My wife recently reprimanded me for the frequency with which I describe myself as ‘old’ or ‘in my dotage.’ She suggested that it sounds defeatist and negative. She may be right (but don’t tell her I said that). The truth is, though, I’m starting the 4th quarter of my journey. Chances are, I have more days behind me, than in front of me, and I’m beginning to feel a sense of urgency regarding the unfinished business in my life, and I intend to use this space to wrestle with those issues and share my heart.
I intend to tackle matters related to my health, career, finances and some other subjects related to life ‘under the sun’ (as it’s called in the Bible’s Book of Ecclesiastes), but most of the time, I am going to tackle the message(s) still locked deep in my heart that absolutely MUST find expression.
Ever since I was three years old, all I ever wanted to do was preach. I can’t remember a time when that wasn’t the case. Sure, I loved sports like all the other Boomer kids. I spent my summers playing backyard baseball, football and basketball, and I loved them all. Still do. But while many of my peers were dreaming of basketball scholarships, throwing a no hitter, or scoring the winning touchdown in front of stadiums full of cheering spectators, I was fantasizing standing in front of stadiums filled with men and women who had come to hear me explain the good news of Jesus and love that lasts forever.
I remember praying that God would allow me to be the most famous evangelist on earth; not for fame’s sake, but so that I could reach massive numbers of people with His message of Hope.
I would stay up listening to the great preachers and public speakers of the time, learning their styles and habits. I began my mornings with Paul Harvey and Earl Nightingale. I sat riveted most evenings by the smooth, though heretical, voice of Garner Ted Armstrong. I watched all the television preachers. I attended Billy Graham crusades and never missed a revival meeting at our own Church. I loved Jesus and was consumed with the notion of being the best communicator possible.
When I was about 12 years old, I also learned I was funny. I could tell stories in a way that made people laugh out loud. To this day, I truly love making people laugh. In our cynical world, helping others take a break from it with a good belly laugh is a gift worth giving.
Later, I learned I could also make people cry. God gave me the gift of storytelling. I didn’t earn it or deserve it. I was given it and wanted to use it to bring Him glory.
For a while, all my dreams came true. By the time I was 30 years old, I had preached the Gospel to hundreds of thousands of people on three continents and in over half the contiguous United States. My calendar was booked two years in advance.
Then, like a sudden summer storm, my world came crashing down. Because of circumstances beyond my control, and decisions other people made, I lost everything; my ministry, my platform, my family, my income, and even my home.
The next third of my life was a roller coaster of success, failure, happiness, broken heartedness, opulence and deprivation. I have enjoyed some wonderful moments that I will cherish for all eternity, and I have regrets that haunt me like a ghost. Underlying it all has been the reality that my calling has been, for all intents and purposes, silenced.
For reasons I don’t wish to address here, scars on my life and resume have closed many doors to traditional ministry. I used to get angry, proclaiming my innocence and seeking vindication. Now, I simply await the Judge of all things to sort out truth from fiction. I rest in His grace.
But, as always, I digress.
Like Jeremiah of old, His message ‘burns within me like a fire. I am weary of holding it in. Indeed I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:9). The last period of my life, be it a quarter, a third, or a moment, will be focused on fulfilling my calling and the command to all who wear the name “Christ Follower”, namely, ‘Make Disciples from every nation’ (Matthew 28:19). I will leave the platform building and the results to the One who has called me.
So…this site is undergoing a major transformation in content, and eventually, in appearance. Here are some things to expect; Bible Studies, Christian Response To Current Events (moral and social ones, not political ones.), Calls to Prayer, updates on my personal life, Evangelism, Christian Evidences, Book Reviews, Sermon Outlines, World Missions Updates, and the like.
I am starting a You Tube Channel with the same name (Sam Burton Presents), which I hope to update regularly
It is my hope and prayer that you will be blessed by this site. I sure hope you decide to favorite it, subscribe to it, and share the heck out of it. I also hope you will participate in the discussions. I want your feedback, your questions, your ideas and your prayers. After all, we’re in this together.