A suffocating spirit was out for destruction as we were contending for revival.
I’ve waited fifteen years to write this article. I implore you to read every word.
As young church planters in one of America’s darkest regions, Amy and I along with our two oldest boys, who were little guys back in 2001, launched Revolution Church. The vision was intense and our passion was for revival that would launch in that strategic city and impact the nations.
Manitou Springs, Colorado is famous for its dark history and present liberal leanings. Rumor has it that Anton Levey wrote at least some of the Satanic Bible from his home there. It’s a quirky town at the base of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. We started the church there in a 700 square foot office space and then quickly grew to a core of 25 people. We moved to our second of four ultimate locations, a 2000 square foot storefront right downtown Manitou Springs. It’s there where we met Janet (name changed for the sake of this article).
I’ll never forget the Sunday morning service as the sun shined brightly through the large plate glass windows in our small meeting place at the Arcade in Manitou Springs. Janet was a first-time guest, and she seemed to be attempting to engage during the service. Understand, at the time, Christians in Manitou Springs were few and far between, so it was not common to see Spirit-filled people visiting, unless they drove from Colorado Springs. In fact, I was invited to preach at a Manitou Springs festival the first year we were there. The organizer had no idea what he had done! In the middle of my fiery message, a bold declaration of the power and necessity of the blood of Jesus, a tall man in flowing garments stormed to the front and demanded equal time. This alternate religious, New Age leader was agitated by the anointing. It was uncommon in Manitou Springs and his turf was certainly being threatened.
At the end of the service I invited people to come forward to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Janet sprung from her seat and kneeled at the altar. I quickly realized she was not even saved.
After spending time with her, introducing Jesus to her and ministering to her, she boldly asked a question, “Do you ever pray for people in their homes?”
We agreed to meet at her townhouse that week to pray and encourage her. We had no idea what we were about to get ourselves into.
We arrived one evening, sat on the couch and prayed for Janet and her baby. It was an unusual moment for us as I felt little to no anointing. Something was hindering our prayers. Janet confided in us that she had dabbled in witchcraft and was ready to move on from it. I applauded her courage to break away from what I know is a very strong, seductive spirit. She repented of her involvement and we prayed some more. The breakthrough remained elusive. I asked her if she owned anything inappropriate that she should get rid of. She reluctantly admitted she did and disappeared upstairs to retrieve some items.
She emerged down the stairs with a T-shirt with some occult symbolism on it. She also held the witch’s handbook.
She surrendered these two pieces of occult paraphernalia to us, and we again prayed. I thought it would be easier to pray now that she had removed them from her life. I was wrong. Amy and I didn’t understand why it felt so dead in her home, but we had done all we knew to do. We encouraged her again and prepared to leave. She then asked us, “I’ve heard of anointing homes in oil. Do you do that?” I told her to find some Crisco.
We anointed doorways, windows and anywhere else we could dab some oil. After we finished anointing and praying downstairs, I led the way up the staircase. At the top of the stairs I saw a guest room and a bathroom. I also saw Janet’s room. I was not prepared for what happened next.
I stepped into her room and immediately could not breathe. It felt like I stepped into a swimming pool sideways. I was engulfed with a suffocating, heavy, evil presence. I stepped back outside her room. Relief.
I didn’t share my experience with Amy or Janet, but instead prayed through the guest room and bathroom. I then stepped back into Janet’s room. Crushing suffocation.
I attempted to pray in tongues, but there was absolutely no way I could. Every prayer fell dead to the ground.
I urgently asked Janet if there might be any additional items she should throw in the trash. She slowly, casually looked in her closet and pulled out a couple things and placed them on her bed. That didn’t work. I was gasping for air, but not only air, for the breath of the Holy Spirit! We needed God to move in that place, and quick!
I was very direct with her. I said, “Janet! I will not pray for you and you will not find freedom if you don’t immediately eliminate every single thing from your life that is impure!”
I was standing between her bed and the wall, next to her night stand. She placed several more items on her bed, but it was not helping. One final time, as I was ready to get out of there, I said, “There is something you are holding on to that is much more evil than anything you’ve surrendered so far. What is it? No more delay!”
She reluctantly glanced over to the night stand, inches from where I was, and pointed at something I had not noticed. She said, “Well, that’s where I perform my sacrifices.” I looked at a small altar with ashes all over it. Yes, that was it.
She ran down and grabbed a large, plastic trash bag. We renounced what was happening at that altar and threw it away. Immediately I could pray in the Spirit. The wind of the Spirit was refreshing beyond description. The fire in my prayer was a stark contrast to how debilitated I was previously.
Amy then began to pray with Janet and talk with her. I was praying in tongues and doing my best to hear what God was saying. God instructed me to ask Janet about demons visiting her room. God had given me incredibly precise revelation. I revealed to her that those demons require written documentation about her interactions with them. Her jaw dropped and her eyes spread open. She had never been more stunned at something someone said. I read her mail.
She went to the closet and pulled out a stack of at least 20 spiral notebooks. She said she had much more stored on her computer. She confessed that demons visit her every night and terrorize her. She is forced to write about their visits. That is why she invited us to her home. She wanted the demons to leave.
She put the notebooks and many additional things on her bed. Six trash bags of occult and witchcraft materials were taken to the dumpster.
JANET’S STRUGGLE CONTINUES
After that experience in Janet’s tiny townhouse, you’d imagine she would have gone on toward radical deliverance. Sadly, that didn’t happen, at least as far as we know. She disappeared. We aggressively searched for her and finally, after several weeks, did track her down. She would attend church occasionally, but would manifest demonically at times. She aggressively confronted my wife once and then ultimately vanished again. That was the last time we ever saw Janet, well, sort of. Janet was about to visit some people in their dreams.
