Friday, July 14, 2017

Devotions Deepen and Delight


Here is an excerpt from my daily devotions.
“In his book, The Vision and The Vow, Pete Greig tells of how a distinguished art critic was studying an exquisite painting by the Italian Renaissance master Filippino Lippi. He stood in London’s National Gallery gazing at the fifteenth-century depiction of Mary holding the infant Jesus on her lap, with saints Dominic and Jerome kneeling nearby. But the painting troubled him. There could be no doubting Lippi’s skill, his use of colour or composition. But the proportions of the picture seemed slightly wrong. The hills in the background seemed exaggerated, as if they might topple out of the frame at any minute onto the gallery’s polished floor. The two kneeling saints looked awkward and uncomfortable.
Art critic Robert Cumming was not the first to criticise Lippi’s work for its poor perspective, but he may well be the last to do so, because at that moment he had a revelation. It suddenly occurred to him that the problem might be his. The painting he was analysing with clinical objectivity was not just another piece of religious art hanging in a gallery alongside other comparative works. It had never been intended to come anywhere near a gallery. Lippi’s painting had been commissioned to hang in a place of prayer.
Self-consciously, the dignified critic dropped to his knees in the public gallery before the painting. He suddenly saw what generations of art critics had missed. From his new vantage point, Robert Cumming found himself gazing up at a perfectly proportioned piece. The foreground had moved naturally to the background, while the saints seemed settled – their awkwardness, like the painting itself, having turned to grace. Mary now looked intently and kindly directly at him as he knelt at her feet between saints Dominic and Jerome.
It was not the perspective of the painting that had been wrong all these years, it was the perspective of the people looking at it. Robert Cumming, on bended knee, found a beauty that Robert Cumming the proud art critic could not. The painting only came alive to those on their knees in prayer. The right perspective is the position of worship.”
Nicky and Pippa Gumbel, HTB: One Year Bible 2016
Pete Greig, The Vision and the Vow, (Kingsway Publications, 2005) pp.17–18.

Consider some daily disciplines that include bible reading with a devotional.  It WILL position you in the right perspective to see and enjoy the beauty of God’s wonderful, abundant plan for every human being.
FYI:  Listening to the bible while running and stretching works better for me than sitting and reading.
Position yourself to enjoy your summer life,

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Transitions are more than a style of lens

Each aid station in ultra’s are a type of transition.  One stage ends, as you enter a neutral zone to refresh, refill and recuperate.  Then a new beginning occurs as you move out of the aid station and head towards the next.  Running from aid station to aid station is a way to run ultra’s.  These series of transitions and the way one handles the transitions determines the outcome.  Some aid stations, once entered are never left.  Some aid stations are skipped and some are missed because of being lost.  Some are fully embraced and efficiently passed through filled with what is needed to make it to the next aid station.

In my small circle of friends, I have heard the word transition more often than not.  It is as if many of us are in a time of transition.  The great news is that this means we are moving forward in life.  I think our country is also in a time of transition.

There is a template for transition.  It is the book of Luke and the book of Acts.  The transition from the personal ministry of Jesus to the personal ministry of human beings in relationship with God, through Christ Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit is well documented in those books of the bible.  “Managing Transitions” by Dr. William Bridges is an excellent book to help mange transitions.  The terms of ending, neutral zone and new beginning are taken from his book.


If you are experiencing a time of transition be encouraged that you are moving forward and not stuck in a rut.  Also, be encouraged to study the books aforementioned.

Monday, April 17, 2017

I was the worst player on the team

I was the worst player on the 1968 J.V. Football team for Hernando High School.  That terrible season became an awakening for me that created in me the desire to be the most improved that still burns.  As I remember, I was so bad the coach didn’t allow me to play one play in a game all year.  It did bother me to realize I was so bad, the coach wouldn’t send me in.  It bothered me so much, that it motivated me to participate in the weight room and do the cardio workouts that were made available at the time.  That horrible experience created a desire to be physically fit, that still burns in my belly. 

Understanding my need for physical exercise helped me transition to understand my need for spiritual exercises when I accepted the Lordship of Christ in 1974 after an even more horrible experience. It didn’t take me long to realize I was the “worst” follower of Christ on the team (in the church I attended).  I won’t go into details, but I wasn’t fit for the Lord’s work.  The catalyst for my spiritual growth was the experience described in Acts 2:1-4.  The Baptism in the Holy Spirit gave me the power to spiritually exercise and share the good news of Jesus.   

A new series begins after resurrection Sunday.  “Feast: the Path to Pentecost”. 

What did the Lord speak to you during the past season of fasting and prayer?  Putting it into a spiritual exercise will be better processed with the power of the Holy Spirit. 

What comes to your own mind as a dead issue with the question from the angel in Luke 24:5,6?

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!

When I endeavored to physically exercise myself into a starting position in varsity sports, I also had to let go of some habits that were nullifying my conditioning.  Consider the fifty-day journey to Pentecost as a time to both spiritually exercise and spiritually repent of dead, unfruitful ways.

Together, let us Feast by being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18),

Pastor Craig


Friday, March 31, 2017

The Dam 5k (No, I am not cussing... yet)



On Saturday, April 1, Brenda and I will celebrate April Fools Day by toeing the line on a 5K fun run that coincides with a 50K called the Dam 50.

The “fun” is that both the50K and 5K includes the “death climb”.  It is a mile long climb up a steep mountain promised by the race director to be the “slowest mile” anyone has ever run.  An email this week said, “paramedics will be waiting at the end”

·       Are you ready for the Death Climb?! The course includes the death climb this year, so be careful making your way down! We will have paramedics at the bottom should they be needed. Everyone signed their waiver, right? ;) 


Many have extended generosity in the past and given towards many different missions efforts. This race is dedicated to a teaching missions trip to Ethiopia and Tanzania.  The Master’s degree from AGTS and International Coaching Federation certification authorizes me to encourage the emerging leadership in both countries.   In Ethiopia, I will teach two weeklong classes on “God and Angels”. In Tanzania, I will meet with the Tanzanian Assemblies of God Superintendent and leadership team to coach them to discover God’s plan, move forward, and build their confidence.

Here is what I am asking.  I would like for you to consider purchasing my latest book for $2.99.  I recently completed a book on fasting, entitled, “Life in the Fast Lane: Making an Ancient Practice New” and it is only available on Kindle. Its overriding theme is unconditional love.  Those who read it receive an undeniable fact that God loves everyone, and it has nothing to do with our performance or abilities, or lack thereof.  See the link below.

This trip has been saved for with money set aside in the past.  Future trips I will need some prayer driven financial assistance, but not this one. Any donations you feel compelled to give will be set aside for future missions trips. See link below.


Most importantly, pray that the mission to Ethiopia and Tanzania is blessed.


It is a fabulous moment in our 39 years of marriage to run/walk together.  Partnerships are an amazing adventure.  Pray the paramedics are not needed or a marriage counselor.

Together,

Craig and Brenda Burns

For book:
https://www.amazon.com/Life-Fast-Lane-Ancient-Practice-ebook/dp/B06XRKM646/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490980091&sr=8-1&keywords=life+in+the+fast+lane+by+craig+burns
(link for donations)

Donations for future missions.

http://www.viennaag.com/giving/giving/?view=mobile