Bernie Miller: On The Air with God
By Audra Smith
The 700 Club
CBN.com- Bernie Miller’s love for radio started when he delivered the newspaper to a radio station in Baltimore. He caught the attention of James Brown at WEBB, who asked Bernie to record a public service announcement. Bernie was only 15 and he was hooked.
"I was a disembodied voice,” Bernie said. “I loved being behind the microphone and not being seen, and doing and saying things in certain way that would encourage people.”
By his twenties, Bernie was living out his wildest radio dreams and working for a top 3 market in Chicago. He was swept up in a whirlwind of success, money and glamour.
“My lifestyle when I was in the radio world was the fast lane,” Bernie said. “It’s filled with a lot of drugs, a lot of groupies, a lot of money can be made too. What you do with the money and what you do with the groupies is another thing. It was calling prostitutes, having people come over to use and abuse drugs.”
It’s a dog eat dog world,” Bernie said. “I had to get acclimated to it. When that happens, you use things to give you a boost. I used cocaine to give me a boost. I used marijuana to relax…it is such a vicious cycle.”
Bernie’s career skyrocketed. He was offered a job in New York, another top 3 market. During that time he began to write music with credits such as “I can’t stand the rain” made famous by Ann Peebles and Tina Turner.
“And I remember the royalty check that I got,” Bernie said. “It was like $19,000. I had never seen that much money at one time in my entire life. And I used every drop of it on drugs.”
In 1987, Sony Records offered Bernie a position as VP of A&R. His roster included Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross and others. His six figure salary and million dollar budget was all he thought he ever wanted. But one day, Bernie realized that it wasn’t enough.
“I woke up after being there a for a year, I said…Is this IT? I worked all these years to get here and there is something missing, there is a void in my life,” Bernie said.
“The night before, I was watching an X-rated movie,” Bernie said. “I don’t know what happened, but I woke up that morning and I turned the TV on and it was the 700 Club.”
“There was someone on there saying ‘there is someone struggling right now and you are at a point in your life where you have MADE it. You have done all the things you want to do, but there is something missing. I want to tell you that the something missing is Jesus and he purposefully put a Christ-shaped vacuum in your life,” Bernie said.
“The next thing I knew, I was on my knees, asking the Lord to come into my life and save me. and it was a total personality change, so to speak. I found myself not wanting to do the things that I used to do,” Bernie said. “I asked the Lord to take the taste of cigarettes and alcohol out and any other substances out of my taste buds and he did. As I think about that moment, things just changed in my life.”
After Bernie gave his life to Christ, he found it difficult to continue his work with the record label. The next year, Sony decided not to renew his contract…and Bernie Miller moved to Chattanooga to become a Christian radio announcer. Eventually, Bernie attended seminary and became a full-time pastor.
“All the gold records, all the famous people that I have known, mean nothing to me compared to the relationship that I have found by watching the 700 Club,” Bernie said.
“Anyone who is hurting, all you have to do is want Jesus,” Bernie said. “I was at the top of my career, didn’t really need anything, but there was a void in my life. You have a lot of money, very successful, but all of those things don’t mean anything to you. At the end of the day, you still have a void in your life and that void is a relationship with Jesus Christ. That is the same void that I had and you won’t be happy until you do what I did….and that is ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.“
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