Want to see a miracle? You’re looking at one right now. This blog post Tell Them Your Story is just five short paragraphs. Five paragraphs is a miracle? Yep. You see, I am so passionate about the subject the five paragraphs could have easily been five pages. It is a miracle that I was able to limit the post to the five paragraphs. After reading this post, you will understand my passion.
For those ministering to children and youth … you have a powerful ministry tool available that you have probably never used… it’s your testimony. Week after week, the children/youth see this really cool person (that’s you) that has their act together, is in love with Jesus, has no trouble sharing their faith, and did I mention is really cool? That is all that they know about you. And, to most of the children/youth, you have always been this way. To them, you came out of your mother’s womb with your hands raised towards heaven and immediately gave a message from God in perfect King James English. They haven’t heard the whole story.
I was reading earlier today that God told Israel in Deuteronomy 6:20-25 to tell (testify to) their children about what He had done for them. God wanted the next generation to know that what they were seeing at that given moment isn’t the way that it has always been. Their testimony would show their God as an awesome deliverer, provider, and keeper.
I come back to what I wrote earlier. Those in your ministry have no idea about God’s mighty work in your life. They just see the now picture. Hold on. Before you become defensive, I am not suggesting that you go into all of the sordid details of your past. They aren’t needed. But what is needed is that you show how God changed your life. Just like the Psalmist David, your testimony might put God’s miracle-working power on display when he wrote “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God …” (Psalms 42:2-3). My testimony is quite different. I was born again at the age of 6, fell in love with Jesus, was baptized in the Holy Spirit at the age of 10, and, because of God’s keeping power, I have never walked away from God. Both types of testimonies are powerful examples of God’s goodness. The testimony moves God from the black and white text in a Book to being a transforming today God. The result of sharing your story will bring about the final words of verse 3. “… many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”
One more thought about sharing testimonies. Once a month have a Throw-Back Sunday or a Way-Back Wednesday when one person on your ministry team or a person from the congregation takes 5 short minutes to share their testimony. Try it. You’ll thank me!
If you have been around me for any length of time, you know that I will never be accused of not being able to have something to say at any time, any place, or any situation. I often jokingly say that my school teacher’s favorite day of the school year was the day that I was absent. Why? Because talking was my specialty. In fact, to support this claim, a few days ago I was going through several files in my filing cabinet and discovered a file that contained my elementary school report cards. With God as my witness, in looking at the report cards in grade after grade, the teachers would routinely place a check mark by the “I work quietly” status indicating that I needed improvement.
Please consider this blog post to be your personal report card from Billy Burns Ministries. Here is our evaluation. You’ve guessed it. You actually saw it coming. Unlike the assessment on my childhood report cards, for you, we have placed a check mark by “I am too quiet”.
I writing to individuals today that long for a move of God’s Spirit in their ministry. They want to see God do in their classroom or auditorium the things that they have read throughout the Book of Acts. And yet, it just isn’t happening.
The answer is so simple. In fact, that is why I checked the “I an too quiet” on your report card. Your quietness implies that you are accepting the present set of circumstances and will keep on tolerating the way things are. It’s time for a change!
Write and post the following statement in places that you will see often. Dissatisfaction and desperation can’t and won’t be silent. In other words, if you want to see God’s Spirit move, if you want Book of Acts happenings, the days of silence must end. It is time to open up your mouth and D-E-C-L-A-R-E what God says about your ministry!
Here is what will happen if you will open up your mouth and begin to boldly speak out the Word of God. First, God said that He would hasten (watch) over His Word to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12). Speaking God’s Word launches heaven into action. Secondly, declaring God’s Word causes faith to arise within you. (Romans 10:17). Each bold declaration magnifies God’s Word and causes it to explode within your spirit. And finally, agreeing with the Word of God and broadcasting it to the enemy over and over and over again causes Satan to flee. (James 4:7).
