Language Translation

Books I'm Reading

  • "Surviving the Anointing" by David Ravenhill

Books I've Read

  • "Revival God's Way" by Leonard Ravenhill
  • "Tongues: Beyond the Upper Room" by Kenneth E. Hagin
  • "The Dynamic Duo: The Holy Spirit & You" by Rick Renner

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Personal Note from Billy

Is this year really almost over? Wasn't it just yesterday that we were beginning 2009? What happened? How could 365 days disappear so quickly?

What a year. God has opened up so many doors. In addition to our conferences here in the United States, we also had the opportunity to minister in Trinidad and Austria. The readership to the Billy Burns Ministries blog that you are reading right now is soaring. In the last 30 days, individuals from 39 states in the United States and from 39 nations have hit on the blog. There is truly a hunger for a move of God among children's ministries and their leaders. Vickie and I are thrilled to have the privilege of being a voice in ushering in this move of the Spirit.

As I close out 2009, I want to thank you for your love and support. From time to time, I receive emails telling what the weekly blog means to the readers. I'm also honored to have individuals write asking for information about the possibilities of having a regional Ignite the Supernatural Conference at their church.

I can't wait for 2010. The Bible tells me that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above anything that I can ask or think. If that is true (and it is) God has a mighty big job on His hands because my heart is so filled with expectation. I am convinced that we will see a cloud of God's glory cover auditoriums of boys and girls. I see leaders coming from around the globe to connect with fellow Holy Ghost Seismologists (see the October 26, 2009 blog) who are sensing a movement in the realm of the unseen and are seeking guidance on how to announce the upcoming shaking, the same type of shaking that was experienced throughout the Book of Acts.

As always, I am an email away. Contact me at billy@billyburnsministries.com for suggestions, conference information, or to just connect with a fellow Holy Ghost Seismologist.

One last time for 2009 allow me to announce what has been forever imprinted on my heart by the Holy Ghost ... TODAY is the day of the Holy Ghost!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Burns Family

Three Generations of Burns at Christmas!
Billy and Vickie and our FAVORITE grandson, Joey
Directly behind me is Elisabeth and Jason, our second son Michael
and to his right is our youngest son Aaron

Rarely am I a person of few words. Circle this blog. You'll never read another posting from me that is this short! But, today all that I can share in this blog is that Vickie and I wish you and yours a merry, Christ-filled Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dependency Upon the Holy Spirit

Wouldn't it be awesome to be able, to use a Texas word, to "shuck" our clothes and instantly be dressed in a Superman costume? There are so many times that I desperately need to have his supernatural abilities. But, you'll remember that even Superman had his Achilles heal. His weakness was kryptonite which would immobilize him and drain him of his supernatural strengths and abilities.

We all have weaknesses. Even on our best day, we fall far short in what is needed to fulfill our heavenly assignment. As a children's pastor I am so aware of my weaknesses and inabilities. I want to make a powerful impact in our children's lives. But, with some 1,000 children in our ministry, it is difficult if not impossible just to know their names much less what is going on in their personal lives when they aren't at church.

Thankfully, I have the Holy Spirit to step in to cover my weaknesses and inadequacies. Consider this:

"So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness ..." Romans 8:26 (The Amplified Bible)

His side-by-side intervention and assistance is evident as we pray for Paul goes on to say, " ... we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance."

Thank God for the Holy Spirit. I am becoming more and more keenly aware of my dependency upon His shoring up my weaknesses and inadequacies. Through praying in the Holy Spirit in my heavenly prayer language, I can intercede for children that I might not know by name or have any knowledge of their daily circumstances. Through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, this weak, limited children's pastor is able to deal with areas in children's lives that even their parents aren't aware. Again I say, thank God for the Holy Spirit.

Join with me. Let's declare our dependency upon Him. Let's allow Him and invite Him to do what only He can do!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Relationship with the Holy Spirit

I often refer to Paul's statement concerning the emphasis that he placed in his life for praying in his heavenly prayer language. In 1 Corinthians 14:18 Paul stated that he prayed in tongues "more than ye all." Have you ever considered why Paul would place such an emphasis?

1. Relationship. Paul had learned that praying in tongues provides an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.
2. Discipline. I meet so, so many people through the dual roles of being a children's pastor in a large church and also traveling to speak in conferences and churches. I am constantly meeting people and yet, few if any of these new acquaintances will become life-long buddies. Relationships are developed because of my making a conscious effort to connect and reconnect and rereconnect with that person. It is a conscious effort of discipline to find the time to make the telephone call and at other times rearrange calendars so that we can spend time together over a meal. Paul had discovered that his relationship with the Holy Spirit had to be founded upon a discipline for he said in 1 Corinthians 14:15 "I will pray with the Spirit ..." Did you see that? Paul said, "I will ..." Praying with the Spirit is a discipline, a matter of will. Paul had learned the importance of making time to develop this relationship. Convenience and having to have a certain type of feeling didn't determine his personal prayer life in the Spirit. His resolve or discpline was founded upon his "I will ..." He had learned that the clock and typical day-to-day emotions couldn't dictate or preempt his relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Do you want to become a person of the Spirit? Then learn the joy and privilege of having an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit that comes through having a disciplined lifestyle of praying in the Spirit. Let's be like Paul. Let's unwaveringly say, "I will ..."

Monday, November 30, 2009

You Are Not Alone!

A couple of weeks ago, I really sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to me about my assignment of raising up and equipping children's ministry leaders who will usher in the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy. I have always known that my assignment included providing information and revelation as well as passing along an impartation of the deposit which has been entrusted to me. In this unction by the Holy Spirit, I sensed that a part of my assignment that I hadn't really realized is the ministry of confirmation. I began to see that many leaders and volunteers feel that their passion for a move of God’s Spirit has alienated them from the “norm” of children’s ministry. While they too get excited about the bells and whistles, their utmost longing for radical, Holy Ghost children’s ministry has caused many to feel isolated from their peers. Thus, the complete assignment of Billy Burns Ministries has to provide information, revelation, impartation, and CONFIRMATION.

I have a unique position. Due to my visibility in conferences and through the distribution of our materials and writings, I have the opportunity to hear from people all over the world. It is thrilling to hear from people from other countries and backgrounds and denominations who are all expressing the same passion and urgency. There is a universal cry from leaders who are longing for a genuine, powerful move of God's Holy Spirit among their children. They too are sensing that there must be more to children's ministry than what they've been taught and seen.

This week, I want to encourage you. You aren't alone. You aren't weird or flaky. You are among a growing number of people who are declaring that TODAY IS THE DAY OF THE HOLY GHOST. We together are merely echoing the Father's heart and longing to see one last great move of His precious Holy Spirit.

Don't grow weary. Allow me to confirm the fact that you are on the right course of action! Keep developing a deeper and more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. Keep learning to listen to His promptings and leadings. Keep boldly daring to demonstrate that the Holy Ghost is alive and well. Keep announcing that this generation will prophesy and passionately fulfill their God-given assignments.

If you need me, I'm only an email away .... billy@billyburnsministries.com.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Advice for Those Needing Red Bull

For the last few years, energy drinks like Red Bull have captured the attention and wallets of an energy-drained, overextended American population. Our doing too much for too long has pushed us to grasp for anything that might give us an additional jolt of oomph so that we can further overextend ourselves.

Can I suggest a Red Bull alternative? Pray in the Spirit! This has to be true. The world-traveling, seemingly never-stopping Apostle Paul must have had some revelation about this when he wrote, "A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally in the Lord ..." 1 Corinthians 14:4 (New Living Translation). No wonder Paul stated that he prayed in tongues more than his counterparts. His assignment and schedule dictated that he draw from the supernatural, heavenly energy and building up that comes from praying in the Spirit.

What’s your schedule like? Is it too full, fast, and draining? Allow me to suggest that you pull away from the race for a brief time and take a drink of the Spirit.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Speaking in Other Tongues - The Text Messaging of Heaven

Have you noticed that many of the boys and girls in our ministry have cell phones and spend an enormous amount of time either talking or texting on their phones? According to the "Too Much Texting" (page 127) article in the December 2009 issue of Good Housekeeping, texting is the new talking. The article reports that the average teen sends and receives about 2,900 texts per month according to the Nelson Company. That's almost 100 text messages a day! This is more than six times the average of 2007.

A couple of days ago, I believe that the Holy Spirit gave me this idea which uses text messaging as a tremendous way to illustrate some of the practical aspects of praying in our heavenly prayer language. Consider these similarities:
* Private ... the message is directed towards and intended for one individual
* Simple ... the message is easy to form
* Practical ... the message can be formed and sent in a crowded auditorium or in the privacy of your bedroom
* Timely ... time restraints can allow the message to be just a simple few words or a lengthy conversation
* Immediate ... the message is transmitted instantaneously
* Global ... distance is no deterrent to its transmittal and delivery

Isn't this a great object lesson? If you have additional thoughts on linking text messaging to praying in our heavenly prayer language, please send them to me ....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Notify Your Face!

