Again, service time is 10 p.m. Make plans to celebrate the New Year at Believers Victory Center and get 2011 started the right way.
Yesterday at Believers Victory Center was amazing. After church, emails and facebook comments began to pour in commenting on the message and I appreciate that more than you know. After each service there is always that period of second guessing myself and wondering if I said the right things, so all the encouragement really helps. I am so grateful for all the awesome staff that helps make our Sunday Celebration services powerful and effective. I can’t imagine ministry without great people like this working together.
Have a great Monday everyone. I am praying God’s best for you. Remember your heritage as a child of God, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper and every tongue that rises against you in judgement, you shall condemn. For this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is from me.” Isaiah 54:17
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
After a quick look around the front of my property I decided that it would be wise to check out the cellar style basement that is under the old part of our house. The entrance to this basement is covered by a long heavy door that lays over the stairwell. With Sara standing on the sidewalk, weak in the knees from my brave, testosterone rich search for the stinky beast, I heaved the door from its resting place and shined my flashlight down the stairwell. What happened next sends chills down my spine to this very day. There laying at the bottom of the stairs was a skunk. Time stood still. Images of my life passed before my eyes. OK, maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but it was an intense moment to say the least and it was about to get worse. As my brain raced at supersonic speed trying to find a solution to this dilemma my wife let out a blood curling scream and as I glanced down, there within inches of my feet, was another skunk. All my manliness went out the window as I stared down the business end of that black and white stink machine. I dropped the door and ran like Forrest Gump. In case you don’t know, skunks don’t care for loud noises such as basement doors slamming over their heads. When that door slammed he let off a vile cloud of toxic fumes the likes of which I have never smelled before. This stench was then sucked in to our central air conditioning unit which sets in the new part of the basement and was promptly distributed throughout the house turning our once quiet and peaceful home into a den of wretched misery.
If I had space and time I would chronicle my heroic war on these vile beasts and my efforts to reclaim the property that was rightly mine. I would also detail all the home remedies and concoctions that we brought to bear on the situation and tell you which ones killed the smell and which ones about killed us, but I’ll have to save that for later perhaps.
I do want to let you in on this part of the story and hopefully bring this to an inspirational thought for today. In the flurry of activity that followed I discovered that the family of skunks had made their way in through a small hole under the old part of the house that led through a crawlspace and ultimately into the cellar/basement. I haven’t been in the back yard much this summer and didn’t even notice that the holes were there, but obviously the skunks did.
We took care to lock our doors. We made sure that our windows were locked and sealed up tight. But while we were locking our doors and keeping our windows shut, there in the back part of our home was an opening that I didn’t realize simply because I failed to pay attention this summer to that part of our property.
The pastor in me is constantly on the look out for the next sermon, and through all of this I couldn’t help but think about the “skunks of life” that we all have to deal with. Now you are probably thinking that I inhaled too many fumes throughout this ordeal, but think about it. All of us know that there are some nasty things out there that can really stink up our families, our careers, our happiness. These skunks are roaming around just looking for an opening into our lives and it doesn’t take much of an opening to allow them in.
So the meat of this blog post is simply this; IS YOUR LIFE SKUNK PROOF? What weak areas can you identify that the smelly things of life can sneak into and set up residence? Have you examined your marriage lately? Do your kids know for sure that you love them and you believe in them 100%? Is your quiet time with God on track?
My encouragement for you today is to examine your life. Don’t leave anything to chance. I have learned this important lesson: IT IS FAR EASIER TO SEAL UP HOLES THAN IT IS TO DRIVE OUT SKUNKS.
Be blessed and as always, I’m praying God’s best for you.
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
As the Lead Pastor of Believers Victory Center I am aware of the work that it takes to pull off a camp this size and I couldn’t be more proud of all the volunteers and BVC staff that made this year’s camp great.
My deepest gratitude goes out to the following people:
Pastor Scott & Renee Fawley – Guys, you have been a breath of fresh air to me personally and this ministry. The IGNITE Youth Department and the Believers Victory Center is blessed to have quality people like you on board.