HALLOWEEN SEASON IN MANITOU SPRINGS
October in Manitou Springs is always extremely volatile. Witchcraft is rampant and the atmosphere in that town is heavy. Creepy. Threatening. Also, it was my favorite time of the year. We knew we were called to contend against the darkness as we we were advancing toward revival.
Each year in Manitou Springs we’d prayer walk the city as we witnessed small fires in the foothills of the mountains ignite. The flames would dance as thought the mountains were alive. Witches were having their meetings, and we were having ours. We’d never consider hosting a harvest party or other event like that on Halloween. It was all out war, a spiritual war, and we had no option but to be alert, armed in the Spirit and on assignment. It was time for prayer.
The attack during October each year was intense. Three years in a row, precisely on October 31st, our oldest son was admitted to the hospital with a severe asthma attack. The suffocating spirit was assaulting him every October, until God gave us some revelation on how the enemy was assaulting us. We responded and the Halloween attacks on him then ceased.
In 2003, two years after we had planted Revolution Church, and quite some time since we’d seen Janet, Amy was pregnant with our third child. One night, in the middle of October, Amy shot up in bed, frantic, and woke me up.
She was shaking. She said she just had a horrifying, vivid dream of Janet wielding a large knife. She drove it into my wife’s stomach and killed our baby.
After praying we went back to sleep, shaken but confident that God was in control. The next morning we awoke and prepared for a scheduled church staff meeting at our home. At the beginning of the meeting, I asked our staff for prayer and started to mention Amy’s dream. I was interrupted by one of our staff members. She said, “Amy, I had a dream about you too last night. It was disturbing. I saw Janet with a knife. She stabbed you in your stomach and killed the baby.”
We were speechless. Another staff member was beside herself. She said, “I didn’t have a dream, but I had an vision about the exact scenario you both described!”
Later that day, a friend of Amy’s who had never met Janet or known anything about her called. She was upset. She didn’t want to scare Amy, but she had to share about a dream she had. “Amy, there was this girl (she went on to describe Janet’s unique appearance precisely), and I saw a large knife in her hand. She attacked you, stabbed you in the stomach and killed the baby!”
Amy and I proceeded to do literally everything we could. We prayed, of course. We stood in our authority. We had a powerful deliverance minister and his team conduct a spiritual house cleaning in our home. They reported it was the cleanest house they had ever been in.
A CHRISTMAS EVE TO FORGET
A couple of months passed, and we had shaken off the disturbances that October visited on our family. In fact, we were excited about a special doctor’s appointment on Christmas Eve. We were going to hopefully discover the sex of our baby!
I will never, for the rest of my life, forget what happened in the waiting room. Amy, our two sons and Amy’s parents were there as we waited our turn to meet with the sonographer. Our appointment was the last of the day and doctors, nurses and receptionists were scurrying around, closing up shop and preparing to head out to various holiday festivities. Joy was in the house!
Suddenly, I felt an extremely heavy, holy blanket of grace descend upon me. My emotional strength suddenly tripled at least. I was spiritually tuned in, sensitive, wondering why God had decided to strengthen me in that manner. I was about to find out.
“Amy Burton,” called the nurse. It was our turn.
Amy and her mom joined me in the ultrasound room. Amy laid back as we were all excited about seeing our wonderful, new baby. The sonographer placed the instrument on Amy’s belly, and instantly removed it.
She said, “Wait here. I need to see if I can find a doctor before they all leave for the day.”
The next two minutes were spent in silence. Joy and gladness gave way to nerves.
The doctor finally arrived, took a quick look, and said, “I’m so sorry, your baby has died.”
WITCHCRAFT KILLED OUR CHILD
The next day was Christmas morning. We did all we could to make sure it was a wonderful one for our boys. We unwrapped gifts as we sat around the tree. Literally every single present I got for Amy was either maternity clothing or a gift for the baby. She carefully unwrapped each as her turn came and placed them in a pile to return to the store.
The following day we were in a hospital room, waiting for Amy to deliver Elizabeth Hope Burton.
As the labor inducement was quite a ways from taking effect, Amy said I could go to a late-night prayer meeting a few blocks away. My phone was kept on and I remained ready to rush back to the hospital at any moment. At that prayer meeting, God again strengthened me. Shortly after returning to the hospital at around midnight, we both met Elizabeth.
The doctor was shocked at the cause of death. It was a cord accident. Cord accidents aren’t unusual, but this particular one was. He said he’d never seen a cord wrapped five times around a baby’s neck. Elizabeth was suffocated to death. Witchcraft killed Elizabeth.
WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD
Amy and I bless Janet. We pray for her, wherever she may be. We don’t hold her accountable in any way. She was a hurting, lost young lady. She didn’t kill Elizabeth. Extremely vile, destructive, evil entities did. At the time, we did all we knew to do to help Janet. We also did all we knew to do to cancel the curse and to wage war against hateful, murderous evil spirits. We failed. We learned.
We lost six more babies after we lost Elizabeth, but we are so blessed to have three wonderful boys and two precious girls in the Burton family.
Amy has been a champion. She has ministered to those who have lost babies to stillbirth or miscarriage. She has cried with them, grieved with them, prayed with them and stood with them.
While our faith was hit, it was not shattered. We have learned over the years to war, to wrestle with the enemy and to contend with faith and passion. Life isn’t about some set of rules that Satan has to obey. He cheats. He hates. He does all he can to rip us to shreds, and he wastes no time finding just the best way to do that.
