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Death of Santa Claus

March 18th, 2015 · No Comments

Quote from my morning readings:

A nonbeliever doesn’t think twice when we praise God for giving us Bentley’s but they do think twice when we get evicted from our homes and still praise God. 

This took me back to the mid-80’s – some very troubled years in the life of Gary Burd and his family. Preceding years we had a life of abundance, money flowed through the construction company. Anything we desired we bought. Throwing life of abundance to the wind and enjoying the fun of moment.

Then we came across this ‘gospel’ that endorsed our careless living that sold Jesus as a Santa Claus. He ‘wanted’ us to have it all, He did not want us to suffer, He died that we might be rich! I don’t need to go any further defining this lie from hell.

Then came the crisis, it did not matter how much we gave financial seeds, how much we confessed, how ‘clean’ we made our lives, it was all leaving us. We lost everything, the ranch (only 200 acres), the house, the horses, the boat, the cars, the ‘you name it’. We lost our ‘integrity’, our pride, our self-elevated successful lifestyle.

At the same time we were moved into the position of Sr. Pastor at a wonderful church, Christian Heritage in Amarillo, TX. Wow, this brought a new level of pain in our lives. How can we lead these people? How will the community accept us?

We had three children at home, the needs of one entering his teens and desiring to help them fit in at the school they attended. It was a school attended mostly by kids from successful homes. We had tried our best to keep up but now, there was no way. (Let’s be honest here, our son received the award for best dressed that year and we were purchasing his clothes on 70% off sale racks and garage sales, hmmm).

We were embarrassed to face the society!

We were embarrassed to face the religious folks! (I attended meetings where you were to do a credit check before giving people ministerial license, can you imagine the pain?)

However, God seen us through this difficult time. This was our life:

1. We adjusted our standard of living.

2. We whined in secret

  • I remember laying in a bed of cold sweat because of the pain of meetings where they would talk of not trusting someone who couldn’t pay his bills. The fire of the meetings would make me cry and whine before the Lord. 
  • As we seen it, we never whined in front of people or in the pulpit. 
3. As ole Santa Claus God was dying his slow death, we worked through blaming God. 
  • I would like to say we just let the idea, ‘God I have given faith seed, I have fasted, I have prayed, I have confessed, now you owe me the relief from this situation’, died slow or at least slower than I would like to admit. 
  • We are so engrained in this American gospel that God sent His son that we might be rich that it takes a long time to get it out of us. 
4. We began to pursue God, not His gifts in this world. 
5. Our journey included praising in the midnight hours when all lone with our pain. 
  • I remember one night, everyone in the house was asleep. There was no sleep for me, so I sat in the living room, full of questions, doubts and yet, pursuit of the God I loved so much. There in the darkness I heard Him say to me, ‘get up and dance before me’. Wow, praise at a huge level in this dark, lonely, painful night! I can’t dance for one thing, no rhythm in my feet. I began to kinda jump and say, “I love you in all of this. I want you more than anything’. As I ‘praised’ Him, the joy began to drive the darkness out of my heart. The lesson was well learned. 
The Lord heard my cry, He lifted me! The real God showed up in my life. 
  • There has been an intimacy with Him beyond my wildest expectations. 
  • There has been freedom to go to Him in my weakness and failures and still know He is there and loves me, even when my performance is less that it should be. 
  • I have been invited to be His friend, John 15. 
  • There is a deeper level of love and intimacy with my wife, for this love manifest itself in family. 
  • The boldness to face religion for others has been shocking to me at times. 
  • This past summer a spirit of ‘fearlessness’ began to be developed in my life. 
Oh, by the way, one of our partners in ministry made sure we had a place to live after we stepped down as Sr. Pastor. Craig Lawlis drafted a plan for several of us to receive our home after we served so many years in the church. Carolyn and I have our home, not begging the church to allow us to live in it. Our home, fully paid for and totally enjoyed in these last years of our life. 

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