Power Source>> Victory in Christ

The Nashville Music Magazine 

“When I was growing up in Berlin, Germany, my biggest dream was to visit my grandparents who lived on the other side of our city. There was a wall between us, however, and that wall was all too real. It was a ten-foot high wall made of concrete block, secured by electric fences, guarded by armed soldiers on security towers, and made even more inaccessible by hidden mines in the ground. This was the unquestionable reality that surrounded my life. Freedom was a privilege denied to those of us who lived on the East side of the Berlin Wall. I never dreamed then that I would be touring the United States as a Christian pianist and speaker.

 

Out of tears and memories of my past has grown a music that seems to touch the heart and soul of many who hear it. It is a music that brings reflection and inspiration. I use my melodies and compositions to tell a story of sadness and triumph that has led me from a dictatorship of men to a victory in Christ.

 

A few weeks after arriving in the United States to share my music and life story with people here, I was invited to the Billy Graham radio program, “Decision Today.” I was asked to write for that ministry’s magazine, “Decision.” As I shared the difficulties and hardships of my childhood behind the Berlin Wall, and my stand for Christ under the discrimination and persecution, people felt challenged and inspired not to take their freedom for granted, but to use it for a deeper commitment in following Christ.

 

“Decision Today” marked the beginning of sharing my music and testimonies on Christian radio while touring the United States. I was so amazed to see public radio stations spread the Word of God and play Christian music. This could never have happened behind the Berlin Wall with government-owned media. Communist East Germany was a dictatorship that had banned God from the public life and oppressed any open proclamation of the Word of God and encouragement of believers. We were not only deprived of freedom and liberty, but we were also denied the right to share our faith in public. Christian recording artists were unheard of, and Christian media certainly did not exist. We practiced our faith mostly behind closed doors.There was no spotlight as I took my stand for Christ. There was no applause, no standing ovation, no rewards, and no fame to gain for a Christian commitment under Communism. There was only my love for Him, my gratefulness for what He had done for me, and my willingness to follow Him no matter the cost. Yet I had a freedom that surpassed all freedom in Christ. I had a God with whom I could overcome the efforts of the Communist government to suppress any show of Christianity.

 

The Berlin Wall has come down. The dictatorship of East Germany has gone. My faith in Christ has remained. Once Communism tried to silence by belief in God, but now my piano composition “Cascades of God’s Passion and Love” is starting to play on Christian radio stations throughout America to reach the hearts of many. That I feel humbled and honored is the least I can say. I give glory to God for the gift of music he has given me, the opportunities to share it with others and the priceless gift of personal and spiritual freedom. This is a freedom I cannot take for granted.

 

It is my genuine desire to make people aware what a privilege freedom is. How wonderful it is to have the privilege of serving Christ with our gifts and talents. I challenge people I meet not to take being allowed to publicly practice their Christianity for granted. I urge them to support Christian music ministries and media with enthusiasm and commitment. I also challenge those involved to always remember that it is for Christ that we do what we do. Once deprived of freedom and liberty, it has now become my desire to use freedom to reach out to others with a challenging message of hope and faith and music of encouragement and inspiration. Using the title of my new album, I never leave a city or a concert without leaving behind my most sincere wish and prayer for everyone, that the “Peace of God Remains”.

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Michael Furchert TV Interview Seattle

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Decision 2009>> Miracle Behind the Berlin Wall

Editor’s note: November 2009, marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the symbolic end of the Cold War Era. Before the construction of the wall, Billy Graham preached twice in Berlin, in 1954 and 1960. In 1982 he preached in East Berlin and several other East German cities. During these visits he met many believers who faithfully severed Jesus Christ even under the Communist regime.  
 
The following article shows how, in the months prior to the fall of the wall, God worked through one Christian family to demonstrate his power to officials in the atheistic state of East Germany.
 

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association 

 
* * * 
With God all things are possible!” my mother replied to the East German border guard. He starred at us in disbelief. Before him stood an East German family of seven with valid passports, the oldest child was 17, the youngest 4. The guard had never seen his Communist government make such an exception.
  
This was the Cold War – a time were many were killed trying to escape over the Berlin Wall into freedom. Now he looked at this pastor’s family with visas to cross through the Berlin Wall into West Berlin to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of the pastor’s wife’s parents. The guard was perplexed.
 
“There is no God!” he responded defiantly to my mother’s comment. “Someone in high places must have shown favor to you.” My father smiled. “Someone above! This is what my wife just said.”
 
For three decades our family had been separated by the Berlin Wall, a 12-foot-tall concrete barrier fortified with barbed wire, electric fences and armed soldiers on high security towers. It was a world-known symbol of imprisonment and injustice.
 
