Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Dear Friends & Family,

Thanksgiving 2016 is upon us! As we think about this past year we are so thankful for the impact each of you has had in our lives over the past 20+ years. Even though it may have been a long time since we have been in contact, each of you has spoken into our lives in some way and we are thankful to the Lord for the role you have played.

Thad recently returned from a trip to Kansas where he was able to share about our ministry with many of you. It was a wonderful time of recalling the Lord's work in each relationship established through the gospel of Jesus Christ. During this trip, we couldn't help but reflect on Paul's words in our feelings towards each of you:
"We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 1:2-3).
We have a few more trips planned and hope to be able to see many of you in the next several weeks! As well, If you live locally, we would love to be able to get together to share with you our new path in life.

Our main ministry with ABWE we will be working on is a church planting initiative called Every Ethne (Ethne is the greek word for nation). It is an initiative of ABWE North America aimed at partnering with local churches to identify and own the lostness of their culturally, socially and religiously diverse communities, so that every man, woman and child has repeated opportunities to hear, see and respond to the Gospel.

The website for this new ministry just launched two weeks ago. Please check it out. Now the team is in process of determining how the roll out for this ministry is going to look to pastors and churches in North America. Part of this process for Thad is being trained on the many tools in the toolbox that will be associated with it. Please pray for him as he reads, studies, and travels in the next few months learning about this new and exciting ministry.

FAMILY UPDATE

Our family continues to grow as we have lots of fun together. Karsten is playing indoor soccer with a group of friends from LeRoy Community Chapel. JT has 8th grade basketball tryouts at his school on Monday after Thanksgiving. Anni continues to work at softball in her offseason workouts. Monique is working part-time at an accounting firm.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! Please know that we are thankful for you today!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bergmeier Family Update

Dear Friends & Family,

As many of you know, this past year has been a year of transition for our family. At the end of June, we announced to our church that we felt the Lord stirring in our hearts that He had something different for us. In late August, we stepped away from the church, anticipating that God would reveal His plan for us. Today we feel confirmed that God has revealed what that next step is for us. And let us tell you, it is so different than we ever imagined. We recently accepted a call to be missionaries with ABWE North America.

The vision of ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism) is to fulfill the Great Commission by multiplying leaders, churches, and missions movements among every people. While they have been planting churches and training national leaders around the world, a work in North America has been considered secondary. But that is changing. With the continued increase of immigration, peoples from all over the world are increasingly coming to North America. With the addition of a decreased spiritual pulse, North America is no longer a place that only sends missionaries. It needs them.

We are going to be working with a new church planting initiative called EveryEthne. Our hope is to come alongside of churches to reach all people groups in North America by planting churches and multiplying leaders. Our specific role will be a ministry to pastors and churches in the midwest area of North America, helping assist them as they begin thinking about planting churches that reach the lostness of their community.

Second, would you pray about how you could be involved? Yes, this is a missions opportunity, which means that we need to raise support. Our hope is to sit down with as many of you as possible in the next several months to explain why we are so excited about this ministry. If you are interested in hearing more about this ministry, would you please let us know and we will schedule a time to get together.

Beyond keeping you informed as to what is happening in our life, we have two requests. First, will you pray with us? This ministry opportunity is different from what we have done in the past, and there will be many things we need to learn to be effective in this new role. In addition, please pray for us as we begin telling the story of why we believe God wants us to do this ministry. As you can tell from the schedule in this email, we are going to be traveling a lot in the next several months. Pray for safety and opportunities to engage others with our story.

Lastly, we want you to know that we have included you in this letter because you have had an impact on our life. If you want to continue receiving updates, there is nothing you need to do. If you would like to be removed from this, simply unsubscribe at the bottom of this email. Thank you for partnering with us in life as we seek to make the name of Jesus known. We love you. Have a great day.

For His Glory and Our Good,
Thad & Monique Bergmeier

Sunday, November 2, 2014

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. As you sit in your comfortable churches today, I hope you will think of those who are experiencing the edge of the sword at the hands of evil men. Please visit The Voice of the Martyrs website for more information about those who suffer persecutions today because they are following Jesus.

And take a few minutes to watch Liena's Prayer as she describes what it is like to be a Christian in Syria. This is powerful. 

Would you pray this prayer? 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New Marriage Book by Francis Chan

Francis Chan just released a new book on marriage called "You and Me Forever." I wouldn't mind reading it soon as I'm always in need of more help on my role in marriage and I have enjoyed most of what Chan has written.

But there is one thing about this book being released that is unique. What would you do in order to publicize your books? How committed would you be that people know about your book? Would you completely sell out by making a music video? That's what Francis and Lisa Chan have done. Apparently, they wrote and performed this video together. Not bad.

If you are looking for a good laugh today, check it out. And then maybe check out the book as well. I know this video worked in getting me to order the book. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Psalm 145 by Shane and Shane

Its been a while since I have posted here on the blog. But tonight as I was studying and going over my sermon for tomorrow, I was listening to the Psalms album by Shane & Shane. The lyrics to the song, Psalm 145, moved me and I wanted to share it tonight. Listen to the words closely and follow along with your Bible. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vulnerability

Last week, I read Mitch Albom's bestseller, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It is a book that tells the story of a man by the name of Eddie who dies, goes to heaven and meets five people who explain his life to him. [A full review is coming as soon as my son reads the book & does his summer reading assignment; I'm not going to make it easy for him to copy my thoughts, if you know what I mean.] But there is one thing I wanted to mention now about the book that particularly struck me. 

