Thanksgiving Reflections 
For the past 11 years, I have posted this...Why? Because of it's profound look at you and I in relation to life and what many go through. Our lives seem to be so busy that we fail to remember what others endure. It has ministered to many over the years, I pray it will for you again this Thanksgiving season... 

"Contemplate" 
Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night could be a single father who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with his children.

Help us remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly could be a worried 19 year old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job) could be a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress could be savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
Happy Thanksgiving 
Pastor Thomas and Evangelist Almedia Burgess
For the past 11 years, I have posted this...Why? Because of it's profound look at you and I in relation to life and what many go through. Our lives seem to be so busy that we fail to remember what others endure. It has ministered to many over the years, I pray it will for you again this Thanksgiving season... 
"Contemplate" ... Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night could be a single father who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with his children.
Help us remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly could be a worried 19 year old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job) could be a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress could be savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.
Heavenly Father, remind us each day that of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.?


November 2016
Peace In The Midst Of The Storm
Scripture Reference
Ephesians 6:10-18

Now that we have had some time for the election results to sink in, this is something for your consideration. This is really a glorious opportunity for Christians to step up in calming fears and bringing peace to tensions among people. 

The sun is shining today, nature will continue its turning of the leaves to the most brilliant colors and we have the chance to share Christ which is what Kingdom work is all about. 

We are going to have plenty of opportunities to witness to the unsaved and saved...our words carry God's Spirit ...let everyone hear and see Him in you by the way you live. 

The Holy Spirit will be speaking to each of us to say this, tell this person I said it will be ok. What ever He tells you to do be obedient and bold enough to do it. 

Deuteronomy 31:6...Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Joshua 1:9...Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Ephesians 6:10... Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 
11...Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
12... For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 
13... Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 
14...Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 
15...And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 
16...Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 
17...And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 
18...Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;...

Thank You Lord
Elder Thomas W. Burgess


October 2016
God's Secret Place
Scripture Reference
Psalm 91:1-2
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (2)...I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. KJV

Where is your favorite place to hang out? Where do you like to go to unwind, relax or just as we say...chill out? Some will go the the gym, nothing like a good workout to alleviate the stress of the day, then that sauna...oh yea. Believe it or not, some will say let me get to the mall. (I will pray for you if that one is you).

In our world today we have unbelievable stress to deal with. Some of us work everyday yet we are struggling to keep our heads above water so we can pay our mortgages, car payments, utility bills, groceries and basic necessities. Some are struggling with astronomical medical bills, or getting necessary medicine. Some are trying to take care of sick relatives, some are struggling to pay whatever it is.  

Please understand, these are not dead beats trying to avoid responsibility. If you are among those who can pay your bills, you are fortunate. Your struggle could be a bad medical diagnosis or marriage or family issues that even you have need to get away from it. 

Where is your special or secret place? At one point in my life, I would get in the car and just drive to see the scenery. It relaxed me while allowing me time to myself, to talk with my Dad. Not my natural father because he had gone to Glory...but my Heavenly Father. 

There isn't anything quite like your special or secret place. If you don't have one may I suggest one that will not cost you one dime and provide a peace, calm stress free environment that your friends will want to know about. When you come from this place, you will have a peace and calm some will pay a fortune for. Where is it? The 91st Psalm in the Bible.

Written by Moses, the passage begins with a poetic language that will immediately minister to you. "He" or you, me, the Pastor, banker, teacher, tv anchor, politician, police officer or sales person. Whoever the "He or She" is there is a safe haven available and it belongs to God and if you are willing to go there, you shall abide...rest...have peace under the shadow of the Almighty.

"Shadow" in the Bible is a general symbol of protection from the brevity of life and the experience of death and is found in passages from Isaiah 30:2-3, Judges 9:15, Jeremiah 48:45, Jonah 4:5-6...
"Shadow" as a symbol of God's protection can be found in Psalm 17:8, Psalm 36:7, Psalm 63:7, Psalm 121:5 and of course Psalm 91:1..notice the differences.

There is no place on earth better than being with God in His secret place. You can stay as long as you want, you can talk with Him about every situation that plagues you, you don't have to get there at a special time because it never closes, there is no admission charge, you don't have to worry about who is listening because God is the ultimate secret keeper. 

