Why I Do What I Do

Luke 7:21-23 ~ "21-And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. 22-Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. 23-And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."

Supt. Harvey Burnett
New Bethel Ministries

Some  almost 30 years ago now, when the Lord called me into ministry the scripture above was what he gave me. I knew at that time that I had a mission that would be discomforting to some and a blessing from heaven to others. I soon went through a transition. The suffering I initially experienced was not because of some great sin in my life, but it was because of my desire and unyielding will to live right and do the right thing. As a young man, I never had to be bailed out of jail, had no run ins with the law, had a healthy respect for all authority and did my best to get along with everyone. However, when God gave a command to stand for something I would find myself doing it even if it was against the "grain".
School Dayze
One of my first such instances, was that of a person which came to Peoria Central High School to discuss vehicular safety. Her name was Pealon. Ms. Pealon suffered a horrific accident which almost took her life and did take the life of others. It was not her fault that the accident occurred and her life was totally changed as a result. I remember that she was confined to a wheel chair and somewhat disfigured and out of her pain she spoke to the school encouraging the kids to do the right thing. Her frustration came across clearly and it was full of pain. 
There was a question answer session at the end of her speech. I promptly stood in line because I didn't hear what I was looking to hear. When it was my turn, I acknowledged her pain, that I couldn't imagine. However, I summed it up like this:
"Ms. Pealon, to me it's obvious that not only do you have a mission but also that you wouldn't be here if God hadn't allowed you to come through. I'd just like to know, what do you think about Jesus?"
To my surprise my fellow students began to clap, faculty clapped and nodded and for the next two weeks students and faculty shared with me that they thought that I had asked the best question and that they were blessed by what I had done. Remember this was a public high school. Even my fellow basketball teammates and class mates encouraged and all of this was totally unexpected because I did what I did because I wanted to know and wanted to try to communicate with Ms. Pealon to let her know that her suffering wasn't in vain, if she had the courage to see it. Thus at 16 and 17 years old I was communicating to simply help those around me. If anything, my call and what I began to do, set the tone for what God was calling me to do in the future. Over the years I began to dig deeply. From what I've been told, Ms. Pealon's life was deeply touched that day as a result of a simple question.  
The Ministry & The Mission
Sitting under one of the first generation saints of the church, born in 1908, the late Bishop Dr. T.T. Rose of Central Illinois Jurisdiction was an intellectual above all others, and even at his age, one that could think circles around those of us in the younger generation. But he was also a man of great integrity that simply believed in the power of the Holy Ghost. Without sitting me down and giving me a lesson out of a book, the Bishop began to teach me sometimes by frustrating me and causing me to question his actions. Sometimes by placing me in situations and allowing me to feel my way through. What I learned was that the older generation had a different point of emphasis as to what integrity and spiritual strength and success was. For them, one's strength and power in the Lord was centered around ones ability to be strong and stable minded, even when there was no strength or anyone encouraging you to be strong and mindlessness was all around. Being 60 years my senior I came to highly respect and honor Bishop Rose because he placed his life in what he believed.

The Late Presiding Bishop Louis H. Ford
Church Of God In Christ

It was Dr. Rose that told me that he was concerned about the Church he had given his life to. He told me of the prophecy that he had received spoken back in 1940's that said that the Church Of God In Christ would be a rich man's church and would revert away from the common people. He told me of a day when a person without a certain amount of money wouldn't be able to stay in the this church. How many times I have wished that Bishop was here now so that I could share with him what's going on, just to see him sit , lean forward, put his hands together in front of him and shake his head slowly from side to side.
I would go on to meet many leaders of our church including the late former Presiding Bishop, Bishop L.H. Ford who would meet me for the first time and and say "Hello Mr. Sharp!" and tell me that I would be a "great leader". Also the late and former Presiding Bishop, Bishop G. E. Patterson, who simply was able to give me gospel inspiration by sharing what he must have thought were mundane and common thoughts on the ministry. I was blessed by being able to share words and fellowship with these men that impact me today. What brought us together was the fact that they were merely servants of God and all I wanted to do was serve. But I knew I was being commissioned for my future. That was the key. These men were men that served, shaped and molded the next generation of leaders that would speak and stand in the integrity of the Lord and I had been blessed to have met and fellowshipped with many of them.  

