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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Conversation with Christian Berdahl

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Christian Berdahl

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Christian Berdahl
TOPICS: Conversations

Thanks for joining me. I'm John Bradshaw. This is Conversations. My conversation today is with Christian Berdahl. He's an international speaker and musician, and he has an amazing story of recovery, transformation, and reformation.

John Bradshaw: Christian Berdahl, welcome to Conversations.

Christian Berdahl: Thank you, brother, glad to be here.

John Bradshaw: I am glad you're here. Your ministry today is Shepherd's Call.

Christian Berdahl: Yep.

John Bradshaw: It takes you all over the world. People are familiar with you from sea to shining sea and across the great blue ocean expanse. We're going to talk about you're doing, why you're doing it, and how God is using you in ministry. And we'll touch a little bit on the message that you share when you travel from place to place.

Christian Berdahl: Sure.

John Bradshaw: But before we get there, let's go back to the beginning. You were a long way from Christ.

Christian Berdahl: That's right.

John Bradshaw: This is an incredible story. Take me back to the start.

Christian Berdahl: Well, my mom was, uh, 16 years old when she got pregnant with me. My dad was 18. What my mom didn't know was that my dad, uh, by the time he was 17 years old, was already a daily drinker and was addicted to prescription drugs that he was stealing from all the neighbors. And so, this began a platform, a foundation for, really, the next 20 years, uh, of, of our lives. My mom had two more children with him, uh, my biological father, and so there are three of us boys. And, uh, he was just not there for us. We moved, by the time I was 7 years old, we had moved 13 times around the country, uh, because when you don't, uh, pay the bills, you don't go to work... you lose your job, and you get kicked out. And so, we were living in abject poverty. It was just, um, it was a...lame beginning, if you will, uh, for a, for a child. And when my...I was 7 years old... my mom had had enough after my dad drove us home from a party of friends, a barbecue, and he was drunk and just swerving all over the road. My mom was, uh, telling him to pull over, and he wouldn't. And got home, she said, "That's enough. Enough. I'm divorcing you". And she did.

John Bradshaw: If you were to take the story as it's typically told...

Christian Berdahl: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: ...and fast forward it the amount of years that have passed between then and now, I'd be interviewing somebody who's in prison.

Christian Berdahl: Mmm.

John Bradshaw: Or I'd be interviewing someone who's dead, if you understand what I mean.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

John Bradshaw: So already we know enough about you to know that God has intervened in your life and done some truly phenomenal things.

Christian Berdahl: Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: Well, go back to that point. Mom and Dad divorce.

Christian Berdahl: Yep.

John Bradshaw: And so you were in abject poverty before. It didn't get any better any time soon.

Christian Berdahl: Didn't get better, uh, because Mom now had to go into the workforce. She didn't have any marketable skills; she was at the bottom rung in labor. Uh, she did get a job working at a bank, and, um, she had to put us in daycare. And, uh, it was all...the, the state was coming in and helped out, and we're living in, in, uh, you know, state-funded housing and on food stamps. Thankfully there are those programs in the U.S. Um, yet you don't, you're not living very high. You're, you're down here, you know, and you're, you're living in, uh, in a bad part of town. And my mom put us in this little daycare run by a lady named Blanca, and her son, a teenage son, and her daughter would take care of us little boys and girls when it was time for a nap, and they would supervise. What my mom didn't know was that that teenage boy was molesting about six of us little kids, uh, when it was nap time. And so that went on for quite a long time, and that would actually be one of the first big secrets that I would keep, um, and you just kind of keep it in there. You pack it down. You don't tell anybody. Because it, it, it's presented to you in such a way when you're just a little boy that, you know, this is, "This is something special, you know, and you don't tell anybody because we'll get in trouble, 'cause we're not supposed to". And, you know, you're just this little boy that doesn't have a dad now, and you have this male figure in your life that's saying don't get him in trouble. And so, I just never said anything. And so, it went on for a while. Eventually I didn't want to go there anymore. My mom didn't understand why, and I wouldn't tell her until I was an adult, uh, about 27 years old.

John Bradshaw: How did that affect you at the time?

Christian Berdahl: Well, when you have something like that going on, it starts to play games with you, uh, mentally and emotionally. And at the same time, my mom remarried to a man that was, uh, really became our family's worst nightmare. He was was, it was horrible, and we can get into that in a minute, if you want. But what it did is it... now my dad's not there, and then this other male figure, even though he's young, for a 7-year-old boy, a teenager is, you know, an old guy. Uh, and now he's doing things to me that I, he shouldn't be doing. So what it does is it builds up a lack of trust in your heart, and you start putting walls up. And so, I had all this pain and confusion and, and I...because my mom had gotten remarried, her focus was over there, and so my mom wasn't really there for me, emotionally speaking, and so you, you feel like you're walking around wondering, What's that guy's angle? And what's that person's angle? And you start to develop this thought process that everybody wants something from you, and you can't tell anybody what's going on. So, you become very private, and you wall things up.

John Bradshaw: Do you think there's more of this taking place in the world than many of us would realize?

Christian Berdahl: No question. I give my testimony around this world. People come out of the woodworks. Because the testimony gets worse, unfortunately, but the reality is, so many people have these issues, and sometimes they're within the church, and sometimes they're people that have come to the church. Because, you know, I learned a long time ago the church is not a, a place of perfect people. Uh, it's a hospital for sin-sick souls.

John Bradshaw: Right. For sure.

Christian Berdahl: And so people bring a lot of baggage. And, as a result, every time, no matter where I have been, uh, in, in the Adventist Church, in Baptist churches, in other congregations, Church of God in Christ, different places I've spoken and given my testimony all over the world, uh, people come out of the woodwork, so it's a, it's a universal problem.

John Bradshaw: Hey, speak to that kid who's going through what you went through. Speak to, speak to little you, and I don't know whether you want to take back to when you were 4, 5, 6, or 12, 13, 14.

Christian Berdahl: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Speak to the youthful Christian Berdahl who's going through this kind of...hell...

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: ...and doesn't know what to do.

Christian Berdahl: Uh, if I could talk to Christian, I would say, "Christian, you need to go tell somebody. You've got to tell them what's going on. And if you can't trust Mom or Dad, then find somebody that you can...uh, a grandma, a grandpa, an aunt, an uncle, a teacher at school, uh, a pastor at church, uh, an elder, uh, somebody, a friend that you trust that you think will believe you, and you have to tell them". Uh, because if I could have told my mom back then... because I was afraid, I didn't want to get anybody in trouble, and, and, and so I thought, if I...what kid wants to get in trouble themselves? And I was told I would get in trouble, so, last thing you want to do is go tattle on yourself. But, um, I want to tell young Christian, "You're not tattling on yourself, you're tattling're telling the truth about what that person did to you, and what they did was wrong. And they're hurting other people. And, Christian, this is going to impact you in your future, if, if you, you don't deal with this".

