About Tim Burt

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Create Godly Atmospheres


Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt

Matthew 18:20 (KJV) “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We did in our home. I had wanted to take our Thanksgiving to a higher level this year and I was so thankful to the Lord when we were able to do it. I’ll explain.

We all know that we go through many seasons of life – no children to babies, then toddlers, then kids running around, teenagers, young adults, empty nests, and grandchildren. (I’ll stop there for now.) Each of these seasons bring a different feel to how Holiday Celebrations happen. When our children were young, we wanted them to have a real spirit of Thanksgiving to God for every good thing in our lives. We would do what I’m sure many of you have done at some point. We’d have them make lists of thing they were thankful for and then at a particular time of the day, we’d sit around and let everyone share their thoughts from their list. It can become very insightful hearing what comes out their mouth. We’d thank God at our thanksgiving meal for all our blessings and then eat till we were as stuffed as the turkey.

As our children got older – in their teens and older, it got harder to peel them from the football games and get everyone to participate in the same way – at least willingly and gladly. They saw themselves as too old to write lists and weren’t always ready to express themselves with any meaningful level of sincerity. We would still do our best but it was becoming more work and starting to feel a little forced. Regardless, we never stopped making the effort. We just didn’t force anyone that didn’t want to verbally participate.

I wanted this year to be different. Our children are all adults with the youngest being 21. They are all in a good place in their lives and heart and Renee and I really wanted to take the time to express our thanks to God in a meaningful way. After dinner we all got around the kitchen table where we had communion all set up for everyone. I didn’t ask anyone to share what they were thankful for. I shared two verses from God’s Word and then just talked to them all about how blessed we were. I then asked each of them to pray letting God know what they were thankful for. What came from each of there mouths was moving to say the least. Everyone, Renee, the kids, Renee’s parents, we all prayed. No one prayed long. Maybe just a minute or two each but the spirit of Thanksgiving to God was there in the most wonderful way. I then reminded them what communion was symbolic of – our Covenant of eternal life and of God’s promised blessings because of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. We then all partook of communion together. What happens before God and in the hearts of a family at a time like that can be immeasurable. I know in my heart it will bear fruit in my children’s lives forever.

It brought the entire day into what it was meant to be and it was so wonderful. It made me glad that I have never given up trying to honor God out of frustration just because it didn’t always work out as I had pictured it or hoped it would come out. With kids, it can be a moving target.

If you are a perfectionist, nothing you try to achieve will every measure up to what you want. Perfection isn’t what pleases God. God is blessed by hearts of faith that want to honor Him for who He is. With different age groups and different levels of spiritual maturity involved in these kinds of activities, there are going to be many types of expression of love to God. With the cultural diversity of families now a days, that means there can even be cultural richness brought to those times.

What I want you to take away most from this today is this: godly atmospheres don’t just happen. You have to create them in your life. This isn’t just about Holidays. This is about any time and any place in your life. You might feel that you work at a place that is close to the devil’s pit in atmosphere. Maybe there is swearing and lewd pictures, and dirty jokes going on all the time. Your choices are pray about another job asking God to lead you or create your own atmospheres in your life.

Daniel was taken captive to Babylon. He was surrounded by paganism - pagan people, pagan attitudes, and pagan gods. Yet he would create his own atmosphere. He would kneel before his window and pray to God three times a day. He would get together with his like minded friends to discuss God’s way and pray together. They may have been outnumbered on every side by people that were not like them but they created their own atmospheres where they could keep God alive in their heart and invite Him into their midst. This is what sustained Daniel with spiritual strength in the lions den. It sustained Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego with spiritual strength in the face of being thrown in a fiery furnace.

Today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When we will work to create atmospheres from a sincere heart where Jesus will be exalted in conversation, in prayer, or in praise, He will be there. His presence will come and when it does, you will be lifted up, strengthened and even miracles never imagined will manifest. You can create and enter into these kinds of atmospheres even in the midst of turmoil and ungodliness happening all around you. Remember, God isn’t looking for the perfect setting or everything happening perfectly in this kind of setting. He comes where our hearts sincerely are to be with Him. It makes for more frequent moments that make your life rich!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim & Renee Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why Are You Thankful?


Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt

2 Cor 4: 16 (Message Bible) “…not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.”


This morning, I sat down to spend time with the Lord and Thanksgiving was on my mind. I said, “Lord, I want to look into the Word regarding thankfulness. I don’t want to try to fabricate feelings of thankfulness. I want you to lead me in thoughts of thankfulness.” Immediately the Lord took me back in my mind to shortly before I was saved.

I lived in a little rented house in the inner city. I lived in a neighborhood of inner city people that smoked a lot of pot, grew a lot of flowers, and that wanted to “give peace a chance.” They were “free spirits” doing their own thing as was I. Drugs and alcohol were becoming my addition and slowly derailing my life. What I never knew or could see was that God was calling to me. God was watching over me. God was reaching out to guide my extremely misguided life.

I was young man raised right in a good family that had gone astray – not out of rebellion, just off the straighter path of life looking for meaning and more fun. I grew up with a work ethic taught to me by my parents that as I look at in hind sight – was far stronger than most I knew. It was deteriorating from the use of pot and being aimless. I had given Greyhound five years of my life and loved the people I worked with but I started to feel an unrest and knew I needed to make a change. I was clueless as what to do. One day while getting a hair cut, the stylist mentioned that he had applied to be a flight attendant for the airline in town. While driving away from that hair cut I thought, “I need to go apply there.” Little did I know that his mentioning this job was God’s grace speaking to and directing me.

When I applied there, they apologized. I was told they have gotten over one million applications for the flight attendant positions nation wide and couldn’t accept any more. I was disappointed. The next day, while visiting my parents, I waved to and got into a conversation with their next door neighbor, a very pleasant woman we grew up next to. She had been a widow but had recently gotten married. She had asked me how I was doing. I mentioned that I was ready for a change of jobs and had tried to apply at the airlines but couldn’t get my application in. She smiled and said, “Give it to me. My new husband is a vice-president of that airline.” God’s grace was working unbeknownst to me.

When the interview came, it was a group interview with about a dozen people. This may sound funny, but they were beautiful people – both guys and gals. She had each person tell of their family, school, and work experience to date and why they wanted the job. I was the last to talk. Each person came from great families, had college educations, and incredible travel experience. I thought, “I have about as much chance as a snowball in …… “ When it came to me, the interviewer had this glow and smile that put me at such incredible ease. I told about my family and being one of ten children. I told them that my college education was on hold. I told them about my work experiences. She hired me. I was floored! A year later she told me it was because “the Lord had spoken to her and said, you need to hire him.” “I have a plan for him.” God’s grace was working unbeknownst to me.

After working there for about a year, I worked with a flight attendant who was this glowing person. She was special and I wanted to know why. She ended up sharing Jesus and the gospel with me. I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Although it took about three months for me to figure out what this really meant and to find a church would teach me the Bible, my life was radically changing. God’s grace was working mightily in my life even though I had no idea what grace was.

Shortly the drugs were gone, the alcohol was gone, the profanity was gone – my desire for anything offense to Jesus and His Word fell out of my life. My friends thought I flipped out. It was just a short time later that I met this breathtakingly beautiful Christian woman named Renee. I had fallen radically in love with Jesus. Now I was radically falling in love with her. I was often overwhelmed with thanksgiving to God. I remember a six month period where I would stand in church worshipping the Lord thanking Him for plucking me out off of a path leading to destruction and Hell and filling my life with Him and all these new good things. I would cry with thanks during worship almost every Sunday. I was almost embarrassed for feeling so emotional. It was not typically me, but every time I would think about what God did for me, I’d be fighting tears of thanks.

As the story goes, His grace led me, taught me, equipped me, and filled my life with His love and goodness. The airlines, two companies, and then finally into my call and service to God as a Pastor.

One of my sons Peter was up two weekends ago at our annual Men’s Advance with a couple hundred men. He and his girlfriend were over for dinner on Sunday. He told me, “Dad, I am happy in my job but this past weekend, I saw the influence and the good you bring to all those men’s lives. I want my life to have that kind of significance.” I just smiled but didn’t say much. I knew in my heart that God’s grace was calling and leading Him.

