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 26, 2011

Extravagant Faith in an Extravagant God

Like you, I'm seeking for direction and the will of God for this upcoming year. While I am thankful for what was accomplished in 2011, I sense a challenge by the Holy Ghost to believe God for bigger things and greater accomplishments. There is much to be done and this much to be done will require extravagant believing and boldness on my part.

As you spend time with God, remember this. God isn't frightened by your boldness and extravagant faith. In fact, we need to remember that God is limited by the opposite ... fear and small mindedness. Our timidity and peanut-sized dreaming will lock us into perimeters dictated by our enemy. I wish that I could shout this from the housetop ... God is pleased when we by faith believe and confess large things! Why? Because He is an extravagant God! I can call Him extravagant because one of His names is El Shaddai (the God who is more than enough).

I don't want the upcoming year to be 365 uneventful days. You can start preparing for the nursing home lifestyle if you’d like, but I choose to have God-sized dreams and extravagant faith for a supernatural, Holy Ghost empowered year. I declare today and will continue to boldly proclaim throughout 2012 that there are mountains that I will climb, a generation that I will impact. I declare that Billy Burns Ministries will declare “TODAY is the day of the Holy Ghost” around the world and see it manifest.

Join me. Become a present day Joshua and Caleb as we look at 2012. Like Caleb I want to say, "Let us go up at once and occupy it; for we are well able to overcome it. (Numbers 13:30, ESV). Without fear of what others think, I want to have such confidence in my God and be able to declare for 2012, "If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it to us.” (Numbers14:8). There are greater harvests to reap, huge dreams waiting to become realities. In doing so, those with this uncompromising, different spirit will reap the same promise given in Numbers 14:24 "But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it."

Come on ... let's be extravagant together and allow the dreams placed within our hearts by the Holy Ghost become a reality!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Burns Family!

Let me introduce the Burns family ...

Our 4-year-old grandson, Joey, is standing in front of Jason's beautiful wife, Elisabeth
Our oldest son, Jason, is holding our 19-month-old grandson, Gavin
I don't know of anyone I'd rather stand beside than my beautiful wife Vickie
Standing to our right and completing the Burns' household are our sons Michael and Aaron.

Vickie and I pray that this is a blessed, Christ-filled Christmas season
and that the upcoming year will be a testimony of the goodness of our God.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Blood, The Word, The Name

A couple of Sundays ago, we opened our home to our entire staff of children's ministry staff for a come and go open house Christmas party. It was so much fun. We had so many of our volunteer staff and their families with us that it was wall-to-wall people. And, to make things even more exciting, some of the families brought trays of finger foods and others brought plates of desserts. We had tables and counters covered with food. Great friends, unbelievable food ... it was heaven on earth.

Towards the end of the evening, one of our staff was playing songs from the iTunes on my computer. Within a few minutes, he began to play songs from one of my all-time favorite musicians, AndraƩ Crouch, and soon one of my all-time favorite songs, AndraƩ's The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power. Upon hearing the song, I commented to some of our staff how that song contains a message that seems to be lost in today's Christian music. The church has lost sight of the power found in the blood of Jesus. As a child growing up in church, we sang song after song that talked about Jesus' blood. We sang songs like There's Power in the Blood and Oh, the Blood of Jesus and Victory in Jesus and There is a Fountain Filled with Blood and I See a Crimson Stream of Blood. Now, I double dare you list more than two or three songs that are sung in today's services that mention Jesus' blood. Even better, I challenge you to try to remember when you've heard a message that challenges believers to remind Satan about the believer's victory brought through the blood that flowed at Calvary.

In planning next year's ministry, I've been stirred for some time to resurrect a series that I wrote possibly ten years ago entitled "The Blood, The Word, The Name: Weapons to Keep Satan in His Place". Hearing that song at the party served as a reminder and confirmation to cement this teaching in our boys and girls spirits. I mention these weapons occasionally, but haven't given a thorough teaching on these weapons in quite some time.

As we approach a new year, would you consider joining with me and let's teach our children about the power found in these weapons? I would venture that many if not all of your children have no revelation of the weapons that causes Satan and his imps to shake with indescribable fear. Let's equip this generation to be the generation that will keep Satan in his place which is under our feet!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Importance of Being Filled with the Spirit

My lifestyle at times can get way too hectic and I have to be creative in finding opportunities to read. Thankfully, my iPad is with me 90% of my day and often gives me the ability to read a portion of a downloaded book whenever a brief time of solitude presents itself. I am often able to read a few pages while I am waiting on an appointment or away from the office and have a few minutes of "me" time when there are no phone calls or people to interact with.

I recently downloaded a book that I would encourage you to purchase. The Complete Smith Wigglesworth is a collection of his sermons and writings. This is the man who said that he would never get out of bed in the morning without having communion with God in the Spirit. Consequently, through this communion Wigglesworth lived a Book of Acts life and saw the Holy Spirit demonstrate His presence and power in amazing ways.

In reading this book, I came across a statement made by Wigglesworth that is so, so powerful. You may want to remind yourself of this statement by writing it on index cards and placing it around your home and workplace. Here's the quote:

"It is impossible to overestimate the importance of being filled with the Spirit."

Rather than expound on this statement, I'll ask that you spend time with the Holy Spirit. He is far more capable of causing this statement to explode in your spirit. His revelation will cause you to be forever changed.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Planning for a Supernatural Children's Ministry

Can you believe that 2011 is almost history? Wasn't it just yesterday that we were saying goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011?

I've spent some time lately looking back at the last 11 months of this year and analyzing what has transpired in our children's ministry, looking at the goals that were established at the beginning of the year and where we stand today on those goals. Hopefully you too have or will be doing this soon. I have examined the subjects/themes that were taught, the different areas in which we've challenged the children, and the social/relational development of our children. Have we met all of the goals for this past year? Honestly? Nope. Thankfully, my ministry here isn't over. I still have 2012 to work on the areas where we didn't quite make it.

As I start looking at 2012, allow me to share with you some thoughts on how to prepare for the upcoming year ...
* REFRESH. Find a time that you can get alone, away from the hustle of the everyday gamut of unending interruptions and distractions. A respite from the bustle is essential to escape the multitude of voices beckoning for your attention. It might be a morning away from the office and taking a walk along the shoreline of the beach or finding a bench at a local park. I find that in this "be still and know that I am God" time that I begin to sense a refreshing and His voice becomes undeniably clear.
* DEFINE. In this time of solitude, God will begin to speak by His Holy Spirit. Rest assured of the fact that God has plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11) that He wants to convey by His Spirit (John 16:13). As His plans unfold, there will come clear definition for where you will lead the ministry. There might be a prompting to focus on specific areas of ministry (worship, giving, hearing the voice of God, etc.) in your teaching. There might come direction for a specific area in which the children should be challenged to provide finances (a water well in Africa, Bibles for an unreached people group, etc.). Through prayer, define and gain direction for where you want to be at the end of 2012 with your children and staff.
* CHALLENGE. Years ago, Robert Schuller preached a message that greatly influenced me. The sermon focused upon allowing the size of my God to set the size of my dream. The dream that God has for you and your ministry is gigantic. This will require you to step out by faith and take gigantic steps to pursue after that dream. Accept the challenge. With God ALL things are possible.
* ESTABLISH. Seal the deal by writing down your God-given dream (vision). (Habakkuk 2:2). This will keep you on track. Throughout the year it will also be a reminder when the going gets rough (and it does from time to time) to keep on keeping on because you have a resolution that you aren't pursuing your plans. You have heard from God!

The purpose for this week's blog is to challenge you to not just float haphazardly through 2012 and allow another year to just happen. Let's start now planning for a year that will bring God's Kingdom much fruit and cause much damage to the camp of the enemy.

Monday, November 21, 2011


This week, I want to deviate from the regular blog subject matter and share random thoughts and ideas ...

* I'm currently reading a book entitled "Pentecost Lost" written by Patricia Holland. It is both a great read and a must read. You can obtain a copy by going to

* Blogs that I consistently read and follow ...
1. Relevent Children's Ministry (
2. Patricia Holland (
3. Leader2Leader (

* We recently had Ronnie Caldwell come to minister to the children of our church through the weekend services, our christian school through our annual spiritual emphasis week, and our community through our Halloween Family FunFest outreach. The kids and families absolutely loved him. You might want to contact Ronnie to minister at your church in the upcoming year. (

*An interesting prop that I recently discovered that has become a valuable ministry tool - the Mega Mouth puppet. (

*People that I LOVE to follow on Twitter...
1. Reinhard Bonnke - ReinhardBonnke
2. Perry Noble - perrynoble
3. Karl Bastian -kidologist
4. T F Tenney - TFTenney
5. Willie George - Willie_George
6. Dale Hudson - dalehudsoncm

*Favorite iPhone Games - Words with Friends, Hanging with Friends, Drop7

Was this my most "spiritual" blog entry? Probably not. Was it a practical blog entry? A great big YEP! Be blessed. See you next week!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let's Not Apologize!