Being in God's secret place means you are equal to the President of The United States or leader of any country, CEO, manager, business owner, movie star, famous musician any any notable person you can name because in God's secret place, we all have one thing in common, we all all sinners saved by Grace and no one is better than the next person.

God's secret place means you have no fear...of anything, you have a peace that surpasses all understanding, you have joy, you have any and everything thing you need to walk out refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to tell anyone you meet about the wonderful God you love and serve. How protects, shields, loves and cares for you.

In verse 2 of this reference you will find "Things that God is to those in His secret place"(1) A refuge or hiding place. (2) A fortress or place of protection. (3) God, a true and faithful God and (4) A trust, a place of security.

Don't dread another day, don't hate the job or co workers and people who are angry all the time. Truth be told, if you ask them why they are angry, most can't give you any valid reason, they are just mad. That is the trick of the enemy, it satan's dirty trick used to prevent you from sharing God's goodness, mercy and peace with our fellow man and woman.

I challenge you to read the entire 91st Psalm, when you have finished I can guarantee you there will be an strength in you that you never new you had. You will have tapped into the one place that will forever bring you everything you will ever need. It is found in God's Secret Place.

Thank You Lord for Your Word
God Bless You
Elder Thomas Burgess


September 2016

Things That Hinder Prayer


In preparing for this message for tonight, I found where Brent Kercheville said the following.  When we talk about prayer we are very pleased when we have our prayers answered the way we wanted and in a timely fashion. We are very happy with God when we see our prayers being answered. But when we do not see our prayers readily answered, then many times we like to play the blame game. Sometimes we want to blame God for what seems to be unanswered prayer. I would like for us to see that when our prayers do not seem to get answered, rather than blaming God, we ought to look at ourselves first.

The scriptures tell us that many times we are the ones to blame. Now this runs contrary to popular belief. Some would have us to believe that it does not matter what we do that God will always answer prayer. However, God has told us that there are things we can do that will hinder our prayers so that they will not be answered.

1.)  A Rebellious Heart

 

Proverbs 28:9 says, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Here we have a description of someone who is choosing to no longer hear the words of God. The person who has the rebellious heart toward God, that is a heart that says I will not listen to what God has to say to me, that persons prayers are not answered.

Isaiah also called such a person rebellious. Isaiah 30:9 says, “That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the Lord.” I think that most people would agree that someone who has turned their face against God certainly will not have his or her prayers answered.

But what we should notice is that God does not say that the prayers are hindered or not heard. God says that the prayer is an abomination. God uses the word abomination for something that is outright detestable, and despicable. Consider some of the other things God calls an abomination. In Leviticus 18:22 homosexuality is called an abomination. In Deuteronomy 7:25 we see that the worship of graven images of false gods is an abomination.

In 2 Chronicles 28:3 the sacrificing of children in the valley of Hinnom was an abomination. Abomination is one of the strongest words that the Lord uses to describe his hatred for an action. In Proverbs 28:9 we find out that someone who would turn his heart away from God and would choose not to learn of Gods law, but then would have the audacity to offer prayer, is an abomination to the Lord.

2.)  A Stubborn Heart

 

But I think there are more of us that may fall into this category. It is not only the rebellious that turn their ear from hearing the law. We can turn our ear from hearing the law in very simple ways. Ignoring Gods word is a refusal to hear the law of the Lord. When we refuse to read the scriptures, we must beware that we may be in the process of turning our ear from the hearing of law. When we would rather not find out what God has to say, as much as we do not want to admit it, we are cultivating a rebellious heart.

Further, when we hear the law and do not allow Gods words to change our lives, then we are shutting our ears to the hearing of the law. When we hear that we need to make changes and do not, we have shut our ears to the hearing of the law. We cannot hear that we must stop sinful lusts, but close our ears and keep living as we want.

We cannot hear about ceasing gossip, backbiting, and whisperings and continue to do these things and not think that we have not shut our ears to the hearing of the law. When God says that we need to spread the gospel and shut our ears and our mouths and do not change, what do we think we are doing?

I want us to see that we can shut our ears to the hearing of the law of God in many ways. Some ways are more overt than other ways of shutting our ears. But we find out that our prayers are an abomination to the Lord. A stubborn heart is a rebellious heart. Jesus continual called the people stubborn and rebellious. We must allow the words of God to change our lives.