Have you ever heard the phrase, "If you are happy, notify your face"? I'm sure that you from time-to-time see people whose face resonates the words from the song from the 70's and 80's television show Hee Haw "Gloom, despair, and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery ..." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TDqvD34hEA&feature=PlayList&p=D4299D031F39E3C6&index=1).

From time-to-time, we need to take a reality check and look into the mirror to see what other people are seeing in our face. What we are portraying through our actions and words just isn't lining up with the way that Jesus said it should be.

Just days before Jesus departed the earth to return to heaven, He huddled His followers together and gave them the game plan for their new assignment. In leaving them, Jesus promised that He would not leave the followers helpless, powerless, and hopeless (King James - comfortless). Instead, He promised that He would send the Comforter (Amplified Translation - Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby) to help them fulfill their assignments.

Tell me, what more do you need? How can things be so tough when you have the Comforter (Amplified Translation - Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby) called to walk alongside you? Is it really that difficult? It is really hopeless? Do you really not have the means to get the job done? Perhaps your face is reflecting the fact that you might be trying to do the job alone and not allowing the Comforter (Amplified Translation - Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby) to do His job.

Come on. Let's change our countenance. Let's demonstrate through our words and actions that the Holy Ghost abides within us and is enabling us to do the greater works that Jesus promised.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Resident Presence, Resident Power

A few weeks ago, we did a series called "Get MAD" in which I challenged the children to Make a Difference. In one of the four lessons, I used the verse from Acts 3 in which Peter looked at the man who had been lame for 40 years and commanded the man to get up and walk. In using the verse in our three services that weekend, I noticed a truth that I had never really captured. Look at the verse:

But Peter said, "I don't have any silver or gold, but I do have something else I can give you. By the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, stand up and walk!" Acts 3:6 (New Century Version)

The part of the verse that jumped off of the screen are the words "I do have something". Peter didn't say, "I'll go get something" or "I'll find something" or "I'll go find someone else to take care of this". He stated that he ALREADY had what was needed at that exact moment. In each service that weekend, those four words just resonated as the Holy Spirit amplified them in my spirit. Because of the Spirit of God abiding in me, I ALREADY have what is needed. I don't need 45 conferences and 15 books and hands laid upon my head by every Holy Ghost speaker. While the conferences, books, and impartation are great, there is a Person and power ALREADY abiding on the inside of me that enables me to address any and every need presented. Doesn't this cause you to be excited? You don't have to be Oral Roberts or Benny Hinn or Joyce Meyer to see Satan's works destroyed. Capturing that truth will cause a tadpole to beat up an elephant.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Holy Ghost Seismologists

This week, I feel compelled to combine the thoughts from two recent blogs and challenge you to step into a new, exciting roll. Before reading the following thought, take a minute to reread the posts "There's a Whole Lot of Shaking Going On" (September 29) and "Revival is Voice Activated" (October 4).

Here's this week’s thought ... God has called you to become a Holy Ghost seismologist! What does a seismologist do? This person is one who studies the vibration of the Earth's interior caused by natural and unnatural sources. In all actuality, this person is one who specializes in the study of movement in an unseen realm and often warns or foretells of such movements.

For those of you who believe that you are just a children's pastor or Sunday school teacher or children's ministry volunteer, I have some exciting news for you. You have been given a much higher calling. You, my friend, are a Holy Ghost seismologist. Because of your intimacy with the Holy Ghost, you can sense the shaking of the Holy Ghost. You can see that He is working in your children and ministry. All of His movement might not be easily seen at this exact moment in your ministry with the physical eye, but in the realm of the unseen, the mighty vibrations have begun. And, as a specialist, it is your job to announce your findings.

My thought this week is for us Holy Ghost seismologists to begin to activate with our voice what we have discovered in the unseen realm. Don't be intimidated. You are no amateur. You are a specialist who has findings backed up by the Spirit of God. There truly is a whole lot of shaking going on and you are using your voice to announce what others can't see!

To quotes T.D. Jakes, "Get ready, get ready, get ready." What is happening below the surface is about to make a grand entrance above the surface. Hallelujah!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Holy Spirit is Awaiting Your Invitation

If you've been around in the church for any time at all, you have heard many of the same things over and over and over again. And yet, I have found this to be true. We can “hear” things and “know” things and yet still be clueless. To quote my Grandma Burns, "My brain leaks." I find that it is prudent that I get reminded of things that I already “know” so that I can begin to put these truths into practice.

With that in mind, allow me this week to remind you of a thought about children in revival that I know that you already know. In fact, many of you will be able to quote the remainder of the verse after just reading the first four or five words.

"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him ..." 2 Chronicles 16:9.

Here is this week's thought (reminder) ... God is looking for an opportunity to show up in your children's ministry. He will pass by 100 children’s ministries just to get to yours, the ministry that will invite Him to come and abide. In fact, He doesn't just want to appear. God wants to show that His Spirit is there by doing mighty things. And, He wants to do it on YOUR behalf! Did you catch all of that? God wants to show up and demonstrate His presence in your Sunday school class, mid-week Bible club, or Children's church service and He will do it just because of YOU, the person who has a heart that has "given themselves completely to Him" (New Century Version).

Monday, October 12, 2009

There is ONE Holy Ghost!

Here is a thought that really is a no brainer ... there is only one Holy Ghost. I know that we all know that truth. And yet, our theology and our actions often don't line up. We actually act as if there are two Holy Ghosts, one Holy Ghost for the adults and the other Holy Ghost for the children. Think about it for a minute or two and you'll come to the same conclusion.

If there is only one Holy Ghost (and that's a fact), then He is always the same, no matter the day, no matter the ministry opportunity, no matter the participants. He is ALWAYS that same. He only fluctuates when He is restricted or minimalized.

Are we guilty in our children's ministries of down-sizing and "kidisizing" the Holy Ghost? Are we failing to allow Him to operate in the same manner with the children as He would with the adults? Are we having a "kiddie" Holy Ghost that is only allowed to marginally move in our services?

My thought that week is to remind us all (myself included) that there is ONE Holy Ghost. He is a BIG Holy Ghost who wants to do BIG things at any given time with any given ministry opportunity with any given group of people.

I say, "Come on, Holy Ghost. Be Yourself. Feel the freedom to do what You specialize in. I won't restrict You. I won't minimalize You. BIG Holy Ghost do BIG things!"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Revival is Voice Activated

If revival is seemingly not on the radar screen, I can almost guarantee that I can diagnose your problem. It isn't a location problem or a history problem. It has nothing to do with your gender or age. It has everything to do with the words coming from your heart through your mouth. You see, revival is voice activated!

Often, in our frustration, we begin to let the meditation of our heart and the words of our mouth be dictated by what we see or don't see. Our impatience or disappointment produces words that can thwart God's move. Why? Because heaven is facilitating the words of your mouth.

Let me show you the importance of your words. In Genesis 1, we read that the Holy Spirit had been hovering over a mass that was without form. How long had He been hovering over this emptiness? Before time was time. But immediately upon HEARING the Word of God, the Holy Spirit leaped into action bringing about creation. When did it begin? When He HEARD the Word of God.

Did you know that this is still true today? The Holy Spirit is still waiting to hear a voice. Just as in the days before creation, the Holy Spirit has been hovering over and circling your ministry just waiting on the Word of God to come out of someone’s mouth. When you and I as God's voice in the earth today begin to DECLARE OUT LOUD with our VOICE God's Word about our children in revival, the Holy Spirit will begin to move and bring about the will of God.

Take a minute and examine what has been coming out of your mouth. Begin to declare “This is the generation that will seek His face” (Psalm 24:6) and “I will pour out my Spirit into your children” (Isaiah 44:3) and “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy” (Joel 2:28). Speak this OFTEN, BOLDLY, and SO THAT OTHERS WILL HEAR. In doing so, heaven will respond!

Monday, September 28, 2009

There's a Whole Lot of Shaking Going On!

I love reading the Book of Acts. It is in the Book of Acts that we see the Holy Spirit bursting onto the scene in the upper room and then beginning His heavenly assignment by being large and in charge, transforming a weak, anemic group of people into the Church, a people who powerfully and radically turned their world upside down! (Acts 17:6)

It is also in the Book of Acts that we see the Holy Spirit's MO (modus operandi). Time after time, we see that when He was given liberty, to use a Jerry Lee Lewis' song title, there was a whole lot of shaking going on. At times, places were literally shaken (Acts 4:31 and Acts 16:26). At other times, services were shaken or interrupted (Acts 2 and Acts 10) by His visitation. Then, at other times, the Holy Spirit grabbed ahold of individuals and shook them causing even their very identity and names to be changed (transforming the Christ-hating Saul of Tarsus into the great Paul the apostle).