John Bradshaw: What do you think your mother would have done if you'd told her about it when you were 7 years old?

Christian Berdahl: Honestly, I, it's obvious, if I would have told her that was going on, she would have immediately pulled us out. And I would hope she would have had the courage to inform the police. Um, I'm sure Blanca, who was running the little daycare out of her home, didn't know it was going on, and, indeed, it doesn't matter if it hurts people's feelings or whatever, it's wrong, and it has to be stopped. Because I have to live with the idea, um, John, many more kids were impacted by this, and what if I had said something? How many other kids wouldn't have had to go, gone through it?

John Bradshaw: That's a lot to put on the shoulders of a 7-year-old.

Christian Berdahl: Too much.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, way too much. Life was spiraling downwards. You mom had remarried.

Christian Berdahl: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: This didn't make things any better.

Christian Berdahl: No.

John Bradshaw: It made things worse.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: But, here you are today. So, walk us through how you walked through it.

Christian Berdahl: Well, my stepdad, um, he was heavy-handed from the beginning, and he was an authoritarian. He had been in the military. I think the military got a little bit, uh, hard, ahold of his brain a little bit. Uh, he was raised in a very difficult home as well, just a, a cruel, mean father, and I saw him... later I see all this, but at the time I didn't know. Uh, and unfortunately, with that man, um, all three of us boys and my mother were just beaten and whipped and tied up and, uh, the, the abuse was criminal. The abuse was unbelievable. And, as we got older, the abuse increased, and my mom would have to wear clothing strategically to cover up all the bruising on her body, and he would always attack our heads and, uh, grab us by the hair and just shake us violently. And I'd wake up in the hallway not knowing... I, I knew what had happened before, but, obviously, I was knocked out. Uh, he'd grab metal soup ladles and crack you over the head. And he was just a violent, vile man. Hit so hard in the head, one day I had a grand mal seizure and wound up in the hospital.

John Bradshaw: I'm not wanting to fault your mom.

Christian Berdahl: No.

John Bradshaw: And I'm certainly not wanting to fault women who find themselves in similar situations.

Christian Berdahl: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: The first time or the second time or the third time or the tenth time he got violent, your mother didn't leave?

Christian Berdahl: No. Uh, and the, and the thousandth time she didn't leave.

John Bradshaw: Help us, help us to understand that. It's really easy to say, "So just leave". And in a...-

Christian Berdahl: Yeah, but you're not in it.

John Bradshaw: In a certain sense, right? In a certain sense, you can.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: But frequently it doesn't happen. Why do you think that is? And I want you to speak to people going through that now.

Christian Berdahl: It's, it's, it's fear. Number one, it's fear. He had put the fear of our lives in her mind. So, if she had said anything or left him, he would kill us children. And vice versa. If we'd said anything about, with my mother, what was going on, then he would kill our mom. And so, we...and, and the abuse was already bad enough that, uh, you believe him...

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: ...if that's the next step.

John Bradshaw: Right.

Christian Berdahl: So, uh, for us, we were just riddled by and led by and governed by fear. And this man ran our lives. So, fear is a, an incredible motivating factor in, in most of these abuse situations. You feel like... and, and it's the part of the mental programming that they have... that, you, you tend and you start to believe that you can't survive on your own without them. You'll...and that's what we were always taught, where I'll never amount to anything, uh, and, and we're going to hitch our wagon to his star... that kind of, I think, idea. And, um, my mother was absolutely wrapped around this man's finger, and she believed that there way out. And we children, no way out. What mom didn't know was the abuse was worse when she was at work and he came home early.

John Bradshaw: What does your mom wish she'd done differently?

Christian Berdahl: Oh, my mom, my mom for years... and still to this day... uh, is riddled with guilt, because she stayed so long. She wound up staying almost 10 years with that man, uh, from, uh, the time I was 8 till I was a sophomore in high school. And so she, uh, should have gone and sought help much sooner.

John Bradshaw: Where do you go for help like that?

Christian Berdahl: Well, in the United States specifically, and other countries as well, there are programs that will help battered women. In fact, my mother...we can get to this maybe in the future... but my, my mother actually is spearheading programs with the Salvation Army, creating these kinds of places.

John Bradshaw: Fantastic.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah, it's, it is amazing. So the reality is, you, you got to go and tell somebody, and you've got to get somebody on your side. And indeed she eventually did.

John Bradshaw: So this went on in your life, this kind of heavy-handed, brutal abuse...

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: ...went on until you're 17, 18 years of age.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Uh, uh, I don't want to keep getting to the end of the story and doubling back, but how'd you survive that?

Christian Berdahl: Mmm.

John Bradshaw: This is going to destroy, I'm guessing...

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: ...eight, nine kids out of ten...not you?

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Why not?

Christian Berdahl: You don't consciously do this, but you start developing coping mechanisms, and I would, I would play these mind games where I would be somewhere else, or I would imagine myself, you know, doing, living a different life. I would escape into music. Music was really a big thing for me, to where I, I was living in such an angry, hostile environment. The more angry the music was, the more satanic and dark it was, I could totally relate, 'cause that's what I felt like inside. It was just numbing my, my real experience, and I could escape for a little bit.

John Bradshaw: Well, you say what you do is you escape to this other place...lots of kids do; they escape to crime.

Christian Berdahl: Doesn't fix anything.

John Bradshaw: Well, they escape to crime, drugs, alcohol, gangs, the streets... you didn't.

Christian Berdahl: No.

John Bradshaw: You, you had a... do you know why? Do you know why that was? Why you didn't go down the, the, a trapdoor? You managed to keep your feet on somewhat solid ground.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah. Uh, eventually my mom saw what was going on. I went to a school counselor my high school... and I said, "Look, I have a friend. I have a friend who's going through these issues"... 'cause I didn't know how this would work. I didn't want them to call up my, my, my mom and my stepdad and say, "You know, Chris has been telling us some pretty interesting things". Then my life would really be over. So, um, I went to a counselor; we figured out a plan. I sat them both down. I said, "I have a phone number. If you touch any one of us again, it's all over". Now, I didn't say it like that. I was a teenager that was terrified of this man that had been assaulting me for so long and my family.

John Bradshaw: You confronted him?

Christian Berdahl: One hundred percent, face to face. And as he lit up like a missile and went to the back of the house, punching, screaming profanities, everything, which was normal for him, uh, my mom and I were sitting there in the family room, and I'm like, "I did it! Huh. I did this"!

John Bradshaw: Wow. Yes, you did.

Christian Berdahl: And, and, and I was terrified. I was shaking. I was sick. I was nauseous. And, and I, I'm looking at her, and she's looking off at where he went and looking at me, and I'm like, "Mom"! And she went after him. She went after him. And she came back within a few minutes, saying, "Why are you doing this to us? I spank you, too, and I'll get in trouble, too". And I said, "Mother, you spank us with a wooden spoon, and we laugh half the time. This is not the same level". Interestingly enough, I believe somebody was praying God into my life...

