daveburchettDave Burchett

All articles by daveburchett

 

Don’t Know Much About…

(There was no time to muse for this Monday so I am offering a gently read post from the past) Some of the theologians I encountered did not seem like anyone I would actually want to be around on purpose. I made the crack that some theologians were to joy in Christ what nutritionists were to enjoying cheesecake. They both took something full of delight and made you feel mostly bad about it. Yet something is changing in my life. I am really seeing the need for a solid theological basis for what I believe. All of this came to mind when Sam Cooke’s classic Wonderful World popped up in my iTunes. You know the one where Sam builds a strong case for academic slacking actually being a strength. Don’t know much about history Don’t know much biology Don’t know much about a science book Don’t know much about the french I took But I do know that I love you
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Remind Me Who I Am

When I fired up the iTunes today the first song I heard made me chuckle. Not because of the content but because of the appropriateness of the song for this week. The artist is Jason Gray and his song is called “Remind Me Who I Am”. Jason Gray’s song is exactly what I needed for this week. Here are some of the lyrics. When I lose my way When I forget my name Remind me who I am In the mirror all I see is who I don’t wanna be Remind me who I am I have to be reminded constantly that to be effective in this journey you have to remember who you are in Christ. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is in play here. Paul had spent a little over two years teaching and discipling the new believers in Ephesus. Just a few short years after he left Paul received reports that those new hearts had reverted to
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Smiling Faces Sometimes…

Recently a song came up on the iTunes shuffle from a a group called Undisputed Truth. Smiling Faces Sometimes was originally recorded by the Temptations but the version released by Undisputed Truth in 1971 became the number 3 song that year. Here are the opening lyrics from that song… Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes They don’t tell the truth uh Smiling faces, smiling faces Tell lies and I got proof After the publication of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People  I received hundreds of letters (okay…emails and blog responses) from wounded Christians who could have started their notes with those lyrics. They have been hurt and betrayed by other churchgoers, often with smiling faces. I try to encourage them. I remind them that we are all sinners in need of His grace. I ask them to look to Jesus. I try to
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Remember Where You Came From!

A few years ago the lovely Mrs. Burchett and I had the joy of watching Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder in concert. I have decided that if am ever unresponsive you can check my heart status by playing a Ricky Skaggs album. If my toe doesn’t start tapping I am likely flat-lined. You just can’t help responding if you have a pulse. Recently one of his tunes cycled up and brought back memories of something my Mom always said to me. The song that jogged that recollection was called Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’. Now lookee here gal don’t ya’ high hat me, I ain’t forgot what you used ta be When you didn’t have nuthin, That was plain ta’ see. Don’t get above your raisin’ Stay down ta’ earth with me. Mom was raised as a farm girl in Kentucky and she was fiercely proud of that. So anytime she perceived that I was getting a bit uppity and full of
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God’s Weight Loss Plan for 2016 – Part 3

We have been outlining God’s Guaranteed Weight Loss Plan. With this plan you can begin to lose the weight of bitterness and anger caused from lack of forgiveness. If you are carrying around an unforgiving spirit it is weighing you down spiritually and emotionally. I know from sad personal experience. Part one and two set the stage and today we wrap up the list. Fact 7: Forgiveness is not denial of the hurt. Pride will often cause us to “not allow the person who hurt us the satisfaction” of knowing we are wounded. That is absurd. Acknowledge the reality of the injury, but make the choice to be healed. Fact 8: Forgiveness eliminates revenge as an option. The late author Lewis Smedes makes a brilliant point about revenge. No matter how much we try “we cannot get even; this is the inner fatality of revenge.” When we start trying to get even, we have lost. How many times must I
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God’s Weight Loss Plan – Part 2

Yesterday I started discussing God’s Guaranteed Weight Loss Plan. With this plan you can lose the weight of bitterness and anger caused from lack of forgiveness. If you are carrying around an unforgiving spirit it is weighing you down spiritually and emotionally. Part one set the stage. For the next two days we will look at some things I have learned (usually the painful way) about forgiveness. Fact 1: Our ability to forgive is rooted in the depth of our gratitude. The foundation of forgiveness is our gratitude for the undeserved forgiveness we have received through Christ. Take some time to meditate about how much you have been forgiven. In the gospel of Luke we read about a sinful woman who washes Jesus feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. Jesus said, “Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” (Luke
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God’s Weight Loss Plan for 2016 – Part 1