I know many of you who are reading this are already thinking about theological issues with my story. You might think Christians can’t be touched by witchcraft. You’d be wrong.
The slightest open door or lazy approach to intercession, or pride or even ignorance can give the enemy access. He doesn’t fight fair. He knows our weaknesses. In fact, some of you may be considering Job. He was upright, yet struck.
Understand, the blood of Jesus doesn’t grant us immunity. It grants us authority. We need to enroll in the school of the Spirit and learn how to battle. If we don’t fight, the fight will come to us. If we don’t engage, we will be hit.
I held off for fifteen years in writing this article because it’s not a happy story. But, I realized that so much of today’s church has become inauthentic by only highlighting that which makes us happy.
In order to win battles, and ultimately the war, we have to learn from struggles. We must understand the ferocity of the enemy. We need to be in the Word, in prayer and free from even the slightest sin or compromise.
The lesson we learned was not that we were steeped in sin. We weren’t. We were living holy lives as young though immature Jesus lovers. The lesson is that we must clearly understand that the enemy is ready to pounce, and that we must be ready.
HALLOWEEN IS EVIL—AND NO CHRISTIAN SHOULD PARTICIPATE AT ANY LEVEL
Witchcraft is permeating the atmosphere this and every October. It’s time to war, not party. Pastors, call solemn assemblies instead of holding harvest parties. This is an all hands on deck season.
I’ll leave you with some short bullet points that I posted to Facebook earlier today about Halloween. If you didn’t understand before why I so vehemently renounce this unholy day, you now should.
Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. Joel 1:14
Eleven reasons Christians celebrate Halloween
- They don't believe witchcraft is a big deal.
- They wrongly think the way they celebrate doesn't involve witchcraft.
- They incorrectly assume Christians are immune to curses and the power of witchcraft.
- They can't imagine the thought of their kids missing out.
- They celebrated Halloween as children and conclude it didn't have any negative impact on them.
- They wrongly equate it with Christmas, which “also has pagan roots” yet is universally embraced by Christians.
- They believe it can be sanitized and Christianized.
- They believe it's a great opportunity to evangelize, but without exposing the darkness or revealing how wicked the holiday is.
- They have fallen for false-grace deception that allows them to be free and have fun no matter what.
- They haven't experienced the wonder and terror of the spirit realm.
- They lack discernment.
Trust me, you will never look at the Burton family the same way again. Have we no shame?
18 Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him–for this is his lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 (NIV)
A bunch of you out there have an aversion to enjoying life. You can probably blame a good, old fashioned religious spirit on that. God does want you to enjoy the life he died to give you. Of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. We should die daily and live in resurrection power. We should give and prosper.
Recently, Amy and I had the privilege of hosting a team of high school business class leaders at our escape room business, Escape Code, and our axe throwing business, The Axe Game in Branson, Missouri.
Something I thoroughly enjoy is introducing and sharing Kingdom principles and other bits of life-giving wisdom in the marketplace. I know the bulk of our success comes from our radical devotion to promoting godly standards and living with integrity in the workplace.
11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? Luke 16:11 (NIV)
We recently “enjoyed” the opportunity going through a state audit for our escape room business. After hours, and hours, weeks and weeks of hard work, they met with us in person. Of course, we were nervous, wondering if our math would match with theirs. They reported that, aside from some very minor miscalculations, everything matched up. They were actually quite surprised and impressed at our honesty and integrity. My wife handles the finances, and if a single penny doesn’t match up, she will work hard correcting the error. She will pay that penny. That is not an exaggeration.
After the high school students played one of our escape games, we had an opportunity to address the team of future business leaders and engage in a time of questions and answers. In addition to discussing the issues of extreme integrity and honor in the workplace, we encouraged them in a critical plan of action: develop multiple streams of income.
When I was in high school, the only obvious option after graduation was to go to college. The question every junior and senior was asked time and time again was, “Where are you going to college?” It was college or bust.
It would have been extremely valuable to know that there are many additional options in our big, wide world! Trade schools, alternative learning, business incubators, internships, various prosperous jobs that don't require college and many additional choices are out there.
If our God loves to function outside the box, which he absolutely does, limiting our future and our income to a single, predictable track just doesn’t make sense. We made it clear that, yes, many would obviously benefit from a college degree, and, of course, many professions require it. I most certainly want our future doctors to have every degree and certification they need to operate. My oldest son, Skylar, is currently attending Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee as he prepares for a career in law. College, and more, is a requirement for him.
However, whether college is or is not a part of one’s track toward success and prosperity, developing multiple streams of income is a valuable move. In my opinion, a non-negotiable one.
For instance, people often criticize pastors who are financially prosperous, presuming they are immoral, thieves or greedy, when in fact they may have wisely developed multiple streams of income. They are appropriately creating wealth according to biblical standards. They have bought and sold real estate, written books, built businesses, consulted or initiated any number of other ventures that create wealth for them and their family.
18 You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth… Deuteronomy 8:18 (ESV)
Amy and I never want to rely on a single source of income—or rely solely on ourselves. We want to let God lead and develop new ventures through us understanding that businesses fail, people get fired, the economy can crash and tides can turn. On the positive side, we are entrepreneurial at heart, and we have a blast creating businesses and fresh income strategies. It’s fun!
We aren’t “rich,” but, then again, I believe we are. Our lives have been enriched in many ways. God has blessed us and we are thankful.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17 (NIV)
Over the years we’ve had many streams of income, most of them small, that have helped us grow financially.