Have you ever studied to see what preceded the shaking? The key to Acts 2 is found in Acts 1. The key to the shaking in Cornelius’ house is found at the beginning of Acts 10. With the exception of the conversion of Saul (while we won't find a direct reference to the saints praying for Saul, it wouldn't be difficult to assume that this was happening), each and every shaking story begins with a God-connection, prayer. You see, the Holy Spirit comes by invitation.

My cry is for the Holy Spirit to come and interrupt business as usual. First of all, I'm crying for the Holy Spirit to come and shake me, move me out of my comfort zone. I so want the Holy Spirit to shake me to the place that people will have trouble identifying this new person. I am crying out that the Holy Spirit will shake our children's ministry, interrupt our services and in doing so, transform each and every child.

Are you with me? Will you in your desperation cry out for a shaking? Will you grant Him liberty to come and shake you, your ministry, and your children? It is only in doing so that we will turn the world upside down!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Value of Praying in the Spirit

Rather than post a long blog entry this week, I just want to interject one simple question/thought ...

Is there a correlation of Paul being able to say that he had "fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7) and stating that he saw the intrinsic value of praying in other tongues "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all" (1 Corinthians 14:18)? Our intimacy with the Holy Spirit which is developed through our communion with Him will allow the Holy Spirit to enable us to fulfill our assignment!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Training Children to Pray in the Spirit

We all know that including a time of prayer is an important element in our children's church service, Sunday school class, or mid-week Bible club, right? It is in this time that we are touching heaven for our children's needs. It is also a time of training our children how to personally touch heaven.

Have you considered that this time of prayer is also an important time for training our children to know the importance of praying in their heavenly prayer language?

Consider this idea. If possible, journal the requests as the children share their personal needs. Write down the name of child giving the request, a brief overview of the request, and finally the date of the request. Before praying for the needs given that week, look back at previous requests and asks for updates for each need. Allow the children to testify about what God has done. Then, before we pray over the new requests, I always love to share a scripture the illuminates and brings clarity to what will happen as we pray. It might be 1 John 5:14-15 or Matthew 18:19 or John 16:23. Then, after praying for the needs, I remind the children that as they gave their requests, they only gave us part of the information. There are often details about this need that we don't know. So, according to Romans 8:26, we can allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us in our heavenly prayer language about these needs. It is as we pray in other tongues that the Holy Spirit helps to pray as we should about things that we have no earthly knowledge.

Here are the benefits of doing this each and every week:
1. We are raising up intercessors.
2. Through our journaling, we are giving the children an opportunity to pray for needs and then come back in future weeks to see how God has met those needs. The old-timers (this includes me) called this Testimony Service.
3. We are instilling in our children the value of praying in other tongues by weekly demonstrating its importance as a vital part of our prayer time.
4. We are providing an opportunity for the children to become comfortable in praying in their heavenly prayer language. This is not something weird or spooky. Praying in other tongues must become a part of our daily lives.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Importance of Praying in Other Tongues

Recently, I did a brief recap of the previous four lessons about the Gift of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I believe that this teaching is so, so critical and important. As I concluded the teaching, I mentioned that our battle against the enemy is an unfair battle. In this battle, we aren't fighting against things that we can see. To help make this point clear, I brought two boys onto the platform and informed them that we would do something that we have never done in my 20 years of being a children's pastor. In our service, we would have an all out, knock-down, put the smack on fight between the two boys. To make the fight even more memorable, I then gave each boy a baseball bat to use. Needless to say, our audience went wild about this idea. I then announced that to make this fight even more unforgettable, I would place a blindfold upon one of the boys. Both boys would be fighting with a baseball bat, one with full vision and the other blindfolded. You should have seen the eyes of the child that would be fighting blindfolded. It was a moment that I'll never forget. Of course, there was no fight. It was just a great illustration.

In ourselves, we are no match against Satan. The apostle Paul stated that our enemy isn't flesh and blood, but principalities and powers and rulers of darkness. There is no way that we can compete against an unseen enemy. But, the Helper from heaven has given us tools that gives us an advantage over our unseen enemy. One of these tools is the ability to communicate with God in a language that our enemy cannot understand. This language from heaven, other tongues, enables us to talk the secrets of Heaven and Satan is totally clueless.

I then gave the illustration about how our United States military utilized the Najavo Indian language to bypass the constant surveillance of the Japanese army during World War II. Rather than retell the story, you can go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_talker#Use_of_Navajo. This is an illustration that will make this point come alive.

Thank God for the Holy Spirit. Thank God for the language that He enables us to speak (Acts 2:4) that gives us the ability to "put the smack down" on our blinded enemy!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Leading Children into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit - Help #3

This weekend, we had an awesome time of ministering about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was awesome to watch child after child receive this gift from heaven.

In this blog entry, allow me to share a truth that made a difference for the altar ministry. In the second object lesson we did a segment called "Here's What You Can Expect", we used a bowling ball, chair, balloon, and Bible. In this object lesson, we used a child to help illustrate this point. To each of the following three scenarios, we asked the child the question, "what would you expect?" We told the child that we would drop a bowling ball on their toes. Next, we told the child to stand on a chair and drop backwards. We told the child that we would not be there to catch them. Lastly, we told the child that we would want them to inflate a balloon and then stick their head up into the balloon. After giving each of these scenarios, the child was to tell us what they knew would happen to them after doing the event. It was a great, fun object lesson because the child would be confident of the sure consequences of each action. It is literally a no-brainer!

In the object lesson, we showed a video clip showing what happened in Acts 2:1-4 in the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit. After the clip, we then focused upon what happened in Acts 2:4 in the upper room. This is the first of many accounts in the Book of Acts showing that when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, they immediately began to speak in a heavenly prayer language. From seeing these accounts, it is easy to know what to expect. Just like the illustrations in the object lesson with the child, this becomes a no-brainer in us knowing what to expect when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Leading Children into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit - Help #2

Believe it or not, one of the greatest challenges of children's ministry is in remembering that we are ministering to CHILDREN ... hence the name "children's ministry". While the obvious should be obvious, obviously it isn't! It is amazing to watch people try to minister to children and see that the children really don't have a clue as to what it being taught.

Since our children would echo the words found in Acts 19 "We didn't even know that there is a Holy Spirit", let me briefly share the three keys to making this message of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit come alive for your children.
1. Be Visual. It is amazing how a few props can exponentially multiply the comprehension level. Use barbells to illustrate how the Holy Spirit builds us (Jude 20), batteries and a flashlight to illustrate how the Holy Spirit gives us power (Acts 1:8), a GPS to illustrate how the Holy Spirit can see things ahead of us that we can't see (John 16:13), etc.
2. Be Relevant. Be sure to use humorous or dramatic personal stories to accompany the Bible stories. Personal stories amplify the biblical truth and makes it an up-to-date truth. The stories could include events from your childhood or in your family's life, etc. I love to tell of the time while Vickie and I were on our way to Africa and had a layover in Amsterdam. (Forgive me for giving a brief man's version of the story. I use the Amplifed Version, aka women's version, to tell the story.) We were carrying quite a sizeable sum of money to give to our missionaries. Before leaving the hotel room to go take a late night walk, Vickie felt prompted to tell me to leave this money in the room. While we were walking, a robber jumped out of the darkness and tried to rob us. Had Vickie not heard the Holy Spirit, we would have lost all of the money. (Illustrating John 16:13).
3. Be Memorable. Be creative. Use characters whose elevator doesn’t make it to the top floor (I R Smart, Not Too Bright, Brain Freeze, Tool Time Tim) or characters who are there to rescue you or help you (Ura Crop, a Personal Trainer, Scripture Man, Bible Blaster, Chef Pierre’).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Leading Children into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit - Help #1

One of the most challenging areas of ministry for many children's ministry leaders is in the area of leading children into receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

This week, allow me to share an important key in preparing boys and girls to receive Heaven's gift: Help #1: Utilize the McDonald's Happy Meal Principle.

For those of us with children, we know that food inside of the McDonald's Happy Meal bag is the very same food that we adults are eating, just served in smaller portions. In order to prepare a Happy Meal hamburger, McDonald's didn't find miniature cows so that they could produce smaller meat patties. The meat in the Happy Meal hamburger is the very same beef used for the quarter pounder hamburgers, right? But, for the Happy Meal, McDonald's reduced the portion of beef served. The Happy Meal french fries didn't come from midget potatoes, did they? Of course not. The french fries served in the Happy Meal are the very same french fries served with the adult meals. But, for the Happy Meal, McDonald's has provided a kid-sized portion of fries.

Wouldn't it be insane to try to serve a 7-year-old child a double quarter pounder hamburger with a large order of french fries and an extra large soft drink? Even more insane, wouldn't it be incomprehensible to expect the child to eat that meal all in one setting? And yet, in ministering on the subject of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, we fail to see that we can overwhelm the children if we serve them an adult-sized spiritual meal in one service.

