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End of the Year Family Newsletter and Pictures



“Suddenly There Was…”
Do you ever feel like you wait, and wait, and wait for something then
suddenly, there it is, or it happens? A long winter that seems to drag
on, then “suddenly," it’s spring! The anticipation of a birth, then
“suddenly” we have a baby. The prolonged deterioration of a health
condition, like my father-in-law, then “suddenly,” he’s gone (how I
miss that man). The wonder when the Lord will bring a spouse for
your son, and “suddenly,” he is married (welcome Sarah)!You are in
the freezing outdoors for hours, carefully watching every slight
movement in the trees, then “suddenly,” there is a deer staring you
Okay, so it doesn’t always happen that way, sometimes the suddenly
is just, sudden. Like a car accident, in Oklahoma a thunderstorm, a
knock on the door and unexpected company, a cut thumb, or a
phone call that “changes everything."
When a suddenly comes, it is easy to ask, “Why me?"
For Mary, the mother to be of Jesus, it came suddenly. Suddenly
Gabriel appeared to Mary and gave her "sudden” news that she
would bear a child who would be called the Son of God. The
Scriptures report the shepherds got the news of the Savior being
born, "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the
heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’"
Like Mary and the shepherds, when a suddenly comes, we want to
move from, “Why me?” to “What’s next?” Mary said, “…be it unto me
according to your word.” And the shepherds, “Let us now go and
Suddenly is not just for biblical times or biblical characters, it’s for us
too. God is still in the ‘suddenly’ business. I have asked the family as
they report the events of the last year, to include something that
happened they didn’t expect or something they anticipated a long
time, then suddenly it happened.
Of course “suddenlies” happen to us, but not to God. He is not
surprised or informed by anything. He has revealed Himself as, “I
Am that I Am.” So I will share an “I am” scripture that I pray will be
encouraging to each family member during the “suddenlies” of 2016.
The passing of Cheryl’s Dad in October has been a major event for
the whole family as his health continued to deteriorate and he
needed more and more care. We all were very conscious of final
days and opportunities to hear his stories, play another game of
“42," or seek his wise counsel. I had the privilege of presiding at his
graveside service. It was quite a testimony to the Lord as we
reflected on Harold’s salvation and journey here on earth. He
worked hard, played hard, and served others and the Lord with all
his might. We are so blessed to have Cheryl’s Mom, Gwynna, right
across the fence. She is such a godly influence for my girls, a lover
of God’s Word, and a great cook. The families we were
fellowshipping with as we gathered as the Church each Sunday
have moved or scattered and so we as a family are unsettled in
where the Lord would have us worship and serve. You can pray for
us about that. The “I AM” verse I pray to be encouraged by:
"When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man And He placed
His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the
last." (Rev. 1:17)

Cheryl: Not much catches Cheryl “suddenly”—by surprise. I know I
say this every year, but she continues to be the COO, Chief
Organizing Officer, in the home. A huge test of this was John-Clay
and Sarah’s wedding and Oklahoma reception. Of course it all came
off beautifully as everyone pitched in. With the passing of her dad,
Cheryl, her sisters and her mom are getting more time together. She
did squeeze in a trip with the girls to War Eagle and made it to a
couple of Thunder basketball games, but being “Grammie” is hard to
top. The “I AM” verse that I am praying will be an encouragement to
Cheryl: The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He
who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all
things to us. Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He.” (John


Abbie (23) really enjoys traveling, family, and work. Trips included:
War Eagle, MN, IL and Big Sandy. She was very intentional to plan
fun birthday outings with each of her siblings that still live at home;
those were special times. She is already making plans for the new
exciting babies being added to the family. Abbie still works part-time
as a CNA in the same nursing home and loves her residents.
Recently she completed CMA training allowing her to pass
medications.The goal behind getting her CNA and experience caring
for the elderly was to be able to help care for grandparents.
Assisting Granny (Cheryl’s Mom) in caring for Granddad, was very
rewarding. “A special relationship was built between he and I that
we’d never had before. I will always treasure the precious memories
we made and would not trade it for anything.” The passing of
Granddad was the primary “suddenly” for Abbie; she still feels the
loss. But she also mentioned that the Lord suddenly provided
another car for the family. It was a gift from a guy that was in the
Russellville, AR youth group! Quite a blessing when you have six
drivers in the family. The “I AM” verse that I am praying will be an
encouragement to Abbie: So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I
say to you, I am the door of the
sheep. “(John 10:7)

