Ridge Burns's blog

Common Focus

Those of you who read my blog regularly know my daughter is on a 2,650-mile trek from Mexico to Canada on what is called the Pacific Crest Trail. While on the five-and-half-month journey hikers form “trail families”—like-minded people who hike at approximately the same pace and end up hiking together through some very difficult terrain. Recently the terrain got even harder for my daughter’s group, with the incredible snow pack we’ve had this year. But they keep going. There’s a unity that is formed within these small groups that keeps them pushing forward—even though it’s difficult and uncomfortable, even as they get wet in the rain and the snow becomes slushy and unstable, making it hard to walk. So why do they keep going? What keeps them focused? The answer is they have one goal: get to Canada. They’ll do everything it takes, because of that one goal. They’re pressing toward the mark like Paul says. There is a huge spiritual connection to this; that unity is important, and it’s actually required for us to minister in ways that are important. We keep our eyes on the prize and the prize is that this world is not our home and that there will be a new life for us, an eternal life, a gift of God that comes in an amazing way. I see disunity in churches and in ministries because there’s not a common focus. Like Proverbs says, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” They perish because of ambiguity and no clear goal in mind. My encouragement to you is to press toward the mark—and the mark is to know Jesus Christ in an intimate way, to walk with Him in power, to let Him know your heart and give the Spirit of God free reign to...

Perspective

I’m writing this blog from seat 7F somewhere over Kansas. The pilot just said we’re cruising at 35,000 feet and we’re going about 550 miles per hour. You know, when you look at our country from this height and going that fast, it looks different than it does from the ground. You begin to see how rivers are formed and how towns are settled near them. You see the reason why things are ordered the way they are. Fields that look very random from the ground, become a tapestry of color from the crops when viewed from the air. It’s about a different perspective. God has a different perspective about you. First of all, He isn’t limited by time and space the way we are. He views you in a whole different way. Not only that, but God knows the truth in all circumstances. A few years ago, we had a real problem with one of our missionaries. People didn’t know the full story and we couldn’t tell the whole story. But the whole story made more sense than just part of the story. God knows the whole story. So, when you’re thinking about your life and you’re thinking about decision making and moving forward, you can go with confidence if you walk in the truth of our Lord, because He knows and He has a different perspective. Our church has a ministry time where we just pray for people after the service and this Sunday there was a woman who came who was so distraught. Things weren’t going her way and she had lived a very tough life. I loved watching her be ministered to. People were speaking words over her and gave her God’s perspective. That’s what we need. We need to ask, “God, what do you see?...

How Long?

There’s a great little section of scripture in the book of 1 Samuel where Samuel is really upset that Saul, who Samuel anointed, has turned out to be a bad king. So the Lord calls him to go and anoint David as the new king of Israel. I just love how the Lord addresses him about this issue. He says, “Samuel, how long will you mourn over Saul? Now, get up and anoint David.” It made me think about how important it is that we don’t hang onto things that we shouldn’t. The evil one goes after people by saying things like, “You’re not good enough, smart enough, or trained enough.” He convinces you to hang onto the things you’ve done in the past as an anchor to weigh you down. That is so contrary to how God wants us to act. He wants us to know that we are free from sin. We are a new creation. We are a new man and we are able to live in the righteousness of Christ. I was in a church service recently where the invitation was to let go; to let go of those things that weigh you down, so God can bring a new freedom to you. So, I ask you; how long are you going to hang onto those things that keep you from being all that God wants you to be? How long are you going to mourn over a bad decision? How long are you going to mourn after a circumstance hasn’t gone right? The Lord says, “Get up! I’ll walk with you; I’ll make you whole.”

You Have Been Telling Me

In Exodus 33:12 Moses is having a dialogue with God and he says, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know who you will send with me.” That is so like how God reveals His will in people’s lives. We want to know the end. We ask, “Who are you sending with me?” And God says, “Take one step at a time. I will lead you; I will direct you; I will work with you.” There are three things I think are important in this particular dialogue between God and Moses. First is that God’s people hear God’s voice. We don’t need a priest, or a pastor, or a mentor; we just need to be open to hearing God’s voice through His Word and through the Holy Spirit. Second, God is directional. He is concerned about the direction of your life and about the specifics of your life. He is concerned about where you live, who you marry, how you respond to your kids, and how you relate to your faith community. Third, I love what Moses says in verse thirteen, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways that I may know you and continue to find favor.” You are not alone. God will teach you His ways. He will instruct you in how to live. He will give you guidance on where to go. Some of us need to say to God, “You’ve been telling me that you’re going to walk with me. I need to know the next step.”

