Archive for chicago wedding minister

New Hope for a New Year

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 28, 2010 by pastoralb

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[b] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Cor. 4:8 NLT

For a lot of people this year has been rough. Bad health, death in the family, financial issues, family fall-outs, business slumps – a whole number of things could have contributed to a year that we would like to forget. Unfortunately, many of us are still left wondering what will make next year any better? What are the guarantees that we can do anything better or get any more favorable results? Many of us are wondering what happened to this last year and why we haven’t made any progress.

It’s ironic how we often pray to God to make something happen or make something successful, but rarely put our own effort into it. We sit back and wait for God to work His magic so that we can reap the rewards. It would be nice if it worked this way, but is it really biblical? We forget that God has ALREADY granted us gifts, talents, hope, and power. The verse above says that ” . . . our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” What power? Does this mean that we have some special power that we are not tapping into? YES! Before Jesus was taken into Heaven he said that he would leave with us a Counselor – a helper. This is the Holy Spirit that dwells within us and gives us strength.

We usually tend to look for God “out there somewhere”, but forget that in the Holy Spirit He dwells inside us as well. If our intentions and goals will glorify Him, then they will succeed through that power. The key, however, is that we actually have to USE that power. If we are sitting on our hands, we are not using it.

So, do you have some things that you want to accomplish in this next year? Do you have a laid out goal and a plan to achieve it? I have heard many times that there are three keys to setting goals:

1. The goal must be measurable and specific. (Don’t just say I want to get more customers, how many customers do you want?) Otherwise, how will you know when you are there?

2. Keep the goal in front of your face. Write down the goal and then put it somewhere where you will see it such as your PC screen saver or a post it on your bathroom mirror. This will keep us from forgetting about it and being in the same place a year from now. (Believe me – been there, done that.)

3. Keep the goal realistic. Break the goal up into small milestones and achieve them one by one. This will help to keep the goal attainable and real. It’s always easy to think we have a vision of something, but not really have a grasp on what it is or how it is attained.

Last, but not least . . . Remember that the power is within us and that God WANTS us to succeed! When life is kicking your butt, kick back! I and the Christian Business Society are devoted to helping one another succeed for the glory of God. Just imagine – if each of us has ambitions and the power from God to get there, imagine if we put it all together and support one another . . . That’s A LOT OF POWER! This is not the “health and wealth gospel”, rather it is God’s call for each of us to glorify Him while having life to the fullest. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to use that power that He has so graciously given and start living!

Blessings to all for a great 2011!!!!!!

Pastor B

*FSM is supported mostly by donations from weddings officiated in the Chicagoland area. If you are a loved one are in need of a minister for your wedding, contact us at .


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 13, 2010 by pastoralb

Ah, here we are. In the hustle and bustle of the season and mostly just worried about getting our shopping done one time. Many people talk about the “reason for the season”, but it has become such a coin term that it really doesn’t seem to hit home anymore. So, I thought that I would share a little perspective on Christmas to help us reset.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2:8 -14

Seven hundred years before this text, Isaiah mentioned that a messiah would be born. I can imagine that by the time Jesus was born that many of the people of Israel had given up hope that their messiah would come. After all, they were taken into captivity and beaten down by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and at that time, the Romans were in town doing the same thing. Just when they had all but given up hope that God would save them and that God even remembered their existence, this message came to them: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news . . . a savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” We all know the skepticism that came about among the Jews, but regardless, they finally had their Messiah!! This is the first part of what I think about Christmas – just when we are down and out and think that God has forgotten us and all hope is lost – He does something amazing and shows us that he will NEVER leave us or forsake us.

The other thing I think of is this: God doesn’t always provide in ways that we expect or want Him to – He always provides so much better and with so much more blessing than we could imagine in our limited human minds. We don’t always see it this way, but it is the ultimate truth that His will is so much better for us than our own. This is made obvious in the fact that the Jews were hoping for a messiah that was a powerful king who would basically beat back their oppressors and help them get their revenge making them a great power to be reckoned with. But this wasn’t what God had in mind. Instead he brought them a messiah that would do so much better. This was a messiah that would bring ETERNAL glory rather than one that temporarily beat the bad guys. This was a messiah that brought salvation for EVERYONE, not just the nation of Israel. This was a messiah that would allow the God’s people to be reconciled to Him permanently.

Sometimes the Christmas season can be stressful – I know it gets that way for me. When I get this way I always remember that God has a plan so much more grand and amazing than the simple one that I can conceive. Things won’t always be done the way I went them to be done. Instead they will be so much more redeeming and fulfilling than my own. About 2000 years ago, I think a young woman realized this when an angel appeared to her telling her that she would give birth to the Savior of the world.


