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Newsletters

Facts Are Facts

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

“… I know there’s a God who knows my name, and a Son who died to take the blame. I believe Jesus is coming back ‘cause promises are promises and facts are facts. These days some say there’s no way to believe, just keep it loose, you’re free to choose. There’s no absolute, it’s all relative you see. So I’m calling all defenders of the Truth to live a life that spells out God’s worldview…As sure as there’s a law of gravity that says what goes up must come down, this is the ultimate reality: that God is, and God loves and God can be found. Well, I know there’s a God that knows my name, promises are promises and facts are facts.” (1994, Steven Curtis Chapman)

It’sfacts that I’d like to talk about in this newsletter. After all facts are facts, right! Little facts can leave unbelievers with little wiggle-room about the Gospel. Fact is the Bible was written over a span of 1500 years, over 40 generations, by over 40 authors, in many different places, on three continents and in three languages, and still has the continuity of God’s Spirit in it front to back. The following facts have always encouraged me to belief!

Have you looked to see the first words that Jesus said to us? Now surely, he must have spoken from the time that all children first speak, he must have been talking from about age three. However, it was not until he was twelve years old (and then the Holy Spirit of God provided only one sentence) that Jesus shares words with us. From birth to twelve- nothing, from thirteen to 30- nothing! His first recorded words are in Luke 2:49, “Why is it that you are looking for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” His first words can be contrasted with the last thing he would say: “It is finished.” What was finished? Jesus had finished the Father’s business! He had come to do the Father’s will and did it. Truly in these two simple verses we find that He really was the beginning of things and the end of things. The Spirit ‘highlighted’ the first thing he said and married it perfectly with the very last. The continuity of His Word confirms for believers that His Spirit wrote this book in great detail!

Do you remember the first words of Jesus at the start of his earthly ministry? At the age of thirty, he was baptized, anointed and then lead away for 40 days to be tempted of the devil. Not one word is attributed to him between twelve and thirty. However, the first recorded ministry words by the Spirit of God of Jesus were, “It is written.” Three times he says those words. By contrast, what were the last words Jesus said during those ministry years? He closed his ministry years with the prayer in John 17. Jesus’ last words on that last ministry night: “Thy Word is Truth”, “I have given them Thy Word”, and “I have given them Thy Words which You gave me”. Fact, the first words at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry were about the Word of God and the final statements of Jesus’ ministry were about the Word of God! Continuity!

The first question in the Old Testament is “Where are you?” God said that to show Adam that he was lost and guilty, to show Adam he needed something to redeem the condition he had gotten himself into. The first question in the New Testament is “Where is he that is born?” Where is this Savior that Adam needed? Where is he, that we all might worship him and serve him, the one that paid the price so that we would not be lost or guilty. The constancy of purpose is found in the Scripture again four thousand years after the first question.

The fact of God’s preference for the second born fascinates me as well. We concentrate a lot on the first-born in Scripture, but have you looked at the preferences God has for the second born? Abel was preferred over Cain. Isaac over Ishmael. Jacob over Esau. The potter of Jeremiah 18 was pleased with the second vessel over the marred first. God prefers the New Heaven and the New Earth to the present ones. Rather than our first birth (natural) He prefers our second birth over the first. The first Covenant was taken away, preferring the better New Covenant. Adam was the first man (born earthly); Jesus (born heavenly) was the second man. Imagine the grandeur of the Second Coming over the first. It’s a fact that second birth preference holds true from Genesis to Revelation.

The Word of God illustrates the ‘Fullness’ of God in a terrific way as well. We all know that God is three in one, or stated another way, the complete character of God is understood when we know all three attributes of God, not just a single characteristic of God. Look at Numbers 6: 23-24: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon you; and be gracious unto you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee; and give you peace.”