Fathers

Because it’s Father’s Day this weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad and my son and the role of the father in the development of any person. The relationship between a child and their father becomes an enormously important relationship as they get older, because it involves affirmation and character building. I’ve spent the last week in England, and I take appointments to pray with people. This time I prayed with about 35 students. I want to tell you about a young woman from the UK that came and asked for me to pray for her. For the sake of confidentiality, I’ll change some of the details. She was extremely accomplished, only 27 years old with an amazing resume. You would think she would be the last person that would need affirmation, but as we began to talk and unpack her relationship with her father, she came unglued. All she wants is her father to tell her that he loves her. He never hugged her and never said the words, “I love you.” Unfortunately for this particular student, this also affected her view of her Heavenly Father. With this story in mind, my call is for fathers to step up. My admonition to the fathers who will read this is believe how important you are in your kids’ life. They need their father’s love; they need their father’s heart.

Holding Hands

It’s fun to hold hands. It’s fun to hold hands with grandkids whose hands are so small, and they hold onto you for security, for balance, for guidance. When you get older, holding hands has a different meaning: It’s the first sign of romance. The other day I was walking through an airport and saw this older couple, they were in their 90s, and they were holding hands. It looked like love even at their age. But better than anything I’ve described is what is described in Isaiah 41:13 which says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.’” Years ago, in San Diego, Mother Theresa had a problem with her heart, and she was put in the hospital. She made her physicians work in her clinic in Tijuana, Mexico before she would allow them to treat her in any way. When she was better and was leaving the hospital, she gave a press conference and I love what she said. Someone asked, “How can we pray for you?” Her answer was, “Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.” It’s that same idea of us holding hands with God while He guides us and says, “Do not fear, for I will help you.” It’s about literally feeling and acting as though Jesus was holding your hand.

The Voice Behind You

Last week my daughter, who is 28, began her quest to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a 2,650-mile hike from Mexico to Canada. It’s always been one of her dreams to complete this. It’s a pretty amazing goal. I asked some of my friends to pray over her before she left and to continue praying for safety, as she’s traveling by herself. I love this verse that was given to me by one of my friends. Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” I love that! As Barrett makes her way from south to north of our country, she will have to stay on the path. Likewise, we have to stay the course on the path the Lord ordains for us. But I love the fact that it’s behind you. You have to look, observe, and choose what path you’re going to go on and the Lord says, “If you stay on the correct path, not to the right or the left, I will be with you. Now go and walk in it.”

A Deep Spiritual Cleaning

I was reading the story in 1 Samuel where the Israelites are commanded by God to take no prisoners, no cattle, no people, nothing, but to destroy the entire Amalekite army. Saul, however, disobeyed and kept the king and his cattle, and the Lord was displeased. Why? Because the Lord wants us to deep clean ourselves, to allow His Spirit to work deep inside of us and bubble up that which is impure in order to let it out and get rid of it. He doesn’t want bondage, small or large, to trap us. He wants it all gone—the old man dead and the new man alive, new wine skins and new wine. He wants to free us from the restrictions of deep-seated things. I really believe many of us need a deep cleaning. There are things in our lives that are so deep. We’ve had them for so long they have become normal. I would encourage you as a reader to ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind those things that are deep-seated that you have simply gotten used to, so you can allow the Holy Spirit to change you to be wholly obedient, wholly right.

Courage and Transformation

I was in a meeting with our missionaries last week in Texas and there’s one moment that stands out. One of our missionaries got in front of his peers and told his life story—a story that involved betrayal and hurt from members of his family. But the Lord got a hold of him and through a courageous act he was able to break the chain of his past and find freedom. And in that freedom, he found transformation. He was transformed from carrying baggage that was hurting him and weighing him down and destroying him to having freedom in Christ. It was so powerful. In addition, the Lord arranged for the sermon and some incredible art to perfectly align with his story. The response was powerful as people began to stomp out the curses and baggage in their life that were not supposed to be there. It resulted in an openness and freedom in the room. Why? Because one guy had the courage to share deep things, which broke the barriers and the chains for so many people. If you’re reading this and you have deep-seated baggage that is just wrong, I want to encourage you to find a safe place to let it out. To stomp on it. To make the great exchange between your baggage and the freedom that Christ gives us.

Wonder and Amazement

I was reading in Acts 3 about Peter and John who went up to the temple to pray and healed a man who had been begging on the road. I love what it says when Peter healed him: “He jumped up to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging by the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement about what had happened to him.” Two things I love about that story; one is the guy jumping around. He’s dancing. He’s excited. He is redeemed. He’s new. He is so excited to show that his newfound body was touched by the miracle of the Savior through the hands of Peter and John. I love that he was dancing and jumping and making a fool of himself. It makes me smile. I’m also amazed at how people responded. It says that they were filled with wonder and amazement. I think that’s what’s missing from many of our churches and fellow believers. It’s missing from their ability to know who God is. They’ve never seen God move in power. They’ve never seen God move in a way that would cause elation like the man in the story. The people were filled with wonder and amazement. They asked, “Who is this? How could this have happened? Why is this man healed? What took place?” They realized it was because of the power of the Holy Spirit and the work of the Blood of Christ that allowed this to happen. They were saying, “What’s next?” They were filled with wonder and amazement. It’s my...

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