NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The “Rick and Bubba” show is popular on radio stations throughout the Southeast, and the duo is making a special edition DVD called “A Father’s Heart” available to any churches that want to show it on Father’s Day.
The DVD contains footage of co-host Rick Burgess giving a eulogy that testified of God’s goodness at his 2-year-old son Bronner’s funeral earlier this year. Bronner wandered out of the family’s home in Birmingham, Ala., and fell into a swimming pool in the backyard in January.
Days later, Burgess delivered a message about God’s faithfulness in the midst of tragedy that has since been watched by thousands of people on the Internet. The remarks he gave that day at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham were not planned, Burgess said, and he hesitated before stepping up to speak to the large crowd gathered there.
“When I saw his face on the screen, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it,” Burgess said of his blonde-haired toddler. “I wasn’t really prepared for how that was going to feel.”
When the time came to speak, though, Burgess later told a Huntsville, Ala., television station that he felt a divine nudge.
“Just a comfort — I mean, I was minutes from saying I was not going to do it,” Burgess told a reporter from WHNT, NewsChannel 19, in April. “And I just felt the Holy Spirit come over my body, stand me up out of that pew, walk me up on that platform and hold me there.”
Burgess is offering churches the free DVD of the message that day largely in response to so many people trying to watch it online or asking how they could access it.
Churches can send an e-mail by June 6 to [email protected] in order to request a DVD and an information packet. They should include the church’s name, mailing address and phone number as well as the name, phone number and e-mail address of one person to serve as the primary contact.
According to the Rick and Bubba website, by May 8 records showed 479 churches in 14 states had signed up to participate in the Father’s Day emphasis. A large number of the churches are in Alabama, and they include various denominations.
Burgess told WHNT that the eulogy was a word from God, not necessarily from a grieving father who wouldn’t have been able to compose himself apart from God’s supernatural power. Burgess, at the funeral, emphasized the Heavenly Father’s love and gave a clear Gospel presentation, pleading with people to use his son’s death as a chance to evaluate their relationship with God.
After Bronner died, the Burgess family spent the following weeks secluded in a small farmhouse they own in the country. After a time of healing, they decided it was time to face the house and the swimming pool where Bronner lost his life.
Burgess told the television station that what put him at peace was a memory from two summers ago before the pool was built.
“My wife stood with me in our backyard when we thought about having this pool, and the guys who were going to construct it and design it were standing there,” he told WHNT. “My wife said, ‘I would like to pray over this spot before we dig the first hole.'”
Sherri’s prayer, Burgess said, was that the pool would be used to glorify God.
“And it has,” he said.
After hearing Burgess speak at Bronner’s funeral, Hunter Bussey, the 10-year-old son of Bill “Bubba” Bussey, Burgess’ co-host, asked Jesus to be his personal Savior. And 7-year-old Brody Burgess, Bronner’s older brother, also accepted Christ.
WHNT said that in May, the family planned to wade back into the backyard pool so that the same waters that took Bronner’s life could be used for baptism as Brody began following Jesus.
“We’re going to take what Satan intended to be a bad memory and we’re going to have our son publicly die to himself and be raised to walk a new life and be born again in those same waters,” Burgess told the television station.
Most days, Burgess said the family’s sadness is no more complicated than they miss Bronner.
“We are anxiously awaiting our time to be with him…. Sometimes we’re just ready to go home. We would all rather go on to where he is, but we feel a strong conviction that if we all were to go on now, if Jesus were to come back today, people that we all know would perish,” Burgess said, voicing a hope that the DVD shown in churches on Father’s Day will lead people to eternal life in Jesus and to hope in an unpredictable, fallen world.
Compiled by Erin Roach, staff writer for Baptist Press.