Ridge Burns's blog

Fear

This week I was on an airplane flying from the West Coast to work in Philadelphia. I was upgraded to first-class, which happens at no charge when you fly as much as I do. I was in seat 4A, which is a window seat. There was already an elderly lady in 4B, which is on the aisle. When I got on the plane she got up and let me in the row. I greeted her and we had a very brief conversation. But then all of a sudden she reached over and held my hand. She had her eyes closed so I thought that maybe she didn’t realize that she was doing it. But she kept holding my hand and it got awkward. So I kind of moved my hand and she finally opened her eyes and said, “I’m sorry I’m just so afraid when I fly. Can I just hold your hand?” So, looking around to see if there was anybody from the mission or from my church that might see this, I said, “Sure.” And this dear elderly lady held my hand until we got up in the air. Every time there was a bump and every time there was any sort of abnormality to smooth flying, she would reach over and grab my hand. After a while I kind of liked it. I thought, “You know, as humans, we need each other.” We need each other to overcome the basic fears of our life. And we know through scripture that perfect love casts out all fear. When you’re in unity with people, when you know that people around you are supporting you and carrying you and they exhibit the love of God, there is something that takes place that casts out all fear. So as much as...

Teach Us To Pray

One amazing sentence in Scripture comes from Luke 11:1 where it says, “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.'” Jesus, by praying in front of his disciples, was modeling prayer to them. They saw that He had this connection with the Father and desired to have the same. We see so much of how Jesus prayed to the Father as we read through the gospels. One of my favorites is in John 17 where Jesus is praying for himself first, then for his disciples, then for all believers. When He prays for His disciples it’s intimate. It’s deep. It’s sensitive. It’s emotive. I’ve been learning a lot about prayer recently. Yesterday I was in a phenomenal prayer meeting. We were praying over people and asking God to help us lead an event that we are planning. We prayed in the flow – what I mean by that is that it wasn’t just one person praying. We sort of built on each other’s prayers and prayed for each other and stood in unity as we heard each other pray. I love that. I love when you’re in a place where God is speaking and conversing with His people and prayer becomes a conversation. Prayer becomes part of a flow of words from both the Holy Spirit and from our hearts. I think we have often made prayer boring and it is possible that we have made prayer rote. It has such a lack of power when it becomes a recitation of just words. So I would invite you to say to the Lord, “Teach me how to pray. Teach me to know how to communicate with you, Lord Jesus.” When the disciples said that,...

Reach Local Initiative

“Reach Local” is an initiative from our mission. We desire that people learn what it means to reach their local communities. So let me help you. We want you to reach : to make a concerted, planned effort to extend the arm of the Holy Spirit and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to those who are within your reach. And for most of us, our reach is right in front of us – but involves us reaching in. It involves us using our skills, our passion, our dreams to find new ways to reach out and extend the hand of grace to those who are part of our community. We want you to reach local : there are many wonderful things we can do in different countries around the world – we want to be part of what God is doing globally, around our planet – but there’s something incredibly powerful about reaching into our local communities that really makes a difference. In church on Sunday they were talking about a good neighbor program where neighbors would reach neighbors with ministries of service. It reminded me that it doesn’t take a lot to find out where your local is – just open your eyes, reach into it, and be the vary hands, arms, and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that we would learn how to reach local .

Prayer Changes Things

Recently I was in an elders meeting at our church where we traditionally have dinner together, talk about the business of the church, and pray about those matters as we work through the agenda. But lately we’ve been doing the meeting differently. We’ve been eating together, then listening to a worship song and spending some extended time in prayer: pouring out our hearts to the Lord, allowing God to speak to us and in us. And something different has happened: there’s a different feel to the meetings; there’s a different countenance to how we make decisions. It just seems that prayer has changed things. In our InFaith office here in Exton we have a prayer room. Recently our management team has gathered in that prayer room to pray together. And we feel differently about each other: there’s a bond. There’s a unity. Prayer changes things. Last Saturday night I got together with a group of people simply to pray – simply to seek the Lord, to get words from Him, to hear His voice, to perhaps event get a vision for what God wants. We enjoyed one another. There was unity and connection. Prayer changes things. I was sitting in church on Sunday and a man in the church that I know fairly well was the only other person in the row. He reached over and we just prayed together. We blessed each other and thanked God for each other. When I walked away, I felt like prayer changed things. In another meeting there was a man who felt the Lord tell him to speak words to me. As we prayed together I felt changed. Oftentimes we think of prayer just as praying about tough things, or things we need advice on. But when you worship, when you pray and...

Words

I have discovered in recent days that words are the way to my heart. I cherish words that are given to me. Words are big to Ridge Burns! So I am careful with how I need to talk to people. I need to be more careful in how I work with our staff at InFaith because words are important. There were words that were spoken over me when I was little that I still remember. Oftentimes when I talk to a young person or am involved in praying for a couple or an individual, there are words that have stuck to them – hurting words, desperate words, words of hate, words of pain – that they just can’t shake, that are imbedded in their lives. So they find themselves in a place where they can’t be free in the Spirit, they can’t be free in God, because words are their bondage. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” I love that! Words out of our mouth should always be gracious. Our spirit, our vernacular, our countenance, the nuances, the inflections of our speech ought to be gracious. Why? Because they are seasoned with salt. Salt sometimes makes things better. I love salt on french fries. French fries without salt are bland. Our words ought to be that salt – that part of us that penetrates the hearts of those around us. So a person that hates us, we answer with love. We speak back with hope to a person that is hopeless. To a person that is angry, we speak back with mercy. Words penetrate the heart. In Matthew 12:37 it says, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words...