God Can

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 3, 2010 by pastoralb

The other day, I was reading a book about the ways that the church fathers interpreted the Bible as compared to how we do today. One of the authors was comparing Martin Luther King, Jr. and Moses and said “if Moses actually existed.” Now, I’m not naive enough to think that there aren’t numerous types of ways that people view the Bible including as completely mythological. It occured to me, though, that how could Moses be a literary character to serve as a mere example of what God can do rather than a real person who actually existed showing what God actually did do? We all have imaginations that are sometimes limited as to what we can do and what is possible in this world. God, on the other hand, is not limited and where we merely frollic in the meadows of imagination, He can actually bring something out of nothing – and it will actually exist! We can’t limit God as to what He can do. If we have a burden, a concern, a grief, a desire – we need to take it before Him and let Him take it from our feeble imaginations to His divine power to make it REAL!!

Just a thought,


* First Step Ministries is funded mostly by the weddings that we perform. If you or a loved one is getting married and needs a Chicagoland minister, please find us at

Answers from the Outside

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 4, 2010 by pastoralb

I recently have been interviewing for the senior pastor position at local churches. One in particular was attractive to me because I have been going there off and on for the past two years or so and it is very close to my house. It all seemed too good to be true. However, most likely it was too good to be true. The church is having many issues including leadership rifts, a recent split, financial troubles, and a lack of transparency at times. It took other pastors, friends, and seminarians to ask me if I really thought that was where God wanted me. I though He did, but after considering what they said, it seemed that there were more fitting opportunities elsewhere. We have to remember that discernment comes not only from within via the Holy Spirit, but it can also come from other believers who have our best interests at heart. So, when God uses others to give us answers, we have to make sure not to be so busy hearing our own voice that we miss the message!

In closing, I want to pass these lyrics along that someone recently sent to me from Jars of Clay:

Cast off the robes you’re wearing,
Set aside the names you’ve been given.
May this place of rest in teh fold of your journey
Bind you to hope, you will never walk alone.
In the shelter of each other, we will live, we will live,
Your arms are all around us.

I hope that all of you can find those resting places along your journey to refresh and make sense of everything!

* First Step Ministries is primarily financed through donations received from wedding services. If you are getting married and need a minister, find us at .


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 23, 2010 by pastoralb

One of the unfortunate parts of being a pastor is that not only do you have the blessing or “marrying ’em”, but sometimes you also have to “bury ’em”. About one year ago I married a couple at their beautiful condominium in Chicago. Almost a year to the date, the groom fell to his death from his balcony this past Thursday.

Did he fall? Did he jump? We will never know. Perhaps his business was not doing well and the stresses of life got to him. Maybe it really was just a freak accident. Either way, let this be a reminder to us that beyond God’s Word, there is no rule book for life. There is no where that it is written that a man cannot die only a year after getting married and having a two year old son.

Let us all remember to live life one day at a time praising God for our blessings along the way. Love and laugh with your family and friends as if you will not get another day with them – because we never know when that may be the truth.

Please pray for his wife Marta, his son Maximillian, and his family.


First Step Ministries

Time to Rise!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 6, 2010 by pastoralb

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” – Galatians 6:9-10

As Christians, we have a promise that God will provide and that we will have lives that are full and abundant. It is time to claim those blessings as business owners and professionals and to make our lives and businesses the best that they can be. It is time to have lives free of mediocrity and despair. It is time to succeed and to show the world that we have attained what we have because of the blessings of God!

As Paul said to the Galatians, we are to do good. We have a great opportunity to do good for our communities, our children, our neighbors, and the generations that will come after us through our businesses. This is especially true for fellow believers, and we should therefore help our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ by patronizing each other’s businesses and providing valuable information and support for one another. These are the missions of the Christian Business Society.

Many of us are in a slump. We have dreams that seem miles away because we have pushed them aside as a result of the economy or just fear of failure. Let me tell you now friends that it is time to get back up and lay claim to the blessing that He has promised us! DO NOT go through life wondering what might have been. Take the gifts that God has given you and do something amazing. You will be forever glad that you did. Remember, “At the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

As a pastor, as a fellow Christian, as a friend, it is my commitment to see that you get there . . .

Pastor B

*First Step Ministries is funded in part by weddings. If you need a wedding minister in the Chicago or northern Illinois area, see our site at

Where are We?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 16, 2010 by pastoralb

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

I finally got some R&R this past week. I spent some time in Japan just relaxing with my kids. While I was there, we went to see the Vienna boys choir. It was very nice, but it got me thinking (as most things do). What happens to these boys once they hit puberty and their voices change? Do they go on to join other notable choirs or are they pretty much finished? What kind of lives do they go on to live?

Paul talks about races quite a bit throughout the New Testament. All of us have been given a race to run and a prize to win at the end of that race. How many of us know what that prize is? Do we know how far we have come and where the finish line is? Are we even running any more or have we just given up settling for a life of mediocrity?

Let’s all take a good assessment of ourselves so that we can answer the question: Where are we? After all, if we don’t even know where we are in the race, how do we know how far we have to go? If you aren’t sure what you should be running toward, take some time to get reset and reenergized. Then, be sure to get started at what ever it is. Sometimes the most important thing is starting. Let’s get back on the track and start running!

Just a thought . . .

