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!
The IGNITE Youth Department is now accepting campers for the 2010 IGNITE Summer Camp, JULY 5 – 9, 2010. Campers must be in grades 6-12. PARENTS: Download the Youth Camp Packet (1.25MB) with camp information and releases.
- Awesome games and activities such as: Rock Climbing Wall, Mechanical Bull, Obstacle Course, Hiking, Swimming, Giant Outdoor Video Theater, Sticky Wall and more
- Free IGNITE Youth Camp t-shirt for all campers
- Inspirational, High Impact Night Services with Live music by the Believers Victory Center Praise Team
- Special Guest Speaker Chad Furlong – Founder and First Director of Hampton Master’s Commission. Presently Founder and Director of iTHINK School Assemblies (San Diego, California)
Cost of the camp is $65.00 (Non-Refundable). Sign up and pay below or call the BVC Office (530-3299) to register.
Space is limited. Campers will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.
LAST DAY TO REGISTER IS JUNE 20
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!
I began my week off with a great trip to Stonewall Jackson Lake in Lewis County, WV for a couple days. My favorite fishing partner, who also happens to be my wife, was with me and we soaked up the sun all day long. It was a great time to say the least. Then on Wednesday afternoon I left for the New River in southern WV. I took along three guys from the church, who also happen to be some great fishing partners, but don’t look near as good as my wife! The weather was beautiful, the scenery was breathtaking, and the fishing, well, I have seen better on the New River, but it was good. We returned on Saturday afternoon and I immediately began to get my boat ready to return to Stonewall Jackson lake for a trip that I have been looking forward to for a while simply because my dad was coming along with me. Due to Dad’s work schedule and location we don’t get to spend the time together that we would like. Dad is a successful sales manager for a company called Veolia and his office is in Richmond, VA.
So we packed our gear and set out for a father/ son fishing trip on Sunday afternoon. We stayed at a motel on Sunday night near the lake and we were up bright and early ready to catch the BIG ONE on Monday morning. That morning was gorgeous. The sun was climbing up from the mountains and was just beginning to peak over the horizon. Song birds were singing, and a turkey gobbler looking for some spring love was letting everyone know he was in the area. The bass fishing was slow at best- ok, let me be more honest with that statement- the bass fishing was DEAD. Nothing at all biting and we threw everything we had at them.
At around 11:30 I fired up the motor on the boat and let the 115 horsepower Mercury take us across the lake in search of Musky. Thanks to Ed Metheny, who attends the BVC, I have been smitten with the Musky Bug. At 11:45 I rigged up one of my Musky rods for Dad and one for myself and we began to troll up a mouth of a creek. We never made it 100 yards when my reel started singing that sweet song that all Musky fisherman live for. After a brief fight my Dad dipped the net in the water and we had our first Musky of the day in the boat. The fish measured 40 inches. We were as happy as a butcher’s dog! After some quick pictures and a couple fist bumps, we released the fish alive and well. We both returned our lines to the water and I started the motor and continued to troll up this creek, when no more than 80 yards from the last spot my reel again sounded off and I picked up the rod and felt what I immediately knew was the fish of a lifetime on the other end. The next several minutes were pretty crazy as I fought to keep this fish on the line and bring him to the boat. After what seemed like an eternity, Dad again dipped the net and we both drug on board a huge Musky measuring more than 52 inches and weighing over 37 pounds! Oh Yeah!
I know I’m a pastor, but I wouldn’t dream of asking you to accept a story like that without some pics to back it up. So check out the pics at the bottom of both fish. Side note for any die hard Musky fisherman: The big Musky was returned to the water as well, in good shape and swam off with no problems.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is a blog from the Senior Pastor of the Believers Victory Center, shouldn’t there be something spiritual in it? Of course there should, so here ya go. When Jesus walked the Earth, He invited a select few men to be his disciples. Most of them were fisherman. In Mark 1:17 he says to them, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” In other words Jesus is telling them, if you lay down your nets and follow me, I will allow you to catch a real trophy, which we know are people. Jesus was on this Earth to cast the net and catch people. He said in Luke 19:10 “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost…” When he called his disciples he was simply asking them to be His fishing partners. And now as disciples of Christ, we are called to be Jesus’ fishing partners. We are called to cast the net and to bring in a catch of people to be born into the Kingdom of God.