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: that point. Because I found some of that strength. Because I was such a victim before, and...but I never accepted it. I hated what was happening. But if I, if I'd rebuffed the system or went against the system, then I got, I got hurt.

John Bradshaw: Isn't your mom's reaction interesting? I'm guessing it's not unique.

Christian Berdahl: No, it's not.

John Bradshaw: Because she's dealing with all kinds of, "What's going to happen to me now"?

Christian Berdahl: I just upset him.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Christian Berdahl: And she's got to go and calm him down.

John Bradshaw: Right.

Christian Berdahl: She knew I was right, but she was scared. Fear, fear is such a motivator.

John Bradshaw: How did you guys get out of that mess?

Christian Berdahl: Oh, man. My mom now was working for the bank; now she's in human resources. She had worked up all the years, and she had put together an enrichment program for the employees, and they had a person coming in talking about success and goal-setting and all this kind of stuff. "All right, everybody, take out a piece of paper. Write down what the top three things that are most important to you. No judgment, whatever it may be". She sat there and thought for a minute, and she wrote down, "My boys". Second thing: "My boys". And then she starts bawling. "My boys". And she had put us in a dangerous place again. And she realized it, and she woke up, Brother John, and she went to the police department, and she said, "I'm living with a violent man. We have guns throughout the house". We were raised, I was raised with guns, hunting, and all of that. And, uh, they advised her on what to do. I had to empty all the ammunition out of the, the firearms and stuck it underneath my bed that night when she told me, "This is the night". She had worked everything out with the attorneys. She had the police show up in the morning, uh, when she was going to tell him what was going on. And a family came with a moving truck; she told him what was going on. The police said, "You need to leave the premise, or you'll be arrested". And, uh, we loaded up a few things, and we took off. We were gone.

John Bradshaw: Wow. A, a textbook exit.

Christian Berdahl: And it doesn't happen like that all the time.

John Bradshaw: No, but how... that's a wonderful way for things, for things to play out.

Christian Berdahl: Praise the Lord. So we were free now.

John Bradshaw: Yes, you were.

Christian Berdahl: But geographically. But what's interesting is when you've lived in that much control and that much fear, even though you leave geographically, you're not free here.

John Bradshaw: How long did it take for some of that to start unraveling?

Christian Berdahl: Years. It took years. And unfortunately my brothers got involved in drugs and alcohol to numb all the pain. I got involved in theater. And getting good grades, and I just went a different way.

John Bradshaw: Yes, you did.

Christian Berdahl: Praise the Lord.

John Bradshaw: Yes, you did. I want to say God was merciful to you, but to say that would, would indicate God wasn't merciful to them.

Christian Berdahl: But we have free will, and we have choice.

John Bradshaw: God was merciful to all of you in reaching out with His grace, and you responded.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: In a moment, we've got to get to the place where you tell us how you came into ministry.

Christian Berdahl: Amen.

John Bradshaw: God evidently had His hand over you from a long way back, and we're glad He did. I'll be back with more with Christian Berdahl and our conversation right after this.

John Bradshaw: Welcome back. This is Conversations. I'm John Bradshaw. With me, my guest Christian Berdahl from Shepherd's Call ministries. Christian, so far in our conversation, we've covered some, some tough ground.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: You're now 17 or 18 years of age, and your life up until this point has been difficult.

Christian Berdahl: Mmm.

John Bradshaw: A moment ago, your mom finally said, "We're done". You all moved out; life changed. It probably didn't get a whole lot easier in some ways, but much easier in others.

Christian Berdahl: Definitely.

John Bradshaw: Today you're in Christian ministry. You went from fleeing an abusive family situation to ministering on the front lines for the gospel. So we've got some, uh, gaps to fill in. What happened after you all left that home?

Christian Berdahl: When we left, you know... it's interesting, as we were talking... when you are geographically set free and maritally you're set free, it doesn't mean you're set free in your mind and in your heart.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: And it took a while for that to unravel for me, and so, on one hand, um, I, I honestly just made a decision. I saw what the alcohol did. I saw what the drugs had done. I saw what evil men, uh, that were not being, uh, led by any sort of standard of any sort of morality, how their life was and how it impacted me. And I, I remembered making a conscious choice, as, as a teenager, saying, "I'm going to a new town. I'm going to go to a new high school. I don't even want to get..." I was, used to be a wrestler and run track, and I didn't even want to do that. I'm like, "I want to change everything".

John Bradshaw: How, what sort of a part or role did God play in your life back then on, on a conscious level?

Christian Berdahl: Uh, none. I mean, on a conscious level, I had no God in my life. I didn't want God. What I had seen were my, my step-grandparents, who were just mean and nasty to each other. They'd take us to church, and they acted like different people. They put the little fingers in the holy water, and they were "holy" people, but they were horrible! And I thought, No. I figured out who's, what's going on here at church. These are a bunch of hypocrites. So, honestly, John, for me to, to be a preacher around the world laughs] is a huge miracle.

John Bradshaw: Well, it is. So, so what do you do? You said you were drawn to theater.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: You're very well known as a, as a singer, as a musician today. Uh, somehow the Lord led you into Christianity. Uh, take us through that.

Christian Berdahl: So, uh, the, the quick version is this. I got involved in theater because I wanted to get into the class. The teacher said, "Look, if you want to be in my drama class, you got to audition for a show". I auditioned for the show, I got a lead role, and from then on, all I ever got was the lead roles. And the reality was, I had been an actor my whole life.

John Bradshaw: Mmm, sure.

Christian Berdahl: So I was trained. I didn't realize it, but I was trained, and I had a natural ability to sing, and I'd learned dancing, and so I became what's called a "triple threat": singing, dancing, and acting. And so, I got all of these, these roles all the time, and I started getting all the pats on the back I'd never received as a child or as an early teen, and so I'm like, "This is what I want to do".

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: Got involved in that, went to college. I started taking a bunch of self-help courses, and, I mean, everything from the Power of Positive Thinking to Tony Robinson, you name it; I was, I was ingesting everything I could to fix this noodle I had.

John Bradshaw: And that was conscious. You were saying, "I've been through some rough stuff. I've got to do something about it".

Christian Berdahl: Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: That's very healthy.

Christian Berdahl: It is. Yeah.

John Bradshaw: That's fantastic.

Christian Berdahl: And, honestly, looking back, I have no idea where that came from, except for the Lord. It didn't come naturally from me. I do believe that somebody was praying the Lord into my life.

John Bradshaw: I believe that, too, and I think that's a lesson to all of us. We see a dysfunctional family or a family in crisis or some kid struggling... pray for that person.

Christian Berdahl: Amen.

John Bradshaw: Pray for that person. Pray for that family.