Amanda Ours – I know the work you put into this camp and I am really proud of you. Can’t imagine what kind of mess we would have had without your organization on the front end of this great project.
CAMP COUNSELORS – Sharon Wratchford, Tammy Gilbert, Jessica Crites, Kyle Stump, Jared Wratchford, Roger Ours, Rita Young – Can’t even begin to describe how thankful I am for you all. Taking a week of your vacation time to invest in our youth is simply amazing. I know your investment is going to have huge returns. Thank you so much.
Lee & Norman – Thanks for staying up all night and keeping everyone safe. You guys rock.
KITCHEN STAFF – Brenda Smith, Harry Smith, David Smith, Deb Sites, Deb Metheny, & Kathy Whetzel – Once again, you did an outstanding job at keeping us all well fed. Thank you so much for the hard work. I don’t want to think of doing camp without great people like you in the kitchen.
Brian Miller – You dedication to the Kingdom and to our church amazes me. From being our resident trucker, to helping our Sound Team set up, to being a camp counselor, you did everything with excellence and joy. Thanks for being flexible. Can’t imagine doing ministry without people like you.
BVC PRAISE TEAM – Mike & Jose Lobo, Hunter Williams, Brian Wilson, Kyle Stump, Sharon Ours, Loretta Spencer, Denise Hose, Shane Keplinger, Carter Williams, Amanda Ours, Kenya Hinger – Thank you for rushing to camp each night to help lead our youth in praise. You did good. Real good.
BVC SOUND & TECH TEAM – Jimmy Sherman & Joe Young – Thanks for making us all sound good. Few realize the work that goes into setting up audio for an event like this. You guys did great. Thank you so much.
Chris Devault – You presence at camp this year was much needed and very much appreciated. Felt like old times again. We all love you and miss you deeply. Thank you so much for the great help.
Mitch & Teresa Pennington, Krista & Shannon, Hunter Williams – Many thanks for staffing the amusement stations in the blazing heat. The kids, little and big, had a blast.
MEDICAL TEAM – Pam Elmore, Amy Kump, Deb Smith – Ladies, you are all awesome! Thanks for being on hand to keep us well.
Seth Franco – You got some mad skills bro. Our campers were really touched by your message. Thanks for coming to WV.
Chad Furlong – From San Diego to WV. WOW. Can anyone say culture shock! Thanks for being with us all week. You connected in a deep way with the campers. I am so thankful for you.
Shane & Tina Keplinger – Thank you both. The animals were a huge hit and the lesson you tied in with it was perfect. You guys are awesome.
BVC Congregation – Thanks for being a “Youth Friendly” church. Without your support and giving, none of this would be possible.
THE CAMPERS – Thanks for coming to IGNITE Youth Camp 2010. You are the best. I am so excited to see the great things that you will do in this life as you STAND for HIM.
ANYONE I MISSED – I won’t be so naive to think that I remembered everyone, so if I missed you, please know that I am grateful for the part you played in our youth camp.
If you were involved with this year’s camp,
take a moment and leave us a comment about your experience.
We would love to hear from you.
Praying God’s best for you.
Pastor Berg proudly served his nation during the Vietnam war. He was a man’s man. His skill at building and fixing things amazed me. He was a loving pastor to a great church and a wonderful husband and father.
During a very troubled time in my life, Pastor Berg prayed for me and helped my family. When I came through this time he was quick to put his arm around me and tell me that God had great plans for my life. He so believed that God had a plan for me that he allowed me to preach at his church when my preaching left a lot to be desired.
Over a decade ago I stood at an altar with the love of my life and Pastor Berg united us in marriage. I remember being afraid that I would mess up repeating my vows, so when Pastor Berg said, “Repeat after me; I Chris, take you Sara, to be my wedded wife” I looked directly at him and began to repeat the words he just spoke and without missing a beat he said, “Don’t tell me, tell her.”
