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 31, 2012

Advice from John Wesley

While I was still in Bible College, my homiletics teacher, Rev. Jesse K. Moon, taught us that some sermons are timely (meant to be preached for a defined, specific time) and others are timeless (preachable at any time). A few weeks ago, I downloaded to my iPad a book written back in 1746 containing what I consider to be a combo message (both timely and timeless). John Wesley's Advice to a People Called Methodist was written to the fledgling group of congregations forming to become the Methodist denomination. And yet, some 260+ years later, this message and admonition needs to be preached again and again today both to the Body of Christ at large and Pentecostal/Charismatic children's ministry leaders and workers in particular. Below are some passages from the sermon.

"And as much offence as you give by your name, you will give still more by your principles. You will give offence to the bigots for opinions, modes of worship, and ordinances, by laying no more stress upon them; to the bigots against them, by laying so much; to men of form, by insisting so frequently and strongly on the inward power of religion; to moral men, (so called,) by declaring the absolute necessity of faith, in order to acceptance with God. To men of reason you will give offence, by talking of inspiration and receiving the Holy Ghost ...."

" ... Keep in the very path wherein you now tread. Be true to your principles. Never rest again in the dead formality of religion."

"Yet expect not that others will deal thus with you. No: Some will endeavour to fright you out of your principles; some to shame you into a more popular religion, to laugh and rally you out of your singularity."

Wesley's advice back in 1746 is still applicable today. Let me remind you of your DNA. You are a blood-bought child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit, a passionate lover of the Word of God, and a devil-frightening dynamo for the Kingdom. Nothing more. Nothing less. Don't change who you are. Don't dumb down your assignment. Don't settle for anything less than a Holy Spirit inspired, endorsed, and equipped ministry. It's true that not everyone will embrace this way of thinking ... but Heaven does!

Meditate upon Wesley's admonition and then share it with those who work alongside of you. Selah.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Burns Family!

Vickie and I along with America's most adorable grandsons,
our 2-year-old Gavin and 5-year-old Joey,
pray that this is a blessed, Christ-filled season
and that the upcoming year be a testimony of the 
goodness of our God!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The "New" Normal? (Give Me That Old Time Religion)

I'll have to admit up front that I don't watch much television. Give me an episode or two of Wheel of Fortune and perhaps a couple of cop shows and I'll have my quota of television for the week. Oh ... if there is a good World War II or Korean War movie (it has to be black and white - NO COLOR - to be considered good) on the Fox Movie Channel or Turner Classic Movie network, I'll gladly push everything aside for a couple of hours.

This year, I've seen commercials about a television program that is apparently a hit comedy entitled The New Normal. I've never watched an episode. Never have. Never will. Why? Here's what the NBC network says on the internet about this program ... "Two gay dads and a baby and mother create a totally new kind of family comedy." I won't waste the energy or the blog space to begin to tell what is wrong with this new normal.

Let's take a minute and look at what is considered normal in the life of New Testament church. Better yet, let me quote from one of my favorite preachers and authors, Leonard Ravenhill.

"In the early church, signs and wonders and miracles followed. They cast out demons, blindness and paralysis. That's normal Christianity!"

Our children are buying this "new" normal propagated on television because we haven't demonstrated the New Testament, Holy Spirit-filled normal. The fingerprints of the Holy Spirit can't be found on much of what we do. Let me continue the quote from Ravenhill.

"We're so sub-normal, if we ever became normal, they (the world) will think we're abnormal."

I'm here today to cry out "Give me that old time religion." It doesn't have to be packaged the same as in days gone bye. The tools might be different. The techniques might be radically different. But even with all of these changes, the New Testament normal is the only acceptable normal. What the Holy Spirit did in the Book of Acts is what He wants to do today. The same Holy Spirit that filled the upper room in Acts 2 and walked out of the room with the 120 enabling them to be the Church wants to fill your children's service and talk and demonstrate His presence.

Come on children's ministry leader. Let's preach what normal is. Better yet, let's demonstrate what normal is. Let's turn the church (a building containing lifeless, powerless, motionless people) into the Church (a living, breathing, power-packed representative of the most high God).

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let's Turn This Around!

William Booth, the founder and general of the Salvation Army, is quoted as saying:

"In answer to your inquiry, I consider the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell."

Church, are we there yet? Then, children's ministry leader, you and I can change this. Through the anointed, Spirit-led children's ministry at 7255 South Military Trail, Lake Worth, Florida (feel free to substitute your churches' address), let's create a generation of boys and girls who will go to church so that they can become the Church (notice the difference in the lower and upper case "c" in the word "church"). Let's turn this around ... starting next weekend!

Monday, December 3, 2012

What is Your Expectation Level?

I love reading the nineteenth chapter of Acts. Each time that I read it, I see things that somehow or another suddenly appear in this chapter that I've never noticed before. I know what is happening. As I read it over and over again, the Holy Spirit turns the black ink into red ink. I love when this happens.

Recently, I was reading this chapter again and I had trouble reading past verse 6. Let me share the verse with you:

"Paul put his hands on their heads and the Holy Spirit entered them.
From that moment on, they were praising God in tongues
and talking about God's actions." 
Acts 19:6 (The Message Bible)

Here is what the Holy Spirit told me in this verse. When Paul laid his hands upon the Ephesians, he got what he expected. I know that this truth is so, so simple. But evidently, it must be too simple ... simple enough that many have overlooked it.

Consider this. When you lay hands upon the children in your ministry, what do you expect? If the truth be known, many would be shocked if anything happened. The shock would cause them to pass out and their co-workers would have to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to revive them. To watch and listen to some leaders and workers pray, you can tell that the expectation level is mighty low.

That wasn't the case with Paul. In fact, just a couple of verses later it states that Paul was speaking boldly. His ministry in Ephesus was marked with boldness and confidence.

Let me challenge you. Lay hands upon the children and pray with authority, expecting God to supernaturally, instantaneously enter into the children and deliver what He has promised. Pray with confidence. Don't be timid. Your reputation isn't on the line. Move your expectation meter up to the highest level and get ready. Testimonies will soon follow!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Precedent Has Been Established!

Long before I was born, a world record was broken in 1954 that forever altered history. While many records may come to mind, the one that I am referring to involves Roger Bannister who dared to push beyond the barriers of impossibilities to become the very first person to run a mile in less than four minutes. He challenged his body and mind to accomplish the very first 4-minute mile. For years, the 4-minute mile was considered not merely unreachable but according to physiologists of the time, dangerous to the health of any athlete who attempted to reach it.

Before breaking the world record, Bannister was running with the 2-year-old memory of disappointment still burning within him. He had expected -- and had been expected -- to win the 1,500 meters, the metric mile, at the 1952 Olympics. Even the Duke of Edinburgh had timed his visit to Helsinki in order to be there when the final was run. But Bannister was jostled during the race, never got into contention and finished fourth. Only a remarkable performance down the road could erase the disappointment. He achieved it at Iffley. On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-4-minute mile in recorded history. The 25-year-old native of Harrow on the Hill, England, completed the distance in 3:59.4 at Oxford. When he crossed the finish line, he broke through a psychological barrier as well.

What was the importance of Bannister's feat of strength and endurance? If one person could do it, then others could too. Once the door had been opened, once a precedent had been set, it became plausible and possible for others to break through.

The Day of Pentecost accomplished a milestone and a turning point for God’s relationship with children. In reading the Old Testament, we find a few, select occasions where God spoke to children or used them for His purposes. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost marked a new dimension for God’s relationship with children. Peter announced in his message on the Day of Pentecost a new day for God’s visitation upon and His ministry through boys and girls. No longer would His Spirit rest upon a few, select individuals. Upon the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, His Spirit could now enable and equip “you and your children” (Acts 2:39). Now, the door had been opened. The precedent had been established. The promise had been given (Joel 2:28) and fulfilled so that children could boldly speak forth the Word of the Lord. “Your children shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17).  

