Billy Bob Burge

Billy Bob BurgeOUR HOME LIFE CHANGED FROM SCREAMING, YELLING, AND VIOLENCE 

   My name is Billy Bob Burge and was born and raised in San Antonio. I did not grow up in a Christian home. My mom is in her upper 80' and lives in Goliad, Texas. Dad passed away when he was sixty-two from a brain tumor. I have two sisters. One is the mayor of Goliad, Texas. Another sister lives in San Antonio. Several things happened in our lives that changed our home life from screaming, yelling, and violence, to one of life change through Jesus Christ.

   I grew up in a home where screaming, cursing, and even fighting was the norm. I never invited friends over to the house, because you never knew what or when something might happen. Like my dad, I found escape in my bedroom. If you have lived in a home like this, the screaming and the shouting can be heard in the background of the mind, even in adulthood. For the Christian that has surrendered mind, body, soul — all to Christ, these memories do not overwhelm and defeat, but serve as a reminder to never go back to those places and engage in those practices.

   We never had much money. There were plenty of times we ate beans and rice because it was cheap. Even though money was scarce and family turmoil sometimes overwhelming, love was still present. We might verbally or physically abuse one another, but someone outside the home had better not attack one of us, lest the family wrath be turned on them. Family is funny that way.

   Growing up, my mom and my sisters were Ouija board users. I mention this, because the Ouija board became a source of direction and answers for my family. I have seen and experienced first-hand the boards addiction and deception. As a child, seeing the Planchette move on its own across the board was creepy. But it was the visible demonic manifestations that finally brought the smashing of the board. When the Ouija board was destroyed my sister’s drug use ended. God worked through our circumstances to bring about the life change we so desperately needed.

   When I was sixteen years old, my dad came walking through the living room one evening, and he said he was headed to my older sister’s trailer home and asked me to go with him. We jumped in the truck and I realized my dad had his rifle beside him. Concerned I asked, "Why'd you bring your rifle?" He said, "There's a man that's broken into your sister's place and he is beating her." I thought, "Oh, great."

   Sure enough, this guy was just beating the daylights out of my sister when we walked inside the trailer. Dad said, "If you move and take a step, I'm going shoot you." The man must have been deaf, because he took a step towards us and dad shot him, dropping him to the floor. Seeing someone shot at close range is nothing like what you see on TV or the movies. When this man hit the floor, his guts spilled out. My dad handed me some towels as I was trying to hold him together. If you are a hunter, you know what it smells like when you open a carcass? Human smell is the worst.

   One of the detectives asked my dad if he was in such and such military unit. I never knew what dad did in the military, but I remember him answering, "How did you know that?" The detective replied, "There are very few people that know how to spill a man's guts and not kill him. You knew exactly how to do that." They didn’t charge my dad with a crime. Traumatic as that night was, I remember it as the first time my together and prayed.

   I became a Christian when I was eleven years old, five years before the shooting. I was a dirty, filthy mouth kid. I hated my life. I hated what was going on in my household. I hated everything. My uncle and my mom decided I need to be reformed. They were right. My uncle put me on a bus in Shreveport, Louisiana to attend a camp with his church known as Falls Creek. I did not want to go. I have never told my mom, but when I got on that bus, the first thing I did cursed their pastor and youth minister, hoping they would kick me off the bus. They would not do it, which made me mad. I went and sat by myself at the back of the bus. As you can imagine, no one wanted to sit by me.

   In those days, Falls Creek was not a fancy place. Services were held in a large, covered, open-air tabernacle. There were no walls and it was hot. The preacher was an older man who seemed to scream a lot. Another man in his upper years led the singing of Hymns. I sat in the back with an adult in front of me, an adult behind me, and adults on either side of me. That is how we sat because they could not control me.

   Thursday night of that camp, I have no clue what the preacher preached, certainly did not know the songs. All I know is this: for the first in my life, I felt lost, sad, and afraid. A lot of people had told me to “go to hell”, but for the first time I knew I was on my wat there. I started to cry. Understand, I was not a crier, and I jumped up and I ran out of that tabernacle. I went out and hid in the woods. I couldn’t stop crying.

