Monthly Archives: October 2013

God’s Mosaic

Hey Everyone

 

My sister Barby loves jigsaw puzzles…she has always loved jigsaw puzzles.  She has passed that love of puzzles down to her daughter LeeAnn.  LeeAnn gives me a jigsaw puzzle every single Christmas.  I mean, not just some ordinary 100 piece, big lots cheapo puzzle, but 3 D puzzles, 5,000 piece Harley Davidson Motorcycle puzzles, Tower puzzles.  But there is a problem.  I hate jigsaw puzzles.  It might have something to do with patience and not being able to focus on one thing for that long….what was I talking about?  O yeah, I hate jigsaw puzzles.

 

I remember when I was about 8 or 9 years old and my sister, the perfect one, Barby (I only have one sister and she is pretty awesome).  But when I was 8 or 9 she was putting together a 5,000 piece giant panoramic jigsaw puzzle of London.  I think she always dreamed of going there, but when she got down to maybe 50 or so pieces left I wanted to help her finish.  She’d worked on this thing for days….weeks, by herself…and she said, “NO!  Get away from me and leave me alone while I finish!!!!!  And then she screamed, “Dad!!!!! Ricky’s bothering me!!!”  So I did the only thing any amazingly irritating 8 year old can do.  I picked up one of the remaining pieces from the giant, panoramic London puzzle and I ate it.  It sounds hilarious now, but I think I permanently traumatized my sister.  She and Dad bought another puzzle and spent days trying to put that missing piece in.  I use to think that God’s church was like a jigsaw puzzle and it wouldn’t be complete if your piece was missing.  But I think I was wrong.  Puzzle pieces are too clean and perfectly cut.Image  I think God’s Church is more like a Mosaic…where the Creator and Artist…who is one and the same…picks through the trash and finds all the broken shards of glass…. and then He puts it together to create a beautiful picture of His Son’s heart….only God can create something beautiful from the trash…like me…and like you…so the world can see His Son’s heart.

 

I wrote a Poem called Mosaic back in 2012…it’s one of my favorites and it’s fitting I share it with you now.

All the little bits
of broken shards of glass
Scattered in the ruble
thrown into the trash.
Selected by the artist
picked with the utmost care
Held within his gentle hand
washed and cleansed to share
Placed within the puzzle
some bright some very dark
The picture comes alive
with the creator’s spark
The Church is His Mosaic
filled with broken bits and parts
Put together for His purpose
it’s the picture of His Heart  
 
I hope I can share with you this amazingly God news….it’s not the broken glass that makes the picture beautiful….it’s the Artist.
 
Broken, but part of the picture
 
Rick Burdette

It takes a lifetime to learn about love

Hey All,

 

My wife Kari and I have known each other for about 35 years now.  We started dating when we were both teenagers…she was still in H.S. and I had just graduated when we met.  In fact I always tell folks I am a product of an arranged marriage.  My Brother-in-law David, my sister Barby and my Mother-in-law to be began to conspire and plan for Kari and I to meet long before it happened.  (I will be indebted to them all for the rest of my life).  

 

I met Kari for the first time in a Sunday School class where she was sitting up front and I was sitting in the back…after the class her parents tried to introduce us, but she was too embarrassed and I got a glimpse of her waving at me as she ran across the parking lot to the car.  I need to let you know that David was the minister at Kari’s church.  We saw each other a couple of times before I went back home to Kentucky, but never went on a date.  Our first, kinda date, was when we were at a pizza place with the entire youth group, and a girl named Rosemary looked at Kari and said, “How are you getting home tonight?”  It seemed that she was being a little sarcastic so I said…”I’ll take you home.”  We took the long way…talked a lot and then God put a train in our way.  Our first kiss…it took place at a train crossing just about a mile from her house.  To make a long story short Kari and I dated…and waited (yes that is what I mean) and both she and I wanted to honor God with our relationship.  I have a couple of priceless possessions.  My Dad’s first toy, my grandfather’s copy of “In His Steps,” inscribed by my Mom a month after I gave my life to Christ.  And a Bible…a little maroon bible that has “The King’s Couple…Rick and Kari.” embossed on the front.

 

When I stood in front of my brother-in law David, who not only introduced us, but married us….I didn’t think anyone could love or long for someone like I did for Kari.

 

I was wrong…and almost 33 years later, June 27th to be exact…I look back and wonder if I really loved that absolutely beautiful brown haired/brown eyed teenager who said “Yes,” when I asked her if “she’d be the grandmother of my grandchildren.”  Now she is….and through 33 years of heart attacks, teenage pregnancies, ministries, children’s divorces and sons away at war…she and I both are a lot more wrinkled and war torn…but infatuation and longing have become a love much stronger…held together with God’s glue…and she is more beautiful today than on that day I saw her running accross the parking lot.  It is my prayer that God will give you and bless you with a love like this…O yeah, by the way…I love her 18.9% more than she loves me.