The purpose for this week's blog is to remind you that the precedent has been set. Because of the Day of Pentecost and the outpouring of God's Spirit, children and children's ministries all over the world are enjoying what was once impossible. The door is wide open for you to go where you once were forbidden or restricted. Come on in and bring your children with you!

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Time for Your Annual Check-Up!

Once a year, most adults go to a physician for a physical check-up. Whether we like it or not, the check-up generally affirms what we already know to be true. The annual report tells us that aren't exercising enough, we need to lay off of the sweets, and that "diet" is a four-letter word that won't get our mouths washed out with soap by our mother. Each year, we pay a lot of money to hear a physician tell us what we already know to be true and the prescription needed to get to where we need to be, right? 

For this week's blog entry, I want to share a check-up report about today's church as presented by two highly respected leaders.

Dr. A. W. Tozer (noted Pastor, preacher, and author) - “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” 

C.T. Studd (missionary to China, India, and Africa) - "How little chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound Him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves."

To be honest, these assessments weren't written in the past few months. In fact, both of these men lived many, many years ago. And yet, their assessment of today's church is still so accurate. Sadly, just like our annual physical report, we are hearing what we already know to be true. Much of what is done in the church is done without the anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit. We know that this is true!

The purpose of this week's blog is to challenge you to assess what is going on in your children's ministry. Be honest. You already know the answer. Is the Holy Spirit's presence readily seen in your ministry? Is He allowed to move about as He desires or is He bound up in the red tape? Upon answering these questions, you already know what needs to be done. Come on. Start making the necessary changes to get the ministry where you know it should be.

Selah ...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stockpiling Your Arsenal

Anyone with any military experience knows the importance of being well-armed and prepared as they enter into battle. Battles are lengthy. The combat strategy calls for an army ready for the long-haul. With that in mind, no one would enter into combat only being armed with a gun loaded with a single bullet, right? Instead, they would enter the battle with an arsenal of weapons. They would have their primary weapon and a host of auxiliary weapons and a stockpile of ammo.

This week, I want to deviate away from passing along a teaching idea or principle and instead share some of the arsenal of resources that I constantly refer to in my quest to impact a generation of children and equip multitudes of children's ministry leaders to know, love, and flow with the Holy Spirit. While the Bible has been and continues to be my ultimate, primary weapon, over the years I have collected many, many books that share teaching about Holy Spirit's personality, works, gifts, attributes, fruit, etc. In this arsenal, you will find many books with dog-eared pages, my handwritten notes scattered throughout the book, and an abundance of highlighted sentences and/or paragraphs.

Let me start off by saying that the following list is far from being exhaustive. My bookshelves at home and the office are filled to overflowing with books about the Holy Spirit. The following is in my opinion the "must-haves". Most if not all of the books are available through

* The Book of Acts: A Commentary by C. Peter Wagner
The Dynamic Duo: The Holy Spirit and You by Rick Renner
* The Spirit Himself by Ralph Riggs
* The God I Never Knew by Robert Morris
* Commissioned with Power by Gordon Lindsay
* The Holy Spirit, My Senior Partner by David Yonggi Cho
* Tongues: Beyond the Upper Room by Kenneth Hagin
* 70 Reasons for Speaking in Tongues by Dr. Bill Hamon
* The Walk of the Spirit, the Walk of Power by Dave Roberson (available for free download on his website
* Pentecost Lost by Patricia Holland

I trust that these books will become a part of your library and be a blessing to you.

One more quick note ... I am currently reading Taking Action by Reinhard Bonnke. It is an incredible addition to my library.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Where Are the Martin Luther's?

This past week, a historical event of mammoth proportion went largely unnoticed by the American church. Overshadowed by the other festivities on October 31st was the remembrance and honoring of an event that forever changed the church. It was on the Wednesday of October 31st in 1517 that an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther publicly renounced the sin and heresy of the church as he nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. From this act, the Protestant Reformation was birthed.

I am quite confident that Martin Luther wasn't alone in his assessment of the gross error and sin of the church. Surely there were many who also recognized that the church had deviated from the Word. But while there were possibly many who were disturbed by what they saw, it was Luther who took action and declared that enough is enough and in doing so changed the course of human history.

I challenge you to look at the condition of today's children's ministry. Surely you can see what I see. I'm not talking about a children's ministry plagued with sin and doctrinal error. I see a children's ministry that is void of power. I see children graduating from our ministries not prepared to be the world changers that God destined them to be. We have settled for ministries filled with hype and performance (enticing words of man's wisdom ... 2 Corinthians 2:4) but missing the visible, viable presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

Where are today's Martin Luther's?  Where are the men and women who will stand up and cry aloud, "Enough is enough!"? Where are the children's leaders who will post a mantra to ignite change in a powerless, unproductive "ministry" to children?

Will you just stay disturbed or will you join me in being a present-day Martin Luther? Will you go beyond being disturbed and do some nailing and announcing that enough is enough? Will you begin to announce that the same-o, same-o days are over and that today is a new day? It is a day of change. It is a day of REVOLUTION as "Today is the day of the Holy Ghost". 

Let's go get our hammers. We've got some work to do .....

Monday, October 29, 2012

Make It Visible #8

Here is one final idea for making the teaching about the Holy Spirit come alive.

Object Lesson: Praying in Other Tongues, The Key to Unlocking the Benefits of Heaven
Props: Key, Plastic Hotel Room Key Card
Slide: 1 Corinthians 14:2

If you have stayed in a hotel lately, you know that it is a rare thing to find a hotel that still uses the traditional key (show key) anymore for their rooms. After having key after key not being returned as the guests left their hotel, hotel owners called upon technology to create a safe, secure, affordable means to allow guests to get into their hotel rooms. The result is a key card. (Show hotel key card.)

Have you seen one of these cards before? No matter the hotel chain, the key cards are all basically the same. On one side, you have information about the hotel. It might show the logo of the hotel chain or maybe just the word "welcome". The other side of the key card is generally nothing but a magnetic stripe.

Let's take a couple of minutes and talk about the magnetic stripe found on the back of the motel room key card. Now I will readily admit that I am not the smartest person. To me, the stripe on the back of this card doesn't look like much. There's nothing too exciting about a stripe. But, inside of this stripe is embedded or hidden a secret language that enables you to enter into a place that once was forbidden. Am I right? Without this secret or mysterious language, you won't be able to enjoy all that is beyond the door.

Here is one more benefit of this stripe. You don't have to be able to decipher the hidden language. You don't have to know all that is hidden inside of the stripe. The lock on the door recognizes, reads, and responds to the hidden language!

Why have I shared this information about a hotel room key card? Because God has provided a way for you and I to enjoy special benefits from heaven that can only be obtained and opened by using something that is much like this magnetic stripe on the back of the key card. In God's Word we find: (Show slide)

"For if you have the ability to speak in tongues, you will be
only to God, since people won’t be able to understand
You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit,
but it will all be mysterious."
2 Corinthians 14:2 (The New Living Translation) 

Did you get that? By praying in a special language given by the Holy Spirit, we are able to pray secrets or mysteries. This is so exciting because this only-God-and-you secret language (mysteries) will unlock heaven and open the door for God to do wonderful things to us and through us. As the mysterious words come out of our mouths, heaven instantly recognizes, reads, and responds to the hidden language and ... well, let's pray in our language right now and let God show us what will happen!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Make It Visible #7

Here is one more object lesson that will help make your teaching about the Holy Spirit come alive.

Object Lesson: This Gift is For You
Prop: Giant dictionary
Slides: Joel 2:28, word definitions
Note: While any dictionary will work for this object lesson, I use the Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary. This dictionary is huge! It is about 4 inches thick and contains over 2100 pages of words and definitions. It makes for a great prop to show the enormity of our English language. Perhaps your local public or school library will allow you to borrow a comparable dictionary.

