Ridge Burns's blog

Flow

I recently was involved in a meeting where we were trying to plan an event and just needed to be creative. We needed to have an unobstructed flow of ideas and dialogue to make it a creative and powerful experience led by the Lord. So I began to think about what it means to have flow and what the Bible has to say about flow. I found that most of the time, when the Bible talks about "flow", it's dealing with water: flowing water. John 7:38 says, "He who believes in me, as scripture has said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water." Part of the discipleship of a Christian, part of the way that God works in the heart of man that is redeemed and called forth by Jesus, is that we are in a flow. There is a river that is flowing through our culture and through our ministries, a river of living water. Sometimes that flow gets obstructed by rocks and debris. Those rocks can be traditions or misconceptions. The debris can be sin. It can be busyness or dryness. You see, rivers of living water can't flow when there's obstruction. Our job as Christian believers is to remove those obstructions, and allow the river of God to flow out of us. When we allow the river of living water to flow from our innermost being, everyone who is around us gets affected. We become atmosphere changers. We become people who make a difference in how others perceive things around them. This can be a flow of creativity, of love, of mercy, or of justice-but there is always a flow of living water from our innermost beings.

Eyes

I had to go to the optometrist today to have my eyes checked out. I was having difficulty seeing out of one eye. It turned out not to be a big deal, but it caused me to think about eyes and how important they are to me—both physically and spiritually. Obviously, I want to be able to see. My mom was blind, so I have a heightened awareness of my eyes after watching her struggle, particularly in the latter years of her life. But spiritually, I also have eyes. Matthew 6:22 says, "The eye is the lamp of the body, so when your eyes are clear, your whole body is full of light." What are "clear eyes"? They are eyes that are unobstructed, eyes not clouded with cataracts that affect the clarity of our vision. Spiritually, they are eyes of the Spirit that allow us to see the word of God in new ways. The Spirit of the Lord allows us to see His beauty through our eyes. He takes a normal sunset, which is beautiful in the natural, and helps us see it in a supernatural way. Clear eyes are unobstructed by our biases, and even in some ways by our own theology. Sometimes we just need to read scripture as scripture—not parse the verbs or get deep into the nuances of the meaning—because we can miss the simple work of the gospel. God loves everyone and wants us to bring the gospel to the dying world. If people choose to accept His love, they receive new eyesight, a new perspective. Our eyes are the lamps of our bodies. Let's keep them clear.

Living in the Lack

Too many times we as Christians decide that we need to live in poverty to be truly spiritual. That if we deny ourselves, and think of ourselves as poor and lacking in resources, somehow God will bless that. But it seems to me that God wants just the opposite: He wants us to live in abundance. He wants us to live in a place where we are blessed by the gifts of God-whether financially, spiritually, psychologically, or with family and friends. He wants us to live in abundance. Psalm 65:11-12 says, "You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness." It seems to me that when we live in the lack, instead of in abundance, we are denying the fact that God wants to shower us with good things. I recognize this could sound dangerously close to the prosperity gospel-but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how God showers his people with abundance. He gives "life more abundant," as he says in the New Testament. But we often choose to live believing that there is a lack of abundance from God. He's amazingly abundant. He's amazingly giving. He's a God that loves you. And so, let's not choose to live in the lack and always feel like we're not good enough, we're not equipped enough, or we're not smart enough. God says, "I'm going to abundantly put blessings on you."