3.)  A Hypocritical Heart

 

In Isaiah 1:10-17 we read that the people were bringing multitudes of sacrifices (vs. 11), keeping the feasts and festivals (vs. 13), and were making many prayers (vs. 15). However, the Lord says that these things were worthless and an abomination in verse 13. What was the problem that God called these things worthless and an abomination? In verse 15 we read that their hands were full of blood. How were their hands full of blood? Read verses 16-17. They were committing evil deeds, ignoring justice, defending the oppressor, and shamefully treating the fatherless and the widows.

You see that the people had all of the external acts of worship looking good to God. They were offering their sacrifices, keeping the feasts, and even making prayers. But the people were hypocrites. God does not listen when there is blood on our hands. Notice verse 15 carefully, “even though you make many prayers, I will not hear.” We have deceitful lips when we offer prayers with our mouth but our hands are full of willful sin.

Jeremiah makes note of their hypocrisy in Jeremiah 42:19-22. In this passage we see that the people went to Jeremiah to have him pray on their behalf that they would obey the word of the Lord. So the Lord told them what to do and they did not obey the voice of the Lord. The peoples lips were saying the right things and their actions in the temple looked right, but they were full of wickedness. Therefore their prayers were not heard.

Friends, we are not going to be able to deceive the Lord. We may be able to deceive one another because you may say the right things. You may be able to deceive others because you come to this building to worship God. You may say and do all the right things around each other so that everyone thinks you are the perfect Christian. Everyone sees you as a worker for God.

 God can see right through us if all of it is just a show or for the glory of our friends. What are we doing when no one is looking? What are we doing when there is no glory to be obtained and no one will ever know? The Lord will not accept an ounce of hypocrisy in our lives.

I believe this is the point Jesus was making in Matthew 5:23-24. “If you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and  reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” All of our external acts can look just right to one another. But it is up to us to examine ourselves. If there is something amiss, we must correct it to make our worship have value and meaning to God.

The people of Israel were putting on a show and living a double life. One life for themselves and one life for God. Isaiah said that their sacrifices were worthless and futile and their prayers were not heard. You may have everything looking right to everyone else, but we must wash ourselves, make ourselves clean, and put away evil doings (Isaiah 1:16) for the Lord to hear our prayers.

God Bless You,                                                                     Evangelist Almedia Burgess


August 2016
The Light Of Truth
Scripture Reference
Matthew 5:14-16


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set upon a hill cannot be hid. (15)...Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16)...Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven


If you spent any time in Church as a child (or even if you didn't) you will undoubtedly remember the song, "This Little Light Of Mine". It is one of those songs we learned as babies and sang it generally at Easter or when the children's choir sang during 11am service.


Most parents took their children to church (even if they didn't stay for service) so that child could learn a basic foundational truth about The Bible, God, His Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit.


This is a foundational truth. The Bible, God's Word states in Genesis 1:1...In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (2)...And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (3)...And God said "Let there be light; and there was light" KJV.


This is a foundational truth. 27 times in Genesis 1-2, God spoke "Let There Be". 27 times in Genesis 1-2 what God spoke became what He said. Nothing argued with Him, stated an opposing view or asked for equal time. To prove my statement, verse 4 says... And God saw the light, that it was "good". Then he did something with this "good light"...God divided the light from the darkness. In verse 5...God called the light Day and darkness Night.


Here is another foundational truth. By dividing light from darkness, the two cannot exist at the same time. By that I mean, turn off the lights in the room you are now in. Unless it is night and no light is present, you will be in complete darkness. That is what the earth was before Genesis 1. When light shined, darkness disappeared.


God also created the Sun, Moon and Stars so in reality, complete and total darkness does not exist unless you are in a cave or building in which light does not penetrate because once one sliver of light is seen, darkness left. Hallelujah...


In our world today, a person has to intentionally find places that will deny any light from shinning. You have to want to be in darkness. Jesus said in the Gospel of John 8:12...I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life...John 9:5...Jesus said...as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world...John 12:35-36...Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. (36)...While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light... 12:46...Jesus said...I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 


Once you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, that same light He had, we now have. We have the light of Love, the light of compassion, the light of mercy. That is what Jesus had while He was with us. Because we are Blood Bought, it is also what we must have.