For years we had petitioned to visit our family on the other side. We had prayed, hoped, and endured. The petitions were rejected. Why would the government make an exception for us? My father had been fired from City Hall because he would not join the Socialist Party and end his church membership. Now he was a pastor proclaiming the Gospel. My siblings and I refused to join the Young Communist Pioneers at school and to pledge allegiance to our socialist fatherland. Despite disadvantages and sacrifices, we had taken a stand for our faith and had refused to conform. Should the government show favor to those who opposed them?
 
My grandparents’ only wish for their diamond wedding anniversary was to celebrate with their family. East German officials told us that it was impossible and that this time they would not even read our applications. Yet we continued to petition with persistence and faith. On both sides of the Berlin Wall, our separated family members prayed fervently, believing that God could make the impossible possible.

Then one day the phone rang. Our family was called to the police station. Under the dictator’s painting, a nervous officer paced back and forth. “I do not know who has made this decision,” he finally said. “Your petition has been approved.” He handed us seven passports and left the room.   

 

“We could have stayed in freedom, but my father had given his word to the Communist officials that we would return, and he would not abandon his church, the place where God had called us to serve.”

 
That night we gathered around our kitchen table, our hearts filled with joy as we opened our daily devotion book. For this day it read: 
“God, You have many silent ways in which You make possible what seems impossible to men. Yesterday it was not visible yet, today not much, but tomorrow it will stand before us in all its glory and we will recognize how You have accomplished what none of us could have achieved.” The next morning we could leave. Our daily devotion book read from Psalm 31:8.  
 
“You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet on spacious ground.” (NIV)  
 
As we crossed to the West, the border guards were stunned. So were the West German officials when we arrived. The senator of West Berlin wanted to call the media. My parents declined. They wanted to enjoy this miracle in humble gratefulness to God. Together with our relatives we celebrated our grandparents’ 60 years of marriage. God, who was stronger than any dictatorial regime and the powerful Iron Curtain, had fulfilled our greatest wish. Faith had triumphed.  
 
Our ten-day visas passed quickly. We could have stayed in freedom, but my father had given his word to the Communist officials that we would return, and he would not abandon his church, the place where God had called us to serve.  
 

“Communist East Germany didn’t last but our faith in God remained. We look back with gratefulness. We look forward with hope. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

 
The large iron gate of the Berlin Wall closed behind us. Back under dictatorship we stood, in East Berlin, a city shrouded in grey. Yet we were grateful and our hearts rejoiced. We had witnessed the power of prayer. We knew that God was real and He was faithful. With Him we could overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable, and we could experience His favor in the midst of adversity.  
 
That evening my father received a phone call: “Family Furchert, are you back?” My father assured the anonymous caller that we had returned. “Thank God,” the man said and hung up.  
 
Years later we learned about the Communist official who approved our visas. He had never entered a church, but when his mother had died, my father preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Communists at her funeral. It made an impact on this man. When the petition had come across his desk, he approved it and said to his superiors, “I vouch for this man and his family. This pastor will not abandon his church. If he says he will return, he will return.”  
 
Half a year later, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. We were free and our family was reunited. Communist East Germany didn’t last but our faith in God remained. We look back with gratefulness. We look forward with hope. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  
 
Copyright 2009: Michael Furchert
 
Scripture Quotation taken from the Holy Bible New International Version
 
Decision: November 2009

MORE THAN CONQUERORS

Standing Firm On Faith In A Secular World

AND THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN!

An inspiring account of a familythat would not let life’s circumstances keep them down.

Persecuted by Hitler. Separated by the Berlin Wall. One family held true to their faith in God and experienced a journey from trials to triumph, from defeat to victory.

How do we live our faith in a society that is turning increasingly secular? How do we build strong families, instill Biblical values and raise children in the Word of God?

Michael grew up behind the Berlin Wall under an atheist dictatorship, yet in his family he learned about the love of God and the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall…

…we face times of great uncertainty in our own country. This inspiring account of a family that overcame life’s difficulties under two dictatorships and rose to a joyful witness of Christ’s strength, will encourage us to trust in God’s promise to be more than conquerors.

Michael will share with us what kept his family strong in trying times, throughout Nazi Germany, WWII and Communism, what helped him to make tough choices as child and teenager behind the Berlin Wall, and why it is so important to build our lives on a firm foundation that will last.

Michael’s message is timely and relevant. It will challenge us not to take our freedoms for granted, nor our faith too lightly, but to take a stand for Jesus Christ. It will convict us to resist complacency, indifference and compromise and encourage us to become a bolder witness for our faith and make a difference in our lives, our families, our communities and our nation.