Charity (21) – is the primary caregiver for my Dad who lives with us.
She faithfully rises early to cook, clean, and care for his daily needs
(others step in from time to time too). She also made some special
memories while getting to help take care of Granddad in his last
couple of weeks of life. Helping Mom plan and host the Oklahoma
wedding reception for JC and Sarah was a huge blessing, and
Charity enjoyed the challenge. She still loves doing the family
garden and we love the fruit of her labors. Somehow she also
squeezes into her schedule, cleaning houses with Carinna and
mowing lawns with Benjamin. Some of her favorite “suddenlies” that
happen are the unexpected opportunities that pop up to minister and
serve in different places! One of those this year was getting to
volunteer for a week serving and cooking for a ministry’s summer
camp training. The “I AM” verse that I am praying will be an
encouragement to Charity: Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and My
Father is the vinedresser." (John 15:1)

Maggie (19) – was grateful to finally catch up with school (after being
sick with mono) and graduated this May. She says she is always
blessed by our homeschool conference at Big Sandy as well as all
the other trips that were taken! Maggie is super excited to have the
family expanding with JC and Sarah having got married and babies
on the way!Another highlight was some neat photography
opportunities that God brought her way. Both she and Carinna
enjoyed a fun trip to Frontier City (an amusement park), planned and
provided by Abbie for the twin’s birthday. Not so enjoyable, she
(along with Carinna and Benjamin) had all four wisdom teeth
removed this year. Maggie loves being an aunt; Evan is such a joy!
In August, Maggie started a part time job at a nearby home daycare.
"I really enjoy my kiddos!” As the others, she is thankful for the
Lord’s faithfulness and all-sufficient grace during Granddad’s death.
She was grateful to get to attend a CPR/First Aid class, and along
those lines, is excited about any “sudden” door the Lord might open
for the future. The “I AM” verse that I am praying will be an
encouragement to Maggie: Jesus said…"I am the way, and the truth,
and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John

Carinna (19) – Besides training our new dog Heidi, Carinna kept
herself busy with helping Granddad, bees, hunting, cleaning houses,
guitar, carving, garden, working at properties, and the list could go
on. Carinna’s comment on the trip to Frontier City: “One way to bond
with your siblings is being terrified for your life together on a roller
coaster, then doing it over and over again.” She got to go up to the
Dornink’s a couple of times with Dustin and Hannah where she gets
to spend time with friends who sharpen her spiritually. Another fun
opportunity was to go to Illinois early to help prepare for JC and
Sarah’s wedding. She says family has been a huge highlight—
babies coming, spending time to both work and play with Dustin,
Hannah, and Evan, getting to know Sarah and hanging out with JC
and Sarah. Caleb took her to a Thunder basketball game…what an
experience!Her “suddenly”: I really wasn’t looking for a job but God
suddenly laid in my lap the opportunity to help a family homeschool
a couple of their kids. I love the chance to invest in their lives
academically and spiritually, and watch them learn. The “I AM” verse
that I am praying will be an encouragement to Carinna: Jesus said
to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will
live even if he dies." (John 11:25)

Benjamin (15) – is now the tallest member of the Burnett family! He
really enjoyed going to a film festival in Texas and especially the
opportunity to get advice from the Tull family about a movie he’s
working on. We had new neighbors move in next-door with 3
younger boys who Benjamin enjoyed playing basketball and many
other things with them. Due to Granddad’s health, we didn’t feel
comfortable going away for our annual family camping trip but took a
weekend and had a great time “camping out” at the house. Benjamin
appreciates getting to spend more time with Caleb and the
encouragement he receives from his older brother. Benjamin also
got to go up early to help the Ferraro’s with JC and Sarah’s wedding.
He had a lot of fun playing with Joel and Benny and helping with a
short fun movie for JC and Sarah. He was very honored JC asked
him to be a groomsman. Benjamin harvested two deer this year. “My
‘suddenly’ involved a significant discount price for the Christian
Worldview Film Festival and Guild I had been wanting to attend. This
was a turn of events I did not anticipate, but am excited by the
surprise provision.” The “I AM” verse that I am praying will be an
encouragement to Benjamin: Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of
life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me
will never thirst." (John 6:35)

Jim Burnett, my dad is such a quiet blessing and encourager. He is
so grateful for the little things of life: a good meal, birds at the feeder,
the beauty of flowers, and the visit of a family member. The “I AM”
verse that I pray will be an encouragement to Dad is: "…I am the
Son of God." (John 10:36)

Those outside the house:

Caleb (25) continues to live in Shawnee, work at Kimray, grow
deeper in his commitment to God’s purifying work in his life and stay
connected with his siblings. The “I AM” verse that I am praying will
be an encouragement to Caleb: “…I am the Light of the world.” (John

Hannah (27), Dustin and Evan are in Bowlegs, Ok, ministering to
their neighbors, active in their church, and expecting the delivery of
their second son…suddenly—any day!The “I AM” verse that I am
praying will be an encouragement to Hannah’s family: "I am the
Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was
and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev 1:8)


John-Clay (29) God suddenly brought JC the love of his life, Sarah
Ferraro. They live in Shawnee, serve the Christian media industry
together, and are expecting our third grandchild mid-summer. The “I
AM” verse that I am praying will be an encouragement to JohnClay’s
family: "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for
so I am." (John 13:13)

In the new year, don’t forget the suddenly of God and the God of
suddenlies! Suddenly can come suddenly.
When a suddenly comes, remember to move from "Why me?" to
"What’s next?"
And finally: Suddenly Jesus came. Suddenly He left. What’s next?
Suddenly Jesus will return. Will you be ready?

