As you might guess, I’ve been ‘thinking’ about moving lately. We’ve packed a few boxes, charted the FCC maps and began making schematics of wiring diagrams. As of this writing, we still don’t have a site to re-locate to, but many people have called with options for us. We’ve had some people go out and actually interview property owners about sites for our re-location. We continue to trust that there’s a ‘godly way’ for us to follow. It could be a way that might be easy, or could be tough, it might be quick, or might be lengthy; but for sure a way that’s in the purpose of God for us. We’re not convinced that because something is logical or easy that it’s necessarily God. Just as surely, we know that the hard way is not always the will of God for us either. There’s no box that God operates out of that obligates a predictable path for us to follow. We know from Scripture that some of the time Christ healed by laying hands on people, simply spoke the Word other times, mixed clay and spit once, and yet other times cried out in a loud voice to accomplish His purpose. There’s no fixed way, no formula for this ministry to receive the ‘supply’ of God. We will simply listen for that still, small voice to whisper in our ear, “GO!”
Times like this can be fearful and uncomfortable. They can also be exciting and loaded with ‘purpose’ for ministry. Every now and then we feel the pressure of having to move without knowing where to. But for the most part, we’re pretty excited. I have a reference point to go back to in my mind: March, 2005 when it seemed that God was specifically ‘calling the shots’ for WBVN. A real ‘refreshing’ seemed to be taking place in our hearts. That month was when we first heard from Mark Schultz about coming to the Civic Center and filming his new DVD.
That conversation culminated with the recordings on May 6th last year. A few weeks ago, Mark received the Dove Award for that DVD, a high water mark for any project recorded for an artist. While the past year must have been wonderful for Mark Schultz (that DVD went Gold, then Platinum and finally the Dove), it’s been that kind of year for WBVN as well. We saw a new energy coming in the emails and phone calls we were getting. It’s been a year that feels like we’re passengers in a vehicle whose chauffer is God. So much has been happening to us rather than us making things happen. The opportunity for Point of Grace to come, and now the web cast, has generated many new and re-newed many old acquaintances to us. We trust the move to a new location will turn out to be another ‘process’ the Spirit of God has fashioned for us.
Recently, I was standing in the studio, the studio that’s been our home for the past 16 years; I looked around at the CD’s on the wall, the computers, looked at the yellow and blue wiring running every direction, observed the audio equipment, carpet on the walls, a patio door laying on it’s side to make a window between the ‘on-air studio’ and the ‘production studio’. I remember the summer we started building those walls, volunteers such as Warren and Dana that ran wires and pounded nails into studs. It’s been a good home for us.
We always had the attitude of ‘not despising small beginnings;’ we’ve just been caught up in our beginnings for 16 years now. We’ve been very comfortable with little. We really do believe in ‘modesty in ministry’ and our pledge, even in this re-location search, is to keep our listeners and contributors in mind, being careful and thoughtful about our partnership with each.
Standing there looking at the studio reminded me of the memories held in this building. There are so many stories about what has happened here. At the same time, I remembered how necessary it is for people to ‘go on with God’ and not be encumbered by holding on to yesterday too firmly. God is a ‘mover’ and as His people we seem to have to ‘follow’ Him on our journey of faith. In the very first verse of Scripture, God moved on the face of the earth. And, in His own simple way, He told Abraham simply to Go! Telling him very little else about ‘go where.’ One of my favorite biblical teachings is on the life of Jacob. If you remember, Jacob ran in fear after receiving (actually by deceiving his father and cheating his brother Esau) the blessing from his father. The place he stopped running was Beth-el, literally meaning ‘God’s house.’ That was the first place he met God (Jacob’s ladder). Jacob’s journey ended in a place of peace. As was traditional in that time, Jacob built an alter of stones to mark the place ‘where God was’ found. Jacob could have stopped there. We sometimes act like that when we first meet God. We get stuck in that one place thinking all that God has for us is in that one location. We enjoyed the first journey, enjoyed meeting Him, and we get to thinking we’ve arrived at our final destination. We quit seeking Him out any further. Oh, when we get in trouble or need God to show up, we go back to those stones we use to ‘mark the place God is.’ We go back there because we want what happened the first time there, to happen again there. But God’s moved! We will need to find ‘manna’ at the next location!