In The Masters Hands

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NEWS CLIP: Remembering the Fall of the Berlin Wall

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Duluth, MN — Today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The fall became a powerful symbol that represented the end of the cold war. Here’s how Northlanders are celebrating and remembering the historic moment.

Read full Article here:
http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/Remembering-the-fall-of-the-Berlin-Wall-in-the-Northland-282170701.html

NEWS CLIP: From East Berlin to America: Furchert Recounts Fall of Berlin Wall

Even though 25 years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of East Berlin’s communist regime, Michael Furchert’s memories remain clear.

Read more

Decision 2000>> Taking a Stand for Christ

as published in DECISION MAGAZINE, June issue 2000
the monthly Magazine of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

By Michael Furchert

For the graduation ball my class had decided to dress-up as angels with a devil’s tail. My classmates knew that I would not want to miss this celebration. But they wanted me to compromise my faith – at least for this one day – and to join in the mocking of God. I had been so excited for this celebration ball, but I did not want to be a “wimp” for the Lord.

Once again I needed to make a stand for God. While my class went to the graduation ball, I stood in the garden, cutting the lawn, wiping away the tears from my eyes.

Taking a Stand for Christ

I grew up behind the Berlin Wall in East Germany. My life was deprived of freedom in a country that didn’t acknowledge God. I was seven years old when I realized that I needed to make a stand against the Communist government that taught that there was no God.

When I began attending school, I discovered that every pupil was required to join the Communist Young Pioneers and to submit to that group’s beliefs. I needed to make a decision. Did I want to be one of them? Did I want to have friends, to gain their respect and recognition? Or did I want to go alone against the odds–believing in God who they claimed did not exist?

My father took me aside.”You need to make a decision,” he had said. “We have shown you the way of faith. But we can’t go it for you.” I had understood what he meant. If I would decide for God, my life would become very difficult. It would mean that I would have to take a stand against the governmental system in which I loved, and I would have to be strong enough to face the consequences.

I stood up in school and refused to join the Young Pioneers. I could not give my heart to Communist beliefs because I knew that God exists. I had decided to put my faith in Him, and now I had to stand strong.

I could not take part in the weekly meetings of my class, I was blocked from many events at school, and I did not receive a school uniform. I refused to sing the Communist songs and to count soldiers, guns and tanks in mathematics. My classmates laughed at me and mocked me. I didn’t seem to fit in.

I knew that without dedication to Communism I would not have the chance to attend college or to have a good profession. So long as I would not submit, I would face disadvantages and exclusion. My father and grandfather had already lost their jobs for being confessing Christians.

It would have been easy to hide my faith. Must a little compromise, a little going with the crowd, and I could be one of them—I could have friends, gain respect and recognition. But Jesus said that if I would stand up for Him on earth, He would also stand up for me in heaven (Matthew 10:32).

Jesus had stood up for me when He gave His life on the cross. But He had risen, and He is alive. This thought gave me the strength to march on in faith.

Becoming an “Adult”

I grew older, and the biggest event in the life of a teenager in East Germany approached–the Youth Consecration. On this day every student was solemnly declared an “adult” person deserving respect and recognition. During the celebration, teenagers had to pledge an oath to support Communism.

I had to make a choice again. I wanted to become an “adult” person too, but I would not compromise my faith. When the students went to the celebration hall, I stayed at home. I could not give my life to a system that taught that there was no God just so that I could become an “adult”.

The Youth Consecration was followed by a sightseeing tour for the entire class–except for me, since I had refused to take the oath. because of my faith in God, I remained a child in their eyes. While my class traveled for one week to celebrate their new adult lives, I was put on a construction site to carry heavy stones and to clean up trash.

Relying on Jesus

I had not become an “adult” but no one could stop me from turning 16. I was the oldest in our class, and I would be the first one riding a motorcycle to school. What a chance to gain respect and recognition! But to get a driver’s license, one needed to sign a document of dedication to Communist beliefs.

Again I had to make a choice. I could be “somebody” now, but it would require a compromise. People laughed and pointed fingers at me when I was the last one still riding a bicycle to school, while everybody else had surrendered and received their vehicle license.

I felt hurt, but I had Jesus on my side. He wiped away my tears. When others pushed me away, He welcomed me. When others rejected me, He taught me how precious I am to Him. When the world gave me only hatred, He showed me love.

The Communist government in East Germany has gone. The government has failed, and the Berlin Wall has crashed down. What remains is my faith in God and my gratefulness for having learned to stand up for Jesus Christ–the One who stood up for me.