For those coming into our nation and having to learn to communicate in a new language, our English language can be quite difficult to learn and master. One of the difficulties comes from the fact that many of our words have multiple meanings. The person learning our language might hear a word used in a sentence and have a full understanding of one of its meanings and yet not understand how that word fits into the subject of the conversation. For example, consider the word "trunk". From this massive dictionary (show dictionary), we find that there are ten different definitions, all talking about different things. The definitions include: (Show slide … revealing one definition at a time.)
  1. The main woody axis of a tree.
  2. A proboscis, especially the long prehensile proboscis of an elephant.
  3. A covering over the hatches of a ship.
  4. A covered compartment for luggage and storage, generally at the rear of an automobile.
  5. A large packing case or box that clasps shut, used as luggage or for storage.
Can you see how difficult that this can be? They might be hearing the word "trunk" and think that the speaker is talking about a long nose on an elephant when in all actuality the speaker is referring to the part of a car that stores luggage.

Here is the reason for today's object lesson. God was so careful to insure that you know that He loves you so much that He has a special gift for you. In sending His precious Holy Spirit, He wanted to make sure that you know and understand that you are to be included with those receiving this gift. God said in Joel 2:28: (Show slide)

"I will pour out my Spirit upon all people ..."
Joel 2:28 (New Living Translation)

Did you notice the word "all"? Let's look in this dictionary one more time to make sure that there is no room for confusion. Here is the definition for the word "all":
  1. Being or representing the entire or total number, amount, or quantity.
  2. Every.
It is just that simple. The word "all" doesn't mean just a few or one or two here and there. All means ALL. In looking at our Bible verse again (show slide), how many people did God say that He would pour His Spirit upon? It's so simple. A-L-L people. No one is left out. In fact, the Bible even makes double sure that you know that you are included when we discover that a little further in this verse and then later in Acts 2:17 and Acts 2:39 God specifically says that this "all" includes children.

Let's not make this difficult or complicated. There aren't ten different definitions for the word "all". It is impossible to not know God's desire. His gift of the Holy Spirit is for Y-O-U!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Make It Visible #6

Here is another object lesson to enhance your teaching about the Holy Spirit.

Object Lesson: The Holy Spirit, Our Counselor
Prop: Newspaper
Slides: Fictitious advice column, John 16:13

A lot of moms and dads start off their day by reading a newspaper. Some will sit with the newspaper in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Now, you may not know this but every newspaper is divided into sections. There is the section devoted to the national, state, and local news. (Show front page/section of the newspaper.) Then, there is the section of the newspaper that tells the news about business/finance. (Show that portion of the newspaper.) Third is usually the section devoted to the sports news. (Show that portion of the newspaper.) And then finally is the section of the newspaper that has what I call the personal interest news which includes the comics, recipes, television programming schedules, and advice columns. (Show that portion of the newspaper.)

I brought this newspaper to the service today because I want to look at this last section, and in particular to the portion of the section called the advice columns. In this newpaper you find Dear Abby and then next to it is Dear Ann Landers. In these columns, these individuals print letters which have been written asking for their advice. It might have to do with needing advice on how to deal with a lazy child or a mean co-worker or a friend with horrible bad breath. The letters can be quite serious or out and out hilarious. In fact, I have taken one of these letters from a recent column and placed it on a slide. (Create and then show a funny letter. It might be from a person claiming that they have a cat that talks to its owner demanding milk served at a certain temperature and other crazy demands.) If you read very many of these columns day after day, you will see that there are many people needing advice and help.

Here is my question for you. Why would people ask advice from someone whom they've never met and don't know? They don't know Abby or Ann and Abby and Ann doesn't know them. And yet, the writer is pouring out their heart and telling personal and maybe secret things to Abby or Ann.

Here is an idea. Instead of Dear Abby or Ann Landers, why don't we seek the advice and direction from the Holy Spirit who knows us and everything about us? You see, He knows everything about everything and is anxiously waiting for an opportunity to share that information with us. (Show slide.)

"But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you
into all truth. He will not speak his own words, but he will
 speak only what he hears,and he will tell you what is to come."
 John 16:13 (New Century Version)

When we need help and direction, we have THE One to turn to. (To illustrate this, hold up your index finger when you say the words "THE One" and then add the middle finger when you add the next word "to". When you say the word "turn", turn your hand around and then when you add the final "to" return your hand to the original position.)
Thank God for the Holy Spirit!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Make It Visible #5

Here is one more idea to help make the teaching about the Holy Spirit come alive and be visible.

Object Lesson: The Person of the Holy Spirit
Prop: Pen

Far too often, we hear the Holy Spirit being referred to as some mystical force or unknowable entity. Jesus went to great lengths to dispel what I call the "weirdness factor" about the Holy Spirit by insuring that His disciples heard from His very lips that the Holy Spirit was a Person that they could know. How do I know this? When Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit to His followers, not once did He show the Holy Spirit to be a force or an invisible, mysterious "it". Instead, we find in John 14 - 16, Jesus purposefully refers to the Holy Spirit 19 times with personal pronouns including "He", "Him", and "Himself".

How is this significant? Try as you might, you can't know an "it". A great example would be my Cross pen (a great pen for a preacher to have ... "Cross" ... get it? ... anyways). I love my pen. It is big and heavy and is great to write with. But as much as I love my pen, "it" has never told me that "it" loves me back. "It" has never told that "it" loves the way that I hold "it". "It" has never told me that being in my hand makes "it" feel secure. Why? Because my pen is an "it".

On the other hand, you can KNOW a PERSON. A PERSON can and will COMMUNICATE with you.You can SEE the FEELINGS/EMOTIONS of a PERSON.

There is no wonder that Jesus over and over and over again emphasized the "Personhood" of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, Jesus turned the "mystical" into the "knowable". It would be wise for us to do the same thing!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Make It Visible #4

I trust that these Make It Visible entries are providing ideas that will enhance your teaching about the Holy Spirit. This week, I will share another game that can be used as an object lesson to teach about one of the Holy Spirit's jobs.

"He Said What?"

Persons: Leader and 3 boys and 3 girls
Slide: John 16:13
Preparation: Write a lengthy sentence that contains several adjectives on an index card.  An example might be "I love to eat gooey marshmallow treats and drink really hot chocolate on cold, wet wintry nights".

Game: Line up the children side by side and placing the children boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, and girl. Explain that before the service, you wrote a fact about yourself that you want to share with everyone. And, to make sure that it would be memorable, you thought and thought and thought, came up with the perfect sentence that will share earth-shattering news, and then wrote that thought on this index card. Now, you are going to read the sentence by whispering it into the ear of the first person. That person will whisper it into the ear of the next person. This will continue until it reaches the last person who will then tell everyone what they've learned about me. Explain that each child will need to pay special attention to what is being said because it can only be whispered one time to them. As the news reaches the last person, ask them to reveal what they've learned and then compare what they've announced to what you have written on the index card.

Application: In using this game, I have NEVER had the final announcement be any where near the original statement. The sentence given by the final child is generally hilarious. Why is this statement so far removed from what was originally given? The deviation from the original statement could be due to individuals not listening correctly or perhaps being distracted or individuals not speaking clearly. The end result is that the final statement didn't accurately convey your thought.

How does this apply to the Holy Spirit? Consider this ... (Show John 16:13 slide.)

