Leadership Blog

12 Aug Your Children Deserve – Part 1

Having been a children’s pastor in a church for some 25 years, I have so, so many stories that I could share. I was reminded yesterday morning of a wonderful couple who came into my office one Sunday morning to tell me that they were leaving our church. I remember so clearly how they went to great lengths to assure me that they weren’t leaving our church because of anything that I had or hadn’t done. The reason I then learned was because they wanted to attend a much larger church in our community, one that had so much to offer their children. As a parent I could understand their thinking. We all want what is best for our children, don’t we!

Ready for this shocker? After listening to their explanation, I paused for a minute and then gave them a response that was different than what they had anticipated. I explained that after hearing this news, immediately my heart was troubled. I quickly acknowledged to these parents that their desired church was outstanding in so many ways. And, there was no way to deny that their children’s ministry had so much that our children’s ministry couldn’t offer. That particular church definitely had the “wow” factor with incredible ambiance, state-of-the-art technology, and a seemingly endless budget. And yet, my heart was troubled.

Why? After explaining that my discomfort had nothing to do with losing a family from our church or having fewer children in our ministry, I looked into their eyes and boldly told them that I believed that their children deserved more. I could tell that my comment confused them. More? I then explained that while this larger church had so much to offer, from what I had been told over and over again, there was one humongous deficit in their ministry. It was said that in the area of being a Holy Spirit knowing and Holy Spirit flowing children’s ministry, this large children’s ministry came up greatly lacking. I further told the parents that it was of the utmost importance that their children needed to be in a Spirit-filled, Spirit-demonstrating, Spirit-talking, Spirit-behaving (AKA having the fruit of the Spirit showing) nursery/Sunday school/children’s church/mid-week Bible clubs/student ministries classroom. Their children DESERVED to be in an environment where the number one priority was for there to be a consistently seeable, hearable, feelable Holy Spirit. Anything less wouldn’t be acceptable. I don’t know if I made this couple happy or angry. I never saw them again.

I hate to do this but I need to stop writing. I’ll close this week with this thought. Your children DESERVE to know the Holy Spirit. I’ll say it this way. YOUR children DESERVE to know the Holy Spirit. One step more and then I will quit for this week. YOUR children DESERVE to KNOW the Holy Spirit.

I will continue this teaching next week …

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05 Aug Showcase His Power and Might

Let me share a powerful scripture that I read last week …

“Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed
thy strength unto this generation,
and thy power to every one that is to come.”
Psalm 71:18 (King James Version)

I especially love the way that this verse is rendered in The Passion Translation …

“God, now that I’m old and gray, don’t walk away.
Give me grace to demonstrate to the next generation
all your mighty miracles and your excitement,
to show them your magnificent power!”
Psalm 71:18 (The Passion Translation)

Let me be up front with you. While I can’t identify with the being old and gray (I am still a semi-young man), I can echo David’s heart’s cry when he told God that he lived in a generation that desperately needed to see His mighty power. Did you get that? People needed to see God’s power. Because hearing alone wasn’t sufficient, David longed to make it possible for the next generation to see and have undeniable evidence that the miracle-working El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty) hadn’t changed. (Malachi 3:6). Earlier in the Old Testament, we read that Job also recognized the importance of going beyond hearing when he wrote …

“I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”
Job 42:5 (New Living Translation)

Do you want to be available to impact the next generation? If so, it can begin right now. It’s not a long, drawn-out, arduous process. First, make your petition known. I whole-heartedly believe that God has been waiting for you to ask. Be specific. Ask for demonstrations of His might and that it flow through YOU. Secondly, know that God will respond. Walk through your day and EXPECT God to present opportunities for His “mighty miracles and excitement” to flow through YOU. (I am writing specifically to YOU!!!) EXPECT God to use YOU to see many people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. EXPECT God to use YOU to see many people receive divine healing. EXPECT God to use YOU to see many people baptized in the Holy Spirit. EXPECT God to use YOU to see many homes be restored. EXPECT God to use YOU to see many people set free from bondages and strongholds. EXPECT God to use YOU to see many people receive God’s joy and peace. And then finally, as the need presents itself, EXPECT and OBEY God’s promptings. In other words, confidently, boldly do what God tells you to do. As you EXPECT and OBEY, the results are guaranteed by God!