This light is sooo powerful because when we walk into a dark place whether it is our job, store, gym, school, or just walking through a neighborhood, this light is shining and darkness disappears. How do I know that? because of the change that has taken place within you.


That is why that child's song is so powerful. Remember... This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine...Why?...Jesus gave it to me, and I'm going to let it shine. And...Everywhere I go, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine let it shine.


We are currently in a toxic environment and time because of this pending election but if you are called a Christian...our light needs to shine brighter now than ever before. Not the light of political or party affiliation...but the light of truth. Not a form of truth that people want to hear...God's Truth from His Holy Spirit that is more powerful than the double edged sword.  The truth that cuts us to our core and convicts us.


We were saved from the hell we deserve because God knew He could trust us to complete the work He has assigned our hands (Christians) to do. Carry the Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to your neighborhood (Jerusalem), city (Judaea), the places you don't want to go because the folks are different from us (Samaria) and the utter most part of the earth (the world). Acts 8 KJV.


Thank You Lord For Your Word

Elder Thomas W. Burgess




 July 2016
Thank You Lord
Scripture Reference
Psalm 95:2

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms (KJV)...

It seems to be on the minds of many, we don't have reasons to be thankful anymore. According to some, we have a President of the United States that was not born here and does not love America (which is silly)...the degree of hatred among people is seemingly at an all time high. Police are killing people for little to no justification, people are killing each other at alarming rates in many cities across America, worldwide fear of groups determined to kill any and everyone who doesn't believe what they believe and on and on and on.  

The definition of thankfulness is...heartfelt gratitude  to God expressed in response to his love and mercy. We should always give thanks and have a heart for thanksgiving because no matter how bad things may seem, it could be worse and quite honestly there is so much to be thankful for.

The 100th Psalm verse 4 says...Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name...verse 5...For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. That alone is reason to say "Thank you Lord.

For some time now, I have posted on Google+ and facebook daily just telling God Thank You. I have reached the point and age where I am very conscious of the reality of fewer days in front of me than behind me. When my wife is sleeping, I find myself listening to her breathe, telling her how much I love her when we wake up because Grace, Mercy and God's Love had been extended to us one more time.

There is reason to Thank The Lord because you are in your right mind, you have the use of your faculties and limbs, you are healthy or have a reasonable portion of health and strength, your children, grand children and great grand children are alive, you have food to eat. If you don't, isn't it amazing how God will bring someone to you willing to buy you food or put money into your hand.

Even in death we have reason to say Thank You for that person's life and what they imparted into yours. Thank God for His Son and for the debt he paid for our salvation. Thank you Lord even though I struggle to pay bills and stay ahead, you always provide for me. Thank you Lord because even though my car may be falling apart, you keep it running so I don't have to have a car note.

Thank you Lord for Goodness and Mercy all the day's of my life, Thank You Lord for those reading this. The Holy Spirit spoke to me to share these words so someone going through will be encouraged. Thank You Lord for my Pastor praying over our lives early in the morning while we slept. Thank You Lord for the opportunity to witness about your Love for all mankind.

Though I am not wealthy by the world's standard, I have you in my heart and that makes me more wealthy than one who has millions but doesn't know you. Thank You Lord because You honor covenants (promises)...You told Abraham his descendants would be blessed...it is thousands of years later and we today are blessed because of that promise. (Genesis 12:3)...Only God could make that promise and never break it so Thank You Lord.

Thank You God for Your Word...John 3:16...For You so loved world that You gave Your only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Thank You Lord for allowing me to be a whosoever.

Thank You Lord because You are Worthy of All Honor. Glory and Praise.

God Bless You,
Elder Thomas W. Burgess
     


 

June 2016
Commissioned By God

Scripture Reference

Joshua 1:5-9...

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

6...Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I swear unto their fathers to give them.


This is a powerful story of our God fulfilling a promise (covenant) with His people after Moses dies. The successor had been chosen (Joshua) and God speaks in Chapter 1:1-2 Now after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord spake with Joshua, Moses minister saying...

Verse 2...Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even the children of Israel.


As close as the relationship with Moses had been, God tells his successor, get up and get these people moving, cross the River Jordan to the land I have waiting for them. Joshua had received his commission from God years before this. Was he ready for it, no.


