A Pastor’s Personal Loss and Perspective on Heaven
NASHVILLE, TN (ANS) -- It isn't easy separating fact from fiction when it comes to heaven, nor is it always easy to see how the afterlife can affect our lives today. After losing his nineteen-year-old son in a car accident, Pastor Steve Berger chose to reject despair and commit himself to studying his son's new, heavenly home. He had no idea how much there was to learn, and his life hasn't been the same since.
Steve and Sarah Berger
I had the pleasure of meeting up with Steve Berger at the recent National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville. We had a great chat and he even managed to correct my interpretation of I Corinthians 2.9 "eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has prepared for those that love Him."
According to this verse I had suggested that we have no idea what God has in store for us. But as he correctly pointed out the next verse goes on to say that, "these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit." So I stood corrected.
In "Have Heart: Bridging the Gulf Between Heaven and Earth" by Steve and Sarah Berger (Published by Grace Chapel), Pastor Berger and his wife open up about their personal tragedy and shares all they have learned about what we can expect in Heaven, including reunions with family and friends, perfect bodies and face-to-face fellowship with God.
Heaven became intensely personal to Steve Berger and his wife Sarah in August 2009 when a one-person car accident sent his son, Josiah, to heaven. As a pastor, heaven wasn't a new concept that he hadn't thought of previously. But this moment in time forever changed them. It served to increase their passion for heaven and changed their attitudes about how life should be lived while here on earth.
Josiah was a strong, vibrant young man who was just about to begin his freshman year at the University of Tennessee. Like many young men and women his age, Josiah lived at full throttle. His entire life was ahead of him. As parents, Steve and Sarah were looking forward to sharing certain milestones in Josiah's life: college, marriage, and children. They dreamed of standing proudly by as Josiah received his degree from the university. The looked forward to officiating at his wedding to his bride. The longed to hold his children - children that would have been their grandchildren.
Josiah Berger As Steve cried out to God, "What about college? What about marriage? What about children? What about all the things he will never ever experience this side of heaven? What about those things, Lord?" It was in the shower as he poured his heart out to God that he head the Lord speak. "I have more than made up for these things."
Steve Berger is the pastor of a vibrant church in the Nashville area and has written with his wife, Sarah, this fine book in which they combines a vivid picture of heaven's glory that should motivate us to lead fruitful lives on earth. He points out that it is not just those who are grieving that need a heavenly perspective - its every believer. Unfortunately there are many Christians who have moved away from the foundational hope that Jesus came to give us - the reality of eternal life with Him in Heaven.
He shows in the book that being saved isn't just having the hope of heaven; that's only the beginning point. It's how we live after we're saved - how productive and fruitful we are in loving and serving others - that matters and determines our reward from Jesus. How we live every day whether we realize it or not, sows seeds for eternity. We're either sowing worthwhile seeds that produce fruit, or we are sowing worthless seeds that have no eternal value.