This past weekend, I had the privilege of visiting the church in South Texas that I attended when I was growing up. Throughout the service, my mind was flooded with memories. To be honest, I had trouble paying attention to the guest speaker that Sunday. My mind was constantly thinking about different things that happened at the Christian Center in my childhood and youth. I could almost visibly see my pastor, Brother B.B. Hankins, flowing in the anointing and working together with the Holy Spirit.

Also during that service I reflected on the wit and wisdom of Brother Hankins. Among the dozens of "Hankinsisms" that I remembered that Sunday, I could picture him telling the teenagers of the church that when they were asked the question, "Do you speak in other tongues?" to answer with the question, "Do you mean that you don't?" In other words, he was telling us to not apologize for what should be the norm in the life of the believer.

I thought about that bit of wisdom quite a bit yesterday as Vickie and I flew back to South Florida and how it applied to our ministry to children. In many Pentecostal/Charismatic children's ministries, leaders and workers act as though they are embarrassed by what should be a normal, every service occurrence. Many have apologetically made the normal to be abnormal when it relates to children being filled with the Holy Spirit and praying aloud in their heavenly prayer language. What was considered to be the norm at the founding of the Church has become something that we are apparently embarrassed by.

Come on children's ministry leaders! Let's quit apologizing for being a Spirit-filled, tongue-talking Church. If today is the day of the Holy Ghost (and it is), then let's demonstrate it! Let's boldly and consistently encourage our children and staff to unapologetically demonstrate that we are a New Testament Church that flows with the Holy Ghost by praying ALOUD in your services in a heavenly language. Let's stand in front of our children's church congregations and Sunday school classes and mid-week Bible clubs and declare like the Apostle Peter "For this promise is for you and your children" (Acts 2:39) and then demonstrate that this is a normal, every day way of life by encouraging the children and staff to pray ALOUD in their heavenly prayer language.

Let me wrap up this entry by challenging the readers in the 60+ nations that are reading today's blog to be a present-day B.B. Hankins. When asked the question about your children's ministry, "Do you speak in other tongues?" your answer should be the question, "Do you mean that you don't?" Let's boldly be a Holy Ghost children's ministry!

A Free Gift For You!

I shared in the October 17th blog an overview of our Wild and Wacky, Don't Be Tacky weekend. In the October Billy Burns Ministries Ignite Connection newsletter I provided a link for a download of the entire service. I'd love for your children to enjoy what is one of our children's ministries favorite weekends. So, as a gift to you for following this blog, download the service outline and have a fun break from your regular type of ministry.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Command

While reading through Acts 1 last weekend, I could sense the urgency in Jesus' time with His followers. Look at this ...

And, being assembled together with them, commanded
them that they should not depart from Jerusalem,
but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he,
ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water;
but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost
not many days hence. Acts 1:4-5

Did you notice that He commanded them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father? Jesus didn't suggest that if it was convenient or if they might be able to rearrange their schedules to hang around Jerusalem for a few extra days. The urgency shows that this directive wasn't something that He said as a passing statement that might be considered questionable or be easily misunderstood. Why? Because Jesus knew that the furtherance of the Kingdom depended upon His followers being endued with power (verse 8). Jesus knew that no "when the Holy Ghost is come upon you" would equal no "Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

The reason for this week's blog entry is quite simple. Have you shared this same urgency with your children? Have you shared the command that your children not leave your "upper room" (a.k.a. your children's church auditorium or Sunday school classroom or midweek Bible club) until they have received the promise of the Father? Perhaps your lack of urgency might be the reason that there is no Jerusalems and Judaeas and ....

Let's follow Jesus' example and, in doing so, we will see children leaving your upper room and begin to turn their worlds upside down. (Acts 17:6)

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Time For a Check-Up!

Just a passing question for you .... outside of a church setting, when was the last time that the Holy Spirit (the Parakletos ... the One who has been assigned to walk alongside of you, abide within you, lead and guide you, empower you, equip you) heard you direct a conversation towards Him?

Though this is a short blog entry, it is quite powerful. Your answer to the question will provide a rock-solid explanation for what is or isn't happening in your personal life and children's ministry.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Praying in the Spirit - The Secret of Intimacy

After spending four weeks teaching on "The Helper", we had a "fun" break and enjoyed a Wild and Wacky, Don't Be Tacky weekend. (You can read about this weekend in last week's blog.) Then, this weekend we completed a two part series entitled "Why I Pray in Other Tongues". It was refreshing to remind our children about six important reasons for connecting to God through our heavenly language.

Let me share with you one reason that I didn't share with the children. In fact, I just saw this reason for the first time a couple of weeks ago as I was reading 1 Corinthians 14:2.

"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men,
but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries." (King James Version)

Like you, I've read this verse so many, many times. But this time, I read it from a translation that shed a whole new light.

"If you praise him in the private language of tongues, God understands you but no one else does, for you are sharing intimacies just between you and him." (The Message)

This translation opened my eyes to the reality that praying in and by the Spirit goes beyond praying mysteries and secrets. As I read this translation, I could see that by praying in other tongues I am shutting the door to others (both human and spirits) for a time of "sharing intimacies just between you and him" by communicating words that are intended only for His ears and receiving His words to my spirit that shouldn't be heard by others. Can you see that? By praying in the Spirit the inner most longings of my spirit can connect with the inner most passion of His Spirit!

If you want to have a greater intimacy with God, learn the joy of praying in the Spirit!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wild and Wacky, Don't Be Tacky

If you've worked in children's ministry for any length of time, then you know the importance of variety. In other words, it is vital to throw in crazy, fun weekends into your schedule from time to time. So, after completing our four week "The Helper" series, we changed things up by having a fun, game-oriented service called "Wild and Wacky, Don't Be Tacky." In addition to the kids coming to church dressed wacky (dyed hair, strange clothes, etc.), they loved being in a service that dealt with interesting, strange world records authenticated by the Guinness Book of World Records ( and then seeing that record correspond to some strange fact found in the Bible.

For example, look at this fact found in Guinness: "The most fingers and toes at birth are 14 fingers (7 on each hand) and 20 toes (10 on each foot) and belonged to a Akshat Saxena (India). The record was confirmed by doctors in India on 20 March 2010. The Bible parallel: The Bible tells of a time that King David's troops battled a tribe of giants at Gath. One of the giants had 12 fingers and 12 toes. (2 Samuel 21:20-21)

The Wild and Wacky service had me introducing the topic such as: Our new wacky fact category concerns having extra fingers and extra toes. According to the Guinness Book of World Records there was a person born in India that didn't have the normal amount of fingers and toes. Take a guess at how many that he had. Then, I would ask around the room and select the two children that guessed the closest to the actual answer. After revealing the correct answer, I then shared about giants at Gath with the 12 fingers and 12 toes. We then brought the two children onto our platform to play a game that tied in to that wild fact. In "Removing the Digits", we placed several card board blocks onto a table (empty 2 liter bottles would be a good alternative). For 90 seconds, each child would use a Nerf arrow gun to try to knock down as many blocks as possible (removing the extra digits). The child with the most knocked-down blocks won the prize for the game.

Another category was the oldest mother to give birth to a child. Guinness: The oldest mother is Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara (Spain, b. 5 January 1940), who gave birth by cesarean section to twin boys, Christian and Pau, aged 66 years 358 days at the Sant Pau hospital, Barcelona, Spain on 29 December 2005. Bible: Sarah giving birth to Isaac at the age of 90. The game: The winning two children (those coming closest to the actual age) each chose a friend to help them play this game. One child put on a 3XL jogging outfit. Their friend was to place as many half-inflated balloons into the jogging suit as possible in 45 seconds. In this game both teams played at the same time. At the end of the 45 seconds, we stopped and commented about the possibility of Sarah looking "inflated" at the end of her pregnancy. Then, we used a dart to pop the balloons found inside of the jogging suits and had the children to help us count. The team with the most popped balloons won the prize for the game.

Rather than telling you every detail about every category, I'll just share 3 more categories and allow you (and the Holy Spirit) to create your own memorable day.
* World's Oldest Person
* World's Longest Hair
* World's Tallest Person

One more thought. Is a Wild and Wacky weekend spiritual? You betcha! The underlying theme of the service is that the Bible isn't a boring, snooze-causing book! And services like Wild and Wacky will cause boys and girls to fall in love with the Book like you and I have!!!

Is Wild and Wacky an every week event? Nope. In fact, the following week we began a two week series on Why I Pray in Other Tongues. The off week was refreshing for the staff, exciting for the kids, and provided another reason for the kids to say, "I love going to church!"

Try it. You’ll thank me over and over again!

Monday, October 10, 2011

How Real Is the Holy Spirit to You?

I know that this blog entry is being read in some 60+ nations and its readership is composed of children's ministry leaders and workers who desire to see the signs and wonders of the Spirit in their lives and services. Although I have never met the greatest majority of the blog's readers, I know that I know that I have just described you. I am sure of the fact that you wouldn't be reading this blog entry if you didn't have a strong passion for seeing the Holy Spirit show up in your services, right?