In fact, when we leased space for The Axe Game earlier this year, two doors down from Escape Code, we also leased a storefront between the two businesses with plans to develop a third business at some point. It stands empty today as we give time to the praying and dreaming process. It is an exciting blank canvas for whatever big idea God drops into our spirit down the road.
5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. Proverbs 21:5 (NIV)
A HILARIOUS NEW POTENTIAL INCOME SOURCE—GET READY TO LAUGH RIGHT AT ME!
The reason I’m writing this article isn’t to bring attention to what the Burton family is doing, but rather to share how God is working in us so as to encourage you to dream big and break free from the stranglehold of poverty and lack.
In fact, Amy and I along with the younger kids recently ventured into a new business that many would call “cringy,” but I call “cringy cool!” It’s called Toys of the Realm.
But wait, allow me to back up a few weeks first. Another video project preceded Toys of the Realm.
Amy and I have been gifted in some specific ways, including communication, creativity, graphic design and video production. We also love to travel and do it often. Anything from short day trips to business trips to ministry trips to actual vacations keep us on the move regularly.
While we are about ten years late to the game, we decided to launch a YouTube travel channel. Many who started years ago are enjoying very large monthly checks. Today, the competition is much greater, but we will not be deterred! We spent a few hundred dollars for some basic equipment and then launched out to create travel videos. It’s so much fun! As I walk around with my gimbal, recording anything from donuts at Hurt’s Donut Company, to rides at Silver Dollar City, to cave systems to food on the table of our our favorite restaurants, people wonder what we are doing. We explain that we are travel vloggers and then offer them a business card that directs them to the YouTube channel that will soon have the very content they are watching us record, possibly that very night.
TPF! Travel Adventures is a fun, though time consuming, potential stream of income that we are taking very seriously. We understand that it may take anywhere from one to three years to see ad revenue from YouTube and our affiliate marketing to start trickling in. But, who knows, we may really need those paychecks at that time. We will be extremely thankful that we planned ahead and developed this stream of income.
27 Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house. Proverbs 24:27 (NIV)
TOYS OF THE REALM—CRINGY COOL
Definition, CRINGY: Someone or something that makes you embarrassed to be a part of the human race. Usually classified by seeing something and feeling extremely embarrassed, throwing your head back and closing your eyes to block your view, and biting your lip to keep in your scream of utter disgust. ~Urban Dictionary
After Amy and I kept this next potential income stream a secret for the first four episodes, we decided it was time to let our pride go and let the world laugh with (at) us. I playfully posted this to Facebook last night:
I have to confess something… a hidden, secret part of my life.
You may never look at Amy or me the same way again…but it's time for the Burton family to come clean…
We can hear toys talk.
Yes, it's true. You might know me as a fiery preacher, an author and passionate revivalist… but, I couldn't keep this hidden part of our lives from you, our friends and family forever.
After you watch our first four videos about our wild adventures rescuing toys from the Toy Reaper, you are sure to lift an eyebrow, shake your head in wonder…and ask your kids to interpret just what is happening.
Some of you may start interceding for us. That's OK. We need it. If you could, say some prayers for the toys as well. They are in great danger.
The first video can be seen here…just don't say we didn't warn you: https://youtu.be/yz1Kt019KWE
The link to our channel where you can watch all four thrilling episodes is: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMqwOHxpg5vWTxHbjGW5GYA
Be sure to SUBSCRIBE so you can watch the adventure unfold multiple times each week.
Please don't unfriend us. We need you now more than ever.
John and Amy Burton and family
It’s OK. Laugh. Amy and I have busted up laughing with tears in our eyes many times as we recorded and watched the final release of each episode. Definitely cringy…cool! So far, the toys have led us to castle ruins, through tunnels, into the woods and into a dungeon! How can that not be thrilling?
Here’s the kicker. This channel may never bring us a dime, or some day it may bring in a truck load of dimes, but it has introduced something to our family that is exponentially much more valuable—we are having the time of our lives, together, as a family! The memories are more precious than all the gold in the world. In fact, there’s something to having fun as little children:
15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:15-16 (NIV)
You can definitely laugh and cringe along with us. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun we are having with both of our channels. Recently Amy and I took a day trip to Lake of the Ozarks and recorded an episode about a monster in Ha Ha Tonka State Park. It was just good ole’ fun! We loved hanging together, coming up with story lines and just having fun on camera!
Amy is a brilliant story teller. She develops all of our themes and storylines for our escape rooms. After playing, guests are regularly amazed at the fact that she designed them herself. She’s amazing! Now, with our children’s focused channel, Toys of the Realm, she uses that gift in another way.
I’d strongly encourage you to watch, and cringe, and laugh HERE.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Another piece of advice we gave to the high schoolers was: do what you love. What causes you to come alive? Don’t base your career path on the amount of money it may provide. Discover your passion and have a blast discovering how you can turn that into a career!
How often do we hear stories of people who have climbed the ladder and gained a six-figure income, only to burn out, quit and turn a hobby, something they are passionate about, into a career? It happens every day.
I believe God puts passions inside of us, and often he enables us to turn those passions into wealth creating opportunities. Understand, when I say wealth, I’m not putting a gigantic number on it. Wealth is simply resource that enables us to live the life God has called us to, and to enrich others around us. Each stream of income may only bring in a few hundred dollars a month, but all together, they make it possible to pay the bills, give extravagantly and continue dreaming and developing new streams!
Of course, those of you who know me understand that I’m all about revival and ministering in power. Laying down our lives and surrendering all should be our devotion every day. Many are called to venture into costly, challenging ministry assignments that don’t pay much at all. Definitely do that with your whole heart!