Christian Berdahl: And you know why. And some people don't know why. We're in what we would call a great controversy. We have this battle between good and evil, God and Satan, and I was living in occupied territory, you see. And, and God wanted to, to put the infantry in there, but we had been serving another master, and so He was not welcome. The way God can infiltrate is through the power of prayer.

John Bradshaw: That's right.

Christian Berdahl: He's now invited. He's now injected in. I believe somebody was doing that for me.

John Bradshaw: No question about it.

Christian Berdahl: And my family.

John Bradshaw: Professionally, you didn't stay with the theater. What happened?

Christian Berdahl: Well, honestly, I got involved in business. I started a company with a friend of mine. That grew into three companies. I didn't have time for theater anymore, so I hung up my acting clothes, had 32 employees, and I was making money, and I... like, this is the American dream. Pfft! Never amount to anything? Give me a break. And so I'm like, Making money? This is easy. And so, I was living the dream, if you will. Uh, and then my business partner, who was 10 years my senior and, uh, used to be a runway model, she, um, had embezzled our companies into the ground, so...

John Bradshaw: Oh no.

Christian Berdahl: ...I lost everything.

John Bradshaw: No way.

Christian Berdahl: This is where God enters my life. So, I lose it all. I'm scrapping, going, "What am I going to do"? I got back in, I had, I'd... I left this out... but I got involved in TV production right out of high school, because I wanted to get into, to communications and media, uh, and so I was taking business, media, and, and, uh, child psych. But of my professors said, "If you want to get into the TV world, you need to go and intern". So I, I took him up on that. And I went out, and I found a job, but I wasn't going to work for free; I actually got hired. So, I got a paying job. I started off in the bottom of production, working in master control, uh, and eventually running camera, and then eventually lighting, and then shooting, and, uh, my, my, my skill set continued to grow to where I was writing, uh, spots, uh, commercials. And so, I had hung all that up to do business for a while. Uh, and then when I lost everything, I called all the different producers I knew, and I said, "I'm back in the game. I need as much work as I can get". I got a call shortly thereafter from a director from a TV station who said... uh, producer... "I need a director, and I have three cameramen, and, uh, here's the job. It's four days. Here's what it pays". I said, "Well, what's the... what is it? What's the event"? And he said, "It's a, it's a, a camp meeting". I said, "Well, what's a camp meeting"?

John Bradshaw: A camp meeting?

Christian Berdahl: A camp meeting. I said, "Well, what's a camp meeting"? He goes, "I don't know, a meeting about camping. I have no idea what". And I said, "Uh, okay. I grew up camping. All right, I'll take the job". I was going to take any of the jobs anyway.

John Bradshaw: Sure, sure.

Christian Berdahl: Because I lost everything.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Christian Berdahl: I moved in with my mom. My mom had remarried to a good, solid Christian man.

John Bradshaw: Oh, thank God.

Christian Berdahl: Thank God. What a blessing he...I mean, I think he's a saint, with what he went through with my brothers...and me. Because when he first came into our lives and wanted to tell me anything, I was like, "I don't need another guy telling me anything".

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: But then my, uh... I take this job to get into, uh, shooting this thing at, uh, the Lodi Grape Festival grounds, looking for a man named Danny Vieira.

John Bradshaw: That was a camping meeting, huh?

Christian Berdahl: It was a camping meeting; that's right.

John Bradshaw: All right, so...

Christian Berdahl: You know what I'm talking about.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. So how did that impact your life?

Christian Berdahl: Oh, wow.

John Bradshaw: Walk me through that.

Christian Berdahl: So, really short version is, I was not excited when I figured out what this was.

John Bradshaw: You were not?

Christian Berdahl: No, because I'd said to him, "Well, what should we set up? You know, I got, I only have three cameras. We'll set one in the front, one on the side, maybe a handheld remote camera perhaps for your tent demonstrations or whatever you're going to do". And he's like, "My what"? I said, "Your tent demo...well, I don't know what you're going to do for your camping meeting". He goes, "Oh, no, no, no". He goes, "I see what you mean". He goes, "No, no, no. Uh, these are religious meetings that people camp at". And I was like, Oh, great.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, right.

Christian Berdahl: Just, my life has sunk this low.

John Bradshaw: But you were getting paid.

Christian Berdahl: I was getting paid.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, right.

Christian Berdahl: That's the only reason I stuck around. I called my producer, and I said, "Do you know what these meetings are"? He said, "I do. They'll be good for ya".

John Bradshaw: [chuckles] Oh, really?

Christian Berdahl: Heh-heh!

John Bradshaw: Hey, never a truer word spoken.

Christian Berdahl: He was right.

John Bradshaw: That's for sure.

Christian Berdahl: He didn't know how right he was. I know who he was. I still know his name. I'm going to look him up and say, "You have no idea..."

John Bradshaw: That's right.

Christian Berdahl: "You sent me on that shoot, and it led to me preaching around the world".

John Bradshaw: So how did it lead to you preaching around the world? You go to a camp meeting.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: You could have, uh, set your cameras up, shoot your pictures, leave.

Christian Berdahl: And that's how it started. I was not interested. I remember just sitting in the production van, just sitting there, going, "All right, ready 1, take 1. Two, give me a tight shot". I was just going through the... you know, I, I was a monkey at that point. I didn't even want to shoot this thing. And then Danny gets up there, and he's talking about Daniel's diet, and he's this buffed-out guy, tan, used to be a bodybuilder. He's wealthy, he's run... he owns health food stores, and I'm like, "This is not a Christian". A Christian in my mind is these poor, pathetic people that God takes all their money, you know. So, it didn't work in my brain.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: But Danny befriended me. Eventually I started shooting some of his, uh, his, uh, church services. Um, and then I did a cancer therapy video with him down in Mexico. He kept hiring me, kept hiring me, kept hiring me.

John Bradshaw: So you developed a relationship with this...

Christian Berdahl: We developed a deep friendship.

John Bradshaw: ...Christian teacher and preacher?

Christian Berdahl: Yeah. I didn't want to hear what he had to preach. Uh, although I didn't mind it when I was hired. But...

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: ...never took him up on an offer to Bible study. Long story short, I decide I'm going to move now to, uh, Santa Barbara and go to film school down there with my girlfriend, Coby, and, um, during that point I, my career really started taking off in production. I worked with Nickelodeon, PBS, ESPN in shooting high-end, highest end you could shoot at, at the time, and, um, in all different aspects of production. So I was very... everything was taking off. I was very excited. However, I got Coby pregnant. We lost the baby at about four and a half months.

John Bradshaw: Mmm.

Christian Berdahl: That is where everything started to change for me. I started questioning deeper things in my life. I started asking the question, Wait a second, I don't want to go down the same road my dad did...I don' mom. I don't want to have a child out of wedlock. I, I want to be married someday. I don't want...there's consequences to my actions. And so I went to Coby, and I said, "I am madly in love with you. I totally love you. But, I, I think we should not be intimate together". And so we started taking these steps backwards, in the world's eyes, but forward in God's eyes.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: At this point, I had gone forward one time at an altar call at a, at a business meeting actually, where it was, you know, once-saved, always-saved kind of transaction. I'm like, Well, I'm a business guy; it makes sense. Might as well go to heaven instead of hell.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: So, I took the deal, if you will. But I, I, I listened to Christian radio. I owned a Bible, never opened it. Uh, and I stopped cussing. And, uh, I was now a vegetarian because of Danny's influence.

