Maybe Your Forgiveness…

I was driving the SS Vanterprise back from work yesterday and I was listening to a song on the old iPod shuffle.  It was a song that I have heard no less than 100 times (and that is NOwhere enough).  There was something that I noticed this time.  Some lyrics that were in the song all of the 100 times that I had heard it before, but for some reason, this time was the moment for them to pound my chest like King Kong.

Maybe your Forgiveness is right where you Fell.”  Jon Foreman and the Switchfoot crew hit it on the head on this one.

I have always wondered just how close God was when I have fallen.  Or for that matter, when I still fall.  Does He turn His back on me in shame?  Does He hang His head and regret creating me?  Does He sigh?

I think maybe the last one of those, yes.  But it is just like the Prodigal Son.  I mean, the prodigal son wished his dad dead.  In those days, to receive your inheritance it meant that the father had to die.  So dude took off with his inheritance and blew it.  And after a while he decided…  You know, I am just as unclean as these pigs that I am cleaning up after (which was a HUGE disgrace in the Jewish culture) but if I returned to my father’s house and worked as a slave, I would have it better than this.  But watch what happens…

The Bible says nothing about him cleaning up before he got there.  Prodigal would have to go through ceremonial cleansing and sin/guilt offerings to be purified.  Regardless of that, the father ran out to meet his son.  (Another faux pas, it was not proper for to run…)  and then he embraced him, wrapped a cloak around him, and cranked up a party.

The son returned right to where he fell.  What a beautiful story.  The story of Jesus was not too much unlike the prodigal.  God sent Jesus to earth.  When he was born, the swaddling “cloths” he was wrapped in was known to be death shroud.  That is where he appeared and took on flesh.  He lived a blameless life physically apart from the Father.  But when the time came, Jesus took on OUR sin and became separated from God totally.  When “it was finished”, they took him down and wrapped him in (you guessed it) a death shroud…the same as he began.  And as he beat death by raising up on the third day, he was once again reunited with his Father…who welcomed him into the Holy of Holies…the very throne room of God…at his right hand.

Just know that God will break all the rules just to have you back.  But it starts with you.  It is your decision.  You can recognize your sin and distance from God.  Confess your sins to Him.  Ask Him for not only to forgive you, but to change your heart with the power of Jesus Christ.  Surrender your life to Him.  He will embrace you… And you know what?  There is a party going on in Heaven waiting just for you.

Pint-sized Conversation

So Bonnie and I were talking some last night during our Bible time.  I was reading over 1 Corinthians 13 and explaining how living out love is being obedient to what Jesus commands us to do.  We took some time going through each one and I gave her pats on the back for the things she did well and opened the floor to discuss the things she was struggling with.  We had a great little conversation that I could tell was sinking in.

And then it happened…  I asked, “Bon, is there anything you would like to ask about Jesus or the bible?  Anything at all…?”

She asked, “Pop-Pop, how did Jesus stop being dead in the tomb?” 

After I calmed my racing pulse from the excitement of explaining more about the gospel to my eldest, I began walking her through the story.  I told her, “Well, there are some things we just cannot understand.  Jesus is one of them…  The bible says he was God AND man.  So when Jesus died on the cross, the yucky, sinful part of Him died away.  The sins of all of the people who already died, who are living now, and people who haven’t been born yet… Jesus died for all of them.” 

Bon:  “Well, was Jesus stinky when He came out of that tomb?”
Me:  “No, sweetie.  Because He beat up death… He is alive.” 

Bon:  “That’s right.  He lives inside my heart, doesn’t He Daddy?”
Me:  “For those who believe in Jesus, ask Him to wash away their sins, and obey His words, yes… He lives in their hearts.”

Bon:  “And those people are God’s Children…right?”
Me:  “Yes, we are sons and daughters of God.”
Bon:  “Like that song… ‘How Great, How Great that we believe by faith, that we can be called the Children of God’.”
Me:  “Exactly right, Bon.  And good singing.
Bon:  “Yeah!!!!  I’m so glad Jesus lives in my heart!”
Me:  “Me too, Bon.  Me, too.”

I guess kids do listen after all. 


Christmas is Upon Us

It is that time of year again.  With the lighted trees in our living rooms and the presents under the tree.  Partaking of egg nog and passing around the 400 year old fruit cake.  Yep.  It is Christmas time.

