Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Football Stadium - yes!

TEAM '17

Pastor Rick Haug, Senior Pastor of Living Water Pentecostal Holiness Church (LWPHC) caught fire to reach his community of Maiden, NC and designed an outreach called To Evangelize All Maiden in 2017 (TEAM '17). He brought in the Matt Bartlett Band to fire everyone up, had free hamburgers and hot dogs, inflatibles and games for the kids, padded cushions for the participants to sit on and invited Carolyn and I to attend for me to speak. 

Matt Bartlett Band
Honesty has always been something of high premium to me, therefore, confession is good, 'I really didn't think it was a great idea'. The days of Billy Graham are behind us and my conviction was, 'spend the money to serve or help someone' and 'earn' the right
to speak to them. With ministerial respect on the downturn, it appears 'singing and preaching' have gone by the wayside. 

There are no words for me to express my respect and appreciation for Pastor Rick and the fantastic staff and people of LWPHC. They walked and prayed over every street in the city. Yes, this makes waves in heaven but as they witnessed, it made them more aware of the needs of the city and opened a new sensitivity for the pains of their community. 

The money spent on sound, promotion and actually providing all of the 'free' items was huge. We were reminded on RFTW 2016, 'there is nothing free, someone had to pay for it'. The church spared no perceivable expense. If ever there was a local event done 'right', this was it. 

In the book, 'Reaching Generation Z', Jerry writes of the 'squish' middle 50% of our population in the USA. They have no deep convictions or moorings. They can be influenced either way by the loudest voice. It dawned on me, this is what happened in Maiden, NC, there was a voice raised by a local church that said 'we care about you and we are not about to let things evil go on without a fight'. Can you hear their voice, 'we are not going to let four percent of our population be the only voice'. Did you see any condemnation in the statement? No, everything that projected from this body of believers was positive. We don't need to stand up and stand out yelling condemnation at the hurting, we need to just give a positive message and take it OUTSIDE THE FOUR WALLS. 

The Saturday night crowd
While we had a great turnout, it was not like the previous days of great crusades. There was no mass of people 'coming forward' for the altar call of acceptance of Jesus Christ. Again, in 'Reaching Generation Z', we learn the sensitivity of community to the Gospel has changed over the past forty years or so. Where they once were 'ready' due to the 'seed' of the Gospel being planted and the overall Christian society we lived in, many were ready to make a life changing decision. In our 'Post-Christian Society', seedless society, there will need to be new approaches, and non of them plastic without the broken heart, to change our world.  

While we must adjust our expectations, we must play to one of the strengths the church has, preaching of the Word of God and filling the air waves with something besides the liberal message being broadcast by our media outlets. We must reclaim the territory and stop retreating to the building. This was never God's plan and it is not His plan today. His commission, command is still, "Go Ye", not 'Draw Ye". We must put a premium on outreaches such as this and the methods M25 uses of service. We cannot afford to give up any more territory. 

Finally, M25 at the time of this writing, is preparing to go on it's thirteenth trip across America with hundreds of veterans and patriots to bring our National Leaders into account for the POW/MIA (Prisoners of War and Missing In Action) on a ride called Run For The Wall. It is a ride where local communities come out by the thousands and welcome the soldiers home that never received a welcome during the Vietnam War. One thing that is very obvious, it is the small town, the 'grass roots' that comes out and makes the noise. It is the grassroots that has Patriotism in it's grasp. 

May we learn from what we have seen on RFTW, the grassroots is what will change America. God has the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in rural areas for a reason. Oh, we may have a few, but it is a 'few' big churches in good sized cities but our strength is in the rural towns. Do you think we should be ashamed? ABSOLUTELY NOT! God has positioned us to revive the rural, grassroots of our nation! It appears to me that Pastor Haug and LWPHC has opened an idea for the IPHC to reach out and grab. Could you consider using your football stadium? 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM HONORED

MISSION M25 SERVES RUN FOR THE WALL

Mission M25 is gearing up to honor our military and veterans for the 19th time on Memorial Day Weekend as representatives for our Lord, His Kingdom and the IPHC. This will be our 18th time to ride / serve on Run For The Wall.