"But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you into all truth.
He will not speak his own words, but he will speak only what
he hears, and he will tell you what is to come."
John 16:13 (New Century Version)

Notice the job of the Holy Spirit. The heavenly Father talks to the Holy Spirit. There is no whispering going on so that inaccuracies or misunderstandings might arise. The Holy Spirit then tells you what He has learned from the Father. Notice that there aren't four or five or fifteen people that pass along the information to each other before it gets to you. The information or guidance comes straight from the Father through the Holy Spirit. Is there room for mistakes or confusion? Nope. Because the Holy Spirit "will speak ONLY (emphasis mine) what He hears". According to John 16:13, the Holy Spirit will insure that you will always, always, always know that you know that you know that you have accurately heard from the Father!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Make It Visible #3

In the last two blog entries, I shared games that will enhance your teaching about the Holy Spirit. This week, I want to share a few ideas about some props that I use in my teachings.

First, let me share some props that you probably already own.
  1. A Swiss army knife. Great prop for teaching how the Holy Spirit is prepared to assist in any and every situation. These knives have every type of accessory needed to remedy practically any need. Jesus showed His dependence upon the "Swiss army knife" Companion in Luke 4:18-19.
  2. A flashlight with battery.In going to Walmart or Target, you will discover that flashlights are sold along with the batteries needed to power the flashlight. Why? Because without the needed power, the flashlight can't fulfill its purpose!
  3. A dogbone. Sold in the pet stores or department stores. A great prop for illustrating how the Holy Spirit gives you a spiritual backbone. (Acts 1:8) The bigger the dogbone, the better for the illustration!
  4. Barbells. Used to illustrate the value of praying in other tongues. Jude 20 and 1Corinthians 14:4 teaches that we grow stronger as we pray in our heavenly prayer language.
  5. A GPS (global positioning system). Used to demonstrate that the Holy Spirit has been sent to lead and guide us. (John 16:13)
  6. A three-legged easel or tripod. Great for teaching about the Trinity, their responsibilities and dependency upon each other. Each leg of the easel is important and carries equal responsibility. In the Trinity, the Father was dependent upon the Son to express His love. The Son was dependent upon the Father for His leadership. The Son was dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enable Him to fulfill His assignment. The Holy Spirit was dependent upon the Father to lead the Son and speak to the Son. Great illustration!
Here are some props that you can purchase through Just type in the information that I am providing into Amazon's search engine and you will be offered a large selection to choose from.
  1. Rubber brain. Great for teaching about being lead by your spirit and not your brain.
  2. Rubber tongue. Great for teaching how the Holy Spirit doesn't grab ahold of our tongue and force us to speak in other tongues. Paul wrote, "I will pray in the Spirit." It is a matter of our will.
  3. Play Visions Mega Mouth by Play Visions. Great prop for showing the importance of opening up your mouth and using your voice to connect your spirit and the Holy Spirit as we pray in our heavenly language.
  4. Plastic ear. Great for teaching about the inward ear that hears the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Stiff rope. Great "magic" prop for illustrating how the Holy Spirit will give you a spiritual backbone.
I'll see you next week with more ideas for making the teaching about the Holy Spirit come alive.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Make It Visible #2

Too many ideas ... too little space. This week, I want to share another idea to help make teaching on the Holy Spirit come alive. In Make It Visible #2 I want to provide a game that will show the importance of being filled to overflowing with God's Spirit. Once again I am sharing the game just as it would appear in one of our service curriculums.

“Filled to Overflowing”

Persons: Leader and 6 boys and 6 girls
Props: 12 large disposable cups, Styrofoam peanuts, 2 large clear containers, 2 music stands
BG Music: _______________
Note: The Styrofoam peanuts can be purchased in large bags at Office Depot or any office supply store. One idea for the large clear containers could be the large clear containers that you would find at Sam's Wholesale Club used with the Cheese Balls (Cheetos like snacks). Or you could use large clear drink pitchers.
Logistics: It is important to have a cleaning crew ready to pick up or sweep up the Styrofoam peanuts lying on the ground after the game.
Game: This is a simple relay game with the children standing side-to-side on the platform and holding a cup. At one end of the line is a container of the Styrofoam peanuts. At the other end of the line is the large empty clear container that is placed on a music stand. 

The object of the game is to pass the peanuts down the row (the children pouring the peanuts from one cup to the next) until the clear container is filled to overflowing. To make the game more interesting, have both teams race at the same time.

Application: Filled to overflowing. In order to win, nothing less will do. Will only having a little be enough? No. How about almost being full? NO!!! The winners of our game were those who made sure that their container was FILLED to OVERFLOWING.

Why is this important? Because we see that after Jesus returned to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, the disciples were so filled with the Spirit that they had trouble containing Him on the inside. As they went through their day, these filled-to-overflowing people splashed the overflow on those around them. (Acts 5:15-16) Great things happened when the splashing took place!

That SAME Holy Ghost wants to splash out of filled-to-overflowing people (including boys and girls) TODAY. Let’s be one of those filled-to-overflowing people! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Make It Visible #1

From time to time, I mention different ideas that I've incorporated in our services to make the teaching come alive. Many of these ideas are shared in our Regional Ignite the Supernatural Conferences when Vickie teaches a workshop entitled Holy Spirit Projectiles. I always hate that time of our conference because I know that when Vickie is teaching this workshop, the majority of the people always gravitate to her class leaving my workshop that is running simultaneously with just a few people. I know that people are looking for ways to make the invisible become visible.

So, for the next few weeks, I want to share some of these ideas with you. Some blog entries will provide ideas for games. Other blog entries will be object lessons. And finally other blog entries will provide information where to find props that will help you.

Let's start with a game that shows the importance of listening to the inward voice of the Holy Spirit. It's called "How Bad Do You Want It?". I am presenting the game to you just like it would appear in a curriculum.

“How Bad Do You Want It”

Persons: Leader and 1 boy and 1 girl
Props: Two $1.00 bills
Slides: Countdown Timer, John 16:13, Proverbs 20:27

Game: Before the service, two $1.00 bills are hidden in the auditorium. One boy and then later one girl will race against time to find the hidden money. Our leader is to only give the clues of “hot”, “hotter”, “burning hot”, “cold”, “colder”, “freezing” to describe how close the child is to their prize. Each child will be given 90 seconds to find their prize.

: In order to win the prize, the child had to really pay attention to what was being said. What a shame it would be to hear directions that turn by turn, step by step lead them to the prize and yet totally ignore what was being said. I don’t know about you, I’d be focusing. I’d really want that prize.

In talking to His disciples, Jesus tells us that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is talk to us and in doing so, He will give us direction. (Show John 16:13 slide) Is it an audible voice that we hear with our ears? Well, it could happen. But, the majority of the time, the Holy Spirit will give us a knowing on the inside of us. In the Book of Proverbs (show Proverbs 20:27 slide) we see that God's Holy Spirit will speak to our spirit giving us direction. It is in our spirit that we will sense and know where to go, how to go, when to go.

How bad do you want God's direction? In listening to His voice and following His direction, we will be blessed, protected, and secure!!! I don't know about you, but I REALLY want to hear and obey the Holy Spirit. 

Monday, September 3, 2012


I recently discovered and then downloaded to my iPad three books written by a great British Pentecostal pioneer Alexander A. Boddy. The first of the books, The Laying on of Hands, was written in 1895 and the remaining two, Pentecost for England and (The True) Pleading of the Blood, were written in 1907. It was through the influence of the Anglican Alexander and his wife Mary that a move of God's Spirit began to sweep across the United Kingdom at the beginning of the twentieth century. Mary often prayed for people to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The most famous of these is Smith Wigglesworth.

It was in the book Pentecost for England that I discovered a thought that I continue to meditate upon and trust that it will be a blessing to you.

Pentecost is a baptism of praise, coming over the balconies of heaven from the glorified presence of our Savior, having an unmistakable relation to His glorification, fills us with His glory striking the chords of praise we never dreamed existed in our souls and finding adequate expression only in the tongues, which come with it the scenes of heavenly praise and adoration above. 