I’ll look forward to hearing your testimony as you work together with the Holy Spirit. Write me at billy@billyburns.com to tell of God’s mighty deeds.

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29 Jul Praying in the Spirit Illustrations – Part 17

For the new followers of this blog, let me share the importance of this blog post. Over the years, I have observed that many pastors, teachers, and parents struggle when trying to teach about the importance of praying in the Spirit. Perhaps you are one of these leaders or parents that know that praying in other tongues is scriptural but just feel uncomfortable or unable to teach on this subject. Because this subject is far too important to ignore, I occasionally share blog posts to provide simple-to-use, simple-to-understand helps to enable you to confidently share the numerous benefits associated with praying in other tongues.

This brings us to illustration number seventeen. Once again, I will give a brief, skeletal overview of the illustration. Then, with the Holy Spirit’s help, you can personalize and modify the illustration to become a powerful teaching tool.

The Importance of Praying in Other Tongues
Part 17 –We Pray in Obedience to God’s Word

“… and do not forbid or hinder
speaking in [unknown] tongues.”

1 Corinthians 14:39 (Amplified Bible)

For this illustration, you will need a Bible and, if possible, slides showing pictures of signs instructing “No Parking”, “No Parking – Fire Lane”, “No Exit”, “No Entry”, “No Swimming”, and “No Trespassing”. It is important for you to choose signs that have the word “No”. These images are readily available on Google. You may also want to create a “NO Stop, NO Block, Keep Speaking in Other Tongues” slide to use at the end of the teaching.
NOTE: While the King James Version provides a tremendous translation of this verse, I believe that the Amplified Bible makes it just a smidgen clearer. 

Before we look at today’s Bible verse, I want to show some pictures of different signs that you should readily recognize. (Show slides of the signs.) Because you already know the message that is being conveyed in each of these pictures, it should easy for you to tell me why they would use the word “No” in each slide. (Allow the audience to explain the “why” of the posted messages. For example, a “No Parking” sign might be located in front of your school to keep cars from parking and blocking where students would be dropped off and picked up at their school each day.) In each sign, it is important to understand that the word “No” must be obeyed because there is a reason or benefit for obeying the instructions.

Now, let’s look at today’s scripture. (Read verse.) While I love how the Bible shares this verse, if I were to make this verse into a sign, it would simply read “NO Stop, NO Block, Keep Speaking in Other Tongues”. Just as in the signs that we read earlier, the word “No” or “do not” is important. The author of this letter to the Corinthians believers, the apostle Paul, wasn’t adding “do not” (or NO) just to use extra ink. It was a command/direction telling these Christians that praying in other tongues is so important that it must not be stopped or blocked.

Are we stop praying in our heavenly prayer language? No. No. No. Are we to block others from praying in their prayer language? No. No. No. It is an act of obedience on our part that, as we have in previous illustrations, opens the door for us to receive God’s blessings (heaven’s benefits) each and every day. (Allow the audience to share some of the benefits that have been shared in previous lessons.)

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22 Jul The New Testament Normal

Mister Dictionary is here with the definition of three important words for those longing to see a move of God …

Normal – (adjective) – conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
Subnormal – (adjective) – not meeting standards or reaching a level regarded as usual, especially with respect to intelligence or development.
Abnormal – (adjective) – deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying.

Next, let’s add this powerful quote from one of my spiritual heroes, F.F. Bosworth …

“If you want to know how the Spirit acts now, just read how
He did act when He had full possession of the Church.
The Book of Acts is a blueprint by which the Holy Spirit
wishes to work throughout His dispensation.”
~F.F. Bosworth “Christ the Healer”

This statement tells us that the Book of Acts outlines the normal (conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected) ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Church and lives of the New Testament believers. Let me pause right here and tell about His day-to-day actions. The blueprint tells us that, beginning with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, He …
* Continually brought salvation to the multitudes (Acts 5:14)
* Continually filled believers (Acts 2:1-4; Acts 10:44-46; Acts 19:1-6)
* Continually put His might and ability on display (Acts 5:16)
* Continually challenged the confines and restraints of religious tradition (Acts 4:1-2)
* Continually used ordinary people to confirm the Word (Acts 4:13)
* Continually ministered through His Gifts (mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12) to His Church (For example, a Word of Knowledge – Acts 5:3-11; a Word of Wisdom – Acts 5:29-33; the Working of Miracles – Acts 3:6-16; etc.)