Pastor B

*First Step Ministries is funded in part by weddings. If you need a wedding minister in the Chicago or northern Illinois area, see our site at

You Can’t Keep A Good Person Down

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 7, 2010 by pastoralb

Occasionally, we have dreams that are so vivid and surreal that they stay in our minds all day and often disturb us. I had such a dream last night. To make a long story short, in the dream, my five year old son had died and I only discovered it when I found him in the casket. This weird dream haunted me all day and made me think of the parallel worlds that were witnessing the death of another son. Just as many planets in the universe revolve around different suns, so the entire universe is centered around this one Son. God must have looked down upon his son and felt a terrible pain in his heart as he bore the sins of the world on that day at Calvary. At the same time, his earthly mother was watching as the son whom she had given birth to about 30 years before was being mocked, beaten, and nailed to a wooden cross. I can only imagine how both “sets of parents” must have felt at the suffering their son was enduring.

Before you start to think (or maybe it’s too late) that I am writing a sad or macabre message, let me get to the point. The death and suffering, thank God, are not the end of the story. Imagine also the elation that Mary must have felt when she saw her son that she had watched die – walking and well three days later! Imagine the rejoicing there must have been in Heaven when the angels saw that Christ was alive.

I often wonder what happened in that tomb. Did Jesus just open his eyes, sit up, stretch, and walk out? Did angels appear in the tomb and gather around his body and pour life back into him? Did the Father himself come down into that tomb and cradle His son until he opened his eyes? We will not know until we see our Lord face to face, but what is important for now is the fact that he DID get up and walk out of that tomb.

So what does that mean for us? There are the obvious theological ramifications such as defeating death and sin and killing the “old Adam”, giving birth to the “new Adam” so that our eternal life is sealed. But, this also means that no matter how bad a situation seems, there is always hope for a happy ending. No matter what we are enduring now, whether it is a personal matter that is weighing us down or a business that is lagging or just not taking off, we know that there is STILL HOPE. If our body is ailing and we can’t seem to get better, there is STILL HOPE. Don’t think for a second that you are defeated, because as we have seen throughout history and our own individual lives, the story isn’t over until HE says it is. So, hang in there because the dividends of your faith are right around the corner! It’s the third day, the son (sun) is rising, and don’t look now, but that stone in front of the tomb is starting to move!

*First Step Ministries is funded in part by weddings. If you need a wedding minister in the Chicago or northern Illinois area, see our site at

New Years Resolutions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 28, 2010 by pastoralb

So, here we are almost a month into another year and how are we doing so far? Have we started to do any of the things that we have set out to do through our resolutions? Or, on the contrary, are they still sitting on the top shelf collecting dust as they do every year at this time?

Every year, we get excited and set plenty of lofty goals just brimming to get into the new year and make a fresh start. We look forward to the success and the self-improvement that we will realize in the turning point in our lives. However, right around January 15th, we realize that things aren’t any different and the reality sets in of how much work is required to attain these goals. We may even wonder why we haven’t just magically made progress. I know I sometimes do! Then, I remember that I have to work toward my goals to see them to fruition.

God has given us talents and gifts to use to achieve those goals and so much more, but we have to USE THEM! He usually will not do things for us, but rather will equip us to do them ourselves. After all, if we do not have to work for them, what do we learn in life? We must believe that with these gifts we can do what we need to in order to achieve our goals. It is as Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right either way.”

So, we ask, where do we start? Our plans and goals are so far and seemingly out of reach, that we often give up only to resurrect them during the next New Year. Well, how about this – rather than going for the gold all at once, let’s set small attainable tasks that lead up to the achievement of the final prize? In other words, let’s save $1000 $3 at a time rather than trying to find the whole amount laying around somewhere. This way, as we achieve our smaller tasks we will have a sense of achievement which will motivate us to move forward. We will also have a visual and measurable scale to see how close we are getting to where we want to be.

Finally, let’s imagine ourselves where we want to be and live like that is the person that we are. As Dr. Paul Homoly preaches – “Make all decisions based on the person you want to become, rather than on your present situation.” I think it makes sense, don’t you?


Pastor B

* First Step Ministries, NFP is funded in part by weddings performed by Pastor B. 100% of wedding fees go to the ministry to help people in our communities. If you are getting married and need a wedding minister or wedding officiant, check us out at .


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 21, 2009 by pastoralb

As we head into the Christmas season, although it should be a time of thanksgiving and joy, this season often marks the onset of the “holiday blues”. We tend to start comparing ourselves to others by our ability to buy nice gifts for our spouses and children. Keeping good with the “keeping up with the Jones’s” style, we feel down because we do not do as well as our neighbors and also are upset with our companies for not allowing us to do better.

I read an article about happiness in Business Week last week which talked about the correlation between being happy at home and being happy at work. There is a direct correlation because the person experiencing the emotion is one and the same – US! We are the ones who decide if we are happy and choose how to react to our surroundings – or to change them. If we do not like the situation we are in such as how much we are paid our what we have achieved, WE are the only ones with the power to change it. So, as we head into the new year, let’s make some real goals on how to improve our lives and our attitudes and then actually make those dreams a reality.

Pastor B

*First Step Ministries is mostly funded by weddings performed by Pastor B. If you or someone you know is getting married and in need of a wedding minister or wedding officiant in Chicago or the Chicagoland area, check us out at