Boddy's statement reminds us that being Pentecostal isn't a denomination. It is ... well, reread the quotation again and allow the Holy Spirit define His presence in your life.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Milestone

This week, allow me to deviate from the normal type of blog entry and do something that is extremely rare in this blog. Of the 270+ blog entries posted over the past 5 years, I've only written a handful of blog entries that deal with my personal life. I am keenly aware that I have readers from all over the world that each week look forward to the entries sharing insights for working together with the Holy Spirit. I rarely stray away from that type of entry. But, an important event has taken place this week that is far too important to ignore. So, I'll gladly pick up the Holy Ghost thoughts next week.

Yesterday, August 26th, I had the privilege to celebrate a milestone that few experience any more. In a time where marriage vows are ignored and few marriages survive for any length of time, I had the joy of marking my 35th anniversary of being married to the most beautiful, sweetest, godliest ladies in the world, Vickie Lee Segelquist Burns.

This easily could be the longest, wordiest blog entry that I have posted in the last 5 years. There is so much that I could share about this wonderful lady. For some 12,775 days (thank God for a calculator to help me with the arithmetic) we have walked together loving each other, honoring Christ and His assignment for our lives, family, and ministry. Together, we have traveled around our great nation and some 29 nations as evangelists, pastored several thousand children as children's pastors at the same church for 23 years, raised three incredible sons, fallen in love with a beautiful daughter (we don't use the phrase "in-law"), enjoyed 2 beautiful grandsons (a third grandchild is on its way), laughed and sometimes cried together, and loved each and every day that God has allowed us to share. Vickie is the reason for my first smile of the morning and my last sigh of fulfillment and joy at the end of the day. I am truly a blessed man.

Thank you Vickie for 35 wonderful years. I believe that our best days are yet to come as we continue to walk hand-in-hand, side-by-side. I love you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Filled to Overflowing

This week, allow me to share a few powerful sentences from The Complete Smith Wigglesworth. Rather than comment on the quote, I'll ask you to read and then reread and then rereread (in other word, meditate upon) this statement from a mighty man of God. I believe that it will grow on the inside of you and challenge you to yearn for a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit ...

"The most important thing, the one thing that counts, is to see that we are filled with the Holy Spirit, filled to overflowing. Anything less than this is displeasing to God. We are commanded by God to be filled with His Spirit, and in the measure that you fail of this, you are far short of the plan of God."

I'll see you next week!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Make an Eternal Impact

Just a few days ago, Vickie and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary of being Trinity Church International's Children's Pastors. I'll have to admit, there aren't too many Children's Pastors that I am aware of that have stayed at one church for any where near that length of time. We are celebrating because during these years, we have been blessed, blessed, blessed to have loved on thousands of children (that's a literal number ... not some number to hype a blog entry).

The reward for these years of ministry is incalculable. It's a rare Sunday when we don't have at least one of our graduates (those whose age moved them on to youth) to stop by to see and love on us. Often, Vickie and I have "kids" who were once in our ministry when we first arrived at Trinity and are now in their twenties and early thirties stop by to hug us and remind us that they love us. Why? Because over the years I've told them that they may outgrow our ministry, but they will never outgrow me. I will always be their Children's Pastor. They will never find a pastor who will love them more than we do.

Displaying my love in a shaving cream fight!
I will be the first to admit that there may be many Children's Pastors far more eloquent than I am in their speaking abilities. Without question, there are many far more creative than I have been or ever will be. But, I say without hesitation that you won't find anyone who loves their children and communicates that love more we do. 

Children's leader, the children will someday (perhaps sooner than you think) forget your brilliant puppet skit. Years down the road, they won't remember the magic trick that you worked on for days upon end. I seriously question if they will be able to tell you about the creative way that you told your Bible story. But, I do know that they will remember the love that you deposited. 

AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, make time to display and articulate love. Connect. Touch. Smile. Genuinely care. Create "uh huh" moments where your hearts intertwine and they can see the love of Jesus flow through a simple, humble servant. Remember, "There are three things that will endure—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 (The New Living Translation)

How does this relate to a blog that is supposed to be dedicated to raising and equipping Holy Ghost leaders? I'm glad that you asked. Here's the answer ... EVERYTHING. This love is supernatural because it comes from the Holy Ghost. The Bible teaches "... the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost." (Romans 5:5) Now go and be a Holy Ghost lover of kids!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Do I Have a Witness?

It's a sad day for the Burns' household. One of our favorite television shows The Closer has its next-to-last episode tonight. For however many years, Vickie and I on Monday nights have either been watching the live episode or made sure that our DVR has been set to record Brenda Leigh Johnson solve what at first appears to be an unsolvable crime. Each week, we are amazed as we watch her team push aside circumstantial evidence and put together an air-tight case against the criminal. I know that next Monday, we'll have the box of tissues ready as we bid The Closer goodbye.

Allow me to share something that I've learned from watching The Closer (and a host of other cop/detective shows) that will apply to your children's ministry. Circumstantial evidence and hear-say evidence won't hold up in a court of law. Cases presented with loosely formed evidence or evidence coming second- or third-hand will always be thrown out of court. To substantiate any claim of guilt, there has to be rock solid evidence that can be corroborated from an eye witness or evidence garnered from a touchable object.

How does this pertain to your children's ministry? In most Sunday school classrooms and children's church auditoriums, the audience (our boys and girls) who are gathered to be the jury and weigh out the evidence of our presentation (our lesson or sermon) are mere recipients of second-hand evidence. Few if any have ever witnessed evidence to substantiate the claims presented in the Gospel. And, due to the lack of sustainable proof, many children are sadly putting the teachings of Bible in the same category as fables and superstitious tales.

Children's worker, how powerful is an eye-witness ministry? In Matthew 11:23 Jesus shares the power of witnessing the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit when He says that Sodom and Gomorrah would still be around today if they could have witnessed the mighty miracles performed in the cities about the Sea of Galilee. Later in His Great Commission in Mark 16, Jesus tells His followers to back up their teachings with evidence. Jesus knew that seeing IS believing.

I know that the walk of the believer is a life of faith. I know that the scriptures teach that the "just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17) and that we "walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But, each week, we stand before a courtroom of children formulating conclusions about whether or not they will walk with Christ after they leave our ministry. Is our evidence second-hand? Or, are there things that they can see and experience that will provide rock solid proof that we aren't teaching fables and myths? What we teach and preach to the children can be and MUST BE substantiated with undeniable proof so that can know that they know that they know that Jesus is still the same yesterday, today, and forever. Let's provide an opportunity for the children to be able to sing, "Look what the Lord has done. Look what the Lord has done. He's healed my body. He's touched my mind. He saved me just in time ..." Then and only then will we have children who live for Jesus the remainder of their lives.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Realness Factor

One of the most profound statements about the Holy Spirit is found in Benny Hinn's book "Welcome, Holy Spirit" where he quotes Kathryn Kuhlman telling of her relationship with the Spirit of God. Let me share this thought taken from page 28 " ... Kathryn Kuhlman looked out over those seated in the audience for her healing service and said of the Holy Spirit, 'He's more real to me than you are.'"

How real is the Holy Spirit to you? For many, the Holy Spirit is Someone that they kind of know exists but can't provide much information about Him. To others, He is just a part of a religious creed recited in church services. Others have reduced God's Spirit to nothing more than a force or mystical, invisible entity.

I know that this blog entry isn't very lengthy. It doesn't take many words to ask you to examine the realness of the Holy Spirit in your life. Can you join Kathryn Kuhlman in stating that He is more real to you than the flesh and blood person sitting in the room with you right now? If not, do yourself a favor and get to know the Spirit of the living God. In doing so, you'll never ever be the same again.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ever Think About Quitting the Children's Ministry?

Ever get discouraged while working in your children's ministry? If we are honest, every one of us will have to admit to allowing discouragement to raise its ugly head and try to convince us to quit. It's easy to have a pity party because no other ministry in our church truly understands all that we do or the hours that we spend. This ministry can deplete our energies, enthusiasm, and, sadly, even our joy. At times, your natural instinct will cry for you to hand this ministry off to some other person. Can you identify with any of this?