Johnny Burnett for the family


Merry Christmas, Everyone!!! And a very happy New Year!


Updated “Meet the Family” page

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Burnetts’ 2014 Update!


Family Picture

The Gospel According to John, Chapter One:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world…10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Most people who read this Christmas letter will understand “The Word” in the above verses to be Jesus. Multiple other passages in the Bible would confirm this understanding. Jesus was with the Father in the beginning at creation (Colossians 1:15-19). Jesus is Life (John 14:6). Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12; 12:46). Jesus made a way for man to be born again, not of flesh, but of God, and have eternal life with Him (John 3). “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,” (John 1:14). Jesus was God with skin on; "God in a body" as my generation would say. Jesus, God the Son, came in the flesh that He might live a perfect life and give His life on a cross, taking the punishment for our sin, that we might confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, that we might be saved (Romans 10: 9-10). The incarnation, Jesus, that little baby born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18-23), God come in the flesh, was God with skin on.
But that is not all. I skipped some of the verses in John 1:

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

When Jesus went back to heaven, He left His Holy Spirit to live inside of us (John 14:14-16). Wow, what a thought—the Spirit of Jesus living inside of our skin! Jesus, the Light of the world, said His disciples are to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Jesus is to be in us, shining through us. The disciples were called “Christians,” Christlike—little Christs (Acts 11:26). We are to be Jesus with skin on today—Him living in and through us as we have His mind (Philippians 2:5) and walk in His steps (1Peter 2:21). Jesus was God with skin on to show us what the Father is like. We are to be Jesus with skin on so others can see what Jesus is like.

As we share the highlights of the family below, I will be sharing how I have seen “Jesus” in each one. I have also asked them to tell about someone in whom they have seen Jesus during the last year.

Generally, for the whole family at home (John-Clay and Caleb live in 45 min. away) Dustin, Hannah, and Evan also live 45 min. out), we have had an adventurous year building an addition to our house, my Dad moving in with us, and my sister Janis’s family moving from NC in to Dad’s old house to sort through the contents and get it ready to sell. Cheryl and I have also entered the ranks of grandparents (Grammie and Pops?) with the birth of Evan Trust Dornink to Dustin and Hannah in June of this year. And, Cheryl’s parents have moved to our town and live right across our back fence…WooHoo! We are blessed indeed.


Cheryl continues to keep this Burnett household organized and efficient. She is loving the Grammie role and treasures being close to her parents. Being willing to move my Dad in to the house is enough to say I see Jesus in her, but, she also forgives like Jesus. I so often fail in loving her like Christ loved the Church. Just a few weeks back, I was very insensitive in a comment that hurt her (again), but she was willing to forgive (again), just like Jesus.

Abbie 2

Abbie (22), after intense study and practice, became a CNA—Certified Nurse Aid—and is working part-time at a nursing home nearby. She finds it a very challenging, yet fulfilling job/ministry opportunity. She is  beginning to enjoy it more and is finding a Christlike love for the residents and their families. Travels took her to Minnesota (our family road trip), to Texas with John-Clay to help on a video project, and to Nashville again to play piano for the Children’s Institute. Assisting some of our family friends was a special joy as they had a new baby this year. A fun highlight was playing her ukulele in Lillie Elliott’s wedding. Abbie has followed the leading of the Lord to, just like Jesus, have great compassion for the afflicted, weak, and needy (Matthew 9:36) reflected in her opportunities at the nursing home and family.
"I’ve seen Jesus in a lady I got to visit with at a friend’s wedding. Even though her husband has been very unfaithful to her and her family, she has kept her eyes on Jesus and the love He’s shown to HER, and is seeking to let Jesus love through her instead of giving in to self pity and giving up on him. I was very
inspired by her humility, genuine love, and selflessness after talking with her!


Charity (20)-The first half of the year Charity spent LOTS of time with Grandpa at his house. And the last several months since Grandpa has moved in with us, she has been the primary care giver. What a blessing! Charity says she loves planting the garden with Carinna and did lots of canning, including 50 pints of Possum Grape Jelly. She’s been doing house cleaning (for others) and babysitting too. A special highlight was the trip the “girls” took to War Eagle crafting. Charity has started a new hobby (in her free time), metal stamped jewelry. Suffering and affliction are a part of life, but Charity has had extra opportunities to face physical challenges too this past year. We are not sure if it is lingering effects from our mission trip to Mexico a few years back or what; but, like Jesus, I have seen Charity suffer with joy, realizing Christ has left us an example to follow in His steps (1Peter 2:21).
Person like Jesus: Aunt Janis – She is a woman of prayer and has demonstrated such amazing selflessness, patience and joy as she has moved down here to help with Grandpa’s estate.