John Bradshaw: So, clearly God is working in your life.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah, He is.

John Bradshaw: We understand this thing called Christianity is a growth.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah. Yup.

John Bradshaw: So you were growing. You were doing some serious growing here.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah. Yeah, it was good. And I didn't, I didn't, uh, assign it to that. I didn't know that it was God. I wasn't against it now, but I wasn't like, Yay, I want to be a Christian. I was just like, Transaction, done, you know. Uh, but I wound up not being able to find a job in production, uh, when we moved to Arizona, where Coby's family had moved. And that had never happened for me. I was always highly billable, and I could, I could, I could always be hired. But, I think it was part of God's plan, because I had this overwhelming desire well up inside of me to go see my friend Danny. Now, I'm a total, I'm a worldly guy, and he's running, uh, a conservative health ministry, the church. And, uh, he says, "Come and work for me". And I said, "I'll take the job". And...God, through, uh, different things, uh, led me to embrace that... affirmation that I would go, and I went back and told Coby, and I moved out to California, where Danny was, uh, based. And, uh, I joined his ministry and started shooting, and he eventually asked me to start singing for him, when he heard me singing around our family worship. And he said this to me, John; he goes, "If you're going to work for me, you might as well know why I keep the Sabbath. Will you study that out with me"? I said, "Yeah, I'm here. I'm game. Let's go". So we studied it out, the whole Sabbath, on the Sabbath, and I turned to him, when we were done... it was hours, hours, but I was, I was soaking it up. I, I wasn't exhausted. I, I turned to him when we were done; I go, "Is everything that you believe that clear in the Bible"? I'd never opened the Bible before in my life, and I thought it was this mysterious book that was difficult to understand. And...he says, "Everything, Christian, that I believe is that clear".

John Bradshaw: And was he telling the truth?

Christian Berdahl: He was telling the truth. Because I...and I said to him right then... I didn't even know why I said this...I went, "Huh, I'll probably become a Seventh-day Adventist, huh"? He goes, "You study out what I understand in this Word of God, and we'll let God's Word answer these questions. The most natural thing for you to become is a Bible-keeping, Sabbath-keeping Christian. And the closest group that is doing this, as I see it, is the Seventh-day Adventist people".

John Bradshaw: Like those Bereans, you were, you were searching out these things "with all readiness of mind"...

Christian Berdahl: Amen.

John Bradshaw: see "whether these things were so".

Christian Berdahl: It was incredible.

John Bradshaw: So you were baptized. You gave your heart to Christ. You became a Christian.

Christian Berdahl: Yup.

John Bradshaw: What were you doing for work? Still working in the same place?

Christian Berdahl: I was working there, uh, with him, and interestingly enough, uh, he studied out with me. It was about a 10-month process; we were studying all the time. And, uh, I just was like, "Yep, I accept it". It makes sense, makes sense, makes sense, makes sense. And at a camp meeting that following year, uh, he baptized me, in his, in his swimming pool. And, uh, a week later, Coby and I had started re-establishing a friendship, and I started witnessing to her. I didn't know it was called witnessing; I was just sharing Jesus with her. She had seen such a change in my life and in my heart, because God had, had given me a gift. He gave me a gift of utter foundation...uh, excuse me, uh, uh, forgiveness, which would be the foundation that my Christianity could be built on.

John Bradshaw: This worldly girlfriend of yours, this worldly ex-girlfriend, by the sounds of it... uh, saw this change in your life. Did it, did it freak her out, or was she welcoming with what she saw?

Christian Berdahl: Oh, she, she just kept saying, "Who are you? Who are you"?

John Bradshaw: She liked the new you?

Christian Berdahl: Yes. She would say, "You're seem like you're at peace. You're just so free. You're seem like I can talk to you". And I said, "His name is Jesus Christ".

John Bradshaw: Nice.

Christian Berdahl: "His name is Jesus Christ". And she said...I said, "I know you've heard of Him. I know. You live in America; you can't hear about... you, you will hear about God and Jesus, and you hear about Satan. You're gonna hear those three". And I said, "But the picture you have, like I had, of Jesus is wrong... and the picture of God". And so I said, "I need you to read a little book that I read that just radically changed my life, called 'Steps to Christ.'"

John Bradshaw: That'll do it.

Christian Berdahl: Oh, man. And I read that book, and I held on to that thing like it was my lifeline. And what Danny told me..."Any time you read these books, every Scripture reference that's there, go into your Bible; look it up; go from that page to that page and read a little bit more, if you need to, to get the understanding of context". And so I read the whole thing through. And, and I read that book on a continuous cycle, even today.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: Uh, I, I pick it up; I get to chapter 13; I go again. I just keep going; I keep going. Um, and so I started sharing that with Coby. Eventually God brought us back together. She accepted everything, and then Danny marries us.

John Bradshaw: Nice. How about that. That's a fantastic story.

Christian Berdahl: Amen.

John Bradshaw: That's fantastic. Now, now, you started to speak about music more and more.

Christian Berdahl: Mmm, yeah.

John Bradshaw: That's what you became very well-known for.

Christian Berdahl: Right.

John Bradshaw: When we come back, let's talk about that. Let's talk about music and how you see music and what you're teaching people about music around the world.

Christian Berdahl: Sounds good.

John Bradshaw: This is Conversations. I'm John Bradshaw, he is Christian Berdahl, and we'll be right back.

John Bradshaw: Welcome back to Conversations from It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw, blessed to be with Christian Berdahl from Shepherd's Call ministries.

Christian Berdahl: I'm blessed to be here as well.

John Bradshaw: You are now a Christian minister; that is, you gave a concert and spoke, and God just kind of brought it together. The invitations came.

Christian Berdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: And, uh, one thing led to another, is what, what I imagine happened. You end up speaking quite a lot about music.

Christian Berdahl: Mmm.

John Bradshaw: How did you get... and, and let's be clear before we go too far down that road. You don't just speak about music. Tell me a little bit about, uh...broaden that picture of Shepherd's Call ministry so we have a better understanding of what it is you do.

Christian Berdahl: Sure. Uh, so our ministry is really a ministry. Uh, we do have an evangelistic side of it. Well, I'll work with evangelists. I don't do evangelistic campaigns. However, we have done programs that are for the public. And it might be music, it might be social media, it might be my story, and that gets the public there, and then we go deeper. So, we have a threefold ministry: We use the, the Word of God, we use music, and we use media to share the three angels' messages, to share Christ our righteousness, and to work for a revival and reformation within the church. Some are evangelists that bring them in. But there have to be some guards at the gate that will keep the, the church on the straight and narrow, and we see that as our job... like Paul, going and fanning the flame.

