Leadership Blog

16 Jan The Priority of Being Baptized in the Holy Spirit

While speaking at a conference recently, I made a statement that was an eye-opener to many in the auditorium. Here is the statement …  with little effort, I can tell the importance placed in your church upon believers being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. How? By looking at the sermon video archive on your churches’ website to see how many messages were preached on this subject ON A SUNDAY MORNING within the last 12 months. Why Sunday morning? Because that is when the largest number of people attend your church. Reality tells us that if your church has a Sunday night service, only about one half of the Sunday morning attendees are back that night. And, if your church has a Wednesday night service, only about half of those that attended Sunday night are there on Wednesday night. So, my conclusion would be, if it is a high priority that the greatest number of the members be baptized in the Holy Spirit, a pastor will provide the opportunity when the greatest numbers are at a service and do so often. Is that a fair assumption?

How important is it that we provide believers the opportunity to be Spirit-baptized? Well, let’s draw our answer from a biblical example found in Acts 8. You’ll recall that Philip went to Samaria and saw tremendous results from his ministry. Multitudes were born again and water baptized. Many received powerful healings. Demons were cast out. Great joy filled the church. And yet, in the midst of all of these incredible works of God, the apostles in Jerusalem sent Peter and John down to Samaria for the sole purpose of insuring that the believers were Spirit-baptized. They weren’t sent to take care of church problems or to launch a building campaign. They didn’t travel to Samaria to give Philip a needed break. According to Acts 8:14-17, the leadership of the church sent Peter and John because none of the believers had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. The apostles recognized that it wasn’t enough for just Pastor Philip to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The whole body of believers needed to be filled to overflowing!

Altar MinistryWhile I recognize that there are many great things happening in today’s church, we can see from the example given in Acts 8, in the midst of all of these great happenings it must be a priority that every believer be given the opportunity to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. If this truly a priority and we want our entire church to be endued with power from on high, the message must be preached when the greatest numbers are present and it must be shared throughout the year. This can’t be just a once-a-year Pentecost Sunday message. It can’t be an annual mark it off the yearly to-do list event. And, it can’t be hidden on a Wednesday night crowd or a back room or small cell/home group. Our goal must to replicate what we read in Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled …”

Pastors, preach Pentecost. Children’s/youth pastors, preach Pentecost. And, preach it again and again and again so that we can send out people that are Spirit-baptized, Spirit-equipped, Spirit-empowered, and Spirit-led into a lost and dying world!

 

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09 Jan Qualified to Minister

Here’s just a quick question to ponder … if being filled with the Holy Spirit was one of the major prerequisites for qualifying individuals to minister in the New Testament church, how can we expect any less from those who minister and assist in the ministry in today’s church? While being filled with the Holy Spirit was certainly required for those preaching and teaching, Acts 6 shows us that this qualification carried over to what appears to be every area of ministry.

“So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. ‘We apostles should spend
our time preaching and teaching the word of God, not administering a food
program,’ they said. ‘Now look around among yourselves, brothers, and
select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit
and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business.'”
Acts 6:2-3 (New Living Translation)

PraisersIn order to serve tables and distribute food, the believers had to be filled with the Holy Spirit. (From witnessing how some “Christians” behave at church picnics, I can easily understand how the believers that distributed the food would have to be filled with the Holy Spirit!). We’re not talking Bible-waving, pulpit-pounding preachers. Luke wrote that this was expected in what we would call today the ministry of helps.

Today, we can’t settle for a fill-a-position mentality. Not just anyone will suffice. Today’s New Testament church must have individuals full of the Holy Spirit serving in every area of ministry, be it teaching our children and youth, serving as ushers, parking lot staff, greeters, etc.  Question answered!!!

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02 Jan The Year of the Bigger

I will admit that this blog’s title is misleading. For some, it sent a chill down your spine for fear that I was advocating throwing dieting aside thus producing the need for a larger sized wardrobe. So, relax and go ahead and keep on munching on your no calorie, no sugar, no salt, no taste food and drink your no zero calorie, zero taste water. This blog is about something totally different.

As we start this new year, I want to challenge you to set your sights on bigger goals and, as a result, reap bigger rewards. To further narrow the purpose of the blog, I want to challenge you to set a goal for something that you can’t accomplish by yourself, especially in the area of giving.

well-waterdownload (1)During our 25 years of being children’s pastors in South Florida, we challenged our children’s ministry to go beyond their weekly tithes and offerings and take on a different giving project each year that would impact places in the world that we would never go and help people that we would never see. This was a concerted sacrificial giving to go after a bigger, lasting harvest. One year, we invested into an orphanage in the Honduras and provided the funds for much needed bunk beds. Another year, we provided the funds to build 11115385333_a83844ae81_ba kitchen and additional classrooms for a school in Burkina Faso. Another year, the entire children’s ministry gave week after week to provide the necessary funds to drill a water well in Africa. And, one of my favorite projects was the year that we raised the funds to provide literature for pastors in underground churches in the Middle East. I could go on and on.

Here is the purpose of this blog. In 2017, with the approval and knowledge of your leadership, I want to challenge you and your Sunday school class, children’s church, youth ministry, small group to take on a mission that just one person alone can’t accomplish. Determine that 2017 is the year of the bigger and by a concerted joint effort the impossible will become possible.

