Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tonight is Christmas, 08!

One could not ask for a better Christmas. For our family, we had Christmas at our house on Main Street in Van Wert, Ohio. Our son, Aaron flew home from China, and our other son and his family, Matt, Jenny and our granddaughter, Miley were all with us for Christmas Eve and all day Christmas. We opened a lot of presents Christmas Eve, opened our stuffed stockings Christmas morning, and watched our 16 month old granddaughter open up her "big ones" under the tree this morning. In a time of recession and economic lows, God was faithful to us as He always is!

We slept in today, drank a lot of coffee after we got up, and ate turkey and the trimmings in our family room about 12:45. After a tour of our new church building, Matt and Jenny went home, leaving Miley with Uncle Aaron and Grandma and Grandpa Burns for the night. After eating left overs tonight, Uncle Aaron and I treated the girls (including Scotty Dog, Cabbie) to a tour of Christmas lights at the Van Wert Co. Fair Ground sponsored by our local 4 H Club. It was real pretty. If you click on the address below, you can see our son, Aaron's Face Book page of even more Christmas Pictures.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This is Jim C. Burns, Pastor of the Liberty Baptist Church in Van Wert, Ohio

Monday, December 8, 2008


And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9).

God did it!

Yesterday was one of the most victorious days I've ever experienced in 33 years of ministry. Our church people and even a couple of guest volunteers worked tirelessly last week to move "stuff" from our old church building into the new building. Many took vacation days to help, and others worked some nights till midnight to make things ready. I was so excited, I got up at 5:45 Sunday morning, drove "up" to our new building and called Travis Kittle at 6:28 am to see if he could clear the snow off the parking lot. (Sorry Travis). I then walked into our new building and broke down. With nearly a year from the purchase date and seven months of hard work from our wonderful church family, we are now "in!"

On our first Sunday in our new building, we saw our Sunday School record broke with 102 in Sunday School, and we were blessed with 162 total for our morning worship hour. It was so "awesome" having all the extra space! I could stand at my new pulpit from our big blue adult classroom we are using for our make shift sanctuary and see kids walking to their new classrooms with big smiles on their faces. And, the teachers were smiling too! For the first time in 15 years, our children's Sun. School Teachers got to use a classroom with real walls and real doors! We had ample parking space on both sides of the building, and a new lobby about three times the size of our old one!

God has been so good to us, and we are just praising His name for how He gave us such a tremendous first day in our new church building!

That's Something to Think About!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Pictured above: Church Member, Jerry Miller with granddaughter, Cheyenne, and daughter, June Clutter in front of a handicap hallway installed west of the future worship center.

After over seven months of hard work from over 40 different volunteers who have given over $60,000.00 worth of donated labor, Liberty Baptist Church of Van Wert will be moving into the former Horace Mann School Building at 501 E. Third Street. Dec. 7th will be our first Sunday with Sunday School starting at 9:30 am and the Morning Worship time being changed to 10:45 am. Our biggest challenge after purchasing the school last December at the auction was to meet the new state codes for fire protection. Securcom from Minster, Ohio won our bid for our fire and burglar alarm system, and Armor Fire Protection in Lima has successfully installed our new fire/water sprinkler system.

I am also very happy to announce that as of Thursday, Nov. 20th, the State of Ohio electrical and structural building inspectors along with Van Wert City Fire Marshall, Bill Green have approved our entrance for worship and ministry into our new facility. Most all of the classrooms are already finished and ready to go, and we are now putting finishing touches on floor waxing, and finish carpentry work. The new Liberty Baptist Church is also now completely handicap accessible according to the Ohio State codes. For this winter, we will be meeting in the educational part of the building. We still have much work to do on the gym, which will be worked on this winter and open in the spring of 2009. We will then have our open house and building dedication after the gym has been remodeled as our worship center.

Pictured below: Church Member, Mike Ramser installing our final Exit light!

This sure is something GREAT to Praise God about!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Tonight, we put my books in the pastor's study in our school building that we are converting into a church. Add a couple of chairs for visitors or counselees, some pictures, heat, a door, and state approval for entrance, and we will be open for business! Pretty exciting for Pastor Jim! My hat goes off to my lovely wife, Coletta for designing and doing most of the remodelling work. Thanks also to all the church men and women who helped with the drywall finishing, painting, ceiling tile and insulation, electrical work, wood trim, and carpeting. also, a big thanks to the men and teen boys who helped me move my bookshelves and all my ministry books from our house to my new study. It looks great! Come see it for yourself! Granddaughter Miley was with us tonight for my first "desk sitting!" (See pictures below).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Another church building work night is over. We had a great meal served by one of our church ladies, and a great turn out. With late fall temperatures, it was cold in the building tonight, but the spirit was warm. While about 20 of us put some touches on needed projects to meet the demands of Ohio State codes and prepare rooms for practical church ministries, another crew of faithful servants met in our present facility to work with our Awana Clubbers. It is difficult having two different campuses, but we thank the Lord that he has given the Liberty Baptist Church of Van Wert, Ohio a new 4 acres campus with ample space for future church growth.