This time of year always causes me to reflect on the events and happenings from the first of the year until this point.  Also, I think about the past and thank God for His goodness and grace.  So as I reflect on the previous year and years past.  Here are some thoughts that have passed through this ponderous mind.

#1.  God really did love us to send His Son as a baby.

Sure, Jesus is a warrior whose sword is bloody and his white robe is dipped in blood.  Who has a tattoo down his thigh that says, “King of King and Lord of Lords” (or so I have been told).  Yes, that same Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple.  The same One who was beaten and bruised and ultimately killed for our sins and then beat the hell out of death.  All of the strong warrior, mighty in battle references are still implied here. But where did God start Jesus off?  Yep, a baby.  Innocent.  Helpless.  Weak.  

#2.  God gives and He takes away…and He knows what He is doing.

 Now, this may come off as offensive, but that is truly not my concern.  God has given Lovely and I five children.  We are grateful for the three that we still have with us.  The two that God “took away” or kept for His own (Tobias Mikal & Jonah-Miriam) are still very much missed.  As I was hanging our stockings the other night, I could not help but to let the tears fall.  I still miss our kids.  As of right now, Tobias would be nearly 4 years old and Jonah-Miriam would be nearly three years old.  I do not care how much time passes, I will still love them and miss them.  And no, it is not because they were sick.  It was not to keep us from pain because we are still grieving.  Their deaths did not happen because something would have been wrong with them that we could not handle.  God, for His glory, ushered them into His presence.  After our miscarriages, we were able to help minister to about 7 other couples that went through the same thing…within about six months.  Bigger picture?  It seems that God allowed us to face this situation, hurt, pain, grief, and all to build character and to help the other couples.

#3.  Finding the Peace in the Storm.

Lovely & I have been through more junk this year (or just over) that we really care to deal with.  While the bible promises that we will not be given more than we can handle, this year is REALLY pushing that limit.  We moved.  I got laid off (in 2009).  We found out about a bunch of deception.  God provided a new job.  I received a promotion at the new job.  God added a new blessing to the MTP crew.  We moved again.  Another promotion.  Plus much much more.  

I cannot honestly say that I have had the most optimistic outlook on all of these situations.  I have not have the most God-honoring attitude.  But now that the year is drawing to a close, I am now looking back and seeing God in every circumstance.  Just little ribbons of God’s grace or protection, goodness and mercy.  

#4.  Thank God for newness

God has a funny way about guiding you through life and giving you little glimpses of what is next….sometimes.  Often it feels like a carrot being held in front of a donkey to keep it going.  Other times it feels like being strapped to an engine that is hitting mach three with no signs of slowing.  No matter what way is being experienced at the time, God’s sovereignty is the hope.  If it is a new season of life, then God is the author and finisher of our faith.  All in all, God is to be praised.  

So as we approach this holiday season, take a moment.  Think about God’s goodness.  Think about God’s approach to what your life has been like this past year.  Find the grace, truth, and protection in those times.  Maybe you just need to find Jesus.  And that is okay.  We all need Jesus.  Just Jesus…and the reason that he came in weakness.  The way Jesus came into this world was just the opposite of the way He went out.  He that came to life in weakness defeated death.  The One who came in innocence bore our sins and made a way for us to speak directly to God by shattering the sacrificial system of the Jewish culture.  And as Jesus was helpless as a baby, as our Savior, he willingly walked to His scourging and death…in order to give us life.

As Christmas is upon us, lets stop.  Reflect.  And thank Jesus for what he did for us.  If you need help remembering what he did.  Watch the movie from Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’.

Review of "Steering through Chaos" by Scott Wilson

“Steering through Chaos” by Scott Wilson

A book full of insight, experience, and practical application. A MUST READ!!!

As I began to read Scott Wilson’s book, I was not quite sure what to expect. In all honesty, I had never heard of Scott Wilson, so why would I do this? Invest time in a book that I had never heard of that was written by someone I did not know? Simple. Curiousity. As it turns out, Steering through Chaos has been exactly what I needed.