Most of us see New Years Day as a fresh start. We make steadfast resolutions of how we are going to do better next year. The reality is that January 1st is just another day. We could just as easily resolve on May 18th or August 3rd that we are going to change how we live. But there is something psychologically powerful about a New Year. The most cited resolutions generally include things like exercising more, saving more money, getting out of debt, and reading the Bible all the way through without getting bogged down in Leviticus and skipping directly to the Psalms. The most popular resolution year after year is losing weight. I thought I would be doing a real service if I gave you God’s Weight Loss Plan to take into 2016. This weight loss plan will make you healthier, reduce stress, give you more joy and cause you to grow in your relationship with the Lord. By following this no
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Final Gift Suggestion For Jesus On His Birthday

I love Dave Barry. As long as he is alive I will not have the weirdest brain on the planet. Here is his take on the secularizing of Christmas greetings. Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice. In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it “Christmas” and went to church; the Jews called it “Hanukkah” and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Hanukkah!”or (to the atheists) “Look out for the wall!”  These days, people say “Season’s Greetings,” which, when you think about it, means nothing. It’s like walking up to somebody and saying “Appropriate Remark” in a loud, cheerful voice. But “Season’s Greetings” is safer, because it does not refer to any actual religion.
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Another Gift Idea for Jesus on His Birthday

As a public service I am providing a shopping guide for things you can give to Jesus on His upcoming birthday. For the internet hall monitors who love to send anonymous and snarky comments I understand that the celebrated date of Christ’s birth is likely off a bit. But since this is when we celebrate we will go with the date assigned. Let’s be honest…giving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords a unique gift is really tough. The last post examined the gifts brought to the young Christ child over 2,000 years by the wise men, I had hoped that examining what the Magi brought might jump start our gift giving ideas.  Alert readers from the last article remember that the first gift was gold. That is always a lovely gift. But now it gets a little tougher. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. (Matthew 2:11, The Message) The second gift brought out of the luggage by the Magi was
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What To Give Jesus On His Birthday?

Christmas shopping can be really difficult for my species. Many of us men give gifts to our significant others with fear and trembling. Humor writer Dave Barry relates the confusion most men deal with when giving a gift to their wife. He could tell by her reaction to the gift that she had not been dreaming of getting an auto emergency kit, even though it was the deluxe model with booster cables and an air compressor. Clearly, this violated an important rule, but the man had idea what the rule was, and his wife was too upset to tell him. Barry continues his thoughtful treatise… So why is the Christmas season so difficult for men? There are many complex reasons, by which I mean: women. The problem goes back to the very first Christmas. We know from the Bible that the Wise Men showed up in Bethlehem and gave the baby Jesus gifts of gold,frankincense, and myrrh. Now Gold is always
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The Power of a Silent Night, Holy Night

One of my favorite Christmas stories happened during the horrors of war. The Christmas carol “Silent Night” was responsible for a wartime Christmas truce. The year was 1914 and soldiers were having to spend Christmas Eve night on the battlefields of France during World War I, the Great War, as it was called. After only four months of fighting, more than a million men had already perished in the bloody conflict. The bodies of dead soldiers were scattered between the trenches. Enemy troops were dug-in so close that they could easily exchange shouts. On December 24, 1914, in the middle of a freezing battlefield in France, a miracle happened. The British troops watched in amazement as candle-lit Christmas trees began to appear above the German trenches. The glowing trees soon appeared along the length of the German front. Henry Williamson, a young soldier with the London Regiment wrote in his diary: “From the German parapet, a rich baritone voice had begun to sing a song I remembered my German nurse singing to me…. The
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My Christmas Wish for 2015

If I could have one wish for those of you who read these humble ramblings it would be very simple. Amy Grant recorded “My Grown-up Christmas List” for her “Home For Christmas” album. The lyrics imagine an adult going back to Santa with a different perspective on what matters most in life. Instead of material things the writer now asks for good things for others. I love the sentiment of the song. No more lives torn apart That wars would never start And time would heal all hearts Everyone would have a friend And right would always win And love would never end This is my grown-up Christmas list I thought about my “grown-up” Christmas list this week. I would love for all of the things in the lyric above to come true. But I have lived enough to know they will not. Everyday lives are torn apart. Wars start too frequently. Time does not heal every heart. Some who
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Tell Me Again What The Cows Were Doing?