 

A Part of “The King’s Couple.”

 

Rick BurdetteImage

Life in the Circus

Hey All,

 

Life gets really busy doesn’t it?  I mean sometimes you’re trying to keep the plates all spinning and you’re just not sure for how long you can do it before one comes crashing down to the floor.  And some of those plates are pretty darn important.  Our Family…our Church…our Jobs…our Friends and neighbors.  Just those plates are hard enough…but then throw in kids activities, school, maybe a ministry or two, and some activity that we really like…and life begins to feel claustrophobic as you try to prioritize.  It feels that you’re always trying to squeeze more water into a balloon that’s already full.

 

I believe Satan is the god of busyness…he is the one who tries to keep throwing more and more plates into a life that already feels like a three ring circus…and why do we let him do it?  Because people need us…because successful people are hard working people….because people will get mad at us….because being worn out seems to be “like a purple heart” medal for us to wear in the battle of life.  You know what I mean…”Hey, how you doing?”  The “purple heart” response “I’m OK, but man am I tired!…I’ve worked 50 hours this week, the kids had three ball games yesterday, my wife and I are helping at the retreat this weekend and I’m helping Mom clean up the basement.  How are you?”  And because we don’t want to be seen as slackers….”Oh, I’ve been working two jobs so that I can pay for my daughter’s collage…….and on and on.”  You get what I’m talking about.

 

We have created a life of busyness….and as the plates spin we wonder, “Why am I not happy?”  “Why am I caught in all this activity…but feel no real productivity?”  

 

I’m truly not a licensed Christian counselor…I know and love some amazing ones…but I have been involved in ministry for 35 years….I’ve experienced the high and lows…guilt and joy of loving and serving people.  Student ministry and children’s ministry, evangelism, pastoring in small, medium and large churches, leading.  Here’s what I would share…Here’s what I’ve learned that helps me live an abundant life, instead of a claustrophobic life.

1.  Don’t let people manipulate you with fear, guilt, or anger.  Easier said than done because many have perfected this art.  It’s how they’ve gotten what they want for decades…recognize it and don’t reward it.

2.  Deal with issues that would keep you awake…prayerfully, honestly and quickly.

3.  Remember:  “People are more important that activities and kids are people too.”  It’s super easy to be the Priest or Levite when your schedule is super packed.

4.  Stop letting the world create the bar of success…”You can earn a million dollars a year, be CEO or CFO…but if your kids don’t know your name….you’ve failed.”

5.  Create Sabbath times after especially tiring times…and jealously protect them.

6.  Realize that many of the times Jesus was most effective in ministering to people was when he was interrupted…

7.  Pray constantly…maybe this should have been first, but regardless…talk to your Father constantly throughout the day seeking His Kingdom first…soften your heart so that when His Spirit speaks you can hear Him.

8.  Get a punching bag

9.  Use the punching bag  (Do not put faces on the punching bag)

10.  Be honest…don’t wear a mask….wearing a mask creates a dishonest life and unhealthy defense mechanisms

 

I love you all…and ask for your prayers as I seek to practice what I preach and lead others to do the same.

 

His servant and yours,

Rick Burdette

 

The Providential Crawdad

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Hey All,

My second favorite movie of all time is “The Shawshank Redemption.”  Not that you care, but my favorite of all time is “Saving Private Ryan.”  The Shawshank Redemption is the story of a wrongly convicted banker named Andy Dufrain.  He was wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, and consequently sentenced to life imprisonment at Shawshank Penitentiary.  Andy serves 20 years in prison…He befriends others, helps them when they are in need, and secretly stashes away a bundle of money the warden is embezzeling from the system.  Finally, after tunneling out of his cell with a “rock hammer,” Andy has to crawl through a sewage pipe…500 yards….5 football fields of human waste and the most foul smelling refuge imaginable.  At the end of that crawl is a blessed rain and a pool of water which washes Andy….uhhhhh, clean.  Real symbolism….powerful stuff.  The story ends happily enough and “no” I won’t spoil it completely for you if you haven’t seen it…by the way, it’s not suitable for young children because of language and some intense prison sceens.

