Monthly Archives: May 2014

Voting for change?

Voting for change?

Greetings in the Lord,

I had a friend give me a book a couple years back called, “Blinded By Might,” by Cal Thomas, and I read the book, liked it a lot and then promptly put it back on my shelf. But, off the shelf it came this last week as some of the chapters came back to my feeble memory. Cal Thomas begins chapter three with these words

“A woman approached me after Sunday services and asked with frustration in her voice, “How can we persuade some republicans not to withdraw from the party because they don’t agree all the time with other republicans?” She was, of course referring to conservative Republicans who were threatening to bolt from the party because it would not take a strong stand against abortion.
Taking advantage of this unique church-state moment, I replied, “You can’t apply the principles of a kingdom not of this world to a kingdom of this world. The purists want to apply the principles of a kingdom that knows no compromise to a kingdom that is all about compromise.” What this woman and many like her do not realize is that where politics is about power, the Christian faith is about truth. Whenever you try to mix the two, power usually wins, at least for the short haul.
Please don’t misunderstand us. We are not calling people of faith to settle for a lesser or weaker power. Rather, we are challenging them to utilize a superior and more effective power. To those who suggest that any compromise with political purity is a call for retreat from the public square, we say it is nothing of the kind. It is in fact, a call for enlistment in another army that has better weapons, a superior battle plan, and a far better Commander-in-Chief than any candidate for high political office.”

There are many Christians who think that the key to transforming this world is to beat the opponent at their own game, and what we’ve done is reduce the Christian faith to a series of political positions instead of “A Kingdom Not Of This World!.” Jesus was indeed a “King,” but not like one this world has ever seen or will ever see again. The power of His Kingdom will never use the same weapons or the same battle plan as the kingdoms of this world. It is my prayer that the subjects of this Kingdom would be fully engaged in every arena of life, including the political one, but His subjects must realize that “His Kingdom is within us.” And this power is released as we are “in the world, but not of it.” True transformation can never be legislated by a vote (although laws provide a protective boundary). True transformation cannot be accomplished by worldly power…it can only be accomplished through spiritual rebirth….when hearts are remade and minds renewed.
So as you read these words after an election you will either be extremely happy in your victory or extremely disappointed in your defeat. Here is my encouragement “For although we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Cor. 10:3,4) The power of the gospel cannot be legislated, but it can be shared by committed individuals living it out in every arena of the Word….can you hear the walls collapse and the fortresses fall?

Wearing the Armour of Love,

Rick Burdette

P.S. It scares me that Kingdom dwellers sometimes forget that those who are not influenced by the Holy Spirit…will not think like Kingdom Dwellers. And we
forget that it was that same Spirit that changed our thoughts, our attitudes, and our priorities. Yes I believe in fighting for what’s right, and yes I believe in
protecting those who cannot protect themselves…but let us not forget “our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, it’s against spiritual forces” (Eph. 6)…and the only way
you can have victory in that realm is through God’s Spirit working in you and through you….as He prepares others for “the message of Christ.” And then real change can occur!

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Through the mine field

Just some thoughts about Dad on Memorial Day

Rick's Reflections

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Greeting in the name of Jesus,

We are right in the middle of the 69th anniversary of the Battle of the bulge.  The writer who describes this event on the Army’s web page, wrote: “In late 1944, in the wake of the allied forces’ successful D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, it seemed as if the Second World War was all but over. But on December 16, with the onset of winter, the German army launched a counteroffensive that was intended to cut through the Allied forces in a manner that would turn the tide of the war in Hitler’s favor. The battle that ensued is known historically as The Battle of the Bulge. The courage and fortitude of the American Soldier was tested against great adversity. Nevertheless, the quality of his response ultimately meant the victory of freedom over tyranny.”

I love history, and I must confess I am the…

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That new car smell

Greeting to you all,

I’ve had three new cars in my life. One was a 1978 Subaru Brat (a little pickup truck with seats in the back) that my parents bought for me when I graduated from Lafayette H. S. and the second was a 1987 Subaru station wagon I bought for Kari while we were in West Virginia. And a Kentucky Blue Nissan Rogue that Kari still owns (It’s got 60,000 miles on it now) When I traded that little pick up truck in for a family car when Kari was pregnant with Ricky our first child it had over 200,000 miles, and the station wagon had 186,000 miles on it when we traded it for the worst car I’ve ever owned in my life (a 1997 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham that was possessed by Satan). But I’ll never forget the feeling of sitting in a new car…the odometer reading 000,007. It smelled new, everything was shiny, and nothing squeaked or rattled. There is something amazingly refreshing for a guy who sits in his new car, but then one day you come out of Krogers and someone has opened their door and left a ding in it, and the day Ricky vomited all over the back seat from his car seat (vomit always beats new car smell). The mail person ran into Kari one day on our little country road. Cyndi was about 4 years old at the time and when they got out of the car told the mail carrier, and I quote, “You shoulda nota done that!” We got the old Subaru fixed, but the hood never shut right and it always pulled a little to the left. The showroom in Beckley West Virginia seemed like a dim memory.