Maggie 1

Maggie (18)- The family trip up north to visit friends and family was a HUGE highlight, but “enjoying any time that I get to spend with my nephew…what can I say: He’s the biggest highlight of the year by far!”  The “girls” trip to the craft shows also included aunts and Granny which made for special memories. Maggie enjoys people and relationships so everyone getting together for Christmas and the opportunity to go with Caleb to the Kimray Christmas party make for cherished times. She also had fun helping and playing music at weddings.Whether it is someone “down and out,” someone who needs comfort, or someone who needs a friend, like Jesus, Maggie is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), but gives of herself to meet the needs of others.
"Grandpa’s trust and faith in God is still a big part of his life even with Alzheimer’s. His gentleness in frustrating circumstances reminds me of Jesus."


Carinna (18) says Granny and Granddad moving close and helping to get all that ready made for some great memories she would not trade for anything. She has been working with Charity cleaning houses and tending the garden. Whether canning tomatoes, green beans, jelly, or working bees and harvesting honey, Carinna enjoys seeing the fruit of hard work and the Lord’s blessing. She also finished school and got her driver’s license. Of course she can’t go without mentioning Evan as a highlight. Carinna has spent a lot of time working with Granddad: pouring concrete, using a blow torch, putting down base shoe, and other random projects. But she is especially thankful for his experience and advice when making a hay bale blind for deer hunting. Even as it was noticed of Jesus (Luke 9:51) that he was resolute to accomplish the task for which He came to earth, I have noticed Carinna’s Christlike determination in tasks and projects, but most importantly, when it comes to daily spending time in God’s Word.
"I have felt the love of Jesus through Granddad’s generosity of time, money, experience, patience…etc. even when he gets no personal gain. That is love and that is Christ’s love."


Benjamin (14)-Got a buck and a doe, but better yet, got a nephew-Evan. He has had an increase interest in movie making, inspired by his brother. This summer Benjamin attended Quest which was the longest time he has been away from home (4 weeks). The Scriptures say, “Jesus increased in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52). Benjamin is in a time of growing, learning, and discovering the many aspects of becoming a man physically and spiritually. Even as we must constantly rely upon the Holy Spirit to be our Life and Helper, I have seen Benjamin be my ready helper in times of need.
Benjamin says, "A verse that recently become one of my favorites is 1 Tim. 4:12, ‘Let no man despise your youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.’ This year I took a step of faith that God answered by allowing me to earn enough money to go to a summer camp called Quest down at Big Sandy, Texas. It focuses on your walk with God and growing in manhood. One thing that I learned at Quest was to live in the moment in light of eternity. While I was down there I met a man by the name of Christopher Archibald that counseled me when I was struggling with many different things. He is someone that I have seen Christ in this year. I would definitely recommend this camp."

Evan and Grandpa

Jim Burnett, Dad-Dad has been adjusting pretty well. He misses the old house, but is comfortable, eating well, taking walks, picking up pecans, and helping out in any way every chance he gets. My Dad has been a picture of Jesus as long as I can remember. The love he shows, whether serving, giving, being kind, or expressing gratefulness continue to this day and I am grateful for his example and the privilege of having him live with us.

How I have seen Jesus in those out of the house:

ca beach

John-Clay (28)-Jesus was described as one who taught with authority (Matthew 7:29). I see in John-Clay a wise teacher of not just truth, but The Truth.


Caleb (24)-Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38). Whether at work, or in relationships, Caleb is one who really likes to see (and help) things work together for good.


Dustin & Hannah have had an eventful year celebrating their one year wedding anniversary. Evan’s birth was an adventure in learning to trust God. They moved back to Minnesota for four months working and having a refreshing time being close to Dustin’s family. They are excited about progress on their house in Bowlegs and the establishing of Dustin’s construction business.
Dustin: Jesus was intent on doing the will of the Father (John 5:30). I see this young man diligently seeking the will of God as he leads his precious family.
Hannah: With all the challenging events of the last year (emergency birth of Evan, moving to Minnesota, moving back to Oklahoma), I have seen amazing peace. Peace is a Person-Jesus (John 14:27).

Evan (6 months)- No, I didn’t leave Evan out. I saved him for last because seeing Evan and his infant, dependent ways, reminds me of all Jesus emptied Himself of to come to earth, not as a man, but as a baby (Philippians 2:5-12).