There had been no meeting with the leaders of the various tribes, Joshua saw how Moses cherished his relationship with God and because of that relationship he saw miracle after miracle performed. But as great a leader as Moses was, it was Joshua who took the children of Israel to the next level. But Joshua did as Moses, he was obedient to God and he had faith in Him.


I am purposely giving you several passages of scripture for those who may not be familiar with this story because I want you to see God's promises and concern for His people, the children of Israel.


In our world, we are made promises every day by those who have the authority to effectively change your life for the better by snapping their finger. The problem is many who have that power are not really concerned about changing someone's life for the better.


We have politicians (Republicans, Democrats and now the Libertarian party) saying what they will do to make America better as if they can. Based on the scriptures above and the promises God makes that come to pass, it seems to me if we truly want America better, we need to be seeking God. He is the only one that can effectively change anyone's life for the better and mean it and do it. 


God in verse 5 tells Joshua facts that should make any believer unshakable in his or her purpose and faith in God. (1)...No man shall be able to stand before you (take your place from you) all the days of your life. (2)...as I was with Moses, so shall I be with you. (3)...I will not fail thee. (4)...nor forsake thee.


God tells Joshua what He wants from him. He does not tell him He needs his vote or he needs to set up a bank account offshore to protect assets, He tells Joshua in verse 6...Be strong and of a good courage; for unto this people you will divide for an inheritance the land, which I swear unto their fathers to give them.


Verse 7...Only be thou strong and very courageous and do what Moses did, obey my Word. Don't turn away from it, study it and remember it so you can prosper where ever you go. A Promise from God that was never broken by God.

Verse 9 reminds Joshua...Have not I commanded you. Be strong and of a good courage, don't be afraid or troubled about any thing for The Lord YOUR GOD is with you where ever you go.


I don't know about you but it is all I can do to keep from shouting and running through this house Thanking and Praising God. He has made some promises to me and told me to be obedient to Him, study and remember His Word and have faith in Him.


Think about this, everyone who will read this has the same promise from God if we are 1...Obedient (2)...Studying and Obey His Word (3)...Believing He will do it for you.


Why? Because you have been Commissioned by God to become a leader. Not because you have a Theology degree but because God delivered you from that demon Spirit that had you bound and was trying to kill you.


It's because of His Grace and Mercy we made it and through your obedience, faith and remembering His Promises...you will be the ones to lead today's people to the Promised Land...God's Kingdom...Just be Strong and be of a Good Courage.


You have nothing to fear, God is with you.


God Bless You

Elder Thomas Burgess






May 2016
What Is The Key To Greatness? Service
Scripture Reference
Matthew
20:25-28

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.(26) But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; (27) And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: (28) Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Ambition can be a wonderful thing, it is what drives us daily to achieve that personal goal we have set for ourselves to accomplish. One of the best jobs I ever had was at Leo Burnett Advertising Agency in Chicago. The logo for the company was a hand reaching for the stars. The mission statement was "Reach for the stars, you may not get them all but get as many as you can"...

Per Merriam Webster, the full definition of ambition is...an ardent desire for rank, fame or power. The simplified definition is...a particular goal or aim... something that a person hopes to do or achieve. I remember during my early dating years, a young lady told me she was impressed with me because I was ambitious. That made me feel great but I knew it wasn't really the truth because what she thought made me so ambitious was in reality a false perception. What is worse, I made no attempt to correct her.

All to often, ambition can become blind because there is the risk of achieving a goal regardless of the cost, whether that cost is at the expense of our family, friends or more importantly our relationship with God. Our need to be number 1 or the best at whatever it is will mean we spend little to no time with our kids, waaaaay to much time working and alienating co workers because we are always in the bosses face trying to score points to get one up on everyone else.

We are currently experiencing the ultimate in ambitiousness with the upcoming election. I don't fault either candidate for their ambition to become President of The United States but as I have gotten into writing this message I am reminded per scripture...if you want to be the leader, show me your willingness to serve.

These passages of scripture begin with the story of the mother of Zebedee's children coming (with her two sons) to worship Jesus but having motive for doing so. Jesus asks her what she wants, she says let my two sons sit one on the left of Jesus the other on the right in his kingdom. In other words and in our terms, show them favoritism. Jesus tells her, you have no idea what you are asking me, then asks the two sons can you drink of the cup of suffering I have been baptized with?

