A Two-Act Drama Worth Noting
The Gentleman on the right is Jim Dunaway, a local sportscaster. He's been around, broadcasting sports .. and for a while, news .. since he was in High School. I think we were aware that he was a believer, but that's pretty common even for media folks down here in the Buckle of the Bible Belt. Jim recently wrote a tribute to Rick Burgess and his family.
Rick is half the Rick and Bubba Radio twosome that is extremely popular, syndicated over many, many stations each weekday morning. They're professing believers, Baptists both (as I recall) and openly so even on their program. And they are absolutely hilarious.
This past weekend, as Rick was in Tennessee speaking to a youth group, his toddler son Bronner drowned in their backyard pool here at home. That touched most everybody who knew of them. I personally haven't met Rick, but I do know Bill "Bubba" Bussey, as I insure the truck that Rick and Bubba use to conduct their mobile broadcasts. Another customer and frequent commenter on this blog, Ken "Bones" Hearn does all of their driving of their Urban Assault Broadcast Vehicle. They refer to him frequently.
Jim Dunaway wrote a moving tribute to Rick's testimony at the funeral, and his personal interaction with the Burgess' after the service. Jim's tribute ... as emailed to me by our church ... follows.
I have spent 22 years in broadcasting and 44 years on earth, and I saw the most amazing thing I have ever seen Tuesday.
Standing graveside at a private ceremony, my wife and I saw a family (Rick Burgess) bury their 2 year old son Bronner. A few hours later, we sat with friends in a special section as a sanctuary filled with hundreds of people. I saw a Church choir fill to capacity, every one of them having taken the day off from work. I sang, and I cried, I wrapped my arms around my wife as if someone was trying to steal her away. Then one of the most powerful Christian Rock groups walked on stage and continued to worship. All of this was powerful, but the amazing part was still to come.
I saw a man who I had watched bury his son at 11am, stand and deliver a message. It wasn't a message of sorrow. It wasn't filled with tears. It was a message of salvation. It wasn't just about the salvation of his son, but a message for all of us. People came to know our Lord Jesus Christ for the first time. Others, like my wife and I, recommitted our lives to Serving and walking with our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you listen to the show, you know I am a very emotional person.
When I heard the news of Bronner's drowning Saturday night, I cried. I cried off and on Sunday and Monday and up to that amazing moment Tuesday shortly after two. Then the tears went away. I had never been that close to the Face of God before. He was in that place like I have never witnessed.
I witnessed the power of God fill a man who was broken by the death of his baby. I saw that power fill his legs and lift him on stage and then fill his lungs and allow him to share a message that lasted 20 minutes but it seemed to be timeless. I promise you I could have listened forever. Again, I am sure it was God speaking through Rick Burgess' mouth. I was awestruck.
When my wife and I entered the private dinner after the memorial service, I just wanted to say goodbye and do the usual, "We'll be praying for you" message... but not on this day. Maggie and I walked up to Rick and Sherri, we hugged, we exchanged a few words, and then Rick and Sherri wrapped their arms around Maggie and me and we prayed specifically for our family and our salvation. Notice the wording there, Rick and Sherri wrapped their arms around us... that is not a misprint. 4 hours earlier, they had buried their son and they were wrapping their arms around us. God is Great.
It was an AMAZING DAY.
The testimony Rick Burgess gave can be seen in its entirety here, and I suggest you watch all of it.
Ironic, isn't it? In a world where small big men argue over doctrines and firings and theologies, REAL faith shows up courtesy of two professional media-types.