If you have attended any of our Ignite the Supernatural conferences you have heard me make the statement that the Holy Spirit will never be real through you until He is real to you. In other words, the people who will see the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit in their children and children's services are the ones who know the Holy Spirit.

Can I perhaps over simplify how that you can determine if you really know the Holy Spirit? Here it is ... all wrapped up in one simple question. How often do you find yourself conversing with and talking to the Person named the Holy Spirit? If He has been assigned to abide or live within you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (and He has - John 14:16-17), then there should be conversation! Sadly, the only conversations for some reading this blog are done at the beginning and ending of a church service. To those individuals, I will emphatically declare that you won't see the Holy Spirit demonstrate His presence. But, for those who dialogue with this Person throughout the day, the realness and consciousness of His abiding presence as demonstrated in your consistent, ongoing fellowship will soon see His realness demonstrated in your life and ministry.

Here it is even simpler ... those who walk and talk will open the door for the seen scene. The arena of visibly seeing the Holy Spirit will come to those who start their day with a "Good morning Holy Spirit" and then dialogue with Him throughout the remainder of the day. In doing so, He will become real to you and then real through you.

One last question … just how real is He to you? This realness factor can change if you’ll close this blog, turn off your computer, and begin a conversation with Him. Let the realness begin N-O-W!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Certification of Delivery

We recently concluded a series of lessons entitled The Helper which tells of the sending of the Holy Spirit. The four lessons were:

* I Won't Leave You Helpless
* Let Me Introduce the Helper
* Jesus Promised, God Delivered, the Helper Came
* The Helper & You

In this blog entry, I want to share an object lesson from our third lesson. Hopefully you can use this in your ministry.

"The Helper Came"
Props: Bible, Envelope, Certified Mail Slip
Slides: Optical Illusion (easily found on the internet), Acts 2:4

I’m sure that you’ve all seen optical illusions before. (Show slides of optical illusion.) While looking at this picture, you are seeing a picture and quite possibly the person sitting beside you that is looking at the same picture sees something entirely different. This can cause quite a bit of confusion.

When our heavenly Father was sending the Helper, He wanted to insure that there was no confusion. He wanted each and every person receiving the Holy Spirit to know that they know that they know that the Holy Spirit had been sent as promised.

So, when this gift was sent from heaven, God eliminated all confusion by providing a proof of delivery. Just like certain types of mail sent by our United States Postal Service require an evidence of the envelope or package arriving (show envelope with attached Certified Mail slip), heaven made it so evident of the arrival of this Helper by a proof of delivery found in today's Bible verse.

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began
to speak different languages.” Acts 2:4 (New Century Version)

Did you see the evidence or the proof of delivery? Our verse says that when the Holy Spirit arrived, each of the 120 people began to speak in a heavenly language. How do we know that this was the proof of delivery? Because we see it again and again when we read Acts 10 and Acts 19. They all began to show the arrival and indwelling of the Helper as they prayed in another tongue.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Let's Get Radical #4

Here is a brief overview of the final three lessons in our Let's Get Radical teaching series.

Week #4 Radical Love, Radical Expression
God's radical love towards us is undeniable. The Psalmist David tells that He daily loads us with benefits. (Psalms 68:19) While it is impossible to count all of his benefits, David begins to list some of the radical things that God has done in telling that God has forgiven all of his sin, healed all of his diseases, ransomed his soul from hell, surrounded him with His loving-kindness and tender mercies, filled his life with good things, and renewed his youth like the eagle's. (Psalms 103:1-5) Considering the numerous acts of God's love towards him, it is no wonder that David pushed aside Michal's rebuke for his radical demonstration of praise. (2 Samuel 6) Radical love demands and brings forth radical expression!

Week #5 Once You Know It, Show It
God's Word tells us that radical praise is a part of our DNA. Psalms 8:2 tells us that even babies have the ability to worship God! This praise is on the inside waiting for an opportunity to be expressed. After all that He has done for us, how can we keep this praise on the inside? How can we be like the nine who continued on their way after receiving Jesus's awesome healing power? (Luke 17)

Here's the exciting part of demonstrating our praise. It doesn't have to be boring and repetitious. Throughout the year, I love to buy candy for my wife Vickie. There are boxes of candy that are filled with the same type of chocolate candy and other boxes of chocolate candies that contain an assortment of types. I love the assorted boxes because you never quite know what you are about to eat. I have read that David loved the assorted kind of demonstrations of praise. I have yet to study this to verify it for a fact, but I have read that the Book of Psalms uses 58 different Hebrew words to describe radical praise and worship including words that tells to bow before God, spin like a top before God, jump up and down, lift up hands unto God, etc. Radical demonstrations of love and gratitude can be and should be exciting!!!

Week #6 We Can’t Go Back
While I love to study history, I sure don’t want to live in the olden days. It might be enchanting to read about the days of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but please, please, please keep me living in 2011. I don’t want to go back to the days before air conditioning and electric lights and cars and …. you get the picture! What might have been acceptable at one time in history just isn’t good enough for today.

We now know the truth. Our radical God has done and continues to do many radical things to and for us. Because of this, we can’t go back to the way that it used to be. Let’s be like David and say, “In GOD's presence I'll dance all I want! … Oh yes, I'll dance to GOD's glory more recklessly even than this. And as far as I'm concerned . . . I'll gladly look like a fool …” (2 Samuel 6, The Message Bible). Let’s get radical before our radical God!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Let's Get Radical #3

Here is a brief overview of the next two lessons in our Let's Get Radical teaching series.

Week #2 We are Made in His Image
Jesus told us that we when we saw Him, we were actually seeing what God is like. Jesus was being a copycat of His Father. The Jesus that walked on the earth and did awesome, radical things was copying or being like His awesome, radical Father.

“Jesus answered, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.””
John 14:9 (New Century Version)

The Scriptures teach us that we too are to be imitators of God.

“Follow God's example in everything you do just as a much loved child imitates his father.” Ephesians 5:1 (The Living Bible)

How is this possible? How can we be radical like God? It's quite simple. We were made in His image and likeness.

“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image and likeness.” Genesis 1:26 (New Century Version)

If God is radical, then we too can be radical!

Week #3 God is Radical in His Love to Us
Counting is one of the first things that we learn in preschool. First we start counting by using our fingers and then we might even start counting on our toes to get into the bigger numbers. Our counting and measuring never stops. Whether we recognize it or not, we are constantly counting throughout the day. We count and measure our days by knowing the time of day (when we look at a clock) and the number of days into the week or year (when we look at a calendar). We count and measure our height, the amount of food that we eat (our calories), the amount that we weigh, etc.

As brilliant and educated as we might become, there are some things that are so immeasurable that the numbers can't be tabulated or counted. The Bible tells us that God heaps His love and His blessings on us each and every day.

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.”
Psalm 68:19

Did you get that? He LOADS His blessings upon us. Try as we may, we cannot measure the radical display of the radical love shown by our radical heavenly Father. It is impossible. Why? Because our God is constantly thinking about us. (Jeremiah 29:11) There’s not a second that goes by throughout the day that He isn't looking over you. What an awesome, radical God!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Let's Get Radical #2

Don't you love it when you have the opportunity to actually see that the children are comprehending and responding to your teaching and ministry? I know from experience that there are times when you want to go and hold a mirror in front of a child's face in order to see if there might be any exhalation fog on the mirror that would indicate that there is actually any life in the child. But, thank God, there are the times when you can see the children are alive and applying and responding to what is being taught.

I shared last week about one of those times. Before going into our Super Sloppy Double Dare service, Vickie led the children in a time of praise and worship. Lo and behold, we saw the children across our auditorium applying our Let's Get Radical teaching from the previous 6 services by being radical in the demonstration of their love for Jesus. There was no need for the mirror fog test. I saw it with my own eyes!

As promised last week, let me begin to give a brief synopsis of the lessons in our Let's Get Radical teaching series. This week, I'll share an overview for the first lesson.

Week #1 God is a Radical God
From Genesis 1:1 on, we see that the Scriptures describe a God who never does anything half way. Creation alone shows the extravagance and magnitude of our God. First, we used a large quantity of Powerpoint slides showing the beauty displayed in the vast array of God's creation. Each and every part of God's creation is wildly unique. Examine the numerous types of fish with each type of fish having its own distinctive beauty. Consider the birds and animals, each with its own exclusive features. Look at the majestic beauty of God's handiwork found at the Grand Canyon or Niagra Falls or Mount Kilimanjaro or the tropical rain forests. It is impossible to find enough words that adequately tells of the wonders of His work.

Secondly, we shared an illustration using a breakfast item, Malt-O-Meal. I don’t know if you have ever eaten Malt-O-Meal, but once you put a big blob of it in a bowl, you are looking a food that looks bland and doesn’t have a lot of taste. Only one word comes to mind, blah. God is no Malt-O-Meal God who does things that are bland and lackluster.

Not only does creation display a radical God, we can see that His works show His greatness and grandeur.

