Pastor Paul Burris's Memo

Wednesday, August 17

From Pastor Paul


When I think about the text in Mark 4:35-41 it reminds me, once again that the storms in life are inevitable.  There are circumstances that are out of our control.   

            Think about your life as a boat and the circumstances of life as the storms.  I ask you three questions today. 

            #1 Is Jesus Christ in your boat?  You know if he is or isn't.  If you have asked him into your life he is there.  If you haven't you can.  If he isn't in your boat, your life, during stormy times you will be frantic and experience fear.  It will seem that you have no one to turn to except others who are also in the storm and trial with you.  If Jesus Christ is not in your boat all you need to do is say, "Jesus Christ, come into my life, come into my boat."   

            #2 If Christ is in your boat, your life, what is he doing at this present time?  Is Jesus sleeping and wanting you to see him at peace.  Is Jesus giving you peace in the midst of the storm?  Or is he waking up to speak to your storms and silence them in some dramatic fashion?  Is Jesus giving peace by his actions? 

            #3 If Jesus is in your boat during a storm have you responded with fear instead of faith?  If you have responded, like the disciples, in fear for your own lives do you hear the words Jesus?  "Why are you afraid?  Don't you have any faith?"  The words sound so harsh, and so direct.  Understand that the same grace that followed the rebuke to the disciples is yours as well.  Jesus continued to teach and love the disciples, he did not write them off.  He gave them another chance to show and express their faith.  Jesus Christ extends his loving grace to us today in the form of a second chance and hopes that we will respond in faith on another day. 

              One of my favorite hymns is "It is Well with My Soul." Horatio Spafford wrote it in 1873 after he found out that his four daughters died.  They died when the ship S. S. Ville du Havre sank in November 22, 1873.  The words to this song speak of peace and serenity.  Yet, this song was borne out of intense grief and suffering.  Can you imagine the loss of four of your daughters?  I cannot imagine the suffering.  Yet, Horatio in some way was able to express his faith in this beautiful song. 

            Listen to the words of the first verse.  "When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.  It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul." 

             We have the same man, Jesus Christ, who is in our boat, in our corner, in our lives no matter what storms we find ourselves in.  I want to offer up a special prayer for those who are in the midst of a storm that they might face their fear, they might ask Jesus to come into their boat, that they might see Jesus and might hear his words.   


See You Sunday, 


Pastor Paul 

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Wednesday, August 10

From Pastor Paul

Very little of the early life of Jesus is recorded in the gospel accounts. Only in Luke do we get a small glimpse into the childhood of the Savior. Men have tried to guess and assume certain things that Jesus may have done when he was young, for instance because his father Joseph was a carpenter, we assume that Jesus was taught and practiced the trade of carpentry. Even though we aren’t told stories of his youth, we can, by using other passages of scripture, come to realize that because Jesus was human, he shared some of the same emotions, feelings and temptations that you and I are experiencing right now. 

Because He was human, Jesus felt happiness when things went well. He probably spent time with His friends laughing and playing games that most children played. As He grew older He experienced the emotions of an adolescent, thus learning and understanding the vast range of growing pains that young people experience as they grow into adulthood. Also as He grew older, He was tempted with all of the bad things that life had to offer. We read that He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Jesus cried when he was sad, got angry, frustrated and perplexed when people disappointed Him and enjoyed the company of children. In order to know us and sympathize with us Jesus experienced life fully. So you might ask, “What does this have to do with me today?” Well, everything. As we go through our everyday lives, we experience happiness, frustration, temptation, anger, and enjoyment. Knowing that Jesus experienced life just as we do can be very comforting and encouraging. There’s not a problem that the Savior doesn’t understand and will mediate to God for us.  

So as we begin another week, let’s remember as the old song says, “there’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one” and He’ll help us through all of life’s troubles and triumphs because after all He was and is like us. 

See You Sunday




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Wednesday, July 13

Pastor Paul Burris Weekly Office Hours

Tues:  9 am – 1 pm

Wed:  9 am – 1 pm

Thur:  9 am – 1 pm


From Pastor Paul 

Lisa and I would like to thank all of you for the warm welcome we received during our first Sunday at Calvary. 

It’s never easy moving into a new community but you all have made the transition an easier one. The difficult part is always unpacking and finding a place for everything. As I sort through the boxes, I find it hard to believe the value that I place on some the items that made the journey. Some of these items are truly treasures while others I couldn’t tell you when or where I got them. 

That’s how it is with our lives isn’t it? We continue to carry around things that really have no value and carry no significance. Jesus continues to challenge us to prioritize what is important in our lives. Jesus desires that we place our relationship with him at the top of our list. My prayer for all of us this year is that we will make it a point to grow in our relationship with Christ and that we will experience the fullness of life that relationship has to offer. 

It is wonderful to be a part of your church family. I’m looking forward to our future ministry together. 

In Christ,  

Pastor Paul 

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Wednesday, June 22

Paul Burris – 
Lisa and I are excited about coming to Syracuse Calvary. I am one of six children (3 boys and 3 girls). Although we are scattered geographically we still remain very close. Our sister Lisa passed away in 2006. I grew up mainly in the Indianapolis area where I graduated from Avon High School in 1977. 
My father is a retired Methodist pastor where he served for over 50 years. He is still active in the United Methodist church and living in Fort Wayne. He has been my mentor and anchor throughout my life and my ministry. My mother was always supportive of my father’s ministry and did a wonderful job at raising six children. She passed away in 2006.
My wife, Lisa, and I have been married for 10 years (we’ve been together for 18) and have 3 wonderful children between us. My oldest son, Deyan, (31) lives in Columbia, Missouri. My youngest, Kristopher, (28) lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Lisa’s daughter, Kinsey, (31) lives in Leadville, Colorado. Although the kids are scattered across the United States, we feel blessed to have several unique travel destinations to visit each year.
Lisa was born and raised in northern Indiana. She has been a blessing in my life. Her love for God and others is one of her greatest strengths. We share many of the same interests including a love for the outdoors and the Denver Broncos. She lived in Missoula, Montana for 10 years where her family owned a canoe and kayak store. Our connection to the West is one of the reasons we were attracted to each other. I thank God daily for bringing her into my life.
After graduating from high school I moved to Colorado where I spent the next 15 years. My time in Colorado was spent enjoying the great outdoors; hiking, camping, mountain climbing, rock climbing, backpacking etc. In Colorado I attended Colorado Mountain College in Leadville (AA in Outdoor Studies) and Colorado State University in Fort Collins (BA in History). Although I worked in a variety of jobs in Colorado my main profession was working with developmentally disabled adults.
In 1992 God called me back to Indiana and into ministry where I have been serving for the past 30 years.  I attended Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and graduated with an MDIV degree in 1997. I was ordained an Elder in the North Indiana Conference (now the Indiana Conference) of the United Methodist Church in 1999. Over the years I have served 6 different churches of various sizes in a variety of settings. Although I love the many different aspects and challenges that ministry has to offer my main passions are: preaching and teaching, children and youth ministry, music, missions and outreach and pot luck dinners. In my 30 years in ministry I have led and/or participated in 25 mission trips (including Jamaica and Haiti).
Hobbies and Interests: Hiking, camping, golf, travel (I’ve visited all of the lower 48 states), attending spectator sports (especially football and basketball), genealogy, American Civil War studies and photography.


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