Run For The Wall is a ride that takes riders from Los Angeles, CA to Washington DC on three routes. The ride has hundreds of riders on each route that stop several times a day for ceremonies and meals as they make the ten day journey. The routes can be seen at RUN FOR THE WALL.

Mission M25 serves as Hydration (giving away thousands of bottles of water and sport drink and snacks including vegetables and fruit); Chase Team (pickup trucks with trailers following the pack to pick up broken or wrecked bikes); Chaplains (Chaplain Corps is there for the wreck / breakdown to assist the individual including going to the hospital); Senior Chaplains (Leader of the team, responsible for the prayers to start each morning and a Sunday morning church service) and Missing Man and Platoon Chaplains (responsible for specific spiritual assistance).

The M25 team will include eight pickups pulling various types of trailers and approximately 20 motorcycles with a team of 35-40 men and women. These are not all IPHC ministers but most of the personnel come from our churches, including Pastors, Leading Laymen in the churches, Conference Bishops and National IPHC leaders.

Westboro Baptist Church
The effort was birthed from the heart of Gary and Carolyn Burd as they stood on a rainy street with a soldier killed in the Iraqi war. They stood, along with about 30 bikers, as the Lead Pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, holding a placard that said, "Thank God for IED" (Improvised Explosive Devices) and screaming "AMERICAN FAGS COMING HOME IN BODY BAGS". This event 'drove' the heart of these two leaders to make sure Westboro Baptist was NOT the ONLY church out there. May I quote "Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." Dietrich Bonnhoeffer.

In 2004, Carolyn and Gary took three WWII veterans to Washington DC for the unveiling of the WWII Memorial, one was Carolyn's father. A man hardened by war and a hard life. For the first time he wore his Veteran's cap. Riding in a wheelchair, due to the injury he sustained in war, people stopped, thanked him and asked for his signature, tears ran down his face. They knew at this point they had to dedicate their lives to healing the men and women who kept us in a nation where we could freely worship God.

The event that sealed it all up was the man who approached Gary in a parking lot of a Veteran's Hospital asking, "I served in three wars. Didn't I fight for the Freedom of Religion? Where is the church that thanks us?". Gary looked him in the eyes filled with pain and apologized but promised he would give his best to change that.

Gary and Carolyn and the entire M25 team thanks the IPHC for basically funding the route. May the Lord bless you and our church for stepping up and stepping out.

You can assist this dedicated team of men and women who give up vacations, income and family time by placing your name on our banner. You can give by texting POWMIA to 71777 or you can send a donation to Mission M25, POB 30309, Amarillo, TX 79120.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Life - What's it worth?

March For Life
January 27, 2017

Mission:M25 riders began to load their bikes as the sun came up on this January 26 morning in Falcon, NC. Riders from Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia gathered,  sharing stories since our last gathering. The skies were overcast and there was a cool drizzle falling but the excitement, enthusiasm for the "Mission" ahead was not dampened. Twenty-One bikes fired up heading to the Royal Home Ministries (RHM) where we joined young ladies who were either with child or a newborn, plus an encouraging staff awaited our arrival with hot coffee and pastries. 

IPHC Participants
Photo by Wesley Russ (so good to see he & Janice!)
RHM Director, Marysol Martinez, greeted us and introduced a young lady who had recently been accepted into three universities set the tone of the mission. She gave an inspiring story of the value of a home where girls without hope, support and direction can find a way to fulfillment. Where they are given the opportunity (not pressured) to accept the Lord as their Saviour. She spoke of the joy and direction due to the Holy Spirit and the support of our home. 

Riders mounted their bikes and rode across the street where the children, some 90 plus from grades K-12 were standing with banners and yelling as we drove thru the covered awning. Joey Leggett, Falcon Children's Home director greeted us and introduced us to the principle, Bro. Strickland who prayed over us with tears running down his cheeks for the lives we were standing for. It was a short and inspiring event. 

Mission M25 Team
Photo by Rev Wesley Russ
Our bikes then traveled to Redemption Ministries were Bishop Dayton Birt and wife, Lynn were waiting with hot, homemade vegetable beef soup and sandwiches. Our annual stop is a great half-way place to refresh and warm up before we finish the journey to Washington DC. We rejoiced for the dry and safe trip the rest of the way. 