The mother and sons saw one thing, the miracles, notoriety, center of attention that Jesus (to her and her sons enjoyed) not realizing the why and His true purpose...which was to serve and set the model for everyone to seek after. If you really want greatness, serve and have a servants Spirit.

Jesus taught and showed them what service and being a servant really is. For Him it was to minister to the lost and giving His life a ransom (release from slavery or captivity in sin) for everyone, especially you and I.

In our culture, we continually argue over who is the greatest. In the sports arena Ali in boxing, Jordan in basketball, Babe Ruth in baseball, Jim Brown in football and so on. In music, Michael Jackson was the king of pop, James Brown the Godfather of Soul, and on and on. Pick a genre and name the great in it. Yes, we remember them if we are into that genre, if we aren't we don't have a clue as to their greatness.

On the job, you will know of the supposed greatest because he or she hangs around the boss but when the boss changes or the greatest leave the employment of the company, very few will remember. But the one who served will always be remembered because he or she gave of themselves to help others without needing to be recognized.

The 26th chapter of Matthew verses 6-13 is the story of the woman with the alabaster box of precious ointment that she broke to anoint Jesus. She willingly gave Jesus the most expensive thing she had to serve Him not knowing the importance of it. She simply gave her best, in service to Jesus.

When the disciples argued about wasting such precious ointment, Jesus told them that the woman had done a good work upon me. Verse 12 For in that she hath poured ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verse 13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel is preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman has done be told for a memorial of her.

Greatness isn't how many cars you sold, how much money you made the company, how many points were scored, paintings you drew or money you gave to the church.

Your greatness will be remembered for how well you helped someone who needed it, did you give a word of encouragement to someone, did you follow what the Holy Spirit told you to do in witnessing to someone, visiting the sick, being God's Light in a dark workplace.

Your greatness will be remembered by how well you served. Is Christ shining in you? I don't know about you, all I want to hear is "Well Done Faithful Servant"

Thank you Lord for Your Word
Elder Thomas W. Burgess  
 





March 2016

Psalm 139
Search Me Lord
 
Without question this has been one of the most tumultuous political seasons we have ever had. Whether you declare your political party affiliation to be Democratic, Republican or Independent or whatever one may claim, this has been quite interesting.
 
If you are a Christian, it has to be a sobering indictment on what we believe because it seems some have lost site (Biblically) of what is important during this drama being played out for all to see.
 
The 61st chapter of the Old Testament Book of Isaiah prophetically spoke Jesus Divine ministry 700 years before He was born in verse 1...The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Verse 2...To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.
 
Jesus after being tempted by Satan and fasting in the wilderness goes to the synagogue in Luke 4, opens the book to read begins at verse:18... The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised...(19)...To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.   
 
Reading these two passages should remind some and bring into awareness of others who don't know, that Jesus reciting Isaiah was instructing the church regarding its task. Preaching the Gospel to the poor and poor in Spirit, to encourage those who need lifting because of the heavy weight of sin, preach hope to those bound by the worlds vices, helping the blind to find the strength and power in GOD's Word...in short it is our (Christians) responsibility to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to "all" and "everyone" including those we don't like.
 
By doing so, we who are called by His name are building His Kingdom right in the middle of hatred and intolerance for those who are different and especially those who know better but have been caught up in rhetorical political commentary. No matter what political party you want to be with, you are Christ's first and foremost.
 
The 139th Psalm is powerful because it deals with David saying to God, you know all about me, my good, bad and ugly. So search me God and remove what should not be. For us, it is more important because the entire Psalm proves attributes of GOD are included in the verses.
 
GOD's  OMNISCIENCE (all knowing) is found in verses 1-6...GOD searched David...(2). knows his thoughts..(3). acquainted with Davids ways...(4). knows every word in Davids mouth.. GOD knows the same about you and I no matter what front we show people...
 
GOD's OMNIPRESENCE (everywhere at the same time) is found in verses 7-12...David asks a profound question regarding God...where can I go from your Spirit and where can I hide from your presence...(2). If I go to heaven you are there, make my bed in hell you are there...(3).if I tried to fly away or go to the depths of any sea, even there your hand leads me. That is good for you and I to remember, GOD knows all, see's all and we can't from the mess we create. 
 