This teaching is so very, very important that we can't afford to overwhelm them by serving super-sized portions. Instead, serve this spiritual meal in kid-sized portions. Take what most adults could consume in one setting and serve this message in several class settings. The first week, teach the children on Jesus' introduction of the Holy Spirit. (John 14). The next week, teach on why Jesus knew that His return to Heaven was important. (John 16:7). The next week, teach on what happens when we receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2). The final week, teach about the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to work within us daily. (Jude 20).

Use wisdom. Don't super-size the ministry portions. Utilize the McDonald's Happy Meal Principle (King James - line upon line principle). In doing so, you will see child after child receive this awesome gift from Heaven.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Greatest Investment

This morning, I am one tired children's pastor. I have every reason to want to crawl back into bed for a few days. Two weeks ago, I oversaw our district Kid's Camp. And, while it was a great week filled with non-stop activities and life-changing ministry, it was still 5 energy-draining days. After getting home late Friday, we raced through Saturday and Sunday trying to catch up on the work that we'd missed while we were at camp. Then, Monday we drove to Orlando for the General Council of the Assemblies of God. After the Council ended Friday evening, we stayed in Orlando so that Vickie could teach at a conference on Saturday. We made it back home Saturday afternoon, did the service that night, and then the two services on Sunday.

Was adding these two all consuming events to my calendar worth the investment? Yes. Emphatically yes. There were plenty of reasons to not make the investment. Like you, I constantly maintain a schedule that stays too full. It would have been easy to not go to the camp or just send our kids to camp without me going. It would have been easy to allow my calendar to preempt me from going to the General Council. But, early in my ministry, I learned that ministry isn't governed by ease or convenience. In each of these events, I saw a golden opportunity to invest in relationships.

In today's hurried lifestyle, we are prone to ignore these types of investments. We have too much to do and too many places to be. Consequently, investing in relationships gets pushed further down our list of priorities. And yet, relationships can yield some of the greatest rewards of ministry.

Investing in relationships is rarely convenient or inexpensive. There is generally a price to be paid. Attending and overseeing a Kid's Camp is far from being on my Top 10 List of fun activities for the summer. It is hard work. But, the 5 days at camp gave this shepherd the rare opportunity to rub up against my sheep morning, noon, and night. Memories were made in our kid's lives that will last a lifetime. Being a part of a 35,000 attendee Council was overwhelming. And yet, I renewed so many friendships and nurtured other relationships as we stood and visited at a vendor's booth or sat a dinner table for a meal that stretched into a 3 1/2 connecting time.

Do yourself a favor. Pick up your telephone right now and connect with another children's ministry leader in your area. Your relationship doesn't even have to be a part of your particular "flavor" of Christianity. You'll thank me for this blog in the days to come!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Personal Testimony of God's Faithfulness

What a weekend. We came into our three services exhausted from just returning from Kid's Camp late Friday afternoon. Ministering in the services wasn't something that I was looking forward to. To make life easy for me and my staff, I planned our annual Shine Weekend for the services. This is one of our kid’s favorite weekends. After a brief time of praise and worship followed by a brief teaching of Jesus' parable in Matthew 25 about the value of making use of the talents and giftings placed within each of us, the boys and girls get to showcase their talents. It is a great time, and at times, a hilarious time as the talents range from joke telling, gymnastics, playing a song on the piano, performing a magic trick, singing a solo, etc.

Just after the two Sunday services started, I was interrupted by one of our staff and was asked to stand beside Vickie. For the next few minutes, Vickie and I were blown away as our staff honored us on our 20th anniversary of being the Children's Pastors at Trinity Church International. The greetings via video, the surprise appearance of my dearest friend in the world Grant Foster, and the love shown by the staff was at times almost overwhelming. And then, we were presented with an offering with instructions to use it towards a cruise. Again, what a day.

During these past 20 years, God has been so good to us. He has placed us in a great church. While there is no such thing as a perfect church (if there was such a critter, I'd mess it up just by being at the church), God has used this church to change me. A long time ago, God taught me that during difficult times to run to Him instead of the exit door. During those times, the circumstances rarely changed. Instead, God used the circumstances to change me.

We have so much for which to be thankful. God has been so faithful. He continues to outdo Himself for us.

Is it time to leave? Are you kidding? We believe that the best days are ahead. Here’s to the next 20 years!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dependency Upon the Holy Spirit

Life has so changed since when I was a little boy. As a child, I remember that most of my classmates in my small South Texas town went to church every weekend. In our children's ministry today, I have so many children that come every other weekend often due to divorced parents rotating their weekend custodial rights, other children who come once a month, and then there are those who I call CEO's (Christmas and Easter Only). Consequently, with some 1,000 children in our church under the age of 12 and a portion of them with sporadic, inconsistent attendance, knowing every child by name is an impossible task. I find myself walking through Wal-Mart smiling at every child because I don't know whether or not they are one of our kids.

How do I know the children's names? For some of the occasional attenders, I rely heavily on secretly looking at the child's nametag as I'm talking to them. How do I know the names of their siblings or parents? Often in going into the hospital to pray for a child, I first look at the constantly updated Excel spread sheet that I have on my cell phone listing every child's name and age, parent’s names, and the names of their brothers and/or sisters. Without the nametags and the file on my cell phone, I am clueless.

Believe it or not, even after 30 years of being involved in children's ministry, there are so many areas in the ministry in which I am clueless. I have more questions than answers. I only see the surface of the children (their faces, the type of clothes that they wear, the parent who drops them off or picks them up after service, etc.) I don't have a solid knowledge of what is needed in that child's life. I don't know what battles that they are facing.

Thankfully, I have the Holy Spirit to come to my rescue. Romans 8 tells me that when I am in a deficit position and am coming up lacking, the Holy Spirit is there to fill in the blanks as He makes intercession (King James English for stepping up to the plate in my behalf) and cover my inadequacies.

Thank God for the Holy Ghost. Again, thank God for the Holy Ghost. One more time, thank God for the Holy Ghost. I'm not trying to be repetitious or redundant to add to the length of this blog. I am just so dependent upon Him. And, I am learning to unashamedly become more and more dependent upon Him. Thankfully I am learning that I am so inadequate. But with Him, I can fulfill my God-given assignment and see a mighty move of God in this generation.

Stop what you are doing right now. Join me in thanking God for His precious Spirit and then articulate your dependence on Him!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Intimacy of the Holy Spirit

One of the greatest truths that I share in our Ignite the Supernatural Conferences is that the Holy Spirit will never be real through you until He is real to you. It's not enough to just know about Him. We can actually know the Holy Spirit. There is a place of relationship that will allow us to know Him in such an intimate way that will cause Him to become so very real in each and every aspect of our lives.

Evidently, the great evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman who was used mightily by the Holy Spirit in the Gifts of Healings had tapped into this type of intimacy. She often said, "He is more real to me than you are." The pastor who was very instrumental in stirring up my passion for the Holy Spirit, B.B. Hankins, would often say, "I wouldn't cross the street without the Holy Spirit." Consequently, this intimacy would allow the Holy Spirit to permeate our services in my home church in West Columbia, Texas.

My longing is to know the Holy Spirit in a greater, more intimate way. My longing isn't based upon a desire to be used by Him. The through me is just a byproduct of the to me. The through me will always FOLLOW the to me.

Holy Spirit, I do long to know you in a greater way today!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another Weekend, Another Investment

It's early Monday morning and, to be quite honest, there's not much energy in me. I know that I'll go back to bed in a few minutes and then hopefully wake up later and find a good Western or WW II movie to watch as I lay on the couch.

It was a typical weekend in many respects ... dealing with tardy staff, helping the nervous mom feel comfortable about leaving her angel in a new setting, dealing with a child that causes me to believe that demons can be children possessed, etc. The logistics of the ministry is enough to tire a person.

It was a weekend that God showed up. I told my son Aaron as we left the church parking lot yesterday that I felt as though we had really delivered a timely message to our kids as we taught on the subject "What's in Your Mouth?" I could sense in each of our three services that the message really hit home in so many lives.

I left our third and final service all "hugged out". Long ago, I learned the power in touching people. I believe that there is a healing and strengthening and connection that come through touch. For some, it might be just a touch on the top of the head. For others, it might be just looking them in the eyes and telling them how blessed that I am to get to be their children's pastor. For others, it might be kissing a baby on the cheek or a young child a kiss on the top of the head and then telling them how much that I love them. By the end of the day, there wasn't too much "hug" left in me. But, both the connection with the child and the genuine appreciation seen in the faces of the parents made it worth it all.

After the last child left, I began to have one-on-one time with my staff. I've purposed to never be in a hurry to leave after church. This is my time to love on my staff. So, yesterday, I met with one of my new staff members and connected with them, then spent time with a group of my staff before Vickie and I headed out to a restaurant with them.