However, I also believe we can still develop streams of income in the midst of ministry. When Amy and I were called to spend a season at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, it would have been impossible if I hadn’t already developed sources of income that would sustain us. We eventually received a small stipend at IHOPKC as I first joined the graphic design team and then was asked to direct one of the four primary internships. That stipend was not nearly enough to sustain us. It took the other streams to make our ministry there possible. In fact, we were able to buy a house. There was no one single source of income that made that possible. Many streams (I believe we had developed seven separate small streams at that time) were required.
So, we were able to do what we loved, what we were called to do and support a growing family! After our season there, we moved to Detroit with no job, no new income opportunities and even nowhere to live. We drove our moving truck there, rented a place the next day, started a church, developed new income sources and watched ministry and finances develop together!
DON’T BE LAZY!
25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' 26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Matthew 25:25-27 (NIV)
Friend, many people are in lack because of this very parable. Look at how it continues:
28 “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. Matthew 25:28-29 (NIV)
Those who are lazy, those who don’t aggressively advance in their financial strategies will often find themselves losing ground while those who are prosperous and working hard will seem to gain with little effort.
While it’s true that doing what you love will result in a life where you don’t really work at all, as the saying goes, the truth is that you must work very hard. But if you choose your career and businesses wisely, the work will be enjoyable. While I understand that we may not see financial rewards from our two video endeavors for years, we are recording several times a week and I’m editing late into the night, several hours at a time, day after day. I love it!
However, it absolutely is work. Add that to running two extremely busy and demanding businesses, working often at those businesses personally to keep staff costs down, writing for Charisma and other publications, traveling for business and ministry, going to parent/teacher meetings, gymnastics and other soccer mom (and dad!) style responsibilities, and you have a lot of work!
This being said, as you work very hard, stay healthy, get rest and always know it’s God who brings increase, you will live in victory. A wrong heart will do you in. A right focus will bring great success. Your work and faithfulness will result in God ordering your steps.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Proverbs 23:4 (NIV)
GUARD YOUR HEART
15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 (ESV)
The purpose of creating wealth is not for the sake of accumulating wealth. It takes a humble and zealous lover of Jesus to agree with the principle that God desires us to create wealth, and to have great resource to give extravagantly, while never, ever giving our heart to that wealth.
In fact, if you can’t grow financially and grow in Jesus at the same time, I’d strongly encourage you to do what the Rich Young Ruler was instructed to do. Give it all away! Your eternity is not worth a temporarily large bank account. It’s laughable that it would be.
So, guard your heart. Reject greed. Be a passionate, fervent lover of Jesus and allow the resources you develop to bring life to your family, to the church and to the Kingdom of God.
24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:24-25 (NIV)
YOU CAN DO IT!
You absolutely have been given gifts and passions by God that can result in a joyful and very busy life that includes a strategic track toward financial prosperity.
God isn’t going to drop the money into your lap. The Parable of the Talents should be enough to shake us all out of that mirage. Not only has God given us the power to create wealth, he has given us the responsibility to do so!
I’d strongly encourage you to read a powerful article on the subject that I wrote recently titled: Why giving large percentages of our finances to the church might require disobedience to God.
Here’s an excerpt:
Successful entrepreneurs and business people will understand this principle easily. Their money is simply a tool. It’s used to expand their business, make investments and multiply their resources so they can have greater and greater impact.
Don’t ever look at a wealthy Christian in judgment. Many of them are doing exactly what God wants them to do. They aren't suppose to give everything to the poor or to the church. Their gift is much better used by multiplying resources and giving extravagantly year after year then by simply giving away what they have a single time. The result would be lack of resources and an inability to do what God has called them to do. If you have one million dollars, don’t give it all away. Multiply it and give millions and millions away.
If we give all we have to the church, or more than God has called us to, we won’t have enough to put to work for the sake of multiplication. We must give the correct amount and invest the correct amount to see the greatest Kingdom impact.
Kick into prayer. Develop strategies. Dream. Plan. Move. Risk.
Maybe God will call you to develop something that has the world laughing at you…as you laugh right on over to the bank. Your pastor and ministries all over the world will certainly appreciate the upward spike in your giving receipts as well.
Life with John and Amy TONIGHT at 6pm!
We usually meet the first Saturday of every month, but we had to shift it to the second week this month.
Bring food to share, lots of friends and get ready for a night of fun!
We have cornhole, ping pong, comfy couches and a great atmosphere for your family (YES, bring the kids!).
- When: Saturday, June 8th, 2013 at 6pm
- Where: 64639 Tara Hill Drive, Washington, MI 48095
Revival Church North is a NEW church plant/satellite church currently in the planning stage!
If you are an adrenaline junky and would like to participate in a NEW CHURCH PLANT, this may be the adventure for you!
Revival Church North is currently in the planning and development stage, and we will launch as a prayer-fueled, brand new, baby church in the coming weeks.
The plan is to plant it the same way we did Revival Church (the mother ship!)… EXCEPT, North will launch on Sunday mornings instead of Sunday evenings.
We are not asking any of our current staff or leaders to participate with the Burton family in this new venture (they are already SUPER invested at Revival Church and I don’t want to add to their plates).
So, though there may be a few that do choose to help in this new mission, it’s fully possible that we’ll start by meeting in a small office or in our home… just Amy, the kids, me and anybody else who may wander in! Yep, it’s back to worship with CD’s, fervent prayer and big vision with a handful of Upper Room style people!
The Burtons will be moving to our new home in Washington Township in the next 3-6 weeks, and shortly after we’ll start hunting for a small property to start the new church in.