Upon arrival, Bishop Abel Palomo was waiting with a great meal and open arms from the Mid-Atlantic Conference and the church in College Park, MD. After filling up with a great meal, a super charged service was waiting us upstairs in the sanctuary. Then off for a few hours of sleep. 

The next morning we rallied early for a IPHC March for Life Rally where we were led by our Presiding Bishop, Dr. Doug Beacham. It was such an honor to have Bishop Danny Nelson from the North Carolina Conference join us, several pastors, approximately forty M25 folks in cars and on bikes with the total we estimated of over 200 people head to the March For Life Rally on the mall in our nations capitol. You could identify us by the matching gold colored sock caps with the RHM logo embrodried on them that was provided by Bishop Palomo. We were so blessed and inspired as we witnessed and participated in the largest rally for life in recent years. To have Vice-President of the USA, Mike Pence take the stage set a completely different tone for our rally. At the same time, it made you aware of just how fragile life can be as we stood on the hill looking at the TSA Security booths and the snipers on the top of the buildings around us. 

We are in a time of true moral war in our country where we must stand for truth, righteousness and life every opportunity give to us. Let us hear the voice of a martyr for principles we hold dear, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 'Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.' We may have yet a small window of time to stand up for that which we hold dear. My prayer is that the history books will be kind to this generation when our actions are written.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Queen's Breakfast

Queen's Breakfast

The Serving Ladies and
some of the Served Ladies
Due to security not all young ladies
 could be included in photo
On November 22, 2017, ten women from three different churches, The Journey Church in Siler City, NC and The Refuge in Conway, SC, The Rock Worship Center in Monroe, NC, with the leadership of Carolyn Burd, National M25 Director woke after a short night of sleep at the Royal Home Ministries (RHM) to prepare a meal fit for a Queen. RHM is a home of hope, love and support for young ladies that are carrying a child with no family or friend support. It is a home dedicated to the tireless effort and vision of Rev/Mrs Marvin Whitfield, built across the road from Falcon Children's Home in Falcon, NC, hosted by North Carolina Conference of the IPHC. 

The young ladies were totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to make this a breakfast so special, bathed in love, that a Queen would have been blessed to be there. The passion and drive exemplified by these ladies could do nothing but lift the young ladies in the home. There were glass plates, real silverware, long stemmed glasses, cloth napkins and table clothes. There was even a warm wash cloth for each young lady to wash with before partaking of the meal. 

Some of the ladies eating
This meal was intended to elevate their self-esteem, many of whom could not even be in the picture due to their identity being concealed for safety sake. Anyone who has experienced giving birth or witnessed the trauma of bringing a child into this world, knows how painful it already is without all of the negativity of having no family or friend support. There was a desire to bring a good ole healthy dose of elevating love through service. 

One of the young ladies (a mere child of 13 years of age) grabbed a plate and chose to eat alone. When inquiring the situation, Carolyn learned this young lady was 'sold' by her mother to a man. (There is no point of reference for most of us. Can you imagine being so desperate that you 'sold' your daughter to survive? We read of these type things in foreign countries, we read of this level of desperation in Biblical times, but here in the most prosperous nation in the world, not here... but it did happen). The man chose when faced with his purchase bringing extra baggage of financial and emotional support, dropped her off at the curb, so to speak. This young child had experienced abandonment, abuse and rejection at levels will never know (so thankful this is a rarity and not the norm in our country. May we pray it never becomes the norm.) 
The meal

As the day ended and the young ladies went on with life in the RHM housing, as the eleven women returned to their families, we can only pray there was a positive lift in the young ladies in the home and the ladies who served will be impacted to a point they make this bigger and better next year. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sanding My Feet

How beautiful are the feet....

Having a 65 year old foot takes up time that has been allocated for things like: reaching for success, doing good for others, growing in my Faith Walk, spending time with those we love, etc. It is very tiring and boring, getting the file out (looks like a grater for cheese), spending time 'sanding' the foot, a lot of time. Then there is the ointment, the creme to keep it from cracking. Today, during the boring task of restoring my feet, this text came to mind.

