We thought it should be consistent, thought it should be focused on what our original heart attitude and vision for ministry was in the beginning. From our point of view, we were permitted to do this ministry because we had a simple purpose of encouraging the Church daily. As with all things that God breathes Life into, there always comes a time of temptation moving a ministry away from its first understanding of what God sent it to do. However, we continue pretty much the way we started. We have stayed centered on Christ, made Him Captain of our attention and mixed that with a hearty helping of appreciating our listeners and our contributors. It’s been 23 full ministry years now. I remember hearing someone say years ago, ‘the Life of God takes no time, but it occupies all our time.’ That’s it I suppose. I know even in our play, our fun, our tears, our disappointment, in our work, in the relationships we have with people, all of it centers on our Faith at some level. Sometimes it’s unspoken and just lived.
January 8th, 1990 was our first day of broadcast. Since then, I think we’ve pretty well proven that we’re just folks glad to be able to share our Faith with other believers, nothing ‘super-spiritual’ about the ministry we do, just a natural response to the Love of God and the offer of His Grace to all. No doctrines to push. Each day, WBVN is just with you, sharing the Grace of God, doing what we did that first day in January. Recently, Jane has been ‘pinging’ my ear with what she says is the necessity for her to read Corrie ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place. She’s been telling me ever since her hospitalization for 5 months that she experienced being ‘hidden in Christ’ during those terrible months. She is certain that Corrie’s book title must mean more than just the physical hiding of Jews during WW II, but had to relate to something that Corrie, and especially her sister Becky, knew. Something far more significant than just providing a room to hide people in, but actually a place that believers are able to dwell in by the Love of God; being hidden way from the pains, the fears and tears of this life. As she re-read the book a much clearer picture of that family’s Faith came into view. They risked their lives, tolerated horrific moments and faced death with a constant knowing that God was with them, inspired them to care and provided little miracles along the way to bolster their efforts. They were an oasis of Faith.
I’ve been troubled lately, not the ‘wringing of hands troubled’ but a good kind of troubled. It’s a stirring. I don’t mean worried, but just an awareness of how difficult the times are and at the same moment knowing how wonderful the opportunity for us to be held in the arms of a loving God. It’s more like an awakening to something you know is a Spiritual change that’s occurring right in the middle of some of the most terrible or troubled times you and I have seen. It’s obvious that we have a problem here, but being profoundly aware that God is equally, superiorly, much more than our troubles.
In 24 years, we’ve lived through some things that were very hard for us and things that have been stunningly wonderful. We’ve seen difficult times, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing. Occasionally, we’ve been misunderstood and yet comforted at the same time, knowing we were simply attempting to stay within our simple purpose, ministering to our listening unique ‘congregation’ of believers.
In our hearts are the names and faces of so many people we have come to know through this radio station. Over those 23 years, we’ve experienced many more kindnesses and help than we could ever have imagined. On my desk I keep a few things from the first few months of ministry. One is a picture of our first group of volunteers. They worked the evenings, each volunteer taking a shift from 6 until 10pm one day a week: Sarah, Julie, Clay, Derek, Patty and Larry. There is a check for $25 that was the first one received in the mail. It was from Charles Carter of Carterville, who sent in a contribution to provide this music ministry for his grandchildren. The third is a quote that made a lot of sense to me early on: ‘Beginning empty handed and alone frightens the best of men. It also speaks volumes of just how sure they are that God is with them.’
It took three years to meet the budget needs of this ministry, and for the next twenty we have not failed to have the contributions to fully fund WBVN each year. The story of WBVN is that while we make every attempt to be focused and not moved away from what we believe God birthed in our hearts as far back as 1988, His Faithfulness and your loyalty to this ministry has astounded us. I’ve said many times that my favorite word not found in the Bible is vulnerability. It’s when we are vulnerable, not self-sufficient but Him-sufficient, that we can fully perceive the hand of God in our efforts. Our weaknesses have revealed His provision obvious to us. There are hundreds of examples of His fingerprints on what we have been doing all these years. Too many and too long a list to enumerate here but literally astounding. WBVN has been, in the truest sense, a community of believers: friends, family and generous and thoughtful listeners; listeners being led by the Spirit of God in their hearts to be mixed into our ministry life.
2014 begins our 24thyear. Each anniversary I’ve always tried to think that the beginning of each year was a new and fresh start; a new and fresh moment in the Gospel. This year the 24 elders of Revelation 4 and 5 came to mind. They’re described at the Throne of God in a dramatic and glorious fashion. Their only role was to worship, Heavenly Worship, and they sang a New Song saying…………
The music you hear over WBVN provides a hiding place for believers. It’s an oasis in the middle of a culture and world set on separating itself from the Love of God. On purpose, we came and still believe in encouraging the Church in this simple manner of sharing. This 24th year may be our most important, most necessary to encourage. It will again be focused on what we originally came to share many years ago: the Loving Grace of God, who Loved us in spite of us, who offers a chance for us to change our purposes from preserving our own lives to one of Praising His and His Redemption and His offer of Peace and Grace. Not complicated, not hard to bear. We thank you again for all the years, all the prayers, the kind words, and the trust and the hope of a future together sharing with you.