Interested in more info? Want to join with us in this exciting new mission? Contact me directly at email@example.com!
What about the Mother Ship?
Everything will remain as it has been at Revival Church! The vision will keep developing, theLab is still key and the dreams will keep coming!
And, yes, I’ll be as invested (or more!) than ever! I’ll minister in the morning at our new satellite church and in the evening, as usual, at Revival Church!
AND, have you seen our BRAND NEW WEBSITE?
This one is for potential visitors… they can visit the site, learn about Revival Church and let us know they are coming! We’ll be ready for them with a gift for their first visit!
Head over to www.explorerevival.com!
Here’s a partial picture of some of the projects and plans that you can join us in!
In the last 20 years of this ministry God has dropped some crazy huge vision into me, and I’ll be the first to admit that I have near zero ability to pull it off. That’s not false humility, that’s actually probably an understatement!
But, that reality doesn’t reveal a liability—it opens the door of unlimited opportunity as we yield to the Enabler.
God uprooted us from Kansas City and dropped us into Detroit to serve and give leadership to a massive, prophetic reformation in the church and outpouring in the region. We’re gathering pastors, leaders and hungry people to pray every week and contend together in the fire.
If you would like to participate in these projects, I would be so grateful. We are seeking an increase in financial support so we can more fully focus on what God has given us. We are also looking for local people to run the race with us in corporate prayer and mission advance at theLab, Revival Church and our other adventures.
Here’s the big, big ideas:
The Coming Church: I’m currently writing this book on extreme reform that is coming to the church. The shift will arrive with force and it will only be discernable in fullness via the Spirit. You can read the article where I reveal the shocking vision I had of the coming church here: https://burton.tv/2011/07/21/a-fearful-vision-of-what-the-church-will-soon-look-like/
Drop That Sheep: This may be the next book I focus on as I am wrecked and troubled at the level of competition between churches. We as pastors don’t own sheep, we love them, equip them and release them into their destinies.
Unoffendable: This extremely popular teaching will be made into a book as well. It is fully possible to live a life totally free of offense so we can draw our strength from God alone and be free to love and bless those who hurt and use us.
Ten Threats to Revival: This will most likely be a short booklet yet it’s a key message to those who are hungry for the burnings of God on a city level. You can read the article that is leading to this book here: https://burton.tv/2011/03/20/ten-threats-to-revival/
A Spirit of Insignificance: This is another very popular and liberating teaching that has launched a lot of people into their destinies via the revelation of the burning One that they ‘carry like Mary'.
MINISTRY IN DETROIT
Revival Church: We are growing powerfully! We are becoming more established as a regional center of revival and are intent on equipping people to carry God to this city. Our worship team is leaving a powerful mark in the region as they are one of the ‘go to’ teams for people like Catherine Mullins, Aaron Crider and others when they are in town.
theLab Internship: God’s grace is all over this ministry! I’m in awe! What started as a small noon prayer meeting has launched into a testimony machine where people have come alive in the furnace of God’s presence. We have four internships scheduled for 2012 so start praying about how you can participate!
Seeking a new property: We are very actively praying for a miracle to occur so we can house theLab and Revival Church seven days a week. We are maximizing what’s available to us in the building that we lease and share with another church, but the amount of activity that we have simply demands a full-time headquarters.
Prophetic Ministry to the city: I moved here from Kansas City with a mandate and a message for this amazing city of Detroit. My heart is to serve and give apostolic and prophetic leadership to the revival movement here. This is truly the driving force of my life in this current season and we are seeking extreme fire-fueled unity in the churches of this region.
1000 Intercessors: This is a critical piece of the puzzle. We pray in a different church every Friday night from 10pm-midnight, and I’m urgently calling every pastor in the region to gather with us each week. We also need burning intercessors and revivalists to step into position and pray on site with us each Friday. Can you imagine 1000 people converging at a different church every seven days in Detroit? I can.
The new sound in Detroit: God dropped a bomb on me. I clearly see a worldwide worship movement being birthed in Detroit, but it’s quite different than what many would presume. This is a Romans 8:26-27 worship movement. A deep groaning worship movement that shatters atmospheres.
MINISTRY NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY
Carrying fire: I feel a season of shift is upon me, and I’m starting to focus more on traveling to churches, conferences and city events to release the fire of God. The vision is to travel often with the team that I’m raising up at theLab and to hold workshops, schools of fire and other events, and also to travel individually nationally and internationally to teach on the topics of my books.
Schools of fire: We’ve already heard from people in other cities who are craving an internship and school of fire like theLab to be launched in their region. We will see teams of people from Detroit spending a week or a month in another city somewhere in the world to setup this unique ministry.
Television: There has been a good amount of prophecy on this topic. I see a wild, prophetic, explosive and edgy television program that has deep, groaning worship, quick snips of prophetic teaching, fervent prayer and other elements.
BurtonSites: My web design business is doing great, and I’ll be eventually looking to bring someone on to take over the design so I can oversee it and focus on ministry more fully.
Burton family finances: We believe in full disclosure so you can understand clearly the needs we have. Currently our personal finances primarily come from a part-time Revival Church salary and my web and graphic design. Some smaller amounts come in from Amy’s 8 hour a week job at a crisis pregnancy center, sales of my books and honorariums when I travel and speak.
We have our monthly bills covered (barely!) and we are debt free as a family. However, there are two issues we would love some support in:
- I need to rework the hours spent on web and graphic design so I can be more free to write the books, develop the church and ministry and travel. As income comes in to replace my design income, I’ll be able to bring on an employee to handle my workload.