Andy’s crawl reminded me of one of my favorite stories of redemption…with a somewhat similar scenerio.  A friend of mine named Billy Ford had asked me to come to eastern Kentucky and preach a revival at his church…the Elkhorn City Church of Christ.  Billy is an extraordinarily unique individual…the last time I saw Billy was at Church camp and he was wearing a tee shirt, jean cut off shorts…a white cowboy hat and cowboy boots….If you think of Boss Hog from The Dukes of Hazzard you will get a perfect picture of Billy and his appearance.  But Billy loves Jesus and he loves people…I was at his wife’s funeral and he would continue to care for a beautiful special needs daughter named Brooke…who would bring you to tears by singing “Amazing Grace.”  The first day I was at Elkhorn City I met Mac.  Mac was the owner of a local garage.  He was a hard working…honest..grease under the fingernails guy.  I liked Mac immediately.  Mac came to church almost anytime the doors were open, and yet he’d never given his life to Christ.  He’d never surrendered to him in Baptism.  Every evangelsit that had visited with Elkhorn City for decades had come by and talked with Mac…given their spiel and hoped for the best.  My spiel was about my forgivess and redemption.  How God sought a 17 year old rebellious pothead who had dropped out of High School…it’s, a long story, but one with a very happy redemptive ending.  Mac seemed to listen, connect and he kept coming to the services but would not give in to the pleading of the Holy Spirit.

On Thursday of the revival week, Billy said I’m going to the hospital in Jackson…want to go with me.  I said, Nope…I’m going back to talk with Mac…He knew more about cars than anyone I’d met…I loved cars and so, even if he didn’t give his life to Christ…I knew I’d enjoy that better than the hospital.  When I walked into the little two stall garage Mac was on his hands and knees over a drain…holding in his hand what looked all the world to me like a uhhhhhhh, “piece of poop.”  He looked up at me and laughed…and I said, “Mac…what are you doing?”  He replied…”It’s a crawdad.”  I said “what?”  He said, “A crawdad.”  And Mac proceeded to tell me how this “crawdad had crawled a hundred yards up this drain pipe from the creek behind his shop.  It was dead now…or so we thought.  Mac stuck it under the faucet and as soon as the water hit that little dude he came back to life and pinched the fire out of Mac’s finger…instead of being mad, Mac picked it up and he and I took it back down to the creek…as he let it go I said, “Mac, I know you believe in God…I know you even want to give your life to Jesus…why not?”

And Mac said, “When I was younger I did some horrible things…stabbed my cousin…hurt people terribly…I’ve done some things God can’t forgive.”

I said, “Mac, just like that crawdad…no matter what kind of life you’ve crawled through…no matter what has attached itself to your soul….the blood of Christ is more powerful than that water which washed the crawdad clean…His blood will cleanse…His redemption will redeem.”  That night at the revival Mac was buried in Christ in baptism…surrendered his will to God and became a testimony for forgiveness.  God can even redeem through a providential crawdad.

 

Living that truth daily,

Rick Burdette

Essentials of unity. The practices of healthy vision implementation

Hi All,

I’ve heard this expression often…”A Boss says, ‘GO’ but a Leader says, ‘LET’S GO!’  In other words…you cannot lead where you will not go and you cannot teach what you do not know and you cannot love if it’s just a show. (I made that last one up, but I like it)

 

In church we talk a great deal about Mission and Vision, but all too often we do not talk about how we will implement the mission or carry out the vision.  We come up with graphs and flow charts and organizational lists…but then confusion sets in because what is on paper doesn’t translate very well to implementation.  Our time, and our energies are spent on religious activities instead of Kingdom productivity.

 

Our mission at Gradenside Christian hasn’t changed since Jesus issued it over 2,000 years ago…”As you are going into all the world…make Disciples, It starts with a death, burial and resurrection as you are baptized into a unity with My Father, My Spirit and Myself…and then real disciples  must grow so, teach them to observe everything I have commanded (not just the stuff you like).  And you will have My power and authority to do this because I’ll be with you until I return to claim you.” (R.P.V.  Rick’s Paraphrased Version)…But our vision at Gardenside, or at least the one we publisize is “We are Passionately Preparing All People For An Eternity With Christ.”  That’s so broad and wide it needs to be funneled into something managable…so here’s what I’ve thought about after a month “of boots on the ground.”

 

1.  Every leader (whether titled or not) at GCC should be unified about our Mission and Vision

2.  When conversations take place and someone doesn’t like a change…small or big, express to them your desire for growth…theirs and the entire body. (Their growth requires handling something they don’t like in a Christ-like manner)

3.  We will deal with unheathy issues that hurt the body of Christ immediately and Spiritually

4.  We will trust those who have been called to lead with vision and support them publically and privately.

5.  The larger picture of becoming an outward reaching body overrides the preferences of a few.  Cliques are detrimental to spiritual health…especially power cliques.

6.  We will not use worldly methods to communicate or manipulate.

7.  We understand doing what is right is sometimes hard and will sometimes upset a few.  We will still do what’s right!

8.  We will love all people…we will ache for lost people….we will help people grow up and we will be growing as well.

Folks, I’m not a big list guy…but if we really start leading in healthy manners and stop biting and devouring one another…then the body of Christ will listen to it’s Head and can start flexing it’s muscles in a very very lost world.

 

Just my thoughts on Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rick Burdette, Sr. Minister