Here are a few things I have discovered about fishing: First, you can’t set at home in your Lazy Boy and catch anything, you have to go to where the fish are. The same is true with being fishers of men. We can’t just set in our comfortable churches each Sunday and expect the lost to come to us, we have to go to them. When mankind needed a savior, God didn’t just set in the corner of eternity aloof to our problems and plight, but rather he got up and walked down through forty- two generations of mankind and came to us. That’s why we call him Emmanuel, because he is truly GOD WITH US…..when we couldn’t get to Him, He came to us.
Another thing I have discovered when fishing is that sometimes you have to change lures and how you present the lures to the fish. I have loads of lures that I pack on each trip, because if they aren’t biting on one lure, then I will certainly change the lure and throw another one at them. When it comes to spiritually fishing, many times we are reluctant to change the lure, or change the presentation and because we refuse to budge from our sometimes mindless religious rituals we end up missing opportunities to reach people for the Kingdom of God. Are you afraid of change? Don’t be. If God is in it, embrace it. No one said to change the message, it’s the method that we wear out many times.
One more thing before I end this already too long blog; from my fishing experience I can tell you this, it really is impossible to clean the fish before you catch them. I know this sounds obvious, but all you have to do is take a look around at many churches and Christians and you will easily find that we haven’t figured this out yet. Our example, and the Master Fisherman had this principle figured out. He was never shy about loving the unlovable, and touching the untouchable. He ate and He drank with sinners (Luke 5:30-32) and the religious leaders of the day hated him for it.
I come from a rough and rowdy past to say the least and I can tell you this, when I was doing my own thing and living for the moment totally separated from God, I was never drawn to God by church folks that looked down their pious noses condemning my every move. I never felt the love of God from those that were quick to toss me under the bus and be content with me just sliding into hell. But thank God there were many in my family, and many Christians that showed me the love of God by loving me through a mess. They were quick to put their arms around me and tell me how much they believed in me and how much God still loved me. That was the difference in my life and today I am a testimony of the life changing power of a Good God in heaven. Let’s not try to clean the fish before we catch them.
If you are still reading this, thank you so much for hanging on to the end. A special thank you to all the non-sportsmen that made it to the end of this blog.
As always, Sara and I are praying God’s best for your life. Get out there and do some fishing now! BOTH KINDS!
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
Before I let my brain lapse into total vacation mode, I should write something of worth. Last Sunday we celebrated Easter, the day the Spirit of God invaded the tomb and raised to life the three day dead body of our Saviour. The crowds at our two services were great. The level of excitement was tangible among the congregation. Kids were sporting their Easter outfits. Dinners were planned. Families were together. The weather was absolutely beautiful. It was certainly a great Easter day. Now we are on the other side of Easter day and many times it’s easy to let our level of excitement and expectation go back to “normal”. But there is where we miss it. Jesus didn’t get up from death and kick the end out of the tomb just for one day. Scott Fawley, our IGNITE Youth Pastor said it best last Sunday, he said “Jesus didn’t come out of the tomb on Sunday and then crawl back in on Monday.” Now that will preach!
We need to live mindful that we serve a LIVING SAVIOUR, not just on Easter, but every day of the year. In addition to that, it would also do us well to understand that the same power, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. The great champion of the Faith the Apostle Paul declared in Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Do you get it? The Spirit of God lives in us and John writes in I John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” A few years ago I began to encourage my congregation with this thought: There will never be anything AGAINST YOU that is greater than the God that is IN YOU. As a Believer, no trial, no circumstance, no dilemma can ever be greater than the God that lives in you. Can I get an AMEN somebody?
My prayer for you this week is that you will simply live in the light of the Risen Christ and will walk with the revelation that the Greater One lives in you.
Sara and I are praying God’s best for you. Be blessed.
DO SOMETHING WITH IT!