“LORD my God, you have done many miracles. Your plans for us are many.
If I tried to tell them all, there would be too many to count.”
Psalm 40:5 (New Century Version)

Need I say any more? He is a radical, radical, radical God!!!

Next week, I'll share a brief overview of lessons two and three.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Let's Get Radical #1

What a weekend! After completing a series of lessons on a particular subject, I love to plan a weekend that is a fun, off-beat type service to provide the much needed variety necessary for a well-rounded children's ministry. And so this weekend, we scheduled a Super Sloppy Double Dare weekend. Perhaps you have had a service like this. After a time of praise and worship, we showed a 30 minute DVD (the animated stories in the Focus on the Family Adventures in Odyssey series are tremendous and then we began the Double Dare by asking the children questions about the story. The next 45 minutes showed why this service is one of the children's favorite services as they attempted to answer the questions or take physical challenges that included gross, messy games using raw egg, shaving cream, etc. (For more information about our Super Sloppy Double Dare, please write me at

While I loved seeing the children being excited about Double Dare, the aspect of this weekend's services that thrilled me beyond words was to witness the children being passionate in their time of praise and worship. I opened up this blog by mentioning that we had just completed a series of lessons. The series was a six week teaching titled Let's Get Radical which showed that we serve a radical God who desires a radical group of people who will love Him with radical praise. In our last two lessons, we showed that the psalmist David utilized 58 different Hebrew words to describe his way of demonstrating his love for God including Hebrew words telling of David spinning around, dancing, bowing, leaping, bowing, etc. Sadly, David's passion has been hidden due to the limitations imposed by our Bible translators lumping these beautiful expressions of worship into single words like "praise" and "bless" and "worship". It was so beautiful to see that the teaching hadn't been forgotten. I was thrilled to see the children entering into a new arena of worship as they passionately demonstrated their love to God during our praise and worship.

Let me close out this blog entry by giving the titles of the lessons in our six week series. Space limitations in a single blog entry won't allow me to elaborate in length about the lessons and so I will take the next few weeks to give a brief overview of the Let's Get Radical teachings.
#1 - God is a Radical God
#2 - We are Made in His Image
#3 - God is Radical in His Love to Us
#4 - Radical Love, Radical Expression
#5 - Once You Know It, Show It!
#6 - We Can't Go Back

Until next week .... remember that today is the day of the Holy Ghost!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Give Me That Old Time Religion

I recently came across a book that has become a welcome addition to my library, J.B. Phillips' The Young Church in Action. This book, published in 1955, is a translation of the Book of Acts and is a forerunner to his New Testament in Modern English. While I've had his New Testament in Modern English translation as a part of my library for 30+ years, having The Young Church in Action excites me because this book adds something that wasn't included in his translation of the entire New Testament, Phillips' preface to his translation. After reading this preface, I knew that I needed to share a brief excerpt from the writings of an individual who had lived and breathed Luke's writing about the Early Church.

"It is impossible to spend several months in close study of the remarkable short book, conventionally known as the Acts of the Apostles, without being profoundly stirred and, to be honest, disturbed. The reader is stirred because he is seeing Christianity, the real thing, in action for the first time in human history .... Here we are seeing the Church in its first youth, valiant and unspoiled - a body of ordinary men and women joined in an unconquerable fellowship never before seen on this earth.'

'Yet we cannot help feeling disturbed as well as moved, for this surely is the Church as it was meant to be. It is vigorous and flexible, for these are the days before it ever became fat and short of breath through prosperity, or musclebound by overorganization. These men did not make "acts of faith," they believed; they did not "say their prayers," they really prayed. They did not hold conferences on psychosomatic medicine, they simply healed the sick. But if they were uncomplicated and naive by modern standards, we have ruefully to admit that they were open on the God-ward side in a way that is almost unknown today."

It's me again ... After reading Phillips' observation, I cried a prayer of repentance. We are undeniably so far removed from the Church birthed on the Day of Pentecost. I had to repent and ask Jesus to forgive us for what we have done to His Church. Then, it was imperative for me to ask for a new outpouring of His Spirit so that we can once again become the Church that we were meant to be. It is from this fresh Upper Room outpouring that will enable us to once again become the people who will turn our world upside down.

Will you join me? Let's start afresh and anew by crying out for the fire of the Holy Ghost that fell some 2000 years ago. To borrow from a song that I sang as a little boy, "Give me that old time religion, that old time religion. Give me that old time religion. It's good enough for me."

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Dunamis Factor

Let me give you a warning before reading this week's blog entry ... be seated and, if possible, put on your seat belt to restrain you from becoming too emotionally uncontrollable. Also, forewarn those around you to not become too concerned. You are fully aware that you've lost your mind and that you are extremely confident that you don't want it back. So, with that being said, on with this week's blog entry.

Take a second to read and then reread this verse:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria,and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8

Like you, I have preached this verse and used it in umpteen dozen lessons over the years. I’ve preached and taught this verse in every possible way. But this past week, I saw something that I’ve never noticed before.

While I have always shared that the word power is taken from the Greek word dunamis and emphasized that this Greek word is the foundation for our English word dynamite, for the first time I saw in my studies that Jesus was emphasizing far more than supernatural power. What Jesus is telling His followers is that this dunamis has a threefold definition. The infilling of the Holy Ghost will provide:
  1. Supernatural spiritual ability. This dunamis enables you to supernaturally exceed your human giftings and abilities.
  2. Supernatural spiritual strength. This dunamis provides the supernatural oomph needed to persevere and stand strong, creating a spiritual dynamo to be reckoned with.
  3. Supernatural spiritual authority. This dunamis delivers the unrelenting backbone needed to withstand naysayers and critics and the spiritual right to back up what you preach with heaven-provided, heaven-authorized demonstrations of the Holy Ghost.
I’ll close by authenticating this week’s blog teaching by sharing from the Amplified Translation:

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might)
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you …

I’ll quit typing so that you will stop reading. Now, undo the seat belt, allow these few thoughts to roll around in your spirit and then join me in demonstrating this dunamis!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Let's Take a Walk

You may not believe this, but as a child, my elementary school report cards often had comments from the teacher informing my parents that I was an excessive talker. I often joke that my teacher’s favorite day of the school year was the day that I didn’t come to school. While my academic marks were quite good, my deportment or conduct marks showed that I needed to strengthen my ability to refrain from talking and making funny comments. Believe me when I say that my parents took the teacher’s comments to heart (or, pardon the pun – to bottom), and got down to the bottom of the problem (in more ways than one) and changed my desire to be the student who always had something funny to say.

Fortunately, I learned a long time ago to not give the Holy Spirit a negative deportment grade for excessive talking. In fact, I continually urge Him to kick it into overdrive and talk and talk and talk to me. It was during one of these times this week that I heard Him remind me of a truth that I had been neglecting. Consider this:

"The Lord said to Abram after Lot had left him, Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; For all the land which you see I will give to you and to your posterity forever. And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if a man could count the dust of the earth, then could your descendants also be counted. Arise, walk through the land, the length of it and the breadth of it, for I will give it to you.”
Genesis 13:14-17 (The Amplified Translation)

As I read this, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me that His movement in our children’s ministry is limited by what I can see and where I walk. As God told Abraham, we are to change our point of view (“life up your eyes”) and look beyond our present location and “reality” and to begin to see what He sees. Next, God told Abraham that what he could see would affect both him and his children. Then, after changing what we can see, we are to get up (“arise”) and to begin to be the forerunner and walk in and experience this new land.

I could easily write several paragraphs and take several minutes of your time to enlarge upon the truths shared by the Holy Spirit. But, upon your request, the same Holy Spirit who spoke to me can and will speak to you. After hearing His voice, you will see afresh and anew His passion for moving in and among the children and also be challenged to begin to travel into the realm of the Spirit so that your children can follow you into the heavenlies.

Now, close this program, turn off the computer and ask the Holy Spirit to begin to talk to you. Then, begin to listen to Him. Then, begin to dream and see through His eyes. Then, get up and start walking. Believe me, you are long overdue for a good long walk.

Selah … Billy

Monday, August 8, 2011

Are You Jesus?

I had one of the cutest things happen a few weeks ago in our mid-week 4-year-old class. I came by the room that night to check on and communicate with the teachers for a couple of minutes and in doing so, I became engaged in conversation with an adorable little boy who was enjoying playing with Play Dough. After a talking for a while, I asked him, "Do you know who I am?" Looking up at me with the most loving eyes, he said, "Jesus?"

At first, the cuteness factor was almost too much. I wanted to laugh out loud at his statement. Me? Jesus? Was he kidding? But later, the Holy Spirit reminded me that on that particular evening, I had been given the opportunity to be Jesus' representative. To that little boy, I was Jesus-in-the-flesh.

While this blog entry isn't my typical blog telling of flowing with the Holy Spirit, it is a gentle reminder of my need for being dependent upon Him. After all, on that particular Wednesday night, I was His agent for representing Jesus. Think about it ....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Are You Limiting the Holy Spirit?