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We hope you had a blessed celebration of God coming in the flesh. Now we have the opportunity to confess Jesus is Lord and be “Jesus with skin on” during the new year.

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Burnett’s annual Christmas letter 2012



Shootings, elections, weather threats, illnesses, cancer, the unknown, the known…many events of the past year have been a cause for fear in the lives of many people. Yet, is this how we are to live life, in fear? The phrase, “fear not” is used over a dozen times in the New Testament, usually as the first words spoken by an angel when he appears with a message from God. Mary was told to fear not; Joseph was told to fear not, and the shepherds were told to fear not. All of these instances center around the conception and birth of Jesus, God the Son, come in the flesh—what we celebrate as Christmas. If we will place our faith and trust alone in Jesus as God’s provision for salvation, come what may, we do not have to live in fear.

The last mention of the words “fear not” are in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. Jesus says, “…Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen…” (Rev. 1:17-18). Jesus expands on this reason not to fear later in the book when He says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev. 22:13) It sounds like Jesus is what life is to be all about.

This Christmas season we are reflecting on the significance of some “firsts and lasts” of the past year and choosing to focus on the Lord Jesus—The First and Last. Rather than live in fear, we are seeking to grow in faith that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Here are some of our firsts and lasts (and things in between)—highlights for the year:



We did several of our traditional family events: camping, Bible Club, Peach Festival homemade ice cream, and Big Sandy home school conference. We had some new family firsts too: John-Clay & Caleb moved into a duplex; the family sang for a couple of churches—we led the congregational singing and provided the special music for my parents’ church, for their Fall Revival Services, and then sang for the entire Sunday Evening Worship Service at Oak Grove Baptist Church, where Cheryl’s parents attend. Not the least of new things for our family was a new roof on our house provided by Gene Dornink and his family, the significance of which is told below…not of the new roof, but the Dornink family.

Johnny and Cheryl


I never tire of expressing the blessing of the Lord through my “first” (and only) wife. How a woman can give so sacrificially, so much of the time, can only be explained by Jesus being her first and last. We love because God first loved us, and the care, concern, service, and sacrifice that she shows to me, her children, our parents, extended family and others, is Jesus. I am blessed as I have seen Cheryl’s sincere heart this past year.

I know one of her big highlights was the trip to Maine (and the Northeast) to see the fall foliage with her mom and sisters. What stories they have to tell! But, I sure enjoyed spending eight days ministering and touring with her in Guatemala. She even got to see and hear a real volcano “burp”.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer in November, since then, there has been a daily need for care and concern. Cheryl has ministered as if it were her own mother. I praise the Lord that we (Cheryl, my children, my sisters, my brother, their families, Aunt Anna and so many others) are able to care for and tend to mom and dad during this time. Isn’t that what families and the family of God are for?

For the sake of time and space, I will simply bullet point what the children have listed as first, lasts, or highlights.



~ This year has been full of “God-sized” opportunities that I never could have imagined.

~ I was extremely blessed to attend “World Changers Summit” in CO earlier this year.

~ Moving out of the house and renting a place with Caleb has been a stretching experience with many “firsts” and new responsibilities.

~ Due to encouragement from friends and family, I added a “Filmmaking Workshop” service to my business, and have had several occasions to teach around the nation. Most notable was being invited to teach a breakout class in New York at the “Lamplighter Guild for Creative Arts.”

~ Another “first” was being a group leader/teacher at a two week ministry event helping train young people to share the gospel with children.

~ Later this year I was excited to be a camera operator for two months during the filming of the upcoming film, “Beyond the Mask.”

~ Overall it has been an amazing year full of surprises and lessons from God!

(I am blessed as I have seen John-Clay’s wise heart this last year)



~ Coordinated 5 COMMIT conferences this year – new challenges, blessings, and growing experiences once again

~ Her number of piano students increased to 8 with the addition of 3 beginners

~ Served as communications coordinator with In the Gap (ITG) through the Fall

~ Other highlights: Bible Club-seeing it grow and God using it; duck hunting (a 1st!); spending a week in Florida on the ITG staff retreat—prayer times at sunrise, by the ocean, are pretty amazing.

~ BUT MOST OF ALL!…watching the Lord unfold a beautiful love story in my life with an amazing, godly, man, Dustin Dornink. It is worth it to wait on the Lord! When He does something, He does it well. On November 26th at sunset, Dustin asked me to marry him, and I was so honored and thrilled to say, yes! We plan to be married this Spring/Summer, Lord-willing.