Our life has had the same challenges that anyone has. God’s love and grace is greater when our eyes our open to see it! 2 Cor. 4:13-18 from the Message Bible helps us put them in perspective. “We're not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, "I believed it, so I said it," we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God's glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise! So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.“

God did lead me this morning to that place of sincere heart thanksgiving. He had taken me through His holding my hand down my path of life. I am so thankful for His grace that keeps us walking in love, in faith, and in trust of His grace. I am so thankful for each of you and for God’s grace working mightily in your life to redeem every situation and bring you to His will for your life – His blessing. It’s my prayer that you will take time over this Thanksgiving to recognize and give God to praise for His unfolding grace in your life. Happy Thanksgiving!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim & Renee Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Believe the Best - Not the Worst! Don't Slander


Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

1 Cor. 13:6-7 (NIV) “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”


We live in an amazing day of technology. What technology can do as far as organizing information and media and the distribution of it is amazing and increasing exponentially. I believe this is happening because God is behind any and every good thing. Proverbs 8:12 reveals, “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” God gives man good things in the earth to help mankind. One reason He does is for the purpose of furthering His plans in the earth. Technology was given first and foremost to further the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. It will be used for countless other reasons once it exists including Satan perverting the use of it such as with pornography. Even so, God still gives man what is created for good despite those who will wrongfully use it. He knows that if we get into our hearts, we can find and discern right from wrong and make the proper choices. He is there to help us in that. Deut. 30:19 says it like this, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! “

I also believe God gives “witty inventions” to mankind out of His mercy, love, and compassion to help people – even those that don’t believe in Him or live for Him. Advances in the medical field and medicine are all gifts from God.

Another advancement that has come at the hand of technology is incredible statistic keeping. If you are a computer user, some company is almost assuredly keeping statistics on your computer usage and habits. It’s one of the emerging technologies today.

I think if we were able to find out the stats on the most committed sin in the earth, it might surprise us. I believe it would be the sin of slander. Do you know why I think that? Because of how often people get offended and what they do when they get offended. When people get offended, their mouth goes in high gear chewing up and spitting out the person or source of their offense. They talk about the offense over and over which only causes them to re-live it over and over. This then causes their negative emotions about the offense to be refreshed over and over again.

People don’t just slander when they are offended. They slander when they pick up someone else’s offense. They have a friend who has told them the story of the person or thing that’s hurt them and it becomes as if they themselves got hurt. Years ago I had this man in the church who was a womanizer. I saw little evidence of his faith but I saw great evidence of seducing new or vulnerable young Christian women. He got two different ones pregnant. It was obvious that he only saw church as a preying ground. I asked him to leave the church. Another man whom I had known for years and had a good relationship with had become a friend of this man whom I asked to leave the church. He found out and was furious. He wanted to know why. He began to slander me to others making assumptions about why I did what I did. I told him that I wouldn’t discuss why I asked his friend to leave. It wasn’t his business and I would not gossip or share information like that. He eventually left because of picking put his friend’s offense (who was very guilty) and slandering me on the way out.

What is slander? It’s mostly understood as defaming and or spreading false evil reports. Defaming is the destroying of one’s reputation. It’s the giving false and accusing information and spreading negative words against another – ultimately deteriorating one’s reputation.

Leviticus 19:16 says, “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the Lord.”

Titus 3:1-2 says, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”

I think slander is close to being the sin of the day. The Internet is filled with countless blogs that have no name attached to them. Anonymous people write blogs making accusation after accusation about anyone who disagrees with their view on anything. Some are part of an agenda to destroy people - much like the religious leaders of the day tried to do with Jesus. They have no courage. They will not put their name on the blog. They’ll just spew slander. Unfortunately the world is filled with people who will believe anything they read, especially if it supports their personal view. They are instantly empowered to become continuing carriers of that slander.

The media is the greatest manipulator of slander. They create and spread false evil reports about people before they have ever been convicted of anything. If the people are proven innocent, their reputation is already irreparable. People – Christians and non - jump on the bandwagon of picking up every little evil report that’s put out there, talking about it like it’s absolute truth and letting it become their talking point of the day. Whether it’s Brittney Spears, a national figure, or a televangelist, just because someone makes an accusation is no reason to think about it or repeat it or believe it. What if it was your name and life? Slander destroys character turning the slanderer into unloyal, fickle, shallow, judgmental people. Slander never reflects the love of Jesus Christ.