Was the weekend worth it? You betcha. It's weekends like this past one that has caused parents to tell me that their child told them, "Momma, when I grow up, I want to be a policeman, a fireman, or a Pastor Billy" or "Momma, you know that I love Daddy but can Pastor Billy come and live with us?" It's the "hugged out" weekends that produces the children coming up to me like a little boy did a few weeks ago and told me, "Pastor Billy, when I grow up, I want to be just like you."

It is because of weekends like this past weekend that has produced such a tight relationship with my staff that when one of my teenaged staff's parents were going out of the country and they needed someone to stay with the teenager and their younger sibling, my staff asked their parents if I could come and live with them while the parents were gone. It is because of weekends like this past weekend that has taken several of my staff and enabled them to become great children's pastors in their own right across the nation.

Was the weekend worth it? You betcha. I can't wait to see what God will do next next weekend!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Extreme Revival

Here's a fact that you are hopefully well aware of ... revival is never silent or goes unnoticed. As the Spirit of God begins to move among our children, the services will become radically different because both the staff and children are radically different. Real revival will always cause an extreme turnaround from the pre-revival days!

Let me give bullet point thoughts for beginning an extreme Holy Spirit revival in your children's ministry:
* It begins with EXTREME HEARING: While many voices call for you to become discouraged about your ministry, EXTREME HEARING will cause you to ONLY hear what God has to say in your spirit and through His Word about your children’s ministry.
* EXTREME SEEING: Upon tuning out the surrounding voices, EXTREME SEEING will cause you to see and remain focused ONLY upon what God sees in your children's ministry.
* EXTREME BELIEVING: Having heard from God and seeing what God sees in your ministry, EXTREME BELIEVING will cause you to unwaveringly (to quote my friend Mark Hankins) “know in your knower” that each and every service provides an opportunity for a supernatural manifestation of God's presence.
* EXTREME SAYING: It's not enough to just hear and see and believe. Those who are fully persuaded (a.k.a. knowing in their knower) will begin to have EXTREME SAYING ability. You will speak to the mountain (religious tradition, apathy, the "we've never done it that way before mentality, confusion) expecting it to be cast into the sea! EXTREME revival always has a voice!!!
* EXTREME ACTION: In each service, EXTREME ACTION on your part and then eventually your staff's part will reflect what you have read from the Word, seen through the eyes of faith, believed in your heart and said with your mouth. Get radical. Act as though God actually meant what He said and said what He meant!

Come on, let's get radical. Let's get extreme in our pursuit for a move of God in our children's ministry. We are passionate and unrelenting. We won't be denied!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Well-Balanced Children's Ministry

I learned a long time ago that the adage "He who fails to plan, plans to fail" is so true. With children's ministry, preparation and planning are extremely important. Consistently just "going with the flow" is a sure-fire indicator that you won't be in this ministry very long. Praying and hearing from God and then writing or preparing the lesson before you walk into your classroom will keep your ministry balanced and on-track.

At the same time, if we are hard-headed about just going with the preplanned program, we will often miss what the Holy Spirit is attempting to say and do through us. It is so easy to become so programmed in our ministry that we totally ignore the leadings and promptings of the Holy Spirit. Having the mentality that we've finely tuned this lesson and have 120 minutes of lesson that has to be crammed into a 90 minute time-frame and everything has to be done can cause us to grieve the Holy Spirit and miss out on what could have been THE service that could have changed a child's future and the course of your ministry.

What is the balance? We must walk into the service having prayed, prepared and organized just as though the success of the service depends upon us and yet be vulnerable and flexible knowing that everything depends upon His unction and anointing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Call to Fellow Revivalists

This week, allow me to deviate from the typical blog entry. Each week, people from literally around the globe look to this blog to provide inspiration, revelation, and confirmation enabling them to launch a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, and Spirit-equipped children's ministry in their local church. To that, I am so humbled that you trust me to speak into your life.

This week, I am challenging you to show your desperation and insatiable desire to see a mighty outpouring of God's Spirit upon your children's ministry. I am making a call to revivalists from around the globe to be like the lady with the issue of blood (Mark 5) and put some legs to your passion. I'm speaking specifically to those who long for a spiritual revolution that will awaken children to flow mightily with the Holy Spirit.

I am challenging you to set aside 3 days on your calendar to come and join fellow revivalists at our 2009 Ignite the Supernatural Conference. Imagine what can happen in the realm of the Spirit when dissatisfied, desperate, daring, and determined children's ministry leaders and workers from around the globe come together on November 5 - 7 to the greater Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas area.

I've gathered leaders/teachers who know how to flow with the Holy Spirit. This isn't just textbook information. With 24 workshops and 5 general sessions, times of intercession, anointed times of personal ministry through the laying on of hands and the working of the Gifts of the Spirit ... how can you afford to miss?

Join me. Clear your calendar for three days. Bring your key leaders with you. Your pastor and spouse can attend the conference along with you for FREE!

I guarantee that you won't find another conference like this in the nation! Check out a few of the workshop listings: The Holy Spirit on Assignment, Children and the Gifts of the Spirit, Let's Demonstrate the Supernatural, Power-Packed Preschoolers, Teaching Children to Hear the Voice of God.

Information for conference speakers, workshop schedules/descriptions, hotel rates is available by going to www.ignite-conference.com.

Monday, June 15, 2009

If He Did It Once, He Can Do It Again!

I love reading about what God has done through children throughout church history. Why? Because if God did it once through children, He can do it again!

This week, allow me to share a story from the life of John G. Lake from a book that has long been out of print, Adventures in God. (pages 15 - 16). In reading this account, remember that if God did it once, He can do it again. Here is Lake's story ...

I was sitting one day in the home of the DeValeras in Krugersdorp, South Africa, when a man arrived who had traveled all over the country. He had been following me from place to place, trying to catch up with me. He suffered a sunstroke which had affected his mind and he also had developed a large cancer.

He came into the house and proved to be a friend of the family. In a little while a six-year-old child who had been sitting near me went across the room, climbed on the man's knees, put her hands on the cancer on his face, and prayed.

I saw the cancer wither. In half an hour, the thing had disappeared. The wound was still there, but in a few days it was healed.

After the child had laid her hands on top of his head, he arose, saying, "Oh! The fire that has been in my brain has gone out," and his mind was normal.

Power belongeth unto God. Psalms 62: 11. The simplest soul can touch God and live in the very presence of God and in His power.

Note: I have discovered that this book is available in a pdf format at www.knihy.own.cz/ENG/J.G.Lake%20-Adventures%20in%20God.pdf

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Jealousy of the Holy Spirit

Recently, I was on an outing with one of our ministries and had to return for Trinity's Saturday night service. During the course of the outing, one of my staff had become sick and needed to return home with me. I quickly discovered during the trip that I was transporting a non-talker. Try as I may to engage him in conversation, I was answered with two or three word sentences. After a while of trying to create conversation, I gave up. Needless to say, that three hour trip was a long and most unpleasant drive.

I often wonder if this is the sentiment of the Holy Spirit. At one time, He merely came upon select people for a select job. Now, Jesus promised that the One who was with us is now abiding in us. He has been assigned to be with us 24/7/365 so that we can fulfill our God-given assignments. And yet, in most believers, if He hears any conversation at all, it is in a perfunctory prayer at the beginning of one of our services. While abiding with us and going along for the ride with us, He rarely if ever has the opportunity to engage in conversation with us.

Is our silence deafening to the Holy Spirit? Does He yearn for interaction with us? Is He jealous of our imbalance with being consumed with the things of this world and our lack of time with Him? Consider this scripture:

"Or what do you think the Scripture means when it says that the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, watches over us with tender jealousy?" (James 4:5, The Living Bible)

Come on, let's commune with the Spirit. Throughout the day, talk to Him … know that He is in the car with you, working on the job with you, playing golf with you ... acknowledge and welcome and engage His presence ... and then you and your children's ministry will never ever be the same again!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Be Filled with the Spirit

Am I the only one in children's ministry that knows both the highs and lows of the ministry? There are days in which I'd gladly sign up for another thirty years of service. Then, there are other times that it would be easy to look for the back exit door. Surely I'm not the only one that knows the rollercoaster of the ministry, am I?

Allow me to share with you a secret that I learned from one of my heroes that has enabled me to keep on keeping on. When the greatest evangelist of the nineteenth century, D.L. Moody, was asked why he said he needed to be filled continually with the Holy Spirit, he replied, “Because I leak!”

The pressures of dealing with people and situations can cause us to leak. The "joys" of children's ministry can cause our levels to ebb. Moody gave us the answer to longevity ... continually be filled with the Spirit.

