Ridge Burns's blog

Consider More: A New Podcast

As the world responds to so much constant change, I’ve begun to wonder how our views will be challenged scripturally? As a mission, we hope to have 2021 be the year we make time to discuss important issues. Now is a great time to ensure we’re evaluating ourselves, sharpening our minds, and preparing our hearts. Our InFaith team has developed a new podcast series to do just that, called Consider More . Every other month, we’ll be releasing a new podcast to our field staff to hopefully encourage continual learning and engagement with difficult topics. And occasionally, like this month, we’ll share that out with the rest of you as well. In our first podcast, I spoke with Abby Mason who shared about the “Righteousness of God.” This podcast is about 20 minutes and will challenge your views on Luther’s premises and offer scriptural nuance to back that up. I encourage you to take the time to listen to this podcast and consider how you may be challenged by the righteousness of God. So, grab a cup of coffee, and listen to this first installment of Consider More here: podcast .

An Antidote for Today

I’m wound up. I can't watch the news anymore—it's too intense. I find it disturbing and hard to watch. I work all day and finishing the day with news creates constant intensity if I let it. Maybe you can relate? I think some of us just plain need something to do that’s fun. Well, on February 18 we have such an event! It’s called Let’s Laugh and Help . Brad Stine, a nationally known comedian, will come on this livestream event where we plan to just have fun and laugh, and see some great things that God is doing as well. You’ll have an opportunity to help us financially, but we're just excited to showcase the incredible things that God is doing at InFaith. We’ll showcase it through personal interviews, enjoying each other, and then laughing as Brad helps us enjoy his humor and his take on some really funny stuff. I hope you're able to join us.

The Event

Yesterday we did some filming for a virtual event that we’re producing which tells the story of InFaith; to give people examples and testimonies of the great things that God is doing. It will be a 90-minute streaming event, and it’s been so inspiring to see our team working together to produce this. So, not only do I want you to come to the event (which is on Thursday, February 18 at 7:30 PM (EST) and is really easy to get to: you just click on this link: infaith.org/event ), but I want to tell you the story of the team behind the event. They've never done anything like this before and I’ve watched them work together in amazing ways as they’ve planned and worked on this event. They researched, they tested and tried things, and they came up with an amazing event in a short period of time that will work in the COVID environment. There's something great about people working together, pulling the sled to a common goal. There's something that takes place, and I was able to watch it yesterday as we filmed for the event. I watched the fact that there was a leader who has clear vision and passed it down to her team and they produced something that’s amazing. So, I want you to come to the event because you can't believe all the work that's gone into it. It’s excellent because there's a team that produced it. It’s excellent because people have worked hard to give you an idea of what this great ministry, InFaith, has been doing.

We Have a Story That's Hard to Tell

I've been the CEO of InFaith for 13 years. I've watched us develop some amazing new ministries to convalescence centers, prisons, youth ministry, and incarnational ministry in neighborhoods that are neglected and underfunded and under-represented. I've watched all this develop as the Lord has blessed this ministry. We have always said, “You come to us and we will help you develop a ministry,” and we have. I've watched chaplains, youth ministers, and camping people rally together to do some amazing things for Christ under the banner of InFaith. But you know what’s hard? Telling our story. When someone asks, “What does InFaith do?” and we begin to talk about how we do camping, after-school activities, community centers, and by the time you get to the tenth thing we do, people look at you like, “I still don't understand what you do.” So yesterday, I was with this professional comedian and I was telling him what we do and specific stories of some of our field staff, and he said, “You guys do it all!” And that’s exactly it. If there is a thing that needs to be developed, if there’s a concept that needs to be exploited, if there’s a place that we need to go, we will go! Not that we want to “do it all” for the sake of doing it all. But by “doing it all,” every missionary that we have on the field has the freedom to minister as God directs them. And we will stand with them in a way that is caring and loving and accountable. The best way to describe InFaith, because it's a story that's hard to tell, is that we are a covering over an army of people wanting to reach our country for Christ.

Shutting the Mouths of the Lions

One of my favorite Bible stories is about Daniel in the lions’ den. It's an amazing story from the sixth chapter of Daniel about God's provision in terms of security. The king, who threw Daniel into the lions’ den, didn’t want to throw him in but he got trapped in his own decrees. He grieved doing it. He stayed up all night, didn't eat or do anything because he felt like he had just done something wrong to someone he respected. And so it says in verse 19, “At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lion's den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?’” I love that the King is so bothered that he can't sleep, and he then runs to the lions’ den. The den had been sealed with his ring and the rings of other nobles as well so no one could do anything to rescue Daniel. It was all about Daniel and the Lord. I love how the king asks Daniel if he’s survived, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” And Daniel answers back—how amazing his voice must've sounded to the King—and says, “God sent his angel and shut the mouths of the lions and they have not hurt me because I am found innocent in His sight.” I like the fact that God didn't kill the lions—He just shut their mouths—so they became almost pets to Daniel. They had no power and no ability to destroy. The New Testament picture of this is that there are...