It's always amazing to me that when these times come (and they DO come), God always sends a gentle encouragement that will enable us to keep on keeping on. For example ...
* A couple of weeks ago at a Phat Sat (going to a local amusement park and then a county pool), Vickie and I were talking to a sweet little girl. In the conversation, I complemented her and told her that she was a beautiful little girl. I then asked her if any other person had told her that day that she was beautiful. After hearing her reply of no, I asked, "Didn't your Dad or Mom tell you?" Again, her answer was no. A little later she pulled me to the side and told me that both her Dad and Mom were in prison and that I was like a Dad to her. I think that I'll keep on keeping on.
* A few days ago, I had a mother tell me that her ten-year-old daughter had never known her father. When the mother found out that she was pregnant, the father fled. The mother looked at me, and, with tear-filled eyes, said, "Pastor Billy, my daughter looks to you like a Dad." I think that I'll keep on keeping on.
* I had a mother tell me, "Pastor Billy, my son told me that when he grows up, he wants to be a policeman, a fireman, or a Pastor Billy." I think that I'll keep on keeping on.
* Some time ago, I had a mother tell me, "Pastor Billy, my children told me that they love their Dad but wanted to know if Pastor Billy could come and live with them too." I think that I'll keep on keeping on.

Is this ministry labor intensive? Yep. Is this ministry energy draining? Without question, yes! But quit? Are you kidding me? Only heaven has an accurate record of all that is being accomplished week after week. Pardon me. I'm going to end today's blog entry so that I can get back to being a Children's Pastor. One more kid needs some of Pastor Billy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kids, They Want to Have Fun

Years ago, there was an extremely popular song that stated "Girls, They want to have fun." To be honest, those few words are the only words that I know from the song. But, that's enough to remind me that girls (and, if the truth be known ... boys) want to have fun.

If that is true (and it is!!!), then the element of fun should always be a part of the equation in ministering to children. In our children's ministry, we always utilize a fun-filled action-type game to start off our services. This game brings an end to the children visiting among themselves and brings focus before going into our time of praise and worship. Then later, we do some type of game to help the children with the memorization of the Bible verse. Fun is an essential part of our service.

You might be thinking this thought, "What in the world does fun have to do with a blog that primarily deals with the Person and work of the Holy Spirit?" I'm glad that you had this question. The answer is EVERYTHING. The Holy Spirit isn't opposed to you having fun in a service. In fact, He encourages it. He knows that people (including children) are spirit, soul, and body. He knows that an effective ministry engages and touches all three parts of the individual. ALL three aspects of ministry are important. If you eliminate or omit touching one of the three parts of the child, you are essentially trying to rest upon a three-legged stool that only has two legs. If you are able to sit on the stool, it won't be for very long and it will be mighty uncomfortable.

Let me take it a step further. In addition to having fun as a part of a service, why don't you occasionally have a service that is ALL fun. Am I being heretical? NOPE! After completing a teaching series or perhaps once a quarter or even once every other month have an unbelievably, unforgettably wild, crazy, exciting ALL fun service. For example, this weekend we are having a Chill Weekend where we are showing the new VeggieTales Penniless Princess DVD and serving snow cones to the kids. Later, we are having Shine Weekend where the boys and girls will showcase their talents. I'll add in my humor to what they do by trying to imitate their talent. It'll be a hilarious weekend. How about having a Super Sloppy Double Dare weekend where you will watch a new 30 minute DVD and then ask questions and play Double Dare based upon the movie. The kids will never forget the weekend as they wind up participating in and/or watching some really sloppy games played by those taking physical challenges.

Let me go one more step further. Why does "ministry" have to be contained inside of the church building? During these summer months, enjoy connecting with the children outside of the church. Once in June and then again in August, the midweek Bible clubs that meet during our Wednesday night service go to a local swimming pool. Spiritual? You betcha! Every kid in the church wants to lay hands on their young (55-year-old) children's pastor. It's a night of memory-making fun and a time to connect in a whole new way. What about pushing the lesson aside and serving snow cones one hot Summer Wednesday night? Is this spiritual? Yep!

This blog entry is far longer than I had planned. But, it is needed. Have some fun. Make some memories. Connect. Bond. Touch all three parts of the child ... spirit, soul, and body. These OCCASIONAL all-service fun times will open the door for greater "regular" types of ministry. Try it. I guarantee that your boys and girls love you, the church, and being a Christian a whole lot more!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Holy Spirit is My Partner!

I recently was going through some files on my computer and came across a letter thanking us for a national Ignite the Supernatural Conference. Allow me to share just a brief portion of the letter ...

"And I wanted to tell you that the conference was amazing. I gleaned so much, but the biggest thing was a new revelation of the Holy Spirit. At some point, it hit me: the Holy Spirit is my partner! I didn't feel inadequate anymore. Leaving the Ignite conference, I felt as though I was leaving a marriage conference...and it has been such a wonderful time since! My life was transformed--there is a lightness and a boldness in me, and an awakening to the Holy Spirit. I am excited to wake up and fellowship with Him and partner with Him in ministry, instead of trying to do it myself. Things I had known in my head became real in my heart."

I'm back with you. I'm sharing this excerpt from the email with you because I believe that it is important that we continually reexamine our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to be "our partner"? As our partner, we are allowing Him to co-teach alongside of us. As our partner, we are allowing Him to provide direction from His perspective. As our partner, we are allowing Him to be an extra set of eyes and ears, revealing to us information about our children that our narrow vantage point wouldn't/couldn't see and hear. As our partner, He overshadows our inadequacies and enables us to powerfully impact children's lives.

Now, turn off the computer and take a few minutes to dialog with the Holy Spirit. This would be a great time to convey your need and dependence upon this One who has been sent to work alongside of you. I guarantee that the children in your ministry will thank you for doing so!

One more thing ... would you like for us to conduct a Friday/Saturday regional Ignite the Supernatural Conference at your church? For more information, please write me at

Monday, July 2, 2012

Meet My Friend, the Holy Spirit

Just a quick question which is inspired by my recently reading Acts 19. If the apostle Paul were to visit your church as he did the church in Ephesus and ask the question, "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you've believed?" would the boys and girls in your Sunday school class or children's church or mid-week Bible club give the same answer as the Ephesians?

Let's be honest. In most churches, children would echo the response of the Ephesians, "We haven't even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." I'm talking about churches that fall under the category of being Pentecostal or Charismatic.

Take this challenge. Please, please, please, please (I could keep typing this word over and over again) introduce your boys and girls to this Person who has been called to walk alongside of them. Allow them to meet and fall in love with this Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener and Standby. Your children and your ministry will never ever be the same again!

Need some help in making this introduction? I'm always just an email away.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Let Go of the Lesser

I know that this blog entry will be extremely brief ... too brief for some readers. It will fall far short of the usual 300 to 500 words found in most of my blog entries. But, please don't allow the brevity to diminish the blog's importance.

I readily recognize that you want to see a move of God's Spirit in your children and children's ministry. That is your sole reason for reading this blog each and every week. And yet for many, the desire and the realization of the desire just aren't connecting. 

Consider this. If what you are doing isn't producing the results that you desire, then change is necessary. I'm not telling you to change your location. (Don't quit and move to another church or ministry.) I am saying that there must be change ... in you. (I'm not talking about your clothing style or your appearance ... although an honest look in the mirror might be needed.) I am saying that time with the Spirit of God might reveal that there is need for change on the inside. To be honest, I am convinced that we are too full of ... us! You can't deny this. Our lifestyle and schedules prove that we are all about us.

What is the answer? As we decrease He will increase.