Life is a little bit like a new car isn’t it? We graduate from High School or College with brand new ideas for our future. The paint is still gleaming on the relationship of our dreams. Inside we’re still unspoiled and clean, but then someone cracks the windshield and things don’t look as clear. That perfect relationship sours as the girl of our dreams trades us in for a newer model. There are dents and dings along the way, tires need to be replaced and we just hope we don’t get totaled in a wreck. Katherine Hepburn talked about getting older in life and said, “Our lives are a lot like a car, things start to wear out so we get them replaced or fixed, pretty soon you hear them say, We don’t make parts for that model anymore!”

Jesus makes it very clear, “In this life you will have trouble.” You cannot live in this sinful world without your share of dents, dings, and scratches. You can almost hear Him promise, “There will be some wrecks along the road…some just fender benders, but others will be roll overs.” So where is the hope? Jesus also says very clearly “Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Folks, that’s the hope followers of Jesus have. We become “brand new creations in Christ, all the old things are gone and new things have come.” (2 Cor. 5:17) Our lives are blank sheets of paper to be written on…and we choose the story we write on that page. It’s a story that will be read by those who look at the journey we’re on…and they will see word’s of victory, hope and cheer or word’s of defeat and discouragement. The joy doesn’t come from the kind of car I’m in…the joy comes from whose driving it and where I’m going. My destination is home…it’s heaven, and they are one and the same. Some day this broken down rattle trap will pull into Dad’s driveway and “He who is seated on the throne will make all things new. He will wipe every tear from my eye…no more sorrow, no more sadness, no more death, no more pain.” Like the Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:18 “I consider the present sufferings I go through not even worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.” What does our day to day future hold?…I don’t know, but I know who holds it.”

Along for the ride,

Rick

GIVE ME A CHILDLIKE HEART

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Greetings in the Lord,

With Mother’s Day just passing us the second Sunday in May, and with Father’s Day coming up the third Sunday in June I just had to share with you some of these definitions about love from children who are 4 to 8 years old. There was a contest to select the best definition of love. When they were asked the question, “What is Love?” here is how they responded…

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even though his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca age 8

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on Cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl age 5

“”Love is what makes you smile when your tired.” Terri age 4

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your french fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy age 6

“Love is when Mommy makes coffee for my Daddy and she takes a sip before she gives it to him to make sure it tastes O. K.” Danny age 7

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and talk some more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” Emily age 8

“Love is what’s left in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” (WOW!!!) Bobby age 7

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend you hate.” Nikka age 6 (We need a few million more like Nikka on this planet)

The winner of the contest was a 4 year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to their neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.” Aaron age 6

It’s no wonder that Jesus called little children to Himself and said, “Such is the Kingdom of God…unless a person humbles himself and becomes like this little child they cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 18:4). Jesus isn’t talking about being uneducated…but He is talking about being innocent. Jesus isn’t talking about being immature and silly, but He is talking about being teachable and humble in our view of our own importance and self worth

The great spiritual theologian Tina Turner asked one time, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” The answer…”EVERYTHING! Jesus said the greatest commandment is “to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and the second is like it. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The Apostle Paul tells us that we can preach like angels, have faith that moves mountains, sacrifice our lives, but without love…it profits us nothing. It is my greatest desire that we at Gardenside Christian Church would be known first and foremost by the way we love…in word and deed…that’s the way this world will know we belong to Jesus. After all, God started this love stuff. He loved us first and best “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life.” (Jn. 3:16)

Living in the Love of Christ,

Rick Burdette

Happy Mother’s Day Everyone

Happy Mother's Day Everyone

Happy Mother’s Day,

First let me say I understand that today is a difficult day for those whose Mother’s are no longer here, for those who were unable to have children, and for those who did not have a Mother that showed them a picture of God’s love. I did, and do have such a Mother, and wife, so I’ll be sensitive to the aforementioned, but I will also give honor to who honor is due and say….”The foundation of love and grace in my life was poured and built by Mary Ann Burdette and I am and will always be grateful for it. And each day my wife Kari Lynn Burdette loves and encourages me in ways that I will never ever be worthy….I thought you might like a few of these quotes:

1. “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” —Abraham Lincoln

2. “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” —Abraham Lincoln

3. “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” —George Washington

4. “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ―Washington Irving

5. “Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” —Robert Browning

6. “Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.” —George Eliot

7. “It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.” —Roald Dahl

8. “When you’re in the thick of raising your kids by yourself, you tend to keep a running list of everything you think you’re doing wrong. I recommend taking a lot of family pictures as evidence to the contrary.” —Connie Schultz

9. “Kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.” —Barbara Kingsolver

10. “Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.” —Gail Tsukiyama

11. “The best place to cry is on a mother’s arms.” —Jodi Picoult

12. “A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” —Dorothy Canfield Fisher

13. “Mother’s love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. If it is there, it is like a blessing; if it is not there it is as if all the beauty had gone out of life.” —Erich Fromm

14. “If I have done anything in life worth attention, I feel sure that I inherited the disposition from my mother.” —Booker T. Washington

15. “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” —Jill Churchill

16. “I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” —Mitch Albom

17. “Everybody wants to save the Earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.” —P.J. O’Rourke

18. “Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.” —Robert A. Heinlein

19. “If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” —Milton Berle

20. “Most mothers are instinctive philosophers.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe

21. “To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” —Maya Angelou

22. “The phrase ‘working mother’ is redundant.” —Jane Sellman

23. “[A] mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.” —Emily Dickinson

24. “A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.” —Victor Hugo

25. “Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

To all the Mom’s or Women who have showed us “mere” mortals such love and grace…Thank You!!!!