Three blessings to be ‘fully’ blessed? To be a complete work of blessing, yes. All three of the Godhead blessing: the Father’s Work of Blessing (Creator), the Son’s blessing of Grace (Redeemer), and the Spirit’s blessing of Peace (Comforter). The Holy Spirit of God reveals God in His fullness front to back of Scripture. The Lord appeared to Abraham as three persons. The Israelites were to journey three days into the wilderness to separate themselves from the slavery of Egypt. A three-year old heifer, she-goat and ram were used for the complete sacrifice. Full deliverance came to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The fullness of the Godhead is made up of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Genesis shows the Father giving Life, Exodus shows the Son, the Deliverer, Redeeming his people, and Leviticus shows the Holy Spirit empowering Worship. Jonah’s deliverance came after three days in the belly of the whale. It was on the third day of Creation that the earth came up out of the water, symbolic of our resurrection. Jesus rose on the third day. He was crucified on the third hour. At the sixth hour, darkness covered the earth. At the ninth hour, Jesus declared it was finished. The fullness of God’s character is revealed as being the same ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow.’ There are three gifts of Grace: Faith, Hope and Love. The full man is Spirit, Soul and Body. Temptation is composed of three: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. (Eve saw the tree of good and evil as good for food, pleasant to the eyes and would make us wise.)

God is Love. God is Spirit. God is Light. The Spirit, the water and the blood are the perfect witness to the Grace of God. Jesus ministry lasted only three years. Everything that needed to be said about him and everything that he needed to accomplish was accomplished in those three years. He fulfilled the Law in three years. Jesus raised three people from the dead. The inscriptions on the cross were in three languages (to show the completeness of the rejection by all mankind). God is: which was, which is and which is to come. The angels cry, “holy, holy, holy” in reference to God. The completeness of God is revealed in Prophet, Priest and King. Jesus has appeared to put away sins, is now in the presence of God to advocate for us, and will appear again for those that are looking for Him. The completeness of God is revealed in the Trinity of God from Genesis to Revelation.

One last little fact. While there are many words for deceit and lies in the Hebrew language, there is only one word for Truth. (There is and always has been, and always will be only one real truth!) The word is ‘emeth’ and it’s composed of the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the middle letter of that alphabet and the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Not surprisingly, in the Greek text, Jesus is described as the Alpha (first letter of that alphabet) and Omega (last letter of that alphabet). Again, consistency from the first Hebrew word to the Greek. As Jesus stated in John 14:6, “I am the Truth.” Facts, placed in the Word of God delicately by the Holy Spirit of God for you and I to “know there is a God that knows my name.” After all, promises are promises and facts are facts! “God is, God loves, and God can be found!”

Celebration

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

As I began writing this letter, I was busy trying to clean off my desk. Now I know that for the folks that have seen my desk, that’s not really a believable statement. I should say I am organizing the stuff on my desk. It’s desk shuffling really. What that generally means is I’m taking four piles of papers, CDs, books and manuals and making two piles out of all of it instead of the four. While organizing, I had to move a letter that’s been on my desk for three weeks now. I just can’t bring myself to file it away with all the other letters we’ve received at the station. (We have kept them all for the full 18 years.) It’s actually a letter that I sent to a listener on 7/11/1996 and was returned to me on 2/11/2008. It had not been lost that long. It had been held by that listener that long; she held it that long before sending it back to me. In 1996 she had sent me a note that she was sorry but she could not ‘keep her pledge of $200’ made during our Spring Celebration that year. I had sent her the letter to let her know that we perfectly understood those things and that we had already raised the needed money to purchase a new transmitter that spring and ‘released her’ of any worry about meeting the pledged amount. I had no idea that 12 years later I would be getting that same letter back along with a nice note and a $200 check. I’ve been a bit stunned by it really. It’s stuff of Biblical proportions to me.