(I am blessed as I have seen Hannah’s trusting heart this last year)



~ Moved into a duplex with John-Clay

~ Got hired on full time at Kimray

~ Harvested a couple deer and a hog

(I am blessed as I have seen Caleb’s teachable heart this last year)



~ This summer I was able to pray with two girls as they placed their faith in Jesus for salvation (a 1st)

~ Enjoyed babysitting again, which included a fun trip to Missouri

~ Answered prayer: God provided a way to and from California for a conference J

~ Really enjoyed helping at a kids day camp where Charity and I led a team of 3rd and 4th grade girls

~ Trips to Nashville, Sacramento, Indianapolis (all to help with Children’s Institutes); MN with Hannah to visit the Dorninks; Chicago to serve at IBLP Headquarters for a week; Big Sandy, TX; and Missouri-mentioned earlier

~ Enjoyed having company/friends visit our home

~ Opportunity to spend time with Grandma at the hospital and at home

~ Grateful that the Lord doesn’t just save us, but sanctifies, changes, teaches, and leads us. He is so faithful!

(I am blessed as I have seen Abbie’s faithful heart this last year)



~ Went to Nashville, TN with Hannah and Abbie to teach Children’s Institutes

~ Got wisdom teeth out (a 1st and hopefully a last)

~ Got braces reapplied (hopefully a last)

~ Loved helping teach 3rd & 4th grade girls with Abbie at a day camp this summer

~ Enjoyed taking pictures for the In The Gap newsletter

~ Staying with Grandpa and Grandma has been really special

(I am blessed as I have seen Charity’s peacemaking heart this last year)



~ Been drawing cars for Uncle Darian (and getting paid for it!)

~ Played my mandolin at revival.

~ I always enjoy working with Granddad and had several new and exciting firsts this summer on their farm: got to pregnancy-check a cow, pull calves, vaccinate calves, =)

~ Very excited for Hannah! I’m looking forward to have Dustin as a part of our family! =)

~ Playing volleyball with church group! lots of fun!

~ Started art class…. to get some experience oil painting.

~ 2nd tallest girl

~ Carinna and I got our Lifetime Hunting and Fishing license! Along with that, I shot my first deer, a 100lb, 6 point buck. Also shot a doe and coyote this year. (coyote is probably a last. ;)

(I am blessed as I have seen Maggie’s hungering heart this last year)



~ Helped pull calves at Granny and Granddad’s in the rain. That was a great experience. I’d definitely do it again. : ) We also pregnancy checked a cow.

~ Started art lessons, it has been interesting.

~ Fishing/Hunting/shooting guns

~ Volleyball has been fun!

~ The Dornink’s coming to do the roof was a huge highlight! It was good to have almost their whole family down for several days!!! They were definitely a blessing.

~ I’m so excited for Hannah!!! I know things will be very different which will be hard, but I can’t think of anyone better for Hannah than Dustin. : )

~ While Mom and Dad were gone to Guatemala, Hannah had this grand idea that each day we would draw names and on that day we would do special little things like write notes, give little gifts…it seemed that whole lot of chores were mysteriously done. ; ) It was a fun week.

(I am blessed as I have seen Carinna’s determined heart this last year)


Benjamin (12, the last of having anyone under teenage in the home)

~ First it all started with my brothers moving out which led to the next one…

~ I got my own room!

~ I started running the weed eater when we mow my Grandparents lawns.

~ At our neighborhood Bible club I told the story of the wise man that built his house on the rock and the foolish man that built his house on the sand.

~ We helped at a Day-Camp at Olivet Baptist Church. There, God gave me the opportunity to be an assistant teacher. I helped with the 3-4 grade boys, which led to the next one…

~ I got the opportunity to share my salvation testimony.

~ We also played for a revival at my Grandparents church. I played the guitar which was very fun.

~ My sister is ENGAGED!!!

(I am blessed as I have seen Benjamin’s prayerful heart this past year)

I rejoice to see my family growing in faith that Jesus is the first and the last…but we are all still growing and learning. How about you? Without Jesus as your Lord and Savior, there is reason to fear (read Revelation 22). Jesus is the First and the Last…is He your first and last and everything in between?


Jesus isn’t just the Reason for the season; He is the Reason, period!

Johnny Burnett Family

Christmas 2012

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Christmas Newsletter 2011


Dad wrote the following newsletter to send out as our annual Christmas update. Hope you enjoy! The family picture is at the end. :)

“And It Came To Pass…”

And it came to pass…no I am not talking about how OSU’s passing game defeated OU in football this year; but rather the common phrase used 457 times in the KJV Bible to indicate the passage of time. Sounds pretty simple, but the events that follow this phrase can be very significant. A few Old Testament examples are, Noah and the flood, David and Goliath, Esther, Jonah, Nehemiah rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem, and there are multiple instances in the New Testament.

One of the most significant events following the words, “And it came to pass,” is found in Luke 2 documenting Jesus’ miraculous birth. Paul states it this way, “…when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son…” (Galatians 4:4). You see, in the Bible, “And it came to pass” is not just a phrase to tell a story, it is a recounting of historical facts. One fact being that, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And that is the whole reason we celebrate His Holy Birth—Christmas.

