Jack Burch was born in Miami Florida in 1926. After high school he joined the U.S. Merchant Marine in 1944, serving in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during the latter part of W.W. II. He received a B.S. degree in Marine Engineering from the U.S. Merchant Academy, a B.A. degree in speech communications from David Lipscomb College, Nashville, Tennessee, and an M.A. degree in New Testament from Abilene Christian College. In addition, he has done special graduate work at Southern California School of Theology at Claremont and Fuller Theological Seminary. From 1969 - 1979 he was part of the adjunct faculty in religion at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. He has also taught in Nigeria, Vienna, Austria, and South Korea.
One of Jack's areas of special interest is the Greek text of the New Testament. He did research for his Master's Thesis at the International Greek New Testament Project based at Emory University and was the first person to use a computer in comparing variant readings in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.
Jack's primary interest has always been congregational ministry. He began preaching in 1948 and is presently the pulpit minister for the Burbank Church of Christ. He has also served churches of Christ in Glendale and Palm Desert, California, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, and Florida. Jack returns to Seoul, South Korea each year to teach in a ministerial training school for churches of Christ in that country.
Sun, Nov 22, 2015
Sometime there are seemingly complex topics which turn out to be surprisingly simple. God’s commandments are frequently like that. Our personal weaknesses sometime blur our vision and we see some of life’s truly simple fundamentals as hopelessly complicated. Israel suffered from this malady and became confused about God’s laws for holy living. To the people of God, the prophet Micah answered their seemingly complex question with a very simple statement: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
The topic of baptism is so simple when we take God’s word for our answers. Two thousand years of meddling with the subject has made it appear very complex. Let’s go back to the basics of the topic and compare contemporary theological ideas with God’s word as we study:
“The Fundamentals: The Who, How, and Why of Baptism”
Sun, Nov 22, 2015
Two things which our culture craves are power and prestige. Of course there are ancillary things which come in like wealth, beauty, fame, etc. and they augment power and prestige but those two primary components usually incorporate other “highly desirable” commodities. Moses, a man with opportunity for both power and prestige, decided against them. Instead, he chose ‘to suffer afflictions with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” (Heb. 11:25) Wow, what a choice!! Too often, when “opportunity knocks” we “temporarily” place God on the shelf (a little sarcasm there) so we can enjoy “the good life.” God will have his turn in our activities after we have enjoyed life. Moses, while in his prime made a choice – the choice of suffering with God’s people. Why? Because the willingness to suffer affliction by doing what is right was far more important than “enjoying the pleasures of sin [and they are abundant] for a short time. “
What was the outcome? It was greater than the prestige he may have gained as one of history’s most notable characters. He served God tirelessly, suffered terribly, and was rejected by the many of the people he served.
Sun, Nov 15, 2015
Repentance takes place in our hearts. Forgiveness takes place in the heart of God. Repentance is frequently accompanied by a strong feeling of relief and joy. We rejoice that we have changed our minds from unrighteousness to righteousness – from evil to good – from rebellion against God to submission to God.
That good feeling is frequently confused with forgiveness because we feel good about it. However, we must remember that forgiveness takes place in the mind of God, not in our minds and we are not empowered to read God’s mind. Instead, we must rely on his Biblical revelation. Changing our minds is not easy to do but it is necessary.
Sun, Nov 15, 2015
Probably nothing symbolizes Egypt better than the Sphinx and the Pyramids. Almost everyone who goes to Egypt is thrilled at the sight of these monuments. When Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave to a caravan going to Egypt these massive pyramids and the sphinx were already about 800 years old, having been constructed probably about 2500 B.C. Joseph came to Egypt in about 1700 B.C.
The story of Joseph is one of the longest and most love stories in the Bible. It occupies about 22% of the 50 chapters of Genesis. We can learn so much from the life of this patriarch.
Sun, Nov 08, 2015
A Beautiful Relationship May Be Hard to Find.