Some practical advice …
* Find a project. With the approval of your leadership, contact a missionary that your church supports and get suggestions. Contact your denomination to see what projects are timely and urgent.
* Make it a tangible/relatable project. In other words, your group is providing funds for something that is seeable/touchable. It has to appeal to the senses. Just giving to “missions” is good but doesn’t stir passion. At our church, the kids could picture kids not having a bed to sleep in and so it was easy to raise funds for the orphanage. Our kids could image what it would be like to go without water. The really cool thing about the water well project was that in order for a village to receive the water well, they had to grant permission for a church to be built in the village. So, drinkablRewarde water AND living water were being provided through each nickel and dime and dollar given. With the literature project, we knew that the moneys provided were covertly supplying Sunday school books, flannel stories, puppets, etc. to reach children that had previously never heard of Jesus in a land that forbade the preaching the gospel.
* Don’t limit your giving to foreign projects. There are many tremendous ministries in your area that would welcome your prayerful support.
* Know the cost. Be knowledgeable of what is needed. In other words, have a goal. Each water well costs >>> dollars. Each Sunday school literature pack costs >>> dollReward 2ars. Each bunk bed costs >>> dollars.  Know this amount so that you can set a quantitative goal of how many wells or vehicles or bunk beds that you want to finance.
* Make it a faith challenge. This means that it will be a stretch of faith to accomplish your goal. Remember that this is the year of the bigger which will dictate bigger challenges and sacrifices.
* Give WEEKLY updates. It’s true … out of sight, out of mind. Continually stir the passion by sharing how much money is coming in and how close that you are to accomplishing your goal.
* Make it fun and memorable. In our church, we challenged the boys against the girls with a leader suffering the “consequences” of being on the side with the lower offering. (The pictures show my “fun”.) Challenge a small group against another small group, a Sunday school class against another Sunday school class, the men’s ministry against the women’s ministry.

I apologize for the length of the blog. It’s twice as long as I normally post. But, the message is so, so important. I’m reminded that though the various projects that we undertook while serving as children’s pastors are in the history books, the reward of each project is ongoing. They are still producing eternal fruit today. Only heaven will give an accurate record of our annual year of the bigger.

One last thought. PLEASE forward this blog or pass along this link (http://bit.ly/2jYjp6K) to EVERY leader/pastor in your church. This is something that EVERY Sunday school, women’s group, cell group, children’s church, youth group, etc. should undertake. No group is too large or too small. Let’s make 2017 the year of the bigger so that the Kingdom will have a bigger harvest.

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26 Dec It’s Party Time!

Honest confession time … I’ll tell you up front that 78.7% of this blog’s readership is far more intelligent than I am. (You do know that 84.9% of all statistics are fabricated, don’t you? … just a joke, folks!) While I was so bright as a child that my mother called me son (if you think long and hard enough, you’ll understand that joke), there is still so much that I don’t know and am trying to learn. So, when I learn something new or I finally understand something about which I’ve been confused, my brain kicks into “party mode” and it’s suddenly a time for celebrating! So, before you read the next paragraph, put on your party hat, pull out the noisemakers, and put on the dancing music because I want to share my new revelation. Go ahead and chant, “Party! Party! Party!”

Attachment-1Here is the revelation. Did you know that the Book of Acts is often referred to as the Gospel of the Holy Spirit? Let me see the hands of those that already knew this. I know that your hand is probably raised and I’m showing my ignorance. I honestly didn’t know this. I recently discovered this revelation in William Barclay’s The Acts of the Apostles (The New Daily Study Bible) and then began to research this statement to substantiate its claim. I found this to be verified over and over again. All of a sudden, it became time to celebrate. (Party! Party! Party!)

What is the significance of this discovery? First of all, it reminds us that this book truly is a gospel (Greek … euangelion – good news).  Second,  far more than in any other gospel, we see the good news of the work of the Holy Spirit on display. Page after page after page showcases the Holy Spirit in action demonstrating God’s presence and power. Third, this revelation brings the Holy Spirit into the now! Knowing that the Holy Spirit hasn’t changed one iota during the last 2,000 years and neither has His relationship with Jesus’ followers (believers), we are reminded that every present-day believer has the potential to insert their name into this ongoing gospel. While the ink may have dried in the writing and publishing of the Acts of the Apostles found in our present-day Bible, the Gospel (Good News) of the Holy Spirit is STILL being written in heaven’s edition. At this very minute, heaven is adding page after page after page after page (should I continue?) to the Gospel of the Holy Spirit and recording what the He is doing in and through today’s believers.

I’ll quit typing so that I can continue to party, party, party and you can get busy demonstrating the Gospel of the Holy Spirit and create new entries in heaven’s up-to-date edition.

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19 Dec Merry Christmas from Billy Burns Ministries!

Vickie and I pray that in this Christmas season and the upcoming new year that your life will be filled with His presence and the great joy that only He can bring! In 2017, we know that the God of the supernatural has powerful, miraculous plans in store for those who will work together with His Spirit. We believe that you are one of those individuals. So, get ready, get ready, get ready!
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Let me introduce the Burns family …

On the far left is our youngest son Aaron with his wife Kaity by his side.
To the right of Kaity is our oldest son Jason with his wife Elisabeth. In front of Elisabeth is their 9-year-old son Joey and his 6-year-old brother Gavin. Jason is holding their 2-year-old daughter Ella (our only granddaughter … and, if I might add, the most beautiful granddaughter in the whole world … no brag, just fact).
Then, standing beside the ever-so-proud-of-our-incredible-kids-and-grandkids Nana, there is modest me!
Wrapping up the Burns family is our middle son Michael, his wife Katrina, and their 2-year-old son Ben.
You are looking at one blessed family!!!

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