Living at the Speed of Life

Lately I've been really busy. I've been on a lot of airplanes, been across the country numerous times, and in the last month I've been interacting with a lot of people. My life right now is going at warp speed and I've realized that I can't live that way. So I have to ask myself the question, "Is everything I'm doing now, my assignment from God?" When Peter and John were going to the temple to pray, they ran across a man who begged them for money. And Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none, but in the name of Jesus Christ, stand up and walk." This man who was paralyzed had seen Jesus walk by, and had probably called out to Him many times. But Jesus wanted heaven to intersect with this man's life through Peter and John-that was their assignment, not His assignment. In an earlier blog, I talked about building sacred space into your life. This is bigger than that. You should build rest stops into your life. This is when you get off the train for a few days and recharge. This is what vacations are supposed to be. Your body is built to have rest-that's why we sleep every night. In the Old Testament you see this idea of renewing every seven years. Sabbaticals are important. My speed of life in many cases is governed by the fact that I know where I'm going. I have a goal. I have a set destination. For me, that destination is intimacy with Christ. I can't be intimate with Him when I'm always running. I can't be intimate with Christ when I'm always trying to solve things on my own. I can only find that intimacy when we are just alone together. In my chair talking to...

Joy

I am writing this blog the day after the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl, and I want to tell you, the city is filled with joy. People are happy. People are talking to each other. Everybody asks, “Where were you during the game? Did you watch it?” You can just feel the sense of enormous joy that has come into the city. As soon as the game was over, the streets filled up with people. People were honking their horns—even this morning coming to work—people were still honking their car horns when they saw an Eagles flag on a car or a house. It’s amazing! But it does raise the question, “Where is our joy?” Where is our celebration as Christians? Where’s our celebration over the victory of Jesus Christ? Psalm 47:1 says, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” God wants us to celebrate Him. He wants us to magnify Him. In 1967 there was a riot fueled by racism in the city of Detroit where I grew up. It was ugly. Businesses and homes were burned. There was anger and bitterness and rage. But in 1968 the Detroit Tigers won the World Series for the first time in a long, long time. And the city burst with joy. Those very people who were enemies and arguing with each other and burning parts of the city down, now were joining hands and celebrating the great victory of the Detroit Tigers. What’s amazing about that is how joy changes the atmosphere. It changes hate into acceptance. It’s really hard to be angry and joyful at the same time. It’s enormously difficult to be bitter in a season of joy. Joy changes the atmosphere. That’s why God says, “Clap your hands, shout with joy...

Space

We who live in the United States, have a lot of space: we have large houses, our own rooms, and we usually have a couple of cars per family. We have a lot more space than most of the rest of the world. Much of the world is more crowded and would put five or six people in the room a couple in the U.S. sleeps in. Knowing that most of the world doesn’t have the kind of space I have, I want to utilize my space in a more practical and powerful way for the kingdom. So let me be real practical: we are made to have space to think. This is a different kind of space than I’ve been talking about—space to think and pray, to know who I am, and to ask questions. We are made to have that space in our lives which allows us to be who we are and to not just get caught up on how we perform. Here’s how it works for me: I choose a place that is my sacred space. It’s a place where I meet God and have conversations with Him. In that space I can also be very distracted so I have to stick with the idea of shutting down what I have to do and allowing myself to just concentrate on who I am. I talk to the Lord out loud. I get less distracted when I can actually hear my voice outside of my head declaring and believing things about our Lord. I read scripture out loud and there’s something that happens when I do: it washes over me and allows me to get re-calibrated. Scripture is a powerful tool for us that fills our spaces with God’s Word instead of the things of this world...

God's Word is Not Chained

2 Timothy 2:9 says, “I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.” Paul was chained in prison. He could not move. He could not leave where he was. But in the midst of being chained like a criminal, his mind goes to what God’s Word has done in his life. All of Paul’s comforts have been taken away, and he rises to the occasion and says, “God’s word will not be chained.” And yet we act like it’s chained. We have chains of sin on us. We have chains of theological misconceptions. We have chains of patterns of worship that have become dull and dry. We allow the gospel to be chained in us because we don’t guard it properly. But God’s word cannot be contained by our chains. God’s word cannot be short circuited by us. It will do what it is intended to do, and that is to bring us to the cross of Jesus Christ. God’s word is freedom and power. It is rich and has authority. So I think about Paul in a prison cell knowing that the teaching he has done on his missionary journey and what he has done to build up the kingdom, will not be bound by his prison walls or by his chains. God breaks the chains and allows us to do his good and perfect will. Verse 10 says, “I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” Paul says clearly that he’ll endure everything so that others can obtain this incredible deposit that God gives us through His Word.