Did you notice the constant use of the word “continually”? Over and over again, we read that the Holy Spirit displayed heaven’s power and ability. (For brevity’s sake, I have listed only a few of the many verses alongside the actions.)

Here is the reason for this blog post. I want to remind you that today’s date on the calendar and changes in the culture haven’t altered one iota the Holy Spirit’s blueprint for today’s Church and believers (that’s you and me!). He is a today Holy Spirit. We must avoid the danger of relegating His power and ability to bygone days. Minimizing and restricting what He can do today will produce a subnormal (not meeting standards or reaching a level regarded as usual, especially with respect to intelligence or development), powerless, ineffective Christianity. It is not abnormal (deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying) for the Holy Spirit to do everything that we read about in our blueprint through people EXACTLY like you  and me. And, about your church, it should be normal (conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected) and not abnormal (deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying) for the Holy Spirit to powerfully demonstrate His presence and might in each and every service!

Are you ready for a today Holy Spirit to do what He wants to do in your personal life, home, ministry, and church? Will you allow the His normal (conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected) to be your normal (conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected)? It’s so easy to do. Simply cast aside any restraints previously placed upon the Holy Spirit. It might be church tradition or a personal fear. Yield to Him. Ask Him to be a today Holy Spirit. Book of Acts results are waiting. That’s a promise!

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15 Jul The Holy Spirit is a Talker!

It PAYS to listen to the Holy Spirit. I was reminded of this truth as I recently read Acts 10. It is in this chapter that we read that the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter about an upcoming journey into uncharted waters. Consider this … the Holy Spirit was:
* Specific – (verses 19-20) The Holy Spirit told Peter that three men are looking for you and they are downstairs right now.
* Direct – (verse 20) The Holy Spirit told Peter to not hesitate or doubt but go with the three men because He has sent them to get Peter.
* Accurate – (verses 21-22) When Peter went downstairs, God’s plan began to unfold as EVERY detail outlined by the Holy Spirit came to pass.

What was the outcome of the work of the Holy Spirit? As Peter obeyed and stepped out into uncharted, never-before-done waters,
* Peter was changed. The man who previously declared that he wouldn’t touch things considered to be unclean became the proponent of God being a boundary-breaking God. (Acts 11:16-17)
* Cornelius’ home was changed. This God-fearing man along with his family became born again, filled with the Holy Spirit, and the first Gentiles to enter into God’s family.
* The New Testament Church was changed. The Jews-only boundaries were eliminated and the gift of salvation was now recognized to be available for all. (Acts 11:18)
* The Gentile world was changed. And now, some 2,000 years later, you and I are the recipients of the good news of the gospel being preached to the Gentiles.

Let me state again, it PAYS to listen to the Holy Spirit. The One who spoke to Peter longs to whisper the secrets of the Father to you. (John 16:13). Ready for this? The 100% accurate Holy Spirit seen in Acts 10 is still the 100% accurate Holy Spirit today. Ask Him to speak to you to reveal the heart and plans of the Father. Listen to His directions. And lastly, yield and obey His instructions. Like Peter, in all likelihood, you won’t get the whole plan in this conversation. Peter only heard step number one. It is in your act of obedience that the next step will be revealed. Then, obeying step number two will open the door for the next part of God’s plan to unfold. 

Starting today, spend time dialoguing with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to speak to you and then make time to hear His voice. Get ready. He’s a talker! But, be forewarned. What He says to your spirit may be far more than your peanut-size brain can handle. The 100% accurate Holy Spirit will have specific, direct words from heaven that might well launch you into actions that you have never previously taken. But, rest assured. The One who spoke to you will empower you. Know that you know that you know that your obedience to His voice is guaranteed to be supernatural, life-changing, boundary-breaking, and history-making. Hallelujah!

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