Just a quick thought for you ... are you limiting the Holy Spirit? This Comforter (Greek wordParakletos) is sent from the Father with the purpose of being your counselor, helper, advocate, intercessor, strengthener, and standby. In other words, He is sent to fortify and enlarge upon your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.

The purpose for this week's blog is to remind you of the reality that the Holy Spirit only comes and works by invitation. Without invitation, He will stand to the side and see you operate in your own strengths all the while remorsefully acknowledging that your strengths will only produce temporary success and fruit. Without invitation, He will stand to the side and see you operate in and suffer because of your weaknesses remorsefully acknowledging that your weaknesses will produce little if any fruit.

Are you allowing Him to fulfill His assignment? No matter what stage of ministry that might be experiencing right now, it is prudent to insure that you are walking side-by-side with Him. In the times when everything is flourishing, is He present and guiding you or are you accomplishing these feats in your own giftings? When He is fulfilling His assignments, He will enable you to supersede your abilities and giftings. In the times of "God where are You?", can you sense His presence? It could well be that in these times He is waiting for you to ask Him to step in and fulfill His heavenly assignment.

Today, let's stop and confirm our dependence upon Him. He is waiting on your invitation!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Have You Heard?

Several years ago, I was in one of three weekend services and my wife Vickie was on the platform leading the children in worship. I'll have to admit, it was one of the most wonderful, powerful times of worship that I had witnessed in any of our services. It seemed as though that we had entered into a new level of intensity and passion. After the worship was over and I was on the platform transitioning into the next area of the service, I commented to Vickie about what I had just witnessed and told her that I saw that some day that we would have to work to get the kids to stop praising and worshiping God because of their unquenchable passion. What a spiritual statement ... at least that is what I thought. A few minutes later, the service had transitioned into the teaching portion and I was off of the platform and going out to my Explorer to put away some props. On the way out to the truck, I clearly heard the Holy Spirit correct me. I heard Him say, "Quit saying that I see the day coming and instead begin to declare TODAY is the day of the Holy Ghost." In other words, He was instructing me to quit putting things off into the future and to begin to vocalize and announce what He wants to do today. So, instead of saying that I see the day coming when we will have difficulty stopping the children from worshiping God I should announce to the children that TODAY is the day that the Holy Ghost is moving and stirring. TODAY is the day of His moving in and amongst our children. TODAY is the day of the Holy Ghost.

It is easy in Pentecostal/Charismatic circles to live in the past and to constantly talk about what God did at Azusa Street or during the Charismatic revival of the 60's and 70's or the Toronto Airport Revival or the Brownsville Revival. On the flip side, we can put off the day of His visitation and moving into some distant day that is just barely beyond our reach. The correction informed and reminded me of the reality of His being a TODAY presence and power. TODAY is His day and we need to announce it, welcome it, and embrace it. In doing so, He will make our announcement a visible reality.

The purpose of this week's blog is to ask you to join with me and together let's declare that TODAY is the day of the Holy Ghost. Beginning today, let's daily declare, welcome, and embrace that He is ever present. Beginning today, let's daily declare, welcome, and embrace His power. While we are thankful for what He has done in the past and at the same time recognize that He has plans for our future, we are to acknowledge that He is working TODAY in a mighty, powerful way.

In case that you haven't heard .... TODAY is the day of the Holy Ghost!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Dependent Are You?

Just a quick question for you ... if Jesus was totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit for the enablement to fulfill His earthly mission, how much more should we be connected to and dependent upon the Holy Spirit so that we can complete our assignment?

How dependent was Jesus upon the Holy Spirit? John 5:19 tells us that Jesus did nothing on His own. Luke 3 and 4 shows that Jesus' ministry didn't begin until He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:38 reveals that Jesus' anointing and power came from the Holy Spirit.

Again the question ... how much more should we be connected to and dependent upon the Holy Spirit so that we can complete our assignment?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Litmus Test of Successful Ministry

While we all love the elements that make up our ministry (the crazy characters, games, skits, puppets, visuals, etc.), we know that the litmus test of the success of a particular service isn't found in these elements. It is so important that we constantly remind ourselves that these are just mere tools that open the children's hearts so that the gospel can be presented. They are just the means of, not the meaning of our ministry. It is far too easy to get this reversed and place such emphasis upon the tools that we neglect the message and purpose of our ministry.

Upon leaving a ministry occasion, the apostle Paul reflected upon what had transpired. In looking back, this learned man knew without question that the mechanical side of the ministry was planned and done with excellence. But, that wasn't the sign of its success. Notice his evaluation:

"We know this because the Good News we brought came to you not only with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with complete certainty." 1 Thessalonians 1:5 (God's Word for Today)

When we leave our services, what will we claim as the highlight of our time with the children? Will it be the skit involving a new, outrageous character? Will it be the new puppet song? All of those things are great. They really, really are. But, hopefully, our priorities are not askew. Hopefully like the apostle Paul, we will be able to say with a full assurance that the Holy Spirit undeniably and powerfully demonstrated that He was in the room and that our children will never ever be the same again. That my friend is the litmus test of a successful children's ministry service!

Monday, July 4, 2011

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

One of the greatest ways to stir up your faith and passion for seeing God demonstrate His presence and power in children and your children's ministry is to read about what God has done in previous revivals and heavenly visitations. Reading the reports about what God has done in the past and knowing that if God has done poured out His Spirit upon children before that He can do it again provides a constant, consistent weapon against the lies of the enemy and his deceitful reports that children flowing with the Holy Spirit is just wishful thinking.

Sadly, it is difficult to find books that tell of the wonderful moves of God among children. Authors have treated this subject with the same type of mentality that many churches have treated children's ministry ... the subject is stuck in obscure places and only mentioned in passing. I know this is true because my personal library has dozens and dozens of books that recount the events of previous revivals and it is rare to find a paragraph or two in any of the books that even mentions children. It is as though that God totally ignored the children. But, we all know that this isn't true.

So, allow me to suggest a couple of books to add to your library that tells these stories and will bless you and encourage you.

* "Children and the Holy Spirit: How to Set Your Child's Heart on Fire for God" by Mark Harper. The book was written in 1999 and isn't readily available through places like You can purchase the book online through Mark's website It will be a great addition to your library!

* "They Told Me Their Stories: The Youth and Children of Azusa Street Tell Their Stories" by Tommy Welchel. This book available through shares stories that I haven't read in any of the dozen books that I have on the Azusa Street Revival ... especially as seen through the eyes of what was then the children and youth of the revival.

Do yourself a favor and invest in some resources that will remind you of the fact that if God has done it before, He can and WILL do it again if we pursue after Him!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Had a Sabbath Lately?

Just a quick passing thought this week ... when was the last time that you took a weekend away from the ministry just so that you could have a mental/physical/spiritual sabbath? If you are like most children's ministry workers, outside of the weekend that you go out of town to visit family for a vacation, you are in your classroom week after week after week, right? And, in doing so, even though that you love the children and families of your church, it is easy to lose the joy and passion for the ministry. Am I correct?

I trust that you won't think that the following statement is heretical. Consider this. There is nothing wrong with occasionally having a weekend away from the ministry when you are NOT on vacation or NOT at a seminar or NOT on your deathbed. In fact, there is something wrong if we DON'T take an occasional brief sabbath.

For your longevity, discover the reality that there is a refreshing and invigorating that will energize your mind, body, and spirit when you occasionally come apart from the ministry and enjoy a morning at the beach or a walk through a nearby national park. Jesus knew the value of a coming apart from the ministry so that He would not fall apart. It would be prudent to follow His example.

Again ... it's just a thought.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How Young is Too Young?

We all know that it is not debatable that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit found in Acts 2 included children and the promise for future generations of children to receive this gift from heaven. Because of the call and assignment of God upon every child (established in their mother's womb - Jeremiah 1:5) and the desperate need for power, boldness, and fire to accomplish this assignment, it is not up for discussion that EVERY child in THIS generation must be filled to overflowing with the precious Holy Spirit as early as possible.

While we know that this gift is for EVERY child, here is something for you to ponder ... how young is too young to minister to children about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

I heard Charles Capps say many years ago "The gospel is so simple that we need a lot of help to misunderstand it." With that thought in mind, I ask you if we can make this so simple that even the youngest of children can be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Here are some questions to consider as you decide how and when to minister to young children. The answer is found in answering these questions:
1. Can the child understand that God loves them and loves to provide good gifts to them?
2. Can the child understand that when Jesus left this earth that He promised to send a gift from heaven that would enable them to do great things for God?
3. Can the child understand that the Holy Spirit comes from heaven as a gift for EVERY Christian ... no matter how old or young that person might be?
4. Can the child understand that when this gift is opened, there will be an evidence or way of knowing that this gift is now yours to enjoy?

Four simple questions ... questions that every child can understand. So, in thinking about these questions, at what age should you teach about the Holy Spirit and provide an opportunity for children to be baptized in the Holy Spirit? I can't answer this question for you. I know of many children who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit at the ages of 3 and 4 and pray in their heavenly prayer language. I know of Spirit-baptized 5-year-olds who would put most adults to shame as they unashamedly demonstrate the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as they lay hands upon their peers.