I recently have watched a church body change and morph and begin to get back to the very truth and simplicity that is the gospel. It was out of this curiosity that I read this book. So, in a nutshell, here is a brief review of “Steering through Chaos.”
It seems that Scott Wilson penned this book out of a lot of personal experience, prayer, petition, and seeking to do the will of God. Through any church’s existance, there is push and pull, ebb and flow. Comfort is not something that the Bible points to for followers of Jesus Christ. Scott simply gathers his experiences as a minister and points back to the biblical principles that the church must change and be on the forefront of God’s heart, reaching the lost, the hurting…and challenges the bride of Christ (the church) to return to it’s first love, the true message of the good news that is Jesus Christ.
Whether you are a lay person, a church leader, elder, deacon, pastor of a small group, a mid-sized church, a mega-church, rural church, suburb or city church. This book applies to the whole spectrum. Why? How? Simple. When Jesus calls us to go and make disciples, that means that we will ALL cross paths. So put down your boxing gloves, read “Steering through Chaos” and cry out to God to reveal the vision, the direction, the empowerment, and the people He intends to carry out the ministry He has charged you with.

Life is a school room…

I seem to learn more about myself the more I am around the people that I help each day. A lot of days go by that are very difficult. Different situations, different people…Personality and character conflicts, and more. Each offers its own challenge. In the previous months I just got frustrated and blow up at the issue and even at the mention of the issue. I am trying to take a different approach (key word being: trying) to the day-to-day issues that life throws at me.

My lovely wife and I were talking the other day about my work. I had gotten fired up about something that was going on (or wrong), and after a bit of rambling on about being upset I just told her that I was going to shut up and spare her the details of my frustration. Not because she didn’t care or didn’t want to hear it, but because it wasn’t edifying to her nor to the individual and issue that I was discussing. There was a long silence (about 10 minutes)…nothing. Not a noise or phone or anything. Then, my lovely spoke these gentle words (and I do, very truly, mean gentle)…”Sweetheart, I love you…no matter what. You are a great husband and wonderful dad. Your character is stronger than this. Here, read this…” Then she handed me a book and I went off to read it for a few minutes.

She was SO right. Now, instead of blowing up at a situation or issue or whatever, I wait. Sure I still get frustrated and I want to blow my top, BUT I just try to wait until the issue has come to a close (I usually facilitate some quick closure) and spend some time going through what made me so frustrated. What caused the issue? Why did I react that way? What pushed me to be frustrated? or What made me more patient with this person and not that person?

This has seemed to make a little more difference in how I am dealing with my family and also with my work. I find myself getting less angry…less often. Which is good all the way around.

So when life is throwing you a fastball of angriness. Just wait, be patient, and consider your heart in all of it. Is God really proud of the way that you handled these issues? Does your attitude and your heart reflect true Christlikeness?

I hope so. I pray you don’t have to learn this. I hope that you already know how to deal with all of life so that you don’t have to go through this. BUT if you do, just know that you are not all alone. There is at least one other person that is going through the same exact thing.

no time nor a brain to post

The new job is great. Already in a short amount of time we have seen so many changes. I have been on the job as of Saturday March 29th. I have rarely had a break. (the only true minus to working a salary job) But here is the deal…Sunday morning at church, there were 3 first time commitments to following Christ from our guys. God is truly preparing the hearts of the men to stand with Christ.

While I am weary, I am still energized. I counted up a little while ago that of the last 40 hours, I’ve been awake for 38 of them. So what am I running on? Change. (that and a lot of Mt Dew and coffee) God is changing these hardened mens’ hearts. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

I’ll write more later. must take a 3 hour nap to make it through the next 24-30 hours.


Home-life is pretty, honkin’ grand these days. I mean, I got home yesterday and as I was walking up the stairs to our front door, I noticed there were loads of dried beans on the ground. I wondered what it was about. Were they bad beans? What could be the explanation of some of our most precious staples being tossed about? Later I found out that Lovely and Lil Bear had some school outside on the “front porch.” This week, Lil Bear is learning to say and sign the letter A…and some words that start with A. We are also counting to 3 and have learned a few colors including blue, black, green, yellow and red. She is also learning to clean up a room before she goes to destroy another.

These are interesting times, my friends. Why? Well, Lil Bear just turned 16 months yesterday.

In addition to Lil Bear, we have Lovely that is in her first Tri-mester exhaustion and then me, working like usual. I’ll be thankful for the new job at the Village since I’ll mostly work from home. I will be able to see the fam a lot more than I do now. (and sure, there is the whole hard distinction of a home-worker being at home and then in another room and being at work…I got that)

I’m just ready to start making that difference. I sincerely try where I am. People notice the difference, but everyone around me is “saved” already. And even though I currently work at a Baptist University, I can’t preach to the students while talking to them about their loans or when I teach the guitar classes. Sad, isn’t it.