Rick Burdette

Thank you Mrs. Anderson

Thank you Mrs. Anderson

Greetings in the Lord,

One of my favorite teachers of all time was named Mrs. Anderson. She was my second grade teacher at James Lane Allen Elementary School in Lexington Kentucky. She was one of my favorite teachers because she made me feel smart. (And for me that was an amazing accomplishment). Mrs. Anderson had a way of making learning fun. She would use spelling bees to teach us how to spell (I still remember getting close to the end and dealing with the dreaded word scissors, or is it sciscors, or possibly sccissors) O well, you probably can understand why I never won one of those spelling bees. But Mrs. Anderson had a way of making me want to pay attention and learn.

Maybe that’s why I’m so grateful for our amazing teachers here at Gardenside Christian Church. We are continually being blessed with new families that have taken the biblical mandate…”be fruitful and multiply,” seriously. And we have a responsibility within God’s Church to “train up these children in the Lord so that when they get old they will not depart from His ways.” I love to watch the genuine hunger children have for the truth of God’s Word, and I love to see our teachers feed that genuine hunger to learn with new and exciting meals from the Bread of Life. I am going to go on record right now expressing my deepest appreciation for each and every worker in our children’s Department from the nursery on up. And I’d encourage all those who desire to shape little lives for eternity to become a part of this amazing ministry. How many spiritual Mrs. Anderson’s do we have in our midst? Especially as we have Vacation Bible School approaching June 9-13.

However, it’s important that we never stop “hungering and thirsting for righteousness.” Each of us need to keep that childlike heart in regards to learning God’s Word. And each of us who have the privilege to teach God’s Word need to dig deep, and as one great Professor of mine at Johnson said, “None of us have the right to bore anyone with the gospel.” Our staff is meeting today to plan for the most effective discipleship classes in the fall and also for leadership development and as we dig deeper into this calling I can’t wait to see what God will do in our midst through Study, Sharing life, and Serving. Make this a time where you commit to a deeper level of discipleship, and if you have a desire to teach…that’s a very good thing, but desire must be linked to preparation and commitment…”you cannot teach what you do not know and you cannot lead where you will not go.” And during this next year there will be many opportunities to sharpen the ax before you attempt to chop down the tree. God bless you all and Mrs. Anderson….THANK YOU!!!!!

Still a student,

Rick Burdette

Team Gardenside

Team Gardenside

Greetings in the Lord,

I love these two stories about underdogs…

At Quecreek Mine in Somerset Co. PA nine miners were rescued after 3 days 240 feet underground. They were stranded in 55 degree temperatures and three feet of standing water. The very real issue of hypothermia threatened their lives. After those three days all nine miners were rescued and survived the ordeal.

One of the miners Harry Mayhugh explained how they did it. “We decided we were either going to all live together, or we were all going to die together. There were times through those three days that one of us would get extremely cold and weak. When that happened the rest of us would huddle around that person and hold onto them until they were warm. That happened time after time with almost everyone of us. We would not let them go. It was a team effort.”

I’d also share with you that the most successful coach in collage basketball was John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood. John Wooden won 11 National championships in 12 years. He won 10 national championships in a row. Every year he put together the best group of players he could. He didn’t always start the most talented. He started the five men who most complemented each other. The five that dedicated themselves to playing as a team. His motto was. “The most important player when we win—is the rest of the team.” Wooden encouraged his players to acknowledge the assists of their teammates. If one player received a pass that allowed him to score, Wooden wanted him to give the other man a wink or point to him as they moved down the court. A new player once asked Wooden, “What if the other player isn’t looking when I point to him?” Wooden just smiled, “Oh don’t worry. He’ll be looking!” That’s the kind of teamwork that builds national champions. But it’s also the kind of teamwork that builds the body of Christ.

What if we determined to hold onto each other and support each other like those miners? What if we decided to acknowledge the assists of our teammates every time they move down the court after they’ve made a good pass. You can’t be beat if you function like that. It takes teamwork to survive the tough times…”To live together or to die together.” It also takes acknowledging others who assist us and make us better to be a team, One of the best definitions of “team” is when the individual parts care more for the whole than they do for themselves. If you “consider others as more important than yourself, and do nothing out of vain conceit or selfish ambition,” your doing more than functioning as a team, your functioning with the mind of Jesus (Phil. 2)

No wonder Ecc. 3: says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down his friend can help him up[. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Bind us together Lord,

Rick Burdette

P. S. I believe Gardenside Christian Church has amazing team players for God’s glory