Today (Wed.) my wife went to Marion, Ohio to help care for her mother who is in a care home recuperating from knee surgery. I did various church business items, worked some on our up and coming week end youth crusade, visited an inmate in the local county jail and went to Haviland, Ohio to try and comfort a dear church family who lost a 28 year old grandson two weeks ago tonight due to a gun shot wound. Tomorrow will hold more church building work and preparation for the week end youth crusade. I will also do my best tomorrow to make some important visits to shut ins and some folks who have visited our church as well as others who have been absent for a while. Sometime tomorrow, I also need to get in some brisk aerobic exercise.

I'm going to bed now. It's just Cabbie (the Scotty Dog) and me tonight. It will be good to have Coletta home tomorrow afternoon.

Good night.

Jim Burns, Pastor

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lester, West Virginia, 1980

Here I am as a young preacher with my wife, Coletta and our two young sons, Matt and Aaron with a small group of junior campers from the Lester Baptist Church getting ready to leave for the Bill Rice Ranch at Murfreesboro, TN. These were blessed days. You can see the van we borrowed from a church member for the trip. No air conditioning. While driving, I honestly thought the heat from the firewall and engine were going to burn my legs off during the 10 hour trip. But, it was worth it all! Some of these juniors were saved that camp week, and others surrendered their lives to the Lord in needed areas.

I thank God for how He has blessed and protected our family in each of the four church ministries where we have enjoyed serving. Also, with me at the helm, I thank God that He also "protected' each congregation!

Please scroll down to see three other new blogs I just wrote today.


Jim C. Burns, Sr. Pastor, Liberty Baptist Church, Van Wert, Ohio

Thanks LBC for our 13 Years of Service!

I have been blessed with a wonderful wife who has served with me faithfully in Washington, D. C., West Virginia, Kansas and Ohio for 33 years. Of the four churches where Coletta and I have served, we have been at Liberty Baptist of Van Wert, Ohio longer than any. This week being our Thirteenth Anniversary, I thank the Lord for the privilege of pastoring some of the most wonderful Christians in all the world!

I'm Jim Burns and that's something to think about!

The Pictures Say it All!

Yesterday was a special day for my wife and me at the Liberty Baptist Church of Van Wert, Ohio. It was Oct. 1, 1995 that the church voted to call me to be their new pastor. My official first Sunday to start ministering was Nov. 1st. It has been a wonderful adventure filled with laughter and tears, but also spiritual and numerical growth of which Coletta and I are very grateful. Thank you Liberty family for being so good to the Burns' family! Thank you for taking us in and being patient with us and putting up with my crazy ways for 13 years. May God give us another 13 years!

On a different note, we are making some serious progress at our new building. New sanctuary chairs have arrived, four of our classrooms are ready to go, and it won't be long that the pastor's study, the lobby and hallways and the rest of classes will be completed. Also, a big giant step for our church took place a week ago Saturday with four wall hanging air conditioners being installed. Please pray for us as we ask God for laborers from other churches to come assist us in completing this project. Our biggest giant hurdle now is getting our chapel completed and then our main auditorium. The pictures tell the story.

I'm Jim Burns and that's something to think about! Email:


Oops! I goofed! All I can say is that September, 08 had Hurricane "Ike" throwing us a curve all the way from Texas to Ohio, and not only did we have strong winds blow over trees all around us here at Van Wert, but it has also been like a Hurricane of activity at the Liberty Baptist Church of Van Wert, Ohio! Sorry for the lengthy wait for today's post! I promise to do better in the future. I'll give you a new church building update in my next presentation, but for now, here's Autumn leaves with Miley Burns on Grandpa and Grandma Burns' front porch! She's now a little over 13 months, and hanging on to scare crows to stand up! Miley's Dad told me on my cell phone yesterday that she took five steps alone at their house, so, "Pa Pa" can't wait to see that. I love this grin and hope you will too.

I'm Jim Burns and that's something to think about! (See photo below).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Miley's First Birthday!

Our one and only grandchild will celebrate being "one" on Aug. 20th. She has added a new dimension to the life of our family more than you will ever know (unless you are a grandparent too)! When God adds another child to your family or a "grandchild," you don't take away love from your present children or grandchildren to add love to the new one. God gives you additional love in your heart for each addition. We love em all!