After 17 full years of ministry, there are moments that have come along that are just terrific encouragements to us and are ‘high-water marks’ concerning the relationships we have with other believers. They’re things that are just so out of the ordinary that they stand out in our memory over those 17 years. In this case, I can’t imagine me, at my very best, at the top of my game, keeping a letter 12 years and then remembering to mail it back along with $200 for anything I had pledged 12 years before. Probably about three weeks after getting that kind of letter inviting me not to worry about it anymore, I’d be looking for a way out of remembering that pledge at all! I don’t know, maybe it’s just a guy thing. Anyway, Lisa, thank you! It’s like the widow’s mite to us, a testimony to your faithfulness. Extraordinary and encouraging!

That’s a small example of how WBVN works. We’ve had people help meet our needs time after time. Special gifts, special help, that has permitted us to continue this ministry. It’s never the same people, it’s never the same needs. I can make a rather large list of people, families and organizations that have played those kinds of roles in our ministry history, listeners that have given so much of themselves or their time. Others on that list have helped financially. Helped with that even though we are some of the least ‘persuasive folks’ ever to need that kind of help. It’s amazing to me that we have, for 15 of the last 18 years, ‘made budget’ every year. It’s not that we have too much or too little- we just have our needs met each year! This month we will have our 18th Spring Celebration. In our beginning (January 8th, 1990) we broadcast CCM from 6 am until 10:30 pm. Today we broadcast 7/24 and all over the world on our internet website. Over 8 million minutes of ministry during that span of time.

Celebrations are our way of raising the funds for the station to continue. Celebration, by the very nature of who we are and how we raise those funds, is a representation of our heart attitude about giving. I’m sure we will have a lot of fun, some encouragement and maybe a few tears of joy. In the middle of all that is our way of asking for your help. While it is always fun for us, it is serious at the same time because we depend entirely on your decision-making to determine if WBVN continues to broadcast over FM 104.5! Paul has taught us to purpose in our hearts what we would give, and give cheerfully! We want to raise the funds for this ministry with gladness and joy. That’s our attitude about giving to WBVN. That’s tempered with the knowledge that we’re all freely giving for the Gospel’s sake. We still make our annual pledge to be efficient and modest with our opportunity to distribute those funds in a way that benefits thousands of other believers.

Is the effort to encourage the believers over WBVN important for believers in this area? Well…What if there really is no condemnation to them that are in Christ? (Romans 8:1) And, is it possible that nothing can separate us from the Love of God? (Romans 8:35) What if Righteousness really was a free gift! (Romans 5:18-19, Romans 4:8) What if salvation was, not of works, but a free gift to us? (Gal. 2:8) And, perhaps there maybe really is a Peace that can pass our understanding. (Phil. 4:7) Do you think we can live and not be troubled? (John 14:27) Is it possible that Christ has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness? (2Peter 2:3) If those things are true then hearing them every day, being encouraged in them every day, is a real purpose of this radio ministry. It’s a Celebration of our faith! Paul began many of his letters to the churches with “Grace to you and Peace from our God and Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This ministry hopes to greet you that same way each day.

Since the very beginning of the ministry, we’ve used the ‘tag’ The Gift of FM 104.5. We know the gift is not WBVN. The message heard over this radio station is the gift of God! That’s what He has sent to His children. The Good News heard on the station (through the music and programming) is His gift to you and your friends. I remember Paul’s prayer while teaching on Mars Hill: “men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects…I found an altar with this inscription ‘To An Unknown God.’ What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world…does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all Life and Breath and all things… and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth…that they should seek God…” (Acts 17:24-28) We invite you to start or continue to contribute to the station and share about the Mercy and Love of the God Paul was declaring. We love sharing that, and ask you to be our partner in giving people the Hope of the Gospel of Christ.

Shane and Shane

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

When we prepare to contract artists for our concert series, so much of the time we’ve already ‘lived’ that night in our vision for ministry through WBVN. What I mean by this is simply that in our hearts something has already happened about that concert before it has happened in that concert. In some way, we‘ve already seen what will happen there, not in detail but in the event’s purpose. We’ve envisioned what it can mean to those people that come and what the potential is for ministry to take place in our attendees’ hearts. Concerts can be fun, they can be entertaining, they can be encouraging and they can be inspirational. We trust they are relevant to the believer’s Christian experience. If we did not have a vision for those events in our hearts even before they happen we would not do them!