After our vows, Pastor Berg began to inform Sara and I, as well as everyone in attendance, of how the marriage bed is undefiled and how sex in marriage is a wonderful gift that God has given us. Although I couldn’t have agreed with him more, our faces were so red that I thought they could have burst into flames at any time.
When it comes to passion for the gospel and love for people, Pastor set the bar high and I have a long way to go to reach the mark that he set. He was the kind of guy that was genuinely happy for you. My success as a pastor hasn’t been celebrated by everyone, but many times Pastor Berg would shake my hand and pull me in close and tell me how proud he was of me and not one time did I ever not believe it.
As I type this, there sets a box of communion bread on my bookcase that Pastor gave me a couple weeks ago. Somehow we forgot to order it and I didn’t notice until Saturday night, so without hesitation I picked up the phone and called him and in true Pastor Berg fashion he told me to come right over, he would let me have some of his. That box of communion wafers may not seem like much to anyone else, but to me it’s a reminder of how Kingdom minded Pastor was. It wasn’t just about his church, or his ministry, it was about advancing the Kingdom of God and he knew that we all have a part to play.
I need to wrap this up. In a short time I will go to the church that Pastor built with his own hands and will pay my respect to him and his family. I don’t want to. I don’t even want to accept that he’s not around anymore. I’m a little mad that I didn’t get to say goodbye. We lived on the same street and I’m sad that I won’t be able to stop by and watch his eyes light up as he talked about end time events. I can’t call him up and bum communion bread anymore and I won’t be able to answer my phone “Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, Chris speaking” when he calls my office and hear him say, “All I want to know is do you know Jesus down there?” I know I’m a pastor and I’m supposed to say super spiritual things in a moment like this, but I don’t think God will mind me being honest enough to say that I don’t like this one bit.
That’s my raw emotions, the human side that is hurting that he is gone from this earth. It’s also my selfish side, because I know Pastor is having the time of his life right now. I guess I have to go back to the words of Paul the apostle when he said “For we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” I don’t like what we can see, but what we can’t see is that Sunday morning, June 27, Pastor Glenden Berg finished his course and stepped into a glory that we can’t imagine and stood before his God and I tell you this, God wasn’t meeting with a stranger, or someone that He didn’t know, but standing before the throne last Sunday was someone well known with God. I would have loved to have seen the look in Pastor’s eye when he heard the words “WELL DONE THY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, ENTER NOW INTO THE JOY OF THE LORD.”
Tomorrow, the body of Pastor Glenden Berg will be properly laid to rest. He was my friend and I’m going to miss him.
We recently finished a two day video shoot with Medius Video Productions for our upcoming Capital Campaign to raise funds for our new complex. If anyone is in the market for an awesome video for your business or church, Medius Productions is the way to go. Jeff & Joe Duncan are professionals that have traveled the world and worked with the biggest names in news and entertainment. Long story short: THEY ROCK! You can check out their website at www.mediusvp.com
After the big weekend of the video shoot, my son and I hit the golf course. I really wanted to spend some time with him since I was so busy over the weekend. Carson has his own tiny clubs and a little bag to carry them around in. Of course I have a very biased opinion, but he really is cute with his little golf bag on his shoulder, marching up to the tee box ready to swing away. He has such a great attitude toward the game too. Every shot is a great shot to him, no matter where it goes. I, on the other hand, have a long way to go to get my attitude where it needs to be when I’m on the golf course! There’s my public confession for this week, let’s move on now.
As Carson and I gave it our best at the course, I began to think that I should have planned something more for our day together. He’s been to the golf course many times, it’s no huge deal. Sure he likes it, but I began to feel guilty that I didn’t get the boat out and take him to a lake, or plan some excursion to a petting zoo. As these thoughts were running through my mind, my four year old climbs in the golf cart and gives me this huge hug and says, “We’re golfing buddies aren’t we?” I squeezed him real tight and assured him that we are most definitely “golfing buddies” and as I did it hit me like a ton of bricks that my son has a distinct way of seeing the value in the little things of life. Carson could have cared less about the venue or the expense of the trip, all he cared about was spending time with his dad. Up to that point in the day I would have judged it as a small thing compared to what we could have experienced together, but my son reminded me that there is great value in the little things of life.