Tonight, I want to give God praise for this beautiful little girl that has won our hearts. She has the looks of her Mom, the sense of humor of her dad, the charm of her grandma, and my intelligence! :-) She crawls all over the place now, and is pulling up to everything and standing. She's starting to take a few steps as she hangs on to stuff, and if she's not "teething," wet, or hungry (or sleeping), she wears a grin that will turn my darkest day into sunshine.

"Lord, I thank you for Miley. Thank you for bringing her through her first year of life in the world. Thank you that on this her very first birthday, she is healthy, has no physical or mental challenges, and is the new sunshine in the lives of the Riley's and the Burns' families."


I'm Jim Burns and that's something to think about.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Today, our youngest son, Aaron Burns is starting his second week in helping with recovery efforts in one of the China cities hit by the earthquake back in May, 08. Below are some "answers" to some media questions a local newspaper reporter asked Aaron in an Email. Please notice some of Aaron's thoughts about this mission trip after his first week there with 18 other volunteers.

"We are in the city of Du Jiang Yan (about 45 minutes from Chengdu in the Sichuan province) and we are mainly working with a local school which is holding an English summer camp. They have brought in some students who have been affected by the earthquake. Through teaching, playing games, and spending time with the students we're able to encourage them and most importantly make them happy and see some smiles. We have been able to see a lot of the damage of the city and were told that 70-80% of the buildings within the city will have to be rebuilt. In the afternoons, we are able to go to a Styrofoam camp and tent city where the homeless will be living for the next 2-3 years as the city is cleaned up and rebuilt. Last week we experience 2 aftershocks and it really scared the locals as it brings back the memories of May 12 and the 10,000 people that died in this city alone. My personal prayer for this trip for me as well as the team that I am with is that we can simply "encourage."

"In the last 4 years that I've been in is very clear that not a lot of emotion is shown on the outside. I have seen many tears and know the people are hurting inside...I can't even imagine what all they've been going through and seen with their own eyes images that can never be erased. My heart definitely goes out to each person I have come in contact with here.

My favorite times have been teaching and getting to know the people in the tent city. We've been able to go there on occasion and eat supper with locals there and play games of simply talk to people. This is so important so they have somebody to share the things they are holding inside. These people are so precious and such a personal inspiration to me. It's been heartbreaking to see middle school and high school students with tears in their eyes. One night a new friend from the tent city camp to visit us at the school we are working at...I'll never forget walking him down this dark road and then to where all the tents are. I started to cry later on that evening thinking about him living in a tent or Styrofoam home for the next 3 years...I can't even imagine that...but daily as I am spending time hear I am starting to understand and realize what so many people here are going through."

Please pray for Aaron and his team's safety. I'm Jim Burns, Aaron's Dad. That's something to think about.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer School is Educating our Church!

Gail Alsteiter, a friend from Lima I went to college with stopped by back when snow was on the ground to see the school building our church bought the Saturday after Christmas. As we walked through the building, Gail said, "You're going to be real busy this summer!" I wanted to slap him, because me being the expert in commercial building and school remodelling, I knew he was so wrong. I said, "Nope. We're going to have our first service here Easter!" I didn't tell Gail I meant Easter 2009.
Pictured above is a corner inside the Preschool room at our new building. This is where my wife, Coletta will teach children (Lord willing). Since April 3, the day our church took possesion of the Horace Mann School Building we haven't stopped. We have work nights every night but Fridays, and a workday every Saturday. Today, I walked through the building and across most of the property with Pat Ryan, President of Citizen's National Bank here in Van Wert. He came to give me a $45,000.00 check for the fire/water sprinkler contractor, and to get some "updated pictures." Pat said, "James, this place doesn't look any different than the last time I was here!" I said, "Thanks Pat. But, the sprinklers, fire alarms and burlgar alarms are now completed, and the Fire Marshel and State Inspector will check all that and the electric work next Monday. Once those items are approved, you're going to see some major changes!" Within two weeks, we should have all the ceiling tile back in all the hallways, and most of the classrooms. However, our giants before us are turning the gym into a church santuary, the stage, the nursery, and installing air conditioners. I was a bit discouraged with the project yesterday, just like most of our volunteers. So, I got out of town for the afternoon and evening,and it helped! I feel better today. I am NOT discouraged with our church volunteers! The ones that come work, work hard and tirelessly, and Coletta and I deeply appreciate your labors of love!

