Monday, August 31, 2009


I'm sitting here at the key board reflecting which is nothing but a continuation of the last hour or so sitting outside doing the same. I decided to put down my dis-jointed and somewhat illogical thoughts as a post because I have little or nothing else to share at the moment. The title says it all for me and where I am right now personally.

Slowing down--- I'm getting older. No surprise there. But it carries with it a lot of things to be faced honestly. The thing I love to do, preach and teach, is less than it has been in years. Now's a proper time to remember that it is more important that I know and love the One about whom I preach than it is to love to preach about the One whom I know.

Living life successfully spiritually--- I'm convinced that being spiritually successful is not a result of things I do [preach, read scripture, pray, witness, etc.] but simply recognizing who I am by His grace and living all of life as a gift, the good and bad. All of life is spiritual. This was brought to new reality this past week as I ministered to a handful of pastors one of whom shared with brokenness [all of us in tears with him] that suicide had been his agenda for several days until those few hours of being brought back to reflect on true grace and purpose and life in Christ which defines us rather than the ministry we do defining us.

Facing pain--- My body is a source of that right now. [Knees, joints, feet, on and on.] My family is a source of pain too. Things faced we would not have thought possible that draw us to each other and to our Lord while tears flow. The greater pain is perhaps not being able to remove what brings it to those I love so much. But I remember again all of life is spiritual. Even the pain. But also the Body of Christ is a source of pain at the moment as I see so much activity and organization with so little character and love being demonstrated front and center. I weep at the loss of joy and love in so many congregations I minister to.

Forgiveness.--- I am forgiven. But I don't easily forgive. I have learned from my Pioneer, the Lord Jesus, that to forgive requires that I honestly face the hurt done to me. [Sweating great drops of blood in the garden.] Without this I'll never truly forgive. But then I must embrace the thing done to me as my own. [He embraced the Cross willingly.] I've discovered that He could do this because He knew that event didn't define Him. There was and is more to who He is than that. [An empty tomb, an return to glory, a return to this earth one day, etc.] I'm learning to do both of these with what others have done to me and to forgive them. It is forgiving myself for hiding from hurt and changing the patterns of self protection I've spent years creating that I find most difficult. I'm learning.

Surprised by joy---With due respect to the one from whom I stole this phrase, it is the only phrase that captures me at the moment. I'm surprised with great joy when I realize that my thoughts of slowing down, living life successfully spiritually, facing pain and forgiveness are all things that I would not trade right now for anything and believe they are His unique purposes for me for a multitude of reasons. They are mine. I receive them with joy.

Just reflecting a little.

Paul B.


Bob Cleveland said...

Perhaps it is, that what we write, when we have nothing left to write, is what we write best.

Yes, I believe so.

What else would a continually new wineskin look like?


Paul Burleson said...


You, undoubtedly, say more in fewer words than anyone I know.

Chris Ryan said...

Thank you for sharing. Some words there that it has done this heart good to hear. Some burdens Christ has used your words to help ease. And some perspective that is always needed by one (me) who spends most of his day lost in his own little thought world.

Thank you, so very much.

Paul Burleson said...


If words "good to hear" are what you heard, they are reciprocal when it comes to you and me. Thanks.

Strider said...

That's a lot of wisdom for such a short ramble! Thanks for sharing Paul.

Paul Burleson said...


You're welcome and I sure enjoy what I read from your blog. Rarely have I felt more in tune with an overseas work than I do as I read your journey. It's really "thank you."

Aussie John said...


I've hesitated to respond because you have written that which is so personal regarding yourself, yet almost every word is very personal to me.

I echo the thoughts of those above. Thank you for blessing me!

I must have got an insect in my eye during the second paragraph because I could hardly read past the third paragraph.

Is it that you reflect my life, or I yours, or are you revealing a common experience that most cannot admit to?

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie John,

The word "grace" reminds me of so much that I cherish not the least of which is any word from you. Thanks.

Chuck Andrews said...


"it is more important that I know and love the One about whom I preach than it is to love to preach about the One whom I know."

Thank you for putting into words what I've been feeling for awhile. It's one of the hardest things I've had to grapple with and still grappling with. Yet, it is one of the most freeing things when I'm at rest and peace with His sovereignty.

Our pulpits change, our style of preaching changes and our congregation changes. You just preached a great message and it is being heard around the world. Maybe there’s something to this internet thing. Still, I sure do miss standing and delivering the message “about the One whom I know.”


Steve Miller said...

Brother Paul,

Thanks for the honesty in your reflection. It just affirms you seek a life in Christ first and the ministry takes care of itself. In your case the mentorship shared over the years to guys like me is ringing loud and clear. It not only validates your reflection but continues it as well. Thank you for your focus on His grace and the steadfast of His truth. Thanks brother.

Steve Miller

Paul Burleson said...

Chuck and Steve,

With no intention of publishing these reflections out of any need of affirmation, it is still very affirming to hear words like you guys have spoken. I can only say "thanks" to you but here's an Internet guy hug also. :)


Mary wrote a post showing that exposure + acceptance = encouragement. I've been encouraged all of you. It's a serendipity to it all but much appreciated.