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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I got this quote by Francis Schaeffer from who knows where. The source is long lost to me. But it appeared on a blog and I saved it having lost the place of origon. It speaks to a very big problem between christians especially in the blog world it seems to me. May it be that..."though he be dead yet he speaketh."]

The final paragraph is the thought of that long lost blogger. Bless him. He nailed it. [Highlighted emphasis mine.]

"Not all differences amongst Christians are equal. There are some that are very minor. Others are overwhelmingly important.The more serious the wrongness, the more important it is to exhibit the holiness of God, to speak out concerning what is wrong.

At the same time, the more serious the differences become, the more important it is that we look to the Holy Spirit to enable us to show love to the true Christians with whom we must differ. If it is only a minor difference, showing love does not take much conscious consideration. But where the difference becomes really important, it becomes proportionately more important to speak for God's holiness. And it becomes increasingly important to show the world that we love each other.

Humanly we function in exactly the opposite direction: in the less important differences we show more love toward true Christians, but as the difference gets into more important areas, we tend to show less love.

The reverse must be the case. As the differences amongst true Christians get greater, we must consciously love and show a love which has some manifestation the world may see."

Francis Schaeffer

So let us consider this: is my difference with my brother in Christ really crucially important? If so, it is doubly important that I spend time upon my knees asking the Holy Spirit to do his work through me and my group, that I and we might show love even in this larger difference that we have come to with a brother in Christ or with another group of true Christians......Unknown Blogger

Paul B.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


In 1982 I founded Vital Truth Ministries as a non-profit ministry organization. According to Oklahoma law I needed a board of Directors. My personal desires went along with that quite well because of my wanting people I trusted to help guide my ministry with accountability. So I chose to form an eight couple board made up of two couples from my last four pastorates. [Who knows you better than people you've pastored?]

I later added two couples from my final pastorate which resulted in the present ten couple board that is with me in ministry.
We have met each year for the past twenty seven years to enact business, fellowship, pray, sing, share and teach some along the way. It has been quite a ride. Intervening health and death have caused me to replace two couples but eight have been on board for all those years.

I've since added an advisory board of four ministry couples and an at-large board of three couples and three singles to bring a total of close to forty people who gather once a year for our VTM Board meeting and fellowship. [We have two additional couples who are corporate officers.]

This years' meeting just concluded after gathering Friday night and Saturday morning at the Hilton Garden Inn in Norman Oklahoma for what I can only describe as a meeting the way the real church should be. It was very very special for all able to be there. There was praise and worship led by Paul Purifoy the Worship leader at Metropolitan Baptist of Oklahoma City, [And an advisory board member] share times, prayer times, tears, laughter, hugs, kisses, [holy kisses :)] and food that will cause a serious need to watch what we eat for several days. I shared the report of the ministy of VTM as well and some things that are privy to the board ONLY but, when we talk of it later, it will be life-changing for some of us in a way that is REALLY exciting to us all.
Above you will see only a few of the pictures of only a few [I'm sorry more couldn't be shown.] of the people who were there as space doesn't permit, but it reinforces what I believe the treasure of heaven really is. I'm convinced when Jesus said to lay up for yourselves treasure in Heaven He was speaking of relationships with people. If I'm correct, it explains one of the reasons why the life of our local churches gathered is so important AND why things like VTM and it's supporting cast of friends and board members are important also.

Take special note of the couple whose picture appears sixth in the photos. [I think/hope if I did this correctly.] Bill and Mazie Pannell have been with me since the beginning and have traveled to many places where I've conducted Pastor's conferences to handle the materials, tapes, CDs and the like. Bill is a retired Lawyer who, with Mazie his wife, lives in Ft. Worth and are members of Southcliff Baptist Church where I was their pastor in the late seventies and earlies eighties. They are now pastored by Dr. Carroll Marr who is a dear friend to me and has served that fellowship far longer than did I.

I just wanted to share this personal special time with you and to thank all these wonderful people who have shared ministry and life with me for the past twenty-seven years or more and mean so much to Mary and me.

And thanks to all of you for taking the time to read.

Paul B

Thursday, August 13, 2009


As an American citizen, I have to admit what you're about to read concerns me. Thanks to the ACLU, an organization with which I have had some problems in the past, it has been addressed. I think. I guess as citizens we should be very alert these days.

In no way should my concern be seen as anything relating to WHO the President is that would do what this letter addresses. I am committed to praying for Barack Obama as my President and am grateful that the historic election of an African-American has taken place. I would have personally preferred either Condoleezza Rice or Colin Powell as I agree with their conservative principles more closely than I do with the current President, but He is my President because he was elected.

That all being said, what follows could be problematic to our form of government were it to go unchecked.