(Today is a revisit of a “Christmas Classic” from earlier. How does a blog become a classic?  It is your blog, your site, you pay the server charge so you can call it whatever you want. So enjoy a classic from Christmas past) One of my contributions with this modest little blog is to continually ask the tough questions. While listening to  “Away in a Manger” my inquiring mind kicked in. You likely know verse three of the song. The cattle are lowing The poor Baby wakes But little Lord Jesus No crying He makes As I listened an important series of difficult and probing inquiries popped into my head. What noise, exactly, were the cattle making when they started lowing? Was this normal cow talk? Did lowing just sound better than mooing in the lyric or is lowing a more spiritual and reverent cow sound? And then the most important question came to mind. What is wrong with me? I can’t answer the last
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A Thanksgiving Like No Other Still Haunts Me

Ten years ago we toured Israel. There were so many memories that were life changing. But one memory was unexpected and lasting. We were in the midst of a whirlwind tour of Israel when Turkey Day arrived. As the day dawned in Jerusalem I remembered past Thanksgivings with family all around. Watching the Macy’s Parade while the tantalizing aromas of roasting turkey, pumpkin pie and fresh baked bread filled the house. Watching the football games, eating way too much, and  then the afternoon lapse into semi-consciousness known as the traditional Thanksgiving day nap. I knew that this year would be a little different but I had no idea how much. When I heard our schedule I knew this would be a Thanksgiving like no other. Our final activity for that day would be a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.  My first reaction was “No, no, not today”. But then I reconsidered. What better reminder of how very much I have to be thankful for
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We All Need A Little Help Now and Then

There is so much pain in this world. So many hurting people. I feel overwhelmed and helpless. What can I possibly do? And the answer quietly comes to me. Do something. A classic song called “Lean On Me” reminded me that we all need to do something for others. The lyrics sung by Bill Withers talks about simply being there when friends and loved ones are hurting. Sometimes in our lives We all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there’s Always tomorrow Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I have been thinking a lot about community. I have, to be honest, had many moments recently when I wondered if living in messy community with messy people is worth it. One of my dearest friends is Dr. Gil Herren. He used to tell me stories about working the emergency room at a Memphis hospital and how much
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When A Man Loves A Woman

I love the power of lyrics to touch the heart. A song by Percy Sledge brought a spiritual connection to the morning walk. I loved Motown music as a teen and I still do. My secret desire was to perform as the bass singer with the Temptations. Remember the song “Papa was a Rolling Stone”?  I wanted to be the guy that said “and that ain’t right” in that deep, deep bass voice. But my lack of talent, dancing ability and the general composition of the group precluded that dream from becoming reality.  “When a Man Loves a Woman” reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B charts in 1966. The song was number 54 in the 500 best songs of all time in a poll by Rolling Stone Magazine. Anyone who has ever been in love can feel these lyrics deep in your soul. I remember when I fell in love with the stunning Mrs.Burchett. I could have written these
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A Better Way

Even occasional readers of my humble ramblings know that the start of my faith narrative was mired in moralism. Our church was, without question, the denomination of “no”. Starting from that faulty foundation led me to years of sadness, tiredness and bondage. I replayed my long and fragmented journey to grace and freedom as I listened to a song from Hillside United titled, “From the Inside Out”. One thousand times I’ve failed Still your mercy remains Should I stumble again I’m caught in your grace Everlasting your light will shine when all else fades I remembered day after day of agonizing self-loathing because I kept failing. I did not understand His mercy nor did I believe I could fall on His grace. I was taught that such an attitude showed a lack of obedience and a dependence on “cheap grace”. Somehow I missed the message of Jesus to the religious hypocrites as I was influenced by the preaching of shame.
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Perspective From A College Sports Weekend

I don’t want to become a grumpy old man but I sometimes need an emergency grace infusion to not go full metal grouch. This weekend I sat through a very soggy Homecoming victory by the Baylor Bears. It was not the sharpest performance of the season but I reminded myself that Baylor is currently ranked as high as second in the nation. This is the school that lost a game years ago because they tried to run one last scoring play when all they had to do was take a knee. The running back lost the ball and Baylor lost as their opponent ran the recovered fumble 98 yards for a touchdown. Think of the irony of a Baptist school that loses because they refused to kneel! Fast forward to the Art Briles era. This same school now wins Big 12 Championships and is a legitimate contender for the Championship Playoff. I remind myself of the miracle that has happened
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Redeeming Suffering and Trials