The apostle Paul must have understood the "leaking" for he wrote to the Ephesians to be filled (the literal Greek reads being which is a progressive constant) with the Spirit. So, when we are on the mountain top of the ministry ... ask to be refilled. When the Gilbert O'Sullivan song "Alone Again Naturally" has become a state of mind ... ask to be refilled. If it is good enough for the apostle Paul and D.L. Moody, it is good enough for me. Selah.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Things I Don't Understand

In a matter of a few days, Vickie and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in children's ministry. On the first weekend of June in 1979, Vickie and left Waxahachie, Texas to become full-time children's evangelists heading off for our very first Kid's Crusade at Mark Hankins church in central Louisiana.

Thirty years have come and gone. You'd think that I'd have a full grip on everything associated with children's ministry by now, wouldn't you? Today, allow me to use this blog to share some things that I still don't understand.
  1. Why is it that most parents in dropping off their child in our classes exit the class while telling their child, "Have fun"? Is having fun the reason that their children are with us? To make matters worse, the parents first words in picking up their child usually is, "Did you have a good time?"
  2. While this doesn't effect me because my ministry isn't operating off of the children's offerings, I don't understand why parents give their child a coin or two for the offering. I know of many children's churches who derive their entire budgets off of what is given in the children's offerings. Let's see ... 30 children each giving 28 cents .... whoa .... we'll get a new DVD .... wait, it will be cheaper to find an old, used VHS tape at Goodwill.
  3. Why this happens ... the more visible the ministry, the more bountiful the number of volunteers. To flip it around, the more hidden or out-of-sight the ministry, the fewer the number of volunteers.
  4. Why is it that midweek sporting activities are more important than midweek Bible clubs? I've never heard of a teenager facing overwhelming peer pressure falling back on truths learned at pee-wee baseball to help them resist the smooth conniving lies of the enemy, have you?

I know that this isn't one of my "usual" type blog entries. This entry won't point you towards having a Holy Spirit service. Believe me when I say that I'm not writing this entry because I am bitter or angry. These are just thoughts that come to me from time-to-time. Perhaps you have the answers to these thoughts, or other thoughts to add to this list. Send me your answers or additions .... billy@billyburnsministries.com.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Let's Not Be Orphans!

Several years ago, I had the privilege of going to Mexico City to witness a powerful children's ministry. During the trip, I saw this ministry reach out to the children who literally lived at the city dump. It was heart wrenching to witness the children rummaging through the garbage trying to find food to eat and items that could be sold for money doing whatever they could to just survive.

In John 14:18, Jesus addresses future "survivalists". Before His departure to heaven, He promises His followers that He would not leave them comfortless. The word "comfortless" in the Greek is the word "orphanos" from which we get our word "orphans". In other words, Jesus is telling His followers that we wouldn't have to be survivalists, pilfering and doing whatever is needed to fend for ourselves to just exist.

Sadly, many children's ministry workers are treating their ministries as though they are orphans. They enter into their classes after a prayerless week having finagled every crafty strategy necessary to make what is printed in a book come alive. Just as an orphan would utilize every ploy to make it one more day, many children's ministry workers are teaching by hook or crook to get through one more teaching session.

Come on, we aren't orphans. We don't have to be survivalists. Let's call upon the One who has been assigned to work alongside us to prepare us for the ministry before we arrive at the church, teach alongside us as enter into the class, and do what only He can do to seal the deal as the message is delivered and then walked out in the children's lives.

This Comforter, aka the Parakletos, aka the One who has been called to walk alongside, aka the Holy Spirit, is waiting for our call for deployment. Let's allow Him to fulfill His assignment as He works side-by-side with us. Then and only then will we see Joel's prophecy fulfilled in this generation!

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Time for a Revolution!

In just a few weeks, Vickie and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in full-time children's ministry. A lot of things have changed over the years. So, so many great advances have been made in the 30 years. We now have the tools, the trained staff, the decorated rooms, and, in some cases, the money to do some pretty exciting things.

At the same time, children's ministry has never been in a more vulnerable position. Consider these statistics:
1. Lifeway Research (Southern Baptist) recently reported that their research showed that about 75% of young people quit church. (Leadership Journal, Fall/2007)
2. In his online Barna Update article Twentysomethings Struggle to Find Their Place in Christian Churches George Barna reports that many twentysomethings are reversing course after having been active church attenders during their teenage years. As teenagers, more than half attended church each week and more than 4 out of 5 (81%) had ever gone to a Christian church. From high school graduation to age 25 there is a 42% drop in weekly church attendance and a 58% decline from age 18 to age 29. That represents about 8,000,000 twentysomethings alive today who were active church-goers as teenagers but who will no longer be active in a church by their 30th birthday. www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/127-twentysomethings-struggle-to-find-their-place-in-christian-churches

Those statistics are frightening, aren't they! Even more frightening is the reality that many of our children’s ministries knowing these statistics will continue to do what they are currently doing and expecting to produce different results. THERE MUST BE A CHANGE!

There must a revolution. There must be a paradigm shift. There must be 21st century individuals who are like Martin Luther when he on October 31, 1517 nailed his 95 thesis on the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and declared enough is enough.

Together, let’s launch a revolution. The sole reason for Billy Burns Ministries and our Ignite the Supernatural Conferences is to ignite and unite passionate, vocal children’s ministry leaders who are standing in the gap for this generation. We won’t just do children’s ministry as usual. We won’t just have great programs. We want a revolution so that this generation will fulfill Joel’s prophecy!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Well-Balanced Children's Ministry

If you've ever been around me, you know that eating is one of my favorite sports! I've thought about creating a t-shirt that reads "I've conquered anorexia and bashfulness". I love sitting down to a good meal.

Early in life, Mom taught me the importance of eating a well balanced meal. She would always cook a meat, a couple of vegetables, and have a salad. If I had my way, I'd just have eaten the meat. But Mom in her wisdom knew that I needed the squash, green beans, spinach, and salads. Each type of food provided nutrients that the other food group couldn't provide and each was equally important.

While we are going after having children who love the Holy Spirit, we also need to remind ourselves that our children are triune beings. Children are not just a spirit. They have a soul and they live in a body. As children's ministry leaders, we need to minister to each part of the child. An imbalance in one area will keep a child from receiving all that is needed to mature as a Christian.

Occasionally, our children's ministry will have a weekend that is less "spiritual" and focuses on the soul and body. I want the children to LOVE coming to children's church, begging their Moms and Dads to get out of bed and get to church. I want my kids to be EXCITED about coming to church as they connect with fellow boys and girls who love Jesus like they do. I want our kids to have their best friends be in my ministry!

Recently, we did a service based upon the old Nickelodeon television program Super Sloppy Double Dare. After singing a couple of songs, we had our children watch a 30 minute DVD. Afterwards, we asked questions based upon the movie and allowed the children to enjoy the children to enjoy the physical challenges that involved raw egg, chocolate pudding, slime, and a lot other horrendous food concoctions.

Was it spiritual? Nope. Was it fun? Yep. Will it create an excitement about being a part of our ministry? Most definitely. Did I miss God by not having intense prayer that weekend? I don't believe so. Not everything that Jesus did fit into the "spiritual" category. The feeding of the 5,000, the turning water into wine fit more into the Double Dare mentality than the spiritual category. In taking care of the body and soul, He gained their following for the other times of spiritual ministry.

Let’s feed our children a healthy meal. While not neglecting the meat of the Word, let’s insure that they are receiving all of the food groups so that we can produce children who are passionately in love with Jesus, love to come to His church and be with His people.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Houston, We've Had a Problem!

Being in my 50s, I've watched the space program from its infancy. I'm amazed at the evolution of the program ... the unmanned launches, the first men to travel into space, the first space walk, landing on the moon, etc. I've also witnessed the catastrophes and near catastrophes. Who can forget the Apollo 13's John Swigert and then James Lovell announcing, "Houston, we've had a problem"?

A couple of weeks ago, I read one of George Barna's reports that announces to the church the equivalent of the announcement made by Swigert and Lovell to NASA. In the Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist survey taken among 1,871 self-described Christians we discover a major crack in our foundation. Here is an excerpt from Barna's report:

Much like their perceptions of Satan, most Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force, either. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is "a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity." Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.

Church, we've had a problem! No wonder the church is weak and anemic. Almost 2/3 of the church has the Holy Spirit in the same category as Santa Clause (the symbol of Christmas) and the Easter Bunny (the symbol of Easter).

Let's change these statistics beginning with introducing the person of the Holy Spirit to each and every children’s ministry leader. Let's make sure that our staff and volunteers actually know Him. Then, let's allow the Holy Spirit to demonstrate that He is alive and well in our services. Soon, after seeing undeniable proof of His existence, our children will fall in love with the precious Holy Spirit.

To read George Barna's complete report, go to www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/260-most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exis.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Faith for Revival

Those who see God manifest His presence in their children's ministries must be people of faith. Oft times, things that we see can be discouraging. Things might not be progressing as quickly as you would desire.

