Featured photo: Rev. Edward Burns
Written by L. M. Land
On Monday, January 15, the Rev. Edward Burns, pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church, delivered a powerful and insightful message about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and how his life journey parallels that of Jesus Christ. Burns also makes it clear that you too have a path and purpose.
This Great Lakes District Baptist Congress Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Day Program was held at Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle. Pastor Stephen Murphy was host pastor.
The Courier will share some highlights from Rev. Burn’s message, but please listen to the entire message at https://www.facebook.com/MetroBTFlint/videos/3686080648303788/
Burn’s message was based on Luke 4:14-22, where Jesus declared himself the Messiah, but His hometown people failed to recognize this. He also references Isaiah 61-62 and the task of finding your own purpose that has been given to you by God.
Burns emphasized the point that “Your present position is not an indication of your future potential. And don’t let anybody steal your dream.”
Burns added that his mother also taught him: “Understand you’re able to go above and beyond the limited expectations.”
He asks us to remember this for ourselves and also while looking at the lives of Jesus and Dr. King. Both men came from humble beginnings and it took both men a while to mature, become educated, to learn and accept their life purpose.
According to Burns: “The thing [we] don’t understand about Jesus and Dr. King is the mystery of the mission.”
Regarding King he said, “God was refining him to be the spokesperson. It took time to get ready for what he had prepared him to do.”
Then Burns brought the message home to each of us: “You’ve got to understand your purpose…You need to know what you’re here for.”
As both Jesus and King encountered injustice, they did not use violence. They “dealt with issues and concerns of inequality in a peaceful and loving manner,” explained Burns.
Burns continued, “If we are going to fight for justice and equality [today], it comes as a package deal. We’ve got to come together. And it doesn’t matter who is in charge of it as long as we’re working together as one. You see, that is the problem we have, we won’t work together as one.”
The unity of Christ and his apostles and King’s ability to pull people together were highlighted.
“There are things we can do now that Martin Luther did. He fought through temptation; he fought through the opposition, through the rejection. But he did not separate from God. He stayed true to what he was, and what he was to be.”
“But he stood the test of time. Why do you think we still talk about him? Why do you think his dream still lives on? Why do we still talk about Jesus and his vision still lives on? What vision are you setting? How is someone writing your story?
“Jesus came into this world with a job to do, a job he still performs,” explained Burns. “He came to preach the gospel to the poor; he came to heal the broken hearted, to cure those who have suffered, to preach deliverance to the captors. Parallel this with King. What was he doing? He was bringing deliverance to the captors, healing the brokenhearted.”
And please remember, you too have a purpose.
Burns himself is a man who has continued to evolve and grow into his purpose of inspiring others through his ministry. He began his career as a x-ray technician, then learned CT scan imagery. He continued to educate himself with a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Michigan, then a master’s in management and organizational leadership. Burns moved into imaging management at St. Joseph’s until it became the Genesys System. He continues to evolve and educate himself to this day, and is a doctoral candidate through University of Phoenix.
Burns is “bi-vocational,: a full time minister and a management professional at Biotronik Inc., LLC. He works from home and works with an innovative weightless lead protection system for physicians who do any type of interventional case in medical imaging.
As a church attendee all his life, the ministerial calling nagged at him over the years. He finally accepted the call and enrolled in Agape Faith Bible Training Center in 1994. His first sermon was on December 31, 1996, at Morningstar Baptist. In 2006, he moved to Gethsemane Baptist under the inspirational Dr. Major Stewart.
When Providence’s minister B. F. Young decided to retire, he asked Burns to take his place. Young continued to attend Providence and served as a mentor for Burns in his first church. Burns has been minister there for 14 years now, and clearly loves his church and its people.
“We are a cohesive group; we work as a team.” explained Burns. “Pastoring is my number one passion. I like the job, but I love the people.”
Providence runs on transparency of their stated vision of working together. They all know about the budget and the workings of the church, and are able to choose directions they wish to go in with all the information they need. Input from congregants is welcome. One large project they took on was to get rid of three abandoned properties next to their church. It costs about $8,000 per property demolition, and everyone got together and gradually built up funds to demolish the eyesores (after buying the properties from the Land Bank). This is an example of the concept spoken of earlier in this article, the simple concept of working together as one.
“My heart is here, and I am here to stay,” explained Burns.
And a last word from Dr. King, from his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop:”
Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you. – Dr. Martin Luther King.
Providence Baptist is located at 916 W Jamieson St, Flint, MI 48505, phone: 810-787-7390.
Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle is located at 930 E Myrtle Ave, Flint, MI 48505, phone: 810-787-9731.