Ridge Burns's blog

The Amazing Shake, Part I

I spent a day at a middle school here in southern California that has a program called The Amazing Shake. It’s for sixth- through eighth-graders, and it’s to help them know how to handle certain adult situations, like how to interview, how to introduce yourself, and how to make a presentation. It pretty much covers the whole gamut of stressful things that an adolescent might face. One of them is to be interviewed by a CEO and to have a conversation for five minutes in front of their peers. My job was to interview them. The event started with 170 students, and as they went through a variety of tasks and conversations, some got eliminated. I talked with the top 16 students out of 170, and the interviews were amazing! I was impressed by the dreams these students have and their need to belong. One girl was saying, “I don’t fit. I don’t have a place. I’m not a sixth grader; I was never a fifth grader. I never felt like I was myself except when I was in fourth grade.” She needed a safe place that could be connected to her. During this time, I gave a last word to each one of the students. In our church we call it a blessing, but in a secular school, we just called it advice. I would make sure they walked out of that room feeling like they did a good job, like they really communicated well. It was an amazing day and made me proud of our school system, that these students were given a chance to show their confidence. The Amazing Shake was quite a day for me.

God’s Love

Recently I was listening to two young high school girls who were working at McDonald's. They were in the booth behind me and I could hear their conversation about how both of their fathers weren’t present in their lives. They had just been to parties and had done things where one couldn't even remember who she was with the night before. I thought, “How sad! They don't really understand what love is, and they certainly don't understand what unconditional love is. They don't understand the kind of love that comes from the heart of God, from the fatherhood of God.” Paul writes, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nothing can separate us from God’s love—not the virus, or our vaccinations, the status of the economy, or our kids—none of that! All of those things can be distractions to our ability to bask in the love of God. God’s love changes us when we experience it. It takes away insecurities and gives us the confidence that comes from understanding and feeling the very love of God. We cannot help but be swept up by this incredible God who says, “Come to me all you who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” In this busy time of Christmas and New Year's, open your heart and your hands and allow God's love to flow in.

Come With Me to a Quiet Place

With life being so busy in the holiday season and the pandemic swelling again, it's hard to find space to get your bearings and hear the voice of God. It's hard to find a quiet place because we’re not only talking about a physical place that's quiet—we can usually find those. But we’re also talking about a quiet space for your soul—for your heart, dreams, and ambitions. A quiet place where God can rework some of the things that you think are important, where your perspective and priorities can change. The Bible talks about Jesus’ disciples being around him and telling him all the great things that were happening and had happened to them. Jesus responded by saying, “Let's get quiet.” Ministry takes energy. So, we need to go to these physical and spiritual quiet places to get refreshed. When Jesus got interrupted and ended up feeding 5,000 people—well actually 5,000 men plus all the women and children, so probably more like 10,000 or 12,000 people—it didn't sound like rest. Sometimes that's exactly what life is like in ministry: you plan a day to rest, to be alone, to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, but the challenges of ministry just drowns it out and you end up still tired, still concerned. After feeding the 5,000, Jesus sent the disciples ahead and He went all by Himself to be with the Father alone. My friends, I believe that's where we need to be in this season. We need to go and find a quiet place where we can hear the voice of God. We need to find a place where the noise of life and of our culture, the noise of the pandemic and the noise of ministry get drowned out by the very voice of God. So that...

Who Can Be Against Us?

