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2009 Conversations

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2002 Conversations

Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

Value of a godly father

(June 17, 2001)

Stanley Burgess, Ph.D., is professor of religious studies at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. His father, John Burgess, an Assemblies of God missionary, pastor and educator, went to be with the Lord on March 18, 2001, at the age of 98. He spoke recently with Miriam Testasecca about the heritage his father left.

Evangel: What keys for Christian living did your father impart to you and your children?

Stanley Burgess’ father, John Burgess (r), an Assemblies of God missionary, pastor and educator, went to be with the Lord on March 18, 2001, at the age of 98.

Burgess: Our family feels blessed because my parents moved to Springfield when our children were young, and my father and mother gave them the same foundation for their faith that I received.

My wife was working on her doctorate and I was teaching full time at SMS, so my parents were with our children every day. They were taught the value of the Scriptures through reading a chapter from the Old Testament in the morning and a chapter from the New Testament in the afternoon. They memorized entire chapters. Through times of prayer and worship that accompanied reading the Scriptures, my father taught them the value of prayer. The children knew he prayed for them daily.

My father’s personal prayer life was an example to the entire family. He would rise at 5 a.m. daily for a time of communion with the Lord. Through his faithful Christian living, he left them with a spiritual heritage they are now passing down to their children.

Evangel: How do you cultivate a spiritual heritage?

Burgess: You do it purposefully. You make it an objective every morning to cultivate that through a relationship with God. Dad believed that people need to live what they teach — you can’t give away something you don’t have.

Evangel: What advice would you give fathers and grandfathers that you gained from observing your father’s life?

Burgess: My father had several philosophies that greatly benefited our family. He believed he was responsible for the multigenerational transmission of scriptural principles. He felt the need to do a good job of passing on foundational faith to me as his son, but he also felt a greater responsibility to transmit that faith to his grandchildren. It takes years of godly living to build a spiritual foundation — something substantial to pass down to your grandchildren. The grandchildren benefit even more than children from those years of faithful living. My dad also realized the value of spending time with his grandchildren.

Dad taught me principles of living and how to think. He followed the apostle Paul’s advice that everything should be done decently and in order. Dad lived a life with no regrets. He was intensely loyal — to his family and also to the Assemblies of God.

It’s because of my father that I’m a historian of the Christian tradition. Dad recognized that everything would be forgotten if it’s not recorded. He said we would have no record of the life of Christ if it had not been written. I call it the ministry of remembrance.

Evangel: If you had to describe your father in one word, what would it be?

Burgess: Constancy. Constancy in his faith, his personal life, his commitment to God and his witness. Even in his late 90s he was witnessing in the nursing home and singing praises in his bedroom. He would purposefully find ways to help people just to get a chance to witness to them about Jesus Christ.

Evangel: Give an example of something you have done as a parent and grandparent to pass on this spiritual heritage.

Burgess: Several years ago we took four of our five children to India. We wanted to build altars of remembrance by showing them where both sets of grandparents had ministered. As we took them to the cities where my wife’s parents had labored and Punalur Bethel Bible College that my father established in 1927 (the oldest foreign Assemblies of God Bible school), we talked about their consistent lives and the sacrifices they made. It made an indelible impression on the children.

Just like the people in Joshua’s day, we need to find ways to maintain the remembrance of our spiritual heritage.


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