Twenty-two years 11 Months 25 Days 200 Thousand Hours 12 million minutes
That’s WBVN measured in time. It all began on January 8th, 1990. That was our first day broadcasting. The first song was Keith Green’s “The Victor.” The first concert was with someone you have long since forgotten about or someone you have never heard of: Bob and Jane Farrell. They were billed as Farrell and Farrell at the time and had many big hits and recognizable songs, but long gone now. Our most recent concert was with Mark (need I say more?) and 33 Miles and Finding Favour — the 143rd concert event over all those years. Soon we will exceed over 100 thousand concert attendees for those 22 plus years.
In this newsletter I’m ‘waxing historical’. Actually, I’m ‘moved historical’ this year end. I’m writing this letter after having just finished our Fall Celebration, and in so doing and in the process of writing a thank you letter to all the people that called in their pledges of support, all those facts about the radio station came flooding into my mind. And if you will permit, I’d like to do a bit of rambling with just a few thoughts about the past and the future. These are not profound by any means, but they are my personal thoughts about having had such pleasure in serving our listeners over these years.
It has been quite a run! So many songs, so many giveaways, all the words said over the station and lyrics sung declaring the Gospel. I must tell you, we did not have a 22 year plan! Our original plan (and still our plan) was to just do this ministry one day at a time and be here for as long as we were ‘relevant’ (my word) to the believers in our listening audience. And as amazing as all those numbers listed above are to us, we have an even more important number that we cherish. It is the number ‘1’. We have maintained and purposed ‘1’ message the whole time. The Grace and the Love of God is our personal Hope and also our purpose for sharing through this ministry. We have not been moved away from the desire of our heart beginning on that January day.
We have always had just ‘1’ vision for this ministry. It never included growing to become some huge radio group or even to be the most financially successful ministry in the area. We have not been moved to ‘try’ to be anything other than a good companion to our listeners and a good steward of the funds that they have provided for us to share this WBVN message. We have had the pleasure of painting a picture of the heart of God for people, using the music and message of WBVN. The most important thing has been to not only encourage, but to stay within the original context of why we believe God gave us a voice with this radio station in the first place. We are not easily moved by the thought of being anything other than being His. Sometimes I don’t know how we have guarded ourselves from any other purpose than our original, but I’m perfectly aware of why we have held on to it so tightly.
As we begin our 23rd year I’m having flash-backs of so many things that have happened to us. I’m reminded of all the miracles that we have seen happen to this ministry for us to continue these 23 years. The first step was taken when we only had $5300 dollars in our personal savings account and the first month’s contributions totaled just over 700 dollars. We remain vulnerable, a people with little skills and not much money but tons of purpose and appreciation for our listeners. Delicate is how I view this ministry. So much has been done and so much of it is attributable to His being a lamp unto our feet, and you have been the manna from Heaven to feed all the listeners that have chosen this ministry for encouragement.
Louie Giglio authored a book called I Am, and in it he points to the story of Moses. You know the story, God asked Moses to go to Pharaoh. Moses wanted just a bit more information, just needed a little more of something to hold onto than just being asked to go. So God gives Moses the answer: ‘I will be with you’! Moses still looked for more. What would he tell Pharaoh about the God that was sending him? God said simply to tell Pharaoh that I Am who I Am, just ‘tell him I Am sent you’. I’m sure Moses must have paused and thought, Well Yeah, but! But for God, that was all Moses needed to know, it was enough. It’s a name that implies present tense and an active form of the verb ‘Be’. God was telling Moses He was unchanging, constant, unending, always present, always God. God was telling Moses, ‘I Am the center of everything, I Am running the show, I Am the same every day, forever, I Am the owner of everything, I Am the Lord, I Am the Creator and Sustainer of Life, I Am the Savior, I Am more than enough, I Am inexhaustible and immeasurable, I Am God’ (‘Look here Moses, I Am will be with you! You don’t need anything else!’) Giglio goes further, if God’s name is I Am, Moses’ name must be I am not. I am not the center of everything, I am not in control, I am not the solution, I am not all-powerful, I am not call the shots, I am not the owner of anything, I am not the Lord,…I am not running anything, I am not head of anything, I am not in charge of anything, I am not the Maker, I am not the Savior, I am not holding it all together, I am not all-knowing, I am not God… God continued, ‘This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation…’ God wanted Moses to know that not only would He remain the same, His name would endure to every generation that would inhabit the earth, even to our generation, mine and yours.
I believe God is with us. I believe, as Jesus taught us, that the Kingdom of God is present now and not just in the future. He’s in this mess with us and He is ‘Be’, and being a verb, he is ‘being’ right now. It is not sufficient for us to just think that God was and will be in the future, we need to believe that He is and is now. Faith and trust is more than a couple times a week experience. It’s always and it’s now. God was and is and is to come, always. It never changes and is current and here even now. Not because we get spiritual all of a sudden, but because the Spiritual is always present, always ready. I’m convinced that the reason God knows everything is because the Spirit of God has entered the earth and is always everywhere.
I don’t know if we are ready yet, but it sure feels like we are beginning to come into two new revelations of God. The first is that our present expectations and practices might not be all they have been promised to be, and secondly, that He is I Am in our every moment. We don’t really bring anything to the equation except our hearts minus our heads. We are like Moses. We are not sufficient, we are not super spiritual, we are not worthy of the many assignments that God sends us to do, but He is all those and all those present in our lives every moment of our lives. That’s where trust and obey comes from. That is where faith and hope come from.
Now we start a new year. We will laugh some of the time, but we will always be sober about the responsibility that God has treasured us with. Treasured us with responsibility, I intended to say it just that way. It is not a burden but a pearl that we would give anything for the opportunity and God has given this radio ministry just that– our hearts desire to share His story. Our hearts are full for the kindnesses and the partnership we have experienced with you. Our trust has always been in I Am but our hearts are always aware of the people that have trusted us and shared their lives with us for these 22 plus years.
In short, the translation I Am is simply ‘Be’. What we do not understand, He makes up for being with us. What we do not do, He makes up for being always present. What we get wrong, He makes a way for never leaving us. What we do not see, He makes up because we know He is our Light in any darkness. When we do not have enough, He is enough. That’s the definition of our Faith, I Am makes up the difference, I Am is the all in all. What we do not know we have I Am to trust in. What does not feel good, I Am still has His hand out to grab ours and lead the way.
From our Oct. 7th concert Mark Schultz:
Before the Earth (I Am) The universe (I Am) In every heart (I Am) Where you are (I Am) The Lord of lords (I Am)
The King of Kings (I Am) The Holy lamb (I Am) Above all things (I Am)
Yes, I Am almighty God your father The risen son of man The healer of the broken Who bore the sins of man
The author and perfecter Beginning and the end… I Am