The Great Benediction of Jude

The last two verses of Jude say, “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” Oftentimes these verses are quoted at the end of a service—to seal the service up with a benediction; a final charge to those who are listening. The Lord has caused me to really meditate on this verse over the last week or so, and I want to personalize it for you as we close out this year as a benediction that you can read and just let it soak in. This is how I believe that verse is personalized for Ridge Burns: Ridge, there is a God who's able to keep you from stumbling—you can't do it on your own. You're not good enough, wise enough, smart enough. You are tainted by sin. But there is a God who wants to keep you from stumbling and to present you to His glory and His presence. He desires that you be washed white as snow, clean: no bias, no bitterness, no hurt, no pain, no illness. He presents you into His glorious presence with great joy. And so, this benediction is to the only God. There is only one God, there is none like Him. Ridge, do not bring any other gods into His presence; no gods of lust, or power, or misuse. This one God is your savior, Ridge. Without Him, you're doomed—you are lost. There is no one like Him. And so we bring Him glory, and majesty, and power. We embrace His glory so that we can understand how things are put together in His...

A Graveside Service I Attended

A couple of days ago I attended a graveside service for an amazing woman who has an amazing family. There were probably 50 people in attendance, and it seemed like everyone there was either in ministry or part of ministry. They had all come together to share in celebrating this incredible life. Speaker after speaker talked about the amazing fervor of this woman to do what was right—from being a nurse in the Sudan, to raising kids in Korea as a missionary, and even staging a protest at abortion clinics where she was carried off by police. It was cold at the funeral that day, and we were all bundled up and in masks (as required by regulation), but then the most amazing thing happened: it began to snow. As it began to snow people at first seemed frustrated. But for me, in the back of the crowd, it was like God was raining His promises down on this family in the shape of snowflakes. They were covered by the snow—you couldn't escape it. It was like God was saying, “I'm going to give you a visual aid of how much I care for you and how much I love this family and how many amazing things this woman did.” I felt so blessed to be there. And so blessed that the snow showed up and that each one of those flakes were remembrances of the promises of God. So, I went away from that graveside service with a more full and complete appreciation for the promises of God.

Joe Curtis

One of our field directors, Keith Stringfellow, recently got on a prayer phone call with one of our retired missionaries named Joe Curtis. Joe was a firestorm for Christ back in his 50s, 60s, and 70s. He’s now 90 years old and he still lives in the inner city and still has a heart for those who are broken and hurt. In fact, Keith was telling me that Joe regularly covers his neighborhood on a scooter. He’s presented the gospel to every house but one. He is a born evangelist; a person who wants to share the good news. Joe is a person who, if you're within ten feet of him, you will probably get to understand what the gospel, in terms of salvation, is all about. Joe Curtis is still an amazing missionary at 90 some years old! He didn't retire, he just continued in a smaller area to share the gospel so that every house, every person will know the good news because Joe Curtis takes evangelism seriously.

Chasing the Sage

One of our amazing missionaries, Bud Lamb, has written a book called Chasing the Sage. It’s designed primarily for men on about how to get passion and love and authority in the different stages of life. He talks about the first movement from an orphan to a son. The next movement is from a boy to a man. And the final movement is when you “chase the sage.” That’s when you really understand why you're here, and you begin to use your passion and giftedness to bring joy and purpose and passion back to your life. I am about halfway through the book. It's almost a workbook, except you write down the answers in your head, which helps you begin to think about the issues that Bud leads you through in an amazing way. There's a section called “Running with Pain,” and it really helped me understand some of the struggles in my own life and what I can do with them. So, I highly recommend Bud’s new book Chasing the Sage! It's available on Amazon and if you have trouble getting it, just write me and I’ll make sure that we figure out a way to get you information on how to get a copy.

Having Thanksgiving All Alone

This Thanksgiving 2020 was unique for RobAnne and I as we were not with our children; we weren’t with our church family; and we weren’t with our extended family. Because of COVID, we were alone—just RobAnne and I. I dreaded it. I said things I probably shouldn't have said and I just wasn’t looking forward to not being with my kids or with RobAnne’s family this Thanksgiving Day. But I had a great time! We got up late. We cooked a meal like there were 1,000 people coming, and we just enjoyed eating and being together and talking. It was a wonderful day. Not that I wouldn't have rather been with my kids or with the extended family, but for what it was it was amazing. I asked myself why it was so good, and I've come up with four reasons. First, thankfulness is not based on a lot of people around your table. Thankfulness this year was looking for things that you rarely see. Sometimes the festivities of a holiday take away not only from the true meaning but the impact on your own soul. I was watching RobAnne making food in the kitchen and I was so thankful for her and who she is and how she operates and how she loves the Lord. Second, routine is dry; tradition is lifegiving. Routine is that we have a turkey and we have stuffing—we still argue that my mom's stuffing is better than RobAnne’s mom’s stuffing—we have apple pie and pumpkin pie, those are the routines. The tradition is that we stop and we bring our peeps together—the ones we love, the ones we regard, the ones that we are responsible for—we bring them together and we celebrate by doing the routine. But, the routine isn’t the life-giver, the life-giver...

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