Remembering Pastor Glenden Berg

Tomorrow, the body of Pastor Glenden Berg will be properly laid to rest.  He was my friend and I’m going to miss him.

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.