This project will be completed and a building dedication ceremony will be scheduled exactly according to God's timing! We are running thin in the finance department, so, we are down to faith and prayer. Please pray that our old building will sell soon, and that the needed funds will come in to complete this project. God has given us a beautiful 4 acre campus, a 40 place parking lot, a playground, a ball diamond, a front yard with trees, 11 large classrooms, offices and an auditorium. All of this is easily 4 times bigger than where we are now and we are so thrilled with what the Lord has given us at 501 E. Third Street here in Van Wert.

And about the "Summer School" educating our church? This too shall come to pass!

I'm Jim Burns, and that's something to think about!

Monday, June 30, 2008


Pictured above are: Eldon and Martha Smith (far left and far right), me, my wife, Coletta, and our granddaughter, Miley showing off! This photo was taken in front of the present church building of the Liberty Baptist Church, where Coletta and I have now ministered for 12 years.

The Smiths have been on the staff of the Westside Baptist Church in Hutchinson, Kansas for over 30 years. Eldon and I worked side by side as assistant pastors for 4 years there, then I became the Sr. Pastor and got to "boss" Eldon around for nine years before our coming to Ohio. I had just started my Father's Day sermon a few weeks ago, and here walks in Eldon and Martha into our sanctuary. They were out here on a vacation, and slipped in on us! Eldon has been an assistant pastor and music pastor all these years. While we worked together in Kansas, he led a 60 voice adult choir, and today, he sings in a Southern Gospel Quartet, leads the music and still serves full time at Westside.

Coletta and I could not have been more surprised, pleased, or happier than to be "reunited" with our old "co-workers!" After morning church, we went to the nearby China Town Express and brought back a bunch of old memories over lunch. When I told Coletta, "If I would have known they were coming, I would have had Eldon teach Sunday School, sing a mini-concert, preach the Father's Day sermon, and had a choir clinic Sunday night!" Her response to me was, "And that's why they didn't tell us they were coming! They were on VACATION!" I hate it when she's right!

Eldon and Martha, you made me speechless that Sunday! Thank you for making our Father's Day so complete! I was truly surprised more than you will ever know, and it sure was fun preaching to you again!

That's something to think about!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More on My Boys, Matt and Aaron

That's me on the left, Aaron in the center holding our former Scotty Dog Kobie (she died 3 years ago), and Matt on the right. This photo was taken in May 1995 as a surprise gift from the boys and me for Mother's Day. Matt was just finishing up his Jr. Year in High School, and Aaron was finishing his Freshman year. I was 42. We lived in Inman, Kansas and Coletta and I worked and went to college in McPherson, Kansas where this picture was taken. For this photo setting, I ironed ten different shirts for the three of us while Coletta was working at the McPherson Hospital, not knowing for sure which "three" of the ten would "match." Kinda crazy walking in to the photographer's studio with a Scotty, the boys and ten shirts. One funny thing was that the shirt I am wearing here was Matt's and he's wearing my shirt! The photographer made us switch!

1995 was one of the toughest years in our lives, but we learned to really trust God and the Lord used that year to really draw us closer to Him and closer together as a family.

Just last Sunday was Father's Day. As always, my boys made me proud to be their Dad and showed their love to me. Aaron sent me money,an E-card and called me from China. Matt, his wife Jenny and daughter, Miley met Coletta and me for supper at Olive Garden in Lima, Ohio, and gave me a beautiful golf bag and a great card from my granddaughter on her first Father's Day! Coletta is letting me pick out my very first GPS for our car this week, and gave me a neat card also. As I was eating with my family that day, I said, "How could a Father ask for more? A call from a son in China on my cell phone as I was eating at a Chinese Restaurant (that was lunch), gifts from my family, and then, supper with my oldest son and his family!" It all made me so proud to be a Father, and the whole day ended up being one of the best Father's Days I've ever had.

Please read the article below and see two more pictures of my boys when they were younger.

That's something to think about!

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Two Sons - Father's Day 2008

Pictured: Matt Burns, 7, Aaron 5, and their cousin, K. C. 8 months
I wanted to do my first "Father's Day Blog" on my two sons. Matthew James Burns, our oldest son was born on March 24, 1977. Aaron Jay Burns, our youngest was born on August 24, 1979. Both born at the Raleigh General Hospital, Beckley, West Virginia. Coletta and I had Matt the old fashioned way with an old fashioned Doctor where I just sat in the hospital waiting room waiting for my name to be called so they could tell me, "It was a boy!" Dr. Bliss was easily in his 60's, when he delivered both of our sons. But, by the time Aaron was born, he had a change of heart, and let me "in" for the event. I put on the garb and got to see my second child born. Bliss had delivered literally hundreds of West Virginia babies, but, when Aaron popped out, I said to the Doc, "Wow wee, I haven't even seen a cat born before!" The Doc's reply was simple and quiet. "Me neither!"