We continued around the course, failing to set any records, but having a great day together and I began to think about the verse of scripture found in Song of Solomon chapter two, verse fifteen. It reads; “Catch us the little foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards….” As I pondered on this particular verse I thought about how many times we overlook what we consider the little things, but it’s the little things that add up to make a big deal.
Have you ever considered that little things have the ability to destroy big things? Little foxes spoil grape vines; little germs ruin health; a little hole in a dam causes floods; little snowflakes stopped Napoleon from conquering Russia. Many times the seemingly little things of life go unnoticed until they add up to large problems. Businesses suffer when there is a lack of attention to detail. Marriages are often in turmoil not because of one big thing, but due to a collection of little things over the years.
The wise man that penned the verse of scripture was concerned about his vineyard. It would be safe to assume that he had already protected his vineyard from the larger, more obvious threats such as the cattle, or possibly even the camels by constructing a fence to keep the obvious dangers out. But in addition to protecting against the large, obvious threats to his vineyard, he also gave an order to “catch for us the foxes, the little foxes” because he knew that during the night the little foxes could slip past the large cattle, and the enormous camels, and creep under the fence that was built to keep the obvious out and destroy the precious vines.
Often we are prepared for the obvious and we go to great lengths to guard against the large things of life, and this is good, but many times we miss little opportunities. Such as, telling our spouse how much we love them before rushing off to begin our day, or little chances to let our children know we are proud of them. Too many times the little moments of life pass us by.
Had it not been for my “golfing buddy” I might have missed the significance of our simple day together and let a little moment pass by without realizing it’s value. Let’s aim to not let the little things of life pass us by, remember, it’s the “little foxes” that spoil the vines.
As always, I’m praying God’s best for you.
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
Anyway, ever so often I will be posting a blog concerning tips and highlights on some of the great features our site has to offer. Today I want to highlight a cool little deal recently added to the site. At the bottom right of the site you will find something called BVC E-News. Simply insert your email address into the box, click the SIGNUP tab and shazam, you are instantly added to our list of friends and will be the first to be alerted by email each time there is a news, announcement, or blog post. How cool is that? (Waiting for you to try it out……go ahead, you know you want to)
Moving on……Last week I took my family to one of my favorite hideouts. (Location Intentionally Withheld. Sorry.) At my hideout, cell service and internet connections give way to beautiful water and awesome scenery. We were there about an hour when Carson and I decided that we had been on dry land long enough and we gave in to the alluring call of the river. As my son splashed in the water and threw rocks I thought about how I played in the exact same part of the river when I was a kid. (Possibly just gave away my secret hideout to some locals) It only seemed like yesterday when I was the kid chunking rocks and enjoying the water. Where did the time go?
Moments like the evening at the river with my family, thinking about how time has passed so quickly give me even more resolve to live life to it’s fullest. Every day is a gift from God and I wonder how many times we let that gift just slip through our hands without getting the most out of it. One of the ways that our day, our gift from God, slips through our hands is that we live outside of the moment. I certainly do not advocate living totally for the moment, but many times we so lose focus that we miss the moment that God is giving us.
We find ourselves looking back, living in some past situation and the present moment flies by us. It’s been said many times, but it bears repeating, there is a reason why our rear view mirrors in our vehicles are very small compared to the windshield. The reason is simply this: What is in front of us, that we are currently traveling through, is way more important than what is behind us.
I know it’s tempting to keep looking back, but I have realized that our past is just that, PAST. It’s passed us, it’s gone, and no matter how much you look back, it can’t be changed. You can regret it, you can love it, you can wish for it again, or wish it never happened, but at the end of the day, you can’t change it.