Your question is how young is too young? My question is what are you waiting for?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ho-Hum Horror!

Perhaps you are challenged with a plateau in the quality of your ministry. After examining your services, you can see that they are lifeless and bland. The leftover oatmeal from yesterday's breakfast seems to be more appealing than what you are seeing in your services. Can you identify with what I am talking about?

Without even sitting in your service, I believe that I can deduce where the problem lies. Lifelessness and blandness are set in motion long before you enter into your classroom. The problem is found in the preparation process. I have found that in doing children's ministry for a while, it is ever so easy to skim through the words found on the pages of the lesson and to have a good idea about what to do. After a quick glance at the lesson, we are prepared. We've taught that subject before. It will be a breeze to make it through the service.

Here's a reminder that we need to constantly think about. Blandness and lifelessness are guaranteed if you stand in front of the children and only do what is written in the lesson or curriculum. Remember that the lesson's words are printed in black ink, not red ink. These words reveal the minimum of what the Holy Spirit wants to do through you. It is only through time with the Holy Spirit that the words are transformed from black ink to red ink, from minimum to maximum, full of life and power. It is only through time spent with Him that will enable you to ooze with creativity and life. He will bring about wardrobe and props that weren't mentioned in the lesson. The Creator will provide examples and object lessons not suggested in the lesson. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is creative. Remember that at Creation, the Holy Spirit is the One who took God's directives and actually did the creating. That same Holy Spirit now lives inside of you and loves to enlarge and expand and burst out at the seams with creativity.

So, read the lesson and then read it again. Then, set aside the book and spend time with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to move inside of you and create. Please, please, please don't limit yourself to what some writer who has never been to your city or visited your church or met your children dictate what the Holy Spirit wants to say. Spend time with Him and draw from His creativity. The bland will disappear and the children will be begging their parents to come to your services!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Developing a Well Balanced Children's Ministry

This past weekend, I witnessed one of the most fantastic things that a children's pastor can see, an auditorium filled with children laughing, screaming, and having the time of their lives. This happened in all three services. What was going on? It was our Thank God Almighty I'm Free at Last weekend where we celebrated the children being free from school for their summer vacation. And boy did we celebrate!

There might be those that would think that this is unscriptural to have such an event during a church service on a weekend. Unscriptural? Are you kidding me? The Psalmist David talked about being glad to go into God’s house. He couldn’t wait to see what would happen!

On our Thank God Almighty weekend, we did have a brief time of praise and worship and I did teach for a couple of minutes before we gave our offerings and then taught from God's Word about the Cross making it possible to be liberated and free from Satan and sin (John 8:36). I never will let an opportunity slip through my fingers and neglect the ministry of the Word. But, I sensed that it was time to take care of a spiritual deficiency in our ministry. It was time to take out a spiritual vitamin to supplement this deficiency, one with a lot of vitamin F (for F-U-N). And so for 45 minutes of our 1 1/2 hours, we pulled their nametags at random from a bucket and allowed those children to compete in Minute to Win It type games and win Bottle Pops for themselves and Blow Pops and Pixie Stix for the audience. And in doing so, our kids left the service with smiles all over their faces and candy to tickle their stomachs!

Why is this important? My Mom always insured that we had a balanced diet. At each meal, our plate consisted of a meat, a couple of vegetables, and a starch. As a children's pastor, I need to insure that my ministry has a balanced diet. After completing a four week series on divine healing and ministering to their spirits and minds, I could sense that we needed to touch another part of the child's needs. It was time to laugh and shout and go crazy. We will do this for our mid-week Bible clubs this Wednesday evening by having our Royal Rangers and Mpact Girls Ministry Clubs leave the classroom setting and head over to the swimming pool at a nearby city park for a couple of hours of swimming and splashing and dunking their children's pastor. Again, is this important? You betcha'!

For a minute, look at your ministries’ diet. Is it time to serve a smaller portion of the meat and vegetables and pile on a heapin’ helping of some calorie loaded starches? Plan ahead and schedule a fun, memory-making weekend. Your kids and staff will thank you for it!

Should you need some ideas for a Thank God Almighty type weekend, send me an email and I’ll share my ideas …

Monday, May 30, 2011

Translating the Untranslatable

I recently received an email from a friend thanking me for the blog. He went on to say that he was amazed at how many blogs that I could write about the Holy Spirit. Well, to date, there have been just over 200 blog postings, a new posting every Monday for the past four years. Occassionally, I'll post an interesting idea for a service or activity for your children's ministry (i.e, our Easter Candy Drop or a Gross Out Saturday) or a no brag, just fact picture of the incredibly beautiful Burns family. But, I can safely guess that at least 95% of the postings have been about the Holy Spirit and ushering in a last day move of God's Spirit in our children.

This week, let me share this thought that I read some time ago from the respected Scottish theologian, William Barclay. Many of you are familiar with Barclay and perhaps have the Barclay Translation in your set of Bible translations. In his commentary of the Gospel of John, Barclay writes, "But Jesus does not leave us to struggle the Christian life alone. He would send us another Helper. The Greek word is parakletos, which is really untranslatable. The Authorized Version renders it Comforter, which, although hallowed by time and usage, is not a good translation. Moffatt translates it as Helper. It is only when we examine this word parakletos in detail that we catch something of the riches of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit."

Barclay is so right. The one word Comforter just doesn't adequately introduce the Third Person of the Godhead. Perhaps the best attempt at telling who the Holy Spirit is can be found in the Amplified Bible which, when telling of the Comforter, always includes this insertion "Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby". Again I come back to Barclay and repeat, "It is only when we examine this word parakletos in detail that we catch something of the riches of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit."

Do you have another four years? Can you see how it would be so, so easy to spend blog entry after blog entry on each of the aspects (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby) of the Parakletos and then additional weeks on how each portion of His personality and assignment relates to those of us ministering to children?

This week, do yourself a favor. Take William Barclay's advice and begin to explore the riches of this Parakletos. Take time to discover Him in each of the aspects shown by the Amplified Bible. Take time to study and then journal what He reveals to you as you begin to know Him as a Counselor and then as a Helper and then ... Then, watch out. You and your ministry will never, ever be the same again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Seeing & Hearing

While reading Acts 2 recently, the Holy Spirit placed a special emphasis on verse 33.

"Jesus was lifted up to heaven and is now at God's right side. The Father has given the Holy Spirit to Jesus as he promised. So Jesus has poured out that Spirit, and this is what you now see and hear." Acts 2:33 (New Century Version)

That day, the Holy Spirit emphasized the three words "see and hear" and challenged me to look at our services through the eyes of our children. I felt that the Holy Spirit was asking me these questions ...
1. Can the children see His presence? This comes from my sensitivity to flowing together with Him. I can't be so glued to the prepared lesson that I can't deviate so that I can follow His promptings.
2. Can the children hear my passion and longing for Him? I sensed the Holy Spirit urge me to insure that the children see and hear my passion for Him and His presence. I felt challenged to emphasize aloud my passion for Him and my desire to see Him move among our children in that particular service. I was reminded that through the children seeing my love for the Holy Spirit and hearing the cry of my heart for Him to demonstrate His presence the children would follow my example and begin to long for Him.
3. Can the children hear Him pray aloud through me? One of the benefits of being baptized in the Holy Spirit is my heavenly prayer language. In reading Acts 2:33, I felt challenged again by the Holy Spirit to insure that I pray aloud in my heavenly prayer language and urge the children to join in with me in our services. Before doing so, it is important to explain that as we pray in other tongues the Holy Spirit will speak to God for and through us telling things to God that will open the door for great things in our service that day. And, this must become a part of each and every service.

As the people on the Day of Pentecost saw and heard the Holy Spirit, they were convinced and yielded to Him and their lives were changed. That is fruit that I want from my children's ministry services. So, from now on, I'm going to make sure that there is a lot of seeing and hearing going on!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Barbeque Tale of Woe!

Saturday was an awesome day at my church. We had perhaps a couple of thousand people on our property for Fun in the Son, a day that I promoted as being a family event for a church family. If the people didn't have fun, it sure wasn't my fault. In addition to having vendors with tables filled with beautiful crafts, Fun in the Son had awesome live music, games, and a parking lot filled with carnival games including a big ferris wheel, a bungee jump, a mechanical bull, and a rock climbing wall. The kids (and grown up kids, aka adults) loved the dunk tank ... especially when different members of the pastoral staff were on the tank. When I was on the dunk tank for two different time slots, the lines immediately became long lines. Throw in the grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, and pizza ... it was an awesome day.

One of the challenges of the day was the barbeque chicken dinners. In purchasing the chicken quarters for 360 dinners, it was necessary to go to a restaurant supply company and purchase the chicken by the case. Little did I know how many chicken quarters were in a 40 pound box. I took the word of an employee at the store and purchased 10 cases of chicken and was confident that I had purchased too much chicken. About 5 hours into our Fun in the Son, I learned that we were some 100 meals short on chicken. And, to make matters worse, not knowing how many chickens he had cooked, our barbequer had quit after cooking the last chicken quarter a couple of hours earlier.

