Leadership Blog

26 Aug The Holy Spirit Has Got Your Back!

At times, I wish that I could be one of those kind of preachers that constantly has what I call the “wow factor”. You know what I am talking about. The “wow factor” preachers have people digging out their Bible dictionaries as they are preaching to further research the Greek and Hebrew words used in the sermon, oohing and aahing at every other sentence, and taking voluminous (pardon my feeble attempt to impress you with my vocabulary) pages of notes. Try as I may, that’s just not me. In fact, after one of our Holy Spirit Rallies, I had a pastor post on Facebook that I gave one of the simplest teachings that he had ever heard about the infilling of the Holy Spirit. At first I was a little offended. Simple? Who me? Then I realized that simple is good. No one ever walks away wondering what I had preached or taught. So, I guess that I will have to leave the “wow factor” to the other preachers and settle for the “now factor” with everyone grabbing ahold of the preaching.

With that in mind, let Mr. Simple (that’s me) offer one of the simplest teachings (thoughts) about the person of the Holy Spirit. In the gospel of John, we find that Jesus referred four times to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter. Like you, I have studied the Greek word for Comforter and know that it is the word “Parakletos”. I know that I haven’t wowed you for you already know that this word simply means “One who is called to walk alongside you”. You also probably know that the Amplified Bible includes Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby to the word Comforter.  Again, no oohs or aahs.

Here’s the simple … The name Comforter is the Holy Spirit telling you “I’ve got your back”. In other words, the Comforter is available and ready in every place for every situation. Jesus put it this way …

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me
to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the
brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and
recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Luke 4:18-19

Do you see what Jesus was saying? When an anointing was needed to preach, the Holy Spirit “had His back”. When an anointing for healing was needed for the brokenhearted, the Holy Spirit “had His back”. In reading the remainder of the two verses, I could continue and say time and time again the Holy Spirit “had His back”. Isn’t this simple? Even more importantly, isn’t this powerful?

This is so simple that I don’t need to write a lengthy explanation. Mr. Simple (that’s me) will end this post by telling you that the same Holy Spirit that was constantly with Jesus is constantly with you as a believer. He has your back!

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19 Aug Your Children Deserve – Part 2

If you have followed this blog for any period of time, you have read over and over again that there aren’t two Holy Spirits … one who is a full-strength Holy Spirit for the adults and another who is a junior, less powerful, diluted Holy Spirit for the children and youth. We all know that there is just one Holy Spirit. But, in all of the twelve years of writing this blog post, I have never mentioned that there aren’t two Satans … one who is a tyrannical, viscous Satan for the adults and another who is a gentler, namby-pamby Satan for children. The Satan who …
* Is a liar and the father of all lies (John 8:44)
* Is a thief who is come to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10)
* Is the god of this world and specializes in blinding people’s understanding (2 Corinthians 4:4)
* Is launching an all-out assault through principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12)
* Is ruthless in the area of deceit (Revelation 12:8 and 20:8)
… to adults will not dilute his attack or lessen his weaponry just because his enemy is a child. Am I right?

Let me make a bold statement. Your child in his/her own strength and might isn’t able to withstand the attacks of our enemy. Without exception, they are an easy, defenseless prey for Satan. But, thank God for the Holy Spirit. The One who you as an adult recognize to have been sent by the Father (John 14:16) to give us the advantage (John 16:7) and the power (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8) is available and willing to do the same in your child. 

Here is the reason for this short, two-post blog series. You and I as parents need to insure that our born-again, Jesus-loving children have an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. Did you notice that I wrote “have a relationship” and not “know about”? The Holy Spirit is relational. This means that in our home, we must show that He is not a stranger. We must continually teach and demonstrate our relationship with and dependence upon the Helper. Secondly, as I said last week, we need to insure that our children and youth are continually in a Spirit-filled, Spirit-demonstrating, Spirit-talking, Spirit-behaving (AKA having the fruit of the Spirit showing) ministry. This isn’t a once-a-year curriculum emphasis or a summer, away-at-camp experience. Week after week, He is to be seen and heard in their classroom or service. Our children MUST know and flow with the Holy Spirit in order to survive Satan’s attacks. Anything less can’t be acceptable. 

Dad, mom, when was the last time that you asked your child about what happened or was taught in their classroom or service? “It was fun” isn’t acceptable. “I don’t know” can’t be the norm. The apostle Paul wrote that he just didn’t tell about the gospel. Instead, he wrote that he made room for the Holy Spirit to showcase that He is a seeable, hearable, feelable Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:4) When was the last time that your child saw or heard the Holy Spirit make His presence known? (Acts 2:33) In their service, is it common for children/youth to pray/worship God in their prayer language? Are they challenged to participate in (not just watch) supernatural ministry? If these aspects are not the norm, I would … (I’ll ask you as a parent to ask the Holy Spirit about what to do.)

I’ll close this post just as I did last week. 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. 

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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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