- We need two new(er) vehicles. We have some pretty creative angles holding our two mini-vans together! One has nearly 180,000 miles on it and has served us well for nearly 10 years. The turn signals, air bags and horn don’t work, it leaks oil, the air conditioning is broken and the sliding door barely closes! No complaints, as I’d rather drive a rust bucket than have a car payment, but, cars only last so long. I’m getting ready to focus on traveling in ministry and I’ll need a solid car pretty soon.
How you can help
The two easiest ways to help would be to either give a donation (recurring monthly donations are great too!) at www.johnburton.net/donate. Or, hire me. Head over to www.burtonsites.com and order a site or check out www.johnburtondesign.com and let me know how I can help with logos, graphics and print design.
Additionally, if you have the resources to donate a newer, reliable car that can hold six people, that would be awesome!
We love you all! God is doing big, big things and we have big, big, faith!!
Blessings to you!
My Facebook profile is GONE! And, Saturday I’m teaching on The Terror of Hell at theLab…
I reached my limit of friends on Facebook, so I decided to move everybody over to a brand new Facebook page. The page is open to EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD! Check it out and LIKE it here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Burton/213119058738602
I also opened a NEW Facebook profile (the old one has been deleted)…and this time I’m going to limit my friends to people I actually know. I think it will be easier to manage that way. If I know you (meaning, we have conversed in person or online and we are actual friends) then, by all means, send me a friend request! Go here: http://www.facebook.com/johnedwardburton.
SATURDAY at theLab Internship I will be sharing my story of being dragged toward Hell 20 years ago. It’s a moment in time that has resulted in a permanent tremble and fear of the Lord in my life. I’ll share about God’s zealous call for deep intimacy between us and him. It’s a class that can forever change your life.
You can audit it for $15. Just show up at 10am and pay at the door (cash, credit card, check). The class lasts until 2pm.
I’m also revising my book The Terror of Hell and it will be available on Amazon and Kindle soon!
Our Current Situation in Detroit
Amy and I and the Burton family would be honored if you would read through this and contact us this week. God is really doing some amazing things around here!
Last May we made a seemingly crazy decision to move against the massive flow of people out of Detroit, and to move here to help prepare the region for revival.
Since then we’ve developed some amazing and important relationships, started Revival Church, ministered in churches and raised up a solid team of revivalists.
The reason for the mass exodus out of the Detroit area is the tragic level of unemployment. I’ve heard it said that there’s ONE JOB for every 90 people looking for a job!
We knew we were taking a huge faith step, and with little guaranteed monthly finances we’d have to live on the miraculous giving of our friends and partners.
Those of you that know me understand very well that I embrace a lifestyle of thankfulness, joy and faith. The following situation is not a complaint or an expression of frustration, but a simple and very real analysis of our current situation.
- Since I had to start working outside the church, my actual time involved in ministry has been reduced to near zero (the goal is to be invested 40-60 hours a week, and I’m currently ministering less than 5)
- Church plant coaches say that a key and initial goal is to raise enough money so the planter doesn’t have to divide his time and energy by working outside of the church. (The time necessary to be involved in prayer, study, pastoring, networking, developing, creating teams, marketing, etc. is quite extreme… it’s way more than a full time job in itself.)
- Due to the high time requirements and demands of church and ministry leadership, Steve Gray of World Revival Church in Kansas City recently said, “…every pastor, if they are working a job outside the church,their goal should be, as fast as possible,to get rid of that job."
- My energy and focus has been divided significantly due to the need to get a job (again, thankful, but wisdom demands an evaluation of this)
- I currently work until around 6pm every day, and then work for my own design business most evenings from 6pm to bedtime and also on Saturdays.
- I’ve been preparing my sermon for Sunday’s Revival Church service the hour before I leave for service every Sunday, which just can’t continue.
- The preparation of revival requires a massive time commitment, and I don’t want my part of the mission to remain on hold for much longer. The work to be done is huge, and I must give myself to it fully.
We are boldly asking for you to financially partner with our ministry. We need to raise at least $3000 a month to replace my job, and another $1000 or so to replace my design business.
You can give via credit card at www.johnburtonministries.com/donate. If you setup recurring monthly donations, that would be a huge blessing. If you’d prefer to make a special donation, that would bless us as well!
The donations are tax-deductible. If you’d prefer to send a check, just contact us and we’ll get you the info. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and Amy’s is email@example.com. My phone is 313.799.3473.
THANK YOU SO MUCH. We’d love to hear from you and share more about this huge mission in Detroit!
We love you!
John, Amy, Skylar, Parker, Jet and Ella
The new Ministry Partnership Packet is ready for you to look at! CLICK HERE to check it out.
Amy and I are missionaries to Detroit, and we are intently focused on establishing a base of night and day prayer and a hub of revival projects that are already impacting hungry people.
First, a primary joy of mine is taking the fire of God to churches and conferences. In the ministry packet you will see info on how to request a booking. I’d love to connect with you and hear your heart for people.
Also, we are aggressively (super aggressively!) seeking new financial partners who have a passion for transformed lives.
We’re experiencing a personal shortfall of approximately $1930 a month and need several new friends to erase that as soon as possible. The church, on the contrary, is doing fairly well financially. We do receive a small salary, but we also need to keep some reserves for our ministry projects. Therefore, our personal expenses must be covered via fundraising and other methods.
Take a look at the packet, and contact me at 313.799.3473 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can donate to the Burton Family (it’s tax-deductible) at www.johnburtonministries.com/donate.
I pray huge revival blessings in your life!