Full disclosure. I envy songwriters. A songwriter can say in a phrase or chorus more than I can communicate in paragraphs or chapters. I am surprised by how often I am impacted by a phrase or thought from a song. Writer Aldous Huxley wrote these words. “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Being in community with others means you share in their joys and their sorrows. Sometimes the sorrows come in tsunami waves and all you can do is care, pray and be present. Good and decent people deal with financial, emotional and physical suffering all around us and it is easy to lose heart. The news seems to be only tragedy and heartbreaking sadness. What can be redeemed of all of this suffering? A song called “The Hurt and the Healer” by MercyMe resonated when I first heard it but now that same song ministers much deeper in my soul recently. Why? The
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How Do So Many Christians Fall?

I used to be quick to jump on Christians who failed morally. How could they claim to be a Christian and do something like that? I wondered how they got to such a low point in their journey. Perhaps a bit of insight came from a Texas storm. Strong winds toppled a 50-foot-tall tree in a friend’s backyard. But strong winds are a part of every spring in Texas. Why did this particular storm fell a mature tree? The answer came as my friend cut up the fallen tree—it had completely rotted inside. There was no way to tell when you looked at the tree. The bark covered the decay and the leaves were still green and pretty. But inside the tree was dying. It finally reached a point where there was not enough strength left in its core to withstand another storm. The example from nature is a metaphor for how we can topple as Christians and completely surprise
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The Importance of Being a Great Closer

(Today I am recovering from the marathon of the baseball season. I humbly offer this gently read post from the past as the Monday Musing) Because many of you have somehow forgotten to buy my books (Shameless plug) I continue to make my primary living by directing sporting events. I am the faceless guy (actually I have a face, it just isn’t on camera) that selects the camera shots that you see during a televised game. For thirty-three years I have directed Texas Rangers baseball. And all of those seasons have taught me a valuable spiritual lesson from the National Pastime. I have learned how important it is to be a good closer. In baseball parlance the closer is the pitcher who comes into the game in the last inning to protect the lead and finish off the win. It all comes down to the closer. If he does well the collective efforts of eight position players and the pitchers
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YELLING IS AN EFFECTIVE PERSUASION TECHNIQUE! Said no one ever.

Like Christmas displays in September the political season seems to get earlier and earlier. The conversation between the two parties over the next few months will often be less than gracious. You have to be a trained professional to have that kind of grasp of the obvious. I had to laugh when a forgotten song by Chris Rice cycled up on the iPod today titled “You Don’t Have to Yell”. I tuned in to hear the news I don`t want your point of view if that`s the best that you can do, then something`s missing and experts on whatever side you plug your ears, you scream your lines you claim to have an open mind, but nobody`s listenin` don`t you think we`re smarter than this? How should a follower of Christ engage in the political discourse? Dr. Gregory Boyd has said some controversial things but, in my humble opinion, this is not one of them. “Christians are not to seek
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Satan’s Strategy Includes Prevent Defense

If you read more than a snippet of my writings you know that I am a grace guy. But there is a question that confounds me. “If grace based theology as the way to live out the Christian life is true then why is it not more popular in the church?” That is a great question. I have been swept away by grace. Everything in my life has been changed by taking away my performance based faith and believing in Christ’s performance for me. During a recent football telecast I thought about a parallel between one of my least favorite football strategies and this grace conundrum. Perhaps it was an insight from the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it was simply because my brain is not wired to factory specs. But this idea popped in my mind. A lot of football teams play a defense that is called the prevent defense. That style of defense is designed to allow the opponent short yardage gains as
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The Biggest Problem For Christianity Today May Surprise You

I was walking with a co-worker recently who is not a person of faith. The comment from this individual about the treatment of Christianity in the media and culture surprised me. “I wish they would balance out their reporting with some of the good things that Christians do in the world in addition to the hypocritical things.” So do I. But as my sainted Granny used to say “that horse has left the barn”. I thought about that statement later. What caused this person who does not believe to defend Christians? I think it is because this friend has seen me (and other Christians) deal honestly with life through our lens of grace and Jesus. They have watched real people that they have a relationship with represent Jesus through kindness, giving and caring. That is what Jesus was talking about in the Sermon on the Mount. “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it
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We ALL Serve Somebody or Something

