"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Reflection on How I've Changed in the Last Few Years

It's been my practice to visit some homebound members of our church on those holidays our family stays in Enid. Last Thursday, my 22 year old daughter Charis (pictured here with our family on Thanksgiving Day) joined me in visiting several church members as we sought to bring them some personal encouragement. Without fail, every person whom we desired to uplift wound up encouraging us. From the family that lost a husband/father/son the week prior, to the 93 year old widow spending her first Thanksgiving alone since the death of her 98 year old husband, to the people in the nursing homes and hospitals who were ill and spending Thanksgiving alone, each of our visits brought tears of joy to my daughter's eyes. These folks were a blessing to us. They reminded me of the axiom my dad taught me years ago: "As people get older, they either get better or bitter." Each of them had definitely gotten better!

I've taken some time over the weekend to try to evaluate some areas in my own life where there has been change for the better these past few years. I never want to get "stuck." I know the growth enumerated in the areas below is not yet complete, and there are many other areas in my life that need work, but in my own mind (and my wife's mind), these areas of my life have changed for the better.

(1). There is within me a deeper appreciation and respect for the work and ministry of people that are evangelical but not necessarily Baptist.

(2). When I am considering a particular course of action, I no longer ask myself "How will this 'look' to others?" Now, I simply ask, "Will what I do honor Christ and, in the long run, will it help others?"

(3). Though I love doctrine as much, if not more, than I ever have loved it, I have absolutely zero interest in convincing people that I am "right" in my beliefs. I am always ready to give an answer for what I believe, but I'd rather people know that I love them and I have zero need to let them know I disagree with them.

(4). I have little patience left for Christians who exert "power," "authority," and "control" over other Christians. It seems to me that exerting power, authority and control over others is the exact opposite of the kind of character Christ calls each of us to exhibit. If it is asked, "But should not these Christians who dominate and control feel your love as well?" I answer: "They do. The most loving thing I can do for those who lord over others under the guise of "spiritual authority" is to continue to point out the kings are actually wearing no clothes."

(5). There has come a genuine freedom in ministry at Emmanuel. Eighteen years of being with, and among, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ allows for the development of the kind of trust that is necessary to gently encourage and lead them to stake no claim in institutional advancement or fame (the church), but to only do those things in ministry that will encourage individuals in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Well, those are some areas where I think I've changed in the last few years. There may be more, but those quickly come to my and my wife's mind this past weekend.

In His Grace,

Wade

50 comments:

Marvin Merriweather said...

Wade,

Your reflections are encouraging...and encouragement is something you're gifted at and should do more of, brother!

LOVED the post!

Marvin

Thy Peace said...

Amen. As we get older we realize the unity of life and that separateness is an illusion. This realization is reached when we breakthrough our bounds of self and love others. And doing so we find ourselves reflected and lot of times found within others. I understand this is not Christian thinking, but given my background of once being a Hindu and my reading of the Hindu and Christians texts, point to this very thing.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"I understand this is not Christian thinking,"

I think the Apostle John would disagree...


...1 John 1:5-7

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I liked your father’s “"As people get older, they either get better or bitter."

I believe you’ve grown better, and I know you’ve helped me.

Winning is not the main thing but like you said, "Will what I do honor Christ and, in the long run, will it help others?"

In replying to a Thanksgiving Card I copy-pasted your comment on doing a 180 to Marv Knox, editor of the Baptist Standard.

He sincerely replied: “Wade has changed, thank God.”

rick t said...

Wade, a marvelous post. Those not involved in hospital ministry or working with older homebound folks are missing out on a tremendous blessing. A personal visit and words of encouragement mean the world to those folks. And the smiles many of them offer you as a way of thanking you are heart warming and irreplaceable. And it's fun watching those with a spirit of bitterness become betterness. I could relate story after story about our folks and how they've helped me. And by the way, ain't change great!!!!!

Gene S said...

John Kennedy once called an advisary in the Senate who was going against him on what he considered a necessary Presidential thrust. Kennedy had ended his proclamation with "My feet are set in concrete on this!"

He told his opponent he was changing his mind with the wise thoughts being expressed in Congress. He went on to say, "The sound you hear in the background is concrete crumbling!"

Kennedy had learned at his young and inexperienced age that it pays to listen to other viewpoints because you just might not be totally right!

We need more of the "Wisdom of Wade" learned at a similar young age. I learned it a long time ago and stopped being so pushy as a Pastor. My daddy, a wise pastor, always said, "You draw more flys with honey than vinegar!"

That is one wise saying I took to heart and have not forgotten.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gene S said...

Joe--on the other hand loves a good dose of vinegar to keep the wicked grin on his face!!!

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Come on Joe, Wade says he has changed. Just because he has changed since last Friday doesn't mean he hasn't changed. :)

Ken Coffee said...

If I were asking the question, "How do I know I have finally grown up?", you have given five excellent answers. Great post.

Wade said...

Joe Blackmon,

If you look closely, you will see a pattern emerging, a pattern admitted to in this post.