The Late Presiding Bishop G.E. Patterson
Church Of God In Christ

So Why And How Do I Conduct This Blog?
First, God has called me to do this blog in effort to speak to the church and many people who need to hear truth. Although it takes an insurmountable amount of time, the Lord has blessed me with a career in which I can mold my own schedule in order to do what I need to do and a family and church supportive of my efforts. Even then, all nighters are an occasional part of what I must do to get the message out and make sure that I am as informed as possible about what the Lord has placed on m heart.
Secondly, this blog isn't a Church Of God In Christ blog, although I have a great concern about and for the church in which I yet serve. There is no COGIC standard or approval necessary for anything I may share and speaking to power is what I do best. I would like COGIC Saints to feel welcome and voice their concerns and encourage others, but our complete efforts are to build and equip the body of Christ no matter what denomination or body group they are a part of. Third, my efforts aren't about getting the next appointment to preach or making a gospel connection. It's about serving the people of God with integrity and encouraging individuals to realign themselves with biblically oriented morality and value systems. If that leads to the expansion of the ministry, and ministry opportunities, then so be it and all things will be done according to and subject to the will of God.
The Late Presiding Bishop, Bishop L.H. Ford (back),
The Late Bishop T.T. Rose Il. Central (front), Bishop Robert R. Sanders Il. 3rd (right)
Bishop Willie F. Newbon Il. Central (left) & Supt. Harvey Burnett (skinny)
approx. 1993
Sometimes service is ugly, confrontational and challenging. David was both a man after God's heart and also a man who cut the head off of the enemy on the battlefield. There is sometimes a conflict or dichotomy about true service to the Lord that challenges our understanding. When Christ is placed first and foremost, something is bound to be said that will be challenging. Some times topics are uncomfortable to speak on or to delve into, but they must be spoken on and an understanding and biblical insight must be provided. Even failures are an opportunity to teach  and raise the standard of holiness and point to what God's word says that should be done. If the righteous learn and do nothing we have noone to blame for the reign of the enemy through charlatans and our situation but ourselves. God is interested in us knowing that every heart that is willing to serve HIM can be and will be fulfilled if we follow:
Hosea 10:12 ~ "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you."

The modern church has gone past the standard of holiness because it is not large enough in appearance nor inclusive enough for them. However,  the standard of holiness encompasses all of life and living and is the most vitally important element of life necessary for a healthy community, family and church. This is why we have been challenged and many of our churches have become weak and nothing more than social clubs, dance halls and party centers. We have chased all that the world has to offer, but have not pursued the Lord  and are now paying the price. We have  heaping to ourselves ungodly associations, political alliances and material possessions at the expense of the poor, weak and less sophisticated. With these excesses and the moral value disintegration that we readily observe in secular society and from the pulpit to the back door, it is time that the people know that is yet a remnant that is committed to righteousness simply because it's right to do so. Not because it's a church program  or directive that tells them care so that membership and tithe can increase, but simply because it's right and because God says so.  
As you read articles on this site, you may call into question the content or even some of my conclusions, but one thing that is without doubt...my goal of ministering the gospel, which is the only hope for this generation, and making a stand for those hurting and educating those who desire to know what God is saying within scripture. Those things are without question some of the most important things I do with this forum. 
I hope grace is ministered to you here at the Dunamis Word. Whatever opinion you may formulate, there are certain mistakes that will not be made. NOT preaching the gospel and NOT serving the needs of God's people are mistakes that will never made on this blog as long as the Lord gives me strength and a right mind to do so. I don't intend to make enemies, but enemies of the cross, righteousness and the people of God and HIS church, are not friends of mine even if they come with a clergy or with extra letters behind and in front of their names. We must heal the wounds of the hurting, even if some of those among us caused the damage. It is our responsibility to stand, speak up and be strong and courageous. At the end of the day, I hope that you or someone that you know is blessed as a result of The Dunamis Word.
Supt. Harvey Burnett

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