Monthly Archives: February 2014

One Way

601Hey All,

The most popular rock and roll song of all time according to Rolling Stone magazine is Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Co-written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant…Page said, “It was as if some unknown spirit moved my hand.” Deep within the song is this line…”There are two paths you can go by but in the long run there’s still time to change the road your on.”

Two paths that lead to the stairway to heaven….and “Hey, don’t worry…don’t stress over which one you choose…in the long run you’ll always be able to change roads.”

I think about those words because of the attitude of our culture which seems to say, “All roads are just as viable. All lifestyle’s are just as good…especially if you’re a millinial…don’t rock the boat…don’t come across as appearing judgmental or intolerant. We live in an age where it’s popular to believe that…”All roads lead to heaven,” and if you decide you don’t like the road you’re on, then try another, because it’s just as valid. It seems the god of this world, Satan, uses this ploy over and over again like a carrot held on a stick in front of a horses mouth. Go after the carrot in hopes of satisfaction and he always keeps it out of your grasp…and so you try another direction and Satan laughs and switches the carrot on the string for an apple on a string…and you never get either.

People, all people are looking for something that gives life meaning and satisfaction…in a relationship, in a job, in a toy, in an addiction, in a movement…

Here is the problem for us as Christ followers. We do not believe that all roads are just as viable. Christ followers do not believe that all roads lead to heaven. We believe in something, or someone who is far less tolerant of other options to heaven…

In John 14 in the Bible Jesus is having an intense conversation with his disciple…He’s told them He’s about to leave and go to a place they cannot follow. They don’t understand and are heartbroken…they are deeply saddened. Jesus knows the cross is staring Him squarely in the face so He says to them in their grief….”Don’t let your hearts be broken…you believe in God the Father….believe in me the same way…I’m going to prepare a place for you to be with me in heaven…with the Father…there’s lot’s of room….(It’s a big big house ūüôā And if I go and prepare that place for you I will come back and take you to be with me there…if it were not so I would have told you.”

And the Jesus says something amazing to these grieving followers….He says, “You know the way to the place I’m going.” And Thomas, one of the 12 says, “Lord, we don’t know the place so how can we know the way?” And Jesus says, I AM THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.”

Heaven isn’t mentioned specifically, but it’s most certainly the place Jesus is talking about. And Jesus is totally intolerant of any other way to get there, but through Him, No One is as narrow and exclusive as it gets.

When you look at other major religions in the world each of them share this in common….a teacher, or series of teachers, designs a road you should take or roads, and then tells you how you get down that road in a prescribed manner. If you follow the road as the teacher has designed you arrive at heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla. Hinduism has ancient teachers who pass down the Vedic traditions which describe the rites and rituals for Hindus to observe. In Islam, Muhammad points to the Koran and it’s 5 pillars for Muslims to practice. Buddha has prescribed an 8 fold path for Buddhists to follow, with the 4 noble truths and hundreds of other rules. In Sikhism, 10 Gurus have pointed to one body of teaching as the way to truth and life.

But Christianity is soooooooooooo different. When Jesus came on the scene in human history and began to call His disciples He blew away the theory that you could follow a list of rules to arrive at heaven and said, “Follow Me.” Those two simple words as David Platt wrote, “Make it crystal clear that Jesus wasn’t interested in being just a Rabbi who dispenses spiritual teaching…He was saying to His followers, “Come to me…have a relationship with me…and only through that relationship can you find the road to heaven….because I am the road…I am the way…that is the truth….and you cannot take another road to get there!”

Here’s my thoughts for us as Christ followers. Telling people who are on the wrong road they are stupid, evil and lost doesn’t seem like the right way to change hearts and minds. Yes, I believe we should speak the truth in love. Yes, I believe there are certain things worth fighting for. Yes, I believe that if God’s Word says it is sin….it’s sin. But throwing rocks never works…it didn’t for us. Spending time with people you disagree with and still loving them seems to be a lot more Christlike…it’s what He did everyday of His ministry.

And it’s important….more important than anything else, for us to remember that the power of conviction and the “cutter of hearts,” isn’t us….it’s God’s Spirit, working through us. He is the one who convicts the world in regards to sin, righteousness and the coming Judgment.

The stairway to heaven doesn’t have two paths….there’s only one way, and His name is Jesus…let’s just remember that we needed the Holy Spirit and people that loved us enough to be patient to find that stairway ourselves.

Glad the Rock Rolled Away,

Rick Burdette

“NOTHING’S LOST IF YOU KNOW WHERE IT IS”

Hey Everyone,

 

As I write these words I sit in a Lazy boy recliner recovering from hip replacement surgery and my wife is on her way to Florida for her Grand Mother’s funeral. ¬†I feel inadequate and a brokenhearted that I cannot travel with her and help her as she grieve’s for this important, loving, and gentle woman in her life. ¬†I will be doing Bee’s funeral via DVD…but DVD’s are not arms that can hug or compassion extended face to face.

 

This morning very early as I prayed with Kari and then sat by myself watching the sun come up I thought of one of my favorite stories concerning death, funerals and loss. ¬†It involved an old, fiery Baptist Preacher named Vance Havner. ¬†I remember my mentor Wayne Smith sharing this story often. ¬†Vance Havner married his wife, shared ministry with her for many many years and then she preceded him in death. ¬†He was brokenhearted, as any of us who have ever gone through something which creates a deep hole in our heart would be. ¬†Vance had preached hundreds of funerals, but on this day he stood by his wife’s casket…he was on the other side of this emotional event. ¬†Friends and family continued to pass by the casket…each sharing, “Vance, we’re sorry about your loss…Vance, we’re sorry you’ve lost your wife.” ¬†Hour after hour this continued…well meaning people expressed these sentiments. ¬†And finally, this fiery, crusty, hurting, preacher could take it no longer. ¬†When his best friend hugged him and said, “Vance, I’m so sorry you’ve lost your wife.” ¬†He responded: ¬†“There are two things that I am absolutely convinced of on this day, 1. ¬†God is on His throne in heaven and in control, and 2. ¬†Nothing, and I mean nothing is lost if you know where it is!!!”