Right now would be a good time to change your report card’s “needs improvement” status. Go ahead, open up your mouth and boldly declare OUT LOUD the Word of God over and over and over again. I can’t think of anything better to start with than “TODAY is the day of the Holy Ghost”. Come on and do it. Now, do it again with greater confidence. Be assured that heaven is listening. I will stop typing so that you can start speaking the Word of God.
There is a popular t-shirt that I’ve seen numerous times since we have been back in Texas that says, “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could.” Evidently, that is the truth. I read recently that some 350 to 400 people move from other states to Texas every single day of the year. All that one needs to believe these statistics is a drive around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Construction for new homes and apartment buildings is seen all over the metroplex. In some areas, all that you can see for miles is two-by-fours being hammered and bricks being laid.
Here’s a fact about every new building being constructed. Every construction crew knows the importance of first laying a solid foundation. The blueprints may call for multi-million dollar exterior and interior designs but none of this is possible without first building the forms and then pouring the cement.
What you are about to read may seem too basic and totally unnecessary. But, believe me when I state that it is so, so needed. Here it is … make sure that a solid spiritual foundation is cemented through salvation before you build the spiritual walls and install the spiritual cabinets and tile the spiritual floors.
Here is why I’m writing this post. In many pulpits and children/youth services, incredible series are being preached to people that haven’t established a relationship with Christ. They aren’t born again. Week after week, people sit in services and never hear a single message about God’s gift of salvation, receive a challenge to make a decision, and have the time provided to respond to the work of the Holy Spirit. If salvation is mentioned at all, it is squeezed into the service’s final two or three minutes as a last minute add-on at the end of an unrelated subject. Consequently, these sermons are being preached to individuals without a spiritual foundation on which to build a Christian life.
How often should you provide an opportunity for people to be born again? Well, as seen here around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, people are constantly moving in and creating a need for the foundation crew to do their job. Also, there are those who have been a part of your ministry for years that the Holy Spirit has been able to finally remove the terrain’s roughage so that a foundation could be laid. So, this can’t be a once-a-year, get ‘r done, check-it-off-my-to-do-list occurrence. Provide the Savior the opportunity to save and do so often.
One more quick note. Am I dissing the sermon series and children/student ministry curriculums? Am I saying to only preach salvation messages to the exclusion of other powerful messages and series of messages? Not at all. Many are needed and effective. Use these series to bless your people and cause them to grow in Christ. But, first, lay the foundation. It’s only after the new birth foundation is established that these series and curriculums will build the beautiful, healthy Christian lives.
Confession time … I am notorious for going to the grocery store to pick up two or three items and wind up returning home with three or four grocery sacks containing everything but the items on my list. Now, don’t go and shake your head and roll your eyes at me. I am confident that you have done the same thing far more times than you will want to admit to. How does this happen? To use a phrase that my Grandma Burns used to say, “My brain leaks.” In other words, we need so help with our memory.
This week, I want to remind you about something that you already know to be true. Here it is … the Holy Spirit is in the communicating business. We see this throughout the book of Acts. In fact, while reading through the book of Acts several months ago, I listed every time that He communicated. Here is the list of the thirteen distinct instances that Luke records the Holy Spirit speaking or making His thoughts and desires known …
Acts 1:16; 8:29; 10:19; 11:12; 11:28; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 16:7; 20:23; 21:4; 21:11; 28:25
And, here is the part that excites me as I read through these verses. The Holy Spirit hasn’t changed one iota since book of Acts days. He is still communicating and expressing His thoughts and desires … to those with listening ears.
I’ve purposefully made this blog post to be a very quick read. All that I ask you to do now is to remedy your leaking brain by tying a piece of twine around your finger so that every time that you look at the twine you will be reminded of the fact that the Holy Spirit wants to talk to you and then secondly close out this blog post, put your hands upon your ears as a symbolic act and then tell the Holy Spirit that you have ears to hear Him speak and then allow time for Him to speak. Then, get ready for a right now word that will forever change your destiny.