came to be warmed. Her windows looked out to the stars…one was ever so bright, but no one came to see them. A giant evergreen tree telling of everlasting life stood glowing in the corner, but no one was thinking of everlasting life. They were thinking only of now. The Advent wreath in all of its beauty told stories of faith, hope, joy and love but these weren’t the gifts on anyone’s lists.
Nestled beneath the communion table a crèche scene graced the sanctuary of the small village church. Straw fell from the manger where a tiny baby lay quietly to share his love with the families of the mountain. Would they come? Surely they would come. It’s Christmas Eve.
All of a sudden the doors opened! There was laughter and joyful greetings. There were young and old alike. There were oohs and ahhs. They came to be warmed by the fire. They came to see the star. Did it lead them there? They came to feel the glow of the tree and to know the everlasting power it represented. They came in hopes of receiving the gifts of faith, hope, joy and love. They came because they wanted to share their love with the little one who lay in the manger of straw before them. They gathered around the crèche and sang lullabies of “Away In The Manger” and “Silent Night” to the babe and then silently prayed for their gift of gifts before breaking into a rousing, “Joy To The World.” Love truly came down that Christmas ~ a love for you and for me. It was a Christmas the families of Mt. Baldy will never forget.
The feeling of longing for the simple is one we all feel at times. Life does get complicated and stressful. Is this just the modern way or is there another choice? I believe there is another way and that is to live by faith. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is believing without seeing. Faith is to “let go and let God.” Faith is the “blessed assurance Jesus is mine.” Faith simplifies life because it brings God’s Will into your life and you know who you are and your purpose for being.
Following Jesus calls for a simple lifestyle. Jesus warns us about money and material things and how they can turn our heads and trap us. He also warns us about power, whether it be personal, political or military. A simple lifestyle is a Christian lifestyle. It is basically childlike and profoundly Christ like.
I would love to come to your church and encourage your people to feel the wind on their face and to experience God’s grace. Listen to my song and you’ll better understand and maybe even feel what I’m talking about.
Kimball Coburn, S.E.
Download Kimball’s complete CD in any format you prefer at kbcministry.bandcamp.com.
This is a picture of my 5 year old grandson, Luke, singing his little heart out and praising the Lord. I’m not sure he knows what praising the Lord is all about, but I do know he loves singing and dancing in his church choir. Our job as parents, grandparents and church family is to teach him the deeper meaning of praising the Lord, having the heart of hallelujah as a child of God. I want my grandson to grow up not seeing the church as a somber institution, but as the joyful Body of Christ.
I have written a new song entitled The Heart of Hallelujah. I wanted to write a song with words that would lift our spirit, and a tune that would get our toes tapping and our hands clapping. Take a moment and listen to this song and feel the joy it brings.
All of life should be lived in hallelujah, which means, Praise to the Lord.
Kimball Coburn, S.E.
In the 1950s, before “Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll” became a lifestyle, there was Doo-Wop. Like many teenagers at that time, my Dad jumped in. Actually, he dove in head first. While still in high school, he began writing, recording and performing his own songs. Kimball soon became a rock ‘n’ roll star in and around Memphis, Tennessee. Young Kimball discovered a love for creating music.
When the 60’s rolled around, he and his high school sweetheart, Pam, were married and began their family. Kimball Jr, Collie, Kathy, and Cari immediately became more important than stardom. But Dad didn’t stop writing. Also during that time, he felt God calling him into the ministry. It was a new and exciting chapter for both Dad and Mom, and us kids. And Dad continued to create music.
So what happened in the 70’s was no surprise. Dad traded in his baritone ukulele for an electric guitar, Kimball Jr found his groove on the drums, I got cheesy on my Vox Continental organ, and the girls filled out our sound with tambourine and sweet sounding harmonies. (In case you’re wondering, The Partridge Family was NOT based on us)
Dad’s passion for songwriting didn’t stop, but it did change. What changed was the message he would share with his new audience. That audience was the Church. Throughout his ministry, Kimball has worked creatively to encourage, challenge, and share God’s message of love in ways that will stick long after the sermon is over. That’s one reason why Dad’s ministry has been successful for more than four decades.
Since the good ol’ days of “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” and “Kum-ba-yah”, the Coburn Family Band has grown in membership and musical ability, adding talented family and friends along the way. Our name changed to The Calling Band, but our mission to help Dad share the message remains.
As I write this brief history, Dad’s new CD, A Servant’s Songs, is being put together at the manufacturer. It contains 10 brand-new songs that I believe are his finest yet. When you download and listen to There’ll Always Be Songs, you’ll certainly notice that Kimball, the doo-wopper from the 50’s, still has a passion for songwriting. But it’s his genuine love for the Church, along with the natural blend of Cari’s voice that makes this Coburn family duet so special.
If you’ve been downloading my new songs, you’ve no doubt been enjoying the many talents of Martie Echito. As producer and arranger for A Servant’s Songs, my soon-to-be-completed CD, Martie has taken my song ideas to a new and marvelous level. Watching these songs unfold under his care has been very exciting.
I could boast about Martie’s musical successes, but I think it would be much better to invite you to visit MartieEchito.com, where you can also enjoy his original music. In this quick post I simply want to thank Martie for many years of friendship, his incredible patience, and his seasoned musicianship.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28
I really like to watch Rafael Nadal play tennis. He plays like he’s hungry and he acts like he’s humble. His uncle, who is his coach, told him when he was a boy, “always be hungry and humble.” Rafael is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time
I would love to see us, the Church, take on this way of thinking and acting – hungry and humble. The opposite of hungry and humble is fat and sassy, or full and satisfied, or spoiled and jaded. Are we fat with the “isms‟– institutionalism and denominationalism? Are we spoiled by money and organization that doesn’t seem to require excellence?
When I think back to Methodism in America, I can almost feel the pulse of the people, hungry to hear and learn. and humbled to go and share with others. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness.” He was teaching us that God wants us to be generous, to speak for justice and work for the good of others. Jesus also said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” God blesses us when we step back from our ego driven lives and assume the discipline of humility and obedience.
Congregations who are hungry and humble are very noticeable. They have a joy that’s missing in far too many churches.
Recently, I was visiting a church. I felt the liturgy was meaningful, the choir sang on key, and the preaching was well constructed with solid theological content. But there was no joy.
I miss joy in our churches. Joy isn’t jokes and jumpy songs. It’s the feeling that God is with us. A feeling God is real, alive and lifting our spirits. And yes, good preaching and good music are important parts of a joyful worship service when they touch a nerve or spark a feeling. Joy goes deep. It causes us to dream, it moves us to discipleship. It creates celebration and thankfulness for life.
Why is it that hungry and humble churches are joyous churches? It’s because they are churches that are reviving and renewing their spirits and rethinking their ministry. In their humble surroundings, they see the words of Jesus come to life. They are willing to witness for righteousness and are grateful for the privilege to do so. Their people are disciples of Christ, not just members on the rolls. They experience meaning and joy through getting in touch with God’s purpose for their lives. They become a part of the building of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.
God is calling you to be hungry and humble. It won’t make you number one in the world but it will make you the best Christian you can be. If you decide to respond to the Call today, I promise you that Joy will come in the morning and for the rest of your life.