Now, I faced two major problems. First, it would take a while for me to find what I needed. No local store would have 100 chicken quarters in their meat department. Second, my cook informed me that the charcoals were cold. He would now have to start all over with new charcoal and it would take a couple of hours to get new charcoal hot enough to do the job. I was facing 100 people that wanted to have a meal. I had nothing to give these people and no fire to produce the meals once the chicken could be located.

How did I solve this problem? Thank God for Sam's Wholesale Club. As a last and only resort, I went and purchased 25 rotisserie chickens and then cut them into quarters and served the meals.

Here's an interesting observation that can be gleaned from my barbeque fiasco. In our children's ministry, it is all too common for us to walk into our classrooms with a Fun in the Son barbeque fiasco awaiting us. We don't have what we need and our fire is diminished or extinguished. The busyness of life during the last seven days has caused many children's pastors and teachers to enter into a ministry situation with nothing to give. And, to make matters worse, we try to produce from a cold, fireless spirit.

In Acts 3, Peter and John were presented with a challenge/ministry opportunity similar to what we face each week. Thankfully, they didn't have to go to Sam's Wholesale Club. Instead, they had what they needed ("such as I have give I thee") and the fire to deliver ("in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk").

Here is the answer to preventing ministry Fun in the Son barbeque fiascos. It is seen in the lives of Peter and John. Have communion with the Holy Spirit. Walk with Him. Talk with Him. Enjoy Him in the public services. Enjoy intimacy with Him in the private times. In doing so, the "such as I have give I thee" will enable you to always have what is needed when you need it and there will always be the fire to deliver for those in need!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Communion of the Spirit

Today's blog entry won't be lengthy. Consider this NOW verse ....

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." 2 Corinthians 13:14

Just a passing thought ... when was the last time that you made time to spend to have communion with the Holy Spirit? The concept of having communion with the Holy Spirit might be a foreign idea to you. According to the Strong's Hebrew/Greek Dictionary, the word "communion" comes from the Greek word "koinonia" (pronounced koy-nohn-ee'-ah) and means partnership, i.e. (lit.) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction:--(to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-), distribution, fellowship.

This communion doesn't just happen. You will notice that in the last paragraph that I used the words "made time". This communion comes when you make time by pushing other things to the side and pull away from things/people pressing for you and your time.

So, rather than read my thoughts about communing with the Holy Spirit, I'll quit writing so that you can shut off your computer/smartphone/tablet and push everything aside so that this time of intimacy can begin. He has been patiently waiting for you. Let the communion begin!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Let's RAZE Hell!

Several years ago, there was a series of special television programs entitled Breaking the Magicians' Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed in which the secrets behind many magic tricks and illusions were explained. In these episodes, viewers could finally learn how that a lady was cut in half with a buzz saw and then restored or how a caged tiger was instantly replaced with two or three ladies or how a chained, handcuffed magician submerged in a tank of water escaped. Needless to say, these programs caused quite an uproar from professional magicians. Exposing their behind-the-scene secrets limited their ability to fool their audiences.

This week, allow me to share a behind-the-scene "secret" for what happens when a Holy Ghost filled children's ministry worker walks into a classroom filled with boys and girls. Ready? You won't find this secret on a national television program. But, it is readily seen in the Word.

The "secret" is revealed in Mark 5 and Luke 8 in the account of the deliverance of the demoniac of Gadara. In reading this story, we learn that the demonic powers saw Jesus "a far off". In other words, they knew when Someone with power was invading their territory. They were on the lookout for any threat to their activity. Notice this. When they saw a far off the Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered Son of God, they instantly reacted. Their panic caused them to respond. They knew that things were about to change.

When a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered teacher walks into a room, all of hell takes notice. They see you coming. They have been fearing the time when they would come in contact with you. They know that their business is about to be relocated (as seen in the demons fleeing into the pigs in the Gospel's account of the demonized man). As soon as your feet enter into the classroom, demons and Satanic imps throughout all of hell begin posting notices on their Facebook accounts and Twitter accounts are quickly opened as tweets are flying stating "Oh no. He's back! What are we going to do? Where can we go?" As a/the Son of God who is filled with the Spirit of God (I've just described Jesus ... and YOU) walks into Satan's domain, panic will ring throughout the corridors of hell!

Doesn't that excite you? Let's begin to see what hell sees. Let's recognize that Satan's imps and demons know who you are. They tremble in fear as they anticipate what will happen as you work together with the Holy Spirit. Let's walk in that knowledge and boldness and dare to do exploits for His Kingdom. Let's do it. Let's walk into the classroom to raze (I know exactly how I spelled the word ... RAZE ... which means to destroy, demolish, annihilate) hell.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Teaching for Signs & Wonders #8

All that I can say is WOW! In looking back at the series that we just completed, "Children Who Know Their God", I can say without question that we ministered a rhema word from the heart of God. From the initial message up to the final lesson that I will be sharing today, it definitely was the right word at the right time. In looking back at the last few blog entries, it is easy to see how the message found in this series has placed the children (and our children ministry staff) on the launching pad for a whole new relationship with God and to see Him show His presence in their lives.

Week #9 So, What Are You Going to Do?
I subtitled this lesson "Is it the same-o, same-o or a new beginning?" The message is crystal clear. From the time before we were visible to the outside world, God has had His hands upon us, forming and specially molding us to do great things for Him. In God's eyes, this "great things" isn't relative to our age, or in other words, age has no bearing on what we can do. Whenever we begin to have an intimate relationship with Him and get to actually know Him, we can begin to do exploits. Knowing Him is so easy. Through the depth of our passion for His presence and the love for His love letter to us (His Word), we can know that we know that we know Him and THEN we can expect to do exploits for Him and His Kingdom.

All of the above is undeniably true. There is no room for debate in what we've taught. But, there is one last ingredient in this formula for doing great things. This ingredient is found in the story from 2 Kings 7 in the account of the four starving lepers. Read the story and you will find that they readily recognized their situation. If they kept doing what they were doing, they would keep on having what they were having. So, in verse three, they came to the conclusion that they had to make a decision. Would they keep on keeping on where they were and die OR would they would take action so that they could get to where they needed to be. Thankfully, they made a decision to get up and do something. Their action changed their situation.

So, what is your resolve? What is the decision of each child? What is the desire of the children's ministry? Are you going to keep on doing what you have been doing OR will today be the beginning of a new life? The question must be answered. Stay the same or become children who know their God and do exploits? Like the four lepers, a decision must be made and action taken.

I pray that the thoughts in the past few blog entries will be the catalyst for launching your children and staff into a whole new arena of intimacy with God and into becoming a powerful force in this earth for Christ and His Kingdom.

One last thought ... please give me some feedback. Has this Teaching for Signs & Wonders blog series helped you and given ideas for teaching your children? Please write me at and share your thoughts with me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Teaching for Signs & Wonders #7

Presently, I am reading a book written many yeaars ago by A.A. Allen entitled "The Price of God's Miracle Working Power." Without question, A.A. Allen witnessed in his tent services some of the most powerful miracles in the last century. Through watching many of Allen's services by means of DVD, I saw many undeniable miracles. As the title of the book suggests, the working of these miracles didn't just happen. There was a price to be paid.

This brings us to the next lesson that we taught our children at Trinity Church International in our "Children Who Know Their God" series which is based upon Daniel 11:32.

Week #8 Here is What You Can Expect
I subtitled this lesson "He Has Given Us the Answers to the Quiz". The foundation for this lesson is quite simple. There is a quiz or an equasion for seeing God show His power. To make this quiz easy, God has provided the answer in Daniel 11:32! If we can know what answer to expect in doing the addition equasion of two plus two or the multiplication equasion of two times two, then we can be confident in knowing that people who know their God equals boldness and accomplishing feats and exploits! Just as there should be no room for questioning the results of the addition equasion of two plus two or the multiplication equasion of two times two, there should be no room for guess work in the equasion of people knowing God equals boldness and the demonstrated power of God.

How can this be? Our scripture for the lesson establishes this fact. “Those who know the LORD trust him.” Psalms 9:10 (New Century Version) Examining the flipside of this verse would indicate that a lack of trust is due to a lack of knowing God. If we really know Him, this relationship will produce the boldness and the ability to act in faith for working together with Him. And, in working together with Him, without question the supernatural will happen.

Come on. Let's know God. Let's pay the price and push other things aside so that we can establish an intimate relationship with God. Then, we can EXPECT to be bold and accomplish much for the Kingdom.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Teaching for Signs & Wonders #6

I'm sure that you will echo this sentiment. As I write and prepare the lesson and then later teach the lesson, I have had the Holy Spirit speak to me and challenge my personal life through the lesson. This has been especially true in this "Children Who Know Their God" series of lessons. Week after week, I have heard the voice of the Holy Spirit challenge me in various areas of my daily walk with Him, perhaps none more evident than in this week's lesson.