Consider an Andrew Murray quote concerning the definition of faith: "It is the ear which has heard God say what He will do and the eye which has seen Him doing it."

Remember that God won't change. He has already stated His position on your children and children's ministry. If anything must change, it has to be what we see and hear with our physical senses.

So, let's be unwaveringly convinced that we have heard God's voice and directive about a mighty move among OUR children and actually see through the eyes of faith His hands at work in OUR services. Let's keep on keeping on, not losing our focus. It's just a time factor. Soon, what we see and hear in the realm of faith will be what we see and hear with our physical eyes and ears!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Bait, The Tools, The Anointing

What a weekend. In our three weekend services, we had hundreds of boys and girls who were given the opportunity of a lifetime ... the privilege to have Jesus become the Lord of their lives. We had all of the ingredients ready for the weekend, the bait, the tools, and the anointing.

The Bait ... We had so many visitors that came to see and enjoy something that they wouldn't see at any other church in our area, a gigantic candy drop. At the end of each of our services, we took our children ages 4 through 6th grade out to our soccer field to pick up 15,000 pieces of candy that would be dropped out of a helicopter. The helicopter would fly over the field three times per service, once for the 4s and 5s, once for the 1st through 3rd graders, and once again for the 4th through 6th graders, each fly over dropping 5,000 pieces of candy.

The Tools ... Once we got them to our services, we needed the right tools to effectively and powerfully deliver the Easter message. In each service, our staff presented a 40 minute message "An Empty Cross, An Empty Tomb for an Empty Heart" using crazy characters, powerful object lessons, and mystifying magic. Each segment built upon the previous segment, laying the ground work for the altar call.

The Anointing ... We had the crowds, we used the tools, but the third portion of the equation was the most important. The bait drew the children to the service. The tools presented the message. But it was the anointing that produced the fruit. It was exciting to see children respond to the altar call. Only eternity will give the total picture of the fruit of the weekend, empty hearts being filled with His presence!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Hearing God's Voice

If you are having trouble hearing God's voice, consider the message found in these two quotes:

“We live in a noisy, busy world. Silence and solitude are not 20th Century words. They fit the era of Victorian lace and high-buttoned shoes and kerosene lamps better than the age of television, video arcades, internet, and jogger’s wired earphones. We have become a people with an aversion to quite and an uneasiness with being alone.” Jean Fleming Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World

"I think that the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, and crowd. Satan is quite aware of the power of solitude. " Jim Elliott (recorded in his personal journal)

Now, consider the insight provided by the psalmist David ... "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) It is in the solitude that the sound of His whisper will be heard.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Longing of the Holy Spirit

“Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts:
all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.” Psalm 42:7

Let's be honest. The Spirit of God doesn't need a thing from us. But, He longs for fellowship from us. By fellowship, I'm not talking about a contrived, calculated, timed performance. The heart of the Spirit of God is longing for the depths of His heart to connect with the depths of your heart. Jesus referred to the work of the Holy Spirit in connecting with this area of your heart. Remember that in John 7 Jesus said that out of your belly, your innermost parts, would flow rivers of living water (the Holy Spirit).

Let's connect. Let's pull away from the masses so that we can have that time of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. Selah!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Family Reunion

A few years ago, my family attended a large denominational conference. While walking through exhibit areas and auditoriums, I was constantly stopped by friends. It seemed as though I could only take a few steps without being stopped for a brief reunion with a friend. One of my sons later commented that he thought that I knew everyone in the conference.

While that is a pretty big exaggeration, I have made a point in my life to invest in relationships. For example, this week in our Ignite the Supernatural Regional Conference, Vickie and I had the privilege of having a family reunion. Almost 100% of these individuals were "family" members that I've never met before. You see, these "family" members are related to us because of Christ's blood. The connection was immediate. I loved sitting around the meal tables getting to meet and begin to know my family members. It was worth the trip to Minnesota to talk to them in the church foyer or after a workshop. While there is a great possibility that I will never see them again, the investment of my time and energies to connect with these individuals greatly impacted my life.

Do yourself a favor. Get to know your family. Invest your time in getting to know those in your area that have the same passion that you do for reaching children. Invest your time in going to conferences that have fellow children's ministry workers who like you are fulfilling their assignment to change this generation. You'll be a better person for the investment!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Extra!

I recently came across a website that explains creation in such a beautiful, simple way. The artwork is outstanding, the teaching is biblically sound and extremely child-friendly. After viewing the sight, I know that you will want to pass this information on to the children in your ministries!

http://spiritsbreath.org/creationbook/creation00.htm

Please do your friends and fellow children's ministry workers/leaders a favor and tell them of this website address.

Let's Raise Up Prayer Giants!

Charlie Gibson and the rest of his national television news coharts are nightly telling of the downward spiral of our nation's economy. Each week in our church staff meetings, the evidence is seen in the ever increasing number of prayer request forms asking for God to provide jobs and income.

In answer to this mounting dilemma, this past weekend, the Spirit of God woke me up early Saturday morning and challenged me to lead our children in this assault against their families. Then, later in the day, He once again reminded me of His directive to have our children to stand in the gap for their parents.

So, in our three weekend services this past weekend, I reiterated what the children are already hearing on the news about the job situations. Then, I personalized the national news by asking if there were any children whose dads or moms have lost their jobs. Many hands went up in each service. I then briefly shared a prayer principle and led the children in prayer for their parents. We ended this portion of the service by telling them what we expect to happen ... parents getting the right job with the right hours with the right salary and benefits SOON!

I plan on making this a continual part of our services. These are teachable, trainable moments. These are times to DEMONSTRATE how prayer works and allow the children to SEE what God will do.

I challenge you to join in with me. Each week, I will add a 3 or 4 minute teaching about prayer. One week, I will teach that Jesus promised, "Whatever you ask the Father in my name I will give it." What a great time to show the importance and power of praying in Jesus' name. Another week, I will teach from Matthew 18 about the importance and power found in the prayer of agreement. Another week, I will teach that prayer has no age limits. After the teaching, we will pray and then ask for testimonies.

Here are some suggestions:
1. If you are in a small group setting, journal the requests.
2. Train your children to pray. Demonstrate as you pray for one need and then back off and let the children take over.
3. Pray boldly with confidence. Your boldness will be contagious.
4. Demonstrate expectation. Dare to believe that your prayers are causing change in families’ economic situation.
5. Finally, hold on until you get what you desire. Like Jacob of old when he wrestled with the messenger of the Lord, don't let go until you get what you so desperately need!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Supernatural is Waiting on You!

Have you ever considered that it is impossible to walk on the water while still remaining inside of the boat?

Many have the talk for having children flow with the Holy Spirit, but few have the courage to take bold steps of faith to see it come about. Many have the Pentecostal/Charismatic lingo down with the clich├ęs and spiritualese. But few have dared to do whatever it takes to see the lingo become more than mere words.

Let's be bold enough to do whatever it takes to see this be the generation that fulfills Joel's prophecy. Let's not just have a few songs in our services. Instead let's be intense in our passion to worship Him. Let's not just pray a obligatory prayer as we pray for the sick. Instead, let's be bold as we lay hands on the sick knowing that the prayer of faith shall save the sick. Let's expect them to be healed. Let's not just talk about the importance of praying in our heavenly prayer language. Instead, let's make praying in other tongues a part of our services. It's NOT weird to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It's NOT strange to have a prayer language. The boys and girls will never be convinced that it is okay to pray in their heavenly prayer language until they see you demonstrate this in each and every service. Let's not just talk about being led by the Holy Spirit. Instead, let's study and prepare for our ministry time and STILL be sensitive to His urgings and promptings. Let's demonstrate following that inward voice.

Come on. Step out of the boat with me. Dare to step onto the water knowing that He told you to come. All that it takes is a command (He's already provided the command) and then obedience. In other words, the next step is ours to make. The supernatural move of God is waiting on Y-O-U!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Keeping Things in Perspective

What a weekend. I stood in awe as I watched our children going after God in our three services. Many of the children had hands stretched towards heaven. Others intense desire for God was written across their faces as they worshipped Him. It hasn't always been that way. Each week, more and more children are learning to move into His presence.

Isn't it sad that the enemy often causes us to focus on those who aren't worshipping God? Isn’t it sad that Satan wants your attention constantly drawn to those who cause you to believe that demons can be children possessed?

Consider this ... The sun is 400 times larger than the moon; it is also 400 times farther away. So even though these two celestial bodies are vastly different in size, they appear to be almost exactly the same size from Earth. It is amazing that something so tiny can completely block out something so big (in the event of an eclipse), proving that even the smallest of things can live large.

The reason for this week's blog is to remind you to keep things in perspective. Let's not allow something so small (what we see right now) to become so big that it eclipses something so gigantic (God's plans for our children and children's ministry). What you can see with your physical eyes isn't the complete picture. Don't allow those who haven't begun to flow with God to obstruct your view of those who are God chasers. God is at work.