I’m just grateful for where I am today. God woke me up this morning. God put breath in me and my heart was pumping blood. I walked around. I bathed and have eaten. I have a job to go to and earn money. I woke up laying right next to a beautiful woman (my wife) and spent a few moments with my children…(it’s never too early to talk to the belly). I don’t want to take anything for granted today.

Thank you, Father, for giving me a life that is abundant in You. Sure, when the world looks at my life I don’t have anything, but I do. I have life eternal, a God who saves, a King who fights for me and gives me hope, and a Holy Spirit that comes along side to comfort and guide me. Who really cares about the rest? God, you are the greatest Father. Thank you for adopting me as a son and making me an heir as Christ. Jesus, thank you for your life-gift. Thank you for drinking the cup and not passing it along. Thank you for giving your life to give us life. Thank you for your example and the my brothers and sisters who have gone ahead of me. Thank you for what you do and have done in order to make a place for us and to send us the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us. May you receive all of the honor, respect, glory, and praise due your
name. Amen.

Rick Burgess speaks at son’s funeral

Rick Burgess is speaking at his 2 year old, William Bronner Burgess’ funeral. There are three videos here…please listen to them. Please be in prayer for their family as they grieve and lean on God for their strength and hope.

Video #1

Video #2

Video #3 – Final Thoughts

I know that I didn’t do this when our second baby died in March 2007. I hope that God blesses them beyond their imagination for the love and hope they have shared.


So the family (just mine…Lovely, Little Bear, and myself) are celebrating Christmas but not Santa Claus. Why? A few reasons…First, it is a relationship built on a lie. Secondly, it fosters hope that is later dashed to pieces. Lastly and most importantly, I feel it takes the focus off of the whole point of Christmas. Sure, giving is one point of Christmas, but in my opinion it doesn’t promote what Christ came to accomplish.

So here is a story about an experience we had this weekend while shopping for Christmas presents.

We were shopping for Little Bear’s presents on Sunday afternoon after church. We went to a local Kmart (or as my grandma says, “Kmarx”) to grab the last of the gifts. During our trek through the store, Little Bear let us know that she had a “dirty butt” and since it was the weekend I was on diaper duty. We walk across the store sans buggy trying to locate the restrooms only hoping that there would be a baby changing table or some other surface other than a pissed on floor to change my precious little girl. We finally get to the snack shack. The men’s room had no changing table and the women’s room was Out of Order. I asked if I could zip in and change her really quick. The ladies behind the counter grinned and blurted, “Surely!! Just keep tha der opum.” A quick minute later we are walking back out and the ladies are admiring the sweet girl that is my daughter. One of the ladies, who probably went to high school with Fred Flintstone, asked the question, “So, is Santa comin’ ta yer hauwse?” I looked at Little Bear and just smiled and said, “No ma’am, Santa won’t be coming to our house.” The two old white ladies looked at each other, one looking like, “Poor thing, I bet they can’t afferd no Chrismas.” The other looked at me like, “I bet hEz one dem peeples dat don’t eat no perk and don’t belive in Jesus. You know…dem Juice peeples.”

I grinned. They tried not to make faces or act like I took them off guard, but it was too late. The younger of the two elder ladies commented, “well, you have a beautiful little girl. Merry Christmas…or…Happy Holidays, which ever you celebrate.”

Very diplomatic, I thought. I just replayed the whole conversation when I sat down with my grandparents while they were talking about the Holy Ghost, and asked them to explain what they thought the Holy Ghost was. They think I am not saved now. You can’t help it when people have never been challenged in what they believe. I was simply trying to get to the heart of what they believe. They turned it into, well, he must be going to a church that don’t teach Jesus and God and the Holy Ghost. Not true, by the way.

Back to the store…

The fact is that if they had seen our buggy, they would have known that we had Christmas presents. Sure we didn’t have a massive pile of gifts, but we have some for Little Bear and some family.

I just wanted to sit down with them and chat about Christmas and why we don’t celebrate Santa Claus.

Maybe some day I will go back and take that time. Until then.