I have little patience with boorish chauvinism or mysogynism, expecially when disguised as biblical, spiritual authority.

I shall continue to challenge those kind of men by revealing their biblical nakedness.

Smile.

Rex Ray said...

Joe,
You sure have a way to highjack.

Now a lot of comments will be about you.

I guess you like it that way.

On the other hand, thanks for the reference of some good post.

Gene S said...

Wade--

My mother, in a hard time I was having sent me the following"

"How can I soar with eagles when I hang out with turkeys!!!"

Steve said...

Mr. Gene and Mr. Rex,

The best thing we could do for the Kevins and Joes of this blogworld is buy them some clothes.

Gene S said...

HAPPY HOUR TEXAS STYLE

A cowboy is driving down a back road in Texas. A sign in front of a restaurant reads: HAPPY HOUR SPECIAL Lobster Tail and Beer

'Oh my gosh' he says to himself, 'My three favorite things!!'

There have to be some Texans in this blog!!!!!!!

Monte said...

Two thoughts come to my mind that (a) apply to Wade's post, and (b) apply to most of the comments (misguided though they may be):

1. It better to do the right thing than to be right.

2. What's right is not always popular and what's popular is not always right.

Gene S said...

More good humor to start the Christmas season without malace:

Jack Daniels Fishing Story

I finally got around to going fishing this morning but after a while I ran out of worms. Then I saw a cottonmouth with a frog in his mouth, and frogs are good bass bait.

Knowing the snake couldn't bite me with the frog in his mouth, I grabbed him right behind the head, took the frog and put it in my bait bucket.

Now the dilemma was how to release the snake without getting bit.

I grabbed my bottle of Jack Daniels and poured a little whiskey in its mouth.

His eyes rolled back, he went limp, I released him into the lake without incident,
and carried on my fishing with the frog.

A little later, I felt a nudge on my foot.

There was that same snake, with two frogs in his mouth.


Com'on, Joe--laugh and lighten up!!

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"I have little patience with boorish chauvinism or mysogynism, expecially when disguised as biblical, spiritual authority."

I could not agree more with you Wade, but maybe we should learn patience. I have learned to be patient with people who name call (see above) and attempt to shut down dissent directed at them (see above).


Blessings,


K

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Steve,

Gene S is likely not happy with your plastering his derriere over the net.

:)

Alyce said...

Wade,
Wonderful reminder. I especially like #1 and in light of that, would encourage you to read Guy Muse post this morning of what God is doing outside of our own 'baptist identity.'
http://guymuse.blogspot.com/
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Alyce

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gene S said...

Kevin--PLEASE!!!!

Mine is not a painting, but in real life--quite lovely according to my wife. You see, I cut trees / pick up wood / beat George Bush any day with a chainsaw!

As a matter of fact, I'll bet you $100 if you put your communion glass in front of a tree, I can hit it when I drop it! Wanna take me up???

If you are truely brave and brainy as you claim--try standing there holding it at the distance I estimate the trunk will hit--I am always withing 3' on that one!!!

Laugh at the jokes, dude, and get a life without insults!

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darby Livingston said...

Joe,

I think it should be Hil-stinkin-arious, rather than with the two l's like you have it. That's just for free. :)

Gene S said...

I have just posted 3 articles on dealing with Grief on my blog:

http://babyboomlearner.blogspot.com/2009/11/unless-you-change-and-become-like.html

Perhaps, some of this angst is a result of un-resolved Grief. There is more than enough of it these days with the failed economy.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
linda said...

Points 3 and 4 seem to disagree with one another.

Implying that believing the Bible describes different spheres for men and women is mysogyny or chauvinism is not exactly loving of those that disagree doctrinally.

Guess some things are easier said than actually done.

Christiane said...

AN ADVENT BLESSING:

"Love not just those of your own tribe, your own class, family or people, but those who are different, those who are strangers, who are strange to your ways, who come from different cultural and religious traditions,
who seem odd, those you do not understand.

Love as the Samaritan loved the man he found beaten up by robbers,
somewhere on the road
between Jerusalem and Jericho."



I love how so many different viewpoints come together at Wade's blog. There is a place for Joe, whom I love dearly, and a place for Gene, who would cheer Joe up (or try to). when Joe goes into 'rant mode'.

This says much to me.
This tells me that I am at a blog where the Body of Christ is honored: each one important and indispensible, because everyone is needed. :)
God Bless,
L's

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benji Ramsaur said...

I like that picture of your family Wade.

I think your daughter looks the most like you and your son standing beside your wife looks the most like her.

Wade Burleson said...

Linda,

Firing a Hebrew Professor and refusing to hire the most qualified person for VP at the IMB because she is a woman far more borders on mysogyny and chauvinism than believing men and women have different biblical spheres, and the most loving thing I can do to those men who love to exert "authority" over women is to tell them exactly that.

Snap, crackle and pop.