Week #7 God is an All-Day, Every-Day God!
On one of my speaking trips, I boarded an airplane at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport to return home. In walking down the aisle towards my seat, I noticed a person that looked familiar. I guess that my staring was obvious because they greeted me as though they knew me. I then admitted to them that while I did recognize them, I just couldn't place who they were and how that I knew them. My mind was racing. Did I know them from a conference? Perhaps they might be a friend of a friend. Imagine my embarrassment when I learned that this person was one of the managers of the Wal-mart which is located one block away from my church, a person that I see several times a week. I had to explain to the person that for some strange reason, with them not wearing their blue Wal-mart jacket and not standing at the front of the store around the checkout lanes, my brain just couldn't identify who they were.

This is true with our relationship with God. We have compartmentalized Him to being at a certain place at a certain time. If we were to bump into Him outside of His "space", we wouldn't know Him. To many children (and sadly, us adults), God fits into a 1 1/2 hour time slot one morning a week. The rest of our week is filled with other things and people.

For this lesson, we also used a woman's purse as an illustration. As a man, I have to admit that a woman’s purse is a great mystery to me. It is the great abyss, the deep dark hole. But, I have been told by numerous ladies, a purse is the easiest place in the world to navigate in. Why? Because everything has a place and every place has a designated thing. Ask for a piece of gum and within seconds they can pull it out of their purse. Need fingernail clippers? Again, within seconds they can locate it and pull it out of their purse. Everything has a place and every place has a thing. Everything is compartmentalized and assigned a place.

In this lesson, the Holy Spirit challenged us to allow God to move out of His "place" and to become an All-Day, Every-Day God. From Deuteronomy 5:9, we shared that God is a jealous God who is consumed with us and wants us to be consumed with Him. He refuses to be squeezed into a tiny few minutes of our way too busy lives and allocated to being recognized only at a certain place and time.

I’m sure that you can readily see how the Holy Spirit spoke to me in this lesson. In order for me to truly know Him as instructed in our series' theme verse, Daniel 11:32, then He has to walk out of our church auditorium and be allowed to have more than a little fraction of my 168 hour week. He wants to be an All-Day, Every-Day God.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Teaching for Signs & Wonders #5

If nothing else is accomplished through this "Children Who Know Their God" series, I would gladly spend the hours each week in prayer and writing (it literally does take hours to write a lesson) just so that the children in our ministry would move from knowing about God to actually knowing Him and having an intimate relationship with Him. Really, this series ought to be taught in the adult services, shouldn't it!

This week, I want to share the next teaching segment taken from Daniel 11:32 and show you how that we taught the children that they can enter into a deeper relationship with God by reading His Word.

Week #6 Get to Know God Through His Word
Believe it or not, after 33 years of marriage, Vickie and I still have all of the love letters and cards that we wrote to each other during our last few weeks of high school and freshman and sophomore years of college. Reading these letters and cards reminds us of the depth of our love and the passion of our hearts at different times during our dating and courtship. The ink on those letters and cards related the intent of our hearts. It helped the other person to understand what we were feeling and thinking.

You can readily see how these letters and cards were used in the lesson to show God's great love to us. His love letter, the Word, is the revelation of who He is and how He has wooed us. But sadly, most if not all of our children are not reading His love letter to us.

How can we change this? We need to eleminate their number one excuse for not reading the Word. I find that the children are ignoring God's Word because they can't understand what Mom and Dad's Bible is saying. To erase this excuse, we showed a book that would be read to a 3-year-old, a book with one or two words per page and a lot of artwork. Next, we showed a book that would be used in Kindergarten or 1st grade with more words on the page and fewer pictures, a book like a Dr. Seuss book. It has a few more words per page and slightly fewer pictures. Next, we showed a book that would be read by a 3rd or 4th grader, a book like a Hardy Boys Mystery or a Dancy Drew Mystery. These books have far more words and only a few random pictures in the book. We explained that as the reader grows older, their ability to read and understand changes. This is also true for understanding God's Word. There is a Bible available for any and every age group. To prove this point, we showed the See With Me Bible that is all pictures (used by little children) and then advanced to the International Children's Story Bible which contained more words and then the Children's Picture Bible and then The Action Bible and then the NIV Discoverer's Bible. Through this natural progression, God's love letter is easily read and understood.

Let me close this blog entry with an excerpt from a note that a mother posted on my Facebook page after that lesson was shared. "Pastor Billy, after church today **** asked us to take her to Family Christian to buy The Action Bible. She hates to read so we jumped at the chance. We were there when they opened at 12 & **** hasn't put it down for the last 2 hours! Not even in the car ride home or at lunch! Thank u! God is good!"

In preparing and writing this lesson, I gave a subtitle which says "The Book Shows It ALL!" Psalms 119:169 tells us that His Word will help us to understand. Know His Book, Know Him! Know Him, Know Supernatural Strength and Exploits!

Next week, I'll continue to share more on raising up a generation of children who will know God and do great things.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Teaching for Signs & Wonders #4

I love the resolve found in Daniel 11:32. This verse assures us that:

"... the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits [for God]." Daniel 11:32 (Amplified Translation)

There is no question about God's statement. Those who know Him SHALL ... So, the equation is quite simple. KNOW God produces BE strong and STAND firm and DO exploits.

This week, we will pick up the next another teaching segment of our "Children Who Know Their God" teaching series. Again, in this segment we are focusing upon the children knowing God.

Week #6 Get to Know Him Through Prayer
Children get all whacked out when the word "prayer" is used. In teaching this lesson, we stated that prayer may not be what you think it is. We have religified (I know that religified is not a word ... but it should be!) prayer into something that has to be done at a set place and/or on a set date and/or in a set posture position and/or using set religious words. In essence, we have hamsterized (again, I know that hamsterized is not a word .. but it should be!) prayer. We showed the kids a video clip from youtube ( showing the contained, restrained life of a hamster. Prayer is NOT hamsterized! In teaching this lesson, we showed the unconventional (unreligified) ways that God connected with man through Moses' interaction with God in the burning bush, David's connection with God as he tended sheep, and Gideon's interaction with God in the winepress. We need a "Praying for Dummies" book (great objection lesson prop) to show that we can know God by simply by talking to Him at any time (not just at 8 PM when being tucked into bed) on any day of the week (not just on Sundays) in any place (not just in a children's church room) while positioned in any position (not just in a kneeling, head's bowed, eyes closed, hands folded position) and using any words that come from our heart (not just the religified language of church). Prayer is honestly so simple that we've needed a lot of help to misunderstand it (and the church has done an excellent job of helping in that matter!). Our theme verse for this lesson is found in Psalms 34:4.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Teaching for Signs & Wonders #3

I'm so excited. I feel like a little boy at Christmas that is sitting in front of the Christmas tree with a big, beautifully wrapped present resting in my lap. I am poised with my fingers gripping the wrapping paper anxiously waiting to reveal what is hidden underneath the paper. The great unveiling is just minutes away.

This excitement comes from what is happening in our children's ministry. Each week, the "Children Who Know Their God" teaching is removing the "wrapping paper" so that our children can see what previously has been hidden. As each new lesson builds upon the previous week's teaching, the children are receiving greater and greater revelation of their God and His ability to enable them to be strong and do exploits. I am literally going into the services anticipating the excitement displayed when the "paper" is totally removed and the children can see what is sitting in their laps!

Let's pick up this week where we left off in last week's blog and look at an overview of the next two child-sized portions (McDonald's Happy Meal Principle) of our theme verse, Daniel 11:32, as we begin to focus on actually knowing God.

Week #4 He Not Only Made You, He Wants To Connect With You
Genesis' creation story shows that God's sole purpose in creating the earth and all of its contents was so that He could form (sculpt, mold, squeeze into a form) and have a relationship with Adam and Eve. Creation had nothing to do with the beauty of the birds and animals or the magnificant skies and landscapes. Before anything existed, God foresaw the joy found in His daily walks through the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. That is still His heart today.

Week #5 Just Don't Know About Him!
Imagine this. Pharaoh ws surrounded by some 2 million Israelites. He daily witnessed their prayers. He daily watched their unusual rituals. He had constant interaction with their leaders. And yet, according to Exodus 5:2, we can see that Pharaoh just knew about their God and admitted to not knowing Him. Our Sunday school classes and children's church rooms are filled with children who know about God. They've heard the Bible stories over and over again. Many have memorized the weekly Bible verses taught in the services. Sadly, most if not all of these children know about God rather than actually know Him.

And, for those who have responded to a salvation altar call, praying the sinner's prayer isn’t the end of the relationship, it is just the beginning! Praying the sinner's prayer can be compared to being introduced to the President of the United States. You might be even be one of the fortunate ones who has the privilege of shaking hands with and saying a few words to the President of the United States. But, does that mean that you actually know him? While it is true that you've met him and even spoken to him, action must be taken to move the introduction into a relationship. The same is true with our heavenly Father. We've met Him through the sinner's prayer. We've actually spoken to Him. But, that is not the end. It is just the beginning of a relationship that should last a lifetime.

I'll pick up the next segment of this teaching series next week and share another more child-sized portion showing how children can know their God.