Give or take a few years, Matt and Aaron spent 18 years of their lives being raised in a "pastor's home." Matt's 31 now and Aaron will be 29 the end of this summer, so, I guess I can say, "I've raised my boys!" I said "good bye" to Matt when we moved to Ohio as he stayed back in Kansas for a while. We then said "good bye" to Aaron when he left for college in Northern Wisconsin.

Coletta and I love both of our sons equally and always have. Neither of them always behaved perfectly (or like how all the church folks thought they should have), but they were both much better than I was growing up, especially during my teen years. They are both smart, practical, handsome, funny, fun to be with, and hard workers. They are thoughtful too. I can't remember a birthday, a Father's Day, or a Christmas that both of my boys didn't either, call, write, or come visit to assure me of their love for their old gray haired dad. So, if you have kids, cherish the baby and toddler years. Cherish the times of taking your kids to drop them off at school. Don't miss a ball game or music performance your kids play in. Take them on day trips, fishing, skiing, and neat vacations camping and going to parks. Go canoeing with them. (We did all of this and had a blast)! And then, when your kids grow up and move away, you won't have to hear them say, "Dad never had any time for me!"

From Left to Right: Aaron and Matt Burns with neighbor girl at Hutchinson, Kansas

Thanks Matt and Aaron for making your old man feel so loved. I'm proud of both of you, and love you very much. Even with all the ups and downs, laughter and tears, I can honestly say, "It's good to be a Father."

That's something to think about.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pastoring in Seven Days!

What does a pastor do in one week? Every pastor would certainly have a different schedule, different activities, appointments and ministries, but this past week for me was quite eventful. It started out on Monday meeting with three of our officers to sign papers at our bank for a loan for our new building, working with my wife power spraying our new building, contacting our architect about the state codes, communicating with the technician installing our fire and burglar alarm, setting up tables and chairs with the Salway brothers for our Wed. night supper and an important building committee meeting. I also made several shut in and hospital calls in three different towns with my wife, Coletta and our granddaughter, Miley, made a pastoral visit to an inmate at the Van Wert County Jail, and helped with our Saturday morning work day at the school building we are converting into a church.
I also spent some time this past week submitting news articles to our local newspapers and I made an emergency hospital visit late Sat. night for a little four year old girl who had a backyard swing set collapse on her doing serious damage to her head. I left the hospital last night at 11:15, and after all of our Sunday Church services were over today, I finished up a counseling session about 10:00 tonight.

I'm pretty embarrassed to say this, but I was so swamped last week with all the "details" of the church work that I didn't finish typing my sermon until about 7:00 this morning before I left for morning church. But, thank the Lord, He gave me strength to do what needed to be done this past week, and He will provide the strength for this week too! I’m so glad the Lord has given me the health, strength, and experience to pastor some of the most wonderful people in the whole world. I joked with our church folks this morning about our church growing, because three Sundays ago, we had 151, last Sunday 152, and today, 153!

I just wanted to share with you a little bit of what a week is like in the life of a pastor. I'm not complaining. I am thrilled and very honored to have the privilege of pastoring a church. It has been very gratifying and rewarding to help other people and be a partner with the Lord in the greatest business in the world!

That's something to think about!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Mother - Dot Burns

This blog will be too long for you, but to short for me.

This will be the seventh year my brother, Johnny and I have experienced a Mother's Day without our Mother. Mother's Day is never the same once your Mom dies. Even though she's been gone over seven years, I still miss her like crazy. My brain plays tricks on me. When you have lived for nearly 50 years with a Mom and then, it's "life without Mother," there are times when you think "she can't be gone!" Even recently as our church is in the process of remodeling a school into a church building, I find myself wanting to "call Mom" and share the blessings of what's happening. When someone gets saved or baptized in our ministry here in Ohio, I want to call Mom back in Kansas and tell her the good news. And then, it hits you . . . she's gone. Of course, I can't pick up our new little granddaughter, Miley, or look in her eyes without sometimes saying to myself, "Your Great grandma Burns would have absolutely adored you!" I'm hoping Jesus let's Great grandma Dot peek through the curtains of heaven when Miley's smiling down here on earth so Mom can see how cute her new Great granddaughter is. Dot would have loved this little gal just as much as she loved all her grand kids!