Just an ugly 65 year old foot

  •  How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news.. Isaiah 52:7
  •  And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!" Romans 10:15
Let's put those text written in perspective to when they were written. Many had to walk everywhere they went. Plus they did not have hiking boots or high dollar sports shoes. No insoles made of memory foam, most were just sandals. Remember the environment, have you been to Israel? Have you seen the desert, the rocky terrain? What about those areas were the weeds are growing, climbing to En-gedi (it was muddy and slick with rocks and vegetation).

Sitting there, sander in hand, creme on the table beside the chair, all I could think was, 'Really?'. Then the devotion the Lord had began to become clear.

As our feet get older, carry the scares of adventurous lives, show the stress of caring for family and friends, the burden of the load of serving in the Kingdom there were some warnings: The foot can become dry, cracked, rough and very ugly.

If the foot is not 'sanded', adverse situations grinding on the foot, it becomes so calloused and abrasive no one can stand to touch it, looking at it is bad enough. There should be a joy inside of us when we encounter adversity, it is removing the callouses, keeping us smooth. Preparing us to hurled into a world of evil as one of the smooth stones a Shepherd boy picked up, hurled toward a giant's forehead which caused that enemy to fall to the ground.

The creme keeps me teachable and pliable in the hands of an Almighty God, the Holy Spirit. Can you see balm of Gilead in His hands rubbing it into the hardness of the callous and the pain the adversity to get me tender again. Callouses brought by so many miles of demanding, spiritual terrain that no one has taken the time to look at my 'feet' to notice.

Feet, who goes around looking at people's feet? How many times have you seen people 'model' their feet? Oh, there is the craze of flip flops and women in open toed shoes but most of us men never care for our feet and never notice the feet of anyone else. Yet, it is the feet the Lord inspired the author's to pen that was beautiful.

As the time came for the creme to applied, it said on the directions, 'massage thoroughly into the skin and in extreme situations, cover with a cotton sock for quick healing'. Now, that is in incredible advise:

  • Get alone with the Holy Spirit today and allow Him to massage His love and tender care into your life. Let Him take that sweet balm of Gilead and refresh your journey. 
  • If you are hurting really bad, the callouses are really hard and the cracks have made it difficult to sleep at night due to catching on the sheets, let the Holy Spirit cloak you with His sweet presence and bring you peace. He is still able to calm the storm in your life or maybe, just maybe, He is desiring to just wrap you in the Power of Grace to get you through the storm! 
Feet.... beautiful, only in His presence when they are doing what they were designed to do.... take the Good News, the Gospel to a hurting and dying world. Remember, we are M25, a ministry outside the four walls. The question screaming inside me, 'Are you living your life in the desert areas of your community?' 'Are you taking the risk that your feet might take you to some dangerous places?' 'Are you actually traveling enough outside to even expose your feet to pain?' 

A day to ponder......

Monday, November 14, 2016

Toys For Life Motorcycle Ride

TOYS FOR LIFE

November 21, 2016 at 7 pm will be a historic moment! 

Motorcycles joining together for a rally at the Chapel on the property of Falcon Children's Home to bring physical, emotional, financial and spiritual support for the ladies living at the Royal Home Ministries. RHM is a beautiful home for girls who have an unexpected pregnancy who have no support at home. This is a  place they can stay with their baby until they are 21 years of age to receive support, motherhood training and finish their education. 

First 50 Bikes receives this patch free
The Rally will feature speakers and drama skits from guest and the girls in the home. It will be a power packed one hour event. 

Then at 8 pm, the bikes, dressed in Christmas Lights, will lead the other participants (carrying lit candles) to the Royal Home Ministries. Upon arrival there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly acquired Baby Boutique building. This will be a place where the girls can go and get the needs for their baby free of charge. This facility was purchased with money raised from the 50CC Diaper Run in 2016 and will store the 56,000 plus diapers and 62,000 plus baby wipes along with the toys for their baby's Christmas and birthdays. 

Everyone is encouraged to bring a toy for a baby 0-3 years of age, both girl and boy. We are asking for new toys, wrapped in original package and no stuffed animals. 

Ladies are encouraged to come and assist in preparing a breakfast, led by Carolyn Burd, for the ladies living in the home at 7 am the next morning. This will be a great time to let these girls know you care for them in their crisis. 