Recently, our pastor has been teaching through the book of Romans and has really camped in what he calls the “greatest chapter in all the Bible” — Romans 8. If you are depressed, if you’re hurting, if you feel like everything is against you, you need to read and memorize Romans 8. It has verses that talk about if God is really for us, who can be against us? There is no force, no country, no virus, no health issues, or depression issues, that God cannot reach into; because if God is for us — which He is — nothing can be against us. As I travel and see what's going on with our people here at InFaith, I’m currently seeing a spirit of depression, of loneliness, a spirit that says, “I'm not good enough.” I see that not only in young missionaries, but in some of our senior missionaries as well. People are struggling with their own identity. And what I say to them — and to you, if you’re struggling in this way right now — "If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Active Faith

A few weeks ago, we taped a podcast with Rob Stoppard about living a lifestyle of active faith. He did such a masterful job of making faith core to our Christian behavior, and to our dialogue with God about certain things that happen in our lives. Rob unpacked the word “faith” and how to actually live a lifestyle of faith that's active. Even people like me—who have studied the Bible all their life, gone to seminary, who understand the background of the Word of God written in scripture—realize they still don't really believe some things in the Bible, unless they have faith. Suddenly, walking on water is a tale, and Jonah and the whale becomes a story. We view it as something that happened then, but that God could never do those supernatural things now. Our faith becomes dull and inactive because we don't appropriate the authority that God has given to us to live and act in faith. Faith is a word that has become soft, but when I read the New Testament, it's not soft, it's radical! It's countercultural, and Rob unpacks that. So, listen to this podcast here . Enjoy! I think it'll change your view of how to live a lifestyle of active faith.

God’s Word Fights for Us

To wrap up our Refresh Conference series on the living Word of God, Steve Volle reminds us that the Word fights for us. It gives us the ability to know that God has gone before us, He's prepared us, and He's given us authority. God has given His power, His grace, and His mercies to us. He gives us everything needed to fight the battle. The Word of God, the living Word of God, fights for us. So, listen as Steve wraps up his series and encourages us to quit fighting our own battles and allow God to fight for us: God’s Word Fights for Us

God’s Word Permeates Us

At our conference last month, Steve Volle spoke in our fourth session on how the living Word of God permeates us. The idea is that the living Word takes root in you, and that root grows and is dynamic, and it permeates every bit of you—your finances, your marriage, your singleness, your doubts, your concerns, your illnesses. All of those things marinate in the living Word of God. And when they do, those things which are burdensome are put into perspective and those promises which are important become alive again. Allow God to speak to you as Steve speaks about how the living Word permeates you: God’s Word Permeates Us

God’s Word Authorizes Us

The third session that Steve Volle spoke on at our Refresh Conference last month was about how the Word of God authorizes us. Not only does it pardon us and give us the ability to enter into God’s presence clean and free of all guilt, but God authorizes us to do His work. It was Jesus who stood up in front of the 5,000 and said, “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world…” It seems like that should be His job. But no, He has authorized us to act on His behalf because of the work He did on the cross. Many of us, I believe, have yet to really take up this idea that we are authorized and that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. So, listen to Steve as he unpacks this idea and motivates us to live in this authorization: God’s Word Authorizes Us

God’s Word Pardons Us

If you read my blog last week, you know that this is the second installment of our 5-week series on the Living Word. Steve Volle led us through this teaching at our Refresh Conference last month. Steve is the principal of Bodenseehof Bible school in Friedrichshafen, Germany. He's a good friend of our ministry and he fought all the restrictions and all of the hassles from COVID in order to come to our conference. This second session focused on how God's Word pardons us—it frees us, gives us a clean slate, and declares that we are no longer guilty. Listen as Steve unpacks this idea in greater ways: God’s Word Pardons Us

God’s Word is Alive

At our recent annual conference in Cannon Beach, Oregon we focused in on the living Word. We wanted to be refreshed in the Word. For those of us who have been Christians a long time—who have been in ministry and been walking with Christ—things can sometimes get a little stale and the Bible can become just a textbook instead of the living Word that it is. How can we interact with the Word and experience how it changes us? We were so blessed by our speaker, Steve Volle, that we wanted to share his teachings with you. Join us for this first installment of our 5-week series about what God says about being refreshed in the living Word. In this first session, Steve speaks to how God's Word is truly alive and he gives an intro to the week of why we need to be refreshed. Enjoy! Click here to listen: God's Word is Alive .

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