Mom was one of a kind. The first summer after she and Dad were married, they went out into their wheat field to harvest their "bumper crop." This would be their main source of income for the rest of that year. Just as they entered the field with the combine, a huge hail storm blew into the Oklahoma Panhandle. Mom and Dad crawled up into the threshing compartment of the combine to keep from getting injured from the hail. Once the storm blew over and they got out, they saw their entire crop totally destroyed. No insurance. They just stood in that torn up wheat field hugging and weeping as they saw the wheat beat into the ground. Mom went from windblown farms, to cooking for farm hands, to cafes. She became a hair dresser and opened up a Salon in a room attached to our house when Dad got Parkinson's and had to resign as a Santa Fe Railroad switch man. Mom would do whatever it would take to keep food on our table and keep Johnny and me clothed. My brother and I never went without a meal, never ran out of clean clothes and especially never ran out of love. If Mom had to work two jobs, sell something precious to her then get a loan to make sure Johnny and I had a good Christmas, she would. If she knew of someone in our little town in August that was hot and didn't have an air conditioner, she'd use her Sears or Penny's charge card and buy them one. That was Dot, and I'm so proud to be one of her two sons. In the late 80's while I served in a church in Hutchinson, Kansas, my Mom accepted Christ and I had the joy of baptizing her. She became a member of that church, and I became her pastor there. Mom died from lung cancer July 31, 2000 In Oklahoma City, but today because her faith has become sight, she has a new body, and one day I will see Mom again in heaven.

I love you Mom and miss you. Happy Mother's Day, and congratulations on your new Great-granddaughter!

That's something to think about.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

From left to right: Grandma (Nanny) Coletta Burns, Baby, Miley Burns (8 month), and Miley's Mom, Jenny Burns

This year will be a very exciting and different Mother's Day for the three ladies pictured here. Our daughter in law, Jenny experiencing her first Mother's Day, Miley's first time experiencing having a Mother on Mother's Day, and Coletta being not only the Mother of two handsome adult sons, Matt and Aaron, but her first Mother's Day ever also being a Grandmother! This picture was taken this Monday in Marion, Ohio in front of the Bank where Jenny works. Happy Mother's Day ladies!

That's something to think about!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Annie from China

This past week end, my wife Coletta and I along with our entire congregation were blessed to have Annie Wong, a native of Dongguan City, China as our guest here at Van Wert, Ohio. This was Annie’s first visit to the U. S. Annie is a friend of our son, Aaron Burns who lives and works in China. The ladies at our church hosted a special Sat. afternoon Tea for Annie at Georgene Brown’s farm house near Convoy, Ohio, and Annie was our featured guest at our Sunday morning church service. After touring our Sunday School classes, Annie testified, sang, and answered questions during our morning worship service. God blessed us with 151 people in this service, and after Annie’s presentation, I don’t think we had a “dry eye in the house.” For me, the most touching part of Annie’s testimony besides her reading Psalm 23 in Chinese was these words she shared, “It is so difficult to talk about my childhood. No joy. But now because of Jesus, I have joy in my life.”

Once again, a huge reminder of what life is really all about and why we as believers are here on the earth. Annie’s bold testimony of her Savior made us as American Christians seem very anemic. “Annie, it was a joy to have you in the Burns’ home and in our church at Van Wert, Ohio, U.S.A. Thank you for blessing us with your presence.”

That’s something to think about!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sacrificing Kids on the Altar of Your Selfishness

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)

It's important for me to preface today's article by saying that I am not referring here to staying with a cult or a church ministry that is not Bible based. If you have a pastor or church who is not operating according to the principles of God's Word (the Bible), you need to get out of that mess as soon as possible. What I am talking about is Christ-centered Pastors, churches, and ministries that are living what they preach and who believe in exalting Christ and presenting salvation as a free gift. I'm referring to congregations who strive to live with Godly principles from hearts filled with love for Christ.

The burden of my heart has to do with selfish parents. Parents that are so selfish that if they don't get their way with something they want in the church or, if they have a conflict with another church member they’re leaving! Maybe the pastor "offends them" so the parents drag their "kids" and walk out. “ I got my feelings hurt, so, we're switching churches!" Or better yet, they take the more spiritual route and pull their kids out of church completely and don't go anywhere. I've pastored 4 different churches in 3 different states, and I've seen this more than once, and it's wrong. It's wicked, carnal, and very selfish. Paul the Apostle addressed this type of unchristian behavior this way, "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (1 Cor. 3:3) Now think with me for a minute. Here is a child (let's say she’s a teen) and she loves her church, loves her pastor and family, and is absolutely crazy about the church's youth group and youth director. Her best friends are in her church youth group. She can't wait for the next teen activity, and wouldn't dream of missing teen choir rehearsal. Going to the Camp of the Wilds in July is something Ericka has been dreaming about since she was in the third grade. And then, just one month before the church bus pulls out of the parking lot for North Carolina, her parents rip her from everything that she loves and says, "Come on Ericka, we're having problems with _____ so, we won't be back at Liberty!" Jesus is saying in our introductory text, “Mom, you’d be much better off tying a big rock to your neck and sinking yourself in the lake and dying rather than to follow through with this horrible idea.” This type of divorce leaves scars, pain, and a lot of tears in the lives of children all across America. Most Christian parents would give their right arms to have a girl like Ericka who can't wait until the church doors are open again or the church bus is leaving for the next teen activity or camp, but not you, you're going to show the preacher, the church and the whole town, "we won't be back."