Guarding the Good Deposit

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” 2 Timothy 1:14 God makes a deposit in every one of us—He gives us gifts, salvation, redemption, hope, healing, and faith. He deposits His very being inside us through the power of the Holy Spirit. And we have to guard that gift because there is an evil one who wants to rob us of the joy and the power of that gift. So many Christians often have gifts that should be used to build up the body of Christ, but they lay dormant because they haven’t guarded them. Notice that they are good gifts. Gifts that build up people. Gifts that advance the kingdom. They are good gifts that we guard with the help of the Holy Spirit. Why the Holy Spirit? Well, for one, as it says earlier in that verse, “He lives inside us.” And, two, the Bible tells us in the book of John that the Spirit will guide us into all truth. We will know the truth about that which is given to us, and He will guard the good deposit that God has given to us so that it will not be robbed by the evil one. We will have power and victory, and chains will be broken. I wonder sometimes about the deposit that God has put in my life. I wonder if I fully understand all the goodness and all of the amazing things that He has given me? I so often operate in the flesh, in what I can see. I don’t operate in faith, or in the supernatural, or when I can’t see. I operate on what’s safe and comfortable. I believe that there are gifts that take us beyond...

A Culture of Blessing

Recently I’ve been involved in two different meetings that both ended in the same way—with people blessing people with the ways they’ve seen the Lord working in their life or gifts that they have from the Lord. I was doing an exit interview for another organization. A very important person left the ministry and my job—along with two other people—was to do an exit interview to find out ways that the organization could improve and things we should’ve done differently. It was a last way for the person leaving to give input into the organization. It was a really positive meeting. At the end, I asked the other two people doing the exit interview if we could do a time of blessing for the person who was leaving. We went around the circle and blessed this guy who had worked for us for fourteen years. We blessed him with wisdom, patience, hope, and eyes to see the fruit of his ministry. It was unbelievably great. Today our management team here at InFaith started our meeting with blessing each other. Hearing someone else talk about how God has used you and worked in your life is much different than affirmation. Affirmation is almost a way of thanking someone; it’s a man-made thing. But blessing is, “You have these skills. You have this capacity. You have this ability. And now I want to bless you to bless others with it.” We live in the natural, but we reach into the supernatural when we say to people, “We bless you because of the way God has worked in you.” We also bless people because it changes their perspective—it gives them a chance to hear about gifts that are evident to others that they haven’t yet seen in themselves. The blessing helps break down...

A Flight Attendant

Recently I was on a flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco. I fly a lot—living on both coasts of the country—and so I’ve had the opportunity to observe the behaviors of many flight attendants. Some are efficient: they do their job and they don’t share much with the passengers. Some are talkers. Some are tired and grouchy. Some want to just get the job done so they can sit down and do nothing. But there was a flight attendant on this flight that was really busy. She was always asking, “Can I help you?” She actually spent time going down the aisle and learning about different people: “Do you live here? Tell me about your family.” It was an amazing thing to watch this flight attendant win the hearts of the people in that section of the airplane. The guy sitting next to me didn’t like the food he’d been served, so she actually got a different menu for him. I’ve never seen anyone serve people like that. I got up to use the restroom and saw her in the galley. So I told her, “I’ve noticed you the whole flight. You’re just a good worker and you seem to have a different spirit. Why do you work so hard? Why are you so different than most of the other flight attendants?” She looked at me and said, “The Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of my life and He lights it up. He tells me I must share love because they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Her whole life was shaped around that one mandate—that we’re going to be known by our love. We’re not known by what we decide to do or by how we choose to define ourselves and what we stand for. We are known...

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