Archive for wedding minister


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


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

Hi all! I hope that life is treating you well as we head toward autumn.

I recently heard a sermon on Ezekiel 37:1-14. This is the passage on the valley of dry bones. It really struck me because there are times when we are down and out and feel like there is no way to get out of the rut we are in. We look up and may see a glimmer of light, but can’t seem to crawl up to where the light is coming in from. This can be the case in life, in business, or in both.

In this passage, Ezekiel sees all of this desolation in the wasteland before him. He is walking on bones and as they crunch under his feet, it had to have looked like all hope was lost. God, however, had other plans. He asked Ezekiel if he thought those dry bones could live again and Ezekiel replied that only God knew. Are there areas where you look and can only seem to see dry bones with no hope of success or revitalization?

God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones and he did. The bones came together and were covered in flesh. He then told Ezekiel to prophesy again and life entered them and they came to life – “a vast army”. God promises then that he will bring life back to His people and that they too will live again. It’s important that we remember this promise as we start to let life get the best of us and feel despair.

Another key factor, I think, is that rather than God bringing these bones to life of his own volition, he told Ezekiel to first prophesy to the bones. We can see examples of this throughout the Bible and throughout life. Rather than pulling the Hebrews out of Egypt, he told Moses to go get them. Rather than bringing down the walls of Jericho, he had Joshua march around them. Although God is certainly capable of miracles, they almost always start with us.

Whether we are praying for ourselves or for someone else, we have to remember this – God works through us. If we are his hands and feet as the body of believers, we have a responsibility to DO the Word so that what we hope for can come to fruition. So, if you think that things can’t improve, get on your knees and pray, then get up and through the grace of God, make it happen! Remember, the getting up part is the key and no matter what things look like around us He has the final say over the outcome!

Just a thought . . .


* The majority of First Step Ministries funding comes from wedding services. If you are getting married in the Chicagoland area and need a wedding minister, you can 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

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

Perception Through The Eyes of God

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 29, 2010 by pastoralb

Let’s imagine for a moment that we could see the world like God does. I often imagine him sitting from his place on high looking down on us and seeing the commotion and hearing the cacophony throughout the week. Then, on Sunday as we gather to worship, our voices join together in a swell of harmony. Different churches singing different hymns and praise songs all flowing together to create a beautiful chorus in which all of the voices seem to be in one accord.

Everything that we see in this world, we see with our own eyes – both spiritually and physically. Events and objects are what we deem them based upon that perception, although in reality, they are so much more and so different in God’s eyes.

One example that I think illustrates this well is the story of the young boy and his father. The boy was always asking his father to play catch with him and finally one day the father conceded after always complaining that he was too busy. At the end of the day, both the father and the son wrote in their own diaries. The father wrote: “I didn’t get anything accomplished today. I wasted the day playing catch and got no work done. Nothing special to report.” The boy’s diary, on the other hand, read like this: “Today daddy played catch with me for the first time! It was awesome! This had to have been the best day ever!”

Amazing isn’t it? The exact same event, yet it was viewed so differently by two different people. What about in our lives? Are there times when we can’t see the forest for the trees because we are putting our own slant on the situation? It is like the time in Luke 7:36-50 when Jesus was having dinner at Simon the Pharisee’s house and a prostitute came and poured expensive perfume on his feet and kissed them. Not only did Simon think that she was wasting the perfume, but he was shocked that Jesus would let such a sinner touch him. Jesus quickly set him straight and helped him see it from the true perspective that not only would her forgiveness be so much more profound, but that he hadn’t even offered water for Jesus feet.

In business and in life we are faced with many situations and events where we are forced to make judgments. In some cases, we make judgments when we are not even invited to. In either event, we must always remember that there are two sides to every coin. Let’s pray that we see things more clearly through the eyes of the One who gave us eyes to see.

I want to send you all off with these words from Paul hoping that they will bless you and help you have a fulfilling rest of the week:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

* First Step Ministries is funded in part by weddings. If you need a minister to do your wedding in the Chicago area, please see our site at

Stepping Out of the Boat

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 5, 2010 by pastoralb

Do you ever feel like you are running around and chasing shadows? Like you are so busy you can’t stand it, but you never seem to really achieve anything? Do you have something that you know you need to do or a long time goal that you really want to achieve, but somehow are afraid to try? When we feel this way, (we ALL do at one point or another) we need to stop and restructure.

Making such a change and getting organized in all aspects of life takes faith and courage. It is at these times when we need to turn our eyes to Jesus and find what I spoke of in a previous post – the point of origin. It will help to bring us back to reality, so to speak, and help us regain structure and courage in our lives to do what we want and need to.

Think of Peter in Matthew 14. He sees Jesus walking toward him on the water in the midst of a storm and he is frightened. This is us in the chaos of our lives as we try to be all things to all people and still leave a little for ourselves and achieve our goals. Then Peter asks Jesus to invite him out on the water if it is Him. Jesus does so and with a huge leap of courage, he steps out on to the water. When, however, he takes his eyes off of Jesus and starts to have doubt, he begins to sink. He looks around at the mess and fury around him and begins to panic. If we stay focused on the bad, then we will only feel negativity and despair about our circumstances.

Do you have something that you want or need to do, but can’t seem to find the courage or the structure? It may be something in business, or maybe just a relationship that needs mending in your personal life. Think about that stormy night with Peter. When Jesus got into the boat with the disciples, the storm ceased. If we have Jesus in our boat with us, our storms will cease also. Turn your eyes to the only One who can give you the peace and courage to do what you need to and take that step out of the boat. I promise you won’t sink and you’ll be glad you did.

Just a thought . . .


* 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 .

Faith Like A Child

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

Last night I was watching a number of country stars singing old hymns and gospel songs at the Grand Old Opry. It was truly a moving thing to see and hear. At some point, one of the songs reminded me of something – the fact that we are so helpless without God. When things are going well, it is easier for us to think that we can go it alone without His help. We couldn’t be more wrong.

How amazing would it be to see things through His eyes? It would certainly in many ways be scary and a little more than we could handle, but it would sure help us to understand a lot. The best example I could think of was when I tell my sons not to do something because it will cause harm to them. Why can’t they sit so close to the TV? Why can’t they touch the hot pan on the stove? Why can’t they go out by themselves and play with their friends until dark? Why can’t they sit in the front seat of the car?

There are so many things that God wants us to do and doesn’t want us to do to avoid harm to ourselves, but like our kids can’t see the why in what we say, we often can’t see the why in His will. Sometimes we just have to accept that our human minds can’t grasp His will and just accept it.

Just a thought . . .

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 .

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 .