   About two o'clock in the morning, I came back to my cabin and sure enough the adults are waiting on me. Walking up I thought, "For sure they will send me home now." As I walked in, the man I had verbally abused the most during the week walked up and calmly asked, "Billy Bob, what's wrong?" I said, "Man, I don't know. My life is so screwed up. I am terrified. Confused. My family is hell and I am going to hell. If I died right now, I don't think it would even matter. I don't think anybody would care." 

   He shared with me something that I had never heard before. Jesus Christ is God. God loved me so much that He, Jesus, came to live among us. Jesus was a righteous man who showed how much He loved us through how He lived, took man’s death penalty of sin on Himself and was crucified.  Being dead and buried for three days, Jesus resurrected out of the grave alive. I had never heard this before. These words were new to me. I said, “You mean God was Jesus? I do not get the death part. How could He die for me?” The man, I do not remember his name, put it in terms I understood. He asked, "Billy Bob, have you ever been on death row?" I answered, "Well, no. of course not." He continued, “Well let’s just pretend that you are on death row. You have a number that has been assigned to you by the prison. In 15 minutes, some men are going to walk into your cell and lead you down a long hallway. You will be strapped to a gurney. Needles will be placed into your arms and you will be injected with death. But I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to take your number, change clothes with you and take your place on the death bed. What do you say to that?” I answered, “How fast can we swap clothes?" He said, "That's exactly what Jesus did for you. You see, you did the crime, you sinned. Jesus paid the time, He died for you." That made sense to me. He and I knelt on that cold cement floor and he helped me pray: “Lord Jesus, thank You that You love me. Thank You for Your birth, life, and crucifixion. You died for my sins so that I could really live. I chose to turn away from my sins and turn to You, asking You to come and live in me in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Please forgive me of my sins. (I paused for a moment and asked forgiveness for some specific sins.) You truly are God. Live in and through me." 

   Whenever I went home, guess what my mom and sisters were doing? They did what they had always done, argued, cursed, screamed…, but for the first time in my life, I had a peace in chaos. We moved to Birmingham, Alabama. Not long after, a friend invited me to church. Believe it or not, I loved it! I started riding the bus to church and bringing as many friends as I could with me. One of the pastors took me under his wing and mentored me. (By the way, that is what Full Gospel Business Men do — evangelize and mentor). Through this pastor’s love and guidance, God called me into the ministry.

    Several years later, we moved back to San Antonio. As a young teen, I thought it was the end of my world. I was going to leave my friends and church. I questioned, “Why would God do this to me?” What I did not know was God had a much bigger plan for me and my family.

 

   Once again, a friend invited me to a church in San Antonio called Castle Hills First Baptist Church. It was a mega church known as being “Spirit-filled.” I had never experienced anything like it in my life. They clapped, raised their hands, shouted for joy, and had healing services— everyone wanted to be there. They were happy and so was I.

   Once again several men: Senior Pastor George Harris, Music Minister Malcolm Grainger, my future father-in-law, Irving Cook, and Associate Pastor Steve Davis, all took me in and mentored me. To this day, even though years have separated us, these men are still the most important men in my life. God placed these men in my life to help navigate the shooting, other trials, and become the minister God me to become.

   I met my wife, Joy, of thirty-five years at Castle Hills. She is the most amazing person in the world!  God has given us three wonderful boys’, three incredible daughters-in-law, and seven beautiful grandkids.

   My life’s story is never ending. I could write page after page of the great churches we have served in, the trials of disease, healing, trials, and an amazing journey of love, compassion, grace God has shown us through challenging times and many happy experiences. God took a filthy, dirty, foul mouth kid that hated family and life, changed and cleaned him up, and gave him a life worth living and family who loves God and one another.

 

Billy Bob Burge Hearing His Voice Testimony

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