Ridge Burns's blog

How Big is God?

Lately the Lord's been speaking to me about my concept of God. More specifically, He's been speaking to me about putting human, natural characteristics on the internal image that I have of God. He’s bigger, more powerful, and dispenses goodness and mercy and justice in ways that we don't understand. Our concept of God is tarnished by the fact that we live in space and time and God is great and without constraints. Everything that love was, is, and will be is contained in this God who is everything. I love when Solomon was dedicating the temple and he says in 2 Chronicles 6:18, “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less is this temple that I have built! Yet, you give attention to your servant’s prayer and pleas for mercy.” That is so unbelievable! They were in this incredible temple that was built, this unbelievable monument and place that housed the glory of God, and Solomon goes, “Are you kidding me? How could anything we build contain you when you've got the heavens, even the highest heavens, to live in?” And yet, that’s exactly what God does. He invades our quiet spaces; spaces that seem too small for Him. We begin to build a construct of God that he's only interested in the big things in our life. We build this idea that God is somehow squeezed into our life. But it’s the opposite: The life that we have is given by Him and we're dispensers of the life of God. God is bigger than you think. In fact, what you think you know, you don't actually know because God is a mystery.

Glasses

A few years ago, when our management team at InFaith was just beginning to form relationships, we spent some time talking about what values we wanted to have as a group in order to lead the mission. We came up with nine different characteristics. One of our management team members said, “Let's get a pair of glasses and write those nine words on the inside of the glasses. This will help remind us that the lens through which we’ll do business as a management team of InFaith will be through the lens of these nine characteristics.” The nine characteristics we chose are: trust, grace, truth, fun, excellence, honor, listening, spirit-led, and then finally, prayer. Last Monday we had an all-day meeting. In that meeting we were mostly discussing budget issues and objectives for the coming 12 months. It was an amazing meeting. It was fun, we stepped out in faith, we showed grace to each other, and we spoke truth to each other. And the reason all that was able to happen was because we started with an amazing and powerful time of prayer, asking God to do a great work with us and to bring things together. My point is simply this, what are the lenses with which you look at your marriage? Through what lenses do you look at your fathering or mothering, your parenting skills? What are the lenses that you look at in terms of your job? What are the lenses that you form your worldview with? I think we need to be very careful about the lenses that we somehow have integrated into our faith and into our thinking and decision processes. The lenses need to be the lenses that God gives us. And I would challenge all of you to get a pair of...

Hope

Romans 8:24-25 says, “For in this hope we are saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” I think it's really interesting that Paul writes, “Why would we hope for things we already have? Why would we wish or plead with God to have things that we already have?” The answer is, because we don't really believe we have them. We don’t believe that God has put the Holy Spirit into our lives, who equips us for all good things. Knowing that God has, indeed, blessed us with the Holy Spirit, I hope for what I would just call the great “more.” There are things that I want more of. I want to understand, experience, and know God's presence more. I want more of God's knowledge; to be able through the Holy Spirit to tap into the omnipresent Creator of the universe who allows us to have knowledge. I want more wisdom; wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit who knows, as part of the Trinity, the things that are ahead of us and is not surprised by anything and gives us wisdom on how to navigate the waters of our lives. I want more life. I don't hope for more life, I want to experience more life. And the life I'm talking about is what the Bible calls life abundantly; not a small life, not a dried-up life, not a ‘hope this works’ life, but a life that lives in the abundance of God. There is no poverty spirit, or orphan spirit, or spirit that creates dissonance between us and God, it's just more abundant life. And so, we don't hope for things...

Yesterday’s Event

Last night, InFaith did a 90-minute streaming event online that was just fun. It involved a comedian, an amazing camera crew, and leadership and organization. I look back to it and I just can't believe we pulled it off! I can't believe that the team of writers were able to capture what we needed to say. It’s incredible that there were people who understood how cameras work together to provide something interesting and powerful that shows excellence. And then there was Brad Stine’s talent—he’s funny without telling off-color jokes because he wants to serve God by making people laugh. It was just a really good event. Behind the scenes—the part of this that no one could see—was a group of talented people doing the right thing with the right anointing and the right assignment. When all of those things converge, it's amazing what God will do. It reminds me that the Holy Spirit gives us gifts and equips us for things that are good for the Church and good for the Kingdom. So, I want to encourage you to use your giftedness. There's a place in the Kingdom for the giftedness that God has given you, and He can use it. If you missed watching our event last night, you can watch a recording of it here: infaith.org/event .

Two Things We Should Be as Christians

In Colossians 2:5 Paul is apologizing for not being able to be physically present with the church in Colossae. But, he says, “I'm present with you in Spirit and I delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith is in Christ.” So, in this passage, there are two things that Paul wants us to be known by. First, is that we're disciplined. Even the word discipline for me always brought fear because my parents would discipline me when I didn't do something right, or sometimes I even had this idea that God would discipline me, and I lived under fear. But the discipline talked about here is the discipline of going to God, talking to Him, and having a relationship with Him. We're disciplined in the fact that we want to make sure that the God we serve, the God we know, is a huge number one priority for us. We discipline ourselves to say “no” to certain things in order to say, “Yes God, I am fully disciplined to know you.” We need to be disciplined in knowing God's word, and in prayer. We need to be disciplined in those parts of our life that nobody sees. And in the course of that, we become Christ-like. We become like Him because we discipline ourselves to know Him. The second thing the Colossians are known by is how firm their faith is in Christ. I love that word, firm. I remember when I was younger my mom used to make jello. We loved jello so much that we would always stick our finger in it before it was firm enough—before it had time to become good. God wants us to be firm in our faith. We become firm when we’ve disciplined ourselves in Him. When we...

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...

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