Ridge Burns's blog

Why Didn't I Get Involved

Recently I was in Atlanta and went to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It's an incredible walk: you walk by his house, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and then a reflection pool with the graves of both Martin Luther King and his wife, Coretta. Then there's a museum. The museum has all these old clips from newscasts that show the atrocities of civil violence against ourselves—black people being beat up, white people showing anger. And then there are all the pioneers—all the people that stood up to say, "This is not right. We need to make a difference. We need to change the rules. We need to treat everybody equally." And some of those people were beaten to death and some were hung. It was hard to watch because this is our country—in my case this is part of my history during my lifetime. I thought to myself, "Why didn't I get involved? Why didn't I go on peace marches? Why wasn't I involved in changing the culture in America against racism?" The easy answer is that I was too young at the time. But the reality is that I didn't have eyes to look at the culture differently. That made me think, "What do I need to get involved in now? What is the civil rights movement of right now? Is it human trafficking? Is it world hunger? What is the cause?" So I've purposed in my heart to pray and keep my eyes open to see if there's a cause that I have been overlooking—like I did the civil rights movement growing up—that I need to stand firm on and make a statement.

Father-Son Weekend

For the last few years, my son, RW, and I have spent a weekend together. Usually it’s going to a NASCAR race or to do some fun thing. But this year, we were able to race cars at Talladega Speedway. We averaged 156 miles an hour— and we were driving the car! It was just really fun and such a great father-son thing to do. More than driving the cars, what was amazing about the weekend was that my son and I just enjoyed talking. We talked nonstop about all kinds of things that fathers and sons should talk about: getting advice, giving advice, and listening. It was wonderful! We enjoyed some great food. We ate, then we ate some more—food was somehow part of the bonding experience. We enjoyed adventure: going to Talladega, Alabama and racing cars was amazing. When we got done we were just giggling because it was such a great experience. I was thinking how fun it is to enjoy your kids: to enjoy what they’re thinking about, what they’re worrying about, to enjoy being with them. There are no barriers. There’s no hidden agenda. There are no issues of communication that get between us—we just enjoy one another. It was a great weekend. So why would I write this in a blog? It’s not to hold me up as any sort of great parent. It’s to encourage you that father-son things are amazing and good for both the father and the son. The tradition of getting together on a regular basis, just he and I, is something I would encourage other fathers and sons to do. It’s good for you and it’s good for him.

Puzzle

While our family was in Denver recently renting a house for a week, we opened up a huge jigsaw puzzle. I find puzzles addicting. I can't stop trying to find pieces and put them together and see the puzzle take shape and see the picture that's on the box suddenly become visible. You see certain pieces over and over again until suddenly something happens to help you see it differently and then you find where it fits perfectly. I think that's how we should see our world, how we should see people. There's an intelligent design to creation that speaks to a designer—that shouts that there is something beyond what we see in the physical. There's order in our world. Sometimes the most chaotic experiences in our world make it feel like things are falling apart, but God says, "No, I have a perfect puzzle. I have every piece figured out. I am creating the ultimate jigsaw puzzle that doesn't just speak of a beautiful picture, it speaks of me!" We need to see that this puzzle forms an incredible picture of the God who takes care of us and loves us. I love puzzles because we get to figure them out. As we figure them out, they become an amazing thing of beauty that fits together—it looks so disjointed when we start and is so in order when we finish.

Psalm 24

Psalm 24, of course, follows one of the great psalms of Christendom, the twenty-third Psalm. I love how it is followed by this psalm that David wrote about how great the King of Glory is. Psalm 24 starts out, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” The Psalm clearly says that we are God’s possession. And as God’s possession, He takes care of us and builds His stewardship into our lives by His faithfulness to us. I love how the psalm begins to talk about who can dwell in the holy place on the holy hill. And I love the part in verse seven that says: “Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” I love this idea of the ancient doors, that there are places where God has worked that are now closed and no longer visible to the people of God. And I love that God is doing a work of opening ancient gates to allow a freshness of the Spirit to come in. In that freshness of the Spirit, there is an opening through which people see God in new and different ways. Part of what God is doing in our world right now is that He’s opening up these gates in the walls that allow us to see Him more clearly, to provide a place where people can worship Him and know Him because everything in the earth is the Lord’s. It’s amazing what God has done and how He continues to work in our lives.

Story

God is writing a story of our lives in our experiences and in our daily life. Recently the Sanctuary Church board of elders met for a whole day. We did very little business but spent most of our time getting to know each other—really sharing deeply, allowing each other to see our flaws, but also to see the good work that God has done. One of the things we did was tell our story—how we became a Christian, how we met our spouses, how our lives unfolded. It was amazing to me the redemptive work in people’s lives, everything from tough family situations to disappointment. I can’t share all of the things that were part of this group because of confidentiality, but I can tell you most of us were surprised that we ever turned out to be elders. God did a redemptive work—He has changed us, He washed us, He made us clean, He made us more like Him—which allows us to have the ability to be overseers of a church. It was a good time. It was good to hear each other’s stories and remember that God is writing a story of our lives. In fact, the whole book of Acts is the story of God’s redemptive work in the apostles. So I encourage you to get together with people you care about and ask them to tell you their story.

