Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Everything All the Time

Everything All the Time

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

The great Classic Rock Band, “The Eagle’s” penned these words.

“Everything all the time, will surely make you lose your mind.”

Our fascination with more and more is a symptom of our human condition.

We want more, and more, and more, (at least, I do.) (One chocolate chip leads to another and another and…)

It takes a wake up call to remind us, that “everything all the time will surely make you lose your mind”, your health, your relationships, your job and just about everything else that matters.

To counter the “everything all the time” mindset is to take a road less traveled.

The biblical answer to “everything all the time” is fasting.

There are heart fasts such as fasting envy.  There are food fasts such as fasting chocolate.  There are drink fasts, such as fasting beer.  There is bodily appetite fasting such as desserts.  Fasting is simple saying no to someone or something for a finite period.  The result is a finding of your mind, health, and relationships.  Fasting helps you find yourself.  (It is easy to get lost in the shuffle of “everything all the time”.) 

I wrote a short book on fasting, and it is available only on Kindle.  May you find yourself as you give desires up to the Lord.

You can find it here:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Unanswered Questions!

What ever happened to these people?

The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (Mt. 27:52,53 KJV)

What kind of reception did they receive?

There are a lot of unanswered questions through the bible and life. 

There are many aspects of God’s plan that remain mysterious.

The life of following Jesus is lived “by believing, not by seeing” (2 Cor. 5:7).

In high school, a teacher broached the subject of the many unanswered questions that life would bring. In essence she responded to mysterious questions involving God with a “because I believe”.    It wasn’t totally satisfying to our inquiring minds, but it remains true.  Those were the days a few years after the ruling in 1963 that banned public reading of the bible in a public school by a person in authority.  Before the bible ban, in our homeroom classes a short passage of the bible would be read.  It was typically out of Psalms or Proverbs and was read without commentary or influence.   Our teacher, when pressed why she would believe without fully knowing all the answers about God, or the bible, or a particular philosophy, simply replied, “because I believe”.

As a 62 year old, my questions are different than as a teen-ager searching for the meaning of life.  There remain unanswered questions, and I seem to always default to my teacher’s response, “because I believe.”

I believe and, yet I still don’t know what happened to the people who rose from the dead at the moment of Christ’s resurrection. I still believe without the satisfaction of knowing answers to mysteries that remain.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Nature of True Love

On July 4, 1978,  Brenda L. Turner and C. Craig Burns made a verbal vow to one another to be married.  We vowed to remain married in various scenarios, “until death do us part.”   We had no idea what adventures were ahead of us, but we knew we wanted to do them together.

Three children and five grandchildren later, the unconditional love of God has been tested often.   Many times we have fallen short, and just as many times, have been restored by verbal apologies.

The picture is from a non-romantic anniversary week, in which our two-person team personally demolished a singlewide trailer to make room for a home.  Piece by piece, we demolished that trailer, and today a nice modest home stands.

We have had plenty of romantic and not so romantic moments.

We have experienced poverty, sickness, heart break, loss of parents, lawsuits, betrayal, abuse, as well as prosperity, health, joy, family relationships, favor, loyal friendships, camaraderie and countless blessings.

The above picture is from the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society Ball. I was facing chemotherapy after a cancer diagnosis, and Brenda kept smiling through every season. I had a back covered with a Shingles induced rash, and only together in Christ did that particular season come to a conclusion.

We have both worked many jobs to provide for our family.  We have worked to finance one another’s college education and provide for our family through many seasons of life. 

We both are following the Lord in ministry and navigating the transitional nature of church life in a changing culture.

We are both about 30 lbs. heavier than we were on our wedding day.  We both have surgical scars, moles, bunions, and other blemishes.

Loving one another in all experiences and seasons of life is so much more than romantic love, but with the romantic love those experiences and seasons are more enjoyable. 

With Valentine’s Day coming, it is great to reminisce and remind myself the nature of true love. For my married readers, be encouraged to remain faithful within a committed relationship through all the seasons of life.  For all of us, love for each other includes highs and lows, good times and hard times.  Let us always strive to follow Jesus’ second commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Feeling Shame?

They suddenly felt shame. (Ge.3: 7)

I know that feeling and it isn’t great.  This feeling of shame may come in many forms.  One of many spiritual disciplines to help overcome shame is fasting.  Fasting can be full, partial or specific.  Adam and Eve could eat freely from anything in the garden but were to fast one specific fruit from one specific tree.  Genesis 25 describes a man named Esau who sold his future for an immediate meal of bread and lentils.

The way we interact with our food really does matter.  For one piece of fruit, and one meal of bread and lentils, people in our past history, made really bad choices.  What if, they would have continued to live a long-suffering life, choosing to not let a specific food be their downfall into a shame based experience?

Food disorders are not uncommon.  Being hangry, that combination of hunger and anger is also not uncommon.  Saying no within a willfully chosen fast can build one’s self esteem and experience the opposite of shame.

On Super bowl Sunday, together with others in our community of God’s people, we will end our self-imposed finite fast of 21 days.  I am not obsessing over it, but I am preparing for it.  Recent trips to the grocery store now include soda, chocolate and honey, all of which were the things I volunteered to fast. 

This time frame has passed fairly quickly because the focus is not on the fast, but on “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:1-4)

Being able to continue my voluntary exercise program during the fast has also built up my self-esteem, my reservoir of grace and peace from God and some positive side benefits.  While losing 5 lbs., in the process of conditioning I experienced suffering, and that is a good thing.  All our life, we will suffer with all our choices whether good or bad.   We will suffer shame for the wrong choices, and/or suffer with the feeling of denying ones self a full meal, a partial meal or a specific food item.  On Sunday I am looking forward to sweetening my coffee with honey, drinking some Ginger Ale, and eating chocolate cake. I hope to share a few pieces of chocolate cake with my grand daughter who chose to fast chocolate for 21 days. Meanwhile, this time of total immersion in the Word has brought some glorious moments with the Lord.  This fast has helped me understand more deeply the Word of God and how to apply it to my life.

“The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18(KJV)

Looking for a way to overcome a feeling of shame?  Join us in the journey to freedom.  Visit for more information.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

When a Person is in Need, they have Needs

Not too long ago, a multiple month sinus infection was experienced. This leaves a person, without the energy to do all the stuff that has to be done.   The other normal things like washing and vacuuming a car, cleaning up leaf debris, clearing gutters, deep cleaning of key areas of the home, are left for some time in the future, when a person “feels up to it”.

What a gift it would be for someone to give a half hour to help with the list.

The community of God’s people I am blessed to serve as Pastor has called all of us to a 21-day fast.  One of the side benefits of engaging in a biblical fast is that it is to empower to do these very things.

Consider people that you know are in need.  Maybe they don't need or want money, but a little help around the house or car.

Please stop making this comment. “If you need anything, just let me know.”  People in need have little energy to ask for help, and even less energy for a refusal.  Consider saying, “I have a half hour on Tuesday.  I can swing by and help with a few little things, confidentially.”  (Please don’t post a selfie of you doing stuff.  It is embarrassing for the person being helped.)

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? undo the heavy burdens, ...? Is. 58:6