Throughout the book while Eddie is in heaven, there are flashbacks to his time on earth. In one of them, Albom pulls the curtain back to see some of the true feelings of Eddy. We witness what's really going on in his mind and heart. One is when he wakes from a dream when he is 33 years old.
"And then he wakes up. Sweating. Panting. Always the same. The worst part is not the sleeplessness. The worst part is the general darkness the dream leaves over him, a gray film that clouds the day. Even his happy moments feel encased, like holes jabbed in a hard sheet of ice. 
He dresses quietly and goes down the stairs. The taxi is parked by the corner, its usual spot, and Eddie wipes the moisture from its windshield. He never speaks about the darkness to Marguerite. She strokes his hair and says,' What's wrong?' and he says, 'Nothing, I'm just beat,' and leaves it at that. How can he explain such sadness when she is supposed to make him happy? The truth is he cannot explain it himself. All he knows it that something stepped in front of him, blocking his way, until in time he gave up on things, he gave up studying engineering, and he gave up on the idea of traveling. He sat down in his life. And there he remained" (118).
The part that struck me is the part I underlined above. He never speaks about the darkness with his wife. She asks what's wrong and he says that nothing is wrong. He puts up a mask disguising the real issue going on in his heart. 

I wonder how many people really do this. How many people think its too dangerous to be vulnerable. How many people think its too risky to pull back the curtain of their life to allow someone to see inside.  When asked what is wrong, how many people will deflect the real issues and point to something simple . . . "I'm just tired." Why do so many people do this? Why do we do this? Why do I do this?

Vulnerability isn't easy. It is risky. It can be painful. But it is necessary if you are going to successfully deal with anything significant in your life. I've been thinking about this topic a lot recently and will continue to think about it. But until then . . .

Why do you think people avoid the risk and pain of vulnerability?

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Life: My Birth Story

The other day, I shared a short review of Jerry Bridges new book, God Took Me by the Hand. One of the things I took away from that book is the need to tell life stories. I'm not pretending to be Jerry Bridges or that anyone would want to hear my life story. But I thought if I do not write these things down (at least for my kids), I'll forget about them. They may not hear them. And so today I'm starting a series of stories that I'm going to write to show how God has been active in my life throughout my life. I'm writing these stories for my children, you just get to look through the window of our storytime (if you want). 

I thought I would start with my birth story. I know I was there, but do not remember much about it. Several years ago, I asked my mom to write down some of the details of my birth so I would have them. These are her words as she recalls the events of the beginning of my life.
"On October 31, 1973, I went to the hospital, trusting to have a baby that night because our insurance ran out that day. When I had not given birth by the next morning, the doctor took an x-ray to see how many babies I was carrying: 'One big one' was the report. (There were no ultrasounds back then.) Labor was induced and at 4:44 that afternoon, Thad was born. Then on Saturday night, November 3, as we were celebrating with my sister the birth of our 9 pound 1 ounce baby boy, the doctor entered our room and said, 'Mr. and Mrs. Bergmeier, you have a very sick son.' 
He then proceeded to tell how Thad had a blood infection, which caused him to be very lethargic and to run a temperature, was jaundice, had a collapsed lung, and had an enlarged heart, which probably meant a congenital heart disease. Thad had already been put under the lights for the jaundice, and a heart specialist had been called in. At first I thought God was punishing me because I really did not want two babies so close together. That night God showed me again Romans 8:28-29. I studied it and read it over and over again. All this was to be for God's glory. Later that night a young nurse started to witness to me. God had everything lined up just the way He designed it to be. The next day, Sunday, I went home without my baby. 
Because we lived about thirty minutes from the hospital and I had a child not quite a year old at home, I did not get to see Thad everyday. On Monday we talked to the heart specialist. He said that he would call us back the next day because he was running all kinds of tests on Thad and would not have the results until the next afternoon. Tuesday afternoon he called and asked us to meet him that night outside the nursery so he could talk to us about Thad. We went, expecting to hear how we were going to have to deal with an invalid. The doctor then said that if he had not personally examined Thad Saturday night, he would have thought that someone had switched babies. Thad's blood infection was clear, he was no longer lethargic, and he did not have a fever. His lung was working properly. His heart was still large but probably just to fill his large chest cavity. (Several doctors had told us that Thad had the broadest shoulders and largest chest cavity they had ever seen.) The doctor referred to Thad as the miracle baby. We verbally gave God the credit. When the doctor asked if we had any questions, Gary had one: 'Will he be able to play sports?' 
'Yes.' 
'Will he be able to play football?' 
'With the size of those shoulders and chest cavity, he better.' 
Since there had been so many things wrong with Thad, the doctor wanted to keep him in the hospital until the next Sunday, just for observation. Finally, when he was ten days old, we brought home a healthy baby boy, knowing that God had something very special planned for him."
I never played football, but I did play futbol. Maybe my dad just mispronounced it back in the day.

I would ask my mom to tell me this story often as a child. She would always end the story the same way: "God has something special for you someday." I don't know why I used to ask her to tell the story. Maybe it was simply that I longed to be considered special. Maybe it was because there was something inside of me that was curious as to what that "something special" was that God would have for me someday.

I used to love having my mom tell that story. I don't share it much these days. I don't know why. I don't know why I was born so sick and then healed so quickly. I don't know why me and not the countless other children who are born with illnesses. Maybe I don't share it so much today because of fear that I won't live up to that "God's got something special for you" feeling. That can be a lot of pressure.

One thing is for sure. God began to take me by the hand (to borrow Bridge's verbage) while I was still in the womb. He began to work in my heart back then (physically and spiritually). And for that I'm thankful.