As today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Make a conscience decision to look for, to think, and to believe the best in people. It will bring out the best in you!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.

Monday, November 05, 2007

God Wants To Speak To You


Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

John 1:1-2 & 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning….So the Word (Jesus) became human and lived here on earth among us.


I was a flight attendant before I knew the Lord. One day on one of my flights, I met a flight attendant who was so different from anyone I had ever known. She seemed so genuine, kind, and really fun. She also seemed pure. I never heard her swear. She didn’t get caught up in the gossip the way others did. She had such a sincere kindness toward the passengers on the airplane. That was the way I thought of myself yet I wasn’t anything like her. I asked her what made her so happy and she told me. It turned out to be a long and fascinating discussion that ended up with her leading me in a prayer asking Jesus to come into my heart to be my Lord and Savior.

The next day something seemed different that I couldn’t explain. Things seemed the same yet they seemed different. My day-to-day activity was much the same but my thought-life was different. I felt this questioning and self-examination going on about everything I was doing. That was so odd. I seldom every questioned what I did in regards to a moral standard. I had cast away off those guilt-laden boundaries a long time ago. So why was I suddenly examining everything I was thinking, saying, and doing?

What I didn’t know was that the second I sincerely asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, a miracle happened inside of me – a miracle I wouldn’t fully understand for a season. God had placed His Holy Spirit within me. How did that happen? Jesus explains it in His Word saying that in just the same way we come into this world through our mother’s womb in childbirth – our first birth, so we are brought into God’s family through a spiritual birth – our second birth. Jesus said “we must be born again.” How does that happen? Jesus said it’s like the wind - we can feel it and we can hear it but we can’t tell where it originates or the path it took to where we are. That was Jesus’ analogy. John 3:5-8 “Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

That perfectly described me because I didn’t feel the same. I didn’t’ understand what was going on within me. What I would eventually learn through God’s Word was that I was no longer dominated by Satan and his powers of darkness, but I was brought in an instants time into the Kingdom of God. Though I didn’t realize it or understand it, my commitment and prayer to making Jesus my Lord initiated my new life in God. Col. 1:13 puts it like this, “God has delivered us from the power of darkness (Satan’s power) and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son Jesus.” He instantly plucks the sincere heart that asks forgiveness of sins and asks Jesus to be Lord and Savior out of Satan’s grip and translates him/her into God’s Kingdom and care giving the gift of His Holy Spirit.

This had all happened in an instant’s time and now it felt like the walls of my heart and mind and been ripped out and were being prepared for an entire remodeling. Things I never questioned as being wrong, now felt and seemed wrong. How could that be?

Now I understand. It was the Holy Spirit speaking to me and helping me examine my life. The Holy Spirit can only teach and confirm what we read in the scriptures. He does not teach or confirm without them. He can’t hold up the standard of what God wants in relation to what you are doing UNTIL you start reading the Word of God. Unbeknown to me, that was what was causing the self examination within.

God helps us as we give our life to Him. Suddenly I’d have Christians cross my path. Prior to this I never really understood what a Christian was. One gave me a Bible and told me where to start reading it. That would be a first for me. Another suggested a church where they taught the Bible. That was the beginning of putting the Word of God within me so that the Holy Spirit could take God’s Word and begin to instruct and teach me. Major change had absolutely begun.

God’s Word – scripture - is God’s voice when we realize it’s how God speaks to us. His Holy Spirit takes scripture and begins to shed light on it and help us understand it. We often find ourselves asking God questions only to see Him some how speak back to us through His Word.

As today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “So the Word (Jesus) became human and lived here on earth among us.” Jesus and His Word are the same – alive and powerful then and now. He speaks to us through it if we will open our heart and ask Him to speak to us. When and as it happens to you, you will hear and sense the voice of God. When you do, pay attention because, “His word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NLT) Do you need direction, insight, and wisdom from God. Do you need encouragement and the promise of His Word to renew your hope? Then read God’s Word in faith with expectation He’ll speak to you! He will! He loves you! More later…

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.