Barry Mahler volunteered to teach a Bible study at his church, he says, “and from the first moment I began teaching a Bible study, it seemed I had come home.”
488 Industrial Way, Suite A-1, Fallbrook
Pastor: Barry Mahler
Born: Larson Air Force Base, Washington
Formation: Excelsior College, Albany, NY
Years Ordained: 13
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Barry Mahler: For preparation, I find that — apart from prayer and general studies — I only spend a few hours on any one sermon, which is far less than I used to. The longer I preach through the Scriptures, the more I learn the truth of Hebrews 4:2, which says that the word of God is living. I find Scripture has a remarkable ability to teach itself. That takes the pressure off me to wow or amaze or come up with amazing original insight. I consider every passage I go through and find the message I was meant to give to my congregation just jumps out at me.
SDR: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
PM: In recent years I’ve been impressed with the concept of the image of God expressed in Genesis 1:26–27. The first mention of humanity was done in conjunction with the first mention of the image of God, which makes the image of God the fundamental fact of our existence; that idea of the image of God is behind everything that moves the human heart heavenward.
SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PM: There are so many who profess a faith in Christ and allegiance to his word — but who care so little for his word. That large-scale biblically illiterate Christianity is reducing Christianity to irrelevancy and impotency. I try to be tireless in teaching from the word of God. I don’t like self-promotion, but I have a blog [nuclearpastor.com] that I try to discuss biblical worldview issues from, and I just finished a book I’ve been working on for the last seven and a half years on the word of God.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PM: It was in the early to mid ’90s, and I was minding my own business, having a good time running the nuclear power plants at San Onofre. I made the mistake of volunteering to teach a Bible study at my church, and from the first moment I began teaching a Bible study, it seemed I had come home. The idea of being a servant of God’s word and of God in ministering the gospel to his people just captured my heart from that moment on, and I couldn’t ever escape it.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PM: As for me, I’ll be going to heaven. I don’t deserve to, but that’s the promise of my savior and he backed up that promise with the power of his indestructible life and the shedding of his perfect sacrificial blood for me. I am a saved beggar bound for glory, and I thank him for that. There are other options. There is a place known as hell, created for the devil and his angels, and it was created precisely for that purpose. All those who reject the free offer of salvation in Christ choose that option. In denying wanting to spend an eternity with God, they choose to spend an eternity apart from everything that God is — everything that is good, noble, just, wonderful, fair, honorable, and true. Hell is a place where none of those things exist.