Smile,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Benji,

I don't know that either my son or daughter would thank you for your comment, but my wife and I do.

:)

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Joe,

I'm thrilled you read what I write.

;)

Blessings,

Wade

happy gram said...

joe! please put some clothes on!

happy gram said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

Reality Check [Mary Burleson] > Balanced Testimonies.

Gene S said...

Joe, old sport---

I just got a fresh batch of good peach brandy from my buddies in Nash County. I can assure you it would make you feel better about being naked in the cloudy South with snow storms on the way.

If that doesn't do, another friend is brewing up a little White Lightening for Christmas. His secret is to let the corn sprout before it goes in the vat with secret ingredients!

If you don't sweeten up, I'll get him to send you some!!!

I have given up that reasoning and Bible verses will make you smile O Naked One!!! If God hadn't know we need some good natural medication at times, he would not have provided the fermentation process in His Creation.

Gene S said...

Insights as to what has been happening with the SBC & Politics of late:

http://babyboomlearner.blogspot.com/2009/12/modern-pressures-and-religion.html

Gene S said...

Some insights as to what has been happening in SBC & national politics of late:

http://babyboomlearner.blogspot.com/2009/12/modern-pressures-and-religion.html

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

I'm not sure I follow you Joe, but thanks for reading and commenting.

Wade

Gene S said...

I'm not sure Joe even understands himself, much less the core of this blog.

If you looked up "contemporary ancestors" in the dictionary--Joe's picture would be there!

I think he was born blind and his eyesight never developed--especially when looking in a mirror at his unchanging self!

Congratulations to Wade for having the courage to admit things change and wise people take note.

The truth is the truth is the truth . . . ad infinitum

Christiane said...

THE WINTER SOLSTICE IS COMING !

There is religious meaning in the observance of the birth of Christ at this time of year: around the time of winter solstice.

A 'solstice' happens twice a year:
in winter, on the day when the darkness is at its greatest and from that time forward, light will increase day by day.
And in the summer, when at the solstice, the light begins to decrease day by day.

Here is some info for my Baptist friends about the relationship of the timing of celebrations in the 'Church Year' to Christian meanings:

"Only thing I have to add is that in addition to the assimilation of the pagan holiday, Christmas stuck around at December 25th because it’s as far as mattered the winter solstice. From that point on, “the light of the world” increases.

This is why the Church celebrates the feast of St. John the Baptist on June 24th, the summer solstice, when daylight fades. (HE must increase, but I must decrease.)"

Christiane said...

From the Gospel of St. John 3:

"28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, “I am not the Messiah,* but I have been sent ahead of him.”
29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled.

30 HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE.' The One Who Comes from Heaven

31 The One Who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The One who comes from heaven is above all.
32 He testifies to what He has seen and heard, yet no one accepts His testimony.
33 Whoever has accepted His testimony has certified* this, that God is true.
34 He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure.
35 The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in His Hands."

New BBC Open Forum said...

From a previous thread:

Joe Blackmon wrote:

"Furthermore, any pastor who would allow someone purveying such filth as found in The Shack to 'preach' in their church when said author clearly denies key biblical doctrines and has done so publicly on a radio interview has about as much right to call anyone else to task for what they teach as I do giving advice to a woman on what kind of pantyhose to wear."

As I recall from your previous two profile photos, Joe, you seem to be quite the expert on pantyhose!

Gene S said...

Joe--

It's time for some more special humor for you:

HILLBILLY VASECTOMY

After their 11th child, a hillbilly couple decided that was enough, as they could not afford a larger bed.

So the husband went to his veterinarian and told him that he and his cousin didn't want to have any more children..

The doctor told him that there was a procedure called a vasectomy that could fix the problem but that it was expensive.

'A less costly alternative, ' said the doctor, 'is to go home, get a cherry bomb, (fireworks are legal in hillbilly country) light it, put it in a beer can, then hold the can up to your ear and count to 10.'

The hillbilly said to the doctor, 'I may not be the smartest tool in the shed, but I don't see how putting a cherry bomb in a beer can next to my ear is going to help me..'

'Trust me,' said the doctor.
So the man went home, lit a cherry bomb and put it in a beer can. He held the can up to his ear and began to count!
'1'

'2'

'3'

'4'

'5'

(you'll love this..)

At which point, he paused, placed the beer can between his legs and continued counting on his other hand.

This procedure works in Tennessee , Kentucky , Louisiana , Arkansas , Mississippi , Alabama , Georgia , and West Virginia.

Gene S said...

I can't believe all is quiet on the Burleson Front overnight.

I go to bed between 8/9:00 when the demons usually come out on this page.

Are we making progress in a little soothing of the troubled souls?

Wade Burleson said...

Maybe Gene.

:)

Gene S said...

Happy peaceful day!!!!

Wade, it's time for another one!!

Here is a recent post to my blog I think you will find interesting:

http://babyboomlearner.blogspot.com/2009/12/was-there-ancient-nuclear-holocaust.html

Best to you my truthful brother in the faith!