Jacob did that, ‘packing up’ his family and ‘re-locating,’ this time to a place named ‘El-Bethel,’ literally, ‘God of the House.’ Jacob now had two experiences with God. He had found where God was at the end of the first journey, and on the second he had found who God was. Jacob had ‘located’ Him in the first and had come to ‘know’ Him in the second. That’s very much like the opportunity in our lives. We find Him one day and over time we continue to learn of Him. However, just as with Jacob, there’s another journey to take. It is the purpose and fulfillment of the first two journeys. For believers, God has prepared a place for us in another place. It’s not just the Heavenly one promised, but also the earthly one promised. In Jacob’s case it was called Ephrath. As you read the Scripture you discover that Jacob had no idea why he was to go there. In fact, he had lots of opposition. All that Jacob knew was he was to go and simply followed God to that place. I’m sure Jacob never realized why he needed to journey there; put down roots there. At that time, the town of Ephrath was of no real consequence. Generations later, we know that Ephrath was the town called Bethlehem. Do you know why Jacob needed to go to Ephrath? On the journey Rachel died in child-birth, but a son was born to Jacob and Rachel: a son Jacob named Benjamin. Benjamin would raise his sons in Ephrath, and his son’s sons would be born there, and their sons would live there. Jacob’s great, great, great, great, great, great grandson, Boaz, would be born there. There, Boaz would meet Ruth and they would have a son, Obed. Obed had a son Jesse and Jesse had a son David and out of Bethlehem, out of David, would come a ‘son’ named Jesus. Jacob’s move had a purpose beyond what he could see, and God had a plan for all the earth located in the last move of God in Jacob’s life.
Sixteen years ago, after having found God in our ‘born again’ years, Jane and I moved from that comfortable spot and journeyed to ‘15006 Moellers Road.’ We started WBVN in these studios I stand in today. Here, we discovered more fully the provision and the very nature of God. In this place we discovered ‘El-Bethel’ or the God of the house. Here, we learned of whom He was, not just where He was. Here, we experienced the miracles of God. Here, we grew confident in Him. Now, in our seventeenth year of this journey, we’re to move to another place, trusting Him there because we’ve found Him trustworthy here! His Grace has been sufficient here. His provision has been manifested here. We’re comfortable here! But we need to leave. It’s time. I look around and want to pile stones here in my office, in the studio and at the front door. In my flesh, we want to stay where we know He’s been for so long.
I’ve been reading a book written by a Jewish Rabbi recently on the ‘secrets for living from the Lord’s language.’ In it, the Hebrew word “DOR” is discussed. It is the word for generation and is most importantly the essence of DOR to DOR, meaning from generation to generation. In the Hebrew language, the continuity from generation to generation is of primary importance. One generation doesn’t stand alone to be looked at as independent from the one before it or the one after it. A clue to DOR to DOR is found in the Hebrew spelling of DOR. Reading forward brings the message of generation; however as is so true with much of the Lord’s language, DOR read backwards reveals the meaning “to decline.” In the Hebrew language for generation to generation there is no ‘stagnation.’ We are either growing from generation to generation or we’re shrinking away from the continuity needed in our and our children’s lives. We’re not going to stand still; we will either move forward or we will be destined to decline. This next generation will either build on the shoulders of the last, or as has been the recent trend, this generation will continue to see a ‘falling away’ in the next DOR.
I’m not sure what tomorrow holds for WBVN. Since May 6th of last year, there seems to be a ‘motion’ generated from the Heart of God in the middle of this work. The new location will yield some kind of ‘harvest’ for the listening community in which we all live. When we started, the children we played CCM for were 7 years old; today they are 24 years old. The continuity of WBVN is in some other building; there will be some other expression added to this present one. Like Jacob, I know we must leave, but I’m not so sure what lies ahead. Ministry to me is about people. It’s not the building, the equipment, show business, or even the music. It’s about changing people’s attitude about their God. It’s about people finding the house where God is and about finding the God of the house. While our hearts will always find this building full of fond memories, we are not going to pile stones here. We are not stopping here, not quitting here. We’re going to Ephrath, to someplace we’ve never been before. We are going for what we believe will be a very important new location and opportunity for ministry over WBVN, FM104.5.