“And it came to pass” in the Burnett household this year:

What a year! Those who keep up with us at, probably know most of this, but you might be surprised at a new detail or two. Some of the regular annual events (Big Sandy, Backyard Bible Club, and family camping), although still favorites, are taking a back seat to new adventures in this report. Briefly:

Big Sandy – homeschooling can’t be beat.

Bible Club – creation vs. evolution and the reliability of the Bible were exciting and needed truths to teach!

Family Camping – the tent ended up wrapped around a tree; definitely memorable.

One of the new biggies for the family was the opportunity to coordinate a retreat called Journey Reunion in Michigan. It is a delight to see God work in each of our children’s lives and humbly watch the journey He has our family on at this season of life.

Cheryl: A woman of few words, “I lost a bunch of weight this year…self-control.” She looks good! Of course she always looks gooooood to me. I know she looks thirty, but we celebrated thirty years of marriage this year, so she must be a little older than that. Each year I marvel at God’s gift of the wife of my youth. I am glad this “it came to pass” is still in the works.

John-Clay (25): This year has been full of many new first experiences for John-Clay. Some were enjoyable, and some were more difficult, but John-Clay said, “All have been used by God to grow my dependence on Him.” John-Clay preached his first sermon at our local fellowship, “Beware of the Choir.” I am looking forward to the next one. A lot of John-Clay’s year was spent traveling across the country working on the recently released documentary Captivated a film that brings Biblical insight to the concerns we are facing with the overuse of media in our lives. You can find more info at: Coordinating the Journey Reunion was a first for the family and John-Clay’s perspective, insight, and leadership were a blessing. I am glad he accompanied several of his sisters to North Carolina for the Wilds music conference. He says, “We prayed our way through a terrible winter storm on our way home.” I have enjoyed seeing John-Clay seek God on many different levels from relationships, to theology, to politics.

Hannah (23): It seems she always has a fresh word from the Lord in her life. It is good to hear how she is loving Jesus. While she did not travel out of the country this year, she went on 8 out-of-state trips…from North Carolina to California to the U.P. of Michigan to Houston, TX! She worked with COMMIT again this spring/summer – a ministry that disciples 12-15 year old girls. Hannah was the primary family member coordinating the Journey Reunion from the ground up. Her assessment: “It was a challenging, fun, learning experience, and an incredible blessing to see GOD orchestrate! I would love to do it all over again.” Hannah continues to teach music lessons and tackle more landscaping and gardening ventures. This fall she served part time as the communications coordinator for In the Gap – an organization that teaches character lessons in elementary schools and leads after-school Bible clubs.

Caleb (21): Another person pretty pumped about the Journey Reunion, he was willing to take off over a week without pay to make the trip with the family. Although none of his Journey friends were there, new friends were made, and he was greatly encouraged spiritually. Caleb also helped in a Children’s Institute and accompanied his sisters on their trip to Nashville, Tennessee. Working behind the scenes with craft preparations and skits, I was glad the girls had a protector along for the travel. The first part of the year, Caleb was grateful to work with the Morrises in their construction business. He currently works at Kimray, an oil and gas valve manufacturer (and business where Character First began) in Oklahoma City in their construction department.

Abbie (19): Not to be “out tripped” by her sister, Abbie took 9 out of state trips (TX-3, MI, IN, NC, CA, TN, MO), a highlight of which was the opportunity to witness to people on the plane. She has been doing some regular baby sitting for family friends which is a good fit with her love for children. So, you will also not be surprised to hear she helped with three Children’s Institutes. Her words: “Very fun, but stretching.” Abbie loves baking new things; problem is I (Dad) love eating them; little self-control, so I am not losing weight. God impressed Abbie to seek to be a giver this year. She has had the joy of giving away more than she ever has before, only to find that God gave the most and has allowed her to earn and receive more than she has ever before. God’s ways are right and His promises are true.

Charity (17): In January, a car load of Burnett children went to the Wilds (Christian Camp in NC) Music Conference. Solid Bible study, sincere worship, godly instruction, and extreme fun were reported of the experience. She enjoyed sharing this road trip and new adventure with siblings. This summer Charity accompanied Mom and some sisters to Indianapolis (ATI Regional Conference) which allowed her to see some of her special Journey to the Heart friends. Family Camp (different than Big Sandy or our family camping) has been a longing for several Burnetts. Charity and Abbie got to attend with another family. I think I have a couple of girls hooked on rappelling. She is almost done with school, likes driving, got her braces off, but did not enjoy having her wisdom teeth extracted. God placed Charity in the middle of our children. I like seeing her be not lost in the crowd, but express herself with confidence, have fun, and personally enjoy learning the ways of the Lord.