GOD's OMNIPOTENCE (POWER).is found in verses 13-18...David says' GOD's power 1...covered him in his mothers womb...(2). David acknowledges he is fearfully and wonderfully made, marvellous are GOD's works...(3). David says GOD saw him imperfect but in spite of that flaw, GOD had precious thoughts toward him. What a comfort, in spite of sinfulness, GOD cares.
 
In this political or any season, remember what our true purpose is and don't get caught in the hype. When you are engaged in political discourse, it is okay to voice your opinion but don't let differences pull you away instead of drawing closer. Don't let hatred, bitterness, and other sins cause one to wonder if you are truly Christ like.
 
Proverbs 6:16-19 is very clear about what GOD's views are about us and the sin in us. Search us GOD and remove anything that is not like you...that is what our prayer should be. Verse 16 of Proverbs 6 says six things does the Lord hate and the seventh is an abomination... the seventh is he (or she) that spreads discourse among brethren.
 
Thank You Lord for Your Word
God Bless You All
Elder Thomas W. Burgess             
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

February 2016

Make Me a Servant

So what does servant mean?  

·         a person who is hired to do household or personal duties such as cleaning and cooking

·         a person who is devoted to or guided by something. This is the answer that we find in any dictionary or on the internet.  Then the question becomes

 "What does the Bible say about being a servant / servant hood?"

The Bible has a great deal to say about servant hood because the central theme of the Bible is the Servant of all—Jesus Christ. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). When we give Jesus Christ His rightful place as Lord of our lives, His lordship will be expressed in the way we serve others (Mark 9:35; 1 Peter 4:10; John 15:12-13). How can we demonstrate love for God? Our love for God will be expressed in our love for others. “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5).


 What are the attributes of a servant of God


Jesus took seriously the command from Deuteronomy to worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.(Luke 4:8) This parallel command strikes me as interesting in that worship and service go hand and hand. When I worship God I am also called to serve Him. What does it mean to be a servant of God? How should I serve Him? In answer, three attributes of servant hood come to mind. 

-Available! As a servant of the Lord, I must be available to be used by Him in the service of His kingdom. Like the boy with the five barley loaves and two fish, my meager resources often seem insignificant to meet the needs of Gods people. But like the boy who made his lunch available to Jesus (John 6:1-14), I’ve found that when I offer my meager resources, Gods grace multiplies the blessings to others. The young boy willingly gave his lunch and Jesus took the unselfish offering and used it to feed thousands.

What does God ask of me? As his servant and steward I find myself called to offer the resource he has entrusted to me, be it finances, time, energy, a listening ear or an encouraging word. An important aspect of availability is maintaining margin in my schedule so that when the Lord calls me to service I can freely answer. If I overbook my schedule with other activities, even with good things, I may find myself weighed down and exhausted when God given opportunities arise.

-Alert: A faithful servant is not only available but also alert and watches while waiting for the bidding of the master. We must listen for His voice and follow His lead when He calls us to a need or area of service. Careful study of the Word and regular prayer nurture an attitude of watchfulness and awareness. The call of the Lord is not always obvious, but I’ve found Him faithful to reveal His will over time.

A watchful servant employs patience. Jesus used the following parable to encourage this attitude in his disciples as they wait for His promised return. "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'"
(Mark 13:32-37)

-Obedient: God calls us to a variety of tasks to be accomplished for the furthering of His kingdom and the praise of His glory. A good servant obediently accepts any job the Lord sets before him. Jesus calls us to serve in ways usually consistent with spiritual gifts and talents. Pride could hinder the Lords work if we were to exalt ourselves and refuse to help with tasks we feel are below us. Especially as a servant leader, we should be willing to set up tables or clean Sunday school cabinets as quickly as we would speak to hundreds of people in Gods service.

Not only should a servant be obedient to do anything, but we should be willing to do everything if that is what the Lord requires. Sometimes a Servants only task is to do nothing but watch and wait for the Masters call. Have you asked the Lord to give you something more to do for Him?  As you wait for that something big, seek to serve Him and grow in your Christian walk. Remain content with where he has put you, while continuing to watch for his leading. Stand before Him available to do anything He might require of you, alert to His guidance, and ready to walk in obedience to His will.