For any parent who is even tempted to think about doing such a selfish act, I have a sermon for you. What are you going to do when in just six months; your kid doesn't want to go to any church at all? She paints her finger nails black and dyes her hair pink. She starts hanging out with her druggie friends and soon after loses her virginity. She picks up a disease from a dirty needle and now, instead of embracing her Bible she is spitting at it. "I'm going to hell and having a party on the way!" is your daughter's new motto. Well Christian Mom, let me say this: You're going to have a lot to answer for when you stand at the feet of Jesus and He reminds you of the time when you should have just sat down with that other lady and got things worked out. You should simply forgive that other church member and be reconciled to your Christian "adult" brother or sister. Wouldn't this be the Biblical approach? Isn't this the right thing to do? So the next time you "don't get your way" at church or have a conflict at your House of Worship, why not be spiritual for a change, love your kids enough to not sacrifice them on the altar of your selfishness. You might be mad now for a gray haired preacher telling you the truth about your selfishness and pride, but one day, if you side up with God on what I'm talking about, you'll reap wonderful blessings with your children rather than bitter tears. It's better for you too. So just stop being so selfish and start growing up! Before you run away from God and the church, think about the horrible long term effect your exit will make on your children.

That's something to think about!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Brother Johnny

My brother, Johnny Burns is 16 months older than me. Besides Bud and Dot Burns (our parents), it was just us. He's the good-looking tall guy on the left with his hand in his pocket. I'm the short goofy jerk on the right (with my hand in my pocket). Since Johnny was always my hero (handsome, good athlete, good student and a comedian, I tried to copy him a lot. I failed in the first three categories; so, I became the school clown and started beating the drums to draw attention away from him. When that pivotal change occurred in my life, my grades went from D+ to F - . Nonetheless, Johnny and I had a lot of fun growing up together. Swimming, baseball, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and the whole nine yards. In the sixth grade, he started blowing his trumpet and I started taking drum lessons. After advancing to High School, we started a trash hauling service in our town and drove our trash truck to high school! We’d do about anything to get attention! That's how close we were. Hauling garbage on Saturday morning and playing band gigs on Saturday night. (Well, I guess you'd say we "helped" pay our way through school)!

I cry a lot now, but back then, I hardly ever cried. But the two times I cried the most for Johnny was first when our rock band, (The Mag Five, later evolving into The Soul Success) kicked Johnny out for hiding in his girl friend's closet to avoid rock band practice. He was our bass guitar player, trumpeter and one of our singers. (I was a Freshman in High School when that happened). I was crushed. The other guys jerked my hero from the “group” and me. If I had it to do all over again, I would have hid with him in the closet and we would have started OUR OWN BAND!

The next time I cried for him was when he joined the Army, became a Huey pilot and served in Viet Nam. While Johnny was in Viet Nam, I was a Freshman in college. I'd say my dorm floor buddies and tons of other Christian friends prayed ole John in and out of Nam. Johnny once flew his Huey on a mission, picked up a distress signal and rescued two downed Air Force pilots. IT WAS MY BROTHER that saved their lives! Johnny got a Silver Star metal for that, and after serving his term, came home safely. After all those years, he and his family live in Oklahoma City and he is still serving as a pilot for Oklahoma Mediflight. During his 38 years of flying, he’s flown T. V. reporting flights over the city and Medical helicopter flights in Alaska, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and several other states.

Our distance and duties keep us from seeing each other much, but, we're still buddies and he's still my hero. I'm very proud of my brother, Johnny.

Love ya brother!

I'm Johnny's little brother, and that's something to think about!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

It is a Good Tired!