Maggie (15): Another new experience this year was an event called UQ—Ultimate Quest. A ministry of Institute In Basic Life Principles Australia, the goal is to help young people see life from God’s point of view and make wise decisions. Maggie said, “UQ helped me evaluate my life to see if I was living ‘all-out’ for Christ and what decisions would help me to honor Him in later years.” She credits the Journey Reunion experience with helping her relationship with Christ get back where it needed to be. I would have to say I have noticed her being more serious minded about relationships and the Lord. Her comment: “God has been showing me that having an intimate relationship with Him is the most important thing in my life.” One of our goals for our daughters has been that they might be a help to moms with lots of small children. Maggie was one of the girls who got to go with Courtney Mount and her daughters to Branson, Missouri and Silver Dollar City on a fun trip. She really enjoyed getting to help Mrs. Mount…and ride the roller coasters. Maggie wants you to know she is getting taller.

Carinna (15): Although the youngest, she is the tallest of all my girls. She would say ditto to the Branson trip with the Mounts and the roller coaster fun. She likes playing volleyball, wood carving, anything outside (like hunting-killed an 8 point buck), working with Calli (our dog), sewing, playing violin and piano, painting, helping work cows, riding horses and drawing. She has focused her drawing this year on portraits and is very good at them. Carinna is detail oriented, likes to rise early, and likes to follow a plan. When it came to the Journey Reunion, Carinna loved the family time traveling. We stopped by the Burns’, Dorninks’, and IBLP headquarters in Chicago along our 2500 mile trip to the Northwood Conference Center in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. “God really drew me closer; taught me I can have a real personal relationship with Him. UQ was a learning time too.

Benjamin (11): With the older boys out of the house for extended periods of time, Benjamin and I decided we needed to get some guy time together. We enjoyed a special campout and canoe float trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas. It was part of the Alert Cadet program so we had lots of teaching and bonding time together too. Benjamin also accompanied me to a Character First training in Mountain Home, Arkansas. His boyhood ways are encouraged by his Granddad who gave him his first hatchet and a Boy Scout handbook. Benjamin and some of the girls also rode with Granny and Granddad in a Model T in the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Christmas Parade. At the Journey Reunion, Benjamin found another favorite preacher, Eric Ludy, a powerful preacher, who passionately communicates the set-apart Christian life. “He revved my engine for God.”

The most significant, “And it came to pass” is found in Luke 24 when, three days after Jesus died on the cross for our sins, some of His disciples arrived at His tomb only to find the stone rolled away and His body gone.

And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:4-7).

Jesus came as a baby, lived a perfect life, was crucified for our sins, but rose victorious from the grave. Jesus, the Son of God, is now ascended to heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father, and ever lives to pray for the saved (Hebrews 7:25).

One day it will be written of each of us, “And it came to pass…”

What about you? Will you pass from this life to an eternity separated from God’s love in a place called Hell, or will you place your faith and trust in Jesus, the Son of God, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas and pass from this life to spend eternity with Him in Heaven?

The Burnetts

Christmas 2011

 Family picture
Photo courtesy of Chad Paine

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Blessed to have and be a Dad


I wouldn’t trade it for all the tea in China (and my wife really likes tea!); the privilege of being a father. It is a privilege indeed for you must be born a male, must have a consenting wife, and must have the blessing of the Sovereign God—our Heavenly Father. It is not something you can demand or make happen on your own.

Yet while many can be a father, it is an even greater privilege to have a dad. And what a dad I have, James Byford Burnett. He is in the later years of his life (God says if we get our three score and ten, we are doing well) as he is seventy-seven but still has the spunk to capture eight baby possums that recently invaded his garage, be at church every Sunday, walk the fence to check for water gaps, and invest love in his family.

I remember trips to the park, crawling up in his lap for a story, fishing, duck hunting, fence building, laying sod on a new pond dam, hearing him read the Bible to the family, watching him help a homeless person, him getting us a dog, beekeeping, him enduring my attempts to be a drummer, patience teaching me to drive, encouragement when I wanted to run track, faithfulness to the wife of his youth, wise counsel, and leading me to faith in Jesus.

The amazing thing is my dad’s dad died when my dad was only seven years old so he did not have a long time example of how to be a dad. Dad’s brother, Uncle Hack, was like a dad to him in many ways (that is who I am named after, John Haskell Burnett, II), and dad looked diligently to his Heavenly Father for the example he missed in his life.

So I have realized, there is no way I can be the father and dad I need to be alone. My Heavenly Father has allowed the precious wife of my youth to bless me with eight wonderful, God-fearing, forgiving children. I am a rich man indeed from my Heavenly Father, to my earthly father, to a self-sacrificing wife, to eight children who affectionately call me…Dad. I wouldn’t trade if for all the tea in China.

I hope any dads out there who read this have a blessed Father’s Day.

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