Life is sweeter, happier, more joyful, and more peaceful when we have beautiful relationships! Home life, work life, community life, friends, etc. all thrive when the relationships are beautiful.
Frequently overlooked is the beauty of the relationship of faith in God and obedience to God. Unfortunately faith and obedience are seen as the “requirements” of Christianity. Yes, they are requirements but much more than that, there is a beautiful relationship between faith and obedience. They bring unspeakable joy, happiness, and tranquility. It is not a formula which says, “Do this, Do this and “Do that” and it will bring happiness, joy and tranquility. No, it is the will to become a different kind of person. Becoming a Christian isn’t just a “five step” process Instead, we vow to God that we will become new creatures according to his plan. It is demanding, not of just of particular behavior but of becoming a new person. When Paul spoke of “faith” he was speaking of “trust.” Coupled with this was his inexhaustible gratitude for what Christ had done for him on the cross.
Sun, Nov 08, 2015
Each time I read the dramatic story of Abraham and Isaac it becomes a greater mystery. How could a loving God say to his faithful servant, Abraham, “Take your son, Isaac whom you love, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering.”
Although human sacrifices were common among many pagans, this had to be an incomprehensible command. God had promised that through Isaac he would bring about his pledge to Abraham to bless all of the families on earth.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead if necessary to carry out the promise. Thus, we have a man of faith who became part of:
“A Great Cloud of Witnesses: Abraham”
Sun, Nov 01, 2015
But Cats and Dogs Don’t Like Each Other!!
True, cats and dogs usually don’t like each other but please don’t tell that to the cat and dog pictured above. “Natural enemies?” That may be correct but even “natural enemies” can learn to be content with each other, like each other, and become very close friends.
Thankfully, God made each of us a little different from every other person on the planet. Endless variety!!
And, we can’t deny that “variety is the spice of life.” Just as a cute little cat and a big burley dog can live together harmoniously so also can human being learn to live together and love each other.
Sun, Oct 25, 2015
No, I really can’t capture the essence of love. God’s love is as confusing to me as God’s wrath. Why would he love me so much that he would allow his Son to be sacrificed in my behalf? God’s wrath is equally confusing to me. Some people are so absorbed in thinking of God’s wrath that the grand vision of his love becomes obscure and distorted.
The atoning sacrifice of God’s Son helps me with my lack of understanding of his wrath. Yes, at times his wrath even seems unjust but this is overshadowed by his inexplicable love for each of us. After all, life – both secular and religious – is a journey of faith. In this life we will never have all the answers we want but that does not mean that no answers exist. Our faith in God does not have its roots in our own logic but in the incomprehensible love which we can experience in Christ as
“The Essence of Love”
Sun, Oct 25, 2015
Isn’t Life Like This?
Well, certainly not all the time but from one experience to another, the storms of life close in on us and we wonder if the “peace of God” will ever return. The Lord assures us that the peace we seek can return. However, our personal devotion and fidelity are conditions which we must fulfill. Let’s never minimize our own neglect of congregational and personal spiritual needs. I need to ask myself, these two questions: “How can I strengthen my own spiritual life?” and “What can I do for the congregation to strengthen our corporate spiritual life.”
“Calming the Troubled Sea”
Sun, Oct 18, 2015
I really don’t like jigsaw puzzles. All of pieces look alike in some ways but each one is different in size, shape, and part of the picture. That confuses me no end! It would be so much easier to put it together if every piece looked the same, was the same size, and had the same shape. I could work with that. But after it was all put together there would be no beautiful scene to enjoy, no characters to see, nothing but “sameness.” I get tired of “sameness.”
When God deigned the church, it seems that the word “sameness” was not in his vocabulary. Instead, he took all of the different gifts of human beings and wove them into a beautiful picture. He called it the Body of Christ and its “pieces” are wonderfully different in their abilities, capabilities, and other gifts. God gave a job to each “piece” so that it could function according to the “gift” God had given to it.