I have also realized that vehicles don’t come with a set of binoculars built in, because what is way out ahead of us doesn’t matter if you can’t safely navigate through your present situation. It’s easy to fall into this “ONE DAY” mentality. One day I will be happy. One day I will be prosperous. One day I will be the parent I need to be. And as we look ahead we again let the moment pass by not even realizing that our tomorrow is wrapped up in our today. What we do on a daily basis is determining our futures. And if we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we’ve been getting. To have a better future, I have to do something with this moment that I have been blessed with.
Let me take this thought just a bit further and say as Christians we can be terrible at this “One Day” mentality that I am writing about. Many times we get this mind frame that we are just waiting for heaven. I believe with all my heart that God has prepared a place for those that believe in Him, but I also believe that I’m allowed to be on this earth for a reason and a purpose. And that purpose is not setting around waiting until one glad morning when this life is over so I can fly away.
As I write this I am overwhelmed with the realization that I am writing to movers and shakers of their generation. God has placed purposes, pursuits, passions and plans in your life. Don’t miss the moment. Quit staring back into the rear view mirror of life and quit waiting until you get to the “Other Shore” and LIVE TODAY! The opportunity of a lifetime must be taken advantage of in the lifetime of the opportunity. God has given you the gift of today. What will you do with it?
As always, I’m praying God’s best for your life.
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
My partner for the day was my ole buddy Danny H. Danny is a legend in his own MIND…….excuse me, I mean his own time. He has convinced himself that he is the better fisherman between the two of us, and being the good sport that I am, I just let him go on believing that. At any rate, we pulled up to the boat launch bright and early yesterday morning. Dark clouds were hovering over the lake and rain drops were dotting the water as we backed the boat in and prepared to set off. As we made our way around the lake I was forced to trim back my normal speed due to the stinging drops of rain blasting us in the face. We began to fish as the gloomy clouds made their way across the sky, some dropping more precipitation than others; it was certainly not the best conditions to say the least.
At this point in the story you may be thinking, either these two guys really love to fish, or they are just plain crazy to be out in the middle of a 2500 acre lake in the rain. You see, it wasn’t so much that we just love to fish, although we do. And it wasn’t so much that we were just crazy, although we are sometimes. But before we left that morning to drive to the lake I turned on the television and caught a local station doing a weather forecast for the area that we were fishing. That forecast said that the foul weather that we were experiencing would give way to blue skies and sunshine by noon. And so, armed with that forecast, I had no reservations about getting on the boat.
Now, had I not seen that forecast, there would have been times during the morning hours when the clouds were dark and the rain was harassing us that I would have been tempted to turn the boat around and head home. But I simply believed the weather report, I HAD FAITH IN THE FORECAST. Had I turned the boat around and gave up, we would have missed a beautiful afternoon on the water.
Perhaps you are reading this blog today and life has handed you a storm. Gray clouds may be hovering overhead, rain drops of gloom and despair may be dotting the water all around you, and you may be ready to just turn the boat around and give up. I want to encourage you to stay on the water. Why? Because I have read the forecast for those that are followers of Christ and it tells me weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 56:8) The forecast says when the enemy comes in like a flood, our God will raise a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19) The report that I read every day tells me that greater is HE that is in me, than he that is in the world (I John 4:4) and it also says if God be for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31) .
The extended forecast gets even better. It informs us that there will be some clouds. There will be some dark times, but it also lets us know that one day faster than a wheel ever turned on an axle, or a hoof ever struck a pavement, the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, is going to step through the clouds and gather his people from every corner of the earth. Paul the apostle put it like this, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16)
It doesn’t matter if you can’t make sense of it. It doesn’t matter that you can’t see anything but dark clouds hovering over your head. Your Heavenly Father has declared that the thoughts that He has toward you are thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a good end. (Jeremiah 29:11) Have FAITH IN THE FORECAST. God has this awesome way of working things out for his people.
Sara and I are praying God’s absolute best for your life. Have a great week.
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!