Bob Dylan wrote some powerful songs about his faith journey in the late 70’s. One song he composed popped up on the iPod recently. “Gotta Serve Somebody” simply says that no matter how independent, self-sufficient or in control we might try to be we still serve something or somebody. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebody Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody That lyric struck a spiritual chord because it reminded me of some seriously head and heart messing stuff I have been reading from Tim Keller. Keller wrote a thought provoking definition of idolatry and how we can substitute even good things for God. “Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.”
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How Quickly We Forget

Recently I have been saddened by the all out sprint to judgement of people and institutions that have made mistakes. It often seems the harshest comments come from people who ought to tap the brakes before they go there. These are folks that have made their own mistakes. Big ones. And they were offered grace and second chances. My initial response was self-righteous indignation because, let’s be honest, I am good at that. Eventually the quiet voice of the Spirit reminds me that I am also that guy who is too often quick to judge. I am that guy who tries to argue with God about forgiveness and whether someone “deserves” mercy. A little snippet from my book Stay addressed this very issue after Paul threw down an incredible statement to the Ephesian church. Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32, NLT) That is a very tall order
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Is Grace Worth It?

Sometimes I just want to step away from ministry. I get tired. And then the song “Lean On Me” cycles up on the iPod. That is not funny Lord. The lyrics sung by Bill Withers talks about being there for others. Life happens, John Lennon famously said, when you are making other plans. Life has been happening to us and many close to us in recent months. Sometimes in our lives We all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there’s Always tomorrow Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I have been thinking a lot about community. I have, to be honest, had many moments recently when I wondered if living in community with messy people is worth it. I am drawn to the dysfunctional. My heart goes out to the wounded lambs. But I will confess that I struggle with the cost of walking in honest
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Prone to Wander

Joni and I recently enjoyed a brief and delightful getaway to Fredericksburg, Texas. But there was one sad moment that I keep thinking about. We stayed away from the city and drove country roads into town. Each day we passed a sheep pasture. We chuckled about one adventurous sheep that found a way to get out of the fenced area and grazed happily in tall grass along the road. He seemed to know what he was doing and never got too close to the dangerous highway. The next day he was out again enjoying his freedom and a different grazing menu. Then we spotted another sheep that had also tried to find greener grass on the other side. This poor creature had gotten stuck under the fence and it had not taken long for the searing Texas heat to take his life. It was obvious that this unforunate animal had everything he had needed on the safe side of the
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The Outrageous and Scandalous Mystery of Grace!

I think a lot about the church. When you write a book called “When Bad Christians Happen to Good People” you tend to hear from angry and wounded churchgoers. I have received hundreds of emails and blog posts from hurting believers. If a modest selling author and blogger like me gets that many responses then you can extrapolate that this is a big problem for the American church. I began the book mentioned above with this paragraph. “I am a hypocrite. I can be arrogant and selfish. I have been known to stretch, conceal, or slightly message the truth. I am sometimes inconsiderate and insecure. I struggle with lust and impure thoughts. My ego often rages out of control, and I battle foolish pride. I can be lazy and foolhardy with my time. I get angry, petty, and ill-tempered. I am sarcastic and cynical. I am a Christian.” I can make the claim in the final sentence only because of
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Training Camp for Team Jesus

I love football. The opening of football training camps gets my juices going. I watch some of the greatest athletes in the world getting ready to play a highly skilled game. So what do they start with every summer at training camp? Footwork and technique drills. Coaches demanding constant repetition of fundamental skills. The best teams are the ones that most consistently execute the basic fundamental aspects of their craft. Legendary Coach Vince Lombardi famously began each training camp by gathering wide-eyed rookies and grizzled veterans around him. He would begin by holding the pigskin in front of him and solemnly proclaiming this truth. “Gentlemen, this is a football.” From that rather rudimentary start he would detail the importance of understanding the fundamentals of the sport. I can learn something from that approach. When I first came to faith I was so excited to learn the fundamentals of faith. How do I study the Bible? How do I pray? How
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Enjoy Another Free Chapter From Stay!

In honor of National Mutt Day my friends at Tyndale are providing another free chapter from my latest book Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. Since our newest rescue Maggie is a mutt she wanted me to feature her. This chapter relates how difficult it was for our rescued friend to learn her brand new forever name. Download “Forgetting Her Name” from Stay by clicking on this link. I hope you enjoy this sample! If you want to read the rest of Stay you can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com and other fine retailers.    
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Can’t “Duck” The Truth That We Need Community!