Jay A. Sekulow*Chief Counsel

Colby M. May **Director and Senior Counsel

August 6, 2009

President Barack Obama,

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

I write to request that you withdraw and rescind the citizen reporting program set forth in an August 4, 2009, blog post by Macon Phillips, the White House Director of New Media.

In his post on the White House Blog, Mr. Phillips stated that “[s]cary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the Internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to ‘uncover’ the truth about the President’s health insurance reform positions.” He noted that “[t]here is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there” and that the “rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.”

He concluded the post by explaining that “[s]ince we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to”

This citizen reporting program raises significant First Amendment concerns. For what purpose is this information being gathered? To whom will the information be disseminated? Is the intent of the program to stifle free and open debate on the serious policy issues raised by health care reform? Will you flag media outlets that publish articles critical of your health care plan? The IP address of the reporting email itself raises questions – for what purpose are these individuals being “flagged?”

On January 21, 2009, you issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies on “Transparency and Open Government.” In the memorandum, you stated that your Administration “is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.” You declared that “[g]overnment should be participatory” and that:

"Public engagement enhances the Government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policy making and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government."

Creating a program that requests individuals to report on their neighbors, co-workers, family members, and friends who express personal opinions in opposition to your policy choices is not the way to encourage openness and transparency. It is tantamount to policing ideas. Such a program will only stifle free and open debate among the citizens of this great country. Our country was founded on a belief in the necessity of free and open discourse on the important policy and political issues of our day.

In Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1, 4 (1949), Justice Douglas wrote,
"The vitality of civil and political institutions in our society depends on free discussion. . . . [I]t is only through free debate and free exchange of ideas that government remains responsive to the will of the people and peaceful change is effected. The right to speak freely and to promote diversity of ideas and programs is therefore one of the chief distinctions that sets us apart from totalitarian regimes. Accordingly a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger."

Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, supra, pp. 571-572, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest.

Your program is counter to these core principles, and since it was announced on the White House Blog it has induced confusion and uncertainty among the American people as to its purpose and underlying goals. Such confusion could lead some into wondering if this is a return to COINTELPRO (the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program directed against Martin Luther King,Jr.), something we are sure you do not intend.

We respectfully request that the program be withdrawn.


Jay A. Sekulow
Chief Counsel

Colby M. May
Director and Senior Counsel


As I said, I've heard the program was removed. I hope so.

Paul B.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'm continuing to post my favorites during the summer months. They don't generate a lot of comments but, my goodness, that's not unusual at all. I'm having fun and right now that is my agenda for blogging.

After three years and nearly two hundred posts, I thought it might be interesting to see the first blog post I ever did. Interesting. [To me at least. :)]

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Blogging 101

This blog site is part of and connected to VTM ministries. Our homepage is and all things relative to our ministry such as schedule,types of meetings. etc., can be found there.

Someone may ask why a blog? My answer is so I can address issues theological and ministerial in a conversational way. I will, of course, be giving my view on the issues and will do so with the full knowledge that my grasp of Truth is finite and growing. I trust the Spirit to give understanding as all Christians do and am confident He does and will.

My confidence in my ability to hear Him and to grasp that correct understanding and Truth is, however, not as strong. I've lived with the power of flesh and self too long to have much confidence there. I will attempt to be open, honest, and careful in what I post so you will at least know where I stand.

I do believe strongly that our ground of unity is not in agreement on issues or even nuances of minor doctrine however. I'm using the word minor here not meaning unimportant but related to essentials of salvation/eternity which are the majors . Our ground of unity, which, by the way, we are never told to create but to maintain because the Spirit HAS ALREADY CREATED OUR UNITY IN CHRIST, is really to be on the basis of Christ and His work on the Cross as Paul said to the Corinthians in the first three chapters of that First Corinthian letter. If a person says Christ was human only and not the divine Son of God who died on the Cross for us that person is not my brother and there is no unity at all in the gospel. I will love them and share my life with them but they are in need of the One of whom the gospel speaks.

My brothers/sisters are those who name Jesus as Lord. But we are as different as daylight and dark in understanding of minor doctrines. We may associate with various denominations, have differing views on issues and embrace a multitude of methods in mission and evangelism, but we are brothers/sisters because of who Christ is to/in us and our acceptance of what He accomplished on the Cross and the empty tomb.

This obviously presupposes a confidence in the integrity of the Scriptures which I have. This blog will address those mentioned issues, differences, and nuances, but as a brother in Christ with a full confidence in the truth of scripture when properly understood. This, while remaining aware of my own fallibility in that understanding.

I will be doing what my son and others have been doing for several months now and quite successfully. I only hope I can be as gracious and gentle as they have been. If I can then perhaps this little personal word will be of help to a few and even, perhaps, enjoyed by some.

Paul Burleson