Superheroes Aren’t Supposed To Die
The mystique and allure of superheroes is their seeming immortality. No matter what evil villain appears and no matter the level of their insidious attack, there’s always a miraculous victory that ensures there will be another comic book issue, another blockbuster movie. The good guys always win.
Superman and Spiderman are assured of many centuries of battle after victorious battle. Shoot, even Indiana Jones keeps coming back for more!
Why is this? Superheroes aren’t supposed to die. A defining attribute of a superhero is their bulletproof exterior that covers a tender heart for mankind.
Countless people have contacted me with their testimonies of my dad’s soft, compassionate heart. I have been so blessed to watch my superhero in action for the last forty years. His passion for people was second to none.
My dad was my superhero—and, on Good Friday, 2010, my superhero died.
Robert Burton absolutely had superpowers. He used them all the time, and many people have been saved because of them. What were they? Mercy. Compassion. Love. Faithfulness. A continual sense of humor.
Here’s a testimony from someone about one of my dad’s many victorious battles against the forces of darkness:
"All I can tell you about Bob Burton boils down to this: In two short years of knowing him, he accomplished what an army of people, including my wife, attempted for decades, and failed: he brought me to Jesus. All of the others pushed, but Bob led. He led with love, and understanding, and tolerance and with patience. Lots of patience! He was a kind, kind man, who gave of himself so that others could have a piece of him to hold onto through this sometimes difficult life. And he did that with love, and gladness in his heart.”
The reason this testimony was possible, the reason why we all can be free, why we can also win battle after battle against life’s villains, is because my dad also had a Superhero. His Superhero also died on Good Friday.
The result? We all have the opportunity to be endued with Superpower, with the Holy Spirit. We all can love and heal and touch terrified, desperate people who have been abused by a very evil enemy.
Jesus also rose from the grave. He is now alive and active. Extremely active. And, because of that resurrection, my dad is also alive and active right now with Jesus in Heaven. Many people who are still on the Earth are alive and active because of my dad’s willingness to carry Jesus and walk in resurrection power everywhere he went.
A Very Special Part of the Story
As I mentioned above, a key superpower my dad wielded was his sense of humor. He had joy and expressed it continually.
I was sitting in a Starbucks here in Grosse Pointe, Michigan connecting with a young, emerging leader in our church. As we were concluding our meeting I received a text message from a friend of the family in Branson:
Praying for you, your mom, Mike and all the family… Bob was an awesome demonstration of God’s grace and love…
Was? Bob ‘was’?
I felt the color leave my face and chills instantly flooded every part of me. I knew Dad was having some struggles with his health, but I wasn’t expecting a text message like this.
I called Mom and she immediately asked, “Are you coming?”
I said, “What do you mean?”
What? How could this be? I drove home and parked in the driveway as Mom and I talked about what happened, what needed to happen, when we should drive down to Branson.
Then, suddenly, God did something very special for me—something I’ll never forget. He disconnected the call with my mom, it dropped in the middle of our conversation, and a moment later my phone rang and I saw my dad’s picture pop up on my phone. My dad’s cell phone was calling me.
I answered and the nurse was on the line. She said my dad wanted her to get me on the phone. “Ummm… OK.” I said.
The next voice was indeed my dad’s. His superpowers of joy and sense of humor touched me yet again. “I’m calling from Heaven.”
What? Dad? What’s going on?
He said, “I’m still among the living. There was a miscommunication regarding my condition, but it won’t be long.”
I said, “Dad, this is like the Twilight Zone! Wow. Should I come on out to see you?”
In his normal, selfless manner he said, “Nah, just pray.”
I told him I loved him and that was it. It was the end of a brief but precious phone call with the man who impacted my life more dramatically than I could ever explain.
We immediately packed and drove to Springfield to see him in the hospital.
By then he was not communicating very well, but he did say, “I love you.” He also said, several times, “Mom.” His tender heart, his superpowers of mercy and love, were still shining through. He wanted to ensure the love of his life here on the Earth, my mom, who had been mostly bed-ridden for over 30 years, would be very well taken care of.
I learned that his last phone call with my mom was filled with tears and he told her how sorry he was that he was leaving her. He was so sorry that he wouldn’t be there to care for her any more.
That was on April 1, 2010. April Fool’s day. It would have been an appropriate send off if this master of the superpower of humor departed on that day. However, I believe God wanted to make a larger statement about his life of consecration and surrender to the Lover of his soul, Jesus.
He held on and passed away the next morning—Good Friday.
Yes, superheroes do die. But the greatest heroes actually die well before they leave the Earth. As we take up our cross, die daily, surrender all and follow Jesus, many villains will be defeated and many special people will find the abundant life they so desperately desire.
Thanks Dad for your life. I can’t wait to see you again.
You can view a special website in honor of Bob Burton at www.johnburton.net/bobburton. Please submit any stories, testimonies, photos or other information about him by filling out a form on the site. You can also donate toward the care of Bob’s wife Barbara.
It may not seem like it would amount to much, but trust us, our ability to minister is deeply impacted when people shop for phenomenal, world-renowned, organic and chemical-free products through our business. Would you switch stores and enroll for $1? It would bless us so much!!!
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Here are some quick points:
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- The potential savings is significant
- This business is in the BBB Hall of Fame
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- If you want to also build a business (like we are), we haven’t found a more powerful opportunity or a company with a higher level of integrity
I’m confident in saying that our reputation precedes us, and that it’s well known that we would never be involved in anything that lacked the highest level of integrity. We love this company!!
If you can shop online, you’ll love this!!!!!
Again, your simple choice to shop for better products will go a long ways toward partnering with our ministry. It really does make a huge impact!
John and Amy Burton