John Bradshaw: Tell me about music. How do you see music? What...we're going to talk about what's good, what's not so good, what's, what's good, what's obviously bad, and maybe some of that gray area in between. So when you teach, when you speak about music, what are the principles you're sharing?

Christian Berdahl: Oh, I think it's important to understand how I came to these realizations. As I was going around the country and eventually the world sharing these, uh, concerts and, and different messages, people were coming out of the woodworks to ask me about my opinion on music. And I'm thinking, I have some opinions, but are they...what are they based on? I think some of my opinions were more based on the fact that, let's just stay away from all of this music that's obviously bad, and I had swung to a place to where I became, I think, frankly, too overtly conservative in even some of my media choices, because I had been in media; I had been in the world. So I, I kind of swung too far perhaps.

John Bradshaw: Natural enough.

Christian Berdahl: And I didn't want to answer these questions based on what my opinion was. So my wife and I began a journey studying this out. And, and frankly, it took me, uh, about eight years of study before I actually even spoke on the subject, and then another two years before I ever released an actual seminar on it. And so, I began studying this out, and I came to very strong convictions that we have some issues in Christian-dom. And what's happening is we've seen a swing, especially in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, where we were very, um, very, very, very conservative, and it, it swung to a place of almost constricting conservativism. And, uh, a generation was raised in a lot of Christ-less preaching, frankly. And so they, they...and if you just study out church history, you, you see this very clearly. And so God was trying to raise up different people to teach Christ our righteousness again... different ones, Jones and Waggoner, different people. And what they were trying to bring back was Christ as the, the center of everything. So, this, this, this group that was, they felt like they had the Bible beat over their head, and, and, and spiritual writings beaten over their head. They said, "Enough is enough". And they didn't want that so anymore. And they thought anything that deals with the Word of God, the, the Law of God, became hostile to the gospel, is what they felt. And so eventually they swung to this other side.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: And liberalism was born. And in my investigations, I'm seeing all... I'm a convert, so I didn't know all the history. I was like, "There it is"! And so, what happened was liberalism was born in the church. And so with that they bring in more entertainment-laden worship styles. And I saw this as, as very problematic. Uh, because I had come from the world, especially the world of entertainment, and I had learned about a sacred, holy God, and I thought, I don't think you're supposed to bring the world and entertainment into the house of God to entertain the people to spiritual death.

John Bradshaw: Where's the line, and how...where's the line you just don't want to cross when it comes to bringing the secular into one's Christian experience?

Christian Berdahl: Well, first of all, we are told that we should never bring anything of the world to win the world. We just should not be doing that. And, and this makes sense. I was a worldly guy; I had gone to multiple churches. I didn't get into my testimony with this, but I had gone to different churches. I had gone to some churches that they're rolling in the aisles. And they had some crazy music going on. They had drama and theater and Satan and Jesus, everybody. I mean, it was all there. I literally walked in; I said, "Whoa. This... something's not right there".

John Bradshaw: I've been to those places myself.

Christian Berdahl: There was a disconnect.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: As a, as a new Christian, I knew; a lot of that I needed to leave behind.

John Bradshaw: That's right.

Christian Berdahl: So, we're... there's never a, a good result by bringing in the carnival into a church and calling it a sacred worship service. They don't use the word "sacred" anymore. But when you look at the character of God, we, we serve a holy God. We serve a just God, a beautiful God, a merciful God, a gracious God. I don't serve a hip-hop God or a rock-and-roll God. And, and I don't, I don't serve a party God. I serve a joy-filled God. I think there's going to be times when we're going to have that celebration. But, I see a problem with bringing in this type of worldly, secular music. The challenge with it is there's neurological implications, there's physiological implications, and there's spiritual implications.

John Bradshaw: So why is God not a rock-and-roll God? And I know you didn't say that God does not love rock-and-rollers...

Christian Berdahl: Of course.

John Bradshaw: a specific. If someone, someone heard me say that, I want, I want to correct that in your thinking. Why is God not a rock-and-roll God?

Christian Berdahl: Yeah. Well, first of all, the, the genre, or the style of music, rock and roll was birthed out of rebellion. And God is not of rebellion. The devil is of rebellion. He rebelled against God and His government, His law, and His character. So, God not being, uh, the author of rebellion, would never utilize a, a medium of rebellion to teach His gospel. So He would not be a rock-and-roll God. You could say He wouldn't be a hip-hop or a rap God, because, again, those genres... anyone that's in those genres, they'll tell you: It is a genre or a style of music that is rebellion, and it's infused with that character, and as a listener, we become imbued with the same spirit.

John Bradshaw: Except that, somebody is watching right now.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: And they're saying, "Kids come to church, and it's boring".

Christian Berdahl: Right.

John Bradshaw: "And, and they listen to these old hymns, and they're droning on, and some old lady with a squeaky voice and the organ...and who listens to organ music anyway"?

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: "And this is the music that kids are accustomed to".

Christian Berdahl: I'm right there with them.

John Bradshaw: Right? Well, right. "But they like this music".

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: "And so if we just change the music in church"...

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: ..."it'll be what the kids like".

Christian Berdahl: Right.

John Bradshaw: "And so they'll like to be in church".

Christian Berdahl: And that's really one of the great cries. What they're saying is the music bed doesn't matter; the lyrical content is all that matters. So if we have good Christian lyrics, the music bed doesn't matter.

John Bradshaw: There you go.

Christian Berdahl: I mean, right?

John Bradshaw: You've heard it before.

Christian Berdahl: Of course I have. I, I talk about this.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: So, here's the question I have, and that is, when you talk about communication... we're having a conversation right now. Did you know that 93 percent of our communication is nonverbal?

John Bradshaw: Nonverbal?

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Only seven...

Christian Berdahl: Seven percent is what we're saying; 93 is how we're saying it.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Christian Berdahl: Okay, so think of it this way: Music itself, the lyrical content is seven percent of... that's what's being said, right? The 93 percent is the body language. It's the music. And so the way that you say something is far more impactful than what you're saying. Is that true?

John Bradshaw: It would have to be true.

Christian Berdahl: It would.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: So if I said, "I love Jesus," you're thinking, Right, amen. But what if I said, you know, "I love Jesus".

John Bradshaw: Yeah. don't, you clearly don't, and you portray that with how you say it.

Christian Berdahl: So, if my music bed is more of that "Whatever," or it's angry, or it's sensual, whatever, but it has "Jesus" lyrics on it, you are going to respond to the 93 percent more than you will the seven percent. And so this is why we say we're imbued with the spirit of it. If it's an angry song, no matter what Jesus lyrics are on it, it's gonna make ya angry.

John Bradshaw: I just said to somebody just the other day... there was a song playing in the background in a restaurant, a song I've known for decades.