Last Thursday, April 3, 2008 our church officially took possession of the 3.6 acres of the Horace Mann School Property here in Van Wert. From early Thursday morning until Saturday evening, the good people of Liberty, Dick and Sam from Dillon Road Baptist Church of Fostoria, Ohio, and three different construction High School groups from Vantage Career Center along with their Instructor, Larry Mengerink never stopped working. All the ceiling tile was removed along with the insulation above, three storage room walls were removed and several table holders, tables and benches were removed from the cafeteria to make way for sanctuary seating and new carpet. Of course, we had to cut three trees down just to "mark" our new territory! As I came home from the Saturday work day to finish my Sunday morning sermon on my laptop, I was exhausted. I am exhausted again from ministering at church today. But, when our adult service was over at our old church building tonight, I hitched a ride with the guy pictured here cutting down the tree to see how the teen service and scavenger hunt activity went at our new building. Love, excitement and enthusiasm permeated the dusty air as the teens and our dedicated youth workers ate pizza, cookies and drank colored syrup for refreshments. I sampled a little of each, laughed and rejoiced with the workers and good kids who make up our church youth group. Tony and Lisa Crawford, our youth director and his wife helped turn out the lights and lock the doors. Although I was asked for a ride home, I needed the five block walk in the crisp, spring, fresh Ohio air to unwind. I said to myself what my missionary son, Aaron in China once said after he directed a Neighborhood Bible Time here. "I'm tired, but, it is a good tired!" Why so good? The guy who took me to the youth activity (pictured above cutting down the tree) is Terry Reynolds, who lives just 3 blocks West of our new building. Seven months ago, Terry and his family were not Christians. But on the last week of September, 2008, after attending our church for several weeks, Terry, his wife Deb and their oldest child, T. J. accepted Christ in their own home. They also have a younger daughter named Jessie who just accepted Christ into her life last Sunday night. I was honored to be with them to show them the Bible verses about salvation and pray with them in their living room as they were saved that night. And that, my friend is what this building project is all about! And that makes it a "good tired." The Reynolds are now faithful members of our church, and Terry is one of our new "tree cutters!" Let's get tired more often in leading more people like the Reynolds to Jesus Christ.

That's Something to Think About!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why Something to Think About?

About a year after Coletta (my wife) and I and our youngest son, Aaron moved from Kansas to start our ministry here in Van Wert, Ohio, I had a vision to go on our local AM and FM Radio Station. I had been on the radio in Hutchinson, Kansas for 9 years, and I enjoy communicating with people through this medium. Having said that, our church's program in Kansas was 30 minutes long on Sunday mornings and one hour long on Sunday nights (once a week). I personally felt that the "unchurched" folks I wanted to reach out to would not sit by a radio for a half hour or an hour and listen to a radio preacher. We were able to be a blessing to a lot of shut ins, but, we could have taken them a cassette tape once a week and saved our church about $500.00 a month.

So, I presented to our church's budget committee here at Liberty Baptist the idea of a once a day 60 second spot devotional challenge for our local radio station. A friendly presentation with a short illustration, maybe one or two Bible verses with an application for a person's every day life. My thinking was, "Let's give the listeners something to think about in a short enough time frame so they won't turn us off before we are finished talking." was my thinking. Well, we've been on W.E.R.T. Radio here now for about ten years with these one minute broadcasts, once a day, seven days a week. Many people have heard these challenges, and thanked us for them. I have met several listeners through this ministry, and we have also had people visit our church from as far as 30 miles away who heard us on W.E.R.T. Radio. I end each broadcast saying, "This is Pastor Jim Burns of the Liberty Baptist Church in Van Wert, Ohio, and that's something to think about!" Thus the title and theme for our new blog. Email:

Monday, March 31, 2008

Something to Think About!

Well, I never thought I'd do this, but, I am doing it. I don't like blogs, cos they often become gossip and gripe sessions. They can also waste a lot of your time. Having said that, I'm using a blog format linked to our new church web site with the following goals in mind:

1. To have a "weekly" newsletter from my heart to the heart of the Liberty Baptist Church family, friends of Liberty and friends of mine.

2. To keep people who love our church and our family informed of what's happening here.

3. To share my heart with you concerning biblical principals and promises that I (personally) believe are being either over looked or neglected.

4. To get "God's People" to think "OUTSIDE THE BOX," when the Bible is not "inside" the box.

5. To share with you and others my passion for what I believe is desperately missing in the church today.


1. It will not be a channel to create division over church leaders or different principles or practices in the church today.

2. It will not be an avenue to argue theology. Example: Calvinism, election, etc.

3. It will not be a means for me to criticize or "whip" people who disagree with me or with whom I disagree.

4. It will not be a place where you can publicly "comment" on my articles. I will list my personal Email address which you are welcome to use to share your thoughts about what I write. I will personally read your private comments, but I will not publicly post your comments. Why? It's a newsletter not a gossip session, remember?

So, please hold me accountable to the above goals for this "blog" newsletter. If it becomes more of a burden to the church and our friends (and me) than a blessing, we'll just delete it.

I'm Jim Burns and that's "Something to Think About!"