A Long Walk

This week RobAnne and I and our family—our daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter— have rented a house in Denver to enjoy each other’s company for a week. It’s been great! I love being with the family and hearing their stories, laughing and telling old jokes, and just being together. Today we went on a three-mile walk up in the Rockies. Because we were walking slowly and it was so quiet there, we noticed things like clouds and moss on the ground. We noticed the leaves and the way the rocks formed around trees. It was really a remarkable time just knowing how incredible our God is. But it also reminded me of how I forget. I get familiar with my surroundings and I forget that God has designed things especially for me and He has given me the capacity to see His handiwork. If I slow down and get quiet, I can look at things differently because I’m not in a hurry. I see God. I feel Him. And because of that, I know Him more. There’s something therapeutic and spiritual about taking a walk in a quiet place where there are very few people and it’s just you and God’s creation. It was wonderful.

Wisdom

James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God..." Wisdom is being smart not just with your head, but with your heart, with your emotions, with your attitudes. Wisdom is a huge word. I'm in a group of CEOs that is organized around an organization called Convene. They are all Christian business owners seeking to use their businesses for the purpose of kingdom work and to build the kingdom. It's a great group of guys. There are twelve of us in the group and we get together every month for a whole day to share best practices, to solve others' problems, to give wisdom. And quite honestly, I am the dumbest person in the room. Their wisdom comes from experience - they've been there before. Their wisdom comes from knowledge, they have read and they have people on their staff that do research for them. Their wisdom comes from the skills that they have, their natural skills. Their wisdom also comes from the gifts that God has given them that are unique to their businesses. And their wisdom comes from having a right attitude, they ask a lot of questions, they want to learn, they want to dig deeper. They are wise people. I would really encourage us to have people in our lives that are smarter than us. We should have people around us that are wiser - that have more experience, more knowledge, different skills than we do, and different gifts - who can show us how to use those gifts with appropriate and right attitudes. Without wisdom, we flounder. God's wisdom is resident in the Scriptures, through the work and the power of the Holy Spirit, and through a community of people who are there in your life to be wise, wise people...

Broken Planes

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling recently and have experienced the normal delays and mechanical failures that air travel often brings. I take those things in stride because I fly a lot and have so much experience waiting in airports. I don’t get nervous or upset, but just realize that whatever is going to happen will play out in the way that God had intended it. Recently I was on a flight that got delayed so people were missing their connections and they were uptight and angry and asking questions that couldn’t be answered by the pilot or flight attendants. This made people more and more frustrated. The flight attendant came to me and said, “You seem to be taking this all in stride.” I told her that I fly a lot and I’ve learned that this is part of what it means to get on a machine—they break and sometimes you get delayed and other times you get in early. It’s interesting, the more you fly, the calmer you are in these types of situations. It seems that the more experience you have in waiting and watching how things work out, the more you realize there’s no sense in getting all uptight about it. The more we understand that God is in control of our lives and that He has already figured out a solution to the issues and problems that face us, the more we can take things in stride. The more we walk with God and trust Him, the more we pray, the more we are in communion with Him, the more we are in His presence — all these things help us to take things in stride. I Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your cares on him for he cares for you.” Those are great...

Because of His Name

Psalm 23:2 says, "He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake." For the great name of our God, He leads us to rightness and righteousness. He leads us to the things that will make us pure and good and well. His paths are good paths. Another section of scripture talks about the broad road versus the narrow road. God's paths are narrow, they have restrictions. Because we are torn in our natural man to go and wander, God says, "Listen I'm going to lead you on my paths, for name's sake. My great name will be glorified on earth." It is at His name that men and women and leaders and boys and girls and all the inhabitants of the earth will bow down and will declare the great name of God - because He leads us and guides us on the right paths for His name's sake.

What is Church?

I am in leadership on the board of elders of our church. I love our church. I love how we were able to be one of the planting families, how we have watched it grow, we’ve watched some issues surface, but we really do love being part of Sanctuary Church. I’ve been asking the question recently, “What is church? What is it really? Is it the Sunday morning? Is it the programs? The youth ministries? The women’s ministry? What is it?” I’ve decided there are four things that church is. First, it’s all about relationships. It’s all about building a network of Christian friends that shelter you and help you and pray for you and grow with you. We share our lives and our failures together, we take communion together. It’s relationships—most of the time in small groups. Second, it’s power. I love what Jesus said to the disciples just before he ascended into heaven. He said, “Go to Jerusalem and wait and the Holy Spirit will come on you in power.” I believe that’s one of the characteristics of churches that is missing. Our worship becomes stale, our prayers become rote, our sermons become dull and dry and drab. Where is the power? Where are the healings? Where are the transformed lives that are a result of the power of the cross? I pray for power in our churches. Third, church is being together, but also alone. There is an aloneness: you come to communion and you take the cup alone—it’s just you and God—it’s the forgiveness of your sins. And while we have corporate times, church speaks to our soul and our aloneness and gives us an ability to walk and talk with God in ways that are new and fresh. We’re together, but also alone. And finally,...

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