 

God Bless You


Evangelist Almedia Burgess


January 2016
 Sins Tyranny...The Thrill Of Defeat
And The Agony Of Victory

During the 1960's (I am dating myself with this one) there was a weekly sports program aired every Sunday on ABC called The Wide World of Sports. The opening showed kids playing baseball ecstatic as they won their game and a ski jumper coming down the hill, loosing control just missing a camera crew as he slammed to the ground. Then you hear the line that became synonymous with the show...The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.

We celebrate victories with all night parties, trophies and parades then talk bad about those who lose barely mentioning them because that is who we are. We like winning, that is the way of the world. No one wants to be a loser or be around losers.
 

The world offers perks for those who like hanging with winners, you get to take part in their world and not paying any attention to the cost because it is cool and you are enjoying it all. It starts with a glass of celebratory champagne, the fact you have never drank before becomes a non issue. One glass leads to another and before you know it, you are drunk. Not just drunk but sloppy, can't stand up straight drunk, passed out cold drunk.

When you finaly wake up, you are still drunk and hung over when you discover you look dramatically different. Clothes are scattered around, you may not even be in yours and can't remember anything about what happened. But you convince yourself you had the time of your life, hanging out. Someone suggests getting more drinks, this time there are joints and white lines available to help you recover. You get where I am going with this?
 

Before you know it, you have started partying all over again, telling yourself what a great time you are having when in reality you did not have a great time and the joints and white lines that you did partake of may have made you feel better (or so you thought) so you do some more, then some more, then some more.

 You want to stop but don't want to lose the feeling that being in an altered state of mind has you in. And you dare not tell anyone the truth, so you spend your money to get some more of the stuff and you do it again and again. It all started because you were hanging out with the winning crowd, now you have allowed yourself to fall in a funnel. It's wide at the top, getting smaller and tighter at the bottom until you find you are stuck.
 

That is the way sin greets you, its great when you step in, fun when you step in, exhilarating when you step in the funnel but when you try to get out, you find it difficult to grasp anything to pull you up because it is slick, the more you struggle, the tighter the grasp gets. You were having the time of your life enjoying the thrill of it all, now the thrill is gone, you want out and starting to feel defeated because no matter how hard you want out you can't get out. That is called the thrill of defeat. 

A hard truth about sin is, you felt you could stop any time you wanted but you didn't. Before you know it, you have less and less of your hard earned money because you are feeding the person in the funnel. You look up and 2 months, 5 months, a year has gone by and you are still in the same place, convinced you are enjoying yourself and killing yourself at the same time.
 
 Here is another hard truth about sin...John 10:10...the thief cometh not, but for to kill steal and destroy and he is on his job and we are more than a willing participant in his scheme. But Glory to God... there is however a B part to that same verse that say's...But I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. Jesus is the one who said it. He is saying not just you but they. That means you and everyone stuck in the funnel with you has a chance at this abundant life.

How do you get it, tell Him you are sorry, tell Him you need His help to get out of what you got yourself into. Tell Him how you tried to be part of the worldly winners but in reality found yourself with the biggest losers. Romans 10:9 say's ...If thou shalt confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Salvation and your way out of the funnel is just that simple. 
 

In the 1992 Olympics in Spain, there was a race of the fastest runners. As the race started one of the runners pulled a muscle falling on the track in great pain and agony. He had trained and worked so hard for his big moment and this happens. There was a disturbance by a gate leading to the track when the tv camera's caught this scene. It was the runner's father telling the Olympic officials...I know you have your rules that have to be followed, spectators are not allowed on the track... but you don't understand...that is my son laying in agony on that track.

The officials let the man get on the track to his son, he picks his son up, putting the son's arm around his neck and together...he and his son walked painfully for the son to the finish line. 
There is agony in victory, Jesus endured the most unthinkable agony ever experienced because God, His Father so loved us that He allowed His Son Jesus to be put on a cursed tree to die an agonizing death so you and I can have eternal life. What we call Salvation. God raised Him from the dead three days later with ALL POWER...VICTORIOUS over death, hell and the grave. and He did it for you and me so we too can be Victorious.
 
This earthly race we are in called life has plenty of pitfalls and dangers waiting for us, but Jesus proved, though there is agony in our victory, it is only for a short while. Eternity is our home or finish line. When we stumble along the way, Jesus is right there with us, putting our arm around His neck so we can finish...together with Victory.
 

God Bless You,

Elder Thomas Burgess