Monday, October 31, 2011


In 1975, I received a Bad Conduct Discharge from the U. S. Marines because of some crimes that I had committed. As a result, I was not eligible to receive any government benefits. In 1991, I gave my life to Jesus Christ, walked away from my criminal lifestyle, and moved to St. Louis, Missouri. Although I was trying to do what was right, my discharge was hurting me. I couldn’t apply for certain jobs. I couldn’t afford to go back to school. I didn’t have health insurance and I didn’t meet the qualifications for buying a house. All because I didn’t have any benefits.

After I wrote my first book, The Hoodlum Preacher, some Hollywood producers talked to me about making it into a movie. But, to avoid future embarrassment, they wanted me to verify the things that I had written. So I got copies of my criminal records from Illinois and Missouri. I was even able to get a copy of one of my mug shots. But when I received a copy of my military records, I got the shock of my life. Although it listed my many court-martials and convictions, it listed my discharge as, “Honorable Conditions.”

I found out that the Appellate Court had overturned my major convictions and upgraded my discharge in 1979. I never received the letter that they sent informing me of the outcome. Therefore, for more than thirty years, I thought I had a Bad Conduct Discharge. More importantly, for more than thirty years, I had benefits that I was not aware of.

When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He became our lawyer in the court of appeals. And because of what He accomplished on Calvary, the sins that we committed and were convicted of were overturned. But some of us are still beating ourselves up because of things that we did in the past. Some of us are not aware of the benefits that we have been given. We don’t have to wait until we die to have joy. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Serving God has benefits.

Rev. Burton Barr's Trilogy on KINDLE Now!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011


When I was a child, we had a family dog named Rex. Although Rex was kind of temperamental, I loved playing with him. There were two things that Rex did not allow anyone to do, no matter who they were. First of all, he didn’t let anyone stick his or her hand in his doghouse while he was in there. The other thing was, he didn’t want anyone to touch his food while he was eating. Everyone in our family knew this, and my parents constantly warned my little brother, Ralph, and me not to go near Rex’s house or his food.

One day, Ralph and I were playing with a stick on our back porch and we accidentally dropped it. It fell off of the porch and landed in the middle of some food that Rex was eating. Ralph thought he could grab the stick before Rex could grab his hand. Bad move. Rex had Ralph’s hand before he even got close to the stick.

Ralph ran away crying, so I tried to comfort him. I told him that he went at it the wrong way. I told him to stand back and watch me get the stick. I knew better than to put my hand near Rex’s food, so I decided to kick the stick away and then pick it up. Another bad move. Rex had my foot before it got close to the stick. Both of us went in the house, crying, while Rex finished his meal.

We sometimes do things that we know we shouldn’t. Maybe we think we can get away with it or it might be to impress someone. If we do what God told us to and stay away from the things we should avoid, it could spare us a lot of pain in the end.

Rev. Burton Barr's Trilogy on KINDLE Now!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Cave

Because of his age, a lion was unable to provide food for himself like he had done in the pass. Therefore, he decided to resort to trickery. He stayed in his cave, day after day, pretending to be sick. One by one, other animals went to his cave to express their sorrow. When they did, the lion quickly devoured them.

One day, a fox went to the lion’s cave, but refused to go inside. Standing at a respectful distance, the fox asked the lion how he was doing. “I’m feeling a little weak today, “replied the lion. “But why are you standing out there? Come on in and let’s talk for a while,” he said. “No, thank you,” said the fox. “I see a lot of foot prints going into your cave. But I don’t see any coming out”

A lot of people have done things that ruined their lives, damaged their health or destroyed their careers. They saw what drugs, alcohol, gang activity and reckless living did to others, but they still tried it. In other words, they saw the footprints that led to the cave of misery and pain, but they walked in anyway. They thought they could handle it. But before they knew it, they were trapped.

Everyone has been trapped in one cave or another. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is like quicksand. The more you struggle, the deeper you sink. There is only one way out. His name is Jesus.

Rev. Burton Barr's Trilogy on KINDLE Now!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The New Jim Crow

“Jarvious Cotton cannot vote. Like his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, he has been denied the right to participate in our electoral democracy. Cotton’s family tree tells the story of several generations of black men who were born in the United States but who were denied the most basic freedom that democracy promises - the freedom to vote for those who will make the rules and laws that govern one’s life.

“Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Ku Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation. His father was barred from voting by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Jarvious Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.”

Those are the opening paragraphs of Michelle Alexander’s new book, “The New Jim Crow.” In the days of the Civil Rights Movement, it was the church that stood up and fought for our people. But today, many of our churches have retreated to the safety of their sanctuaries. As a result, we are losing more and more of our young people to drugs, prison, or an early grave.

Many of our ancestors lost their lives, fighting for the right to vote. But today, more than one million African Americans cannot vote because they are in prison and another three million have lost their right to vote because they have felony records. African Americans are 12% of this nation’s population, but we are more than 50% of the prison population. In St. Louis, Missouri, almost 97% of the population in the Youth Detention Center is African American children.

Is Michelle Alexander right? Is the criminal justice system, The New Jim Crow?

Rev. Burton Barr's Trilogy on KINDLE Now!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011


A man had two 50-yard line tickets for the Super Bowl. As the game progressed, a gentleman came down and asked the man if anyone was sitting next to him. “No,” he said, “the seat is empty.” The gentleman was shocked. He said, “This is incredible. Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sports event in the world, and not use it?”

Somberly, the man said, “Well, the seat actually belongs to me. I was supposed to come here with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Super Bowl that we have not attended together since we got married more than 40 years ago.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” replied the gentleman. “That is terrible. But couldn’t you find someone else to take the seat? Wasn’t there a friend, a relative or even a neighbor who could have come to the game with you?” The man shook his head and said, “No. All of them are at the funeral.”

This year’s football season has just begun. Therefore, many of the seats in our churches will be vacant. Some of us will be at the various games. Others will be parked in our favorite chairs in front of our television sets. Although we live in a world of advanced technology, many of us feel that we have to witness the actual kick-off rather than record the game and watch it later. Others feel that they cannot miss one second of the action.

For those of us that feel that way, I am glad that Jesus had His priorities straight when He hung on the cross and died for our sins. I’m sure He had other things that He could have been doing.

Rev. Burton Barr's Trilogy on KINDLE Now!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


On a very cold evening, a young lady was walking through the woods on her way home. While she was walking she came across a snake that was lying by the side of the road. As she came closer she could see that the snake had been injured and was nearly frozen to death.

The woman felt compassion for the snake, so she picked him up, wrapped her coat around him and took him home with her. When she got home she fed the snake, placed him in front of the fireplace and nursed him all night long. The next morning, before she left for work, she changed his bandages, set plenty of food out for him and made sure the heat was left on high.

That evening, when she got home, she was surprised to see that the snake’s wounds were healing and his condition was no longer critical. He was even crawling around on the floor, laughing and playing. The woman was so happy that the snake was feeling better, she ran over to him, picked him up, and started hugging and kissing him. But while she was hugging him, the snake hauled off and gave her a vicious bite on her neck.

The woman dropped the snake and fell back in a state of shock. She grabbed her neck, and with tears in her eyes she said, “How could you do this to me after all I have done for you. You know that your bite is poisonous and now I am going to die. How could you do this to me?” The snake just looked at her and said, “Shut up, silly woman. You got just what you deserved. You knew I was a snake before you took me in.”

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

What Do You See?

Brian Cavanaugh told the story of a wise old archer that was training two young warriors. Across the meadow was a small target hanging from a tree. The first warrior took an arrow from his quiver, readied it in his bow, and took aim. The teacher asked him to describe everything he saw. He answered, “I see the sky. I see the clouds. I see the trees with their leaves and branches. And I see the target.” “Put your bow down,” said the teacher. “You are not ready yet.”

The second warrior stepped up and readied his bow with an arrow. The teacher told him to describe everything he saw. “I only see the target,” was his reply. “Then shoot,” said the teacher. The arrow flew straight and hit the target. “Very good,” said the teacher. “When you only see the target, your aim will be true, and your arrow will fly according to your wish.”

When you are traveling through the streets of your city or community, what do you see? Do you see alcoholics? Do you see drug addicts? Do you see prostitutes or gang members? Do you see beggars or undesirables? If that is what you see, you are not ready for the work that Jesus commissioned us to do. You will know when you are ready, because when you look around, all you will see are souls.

Rev. Burton Barr's Trilogy on KINDLE Now!!!