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, 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.