Christian Berdahl: Mmm.

John Bradshaw: Couldn't tell you what the words are.

Christian Berdahl: Right.

John Bradshaw: Couldn't tell ya. I can tell you that as a worldly person, I liked that pop-rock song. But you, you know how you listen to songs and can't understand the words? Lots of Christian music just the same.

Christian Berdahl: Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: Just the same.

Christian Berdahl: No question.

John Bradshaw: You haven't a clue what the words are, but...

Christian Berdahl: Boy, the music and the beat and the rhythm and everything moves you.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Christian Berdahl: We like it. Why is that? We...the, the audible...auditory nerves are more extensively, uh, distributed throughout the body than any other nerve system in the body. Yeah. Why is that? I believe a audible, musical God created us to experience music. This is why it becomes so personal to us. It's...we don''s not just an aural experience; it's a physiological experience as well. And so, this is why we tend to cling to these musics. The challenge, John, is that, depending on what's going on with the song, it can impact the frontal lobe; it can hypnotize it or put it to sleep, if you will, put it in a different brain state, which is called alpha versus beta. Beta is where you're critically analyzing everything coming in, and that's important for a sermon, right?

John Bradshaw: Sure it is.

Christian Berdahl: If you're sitting in church...

John Bradshaw: Oh yeah.

Christian Berdahl: don't want to be in that alpha state to where everything goes in without interpretation, and it changes our soul. So what if it's a false doctrine being preached? You see the problem.

John Bradshaw: Oh, sure.

Christian Berdahl: Neurologically, we release, uh, opioids; we release the sex hormones called gonadotropins, all kinds of things that happen with certain kinds of music. And, on top of that, it drives our physiology many times, so...

John Bradshaw: Explain that.

Christian Berdahl: Well, the, the challenge that we have, uh, is when, uh...we have certain rhythms in our body, and we have rhythms with the environment in which we live. And when we introduce certain kinds of rhythms that might go against that, the brain sees that as an assault. It's, it's an agitation. It creates what science calls a friction between the left and right hemisphere, so it releases a hormone-like opioid, which is like a, like a morphine type. It's an opioid, which is like morphine. And it causes the brain to go, Ooooh, okay. Yeah. Ah, yeah. Oh man, I love this music; this is great. So you're, you're...what happens is, over time, you're juicing a, a, uh, neurotransmitters, you're juicing hormones and other hormones as well, so eventually you become literally addicted to that music. And so this is why listeners will tend to move from less to harder music to get that same feeling. And this is why it becomes very personal to them because it makes them feel a certain way. Here's what I'm worried about. I think there's an overwhelming deception in this world. We know that we're... everything is crescendoing to a close right now. With Jesus coming at the foot, at the foot of the door, it's ready to happen. And, and we know that Satan is going to burst on the scene, the scene here. And unfortunately, in many of these worship services all around the world in different denominations, this music that's making everybody feel these things... release a brain chemical, hormones, and that, that frontal lobe malfunctioning, and they're singing sometimes these vain repetitions, the same song over and over and over and over again... bye-bye, prefrontal cortex. You're not going to process now properly. They get this emotional experience, and they're mistaking this contrived, emotional experience for the Holy Spirit. Now, picture, perhaps in the future...the devil comes, which we know he's going to impersonate Christ. I guarantee you that's going to be a musical event. And some people are going to be going, "Oh. Ah, that's my shepherd. I know that voice. He sang to me for so long". So I think it's a much, much larger, much deeper issue than many people even understand it to be. I think we're being serenaded by the devil.

John Bradshaw: I think we'd agree that most parents, most, many parents haven't got much of a clue about what their kids are listening to.

Christian Berdahl: That's true.

John Bradshaw: Why is it, why is it imperative that parents keep on top of, monitor, and do something about the music their kids are listening to these days?

Christian Berdahl: Well, it boils down to the Bible principle that we find: By beholding we are changed, right? And the reality is, whatever you spend your time with the most, you're going to become more like that. If you spend the time with the world, you'll become more like the world. If you spend more time with the Lord, you're going to be more like the Lord.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, but it's just music.

Christian Berdahl: Right. And, and to say that is to underestimate the power of music. Tell me where music isn't in this world.

John Bradshaw: It's everywhere.

Christian Berdahl: Everywhere! Art work is not everywhere. Movies are not everywhere. Video is not everywhere. Music is everywhere, even in the churches, in our homes, in our cars, in our places of business, on the airplane, in the elevator. It's everywhere. And indeed it's influencing and moving even the psychology of people. Why the kids? Because when, as parents... we both have children... when, when we're raising them, we're very careful with who they hang out with.

John Bradshaw: Oh, that's for sure.

Christian Berdahl: Why?

John Bradshaw: Because of the influence of their peers.

Christian Berdahl: Of course.

John Bradshaw: Yep.

Christian Berdahl: Well, parents are not as... they're, they're vigilant with the tangible child... that's the little brat, let's say, okay? "I don't want you associating with little Johnny because he's a little terror". Why? We don't want our children to be imbued with the same spirit. Well, here's the challenge. People are letting their kids hang out with that "kid" next door, and they're being imbued with those spirits in their earbuds and the music that they are listening to. So they may not be hanging out with Johnny for an hour a day, but they may be hanging out with Johnny's character for eight or 10 hours a day.

John Bradshaw: The thing people, I, I believe, really need to realize is that music doesn't exist exclusive of its culture. Music brings a culture with it.

Christian Berdahl: Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: So in the '60s, if you were listening to the Rolling Stones, you weren't simply listening to the Rolling Stones; you were buying the culture; '70s, the same; 80s, whether you're listening to Van Halen or The Police or whoever it might have been...

Christian Berdahl: Yep.

John Bradshaw: get the culture, and so, today, whether it's rock or... I think grunge is probably a generation ago... or hip-hop...

Christian Berdahl: That was in the '90s, yep.

John Bradshaw: don't simply get the music.

Christian Berdahl: Mm-mm.

John Bradshaw: You must get the culture that comes along with it.

Christian Berdahl: There's a lifestyle that comes with it.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. Or you're going to be influenced by the culture.

Christian Berdahl: You know, what's interesting is, uh, I, I have in my seminar... we have several different, uh, people that we refer to. One of them is this man named Anthony Campolo that was a reporter that went to this... what used to be called Music Fest... kind of like a, uh, Woodstock for Christian musicians, and he reported on it, and here's what he said: "Being behind the stage, backstage with all these big Christian groups and singers was absolutely frightening".

John Bradshaw: Oh, and why?

Christian Berdahl: Yeah. He said, "To hear the language they used, their hate for one another, but when, when showtime came, they went out with, 'Hey, aren't we all together in the name of Jesus and the Lord that we share?'" What's going on? The music doesn't just impact us as listeners; indeed, it's impacted us as music creators. So they've been converted by their own music. And so is the listener.

