August 2008

25 Aug A Family Moment

As I write this week's blog, it is Monday morning August 25. One year ago on this date, God placed the most beautiful baby boy into our lives, William Joseph (Joey) Burns. What a difference a year can make! Allow me to use this week's blog to celebrate this gift and show a few pictures of our favorite grandson. ...

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18 Aug Batteries Not Included – The Series!

Sometimes in Children's Ministry, we fall into the trap of thinking that we have to have flashy techno gadgets to bring the message home. Allow me to use this week's blog to share a powerful teaching that would be great for a Sunday school class, a mid-week Bible club, or a children's church service only using a simple household item, a flashlight. In fact, you could teach the four part series that we completed yesterday Batteries Not Included with just this one prop. Remember that this could all be taught in just one lesson or broken down into a series using each of the following four points as individual lessons. 1. We are fearfully and wonderfully created by God (Psalm 139:14) and placed on this earth with an assignment (Jeremiah 1:5). The manufacturer took great care in creating a flashlight. Every contour of its design, every item of its electrical system was carefully planned (Psalm 139:14) so that the flashlight could perform its desired function (Jeremiah 1:5). 2. The power has been provided (Acts 1:8). In shopping for a flashlight, you will never find a flashlight sold by itself. The manufacturer always provides the required batteries in the product's packaging. Why? Without the batteries, the flashlight will still be a flashlight but will never be able to perform its job. Knowing that His children would never be able to perform their individual assignments, the manufacturer (God) provided and made available heaven's power (the Holy Spirit) for insertion! 3. Heaven's power is rechargeable (Jude 20, 1 Corinthians 14:4,18). While some batteries are disposable, the best batteries are created to be rechargeable. Our manufacturer made it possible to optimize our power by creating a way for a constant recharging! 4. Do your job (John 14:12). The flashlight has been carefully designed. The batteries have been inserted and are fully charged. Now, it is time to fulfill the assignment. Flip the switch. Allow the power to flow through you and make a difference in a dark world. With the power of heaven's battery (the Holy Spirit), we can maximize the creativity of our designer (God) to fulfill and even outperform (John 14:12) what people think that we are able to do! Please do me two favors. Pass this week's blog on to other children’s ministry leaders and workers. It is too good to keep to yourself. Secondly, write me at billy@billyburns.com to let me know about the fruit of this lesson(s). I know that for our ministry, we had powerful altar times in our 3 services this past weekend with many children being baptized in the Holy Spirit!...

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11 Aug Lessons from a Gardener

Though I was raised in a small city, we still had enough country in us that our family always planted a garden each Spring. From those days, I learned that long before the seed is planted into the soil, the size of the crop is being established. How? The smart gardener knows not to throw the seed upon a dry, crusty ground. He knows the value of tilling the soil, removing the weeds, fertilizing, etc.Sadly, many children's ministry leaders and workers haven't learned this valuable principle. They haven't learned that the success of their ministry time is determined long before they walk into the classroom. They haven’t learned the importance of preparing the ground in which the seed will be planted. Consequently, teachers are facing what appears to be cold, indifferent settings where those in the class seem unresponsive to the message. The hearts are hard thus making it difficult for the Word to penetrate and take root.How do we till the soil? How do we prepare our students for the ministry of the Word? By praying in the Spirit. The receptivity of our class will change as we begin to pray in the Holy Spirit BEFORE teaching the class. By praying in our heavenly language, we are asking the Holy Spirit to pray through us for our students so that hearts will be tilled, hard and apathetic hearts will be broken up and prepared for the planting of the seed of God's Word. By praying and interceding in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit intervenes through us touching on issues within children's lives, coming against principalities and powers that would hinder the proclamation and reception of God's Word.Why should we pray in other tongues? We really don't have a clue about how to pray for our children and upcoming ministry. We don’t see the complete picture of what is needed. Thank God for the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 tells us that He partners together with us as we pray and helps us surpass our restrictions as He makes intercession through us. "The Spirit also helps us in our present limitations. For example, we do not know how to pray worthily, but his Spirit within us is actually praying for us in those agonizing longings which cannot find words." (The New Testament in Modern English, J.B. Phillips)...

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05 Aug The Holy Spirit Will Show You Things to Come

The Bible is an amazing book. No matter how many times that I read it, I constantly discover "nuggets" that I have never seen before.A couple of weeks ago, I was reading John 16:13 and a phrase jumped off the page that I've really never overly paid attention to. I have always emphasized the "guide you into all truth" and the "whatever He hears, He speaks" portion of the verse. On that Sunday morning, the Holy Spirit emphasized the phrase "and He will show you things to come."When I read those words, there came an excitement and new-found passion for the Holy Spirit. In studying this phrase, I discovered that the word "show" in the original Greek comes from a word that means a guide who shows a traveler the safest course through an unknown country.As a person who is called to minister to children, I discovered an extra benefit of having an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. When I walk into a ministry opportunity, I am walking into uncharted territories. It may be the same children each week. The natural mind would tell me that it is the same kids/different week. The reality is that it has possibly been 168 hours since I've last seen these children. Some children may have walked through a literal hell during those last 7 days. Others have faced battles and obstacles that are a part of being a child. According to this verse, the Holy Spirit knows what is ahead and can prepare/warn/instruct me on how to effectively navigate through this uncharted terrain. In military terms, the Holy Spirit is to run a reconnaissance mission for me before I ever walk into my ministry assignment. He knows who will be in the class. He knows the exact need of each and every child. He knows what word/tool is needed to bring about His desired goals for that ministry opportunity.Thank God for the Holy Spirit! Let's allow and welcome Him to prepare us for what is ahead of us....

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