There is so much that I could write but I'm not going to elaborate. I believe that the Holy Spirit will do a far better job of revealing to desperate hearts how to let go of the lesser so that we can grab ahold of the Greater.


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Essential Four

As a children's pastor, I am constantly challenged because there is so much that I want to teach our children. For many of our children, I recognize that our ministry is the only opening of God's Word that they will experience during their week. Then, add to that fact, many of our children only attend our services sporadically. While we do have the weeklies (those who attend every weekend), there's a portion of our attendance that are the bi-weeklies, the monthlies, and finally the CEO's (Christmas and Easter Only) attendees. This makes my decision for what is taught in those precious 90 minutes each service so important.

There are so many curriculums available today with great Bible information. We've come a long ways from the type of curricula that we had when I started in children's ministry hundreds of years ago. There are teaching packages with all of the high-tech bells and whistles. Many are non-stop excitement and drama. Some are very culturally relevant addressing issues that children are facing today in their homes and schools. 

All of this is well and good. But, before I as a children's pastor start looking at what to teach, I always have to know in my spirit that there is a solid foundation of the "Essential Four" before I build the remainder of the structure. Before there is teaching about morals and how to's and why to's, I want to know in my heart that the children sitting in front of me have a solid understanding of these four core values:

  • Salvation by the blood of Jesus
  • The baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues
  • Christ as Savior and Healer
  • The imminent return of Christ
How is the foundation of your ministry? Are you building on a weak or shoddy foundation? Remember that no matter how elaborate that your house (ministry) might be, it is only sustainable if the walls and roof (the variety of teachings) are built upon a solid foundation (the Essential Four).

Consider this .... It might be time to push the "extras" aside for a season and establish your foundation. In doing so, you will establish solid, unshakable children who will make a difference in their generation.


Eikon Bible Art, where have you been during my 33 years of children's ministry?

I know that this sounds like one of those cheezy late night infomercials where the person is pitching a weight-loss product or a "miracle" hair restoring drug and makes that all-too-familiar claim, "I'm not a spokesman. I'm a satisfied customer." But, with Eikon, I have to say it! I know what I'm talking about. I am blown away with these stories. In fact, I'm so sold on Eikon's PowerPoint stories that I've purchased all 150 Bible stories. Within the last four weeks, I have used the artwork in three weekend services in either a slide from a story ("Creation") or complete stories ("The Birth of Samuel" and "The Call of Samuel" one weekend and "Moses in the Bullrushes" and "Moses Kills an Egyptian" in another weekend). The fourth weekend was our "Super Sloppy Double Dare" weekend and there was no Bible story. You can from this slide taken from the "Call of Samuel" story that this isn't some cheezy sales pitch. It's the real deal!

Rather than restate the benefits of this artwork, please check out the blog "An INCREDIBLE Teaching Tool" from the May 28th. Afterwards, I know that you will head to their web site to see the huge list of available stories.

Eikon knows that these stories will be an incredible tool to help you share the gospel. So, to help make this even more affordable, the prices decrease per story as you purchase groups of stories. The larger the number of stories purchased, the cheaper that the cost per story becomes.

Check out their web site,, TODAY! And, one more thing ... use the promo code BURNSBA to receive an additional 10% discount

Monday, June 11, 2012

Leading Children into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

As a child, I'd hear from time-to-time a challenge or dare from a friend to try to prod me to do something that I was uncomfortable doing. One of these challenges was to dive off of the high diving board at our local swimming pool. From the perspective of a ten-year-old, that diving board towered ten million miles above the pool's deep-end waters. To me, that seemed so impossible. So, for many weeks, I endured the taunts from these "friends" as they labeled me as being a great big "fraidy cat" or "scaredy cat". To this day, if I close my eyes, I can still picture these kids attempting to pressure me to do what I feared to be impossible. 

Often after completing a regional Ignite the Supernatural Conference, I have the privilege of preaching in the Sunday morning service of the host church. After preaching on the subject of the Holy Spirit, giving the altar call, and having many people baptized in the Holy Spirit, I have heard pastor after pastor comment upon how easy it seemed for me to bring people into this beautiful relationship with the Holy Spirit. They comment at how difficult it is for them to minister in this area. And, to be honest, as I hear their words, I can almost see an all-too-familiar look in their eyes. It's that same "fraidy cat" and "scaredy cat" look that came from a ten-year-old boy looking at the incredibly high diving board. 

Let me briefly share why ministering on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and giving an altar call for people to be filled with the precious Holy Spirit is so, so easy for me. ALL that is required of me is to share the message and give the invitation. The rest of the responsibility is upon God and the individuals standing in front of me. I see this in Luke 11:13. 

"Even though you are bad, you know how to give good things
to your children. How much more your heavenly Father
will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Luke 11:13 (New Century Version)

I tell about the Gift from heaven and then it becomes God's responsibility to provide the Gift and the individuals responsibility to receive and open the Gift. And, Luke 11:13 tells us that God is anxiously awaiting to provide this Gift to EVERYONE who asks Him. Pressure? Are you kidding? This is easier than jumping off of a high diving board!

Let me tell you, it's time to wipe the "fraidy cat" and "scaredy cat" look off of your faces. Sunday school teacher, children's church leader, mid-week Bible club worker .... prepare the way through teaching/preaching and then boldly, confidently give the opportunity for the Giver to give His Gift to those children who ask. If you will do your part, then you can provide the opportunity knowing that God WILL most assuredly baptize ALL who ask.

One more thought ... I did wipe the "fraidy cat" and "scaredy cat" look off of my face and conquered the high diving board at our West Columbia community pool. The high diving board became the highlight of the trips to the pool.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Knowing In Your Knower

If you've been in any of our Ignite the Supernatural Conferences, you have probably heard me tell of my high school Sunday school teacher, Treva Evans. She was a tremendous lady. I love to jokingly tell of her having false teeth and how that back then the adhesives used to hold false teeth in place weren't very good. When Treva would give a message in tongues, you could easily give the interpretation if you knew Morse Code. All humor aside, when Sister Evans would walk into a classroom, unlike any teacher that I had ever sat under at church, you could tell that she had heard from the Holy Ghost. She had that fire that Jeremiah had written about shut up in her bones. When she spoke to that ornery bunch of high school kids, we had to listen. We knew that she had heard from heaven. 

That Talker who spoke to Treva Evans way back in the early 1970's is still in the talking business in 2012. And, you don't have to be a television "superstar" preacher to hear His voice. To use a phrase from a friend, Mark Hankins, you (that's right ... Y-O-U) can "know in your knower" that you have heard the voice of the Holy Ghost because His voice is so clear and unmistakable. Consider this verse ....

"Now the Holy Spirit clearly says that ..."
1 Timothy 4:1 (New Century Version)

Will you join me in this Holy Ghost revolution and become a present-day Treva Evans? Will you join me by being someone in 2012 that will walk into a ministry opportunity with a fire in your spirit and a countenance that reflects that you have been with and heard the voice of the Holy Ghost? The world (and your kids) is waiting on someone who has been and continues to listen to The Voice. Will you be that someone?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hide and Go Seek!

Joey, Billy, Gavin, and Vickie

Recently, Vickie and I went up to Lakeland, Florida for a couple of days so that we could join in on the birthday celebration of our youngest grandson, Gavin. It's difficult to believe that he has already turned 2-years-old. He is an incredibly handsome little boy. (No brag, just fact!)

While we were with Joey and Gavin, I don't know who had the most fun, the grandparents or the grandsons. We laughed, wrestled, tickled, played with toys, and played games. Can you see that Vickie and I loved our time with these boys?

One game that we played with our 4-year-old grandson Joey is the game Hide and Go Seek. To be honest, the game was so much fun. You see, Joey is a horrible hider. He would hide behind window drapes and have his feet in plain sight thus making him easy to be found. At other times, Joey would hide under the dining room table, again, easy to be found. I'm still laughing at the giggles coming from Joey as we would search for this "masterful" hider. If his poor hiding didn't give his location away, his giggles would make it impossible to not find him.