Generosity

There have been times in my life when I’ve experienced and witnessed generosity that’s powerful. I remember going on a mission trip to a little church in Mexico. The people had so little: they were poor, they were living off the land. Because we came and helped paint their house, and helped weed their garden, and just played with their kids they gave us their chicken – their only chicken. They gave it to us! I still remember looking at the chicken and thinking, “We have so much to give and we give so little. The poor seem to out give us.” On the other end of the spectrum, I’m involved with a group of CEOs, many of whom are doing very well. Money is flowing, good things are happening – and they are generous too. They share their wealth, they share their influence, they share their ability to get things done with the kingdom. I see generosity there. In our church, Sanctuary, I’m one of the people in charge of the benevolent fund and it’s always funded. The money is always there because our people are generous. Generosity is a characteristic of the kingdom of God. Generosity is a characteristic of the people of God. God set the tone for us in 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Why are we rich? Are we rich with money? Are we rich with favor? Are we rich with things and possessions? No. We’re rich because the love of God is generously heaped on us – it flows over us. The generosity of love and hope and peace and self-control – all the gifts...

Unexpected

If you’re a follower of my blog, you’ll know that the last blog I wrote was about expectations – how when we expect things, God seems to honor those expectations and work. But sometimes God surprises us. Sometimes the unexpected happens in the way that God moves. That happened to me this week. I was involved in a worship service and God just moved on my life and I experienced His power and His grace and His peace. I was not expecting that to happen. It just happened because God decided that I needed to experience His power and His strength. When I look at the New Testament, I think about how many unexpected things happened to the disciples: Jesus walked on water, He cast out demons, He fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish, He healed a woman who just touched His garment. Everything was unexpected and unrehearsed and seemed to be a surprise. We’ve taken the surprises out of God – we’ve made Him predictable, we’ve made Him safe, we’ve made Him tame – we’ve made Him in our image. I’m thankful that God does the unexpected.

Expectations

This week I went to a conference for four nights in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was a hassle to get there – a two-hour drive after working all day, lots of crowds, and hard to find a parking spot. But when you walked into that church, there was an expectation that God was going to speak to them in powerful and good ways. We expected good solid worship where we would allow God to breathe on us during the time. And because we expected it, it happened. Oftentimes I go to a meeting or sometimes even church thinking, “I don’t know why I’m going.” I don’t want to be there. I’m grumpy about it. But if we go expecting God to move, if we go expecting God to use us, it changes everything. When I read the New Testament and read about some of the incredible things that Jesus did in front of His disciples, they had to expect great things! They had to know that God was going to do what He wanted to do, in the way that He wanted to do it. My admonition to you who read this blog is simply: Let’s start expecting God to work in our lives. Let’s get rid of this attitude of “go ahead and bless me and if that happens I’ll be happy.” Let’s allow God to work through our expectations to bring glory to Himself.

Reach Local

When you think about what God wants us to do, you have to look very close to where you live. He wants you to reach into people’s lives through prayer, through helps through mercy, through justice – through things that will make a difference in their lives. He wants you to reach. When I’m in Philadelphia I live in West Chester, Pennsylvania and there is a large Planned Parenthood clinic not too far from my house. Every Saturday there have been huge demonstrations and protests there. During the summer, I walk by the clinic on a regular basis on my way downtown. As I think through why God put me in this neighborhood, I’ve been convicted to pray over that place – to reach by prayer into the behaviors of Planned Parenthood. For me, it’s reaching very locally because it’s where I live. Sometimes people ask, “What is it that God wants me to do? What is God’s will of my life?” I can tell you with authority that it is to reach local. It’s to find those bits of darkness – those places where God’s light needs to shine – and be light. Be all that God has called you to be. What does it mean for you to be a Christ-follower? It means that you look at things around you, begin to see them through the eyes of our Savior, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, change lives. We don’t change lives because of what we do – we change lives because we open the door wide for God to move in people’s lives. We allow people to experience the presence of God. My invitation to all of us is: Let’s reach local.

Donald and Marlis

I have some really amazing friends whose names are Donald and Marlis Shambling. they are both in their eighties and they are on-fire Christians. What I love about Donald and Marlis is that they are prayer warriors. They believe prayer changes things. When you pray with Donald and Marlis you pray for three or four hours. You plead for God’s mercy on the nation, on our church, and on each other. Marlins and Donald have my schedule and every day they pray through my schedule. When I’m home, they gather around me and lay hands on me and pray. They are believers; they believe that God is going to do big things. Donald and Marlis are also people who enjoy worship. I want to be like them when I get older. I want to be on fire for God. I want to take people into my home and just pray over them and love them. Everyone should have a Donald and a Marlis in their life. They are not only examples, but they plead for God’s mercy upon me.

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