This month we will present for our first time Shane and Shane. They’ll bring with them Starfield, Bethany Dillon and author David Nasser in their Vision of You Tour. However, we were working on a Shane and Shane concert long before we knew about the tour itself. Why? Well, because for the last couple of years, in our hearts we’ve already lived out a concert with Shane and Shane. We believe that something will happen that evening worthy of our time to be a part of. Shane and Shane represent this ministry’s desire to express a night of Worship. Worship meaning a vertical song and praise to God. Worship is Earth to Heaven. Praise is horizontal. In our case, believers joining together with other believers, encouraging one another and themselves. Praise added to praise creates the opportunity for Worship; it’s the Petri dish for Worship. Praise is the beginning of Worship. What starts out horizontally-many people praising God-transitions to the vertical. Many times, what we do at the WBVN concerts creates Worship by way of our Praise. We are looking forward to Shane and Shane and the opportunity for more than just songs.

Shane and Shane recorded three consecutive projects from 2002 to 2004. However, while continuing to tour some 250 dates per year, they have recently taken three years off from recording compact discs to ‘refresh’ their vision for ministry. As Shane Everett says, “That was the first time we had paused to evaluate life since we began writing and performing music full-time. We had to ask the important questions—what are our goals? What are we doing here? Are we just playing music, or is it really something more?” Partner Shane Barnard asked God “to do more than our songs can do at our concerts; confessing that more and more all we have are the songs with words, wood, strings, and drums. It’s asking Him to do something when we play. Even though He’s everywhere, we’re asking Him to come and stir our hearts.” Asking those questions and awaiting on God to answer them, that’s why we have been trying to book this band!

Over the years our concerts have been more than just words, wood, strings and drums, more than just songs. They have joined us together. They have taken the edge off of any differences we might have. The concerts have provided us a single expression of the Love of God, celebrating what we have in common for two hours at a time.

Many times, as believers, we may not know exactly what to do. Maybe there are no words, no actions, no clear way to deal with the daily stress and frustration in our lives. Perhaps we face great fear or disappointment. Maybe we find ourselves in deep doubt. One of those can be true at the moment or perhaps all of those can be true all at once. No matter what we are going through, the terrific or the terrible, one thing is always ‘in season’ and that is we can Praise and Worship Him in (during) all things.

For us our concerts are decisions that get made about community. We are doing the Phil Keaggy concert in April, not because we know for sure that we can make it ‘pay-off’ but rather how can we live without bringing the very best we can find to this community of believers. We will be one of 18 cities to have a chance to host and contract the concert celebrating 30 years since the release of Phil’s most successful project. If our motivation is to truly serve the Christian community, how can we not take that opportunity to see Christian genius, Phil’s God-given talent? And, even more than just the songs, Phil Keaggy’s heart for ministry. Seeing an artist of such skill, housed in a humble and tenderhearted expression is encouraging and a teaching witness to believers. We will be encouraged by the experience.

This past week, while we were preparing for the Listener Appreciation Weekend, a box arrived from Shane and Shane. It was a box of posters to be used by us for advertising. We went about getting them ready to display at the area colleges and other locations. I had not taken the time to actually read the material on the poster. After preparing them for distribution, I noticed I had forgotten to put the phone number on the poster and had to figure out a way to get the contact number on each one. While applying the sticker with the phone number contact on the poster I noticed the bottom line on the poster they had sent. It read, ‘Uniting together for more than songs’. Wow, that’s it! That’s exactly what we contracted this band to do, more than just songs! That’s exactly why we’ve always taken the time and effort to do the concerts for some 18 years. One thing’s for sure, WBVN and Shane and Shane will be on the same page March 15th: People that come will leave with something more than they came with, something more valuable than just a song! Thank you for all the years of making those moments possible by attending our concert events. I think we have all been blessed by the concert experience and having been joined together for a moment of Worship.

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