Would you take some time today and discover the Holy Spirit? You see, He is also a horrible hider. In fact, it is safe to say that He is too, too easy to find. He so wants to be discovered in your life and children's services. He hides in plain sight. And, He is so anxious to be discovered, the Holy Spirit is continually talking while He is "hiding". You can't help but find Him ... if you will only take the time to look.


An INCREDIBLE Teaching Tool

I found it. I Found it. I FOund it. I FOUnd it. I FOUNd it. I FOUND it. I FOUND It. I FOUND IT. What? One of the greatest tools to help make your teaching come alive.

A couple of months ago, I attended a Royal Ranger Pow Wow (an Assemblies of God district-wide boys ministry campout) with some 2,000+ boys and leaders. The evening services were awesome. But the thing that made the ministry come alive was the Bible story that lead into the altar ministry time. What made the story so much more compelling? The PowerPoint artwork. The slides literally made stories that I've told over and over again during my 30+ years of ministry seem so fresh and new. After the service was over, I rushed to get to the speaker to find out if it was possible for me to purchase the PowerPoint slides. Discovering these stories made the discomfort of sleeping in a sleeping bag and doing without air conditioning worth the inconvenience. I returned to my church and purchased and downloaded the complete set of the Bible stories. Just this weekend, I used the stories The Birth of Samson and The Call of Samson as we taught on hearing the voice of God. The kids sat spellbound! The sample slide shown in this blog taken from The Day of Pentecost story shows the beauty of the artwork.

The slides that I viewed at the Pow Wow and almost 150 more Bible stories are produced by a company in Scotland named Eikon Bible Art. You can go to their website to view the complete list of Bible stories.

Here is what you receive in purchasing the artwork:
* Stories available for immediate download.
* Full rights for the stories to be used by every ministry within your church. This means that you can have the downloaded files available for your Sunday school teachers, children's church staff, mid-week Bible clubs, senior pastor, etc.
* A downloadable PDF file for making handouts. The handout contains one page with the key Bible verse and puzzles to re-emphasize the teaching and another page with artwork of the lesson.
* A downloadable teacher's page showing the slides, the Bible background to accompany each slide, and the key points of the lesson.

Cost? It is so inexpensive, especially when purchasing the stories in groups. Use the promo code BURNSBA for an additional 10% discount.

Do yourself a favor. Go to the website today and download both the PowerPoint story and the handout file for The Road to Damascus for FREE. Afterwards, I know that you will want the entire series!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Case of Stinking Thinking

I am constantly amazed as I watch many children's ministry leaders and workers standing in front of children. You can tell by the way that they talk and act that an emergency medical unit would be needed if anything supernatural actually, or better yet, accidentally happened in their service. These leaders and workers have bought into the philosophy that they are "only" children's ministers. What if anything could happen in a children's service?  

This week, let me share a thought that will change this horrendous mindset. Consider this verse ...

"The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you."
Romans 8:11 (New Living Translation)

This verse shows that abiding inside of me (a lowly children's worker ... if you buy into the totally whacked out philosophy) is the VERY SAME Spirit that accomplished the impossible. Residing inside of me is the VERY SAME Spirit that totally thwarted every single plan of Satan as Christ was came out of that grave!

If this is true (and it is!), why in the world should you walk into a ministry opportunity with little or no expectations? 
With a revelation of God's Spirit living on the inside of you, you can expect Satan to begin to tweet to all of his imps and cohorts, "Oh NO ... he's back" when your feet enter into the auditorium or classroom. You can rest assured that Satan's proponents will call an emergency meeting to discuss how they will deal with the damage handed to them through your Spirit-empowered, Spirit-led ministry. Principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places will take note of and tremble at any person (this includes Y-O-U) who is fully aware of the Person and power of the indwelling Spirit of God.

Tell those working alongside of you to take their fingers off of their cell phones. There's no need to have the emergency medical unit telephone number on speed dial. Now that you are in your RIGHT mind, be ready. That VERY SAME Spirit will begin to make His presence known!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ministering With An Advantage

As children's ministry workers, we are always conscious of the importance of going into a ministry opportunity with the classroom properly set up, the lesson studied and restudied, and the right teaching techniques and tools ready to go. We know that the key to successful ministry is summarized in three words ... preparation, preparation, preparation. Am I correct? It's true! We want to go into the ministry time with everything working to our advantage!

Allow me this week to share a thought that will "seal the deal" on what happens in your time of ministry, something that will be to your advantage when you minister to children. Are you ready? It's found in this verse ...

"However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say
it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I
go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor,
Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not
come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away,
I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you]."
John 16:7 (The Amplified Translation)

Did you catch that? Jesus said that He was going to do something that was to our advantage. That "something" was about a "Someone", the Holy Spirit. 

I won't spend more space writing about this. I believe that the truth is so evident. If we truly want to minister and have everything working to our advantage, we must have this sent one, the Holy Spirit, walk into the classroom with us and minister alongside us to bring about the will of the Father.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My FREE Gift to You

It's quite early on this Monday morning. In fact, it's just after 4 AM. Vickie and I arrived back home just 4 1/2 hours ago from our Regional Ignite the Supernatural Conference held in Lenexa, Kansas. I won't even begin to try to find the words to describe God's goodness at the conference. The words "incredible" and "awesome" fall far short. I guess that it would be safe to write that God outdid Himself as hungry people gathered together to learn how to flow with His precious Holy Spirit. I am honestly living right now in the afterglow of this meeting.

While I loved each and every workshop and general session at the conference, it was evident that there was a special, tangible anointing as I taught the workshop on The Ten Commandments of the Supernatural. The truths are simple and yet so practical and needed. I wish that I could go to every church represented by those reading this blog and personally share this teaching. The day will come (hopefully soon) that I can propagate this teaching in book form. 

While I can't personally travel to every church and personally teach this lesson, I recognize that I can teach this lesson through you. Below, you will find a link that will make this teaching available to you. Download it. Print it. Distribute this teaching to each and every worker in your children's ministry. I only ask two things of you. First, please do not modify this teaching. Secondly, please retain the copyright information shown at the bottom of the teaching. 

One more thing. Do me one favor. Write me and let me know how the teaching impacted those working alongside of you.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Only Radicals Need Apply

Let's be honest. It is easy to talk the talk about being a Holy Ghost children's ministry. I hear the talk from so, so many people. But, actually walking the walk for being a part of this move of God is far more difficult than flapping your lips and spitting out the rhetorical verbiage. That is why revival isn't widespread. 

Seeing the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy for an outpouring of God's Spirit is reserved for a select group of people. Those who genuinely see children living in the realm of the spirit are part of a group known as The Radicals, ones who dare to go where few have ever ventured to go and do things that leave the comfort zone far behind.

I was thinking about this late last night as I was flying back from Texas to my home in Florida. In meditating upon Acts 10, I saw that God called Peter to leave the comforts of his religious upbringing and the safety of his way of doing things so that he could follow God. God's command was so radical that He had to tell Peter three times that He was fully aware that Peter would be going into uncharted waters. 

What was the result? Some 2,000 years later you and I can look back to thank Peter. It was because of Peter's radical action that you and I as Gentiles have received the Gospel. It was because of a person who dared to go where no one had ever dared to go that Joel's prophecy was fulfilled and God's Spirit was and is being poured out upon ALL flesh.

My call today is to radicals. Will you be counted as a member of this select group? This is the day for radicals to dare to go where no person has ventured in children’s ministry. Evidently the way that we've always done children's ministry isn't working. It's time for the radicals to hear God's voice, obey God's voice and dare to venture into the land of the Spirit.

Are you genuinely desperate for an outpouring of God's Spirit upon your children and children's ministry? Only RADICALS need apply.