Remember that this is a journey, not an event. Your vision is not microwavable. Instead, it is crock-potable (is that a word?). Time is always a factor! Keep on keeping the greatness of what God is doing in view. Don't allow something so small (Jaw-Jacking Janet and I-Don't-Care Carl) block your view of something so big (Passionate Perry and Worshipping Wanda). Time will change the view of the eclipse!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kids in Worship

In our three children's church services this past weekend, my heart was filled with thankfulness as I watched our children worship God. So many of our children were passionate in their pursuit after His presence and glory. During the time of praise, excitement filled our auditorium. During the time of worship, it was so easy to see their love for Jesus. These worshippers had their hands stretched towards heaven. The passion of their hearts was open for display.

Why did this happen? As I looked around the room, I could see my staff passionate in the demonstration of their love for God. Every teenager and adult was actively involved. Every teenager and adult was strategically visible for setting the example of what God was looking for. While their worship wasn't done for "performance" sake, it was a 2009 rendering of Paul's "Follow me as I follow Christ". Our children were just following the example set forth by our staff.

If your children aren't worshipping in your services, it might be good to examine what your children are seeing. Can your children see your staff or is your staff busy in the background doing prep work for upcoming events? Do your children see passion demonstrated or do they see lifeless, unanimated, ho-hum examples? Is this something that you are excited about or is it just a 10 minute segment of your children's church service?

Before you book a flight to be in our services, please know that every child isn't there yet. Willie George often said that while one child can be in the Spirit, the child right beside them can in their own world doing who knows what. Every child isn't a worshipper …. yet. Who knows next week we could be one child closer to getting to 100%!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Journey into the Land of the Holy Spirit

Seeing children flow with the Holy Spirit comes from recognizing that this is a journey and not an event. It's not one Sunday or service. As we continue to flow week after week with the Holy Spirit, heaven begins to open, children begin to learn how to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and flow with Him.

To emphasize the importance of keeping on track with the vision of raising up a Holy Ghost generation, allow me to share with you the illustration that I used to wrap up my message "Results Not Typical" from the Thursday night service of our national Ignite the Supernatural Conference last week.

34-year-old Florence Chadwick attempted to swim the 26 mile Catalina Channel (between Catalina Island and Los Angeles) on July 4, 1952. The waters were bitter cold and shark infested. After swimming for 15 hours, a thick fog set in which prevented Florence from being able to see her goal. The fatigue was almost insurmountable. Alongside Florence in one of the boats, her mother and her trainer offered encouragement. They told her it wasn't much further. But all she could see was fog. They urged her not to quit. She never had… until then. After swimming another hour, she asked to be pulled out. Still thawing her chilled body several hours later, she told a reporter, "Look, I'm not excusing myself, but if I could have seen land I might have made it." It was not fatigue or even the cold water that defeated her. It was the fog. She was unable to see her goal.

The enemy has an assignment to keep you from seeing the goal set before you. He knows if you can keep your eyes on a children's ministry that isn't typical, one that knows how to have demonstrations of the Spirit and power, you will become an unstoppable, undefeatable foe.

Let's keep the vision before us. Let’s keep on keeping on. This is the generation that will seek His face and flow with His Spirit!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Shekinah Glory

I love to read about revival in days gone by. My library is filled with books of the great revivalists and records of their revivals.

A couple of months ago, I came across a book describing facts about the Azusa Street Revival that I've never read before. In Tommy Welchel's They Told Me Their Stories, I read of accounts as seen through the eyes of people who were children and youth during the rvival. I was thrilled as I read of children and youth who lived in the Glory of God.

One chapter tells of a Jean Darnall who was three-years-old at the beginning of the revival. This little girl witnessed the Glory of God in an undeniable fashion that forever impacted her life. While she didn't understand everything at this young age, she knew that "she was comfortable with the thick mist that filled the room. Being in a playful mood when she woke up from her nap, she would try to gather the mist into her arms. She loved the cloud that filled the Azusa Street Warehouse for almost three and one-half years during what is now historically called the Azusa Street Revival. It would be a few years before Jean was old enough to understand that she was trying to capture the Glory of God."

I contend that the children in our ministries need to witness the manifest presence of God. There are present day Jean Darnalls who could be forever changed by God's presence filling our classroom and service. I am convinced that the Glory of God is still readily available for our children to witness. While the Shekinah Glory of God manifests in different ways at different times, just one glimpse of His Glory and the children will never ever be the same again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Communion of the Spirit

You've read in previous blog entries the statement, the greater the intimacy, the greater the power. Allow me to emphasize this again by an example shown through the life and ministry of Smith Wigglesworth.

For the past few days, I have been reading through some dozen or so books from my library about Smith Wiggleworth's life and ministry. In book after book, I read about Smith's communion with the Spirit of God. It is said of Smith that he wouldn't go thirty minutes without communing with the Holy Spirit. Oft times, it might be just a sentence or two. Nevertheless, Smith recognized that if the Comforter had truly been commissioned to walk alongside him (the Parakletos ... a compound Greek word signifying the Holy Spirit's assignment to be with us, constantly enabling us), it would only be prudent to dialogue with Him. The greater the communion, the greater the intimacy. The greater the intimacy, the greater the power.

It would be safe to say that the man that was used by the Holy Spirit to bring back 14 people from the dead would serve as a great example on how to be used by God's Spirit. Let's learn from Smith's example. Let's learn to commune with Him throughout the day. By our conversation, let's acknowledge His presence as He walks alongside us. As we welcome Him in our daily life, He'll begin to demonstrate His presence and power. Life will never ever be the same again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Having Trouble Hearing God's Voice?

I read of an elderly man who thought that his wife was going deaf. To test her hearing, he walked across the room, turned his back to his wife and said, "Can you hear me?" There was no response. So, he moved a little closer to her and repeated the question, "Can you hear me?" Again, there was no response. So, he moved a little closer so that he was standing near his wife and said, "Can you hear me now?" This time, he heard his wife say, "For the third time, I can hear you!" He thought that the hearing problem was his wife's, but it was really his problem.

If you have been having trouble hearing from God, consider moving closer to Him. Remember that God promised, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." (James 5:8).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Intimacy

Here’s a simple thought for us to chew on for a few days ….

Many Christians have substituted familiarity
with God for intimacy with Him.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's Time to Pick a Fight!

Ever since I was a child, Samson has always been one of my biblical heroes. To this day, I love reading in the book of Judges about Samson’s ability to catch his enemy off guard and totally annihilate them. Samson would seemingly appear out of nowhere and put the smackdown on the Philistines. It is evident that he loved to pick a fight with his enemy and bring about justice.

Why is this man still so significant in my life? Because like Samson, I am consumed with a desire to pick a fight on my enemy. I've had it. Enough is enough. I'm not going to sit back and watch this generation keep sinking lower and lower. I'm not going to complacently watch the enemy perpetuate his stronghold on our children. It's time to pick a fight.

Consider this:

"As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph.
But the Spirit of the LORD powerfully took control of Samson,
and he snapped the ropes on his arms
as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists."
Judges 15:14 (New Living Translation)


The key to our ability to change this generation is "... the Spirit of the Lord powerfully took control ..." The Spirit of God would come upon Samson from time-to-time for a specific task or feat. Here's the exciting part ... that same Spirit who came upon Samson now abides within us. (John 14:17). The Holy Spirit now has His permanent residence on the inside of us!

The Spirit of God will cause your limitations to fall off of you just as He did for Samson (Judges 15:14). The Spirit of God will give you creative ways of tormenting the enemy just as He did as Samson destroyed the Philistine's grain fields, vineyards, and olive trees with firetorch-bearing foxes. (Judges 15:4-5). The Spirit of God will have people asking in amazement who could have done such unbelievable damage to the enemy. (Judges 15:6).

Come on, stand up with me. It’s time to pick a fight. This generation has been held captive long enough. It is time to call upon the Spirit of God to rise up within us. We can't sit back any longer. Let’s see this be the generation that will seek His face. (Psalm 24:6).

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Privilege of Intimacy

I recently came across something that has really impacted my life. Let me share with you a thought from the July 4th entry of Andrew Murray's Daily Secrets of Christian Living ...

Have you ever thought what a wonderful privilege it is that everyone each day and each hour of the day has the liberty of asking God to meet Him in the inner chamber and to hear what He has to say? We should imagine that every Christian uses such a privilege gladly and faithfully.

"When thou prayest," says Jesus, "enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." That means two things. Shut the world out, withdraw from all worldly thoughts and occupations, and shut yourself in alone with God to pray to Him in secret. Let this be your chief object in prayer, to realize the presence of your heavenly Father. Let your watchword be: Alone with God.

There's nothing more that I can add to Murray's insight. Let's take advantage of that privilege.

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