Last week the “ducks were on the pond”. Baseball fans will recognize that phrase as a colorful way to describe having a runner on every base. But this time I was enjoying some time off from the baseball gig with my lovely bride. We were sitting on the porch of our little cabin near Fredericksburg, Texas when a flock of eight ducks noisily left the pond and waddled toward us. They lined up and quacked expectantly. If I spoke duck I suspect the translation would have been something like the famous quote from Caddyshack. “Hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” We fed the ducks some cereal flakes and apparently that was an acceptable offering. Every time we went out on our porch the ducks would waddle over and wait for their snack. Joni and I were fascinated by their behaviors. They always stayed together. There was a clear leader of the pack and
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Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer

Summer has made it’s presence known this week in Texas. The oppressive heat leads to scenes like this for the canine friend Maggie. For years I have been throwing around the phrase “dog days of summer” with no clue about its origin. The Romans noticed that the hottest days of the years happened to coincide with the appearance of the “dog star” Sirius which is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major. They believed the appearance of this bright star contributed to withering heat. The Greeks were likely the first to use the term dog days and you will surely recall this reference from your most recent reading of the Iliad by Homer. Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky On summer nights, star of stars, Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat And fevers to suffering humanity. I was surprised to find that dog days appear in the first copies
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My Heroes Are Not Famous

One of the problems with our cultural Christianity is that we too often confuse giftedness and godliness. Someone may be gifted at speaking or writing or singing and we elevate that person in our spiritual estimation. God uses gifted people to be sure. But I am learning that God can use regular people reflecting Jesus through trials and suffering in miraculous ways. These heroes of the faith generally don’t make headlines. What they make is much more important. They make a difference. Our friends Debbie and Jim Dixon have made a difference in our lives. Two years ago our non-smoking friend Debbie was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. I don’t think the cancer realized what a tenacious foe it had attacked. Debbie has unleashed every single thing she has in her battle with this terrible disease. She has suffered a heartbreaking litany of side effects and setbacks in her long struggle. I think I might well have conceded after
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Is Christianity Dying in America?

There have been a lot of dire statements over the past few days about the future of Christianity in America. Some have declared that America will be judged harshly by God after the recent events. I am not smart enough or holy enough to know how or why God will judge America. I remember in Genesis when God mercifully offered to withdraw judgement if a handful of righteous people could be found in Sodom.  Abraham started by pleading for the city if fifty righteous people could be found. He eventually asked for mercy if only ten righteous could be found and the Lord agreed. You know the rest of the story. There were not ten righteous people to be found in that city of debauchery. I am pretty sure there is a far bigger number of sincere followers of Jesus in our country than that. So I don’t know how God is going to proceed. Maybe we needed a wake-up
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3 Ways Dads Can Leave a Legacy-Part 3

Every dad leaves a legacy. I have learned a few things through trial and many errors about being a dad who is trying to leave a positive legacy. Previous installments detailed two ways to leave a good legacy. Love Your Wife Affirm Your Kids Today we will examine one more way to establish a positive legacy. And we are adding a very dangerous twist today. I polled my three sons about my strengths and (gasp) shortcomings as their father. Those knee-buckling results were both sobering and encouraging. First, the third way to leave a positive legacy as a dad. 3.  Enjoy every mile of the journey as you model being a man The best description I have heard about being a parent is this bit of wisdom:  “Parenting…the days are long and the years are short.” In his book, Being a Good Dad When You Didn’t Have One, Tim Wesemann gives his readers a two-word piece of advice: “Lighten up!”  He says that adults laugh an average
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3 Ways Dads Can Leave a Legacy-Part 2

This week I am doing a brief series on leaving a legacy as an earthly father. Every dad leaves a legacy. The only question is what kind. The first step to leaving a positive legacy is to love your wife. For some readers that already has not worked out. That does not mean that you cannot leave a positive legacy. There are many ways to redeem the father/child relationship. The second part of leaving a legacy that endures is to be an encouragement to your kids. Paul wrote this simple instruction to the church at Colossae. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. The Message translates this verse  like this…. Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits. I cannot remember hearing a lot of teaching on that verse over the years. It is really easy in this success mad culture to discourage your children. Nearly every dad wants his child to be
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3 Ways Dads Can Leave a Legacy-Part 1

Occasionally people will observe our three wonderful sons and ask something like this. “What did you do to parent such great kids?” My response is simple. “I married Joni. The rest is a blur.” There is a little too much truth in that answer. She was and is remarkable. But we did partner in this grand adventure called parenting. Along the way I learned some things mostly by error and stumbling trial. Over the next two days I will share what I have figured out with the disclaimer that I do not claim to be an expert. It is with humility and grateful appreciation to God that He has given me the gift of this family. One thing I have learned in my journey is that every dad leaves a legacy. The only question is whether that legacy will be good, bad, or indifferent. Being a father is tough because we generally learn how to parent while on the job. Ken
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Monday Musing – Do I Really Think I am a Bad Christian?