 

I’ve done hundreds of funerals in my 35 years of ministry, including my father’s, my best friend Darrel’s, my grandmother’s, two Aunts, a first cousin, children, suicides, tragic deaths and funerals that were longed for. ¬†I cannot remember ever doing a funeral where someone didn’t say, “O, we can be thankful that they are in a better place.” ¬†But truth be known you can always sense the difference between those funerals with individuals who genuinely and intimately loved Jesus and showed His Spirit in their daily living…compared to those who…kinda believed, and whose family is looking for something to hang there hope on….anything….a baptism as a child….a statement of believing in a higher power….hoping that’s enough to sway their loved ones eternal destination. ¬†And yet, deep down…even when they ask…”Do you think they’re in heaven?” ¬†There is a powerful foreboding doubt. ¬†Children’s funerals aren’t the hardest ones I do…although they are heartrendingly hard….it’s these funerals where hope is a very slim commodity that I find the hardest. ¬†I know God is on His throne…and He is the righteous judge…that is usually my answer to the tough questions…because no preacher has the power to preach anyone into heaven…no matter how much we want to do it.

 

When Paul writes to the Thessalonians in his first letter to them…chapter four says…”Brothers and Sisters, we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep (died), or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope….we believe that Jesus died and rose again.” ¬†None of us can know for sure if our loved one is in heaven. ¬†“Faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the conviction of what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1) ¬†And, “Without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Heb. 11:6) ¬†Faith isn’t scientifically provable….hope isn’t something you can taste, touch or smell, but we should remember that faith and hope walk down the hallway of eternity holding hands….Faith isn’t just believing…it’s active living…hope isn’t a dream…it’s the real expectation that something you believe will happen…will really happen.”

 

My greatest desire is to introduce people to a very real faith and hope in Jesus. ¬†It’s a very real life that has an expectation of an eternal inheritance. ¬†But a close second to that desire is another one…I pray my wife will stand by my casket and say, “He loved me like Jesus would have”…I want my children and grandchildren to say, “His relationship with Jesus made him a better Dad…a better PaPaw…he loved us like Jesus would have.” ¬†And no they cannot know for sure where I am but I want them to have very little doubt, “He believed that Jesus died and rose again,” and so we will not grieve like those who have no hope. ¬†And when they hear…”We’re so sorry that you’ve lost your Dad…we’re so sorry you’ve lost your husband…something will well up in their soul and they’ll respond. ¬†“NOTHING IS LOST IF YOU KNOW WHERE IT IS.”

 

Living in hope,

 

Rick Burdette

 

 

 

 

Tombstone

Tombstone

It’s just a garden

Hey Everybody,

I had fairly major surgery this past week….at least it was Major because it was on me!!!!! What made the total hip replacement a little more interesting was the fact I’d had a heart attack at 34 and then a couple of years ago I re injured my knee and had to have surgery, but they did a stress test, which I failed and then a heart cath., which showed my three major arteries were so blocked they were almost severed. Three stints later…good to go. So, with this history, hip replacement takes on a new excitement for the Doctor.

Well, a week after surgery I’m doing well and trying to behave….with different levels of success. As I went through this surgery Kari told me after they gave me the second shot of vercede I got emotional and told her “if I died I wanted her to know how much I loved her and how thankful and grateful I was to share life with her.” I don’t remember any of this, but she left crying….after everyone else in the room left crying. Job Done!!!!

I’m not afraid of death….in fact worn out hips, burying my Dad and other special people in my life who were believers causes me to yearn for an eternal body and an eternal home, even more. 1 Corinthians 15 records our hope as the resurrection chapter in the New Testament…It’s pretty cool reading, at least for believers…..

But on my way to surgery this big truck rushed pasted us on our right,,,,the shadow cast over us and it got my attention….it scared me. It was then I remembered David writing in the 23rd Psalm,

  • “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” Thinking about this verse I wrote this post on my Facebook account:
  • “Death is just a shadow to believers, not the reality. We are not run over by the truck only it’s shadow because another was run over by the truck. I did not and could not pay for the wages of my sin. Jesus did. He hung on the cross. He was run over by the truck and it was one hell of a truck! But because of His death burial and resurrection. Because of His victory and my acceptance of it…death is just the shadow of the truck and on the other side of the shadow is the glorious welcoming face of my Savior. Though I see only dimly through a mirror while here. There I shall see the eternal reality of my glorious inheritance as I look up from the feet of Jesus. After worshipping Him and telling Him Thank you!!!!! Thank you!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!”
  • I’ve got some stuff I’d like to do before my spirit goes to Jesus and my body goes in the ground like a seed. But, I know shadows can’t hurt me. Jesus is my reality, and I pray He is yours…and one day…every cemetery. where bodily seeds have been planted, will become a garden that produces fruit….Jesus is the first fruit because of His victory over sin and death, but every seed will rise to be reunited with spirit….some for eternal life and some for destruction.

    We groan here….because hips wear out, mates and friends die, we see our mortality…but through the Spirit of Jesus we walk as children of God….crying out Abba, Daddy….knowing we are heirs and co-heirs with Christ. Because of this….

  • “I consider the present sufferings I go through not even worth comparing to the glory which will be reveled in us.” Romans 8:18
  • In the body and absent…..but longing!

    Rick Burdette