John Bradshaw: Music in the church... anyone who has a pulse recognizes that in the last 25 years there's been a drastic shift.

Christian Berdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Oh, you don't have to be devoid of a pulse. Maybe you simply don't get out much, and you think that your little corner of Pennsylvania or Alabama is the world.

Christian Berdahl: Right.

John Bradshaw: Get out...

Christian Berdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: ...and you see that there have been some changes. "The times, they are a-changin'".

Christian Berdahl: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Where's it... I'm not asking you to play prophet, but I am.

Christian Berdahl: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Where's it heading?

Christian Berdahl: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: And is there, is it possible that we can see things, generally speaking, get back to where maybe God would like them to be?

Christian Berdahl: You know, it's interesting, because we've been now speaking on the subject for a good, solid 10 years. And when we first started speaking on it, there wasn't as many glaring examples and issues. Like you said, the crescendo is happening, it's getting worse, and indeed it is. But what I've also seen... and this just warms my heart... is that not only have we seen some churches just really go off the deep end, but we've seen other churches that are feeling like, uh, there's people that want to bring this in, and they've brought, bought in certain kinds of musical worship styles that are more "celebration" or more "paradigm," "new paradigm"... we don't have time to get into all that... but it's this whole new entertainment-laden worship service, and whip up the emotions and guide them. And, and the...what we've seen is there are people everywhere in the world, even conferences that are calling me, saying, "Come and teach the conference, teach the pastors, teach the, the leadership, to where they understand... Wait a second, we don't need to go that way". So, I see some that are going... "We started bringing it in, but we started seeing some problems. Okay. So we need to get some education. Who can we bring"? Ah, he talks on it, or he, she does, or whatever. So they're starting to bring us. Because I believe we have a very short window right now, and it's time to strike. Where...whomever invites us, we'll go. This is why my wife and I sold everything that we have, and we are now on the road full-time, going wherever God calls us. We're living in an RV right now. [laughs]

John Bradshaw: Oof! Not for the faint of heart. Well done.

Christian Berdahl: No. Praise the Lord. I mean, it's not a sacrifice; it's a privilege.

John Bradshaw: Amen. That's true.

Christian Berdahl: And so, we'll go wherever people want to make changes. So we're going a step further, though. We're saying, "Okay, let's actually put in some 'law,' if you will, guidelines in the church". So we're gonna...we're helping churches to rewrite even their music policies after a seminar. I, we now instruct them: "Have a music committee meeting, either while we're here or at least the week right following, so it's fresh in your mind, and you make good, Holy Spirit-informed decisions". So we're working from that aspect of, "Let's make real change". How does it all end up? I think, like I mentioned before, the whole thing is, it's all part of a crescendo of entertainment, a crescendo of evil. I think...we're, we're told, by the way, that none of this kind of worship should be brought into the house of God, and that the Holy Spirit never uses such methods. So we have to go out and educate. What, what that tells us... at the end of time, we know that, specifically, the devil will work through music, and specifically the words are, "in which the way the music is conducted". So there's no greater reference of what's going to happen. So I know at the end of time there will be music, a music facet to it. Will it be only of it? No. But could it deceive some of the very elect? Very powerful.

John Bradshaw: We are told by Paul in 1 Corinthians, "Whether [therefore] you eat or drink"...

Christian Berdahl: Or?

John Bradshaw: ..."or whatever you do"...

Christian Berdahl: "Whatsoever you do".

John Bradshaw: ..."do all to the glory of God".

Christian Berdahl: That's right.

John Bradshaw: So it' suggests very strongly that there is a way to do music to the glory of God.

Christian Berdahl: No question.

John Bradshaw: And conversely, a way to, to do, conduct, celebrate, perform music that is not to the glory of God.

Christian Berdahl: That's right.

John Bradshaw: Maybe that's something more people need to spend more time thinking about.

Christian Berdahl: Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: Hey, I want to just double back around, get all the way back to the beginning.

Christian Berdahl: Uh-oh.

John Bradshaw: You, and your mom.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: How's your mom doing these days?

Christian Berdahl: Oh, man, my mom, she's doing fantastic. She became a very strong Christian. Uh, in fact, what is really beautiful, John, is not only did my...did the Lord capture my heart, capture Coby's heart, but also captured both of my brothers' hearts, pulled them out of drugs, pulled them out of prison, eventually, and they both have their own little ministries now.

John Bradshaw: Oh, thank God.

Christian Berdahl: Which is fantastic. But the Lord went a step further with my mom and my stepdad. In fact, you'll be interested to know that, uh, she was... they were sitting at my home, uh, and on our property we had a ministry building there, and we were having staff worship. And we were studying through "The Great Controversy," and we got to the place to where there were some changes made in God's law, and my mom said, "Was it you that told us that before"? I said, "Yeah". She goes, "Could you study that out with us"? I said...inside I'm going, "You have no idea. The answer is a full-on yes".

John Bradshaw: Oh yeah.

Christian Berdahl: So we sat down; we did a full study on that. We did a full study on the Sabbath. And I had pulled out the It Is Written Bible studies.

John Bradshaw: Amen.

Christian Berdahl: And we went through that Sabbath study, and my mom started crying. And I said, "What's wrong, Mom? I see you're, you're a little emotional". She said, "Well, how come I've studied all my life, but I've never seen this? I've studied"... not my whole life but... "the last 20 years of the Bible. I've never seen these things". And she turned at my, to my stepdad and said, "What are we going to do"? And he said, "We're going to find a new church". So for the last, uh, 18 months, Coby and I have been studying with my parents via FaceTime, going through these Bible studies, and they have accepted everything; they see the truth. My mom kept crying and crying, saying, "How is it that somebody can study the Word as much as I have, and I've never seen these things"? And I said, "Isn't truth beautiful"?

John Bradshaw: It's just beautiful, isn't it?

Christian Berdahl: And so I'm going to have the privilege of baptizing them into the faith, and they themselves are going to do that, uh, this February.

John Bradshaw: That is magnificent.

John Bradshaw: I'm happy to hear the It Is Written Bible Study Guides had a little part in that as well.

Christian Berdahl: Well, they did, amen. I highly recommend them.

John Bradshaw: Isn't it just remarkable, all the way... as your story began, it was, had some dark moments.

Christian Berdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: But God obviously had His hand over you.

Christian Berdahl: Yep, I believe it with all my heart.

John Bradshaw: And He still does.

Christian Berdahl: Amen.

John Bradshaw: We're grateful for you. We appreciate what you do.

Christian Berdahl: Thank you, brother.

John Bradshaw: God bless you and Shepherd's Call ministries.

Christian Berdahl: God bless.

John Bradshaw: Thanks for taking the time today. We're very grateful.

Christian Berdahl: I appreciate it.

John Bradshaw: And thank you for taking the time today. It's been good to be here. Great to have you with us. With Christian Berdahl, I'm John Bradshaw, and this has been our conversation.
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