I am often blessed by really kind comments from you about my books or blogs. I truly appreciate the encouragement. But what I remind myself everyday is this simple truth. I would be impressed with me except for one thing. I know me. I know how often I am selfish. I know how often I judge. I know how often I have a bad attitude. The list goes on and on. I got a lot of feedback and some not so complimentary when my book “When Bad Christians Happen to Good People” hit the scene. Some where offended that I could suggest there are “bad Christians”. My answer probably didn’t help much. Bad Christians are all God has to work with. To be sure some are more productive than others. Some clean up better and some have whiter teeth. But when we measure our performance against God’s perfect law we are devastated. All of us fall short (from inches to
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Pondering Jesus and the Doobie Brothers

A song from a career long, long ago and far, far away cued up on the iPod today. Right out of high school I worked as a disc jockey at a small radio station in Southern Ohio. Nice hair huh? And notice the amazing technology at my fingertips. I remember being so excited to play a song from The Doobie Brothers called “Jesus Is Just Alright”. Hearing The Doobie Brothers sing about Jesus was pretty amazing in my still young faith journey. I was sure they had to be believers to release a song like this. I know. I was incredibly naive. Apparently none of the group was particularly religious but the song became an anthem for the incredible Jesus Movement that swept the land. I remember one critical Christian (hard to imagine that) hearing the song and smugly declaring that Jesus was “much more than just alright”. In one fell swoop he revealed both his judgmentalism and stupidity. He
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Give A Personalized Copy of Stay for Father’s Day!

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Many of you have told me you plan to give a copy of Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace to your Dad or Grandfather. In my very biased world that is MUCH better than a tie! I have 100 Autograph plates ready to send out that you can place inside the book before you give it. Just send your address and how you want the plate inscribed to dave@daveburchett.com. I will sign it and return it to you. I pay the postage as my small thank you to you! However, this is a first come, first served offer so get your copy today and send me your request. You can get Stay at Barnes and Noble, Booksamillion, Mardels and online at Amazon, Christianbook.com, and Barnes and Noble. You can link to any of the online sellers at my website. I would love to help you celebrate your Dad
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Musical Comfort Food For a Monday

Father’s Day is less than three weeks away and that day is always bittersweet. I am so grateful to be the father of three wonderful sons but the day also reminds me how much I miss my Dad. I thought of him as I watched the news today. The current debate in Washington and the selfish agendas of our “representatives” would have driven him nuts. I could almost hear him ranting about the politicians and how we just need someone with “some uneducated good old common sense” in our Nation’s Capital. He earned the right to rant. He was one of the incredible men and women who served our country during World War II. The flag from his military funeral is one of my proudest possessions. I find myself becoming my Dad more and more each day. I dialed up a couple of his favorite songs that I have on my iPod. It was the musical version of comfort food. The first
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Confessing My Christian Agenda

One of my favorite comedians is Jim Gaffigan. You have to be truly funny to generate laughs and be “clean” in your act. And now the truth is coming out. Jim Gaffigan is a Christian! He is introducing a new TV show this summer called the Jim Gaffigan Show.  I promise you he is a more creative comic than TV show-namer. One of the issues he will address on the show is the challenge of being branded by his faith. One episode plot explores the risk when a popular entertainer comes out as religious. In the show Gaffigan is accidentally photographed carrying a massive Bible. There is subsequent comedic panic about public opinion about him after that career faux pas. Washington Post religion writer Michele Boorstein featured this snippet of dialogue from the show. ““I don’t want to get involved in the culture war. Religion is a very iffy business. As soon as you identify yourself as believing something, you
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Are You Reluctant To Read Stay?