We look forward to seeing you at this exciting, first ever (which we hope will be an annual event). Then hang around for the Harvest Train the next morning. 

For more information, please feel free to call Gary Burd 806-670-9669 or Carolyn Burd 806-570-4556 or email us at gburd@arn.net. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Street Wisdom

On this beautiful autumn morning, riding from the motel to the church I was scheduled to speak, the urge to stop and visit with neighborhood, street people overtook me. The desire to hear their thoughts were too much to pass by. The message burning in my soul was about the church experiencing a 'Genesis Work' of 'recreation'. It appeared the best thing to do was to affirm the felt need with facts. The community has changed, racially and economically with most of the church members driving in from other communities. A beautiful facility filled with wonderful Christians but not so connected to the community, however the pastor certainly desired to see the community transformed by the Grace of God.

The first encounter, a man in his 60's, all alone, was hesitant to talk to a stranger, much less one riding a Harley Davidson. The question was poised, 'what kind of neighborhood is this?'. Quickly he responded, 'a good neighborhood' and then tried to abandon our visit. After having several questions to keep him engaged, he finally said, 'look, we need help. Killings when you don't even know who it was that killed you. Senseless killings. A church could help the neighborhood'. The frustration and pain of living in a place of impending danger rose to the top and with that he departed stating, 'just help our neighborhood' over and over.

The next encounter was three men in a parking lot of a convenience store. The conversation was okay as long as we kept it brief. "What do you think a church can do to help this neighborhood?" Steve (did not get his last name) started off by saying, 'now I have a knowledge of what is right but I am not saying that I am living right'. Wow, honesty is a good ground to start on. The next words of wisdom overtook me on this bright, crisp morning.

  • His opening statement was, 'a church should integrate.' (Isn't this interesting, here is an African-American talking to a white man about a predominately white church and the first words were integration. Maybe integration of the church could be a desire that all have but seldom cross the line?)
  • When asked how do we integrate he stated, 'I think it would be good to go door to door and tell them they are welcomed.' (I must admit this one threw me. It has appeared door to door was not effective, yet the cry was, 'come on out and visit my house and let me know I am invited to your church'. Not an outreach, not a special service but tell me it is okay to just come and participate in regular church.)
  • A break long enough to take a drag off the cigarette in his mouth and a flip of the butt into the parking lot was followed by, 'you see, most of the church people think that the work begins when people walks in the door. You know, that is what's wrong, the church needs to come out here and talk to us'. (That is wisdom for sure, when we state we are 'working' for the Lord it most generally refers to our service to the church folks in the church building.)
  • Then out of his mouth rolled some very profound words, 'You know, most of the people put on their grave clothes, yeah that's right, they dress all up for death, go to church and forget they were once just like many of us out here. They are people who have forgotten what it was like when you could not seem to get out of the situation and condition you are in. They talk down to you because they forgot. If they want to speak to me, talk about how you overcame because you were down here also. (Oh my, this one is very painful, we are seen as people who have forgotten our failures and make people in failing situations feel small. Could we speak from a time we were not so strong? Oh, please don't go so far as to constantly talk about the days of destruction in your life but allude to those days when you were not so strong and give hope.)
  • 'You know, there are a lot of people giving food and that is good and you can never do enough of that'. (Refreshing he brought this up into the conversation. He recognized there were those who were trying to help and was thankful.)
We parted after some small talk about riding the motorcycle 1500 miles to be there. Then he called David over and another man who was an Army veteran (of course thanking him for his service) and introduced me.

He carried on to another day in a life of existence and for me, I fired up the bike and rode with a new passion and desire to assist churches get outside the four walls and love people. Listen to them, rather than appear you have all the answers. Go out of the way and just become part of their community. Don't 'act like you care', they can see through that. Listen until you 'do care' with a heart of love and true concern. 

After sharing this with the church in the sermon on God desiring to do a 'Genesis Week' in the church, it appeared it encouraged some and enlightened others. Oh, we look over those who were even angered by taking their time on Sunday morning to discuss such a subject as a church becoming community. 

Feeling refreshed and blessed on this Sunday evening.