My new book Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace has been available for about 3 months. Your response has been an encouragement and blessing. Today I wanted to address the elephant in the kennel. When I have done book signings or talked about the book on the radio I often get these responses. “Is this a sad book?” “Will it make me cry?” “Does the dog die?” Those are usually followed by something like this. “I can’t read it if it is (any of the above).” My honest answers to the above queries would be sometimes, maybe and yes. But Stay is not a book about dying. It is entirely a book about living! The sad moments are wrapped in the redemptive joy of life, relationship and grace. I am pretty sure you will laugh, relate often to the stories of friendship, and marvel at the gift God has given us with these furry friends.
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Tragedy in Waco and the Heartbreaking Consequences of Sin

It is Monday. Enough said. And it has been raining pretty consistently here in Texas for weeks. That is the combo platter The Carpenter’s made famous when they sang Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down. The first stanza really captures my mood today. Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old Sometimes I’d like to quit, nothin’ ever seems to fit That seems about right today as I contemplate the devastating and heartbreaking toll of sin. I know. That is not politically correct. But there is no other word that describes what I am seeing today. I see a beloved and effective pastor lose his ministry for the false hope of an inappropriate relationship. Sin says that there is more. Sin says that you deserve to be happier and that will only be true in a different relationship. Sin says that God does not really have your best interest at heart. I hate those lies from Satan that we continue
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How Do You Become God’s Favorite Child?

I love my pastor and his family. That is a such a blessing to be able to say that. Jeff Denton brought his unique blend of wisdom, geekiness, humor, grace, leadership, Biblical truth and pastoral care to Wylie, Texas several years ago. Waterbrook Bible Fellowship will never be the same and that is a very good thing. Our church has four amazing and gifted pastors on staff with Jeff as the Lead Pastor. Check it out if you are churchless in Collin County. You never know what Jeff will say or post online. He is totally out there as a pastor, husband and dad. Recently he shared this exchange with one of his teenagers. “All it takes to be my favorite child is obedience.” “Well, I guess I’ll never be your favorite then.” I don’t know which one said that but I am sure it could have come from either J.J. or Amelia. I know that Jeff said that with
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4 Profound Lessons I Learned From My Dogs

Reposted from Faithstreet.com. Esteemed theologian and reformer Martin Luther wrote about his canine companions, “The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made his greatest gifts the commonest.” We can learn so much from these faithful friends about life, love, and grace. Who knew that some of my most profound lessons would be taught by a couple of rescued puppies? I am not ashamed to confess I have been discipled by my dogs. Here are a few “bite-sized” treats I’ve learned from my canine companions: 1. Revel in the life you have. Is there a better example of this than a canine companion? If only we could live like we were just let off the leash to run in freedom and joyous abandon. I wish I enjoyed anything as much as my dog enjoys everything! Enjoy the day you have. Sure, life can be hard and
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The “Revengers” Are Not Superheroes!

The Avengers: Age of Ulton is the blockbuster movie that recently debuted to record numbers. It features the familiar Marvel comic book superheroes. The team struggles to stop Ulton’s plan to make humanity extinct. Sadly I have played a non-superhero for much of my journey with the Lord. I have tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to be a Revenger. When I am wronged I fight for my truth and my justice. If a relationship becomes extinct in the process that is the price of being right and for justice to prevail. Fortunately my role did not include any Spandex costumes. But the truth is I find revenge a much easier road to take than forgiveness. When I am wounded or offended my first response is usually sinful. I am hardly unique. A couple of guys who were really close to Jesus had the same sinful response to bad behavior. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival.
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One Secret of Happiness.

Regular readers of these humble ramblings (all tens of you) know what an over the top dog lover I am. I shared this illustration in my new book Stay. A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?” The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his
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What The World Really Needs Now

In 1965 Jackie DeShannon recorded the hit song “What the World Needs Now is Love”. Three years later Dion recorded a song called “Abraham, Martin and John”.  In 1971 a Los Angeles disc jockey named Tom Clay combined those tunes with some news audio clips to create a powerful social commentary. What the World Needs Now by Tom Clay covers the two songs with versions by The Blackberries, a session recording group from LA. The record begins with a child trying to define some grown-up words like segregation and prejudice. It is a powerful reminder that although all of us are born broken and with a sin nature. The truth is that a lot of how we act on that sin nature is learned behavior from our culture and those around us. There is a better way. Here is how the song began… Interviewer: What is segregation? Child: I don’t know what seggeration is. Interviewer: Uh, what is bigotry? Child:
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